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Friday, May 29, 2009

Cyber security a top priority for Obama, and a chunk of the work is happening here

President Barak Obama announced today that he's creating a new office for cybersecurity with a cyberspace coordinator. That person will be a member of the National Security Staff and the National Economic Coucil, both groups are top advisors to the President.

The announcement came after a 60-day policy review that yielded a report more than 70 pages long.

The military has been catching the wave of all things cyber and the Air Force tried to create a major command, only to be trumped by nuclear operations. Given the ups and downs of nuclear ops in the last year or so and the lack of nuclear ops doctrine -- which was written at Maxwell and recently approved -- it makes sense to create a command that deals with it.

Instead, the Air Force opted to create a Numbered Air Force to deal with cyber issues and has done so. It's still standing up but there's talk now of a sub-unified command for cyber operations under the Department of Defense. The New York Times ran a story today on it today that Obama would order DOD to create such a command, but defense officials are staying mum. The Times has reported that the cyber command would fall under U.S. Strategic Command, which already deals with some cyber missions.

Air Force Times reported earlier this month that the head of STRATCOM, Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton wants DOD to consolidate its cyber units under STRATCOM, at Offutt AFB in Nebraska.

A Pentagon spokesman told me that nothing has been decided and that until that happens, they aren't speculating or release any details of the maybe, maybe not cyber command.

Maxwell and the Montgomery area had been in the running for the Air Force's cyber command the NAF, but didn't make the cut on either. Montgomery is a cyber hub for the Air Force, but a few other areas like Barksdale AFB in Louisiana and Hanscom AFB in Massachussettes are also major hubs and units at Gunter Annex report to Hanscom.

The 24th Air Force, falls under Air Force Space Command, and the basing decision is still in the works. Lackland AFB in Texas has been named as the prefered location.

Montgomery company awarded defense contract

Caddell Construction Co., Inc. of Montgomery is being awarded a $91,600,000 firm fixed price contract for construction of a new 3rd Army Headquarters Complex to be located at Shaw Air Force Base.

The work to be performed provides for the construction of an Army Central Headquarters Complex.

The project will include the design and construction of the ARCENT Headquarters Complex which includes the Command and Control Facility (C2F Facility), the Headquarters, and a Tactical Equipment Maintenance Facility ex terior covered equipment hardstand area and staff parking.

The contract is incrementally funded with the first increment of $58,079,920 being allocated at the time of award.

The second increment will be funded in fiscal 2010 at $33,520,080.

Work will be performed in Sumter, S.C., and is expected to be completed by April 2011.

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

This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 18 proposals received.

The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Langley based F-22s headed to Japan

From my friend Hugh Lessig, military reporter at the Daily Press in Newport News, Virginia.

The 94th Fighter Squadron at Langley Air Force Base has deployed the F-22 Raptor for the first time.

A dozen of the planes, Hugh reports, left Langley this week to spend four months at Kadena Air Base in Japan.

In Japan, the pilots will train with and against F-15 Eagles based there, plus the Japan Air Self Defense Force and the Navy's F/A-18 Super Hornets.

Check out Hugh's military blog at Hampton Roads Military.

Hometown News: Lakeshia Brown

Army Pvt. Lakeshia N. Brown 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.

Brown is the daughter of Youralanda Moore of Hazel St., Prattville.

Mobile devices a deterrent for extremism?

Air Force Public Affairs put this out on Twitter today and it's an interesting read. Haven't finished the entire article, but the author, Lt. Col. Michael Meyer, suggests that a mobile device/social media program for public diplomacy could be a deterrent for extremism.

Any thoughts?

Here's the link: http://www.au.af.mil/au/aunews/archive/2009/0409/Articles/Meyerv7.pdf
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

187th exercise this weekend

The 187th Fighter Wing is going through their Operational Readiness Inspection this weekend, so any loud noises like explosions or gunfire are simulated and not an actual incident.

The exercise starts overnight Thursday and finishes early next week. I'll have a story for you all next week.

Roger's new veterans council meets Thursday

Rep. Mike Rogers has created a Third Congressional District Veterans Advisory Council and it meets for the first time on Thursday.

The council will help Rogers stay plugged in on veterans issues and help him advocate those issues, he said in a release.

Last week, he added 31 East Alabama veterans and wants the council to include a diverse group of veterans.

Rogers is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a ranking member on the House Homeland Security Subcommittee and on the Agriculture Committee.

Tomorrow's meeting is at 2:30 p.m. at the Comer Library at 314 N. Broadway Ave. in Sylacauga.

The 31 veterans recently appointed are:

Calhoun County: John Hamilton, Claude "Sonny" Miller, Gerald Watson, Rick Freeman

Chambers County: Roy Hill, Ray Edwards

Cherokee County: Kirk Day, Don Tucker

Clay County: Melvin "Leon" Morrow, Gerald Dial

Cleburne County: Tommy Poore, Phillip Morris

Coosa County: Les Sellers, Larry Rayfield, Melvin Jackson

Lee County: Bill Jenrette, Jerry Bently, Lewis Wood

Macon County: Benjamin Rackley, Harold Louis Powell Sr.

Montgomery County: William Rumph III, Bowen Ballard, Steve Linder

Randolph County: Tom Staples, Frank Reaves

Russell County: William Raines, Harvey Stewart

Talladega County: Jim Heigl, Oliver "Wayne" Dial

Tallapoosa County: Bruce Champion, Robert Stone

12th Aviation Branch at Rucker has a new senior NCO

Command Sgt. Maj. Tod L. Glidewell became the 12th Aviation Branch senior NCO at Fort Rucker on Wednesday.

During a ceremony at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum, Glidewell assumed responsibility from Command Sgt. Maj. Donald R. Sanders.

Glidewell served as the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center command sergeant major before his new position. Sanders, who served as the senior enlisted officer at the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence (USAACE) since January 2007, will retire later this spring after about 30 years of Army service.

During his remarks, Glidewell said aviation success cannot define success for the Army.

“Before we pat ourselves on the back, we must remember that our ground brothers are truly the ones (who) assign our measure of success because they are truly why we exist,” he said. “Soldiers like these are why I serve.”

USAACE and Fort Rucker Commander Maj. Gen. James O. Barclay III said they were sad to see Sanders go, but were ready to work with Glidewell.

“He’s the right man for this time, for our Branch and for Fort Rucker,” he said. “We know that we continue to be faced with challenges and difficulties, but Tod, we know you’re the man who can meet those responsibilities.”

Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Felder said Glidewell’s duties he performed in his last position will have an impact on USAACE. Felder, who worked with Glidewell in Iraq in 2006, said USAACE will benefit from Glidewell’s personality and leadership.

“I feel the skill sets that he has acquired as the Army’s top safety NCO have given him the experience to make better assessments on programs, Soldiers and systems,” Felder said. “His standards of excellence and integrity will only enhance what the Branch command sergeants major before him began.”

Felder added that Glidewell’s familiarity with the installation will be an asset in his new post.

During the ceremony, Sanders said he will miss serving in the Army.

“Thirty years ago, I made the decision to join the Army, and (in) doing so, I began a calling and a career that would prove better than I expected,” Sanders said. “The Army demanded and insisted more of me than I would have ever asked of myself.”

Felder said Sanders made two big impacts on USAACE while he served as the command sergeant major. One of those was on getting Fort Rucker’s Noncommissioned Officer Education System (NCOES) “fired up.”

Since 1983, the Aviation Branch has a distinguished history of selecting the best leaders for each period of transition. Wednesday’s change of responsibility marks the conclusion of one significant NCO career and offers another accomplished senior NCO opportunities for further growth and success.

Alabama Guard has a new deputy IG


Lt. Col. Arnetta E. Minney has joined the Inspector General’s staff as deputy IG for the Alabama Army and Air National Guard. She will assist the state IG, Col. Sheri Tonner, receiving and processing requests for assistance. She will also assist in directing and conducting inquiries and investigations as directed by the Adjutant General.

Minney will complete both the Air Force and Army Inspector General’s Courses to complete her qualifications as a deputy IG. She will attend both courses later this summer.

Minney was a member of the Alabama Air Guard’s 187th Fighter Wing at Dannelly Field in Montgomery.

She recently moved to Alabama from Alaska where she had lived for 15 years. She received her first inspector general experience in drill status with the 176th Wing in Alaska. While serving with the 176th, she also served as Deputy Mission Support Group Commander and Aerial Port Flight Commander.

Minney is married and has three daughters, Beth, 13, Sophia, 11, and Hannah, 9. Her husband, Lt. Col. John L. Minney, is a member of the 187th and currently works in a civilian capacity at Maxwell Air Force Base with the AF Culture and Language Center.

Hometown News: Xavier Carroll

Army Pfc. Xavier D. Carroll has graduated from basic infantry training at Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier received training in drill and ceremonies, weapons, map reading, tactics, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid, and Army history, core values and traditions. Additional training included development of basic combat skills and battlefield operations and tactics, and experiencing use of various weapons and weapons defenses available to the infantry crewman.

He is the son of Willie Carroll of County Road 40 W., and brother of Carvietta Carroll of Highway 82, both of Prattville.

Carroll is a 2006 graduate of Autaugaville High School.

VA has new top attorney

The Department of Veterans Affairs has a new general counsel and he's a former Air Force colonel.

Attorney Will A. Gunn took the oath of office Tuesday as General Counsel of the Department of Veterans Affairs following his recent Senate confirmation.

"I'm thrilled by the opportunity to serve as VA's General Counsel," Gunn said in a release. "I'm also humbled and deeply honored by the confidence that President Obama and Secretary Shinseki have shown in me with this appointment.

Gunn oversees and office with a nationwide staff of more than 700 employees, including 460 attorneys. As general counsel, Gunn is tasked with ensuring the faithful execution of the laws, regulations and policies that VA administers.

The General Counsel's interpretations on legal matters further VA's mission of service to the nation's veterans with written opinions on adjudications and appeals involving veterans' benefits under laws administered by VA.

Operating through seven professional staff groups in Washington plus 22 regional counsel offices across the United States, the office provides VA representation before administrative and judicial forums, offers formal and informal legal and ethics advice, and drafts and advocates legislation affecting veterans.

Gunn, an attorney who at the time of his nomination represented military members and veterans in private practice in northern Virginia, retired from the Air Force in 2005, where he served as a colonel in the Judge Advocate General's Corps.

A former White House fellow, he received the American Bar Association's Outstanding Career Military Lawyer Award. In 2003, he was named the first chief defense counsel in the Department of Defense's Office of Military Commissions, building a defense team and supervising defense activities for detainees selected for trial before military commissions to ensure they received effective representation.

A native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Gunn is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, he was elected president of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, the nation's oldest student-run legal services organization.

He also has a master's degree in environmental law from George Washington University School of Law and a master of science degree in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

Gunn has been chair of the American Bar Association's Commission on Youth at Risk and served on the board of Christian Service Charities. In 2005, he was named president and chief executive officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.

Hometown News: Bradley Gilley

Air Force Airman 1st Class Bradley M. Gilley 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.

Gilley earned distinction as an honor graduate of the course.

He is the son of William and Sandra Gilley of Westcott Drive, Wetumpka.

The airman is a 2002 graduate of Wetumpka High School.

Hometown News: Brittney McDougal


Air Force Airman Brittney A. McDougal 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.

She is the daughter of Michael McDougal of Champion St., Montgomery, and Tracy McDougal of Dijon Drive, Slidell, La.

The airman is a 2007 graduate of Community Christian School, Slidell.

Hometown News: LaShondra Lewis


Air National Guard Airman 1st Class LaShondra J. Lewis 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.

She is the daughter of Teresa Washington of County Road 37 S., Hope Hull, and granddaughter of Helen Osborne of Chatham Place, Montgomery.

The airman is a 2006 graduate of The Calhoun High School, Letohatchee.

Hometown News: Michael Boswell

Air Force Capt. Michael L. Boswell has been named the Outstanding Airman of the Year in the Company Grade Officer category for the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Knob Noster, Mo.

Selection was based on the individual's exemplary duty performance, job knowledge, leadership qualities, teamwork, significant self-improvement, personal achievements, notable accomplishments, and community service and support.

He is a deployment and distribution flight commander assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing, The captain has served in the military for seven years.

Boswell is eligible to represent the wing in the 8th Air Force competition. The nominees competing at this level are the best of the best in their category, lead by example, and help showcase the excellence emphasized by the 8th Air Force.

He is the grandson of Carmen Boswell and nephew of Robert Boswell, both of Montgomery.

The captain is a 1997 graduate of Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, Montgomery, and received a bachelor's degree in 2001 from Auburn University, Montgomery.

Alabama airman killed in Afghanistan

Came across this on Air Force Times this morning:

The Pentagon says an Air Force officer from Foley, Ala., was among three U.S. troops who died when their military convoy in Afghanistan was hit by an improvised explosive device.

The Mobile Press Register newspaper said Wednesday that Lt. Col. Mark E. Stratton died in the Memorial Day explosion.

Family members said Stratton was a dedicated officer who served as commander of a reconstruction team in Panjshir Province.

Stratton, a 1987 graduate of Foley High School, is survived by his wife and three daughters who live in Washington, D.C.

Funeral arrangements are pending.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hometown News: Christopher Whatley


Air Force Airman Christopher E. Whatley 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.

He is the son of Chris and Lauri Whatley of Willow Lane, Montgomery.

Whatley graduated in 2008 from the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Montgomery.
Monday, May 25, 2009

River Region observes Memorial Day

Several area groups observed Memorial Day, despite heavy rains.

In Wetumpka and Prattville this morning, about 200 people between the two ceremonies paused to honor fallen troops.

At the Montgomery VA Medical Center, Col. Kris Beasley, 42nd Air Base Wing commander, encouraged attendees -- mostly veterans -- to remember not just those who have fallen in Afghanistan and Iraq, but in all of American military history.

Montgomery's new American Legion post hosted an observance at the Capitol and was drenched by the end.

They recognized Orlean Wells, a Gold Star Mother, for her sacrifice. Her son, Warrant Officer Charles G. Wells, was killed in Iraq on March 30, 2005.

Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Michael Mullen said today that nearly 5,000 troops have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq since those campaigns began after 9/11.
Friday, May 22, 2009

VA marks Memorial Day 2009

From parades to somber ceremonies and a moment of silence, Americans will recall the sacrifices of military members who paid the ultimate price for freedom on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25.

"From May 23 to May 30, commemorative events at VA national cemeteries will present a sacred responsibility for employees and volunteers to honor these greatest of American heroes," said Steve Muro, VA's acting under secretary for memorial affairs. "Since the birth of Memorial Day in 1866, national cemeteries have been the most visible expression of our country's gratitude for their service."

The Department of Veterans Affairs will continue its annual tradition of hosting services at most of its national cemeteries and many other facilities nationwide. The programs, which are the focus of Memorial Day events in many communities, honor the service of deceased veterans and people who die on active duty.

For the dates and times of Memorial Day programs at VA national cemeteries, visit www.cem.va.gov.


More than 100,000 people are expected to attend activities at VA's national cemeteries, with color guards, readings, bands and choir performances. The events will honor about one million men and women who died in wartime periods, including about 655,000 battle deaths.

Some national cemetery observances are unique. At VA's most active cemetery, in Riverside, Calif., volunteers have been reading aloud -- since Armed Forces Day, May 17 -- the names of more than 150,000 Veterans buried there, and are expected to continue at least until the Memorial Day program. In one-hour shifts around the clock, 500 volunteers - two to four at a time -- alternate reading the names.

The Dayton, Ohio, National Cemetery will host members of veterans organizations on the weekend before Memorial Day who will display 400 donated burial flags along the main road. The cemetery also expects 2,000 children and youths, many from Scout troops, to decorate more than 40,000 graves on the weekend in two hours.

VA's 128 national cemeteries include 13 that opened in the last 10 years. Another three cemeteries are under development. VA currently maintains 18,000 acres where 2.9 million gravesites are located. By 2010, veterans' burial space is expected to be available to 90 percent of veterans within 75 miles of where they live.

Information about Memorial Day, including its history, can be found at www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/.

VA is a cosponsor with the White House Commission on Remembrance of an annual Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m., Eastern time, nationwide on Memorial Day, a time to pause and reflect on the sacrifice of America's fallen warriors and the freedoms that unite Americans. Many institutions will announce a pause in their activities -- from sporting events to public facilities -- to call the nation together in a common bond of silence.

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day when the tradition of decorating Civil War graves began. It still brings loved ones to the graves of the deceased, often with flowers as grave decorations.

Decorations honoring veterans buried in national cemeteries are American flags -- either individual small ones on each grave, usually placed by volunteers, or "avenues of flags" flanking both sides of the cemetery main entrance road. Often these flags are the burial flags donated by next of kin of veterans buried in the cemetery.

Memorial Day message from ADVA Commissioner Clyde Marsh

Memorial Day is the most sacred of our veterans’ honors, ceremonies and traditions. Cemeteries all over the world serve as the final resting place for countless numbers of our fallen comrades, veterans and heroes.

As a Nation, we must never forget the men and women who fought, bled and died for us, long before us, and along beside us. It is a sacred day that pays tribute to our war dead and causes our Nation to pause in remembrance of our fallen. There is no greater sacrifice than to give up the full measure of one’s life for honor, duty and country.

On this solemn occasion, please pause to remember those war veterans and heroes who did not come home to the American dream to enjoy longevity in pursuit of the life, liberty and freedoms they fought so valiantly for and won.

Our country is truly the home of the free because of the brave.

W. Clyde Marsh

Commissioner

Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs

Saying 'See you later' to the 2025th

The 2025th Transportation Company of the Alabama Army National Guard is departing Jacksonville next week, headed to Iraq.

A departure ceremony for the company's 170 soldiers is planned for May 27 at 2:30 p.m. at the Pete Matthews Coliseum at 700 Pelham Road North. The coliseum is on the Jacksonville State University campus.

After the ceremony, the 2025th will travel to Camp Atterbury in Indiana for their mobilization training. From there, they deploy to Iraq.

This is the second time the company has been activated. In March 2003, the unit provided transportation support to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York for three months. The unit was then assigned to Fort Benning in Georgia to provide support for Operations Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom before being released from active duty in July 2004.

More than 14,000 Army and Air Guard members have been activated since Sept. 11, 2001.

The public is invited to the ceremony.
Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hometown News: Michael Moore

Army National Guard Pvt. Michael E. Moore has graduated from Basic Combat Training at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission and received instruction and training exercises in drill and ceremonies, Army history, core values and traditions, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid, rifle marksmanship, weapons use, map reading and land navigation, foot marches, armed and unarmed combat, and field maneuvers and tactics.

He is the son of Donna Watson of Ginfield Court, Coosada, and grandson of Callie Jones of Lucky Town Loop, Elmore.

New GI Bill generating thousands of applications

The Department of Veterans Affairs has received more than 25,000 claims for education benefits during the first two weeks that Veterans and servicemembers could apply online for the new Post-9/11 GI Bill.

“We are very pleased with the tremendous interest in the Post-9/11 GI Bill,” Patrick W. Dunne, VA’s under secretary for benefits, said. “The number of applications submitted in the first two weeks clearly shows the value and importance of this new benefit for Veterans.”

The Post-9/11 GI Bill, passed by Congress last year, is the most extensive educational assistance program authorized since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944. It provides eligible individuals with tuition payments to assist them in getting a college education.

Many participants will also receive a housing allowance while they’re studying and a stipend for books and supplies. Under the new GI Bill, certain members of the armed forces may transfer benefits to a spouse or dependent children.

With the large numbers of Veterans and servicemembers expected to apply for the new program, VA projects a 20 percent to 25 percent increase in the total number of participants in VA’s education programs.

Qualified people will receive a “Certificate of Eligibility” and information about their benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Applicants may expect to receive their certificate within 24 days of submission. Under federal law VA cannot pay benefits until Aug. 1, 2009. The new education benefit is for Veterans, servicemembers, reservists, and National Guard members who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001.

Veterans can also apply online through the GI Bill Web site at www.GIBILL.VA.gov.

Additionally, paper applications are accepted at VA regional processing offices located in Muskogee, Okla.; Atlanta; St. Louis; and Buffalo, N.Y. Veterans who apply online and provide a specific e-mail address will receive an e-mail acknowledging receipt of their claims.

The number of education benefits’ applications submitted in the first two weeks is more than three times the rate of benefit applications usually received through the Veterans Online Application system. VONAPP is used for all education benefit programs, as well as for submission of applications for VA disability compensation and pension benefits.

As a result of this unprecedented volume, some applicants experienced slow response times or error messages on May 1. VA immediately increased system capacity, and by Saturday morning, May 2, system performance was fully restored.

“Because of the large number of applications expected to be received, we encourage Veterans interested in attending school this fall to apply early online,” Dunne added.

Additional information about the new program and VA’s other educational benefit programs can be obtained by visiting VA’s Web site or by calling 1-888-GIBILL-1 (or 1-888-442-4551).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hometown News: Robert McGlamery

Army Pvt. Robert A. McGlamery has graduated from Basic Combat Training at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission and received instruction and training exercises in drill and ceremonies, Army history, core values and traditions, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid, rifle marksmanship, weapons use, map reading and land navigation, foot marches, armed and unarmed combat, and field maneuvers and tactics.

McGlamery is the son of Deborah McGlamery of Brookley Drive, Eclectic.

Hometown News: Felipe Rodriguez

Navy Seaman Felipe D. Rodriguez, son of Sherry L. and stepson of David Hernandez of Elmore, recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.

During the eight-week program, Rodriguez completed a variety of training which included classroom study and practical instruction on naval customs, first aid, firefighting, water safety and survival, and shipboard and aircraft safety. An emphasis was also placed on physical fitness.

The capstone event of boot camp is "Battle Stations". This exercise gives recruits the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the fleet. "Battle Stations" is designed to galvanize the basic warrior attributes of sacrifice, dedication, teamwork and endurance in each recruit through the practical application of basic Navy skills and the core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment.

Its distinctly ''Navy'' flavor was designed to take into account what it means to be a sailor.

Rodriguez is a 2004 graduate of Stanhope Elmore High School of Millbrook.

Hometown News: Amanda Billups

Civilian Amanda Billups, daughter of Nathaniel Billups of Wetumpka, recently enlisted in the United States Navy under the Delayed Entry Program at Navy Recruiting District Minneapolis, Minn.

The program allows recruits to enter the Navy and take up to one year to complete prior commitments such as high school. Using recruiters as mentors, this program helps recruits ease into the transition from civilian to military life.

Billups will report for active duty to undergo basic training at the Navy's Recruit Training Center, Great Lakes, Ill.

Billups is a 1998 graduate of Holtville High School of Deatsville.

Hometown News: Benjamin Vance

Army Spec. Benjamin Vance has deployed to Iraq to support the mission of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Operation Iraqi Freedom is the official name given to military operations involving members of the U.S. Armed Forces and coalition forces participating in efforts to free and secure Iraq. Mission objectives focus on force protection, peacekeeping, stabilization, security and counter-insurgency operations as the Iraqi transitional governing bodies assume full sovereign powers to govern the people of Iraq.

Members from all branches of the U.S. military and multinational forces are also assisting in rebuilding Iraq's economic and governmental infrastructure, and training and preparing Iraqi military and security forces to assume full authority and responsibility in defending and preserving Iraq's sovereignty and independence as a democracy.

Vance, a utilities equipment repairer, is normally assigned to the 47th Combat Support Hospital, 62nd Medical Brigade at Fort Lewis, Tacoma, Wash. He has served in the military for more than two years.

He is the son of Janice F. Vance of Marshall St., Wetumpka, and Benjamin Vance of Columbus, Ga.

His wife, Hope, is the daughter of Robert Moxley of Montgomery.

The specialist graduated in the year 2000 from Elmore County High School, Eclectic.

Alabama companies awarded defense contracts

The Air Force has awarded a cost plus fixed fee contract to Wyle Laboratories, Inc. of Huntsville for $5,850,143.

This contract action is for the Reliability Information Analysis Center will research, test, develop, and deliver engineering configuration change reports, report feasibility studies, process flow improvement reports, and foreign disclosure and technology transfer reports.

At this time, $250,000 has been obligated. 55 Cons/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity.

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BAE Systems Analytical Solutions in Huntsville has been awarded a $10,000,000 Cost-Plus-Fixed-Fee, IDIQ, Task Order, level of effort contract.

This effort is to support the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command's, Deputy Chief of Staff, G2 (DCS, G-2), in strategic, operational, and tactical program analysis support to CENTCOM.

Work is to be performed in CENTCOM AOR with an estimated completion date of Jul. 24, 2009.

Sole Source bids were solicited. Space & Missile Defense Command / ARSTRAT, Director of Contracting, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., was the contracting activity.


Hometown News: Brittany McNair

Navy Seaman Recruit Brittany L. McNair, daughter of Traci E. and Bruce McNair of Troy, recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.

During the eight-week program, McNair completed a variety of training which included classroom study and practical instruction on naval customs, first aid, firefighting, water safety and survival, and shipboard and aircraft safety. An emphasis was also placed on physical fitness.

The capstone event of boot camp is "Battle Stations". This exercise gives recruits the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the fleet. "Battle Stations" is designed to galvanize the basic warrior attributes of sacrifice, dedication, teamwork and endurance in each recruit through the practical application of basic Navy skills and the core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment.

Its distinctly ''Navy'' flavor was designed to take into account what it means to be a sailor.

McNair is a 2005 graduate of Charles Henderson School in Troy.

Hometown News: Jonathan Douglas


Air Force Airman Jonathan D. Douglas 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.

Douglas is the son of Jesse Douglas of Glencoe Court, Montgomery.

The airman is a 2004 graduate of Calvary Christian Academy, Montgomery.

Hometown News: Irene White


Air Force Airman Irene E. White 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.

She is the daughter of Junior and Erika White of Ell Drive, Prattville.

The airman is a 2008 graduate of Billingsley High School, Ala.

Hometown News: Donald Dotson

Donald L. Dotson 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.

Dotson, a 2005 graduate of Lanier Senior High School, Montgomery, will report to Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga., for basic training in August 2009.

He is the son of Donald and Vaughenia Dotson of Cross Creek Drive, Montgomery.

Hometown News: Victoria Phelps

Air Force Airman Victoria F. Phelps 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.

She is the daughter of Debra Phelps of Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, Ga., and granddaughter of Faye and Paul Spivey of Chrystan Road, Montgomery.

Phelps is a 2007 graduate of Walton High School, Marietta, Ga.

Hometown News: Meagan Orebaugh

Air Force Airman Meagan A. Orebaugh 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.

She is the daughter of Cheryl Orebaugh of Freemont Drive, Montgomery.

Orebaugh is a 2008 graduate of Jefferson Davis High School.

Hometown News: La'Darian Long


Air Force Airman La'Darian M. Long 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.

She is the daughter of Mary Wise of W. Wilding Drive, and sister of Pierre Long of Rosa L. Parks Ave., both of Montgomery.

Long is a 2004 graduate of Jefferson Davis High School.
Monday, May 4, 2009

Red Tail F-16 over Washintgon

If you saw the Air Force One scare over Manhattan, you might be interested to know that one of its fighter jet escorts was the Red Tail F-16 from the 187th Fighter Wing at Dannelly Field.

The Alabama Air National Guard jet was used in the mission, but the Pentagon says it was piloted by a DC Guard pilot.

Rumors have been circulating the blogosphere that the mission was in fact a photo op for the movie on the Tuskegee Airmen that George Lucas is currently producing.

But, Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis says that is just that -- rumor. He would not, however, provide any specifics as to the purpose of the flyover or potential uses of the photos.

While doing an unrelated story on the 187th last month, I had been told that the Red Tail was traveling to Washington for a photo op with Air Force One, but no one's saying why.

If I find additional details, I will post them here.
Sunday, May 3, 2009

908th still being considered as future active-associate unit

Lt. Gen. Charles Stenner, commander of the Air Force Reserve, was in town last week to speak at the Senior NCO Academy graduation.

He made a little time to chat with me about that, the Senior Enlisted Leader Summit that's happening now at Gunter and some other Reserve affairs.

Here's what didn't make it in the paper.

In October, the Reserve set its baseline manning at 67,400. That means any plus-ups will go toward new missions like Predators and other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, cyberspace and space, as well as increasing bomber activities, Stenner said.

The 908th Airlift Wing at Maxwell is the state's only Air Force Reserve unit and it's still on the table to become an active-associate unit, meaning active duty airmen would integrate with the 1,200 airmen in the unit.

The Montgomery area is getting an active-associate unit at the 187th Fighter Wing at Dannelly. The action was announced in September 2007 and the Guard unit is getting about 100 duty active airmen.

But, the 908th doesn't have enough planes right now, 908th spokesman Lt. Col. Jerry Lobb said. The unit has eight C-130 cargo aircraft, but would likely need 12 to be an active-associate unit.
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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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