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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Alabama gets DoD grant money

Tuskegee University has been selected for a grant under the Department of Defense's Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Institutions program.


DoD has awarded 37 grants totaling $17.4 million, which will enhance education programs and research capabilities at the 30 recipient institutions in scientific disciplines critical to national security and the DoD.

This announcement is the result of a merit competition for HBCU/MI funding conducted for the DoD Research and Engineering directorate, the Army Research Office (ARO), and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. This is the second HBCU/MI grant award for fiscal 2008. In June 2008, the DoD announced $14.1 million in phase one grants (http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=11976).


Alabama A&M University received grant money in the first round.

Research grants ranging from $245,000 to $574,000 will have a performance period of 36 months. Grants will be made by the ARO and all awards are contingent on the successful completion of negotiations between the DoD and the academic institutions.

The list of recipients for the second fiscal 2008 funding is available a http://www.defenselink.mil/news/d20090331HBCU2.pdf .

Maxwell stimulus money

From Maxwell AFB Public Affairs:

Following passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, several projects at Maxwell and Gunter are included in a Department of Defense report identifying "specific investments in construction, facility improvements, and energy efficiency projects that will help improve the quality of life for our troops and their families."

The Recovery Act will stimulate economic growth by creating millions of jobs through investments in infrastructure improvements and expanding energy research that will lead the way toward energy independence, the report said.

The report said the Defense infrastructure also will result in improved readiness to meet the national security challenges of the 21st century.

Projects for Maxwell in the report include:
  • Construct an overhead canopy system at Day Street gate
  • Repair restrooms, entry control, Bldg. 1404
  • Repair entry control facility, Day Street gate
  • Replace lights, phase 3, runway 15/33
  • Replace carpet, Officer Training School, Bldgs. 1485 and 1487
  • Paint exterior, multiple facilities
  • New entry control facility, Day Street gate
  • Replace/convert roof, Lodging Bldg. 1470
  • Repair miscellaneous streets and parking lots
  • Construct combat skills training site
  • Repair mechanic and electrical systems, central plant, Bldg. 1410, phase 3
Projects for Gunter in the report include:
  • Paint exterior, multiple facilities
  • Upgrade Heating and Air Conditioning and Control Systems, Bldg. 834
  • Replace flooring, multiple facilities

Hometown News: Charda Albert

Army Pvt. Charda R. Albert has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches, and field training exercises.

She is the daughter of Cathy Albert of Popular St., Montgomery, Ala., and granddaughter of Ruby Albert of County Road 4, Prattville.

The private is a 2008 graduate of Prattville High School.

Hometown News: Christopher Rogers


Air Force Airman Christopher D. Rogers graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

Rogers is the son of Dina Rogers of Fisher Drive, Montgomery.

Boston Butt sale

The American Legion Wetumpka Post No. 7 is selling Smoked Boston Butts at $25 each the first Saturday of each month (i.e., “Santuck Saturday”) at the Wetumpka National Guard Armory on Hwy 231.

To pre-order a Boston Butt contact Commander Roger Rowe (334) 514-4376.

Monday, March 30, 2009

CAP names chapter after Bush

From the Civil Air Patrol:

On Tuesday, former President George H.W. Bush will attend the chartering of Texas Wing’s newest squadron, the “George H. W. Bush Composite Squadron,” the first charter Civil Air Patrol unit to be named after a U.S. president. The ceremony will be held at 12:30 p.m. in the Presidential Conference Center of the George Bush Presidential Library & Museum on the Texas A&M campus in College Station.
“We were delighted that President Bush has agreed to lend his name to our fledgling squadron,” said Lt. Col. Don Wheeler, squadron commander.
“This is a great honor for the Texas Wing,” said Wheeler, who noted that nearly 30 members have already joined the squadron.
One other CAP squadron also bears a president’s name. The Independence Composite Squadron in Independence, Mo., was renamed the Harry S. Truman Composite Squadron in 1973. CAP’s 52 wings consist of more than 1,600 units nationwide.
During Tuesday’s chartering ceremony, the George H.W. Bush Composite Squadron will unveil the new unit emblem, a design that incorporates elements taken from the life of President Bush. “It will be colorful and very good looking,” said Wheeler.

Interviews with SecDef Gates

Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Fox: http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=4390

On the Pentagon Channel: http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=4389

DoD China report

The Department of Defense released the 2009 Military Power of the People's Republic of China report last week.


DoD released the report to Congress, pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2000.


The entire report can be viewed at: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/China Military Power Report 2009.pdf.

Nine selected for AFIT

From the Air Force Personnel Center:

Air Force officials selected nine enlisted Airmen to continue their education through the Enlisted to Air Force Institute of Technology Graduate Degree Program.

"The Air Force has a strong tradition of valuing education," said Lt. Col. Douglas Wall, Air Force Personnel Center's chief of developmental education. "This program is a great opportunity for enlisted members to continue their higher education."

The nine Airmen and the degree programs they will study are:

* Staff Sgt. Joseph Hicks, Information Resource Management
* Master Sgt. James Miller, Cyber Operations Information and Resource Management
* Master Sgt. Monica Monfette, Information Resource Management
* Tech. Sgt. Rachel Murphy, Financial Analysis
* Master Sgt. Carissa Parker, Information Resource Management
* Tech. Sgt. Christy Peterson, Information Resource Management
* Master Sgt. John Rinker, Information Resource Management and Industrial Hygiene
* Tech. Sgt. Jason Royals, Information Resource Management
* Master Sgt. Michael Woolingham, Information Resource Management

AFIT is the Air Force's graduate school of engineering and management and its institution for technical professional continuing education. Since residence degrees were first granted in 1956, more than 15,000 master's and 300 doctorate of philosophy degrees have been awarded. Since the Enlisted to AFIT program began in 2002, 63 Air Force noncommissioned officers have been selected to participate in the program.

For more information on the Enlisted to AFIT program, potential applicants can speak to their supervisors for eligibility requirements, visit the AFIT website at http://www.afit.edu/en/Admissions/Default.cfm?l=enl , or call the Total Force Service Center at (800) 525-0102.

Nine selected for AFIT

From the Air Force Personnel Center:

Air Force officials selected nine enlisted Airmen to continue their education through the Enlisted to Air Force Institute of Technology Graduate Degree Program.

"The Air Force has a strong tradition of valuing education," said Lt. Col. Douglas Wall, Air Force Personnel Center's chief of developmental education. "This program is a great opportunity for enlisted members to continue their higher education."

The nine Airmen and the degree programs they will study are:

* Staff Sgt. Joseph Hicks, Information Resource Management
* Master Sgt. James Miller, Cyber Operations Information and Resource Management
* Master Sgt. Monica Monfette, Information Resource Management
* Tech. Sgt. Rachel Murphy, Financial Analysis
* Master Sgt. Carissa Parker, Information Resource Management
* Tech. Sgt. Christy Peterson, Information Resource Management
* Master Sgt. John Rinker, Information Resource Management and Industrial Hygiene
* Tech. Sgt. Jason Royals, Information Resource Management
* Master Sgt. Michael Woolingham, Information Resource Management

AFIT is the Air Force's graduate school of engineering and management and its institution for technical professional continuing education. Since residence degrees were first granted in 1956, more than 15,000 master's and 300 doctorate of philosophy degrees have been awarded. Since the Enlisted to AFIT program began in 2002, 63 Air Force noncommissioned officers have been selected to participate in the program.

For more information on the Enlisted to AFIT program, potential applicants can speak to their supervisors for eligibility requirements, visit the AFIT website at http://www.afit.edu/en/Admissions/Default.cfm?l=enl , or call the Total Force Service Center at (800) 525-0102.

CAP working in North Dakota


From a Civil Air Patrol release. CAP is headquartered at Maxwell:

Citizen volunteers from Civil Air Patrol’s North Dakota and Minnesota wings are stepping forward to serve as flooding from the Red River threatens communities in both states.

CAP members are filling and stacking hundreds of thousands of sandbags near the civic center in Fargo, N.D., as well as outside a radio station in the city. CAP aircrews also are making damage assessment flights, as weather permits, to help protect critical infrastructure.

North Dakota
and Minnesota have been hit with multiple weather emergencies in recent days as flooding persists along the Red River and its tributaries. A severe blizzard blew through most of the region earlier this week, blanketing the ground with thick heavy snow. Power lines are down in western North Dakota and a massive ice jam has blocked the Missouri River south of Bismarck, N.D., causing the evacuation of residents. Ice jams have caused several other smaller evacuations.

Much of the Fargo, N.D.-Moorhead, Minn., metropolitan area has become an island with the closing of most roads in and out of area communities due to flooding and snowdrifts.

Over the past three days, more than 150 Civil Air Patrol members from the North Dakota and Minnesota wings have participated in sandbagging operations as well as limited damage assessment flights for local emergency managers.

Operations began on Monday with teams from both wings sandbagging at various locations in the Fargo area, such as the Fargo Dome, where members assisted with filling thousands of sandbags an hour.

CAP members also assisted radio station KFGO in Fargo. Four teams of members assisted local residents with sandbagging operations that helped protect this critical emergency communications point for the community. The station is still up and broadcasting.

“It is inspiring to see the volunteer spirit and sense of mission in the midst of this emergency,” said Col. Karl Altenburg, commander of the North Dakota Wing. “All personnel, especially the cadets, continue to impress the community with their willingness and ability to serve.”

The mission base remained open throughout Tuesday evening with North Dakota Wing Lt. Col. Michael Provencher serving as incident commander and Maj. Donald Dalton from Minnesota Wing’s Red Wing Squadron serving as ground branch director.

Despite the snow and wind, 75 Civil Air Patrol volunteers arrived at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning and were rapidly dispatched to sites around the area. Many members helped build dikes by stacking sandbags along the Red River south of Fargo.

Although sore from lifting and moving heavy sandbags, enthusiasm for the mission was very high among the CAP volunteers. The Red Cross brought food and water and offered additional support as needed.

Air operations branch director, North Dakota Wing Col. Walt Vollmers, plans to launch flight crews from Fargo and Grand Forks as soon as weather permits. The air crews will be tasked with taking damage assessment photography of communities along the Red River and the rising lakes in northeast North Dakota.

CAP members are also assisting with disaster relief operations near Crookston, Minn.

Civil Air Patrol is maintaining a Web site that notes communication to members and digital images of its efforts at www.ncrpao.org/specials/2009_floods/index.htm

Hometown News: Jarrod Allen

Jarrod R. Allen has been promoted to the rank of sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Allen is currently deployed at Camp Liberty, Baghdad, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The personal security detachment engineer is regularly a member of the 926th Engineer Brigade based in Montgomery.

In his civilian occupation, the reservist serves as deputy sheriff at the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, Montgomery.

He is the son of Jerry Allen of Brantwood St., and Sara Hanks of Marie Cook Drive, both of Montgomery.

Fellowship program available for military spouses

From my inbox:

Military spouses can apply until April 30, 2009, to the competitive FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Program, one of many efforts launched by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation to increase the financial knowledge of military service members and their families. The program will provide fellowship recipients with the education necessary to earn the Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) designation and to provide financial counseling and education within the military community.

The program, which began in 2006, is administered in partnership with the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) and the National Military Family Association (NMFA). The fellowship covers the costs associated with completing the AFC training and testing.

More information is available at www.SaveAndInvest.org. Applications are available at www.nmfa.org and are due by April 30, 2009.

"This program fills a need on two-fronts: providing more trained financial counselors who understand and can help address the unique needs of military families, while also helping military spouses foster their own careers and job marketability," said John Gannon, president of the FINRA Foundation, the largest foundation in the United States dedicated to educating and protecting investors. "In light of the current challenges facing our economy, the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Program has never been more important in our efforts to serve military families."

Last year, 1,050 spouses applied for the fellowship, and 187 are enrolled in the program. Since 2006, 108 have earned the AFC designation. Of the accredited spouses, 41 percent are Army or Army National Guard spouses; 14 percent are Air Force, Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard spouses; 34 percent are Navy spouses; 8 percent are Marine Corps spouses; and 3 percent are Coast Guard spouses.

Recipients of the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship must commit not only to completing the courses of study, but to working or volunteering in the financial counseling field serving the military for up to two years. To date, fellowship recipients have volunteered more than 100,000 hours toward completing the program's requirements.

Many military employers, such as credit unions, financial aid offices and community service centers, need well-trained financial counselors to meet the increasing demand for financial counseling services—from budgeting and credit management to financially preparing families for PCS moves and deployments. With this training, military spouses can apply their own experiences and help more military families while building a rewarding career that is flexible and can conform to the demands of the military family lifestyle.

Arndrea Thomas, who earned accreditation in March 2008—just six months after she was accepted to the program—puts her program experience into practice as a financial manager at the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Airman and Family Readiness Center in Goldsboro, N.C. The training she gained through the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Program has increased her knowledge of personal finance "by 300 percent," she said.

"I like a challenge, and I like helping people," Thomas said. "Finances are at people's core, and it's not healthy for a family to worry about money. I like doing something that makes a difference and empowers people."

The program is open to spouses of active duty or retired Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Army or Air National Guard or reserve component servicemembers, as well as spouses of U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration professionals.

About the FINRA Investor Education Foundation
The FINRA Investor Education Foundation is the largest foundation in the United States dedicated to investor education. Its mission is to provide investors with high-quality, easily accessible information and tools to better understand the markets and the basic principles of saving and investing. In 2006, the Foundation launched a multifaceted program to expand the saving and investing knowledge of military servicemembers and their spouses, including a free, unbiased resource, www.SaveAndInvest.org
. A proud partner in the Department of Defense Financial Readiness Campaign, the Foundation also presents financial education forums at military installations worldwide.

About AFCPE
The Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) provides professional development experiences for financial educators, practitioners and researchers to improve the economic well-being of individuals and families worldwide. The Association's vision is to be internationally recognized as the leading provider of professional development opportunities. Visit www.afcpe.org
for more information.

About NMFA
The National Military Family Association is the only national organization whose sole focus is the military family and whose goal is to influence the development and implementation of policies that will improve the lives of the families of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For more than 35 years, its staff and volunteers, comprising mostly military family members, have built a reputation for being the leading experts on military family issues. Visit www.nmfa.org
for more information.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More on the F-22 crash

Just got this from the Air Force Press Desk:

An Air Force F-22A fighter crashed about 10 a.m. today approximately 35 miles northeast of Edwards AFB, CA.

The aircraft is from Edwards Air Force Base. At the time of the accident, it was on a test mission.

One pilot was on board. Their condition is unknown at this time.

A board of officers will investigate the accident.

This is the second time an F-22 has crashed. The first one was during the aircraft's test and evaluation period in December 2004 also at Edwards, during which the pilot ejected safely.

The F-22 Raptor is the Air Force's newest fighter aircraft. Its combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability represents an exceptional leap in warfighting capabilities. The Raptor performs both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions allowing full realization of operational concepts vital to the 21st century Air Force.

The Air Force currently has 134 F-22s in its inventory.

For more facts on the F-22, visit www.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=199.

As soon as additional details of the crash become available, they will be provided.

F-22 crash

The Associated Press is reporting that an F-22 has crashed near Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Ann Stefanek confirmed the crash Wednesday but had no other details, according to the AP report.

Stefanek had no information on the status of the pilot.

The F-22 is the Air Force's new top-of-the-line fighter that is replacing some F-15s.

Guard unit comes home

Approximately 75 members of the Alabama Army National Guard’s 128th Medical Company will return to their home armory in Ashland Thursday after spending about seven months in Iraq.

A Welcome Home Ceremony will be held tomorrow, March 26, at 4:00 p.m. at Fort Pete Phillips National Guard armory on Hwy. 9 South in Ashland.

While deployed to Iraq, unit members provided ground ambulance and basic medical support at several locations across the country. It was the unit’s second deployment to Iraq in the past five years.

Maj. Gen. Abner C. Blalock, the adjutant general of Alabama, will attend the ceremony and speak briefly to the Soldiers and their family members. Col. John Craft will attend and represent Maj. Gen. Joe Harkey, commander of the 167th Support Sustainment Command in Birmingham.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend the ceremony to show their support for the Soldiers as they return home from their second overseas deployment in the global war on terror.

More than 13,800 members of the Alabama Army and Air National Guard have been called to active duty since Sept. 11, 2001 (9-11) in support of the global war on terror.

Military voting bill out of committee

The first legislative committee to take a look at the latest military voting bill in Alabama reported it out favorably this morning.

The bill, HB711, would establish five methods of requesting a ballot -- mail, e-mail, fax, secure transmission and commercial carrier. To return a completed ballot, military and overseas voters could use all of those methods but e-mail if the bill is passed.

Secretary of State Beth Chapman has been championing this bill for the last year and chairs the Military and Overseas Voting Task Force.

At the committee meeting, Rep. Jack Page asked about adding college students to the bill, but Chapman countered saying they already have enough time to complete the absentee voting process, but she would look at that in the future. Her first priority is the Alabama military members currently deployed and the 1,600 that are preparing to deploy in the coming months, she said.

Rep. James Gordon also asked about college students and suggested an amendment to add them to the bill, but later withdrew that motion. But, he said he would work on an amendment relating to college students and bring it up again when the bill reached the House floor.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Military voting still on the table in the legislature

Alabama's Military and Overseas Voting Task Force released its report this week and is holding a public meeting on Wednesday.

The bill, House Bill 711, is sponsored byJimmy Martin and has since been modified since the task force unanimously approved the draft legislation in January.

Secretary of State Beth Chapman has been pushing military voting for awhile now and I've been covering the task force meetings for the last year. Chapman, her staff and the task force have modeled their bill on one used in Okaloosa County, Florida that conducted the nation's first electronic voting pilot last year.

The task force has also heard presentations from leading online voting vendors and officials with the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission, the Overseas Vote Foundation and the Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for National Guard Matters.

It's impressive work and most, if not all, military officials support the idea of online/electronic voting to make it easier for them in deployed locations, or even overseas posts. The traditional absentee process is slow, Chapman says, and doesn't allow military voters the time needed to cast their well earned ballots.

That's something a recent Pew Study backed up. The report found that many states didn't allow military voters enough time to cast their ballot and that the process in many states needs adjustment to do so.

The proposed legislation will give military and overseas voters additional methods of voting, including mail, commercial carriers like UPS and Fed Ex, secure fax lines, e-mail and secure electronic transmission, like the kiosks used in the Florida pilot program. The bill would also allow overseas voters to return their ballots by those methods, except e-mail.

I'll have updates after the meeting tomorrow morning. The Constitution and Elections Committee meets at 9 a.m. in room 603 at the State House.


AFRICOM symposium at Maxwell next week

I'll be covering parts of this symposium next week and will post updates here, as well as anything interesting I hear.

Until then, here's the basic rundown of what's going on:

The symposium will create a set of policy proposals for the sponsors by engaging military, industry and academic participants in active debate focusing on a broad spectrum of topics affecting AFRICOM and ways AFRICOMs air component (17th Air Force) can contribute to meeting the security challenges of the 21st century.

The symposium is divided into four tracks, each with a specific focus: Track 1: Air Domain Safety and Security in Africa; Track 2: Utilizing Capability While Building Partnership Capacity; Track 3: Strengthening Relationships and Building a Security Cooperation (Phase Zero) Game Plan; Track 4: Future Look: Sustainable Security through Development and Conflict Mitigation. Each track is then sub-divided into a number of seminar style workshops that will develop the policy recommendations.

Monday, March 23, 2009

'Any Servicemember' mail is a no go

From the DoD in my inbox today:

A recent increase in mail addressed to "Any Servicemember" has prompted the Military Postal Service Agency to remind the general public not to send mail or care packages addressed in such a manner.

"Mail to 'Any Servicemember/Any Wounded-Recovering Warrior,' deposited into a collection box and erroneously accepted at a United States Postal Service post office will not be delivered," MPSA officials said in a news release. "This restriction applies to all classes and types of mail."

The Defense Department suspended the "Any Servicemember" and "Operation Dear Abby" programs in 2001 following the terrorist attacks. The policy was adopted as a way to bolster force protection.

"Even though these programs may provide an excellent means of support to deployed personnel and wounded-recovering warriors, they also provide an avenue to introduce hate mail and hazardous substances or materials into the mail system," MPSA officials said in the release.

The Dear Abby program, founded by the newspaper advice columnist, delivered mail to U.S. servicemembers overseas during the holiday season for 25 years. "Any Servicemember" mail grew out of operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Since shortly after the start of recent operations in the Middle East, many grassroots organizations have made sure servicemembers know they're remembered. Those interested in writing to servicemembers can visit the Defense Department's Community Relations Web site and click the "Citizen Support" link on the right side of the page to find groups that support troops with letters.

The Wright Stuff

"The current issue of The Wright Stuff (Vol 4, No 6, dated March 19, 2009) can be accessed at: http://www.au.af.mil/au/aunews.



Today in Guard History

March 23, 1862

Kernstown, Virginia — Confederate forces attacking under the command of General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson are repelled by a Union army in this central Shenandoah Valley battle. This will be Jackson's only defeat as he goes on the offensive up and down the Valley in the coming spring. He repeatedly defeats larger federal armies, with his troops often showing up unexpectedly. Nicknamed "Jackson's Foot Cavalry" his army, composed mostly of Virginia regiments drawn from the Valley, make rapid forced marches thought impossible by their opponents. Jackson, a West Point graduate, was a professor at the Virginia Military Institute, with the rank of major when the war broke out in 1861. The heritage of these units is today carried by the 116th Infantry (VA), the "Stonewall Brigade", 29th Infantry Division (Light).

--National Guard Bureau
Sunday, March 22, 2009

Today in Guard History

March 22, 1847

Vera Cruz, Mexico — American troops under the command of General Winfield Scott, who started his military career as a Coronet (lowest ranking officer of cavalry in early 19th century) in the Virginia militia, besiege and bombard this coastal city forcing it to capitulate after six days. Scott would soon move the army inland striking for the capital of Mexico City. His army numbers 13,660 men, more than half of whom, 7,919, are serving in state volunteer regiments from IL, KY, LA, PA, SC, TN.

--National Guard Bureau
Saturday, March 21, 2009

Today in Air Force History

March 21, 1911

Lt. Frank P. Lahm flew a Wright B airplane, Signal Corps No. 7, at Fort William McKinley, Philippines and completed the first flight of an American airplane overseas.

March 21, 1939

Col. Hugo E. Pitz, Lt. Col. Joseph T. McNarney, Maj. Karl S. Axtator and Maj. George C. Kenney selected sites for permanent air base and auxiliary landing fields in Puerto Rico.

March 21, 1946

The Strategic Air Command, Tactical Air Command and the Air Defense Command are created.

March 21, 1962

A black bear named "Yogi" became the first living creature ejected from a supersonic aircraft when the U.S. Air Force tested the B-58's escape capsule. Ejected at 35,000 feet from a B-58 flying at 870 mph, the bear landed unharmed seven minutes 49 seconds later.

March 21, 1973

Two Libyan Mirage aircraft intercepted and fired upon an unarmed C-130 Hercules from Rhein-Main AB, Germany. The C-130, reportedly on a reconnaissance mission over the Mediterranean, successfully evaded its attackers and recovered safely at Athenai Aiport, Greece.

March 21, 1975

Following the crash of a C-141 into Mt. Constance in the Olympic Mountains near Seattle, Wash., air rescue and recovery service personnel assisted in the recovery of 10 crewmen and six passengers and equipment from the wreckage through June.

March 21, 1989

NASA ended the Mission Adaptive Wing test program and retired the special F-111 to the Flight Test Center Museum at Edwards AFB, Calif. In its 144.9 test hours and 59 sorties, the F-111 showed a 25 percent increase in range, an 18 percent increase in G-loading and a 71 percent increase in its ability to pull up and clear an obstacle.

March 21, 1997

Lt. Col. Marcelyn A. Atwood became the first woman to command a flying training squadron and the first U.S. Air Force officer to command a Navy squadron at Pensacola, Fla. Her unit trained Air Force and Navy pilots.

--Air Force

Today in Guard History

March 21, 1969

Phan Thiet, Vietnam — Seventeen members of the 116th Engineer Battalion (ID) were staying overnight in a compound which came under intense enemy attack. The only heavy machine gun, located in a guard tower, was knocked out by a rocket but one of the men of the 116th got it back in action. Other members of the unit manned jeep-mounted machine guns and due to their determined efforts, the attack was repulsed costing the enemy 110 confirmed dead. Of the 17 engineers involved, none were killed but 16 were wounded. This unit, Idaho's oldest Guard organization, saw service in the Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection (1898-1899), Mexican Border (1916), World War I (1917-1919), World War II (1941-1945), Korean War (1950-1955) and Vietnam War (1968-1969).

--National Guard Bureau
Friday, March 20, 2009

National Infantry Museum coming to Columbus, Ga.

Saw this on Army Times today.

About 5,000 people came to the preliminary opening Thursday of the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center at Patriot Park, a 200-acre park linking Columbus and Fort Benning.

The museum’s grand opening is June 19, which coincides with the Army’s 234th birthday.


Microsoft Office discount for military

A friend sent this tidbit to me this morning...

The Office 2007 Military Appreciation Edition (MAE) is down to US$49.99 –from $79.95.

That’s a fantastic deal for what is really a three installation licence for Office 2007 Standard (Word 2007, Excel 2007, Powerpoint 2007 and Outlook 2007). Office 2007 Standard is officially priced at $349 for a standard license.

Some stock of the MAE in ‘PX’ stores might have the higher price, however ordering from AAFES will get you the lower price. Recent reports from Office Watch readers suggest that delivery is quite prompt.

The $49.95 price will last until 30 June 2009.

A reminder that the MAE applies not just to current US military personnel but also retired personnel and their dependents.

For more details on the Military Appreciation Edition see our earlier coverage – How to get the Military Appreciation Edition and Office 2007 Military Appreciation Edition.

For more info, go to http://news.office-watch.com/t/n.aspx?articleid=802&zoneid=12

Maxwell honors its best

From our friends at the Maxwell-Gunter Dispatch:

Six active duty members and three civilian employees were recognized as Air University's best this month. The winners were presented bronze eagles by Lt. Gen. Allen Peck, commander of Air University; and will represent AU in Air Force wide competition in their respective categories.

Maj. Eugene A. Moore, III, deputy director of the Support Directorate, Holm Center, received the Field Grade Officer of the Year award. Moore was cited for his achievements while deployed as well as at home station where he managed support involving personnel, financial, computer systems, and facilities to more than 2,900 personnel at 2,000 locations.

Capt. Jennifer L. Formell, officer in charge of Intelligence Outreach, LeMay Center, received the Company Grade Officer of the Year award. Formell was praised for her work with the National Security Agency along with collecting and analyzing information for the commander of Southern Command. She was also noted for her skill as a lecturer of intelligence courses at the LeMay Center.

Senior Master Sgt. Todd A. Burrows, first sergeant, Headquarters, Air University, received the First Sergeant of the Year award. Burrows was recognized for short notice efforts in the recent Operational Readiness Inspection, family care plans and aiding family members of deployed personnel.

Master Sgt. William L. Humphrey, section chief, Information Systems Division, Air Force Institute of Technology, received the Senior Non-Commission Officer of the Year award. Humphrey was cited for his achievements while deployed in addition to managing $14 million in technology equipment at home station as well as securing the network for 1,200 users.

Tech. Sgt. Jennifer S Laufer, chaplain assistant, 42nd Air Base Wing, received the Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year award. Laufer was praised for her achievements while deployed, insuring accountability during rocket attacks and providing "spiritual" triage.

Senior Airman Brian K. Coleman, patrolman, 42nd ABW, received the Airman of the Year award. Coleman was also cited for his achievements while deployed during which he conducted 90 patrols through insurgent locations. While at Maxwell, he was noted for his security efforts with emphasis on random anti-terrorist measures.

Mr. Paul R. Keeping, education technician at the Holm Center, received the Civilian of the Year, Category I, award. Keeping's achievements included supporting 879 units, 1,960 instructors and more than 103,000 cadets. In addition he was recognized as a "top performer" during the recent operational readiness inspection.

Ms. Christine E. Bushby, mortuary affairs officer with the 42nd ABW, received the Civilian of the Year, Category II, award. Also a top performer during the recent operational readiness inspection she also was recognized for her support of families during funeral arrangements and her development of the 42nd ABW mortuary plan.

Mr. Paul M. Keenan, education specialist at the Air Force Institute of Technology, received the Civilian of the Year, Category III, award. He was acknowledged for teaching 120 classes and more than 700 students at AFIT, Maxwell, Keesler Air Force Base, and Indiana University in addition to designing and implementing courses for deploying personnel.

Crowell honored by Alabama Legislature

Brig. Gen. Edward F. Crowell was recently honored by a joint resolution from both houses of the Alabama Legislature.

He started his career as an airman basic with the 908th Airlift Wing at Maxwell. He left the wing as a colonel and served at two numbered Air Forces before returning to Maxwell as the mobilization assistant to the Air University commander.

He retired last month after 35 years in the Air Force.

U.S. ship and sub collide

A U.S. Navy submarine and U.S. amphibious ship collided in the Strait of Hormuz early this morning, Navy officials reported today.

The collision between the USS Hartford and USS New Orleans occurred at about 1 a.m. local time.

Fifteen sailors aboard the Hartford were slightly injured and returned to duty. No personnel aboard the New Orleans were injured.

Overall damage to both ships is being evaluated. The propulsion plant of the submarine was unaffected by this collision. A fuel tank ruptured on the New Orleans, which resulted in an oil spill of about 25,000 gallons of fuel. Both ships are currently operating under their own power.

The incident is under investigation.

Both the submarine and the ship are on regularly scheduled deployments to the U.S. Navy Central Command area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations.

(From a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet news release).

Today in Air Force History

March 20, 1959

The site in Cheyenne Mountain, Colo., was approved as the location for NORAD.

March 20, 1966

The 43rd Bombardment Missile Wing, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., received the first KC-135Q. It was an A model modified to carry the special fuel for the SR-71 Blackbird.

March 20, 1967

U.S. Air Forces in Europe released nine bases in France to the Military Liquidation Section under Project Fast Relocations.

--Air Force

Today in Guard History

March 20, 1935

Tacoma, Washington — Elements of Washington's 161st Infantry and the 116th Observation Squadron, 41st Division, serve on state active duty guarding railroad facilities, bridges and roads during a lumber workers strike. These areas had been sabotaged or burned by the strikers. During this five week work stoppage both units had soldiers on duty on a rotation basis, so while 287 men served only about 100 were on duty at any one time. This was necessary to help assure the men preserved their jobs. During this period many states had not enacted laws protecting the employment rights of Guardsmen while serving on state duty. If a man was gone too long he might return home to find his job terminated. Since World War II all states have adopted some form of employment protection for those Guard members serving in state declared emergencies. On a national basis the federal government has a similar policy protecting mobilized soldiers rights to return to their prior employers without loss of job, reduction of salary or expected promotions.

--National Guard Bureau
Thursday, March 19, 2009

New coalition forming in Iraq?

The Washington Post is reporting that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has allied himself with an outspoken Sunni leader in several provinces and broached a coalition with a militant, anti-American cleri.

Anthony Shadid writes that the move suggests "the emergence of a new axis of power in Iraq centered on a strong central government and nationalism."

Parliamentary elections are coming later this year and Shadid reports that coalitions are in flux and the vote will likely shape the political landscape as the U.S. military is withdrawing.

For the complete story, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/19/AR2009031902885.html

Hometown News: Edward Wilson


Air Force Reserve Airman Edward M. Wilson has graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

During the six weeks of training, the airman studied the Air Force mission, organization, core values, and military customs and courtesies; performed drill and ceremony marches, and received physical training, rifle marksmanship, field training exercises, and special training in human relations.

In addition, airmen who complete basic training receive credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

He is the son of Sonya Wilson of Saddlebrook Drive, and Ricky Wilson of Geary Drive, both of Montgomery.

The airman is a 2008 graduate of Robert E. Lee High School, Montgomery.

Hometown News: Tameka Wilson

Tameka S. Wilson has joined the United States Army under the Delayed Entry Program. The program gives young men and women the opportunity to delay entering active duty for up to one year.

The enlistment gives the new soldier the option to learn a new skill, travel and become eligible to receive as much as $50,000 toward a college education.

After completion of basic military training, soldiers receive advanced individual training in their career job specialty prior to being assigned to their first permanent duty station.

The recruit qualifies for a $8,000 enlistment bonus.

Wilson graduated in 1997 from Jefferson Davis High School, and received bachelor's degree in 2005 from Faulkner University, both in Montgomery. She will report to Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C., for basic training in May 2009.

She is the daughter of Donna Billlups of Hollybrook Lane, and Winston Wilson of Taylor Oaks Circle, both of Montgomery.

Hometown News: Ashley Forbes

Army National Guard Pfc. Ashley M. Forbes has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches, and field training exercises.

She is the daughter of Helen Forbes of Clinton St., Montgomery.

Forbes is a 2008 graduate of Lanier Senior High School, Montgomery.

Bright weighs in on veterans insurance

Congressman Bobby Bright supports the White House decision to abandon a previous policy that would have forced veterans to use private insurance for service-connected treatment or disabilities.

Yesterday, he and 67 others in the House of Representatives signed a letter sent to President Obama that expressed opposition to the proposal. The White House has now indicated that they are dropping the proposal after concerns were expressed.

The letter stated:

“We do not give our veterans health care – they earn it – and it would be unacceptable for the VA to ask our veterans to pay for the treatment of injuries received while serving our nation in uniform. That responsibility belongs to the VA, and it would be wrong to outsource the responsibility of covering the care of those veterans to private insurance companies.”

The letter also praised the administration’s proposed 10% increase in funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, which would increase funding for the department by $25 billion over the next five fiscal years.

“Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our country and we can never do enough to appropriately honor their service,” Bright said. “I am pleased that the Administration has committed to keeping veterans’ health care under the Veterans Administration. Veterans should never be asked to pay an extra cent for the sacrifices they have made defending America. The needs of veterans will continue to be one of my top priorities as a Member of Congress.”

To view a copy of the letter, click here.

MOAA on veterans insurance

Here's what the Military Officers Association of America has to say about the White House decision on veteran insurance:


“The White House made the correct decision to withdraw its proposal for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to have military veterans’ personal insurance companies pay for their service-connected disability and wounds,” said VAdm. Norb Ryan, Jr., USN-Ret., president of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA).

Ryan said he advised President Obama that “pursuing this insurance proposal would detract from the outstanding 2010 Department of Veterans Affairs budget he has put forth—the best budget for veterans care in 30 years and the largest annual increase proposed by any President.”

Ryan and leaders from several military and veterans’ service organizations (MSO/VSOs) met with President Obama on Monday, and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel on Monday and again Wednesday with Emanuel to voice their concerns and attempt to reach a workable solution to the Administration’s payment idea. All organizations were against the initiative, and numerous Members of Congress voiced their strenuous objections. The White House asked for the meeting after receiving a February 27 letter signed by 11 VSO and MSO leaders opposing the plan.

“The VA has a solemn obligation to care for those who have served in the military and fought for this nation,” said Adm. Ryan. “We deeply appreciate that the President asked the veterans organizations to meet with him to discuss the issue and present our case.”

According to Ryan, “The President indicated on Monday that he was there to listen to our concerns and was willing to drop the proposal if we could not support its merits. Both he and his Chief of Staff kept their promises by promptly withdrawing the proposal after today’s meeting. To their credit, they listened and responded promptly, and we appreciate that.”

“MOAA looks forward to working with the President and Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, to maximize the impact on this unprecedented budget that supports veterans and their families.” VAdm. Ryan said.

Body armor debate continues

The body armor debate continues. Here's a new story I came across this morning:

http://www.dodbuzz.com/2009/03/17/dont-buy-dragon-skin-peo-soldier/

And here's a recent report from the DoD Inspector General on body armor:
http://www.dodig.osd.mil/Audit/reports/fy09/09-047.pdf

Today in Air Force History

March 19, 1910

Orville Wright opened the first Wright Flying School at Montgomery, Ala. This site became Maxwell AFB, Ala.

March 19, 1969

Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, announced the FB-111 program would be reduced, due to its lack of intercontinental range. He limited the U.S. Air Force to four squadrons with 60 aircraft and a few replacements. Mr. Laird revealed that a new bomber, the Advanced Manned Strategic Aircraft would be developed. This aircraft later became the B-1.

March 19, 1970

Maj. Jerauld R. Gentry, an Air Force Flight Test Center test pilot, made the first powered flight of the Martin Marietta X-24A Wingless Lifting Body over Edwards AFB, Calif. A B-52 dropped the X-24A.

March 19, 1971

U.S. Air Force Southern Command began moving residents from Nicaraguan farming areas ravaged by the Cerro Negro volcano. During the 10-day mission, C-123s airlifted 885 Nicaraguans and 190,000 pounds of household goods, food and other supplies to a new area.

March 19, 1978

For the first time, U.S. Air Forces in Europe F-15 Eagles and Navy F-14 Tomcat aircraft began joint dissimilar air combat tactics training.

March 19, 1984

Military Airlift Command flew 28 C-5 Galaxy and 17 C-141 missions to carry 1,286 passengers and 1,594 tons of cargo for the deployment of three E-3A airborne warning and control system to provide aerial surveillance for Egypt and the Sudan against threats from Libya. Five KC-135 and two KC-10 missions provided aerial refueling through April 9 in Operation Eagle Lift.

March 19, 1992

Two F-15s intercepted two Russian TU-95 Bear bombers near the Alaskan coast, the first such interception since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

March 19, 1997

The 509th Bomb Wing conducted the longest B-2 Spirit mission to date when "The Spirit of Florida," flew from Whiteman AFB, Mo., to Puerto Rico. Maj. Robert O'Neal and Capt. Scott Hughes flew the nearly 30-hour, round-trip flight with its four aerial refuelings and a live conventional weapon release at the Vieques Range, Puerto, Rico.

March 19, 2004

U.S. forces fired 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Iraq, striking three targets around Baghdad, just after 9:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The attack began the U.S.-led multinational coalition effort to liberate the people of Iraq.

March 19, 2004

The first active-duty C-130J Hercules arrived at the 314th Airlift Wing at Little Rock AFB, Ark.

--Air Force

Today in Guard History

March 19, 1945

Wattweiler, Germany — Colorado's 157th Infantry, an element of the 45th Infantry Division (AZ, CO, NM, OK), seizes this town after breaching the Nazi defense barrier known as the "Siegfried Line." The 45th Division entered combat in July 1943 when it took part in the invasion of Sicily. It later made assault landings at Salerno and Anzio in Italy and on the Rivera in Southern France. By war's end it captured Nuremberg, the symbolic home of the Nazi movement, and Munich where Adolf Hitler got his start leading the Nazi Party.

--National Guard Bureau
Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Stop Loss to end

Here's a release from the Department of Defense on its plan to end Stop Loss:


The Department of Defense announced today a comprehensive plan to eliminate the current use of Stop Loss, while retaining the authority for future use under extraordinary circumstances. This is an important step along the path in adapting the Army into an expeditionary force.

The Army Reserve and Army National Guard will mobilize units without employing Stop Loss beginning in August and September 2009, respectively. The Regular (active duty) Army will deploy its first unit without Stop Loss by January 2010.

For soldiers Stop Lossed during fiscal 2009, the department will provide a monthly payment of $500. Until the department is able to eliminate Stop Loss altogether, this payment will serve as an interim measure to help mitigate its effects.


"Stop Loss disrupts the plans of those who have served their intended obligation. As such, it is employed only when necessary to ensure minimal staffing in deploying units, when needed to ensure safe and effective unit performance," said Bill Carr, deputy under secretary of defense for military personnel policy. "It is more easily rationalized in the early stages of conflict when events are most dynamic; but tempo changes in this war have frustrated our efforts to end it altogether."

The department intends to provide Stop Loss Special Pay to eligible service members until the point of separation or retirement, to include that time spent on active duty in recovery following redeployment. Stop Loss Special Pay will begin on the date of implementation, and will take effect for those impacted on or after Oct. 1, 2008.

Stop Loss Special Pay implements the authority granted by Section 8116 of the "Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriation Act, 2009." The appropriation is available to secretaries of the military departments only to provide Special Pay during fiscal 2009.

Today in Air Force History

March 18, 1952

Two F-84 Thunderjets landed in Neubiberg, Germany, after a 2,800-mile flight without refueling. It was believed to be the longest sustained jet fighter flight to date. The planes crossed seven nations, averaged 585 mph, and were airborne for four hours, 48 minutes.

March 18, 1960

First Snark Intercontinental Ballistic Missile placed on alert with the 702nd Strategic Missile Wing at Presque Isle AFB, Maine.

March 18, 1964

The U.S. Air Force issued a requirement for the short range attack missile.

March 18, 1971

Capt. Marcelite C. Jordon becomes the first woman aircraft maintenance officer after completing the Aircraft Maintenance Officer School.

March 18, 1981

The 18th Tactical Fighter Wing received 80 F-15 Eagles. This delivery completed Pacific Air Force's conversion to the new fighter-bomber. The 18th then transferred 79 F-4 Phantoms to other commands.

--Air Force

Today in Guard History

March 18, 1754

Williamsburg, VA — The Virginia legislature approves the organization of the Virginia Regiment. It consist of full-time soldiers, paid by the colony to garrison frontier outposts against Indian incursions. Most of its men are enlisted from the militia of the western frontier, primarily Augusta and Frederick counties in the Shenandoah Valley. They are to be uniformed and equipped at the colony's expense. One of the officers appointed to this force is Major (later Colonel) George Washington.

--National Guard Bureau
Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hometown News: Crystal Lee

Crystal D. Lee has graduated from Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga., and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

During the 14 weeks of training, the officer candidate received "basic soldiering" instruction in leadership, professional ethics, soldier team development, combined arms tactics, weapons defense, combat water survival, squad drill, intelligence, field training exercises, day and night land navigation, confidence obstacle course, common core tasks, communications, staff and general military subjects, and physical fitness tests which include three, four and five-mile runs, and foot marches between 5-10 mile routes.

The candidate is tested on leadership skills and team work abilities required of a commissioned officer. Students learned to utilize acquired skills to function in "leader and follower" positions in squad and platoon sized elements, and evaluated in various leadership garrison positions while in a stressful and demanding field environment.

The lieutenant is an ordnance officer with eight years of military service.

She is the daughter of Steve D. Mattingley, and Cindy M. Mattingley, both of Deatsville.

Lee received a bachelor's degree in 2003, and earned a master's degree in 2005, both of Troy State University, Montgomery.

Scholarship still available to local students

The Montgomery Area Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America is again offering a scholarship to area students.

Scholarship applications and guidelines are available online at www.macmoaa.org or in guidance offices of area public and private high schools.

Applications are due by April 15.

--Posted by Jenn Rowell

today in Air Force History

March 17, 1911

The first Curtiss airplane bought by the Army Signal Corps.

March 17, 1958

Vanguard I, the second U.S. satellite to go into orbit, launched from Cape Canaveral.

March 17, 1967

The U.S. and Thai governments announced that U.S. Air Force units in Thailand were flying missions against North Vietnam.

March 17, 1971

Jane Leslie Holley becomes the first woman commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program. She graduated from Auburn University, Ala.

March 17, 1981

At Long Beach, Calif., the Douglas Aircraft Company turned over the first KC-10 Extender to Lt. Gen. Edgar S. Harris, the Eighth Air Force commander. He flew it to Barksdale AFB, La., for testing with the 4200th Test and Evaluation Squadron.

March 17, 1997

Air Force Special Operations Command provided a joint task force with MC-130 aircraft and MH-53 helicopters to evacuate U.S. citizens and other foreigners from Zaire due to an outbreak of civil unrest. By late March, the special operation effort had moved 532 passengers in 57 missions. To assist, Air Mobility Command dispatched C-5s, C-17s, C-141s and KC-135s. By April 17, AMC had flown 115 missions, carrying 1,200 passengers and 2,400 short tons of cargo.

--Air Force

Military legislation in Alabama

None of the bills I've been tracking so far this session have moved in the last few days.

HB438 and SB371 would create an interstate compact making it easier for kids to transfer schools for military moves. The bill didn't make it through last year's session and since then about a dozen other states have joined the compact, making it binding in those states and those that join. The bill is supported by the Department of Defense.

HB177 would expand the education benefit for dependents of deceased or disabled veterans.

HB612 would pay unemployment compensation to military spouses who have had to leave their jobs for a military move. That bill hasn't made much progress at all, but it is supported by some area veterans and Military Officers Association of America, MOAA, is keeping an eye on it too. About half of the states already offer some sort of unemployment compensation to military spouses.

C-130 update

I reported in today's paper that the 908th Airlift Wing at Maxwell Air Force Base has inspected all eight of their aircraft.

And this morning, I had an e-mail from Air Force Material Command answering my question on how many were back in the air.

Four of them have been returned to flight and the other four are awaiting replacement nuts. It will probably be a couple of weeks until they get the new parts in and can fix the other four aircraft, Joanne Rumple, a spokeswoman at AFMC wrote.
Monday, March 16, 2009

Open letter to veterans from VA secretary

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki issued an open letter to veterans last week and you can see it here:

http://www.militarytimes.com/static/projects/pages/031309shinsekiletter.pdf

Derrow possible replacement for Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force

Chief Master Sergeant Pamela A. Derrow is a possible replacement for Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney McKinley, who retires in June.

Air Force Times is reporting that she's one of five considered to be front runners for the job. She'd be the first female to hold the position.

Derrow is currently the Command Chief Master Sergeant, United States Air Forces in Europe, (USAFE) with headquarters at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Before taking the assignment in Europe, she was commandant for the Senior Noncommissioned Officer's Academy at Gunter Annex from May 2005 to January 2008.

She's also a 1998 graduate of the Senior NCO Academy and was at Maxwell in 200 for the Information Warfare Applications Course.
Sunday, March 15, 2009

Today in Guard History

March 15, 1781

Guilford Courthouse, NC — An American army under the command of General Nathaniel Greene, which includes militia units from North Carolina and Virginia, offers battle to Lord Cornwallis commanding the British army moving out of South Carolina.

Greene, who started his military career as a private in the Rhode Island militia, was one of General Washington's best field commanders.

This battle saw some of the most desperate fighting of the war, highlighted by the American troops charging into British ranks to engage in hand-to-hand combat. As this action threatened to break the British line, Cornwallis ordered his artillery to fire point blank into the intermixed ranks to stop the American advance, killing of a number of his own men.

Finally Green withdrew his army in good order and Cornwallis, with about 30% causalities, had to march to Wilmington, NC, to link up with Royal Navy ships for transport north to Virginia.

This delay probably cost Britain the war, as it allowed the Americans time to shift forces into Virginia to oppose him when virtually none had been there before.

His army's surrender at Yorktown seven months later was a direct result of Greene's actions during this battle.

--National Guard Bureau
Saturday, March 14, 2009

Today in Air Force History

March 14, 1970

Two A-7D Corsair IIs flew 3,502 unrefueled miles from Edwards AFB, Calif., to Homestead AFB, Fla., to show its capabilities.

March 14, 1988

In ceremonies at Greenville, Texas, E-Systems Inc., unveiled the new MC-130H Combat Talon II special operations airlifter. The Air Force planned to use aircraft for special operations units to infiltrate/exfiltrate troops and resupply behind enemy lines at night or in poor weather.

--Air Force, www.af.mil

Today in Guard History

March 14, 1943

La Senia, Algeria — A-20 and P-39 aircraft of the 111th Observation Squadron begin flying convoy escort missions looking for German submarines.

The unit, organized in the Texas Guard in June 1923, deployed to Algeria as part of the Allied invasion of French North Africa in November 1942.

Later in the war, under its new designation as the 111th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, it flew missions during the invasions of Sicily, Italy and Southern France, ending the war in Germany.

For its service it earned nine combat streamers. Reorganized in the Texas Air Guard after the war, it was mobilized for the Korean War in September 1950.

It was one of six Guard squadrons to actually serve in Korea, earning three additional streamers. In the mid-1960s it was issued F-102 Delta Dagger fighter-interceptor aircraft to use in homeland defense against possible Soviet bomber attack.

Not mobilized in 1968 with other Air Guard squadrons for service during the Vietnam War, it continued to patrol America's skies.

One of its pilots in this period was future 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush.

The 111th Fighter Squadron, flying F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft, remains an important part of both our air defense and war fighting capabilities in the War on Terrorism.

--National Guard Bureau
Friday, March 13, 2009

217th preparing to deploy

The 217th Military Policy Company of the Alabama Army National Guard is getting ready to deploy and they're spending time at Fort McClellan to train.

Today, about half the unit trained on combat lifesaver skills and the other half spent the day doing mounted operations and simulated operations in a mock Iraqi village.

Check out my story in the Advertiser, coming soon. More coverage of the unit also coming.

Navy secretary submits resignation

The 74th Secretary of the Navy, Donald C. Winter, resigned his office today as planned, according to a Department of Defense release. Winter had agreed to remain in office until March 13, 2009, to ease the transition of the DOD.
"As I relinquish my duties as Secretary of the Navy, I count myself blessed for having had the opportunity to serve as your Secretary," Winter said in a message to the Navy and Marine Corps. "No period in my professional life can compare to the experiences that I have had in this position."
Winter became the Secretary of the Navy on Jan. 3, 2006. During his tenure, Winter focused on three priorities: prosecuting the war against terrorist enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan; taking care of wounded Sailors, Marines and their families; and building the future fleet. Additionally, he carried out far-reaching acquisition reforms, with an emphasis on rebuilding an acquisition corps of professionals within the department, demanding accountability, and insisting on a systems engineering approach to acquisitions.
Under Winter's leadership, the Department of the Navy strove to maintain a balance of environmental stewardship while preserving the professional training requirements of the Navy and Marine Corps. The importance of these efforts was recognized by the Supreme Court in a precedent setting opinion. Winter also enhanced the Navy's role in missile defense, codified policies to leverage special operations capabilities in the Navy and Marine Corps, and increased the department's focus on intelligence collection and analysis.
"Every time I meet with Sailors and Marines, I come away impressed by the tremendous capability and flexibility of our warfighters to accomplish the mission, no matter what the challenge," he said. "I am honored to have served you as your Secretary. Thank you for your service to our nation."
BJ Penn will be the acting Secretary of the Navy until the Senate confirms a nominee chosen by President Barack Obama.

Hometown News: Zackery Cooley

Coast Guard Seaman Zackery B. Cooley, son of Lisa R. and Vonzie E. Cooley of Montgomery, recently graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Recruit Training Center in Cape May, N. J.

During the eight-week training program, Cooley completed a vigorous training curriculum consisting of academics and practical instruction on water safety and survival, military customs and courtesies, seamanship skills, first aid, fire fighting and marksmanship. A major emphasis is also placed on physical fitness, health and wellness.

Cooley and other recruits also received instruction on the Coast Guard's core values -- honor, respect and devotion to duty -- and how to apply them in their military performance and personal conduct. Cooley will join 36, 000 other men and women who comprise Coast Guard's force.

Men and women train together from the first day in the Coast Guard just as they do aboard ships and shore units throughout the world. To reinforce the team concept, Cooley, and other recruits were trained in preventing sexual harassment, drug and alcohol awareness, civil rights training, and the basics of the work-life balance, as well as total quality management.

Cooley is a 2007 graduate of Jay High School of Jay, Fla.

Hometown News: John Pitchford


Air National Guard Airman John W. Pitchford has graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

During the six weeks of training, the airman studied the Air Force mission, organization, core values, and military customs and courtesies; performed drill and ceremony marches, and received physical training, rifle marksmanship, field training exercises, and special training in human relations.

In addition, airmen who complete basic training earn credits toward an associate in applied science degree relating through the Community College of the Air Force.

He is the son of Stacey Gray of Beverly Drive, Ocean Springs, Miss., and grandson of Lamar Pitchford of Greenwood Road, Tallassee.

The airman is a 2007 graduate of Tallassee High School.

Possible water contaimination at Camp Lejeune

Did you live or work at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in 1987 or before?

If so, please register with the Marine Corps by visiting www.marines.mil/clsurvey or by
calling the Camp Lejeune Historic Drinking Water Call Center at 877-261-9782,
Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

Two independent research initiatives are reviewing the possible association between
exposure to the water and certain adverse health effects. Individuals registered will be
mailed summary results when two independent research initiatives are completed.

Background

In the early 1980’s, two solvents, trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE),
both unregulated at the time, were found in two water systems serving the Tarawa
Terrace and Hadnot Point areas. Certain drinking water wells were identified as the
source of the chemicals and were taken out of service in 1984 and 1985.

The Department of the Navy is funding two independent research initiatives. The
Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is conducting a health
study to see if there is an association between exposure to the water and certain
adverse health effects. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is conducting a
comprehensive review of scientific literature and potential health risks related to
exposures at Camp Lejeune.

Individuals registered with the Marine Corps will be directly notified with the final
study results.

Camp Lejeune water meets or exceeds all environmental standards today.

Drinking water wells at Camp Lejeune are tested four times a year for volatile organic
compounds (VOCs), in addition to monthly drinking water sampling. The base is in
compliance with all federal and state laws and regulations to ensure safe drinking
water.

Hometown News: Christopher Glarrow

Pfc. Christopher B. Glarrow has graduated from U.S. Marine Corps Basic Training at Parris Island, S.C. and Marine Corps School of Infantry at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
He is the son of Lynne Brawner Glarrow of Dadeville, the nephew of Leigh Brawner Solano of San Antonio, TX and the grandson of Lucile Brawner and the late Leon Brawner of Dadeville.
Glarrow is a 2005 graduate of Taylor Road Academy in Montgomery and is stationed at Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

Hometown News: Corey Campbell

Coast Guard Seaman Corey S. Campbell, son of Rita W. and Scott E. Campbell of Eclectic, recently graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Recruit Training Center in Cape May, N. J.

During the eight-week training program, Campbell completed a vigorous training curriculum consisting of academics and practical instruction on water safety and survival, military customs and courtesies, seamanship skills, first aid, fire fighting and marksmanship. A major emphasis is also placed on physical fitness, health and wellness.

Campbell and other recruits also received instruction on the Coast Guard's core values -- honor, respect and devotion to duty -- and how to apply them in their military performance and personal conduct. Campbell will join 36, 000 other men and women who comprise Coast Guard's force.

Men and women train together from the first day in the Coast Guard just as they do aboard ships and shore units throughout the world. To reinforce the team concept, Campbell, and other recruits were trained in preventing sexual harassment, drug and alcohol awareness, civil rights training, and the basics of the work-life balance, as well as total quality management.

Campbell is a 2007 graduate of Elmore County High School of Eclectic.

Today in Air Force History

March 13, 1917

The Army Air Intelligence Subdivision Office is approved.

March 13, 1958

The U.S. Air Force Ballistic Missile Committee picked Lowry AFB, Colo., to become the first Titan I base.

March 13, 1977

Tactical Air Command received its first air refuelable Combat Talon C-130 Hercules.

--Air Force, www.af.mil

Today in Guard History

March 13, 1899

Pasig River, Luzon, Philippines — An American force consisting of two Regular infantry regiments and a section of the Sixth Artillery along with the 2nd Oregon and 1st Washington Volunteer Infantry, repulsed "a large force of the enemy, drove them back and took the Pasig River."

American casualties were given as 35 "slightly wounded" and enemy losses as heavy.

This operation was part of the American offensive in response to the revolt against U.S. control of the Philippines that started in February 1899.

Known as the "Philippine Insurrection" it was fought in hot, humid, malaria-infested areas and witnessed some of the most difficult combat operations conducted by American troops during the 19th century.

The bulk of the U.S. forces in the country at the outbreak of the Insurrection were Guardsmen in state volunteer units.

By the summer of 1899, they began returning home although enough decided to stay that two new regiments of U.S. Volunteers were organized.

One of these men, Captain John E. Moran, formerly of the 1st Montana Volunteer Infantry, earned the Medal of Honor.

--National Guard Bureau
Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hunstville company awarded defense contract

Aranea Solutions of Huntsville has been awarded a $17,929,431 firm-fixed-price time and materials indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for support of the Joint Technical Data Integration (JTDI) System and other tactical logistics IT programs.

This contract includes a base year and three option periods, which if exercised, bring the total estimated value of the contract to $70,164,715. Work will be performed in Huntsville (60 percent) and Patuxent River, Md., (40 percent), and work is expected to be completed by Mar. 2014.

Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year.

This contract was competitively procured, with one offer received in response to this solicitation.

The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity.

Hometown News: Tommy Giles


Air Force Airman Tommy J. Giles has graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

During the six weeks of training, the airman studied the Air Force mission, organization, core values, and military customs and courtesies; performed drill and ceremony marches, and received physical training, rifle marksmanship, field training exercises, and special training in human relations.

In addition, airmen who complete basic training earn credits toward an associate in applied science degree relating through the Community College of the Air Force.

He is the son of Kimberly and Tommy Giles of Forest Hill Road, Deatsville.

The airman is a 2008 graduate of Holtville High School, Deatsville.

Bill to make school transfers easier for military kids moves forward

Alabama is getting closer to joining an interstate compact that would make it easier for military kids to transfer schools.

HB438 made it out of committee, has been read a second time in the Senate and placed on the calendar.

Next up, a vote.

On the House side, the Senate's version of the same bill, SB371, is still sitting in the Education committee.

Maxwell promotions

Courtesy of Maxwell Air Force Base Public Affairs:

Air Force officials announced Tuesday the results of the officer promotion boards to the ranks of colonel, lieutenant colonel, and major.

The following were selected for promotion from the Maxwell-Gunter community:

Colonel
Steven A. Schaick, Air War College

Lieutenant Colonel
Patrick W. Franzese, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies
David L. Carr, Ira C. Eaker College for Professional Development
William G. O'Sullivan, ECPD
Elizabeth Schuchs-Gopaul, Air Force Legal Operations Agency
John C. Johnson, AFLOA
Kyle W. Green, AFLOA
Charles D. J. Musselman, AFLOA

Major
Tracy L. Taylor, 23rd Training Squadron
Hugh P. Sponseller, 29th Student Squadron
Matty L. Garr, 30th Student Squadron
Kenneth M. Shirley, 30th SS
Brian L. Spliethof, 30th SS
Jorge L. Manresa, 31st Student Squadron
Klifford W. Mosley, 31st SS
Scott B. Ryan, 31st SS
William L. Boyles Jr., 32nd Student Squadron
Joseph W. Roach, 32nd SS
Lisa A. Miller, 33rd Student Squadron
Justin B. Radford, 34th Student Squadron
David A. Hagler, 36th Student Squadron
Austin A. Bartolo, 37th Student Squadron
Ryan Canaan Cengeri, 621st Contingency Operations Group
Joseph M. Butryn, 754th Electronic Systems Group
Dennis C. Clements, Air Force Logistics Management Agency
John A. Flory, AFLMA
Ryan A. Hendricks, Air Force Legal Operations Agency
Brent F. Osgood, AFLOA
David Routhier, AFLOA
Jodi M. Velasco, AFLOA
Paul K. Gulck, AFROTC Detachment 5
Dale M. Lightfoot, AFROTC Det 5
Israel Figueroa-Rodriguez, AFROTC Detachment 755
Lorrie C. Carter, Air and Space Basic Course
Steven J. Pena, Detachment 2 , 690th Network Support Squadron
Kevin B. Stanley, Ira C. Eaker College for Professional Development
Michael E. Collins, Holm Center
Shon P. Dodson, Holm Center
Phillip H. Silva, Holm Center
Sonda L. Lee, Headquarters AFROTC
Ethel Y. Glenn, Headquarters Air University
Marc A. Vassallo, LeMay Center
Charleen Barlow, Squadron Officer College
Heather R. Capurro, SOC
Kenneth P. Hanson, SOC
Eric J. McGreevy, SOC
Ernie J. Baldree, SOC

Today in Air Force History

March 12, 1908

Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge's Red Wing, the first Aerial Experiment Association airplane, made its first flight at Lake Keuka, Hammondsport, N.Y., with Frederick W. "Casey" Baldwin at the controls.

March 12, 1915

1st Lt. Byron Q. Jones, Cpls Carl T. Hale and Robert H. Houser flew a Burgess-Renault to a three-man duration record of seven hours and five minutes.

March 12, 1970

Vice President Spiro T. Agnew gave Harmon International Trophies to Maj. Jerault R. Gentry, an Air Force Flight Test Center pilot and to Col. Frank Borman, James A. Lovell Jr and Lt. Col. William A. Anders, the Apollo VIII crewmen.

March 12, 1980

Two 410th Bombardment Missile Wing B-52Hs from K. I. Sawyer AFB, Mich., flew nonstop, 19,353 nautical miles around the world in 42 hours and 30 minutes, averaging 488 mph for three days. Majors William H. Thurston and John M. Durham commanded the flight from Offutt AFB, Neb., across Canada, the North Atlantic, Europe, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, the Strait of Malacca, the South China Sea and back to Offutt AFB. Neb. They earned the Mackay Trophy.

March 12, 1998

A C-141 from the 445th Airlift Wing, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, landed at Randolph AFB, Texas, with more than 50 former U.S. prisoners of war for Operation Homecoming's silver anniversary. On Feb. 12, 1973, the same C-141 airlifted Americans from Gia Lam Airport, Hanoi, North Vietnam on the first mission to repatriate American servicemen from Southeast Asia. The Starlifter took the men to Randolph AFB, for the 25th annual "Freedom Flyers" reunion.

--Air Force, www.af.mil
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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 


As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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