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Archive for the ‘Air Force’ Category

Air Force Research Labs Enhances Safety of Survival Specialists Through Wearable Health Monitoring Technology

Friday, December 6th, 2019

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio –An Air Force Research Laboratory team recently delivered version 2.0 of the Survival Health Awareness Responders Kit (SHARK) to U.S. Air Force instructors at Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA)-Lackland Camp Bullis, a 28,000-acre site in Texas, used to train Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) specialists.

With SHARK, sensors embedded in shirts transmit key metrics including heart rate and estimated core temperature from smartphones to a server. As students undergo physical endurance tests during extended periods of isolation, the system allows instructors to monitor this data in real-time, and issues alerts for heart rate spikes and significant increases in temperature. Since the device identifies the user’s location, medical personnel can quickly respond to those in need of care.

2nd Lt. Matthew Dickinson, a biomechanical engineer within AFRL’s 711th Human Performance Wing (HPW), says that SHARK 2.0 is user-friendly and more secure. He explains that instructors and students alike are pleased with the streamlined setup process and the new web interface.

The commander of Detachment 3, 66th Training Squadron, Maj. Toby Andrews, said he appreciates that SHARK “gives [instructors] real-time alerts on the health and well-being of students.” The system “truly eases my mind as a commander,” he said since it “allows us to provide preventative care [in cases] that could otherwise lead to serious medical situations.”

Prior to SHARK, instructors checked on trainees at regular intervals to ensure their well-being. In certain cases, they administer ice baths to students with elevated body temperatures, said Tech. Sgt. John Garcia, a SERE instructor. However, since the introduction of this monitoring technology, zero ice baths have been required because the system alerts instructors before students reach what they call “the danger zone.”

To develop version 2.0, the SHARK team enlisted the help of Cedarville University students majoring in computer science. Loren Baum, who now works full-time in 711HPW, improved the code for his senior design project.  He optimized the software, added functionality, enhanced the security measures and streamlined the startup process.

Baum explains that the team moved SHARK from the mobile app arena to the web to make the system useable in a wider variety of scenarios. With the new approach, instructors simply log into a website from any computer to monitor students’ health status instead of launching an application, which requires installation and manual upgrades.

The team simplified the startup process with Quick Response (QR) codes that automatically input students’ information when scanned, Baum said. This measure reduced the total setup time from one hour to five minutes, and makes it easier for students and instructors to begin a new session.

In June 2019, the team traveled to JBSA-Camp Bullis and conducted initial tests with version 2.0. Once the team integrated additional software improvements, SERE instructors officially launched the upgrade in September.

The SHARK team continues to work with other squadron key leaders to address related needs. One such application involves using the included heart rate variability measurement to provide real-time feedback regarding students’ reactions to various training stressors.

This data would enable instructors to evaluate the effectiveness of interrogation techniques and determine the extent to which they affect individuals, said 1st Lt. David Feibus, a former software team lead, who is now a student at the Air Force Institute of Technology.

While SHARK is useful in various situations, Air Force instructors currently rely on this tool to offer “strenuous exercises in the safest manner possible,” said Ted Harmer, a 711HPW engineer who also leads a medical readiness personnel recovery training research team. When administering physical tests, instructors must achieve the purpose of the training and minimize negative impacts, whether they be physical or emotional, he explains.

Leadership from AFRL’s 711th Human Performance Wing originally learned about this need for additional safety measures during a visit to the USAF Survival School at Fairchild Air Force Base. School personnel explained that they needed a more proactive solution to monitor students’ health and performance during their rigorous training missions. Due to the ongoing research and development of wearable monitoring technologies in the 711HPW, experts decided the SERE training environment was another place this monitoring technology could improve the safety of SERE students and enhance their training program.

“Going in, we knew we needed a broad range of skillsets,” said Dr. James Christensen, a product line lead within the 711HPW. He explains that to produce an effective system, the team relied on expertise in wearable devices, electronics, software development, communications, human factors and physiology.

“We pulled together capabilities from several different parts of the organization to assemble the sensors, develop the software to pull sensor data together, and then build the communications capability to then send that data and be able to monitor it continuously and remotely.”

Following the initial design and development, the team arranged field tests with end-users. Several team members lived with JBSA-Camp Bullis instructors for one week to test SHARK 1.0 in 2018. Now, a year later, an upgraded system is in the field.

In the meantime, the SHARK team is also working with other groups who are interested in acquiring this technology including firefighters, NASA scientists and U.S. Army Special Forces. Members are currently exploring a version of the system that the Department of Defense Fire Academy can use under fire protection gear to prevent heat injuries.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Randall Moss and U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. William Davis, loadmasters assigned to the 16th Airlift Squadron, sort through survival equipment during a survival, evasion, resistance, and escape exercise August 21, 2019, in North, South Carolina. SERE specialists assigned to the 437th Operations Support Squadron conducted this exercise in order to identify potential areas of improvement in both SERE training and equipment provided to aircrew in case of a potential isolating event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Duncan C. Bevan)

2nd SFS Switches to M18

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

More than 30 years ago, the M9 Beretta entered service into the military, but on November 30, the 2nd Security Forces Squadron will arm up with the M9 for the final time.

Instead, they will begin carrying the M18 Modular Handgun System, a shorter, more compact weapon. The change is expected to enable defenders to complete their jobs more efficiently and effectively, according to the 2nd SFS Combat Arms team.

“It is an easier system to operate,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Johnson, 2nd SFS Combat Arms assistant non-commissioned officer in charge. “This is because it is a striker-fired weapon which means the trigger squeeze is the same each time.”

“The M9 requires a stronger trigger squeeze at first and then gets lighter as it shoots. The M18 uses a consistent amount of pressure, taking away the anticipation and added strength needed from the M9, allowing the shooter to not have to think about the trigger squeeze every time, granting more accuracy,” Johnson added.

Among other aspects like customizable pistol grips, the M18 is known for its durability and simplified operating system.

“Four of us instructors attended the Sig Armorer course at the Sig Sauer Academy to learn more about the breakdown and maintenance portion of the weapon as well as some of the new ways they build the system,” said Senior Airman Matthew Lazo, 2nd SFS Combat Arms instructor. “There are fewer pieces that we are going to have to fix as often and the system also comes to where you are just changing out one whole part versus having to change a million different ones.”

The deadline for the switch was set for July of 2020, a year from when the team received the weapon systems on base. The team made a goal to break that deadline by seven months. Together they had to find a way to get more than 280 personnel qualified on top of their 300 personnel monthly firing schedule.

“It took us about a week, but we laid it out by figuring out how long it takes us to run everyone through the course, and we came out with the plan,” Lazo explained. “Not only getting everyone in once but two or three separate times.”

The qualifications aren’t as simple as members showing up to fire. There is a specific 90-round handgun course of fire qualification process that includes not only a hands-on portion but also a classroom instruction.

Before the qualification process began, the firing range on base was shut down for updates to the safety features, causing the team to have to find another range to train.

“At the range on base, we have 21 points, which means we can have 21 people fire at a time,” Johnson explained. “At the off-base range, there were time restrictions, and we could have as many as 16 points at once to as little as eight depending on the time.”

The Combat Arms team didn’t let that set them back as they continued to adapt and overcome all the hurdles thrown their way. They are still going to be able to meet their early deadline.

Dec. 1, 2019, will mark the beginning of a new era of weapon systems within the 2nd SFS as the black M9 is replaced by the coyote-tan M18.

Story by Senior Airman Tessa Corrick, 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

822nd Base Defense Squadron K9 Teams Train Fast-Rope Insertions

Monday, December 2nd, 2019

Members of the 822nd Base Defense Squadron fly in a HH-60G Pave Hawk from the 41st Rescue Squadron to conduct fast-rope training with their military working dogs (MWD) Nov. 20, 2019 at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Fast-roping allows the MWD teams to quickly access a rugged location where an aircraft is not able to land and start conducting base defense as soon as they are needed.

By 1st Lt. Faith Brodkorb, 93d Air Ground Operations Wing Public Affairs

BE Meyers & Co GLARE RECOIL Added To USAF Light Weapons Accessories List

Monday, November 18th, 2019

November 18, 2019 (Redmond, WA) – The B.E. Meyers & Co. GLARE RECOIL® (PN: 532-R1) green laser hail and warning system has been added to the United States Air Force Small Arms and Light Weapons Accessories List, and is now available to Air Force organizations. The GLARE RECOIL® features patented SmartRange™ laser range finding technology, and near-field detection to immediately identify range-to-target, and automatically outputs a visible green laser at maximum eye-safe power. Its powerful green beam provides visual escalation of force/hail and warning capabilities from 3 meters to beyond 16 kilometers, safely alerting targets and assisting end-users in determining intent.

The United States Marine Corps version of the GLARE RECOIL®, the LA-22/U (NSN 5860-01-657-3893), is currently in production and being delivered by B.E. Meyers & Co., the sole source provider to MARCORSYSCOM for the $49M IDIQ Ocular Interruption System (OIS) program.

www.bemeyers.com

Special Tactics Airman Identified, Recovery Efforts Ongoing

Sunday, November 10th, 2019

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. – The Special Tactics Airman who had an unplanned parachute departure from a C-130 aircraft, November 5, 2019, over the Gulf of Mexico, south of Hurlburt Field, has been identified. 

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff, 29, was a Special Tactics combat controller with the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing, Air Force Special Operations Command.

“Cole was a man with deep-rooted beliefs who dedicated himself to God, our freedoms, peace, and his family. He was a devoted family man within our squadron, focused on teaching his girls to be adventurous like he was,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Steven Cooper, commander of the 23rd STS. “This is a tragic loss to the squadron, the Special Tactics community and our nation. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and teammates at this time.”

The Dallas, Texas native was a graduate of Sachse High School. He attended Utah Valley University and later served a two-year mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Spokane, Washington. Condiff then enlisted in the United States Air Force in 2012 and immediately entered the two-year combat control training program. Upon completion of the pipeline, he was assigned to the 23rd STS at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

            Condiff was a static-line jumpmaster, military free-fall jumper, combat scuba diver, air traffic controller, and a joint terminal attack controller. As a Special Tactics combat controller, Condiff was specially trained and equipped for immediate deployment into combat operations to conduct reconnaissance, global access, precision strike and personnel recovery operations.

            Condiff completed deployments to Africa and Afghanistan in support of national security objectives.  His awards and decorations include an Air Force Achievement Medal and an Air Force Commendation Medal with a combat device.                                                                         

Recovery efforts by a combined U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy team are ongoing. The Air Force is actively investigating the incident. To preserve the integrity of the investigation, no additional details will be released until further notice.

Condiff is survived by his wife and their two daughters as well as by his parents, sister and two brothers.  The 24th SOW would like to emphasize the family’s request for privacy.

Statement provided by the Condiff family:

“Cole loved his country and was honored to serve to protect the freedoms we enjoy.

Cole had a deep faith in God. Although we mourn, it is through our faith that we take comfort in knowing we will be with him again.

He loved his family. He was a devoted husband, father, son, brother and friend. He will be greatly missed by all.

We would like to express our deepest and unending gratitude to those that have searched so diligently.

We would also like to thank those who have been and continue to stand at the ready to help serve the family in this time of crisis.

We ask for continued prayers as his wife and daughters move forward without their beloved husband and daddy.

Please pray for all of our military men, women, and families.”

24th SOW Update: Recovery Efforts Begin For Special Tactics Airman

Saturday, November 9th, 2019

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. – As of 6 p.m. Friday, the U.S. Air Force has taken the lead role as the search transitions to a recovery effort for the Special Tactics Airman who had an unplanned parachute departure from a C-130 aircraft November 5, 2019, over the Gulf of Mexico, south of Hurlburt Field.

              The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended their search efforts at this time.

              “We would like to extend our gratitude to all of the federal, state and local units that have aided in the search for our Airman, especially the U.S. Coast Guard,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Matt Allen, commander of the 24th Special Operations Wing. “We will continue our recovery effort as long as circumstances and resources allow to bring our Airman home.”

              Recovery teams are currently refining and adjusting the search area as efforts continue.

              To respect the privacy of the family and teammates of the individual, we will be releasing the name of the Airman following next of kin notification. 

              The Air Force is actively investigating the incident. To preserve the integrity of the investigation, no additional details will be released until further notice. 

Search Ongoing for Special Tactics Airman After Training Jump

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

As of 6 a.m. Wednesday, a search remains underway for an Airman who exited a C-130 aircraft November 5, 2019 over the Gulf of Mexico approximately 4 miles south of Hurlburt Field. The incident is ongoing and under investigation.

Search and recovery crews were immediately called to aid in locating the Airman from the 24th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field at approximately 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Units participating in the efforts include:

– 24th Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field Air Force Base

– 1st Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field Air Force Base

– Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter aircrew

– Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew

– Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew

– Two Coast Guard Station Destin 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crews

– 96th Test Wing, Eglin Air Force Base

– U.S. Army 7th Special Forces Group, Duke Field

– Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office

– Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

24th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Origin Of The Army Air Force Shoulder Sleeve Inginia

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019

OPFOR Militaria Reproductions does some cool stuff. They recently shared the documentation for the Army Air Force’s shoulder sleeve insignia.

op4milrepro.my-free.website