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Archive for the ‘Air Force’ Category

Air Force Senior Leaders Update OCP Uniform Guidance

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

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ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) — The Air Force announced April 23 new rules on Operational Camouflage Pattern uniforms that aim to better fit the needs of Airmen and the jobs they do while also holding fast to tradition.

The changes highlighted include authorization of the Two-piece Flight Duty Uniform in garrison and updated patch guidance for the OCP uniform.

“During the initial rollout of the OCP, we originally matched our sister services regarding patch configurations as we sought to emphasize our role as a joint warfighting force,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein.

“In response to overwhelming feedback received from Airmen, we will make an easy ‘sleeve swap’ of the patch configuration to further elevate our focus on honoring the heritage of squadrons as the war-fighting units of the world’s greatest Air Force. We will now place the squadron patch on the right sleeve along with the U.S. flag and move the higher headquarters patch to the left sleeve of the OCP.”

Additionally, to provide commanders with expanded uniform options to fit the myriad of missions, on April 15, the two-piece flight suit, otherwise known as the 2PFDU, will be authorized to be worn in both garrison and deployed locations. The 2PFDU continues an effort to provide Airmen with improved form, fit and function to perform their duties in any environment.

The traditional flight duty uniform will also continue to be an option. Squadron commanders will now have the flexibility to make combat uniform decisions based on what is best for their Airmen to meet mission requirements.

“The new unit patch configuration of the OCP and 2PFDU also aligns with the traditional FDU, elevating the significance of squadron focus and identity, which supports CSAF’s intent to revitalize squadrons,” said Lt. Gen. Mark D. Kelly, Headquarters Air Force deputy chief of staff for Air Force operations.

In May 2018, Air Force leaders decided to transition to the OCP following feedback from Airmen that it is the best, battle-tested utility uniform available. It will also eliminate the need to maintain two separate uniforms – one for in-garrison and one for deployments.

The service expects to fully transition to OCPs by April 1, 2021.

For more information, Airmen should view Air Force Guidance Memorandum 2019-01 and check Air Force Instruction 36-2903 for updates, which are available on the public website of the Air Force’s Personnel Center at www.afpc.af.mil/Career-Management/Dress-and-Appearance.

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

New Direction for Female-Specific Flight Equipment

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFNS) —

The Air Force is working to redesign the gear used by female pilots across the force after facing challenges with current flight equipment.

“We have women performing in every combat mission, and we owe it to them to have gear that fits, is suited for a woman’s frame and (one) can be in for hours on end,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein at a Defense Writers Group breakfast, March 2018 in Washington, D.C.

The majority of the equipment currently worn by pilots was built off anthropometric data from the 1960s, a time when only men were in aviator roles.

The lack of variety and representation in the current designs have caused multiple issues for women, said Col. Samantha Weeks, the 14th Flying Training Wing commander, assigned to Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi.

Many of the uniform issues circulate around G-suits, flight suits, urinary devices and survival vests.

“The challenges other female aviators and I face are the fit and availability of our flight equipment,” said Capt. Lauren Ellis, 57th Adversary Tactics Group executive officer.

Limited sizes and accessibility often force aircrew to order the wrong size and have it extensively altered to fit properly, taking time and money away from the mission, Ellis said.

“All of the bladders on my G-suit need to be modified,” Ellis said. “It’s a lot of work for the Aircrew Flight Equipment, or AFE, Airmen. Even after they’re modified, the proportions don’t fit.”

G-suits are vital anti-gravity gear for aviators. The bladders in the suit fill with air and apply pressure to the pilot’s body to prevent a loss of consciousness during high levels of acceleration. Not having a properly fitted G-suit could lead to hypoxia followed by unconsciousness.

Ellis said ill-fitting flight suits are a common problem for men and women. Aircrew who are significantly above or below average height have a hard time finding suits that fit their body type.

Even if a woman found a flight suit close to her size, the flight-suit zipper is designed for men—not women. Female aircrew struggle with relieving themselves during flights because the flight-suit zipper isn’t designed low enough for them to properly use their urinary devices.

“There are flight suits that were designed with longer zippers for women, but they’re almost never available,” Ellis said. “It’s common for females to have to wait months to receive the flight suit they’ve ordered which causes them to have to wear the male one.”

Along with the possibility of injury and discomfort associated with G-suits and flight suits, women struggle to get their life-saving gear to fit accordingly. The process of ejecting is so powerful, even pilots with well-fitting gear are at a serious risk of injury. It’s important for aviators to be heard and the modernization of equipment for everyone continues, Ellis said.

“In certain situations, having ill-fitting gear, such as harnesses and survival vests, can result in a loss of life,” Ellis said. “If an aircrew member ejects from the aircraft with equipment that doesn’t fit, they can be severely injured or lose their life.”

The Air Force and Air Combat Command are working to find a feasible solution for aircrew members.

Part of the strategy to correct the uniform problem was to take part in several collaborative Female Flight Equipment Workshops at AFWERX Vegas. Female Airmen stationed across the globe traveled to the innovation hub and attended the workshops to explore areas of opportunity and come up with proposed solutions.

“The purpose of the workshops is to bring together female aviators, Aircrew Flight Equipment, Human Systems Program Office personnel and subject matter experts to understand the current products, the acquisition process and the actual needs from the field,” Weeks said.

Throughout the workshops, aviators participated in briefings, as well as discussions and exercises with the agencies involved in the design and distribution of their gear.

“The Human Systems Program Office acquires and sustains all equipment for male and female Airmen,” said Lt. Col. Elaine Bryant Human Systems Program Office deputy chief, assigned to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. “We are committed to hearing our consumers’ voices, and we will make the changes necessary to our current process to meet their needs.”

The workshops established the communication needed between the consumer, designers and suppliers to reach a mutual goal of understanding and development.

“We now have some pretty clear actions coming out of the Female Flight Equipment Workshops,” Bryant said. “We’ve heard the feedback, and we want to make sure we have actionable things we’re accomplishing within specific time frames for our consumers.”

The Human Systems Program Office will strive to make progressive changes within their operations and better their acquisition process, explained Bryant.

“We will take the field up on their offers of coming out to the units and meeting the aircrew for whom we supply,” Bryant said. “We’ll ensure we maintain the lines of communication needed to better our program.”

Another major improvement for female aviators is the adoption of the Battlefield Airmen Rapid Resource Replenishment System, a centrally managed equipment facility. BARS is capable of shipping needed resources directly to female aircrew. Using this system will allow women to acquire the proper fitting equipment they need within an acceptable timeline.

“BARS is a step in the right direction,” Ellis said. “Everyone deserves to have equipment that fits them. There are certain things we have to adapt to, but as long as we’re trying to improve and modernize our gear, we can be a more ready and lethal force.”

“The Air Force has evolved over the years and continues to evolve,” Weeks echoed. “Female aviators entering the Air Force now will not have the same issues I had over the last 21 years.”

Information from an ACC news feature was used in this story.

By Airman 1st Class Bailee A. Darbasie, 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Special Warfare TISC Opens Doors to Solve Tomorrow’s Problems, Dedicated to ST Founder

Sunday, April 7th, 2019

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFNS) — The Special Warfare Technical Integration Support Center opened its doors during a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Jan. 11, as the newly named Col. John T. Carney Center of Excellence.

With the name of “Coach,” Carney embodied within the 25,000-square-foot facility, the roots of special tactics aim to inspire employees of the SW-TISC every day.

“Every special tactics leader strives to give their men the best equipment and training to fight our enemies,” said Col. Spencer Cocanour, 24th Special Operations Wing vice wing commander. “Coach Carney pushed the envelope to get the very best for his people. He fought the bureaucracy with the same ferocity he fought the enemy.”

The wearable communication equipment that special tactics operators carry in the field needs to be the best that the Department of Defense can offer to fight tonight and tomorrow’s battles and this starts with the work of the men and women within the SW-TISC.

“This building is unique It will bring together a diverse group of professionals with different backgrounds to collaborate, develop, test, field and operationalize concepts to maintain our competitive edge,” said Brig. Gen. William Holt, the Air Force Special Operations Command special assistant to the commander. “This rapid response integration will create a tangible repeatable innovation rhythm to reduce the timeline from innovative concept to operational implementation.”

With the National Defense Strategy of 2018 outlining the Department of Defense objectives to include delivering performance with affordability and speed, the SW-TISC will aid AFSOC by streamlining development to fielding.

“The TISC will push the envelope on fielding technology,” Cocanour said. “That means placing cutting edge technology into the hands of the most lethal special operators this nation has ever produced.”

By integrating technologies, ensuring interoperability and providing appropriate updates and training on the equipment used in the 24 SOW, special tactics operators are able to answer U.S. Special Operations Command’s call to deliver tactical air-to-ground integration and conduct global access, precision strike, personnel recovery, and battlefield surgery operations.

“There’s a SOF principle of the hyper enabled operator that is a highly trained individual with elite skills, but they also have a network of systems on them that they wear and that they interact with,” said Todd Weiser, the chief technology officer and director of innovations with AFSOC. “The future is that operator is going to have the ability with their kit to inter-operate with an F-35 [Lightning II], with an F-22 [Raptor], with an Army vehicle. That network, the sharing of information and internet of things, micro sensors, micro small unmanned aircraft system; all of that stuff is coming together.”

As a special tactics officer with years of experience in the field and operations, Lt. Col. Eli Mitchell, the branch chief of special tactics requirements with AFSOC, sees tomorrow’s battle requiring a more accurate and efficient way of delivering capabilities.

“(The SW-TISC) is a game changer — really what it does is speeds up bombs on targets and increases situational awareness on the battlefield,” Mitchell said. “You’re talking about reducing the potential for fratricide, increasing target engagement timelines and also increasing your munitions effectiveness by more precisely striking the appropriate target.”

By evolving for tomorrow’s fight, the special tactics enterprise is leading from the front with technology and equipment used on the battlefield on a global scale within the Air Force, SOCOM, and the DOD.

“The world’s more complex than it ever has been and it’s continuously getting more complex and we need to get ahead of it in a timely manner,” Wieser said. “That’s what this facility will help us do, get ahead of it so that we can compete with our near peers as well as other adversaries.”

Holt left the most recent addition to the AFSOC team with some motivations to do exactly what Air Commandos are known for; thinking outside the box.

“You are in the business of making the impossible, possible. Your mission is to get out of the box,” Holt said. “When someone tells you it’s impossible, double down to prove them wrong. Never forget there is always a way.”

By Senior Airman Joseph Pick, 24th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

ACC Announces 24th and 25th NAF Merger

Saturday, April 6th, 2019

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. (AFNS)– —

Air Combat Command is merging 24th and 24th numbered Air Forces at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, this summer to better integrate cyber effects, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations, electronic warfare operations and information operations.

The synergy between cyber, ISR, EW and IO will increase unity of effort across these capabilities, resulting in new and improved options for combatant commanders. The integration also better aligns these units with priorities outlined in the 2018 National Defense Strategy and delivers the first “Information Warfare” NAF for the Air Force.

“The merger of 24th and 25th is the next step in leveraging and integrating new ideas and technologies to both improve the quality and speed of decision-making and deliver improved effects for commanders,” said Gen. Mike Holmes, ACC commander. “This formalizes the existing collaborations between cyber and ISR while expanding our competitive space in EW and IO, ultimately improving readiness and increasing lethality across the range of military operations – all vital to the success of multi-domain warfighting in the 21st century.”

The new IW NAF bolsters the Air Force’s ability to present electromagnetic spectrum forces and capabilities to execute missions alongside joint and interagency partners.

While the final organizational structure has not yet been determined, ACC anticipates an activation ceremony at JB San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, in late summer of 2019.

Story by Air Combat Command Public Affairs. Graphic by Mr Robert Young.

1st Air Commando Force Directive on Beards – March 1944

Sunday, March 3rd, 2019

Love the phraseology by the legendary Col Cochran. The 1st ACG was so busy during Operation Thursday, the men didn’t have time to shave.

Above, you can see the “fuzz” on Col Allison (l) and Col Cochran (r). The fellow in the center wearing the pith helmet is Gen Orde Wingate, British commander of the Chindits fighting force. He wore a full beard.

Well Played Aviano, Well Played

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

Air Force Leaders Implement New Warfighting Planning Process

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Air Force leaders directed the implementation of a new approach to planning to better meet future threats. The team focused on this effort will be led by Maj. Gen. Clinton Crosier.

“The Air Force needs to plan across stove pipes to prepare for warfare of the future,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said. “This will change the way we develop Air Force programs and budgets to face threats from high-end adversaries.”

In today’s technologically competitive, multi-polar world, the Air Force must be able to innovate and operate faster and more effectively than its potential adversaries. However, under the current force design model, planning and development are sub-divided into 12 core functions, such as rapid global mobility and air superiority, managed across seven major commands.

In October, Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein initiated an interim effort to move forward an Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability.

Wilson and Goldfein charged Crosier with leading a 70-person team to develop the AFWIC way forward. The team is made up of Airmen from across the Air Force.

“Warfighting in the 21st century is all about multi-domain integration, agility in decision-making, and speed of action. We must consistently innovate, integrate and field capabilities more effectively than our adversaries,” Goldfein said. “AFWIC will help us evolve and transform our processes and organizations to meet the challenges of future warfighting.”

AFWIC will explore and wargame innovative solutions, develop an integrated family of concepts, and direct capability development efforts across the Air Force.

This organization will also develop a single, multi-domain strategy that will identify, guide, and prioritize future force development. That will improve Air Force agility, readiness, and lethality in the joint fight, Goldfein said.

By Tech. Sgt. Robert Barnett, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Airmen Test Resolve During Air Assault Assessment

Saturday, February 16th, 2019

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. —

Cadres from the 820th Base Defense Group (BDG) evaluated approximately 37 Airmen during an Army Air Assault Assessment (AAA), January 28-31, here.

The assessment measured each Airmen’s readiness to determine who would be selected to attend the 10-day Army Air Assault School (AAS), at Fort Campbell, Ky. The BDG is one of the few units within the Air Force that sends their Airmen to AAS to enhance their personal readiness and also reinforce their unit’s lethal capabilities.

“Everything we learn at AAS is a part of our mission scope within the BDG,” said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Groomes, 822d Base Defense Squadron (BDS) training instructor and cadre team member “It’s rare to find an Army school that’s curriculum falls under our umbrella, so the more experience we can get for our Airmen the better off the BDG can be downrange.”

The AAA provided Airmen with an opportunity to challenge themselves personally and to self-assess their physical and mental readiness to perform in high-stress situations.

“The reason I wanted to go to AAS was to test myself and to prove that I could get through something so difficult,” said Senior Airman Jeffrey Lewis, 822d BDS fireteam leader. “You always hear of how superior the Army Air Assault School is and how physical it is. I saw this as a milestone to achieve and an opportunity to improve.”

In order to be eligible to attend the school, Airmen have to complete a wide array of tests consisting of: rappel tower operations, ruck layout and sling load inspections, the Army physical fitness test, an obstacle course and finally a 12-mile ruck march.

“There are very few opportunities for Airmen to go to AAS and the BDG is one of the only units that gives their Airmen the chance to attend, so I wanted to take advantage of that,” said Groomes. “It’s a great opportunity for Airmen to [assess] themselves and learn what things they need to improve, not only physically, but mentally to push through.”

While still having to pass all proficiency tests, Airmen were required to perform constant remedial physical training throughout the duration of the assessment to test their physical and mental resiliency.   

“The biggest thing I needed, to get through (the assessment), was a strong drive and motivation,” said Lewis. “Being self-aware and keeping my mental composure through very intense situations was key.”

Cadres already know the physical and mental demands it takes to complete AAS, so during AAA they implemented strenuous measures to help simulate what an Airman should expect at Fort Campbell.

“We intentionally try to make the assessment more rigorous than the school to better prepare our Airmen for success when they arrive there,” said Staff Sgt. Ulysses Ortiz, 820th Combat Operations Squadron unit trainer and lead cadre team member. “We have very few slots at the schoolhouse, so we only want our most deserving Airmen to go.”

Of the 37 Airmen that started the assessment, approximately 10 were deemed qualified for AAS.

Upon completing the assessment, Tech. Sgt. Christopher Zavala, 822d BDS squad leader, explained what it took to finish the assessment and how attending Army Air Assault School will benefit not only himself but other Airmen’s careers in the future.

“The biggest thing it took for me to push through the AAA was just channeling that inner drive that motivated me to train so hard for it in the first place,” said Zavala. “I wanted to lead by example and Air Assault will add more tools to my toolbox, which gives me the ability to explain and elaborate those things to my Airmen coming in from [technical] school to help them succeed.”

By A1C Eugene Oliver, 23d Wing Public Affairs