Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘USAF’ Category

Today is Wednesday. This is a day we set aside to honor those who are risking their lives so that we may remain free. We should not take that lightly. We must also do our part here at home.

Today I would like to introduce to you Staff Sergeant Jason Kimberling. He is from Rathdrum, ID, he is with the USAF’s 366th Mission Support Group and on that day, he earned the Bronze Star with a ‘V’ (I believe that stands for Valor.) Here is a taste of his character:

Air Force Staff Sgt. Jason A. Kimberling.

On a sweltering 115-degree day in August 2006, Staff Sgt. Jason A. Kimberling was part of a 3-person security force assigned to a convoy of 15 Afghan National Police (ANP) officers and 20 members of the Afghan National Army (ANA).


Bronze Star with “V” recipient
.

A highway checkpoint in Qalat Province had come under attack, and the convoy was sent to assist. As Kimberling’s convoy searched for the enemy, they were attacked by more than 100 well-trained, well-equipped Taliban fighters. The coordinated ambush began with a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) that landed only about 5 yards away. After several RPG rounds had been fired from a base about 325 yards away, a barrage of machine gun fire began to spray the group from only about 55 yards away and came from a different direction.

The driver of the security forces Humvee, a fellow airman, created cover with the vehicle, allowing Kimberling to jump out and return fire. Their position was hit by an RPG that knocked down Kimberling and his driver. As Kimberling was recovering from the blast, he saw two enemy gunmen heading toward them from a house just 35 yards away – from a third direction. Kimberling exposed himself to gunfire to kill the two gunmen. His actions allowed the ANP and ANA members to regroup, killing additional enemy fighters.

Soon another round of shooting began from enemy fighters, and Kimberling did not hesitate to move from his protected position in order to return fire, giving an ANA soldier the opportunity to successfully throw a hand grenade into the enemy’s position.

The convoy was then able to move away from the ambush site and onto higher ground, though still under enemy fire. Kimberling exposed himself a third time to enemy fire so that he could use a satellite phone to communicate with the tactical operations center to coordinate air support that eventually ended the battle and allowed the convoy to return to base.

“And if all of that wasn’t enough, during the attack, Sergeant Kimberling had the situational awareness to call in close-air support from nearby Dutch NATO aircraft that were patrolling the area,” said Col. Thomas Laffey, 366th Mission Support Group commander. “He achieved this while under very heavy fire for more than two hours.”

An estimated 20 enemy combatants were killed in the firefight, without a single causality among the security forces, ANA or ANP. Kimberling was awarded a Bronze Star with Valor and the Army Commendation Medal for his actions.

Air Force Story.
KIVI-TV Story.

These men and women are amazing. I just have to say, “Thank you for all you do. Stay ‘safe’ and much success.” If you would like to find out how to honor our troops, just go to DefenseLink.

Now this a post I am proud to offer as an Open Trackback. Not because I wrote it, because I did not. It is because of who it is about and so many others like him. To participate in this Open Trackback, you just add this permalink to your site, then you can trackback with whichever post you would care to share others. Please go to Linkfest and join. You don’t have to, but it really would be a big help to you as far as sharing your posts and meeting other people. The only rule is no porn. Thank you, and have a nice day everyone.

Posts I’ve trackbacked to at Linkfest and other sites:

Wolf Pangloss The Billary Clintons play the race card.
Woman Honor Thyself: Sderot and the UN Party Balloons.
Diary of the Mad Pigeon: Thurday Open Roost.
Outside the Beltway: Everybody Hates Mitt.
Pirate’s Cove: TLF: Barking Moonbats Plan Anti-Bush Campaign During W’s Last 365.
Dumb Ox Daily News: Truth About McCain’s Lies.
Right Truth: Civil War for Americans.
Conservative Cat: Notes from Ferdy – Bill Clinton Admits to the Existence of Shame.
The World According To Carl: Godly Wisdom — January 24, 2008.
Thanks so much to: Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis Add this post to Technorati Add this post to Del.icio.us. Digg! Digg!
Trackbacks to this post (most recent tb listed first):

5. Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker: Hurricane proof house.
4. Big Dog’s Weblog: Will MSM Give Hillary Same Treatment as Bush?
3. Adam’s Blog: The Queen of Earmarks.
2. The Virtuous Republic: Arizona’s Employer Sanction Sending Illegals Back Home.
1. 123beta: Rachel Lucas For President!

Read Full Post »

Source: .

19 DEC 2007
By Staff Sgt. Mike Andriacco, USAF
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HERO, Afghanistan – Airmen in a medical mentoring team here have been working hard to ensure the successful opening of an Afghan National Army hospital for the past several months. The team’s original mission was to mentor their Afghan counterparts and teach them medical skills to treat Afghan military and police members, said Air Force Col. Mike Skidmore, the team’s senior mentor officer and administrator.

All that changed when the team arrived several months ago, he said. The hospital was 500 days behind schedule, and instead of finding equipment and eager ANA medical personnel, the team found an empty, incomplete facility. “We had to move from a mentoring mission to a new mindset of equipping the hospital, opening it and then mentoring,” said Air Force Col. (Dr.) Thomas Seay, the senior medical mentor and chief radiologist.

Most of the state-of-the-art equipment, to include a digital X-ray and digital ultrasound machines, were purchased by the United States, with some items – such as wheelchairs — donated by a nonprofit organization based in Canada, he said. The hospital is one of the most advanced of its kind in the southern region of Afghanistan.

“Phase one of the construction consisted of a $5.6 million, 50-bed main hospital,” Skidmore said. “It will serve the entire ANA 205th Corps, including four combat brigades, their associated garrison clinics and more than 27,000 ANA soldiers, Afghan National Police and their families. There are two isolation rooms, one trauma room, two operating rooms, and an intensive care ward that can accommodate up to six patients.” One of the most impressive elements of the project is the water processing plant, he added. It uses a multi-stage process to clean and sterilize water to the standard necessary for hospital conditions and also is being used as a model for future water plants throughout the country. Contractors also recently broke ground on phase two, a $2.6 million hospital expansion that will house an additional 50 patients, Skidmore said.

With the hospital ribbon-cutting held Dec. 15, the mentoring team now is looking forward to starting the job it came to do. The team is made up of a total of 18 airmen: three doctors, three nurses, three administrators, a radiologist, a pharmacist, a medic, two lab technicians, a pharmacy technician, a radiology technician, a biomedical equipment technician and a logistician. Team members will work with their Afghan counterparts to create a baseline of skills, Seay said. There also will be a lot of focus on sterilization and sustainment of equipment and resources, he added.

Together, the team hopes its efforts can help the Afghan National Army to rebuild the country and be effective at maintaining peace and security. “This is arguably the best ANA hospital in the entire country, given the building, the equipment and the water treatment plant, but the most impressive part of this hospital is its staff,” Skidmore said. “They are incredibly excited and enthusiastic to learn new clinical and managerial techniques in health care.”

Photo – Air Force Tech. Sgt. Edward Weaver, a medic deployed from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., instructs Afghan National Army medical personnel on spinal immobilization techniques at the newly opened Kandahar ANA regional hospital in Afghanistan. The medical mentoring team arrived to find the construction 500 days behind schedule and immediately took on the task of supplying the hospital and getting it opened before continuing the mission of mentoring Afghan National Army medical personnel. Photo by Col. (Dr.) Thomas Seay, USAF.

Add this post to Technorati Add this post to Del.icio.us. Digg! Digg!

Trackbacks to this post (most recent tb listed first):

Read Full Post »

Source: CentCom.

05 December 2007
by Staff Sgt. Travis Edwards
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
.

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) – Airmen are improving the lives and operating conditions of Marines by constructing more than $9.8 million in aircraft shelters, taxiways and temporary shelters at Al Asad Air Base. Deployed in an “in-lieu-of” tasking in support of the 20th Army Engineer Brigade, 557th Expeditionary REDHORSE Squadron Airmen are completing numerous projects — from the design concept to completion — in a joint service environment.

“We’re here working on a Marine base, taking on an Army job while using Navy parts,” said Master Sgt. Richard Kapp, the 557th ERHS cantonments superintendent and acting first sergeant, deployed from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. “It’s an odd process.”

REDHORSE is an elite Air Force engineer squadron, whose main function is to take a strip of uninhabited land and turn it into a fully functioning base with running water, shelters and power. The REDHORSE team currently has 14 assigned projects. Six construction tasks are underway, and six more are scheduled to start soon totaling $9.8 million. One project recently completed was a $65,000 convoy briefing facility, which included three temporary shelters.

“Having this facility complete now allows Soldiers and Marines going out on convoys to have a place to brief before heading out on dangerous missions without having their mind distracted by the extreme cold or heat,” said Senior Master Sgt. Rob Townsend, the 557th ERHS superintendent deployed from Malmstrom AFB, Mont.

REDHORSE Airmen also are building other temporary-shelters throughout the base. “One of our sites will house more than $1.5 million in Meals Ready to Eat that normally would have been thrown away due to the high heat in the summer,” said Capt. Andy LaFrazia, the 557th ERHS spoke commander for Al Asad AB, deployed from McChord AFB, Wash.

The engineers have faced several challenges as a result of the nontraditional nature of the deployment. “Getting materials we need for a project is a problem on everyone’s mind. It’s a brand new system,” Captain LaFrazia said. “We are getting used to it and are pushing forward, keeping our mind on the mission.”

The Airmen are driven to improve the quality of life of their fellow military members. “Everyone here wants to make a difference,” Sergeant Townsend said. “We all have the same focus of getting the job done and done safely.” “We are building a better way of life for all the servicemembers who live and work in Al Asad,” said Senior Airman James Cox, a 557th ERHS electrician deployed from Shaw AFB, S.C.

Photo – Tech. Sgt. Chris Collins cuts a 2-by-6 piece of wood to use as a frame for a bench Nov. 24 at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq. REDHORSE Airmen are currently working approximately $9.8 million in projects here. Sergeant Collins, a 557th Expeditionary REDHORSE utilities technician, is deployed from Minot Air Force Base, N.D. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Travis Edwards).

Add this post to Technorati Technorati. Add this post to Del.icio.us Del.icio.us. Digg! Digg!

Trackbacks to this post (most recent tb listed first):

Read Full Post »

Source: CentCom.

19 November 2007
By Staff Sgt. Markus M. Maier
U.S. Central Air Forces Combat Correspondent Team
.

KIRKUK REGIONAL AIR BASE, IRAQ — When servicemembers go outside the wire here, they occasionally have an extra set of eyes watching over them. Concealed, the members of the 506th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron’s Close Precision Engagement Team observe, provide intelligence and, if necessary, neutralize threats.

The CPET consists of Air Force security forces counter-snipers whose expert marksmanship and ability to stay invisible allows them to sneak up to an enemy undetected and neutralize them if needed.

“A large part of our job here is reconnaissance for the Army and sometimes agents with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations detachment here,” said Staff Sgt. Curtis Huffman, the CPET NCO in charge. “When they have a mission outside of the wire we’ll set up near that location about an hour or more before they get out there. Concealed and out of sight, we are able to observe the area and give them real time intel before they even arrive.”

Through direct communication with the mission commander, the sharpshooters let the team know how many people are in the area, their exact location, if there are any weapons or if the people seem to be hiding anything. That way, the team knows exactly what to expect before arriving at the location. “Close Precision Engagement provides us with the ability to see into the future,” said Special Agent Christopher Church, the OSI Det. 2410 commander. “They provide us with a situational awareness that we would not have without them. Having them watch over us during missions makes an enormous difference.”

The sharpshooters’ skills also help save lives during counter improvised explosive device and counter indirect fire operations. “We respond to routes that get hit by IEDs a lot, or an area that is known for launching IDFs,” said Sergeant Huffman, who is deployed from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. “We’ll set up somewhere concealed along that route or that area where we can watch people setting stuff up so we can get them before they can hurt our guys. We could be there from 24 to 72 hours.”

CPE team members also respond to their own comrades. If security forces members on patrol or on a post perceives suspicious activities in the area, they can call on the team to come out and, using their trained eyes, optics and night vision capability, determine if there is an actual threat.

Each sniper team consists of two people, the spotter and the shooter. The spotter’s responsibility is to determine things like the distance to the target, wind direction and then provide the shooter with corrections, which are adjustments on the rifle.

“Spotters do all the mathematical equations for range estimation, windage, everything from start to end,” said Airman 1st Class Matt Leeper, a CPET member also deployed from Eielson AFB. “The spotter definitely has the more difficult job. Your spotter has to be quick and accurate when giving the corrections. There is no time for the shooter to think twice. Your spotter is always right.”

There are approximately 350 trained sharpshooters in the Air Force. Security forces members must show exceptional marksmanship abilities and attend three weeks of training at Camp Robinson, Ark., to become a counter-sniper. “The school is physically and mentally very challenging,” Airman Leeper said. “You are learning from the first day you get there.”

There, students are introduced to the M-24 sniper rifle, the military version of a Remington 700. “The trigger squeeze on this weapon is a lot lighter than the M-4 and it also has a lot more kick,” Airman Leeper remarked. “Your shoulder gets roughed up at school where we fire more than 100 rounds a day.”

Despite being a small part of their job at Kirkuk RAB, the shooting is often the most important aspect. “Only about five percent of our job is taking that shot and the other 95 percent is intelligence gathering,” he said. “But when you are in a situation where you have to neutralize a threat, you can’t really think about anything except you have positive identification on that target, they have a weapon or you know they are placing an IED. You put that target in your cross hairs, you imagine it’s just a blank target at your school house and you pull the trigger. You don’t have time to think about anything else.”

The counter-snipers accomplish many missions, but find the most rewarding to be watching over soldiers or OSI agents, they said. “This is the reason why I joined,” Airman Leeper said. “When we are out there giving them info and providing cover I feel like I’m doing my job. I don’t feel like I deserve a medal, nothing like that. This is what my job is, and what I joined to do. I joined to come to Iraq and I went through sniper school to be an asset to the Air Force.”

Photo – Airman 1st Class Matt Leeper slowly squeezes the trigger of his M-24 sniper rifle, the military version of a Remington 700 Nov. 14 near Kirkuk Regional Air Base, Iraq. Airman Leeper is a memeber of the 506th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Close Precision Engagement team. The CPET train as anti-sniper teams to target terrorist and insurgent snipers attacking U.S. and coalition forces in the area. Airman Leeper is deployed from the 354th Security Forces Squadron at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt Angelique Perez).

Add this post to Technorati Technorati. Add this post to Del.icio.us Del.icio.us. Digg! Digg!

Read Full Post »

Source: US Central Command.

05 November 2007
BY Cpl. Nathan Hoskins
1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
.

CAMP TAJI, Iraq – When most kids get a new electronic toy, they play with it until it no longer interests them. But a small portion of those kids, when they get bored with the toy, simply grab some screw drivers and take it apart to see what makes it tick.

It’s quite possible that the majority of those kids that take apart their toys end up as aircraft maintainers in the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. Aircraft maintainers from Company B, 615th Aviation Support “Cold Steel” Battalion, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div., recently hit their 200th phase – a major maintenance mile stone.

There are two different types of phases that most helicopters go through, a preventive maintenance inspection 1 and preventive maintenance inspection 2, said Fajardo.

The difference between them is that in PMI 1 the Soldiers take the aircraft apart and visually inspect it, sometimes replacing a part here and there. For a PMI 2 they take everything apart knowing they’ll be replacing certain parts and any others that might need it along the way, Fajardo said.

The Avengers have five platoons that assist with phases. Each platoon plays an integral role in completing a particular phase.

First, there’s the Headquarters Platoon which handles the paperwork and scheduling for every phase bird. Next is the Forward Support Platoon which disassembles, inspects, and reassembles the aircraft. The Shops Platoon provides support to engines, hydraulics, rotor heads, and different structural pieces. Then there’s the Avionics Platoon which does inspections and repairs on aircraft radios, aviation survivability equipment and more.

Last, but not least, is the Armament Platoon which removes, inspects, repairs and reinstalls all of the Apache weapon and sighting systems, and works on all of the electrical and avionics systems.

It’s easy to see that the phase process is no child’s play – it’s a lot of hard work done by dedicated teams throughout Co. B.

For this maintenance phase team, formed of too many Soldiers to list here, it is not only their 200th phase, but their last phase before they head home, he said.

The Avengers have been working around the clock since they took over the mission from the 4th Infantry Division November 2006. Most of them didn’t even know they had done so many phases, said Spokane, Wash., native Capt. Christian Ruddell, a platoon leader for the Avengers.
“When we had been here a while I asked someone … how many they’d thought we’d done, and they said 35 when we had really done 120,” said Ruddell.

Aguadilla, Puerto Rico native, Sgt. Anthony Bermudez, a line shop leader for the Avengers, said the Soldiers don’t keep track, they just want to keep the aircraft moving through. “It didn’t even seem like 200. When you’re out there working on the aircraft, you’re not thinking ‘this is the tenth aircraft I’ve done,’ you just do it, get it over with and bring in the next one,” said Bermudez, whose team works on all things electronic.

For the 200th phase, the Co. B maintainers completed a PMI 1 on a Black Hawk.

Although they aren’t flying in Apaches killing the bad guys or flying the Chinooks and Black Hawks moving Soldiers safely through the air, they are still an integral part of the mission in Iraq, said Midwest City, Okla., native Sgt. Patrick McTheny, a technical inspector for Co. B. “Our job is to keep aircrafts flying. We reduce the footprint on the ground; we reduce IED exposure; we’re saving lives by keeping them in the air,” said McTheny.

And they’re doing it at break-neck speeds, he said. “Our turn around time is really good. The standard is 21 days (to complete) a PMI 2, but I’d say we’re averaging them in 15 to 18 days. That’s because of the experience we have on our phase team and good leadership,” said McTheny.

When standing back and looking at their deployment thus far, there is more to be said about hitting the 200th phase than just the large number, said San Antonio native Spc. Jared Rivera, an airframe structural repairer. “It’s not that the 200 isn’t important, but it’s also how far we’ve come in our jobs,” he said.

With all these phases and numerous other jobs that come up along the way, some of the novice
Avengers have matured into experts in their craft, said Milford, Ohio, native 1st Sgt. Timothy Johnson, the senior noncommissioned officer for the Avengers. “When we first deployed in October of 2006, we were undermanned and had a lot of troopers who were going on their first deployment; quite a few were straight out of (Advanced Individual Training) and had never performed a phase inspection before,” said Johnson.

“Thanks to the experienced NCOs and officers of our company, the phase teams pushed through the rough times in the beginning of the deployment and became the quality aircraft mechanics and maintenance technicians they are today,” he said.

“Rough times” is one way to put it, another way to break it down is to say that Co. B did seven years of work in one year, said Ruddell. “Experience-wise, you’d have to be in the states for six or seven years to get this much experience. We’ve condensed six or seven year’s worth of work down into a one-year time frame,” he said.

“I remember my first (sheet metal) job took me about six days. Now that same project would last me two hours, three hours maybe,” said San Antonio native Spc. George Ponce, an airframe structural repairer for Co. B. While the phase maintenance keeps the Soldiers busy, they are simultaneously working on other maintenance projects. Like all machines, things tend to wear out, break down, and – sometimes – get shot at, said Ponce.

While working on a phase, if an aircraft comes in that has battle damage it gets special attention to get it fixed and back out on mission, he said.

Contracted civilian maintainers augment the Soldiers during the phases and other maintenance missions. “We assist the Army; that’s our main function here is to assist the Army,” said Lucky Luciano, a civilian contractor from L3 Vertex Aerospace.

They’ll take up tasks just like the Soldiers in a relationship where it’s a give and take, Luciano said. “If we don’t know about something, we’ll ask them. If they don’t know something, then they’ll ask us. It’s 50-50,” he said.

Another L3 contractor, Charles Frye, knows the teamwork between the two groups created the right environment for 200 phases to be completed. “To produce that many phases with minimal deficiencies is a testament to the will and the character of the (Co. B and L3) phase teams,” said Frye.

“I’d compare our unit to the (National Football League’s New England) Patriots right now … because they’ve got more power players than they know what to do with. And that’s what we’re like right now; we look like a Super Bowl football team,” said Ashland, Pa., native Staff Sgt. Ron Bolinsky, an Apache technical inspector with the Avengers. [I protest! The NE Pats suck! lol]

Gone are the days of taking apart toys for these Soldiers and civilians. Now are the days of contributing to an important job in Iraq that directly affects the daily aerial missions. They take their job seriously and the 200 phases are a result. So, leave the child be who wants to take that toy apart … they may have a higher calling some day.

Photo – Soldiers from Company B “Avengers,” 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, pose near the UH-60 Black Hawk that they worked for their 200th major scheduled maintenance task – called a phase. A phase is when Soldiers take apart nearly the entire aircraft and inspect, repair or replace the parts, said San Diego, native Sgt. Justin Fajardo a squad leader for Co. B and the 200th phase team leader. Standing in front of the Black Hawk is a small part of the phase team. From left to right: Phoenix, Ariz., native Spc. James Eldridge, a hydraulics repairer; San Antonio native Spc. Jared Rivera, an airframe structural repairer; San Antonio native Spc. George Ponce, an airframe structural repairer; Fajardo; Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, native Sgt. Anthony Bermudez, a line shop team leader; Lakeland, Fla., native Sgt. Robert Evans, a Black Hawk mechanic; and Midwest City, Okla., native Sgt. Patrick McTheny, a technical inspector. Photo by Cpl. Nathan Hoskins, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs.

All emphasis is mine. 😉

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis Add this post to Technorati Technorati. Add this post to Del.icio.us Del.icio.us. Digg! Digg!

Posts I’ve trackbacked to at Linkfest: Wolf Pangloss: 10,000, Nuke’s, Perri Nelson’s Website, The Virtuous Republic, The Random Yak, Right Truth, The Populist, The Pink Flamingo, The Bullwinkle Blog, Big Dog’s Weblog, The Amboy Times, Wake Up America, and Conservative Cat, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Trackbacks to this post (most recent tb listed first):

  • 9. Truth in Cosmetic Surgery Blog: Many of the TV Docs aren’t Board-certified.
  • 8. 123beta: kos For Lunch.
  • 7. The Amboy Times: Grim Milestone Ignored.
  • 6. Dumb Ox Daily News: Photo Caption Fun! (Hey it’s almost the weekend...
  • 5. Blue Star Chronicles: We are Down to Hours now Rather than Days.
  • 4. Right Truth: Counter-intelligence withered on the vine?
  • 3. Blog @ MoreWhat.com: A Little Clinton History Vol 1 No 2.
  • 2. Faultline USA: House Passes Anti-War Bill.
  • 1. Wolf Pangloss: Busting the Iraqi Monopolies … of Violence.
  • Read Full Post »

    Source: US CentCom.

    25 October 2007
    By 1st Lt. David Herndon
    Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Public Affairs
    .

    NAGAD, Djibouti — A culmination of smiles and laughter filled the air as Airmen and Marines provided live entertainment, toys and water to the residents of Nagad village, Oct. 23 [2007].

    Nagad was the site of a Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa [CJTF-HOA] civil affairs engagement, teaming Airmen of the United States Central Air Forces’ Expeditionary Band and Marines of the 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion. The event marked the second time in October the two services joined together to provide humanitarian assistance to Djiboutian villages.

    “I think it’s great that we can bring some of our culture to our friends here in Djibouti and share goodwill with our neighbors,” said Marine Capt. Christopher Crim, 3rd LAAD Batter B commanding officer. “Regardless of service, we are all on the same team, the American team, and we look to once again spread our goodwill to our friends who are so kind and gracious to host our efforts.”

    The CENTAF Band’s mobile expeditionary performance group ‘Live Round,’ currently based out of Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, performed a blend of current and classic rock ‘n’ roll musical selections to entertain the crowd of nearly 200 villagers, primarily consisting of school-aged children.

    “We all speak different languages, but music seems to be something that unifies us all,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Joseph Grasso, CENTAF Band superintendent. “It is important that we reach kids at this age so we can let them know what America is all about and what we hope to accomplish in the region, which is to deter extremism.”

    For the Marines, who are deployed to CJTF-HOA from Camp Pendleton, Calif., this type of engagement is an additional mission to their primary duty of providing security to Camp Lemonier.

    “Tactically, civil affairs engagements are important to us because they accomplish the important goal of ensuring the local population views our presence as a benefit to them,” said Lt. Col. A.F. Potter, 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion commanding officer. “Civil affairs engagements are not only about economics and security; they are also about friendship-building, mutual trust, and genuine commitment. Targeting these things will create security and foster stability.”

    The band spent nearly two hours performing for villagers before 3rd LAAD Marines began passing gifts and water to village elders and children, an experience enjoyed by all.

    “Everyone knows that the Americans are very open here in Djibouti,” said Idriss Akmed Khayre, Nagad Village chief. “[CJTF-HOA] military members do so much good for us and we appreciate it. I look forward to working with [CJTF-HOA] again in the future.”

    According to Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Paul Eschliman, Live Round’s chief vocalist, the event served as a creative way for Airmen and Marines to work together to prevent conflict and extremism by fostering positive relationships in the local area. “This type of event will pay long-term dividends that most wouldn’t believe,” said Eschliman. “Making friends now will help our relationships grow exponentially in the distant future.”

    Civil Affairs engagements, similar to the Nagad concert, serve as opportunities for CJTF-HOA personnel to reduce the specter of conflict, war and extremism in the Horn of Africa. “We know that simply throwing money at a problem will not yield the desired results,” said Potter. “We must be truly genuine in our efforts to make friends and civil affairs is our ounce of prevention.”

    CJTF-HOA is a unit of United States Central Command. The organization conducts operations and training to assist partner nations to combat terrorism in order to establish a secure environment and enable regional stability. More than 1,500 people from each branch of the U.S. military, civilian employees, coalition forces and partner nations make up the CJTF-HOA organization. The area of responsibility for CJTF-HOA includes the countries of Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Yemen.

    Photo – Air Force Tech Sgt. Michael Mason, a vocalist with the U.S. Central command Air Force’s expeditionary band, Live Round, sings ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ for villagers in Nagad, Djibouti, Oct. 23. The band is touring Djibouti to perform a series of morale and community outreach concerts. Photo by 1st Lt. David Herndon.

    Great job, guys. I’m very proud of you.

    Add this post to Fark Fark. Add this post to Technorati Technorati. Add this post to Del.icio.us Del.icio.us. Digg! Digg!

    Read Full Post »

    C-17 Crews Make Record Airdrop

    Two C-17 air crews completed a record airdrop, simultaneously dropping supply loads in Afghanistan.

    17 October 2007
    By Staff Sgt. Trevor Tiernan
    U.S. Central Command Air Force Combat Correspondent Team
    .

    BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Oct. 17, 2007 — Two U.S. Air Force C-17 crews recently completed a mission for the history books with one of the largest single airdrops in Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom began.

    “What sets this mission apart from previous ones is this is the first time we’ve used two aircraft to drop simultaneously on the same drop zone in the AOR (area of responsibility),” said Tech. Sgt. Marvin Mosley, a loadmaster on the Oct. 11, 2007, mission.

    It also was the first time in combat that cargo has been air-dropped in a formation scenario. The two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft from the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron dropped more than 60 bundles of cargo, weighing more than 85,000 pounds, over the Paktika province in southeastern Afghanistan.

    U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brian Robinson, Air Mobility Division chief, Combined Air and Space Operations Center, said the drop contained supplies needed to operate through the winter, said. Poor road conditions leading to the forward operating base and force protection concerns drove the decision to make an airdrop, Robinson said. “Airdrop[s] could deliver all the supplies in two to three minutes using the C-17s and minimize [coalition forces’] exposure on the ground and in the air,” said Robinson.

    The crews flew from Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, to pick up the cargo at Bagram Airfield before heading to the drop zone. Air Force Capt. Ryan Orfe, one of the pilots on the mission, said the airdrop not only got the needed supplies to the troops well ahead of harsh winter weather, but also helped keep convoy drivers out of harm’s way.

    “Hopefully we’re doing good and taking convoys off the road,” said Orfe. “That seems to be where a lot of the attacks on our troops come from. The more we can keep [the convoys] off the road, while at the same time keeping ourselves safe flying at higher altitudes … it’s a win-win for everybody.”

    Photo- A second Air Force C-17 Globemaster drops Combat Delivery System bundles just a few hundred feet above another set floating down to coalition soldiers waiting below, Oct. 11, 2007. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Micah E. Clare.

    Source: US CentCom.

    Add this post to FarkFark. Add this post to TechnoratiTechnorati. Add this post to Del.icio.usDel.icio.us. My Web bookmark. Digg!Digg.

    Read Full Post »

    10 Aug 07
    by 1st Lt. Shannon Collins
    332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
    .

    BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) – Approximately 150 base volunteers and 380 Airmen with the 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group moved patients and equipment as they closed the doors on the old Air Force Theater Hospital and opened the doors to their pre-engineered facility here Aug. 3.

    Starting at 4 a.m., Airmen in each tent tunnel section began moving patients and equipment. Throughout the past two months, a transition team, along with the help of volunteers, set up the upgraded facility. They pre-positioned as much equipment and supplies as they could to make the transition easier for the patients and medical staff.

    Thousands of patients, ranging from American military members to Iraqi freedom fighters and civilians, have been treated at the hospital — the last Air Force military Level 3 trauma tent hospital in the theater. The staff performs more than 2,000 surgical procedures a month.

    “We have an outstanding survivability rate, reaching 98 percent, unheard of in prior conflicts,” said Col. (Dr.) Brian Masterson, 332nd EMDG commander. “The new facility helps to enhance that capability and helps improve the survivability and minimization of the consequences of war. Inside the new facility lies the most sophisticated lifesaving technology you’ll find anywhere in the world.”

    About 250 contractors worked during the day and about 150 at night to upgrade the pre-engineered facility within seven months. The existing building had been about 4,265 square feet and was the original Iraqi Air Force Academy Hospital.

    The tent hospital was originally set up by the U.S. Army when the U.S. military came to Balad in 2003. In September 2004, the Air Force assumed the trauma center mission. In December 2005, the Air Force opened the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility co-located with the newly remodeled, pre-engineered facility.

    The 332nd MDG’s tent hospital was about 63,105 square feet and a labyrinth of more than 30 tents. The new facility is approximately 97,000 square feet. Though there was some sentimental attachment to the tents, the upgrade gives the hospital and its staff of about 379 servicemembers several advantages.

    The new facility has up to 20 intensive care units, 40 beds and eight operating tables. Better environmental controls, better power production and distribution systems,
    conditioned power, indoor plumbing, all medical services in one area, safety and space are just some of the many advantages of the new facility, said Lt. Col. Michael Glass, 332nd EMDG logistics flight commander.

    The previous tent hospital had very little insulation, and the environmental control units could only reduce the temperature by 20 degrees less than the ambient temperature outside, said Colonel Glass. During the summer months, the temperature reaches 120 degrees on a regular basis.

    “When these systems were operating at full capacity, they tripped the breakers, causing temporary but frequent power outages,” he said. “When the power went out, the tents heated up very fast. The new hospital has hundreds of AC units to provide very controlled temperatures, and it should stay around 75 to 80 degrees year round.”

    The new facility has cleaner power systems and power conditioning systems, meaning less wear and tear on the most expensive medical equipment.

    One of the biggest advantages is space. The new facility has double the number of trauma bays and six isolation beds for potential infectious patients, beds they did not have in the tents. The operating rooms and patient rooms are also bigger and better, said the colonel.

    Maj. Vik (Dr.) Bebarta, 332nd EMDG emergency medicine chief and flight commander for the emergency department, and his team of 24 are looking forward to the benefits of the new facility.

    “The controlled climate, limited dust and better lighting will allow us to provide even better care to our injured Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines,” said the major, on his second deployment to the tent hospital.

    “Working in the tents for eight months was a unique experience,” he said. “The intimate ‘soft wall’ setting created a tropism for cohesiveness, communication, passion, urgency, efficiency and patient-focused critical medical care. I hope that ethos carries over to the new setting.”

    During the day of the move, the emergency department Airmen set up a department in each hospital and worked on patients in both facilities until the transition was complete. The emergency department staff evaluates about 750 patients a month, and 625 are admitted. About 65 percent of the patients are traumatic injuries, most of which are combat-related.

    “We act as the entry point for all critically ill patients at the (Air Force Theater Hospital),” the major said. “We assess, resuscitate and stabilize all traumatic and medically ill patients. Our primary mission integrates with all facets of the hospital.”

    Lt. Col. (Dr.) Jim Keeney is the chief of orthopedic surgery and a regular member of the operating room staff. He said the tent environment posed a few challenges.

    “During the summer months, temperatures inside the tents would reach peaks over 100 degrees,” he said. “The operating rooms were in portable units with a ceiling height of approximately seven feet. Bars and light fixtures suspended from the ceiling made frequent contact with surgeon heads. The general size of the rooms made positioning of equipment tight. This was particularly the case during surges in patient-care activity, when we typically had two surgeries being performed within the same room simultaneously.”

    In the new facility, the operating rooms are significantly larger, providing better ability to move equipment and ease the process of performing procedures, the colonel said. Climate control is better regulated throughout the building as well.

    During an average month, the 332nd EMDG teams admit approximately 625 patients, requiring more than 700 trips to the operating room for an average of 3.5 surgical procedures per patient. The success of the AFTH trauma system is reflected in a 98 percent survivorship of U.S. military members evacuated to definitive care. The survival of wounds during past conflicts was less than 80 percent, said the colonel.

    From patient wards to the emergency department to the operating rooms, the pre-engineered facility offers a variety of improvements to make combat patient care even better. Whether staff members work in tents or a pre-engineered facility, they find their deployment highly satisfying, said Colonel Keeney.

    “This is certainly the best professional deployment for Air Force surgeons with an interest in trauma,” he said.

    Though Aug. 3 was a very long day for the volunteers and medical staff, the move was considered a success, said Colonel Keeney.

    “From the perspective of a surgeon, the best thing about the move was the fact that it was coordinated well enough to fully maintain our ability to provide trauma care without a hitch during the transition process,” he said.

    Senior Airman Scott Hatch, a 332nd Expeditionary Medical Support Squadron biomedical equipment technician, was part of the transition team that helped upgrade the former Iraqi Air Force Academy Hospital.

    “The new facility is amazing,” said Airman Hatch. “It’s easy to forget sometimes that it’s an expeditionary project. Seeing the new facility near the tent hospital is like a night and day difference. The new facility will make a wonderful gift to the Iraqi people when our mission here is accomplished.”

    Photo – Maj. Julie Zwies and Capt. Kathy Betts inventory equipment at the new Air Force Theater Hospital at Balad Air Base, Iraq, Aug. 3. Starting at 4 a.m., about 150 base volunteers and 380 332nd EMDG Airmen moved patients and equipment to the newly upgraded, pre-engineered facility. Major Zwies and Captain Betts are assigned to the 332nd Medical Group lab flight. Photo 1st Lt. Shannon Collins.

    Read Full Post »

    8 Aug 07
    by Staff Sgt. Cassandra Locke
    380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
    .

    SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) – To show their appreciation for other’s efforts and hard work, Airmen from the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing have been volunteering to serve food to the operations personnel at the base’s containerized deployable kitchen.

    Chaplain (Capt.) Kevin Humphrey, 380th AEW chaplain has volunteered to serve food 10 times since he’s been deployed here from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. “I used to work in food services before coming into the military and understand how difficult a job it is and how thankless, so I like to volunteer to let them know with my words and my actions that I genuinely appreciate what they bring to the fight,” he said.

    The chaplain’s goal is to make the Airmen laugh. He will ask diners if they want “camel spider” or “deep fried dove” for their entree. “It is such a great way to quickly touch base with people and get a real pulse for the morale of the wing. I also enjoy trying to make them laugh and brightening their day.” He said that little things like a smiling face and a bright attitude can have a tremendous impact on someone’s day. Sometimes it seems people get so far removed from the direct mission of the wing; they forget what it is about, the chaplain said.

    “All of us do our jobs to put planes in the air so we can put bombs on target or be the eyes in the sky; however, we forget when we do not venture over to the flightline what the true mission really is and we have a tendency to have a narrow perspective solely focused on what we do and not the mission as a whole,” Chaplain Humphrey said.

    For Staff Sgt. John Geer, 380th AEW chaplain assistant, deployed here from Seymour Johnson, he volunteers because he likes helping people and is concerned about the morale and well-being of the Airmen.

    “This opportunity gave me chance to have fellowship with those I don’t see as often as I would like,” said Sergeant Geer. Prior to being a chaplain’s assistant, he worked on the flightline with the B-52 Stratofortress. “I think it’s important to serve over there because it shows appreciation and improves relations. Sometimes it is hard to get help for yourself with anything that may be going on in your life because you’re concentrating on the mission and using the core value of service before self to stay late, skip meals, and so much more, that when someone can come out to you and lend a helping hand, and an open ear it means a lot,” Sergeant Geer said. The chaplain staff also delivers popsicles on the flightline.

    For Capt. Michelle McKinney, 380th AEW financial management, deployed here from Scott AFB, Ill., volunteering her time keeps her humble. “I think it’s important to understand what some of the other career fields do on a daily basis, especially those that are often taken for granted,” she said. Although Airmen here work long hours every day doing their respective operations and responsibilities, they are also taking the time to serve those who serve — reiterating that Airmen can be wingmen at home and abroad.

    Photo – Brig. Gen. Lawrence Wells, the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, dishes up a meal for a diner Aug. 7 at the containerized deployable kitchen. The general and members of his staff served food at the CDK all week to show their appreciation for the hard work and efforts put in on the operational side of base. Photo by Airman 1st Class Matthew Cook.

    Read Full Post »

    7 Aug 07
    By Staff Sgt. Cassandra Locke
    379th Air Expeditionary Wing
    .

    SOUTHWEST ASIA – The 379th Expeditionary Wing’s aerospace medicine team provides care for the flyers so they can stay in the fight. “We are the maintainers of the ‘wet ware’ that flies the hardware,” said Maj. Walter Matthews, chief of aerospace medicine for the wing.

    Flight surgeons are rated aircrew along with pilots and navigators and are required to fly four hours per month to maintain currency. “In order to evaluate the factors involved in flying here, we fly with our air crews,” said Matthews, who is deployed here from Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.

    Traditional medicine deals with abnormal physiology in a normal environment, while aerospace medicine deals with mostly normal physiology in an abnormal environment. The flight medics provide occupational medicine for maintainers, ensure the safety of the workplace and oversee their water and food quality. The team also assists the fire chief with the medical aspects of in-flight emergency investigations along with gathering the medical intelligence from the rest of the crew members.

    “The quality of medical care received in both the flight medicine clinic and the main clinic is the same, but flight surgeons see medicine through a distinctly operational lens,” said Matthews. “We are charged with being the bridge between the flying world and the medical world.

    The most critical requirement for the crew to accomplish their mission is to gain the trust of the flying community. To do this, the flight medics spend most of their time in the aircraft on the line. “Air crews can sometimes have a hard time trusting docs, but they usually trust ‘their own.’ This is why flight surgeons are as much aircrew as physicians,” said Matthews.

    Not only do the flyers rely on the support of the physicians, but the doctors rely on the flyers as well. The crew must not only fix what is wrong with a flyer, but also must determine if that condition will cause problems in the jet or degrade the flyer’s ability to effectively fight in the air.

    “A strong bridge must be well-anchored on both sides,” said Matthews.

    Each of the flight medicine Airmen is part of one of the flying squadrons. The medics are part of the squadron medical element for those groups and are given the responsibility to keep the Airmen healthy. “The doctors, independent duty medical technicians and medical technicians all bring different skills to the table to form a cohesive unit that can deal with anything that is presented to them,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Nored, deployed from Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.

    Off the line, on a daily basis the flight medicine clinic sees patients for initial illnesses, follow-ups, shots and malaria medication. “We are building a healthier population by being vigilant with our immunizations program,” said Tech. Sgt. Marc Marrerro, deployed from Offutt Air Force, Neb.

    They maintain a presence of all aspects of the mission that affect the flying community by ensuring the health and performance of the flyers, providing primary medical care, conducting evaluations and monitoring performance enhancement.

    Photo – Airman 1st Class Nagelia Harrison, 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron flight medicine clinic, prepares to draw a blood sample from a patient’s arm. The flight medicine clinic caters specifically to the health of aircrew member. Photo by Staff Sgt. Cassandra Locke.

    Read Full Post »

    27 July 07
    by Maj. Robert Couse-Baker
    332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
    .

    BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) — F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing here destroyed an al-Qaida training camp southwest of Baghdad July 21.

    In a coordinated attack, joint air terminal controllers on the ground cleared seven F-16s to drop 500-pound and 1,000-pound guided bombs on the terror complex near Karbala.

    The precision-guided weapons destroyed the target, degrading al-Qaida’s ability to mount attacks on the Iraqi government, coalition forces and innocent civilians.

    The destruction of the terrorist facility is part of aggressive and comprehensive operations to hunt down, capture or kill terrorists trying to prevent a peaceful and stable Iraq, said Col. Charles Moore, the 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group commander. “Our Airmen and other coalition forces are helping Iraq achieve a stable government and ultimately, helping the United States and our allies to defeat terrorism,” he said.

    A large part of the 332nd AEW’s combat effectiveness stems from the Air Force’s culture of excellence. “We train day-to-day to make sure when we are called upon to deliver, we do it with precision and professionalism,” said Capt. Kevin Hicok, a pilot with the 13th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, deployed here from Misawa Air Base, Japan. “Deliberate coordination and careful planning goes into every weapons drop,” Captain Hicok said, “to ensure that we have a positive ID on the target and that everyone is on the same page.”

    The recent increase in air operations is part of the coalition’s increasing pressure on violent extremists, primarily in Baghdad and nearby areas. In a separate air strike north of Baghdad July 22, another F-16 from Balad AB dropped a precision-guided weapon on a terrorist weapons cache in a rural area, destroying it and detonating the explosives stored inside.

    “I could not be prouder of the way our Airmen performed on Saturday,” Colonel Moore said. “The events of this past weekend once again demonstrate the Air Force’s ability to deliver decisive combat airpower any place and at any time.”

    Photo – An F-16 Fighting Falcon takes off for a combat mission in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom July 22 at Balad Air Base, Iraq. The two F-16s are deployed from the Oklahoma Air National Guard’s 138th Fighter Wing at the Tulsa International Airport. F-16s from the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing destroyed an al-Qaida training camp southwest of Baghdad July 21. Photo Senior Airman Olufemi A. Owolabi.

    Read Full Post »

    25 July 07
    by Tech. Sgt. Russell Wicke
    447th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs
    .

    NEW AL-MUTHANA AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) — Firefighters from the 447th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron are spending their spare time training firefighters from the Iraqi air force to make them an autonomous unit at New Al-Muthana Air Base. Airmen spend about one day a week running Iraqis through drills and training procedures.

    During training earlier this month, Master Sgt. Craig Milton, the 447th ECES assistant fire chief, put together a live building fire. During this scenario the firefighters from the U.S and Iraqi air forces had to work together to extinguish the fire and rescue a 200-pound dummy from a burning room. Other training involved a simulated burning aircraft where Iraqis had to shut down jet engines and remove an unconscious pilot.

    Airmen have been training Iraqis regularly for about two months, said Master Sgt. Steven Carver, the 447th ECES deputy fire chief. The most pressing obstacle is the Iraqi’s equipment deficit. Sergeant Carver said they just cannot obtain good equipment easily and could use up-to-date rescue trucks and more breathing tanks.

    However, other areas involve a mindset, and not the pocketbook. Inexperience is a speed bump since none of the Iraqis here were firefighters before April 2003, said Hassan Shimary, the Iraqi air force fire chief. “In the United States, (firefighters) have learned from many mistakes, like rushing into a building without first making observations,” Sergeant Carver said. “People die if you don’t consider the environment, and that’s what we’re trying to teach them.”

    An entire U.S. Air Force squadron is here to provide guidance and to council the members of the Iraqi air force. The 370th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron works closely with Iraqi airmen from multiple professions daily. But Col. Mark Schmitz, the 370th AEAS commander, said he has no firefighter advisers in his squadron, and he depends on the firefighters from the 447th ECES to volunteer help. “I’m lucky enough to be based next to Sather where there are experienced firefighters,” the colonel said. “The Iraqis have equipment, manning and training shortfalls, but I think their firefighters are improving because of the Sather firefighters help.”

    With the right training, the Iraqis will get the experience they need to be independent in a couple years, Sergeant Milton said. And during that time, the Iraqis said they hope to continue to build working relationships with Americans. “We enjoy the experience to train with Americans,” said Chief Shimary through a translator. “We are glad to have the Americans for friends; they give us confidence in what we’re doing.”

    Photo – Master Sgt. Craig Milton observes firefighters from the Iraqi air force remove Staff Sgt. Vance Vansteel from an Iraqi C-130 flight deck July 9 at New Al-Muthana Air Base, Iraq. Sergeant Vansteel represented an unconscious pilot during a simulated aircraft fire. The exercise trained Iraqis to respond to an aircraft fire by shutting down engines and removing an unconscious pilot. U.S. Airmen set up the scenario and guided them through the process. Sergeants Milton and Vansteel are firefighters with the 447th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron. Photo Tech. Sgt. Russell Wicke.

    Read Full Post »

    Have you ever read an article that made you just want to know more but knew you couldn’t? This is one of those for me. Here we have two pilots that are shot down in Iraq surrounded by insurgents, and it took around half an hour for them to be rescued. For half an hour! What did the rescue team find when they did arrive? Not a single injuring! That is the kind of movie I would pay to see, but I am not quite sure I could stand the vocabulary that may have transpired duing this ordeal. lol. Check it out at Downed Pilots Endure 30 Minutes of Intensity Before Rescue. Have a great day.

    Read Full Post »

    News from CentCom:

    21 Jun 07
    By Staff Sgt. Cassandra Locke
    379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
    .

    SOUTHWEST ASIA — The 379th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron has not only made it possible for a speedier recovery by picking up injured and sick servicemembers, but is providing the care and comfort needed to put their patients at ease.

    Each time a crew from the 379th flies on a mission to care for patients, they are humbled by those injured in theater. [Continue reading.]

    This is a mixture of emotions article, from heart-wretching to proud to grateful. It is heart-wretching for me to hear about even one of our men in pain, let alone murdered. But this is war, and I have to deal with it.

    It makes me so proud when I hear stories about our injured men who, to them, the only problem is when can they have their ‘gear’ back and join their team! Gratitude comes from the knowledge that they are doing this for you and me. Maybe not directly, maybe we’ll never meet face to face, maybe…but wow. They know this as well. I am truly humbled.

    Read Full Post »

    News from CentCom:

    21 Jun 07
    By Sgt. 1st Class Rick Emert
    1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
    .

    CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Unmanned aerial vehicle teams from 1st Air Cavalry Brigade (ACB) have amassed 20,000 flight hours in the skies over Baghdad.

    The crews, assigned or attached to the 615th Aviation Support Battalion (ASB) “Cold Steel,” 1st ACB, 1st Cavalry Division, surpassed the deployment total of the unit that previously had the mission in Multinational Division-Baghdad, according to Capt. Joshua Chase, executive officer for Company E, 615th ASB – the unit that conducts the UAV mission for MND-B. [Continue reading.]

    Boy, I’ll tell ya. If these guys ever stop being competitive, I think it shall be my duty to drop dead! lol. What is the competiton? You’ll just have to read the article to find out! Needless to say, these guys are awesome.

    Read Full Post »