44 F
Washington DC
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Home Blog

Admin Punishment for Marine 1-Star Who Treated Aide Like Servant

0

The former inspector general of the Marine Corps has been reprimanded for using his aide for personal errands during an Iraq deployment, Military.com has learned.

Brig. Gen. Rick Uribe’s chain of command took “appropriate administrative action” after the Defense Department inspector general substantiated claims that theone-star misused his aide, said Chuck Little, a spokesman for Marine Corps Forces Pacific.

“We take all allegations of misconduct seriously,” Little said.

While serving as director of the Combined Joint Operations Center, Baghdad, Uribe was found to have violated the Joint Ethics Regulation when he requested or allowed his aide to pick up his laundry, remove his bedsheets, reserve his gym equipment, and provide him with snacks and meals.

Uribewrote in the investigation that he “lost focus” during a challenging deployment.

“Where I would never think to engage in these activities in garrison, in the fog of the combat zone, it seemed acceptable somehow,” he added.

Since Uribe’s punishment was administrative in nature, it is protected under the Privacy Act so no additional details were provided, including who carried out the punishment. Uribe is currently the deputy commander of I Marine Expeditionary Force, which falls under MARFORPAC. Lt. Gen. David Berger is head of that command.

Uribe also repaid his subordinates after he was found to have accepted gifts from them, including about $100 worth of coffee and chocolates from a lieutenant colonel and personal loans and prepaid haircuts from his aide.

“Brig. Gen. Uribe made a personal choice to voluntarily provide repayment in order to address concerns of any perception of impropriety raised by the report,” said 1st Lt. David Morris, a spokesman for I MEF.

A DoD investigation into Uribe’s behavior followed a June 2017 complaint that he treated his aide-de-camp, an unnamed female officer, like a servant. The general officer was previously responsible for investigating such claims for the Marine Corps when he served as its inspector general from September 2015 to May 2016.

Uribe, through a spokesman, declined to answer additional questions about the report, including whether it has changed his leadership style.

In the investigation, Uribe wrote that while he found some of the substantiated allegations “not justified,” he said he “learned a great deal from this process.”

“[I] will be much more attentive to these issues in the future,” he wrote.

— Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at@ginaaharkins.

Show Full Article

© Copyright 2018 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Excellent content provided by Marine – Military.com Legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Marines’ F-35B Fighters Headed to Middle East for the First Time

0

About 5,000 U.S. troops are sailing toward the Middle East with an F-35B detachment, marking the first time the American Joint Strike Fighters are likely to conduct real-world combat operations.

Sailors and Marines with the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit left San Diego last week for a six-month deployment to the Middle East and Western Pacific. The three-ship ARG includes the amphibious assault ship Essex, amphibious transport dock Anchorage and dock landing ship Rushmore.

The 13th MEU includes an F-35B detachment from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211, based out of Yuma, Arizona.

“This is the newest and most lethal aircraft that the Joint Force has, and the fact that it’s coming into the [U.S. Central Command] theater and potentially seeing some combat operations is a big deal,” Lt. Col. Jaime Macias, chief of plans at Marine Corps Forces Central Command, said in a Marine Corps news release leading up to the deployment.

ARG-MEU deployments are typically publicized by the Defense Department, but this one — the first to leave the U.S. with an F-35 attack squadron detachment — was not. Citing operational security, officials declined to explain the change in policy.

“The Essex Amphibious Ready Group with embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit got underway from San Diego, July 10,” Lt. Tim Gorman, a U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman, said in a statement. “For reasons of operational security, we are not publicly disclosing any additional details.”

USNI wasthe first to report on the ARG-MEU’s quiet departure. Members of the MEU this one is set to replace were sent into Syria earlier this year to fight the Islamic State,The Washington Post reported.

The sailors and Marines conducted a six-month-long certification process before departing last week. The team is ready to respond to crises that erupt during their deployment, according to aMarine Corps video about the workup.

The Marine Corps’ variant of the Lightning II stealth jet is designed for sea deployments since it can take off and land vertically.

“Throughout the training, we’ve seen this platform increase our ability to gain a foothold for our operations,” the video states. “This is the most capable aviation platform to support our riflemen on the ground.”

In addition to the F-35 detachment, the MEU also includes Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines; Combat Logistics Battalion 13; Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166; and a command element.

This marks the second time in four months that the F-35B has deployed aboard a Navy ship. In March, members of the Japan-based Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121patrolled the Pacific from aboard the amphibious assault ship Wasp.

The East Coast-based Iwo Jima ARG and 26th MEU are slated to wrap up a Middle East deployment next month as these Marines and sailors move in.

— Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at@ginaaharkins.

Show Full Article

© Copyright 2018 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Excellent content provided by Marine – Military.com Legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Air Force OKs Locks, Earring Styles, Ribbon Options in Policy Changes

0

The Air Force is easing up on guidance for hairstyles and certain accessories following a meeting of the Air Force Uniform Board, service officials announced Monday.

In changes finalized July 13, the Air Force followed the lead of other services in allowing locks, or locs, as an acceptable hairstyle for female troops. It will also allow women to wear a wider range of earring styles in uniform and will permit male airmen to sport earrings as well — although only in civilian dress while off duty.

Also in are certain hair accessories, a wider range of eyewear and more options for PT undershirts.

“These changes stemmed from the 100th Air Force Uniform Board, which incorporated direct feedback from Airmen,” Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, deputy chief of staff for Manpower, Personnel, and Services, said in a statement. “There are additional Uniform Board initiatives that are ongoing and still being analyzed for consideration and implementation by senior leaders.”

Changes for Hair

The Air Force’s move to authorize locks, a popular option among female black service members who find it difficult to pull their natural hair into other authorized styles, comes just a week after the Navy announced that it would permit locks, as well as ponytails and other styles.

The Army and the Marine Corps both previously changed their uniform policies to include locks.

As with the other services, the Air Force’s new hairstyle authorization comes with strict guidelines.

Per the new changes, there is now no minimum hair length for female troops. Under the new rules, locks must be no wider than one inch, with natural spacing, and must be “tightly interwoven” to create a professional and neat appearance.

No more than a quarter-inch of scalp should show between locks or braids, and they must “continue to the end of the hair without design and [follow] the contour of the head.”

The new rules also authorize a variety of hair accessories, including scrunchies, headbands, combs and clips, but stipulate that all must be solid black, regardless of hair color.

Not all the changes aim to relax standards: The newly released policy expressly forbids mullets, Mohawks and “etched hair designs” for service members.

Earrings, Backpacks and PT Shirts

Previously, only female airmen could wear earrings — in uniform or out. The new rules allow male airmen to wear earrings even while on base, provided they are in civilian attire and not performing any military duty.

For women, a slightly larger range of ear jewelry is authorized in uniform, per the new rules. Previously, they could wear round stud earrings in diamond, gold, white pearl or silver while in uniform; now they can wear square studs as well. While in uniform, female airmen are still limited to just one set of earrings that “match and fit tightly without extending below the earlobe.”

The Air Force also handed down rules governing how to wear backpacks with the new Occupational Camouflage Pattern uniform, which is set to become the service’s standard working uniform by 2021.

According to the rules, OCP-patterned backpacks and those in tan and coyote brown are all authorized for wear with the new uniform. Sling-style and two-strap backpacks are both acceptable, with sling-style packs to be worn on the left shoulder so as not to interfere with salutes.

Another change pertains to undershirts worn underneath PT uniform shorts. They can now be short- or long-sleeved and visible under the Air Force’s gray PT shirt, according to the new policy. Undershirts in white, black or light gray are all acceptable, per the rules.

Finally, officials are now permitting airmen to wear a black balaclava for PT during cold weather.

Ribbon Wear

Got a big stack of ribbons? You can now decide to wear them all, or just some, per the new uniform guidance. That pertains to the men’s and women’s service dress uniforms.

For the blue service uniforms, airmen can choose to wear all their ribbons, some or none at all.

The changes also allow enlisted airmen to wear either three-and-a-half or four-inch chevrons in uniform. Before the change, enlisted airmen were restricted to wearing three-and-a-half inch rank for certain uniforms; this tweak offers more options.

— Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

Show Full Article

© Copyright 2018 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Excellent content provided by Airforce – Military.com Legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

B-52 Aircrew Members Return to Minot Base After Decades

0

MINOT, N.D. — Two aircrew members of one of the first B-52H bombers to arrive at the Minot Air Force Base are returning decades later.

Brad Foote and Bill Sims are making plans to return to Minot for Northern Neighbors Day, the base’s open house and air show on Aug. 4, the Minot Daily News reported.

The pair made history in 1961 when they were aircrew members of one of the first two B-52s arriving at the new Minot base. Foote said their plane was the backup in case the first bomber couldn’t get to the base or land.

“There were two aircrafts that day, one of which landed ahead of us — the ‘Peace Persuader,'” he said of the first bomber, which carried North Dakota Gov. William Guy and Co. Harold Radetsky, a Minot bomb wing commander.

Before Minot, Foote and Sims were stationed at a base in upstate New York, where they were flying the G model of the B-52s.

“When we had the total complement we had at least a dozen or more planes,” Sims said of the Minot base. “When we became combat-ready we probably had around 20-plus crews.”

The Minot base was ranked in 1964 as one of the biggest military installations in the country with a military and civilian population of 18,500 who lived on or worked on the facility, according the newspaper at the time.

Foote and his family now live in Maryland, and Sims and his family live in California. The two men have kept in contact over the years and look forward to their return.

“That’s really where we started our military careers,” Sims said. “At Minot.”

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Show Full Article

© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Excellent content provided by Airforce – Military.com Legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Lawmaker Urges Mattis to Upgrade Fallen Marine Officer’s Silver Star

0

An Iraq War veteran in Congress submitted new evidence to the Pentagon he says proves a Marine officer killed in Fallujah, Iraq, deserves to have his Silver Star upgraded to a Navy Cross.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., sent a letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis urging him to reconsider the decoration issued toMarine 1st Lt. Travis Manion after he “saved the life of every Marine and sailor under his command.”

Manion, a logistics officer, posthumously receivedthe Silver Star for his actions during the April 2007 firefight that took his life, but was originally nominated for the Navy Cross. His award was later downgraded “by Pentagon officials who were not witness to [Manion’s] valiant behavior,” Hunter wrote.

Now new evidence from a Marine who was on the ground with Manion in Fallujah that day “removes any doubt,” Hunter said, that those in the field had it right.

“The Silver Star is a big deal,” he told Military.com. “But I think if new information and evidence comes to light, which we think did, and it could get upgraded to a Navy Cross, then this would call attention again to his heroic actions — how he fought, how he died and his family’s sacrifice.”

Manion and his men were ambushed while searching a suspected insurgent house in Iraq. His corpsman was shot in the abdomen, and Manion and another lieutenant went into the fray to drag him to safety.

As the firefight got more intense, Manion fired a grenade and then began laying down heavy suppressive fire from his M4, according to former Staff Sgt. Paul Petty’s account, which was also sent to Mattis.

Running low on ammunition, Manion requested more and began distributing magazines to his other Marines. As he handed one over, he was mortally wounded, but not before he’d fired off up to 300 rounds at the enemy’s location, Petty wrote.

“His well-aimed precision fire, decisive leadership and selfless action aided in the preservation of life and helped counter the ambush,” Petty’s account states.

Ryan Manion, the Marine’s sister, said her family is incredibly proud of his actions that day.

“We weren’t surprised of the circumstances because we knew he was the type of individual who was the first one in and the last one out,” she said. “There’s a sense of pride, if that’s the right word, in how he lived and, ultimately, how he died because he was protecting his men.”

Manion, the son of a career Marine officer, was too humble to care about something like an medal upgrade, Ryan Manion said. But seeing him get the recognition he deserves is important to his family, she added.

“He wasn’t out there that day doing the things that he did because of the possibility of him receiving an award from the Marine Corps,” she said. “I think it’s more for us, the living, than for him. And for the future Marines who hear his story of bravery.”

Hunter, a former infantry officer who served in Fallujah in 2004, said wearing the same uniform as someone like Manion is “the most awesome thing in the world.”

The congressman has a history of pushing Pentagon leaders to reconsider valor awards from Iraq and Afghanistan that were later downgraded. He waged a years-long campaign to upgrade Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta’s posthumous Navy Cross to the Medal of Honor, saying Peralta had sacrificed his life to save fellow Marines by falling on an enemy grenade in Fallujah in 2004.

Peralta never received the Medal of Honor, but Hunter’s efforts prompted multiple defense secretaries to review materials pertaining to the Marine’s heroism.

“These awards were mostly all approved on the battlefield … then downgraded once they got back here to D.C.,” Hunter said. “That’s what happened with Manion.”

The Defense Department did not respond to questions about whether Mattis has received Hunter’s letter or whether he plans to review the award for possible upgrade.

The Pentagon is currently undergoing a years-long medals review. Hunter said it’s not clear whether Manion’s is one of them, and officials require new evidence for any award to get another look.

Petty’s account provides that, Hunter said, since it was not previously known that Manion remained in such a precarious position despite knowing he was running out of ammunition.

Ryan Manion, whoruns a foundation in her brother’s name to encourage more young people to consider community or military service, said she’s grateful for Hunter’s efforts.

“I hope people continue to hear [my brother’s] story and that his legacy is one that shows the ultimate example of … what it means to serve and sacrifice,” she said.

–Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ginaaharkins.

Show Full Article

© Copyright 2018 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Excellent content provided by Marine – Military.com Legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Mississippi Honors Marine Plane Crash Victims with Memorial

0

ITTA BENA, Miss. — Mississippi and U.S. Marine Corps officials dedicated a memorial Saturday to the 15 Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman who died in a plane crash last year.

Hundreds of relatives and friends of the 16 victims gathered for ceremonies at Mississippi Valley State University and the nearby memorial, The Greenwood Commonwealth reported .

The special forces Marines on board the KC-130T military transport plane were going from North Carolina to California for training when it crashed July 10, 2017. The aircraft was flown by a New York-based Marine Reserve unit and known by the call sign Yanky 72.

“Your loss has become our loss,” Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant told those who came from as far away as Ireland for the ceremony.

Following the service, the crowd was driven in buses to witness the unveiling of the nearby memorial, which displays an image of a KC-130T plane set in granite and surrounded in a circle by the engraved names of the fallen.

About 30 people then set off on a 900-mile (1,450-kilometer) relay to Marine Corps Special Operations Command at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Teams of marchers will be on the road around the clock for weeks, relaying rucksacks of dirt and sand from the crash site and memorial site over 900 miles to Camp Lejeune. They intend to plant a tree in the soil at Marine Corps Special Operations Command.

No cause for the plane crash has been released, as the investigation continues.

Cindy Elliott said the observance has helped her family with closure following the death of her son, 30-year-old Capt. Sean E. Elliott of Orange, California.

“We are grateful for the whole memorial, and we will never, ever forget them,” she said of the victims.

Service members with Marine Forces Reserve VMGR-452 and Marine Corps Special Operations Command 2d Raider Battalion were lost when their KC-130T went down over Mississippi on July 10, 2017.

___

Information from: The Greenwood Commonwealth, http://www.gwcommonwealth.com

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Show Full Article

© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Excellent content provided by Marine – Military.com Legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Airman Dies of Injuries After Non-Combat-Related Incident in UAE

0

Excellent content provided by Airforce – Military.com Legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

5 Airmen Receive First ‘R’ Devices for Taking Down ISIS Targets

0

The Air Force awarded its first five “R” devices this week, recognizing the outstanding performance of drone operators contributing to combat missions remotely.

The device was presented to four MQ-9 Reaper pilots and one sensor operator from the 432nd Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, all identified only by rank and first name for security reasons.

The pilots included Maj. Asa, Capt. Evan, Capt. Abrham and 1st Lt. Eric; and the sensor operator was Senior Airman Jason, according to an Air Force news release published Thursday.

The awards were presented for three separate operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, one of which took place in February 2016, one in August 2016, and the third was not specified, according to the release and award citations obtained by Military.com.

The February operation, involving pilots Asa and Evan, involved a 74-day persistent attack and reconnaissance campaign focused on one ISIS militant described in the release as a “high-value target and known terrorist” and the number-two enemy in the region.

They user Reapers to coordinate with other aircraft on the battlefield and “buddy-lased” to guide and execute the strike, taking out the high-value militant.

The August operation, described in medal citations, involved pilot Eric and sensor operator Jason.

Eric, then piloting an MQ-1B Predator, discovered a pickup truck loaded with a large-caliber machine gun, headed toward friendly forces on the ground. While the pilot watched, the truck would fire at the friendly troops, then pull back and hide in a garage.

According to citations, Eric and Jason contacted their controller, asking for a nine-line order to take out the target.

“While maneuvering to meet a restricted run-in heading, [Eric] observed a large group of civilians, including children, on the opposite side of the road in an alley near where the technical was firing,” his citation reads. “[Eric] elected to wait until the technical returned to the garage to minimize collateral damage despite increasing the complexity of the attack.”

When the truck came back, Eric and Jason obliterated it with an AGM-114 Hellfire missile, killing two enemy fighters in the process, according to the citation.

The third operation, for which the Air Force did not release a timeframe, involved pilot Abrham.

He and his aircrew had been scanning a hostile area when weather turned bad, forcing manned aircraft in the region to retreat to safety, according to a release. The team stayed on station with their Reaper and, several hours later, they saw enemy fighters start to fire on friendly forces.

“While battling increasingly adverse conditions, Abrham dynamically employed four Hellfire missiles, eliminating three enemy targets, two vehicles, and one mortar system,” an Air Force release states. “He then navigated the safe return of his aircraft despite the marginal weather.”

The commander of the 432nd, Col. Julian Cheater, applauded the five airmen, who received Meritorious Service Medals and Air Force Commendation Medals affixed with the “R” Device.

“It is a great honor to recognize the contributions of these Airmen,” Cheater said in a statement. “Much of the world will never know details of their contributions due to operational security, but rest assured that they have made significant impacts while saving friendly lives.”

The “R” device was authorized with clear specifications for each service last year, and can be awarded for operations dating back to January 2016. It’s a move on the part of the Defense Department to recognize the work of those who go above and beyond in support of military operations, sometimes from thousands of miles away from the battlefield.

The Air Force is not the first service to award the new device; last December, the Marine Corps presented Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals bearing the device to two staff sergeants who operated unmanned aerial systems in support of an unspecified military operation.

— Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

Show Full Article

© Copyright 2018 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Excellent content provided by Airforce – Military.com Legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Families Meet in Mississippi a Year After 16 Troops Died in Crash

0

JACKSON, Miss. — A year after a U.S. Marine Corps plane broke into pieces high in the sky and slammed into a Mississippi soybean field, relatives and friends are keeping alive the memories of the 15 Marines and Navy corpsman who died in the crash.

It’s an active form of memory — building, telling, hiking, running — to remember the New York-based crewmembers who flew the KC-130T military transport, as well as among the special forces Marines they were carrying from North Carolina to California for training.

“All we want to do is talk about them and share who they were with the rest of the world,” said Anna Johnson, the widow of Gunnery Sgt. Brendan Johnson, a crew member.

More than 200 family members and friends will gather Saturday in the Mississippi Delta town of Itta Bena to dedicate a monument to the July 10, 2017, crash of the plane, whose call sign was Yanky 72.

Among speakers at a ceremony at Mississippi Valley State University will be Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps. Ronald L. Green, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith. Mississippi’s Marine Corps League led an effort that raised more than $100,000 for a memorial outside a government building where the recovery effort was based, several miles east of the crash site. Mississippi lawmakers named the stretch of U.S. 82 that ran through the debris field the Yanky 72 Memorial Highway.

For many of the relatives, it will be the first time they’ve come to the crash site and the first time members of all families have gathered. Several praised the warmth of the Mississippi organizers.

“I’m there for a community that has been unbelievably kind to us,” Johnson said. “I want to thank them for this blessing that they have given to us, to build this memorial.”

No cause for the plane crash has been released, as the investigation continues. All of the 12 remaining Marine Corps KC-130Ts were grounded for months. Some, but not all, are flying now, said Marine Forces Reserve spokesman Maj. Andrew Aranda. The Navy is grounding its larger fleet of C-130Ts until propellers are replaced, with Congress appropriating $121 million to accelerate the work. Officials haven’t directly linked the propellers to the crash, saying only that it was one of the issues identified when planes were inspected afterward.

C-130s have historically been one of the military’s safest aircraft, which is part of what made the crash shocking, said Deneen Hopkins Wiske, a Wisconsin firefighter who is the sister of Gunnery Sgt. Mark Hopkins.

“We were very much lulled into a false sense of security with Mark and what he did,” Wiske said. “These are beasts of the sky, they don’t fail.”

Nate Harris, a Special Operations Command Marine who declined to give his rank, said members of his unit shoot formal pictures now before they go to training, instead of only when they’re shipping out for combat tours.

“It’s really hard to come to grips with something that happened in training,” Harris said. “In combat, that’s what we signed up for.”

Harris is leading the Marine Raider Memorial March, a group of 30 former comrades and widows of members of Marine 2nd Raider Battalion. Teams of marchers will be on the road around the clock through July 27, relaying rucksacks of dirt and sand from the crash site and memorial site over 900 miles to Camp Lejeune. They intend to plant a tree in the soil at Marine Corps Special Operations Command. It’s the second long-distance march by the same organizers. The first one, covering 770 miles came in 2016. It followed a 2015 helicopter crash in Florida that killed seven special operations Marines and four Louisiana National Guard members.

“We need to bring these boys home,” said Harris. “We know it’s the right thing to do to honor them.”

That’s far from the end to memorial efforts.

Ryan Ortiz, a former reservist in the transport unit knew several of the men, but was closest to 26-year-old Sgt. Owen Lennon, a Pomona, New York, crewmaster. He raised more than $20,000 for charity by selling T-shirts memorializing the crash.

“Marines are doers,” Ortiz said.

Nina Baldassare, the mother of crew member Cpl. Danie Baldassare, is moving near Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York — where Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 is based — and plans to open a cafe.

“I made it my purpose to be part of the community so I could be part of their lives,” Baldassare said.

Wiske plans to run the Marine Corps Marathon this October as a memorial fundraiser for the Wingman Foundation, saying it’s appropriate because her brother was a “notoriously fast” and “effortless” runner.

“I can’t imagine a plane filled with 16 better human beings,” Wiske said. “They remind us of the best we have to offer and they certainly led their lives by getting the most out of every day.”

This article was written by Jeff Amy from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Show Full Article

© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Excellent content provided by Marine – Military.com Legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Attrition Rate Dropping for Battlefield Airmen with New Prep Course

0

New, robust initiatives to bring in highly skilled troops are bringing down the attrition rate among the Air Force‘s elite battlefield airmen, two members of the community told reporters at the Pentagon this week.

The attrition rate for battlefield airmen has declined to roughly 70 percent, said Master Sgt. Robert Gutierrez, superintendent of standards and evaluation at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. While each of the Air Force Specialty Codes varies, the average attrition rate for the community hovered around 80 percent throughout initial selection and training just a few years ago.

“How we’ve come to this point now is through innovation and change,” he said.

Implementing the Battlefield Airmen Preparatory Course in recent months has changed the outlook because “we are making individuals who come from [Basic Military Training] better, faster, stronger and more mentally resilient,” Gutierrez said.

Related content:

Both Air Education and Training Command and Air Force Special Operations Command have brought in personal coaches to aid in physical therapy and training techniques, officials said.

Meanwhile AFSOC and the Air Force as a whole are benefiting from new technologies that will help troops navigate increasingly contested battlefield environments.

“We’re going to bring in some more technology shortly,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Gunnell, a Tactical Air Control Party airman assigned to the 26th Special Tactics Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico. “We have some things right on the precipice that are going to get us right to the point where we’re able to do things at a more denied environment, to get back to that kind of training.”

Gunnell and Gutierrez spoke Wednesday at the Pentagon during a Defense Department-hosted “lethality series.”

“We’re right on the edge where we can take that fight” into a higher threat environment, “with the precision that we need to do it with,” Gunnell said.

The future tech could amplify just how battlefield airmen can and will fit into high-end fights with near-peer adversaries.

While the National Defense Strategy focuses on China and Russia and the re-emergence of great power competition, it also gives the Air Force specific guidance on “retaining irregular warfare [as] a core competency,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told Military.com in May.

Battlefield airmen “have a role to play there; the allies and partners as well,” she said during a trip to Hurlburt Field, Florida.

Special operations acts as a catalyst to “expanding the competitive space; that’s what [Air Force] Special Operations Command does,” she said.

Gunnell said evolving technology has benefited spec ops forces, even in simpler equipment that is in high demand to conduct operations.

For example, airmen calling in airstrikes today are using equipment with vastly improved visuals and information transfer just in video feed compared with what combat controllers or Tactical Air Control Party airmen were using a decade ago.

“Kinetic strikes in which we’re delivering precision munitions … you can look at feeds, and get coordinates and use precision munitions that are delivered right on the exact spot that you want it, at the exact time that you wanted it, and with that, that is the single greatest thing that I have seen in [tandem with] coordination and practice” of training for that mission, Gunnell said.

In addition to battlefield operations — something that has been at the forefront of the AFSOC community’s training since 9/11 — “airfield seizure and austere airfield controller are a major part of the [combat controller’s] mission set,” Gutierrez said.

In the wake of a resurgent Russia — as Moscow continues to dabble in hybrid warfare techniques in eastern Ukraine — airmen have been training to that dynamic battlefront, which actually is “the bread and butter of [that] career field,” he added.

The certified FAA air traffic controllers train to go into hostile environments to “establish assault zones or airfields, while simultaneously conducting air traffic control, fire support, command and control, direct action, counter-terrorism, foreign internal defense, humanitarian assistance, and special reconnaissance,” according to the Air Force.

Deploying undetected into an environment, “units can assess, open and control major airfields to clandestine dirt strips in either permissive or hostile locations,” 1st Lt. Jaclyn Pienkowski, spokeswoman for the 24th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt, told Military.com in May.

“It’s not always seen all the time, but we are consistently training toward that mission set all the time. We will always be prepared for that,” Gutierrez said.

— Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

Show Full Article

© Copyright 2018 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Excellent content provided by Airforce – Military.com Legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

- Advertisement -

MOST POPULAR

HOT NEWS

Metric Cartridges

Rimfire Cartridges