28 December 2009

Current Events: 2010 AFA Reading List

AFA President’s Reading List – Dec 2009
Michael M. Dunn President/CEO Air Force Association

To put together this list, I downloaded the reading lists of CJCS, CSAF, CSA, CNO, Commandant of USMC, NDU President, AU Commander, and the Commandants of most war colleges and staff colleges. I then asked about 10 noted Airpower experts – many of whom are authors themselves – which books would they recommend. I then collated their inputs to form this list – and left many of their editorial comments to help guide the reader. It is obviously not all-inclusive … but I think it is a list that any serious Airman or Airpower advocate should consider.

AIRPOWER BOOKS

Boyne, Walter J. Aces in Command. Washington: Brassey’s, 2001. A pleaser--great stories about Olds, Zemke, Rickenbacker, etc.
Boyne, Walter J. Operation Iraqi Freedom. NY: Forge, 2003. An excellent account of airpower in OIF.
Clancy, Tom with General Chuck Horner. Every Man a Tiger. NY: Putnam’s 1999. I still think Horner's memoir is excellent.
Hallion, Richard, Storm Over Iraq: Air Power and the Gulf War. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 1997. Probably the best written description of how Airpower – from all Services – played the decisive role in Desert Shield/Desert Storm
Kenney, George, General Kenney Reports, Air Force History, Museum, 1996. Good overview of operational employment of airpower to include deception, clever planning, championing airpower, and field innovation.
Kozak, Warren, LeMay: The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay, Washington, DC, Regnery Publishing, Inc, 2009. This book shows a different side of perhaps the greatest Airman who ever served.
Lambeth, Benjamin S. The Transformation of American Air Power. Ithaca: Cornell Univ Press, 2000. A bit dated now, but still very good
McDougall, Walter A. …the Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age. New York: Basic Books, 1985. An unsurpassed Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the development of America’s civil and military space programs; though now somewhat dated, it is still a remarkably valuable and insightful work, indispensable for understanding the transition from the aeronautics into the aerospace era.
Meilinger, Philip S. 10 Propositions Regarding Airpower. Washington: Air Force History and Museums Program, 1995. A tiny little booklet that was printed small enough to fit in a flight suit pocket. Essential thought-provoker that deserves continued perusal and discussion.
Miller, Donald L. Masters of the Air. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2006. The best book written about the 8AF during WWII. Outstanding.
Miller, Roger G. To Save a City: The Berlin Airlift, 1948-1949. College Station: Texas A&M Univ Press, 2000. Probably the best account of the Berlin Airlift out there.
Olsen, John, ed., A History of Air Warfare, [not yet released … but many experts contributed to it and recommended it to me.] This one-volume anthology provides a comprehensive analysis of the role that air power has played in military conflicts over the past century. Comprising sixteen essays penned by a global cadre of leading military experts, A History of Air Warfare chronologically examines the utility of Airpower from the First World War to the second Lebanon war, campaign by campaign.
Rich, Ben, Skunkworks., Little, Brown & company, 1996. A very readable history of the Lockheed Skunkworks. Value to today’s reader is that it shows how fast radically new technology machines can be built and fielded. In other words, twenty years for something like a F-22 or B-2 makes little sense and is not necessary.
Sheehan, Neil, A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapons, New York: Random House, 2009. Probably the best book I’ve read on both Gen Schriever and his work.
Thompson, Wayne. To Hanoi and Back: The USAF and North Vietnam, 1966-1973. Washington DC: Air Force History and Museums Program, Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000. The best thing on airpower over North Vietnam.
Waller, Douglas. A Question of Loyalty: Gen. Billy Mitchell and the Court-Martial that Gripped the Nation. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2004. The best researched, most nuanced, and most dispassionate biography of this controversial airman. After reading this, one will never be able to accept the notion of Mitchell as merely an unsophisticated “zealot.”

General National Security Books

Coll, Steve, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001, New York, Penguin Group, 2004. A well written account of the history of the CIA and United States in Afghanistan from the Soviet invasion to 9/11.
Dower, John, Embracing Defeat, New york: W. W. Norton & co, Inc., 1999. This Pulitzer prize winning book tells of the reconstruction of post-war Japan during US occupation and the struggle of the Japanese people to survive.
Keegan, John, Face of Battle, New York: Penguin Group, 1976. Outstanding study of opposing strategies employed in famous battles – a primer on battle at the soldiers’ level – what he hears, sees, smells, and feels, … and helps us understand why we need Airpower.
Kilcullen, David, The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One, London: Oxford University Press, 2009. Provides detail on the "soft" side of low intensity warfare- namely culture and people issues,
Lewis, Bernard W., Islam and the West, Oxford University Press, New York 1993. The best single book on Islam for the Western reader.
Sharansky, Natan, The Case for Democracy, New York: Public Affairs, 2004. A compelling book, by one of the first Jews permitted to immigrate to Israel from the Soviet Union, which makes the case that the desire for democracy and freedom runs deep in the psyche of all peoples, everywhere.
Wright, Lawrence, Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11., New York: random House, Inc, 2006. This Pulizer Prize winning book is the most important book on the list. It describes how Al-Qaeda was formed and tells the stories of bin Laden, Zawahiri, and others.

Airpower Books – Part II

Arnold, Henry H. Global Mission. New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1949 (also Blue Ridge Summit, PA, Tab Books, 1989). If an Air Force member reads just one book on air leadership, this should be the one. Arnold writes with great honesty and bluntness of his evolution as an Airman. One finishes the book thankful he was on our side.
Budiansky, Stephen: Air Power: From Kitty Hawk to Gulf War II. New York: Viking, 2003. Wide-ranging, well-written, and vigorously argued, Budiansky’s book is the best one volume history of military air power written to date.
Burroughs, William, Deep Black, Berkley Publishers Group, New York 1988. Provides an in-depth look at air borne surveillance starting with the planes and cameras of WW II and ends with the techno-marvels that are flying today.
Copp, DeWitt, Forged in Fire: Strategy and Decisions in the Air War Over Europe Doubleday, New York 1983. Records the quest for American air power and the recognition of air power as an independent military force and provides a look at the men who developed American air power and were responsible for creating the modern Air Force.
Fisher, David, A Summer Bright and Terrible, Shoemaker Hoard, 2005. Biography of ACM Stuffy Dowding, planner and executer of the air defense of England. Reads well. Highlights importance of airpower, technology development, thinking beyond the conventional wisdom, and of senior officers willing to oppose the politicians.
Frandsen, Bert, Hat in the Ring: The Birth of American Air Power in the Great War, Smithsonian Institution Press, 2003. Outstanding account of airpowers first leaders and legends.
Glines, Carroll V., The Doolittle Raid: America’s Daring First Strike Against Japan, Schiffer Publishing, 1991. An account of the first strike against the Japanese following Pearl Harbor.
Grant, Rebecca, The Radar Game: Understanding Stealth and Aircraft Survivability, IRIS Independent Research, Washington D.C., 1999. Grant provides comprehensive information about low observable technology.
Hurley, Alfred F., Billy Mitchell: Crusader for Airpower, Indiana University Press, Bloomington 1975. A good read on the origins and development of airpower.
Meilinger, Philip S. Hoyt S. Vandenberg: The Life of a General. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989 (also Bolling AFB: Air Force History and Museums Program, 2000). Thoughtful examination of the Air Force’s most important early chief, who steered the service through the roles and missions debate, through the Berlin Crisis and Korea, and on into the burgeoning nuclear era of the Eisenhower years.
Olsen, John, Strategic Airpower in Desert Storm, Portland, OR: Frank Cass Publishers, 2003. Good overview of the concept and execution of the first Gulf War. Important reading for those whose view of that war was warped by or reflects Scale’s A Certain Victory.
Olsen, John, John Warden and the Renaissance of American Air Power, Potomac Books, Dulles VA, 2007. In my opinion, the biggest problem with most Airpower books is that they discus things in such a tactical fashion—dogfights, CAS, etc. For example, go to the Air and Space Museum downtown and you will be hard-pressed to find books that explain why air power matters, how it can support the nation, why you don’t want to fight at the last tactical mile, etc. This means that most people do not have resources available to help them understand the strategic underpinnings of air power. This is one of the few books that does a good job in conveying this message

Morale: Closing out the Christmas Perspective from Afghanistan

Twas the Night before Christmas, Afghanistan style
Posted By Bouhammer on December 25, 2009
Bouhammer Note- This version of ‘Twas the Night before Christmas’ was sent to me yesterday by its author, SSG Scott Nelson, who is currently deployed in Afghanistan. He said he re-worked the famous poem in order to put some Christmas spirit in the soldiers fighting on the front lines in the Global War on Terror. Personally I think he did a pretty good job. I want to thank SSG Nelson and all of those that are forward deployed who take the time to read this blog and for their feedback. I am flattered that those whom I tend to write about, read Bouhammer’s Afghan & Military blog and that they like what they read. Merry Christmas to all, but especially to those that are deployed away from family trying to make it though just “one more day”.Twas the night before Christmas, and all through Afghanistan,
not a creature was stirring, not even the Taliban.
Combat boots were aligned under the cots with care,
but nobody expected that St Nicholas would be there.
The soldiers were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of home danced in their heads.
When out by the wire there arose such a clatter,
all the soldiers sprang from their beds to see what was the matter.
Away to the fighting positions they flew with a flash,
threw on their gear and made a mad dash.
The moon shining down on the desert below
gave the Afghan qalats a menacing glow.
When up in the sky something strange did appear,
but all the brave soldiers suppressed their fear.
Calmly they prepared for the battle ahead,
though their hearts were filled with a visceral dread.
But soon they discovered a cause for the racket,
a laughing fat man in a brilliant red jacket.
He was driving a sleigh loaded with gear,
pulled behind a team of eight reindeer!
The soldiers gazed with awe at the sight,
of the familiar man flying his sleigh through the night.
Down came the sleigh with a dizzying drop,
and soon Santa landed in the midst of the COP!
As he stepped down into the gathering crowd,
he patted his belly and exclaimed aloud:
"Combat landings are always a fright,
maybe I shouldn't have had that egg nog tonight!"
He pulled out a bag which bulged at the seams,
filled with the things of the soldiers dreams.
Ipods and video games and paperback tomes,
cookies and candies and letters from home.
To each soldier he gave with a hug and a smile,
chuckling and jiggling with joy all the while.
When his bag was empty and all his treats gone,
he led the soldiers in a few Christmas songs.
Soon they knew it was time that St. Nick must go,
but a private stepped forward, said "Santa, I want to know..
Why did you come to this forsaken hole in the sand,
where war and cruelty ravage the land?"
Santa looked up with a gleam in his eye,
and for a second it seemed as if he might cry.
With a quivering voice he said to the women and men
"I look forward with joy to that day when
all mankind will be happy and live together in peace,
from the North to the South to the West to the East.
But for now I know some must fight,
to ensure that the weak and oppressed have the right
to live their lives as they want, as they please,
without tyranny bringing them to their knees.
I know these men and women are lonely and scared,
far from their life,
far from friend and neighbor and child, husband or wife
These heroes deserve the joy of the season,
and to this land I come for that reason"
He saluted the soldiers with pride in his eyes,
then climbed into his sleigh with a sigh.
With a whistle and a flick of the reigns in his hand,
the sleigh and the reindeer rose above the land
He bellowed as he rose ever higher and flew out of sight
"Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!"
Share and Enjoy:

26 December 2009

CTWG: Danbury & New Fairfield High School work Wreaths Across America

From Arlington to New Fairfield

On Saturday December 12th, Civil Air Patrol Cadets from New Fairfield High School and the Danbury Municipal Airport joined with members of the New Fairfield Veterans Association to bring the Wreaths Across America project to New Fairfield. The Wreaths Across America story began over 18 years ago with the tradition of donating and placing wreaths on the headstones of our Nation's fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery. Recognition of the service and sacrifice of our veterans, and their families, is especially poignant during the traditional holiday season.

This year, over 100,000 wreaths will be sponsored by individuals, businesses and groups from communities Nation-wide. Wreaths will be placed in all 50 states from Maine to Alaska and Hawaii, at several locations in Iraq, and at 24 national cemeteries on foreign soil. The Civil Air Patrol volunteers nation-wide to place the wreaths on the headstones.

The wreaths placed on the Veteran headstones at New Fairfield Town Cemetery this year is the start of a tradition for New Fairfield. Although this is the first year that New Fairfield has participated, the Civil Air Patrol cadets and the New Fairfield Veterans Association plan to continue the tradition for years to come. Next year, the local Civil Air Patrol cadets will be welcoming donations to expand the program to cover more local cemeteries and towns to honor more of our fallen veterans during the holiday season.

CTWG: Norwich Wreaths Across America

Norwich officials to take part in 'Wreaths Across America'
By Claire Bessette
Publication: The Day
Published 12/09/2009 12:00 AM

Norwich — Members of the City Council and the city manager will participate in "Wreaths Across America" in public ceremonies set to start at about 11:15 a.m. Saturday.
The Norwich program is part of a nationwide effort sanctioned by Congress to honor fallen service personnel at cemeteries and memorials on the second Saturday of December. Seven wreaths, representing all branches of the service, will be placed at each of three locations, said Joan Scungio, director of Norwich Wreaths Across America.
At the war memorial section of Chelsea Parade, Mayor Peter Nystrom, Council President Pro Tempore Francois "Pete" Desaulniers and Alderman William Nash will place a wreath at the Vietnam and POW-MIA memorial.
Alderwoman Laurie Glenney Popovich and Alderman H. Tucker Braddock will place a wreath at the Old Cemetery Lane entrance to the Norwichtown Cemetery. The wreaths will be placed near the memorial for 20 French soldiers who died during the Revolutionary War. The Norwichtown cemetery dates back to the 18th century, and many gravestones are small and brittle.
Alderwoman Deberey Hinchey and City Manager Alan Bergren will place wreaths at the flagpole at the center of the Yantic Cemetery, where many Civil War dead are buried.
The wreath-layings will take place at noon, to coincide with the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Scungio said.
A reception will be follow at the Polish Legion of American Veterans Post 132 on North Main Street in Greeneville.
The Civil Air Patrol, Connecticut Veterans, an umbrella group of veterans' organizations and the Connecticut Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution are the sponsors.

Current Events: Terrorist attempts to blow up passenger plane: Detroit


"December 25, 2009 A Northwest Airbus 330 carrying 278 passengers landed safely at Detroit metro around noon on Friday, Dec. 25, 2009 on a flight bound from Amsterdam to Detroit. A senior U.S. counterterror official says a passenger aboard a Delta Air Lines flight in Detroit was planning to blow up the plane but the explosive device failed."


"One by one, the passengers deplaned Friday with similar and various bits of the story. By all accounts, the suspect was immediately tackled by at least one man, and several other passengers ran towards him immediately trying to put the fire out."


24 December 2009

USAF: NORAD Santa Update

Follow Santa here...





CTWG: Past CT Wing Commander Profiled


Preston's Frederick Herbert is still flying after 49 years

Past Commander, Connecticut Wing Col Fred Herbert (1997 - 1999)



Preston - On a recent frigid morning, Frederick G. Herbert pulled back the protective covering on a 1973 Cessna Cardinal parked at the Groton-New London Airport.
He removed the protective blocks that keep birds from nesting near the propeller and then proceeded to tell guests about the width of the two doors, which are nearly the size of an automobile's to make entering and exiting the plane easier.
"It is a nice airplane, but it wasn't popular," he said looking at the flying machine. "It may be an old airplane, but it gets its annual inspections and is in pretty good shape."
The same could be same for its pilot.
Herbert, 80, has been flying for 49 years. An accomplished pilot, he has logged more than 4,000 flight hours and is proud of his continued membership in the Thames River Composite Squadron, a unit of the Connecticut Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the United States Air Force.
"He's been around for a long time. He was there in the old days when the squadron was doing (submarine) patrols. He's a living history book for the CAP and a wonderful person to have around," Squadron Lt. Col. and Commander Lawrence Kinch said recently.
As Herbert tells it, he's been flying so long he started with wooden propellers and 55-horsepower planes. He first took flight in 1947 at 18 years old, right around the time he joined the Maryland Air National Guard.
"All that time when I flew I expected that if I went down or if I was overdue the CAP would come search for me," Herbert said with great sincerity. "In the 1980s I thought, 'Gee, maybe I ought to do something for the CAP because of all those years I thought they could be looking for me.'"
Herbert joined the Thames River Squadron in 1981.
During his tenure he served as the commander of the Connecticut Wing, overseeing 13 squadrons throughout the state, and is now the northeast region's CAP historian. He has earned the rank of colonel within the CAP.
In October 2008, Herbert was honored for his service to the patrol and as the northeast region's historian. Specifically, he was recognized for a record-breaking flight from Hartford to York, Penn., which he did in two hours and three minutes, averaging slightly more than 202 kilometers per hour. He flew a Cessna 177B and the flight record represents the fastest speed of any piston engine landplane weighing between 1,102 pounds and 2,205 pounds, according to a news release from the National Aeronautic Association distributed at that time.
The primary reason for the flight was not to break a record. It was to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the death of a 2nd Lt. Andre E. Maye, also of Connecticut. Maye was a CAP pilot out of the Courier Service stationed at Bradley Airport, a service that transported personal and priority cargo on the onset of World War II.
According to Sept. 15, 1943, edition of The Gardner News, of Gardner, Mass., Maye and mechanic George M. Menzel died when their plane crashed in East Templeton. The two were en route to the Grenier Airport in New Hampshire.
In addition to the record in honor of Maye, Herbert also holds a second record for "speed over a recognized course" from Fisher's Island, N.Y., to Portland, Me., set in 1997.
Currently, Herbert uses the Cessna Cardinal, which he has co-owned with other pilots since 2002, and has taken many trips throughout the northeast region, mostly casual flights, such as transport to weddings or to visit friends.
Herbert said he expects to continue serving and flying for many more years, so long as he passes his annual pilot's physical.
"I've passed every year so far," he said with a sheepish grin as he proudly showed his pilot's license to prove what he said was true; he passed his physical on Nov. 30.
"It's a good hobby," Herbert said recently. "Now some people are very uncomfortable flying in light aircraft, almost terrified, and others feel it's wonderful, miraculous. I have always felt that way ... I marvel at it more than the average person."

22 December 2009

USAF: A little more on the MC-12 or L3 Spy Plane

First New U.S. L-3 Spy Plane Due in Afghanistan by Christmas

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- The Air Force as soon as Christmas Day will deliver to Afghanistan the first of 24 new
Hawker Beechcraft Corp. planes modified by L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. to support ground troops with video, still images and eavesdropping.
The four-man, twin-propeller plane “should arrive on or shortly after Dec. 25th,” about one month ahead of schedule, Lieutenant General David Deptula, who oversees Air Force intelligence and reconnaissance, said in an e-mail today.
Defense Secretary
Robert Gates ordered the service in April 2008 to dramatically increase the number of manned and unmanned aircraft providing intelligence to ground troops. The planes will help support the 30,000 additional troops President Barack Obama ordered to Afghanistan. Six of the new spy planes already are flying missions in Iraq.
The Air Force is setting up stations at its air bases at Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan, and Bagram, near Kabul, the capital, to receive and process data and then send it along to ground troops.
The planes also can beam images and video directly to ground troops, who will be equipped with L-3 Communications ‘‘Rovers” -- laptop devices that allow soldiers to see the same images as airborne operators. Almost 5,000 Rovers have been delivered to the U.S. military by L-3 Communications.
Hand-Held Rovers
The Air Force also will give the Army about 50 of the latest-generation Rovers -- hand-held versions that allow soldiers via satellite link both to receive images and to tell pilots where to direct the plane’s cameras, Deptula said.
The new planes provide “full-motion video and specialized signals intelligence” and all 24 should be in Afghanistan by September, Deptula said.
The aircraft will augment round-the-clock surveillance now provided by unmanned Predator drones.
The modified planes are equipped with both high-resolution and heat-sensing cameras produced by New York City-based L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. and with radios from Waltham, Massachusetts-based
Raytheon Co. and Melbourne, Florida-based Harris Corp.
The planes also are equipped with sensors that can monitor insurgents’ conversations and help pinpoint their location, said
Jeffrey Richelson, author of the “U.S. Intelligence Community,” a detailed compendium now in its fifth edition.
The sensors are provided by the
National Security Agency, which manages U.S. eavesdropping satellites.
“It’s a lot of intelligence and dissemination capability in a small package,” Richelson said. The planes, with self- protective equipment, are “also clearly designed for a combat environment,” he said.
Congress this year approved $950 million to buy as many as 37 aircraft from Wichita, Kansas-based Hawker Beechcraft Corp. The planes can fly as high as 35,000 feet and orbit for as long as five hours. They are modified at L-3 Communication’s Greenville, Texas, facility.

21 December 2009

Morale: Words from the CSM

I awoke this Saturday morning at PT time (0430), and looked at my surroundings. The worst winter storm in DC for a number of years had arrived in force. Snow, and lots of it. Roads are closed, planes are grounded, and people are huddled comfortably inside their homes or foolishly out trying to learn how to drive in snow.Rather than roll over, I put some warm clothes on, leashed the dogs, and out we went for some exercise and introspection. As I walked, I was trying to imagine being in those winter camps and fights so long ago.
I thought of Washington's Christmas raid at Trenton, and his last, lonely winter camp. I thought of the soldiers at Fort Niagara. I thought of the bitter cold of the Argonne, the Huertgen Forest and Bastogne, the Aleutians, the Chosin Reservoir, the Sava River, and Tora Bora.
As I thought of those heroes of our past, those legendary Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen that we regularly honor and pay tribute to, I thought of those quiet professionals in current fights that we don't speak of often enough.
Look around on any forward operating base or outpost in Afghanistan, the Philippines or Iraq. Watch the Soldiers passing through our airports coming home on or returning from R&R. Listen to speeches during a deployment or redployment ceremony. Stand silently and render honors to one of our fallen (something which is hardly more sincere than on Disney Road and at that airfield!).
Modern American heroes (not our over-indulged athletes or actors) are hardly given their due. They walked or still pass quietly among us, never seeking acknowledgement or fame, but simply doing their duty as they have sworn oaths to do. We already know some of their names:
- Smith, Murphy, Monsoor, Dunham, McGinnis - Medal of Honor;- Hollenbaugh, Cooper, Nein, Sanford, Coffman - Distinguished Service Cross;- Hester, Birch, Roundtree, Kandarian, LaFrenz - Silver Star;- Kopp, Shumney, Kuban, DeLeon, Gentry - Bronze Star for Valor;- Biggs, Carbone, Turecheck, Rushing, Berwald - Army Commendation for Valor.
And, I submit, for every warrior we acknowledge in a ceremony, there are a hundred or a thousand more who are never acknowledged for the difference they make every day.
So as I finished my peaceful walk in the snow, I thought of the Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors that are carrying the fight away from home so that I could have this walk in peace, and I am forever grateful. I thought of those in MRAPs slowly searching roadways for hidden dangers, others working with local police to secure a village, and yet others moving quietly and quickly to eliminate or capture a hidden enemy, and I am filled with pride.
Wherever you are, and whatever you do or did to continue to guarantee my safety and freedom, I thank each of you in, headed to, returning from, or supporting the fight. You are my heroes, and I thank you.
CSM Jeff Mellinger

18 December 2009

Morale: The American soldier in the eyes of a French infantryman

Sometimes everyone needs an outside perspective to see what you do good and what you can improve on. The following was posted by blackfive.net and originated here,

http://serendipity.ruwenzori.net/index.php/2008/09/21/american-troops-in-afghanistan-through-the-eyes-of-a-french-omlt-infantryman

This is posted in its entiriety because the message is all important.

Subject: French view of US Military by Jean-Marc Liotier

http://serendipity.ruwenzori.net/index.php/2008/09/21/american-troops-in-afghanistan-through-the-eyes-of-a-french-omlt-infantryman

American troops in Afghanistan through the eyes of a French OMLT infantryman

The US often hears echoes of worldwide hostility against the application of its foreign policy, but seldom are they reached by the voices of those who experience first hand how close we are to the USA. In spite of contextual political differences and conflicting interests that generate friction, we do share the same fundamental values - and when push comes to
shove that is what really counts.

Through the eyes of that French OMLT (Operational Mentoring Liaison Teams)
infantryman you can see how strong the bond is on the ground. In contrast with the Americans, the French soldiers don't seem to write much online - or maybe the proportion is the same but we just have less people deployed. Whatever the reason, this is a rare and moving testimony which is why I decided to translate it into English, so that American people can catch a glimpse of the way European soldiers see them. Not much high philosophy here, just the first hand impressions of a soldier in contact - but that only makes it more authentic.

"We have shared our daily life with two US units for quite a while - they are the first and fourth companies of a prestigious infantry battalion whose name I will withhold for the sake of military secrecy. To the common man it is a unit just like any other. But we live with them and got to know them, and we henceforth know that we have the honor to live with one of the most renowned units of the US Army - one that the movies brought to the public as series showing "ordinary soldiers thrust into extraordinary events". Who are they, those soldiers from abroad, how is their daily life, and what support do they bring to the men of our OMLT every day?

Few of them belong to the Easy Company, the one the TV series focuses on. This one nowadays is named Echo Company, and it has become the support company. They have a terribly strong American accent - from our point of view the language they speak is not even English. How many times did I have to write down what I wanted to say
rather than waste precious minutes trying various pronunciations of a seemingly common word? Whatever state they are from, no two accents are alike and they even admit that in some crisis situations they have difficulties understanding each other.

Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins and creatine they are all heads and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind us of Rambo. Our frames are amusingly skinny to them - we are wimps, even the strongest of us - and because of that they often mistake us for Afghans.

Here we discover America as it is often depicted: their values are taken to their paroxysm, often amplified by promiscuity and the loneliness of this outpost in the middle of that Afghan valley. Honor, motherland - everything here reminds of that: the American flag floating in the wind above the outpost, just like the one on the post parcels. Even if recruits often originate from the hearth of American cities and gang territory, no one here has any goal other than to hold high and proud the star spangled banner. Each man knows he can count on the support of a whole people who provides them through the mail all that an American could miss in such a remote front-line location: books, chewing gums, razor blades, Gatorade, toothpaste etc. in such way that every man is aware of how much the American people backs him in his difficult mission.

And that is a first shock to our preconceptions: the American soldier is no individualist. The team, the group, the combat team are the focus of all his attention. And they are impressive warriors! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seem to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight unmoving in the directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the dark - only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered - everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump.

And combat? If you have seen Rambo you have seen it all - always coming to the rescue when one of our teams gets in trouble, and always in the shortest delay. That is one of their tricks: they switch from T-shirt and sandals to combat ready in three minutes. Arriving in contact with the enemy, the way they fight is simple and disconcerting: they just charge! They disembark and assault in stride, they bomb first and ask questions later - which cuts any pussyfooting short.

This is the main area where I'd like to comment. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Kipling knows the lines from Chant Pagan: 'If your officer's dead and the sergeants look white/remember it's ruin to run from a fight./So take open order, lie down, sit tight/And wait for supports like a soldier./ This, in fact, is the basic philosophy of both British and Continental soldiers. 'In the absence of orders, take a defensive position.' Indeed, virtually every army in the world. The American soldier and Marine, however, are imbued from early in their training with the ethos: In the Absence of Orders: Attack! Where other forces, for good or ill, will wait for precise orders and plans to respond to an attack or any other 'incident', the American force will simply go, counting on firepower and SOP to carry the day. This is one of the great strengths of the American force in combat and it is something that even our closest allies, such as the Brits and Aussies (that latter being closer by the way) find repeatedly surprising. No wonder it surprises the he** out of our enemies.

We seldom hear any harsh word, and from 5 AM onwards the camp chores are performed in beautiful order and always with excellent spirit. A passing American helicopter stops near a stranded vehicle just to check that everything is alright; an American combat team will rush to support ours before even knowing how dangerous the mission is - from what we have been given to witness, the American soldier is a beautiful and worthy heir to those who liberated France and Europe.

To those who bestow us with the honor of sharing their combat outposts and who everyday give proof of their military excellence, to those who pay the daily tribute of America's army's deployment on Afghan soil, to those we owned this article, ourselves hoping that we will always remain worthy of them and to always continue hearing them say that we are all the same band of brothers".

17 December 2009

Morale: NORAD Tracks Santa

Hesssss baaaack!



USAF: Operation Christmas Drop



Guam - Today kicked off Operation Christmas Drop, an annual project where the men and women of the United States Air Force fly over the outer islands of Micronesia and play Santa from the sky. "We'll have an opportunity to bring much needed supplies and hope to people in the Micronesian islands," said Colonel Mark Hicks.

It's a long-lasting tradition ongoing for the last fifty-eight years. During Tuesday's push ceremony at Andersen Air Force Base, Brigadier General Phil Rhulman announced that the Air Force plans to make fifty-one drops to over fifty islands, bringing with them over 25,000 pounds of food and supplies. Said, Rhulman "In the spirit of Christmas is obviously behind what we do.

14 December 2009

CAP: Nominations for "Of The Year" Awards Due

Please be advised that Cadet of the Year (note already sent to you by Major Lesick) and Senior of the Year applications are due to CTWG HQ no later than January 15. Remember that the Cadet of the Year application must be on a Form 58 with all supporting documentation. Incomplete Form 58's will not be considered. The Form 58 must be typed on the computer form--no hand written forms will be accepted.

Please check CAPR 39-3 and its changes for any other National awards that are due in January.

Since our next Wing Conference will most likely be in October again, any other wing awards will be asked for submission sometime in August.

Thank you.
Lt Col Cassandra Huchko
CTWG CS/DA/DP

11 December 2009

USAF: T Birds 2010 Local Schedule

June
5 and 6: Ocean City, Md.
26 and 27: North Kingstown, R.I.

August
21 and 22: Westfield, Mass.
25: Atlantic City, N.J.
28 and 29: Brooklyn (Coney Island), N.Y.

08 December 2009

USAF: 1st Stealth jet in country


US Air Force spokesmen confirmed this week that the hitherto secret unmanned, high-altitude stealth jet, the "Beast of Kandahar," was present at the big US air base of Bagram, in Afghanistan. Photos of the Beast on the Bagram tarmac - outside its regular base at Kandahar near the Iranian and Pakistani borders - appeared in various Internet sites this week.

Designated RQ-170 Sentinel, it is the first jet drone ever developed for military use. More here...

07 December 2009

USAF: The manned replacement for the Predator?


The Iron Beechcraft
December 5, 2009: The US Air Force has been testing its new "manned UAV replacement" in Iraq, and has found that the twin engine aircraft is durable and reliable. Five months ago, a squadron of the new MC-12s were sent to Iraq, and since then, those dozen aircraft have flown over a thousand sorties. That's about four sorties per week per aircraft.

The MC-12 is a modified version of the earlier RC-12 electronic reconnaissance aircraft. The MC-12 will provide the same service as a UAV (full motion video) in addition to electronic monitoring (radio, cell phone, etc.). The air force is converting some existing King Air 350s, as well as buying new ones, to obtain 37 MC-12s for this duty as, in effect, a Predator UAV replacement. The UAVs cannot be manufactured fast enough to supply battlefield needs, so the manned MC-12s will help fill the gap. The MC-12 is a militarized version of the Beech King Air. The army began using the Beech aircraft as the RC-12 in the 1970s, and has been seeking a replacement for the last few years. But it was realized that the RC-12 was suitable for use as a Predator substitute.

The King Air 350 is a 5.6 ton, twin engine aircraft that, as a UAV replacement, carries a crew of four. Some of the sensors are operated from the ground. This MC-12 can stay in the air for about eight hours per sortie. Not quite what the Predator can do (about twice the time per sortie), but good enough to help fill the demand. The MC-12 has advantages over UAVs. It can carry over a ton of sensors, several times what a Predator can haul. The MC-12 can fly higher (35,000 feet) and is faster (over 500 kilometers an hour, versus 215 for the Predator.) The MC-12s cost about $20 million each, more than twice what a Predator goes for. The MC-12s crew consists of two pilots and two equipment operators.

Current Events: December 7th 1941







The 7 December 1941 Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor was one of the great defining moments in history. A single carefully-planned and well-executed stroke removed the United States Navy's battleship force as a possible threat to the Japanese Empire's southward expansion. America, unprepared and now considerably weakened, was abruptly brought into the Second World War as a full combatant.

Eighteen months earlier, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had transferred the United States Fleet to Pearl Harbor as a presumed deterrent to Japanese agression. The Japanese military, deeply engaged in the seemingly endless war it had started against China in mid-1937, badly needed oil and other raw materials. Commercial access to these was gradually curtailed as the conquests continued. In July 1941 the Western powers effectively halted trade with Japan. From then on, as the desperate Japanese schemed to seize the oil and mineral-rich East Indies and Southeast Asia, a Pacific war was virtually inevitable.

By late November 1941, with peace negotiations clearly approaching an end, informed U.S. officials (and they were well-informed, they believed, through an ability to read Japan's diplomatic codes) fully expected a Japanese attack into the Indies, Malaya and probably the Philippines. Completely unanticipated was the prospect that Japan would attack east, as well.

The U.S. Fleet's Pearl Harbor base was reachable by an aircraft carrier force, and the Japanese Navy secretly sent one across the Pacific with greater aerial striking power than had ever been seen on the World's oceans. Its planes hit just before 8AM on 7 December. Within a short time five of eight battleships at Pearl Harbor were sunk or sinking, with the rest damaged. Several other ships and most Hawaii-based combat planes were also knocked out and over 2400 Americans were dead. Soon after, Japanese planes eliminated much of the American air force in the Philippines, and a Japanese Army was ashore in Malaya.

These great Japanese successes, achieved without prior diplomatic formalities, shocked and enraged the previously divided American people into a level of purposeful unity hardly seen before or since. For the next five months, until the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May, Japan's far-reaching offensives proceeded untroubled by fruitful opposition. American and Allied morale suffered accordingly. Under normal political circumstances, an accomodation might have been considered.

However, the memory of the "sneak attack" on Pearl Harbor fueled a determination to fight on. Once the Battle of Midway in early June 1942 had eliminated much of Japan's striking power, that same memory stoked a relentless war to reverse her conquests and remove her, and her German and Italian allies, as future threats to World peace.

USAF: Air Force chaplains reflect on milestones, emphasize warrior care

12/4/2009 - ORLANDO, Fla. (AFNS) -- More than 100 chaplains and chaplain assistants from throughout the Air Force attended the Chaplain Corps Summit here recently, in part to celebrate 60th anniversary of the Air Force Chaplain Corps and the 100th anniversary of the chaplain assistant career field.

The summit began with an interfaith worship service, included a review of Chaplain Corps history and concluded with a Heritage Banquet.

"We reminisced over years of service and fellowship in our past and looked ahead to the role of the Chaplain Corps in meeting current and future mission needs," said Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Cecil R. Richardson, chief of chaplains.

Chaplain Richardson related the Chaplain Corps' rich and storied history. Chaplain Charles I. Carpenter, the Army Air Corps' "Air Chaplain," emphasized the need for pastoral identity of chaplains with the people they served. After successfully persuading senior leaders that the Air Force should have its own chaplaincy, Chaplain Carpenter helped ensure the drafting of the transfer order on May 10, 1949.

Predating the Air Force Chaplain Corps, the "chaplain assistant" position was established forty years earlier on Dec. 28, 1909. Paragraph 1 of the General Order by the War Department stated, "One enlisted man will be detailed on special duty, by the commanding officer of any organization to which a chaplain is assigned for duty, for the purpose of assisting the chaplain in the performance of his official duties."

"Air Force chaplains and chaplain assistants continue to support our Airmen in today's fight as we walk where they walk and go where they go," Chaplain Richardson said.

04 December 2009

CAP: Wreaths Across America - CT Schedule

Tuesday 8 December
1500 Veterans Memorial, Coventry CT
1700 Connecticut State Capitol, Hartford

Wednesday 9 December

0830 Southington High School, Southington CT
1030 Home for the Brave, Bridgeport CT
1145 Sikorsky Aircraft, Bridgeport CT
1430 Town Hall, Darien CT

Thursday 10 December
0845 Darien High School, Darien CT

CTWG: Always Vigilant adds AF News RSS feed

Below right underneath the CAP Headlines News section is the newly added Air Force RSS feed including Air Force photos of the week and the top 5 news items of every day - enjoy.

CTWG PA

USAF: Airmen lead training course for Iraqi police

by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Kapinos
U.S. Air Forces Central combat camera team

12/3/2009 - BAGHDAD (AFNS) -- Airmen assigned to the Iraq Police Transition Team here started a new class Nov. 18 for recent graduates of the Iraqi Police Academy as an effort to further enhance their capabilities as officers securing their communities.

The five-day class is part of an on-going effort to transition responsibility for community security in the cities from coalition forces to Iraqi police.

The primary goal of the training is to build on what the Iraqi's already learned at their academy and show them new ways in how to accomplish the mission of bringing security and stability in and around the streets of Baghdad.

"This training is going to provide them with the tools they will need to proceed as effective officers for their communities," said Staff Sgt. Timothy Cross, a Det. 2 instructor deployed to the region from Offut Air Force Base, Neb. "We will train them in basic community policing, survival skills, communication and leadership. We will also work on weapons handling fundamentals, along with detainee handling."

02 December 2009

NER: CISM Course Update

There have been changes made to the upcoming CISM 3 day combined Group and Individual Peer Support Course set for 19, 20 21st of Feb 2010 to be held at Westover ARB in Ma.

The first change will be in the price for members to attend course. The NER in wanting to assist Wings in bringing CISM training to as many interested members as possible, including existing CISM Team members who in 2010 will need certificates in both Group and Individual Crisis Intervention, has decided to subsidize a portion of the cost for this NER sponsored CISM training.

Taking this combined course with ICISF at one of their regional conferences will cost approximately $600 for non ICISF members, over $500 for members. Each course individually taken with ICISF would cost over $300 plus travel and lodging.

All CAP Regions and Wings are now charging $125.pp to attend the 3 day combined course and have been instructed by the National CISM Team to phase out the 2 day CISM courses in favor of the 3 day combined course by 2010.

CAP requires current CIST members to refresh their Group Crisis Intervention certificate (1) once every three years IAW CAPR60-5. Taking this course will "re-set" your refresh date to the date of issuence of your new Group certificate as well as the Individual Cert.

Both Group and Individual certs will be required for basic CISM team membership in 2010. Both certs will soon be visible for review in e-service by Region and Wing CISOs, Mission IC, Mission Staff, to check CIST members currency while participating in a mission, so we strongly urge existing members and new perspective CIST members to take advantage of this probable one time low cost training.

The second change will be the way a member registers for course. Registration will now be on-line through Eventbrite and payment may be asked for at time of registration instead of payment by check. The details of this are still being worked out be NER staff and should be finalized by mid-to end of this week. More info will follow as soon as available.

Please do not send checks to NER CIS at this time. If we do on-line pay, any check that has already been received already will immediately be returned via USPS.

Billeting will be on base and is the responsibility of member. Contact Info for billeting will be forwarded to registrant prior to course date.

Thank you all for your interest in CAPs CISM program.

Jack N. Arena, Capt. CAP
Director
Critical Incident Stress Management
Northeast Region Headquarters, Civil Air Patrol

29 November 2009

DoD: Friday morning at the Pentagon - every Friday

Hat tip to Michael Yon.

Friday Morning at the Pentagon
Friday, 27 November 2009 09:40 JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY Next Article >
Published: 27 November 2009

By JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY
McClatchy Newspapers

Over the last 12 months, 1,042 soldiers, Marines, sailors and Air Force personnel have given their lives in the terrible duty that is war. Thousands more have come home on stretchers, horribly wounded and facing months or years in military hospitals.

This week, I'm turning my space over to a good friend and former roommate, Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who recently completed a yearlong tour of duty in Iraq and is now back at the Pentagon.

Here's Lt. Col. Bateman's account of a little-known ceremony that fills the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause and many tears every Friday morning. It first appeared on May 17 on the Weblog of media critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the Media Matters for America Website.

"It is 110 yards from the "E" ring to the "A" ring of the Pentagon. This section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway is broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the entire length of the corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians, all crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are thousands here.

This hallway, more than any other, is the `Army' hallway. The G3 offices line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All Army. Moderate conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends who may not have seen each other for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew.

Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this area.

The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares. "10:36 hours: The clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the building. This clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is applause with a deep emotion behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway.

"A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are still suppurating. By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a private first class.

"Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I described one of these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not having shared in the burden ... yet.

"Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I think deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier's chair is pushed by, I believe, a full colonel.

"Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of his peers, each private, corporal, or sergeant assisted as need be by a field grade officer.

"11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. My hands hurt... Please! Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier has come down this hallway - 20, 25, 30.... Fifty-three legs come with them, and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid hearts.

They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the generals. Some are wheeled along.... Some insist upon getting out of their chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a couple of them seem amazed and are smiling shyly.

"There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing her 19-year-old husband's wheelchair and not quite understanding why her husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have, perhaps more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given on their son's behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks. An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the past.

These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers, and we welcome them home. This parade has gone on, every single Friday, all year long, for more than four years.

"Did you know that?

The media haven't yet told the story."

V/R TK
TOM KUNK
COL, GS
Division Chief for ODO
HQDA, G3/5/7

CTWG: New Fairfield High Program Press



New Fairfield High students meet the PT test!

Civil Air Patrol program takes flight at New Fairfield High
By Erik Ofgang, CONTRIBUTING WRITER Danbury NewsTimes.com
Published: 09:45 p.m., Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Civil Air Patrol can be physically demanding, but Ryan Chapman doesn't complain.

"I like the physical training and the military parallels it has," he said.

Chapman is 16 and a junior at New Fairfield High School. He has been a member of the Civil Air Patrol's Danbury squadron for the past three years and has attained the rank of cadet captain.

He is now helping to lead a cadet Civil Air Patrol program at New Fairfield High School. He is one of 23 students in the program, which is the first Civil Air Patrol program to be offered as part of a school curriculum in Connecticut.

The Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, a nonprofit organization that has 57,000 members nationwide. The patrol performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions and was credited with saving 91 lives in the 2008 fiscal year.

There are five major tenets to the cadet program: leadership, aerospace education, physical fitness, character development and cadet activities.

Cadets are taught military drills and ceremony, and learn about flight. In addition, each cadet gets 10 flights in a Civilian Air Patrol plane.

New Fairfield High School social studies teacher Chris Welter is the captain of the new squadron, the 801st Cadet Flight. He has been impressed with the way students have responded to the program.

"It's been exciting to see them so energetic to be a part of it," he said

Welter, an Army veteran, said the program will help students prepare physically and mentally for a career in the military and will provide a career alternative for students who do not plan on going to college.

"You can never have too many options when you're a young person," he said.

Mike Chapleau, the assistant principal at New Fairfield High School, added, "It's also great for those who are college bound."

He said the cadets learn respect, leadership, discipline and other skills that will help them succeed.

The program in New Fairfield was started through the efforts of Brian Chapman's father, Ken Chapman, who is vice chairman of the Board of Education and active in the Civil Air Patrol.

Ken Chapman said he looked into creating an ROTC program at the high school, but New Fairfield High could not meet the space requirements. He thought the Civil Air Patrol would be a great alternative.

Chapman was member of the patrol's cadet program as a teenager in Atlanta and said it left a lasting impression on him and his fellow cadets. He would go on to graduate from West Point, while his cadet commander, Col. Eric Boe, would go on to become an astronaut.

Boe is slated to be the commander on the final shuttle flight next September.

Welter, New Fairfield Superintendent Joe Castagnola, and other officials helped Ken Chapman create the program.

Brian Chapman is already licensed to fly a glider solo and plans to get a regular pilot's license, as well. He plans to follow in his dad's footsteps and attend West Point or another military academy.

Among New Fairfield's recruits to the Civil Air Patrol is Chris Martin, 14.

"Flying's a big thing in my life," Martin said. He hopes to have a career in the Air Force and thinks the program will help him prepare. In addition, what he's learning as a cadet can be applied to other aspects of his life.

"It teaches you good values in life overall," he said. "It disciplines you."

25 November 2009

Morale: Giving Thanks

From: James S Eadie, Capt USAF MC, 332 Expeditionary Air Evacuation Squadron Balad, Iraq

Hat tip to blackfive.net

A Time for Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, I eagerly anticipate the plates of turkey and stuffing, the moments of camaraderie around the TV watching football and the sharing of stories amongst friends, but it is the soldiers’ stories of bravery and courage that should be shared on this day of Thanksgiving.

I had the rare chance to talk in depth with one of my CCATT patients on our last flight, a young 24 year old Marine from Camp Pendleton, California. It is Javier’s story hangs with me this day. Javier gave me permission to share his story with you, a true story of heroism, and sacrifice that deserves to be told on Thanksgiving.

On the morning of 16 November 2005, the Marines of 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment were taking part in operations along the Iraq-Syrian board to clear the towns of insurgents.

Javier [Alvarez], a strong and sturdy looking square jawed Marine Corporal was on his third deployment to Iraq. He had seen heavy combat in his previous two deployments, and had been injured once before earning him a Purple Heart. On this day he was in command of a Squad of fourteen men. I knew just by talking to him that his men were fortunate to have him leading them into battle. He spoke with clarity and confidence of a man twice his age. In the truest essence, he was a Marine.

Taking point, Javier led his five man team towards the house. Shots rang out around them as they advanced. They could see the downed Marines ahead. A young Lieutenant lay face down outside the house. Javier did not know if he was still alive. They would have to act quickly if they were to save him and the others.
As they approached the house the enemy fire intensified and Javier felt a sudden sting and burning in his right leg. He looked down at his leg. Damn, he thought, “I’ve been shot.” He indeed had taken two bullets to his thigh, but he pushed on.

Undeterred, Javier continued to lead his men towards the house. With increasing fire, they took up a defensive posture against the house wall. Slightly protected there, he began tending his wounds with direct pressure as the others returned fire. He could see several downed Marines only arm lengths away, but they could not be reached safely. Gun fire continued to rain down on them. Another member of the squad was hit. They were in a bad position.

What happened next was recalled to me by the Medic that they called Doc. During the barrage of fire, with their backs literally up against a wall an enemy grenade was thrown out of a window landing in the middle of the five men. Doc told me “It was amazing. I was applying pressure to one of the injured soldiers when someone yelled out GRENADE. Javier just dove at the grenade. I have never seen anything like it.”

Javier grabbed the grenade with his right hand. He told me “I knew I only had three to five seconds before it would go off.” With his body shielding his men from the grenade, he made a valiant effort to heave the grenade away. As the grenade left his hand it exploded.

Javier’s right hand was immediately amputated at the wrist. Shrapnel from the grenade penetrated his left thigh. Others in his group took shrapnel to their arms and legs, but no one lost their life.

Doc told me on the plane that he was convinced that they all would have died if it were not for Javier’s heroic actions.

The fighting continued. As more Marines approached the house to provide covering fire, Javier now with two gun shot wounds to his right leg, shrapnel to his left leg and an amputated right hand worked to get his injured men clear. With the aid of his Platoon Sergeant, Javier and his men walked out of the kill zone to the casualty collection point away from the fighting.

Doc stayed in the fight for a while despite being hit with shrapnel from the grenade. He tended to the downed Marines and at one point crawled into the house to pull out the Marine who lay inside. Unfortunately, most of the Marines they came to help had been fatally injured. There was little that could be done. Doc continued to care for the downed soldiers until others noted his wounds. Doc was finally escorted out of the fight to attend to his injuries.

In all told, Javier’s Squad took heavy injuries. We air lifted out 6 members who had sustained shrapnel injuries and one who lost his leg. Javier clearly took the brunt of the injuries, but miraculously no one lost their life. Javier’s selfless action had saved the lives of many men.

I spoke at length with Javier on the flight to Germany. Perhaps it was the awe that I felt talking with him that kept me coming back, or maybe the fact that his men admired him so much. In the end, I think I was drawn in by him because he was just like you and me. He was real. A soldier who had done everything asked of him by his country. He fought with honor and dignity, and led his men with courage. Above all, he put his men’s life above his and protected them from harm.

He didn’t ask for honors or special treatment. His biggest concern when we were loading him onto the plane was his fellow soldiers. He would not lie down until he had visualized and spoken with all of his troops on the plane.

When I arrived home from the mission, I opened the paper. There before me in simple bullet format read the names of the most recent US deaths in Iraq. I generally do not look at these lists. They are just names with no personal connection. But this day, halfway down there were five Marines listed including a young Second Lieutenant all from the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment from Pendleton, California who had died on 16 November, 2005. These were the men that Javier and his Squad gave everything to try to save.

I stared at the paper for many minutes, recalling the story Javier and his men had told me. I marveled at the sacrifices they made and felt a tremendous sense of loss for these men whose names now stood out from the paper as not mere records, but as living, breathing men who gave everything their country asked of them.

As I get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving here in Iraq, I have so much to be thankful for. My wife is amazing, we have been blessed with a child on the way, and I feel like I have the greatest family and friends that one could ever wish for, but there is more. I see around me everyday soldiers giving everything they have with the full belief that their actions do make a difference. That their sacrifices are for freedom and will one day improve the lives of ordinary Iraqis.

When I sit down on Thursday to my thanksgiving meal, I will be holding these soldiers and their families close. We as a country have so much to be thankful for.

For me, on this Thanksgiving Day, I will be thankful for Javier. He has given the gift of life to his men and their families. I often ask myself if I was in his position, what would I have done? I don’t know, but I certainly hope that I could be like Javier.

My warmest wishes to you all for a wonderful Thanksgiving, we truly have a great deal to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving,

James S Eadie, Capt USAF MC
332 Expeditionary Air Evacuation Squadron
Balad, Iraq
Critical Care Air Transport Physician

24 November 2009

CAP: 68th Anniversary of the Civil Air Patrol

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. – The 58,000 citizen volunteers of the Civil Air Patrol will mark CAP’s 68th anniversary on Dec. 1. The celebration commemorates the rich history of vigilant service provided by the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force over the past seven decades.

The all-volunteer, nonprofit organization was founded on Dec. 1, 1941, less than a week before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor led to America’s involvement in World War II. Its members soon proved their worth by conducting aerial patrols, vigilance that discouraged and eventually stopped deadly German U-boat attacks on shipping in American waterways. Fifty-nine heroic members died; 26 were lost at sea; and seven others were seriously injured while carrying out CAP missions during the war.

“Our citizen volunteers have a proud legacy of selfless service to their country and their communities. They truly go above and beyond each day, giving their best as needs arise,” said Maj. Gen. Amy Courter, CAP’s national commander.

“This occasion provides citizens across America the opportunity to honor Civil Air Patrol and its members. Be sure to say ‘thanks’ to these unsung heroes in your communities who provide such vigilant service, often without fanfare. Each day, through their volunteer efforts, our members help save lives and preserve liberty for all.”

CAP NatHQ PA

CTWG: Lt Col Robert L. Horner

To All CTWG Officers

It is with deep regret that I announce the death of Lt Col Robert L. Horner. He passed away this morning at the age of 86.

A graduate of Norwich University, he flew B24s and B29s in the Army Air Force during World War II. He joined CAP in April 1948, and served in many command and staff positions. Prior to his retirement, he was the Connecticut Wing Historian - fittingly, since he was on hand to witness most of our history, and to make some of it himself.

For many years, Lt Col Horner had the distinction of being our wing's longest-serving member. He was also a lifetime member of the New England Air Museum.

--
Pete Jensen, Col, CAP
Commander
Connecticut Wing

CTWG: Always Vigilant Content Update

If you take a look off to your right you will notice AV has added some new function - RSS feeds.

First there are updates from eServices notices, followed by CAP Headline News and last but not least a fed to the the Pentagon Channel's - "Around the Services" with daily updates from everywhere in the world. Included in the Pentagon Channels menus are other attractions such as the highly recommended THE GRILL SERGEANT!

23 November 2009

CTWG: Celebrate the 68th Anniversary of the Civil Air Patrol

TORRINGTON — The community is invited to celebrate the 68th anniversary of the Civil Air Patrol, a civilian, volunteer auxiliary of the United States Air Force on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 10 a.m. at Holy Trinity Church, 64 Berry Street.

Civil Air Patrol units from Danbury, Waterbury and Torrington will be present, including the Junior R.O.T.C. unit from the Torrington High school, area recruiters of the Armed Forces and all veterans are invited. Invited to attend are also the city officials of Torrington.

As we salute our current members of the armed forces, we will also remember the Japanese attack Dec. 7, on the United States Naval base at pearl harbor killing more than 2300 Americans. The U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed and the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized. The attack sank three other ships and damaged many additional vessels. More than 1800 aircraft were destroyed.

For more information contact Thomas J. Drobena, Major, Connecticut Wing Chaplin

19 November 2009

NER: CISM Course to be offered

NER will be sponsoring the new 3 Day combined Group and Individual/ Peer Support CISM course.

Who should take this course:
New regulation changes to the CAPR 60-5 will require all existing CISM Team members to hold both Group and Individual/ Peer Support Certificates which will now be uploaded and can be viewed in E-services.

All members interested in applying to become members of your Wings Critical Incident Stress Management response teams.

Members who need to refresh their existing Group or Individual Certs. Note: Must take full 3 course to refresh or to receive credit. Members cannot split course as the material overlaps. Course instructor will not make exceptions and must validate and verify your full attendance.

Anyone interested in helping yourselves, family, friends or coworkers deal with exposure to traumatic stress before, during and or after a traumatic incident or event.


Course is open to the public, but we must have non-CAP members drivers Lic # or SS card number and home address 21 days prior to them being granted access to the base. This is per base security.

Course dates: 19th, 20th and 21st Feb 2010.
Course Location: Westover ARB Ma, in the CAP squadron classroom.
Course times: TBA after registration, course is 27 contact hrs total. Expect to arrive at Westover by mid afternoon, early evening to register your room if staying on base. Class will probably start Fri night around 5:30-6pm.
Course Max: 30 Course Min 15-20
Course fee: $125.00 Check made out to NER CAP. Cost covers workbooks (x2) certificates and 27 CEU's.
Course deposit: $50.00 non-refundable deposit must be received on or before 13 Feb 2010.

Billeting: on Base at approx $40. per night. Please remember this is a Military instillation, so we need to know who and how many are attending. The contact info for base lodging will be forwarded to registrants along with start times. Please use registration form.

This is a long course for a weekend, but the rewards are great. Such as the personal satisfaction to be able to help others in crisis whether it be in a group or individual setting .

Thank you for your service.
JACK N. ARENA, Capt. CAP
Director
Critical Incident Stress Management
Northeast Region Headquarters, Civil Air Patrol

18 November 2009

Return of the Lost Squadron Flag


Photo by Major Steve Rocketto

The LeMay Flag

It was a grey day in 1976 when a box was unceremoniously dropped off at Connecticut Wing headquarters. Inside that box was all that remained of the recently deactivated General Curtis E. LeMay Cadet Squadron, charter number 06054. To have come so far and fast in 15 years, only to have been reduced to some trophies, a few files and the LeMay Squadron flag. How could a squadron averaging 45 cadets a week fall into disrepair? Three Spaatz Awards, two national unit citations, a dozen cadet private pilots and as many student pilots. It’s star shown bright. The cadets reined supreme, with five heated buildings, WWII Ambulances and jeeps, 37-passenger bus, surplus AF station wagons and sedans, and even a J-3 in the corner of the drill hall. All of this located on our very own island - 15 acres on what used to be a fireworks factory. We were kings and queens while the senior members were considered gods. Life was very good.

The Vietnam War was upon us and squadron members joined the service while public opinion quickly turned anti-military. Once known as the father of the Strategic Air Command, General LeMay’s reputation became tarnished when he joined the presidential ticket of then Governor George Wallace. Ultimately, the island was sold, forcing the squadron to move to lesser quarters. The last of the gods transferred out of state or joined the wing staff.

Fast-forward thirty years. I again find myself wearing a CAP uniform, this time driving cadets to Friday night meetings. Yes, after three decades, I’m back in Civil Air Patrol as a senior member. My 12-year-old son and his friend asked to join and since their favorite group is also Led Zeppelin, how could I say no?

The CT Wing Historian had transferred to our squadron and after sharing a few tall tales about my former life as a cadet, he showed up the following week with an old brown box. Crisply folded in the bottom of the box was the LeMay Squadron flag. It was like seeing a ghost and a flood of emotions and memories returned. Within days, digital pictures of the flag were emailed from coast to coast and talk of a reunion was in the air.

On two weeks notice, almost a dozen former cadets and one senior member made the journey. They came from California, Virginia, and New Hampshire and of course, Connecticut. All agreed that CAP had changed their lives for the better. An attorney, business executives, retired Air Force Colonels, and our former first sergeant, a retired Marine Captain telling stories of his F-4 Phantom flights over Nam back in the day. Yes, we brought the flag with us, marveled at its condition and displayed it proudly. It was the catalyst for pulling us together but the question remained, where did it come from? How did the squadron get its flag? No one, not even a founding senior member could recall.

A few months later, we stumbled across some old CT Wing newsletters. Included in the oldest newsletter was an article reprinted from the LeMay News. A cadet had written the article and who was a friend and a C/SSgt at the time. She expressed her frustration that squadron membership was dwindling with each passing week. Even thirty years later, I could feel her pain and wondered where she was today. After a comprehensive Google search and sending a few emails, it was pretty clear that this was going to remain a cold case.

The following week, our wing commander sent out the minutes of the CAP National Board meeting that listed the Board members. One of the names rang a bell; my friend had once dated another cadet by the same last name. I sent an email and guess what, I got a reply. Yes, it was my old friend, the same cadet, and now a senior member. She had stayed in CAP since joining as a cadet in 1969! She never left the organization but had traveled across the country and overseas with her husband’s military career. I sent her pictures of the impromptu reunion we had held a few months back and received an interesting reply. “I know that flag, I had sewn it for the squadron.” She was 16 years old when she hand-made the flag. The last time she had seen the flag was in 1975.

In October 2009, at the Connecticut Wing Conference held at the University of Connecticut, a special presentation was made. Connecticut Wing Commander Colonel Peter Jenson returned the LeMay Squadron flag back to its rightful owner, former National Capital Wing Commander, Colonel Jane Davies.

Article by Captain Art Dammers

For additional coverage see the NatCAP Wing blog "Above the Capital", "A Connecticut Homecoming"

Kyle Johnson
CTWG Public Affairs

CTWG: 103rd's Trip To the Intrepid Sea, Space and Air Museum


The 103rd at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, November 14th in NY.

"The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is one of America’s leading historic, cultural and educational institutions. Opened in 1982, the Museum has welcomed more than 10 million visitors. The Museum is centered on the aircraft carrier Intrepid (CVS-11), one of the most successful ships in US history, and now a national historic landmark and one of the most unique attractions in New York City. In 1943, Intrepid was commissioned and served proudly in World War II. She went on to serve as one of the primary recovery vessels for NASA, three tours of duty off Vietnam, and submarine surveillance in the North Atlantic during the Cold War. Today she continues her service as a premiere educational center and a monument to all who have served our nation in uniform." More here...

Kyle Johnson
CTWG Public Affairs

CTWG: CT Wing's First Archer Mission


Connecticut members are pictured spinning up Archer for the very first time at the annual USAF SAR EVAL.

Kyle Johnson
CTWG Public Affairs

08 November 2009

CTWG: SAR EVAL Message from The Commander

The Connecticut Wing underwent the biennial graded SAR Evaluation under the watchful eyes of CAP-USAF's Northeast Liaison Region. For several years, we had a checkered history of solid Guided Training Exercises in even-numbered years, only to be followed by troublesome graded SAR Evaluations in odd-numbered years. I am pleased to report that we broke out of that seesaw pattern this year with a strongly successful performance.

Our Incident Commander was a guest star, Lt Col Rui Rodrigues of the Rhode Island Wing. I can literally say that he was sent to us by Providence, and he did a masterful job at the helm. RIWG has asked for CTWG aircraft and personnel in their own SAR event in a few weeks time, and we are glad to help. These exchanges are ushering a new era of cooperation with Rhode Island Wing akin to what we have already established with Massachusetts Wing.

Our Air Branch and Ground Branch directors expertly briefed, multitasked, prioritized, and choreographed their assets towards successul outcomes. Our aircrews, ground teams, and communications folk worked together to swiftly locate assigned objectives. Admin/Finance and Public Affairs received high praise, often punctuated by the term "the best I've seen." We completed CTWG's first ARCHER sortie, and an SDIS sortie as well.

We had four Cessna aircraft on the ramp as well as the Region's Gippsland. Cadet turnout was outstanding, enabling us to field four ground teams. Standards of safety remained high throughout the SAREval.

Well done, all!

Pete Jensen, Col, CAP
Commander
Connecticut Wing

CTWG: Final SAR EVAL Press Release



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Hartford, CT) 8 November, 2009 - The Connecticut Wing of the Civil Air Patrol combined with staff from the Rhode Island Wing, conducted a graded, multi-incident simulated training exercise this weekend. Under the watchful eyes of United States Air Force Evaluation Judges, they successfully located and secured a simulated aircraft crash site and treated its victims, as well as a simulated missing person search in a Connecticut State Park.

In addition to the missions above, they also were tasked with other unexpected and concurrent operational emergencies. They air lifted emergency medications, secured the command facility from a potential outside threat, adapted to power and communications breakdowns, treated a senior team member’s emergency heart attack, located and inspected a potential hazardous waste dump and provided updated multi-media information to the press, public and State agencies throughout the exercise. These tasks required the detailed coordination of the highly trained, unpaid, volunteer members located all throughout the state.

To simulate the severity of real life emergency stressors, all of the missions were crammed into a very tight time period involving five fully operational aircraft and over a hundred team members including base staff, pilots, observers, mission scanners, photographers and many senior members and cadets in the field. Brainard Airport in Hartford was established as the Base of Operations. Mission flights launched from Brainard and other Connecticut airfields. The ground teams deployed from the Brainard Command Base and from other squadrons throughout the state.

The senior members served on the command staff, aircraft and on the ground teams. They flew a number of different search missions, ferried packages and conducted advanced photographic and surveillance technology missions. The cadets served as both mission base security and staff assistants and made up the lions share of the ground team force deploying in Civil Air Patrol vans to search their assigned areas on foot and with the aid of electronic tracking devices. The ground teams are the members who confirm the mission objective has been reached.

07 November 2009

CTWG: SARX EVAL Update #2

THIS IS A SIMULATED TRAINING EXERCISE. THIS IS NOT A REAL EVENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Connecticut’s Civil Air Patrol responds to multiple incidents

November 7, 2009
(HARTFORD, CT) – Civil Air Patrol’s Connecticut Wing members launched multiple aircraft and ground teams to search for a missing Cessna 172 aircraft and a missing person in Enders State Park, Granby.

Currently CAP aircraft are searching the western part of Connecticut and north toward Albany, NY for the missing Cessna. Other aircraft have engaged the Enders Park search both to assist CAP ground crews and the Connecticut State Police. An additional aircraft has been tasked with obtaining medications that may be important to the missing person’s health.

Ground teams consisting of senior and cadet members of the Connecticut Wings 13 squadrons are on site at both locations and additional search teams are enroute.

Earlier this morning, the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center asked the CT Wing to search for a missing single engine, red Cessna 172, whose pilot and passenger departed Tweed New Haven Airport. The pilot had planned a stop over in Waterbury with a final destination of Albany NY. The aircraft did not land at Waterbury and never arrived in Albany.

Concurrently, Wing members launched both air and ground assets in support of a request from the Connecticut State Police. A women, #### ####, age 53 wearing a ski jacket and jeans and carrying a personal electronic locating transmitter was reported missing in Enders State Park, Granby.

Anyone with any knowledge of either the missing aircraft or the missing person described above is asked to call the Incident Center information line at (###) ###-####.

Additional updates throughout these missions will be posted on the Connecticut Wing Command’s Blog, www.AlwaysVigilant.blogspot.com.


THIS IS A SIMULATED TRAINING EXERCISE. THIS IS NOT A REAL EVENT

CTWG: 7 November Search & Rescue Evaluation Initial Press Release

THIS IS A SIMULATED TRAINING EXERCISE. THIS IS NOT A REAL EVENT

The following represents the actions of the CT Wing as they treat the below USAF Training exercises as if they were very real.
CTWG PA

Initial Press Release 0730hrs

Civil Air Patrol’s Connecticut members mobilize for multiple incidents, Search and Rescue efforts.

November 7, 2009
(HARTFORD, CT) – Civil Air Patrol’s Connecticut Wing members launched multiple aircraft and ground teams to search for a missing Cessna 172 aircraft and a missing person in a northern Connecticut State Park

The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center asked the CT Wing at 7:00 p.m. November 6 to search for a missing single engine, red Cessna, whose pilot and passenger departed Tweed New Haven Airport. The pilot had planned a stop over in Waterbury with a final destination of Albany NY. The aircraft did not land at Waterbury and never arrived in Albany.

Wing members, launched their air search and rescue effort at sunrise to trace the planned route of the aircraft and to monitor the airwaves for the emergency electronic locating transmitter the aircraft was equipped with. Additionally, ground search units consisting of both senior members and cadets were tasked with searching the immediate areas surrounding the airports along the pilots intended course.

At virtually the same time, Wing members launched both air and ground assets in support of a request from the Connecticut State Police. A women, ######, age 53 wearing a ski jacket and jeans and carrying a personal electronic locating transmitter was reported missing in Enders State Park, Granby.

Anyone with any knowledge of either the missing aircraft or the missing person described above is asked to call ###-###-#### immediately.

Next Press Release and Briefing: Aprox.10:00 AM
CAP/CTWG Incident Command Center

THIS IS A SIMULATED TRAINING EXERCISE. THIS IS NOT A REAL EVENT