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Archive for the ‘Air Force’ Category

Air Combat Command Discusses 16th Air Force as New Information Warfare NAF

Saturday, September 21st, 2019

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

Gen. Mike Holmes, Air Combat Command commander, discussed the designation of the 16th Air Force as a new information warfare numbered air force Sept. 18 at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference in National Harbor.

ACC will integrate 24th Air Force and 25th Air Force capabilities into a new organization under a single commander who will be responsible for providing information warfare capabilities to combatant commanders with the speed to match today’s technological environment.

“By having cyber and all the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tools together, one of the things it allows me to do is build a collection plan in advance before I do something and am able to have better information to support better decisions for our warfighters,” he said. “The Air Force is not going to run independent information warfare campaigns, but we’ll build those, organize, train and equip tools for combatant commanders.”

The heritage of 16th Air Force pays tribute to a group of highly decorated Airmen with a history of continued excellence in joint warfighting, strategic deterrence and military partnerships. During the Balkans air campaigns in the 1990s, the 16th Air Force pioneered efforts in the way the Air Force conducts intelligence operations, setting the foundation for operating in a continuously evolving information environment.

“We want to arm our leaders with options they can use that are proportional to the things that peer adversaries are doing,” he said. “We think we can present more robust teams with better intelligence support behind them and present some information ops options, which we have some game at already, but to improve that and be able to offer it on a larger scale to more combatant commanders at once.”

Activating 16th Air Force emphasizes the organization’s continued excellence in addition to its early use of integrated information systems and emerging technologies, such as remotely piloted aircraft. Just as the 16th Air Force made history bedding down the RQ-1 Predator at Taszar, Hungary, to provide enhanced ISR capabilities in the Balkans, it will soon make history again in the expanding arena of information warfare.

“The activation of 16th (Air Force) will synchronize the mission areas of ISR, electronic warfare, cyber and information operations capabilities,” said Holmes. “This integrated capability will provide multi-domain options to component and combatant commanders around the globe.”

The 16th Air Force will be located at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, where ACC will hold an activation ceremony later this year.

By Staff Reports, Air Combat Command Public Affairs

Happy Birthday US Air Force

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

It’s been 72 glorious years!

SERE: Learning to Survive at Sea

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho (AFNS) —

From initial training to undergoing missions, aircrew have a dangerous and rigorous job. They must know what to do while flying and how to respond in some of the scenarios they might encounter.

One of these scenarios is the risk of having to bail out over the ocean.

“From the moment they eject up until they’ve been hoisted into a recovery vehicle, their lives are at risk in the ocean,” said Staff Sgt. David Chorpenning, 366th Fighter Wing survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist.

To develop these skills necessary to stay alive, aircrew from the 389th and 391st Fighter Squadrons attended water survival training taught by SERE specialists Chorpenning and Tech. Sgt. Timothy Emkey.

During this course, aircrew attend an hour-long classroom session where they are instructed on what to do, what gear to use and how to survive in case they may have to eject over the ocean. The course covers what to do from the initial landing in the water until they’re extracted by either another ship or an aircraft.

“F-15E Strike Eagle crew members don’t have much equipment once they eject,” Chorpenning said. “They have no food and very little water. The ability to utilize the gear they do have to get rescued quickly is a crucial skill.”

After the classroom session, the aircrew are then taken out to C.J. Strike Reservoir where they disconnect their safety harness from the parachute while being dragged by a boat. This simulates the wind drag they might experience when bailing out over water.

During the last part of the course, aircrew must inflate their life raft correctly and demonstrate how to prepare for extraction.

“The worst dangers they face are the lack of resources, both from the environment and in their kit. The only thing the ocean provides is the potential to catch food,” Chorpenning said. “There’s no shelter, water or the ability to build a fire. Without the proper equipment, a human will quickly die on the open seas.”

From classroom sessions to field training, this course ensures aircrew have the ability and skills to survive life at sea.

“Knowledge of their equipment and water survival training significantly increases a crew member’s chance of survival,” Chorpenning said. “By familiarizing them with their gear and how to make the most of their environment, SERE improves their survivability and empowers them to return with honor.”

By Airman Antwain Hanks, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Army Sniper Instructors Assist With Air Force’s Nuclear Advanced Designated Marksman Course

Monday, September 2nd, 2019

This past month in Guernsey Wyoming, two senior instructors from the United States Army Sniper Course from Fort Benning, Georgia, took part in assisting the United States Air Force in enhancing their lethality with overseeing the Nuclear Advanced Designated Marksman Course. Over the course of four weeks, the NADM and USASC cadre put 21 students to the test on advanced field craft and rigorous shooting qualifications to ensure that our most casualty producing weapon stays in the right hands. The United States Army Sniper Course is the premier sniper school in the U.S. military and is the forerunner on building interoperability with sister services and allied nations.

Here’s To The Maintainers

Monday, September 2nd, 2019

It seems rather fitting to me that on this Labor Day I should share an Air Force heritage video on its maintainers.

Here’s to my Father, Father-in-law, Mother-in-law and Son, along with all of those other AF Maintainers past and present who kept our planes flying so this noner could jump out of them.

“The Last Full Measure” – Coming This October

Monday, September 2nd, 2019

“The Last Full Measure” is the story of Pararescueman William Pitsenbarger who was the first enlisted member of the Air Force to be awarded the Air Force Cross for actions on April 11, 1966 at Can My, Republic of Vietnam.

‘Pitz’as he was known, had joined the Air Force right out of High School and volunteered for Pararescue during Basic Training. A1C Pitsenbarger had flown over 300 combat rescue missions when he succumbed to wounds during that battle, having remained on the ground with the Army unit he had been dispatched to help rescue.

On December 8th, 2000, his Air Force Cross was upgraded to the Medal of Honor. He was also posthumously promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant.

His Medal of Honor citation reads:

Airman First Class Pitsenbarger distinguished himself by extreme valor on April 11, 1966 near Cam My, Republic of Vietnam, while assigned as a Pararescue Crew Member, Detachment 6, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron. On that date, Airman Pitsenbarger was aboard a rescue helicopter responding to a call for evacuation of casualties incurred in an on-going firefight between elements of the United States Army’s 1st Infantry Division and a sizable enemy force approximately 35 miles east of Saigon. With complete disregard for personal safety, Airman Pitsenbarger volunteered to ride a hoist more than one hundred feet through the jungle, to the ground. On the ground, he organized and coordinated rescue efforts, cared for the wounded, prepared casualties for evacuation, and insured that the recovery operation continued in a smooth and orderly fashion. Through his personal efforts, the evacuation of the wounded was greatly expedited. As each of the nine casualties evacuated that day were recovered, Pitsenbarger refused evacuation in order to get one more wounded soldier to safety. After several pick-ups, one of the two rescue helicopters involved in the evacuation was struck by heavy enemy ground fire and was forced to leave the scene for an emergency landing. Airman Pitsenbarger stayed behind, on the ground, to perform medical duties. Shortly thereafter, the area came under sniper and mortar fire. During a subsequent attempt to evacuate the site, American forces came under heavy assault by a large Viet Cong force. When the enemy launched the assault, the evacuation was called off and Airman Pitsenbarger took up arms with the besieged infantrymen. He courageously resisted the enemy, braving intense gunfire to gather and distribute vital ammunition to American defenders. As the battle raged on, he repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to care for the wounded, pull them out of the line of fire, and return fire whenever he could, during which time, he was wounded three times. Despite his wounds, he valiantly fought on, simultaneously treating as many wounded as possible. In the vicious fighting which followed, the American forces suffered 80 percent casualties as their perimeter was breached, and airman Pitsenbarger was finally fatally wounded. Airman Pitsenbarger exposed himself to almost certain death by staying on the ground, and perished while saving the lives of wounded infantrymen. His bravery and determination exemplify the highest professional standards and traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Air Force.

Look for “The Last Full Measure” in select theaters on October 25th, 2019.

US Air Force’s 18th Weather Squadron Transitions to Fight Future Wars

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

An organizational vision provides direction and unites a team by illustrating the future of that team. For the “Mighty” 18th Weather Squadron our new vision is, “Integrating Environmental Supremacy to Win Our Nation’s Wars.” To accomplish that vision, guided by Squadron Commander Lt. Col. James C. Caldwell, the men and women of the 18th WS, who have been fighting in the War on Terror for nearly two decades, now look to the future.

Stationed all along the eastern seaboard of the United States in nine geographically separated units, the Total Force Airmen of the Mighty 1-8 support the conventional Army units of the XVIII Airborne Corps and subordinate divisions, both in-garrison and across the globe. Headquartered at Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina, the 18th WS produces some of the world’s most elite Army Weather Support forecasters, also known as Staff Weather Officers.

While a vision provides the team’s direction, a mission statement provides the “how.” The 18th WS mission statement is to “Train and Equip Courageous, Credible, and Combat-Ready Army Weather Support Airmen.” The most critical component of that mission statement is training. Before 18th WS SWOs are ready for deployment, they must attend a number of different formal training courses, such as the Army Weather Support Course and Evasion and Conduct After Capture. Additionally, SWOs must also complete Airfield Qualification Training and M4 Carbine and M9 Pistol qualification, and provide weather support in both Army and Air Force training and certification exercises.

Some of the more robust exercises in which SWOs participate are at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Louisiana and the National Training Center in California, but SWOs also support live-fire exercises and aircraft gunnery exercises. These exercises prepare the Army, and our embedded SWOs, for current and future warfare. In addition, each geographically separated unit conducts local exercises with supported Army units, including Unmanned Aerial System weather support, but the training does not stop there.

At the 18th WS, SWOs may also have the opportunity to become a paratrooper by attending the Army Basic Airborne Course, or train on aircraft orientation, sling-load operations, and rappelling and fast-rope techniques at Air Assault School. If motivated enough, a SWO may also earn the Pathfinder badge by learning dismounted navigation, and establishing and operating helicopter landing zones and parachute drop zones. To fully embed with our Army units, SWOs require these extra skills when the call comes for accurate environmental predictions.

As a capstone to their training, SWOs must complete an annual, unilateral combat mission readiness evaluation called the Expeditionary Field Evaluation Exercise (EFEX). During the EFEX, SWOs are evaluated on all AWS training items, including land navigation, tactical visibility charts, field condition manual observations, convoy procedures, evaluating and transporting a casualty, Tactical Meteorological Observing System operations, AWS mission weather briefs, and many other tasks. Upon successful completion of the EFEX, SWOs are then certified to execute the mission downrange.

While the basis of effective weather support is accurate, timely and relevant weather products, SWOs go far beyond this. SWOs must tailor products to best support command and control, identifying potential environmental impacts to friendly and enemy forces, while providing means to mitigate or exploit conditions to the advantage of friendly forces or disadvantage of enemy forces. Being able to equip decision-makers with decision-grade intelligence to accomplish mission objectives is what truly separates a SWO from a weather forecaster.

Despite the grinding deployment schedule over the last 20 years, our mission is now changing. The Airmen and families of the Mighty 1-8, guided by the renewed vision and mission statements mentioned above, must accept the current state of global affairs. No longer do we have to solely prepare for counterinsurgency operations, rather, following in the footsteps of the Army, we’re bending our focus each day more towards the high-end fight. State-on-state warfare, as outlined in the National Defense Strategy and the Air Force Weather Functional Concept of Operations, requires a deeper look at our ability to shoot, move and communicate on the battlefield.

Our culture is shifting away from traditional thinking to answer non-traditional requirements that encompass the entire scope of the environment, from the bottom of the ocean to the reaches of space. There’s no doubt that the victor in the next big war will require every advantage, especially those found in Mother Nature. We take this obligation seriously and know full well that the Mighty 1-8 is required for victory. We must be ready! – “All The Way!”

By SMSgt Patrick Brennan and Miguel Rosado, 18th Weather Squadron, 93d Air Ground Operations Wing Public Affairs

The 13th ASOS Conducts Combat Mission Training

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. —

Ten Airmen from the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron went through a tactical air control party mission qualification training exercise July 15-18, 2019 on Fort Carson, Colorado.

The training is a way to gauge each Airman’s deployment readiness, test how the Airmen can perform as a team and is also one of the final steps of upgrade training for new Airmen. The training is for both newly assigned junior enlisted Airmen and officers.

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The group of Airmen went through multiple scenarios put together by more experienced TACPs and joint terminal attack controllers, to include clearing a building, securing a village, injured personnel rescue and handling a hostage situation.

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.

The exercise started Monday, July 15, and did not end until early Thursday morning, but for the students, preparations started the week prior.

“We tried to model it after real world operations,” said 2nd Lt. Stephen Stein, 13th ASOS TACP officer and chief of training. “So last week, before they started, the students received an operations order, which is something we would receive from the U.S. Army for an up and coming mission. After that, they started planning. So they had to start preparing the equipment, get the vehicles ready and then from there they had a timeline of when they would start the mission.”

During their exercise, the students were critiqued on their skillsets to make sure they would be ready in any contingency operation, ultimately deciding if they are deployable.

“I think this really showed us what we can expect in the future,” said 2nd Lt. Parker Gray, 13th ASOS TACP officer and exercise team lead. “ We were completing objectives and missions with criteria all throughout the week, all with minimal sleep, and I think that really showed us how we may react in the future, when we are in that kind of environment.”

Although the exercise was only for ten Airmen, approximately 30 TACPs and JTACs were involved with organizing the training exercise, participating as instructors, playing the role of an opposing force or helping set things up.

After the exercise, both Gray and Stein said they took away a lot from these events.

Stein, having done his training about 12 years prior as an enlisted TACP, said he was impressed with the effort the squadron put into it, and believed this set the new standard for MQT.

“The amount of hard work that was put into this by the instructors to set it up and make sure the scenarios were realistic and made sense, was phenomenal,” said Stein.

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.

Gray, as the student, said he took away lessons of leadership and how to work with his teammates.

“I think the biggest lesson as a team lead was I started out the week making decisions fast just trying to get everything done, but later on in the week I started involving the team a little bit more in the decision making process,” said Gray. “When we had a question, we took a few more minutes to get the team together, and we came up with better decisions. We really came together as a team, worked together as a team and were able to help each other out.”

By A1C Andrew Bertain, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs