Leadership News

Friday, November 30, 2012

Delaware Air Guard flight engineer goes international during 2012 leadership symposium

by Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey
166th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

11/27/2012 - MCGHEE-TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tennessee -- A Delaware Air National Guard flight engineer attended a class this past summer with nearly 40 participants from half-a-dozen fellow NATO countries at McGhee-Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tenn., and for him it was a unique learning experience that he relishes and recommends to fellow members.

Senior Master Sgt. Mike Murphy of the 142nd Airlift Squadron, part of the 166th Airlift Wing based at the New Castle ANG Base, Del., attended the week-long International NCO Leadership Development Symposium (INLEAD) from July 8-13, 2012, with groups of NCOs attending from Canada, Germany, Australia, Switzerland, Netherlands, France and Great Britain to learn with their American counterparts. The North Atlantic Treaty was founded by 12 countries in 1949, and at present NATO has 28 members.

"For me it was a great opportunity to interact with other NATO countries' military personnel, learn about their military culture and some of their operations," said Sgt. Murphy.

The seminar aims to increase senior NCOs knowledge of the host nation's decision-making models through activities that are focused on exposing interoperability issues to ensure future mission success on the battlefield.

"Having the opportunity to interact with other partner nation senior NCOs and learning how and why they make certain decisions," was the best part of the experience, said Sgt. Murphy. "It was fascinating to learn about how their cultures influence their decision-making process."

"The most challenging part is to remain open to other ideas that normally would not be acceptable of doing things in the U.S., but that may be acceptable in a foreign country," said Sgt. Murphy. "Letting go of the way things have always been done, and adapting a new, and sometimes questionable way of doing things, isn't always easy."

"We work, train and fight in coalition groups," said Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard Christopher Muncy. "No longer are we just the U.S., out there solely with just with our Canadian, British, or Australian comrades...there's a whole lot of other folks within it. So you might as well train the way you're going to go to the fight."

Sergeant Murphy had a few takeaways after reflecting on his experience. "The exposure to new ideas and learning about how other nations view and interact with the U.S. was enlightening, especially within the military environment."

Sergeant Murphy said participants also engaged in hands on-exercises to evaluate different perceptions and ideas on how to accomplish an objective. "A problem was given, and theories to accomplish these objectives involved different aspects, such as focusing on speed or strictly outcomes. Then explanations were given on why each person chose that particular way of doing things, and whether their culture was believed to be an influence on that decision," said Sgt. Murphy.

In one such exercise, Sgt. Murphy and a NATO service member had to figure out a puzzle with multiple shapes and various solutions. The process, said Sgt. Murphy, "helps to demonstrate the various external factors that influence a person's decision making process."

Sergeant Murphy believes the learning environment was also good for our NATO allies.

"The members from the other NATO nations really enjoyed the visit to the United States. The folks at TEC (I.G. Brown Training and Education Center at McGhee-Tyson ANGB) did a great job hosting the event and provided great opportunities to explore the U.S. and Tennessee culture."

In addition to teaching host nation perspectives, the seminar encouraged leadership dialogue and provided practical techniques to more effectively manage common leadership challenges experienced by NCOs. Topics discussed included conflict management, situational leadership, and leading diverse temperaments.
International participants shared their perspectives.

"I think it's great to have coalition forces together," said Sgt. Darren Edwards, a master chief with the Royal Air Force, in Oxfordshire, U.K. "Being with the different nations, the more nations you get the more you learn to be a stronger force."

"As a participant from a very small country, it's an outstanding opportunity to be invited," said Swiss Senior Master Sgt. Erwin Zuger. "It's interesting to find out a lot of things are the same."

This seminar was hosted by ANG Command Chief Master Sergeant Christopher Muncy under the responsibility of the Committee on Leadership Development of the International Air Reserve Symposium. It was the eighth time the seminar has been held, each time at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center at McGhee-Tyson ANGB.

According to the ANG TEC, the aim of INLEAD is to expose IARS participants to the host nation's partners' interoperability issues to enable future mission successes on the battlefield. During INLEAD 2012, students explored operational processes, leadership theories and practices through discussions and lectures.

It is not an easy road to apply or get accepted into the seminar. The ANG Training and Development Division requires that all applicants be either a master sergeant or senior master sergeants, and only five seats are available to the ANG. And, the division recommends that a unit's best performers are submitted for consideration.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Transcom Transforms Command Culture for Future

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., Nov. 27, 2012 – Motivational speakers and book clubs focused on innovative thinking, emotional intelligence and other trendy topics. Regular sessions where senior leaders sit down with a random group of staffers to share a meal and talk about cultural virtues. Professional development emphasizing “people skills” as well as job-related ones. And in the planning stages, “speed dating” arrangements in which employees from different offices will come together to introduce themselves and explain how their jobs fit into the broader mission.

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With people as its most important resource, U.S. Transportation Command officials are working to develop a corps of enterprise-focused professionals as a pillar of the command’s new five-year strategy. Here, Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Marty Klukas, Transcom’s senior enlisted leader, talks with airmen about the command’s global transportation and distribution mission, July 25, 2012. DOD photo by Bob Fehringer

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Sound like something out of Silicon Valley or an Internet startup run by twenty-somethings? Wrong. You’ll find it here at U.S. Transportation Command, where Air Force Gen. William M. Fraser III and his senior staff have embarked on an all-out effort to transform the organization. Transcom’s recently released five-year strategy puts a premium on the workforce that drives the Defense Department’s global transportation and distribution network. The goal, explained Air Force Brig. Gen. John E. Michel, Transcom’s chief change and learning strategist, is to develop “enterprise-focused professionals” who take pride in their individual contributions and recognize their collective role in propelling the command forward.

“One of the No. 1 goals is to decrease a sense of independence that has naturally occurred over time by virtue of people being focused on their great thing, to create a sense of greater interdependence and understanding about how we all fit in so we can move forward together,” Michel said.

To do so, leaders are emphasizing four key values: collaboration that breaks down organizational stovepipes and creates a unity of effort; trust across the enterprise that extends to operational partners and customers; empowerment that enables people to engage, make decisions and embrace smart risk-taking; and innovation that challenges ineffective, outdated practices and unleashes creativity.

“The question is, ‘How do we bring the headquarters together in a common sense of purpose, surrounded by these cultural values?” said Army Maj. Gen. Gregory E. Couch, Transcom’s chief of staff. “Our strategy is to build on these four cultural virtues as we go forward.”

Focusing on “soft skills” is common in the business world and academia, Michel recognized, but not necessarily in the military. “We get a little freaked out in the military talking about soft skills because we are warfighters,” he said. “But find a business out there that doesn’t tell you that this is where it all starts and ends. Even if we are warfighters, I think we also realize that we are inherently relational creatures.”

Such a level of introspection is unusual for Transcom, which traditionally has focused on its customers’ requirements, said Air Force Col. Shawna O’Brien, director of manpower and personnel.

But by shining the spotlight on itself, she said the command can see where it needs to redirect its energies to improve overall operations. “This will help us identify how we can enhance what we do and provide better support and service for our customers,” O’Brien said. “It is what will enable us to adapt to meet the requirements of the future joint force.”

Anyone who has worked in a big organization knows that change doesn’t come easily, Couch acknowledged. It’s particularly difficult in the military, where each service has its own way of doing things and commanders rotate regularly, along with their pet programs and areas of emphasis.
So Fraser has committed to making an indelible mark on the command culture, leading the effort himself and elevating cultural change to a pillar of the most sweeping strategy in Transcom’s 25-year history.

“The difference here is that this is tagged on with the strategy that is going to be a living document,” Couch said. “And our goal is that when the current leadership leaves, there is no reversing this. It’s non-reversible. A new commander may change the buzzwords, but these things will now be inculcated into what we are doing here as an organization.”

Fraser, his deputy commander, Army Lt. Gen. Kathleen Gainey, and Couch personally lead many of the activities promoting that goal.

“There is no other place in the [Defense] Department, I bet, where you will find that the senior leadership is as engaged and invested in this from the top down,” Michel said. “They are not just writing it in a paper and saying ‘Go for it.’ They are saying ‘Follow me.’ They are living the virtues, taking time out of their calendar to lead leader-led lunches, driving the book club and looking for meaningful, active ways to promote the effort.”

These engagements are designed to open the command to new ways of thinking and to create opportunities for candid exchanges simply not possible within the traditional chain-of-command structure, said Diana Roach, Transcom’s chief of change management.

For example, Couch periodically invites about a dozen people at a time to his on-base quarters, where he prepares and serves lunch and opens the floor to whatever topics group members want to discuss. “No issues are off the table,” he said, whether it’s about a technicality in the strategic plan or a pay problem.

“That’s what it’s really all about,” Couch said. “It’s about opening communication.”

This communication -- through personal contact, a “third-deck blog” that enables members of the command to address the leadership directly or other initiatives -- has generated some surprising insights.

Contractors at the command, for example, expressed distaste for the color-coded lanyards bearing their identification tags that differentiated them from the federal and military workforce. “We heard through the blog that people didn’t like this. They felt that culturally we had built an institutional barrier,” Michel said.

So as Fraser unveiled the new strategy in late October, he distributed new lanyards, all identical and bearing the Transcom motto, ‘Together we deliver,” to everyone in the command. “This is just one small gesture that shows his willingness to take down barriers and promote a sense of unity across the command,” Michel said.

Open communication and unity will be vital to Transcom’s long-term success, he said, particularly entering a post-conflict era with diminishing requirements and resources. “We are fundamentally in the relationship business at Transcom,” Michel said. “At the end of the day, we are our best when we are successful in our relationships, inside [the command] and out. And if our relationships aren’t as strong as they could be, we can’t be nearly as effective as we need to be.”

By improving its effectiveness, Transcom will provide better services at a lower cost to its customers, Couch said. “So as we go through this process, the big question that underpins it is, ‘How do we do things that are efficient and effective for our government?’” he said. “Ultimately, that is what comes out of this.”

Every member of Transcom has a role to play in the effort, Couch said, shaping the culture that will define the command 10 or 15 years into the future.

“We all know that we aren’t going to change overnight,” he said. “But change never happens unless you start working at it. And that is what we are doing here at U.S. Transportation Command.”

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Panetta Directs Review of Officers’ Culture of Stewardship

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

BANGKOK, Nov. 15, 2012 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has ordered a review to determine how the armed forces can better foster a culture of stewardship among senior military officers, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said here today.

Panetta directed Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to work with other members of the Joint Chiefs on the review, Little said, adding that initial findings are due to the secretary within the next few weeks.

Little said this is an ongoing process, the timing of which -- amid recent reports and investigations of potentially improper behavior by several general officers -- is coincidental. The review, he said, “was going to happen anyway.” Input to the secretary will form the basis of a report to President Barack Obama on the department’s progress in this area by Dec. 1.

The process, Little noted, is intended to reinforce and strengthen the standards that keep the military well led and disciplined.

“The secretary believes that the vast majority of our senior military officers exemplify the strength of character and the highest ethical standards the American people expect of those whose job it is to provide for the security of our nation,” Little said.

“They represent not only the best of the American military but the American people,” he added. “The majority of these officers lead by example, which is one of the reasons the United States military stands without peer.”

Over the past several months, the press secretary said, Panetta has spoken with the service secretaries, service chiefs and combatant commanders about instances when senior officers have not lived up to the standards expected of them.

“This has been an ongoing discussion,” Little said, “reflecting shared concerns.”

The secretary is traveling this week in the Asia-Pacific region, visiting defense officials in Australia, Thailand and Cambodia.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

‘Old Guard’ Soldiers Gain Unique Skills

By Army Sgt. Luisito Brooks
3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 14, 2012 – For many soldiers, serving in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) is an opportunity to experience and perform missions that are truly unique.

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Army Spc. Dmitry Malkov, an infantryman with Caisson Platoon, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), trains a soldier on how to prepare and maintain equipment at the horse stables on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Oct. 18, 2012. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Luisito Brooks

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Many of these opportunities can be found within the regiment’s specialty platoons, such as the U.S. Army Drill Team and the U.S. Army Caisson Platoon.
Often, soldiers will come into these units with little to no experience in the required skills. That’s why each of these platoons has very specific training programs to turn these soldiers into experts at what they do.

“We are always looking for [soldiers] that show good initiative and discipline to join our platoon,” said Sgt. Drew Hilliard, Caisson Platoon’s basic horsemanship course noncommissioned officer in charge. “No matter what platoon you are in, the preparation and guidance you’re given allows you to grow and learn skills.”

The Caisson Platoon has the solemn mission of conveying fallen soldiers to their final resting place in Arlington National Cemetery. For soldiers with no horseback riding experience, training is critical.
“Everyone struggles at first, but if they push themselves then any mission is possible,” Hilliard said. “It is my job to help them be the best caisson soldiers they can be. I get to help other soldiers appreciate the unit and caisson because of what we represent.”

Spc. Dmitry Malkov went into his training with the Caisson Platoon with no previous experience in his new skill set. During the training, Malkov learned how to perform ground work, gear maintenance, horse care and riding. Now he’s an instructor in the nine-week-long course.

“If you would have told me about two years ago that I was going to join the Army and go to a unit where I could train and take care of horses, I would have said that you were a little crazy,” said Malkov, who hails from the Ukraine. “I used to be a little worried around all these large animals, but I quickly learned that they are no more dangerous to me than I am to them.”

With a less-solemn task, but no less rigid standards of performance, the Drill Team also tailors its training to meet the needs of the team and its newest members. Tasked with showcasing the U.S. Army at home and abroad, the team must know its routines and techniques inside-out and be able to perform them flawlessly in front of huge crowds.

Sgt. Mychael Begaye, an infantryman with no prior training in rifle drilling, related how he found the instruction.

“The training was great, not only because it covers the basic fundamentals to be successful, but it also has great practices that I can apply in other areas of my career and in life,” Begaye said.

“Basic rifle manual teaches us discipline on and off the front stage,” he added. “Some of the routines require you to use muscles that have never been used before. I learned how to overcome challenges mentally and physically, and now I am a better soldier because of it.”

With the team’s high-flying aerial displays of bayonet-tipped 1903 Springfield rifles, there are very small margins for error. Begaye said the most important aspect for these soldiers is the pursuit of perfection.

“Each move requires the highest amount of focus for us to be successful,” he said. “I was a little nervous with the rifle at first because I have never done anything like it, but I learned to just take control of it and execute the maneuvers. Even though it can be very dangerous, we train enough that many possible injuries are prevented.”

With his newfound confidence, Begaye has set even bigger goals for himself.

“One of my goals now is to perform in front of thousands of people and showcase the Army,” Begaye said. “This team travels the world to show how disciplined, tough and trained we are.”
Having overcome their own obstacles to earn positions in The Old Guard’s specialty platoons, Hillard and Begaye said they are grateful they took that chance.

“Having the opportunity to do a job not found anywhere [else] in the Army is really fortunate for the soldiers of this unit,” Begaye said. “All of these different platoons can be found in one unit, and only one percent of the Army does what we are able to learn and do.”

Air Force Leadership Council to Combat Training Misconduct

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2012 – Air Force officials discussed the results of a commander-directed investigation into basic military training instructor misconduct and the service’s commitment to correcting those issues at a press conference here today.

Air Force Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., commander of the Air Education and Training Command, and Air Force Maj. Gen. Margaret H. Woodward, chief of Air Force Safety, outlined the underlying causes of basic training leader misconduct.

In his review of Woodward’s report on the investigation, Rice said he found weaknesses in institutional safeguards, leadership, and the instructor culture of self-accountability, with the conditions leading to abuse of power in basic military training “ever-present.”

“To that end, I am directing the establishment of the Military Training Oversight Council, which will be chaired by a three-star general,” he said. “The purpose of this council is to ensure we have the appropriate level of leadership oversight over issues associated with trainee safety and the maintenance of good order and discipline.”

According to Rice, the report includes nearly two-dozen findings and more than 40 recommendations based on 215 in-depth interviews, surveys of 18,000 service members, and meetings with basic trainees and training instructor spouses.

The report’s findings and recommendations “accurately reflect the deficiencies in our basic military training program and provide effective proposals to remedy those deficiencies,” he said.

Rice noted he intends to implement 45 of the 46 recommendations, with the final recommendation -- adjusting the length of basic training -- still under review, as part of a previous evaluation.

“Because we know the basic military training environment is highly susceptible to the abuse of power, we have established a set of institutional safeguards to prevent misconduct by instructors,” Rice said.

Rice also noted he intends to hold commanders accountable, having “found areas where commanders did not meet my expectations with respect to creating the type of command climate that’s necessary for good order and discipline to be in a healthy state.”

The Air Force has relieved two commanders since the misconduct cases surfaced -- one at the squadron level and one at the group level, Rice said.

“I have also [taken] disciplinary action with six additional commanders,” he said.

Rice and Woodward both emphasized there are honorable men and women in the enlisted basic training complex who continue to serve with distinction.

Rice, quoting Woodward in her report, said, “This report necessarily focuses on the few who violated a sacred trust and broke faith with fellow airmen everywhere.”

Woodward said the investigation also determined that instructors found guilty of misconduct “knew that they were violating a regulation or policy, and that was very clear to them,” she said.

Moving forward, Rice said, AETC will continue to “fix what went wrong in our basic military training program.”

“We are committed to doing everything we can to make our basic military training program the world’s finest example of military professionalism,” he said.

Panetta: Ward Ruling Recognizes High Standard for Leaders

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2012 – Emphasizing that Defense Department leaders must exemplify both professional excellence and sound judgment, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has determined that Army Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward, the former U.S. Africa Command commander, must repay improper expense charges and will be allowed to retire at a reduced rank.

Ward will be demoted to the grade of lieutenant general for retirement and must repay about $82,000 in improper expense payments, Panetta determined following a department inspector general investigation, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little announced last evening.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh concurs with Panetta’s decision, Little said.

The decision follows an IG report of investigation issued in June that substantiated Ward’s misconduct involving travel, misuse of military aircraft, misuse of staff and the receipt of reimbursements to which he was not entitled.

The findings involve activities during Ward’s tenure as the first Africom commander. He served in that role from Oct. 1, 2007, to March 9, 2011.

Since leaving Africom, Ward has been demoted to the grade of major general and is serving as special assistant to the Army vice chief of staff.

Panetta is committed to holding department leaders to a high standard, Little said.

“The secretary recognizes that the vast majority of senior officers in the military abide by the letter and spirit of our laws and regulations and utilize sound judgment in their stewardship of taxpayer resources,” Little said.
“The secretary is committed to ensuring that any improprieties or misconduct by senior officers are dealt with swiftly and appropriately.”

Friday, November 09, 2012

Wisconsin Challenge Academy open house slated for Milwaukee

November 9, 2012
Wisconsin Challenge Academy representatives will conduct an open house and informational session Monday, Nov. 19 for potential applicants to the academy's next class, which begins Jan. 17, 2013. The event will be held at the National Guard armory, 4108 N. Richards Street, from 5-7:30 p.m. 

Challenge Academy staff members, cadets, and parents of cadets will be available to speak with teens and parents who have an interest in the academy and to assist them with the application process. Educators, health and social services personnel, and juvenile justice officers are also welcome to visit at that time. 

The tuition-free Challenge Academy offers "at-risk" youth the opportunity to change the direction of their lives. Challenge Academy cadets participate in the academy's eight core components: academic instruction leading to a Wisconsin High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED); job skills training; physical fitness; health, hygiene and nutrition; leadership; life-coping skills; responsible citizenship; and service to community. 

The program is for male and female applicants at least 16 years, 9 months, but not yet 19 years old, who have been expelled, dropped out of high school or due to truancy, have fallen more than one year behind in credits. Applicants must not be currently charged with or previously convicted of a felony and must not be on adult parole or probation. Cadets attend voluntarily - the academy is not open to placement by court order.
For further information, contact the Challenge Academy toll free at 1-866-968-8422 or visit the academy's website.

Strong words from former CMSAF

by Airman 1st Class Nathan Maysonet and Senior Airman Scott Saldukas
47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

11/7/2012 - LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas  -- Thinking is a lost art.

These are the words of the fifth Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Robert D. Gaylor during his most recent visit to Laughlin. A self-ascribed provocateur who enjoys forcing people to think, Gaylor does not shy away from hard lessons.

Gaylor, who served in the Air Force for 31 years, two as CMSAF, returned to Laughlin after two years and continued to ask simple but difficult questions.

"I don't have all the answers, I just want people to think," Gaylor said.

An example of one such question he saw asked since his enlistment in 1948 is whether service members can switch off their home life when they put the uniform on.

"In our innocence we used to believe you could separate family life from military life," Gaylor said. "We thought you could flip a switch, and if an Airman had a problem we would say they are screwed up. We then realized you couldn't do that."

He and his fellow Airmen were once told that their families were not needed and should be kept distant, he said. Drill instructors would inform all new recruits that they were their family and were all the recruit needed.

Now Airmen are encouraged to reach out to their families when worried or scared, to find some bedrock to hold onto.

"Someone somewhere took the time to think long and hard and involve the family in their loved one's service," the Bellevue, Iowa, native said. "Things got better after that and we call that a lesson learned."

But hard questions remain that Gaylor fears our modern push button society and in turn Air Force, have yet to think long and hard on, such as resiliency.

"Resiliency is a sensitive issue, you either have it or you don't," Gaylor said. "Suicide is not new to the Air Force and one is one too many, but the problem must be addressed from the start of an enlistment and followed throughout a career."

Resiliency however, has become a catch phrase to the Air Force.

"You can't just look someone in the eye and say you need resiliency, that doesn't work. Now we just send emails or talk about being resilient but you have to invest time and involve yourself with your Airmen to build a foundation of trust," he said.

We wear resiliency out by talking about it, he said, and we need to quit talking about it and just do it.

It all comes back to the art of thinking, and the need to evaluate and reflect, Gaylor said. Airmen must ask themselves what kind of leader they are and do they mean what they say.

"Why do we need to remind ourselves who we are as Airmen with creeds," Gaylor said.

These are all tough questions Gaylor believes must be answered by all Airmen and cannot just be regurgitated from the mouths of others, he said.

"I knew I was an Airman, our creed is great but it used to be a given that we knew these things spoken of in it," Gaylor said. "Did we leave our fellow Airmen behind? Do we need to remind ourselves?"

Necessity, Gaylor said, is the mother of all invention.

"I have and always will evaluate and reflect on everything people have said to me and what I say to others," he said. "And I always ask, do we mean it."

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Be persistant and thorough to join military academies

By Air Force Maj. Gary Arasin
National Guard Bureau

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ARLINGTON, Va. (11/2/12) -- A bit of knowledge and some persistence from Guard members can go a long way toward securing what many might consider an incredible career opportunity.

The knowledge is that the Military Academy, more commonly known as West Point, and the Air Force Academy set aside 85 slots each year specifically for reserve component members. More importantly, the academies’ National Guard liaison officers said, is the need for persistence toward the application process.

“The application process is long and very detailed,” said Air Force Capt. Chris Goshorn, the Air Force Academy’s Region 4 liaison and outreach director. “Many Airmen give up in the process, but those who finish are the only ones who have a chance of gaining an appointment to the Academy.”
Army Maj. Brian Wire agreed.

“We only see about 25 percent of all of the applicants finish their applications,” said the West Point National Guard liaison. “Soldiers will be surprised on what they can accomplish if they just finish their application.”
West Point had about 400 Guardsmen apply – about 30 were selected for the academy while another 25 were chosen for the Academy Preparatory School which is an intensive 10-month program designed to aid those applicants who may not be quite ready academically to enter the academy. 

The Air Force Academy had about 450 total prior service applicants – active, reserve and guard – via the Leaders Encouraging Airmen Development Program –and the board selected 61.

Like many colleges, the academies have taken to the cyber community to streamline the application process. Guard members interested in West Point can go to www.usma.edu/applynow   to start their application, while those interested in the Air Force Academy can start with a visit to http://www.academyadmissions.com

Both officers agree, however, before hitting the web, any potential cadet should start with their commander. Wire explained that when applicants get their commanders involved in the process early, the commanders can provide assistance. Command involvement is also crucial to the endorsement process.

There are common basic qualifications applicants must meet regardless of their academy choice – they must be a U.S. citizen, be at least 17 but not yet 23 years old on July 1 of the year they enter the academy, unmarried and have no legal obligation to support children.

The application for both schools is actually two-part – the first being a pre-screening to determine if the potential cadet meets the basic qualifications and could be competitive for an appointment. During this phase, applicants will need to ensure they have their high school and any college transcripts in order, as well as scores for the SAT or ACT with a writing score.

If they are determined to be eligible, applicants move to the second-phase where they will be asked to provide personal information related to school and extracurricular activities, a medical physical and physical fitness test scores.

“About 90 percent of all Soldiers who completed their second step kit were offered an appointment to West Point or West Point Prep School,” Wire said.

But before potential cadets get the idea getting into the academies is easy, they should consider the following facts about the class of 2016:
  • The average SAT verbal and math scores for the Air Force Academy were 643 and 674, respectively
  • More than 90 percent of the West Point class were varsity athletics letter winners
  • 12 percent of the Air Force Academy and 8.5 percent of West Point class were valedictorians of their high school
  • Nearly half of the West Point class had earned the Boy Scout’s highest award, the Eagle Scout, or the Girl Scout’s highest award, the Gold Award.
The presence of former Guard members in the academy classes only can enhance the cadet corps, said both liaisons. Wire explained that their operational experience and understanding of the military environment has a positive effect on cadets who attend the military academies right out of high school.

While the Guard loses the Soldier or Airmen to active-duty service, a significant number of officers choose to leave the service following their five-year service obligation, Wire said.

“Many of these officers leave the active Army to pursue civilian sector work and/ or pursue their Masters degree and many of them want to keep serving,” he explained. “They eventually migrate back to the Guard as it is a familiar place for them and once a big part of their lives.”

‘Grand Old Man’ Mentors Young Marine

By Marine Corps Cpl. Timothy Lenzo
Regional Command Southwest

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan, Nov. 7, 2012 – Twenty years is the retirement goal for many young Marines, but one Marine’s time in service nearly doubles that mark.

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Afghanistan-posted Marine Corps Lt Col. Jeffrey J. Kenney, a 55-year-old member of Regimental Combat Team 7, is serving his 12th deployment. Kenney has 37 years of Marine Corps service, and he’ll be honored during a Marine Corps’ birthday cake-cutting ceremony on Nov. 10, 2012, as his unit’s oldest Marine. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Timothy Lenzo

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With 37 years in the Marine Corps, the “Grand Old Man” of Regimental Combat Team 7, Lt. Col. Jeffrey J. Kenney, intended to retire during 2003. But as the war against terrorism continued, he said, he couldn’t say goodbye while other Marines were serving in combat.

“I just couldn’t retire during a war,” said Kenney, who serves as officer in charge of the team’s Afghan security force. “I thought I could help with my experience.”

Kenney joined the Marine Corps in 1975 with, he says now, no intention of re-enlisting. After serving with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, he decided to stay in because he enjoyed being a platoon sergeant with his Marines and hoped to earn a spot in Marine Reconnaissance.

“When I joined, I wanted to do four years and get out,” said Kenney, who hails from Hartford, Conn.
Four years turned into 37 for Kenney. From his days with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, to his current assignmnet with RCT-7, he has served with 2nd Marines, 7th Marines, 8th Marines, Marine Corps Recruiting Command twice, Marine Corps security guard duty, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, infantry officer course twice, and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Kenney, 55, is what Marines call a mustang. He served his first 12 years as an enlisted Marine and was commissioned as an officer in 1987.

Kenney uses his experience as a prior-enlisted member to mentor and teach the Marines around him.
“He can relate to the younger enlisted Marines,” said Maj. Rudy Salcido, commander of the regiment’s Headquarters Company. “He brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. He’s able to mentor down from the junior Marine all the way up to the senior officers the same way.”

Salcido, from Tucson, Ariz., said when he attended infantry officer course during 2001, Kenney was the director of the course.

“He set the example,” Salcido said of Kenney. “Every time he stepped in, he did it at the right time. As a student, I could tell it was leadership at its finest.”

Salcido noted he considers Kenney one of his role models and still comes to him for advice.

“I’ve seen him mentor some of my other mentors,” Salcido said. “That’s what he is -- he’s a lifelong mentor.”
Being well-respected by his fellow Marines does not make Kenney immune to the good-natured ribbing Marines often share.

“They make jokes about me knowing Chesty Puller or Dan Daly,” Kenney said. “They’ll see the old recruiting pictures from World War II and ask me if that helmet was comfortable.”

The Marine Corps will celebrate its 237th birthday on Nov. 10, 2012. As is tradition, Kenney will receive the first piece of cake as the oldest Marine present. It is a familiar custom.

“This will be my third [Marine Corps] birthday as the oldest Marine,” said Kenney. “I was kind of expecting it this year.”

Many Marines will never be part of the birthday cake-cutting ceremony. The oldest Marine receives the first piece of cake and the youngest receives the second. Kenney can recall both experiences.

“I joined when I was 17,” Kenney said. “My first two years in the Corps, I was the youngest Marine at the ceremony.”

Kenney is more than twice the age of the youngest Marine sharing his current assignment, and has more time in the Marine Corps than the youngest Marine has in life.

“It’s humbling to see him still working the way he does,” Salcido said. “It’s humbling to see the energy he still brings after all these years.”

This is Kenney’s 12th and likely final deployment, he said. He brings his own credibility to the line in the Marines’ Hymn, “We have fought in every clime and place.”

“I will definitely retire before 2015,” Kenney said. “I don’t want to hit that 40-year mark.”

Friday, November 02, 2012

Former astronaut to headline Native American Heritage Month

by Robert Goetz
Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

11/1/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- The first Native American to walk in space will visit Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph in November, a highlight of the annual Native American Heritage Month.

Retired Navy Cmdr. John Herrington, a former NASA astronaut who served aboard the space shuttle Endeavour a decade ago, will speak during the Native American Heritage Month Luncheon Nov. 29 at the Kendrick Club, the culmination of a month-long schedule of events.

Edward Blauvelt, Randolph Native American Heritage Month Committee chairman, said Herrington, an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation, exemplifies the observance's theme this year: "Serving Our People, Serving Our Nation: Native Visions for Future Generations."

"We're looking at the different ways Native Americans have served, whether it's in their tribes, in the military and as doctors, teachers, lawyers - in all walks of life," he said. "One of our aims is to educate children about the accomplishments of Native Americans in the United States, so we're including the Randolph schools, the child development center and the youth center in our programs."

NAHM will include a poster contest at Randolph Elementary School that will focus on the ways Native Americans show their service, a middle school art contest and display and an essay contest for high school seniors that will feature a $1,000 scholarship.

Blauvelt, who is part Mohawk and Creek Indian, said middle school students' art efforts will be shown Nov. 17-26 at the Randolph Exchange and entered into a Bexar County 4-H Club competition. The essay contest for high school seniors whose parents or legal guardians work at Randolph will focus on the NAHM theme.

Throughout the month, Native American storytelling sessions and music and dance performances are planned at the Randolph library, CDC and youth center. Native American crafts will be exhibited Nov. 27 and 29 at the youth center.

Blauvelt said Grammy Award-winning musician Virgie Ravenhawk, a retired Army master sergeant, is scheduled to play her Native American flute music Nov. 15 at the youth center, while Bryan Jacobs and his family will perform native dancing Nov. 16 and 17, also at the youth center.

Other events include a powwow Nov. 17 at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and a turkey shoot that same day at the youth center. Participants at the turkey shoot will receive archery safety and target shooting instruction and compete for food prizes.

Blauvelt said the month's service theme aptly reflects Native American culture.

"Service is a requirement; everybody in a tribe has something to offer to the tribe," he said. "You have to be able to serve your fellow man."

Throughout American history, Native Americans have displayed their willingness to serve in the military, compiling the highest per-capita service record of all ethnic groups in America, Blauvelt said.

"Our goal is to educate people about who we are," he said. "We're part of this country; we're helping to shape the direction we're going."

PEO stresses importance of relationships

by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

11/1/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.  -- The program executive officer for C3I&N provided an update on his organization and emphasized working together during a presentation to an industry group at the Minuteman Commons here Oct. 25, 2012.

Speaking to approximately 100 attendees, Maj. Gen. Craig Olson told a personal story about working with personnel in Iraq and how the differing parties came to rely on one another.

"Trust-based relationships are the foundation of the work we do together," he said.

Olson emphasized how this is equally important between government and industry partners, saying that he has been blessed with many such relationships throughout his career.

"You spend a couple of months working together, building a relationship, talking about your family, hobbies, and once you get that trust, the business aspect takes off and everyone benefits."

By using this tactic, with the varying parties working toward a common goal, personnel can be upfront and transparent about confronting issues.

"There should be nothing that we can't work through together -- no technical issue, no relational issue, no program or schedule issue," the general said.

Another topic he spoke about was how well the PEOs within the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center are working together.

"Cross-PEO integration is now more important than ever before," he said, stressing how the mission areas are all connected. "There can be no walls between the PEOs."

For the 10 PEOs under AFLCMC, he said he sees them coming together more than during his previous 20 years in acquisition.

After presenting a chart depicting LCMC's mission and objectives, Olson spoke about how he will be working to refine his own organizational focus.

"We're a relatively new organization," he said. "We'll be looking at what our objectives and metrics should be, while making sure they're in alignment with AFLCMC and AFMC [Air Force Materiel Command]."

The general talked about how the divisions are currently organized, adding that they cross the differing domains of ground, air and space. He said that he will be working with "the great leaders in the organization" to ensure that what is put in place optimizes the best way to get the mission accomplished.

Olson added that he is dealing with a new set of customers, as he did not "grow up" in the command and control, space, communications and IT arenas, but he is learning more all the time.

He also stressed resource constraints, adding that because of them, programs will be limited to the required amount of capability at the time needed.

"This is the way our customers are looking at planning and programming, and we need to do the same in the PEO."

In order to meet the goals of being efficient and effective, Olson said there needs to be a commoditized infrastructure.

"We can't have "each's" -- unique services for each mission and asset," he said. "We need a simplified set of services on a commoditized infrastructure which benefit multiple missions and assets."

Olson is convinced that industry partners can assist the C3I&N organization with establishing and successfully carrying out its mission as they have gone through similar struggles, especially the IT industry.

However, he knows none of it can happen without partnerships.

"As in previous positions, my focus will continue to be on building good, strong, trust-based relationships," he said.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Asking the tough questions

by 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Senior Airman Jessica Hines

11/1/2012 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- At first you don't think much of it; you might actually laugh at the reactions you get. After a while, the stares start to get to you, so you hang your head low and avoid making eye contact or walking through crowds.

This was a glimpse of my day with a black eye. Moulaged that morning as part of the Black Eye Campaign by the Family Advocacy Clinic, it was how Kunsan observed Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

"What we're hoping to see is that people take notice and are able to ask the tough questions to see if their Wingmen are ok," said Capt. Sharise Bijou, 8th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy officer.

The clinic discretely asked for volunteers as to not give away the objective for the campaign: to measure real-world responses of Wolf Pack members and see if they could "ask the tough questions."

"This is not just a spousal problem, it's not just a women's problem," said Staff Sgt. Jennifer Lively, NCO in charge of Family Advocacy. "Domestic violence can affect anyone and we want to make sure people know where to get help if they ever find themselves or a friend a victim of domestic violence."

For five days, the clinic moulaged black eyes and bruises on volunteers and then sent them into their work centers, asking that the volunteers provided feedback on their experiences.

At the beginning of the week, most participants experienced joking, avoiding eye contact or just staring.

At first, admittedly, I couldn't help but smile when I walked through crowded areas such as the food court or Starbucks, knowing I had a black eye painted on me.

Then, I started to run into my friends, some of whom almost had heart attacks upon seeing me. To them, I give a heartfelt apology for putting them through that.

The morning dragged on and I almost forgot it was there, keeping busy and taking care of everyday tasks. A couple people would stare and wonder, and a few others stepped up to ask what happened and if I was ok.

With that, I'm confident I would easily be able to find support if I was a victim of domestic violence.

However, I learned a much bigger lesson about domestic violence looking at the world from behind the bruise.

It was easy to anticipate the reaction of my friends and co-workers. It wasn't easy to guess who would approach you outside of that. Who had the courage to approach me? Who would just stare? What would you do?

I found myself turning my head away from people so they couldn't see it, or waiting till the hallway was less crowded to make my way to the restroom.

There was a point in the day when I just didn't want to deal with it anymore, and was tempted to wash it off. I thought about what a victim of domestic violence must feel like, having to live day to day with the inward and outward bruises of abuse.

According to the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, domestic violence includes:
· physical abuse (domestic violence)
· verbal or nonverbal abuse (psychological abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse)
· sexual abuse
· stalking or cyberstalking
· economic abuse or financial abuse
· spiritual abuse

AAETS also identifies a series of warning signs, which can reasonably point to domestic abuse:
· Bruises and other signs of impact on the skin, with the excuse of "accidents"
· Depression, crying
· Frequent and sudden absences
· Frequent lateness
· Frequent, harassing phone calls to the person while they are at work
· Fear of the partner, references to the partner's anger
· Decreased productivity and attentiveness
· Isolation from friends and family
· Insufficient resources to live (money, credit cards, car)

If you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic violence, contact your local Family Advocacy Clinic, first sergeant or supervisor.

While it may not always be a domestic violence case, asking the "tough questions" could make all the difference to someone.