Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘Profession of Arms’ Category

“Truly an honor.”: SOST Member Recognized as Air Force OAY

Friday, September 23rd, 2022


U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brandon Blake, a special operations surgical team member assigned to the 24th Special Operations Wing, is set to be recognized as one of the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year at the 2022 Air, Space & Cyber Conference Sep. 19-21.

Blake and 35 fellow airmen were considered by an Air Force selection board for the department-wide award. Enlisted members are chosen based on superior leadership, job performance and personal achievements.

Blake is the Superintendent, Special Operations Surgical Team Detachment One, 720th Operations Squadron assigned to the 24th Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, Florida.

Last summer, Blake was a catalyst in the evacuation of over 124,000 evacuees in support of Operation ALLIES REFUGE. He drove a six-member team supporting thousands of military and civilian personnel, treating over 70 wounded individuals and assisting seven surgeries.

“I couldn’t have asked for a stronger team sergeant than MSgt Blake. His experience and leadership in stressful, highly dynamic environments was crucial to our team’s success while deployed to Afghanistan,” said U.S. Air Force Major Jesse Payne, deployment team lead and Medical Operations flight commander for the SOST Detachment 1.

The efforts of Blake and his team earned praise from then 82nd Airborne Division commander Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue and Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, General David H. Berger.

Additionally, Blake tackled the COVID-19 front lines at the University of Alabama Birmingham, a Level 1 trauma center, providing 768 acute service hours and aiding treatment for 156 severely injured patients.

“His ability to integrate with the civilian trauma system to see high acuity patients at UAB highlights the value of the Air Force partnership with the university,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Marc Northern, Blake’s former supervisor.

“He demonstrates his commitment to his unit, to his patients and to the mission every day. MSgt Blake upholds the highest level of compassion, clinical judgement, skill, and composure under pressure,” added Northern.

His leadership proved vital in his role as detachment superintendent, managing 25 members, four teams and four flights on top on a 1.5-million-dollar inventory.

His active roles, on top of countless trainings, exercises, and crisis response situations led to dozens of lives saved and exceptional operational readiness for the detachment.

Simultaneously, Blake earned a degree in Public Health and Healthcare Administration and spent free time with local animal rescue along with toy and food drives supporting low-income populations.

“To be recognized as OAY for Air Force Special Operations Command is truly an honor, and I am grateful for the opportunity,” said Blake. “I stand on the shoulders of giants, and I couldn’t have done any of this without my team.”

AGR Program Changes on the Horizon

Wednesday, September 14th, 2022


In line with Lt. Gen. John Healy’s strategic priorities of “Ready Now!” and “Transforming for the Future,” Air Force Reserve Command is instituting changes to the Active Guard and Reserve program effective Oct. 1.

On that day, roughly 6,000 AGR positions will complete the transition to “term” and have initial tour determination and extension approval authority at the wing commander level. Career status will be granted at six cumulative years of service in the AGR program.

“The AGR program will continue to provide promotion, career progression, retention, education and professional development opportunities for Reserve Citizen Airmen,” said Healy, chief of the Air Force Reserve and commander of AFRC. “Taking care of our Airmen will remain our priority during the transition as commanders ensure they have the critical AGR positions filled to be combat ready to meet operational demands in the future.”

As always, the program may lead to Airmen earning an active-duty retirement after attaining the required years of total active federal military service.

Career AGRs who wish to remain in the AGR program will continue to adhere to existing guidance and will accept permanent change of station, permanent change of assignment, training, developmental education and force development opportunities in accordance with Air Force Manual 36-2114, section 6.6.

AGR term positions were successfully introduced in 2019, and provide more agility in recruiting, retaining and managing AGR talent. After three years of implementation and review, AFR leadership is instituting changes to the AGR program. The transformation is part of AFRC’s mission and compliance with Healy’s task order “to ensure units are mission ready and properly resourced.”

Wing commanders, or their equivalent, will have tour length determination and extension approval authority. In the past, initial term tours were fixed at three years, with an extension up to five years requiring Deputy Commander, Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC/CD) or Deputy to the Chief, Air Force Reserve (AF/RE-D) approval. Now, advertisements for initial tour lengths – two, three, four or five years – will be determined by wing commanders and above. Tour extensions may not exceed a total tour length of five years.

The second change will remove the AGR career status option from the AGR continuation decision process. AGR members will be granted career status after completion of six cumulative years in the AGR program, in accordance with Department of Defense Instruction 1205.18, section 6.6.

Over the next month, communication will be provided through virtual town hall meetings, Facebook Live events, email and MyPers messages, and updates to command social media sites regarding the AGR changes.

For additional information, elevate any questions through your Numbered Air Force A1 staff or Headquarters Commander Support Staff.

Air Force Reserve Command Public Affairs

Blast From The Past – Don’t Confuse Enthusiasm With Capability

Saturday, September 10th, 2022

I can’t remember why I wrote this in 2016, but it’s still true today. Maybe more so, as organizations are tested by social pressures. Keep the faith my brothers and sisters. This too shall pass.

There’s a old adage in Special Operations, “Don’t confuse enthusiasm with capability.” I heard it used a lot over the years and was told it stemmed from the ill-fated Operation Eagle Claw, where an ad-hoc task force made up of different service capabilities was created to attempt the rescue of American hostages held by Iran. Truth be told, it’s probably even older than that. The point is, you can call yourself special all day, but that doesn’t mean that you are. With the Iran mission, everyone wanted a piece of the pie whether they were ready or not and the mission failed. Although the lessons learned from that mission led to the eventual creation of USSOCOM, don’t think this idea is solely the purview of SOF. It doesn’t matter what you do, or where you fit in the food chain, it’s  applicable to everyone.

In more recent times, there were many new organizations stood up within DoD after 9/11. They were specialized in nature but not necassarily in capability. In each case, they were weighed and measured by the war. Some matured, others disappeared. The concept of enthusiasm being tempered by capability is an inescapable crucible.

Generally, SSD readers are a cut above. They care about their profession, or interest, and choose the best equipment. Others go a step further and seek out training to improve their capabilities. That is the sign of a true professional. However, such positive traits are not going to be true of everyone in an organization. We are truly as weak our weakest link and we all know someone who is all show and no go. Do not let them define you or your unit and don’t make promises you can’t deliver on.

Everything we do isn’t awesome. Accept criticism and reflect on it. That’s a trait of maturity. If you’re thin skinned, you’ve likely got maturity issues and aren’t very good at what you do. As an aside, don’t take criticisms of your profession in general, or of others in your profession personally. Every profession has plenty of room to improve. However, do deliver constructive criticism to your peers. Use it to grow professionally and personally and encourage others to do so as well. Make things better.

There is a current notion that everyone is a winner and gets a trophy. We must stop this concept from poisoning the profession of arms. Not everyone is going to be an Operator and we don’t need them to be. Figure out what it is you are supposed to do, and be awesome at it, both individually and collectively.

This isn’t meant as discouragement. To the contrary; love what you do. Create enthusiastic capability and make sure that you can deliver on demand, no matter the job. Help others rise to the same level.

CCAF Electronic Transcripts Now Available, Faster Delivery Time

Monday, August 22nd, 2022


Community College of the Air Force students can now order their transcripts electronically and have them processed within a week instead of what usually took up to 45 days.

CCAF has partnered with Parchment, a digital credentialing service, to deliver transcripts electronically. 

To request their transcript, students register for an account with Parchment and add CCAF to their list of schools attended. They then order a copy of their transcript to send to the address of their choice: school, third party or home address. The transcript orders come into the CCAF Student Services section, where technicians will retrieve, verify and process the requests.

Parchment then processes the transcripts for delivery. Although CCAF does not charge a fee for providing student transcripts, Parchment does charge a small processing fee. The transcript request is usually processed within two to three days.

“We’re excited to offer this service to our students,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Pond, commandant, CCAF. “We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to streamline our processes while increasing customer satisfaction. I believe our new automated transcripts process does just that.”

To be the “College of Choice” for enlisted members, and to assist them in paving a way to success, CCAF continues to seek better ways through technology to improve its services. The electronic transcript request and delivery service through Parchment is but one example of current and upcoming improvements to the student experience at CCAF.

By Benny Seawright, CCAF Media and Outreach

DOD Releases First Departmentwide Social Media Policy

Saturday, August 20th, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department today released a policy that for the first time spells out, from the highest levels of the defense community, how DOD military and civilian personnel should use official social media accounts to best advance the mission of the U.S. military and further instill trust in the credibility of the DOD.

DOD Instruction 5400.17, titled “Official Use of Social Media for Public Affairs Purposes,” provides principles for social media use within DOD, direction regarding records management procedures for social media accounts, and guidance to ensure personal social media accounts are not misrepresented or misinterpreted as official accounts.

While some of the military services and other agencies published social media policies years ago, DODI 5400.17 is the department’s first instruction that provided Pentagon-level, departmentwide guidance that specifically addresses the use of social media.?The DOD chief information officer previously issued DODI 8170.01, “Online Information Management and Electronic Messaging,” to provide broad policy guidance on the secure and appropriate use of social media. The new policy specifically addresses public affairs uses and responsibilities.

“It’s long overdue,” Andy Oare, director of digital media for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, said. “There have been efforts in the past to do this, but in an organization of this size and magnitude, you need to fully coordinate and ensure all viewpoints are heard and represented. We wanted to make sure the services were collaborators from the very beginning.”

Because social media changes rapidly, Oare said policies that the department may have started developing in the past but had never finalized would quickly show their age. That won’t happen with the newly published instruction, and he stressed that this policy will be continually refined and updated based on the evolving social media landscape.

“We’ll work across the department to be agile and responsive in our day-to-day operations as we implement this policy and update it where and when we should,” Oare said.

“Social media has an effect on every one of our service members, civilians, contractors and their families — whether they run an official account or have never heard of Twitter,” Oare said. “We owe it to all of them to have one central policy that provides a clearly articulated standard of operation and accountability.”

The DOD social media policy applies to Office of the Secretary of Defense personnel, the military departments, the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Joint Staff, the combatant commands, and other DOD offices and agencies.?In some cases, this means the new policy will supersede preexisting social media policies, but close coordination throughout its development ensured that all perspectives were considered and integrated.

“We deliberately wrote it in a collaborative manner, and it encourages component heads to continue establishing component-specific social media regulations,” Oare said. “Our aim is not to be prescriptive or restrictive, but rather to lay out some commonsense rules that simply have not been formally articulated at this level.”

In addition to detailing the roles and responsibilities of DOD leadership in enforcing responsible social media practices, the new policy offers guidance to department personnel who generate content on official social media platforms to ensure responsible use of the medium, key elements to consider when establishing a new presence or expanding into new platforms, and on the authority to close unused accounts.

“If social media is mismanaged or mishandled, the U.S. government’s reputation with the American public; relationships with interagency, international, state, local and tribal entities; military operations; and reputation for a high ethical and professional standard may be compromised,” the policy warns social media practitioners.

The guidance in DODI 5400.17 is meant to ensure DOD’s credibility and avoid controversy, while using social media to share its missions with the public, Oare said.

“In a digital world where lines of truth and authenticity are so often blurred, it’s important that institutions like us have trusted, verifiable and reliable presences,” Oare said. “We have a duty to the American people to show the work we’re doing, to tell the story of our service members, and to present that information though channels they use in their daily lives.”

By C. Todd Lopez, DOD News

DEVCOM Command Sergeant Major Barker Inducted as Distinguished Member of Army Rangers

Monday, August 15th, 2022

FORT BENNING, Ga. – DEVCOM’s senior Noncommissioned Officer, Command Sgt. Maj. Bryan D. Barker, was recently inducted as a Distinguished Member of the Army Rangers. Formally known as the 75th Ranger Regiment, the Army Rangers are the service’s premier light infantry and special operations force within the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

“It is an honor to work side-by-side with Command Sgt. Maj. Barker, who exemplifies the qualities of a good Soldier. This is a well-deserved award, and I commend him on his induction into this elite group,” said Maj. Gen. Miles Brown, DEVCOM commanding general.

Barker was named a Distinguished Member of the 75th Ranger Regiment during a July 19, 2022, ceremony at Fort Benning, Georgia. Soldiers are named as distinguished members of the 75th Ranger Regiment for their outstanding accomplishments while assigned to the unit. The 75th Ranger Regiment consists of five battalions, located at Fort Benning, Georgia; Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia; and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

Barker served with the 75th Ranger Regiment from 1996-2012, in the 2nd Ranger Battalion. He served in multiple positions ranging from rifleman to platoon sergeant to operations sergeant major. Officers and NCOs in the 75th Ranger Regiment are required to attend Ranger School, which is an intense 61-day combat leadership course. It has been called the “toughest combat course in the world,” and “the most physically and mentally demanding leadership school in the Army.”

“I am the product of leaders who came before me in the 75th Ranger Regiment who invested in my development and shaped me into the man and leader I am today. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to serve during pivotal times in the history of the Regiment, and I am honored and humbled to be inducted into the company of my heroes,” Barker said.

Barker assumed responsibility as the command sergeant major for the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, or DEVCOM, on June 18, 2021. DEVCOM, which comprises eight reporting units and three regionally aligned international elements, is the Army’s largest technology developer. The command consists of 27,000 Soldiers, civilians and contractors who leverage cross-cutting technology to solve complex problems and rapidly deliver next-generation capabilities to Soldiers.

As the senior DEVCOM NCO, Barker oversees the NCOs who are located across the command. Many of these NCOs work with DEVCOM’s scientists, engineers, technicians and analysts, sharing their experiences and challenges with technology and equipment in the field. He serves as a top advisor to the DEVCOM commanding general, focusing on building cohesion across the DEVCOM team while increasing lethality and survivability of combat capabilities developed for U.S. Soldiers.

Before joining DEVCOM, Barker was command sergeant major 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Barker joined the Army in June 1996 and served various positions as an Infantryman throughout his career. His overseas assignments include a tour in Germany, with deployments to Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Ukraine. His other deployments include six combat deployments to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, eight combat deployments to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and one deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Resolute Support.

By Argie Sarantinos, DEVCOM Headquarters

The Light Fighter Manifesto Volume One

Monday, July 25th, 2022

Historically, light fighters fought as scouts, raiders, and skirmishers—who fought in a loose formation ahead of the main effort to harass, delay, disrupt supply lines, and generally “soften up” an enemy before the main battle.

The Light Fighter must embody a light fighting ethic that exists and manifests itself into a distinctive tactical style, with freedom from dependence on fixed lines of communication, and with a strong propensity for self-reliance.

Today’s wars calls for like minded individuals to build a community of thinkers who use broadly available commercial technologies and proven tactics to be an asset; in all operating environments.

The Light Fighter Manifesto Zine is a way for Subject Matter Experts to put pen to paper and share ideas and best practices. LFM has no ads, or filler content, but just honest advice from respectable individuals.

Christopher M. Rance, founder and editor of LFM, sought out to encourage the community to contribute to LFM and all profits will be used to fund future Light Fighter projects, such as the Light Fighter Symposium.

Head on over to CR2 Solutions to grab a copy and support the cause! The first shipment sold out in less than two hours; but a new shipment is coming August 5th. Don’t miss out!


Twice Per Month Pay Now Mandatory for US Military

Monday, July 18th, 2022

UPDATE: The new AR 637-1, Army Compensation and Entitlements Policy, mandates a change to the frequency of Soldier Pay. Effective 1 October 2022, all Soldiers will be paid twice per month. Soldiers being paid once per month will continue to be paid once per month until the pay period ending 30 September 2022; effective 1 October 2022 all Soldiers who have not changed their election to twice per month will be automatically switched to twice per month. End of Month only will no longer be an option.