Saturday, July 31, 2010
By Staff Sgt. Emily J. Russell
Wisconsin National Guard
Today's Soldiers require different skills than even a few years ago as the demands of modern military missions continually change. To prepare Wisconsin Army National Guard recruits for the mental, physical and emotional challenge they will face at basic combat training, the Recruit Sustainment Program teaches new Soldiers what to expect - and do - to keep them in step with this ever-changing environment.
"The Recruit Sustainment Program's primary mission is to prepare newly enlisted soldiers to succeed at basic and advance training," said Master Sgt. Joshua Reed, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the Green Bay-based RSP Delta Company. "This in turn supports the [unit] commander's mission and reduces our training pipeline losses which provides the Wisconsin Adjutant General with a more operational and ready force."
The less amount of time a recruit spends between signing up and shipping to basic training means a lower attrition rate. The goal is to get a recruit shipped within 120 days of joining.
"We perform in-ranks inspections and drill and ceremony daily, we want these skills ingrained in each recruit before they [ship to basic training]," said Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Liske, a platoon sergeant for the RSP. "The more they learn here the less stressful basic training will be.
"They can't absorb everything we throw at them so we work on repetition to make sure they have a good grasp on basic skills," Liske added. "We're not as hard [on them] as drill sergeants but we are strict."
Pfc. Dan Grosso, a new recruit who is scheduled to ship to basic training in August, began attending RSP drill weekends in February.
"This is giving me the knowledge I need for when I get [to basic training]," Groso said. "Without the RSP, I'd be a slacker and wouldn't be in the [physical] shape I'm in or know what to expect."
Pvt. Tyler Klozotsky, a Soldier who completed basic training and is waiting to ship to advanced individual training where he'll learn to be a medic, was pleased with what he learned before he left for basic training too.
"I was one of six people who passed the [Army physical fitness test] at basic," Klozotsky said. "Back here, I share my experience from basic training and help out with the new recruits."
New Soldiers learn what will be expected of them whether it's in regard to discipline, tradition or physical requirements. By reducing the amount of uncertainty, the individuals' comfort level is increased allowing them to be more mentally prepared to accomplish the tasks ahead.
"Today kids' fitness levels are trending down, which makes it more of a challenge to prepare them to overcome those physical challenges at basic training," Reed said. "The current generation of kids is used to instant gratification and is very tech savvy; sometimes it takes some additional coaching to get them to understand you have to work hard to achieve certain goals. This doesn't mean they are bad kids or incapable of military service, most are still highly motivated and want to serve their country but we as trainers at the RSP need to be cognizant of the challenges the kids will face."
Instilling the Army "Warrior Ethos" creates a strong foundation of training that allows the recruit the ability to achieve success while attending basic and advanced training. The Warrior Ethos internalizes Army fundamentals as vows - "I will always place the mission first; I will never accept defeat; I will never quit; I will never leave a fallen comrade."
"We have seen a tremendous increase in the success rate of our Soldiers attending training," Reed said. "The success rate has improved by approximately 18 percent. Our drill attendance rate for non-[military occupational specialty qualified] Soldiers has increased by more than 24 percent."
Pvt. Ashley Enderby, a recruit who completed basic training last year, is awaiting her next school where she will become qualified as light-medium truck driver.
"RSP has prepared me well," she said. "I was one of the only privates who knew what they were doing. I felt like I was on top of my game."
Enderby and other Soldiers who completed basic training are a step ahead of those recruits who still waiting to attend basic. Platoon sergeants develop the new basic training graduates by assigning them small leadership roles within the RSP.
"They ask me to lead formations or small groups to perform simple tasks," Enderby said. "It makes me feel like I know what I'm doing and gives me an opportunity to feel what it's like in a leadership position."
The returning basic training graduates help to monitor and correct small groups of new Soldiers and will lead groups of 10 to 20 people.
"When they take charge, they're building confidence and more leadership skills at the age of 17 years old than many 30-year-old civilians," said Sgt. 1st Class Chad Kurowski, a platoon sergeant with the RSP.
"Our service members are singled out at basic training because they know what's going on," Kurowski continued. "They know how to wear their uniform, how to talk to a [non-commissioned officer] or an officer, the correct way to do [physical fitness training] and how to [execute] drill and ceremony movements."
The changes in the new recruits aren't just evident in the military environment; they often shine through in the Soldier's civilian life.
"Parents are so supportive because they see a night-and-day difference in their [children] between their junior and senior year of high school," Kurowski said of the Soldiers who enlist and ship to basic training before their final year in high school. "Discipline, responsibility and integrity play a big role in the change. If everyone in society lived by these Army Values, how great would we be?"
Since the RSPs inception in 2005 the attrition rate of new enlistees who did not go to basic training has decreased dramatically, improving the statistics of Soldiers successfully completing basic and advanced training.
"[In 2005] the ship rate for new soldiers was 77 percent," Reed said. "By 2008 it moved up to 84 percent. [Currently] we're at a 94 percent ship rate which is an incredible improvement which supports our mission of providing the adjutant general with [qualified] Soldiers that are fit, trained and ready to deploy in support of the Wisconsin Army National Guard."
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF THINKING THAT JOINTLY AND SIMULTANEOUSLY MUST BE EXERCISED BY A LEADER TO FIRST GUESS THE FUTURE RIGHT? By Copyright 2010 Andres Agostini --All Rights Reserved --
Quickly stated and when invoking THINKING – as per the undersigned – it is succinctly to say and DO (that is) by way of example:
"Terra Incognita" Thinking
Weird Science's Thinking
"Einsteinian Gedanke" Thinking
Weird Science's Thinking
“Rara Avis” Thinking
“Edisonian Research” Thinking
“À la Quantum Mechanics” Thinking
“A Priori” Thinking
“A Posteriori” Thinking
“A Cappella” Thinking
“Against the whole cliche of the moment” Thinking
“Against Sloppy, Emotional” Thinking
“Against Fashionable” Thinking
“Against Inexpensive” Thinking
"Post Mortem" Thinking
"Short-Term and Long-Term" Thinking
"Pre Mortem" Thinking
Pre-“Post Mortem” Thinking
“Primum nocere” Thinking
“Primum non nocere” Thinking
“Applied Omniscience Knowledge” Thinking
“Over-Hauled Re-Engineering” Thinking
“Alpha and Omega” Thinking
“Continuous Improvement and Innovation” Thinking
“Support Learning and Change” Thinking
Thursday, July 29, 2010
National Guard Bureau
July 29, 2010 - The Utah National Guard's 141st Military Intelligence Battalion will deploy to Iraq in a few weeks with 83 soldiers who have earned Eagle Scout badges from the Boy Scouts of America. "It's easy being a battalion commander of Eagle Scouts, because you don't have to worry about them," said Army Lt. Col. Matt Price, the battalion commander and a scout leader for his sons, who include three Eagle Scouts. "They have high values, because they have been taught that as young men. You can trust them."
The 286-member unit is in field training at its pre-mobilization site, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
During a recent meeting with civilian employers, Price said, he asked all the Eagle Scouts in the room to stand. Almost half of his unit stood up. So during the next battalion formation, the Eagle Scouts were asked to stay behind for a group photo. That is when they counted off as 83 Eagle Scouts representing all ranks and many military occupational specialties.
The unit's senior noncommissioned officer, Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Lofland, is a scout master.
"We feel like [part of the] the scout program," Price said. "To me, the Scout Law is similar to Army values."
Price said he believes Robert Baden Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts, would be proud of his creation. "We're celebrating 100 years of Boy Scouting this year, and if he could look back and see what is going on, he would be quite happy."
In Iraq, the battalion will conduct human intelligence missions with Iraqi security forces. "We will be directly training and advising them how to do force protection," Price said.
Price said he appreciates the uniqueness of his citizen-soldiers. They are older and college educated, with more real-world experience as teachers and police officers, he noted.
"I am bringing a group of community leaders with me to Iraq," he said.
Price said his Eagle Scouts also bring additional skills to the Guard. "The Boy Scout program itself teaches young men to be men," he said. "You teach them values. ... You are teaching them survivability skills. They are used to camping, and used to roughing it."
Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts. Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than 2 million young men, according to published reports. The title is held for life.
Between the ages of 12 and 18, a Scout will work to achieve Eagle rank by earning 12 required merit badges and nine elective merit badges. He also must demonstrate "Scout Spirit" through the Boy Scout oath and law and through community service and leadership, which includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads and manages.
Earning the Eagle Scout's badge was "the only thing I had done in my life that led me to think that I could make a difference; that I could be a leader," Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told an estimated crowd of 45,000 gathered on 12,000 acres on Fort A.P. Hill, Va., as part of the annual National Scout Jamboree yesterday.
"It was the first thing I had done that told me I might be different, because I had worked harder, was more determined, more goal-oriented, more persistent than most others," Gates said.
Price said the key to scouting is service to others.
"To be able to protect yourself and your family but also look outwards and help others," he said. "These are different kinds of soldiers. They look beyond themselves. We are bringing a higher quality of citizen-soldier with us who is looking for ways to help other people."
American Forces Press Service
July 28, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today shared his personal experiences and passion for Boy Scouting with tens of thousands of Scouts and their families gathered for the 100th anniversary celebration of the Boy Scouts of America. "Scouting has been a big part of my life and my family's life," Gates told an estimated crowd of 45,000 gathered on 12,000 acres on Fort A.P. Hill, Va., as part of the annual National Scout Jamboree.
Gates, an Eagle Scout who has served on the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts and is past president of the National Eagle Scout Association, shared his experiences growing up as a Boy Scout, earning scouting's top rank 52 years ago, and being involved in his son's Boy Scout troop. Even after serving eight presidents and years of working with world leaders, the secretary said, his memories of his Scout leaders are just as memorable.
Noting that their lives were "a bit unusual," Gates told of going on a father-son camping trip when he was CIA director. "A hundred yards from our encampment were three, large black vans, a satellite dish, and a number of armed security officers surrounding the campsite," he said. "Now there's a challenge no Scoutmaster could have anticipated."
Gates told the Scouts he was speaking to them "as a leader from one generation talking with the leaders of the next generation," and said he was like most of them when he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at age 15.
"I wasn't a straight-A student, nor was I a particularly good athlete," he said. "I wasn't really a student leader." When he arrived in Washington, D.C., at age 22 to begin work at the CIA, he said, "I could fit everything I owned into the back seat of my car. I had no connections and I didn't know a soul."
Earning the Eagle Scout's badge was "the only thing I had done in my life that led me to think that I could make a difference; that I could be a leader," he said to applause. "It was the first thing I had done that told me I might be different because I had worked harder, was more determined, more goal-oriented, more persistent than most others."
The secretary told the Scouts some of them will go on to be leaders in industry, the government and the military. But most importantly, he said, scouting has set them on the path to "becoming a man of integrity and decency, a man of moral courage, a man unafraid of hard work, a man of strong character – the kind of person who built this country and made it the greatest democracy and the greatest economic powerhouse in the history of the world.
"A scout is marked for life as an example of what a boy and man can be and should be," he continued. "You are role models."
In the past 100 years, Gates said, there has been no better program for preparing future leaders than the Boy Scouts. "The fate of our nation in the years to come and the future of the world itself depend on the kind of people we modern Americans prove to be," he said.
The secretary acknowledged that much has changed in the 50 years since he was a Boy Scout.
"We live in an America today where the young are increasingly physically unfit and society as a whole languishes in ignoble moral ease," he said. "But not in scouting."
There are too many places in American life today without the Boy Scouting values of self-reliance, self-control, honor, integrity and morality, Gates said. "From Wall Street to Washington to our hometowns," he said, "in all our lives there are people who seek after riches or the many kinds of power without regard to what is right or true or decent.
"I am here today because I believe in the extraordinary power of scouting to be a force for good in a community and in the lives of its boys and young men," he continued. "As I look out at all of you, I see the legacy of scouting: a new generation of worthy leaders. ...With leaders such as you, America will continue to be the beacon of hope and decency and justice for the rest of the world."
RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – The Air Force recently selected its two winners of the 2010 National LATINA Symposium Distinguished Service Award.
The award honors the servicemember and civilian employee who demonstrate distinguished performance and display exceptional character as role models representing the Hispanic community with dignity and pride.
This year’s winners are Master Sgt. Sandra Nunes, 56th Medical Group at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and Julie Moran, National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
Sergeant Nunes managed pharmacy operations leading 38 personnel and executing a $13 million budget. She assisted the 69-member humanitarian mission “Beyond the Horizon” as an interpreter in the Dominican Republic benefitting 8,600 local residents who received critical medical care. Additionally, she evaluated the Maricopa County Public Health Department’s bioterrorist attack readiness during its 2009 exercise.
Ms. Moran led a team of 25 analysts in making sure data from the first $162 million component of the Space Based Infrared System would be accessible to the intelligence community on schedule. She also led the development of a $52 million system for advanced infrared intelligence processing and dissemination.
For more information on this and other Air Force recognition programs, visit the Air Force Personnel Center personnel services website at https://gum.afpc.randolph.af.mil/ or call the Total Force Service Center toll-free at (800) 525-0102 or DSN 665-5000.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Defense Logistics Agency Strategic Communications Office
July 28, 2010 - When Betty Hoapili was selected to attend the Department of Defense's Executive Leadership Development Program, she got the chance to walk in a warfighter's shoes. The 23-year civil service veteran, a logistics program analysis officer on the Defense Logistics Agency's Air Force Customer Support Team in the Operations and Sustainment Division of DLA Logistics Operations, was looking to complement her career path when she responded to the program's call for nominations through DLA's Executive Development Program.
One of the program requirements was to complete a staff study. Hoapili's study focused on the Defense Department's acquisition community and its ability to handle the impending wave of retirements projected in the next five years.
"I looked at whether or not the [defense] acquisition career field is headed for ... a 'brain drain' and developed possible courses of action," she said.
Hoapili said she prepared herself for the various types of training and temporary duty assignments, which took place one to two weeks each month for 10 months -- a total of 95 days. She also needed to keep up with her regular workload, which she said helped her learn about juggling priorities.
At the program orientation, Hoapili said, her instructors told participants they were lucky to have been selected.
"One of the things they said to us was, 'You 61 people have won the lottery,' [because] there were 600 applicants, she recalled. The participants were split into six teams, including one military member per team, Hoapili said.
The first "deployment" was to core training at the Southbridge Conference Center in Southbridge, Mass., where Hoapili said team members were challenged physically, mentally and emotionally.
Team members had to complete a fitness test – sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups – to ensure they could safely participate in the program's demanding activities.
"[Early] the next morning ... those who had not passed any aspect of the physical testing had to report to the gym area and were going to focus on additional training," she said.
Although Hoapili and her teammates had passed the physical test, she said she went to the gym anyway to help other program members prepare for the re-test. It was a proud moment when those members passed the test too, Hoapili said.
At another deployment, she volunteered for a swimming challenge at the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL School at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, Calif. The challenge involved swimming in full military gear out to a Navy SEAL positioned in the ocean.
"It was very scary because of the significant undertow and the crashing waves. ... There was one point where I thought, 'I wonder if I'm going to drown.' [But] when I made it back to the beach and the rest of my teammates were cheering me, I knew I'd challenged myself to do my best. That's why I [volunteered]," Hoapili said.
One of the program's key tenets involves showing participants they can do more than they'd thought, she said.
"That's the starting point for any good leader, ... knowing your capabilities and pushing yourself ... to see what you can do when faced with a tough challenge, ... to go one step beyond what you thought you could do," she said.
"How to adapt to changing circumstances is part of the skill set that this program was teaching me," Hoapili said.
After the swimming challenge, program members were required to drag an inflatable raft up and down the beach and then complete an obstacle course.
Despite being driven to physical exhaustion on that California beach, Hoapili said, her biggest challenge was yet to come at the U.S. Army Ranger School, at Fort Benning, Ga.
Standing on top of a 75-foot tower and stepping off to rappel down was more of a mental challenge for Hoapili, one she wasn't sure she could do.
"That first step took a lot of faith on my part, [but I had] confidence in my equipment and confidence in the instructors that were there ... assuring me they had my back," she said.
During times when she was less confident in her abilities, Hoapili said, she repeated a mantra to herself.
"Leaders are tough; leaders are strong; leaders can do these things," she said.
Still, Hoapili credits her accomplishments to her team's never-ending support.
"I was blessed with an amazing team of people. We called ourselves 'Team High Five.' ... Those 10 people became a family. ... We were there for each other. It goes back to working on behalf of warfighters; [they] were my warfighters, and I didn't want let them down, and we refused to leave anyone behind," Hoapili said.
Each year during graduation ceremonies, one class member is awarded special recognition. This year, Hoapili was awarded that distinction and presented the Rosemary E. Howard Leadership Award. She was unaware she would be receiving the peer-nominated award.
"To be nominated by your peers is an extreme honor," Hoapili said. "When I read the award's inscription: 'Based on Courage, Determination, Leadership and Professionalism,' I was very humbled," she said.
Hoapili said she took two lessons away from her experience in the program. The first was a reinforcement of a lesson learned from her father.
"My dad is a retired Air Force chief master sergeant; he always taught me the backbone of our armed forces is our enlisted corps," she said. "That was reinforced to me ... because at every deployment, the individuals who were teaching me, ... training me, ... equipping me were all [noncommissioned officers]."
The second take-away is the power of teamwork, she said.
"Not only did my teammates have my back, but trained, amazing warfighters had my back as well. [I value] the whole concept of courage and compassion and competence in terms of strong leadership and what's expected of us as future civilian leaders," she said.
Gary Gonthier, a performance-based logistics program manager in DLA Aviation's Strategic Customer Engagement Branch was also on Hoapili's team.
"Betty was a welcome member of the team. ... [She] is socially gregarious, which manifests itself in the precious attention she paid to both organizational and personal details," he said.
The combination of Hoapili's interpersonal style, which included offering praise and other affirmations to participants, set against a backdrop of structure, schedules and order made her a compassionate leader, Gonthier said.
"She left no doubt when team members performed well, yet also made clear those instances when things didn't go so well. Betty always placed the concern of others above her own self-interest," he said.
This year marked the first occasion that program participants traveled to Kuwait. Though they spent just 72 hours there, both Hoapili and Gonthier agreed that the program instilled them with a greater appreciation for military service members.
Gonthier said the program provides civilian personnel with a hands-on approach to learning what warfighters do on a daily basis.
"The ... members from each of the services are truly dedicated to what they do and [are] wholeheartedly supported by the family that follows ... them," he said. "They are highly trained and ready to do whatever it takes to defend this nation, including giving their lives. We should never forget that."
Hoapili agreed and said it's an experience civilians rarely, if ever, get.
"It's invaluable in enhancing my understanding of what our warfighters go through, the sacrifices they make ... on our behalf, and how important it is for us to do our jobs extremely well so they can do what we're asking them to do," she said.
Recently, Hoapili found out she was selected for another training opportunity – the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. She credits DLA for giving her the chance to display her leadership qualities in the ELDP. At DLA, developing employees' skills and abilities is a high priority, so high it falls into agency Director Navy Vice Adm. Alan Thompson's list of top initiatives.
"I'm anxious now to give back to DLA for having given me this opportunity," Hoapili said.
She added that she's a "huge proponent" of the ELDP program and noted that as the Rosemary E. Howard Award winner, she gets to go to orientation for next year's program and speak to incoming participants.
"In so many ways, I do wish I was doing it again - not so much the crawling through the mud, ... but it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," she said. "I look at the pictures and think, 'How did I do that?' But you do it one day at a time and with a whole lot of help from your friends."
14th Airlift Squadron
7/27/2010 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (AFNS) -- "In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they don't have the first, the other two will kill you."
-- Warren Buffet, the chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway.
A number of years ago, while interviewing for a flying assignment, I was asked a simple question, "Which Air Force core value do you consider the most important?" I immediately thought to myself," Finally, an easy question.
Then answered with a simple "Integrity first."
That interview was approximately 12 years ago, but my response today would be exactly the same.
Why integrity first? While I expanded my answer during the interview, I simply pointed to a few different examples that all revolved around being able to trust the word of those around you without having to question whether or not what was said was true.
For example, a simple question to the crew chief asking, "How's the jet?" and getting a response, "Good to go, sir." Is it? I sure hope the maintainer has integrity when he tells me this as my life and those on board with me are counting on him and the rest of the maintenance team each and every time I strap the jet onto my back.
The same holds true with the pilot sitting next to me or my loadmaster in the back. How about the weight of the cargo being loaded? It is imperative that the "port dawg" does his job correctly and avoids cutting corners. Otherwise, I may be unknowingly handed a jet that is out of "balance," which could have deadly consequences. Our profession is a dangerous one, but most of all, it is one that requires teamwork and trust to be successful.
Integrity goes well beyond answering simple questions honestly though. Your personal "integrity meter" should have absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you get caught. If it is wrong, it is wrong ... period. Is the Article 15 and $1,500 fine worth the $65 cab ride that you supposedly "lost" the receipt for? I think not, but integrity issues go well beyond any monetary figure associated with them. Once you have lost the trust of those around you, you may never gain it back.
Additionally, there is always the "man in the mirror" who will be looking at you every day knowing the true story. I need to be able to count on the honesty and integrity of those around me as they require the same of me. Otherwise, we are merely fooling ourselves and destined to fail.
I have been extremely lucky throughout the course of my career to work with some absolutely incredible people. I have witnessed way more good examples of integrity than bad, as we are held to a higher moral and ethical standard than our civilian counterparts ... and we should be. We should never sacrifice our own standards or integrity because "everyone else is doing it." We should be setting the example and making those around us better.
Maria Razumich-Zec said, "Your reputation and integrity are everything. Follow through on what you say you're going to do. Your credibility can only be built over time, and it is built from the history of your words and actions."
As your integrity and reputation are built over time, they can also be destroyed in an instance of weakness. Never allow this to happen. It always takes less time to do the right thing, then to have to explain why you chose to do it wrong.
Finally, I leave you with a quote I found by Francis Bacon Sr. whose meaning is really quite simple ... with integrity you are judged on your actions, not simply your words: "It's not what we eat, but what we digest that makes us strong; not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned; and not what we profess, but what we practice that gives us integrity."
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
7/27/2010 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (AFNS) -- For the 13th consecutive year, the Louisiana Wing Civil Air Patrol Cadet Encampment was held here July 15 through 25.
The encampment is a 10-day course designed to give young CAP cadets the opportunity to experience Air Force customs and get an up-close look at various military careers.
This year's CAP encampment helped prepare more than 60 cadets for military life.
"I have been involved with CAP for 34 years since I was a 14-year-old cadet in the Florida Wing," said Lt. Col. Paul Griffith, of the 2nd Bomb Wing plans and programs, and liaison to the Louisiana CAP. "The cadet program did so much in helping to prepare me to become a member of the Air Force that I feel privileged to give back all the time and efforts I can to help the next generation of cadets who will then become future military leaders."
The cadets were able to tour Barksdale AFB and visit numerous units such as the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron fire department and the 2nd Security Forces Squadron military working dog section. They also visited with crewmembers of the B-52 Stratofortress, and received training from Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists.
"It has been really nice to have access to all of the things we have," said Cadet 1st Lt. Ashley McDonald, a cadet commander. "We are very lucky cadets to be able to see firsthand what the Air Force is really like."
The CAP was founded by citizens concerned about the safety of the U.S. coastline, one week before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December 1941. Now, there are more than 56,000 members nationwide, with 21,000 cadets aged 12 to 20.
The CAP program is broken into 52 wings across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, each of which hosts encampments open to CAP cadets. For a CAP cadet encampment to be certified, it must provide 40 hours of curriculum consisting of military knowledge and familiarization.
The Louisiana Wing Cadet Encampment, which includes cadets from all over Louisiana and parts of Texas, is supported by 21 base agencies and consists of 82 hours of hands-on curriculum.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Air University Public Affairs
7/26/2010 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) -- The commandant of the Air Force Senior NCO Academy here said a milestone was reached by the class that graduated from the academy July 21.
"This was the largest class in the history of the SNCOA, but we hope the next class will be larger still," Chief Master Sgt. Alex Perry said.
The chief said the annual production goal for the academy is 2,200 students, and by working with the Air Force Personnel Center's Delta Team, the team that schedules students to come to SNCOA, and with wing and squadron leaders and formal training specialists throughout the Air Force, he is ensuring the classes are filled.
"The cap for each class is 450 students, but the last class had 457 students," he said. "I felt it was more advantageous to accept the extra seven students than not, so we improvised and added another flight to the class to make room for them."
Chief Perry said normally the SNCOA has 30 flights for each class, but expanding to 31 flights "worked out very well."
"We have a great staff and faculty, and the instructor who took up the expanded class really stepped up to the challenge," Chief Perry said.
Master Sgt. Michael Trim, an instructor from Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., attended the six-week class and said it was the best of the four professional military education courses he has taken during his 20-year Air Force career.
"It wasn't what I expected," he said, adding that the course was conducted on a mature, professional basis.
Sergeant Trim said the size of the class did not interfere with his education in any way and may have provided some benefits.
"Having the opportunity to talk with so many other senior NCOs has refocused some of my managerial skills," he said. "It has made me realize we already use many of the skills, but it redefined my techniques to help me better use them."
Master Sgt. Robert Hopkins, who works with radio frequency transmission systems at Pope AFB, N.C., described the SNCOA course as "very challenging with a definite difference between the NCO academies and SNCOA."
He said the size of the class did not detract from his learning and actually offered a chance to draw off the experiences of the other students.
"As a senior NCO in an Air Force unit that deploys often to a joint environment, the course will be very helpful in how we fight and interact with our sister service members," he said. "The SNCOA has taught me how to better relate a commander's intent, which is critical in a deployed location."
Chief Perry wanted to thank all the members of the team at the SNCOA for helping assemble the largest SNCOA class ever.
"I want to thank Senior Master Sgt. Sang Chung, who is our superintendent of student administration, the division chiefs and the rest of the 43-member staff as they all have done a terrific job," he said.
Adonica Simpkins, SNOCA student administrator, said at first the larger class presented a load for the academy, but it was easily worked out through SNCOA Vice Commandant Chief Master Sgt. Steve Ray.
"We received the information about the students through the Delta Team and other sources and put that information into a data base," she said. "The vice commandant then decided how to set up the class."
Chief Perry said for the future, he hopes to fill every class. The goal for the incoming August class is 32 flights serving 476 students.
American Forces Press Service
July 26, 2010 - Heather Forsgren Weaver, a colleague at American Forces Press Service, is a regular contributor to Family Matters. Heather's been heavily involved in this blog from the start. She edits, helps write and posts content on a daily basis.
In this blog, Heather writes about the messages of Dr. Jill Biden and top military leaders to the Military Child Education Coalition's 12 annual conference in suburban Maryland.
Dr. Biden, Leaders Focus on Education Needs of Military Kids
Even before Sept. 11, 2001, and the resulting military conflicts, the departments of Defense and Education began meeting annually to discuss the needs of military children. Now with about 2 million children having experienced a parent's deployment and 600,000 Army children and countless others from the other services currently separated from a deployed parent, this year's conference held in nearby Maryland last week brought out some heavy hitters.
Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, headlined the last day of the conference.
Dr. Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama frequently visit military installations. During these visits they often hear about the important role schools play in their children's lives and the challenge of changing schools due to relocations, Dr. Biden told the conference.
Lisa Daniel wrote about Dr. Biden's speech to the Military Child Education Coalition's 12 annual conference in her American Forces Press Service article, "Dr. Biden: Military Children Deserve America's Support."
Teachers and other school staff need to be able to identify military children and need to be trained to help them, Biden said.
Biden said she has not been able to stop thinking about a little girl a U.S. Army general in Iraq told her about when she visited there with the vice president over the Fourth of July weekend. A little girl in his six-year-old daughter's class burst into tears at a recent school concert when the band began playing "Ave Maria" because, as the girl explained to her teacher, that song was played at her father's funeral after he was killed in Iraq.
Dr. Biden wasn't the only leader to address the conference. Leaders from all of the military services participated on a panel.
As Daniel described in a second American Forces Press Services article, "Service Chiefs Gather to Address Children's Conference," the military leaders took turns describing their own experiences raising military children and, in some cases, being raised as military children. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey, Jr., attended four high schools in three countries, he said. His mother told all of her children to "make the best of it" whenever they had to move but all of those high schools were a challenge, he said.
Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he had to get used to being unpopular each time he moved his family. Today, he said, his grown daughters are appreciative of their military upbringing, but some years were hard.
"It wasn't really about academics those first few days" after a move, Cartwright said. "It was about the girls' ability to make friends, or not. It's not about the 'who, what, where, when and why' – it's about assimilating."
Sometimes where families live can have a negative impact on their children's education.
Navy Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, said he is concerned that many places Navy families are stationed are in urban districts with challenged school systems.
On the other hand, National Guard and Coast Guard families often live away from military installations and all of those support programs, said Coast Guard Vice Adm. John P. Currier, chief of staff of the Coast Guard, and Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III of the Air National Guard.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
I have vivid memories of my commander visiting me to deliver this message in the Operations Training office at RAF Chicksands, England 20 years ago. Man, was I stoked; selected to TSgt with just six years in service. To be honest, humility took a serious backseat at that moment. I thought I was the man! Fortunately, I had a supervisor who knew better. As soon as the commander left, my supervisor invited me to step outside for a mentoring moment.
by: Dan Bender
The pressures of military service can exacerbate the unique challenges women face, especially motherhood. Our Guardian of the Week has worked tirelessly as a leader and mentor to bring awareness to these areas within the Coast Guard aviation community.
Lt. Cmdr. Elizabeth Booker is frequently called on by senior aviators for advice on balancing the needs of the Coast Guard with women’s issues said Capt. Steven Reynolds, chief of Officer Personnel Management and Booker’s previous supervisor.
“Lieutenant Commander Booker is leading the charge for educating the Coast Guard on issues faced by female aviators and crewmembers,” he said. ”If I could have a hundred of her I would. The Coast Guard would be a better place.”
She has spent a lot of time bringing light to women’s issues by organizing conference participation, coordinating surveys to identify areas for improvement and spending countless hours mentoring and counseling members both on and off duty. But her greatest contribution is likely a book she authored unofficially known as “The Mom Book.”
All new Coast Guard moms in the aviation community receive a copy. It’s a simple but powerful collection of stories about aviation and pregnancy as told by their fellow female fliers. “It definitely gave me good perspective on the way other pilots approached motherhood,” said Lt. Laura Holveck, a pilot at Air Station Atlantic City, N.J. “Having lots of different opinions helped me form my own.”
Holveck has shared the book with friends of her own who have contemplated pregnancy.
“Everyone agrees that the book is a nice tool,” she said. “She’s very helpful and has a strong voice. We appreciate her being an advocate for the female pilots behind her.”
Now the operations boss at Air Station Los Angeles, Booker is already impressing her new command.
“She’s incredibly motivated,” said Cmdr. William Sasser, executive officer at the air station.
Her story is even more inspirational considering what she has done to get where she is today.
After earning a GED, Booker enlisted and entered the service as a humble non-rate and went on to earn her college degree, accede into the officer corps and eventually study at Harvard said Sasser.
“It just shows how hard work pays off,” he said.
Thank you for your service Lt. Cmdr. Your contributions have affected more Coast Guard families than you will likely ever know. Bravo Zulu!
Friday, July 23, 2010
Intermediate schools consist of the Advanced School of Air Mobility, Air Force Legislative Fellowship, Air Command and Staff College, and Army Command and General Staff College.
Senior schools are Air War College, Army War College, Naval War College, National War College, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Inter-American Defense College (IADC), Joint Advanced Warfighting School, Harvard National Security Fellowship and Secretary of Defense Corporate Fellowship.
Candidates compete for all programs for which they are eligible, officials said. Selected candidates' school preferences and experience as well as the needs of the Air Force Reserve are considered when determining school assignments. Airmen must ensure they prioritize all schools, officials said.
Under the Reserve Force Development construct, the functional community is involved in identifying Airmen for consideration to attend in-residence developmental education opportunities. Development Teams have already been identifying and encouraging their top officers to apply for DE opportunities.
To assist the Development Teams, officers are asked to complete a Reserve Officer Development Plan identifying their career goals -- with special emphasis on their desire and availability for in-residence developmental education.
The ARPC RDEDB Web site has links to all DE school Web sites. Instructions, criteria and deadlines to submit packages are located on the ARPC Web site at http://www.arpc.afrc.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=8604. See additional requirements for the fellowships and IADC. Use deadlines, checklist and processing guidance on this site in lieu of AFI 36-2254 V2 guidance on the same.
For more information, Airmen can call 800-525-0102 or DSN 926-6528 and ask for the developmental education branch. They can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to verify receipt of their package.
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The 2009 Sailor of the Year winners, who for the first time in history are all women, were meritoriously advanced to Chief Petty Officer during a ceremony held at the Navy Memorial July 22.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead was the guest speaker at the pinning ceremony hosted by the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(SS/SW) Rick D. West.
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Ingrid Cortez, U.S. Fleet Forces Sea Sailor of the Year; Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Shalanda Brewer, Navy Reserve Sailor of the Year; Operations Specialist 1st Class Samira McBride, U.S. Pacific Fleet Sea Sailor of the Year and Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class Cassandra Foote, Chief of Naval Operations Shore Sailor of the Year were each presented their chief petty officer appointment letter from the CNO prior to having their anchors pinned to their collars and combination covers placed on their heads.
"What I like most about this program is that these four Sailors know the Navy appreciates their dedication and performance, and expects even more of them in the future," said Roughead. "Their advancement today is an affirmation of the potential the Navy sees in them as future Chief Petty Officers and senior enlisted leaders at their next commands."
Before the anchors were pinned on the Sailors of the Year, West spoke about the great honor of earning the title of "Chief" and the privilege of leading Sailors while wearing the chief anchors on their collars.
"This is a great day for our Navy, and today we are making history with all for Sailors of the Year being women. These Sailors have proven themselves as professional Sailors, experts in their rates, role models to our junior Sailors and youth, and most importantly, true leaders," said West.
Families, friends and shipmates traveled from around the world to attend the ceremony to share the highlights of their accomplishments and achievement on making chief petty officer.
"A lot is expected of us, and it's a greater responsibility, but we are going to lead our Sailors and keep doing what we've been doing," said Cortez after the advancement ceremony. "This was such an awesome experience. I feel like I'm on top of the world, and it's just incredible."
The Sailors of the Year and their families toured the White House, visited historical sites around D.C., meet with residents at the Armed Forces Retirement Home, and attended special events held in their honor throughout the week before their advancement ceremony.
The Sailor of the Year program was established in 1972 by the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy John Whittet to recognize an individual Sailor who best represented the ever-growing group of dedicated professional Sailors at each command and ultimately the Navy. When the program began, only the Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Sailors were recognized. Within ten years, the Sailor of the Year program was expanded to include the shore establishment and Navy Reserve Sailors.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
U.S. Coast Guard Station Key West
July 19, 2010 - Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Camacho became an expert on his service's newest class of boats and earned a prestigious award during his first-ever tour-of-duty here. One of the Coast Guard's unique attributes, Chief Warrant Officer Todd Stoughton, commander of Coast Guard Station Key West, said, is the large amount of responsibility his organization gives to its junior members and, in turn, how much those junior members routinely accomplish.
Camacho, he said, worked hard to become an expert on the new Response Boat-Medium.
"He is one of the most knowledgeable RB-M engineers in the Coast Guard," Stoughton said of Camacho. "He read the manual cover-to-cover and found dozens of mistakes and made many recommendations that ended up becoming part of the actual manual."
Camacho plans to bring a lot to the table when he arrives at his next duty station: his integrity, his work ethic, and his willingness to learn what he needs to know.
"I am one of those people that completely believes in the fact that knowledge is power; the more I know about something, the better I'm gonna be at it," Camacho said.
While at Key West Camacho also provided more than two-dozen emergency medical training sessions to Coast Guard personnel, resulting in 67 members receiving life-saving certifications.
Camacho also speaks Spanish, having been born and raised in Cali, Colombia. Camacho's duties as the Spanish interpreter at the Key West station have been critical in successful illegal migrant interdiction operations, including the safe transfer of undocumented migrants and the apprehension of suspected smugglers, Stoughton said.
"Out there on the water, Carlos Camacho is a superstar," Stoughton said. "He has demonstrated maturity beyond his years, and he has the ability to communicate effectively in high-stress situations."
In light of Camacho's abilities and drive, it's perhaps easy to understand why he also won the Fireman First Class Paul Clark Boat Forces Engineering Award for 2009. The prestigious annual award recognizes a Coast Guard boat forces engineer who demonstrated sustained superior performance, exception technical skills, and exemplary leadership.
Stoughton said Camacho is only the second similarly ranked individual he has nominated for the award.
Fifteen other nominees from throughout the Coast Guard competed for the award that Camacho ultimately won, said Stoughton, noting that most of the competitors were higher-ranking first class petty officers.
"I've had a lot of great people," Stoughton said. "But, honestly, he deserved it. I wouldn't have put him in [for the competition] if he didn't, and that's how I feel."
Monday, July 19, 2010
By Tech. Sgt. Jon LaDue
Wisconsin National Guard
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy detailed some of his priorities as the Air Force's top enlisted leader during a visit to Wisconsin's Volk Field Air National Guard Base and Combat Readiness Training Center July 13-14.
"Priorities for [me] are to make sure our Airmen are ready for a joint and coalition 'fight,' if you will, being a partner within that joint, coalition team," Roy said. "Obviously, the things that are done here within the training center fit right within those means."
Roy is the 19th chief master sergeant of the Air Force and ultimately oversees the enlisted Airmen of the active duty, Guard and Reserve components. He was accompanied by Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Muncy, command chief for the Air National Guard, and other Air Force enlisted leaders on the two-day trip.
The leaders were able to observe the international 2010 Patriot exercise at Volk and neighboring Fort McCoy.
"It's good for me to come out and see this [training] because it helps me when I frame things back at the Pentagon as I'm asked for advice on different things," Roy said.
Roy serves as advisor to the chief of staff and secretary of the Air Force on an enlisted force that has seen a tremendous increase in demand for contingency support overseas. He addressed what it takes to continually be an operational force.
"The fact of the matter is we're a nation at war and we've been at combat for a lot of years," Roy said. "We need to continue to keep focus on the resiliency for our Airmen and their families."
He believes a steadfast mission can be difficult on the families and can be the most misunderstood concept of what it takes to be an Airman.
"I think Americans, in general, certainly appreciate what Airmen and their families endure," Roy said. "What's difficult is for them to fully understand what types of sacrifices there are."
One sacrifice for Airmen is continually adapting to an ever-changing mission.
"It falls back to 'What is it that the warfighter, what it is that the Guard, that our local authorities need from us?' You are and will continue to see a continual shifting of resources and missions to different locations," Roy said.
The fact that Guard members are diversely skilled in their civilian careers and are capable and experienced in maintaining proficiency in their military jobs, means they have the ability to evolve into capable warriors despite the mission or task at hand, Roy said.
"We have Airman today from across the Air Force ...primarily from the Guard and Reserve that are doing some unique missions that they weren't necessarily trained to do, but they have that capability," Roy said.
According to Chief Master Sgt. James Chisholm, Wisconsin Air National Guard command chief, this is the first time a chief master sergeant of the Air Force has officially visited Wisconsin Airmen.
"This is absolutely historic, that he was able to come and see what we have to offer here," Chisholm said. Volk's CRTC provides a year round integrated training environment (airspace, facilities, equipment) for units to enhance their combat capabilities and readiness. They are only one of four CRTCs in the nation.
Roy thanked Volk's leadership for continuing the important training mission, the local community for supporting all of the Airmen and their families, and although he couldn't meet with every Airman during his stay, he expressed his gratitude and thanks to all of the Airmen of Volk Field and the 128th ACS.
"What you do is important," Roy said. "It's important for the battlefield, it's important for the other missions, like humanitarian assistance, disaster relief missions and domestic operations," Roy said.
Reflecting on his visit to Wisconsin as well as other Guard units, Roy said Air Guard members have a great recipe for success.
"The thing that is relayed to me is the pride they have in being a Guardsman," he said. "Being prideful in your unit and your component ... we want every Airman to do that."
Friday, July 16, 2010
MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- Leaders across the Navy are saying that career development boards (CDB), mandated by OPNAVINST 1040.11C, assist both the Navy and Sailors in achieving their goals.
"CDBs are a critical tool for the chain of command to interact directly with every Sailor from the day they check aboard," said Vice Adm. Allen Myers, commander, Naval Air Forces. "They are a positive element of command climate, but only when implemented with the intended end state in mind - due diligence to our Sailors."
The Brilliant-on-the-Basics program was introduced Navywide a few years ago with CDBs as the centerpiece. Brilliant-on-the-Basics includes six key programs: command sponsorship, command indoctrination, CDBs, mentorship, ombudsman programs and recognition programs. According to NAVADMIN 043/08, these six best practices form the enduring foundation upon which every successful career is launched.
Typical topics covered during a CDB are watch-standing qualifications, continued education goals, advancement, short and long-term career objectives, Perform-to-Serve (PTS) and Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) scores. Leadership can use CDBs to take full advantage of learning the priorities of the Sailor.
"It is crucial that we identify Sailors at initial CDBs who have low Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) scores and get them enrolled into academic skills classes so they can retake the ASVAB test," said Myers. "We are seeing Sailors who want to stay Navy but are not eligible to convert into other rates once in the PTS window. Waiting to correct low AFQT scores once a Sailor is in the PTS window is too late. Losing a great Sailor because he or she could not meet a PTS window due to lack of initiating a PTS request is not something we desire."
CDBs are required for all Sailors upon reporting to a command - after six months on board, at 12-months on board and at 12-month intervals thereafter. Official guidance is contained in OPNAVINST 1040.11C. When the Sailor's career desires are recorded in the Career Information Management System (CIMS) it becomes part of a permanent record that can follow the Sailor throughout his or her career.
CIMS is available to all shore commands with Internet access and on board 150 ships using CIMS Afloat on the Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System server. The primary function of CIMS is to assist career counselors with tracking, conducting and documenting CDBs.
The command master chief, chief of the boat, senior enlisted leader and the command career counselor team are the focal points for career development initiatives within the command.
For more information on CDBs, read OPNAVINST 1040.11C.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
NAVAL STATION GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- A Sailor assigned Recruit Training Command received the 2010 League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Excellence in Military Service award July 15 at their National Convention & Exposition in Albuquerque, N.M.
Religious Program Specialist 1st Class (FMF) Juan Bejarano was nominated for this award at his previously station with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and recently reported to Recruit Training Command as a student in Recruit Division Commander (RDC) "C" School.
The LULAC award recognizes members who have made significant contributions to the advancement of minority groups, the promotion of diversity and equal opportunity in the military and federal workforce. Only one active component and one Reserve component from each service is so honored each year.
As 11th MEU's Religious Ministry Team senior staff representative, Bejarano worked with higher commands to establish a third religious ministry team for the MEU in order to ensure the religious and counseling needs of 2,200 Marines and Sailors spread throughout three ships could be met while they prepared for deployment.
"I really was shocked. I didn't think I did enough to deserve this award; to me, this is my normal job," Bejarano said.
He also coordinated and supervised a community relations project at the Mission San Antonio de Padua at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. Over the course of two weeks, he coordinated the efforts of 37 volunteers who completed 10 major clean-up projects. According to the award citation, Bejarano's superior organization skills were instrumental in the projects being completed ahead of schedule and in time for the Mission's annual Mission Days Festival, which hosted more than 1,000 visitors.
During his deployment in 2009 and earlier this year, Bejarano coordinated four community relations projects in Phuket, Thailand. He also organized the delivery of medical and hygienic supplies to remote medical clinics in support of Project Handclasp in Dili, Timor Leste.
Working as a religious specialist was something Bejarano knew he wanted to do early in his Navy career.
"I walked into my recruiter's office and demanded the RP job," Bejarano said. "I was involved with local youth groups in my church and this rating seemed similar to what I was doing at that time. I enjoyed the camaraderie of visiting the Marines and Sailors weekly in my unit. Some had never known what an RP was."
Bejarano's commitment to making a difference has brought him back to the Navy's only boot camp for a second tour of duty. During, his first tour at RTC in 2005, he worked on staff in the chapel where he had the opportunity to help mentor recruits during training.
"It's a place where they can find their inner soul," Bejarano said. "It's peaceful and relaxing for some. It kind of reenergizes them to start the week all over again. For some, it's where they start building their new foundations."
He had concerns about whether he was having a positive effect on the recruits during that time.
"During the first three years, I would think to myself, 'What am I doing here? Am I really making a difference as an RP at RTC?'
"Then I reached the fleet and during my first two deployments I had Sailors coming up to me to show how well they have progressed in their Navy career," he said. "Other times, I'm walking through the P-way (passageway) and they would give me the stare, and then I would ask them, 'You know me from somewhere?' They would answer, 'Yes, but I don't know where.' I would say, 'boot camp, at the chapel.' Then we would begin a conversation, and I would offer them the chance to stop by the chaplain's office if they needed anything."
Bejarano will graduate RDC School in September and is determined to achieve the honor of earning the prestigious red rope that RDCs wear at RTC after successfully completing the rigorous 12-week training course.
"They're intense, but not impossible," admits Bejarano of the physical fitness sessions. "But if your heart's in the right place, you can achieve every day at RDC School."
Originally from Tucson, Ariz., Bejarano said his wife Vanessa was his influence for returning to RTC.
"She asked if we could come back to Great Lakes because she enjoyed being here. To her, the 'Quarterdeck of the Navy' is where she calls home. Without her support to submit an RDC package, I believe I never would have attempted it. She said, 'Submit it until they tell you no and if they say no, we'll choose a new location.' They never said no, so here I am."
Bejarano recommends anyone contemplating becoming an RDC to submit their package to do so.
"By the time you know it, you'll be transferring back to the fleet where you'll have Sailors coming up to you and thanking you for teaching them the Navy way of life."
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Defense Media Activity-San Antonio
7/13/2010 - SAN ANTONIO (AFNS) -- The Air Force's senior military leader released his vision for the future in a recent CSAF Vector 2010 that outlined five priorities and the "way ahead" for Airmen to maintain these priorities.
"Our Airmen are responding to the nation's call with agility, innovation and expeditionary presence -- today, nearly 40,000 American Airmen are deployed to 263 locations across the globe," Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said. "We've also demonstrated that modern warfighting isn't just about how many are 'over there.'
"Our deployed-in-place Airmen are indispensable to the day-to-day defense of our nation, whether they are tracking and dispatching bad actors at intercontinental range, maintaining constant vigilance from space, sustaining credible strategic deterrence, protecting networks, or patrolling the skies over the homeland," General Schwartz said.
In his "Vector," General Schwartz discusses continuing to strengthen the Air Force nuclear enterprise, partnering with the joint and coalition team for today's fight, developing and caring for Airmen, modernizing inventories and training, and recapturing acquisition excellence.
"Since I became your chief we have had to make some tough decisions, primarily focused on three challenges: restoring credibility to our nuclear enterprise, enhancing our contribution to today's fight, and recapturing acquisition excellence," he said. "As demanding as we will continue to be in those areas, I am pleased with the progress we've made to date; but also believe we must seize this moment and look ahead."
To read this Vector and other senior leader viewpoints, go to the information section on AF.mil.
Alabama National Guard
(7/12/10) -- The Alabama National Guard's Family Readiness Program is dedicated to ensuring Alabama Guard youth are equipped to handle the challenges of military life.
Challenges such as separation, deployments and moving cause big stress on even the most seasoned Soldier, and they can be overwhelming for a child.
So, what's the best way to prepare youth for the challenges of military life? Give them opportunities to overcome challenges in a fun and supportive way. The Alabama Guard has found a way to provide such opportunities - summer camp.
So far this summer, the Alabama Guard, in conjunction with Operation Military Kids, has conducted two camps for its military youth with another scheduled for the first week of August.
Although fun is the key ingredient to these camps, and there is much fun to be had, overcoming challenges and developing team building skills are also key. At this year's Fort Camp Clover, held at the Alabama 4-H center in Columbiana, Ala., military youth were exposed to such challenges as caving, rock climbing, canoeing, archery, a giant body swing and a thirty-foot cable course with a zip line.
Paul Morton, an Army Youth Development Program specialist, said overcoming such challenges make for resilient youth. "When a child accomplishes something they never thought possible, it empowers them to take on more challenges, the ones they want and the ones they don't."
It is also important to expose these kids to other youth who understand the hardships of having a parent(s) in the military. "These kids are tough," said Morton. "They're much more mature than their peers; they have a unique ability to roll with the punches of life and come out unscathed."
Another noble quality these kids possess is tolerance, said Staff Sgt. Doug Howard, a volunteer counselor for the 2010 Fort Camp Clover. "I have three children, two of which attended this year's camp, and I know firsthand how cruel kids can be to those they see as different and I am truly impressed with the way these kids, these military kids, have accepted each other as equals."
Howard said that he never saw one incidence of bullying or excessive teasing from any of the youth at camp. "It's a true testament to their character."
Characteristics such as tolerance can only be learned through the hardships of life. Helen Keller said that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. Perhaps the hardships military youth experience have equipped them to deal with the responsibilities and adversities that others have yet to learn.