28 March 2009

CAP: Battle of Fargo continues

March 27, 2009
NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS – The North Dakota and Minnesota wings continue their flood fighting efforts along the Red River as rising waters threaten neighborhoods and towns in both states.

With a deep winter snow pack and 7 inches of fresh snow, working conditions for the relief efforts are dismal at best. High winds are adding to the mix, creating blizzard conditions to contend with as the battle rages.

Throughout the week, area emergency management officials continued pleading for more volunteers. The request was for 2,000 volunteers to place 500,000 sandbags to raise the dikes at least a foot above the expected flood level of 42 feet. At this time, it is not known if the target height of 43 feet has been reached in all the affected areas.

With approximately 200 personnel from both CAP wings and thousands of hours served, the response from CAP members has been outstanding.

“We are continuing the fight; the cadets and staff remain focused on the mission of saving Fargo-Moorehead and the surrounding areas,” North Dakota Wing Commander Col. Karl Altenburg said. “The enthusiasm displayed by our members is a shining example of the true dedication to the mission.”

Operations are continuing on a 24/7 schedule, with the Fargodome being the primary point for building sandbags. 2nd Lt. Donald Raleigh of the Minnesota Wing's Anoka Composite Squadron said, “I worked alongside of college students and World War II veterans. They were people from all walks of life pitching in to help complete strangers and neighbors alike. The experience restored my faith in humanity.”

Raleigh added, “The sandbag assembly effort inside the Fargodome was organized chaos – hundreds of people elbow to elbow, front-end loaders running back and forth, semitrucks delivering sand, forklifts running all over moving filled sandbags. I was amazed by the effort.”

It has now come to light that some other low-lying areas of Minnesota are beginning to flood. With that information in hand, the mission continues.

27 March 2009

CAP: The Battle for Fargo

CAP members from North and South Dakota as well as Minnesota are in a real battle in Fargo.

Video here...

March 26, 2009
MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. – Citizen volunteers from Civil Air Patrol’s North Dakota and Minnesota wings are stepping forward to serve as flooding from the Red River threatens communities in both states.

CAP members are filling and stacking hundreds of thousands of sandbags near the civic center in Fargo, N.D., as well as outside a radio station in the city. CAP aircrews also are making damage assessment flights, as weather permits, to help protect critical infrastructure.

North Dakota and Minnesota have been hit with multiple weather emergencies in recent days as flooding persists along the Red River and its tributaries. A severe blizzard blew through most of the region earlier this week, blanketing the ground with thick heavy snow. Power lines are down in western North Dakota and a massive ice jam has blocked the Missouri River south of Bismarck, N.D., causing the evacuation of residents. Ice jams have caused several other smaller evacuations.

Much of the Fargo, N.D.-Moorhead, Minn., metropolitan area has become an island with the closing of most roads in and out of area communities due to flooding and snowdrifts.

Over the past three days, more than 150 Civil Air Patrol members from the North Dakota and Minnesota wings have participated in sandbagging operations as well as limited damage assessment flights for local emergency managers.

Operations began on Monday with teams from both wings sandbagging at various locations in the Fargo area, such as the Fargo Dome, where members assisted with filling thousands of sandbags an hour.

CAP members also assisted radio station KFGO in Fargo. Four teams of members assisted local residents with sandbagging operations that helped protect this critical emergency communications point for the community. The station is still up and broadcasting.

“It is inspiring to see the volunteer spirit and sense of mission in the midst of this emergency,” said Col. Karl Altenburg, commander of the North Dakota Wing. “All personnel, especially the cadets, continue to impress the community with their willingness and ability to serve.”

The mission base remained open throughout Tuesday evening with North Dakota Wing Lt. Col. Michael Provencher serving as incident commander and Maj. Donald Dalton from Minnesota Wing’s Red Wing Squadron serving as ground branch director.

Despite the snow and wind, 75 Civil Air Patrol volunteers arrived at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning and were rapidly dispatched to sites around the area. Many members helped build dikes by stacking sandbags along the Red River south of Fargo.

Although sore from lifting and moving heavy sandbags, enthusiasm for the mission was very high among the CAP volunteers. The Red Cross brought food and water and offered additional support as needed.

Air operations branch director, North Dakota Wing Col. Walt Vollmers, plans to launch flight crews from Fargo and Grand Forks as soon as weather permits. The air crews will be tasked with taking damage assessment photography of communities along the Red River and the rising lakes in northeast North Dakota.

CAP members are also assisting with disaster relief operations near Crookston, Minn.

“I am very proud of the members of Civil Air Patrol who are coming from all parts of both states to help in this time of need,” said Minnesota Wing Commander Col. Thomas Theis.

26 March 2009

Current Events: Mexican sumugglers use ultralights

Tucson, Ariz. - Smugglers facing strengthened border defenses have turned to an old and risky tactic -- using single-seat ultralight aircraft to fly marijuana loads into the country.

Officials know of at least three such attempts in recent months -- all of which ended badly for the smugglers -- but they don't know how many others have been made or whether any have been successful.

The incidents are worrisome to federal officials. They believe more such attempts are happening or will be, though there's no agreement on whether use of the small aluminum tubing aircraft represents a trend or a novelty.
More here...

SAFETY: Raptor Down

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — One of the Air Force's top-of-the-line F-22 fighter jets crashed Wednesday in the high desert of Southern California, killing a test pilot for prime contractor Lockheed Martin Corp.

The F-22A Raptor crashed at 10 a.m. about 35 miles northeast of Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert. The Bureau of Land Management identifies the area as Harper Dry Lake, a vast and empty expanse of sometimes marshy flat land.

The pilot was David Cooley, 49, a 21-year Air Force veteran who joined Lockheed Martin in 2003, the company said in a statement. It did not release any details of the accident or say whether Cooley attempted to eject.
More here...

Current Events: NK preparing launch

WASHINGTON (AP) - North Korea is loading a Taepodong rocket on its east coast launch pad in anticipation of the launch of a communications satellite early next month, U.S. officials say. U.S. counterproliferation and intelligence officials have confirmed Japanese news reports of the expected launch between April 4 and 8.

North Korea announced its intention to launch the satellite in February. Regional powers worry the claim is a cover for the launch of a long-range missile capable of reaching Alaska. National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair said earlier this month that all indications suggest North Korea will in fact launch a satellite.

North Korea faked a satellite launch in 1998 to cloak a missile development test. In 2006, it launched a Taepodong-2 that blew up less than a minute into flight.
More here...

25 March 2009

USAF: Combat Artists

Public Service: Soldiers Angels

Dear Friends of America’s Troops,

In whatever way you support the troops, what truly matters is that they know they are being remembered. Believe it or not, there are so many people out there who don’t even realize we still have well over 150,000 soldiers deployed to danger zones across the world right now. We are all working so hard to keep supporting them and we need to spread the word so that people know there is still a great need for those who can love and support our deployed heroes. Right now so many heroes are waiting for adoption…

Angels are adopting heroes and giving it their all in spite of financial challenges. Right now there are over 1,000 more of our dear heroes waiting to be adopted! Now is the time to tell a friend, a stranger—anybody you know. A lot of people don’t know there is this opportunity and that so many are still deployed. It means so much to these wonderful service members to know someone cares. Please help spread the word so that no solider goes unloved!

Wingtip to Wingtip,

Patti Patton-Bader
Soldiers’ Angels Founder and CEO

24 March 2009

Gouge: From the Ready Room

Current Events: National Medal of Honor Day

National Medal Of Honor Day (The Medal, not the Congressional Medal of Honor which doesnt exist...) is tomorrow.
More here...

Current Events: USS New York Christened

On 1 March the USS New York was christened. Lots of video here!

23 March 2009

CTWG: Robertson Airport Open House

Plainville’s Robertson Airport, a regional resource like no other

Take a gorgeous early spring morning, punctuate it with the exciting buzz of aircraft from the WW II era, some modern sport planes and even a few small jets taking off or landing and you have a really interesting event for the Plainville area.

Saturday, the privately owned Robertson Airport went on public display. The airport is known as one of the best equipped in all of Southern New England and serves the needs of both private flight and civic serving organizations like the Civil Air Patrol. Late last year, Tomasso Brothers Inc. offered the airport for sale to a combined group including the Town of Plainville, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the State Department of Transportation (DOT). As it exists, the airport is already a profitable operation with the capability and room to expand in the future.

The open house was a great opportunity for the Town of Plainville and its citizens to look over the airports operation and dream of what could be. Based on the enthusiastic number of adults and “children of all ages” examining the almost 100 aircraft, its claim to be a positive benefit to the community was being well received. The day’s events included aircraft rides for local youth, numerous information booths and static displays by aviation groups such as the Civil Air Patrol who allowed visitors to climb in and out of the search and rescue (SAR) aircraft, one of which was the very first civilian aircraft to fly humanitarian aid missions over NY City after the terrorist attack of September 11th 2001. Additional presenters included Life Star helicopter, the FAA, the Town of Plainville DOT, Interstate Aviation and even the opportunity to stop and talk with Mike Allen of WTIC’s Traffic Control.

The existing runway is just over 3,000 feet long and can accommodate private and light commercial aviation including small or ‘light” jets such as the Cessna Citation. There are various services already established such as a parallel taxiway, a fuel farm and plenty of tie down and aircraft parking space. The facility has been profitable for the past 38 years. The facility is already fully operational and will incur normal maintenance expenses sometime in the next five years, covering pavement maintenance and safety improvements.

Already in the black, already providing direct transportation to the region and already providing staging areas for community service and search and rescue operations the Robertson Airport is a real, living benefit to the region.

CTWG: O Flights!

Just a shot of how it felt to be on an O Flight!

CTWG: 186th finds a new home

Army National Guard welcomes the Civil Air Patrol’s newly named “186th Composite Squadron” to Southington Armory

Southington, CT 27 February 2009:

In a beautiful, newly reconditioned Southington Armory, F Company of the 186th Brigade Support Battalion Army National Guard (ANG) welcomed in its newest roommate, the newly renamed 186th Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). The ceremony was attended by F Company Commander, Captain Alysea M. Kelleher Company Commander, Company F of the 186th ANG, CAP Connecticut Wing Commander, Col. Peter K. Jensen, other members of the 186th ANG, the 186th Squadron and local residents.

The dignitaries present expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the volunteer service provided by both the senior members (adults) and cadets (youth) of the Civil Air Patrol. They were pleased to recognize the Southington unit of Civil Air Patrol, which in addition to its cadet education program also stands ready to provide Connecticut residents with Emergency Services and Search & Rescue operations as well as air & ground search and rescue teams.

In addition to the welcoming ceremony, cadet/2nd Lt Joseph Kosswig was awarded the General Billy Mitchell Award, reaching a very significant milestone in the CAP Cadet Program. Cadet/Staff Sergeant Avery Hage was awarded the Wright Brothers Award. The Mitchell Award marks Kosswig’s promotion into the CAP Cadet Officer Corp and should he decide to enter the US Air Force, advanced status in rank and privilege.

USAF: PA in the spot light

A little AF PA from our friends over at Air Force Live.
Creating a World Wide Rave at Air Force Public Affairs Conference

For the past week, 350 Airmen and Air Force civilians have been meeting in Dulles, VA, at the 2009 U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Professional Development Seminar (we just call it the Worldwide).

The conference is a chance for everyone who works in public affairs (PA) to get together to share ideas and learn what others have been doing in their PA shop. We discuss communication techniques that run from traditional media relations, to partnerships, to Combat Camera and Defense Visual Information.

A big focus this year has been New Media Tactics. The Emerging Technology Division of AFPAA premiered their new book and video, both entitled “New Media and the Air Force,” and has been Tweeting (along with numerous other attendees) live updates from the event (follow #afpaww on Twitter). Though we’ve been engaging new media for little over a year through blogging, Air Force BlueTube, and Twitter, this conference has been the first chance to share these tools with other MAJCOMS and Airmen.

The government and military have faced numerous challenges trying to get leadership buy-in to use social media. This is evident when we attend the Armed Services Social Media Working Group and hear the challenges our sister branches are facing. But we are making strides. Leadership is getting a little more comfortable with the idea of social media. President Obama’s executive order regarding transparency has also helped push this movement because government and military agencies now want to be sure that they’re sharing their stories in every media avenue. The reality is that social media is not going away and the government is going to have to adopt or miss out.

As more evidence of our strides, just look at who we had for our keynote speaker yesterday. David Meerman Scott

Scott, author of five books, including The New Rules of Marketing and PR and the just-published World Wide Rave. Why does that matter? Because Scott is a communicator with ideas that are atuned to new media, which is not the traditional thought process for military PAs. He discussed some of the ideas from World Wide Rave and how you can change your way of thinking to create a new, captivating product that gets noticed. Some of these ideas fall under the notion of “viral” marketing, some are just a complete shift on how to advertise your product. Will this work for the military? It’s hard to say, but it is apparent that Scott empowered the Airmen to think of media and communications differently. Now the Airmen are armed with new ideas to practice public affairs, and more importantly, a new way to tell the Air Force story to the public. Follow us online and look for more social media from other MAJCOMs and wings. Share your stories and suggestions and join the conversation. We’d love to hear what you have to say.

USAF: Red Flag 2009

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Taxiing toward the Nellis Air Force Base runway on a morning in early March was one of the most impressive gatherings of combat aircraft in the world. In numbers and sophistication, the procession taking off that day was more than a match for the most potent enemy threat.

But the aircraft hurtling down the runway weren’t pointed at Tehran or Pyongyang, and it wasn’t war — they were pointed toward the casinos of the Las Vegas Strip and it was just another day at Red Flag.

Yet, something significant was happening. The nearly 100 aircraft from 21 bases in three nations — 30 more aircraft than last year — were testing the most far-reaching changes in the combat exercise’s more-than-30-year history.

The exercise expanded from two weeks to three weeks for the first time, and instead of a series of primarily air-to-air sorties, planners reshaped Red Flag into a simulated air campaign that more closely mirrors how a real war would unfold. Stealth aircraft were sent in first to defeat the most advanced threats, and then legacy aircraft were dispatched to destroy easier targets and support troops on the ground.
More here....

22 March 2009

Current Events : Japans new carrier?

Japan gets a aircraft carrier, errr aircraft destroyer or something like that...
13,950-ton JDS Hyuga (16DDH) is handed over to Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force from its builder IHI Marine United Inc. in Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo.

The newly-built helicopter-carrying destroyer, similar in design to a small aircraft carrier, is the the largest Japanese warship since World War II.

Aerospace: New stealth Eagle

Boeing rolls out a stealthy Eagle.
More here...

Current Events: Sunday SITREP

The headlines from around the world, in no particular order...

NORTH KOREA: NK to close air routs April4-8 and Two US Reporters dissapear, believe held in North Korea
VATICAN: Pope motivates in Angola
PALESTINE: Hamas hails Obama's new approach
ITALY: Thousands march against the mafia
VENEZEULA: Chavez siezes airstrips and ports
IRAQ: Tourism begins in Iraq
BAHRAIN: USN Sub (USS Hartford)and USN ship colide
PAKISTAN: CIA Chief dealing with missle strikes

19 March 2009

USAF: Why we fly!

Had to post this ASAP!

Current Affairs: Administration backs off charging veterans for service related injury care

Posted: 03/18/09 03:42 PM [ET]
The White House on Wednesday backed off a controversial plan that would have dramatically altered the way the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) handles insurance claims, after veterans groups staged an all-out fight against such a proposal.

President Obama will not pursue a proposal that would have allowed the VA to charge private insurance companies for the treatment of veterans with service- or war-related injuries. The proposal raised the ire of prominent Democrats on the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs panels. On Wednesday morning 68 Democratic and GOP House members sent Obama a letter, initiated by freshman Rep. Glenn Nye (D-Va.), urging the administration to drop the proposal.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was the first to announce Wednesday afternoon that the president won’t pursue such a proposal.

She told veterans that Obama decided to scrap the proposal “Based on the respect that President Obama has for our nation’s veterans and the principled concerns expressed by veterans’ leaders.”

Editors note: And the literally thousands and thousands of letters to Congress over the last few days helped a little too...

Morale: Resolved

Hat tip Blackfive.

Aerospace: F-35 Workspace

Hat tip to Neptunuslex and over here...

Aerospace: Preparing for a spacewalk

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The astronauts in orbit have set the stage for the installation of a new set of solar wings at the international space station.

The framework containing the folded-up wings will be attached to the space station Thursday afternoon. Before that happens, two of shuttle Discovery's crew will float outside to help hook everything up. The wings will be unfurled Friday.
More here...

18 March 2009

Current Events: President to consider widening covert Pakistan War

President Obama and his national security advisers are considering expanding the covert U.S. war in Pakistan far beyond the tribal areas near the Afghan border to strike top Taliban leaders coordinating attacks in the region.

Senior administration officials say two high-level reports on Pakistan and Afghanistan that were forwarded to the White House in recent weeks have called for widening the target area to reach the Taliban and other insurgent groups to a major sanctuary in and around the city of Quetta, the New York Times reported on its Web site.

Missile strikes carried out by CIA-operated drones have until now been limited to the tribal areas, and never been extended into Baluchistan, a sprawling province under the authority of Pakistan's central government, and which is next to parts of Afghanistan where recent fighting has been fiercest, the newspaper reported.
More here...

17 March 2009

Current Events: More on charging veterans for medical care

WASHINGTON, March 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The leader of the nation's largest veterans organization says he is "deeply disappointed and concerned" after a meeting with President Obama today to discuss a proposal to force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries. The Obama administration recently revealed a plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in such cases.

"It became apparent during our discussion today that the President intends to move forward with this unreasonable plan," said Commander David K. Rehbein of The American Legion. "He says he is looking to generate $540-million by this method, but refused to hear arguments about the moral and government-avowed obligations that would be compromised by it."
More here...

14 March 2009

Aerospace: So whats it like to ride a Blue Angel anyway?

Blue Angels for beginners, hey, hey, hey...

Aerospace: USN SPECOPS may go single prop air support

Hat tip to NeptunusLex.com.

The U.S. Navy’s new Irregular Warfare office has been looking at an agile Brazilian observation and ground-attack turboprop to provide an “organic” close air support aircraft for special operations forces.

Under the classified “Imminent Fury” program, the Navy has already leased, tested and armed at least one Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano, according to Capt. Mark Mullins, a naval special warfare officer serving as the deputy director of the Navy Irregular Warfare Office at the Pentagon.

“This is a close air support, manned aircraft with a pilot and sensor operator. The idea here is that SOF needs an organic capability that can stick with them while they’re doing their mission,” Mullins said. “We’re not buying them; we’re leasing them right now. That’s an important point.”

SAFETY: Fuel consumption

Public Service: Letter from the President of the AFA

Thursday, March 12, 2009
AFA Members, Congressional staffers, Civic Leaders, and DOCA members, I remain concerned about the overall level of government spending … and about the amount given to Defense. Last week a Senator released some very interesting numbers on the growth of budgets from 2008 to 2009. He cited the numbers based on the sub-committee which was responsible for the appropriation. We have put his numbers on a slide on our website. You can find it here: http://www.afa.org/ProfessionalDevelopment/IssueBriefs/budgetstats.pdf

The major point to take away from this slide is that most appropriations have grown by an average of 80 percent. So … how much is Defense spending expected to grow. The article at this link [as well as others] (http://www.afa.org/EdOp/2009/edop_3-10-09.asp) says it will increase by only 4%. This, when the economy needs help … and production lines of aircraft are preparing to shut down - which will eliminate key, high-paying manufacturing jobs. It is obvious to most that having been in constant combat for over 18 years … and with the average age of the fleet approaching one-quarter of a century, the Air Force … much like the Navy … needs to recapitalize. It will need funds and our support to do it.

For your consideration.
Michael M. Dunn, Lt Gen (Ret)

USAF: On being part of AFRICOM

3/13/2009 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) -- The commander of U.S. Air Forces Africa spoke about the increasingly focused role the U.S. is taking to bolster Africa's air capabilities during a March 9 visit to Air University here.

"We must invest in the future of Africa," said Maj. Gen. Ronald R. "Ron" Ladnier Jr.

The general's comments came on the same day an African Union cargo plane on a peacekeeping mission crashed in Uganda's Lake Victoria, killing 11 people on board.
Africa claims about 25 percent of air accidents in the world, while its flights account for only 4.5 percent of the world's air traffic, the general said. This challenge to Africa's air domain is indicative of much larger problems that plague the continent, from poverty and disease to continual infighting and even genocide.

The general's 17th Air Force component is one of the newest pieces in what was formerly a jigsaw puzzle of U.S. military involvement across the 11 million square-mile continent. A relatively new U.S. military regional headquarters, U.S. Africa Command, or AFRICOM, began in 2007 to consolidate all U.S. military efforts for Africa.

The 17th Air Force, located at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, is part of U.S. Africa Command, which is headquartered about 200 kilometers away at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany.
More here...

NER: North East Region Cadet Academy 2009

From NER:
Announcing the 2009 Northeast Region Cadet Academy. The Academy will take place 19-30 July 2009 at Otis Air Force Base, Massachusetts.

The NER Cadet Academy will consist of the following activities:
NER Cadet Leadership School
NER Cadet Non-Commissioned Officer School
Honor Guard Academy

At this time applications for both CAP Officer and Cadet staff positions are being accepted. Currently, we are looking for the executive command staffs to run each of these activities! The flyer below (also attached) advertises the Academy and gives the specific information. Please share this with all members who may be interested!

All members, cadets and officers, interested in serving on the staff of any of these schools, or for the overall academy, are invited to apply on CAPF 31 with a cover letter describing what position they are looking for and what qualifications they bring to the position. Applications are due no later than 30 April. The following positions will be needed:

NER Cadet Academy:

NER Cadet Leadership Academy:
Adjutant (officer)
Seminar Advisors (cadet and/or officer)
Cadet Commander

NER Cadet NCO Academy
Seminar Advisors (cadet and/or officer)
Cadet Commander

NER Honor Guard Academy:

NER Basic Encampment:
Standard Encampment Personnel needed

Please forward all staff applications (no later than 30 April) to:
Colonel Craig Treadwell, CAP
Northeast Region Deputy Chief of Staff Cadet Programs
6 Sara Lane
Portland ME 04103-3623
E-mail: ctread@maine.rr.com

Future updates will be posted to the NER Webpage.
Ask someone who attended last year – it was a great time!

13 March 2009

Current Events: Veterans care to be attacked?

Obama team considering plan in which vets would use private insurance for wounds. Senators slam plan.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurance.

Lawmakers say they'd reject a proposal to make veterans pay for treatment of war wounds with private insurance.

But the proposal would be "dead on arrival" if it's sent to Congress, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, said.

Murray used that blunt terminology when she told Shinseki that the idea would not be acceptable and would be rejected if formally proposed. Her remarks came during a hearing before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs about the 2010 budget.

No official proposal to create such a program has been announced publicly, but veterans groups wrote a pre-emptive letter last week to President Obama voicing their opposition to the idea after hearing the plan was under consideration.

The groups also cited an increase in "third-party collections" estimated in the 2010 budget proposal -- something they said could be achieved only if the Veterans Administration started billing for service-related injuries.

Asked about the proposal, Shinseki said it was under "consideration."

"A final decision hasn't been made yet," he said.
More here

Current Events: War on Terror still rages in Netherlands Region

Amsterdam: Terrorist attacks foiled - seven arrested
Per www.dutchnews.nl
Posted on Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:44:20 PM

Six men and one woman have been arrested on suspicion of preparing to carry out terrorist attacks on shops in Amsterdam Zuidoost on Thursday.

One of those arrested is a family member of a man connected to the Madrid bombing five years ago, said Amsterdam police chief Bernard Welten at a press confernce on Thursday evening.

The arrests have reduced the threat of attacks but a risk remains, said Welten.

All of those detained by the police are Dutch with a Moroccan background and are aged between 19 and 64 years old.

Although some of them have a police record for violence none has a previous conviction for terrorism, the police commissioner said. He added that further arrests cannot be ruled out.

Police are still searching four addresses in Amsterdam in connection with the investigation

USAF: Air Force hero awarded Air Force Cross

\Hat tip to Air Force Live supporter of Always Vigilant and the official blog of USAF Public Affairs.

Sgt. Rhyner, a member of the 21st Special Tactics Squadron from Pope Air Force Base, N.C., received the medal for uncommon valor during Operation Enduring Freedom. Sgt. Rhyner was also awarded a Purple Heart. For more and photos, click here.

The Air Force Cross is second only to the Medal of Honor, and is awarded by the president. Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley presented Sergeant Rhyner the Air Force Cross for his actions during an intense 6.5-hour battle in Shok Valley, Afghanistan, April 6, 2008. The Air Force has not awarded the decoration in more than six years.

“Your actions are now and forever woven into the rich fabric of service, integrity and excellence that has connected generations of America’s Airmen since the very inception of airpower,” Secretary Donley said to Sergeant Rhyner.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz also presented Sergeant Rhyner with the Purple Heart. General Schwartz said special forces Soldiers lived to tell the story of the Shok Valley battle thanks to the courage, tenacity, teamwork, as well as the invaluable and selfless efforts of Sergeant Rhyner.

Sergeant Rhyner coordinated more than 50 aerial attacks to continuously repel the enemy during the beleaguering battle that occurred during his first deployment. According to the decoration citation, Sergeant Rhyner “provided suppressive fire with his M-4 rifle against enemy fire while fellow teammates were extracted from the line of fire.”

“The team survived this hellish scene … not by chance, not by luck and not by the failings of a weak or timid foe,” General Schwartz said.

For the same battle, an unprecedented 10 special forces Soldiers received Silver Stars, the Army’s third highest award for valor in combat.

Current Events: Banks show profits for first two months of 2009, refuse more bailout help

Since the bailout issue is sooo politically explosive we have avoided it like the plague, but good news on a national level is always welcome.

March 12 (Bloomberg) -- Bank of America Corp., the biggest U.S. bank, expects to make money for the full year after posting a profit for January and February, Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis said.

“We have been profitable for the first two months of the year,” Lewis told reporters after a speech to the Boston College Chief Executives’ Club in Boston today. “We expect to be profitable” in 2009. In his speech, Lewis said the bank may earn $50 billion this year, measured before taxes and provisions, and the company won’t need more federal aid.

Lewis becomes the third CEO at the nation’s biggest banks to report his company was profitable in the early part of this year, joining JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. He has promised the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank will get through the credit crunch without more help from U.S. taxpayers.
More here...

12 March 2009

Morale: Heroes

We just thought this was to good not to post. After all, we got'em too.

USAF: USMC Developing UAV To Re-Supply Combat Forces

Now a USMC Air Corps?

By this summer, combat troops in Afghanistan could be getting re-supplied by giant unmanned aerial vehicles, a U.S. Marine Corps general told Congress on March 11.

The Marines are working with industry to build a cargo-carrying UAV capable of hauling up to 1,200 pounds of battlefield essentials - such as ammunition, water and batteries - to ground troops in remote places, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. John Amos told the House Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on defense.

The move is part of a short-term plan to find new ways to reduce the weight Marines carry into combat. Details are sketchy, but Amos said "I'm looking for something now. We want to get a solution into Afghanistan by this summer."

Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who also testified at the hearing, told Army Times in an interview that he was unsure if the Army will use cargo UAVs in the future. He said that the Army has been able to deliver up to 26,000 pounds of supplies a day using precision air drop.
More here...

AEROSPACE: NASA Postpones Space Shuttle Launch Due to Gas Leak

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Hit by more valve trouble, NASA postponed the launch of space shuttle Discovery just hours before it was to head to the international space station Wednesday because of a hydrogen gas leak.

The potentially catastrophic leak was in a different part of the system that already had caused a vexing one-month delay.

Shuttle managers put off the launch until at least Sunday and indicated that Monday might be more likely.
More here...

SAFETY: Helicopter Carrying 18 Crashes in Atlantic Off Canadian Coast

ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland — A helicopter ferrying workers to the Hibernia offshore oil platform has ditched in the Atlantic Ocean off Newfoundland.

Gerry Grychowski of the Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax says there were 18 people on board on Thursday.

Two people have been spotted in the water, as well as a life-raft, but there's no sign of the chopper.

A Hercules aircraft and four Cormorant rescue helicopters are on their way to the site and a coast guard ship and a supply ship are about an hour away.

Grychowski says winds are fairly strong in the area with six- to nine-foot waves.
More here...

Aerospace: A little more on the new "US Army Air Corps"

Boeing Co. is incorporating new technology in the next generation of Apache Longbow helicopters that will enable pilots to control unmanned aircraft from their cockpits.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or UAVs, are pilotless aircraft that have helped the military gather video footage and other data in dangerous combat areas without putting soldiers directly at risk.

The use of UAVs has grown in recent years, spurred by the military's demand for aircraft that can gather enemy data without exposing the location of soldiers and pilots. The vehicles range from ultrasmall gadgets that fit in the palm of a person's hand to aircraft the size of a personal airplane.
The ability to navigate a UAV while piloting an Apache helicopter is one of several upgrades Boeing is making to its Apache line, which pumps millions of dollars into the firm's Mesa operations.
More here...

11 March 2009

CTWG: RI Encampment - Qualified Medic Wanted

The Rhode Island Wing needs a qualified officer to serve as Encampment Medic. This encampment is scheduled for 12-19 April 2009.

Interested officers should contact the RI Wing Commander, Col Anthony Gagliardi.

RI Wing

Morale: The Grill Sergeants

CAP: Utah Wing has a find

The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the reason why a small aircraft crashed on Antelope Island Tuesday morning, killing the pilot.

Kirk Babbit, a 37-year-old experienced pilot from Stansbury Park, departed from the Tooele Valley Airport in his kit-built Zodiac CH650 at approximately 8:30 a.m. en route to the Bountiful Sky Park. From there he planned to commute into Salt Lake for work by car, according to Lt. Brad Wilcox of the Davis County Sheriff’s Office.

“His family said he usually notifies his wife by e-mail when he gets to work,” Wilcox said. “But 9:30 came and went and with no e-mail.”

Family members notified authorities, who contacted the Civil Air Patrol, an all-volunteer auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. The patrol initiated an aerial search for Babbit’s plane.

“We were tasked out at about 1 p.m. and within an hour we had two airplanes in the air — one from Ogden and one from Salt Lake,” said Lt. Sue Chamberlin, spokesperson for the Civil Air Patrol’s Utah wing.

The planes did a parallel search of the Tooele Valley, the Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island.

“Our searchers are trained to spot things from the air and they take pictures,” Chamberlin said.

At around 4 p.m., CAP searchers located what appeared to be a wreckage site in Red Rock Canyon on Antelope Island, where the terrain is rugged and mountainous.

“The crew noted a white patch on the ground on the south side of a ravine where snow had melted,” Chamberlin said.

CAP notified the Davis County Sheriff’s Office of the discovery, who then dispatched a ground search-and-rescue crew. A Department of Public Safety helicopter transported the crew to the scene, where they confirmed the wreckage to be that of Babbit’s plane.

“They hiked to the crash site, stabilized the wreckage and extricated the victim,” Wilcox said. “We believe he died on impact.”

Wilcox said the two-seater aircraft was fairly new, leading his office to believe that Babbit didn’t suffer from any mechanical problems.

Wind speeds at the Tooele Valley Airport were about 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph on Tuesday morning — not strong enough to deter any pilot from flying, according to Steve Jackson, general aviation manager for the airport.

“Winds like that are very normal at the Tooele Valley Airport,” Jackson said. “They weren’t anything excessive.”

The exact cause of the crash will not be known until the National Transportation Safety Board completes the eight- to 10-week investigation.

Aerospace: Delta II takes flight with Keplar on 3.5 year mission to find other Earth like planets

"I think people everywhere want to know whether, with all the stars out there, do they have planets that are Earth-sized?" said principal investigator William Borucki of NASA's Ames Research Center. "Are Earths frequent or are they rare? And this gives us that answer. It's the next step in mankind's exploration of the galaxy."

The Kepler spacecraft's three-and-a-half-year mission began on time at 10:49:57 p.m. with a crackling roar and a torrent of fire that briefly turned night into day along Florida's space coast. Putting on a spectacular weekend sky show, the United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket quickly climbed from its sea-side launch pad and arced away to the east over the Atlantic Ocean as it streaked toward space.
More here...

For those who follow launches, the below details how you can get a almost daily update of space launches.

AGI's Launch Notification e-mails will help you stay current with all new spacecraft launches. E-mails are sent after every launch and include key spacecraft information such as: the date, time, launch site, launcher, international number, name, and owner. Get more information on thousands of satellites and other vehicles by viewing STK models, animations, and our encyclopedic "Spacecraft Digest" database at www.agi.com/resources.

10 March 2009

Aerospace: USN Fighter Weapons School

USN "All Hands TV" has a nice video up on training the trainers at Fighter Weapons Schoool, Miramar. Yah, we mean TOP GUN...

DHS: Cyberspace follow up

Legacy Futures in Cyberspace
To deal with future problems, its helps to look forward

At the information security convention Black Hat DC, homeland security expert Paul Kurtz argued in favor of developing sophisticated cyberweapons to deter attacks on American networks. However, as ThreatsWatch's own Michael Tanji observes, cyber-deterrence makes as much sense as trying to ban math. With anyone with a computer science degree able to develop malicious code, Cold War concepts of deterrence and non-proliferation are useless.

Nebulous concepts of cyber-deterrence are but one isolated symptom of a severe problem within the cyber-industrial complex: the pervasive reach of "legacy futures."

Futurist Jamais Cascio writes that legacy futures are old conceptions of the future that act as a deadweight drag on the policy planning process:

"Legacy futures are rarely still useful, but have so thoroughly colonized our minds that even new scenarios and futures models may end up making explicit or implicit references to them."

Cyberspace is a radically new battlespace, but security experts and strategists increasingly draw on the legacy future of the Cold War for strategic concepts and solutions. But can one really deter Russian hackers hiding behind a wall of botnets and proxy servers or contain stateless global guerrillas in an era of porous borders? Applied to the brave new world of cyber-conflict and networked insurgency, Cold War concepts muddle rather than clarify.
More here…

DHS: Cyber Security Chief resigns over battle with NSA

Since the USAF is also a leader in National Cyber Security, we will have to watch this story play out.

WASHINGTON -- The government's coordinator for cybersecurity programs has quit, criticizing what he described as the National Security Agency's grip on cybersecurity.

Rod Beckstrom, a former Silicon Valley entrepreneur, said in his resignation letter that the NSA's central role in cybersecurity is "a bad strategy" because it is important to have a civilian agency taking a key role in the issue. The NSA is part of the Department of Defense. (Read Mr. Beckstrom's resignation letter.)

The power battles Mr. Beckstrom describes in his resignation letter illustrate the challenges ahead for the Obama administration as it plans its defense against governments and terrorists who might try to disrupt U.S. computer systems, cybersecurity specialists said. One issue is what part or parts of the government should lead the effort.
More here…

CTWG: Sikorsky Memorial Airport pros/cons on TV tonight

Hat Tips to Lt Col Dave Oestreicher & David Faile.

The Public Access Channel (77) or www.soundviewtv.org is hosting a TV program tonight at 8:30 PM on the pros and cons of the Airport improvement program. You can view it on your TV or on your computer!

I hope you will tune in and CALL IN to Support the Safety Improvements at Sikorsky Memorial Airport.

09 March 2009

USAF: C-130s still up, but under inspection

USAF Orders Special C-130 Inspections
Mon, 09 Mar '09

Cracks Found In Wing Attachment Barrel Nuts
The inspection of C-130 Hercules transport aircraft became a priority issue for the US Air Force last week, after cracks in wing joint barrel nuts were discovered during a routine maintenance inspection of a C-130 at Robins Air Force Base outside of Warner Robins, GA.

Roger Drinnon, a spokesman for the Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, told the Associated Press that although the planes were not formally grounded, the inspection of the barrel nuts on 528 affected aircraft began the next day.
More here...

Current Events: Obama might start opening up Cuba

President Barack Obama is poised to offer an olive branch to Cuba in an effort to repair the US's tattered reputation in Latin America.

The White House has moved to ease some travel and trade restrictions as a cautious first step towards better ties with Havana, raising hopes of an eventual lifting of the four-decade-old economic embargo. Several Bush-era controls are expected to be relaxed in the run-up to next month's Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago to gild the president's regional debut and signal a new era of "Yankee" cooperation
More here...

Current Events: North Korea warns, intercepting it's satellite launch may mean war

PYONGYANG/BEIJING, March 9 (AP) - (Kyodo)—North Korea warned Monday that any move to intercept what it calls a satellite launch and what other countries suspect may be a missile test-firing would result in a counterstrike against the countries trying to stop it.
"We will retaliate (over) any act of intercepting our satellite for peaceful purposes with prompt counterstrikes by the most powerful military means," the official Korean Central News Agency quoted a spokesman of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army as saying.

If countries such as the United States, Japan or South Korea try to intercept the launch, the North Korean military will carry out "a just retaliatory strike operation not only against all the interceptor means involved but against the strongholds" of the countries, it said.

"Shooting our satellite for peaceful purposes will precisely mean a war," it added.
More here...

08 March 2009

USAF: The U.S. Army Air Force Quietly Reappears

March 8, 2009: Although the U.S. Army doesn't officially receive its first Sky Warrior MQ-1C UAVs until this month, they sent two of the prototypes to Iraq last year for testing. The first flight, lasting 10.5 hours, was on April 18th. The MQ-1Cs are slightly larger Predators, and are being used for missions formerly performed by Shadow 200, and other large army UAVs. The big difference is that Sky Warrior can carry weapons (like Hellfire missiles.) But the army is already using missile firing, fixed wing combat aircraft, something it has not been able to do for many decades (since the U.S. Air Force was created out of the old U.S. Army Air Force in the late 1940s). The air force has accepted, for the moment, that unmanned aircraft are not the sole preserve of the air force, and the army is taking that and building a new air force for itself.
More here....

Current Events: Sunday SITREP

The headlines of the world, in no particular order...

VENZEULA: Chavez calls for Obama to adopt socialism
SPAIN: 5th human death from mad cow disease
RUSSIA: Sec Def gaff - Button says Overcharged not Reset and Russia offers hope for global disarmament talks
GREAT BRITAIN: Worlds biggest banks to meet in London
MEXICO: US offers top secrets on terrorists
ZIMBABWE: Premier hurt and wife killed in car crash
NORTH KOREA: NK threatens aircraft. SK aircraft stay clear
PALESTINE: Palestinian Premier submits resignation
PAKISTAN: Bombings cause by political feuds
SUDAN: Banning aid and War Crimes
IRAQ: Reforms in handing out political posts
SYRIA: Clinton holding talks with Syria
EGYPT: Cairo hunting Iranian terrorist responsible for attacks on westerners
BRAZIL: US and Brazil to talk trade next week
CANADA: Canadian dollar falls again
AUSTRALIA: Iraq PM to visit Australia
CHINA: China needs copper, Afghanistan has it
MALAYSIA: 2009 Human Rights Report

07 March 2009

Recruiting: Officer Training Focus

First, we do know the video has Marines in it and not the Air Force, but the Marines do fly some kind of tiny jets...so its kind of Aerospace related and it is ground SAR related so...

But, really what attracted us to us to the commercial is the focus on OFFICERS. CAP and its cadet programs, also have a focus on our cadets heading out to College and maybe to post college national service (Air Force preferred of course). This is an interesting commercial.

STRATEGY: Tom Barnett on CSPAN Sunday

Dr Thomas Barnett, the DoD briefer, past US Naval War College Prof and present international security expert will be on C-SPAN tomorrow. He is highly knowledgeable on strategic thinking and planning. By this I mean planning the future, not just the tactical decisions of today, so - think of it as an a-political performance.

"Thomas P.M. Barnett talks about the challenges and opportunities facing the United States in the world today and describes what he thinks the world will look like in the future. Mr. Barnett spoke at Politics and Prose in Washington, DC. (Sunday 9:45 AM and 7 PM, Monday 4:45 AM ET)"

You can watch live on cable or on the web at CSPAN.

Aerospace: Historical find: Nazi V1 & V2 Films

Aerospace: Elipse Wing

Interesting: In Belarus they use planes with ellipse wings. They say it has a few benefits comparing to the simple one or double winged planes, like the wing can be less in size, it’s more firm because the ellipse form is self sustaining, also there are now air vortexes by the sides of the wings which gives up to 30% increase in power compared to the traditional planes.

CTWG: Sikorsky Memorial Airport Update

Hat Tip to Lt Col David Oestreicher, Squadron Commander of the Stratford Eagles for sending in notice of the below.

Dave Faile, Gold Seal Flight Instructor, 1999 National Flight Instructor of the Year
and FAA Safety Team gives us some perspective on the meeeting:

"Last Wednesday, the State Legislature, Transportation Committee held a public hearing on the proposed Bill 563 that is designed to block much needed safety improvements."

"We and other Airport supporters were at the hearing for over ten hours opposing the bill and supporting the Airport and requesting that the Transportation Committee not support this bill. The support in favor of this bill was very limited. We are now hoping that the Transportation Committee will not support this bill."

"The two links below are to a Connecticut Post editorial supporting safety improvements to Sikorsky Memorial Airport."

CT Post Article

Chaplain: One for the Chaplains

Hat tip to Blackfive.net

U.S. Air Force Capt. David Haltom, a chaplain, provides spiritual guidance to an airman on Balad Air Base, Iraq, March 3, 2009. Chaplains accompany troops during operations around the world and provide them with various types of support.
U.S. Air Force courtesy photo.

CTWG: Beacon follow up

The secret is out: NatCAP Wing PA has found Always Vigilant! Here is a follow on comment to the previous beacon post.

CAP also produced two nice posters to go along with this campaign to hang up in local FBO and marinas.

Please Don't Toss Out Your Beacon!

Important Notice

For more CAP info go here.:

Note: For those who are not used to blogs "yet",to comment go to the bottom of the post and click on the word COMMENT. Enter your text, fill in the password (protects against automated bots) and off you go.

05 March 2009

CTWG: Civil Air Patrol Says 'Don't Trash The Beacon!'

Last night, Lt Col "Sandy" Sanderson warned our members to "not trash the beacons in a garbage dump" and so this article says...

Civil Air Patrol Says 'Don't Trash The Beacon!'
Fri, 27 Feb '09
Accidental Signals Distract Responders From REAL Emergencies
Boat and plane owners upgrading their emergency beacons to the newer technology may be tempted to toss their old ones in the nearest dumpster. But emergency beacons -- also known as ELTs in aircraft and EPIRBs in watercraft -- were not meant to be discarded like common trash.

The Civil Air Patrol, in partnership with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, has kicked off a communications initiative -- a "Don't Trash the Beacon" campaign -- to inform boaters and airplane owners about proper disposal of obsolete emergency beacons. CAP squadrons across the nation are supporting this initiative by displaying posters about proper disposal in their communities.

When discarding the older 121.5/243 MHz analog frequency emergency locator beacons in favor of the stronger, more reliable 406 MHz frequency digital emergency beacons, it is important to first remove or disconnect the battery from the device so it cannot be accidentally activated. Then, contact a local electronics waste facility for proper disposal.
More here...

SAFETY: Passenger exists A/C via slide after loading

A 26-year-old passenger on board an American Airlines jet from Charlotte to Dallas opened a door and slid down an inflatable emergency chute Tuesday as the aircraft waited to taxi to its gate at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

The man, who had not been identified Tuesday night, reportedly ran into the first class section of American Airlines Flight 1343 and opened the exit door, according to an airport advisory. The plane, an MD-80, had just arrived from Charlotte/Douglas International Airport about 1 p.m. and was parked on a ramp when the incident happened.

After opening the door, the man deployed the inflatable slide and slid down to the Aircraft Operations Area, where he was held by American fleet service clerks until airport public safety officers took him into custody.
More here....

Morale: Virtual Reality - real?

A virtual reality helmet that recreates the sights, smells, sounds and even tastes of far-flung destinations has been devised by British scientists.

The device will allow users a life-like experience of places such as Kenya's Masai Mara while sitting on their sofa. They can also enjoy the smell of flowers.
More here...

Aerospace: Russian general says U.S. may have planned satellite collision

03/03/2009 13:01 MOSCOW, March 3 (RIA Novosti) - A collision between U.S. and Russian satellites in early February may have been a test of new U.S. technology to intercept and destroy satellites rather than an accident, a Russian military expert has said.

According to official reports, one of 66 satellites owned by Iridium, a U.S. telecoms company, and the Russian Cosmos-2251 satellite, launched in 1993 and believed to be defunct, collided on February 10 about 800 kilometers (500 miles) above Siberia.

However, Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Leonid Shershnev, a former head of Russia's military space intelligence, said in an interview published by the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper on Tuesday that the U.S. satellite involved in the collision was used by the U.S. military as part of the "dual-purpose" Orbital Express research project, which began in 2007.

Orbital Express was a space mission managed by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and a team led by engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC).

According to the DARPA, the program was "to validate the technical feasibility of robotic, autonomous on-orbit refueling and reconfiguration of satellites to support a broad range of future U.S. national security and commercial space programs."

Orbital Express was launched in March 2007 as part of the U.S. Air Force Space Test Program's STP-1 mission. It tested a prototype servicing satellite (ASTRO) and a surrogate next generation serviceable satellite (NextSat). The demonstration program met all the mission success criteria and was officially completed in July 2007.

Shershnev claims the U.S. military decided to continue with the project to "develop technology that would allow monitoring and inspections of orbital spacecraft by fully-automated satellites equipped with robotic devices."

The February collision could be an indication that the U.S. has successfully developed such technology and is capable of manipulating 'hostile satellites,' including their destruction, with a single command from a ground control center, the general said.

Current Events: Israel considering unilateral action against Iran

Israel is seriously considering taking unilateral military action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, according to a report by top US political figures and experts released Wednesday.

The report also says Israel's time frame for action is growing shorter, not only because of Iranian advances, but because Teheran might soon acquire upgraded air defenses and disperse its nuclear program to additional locations.
More here...

03 March 2009

CTWG: Milford Cadet accepted by US Naval Academy

From the Connecticut Post:

MILFORD -- Alejandra Dorado was born in Spain, but she considers the United States her home country -- so much that she wants nothing more than to serve this country, first as a naval officer and later as an astronaut.

The 18-year-old senior at Jonathan Law High School, who goes by "Alex," got a few dismissive chuckles when she revealed her dreams as a child: After all, doesn't every kid want to be an astronaut?

"Everyone was like, 'Oh, that's a phase,' " she said with a dimpled laugh.

But for Dorado, an earnest, well-spoken young woman with a firm handshake, that wasn't true. The dreams she harbored as a young child in Houston, remain more alive than ever, and four years of hard work and perseverance in high school paid off last month, when she got a phone call that signaled the first major step in her journey toward flight.

She was accepted to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., becoming the first young woman from Law ever to do so. She is only the second from Milford, according to Kevin Liddy, a member of the city Planning and Zoning Board and a 1978 graduate of the academy who helped Dorado navigate the academy's elaborate application process as her Blue & Gold Officer.

"My heart stopped. Everything froze," Dorado said, remembering the Jan. 12 call from U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. "It was a moment that I'll never forget. You work so hard to achieve ... it's an amazing feeling. What kept me going was knowing what all this hard work would do."

The chance to attend the academy makes worthwhile all the all-nighters, the pacing with a book at 3 a.m. and the teary breakdowns in the kitchen when it all seemed overwhelming, Dorado said.

Of course, this is still the beginning.

In July, she'll take an oath and start the infamous "Plebe" year of military academies, known for tough treatment and requirements that result in a sort of hazing that winnows the incoming class. She plans to study aerospace engineering and minor in physics.

Dorado's high school years in the Air Force Auxiliary's Civil Air Patrol program in Stratford developed her character and provided many opportunities, including a 2007 weeklong summer camp as a foretaste of military academy life: Sirens and screamed orders at 5 a.m., falling out of bed, drilling, and seminars.

Sound like fun?

Well, it may be a challenge, but Dorado is up for it and believes, again, that the struggle will be worthwhile. "I'm nervous, but I'm excited," she said. "I always liked that military discipline -- that structure. I want to serve my country and I want to be a leader in my country."

Once through another four years of hard work, she'll have to compete for a pilot's slot and attend pilot training for roughly two years before serving for another mandatory five years, perhaps more, as a fighter pilot.

Later, she hopes to go on to NASA as a space shuttle pilot.

When she first sat in the pilot's seat at 16, Dorado knew: "It was one of those weird moments in life "¦ when you feel that's where you're supposed to be."

Dorado's passion is evident as she talks, animated with eyes shining, of service, leadership, courage and integrity: Things she said describe her well.

She had to meet stringent physical, medical and academic standards to qualify for the academy, and had to secure a congressional or senatorial nomination. She got two: One from Lieberman and one from U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3.

All while earning As and Bs, running her own dog-walking business and busing tables at a local restaurant, playing the clarinet and trumpet in school bands, running track and playing soccer, softball and basketball.

Her mother, Adela Abel, said she was initially skeptical of her daughter joining the military. But, thankful as she is to her adopted country, she is willingly giving over her younger daughter to years of service.

"As a parent, it's a bittersweet thing, but what can I say? It's her life," Abel said. "She earned it the whole way. As an immigrant, this country has given so much. I'm proud of her; I'm proud that she made this country her own."

Liddy said Dorado's acceptance is a credit to the quality of Milford public schools. "I think it says a lot about the youngsters of our area," he said. "We're a very blue state, very anti-war "¦ but the fact that our youngsters still want to serve our country and they believe in it speaks well."

Dorado, too, credited much of her success to help from her guidance counselor, Paulette Reeves, and several teachers at Law.

Academy students are paid half the salary of a junior officer while they attend, Liddy said, but getting in is hard. Each member of Congress can nominate up to 10 young people out of all who apply, and "at the most, one" of those will be accepted, he said.

"It's a very convoluted, torturous, treacherous path," he said. "It seemed like she was really gung-ho and she won her parents over."

Supt. of Schools Harvey Polansky expressed pride in Dorado's success as "one of our own."

"It's an extraordinary honor," he said. "Very few students nationwide have the opportunity to go to Annapolis."

CTWG: National Board

To All CAP Officers

Commanders and CAC Reps - please also share with your cadets

The Civil Air Patrol's Winter National Board sessions took place last week in Washington.

The thrust of the Legislative Day was to confer with members and staffs in the US Senate and House of Representatives. The two issues to raise this time were the restoration of $4.4m of funding to CAP cut by USAF, and the reintroduction of HR 133, a bill involving closer integration of CAP's services to the homeland security agencies. Insofar as the Connecticut' congressional delegation was concerned, we got to the offices of Senator Dodd, Senator Lieberman, and Rep Himes of the 4th District.


This message is being sent as a reminder to all members. Applications are now being accepted for the 2009 National Emergency Services Academy (NESA) to be held at Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh, Indiana from the 27th of June until the 11th of July 2009. There are courses for all members interested in emergency services, and this is a great opportunity for both new members as well as experienced members to come train with hundreds of their peers from across the country.

Apply online at: https://ntc.cap.af.mil/ops/nesa/ or download an offline application form from: http://nesa.cap.gov/Documents/2009_NESA_Offline_Application_Form_-_Fillable.dot. Slots will be filled on a first come first served basis through the 17th of May 2009 or until slots are filled, whichever comes first. Personnel are encouraged to apply soon to get into the course or courses they desire. Some courses fill up faster than others and there are a few that are nearly full already. The following fifteen courses will be offered this year at NESA:

National Ground Search And Rescue School (NGSAR)
NGSAR Basic Course – 28 June to 4 July 2009
NGSAR Basic Course – 5 to 11 July 2009
NGSAR Advanced Course – 28 June to 4 July 2009
NGSAR Advanced Course – 5 to 11 July 2009
NGSAR First Responder Course – 4 to 11 July 2009
NGSAR Ground Team Leader Course – 4 to 11 July 2009

Incident Command System School (ICSS)
ICSS Basic Course – 28 June to 4 July 2009 – Includes ICS-300 Training
ICSS Advanced Course – 5 to 11 July 2009 – Includes ICS-400 Training
ICSS Mission Communications Course – 28 June to 4 July 2009 – New in 2009

Mission Aircrew School
MAS Basic Course (Mission Scanner & Airborne Photographer) – 28 June to 4 July 2009
MAS Intermediate Course (Mission Pilot or Observer Track) – 27 June to 4 July 2009
MAS Intermediate Course (Mission Pilot or Observer Track) – 4 to 11 July 2009
MAS Advanced Course (Mission Pilot or Observer Track) – 4 to 11 July 2009
MAS ARCHER Course – 28 June to 4 July 2009
MAS ARCHER Course – 5 to 11 July 2009

Additional pre-requisites and information about NESA and the above courses can be found at: http://nesa.cap.gov/.

The fee to attend NESA is $175 per course which includes, meals, lodging on site, printed training materials and aircraft and ground vehicle sortie costs on site. Participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from NESA, though many personnel are able to travel in corporate vehicles and aircraft as they are needed on site for training. We also know in these tough financial times that some people will have difficulty attending activities like this without assistance. The NESA Alumni Association has several scholarships available for members in need of financial assistance. Scholarship applications must be received by the 15th of March 2009 to be considered, and members can download a scholarship application at: http://nesa.cap.gov/Documents/2009_NESAAA_Scholarship_Application_Form_-_Fillable.dot.

Staff members are also still needed. Staff members are typically prior attendees who are qualified in the area they want to support. We also bring on a few junior staff members each year to work under the supervision of other experienced staff. If you've got the experience and are willing to give some of your time to commit to training fellow members, go ahead and apply. Staff members are required to pay a $45 fee to cover the costs of basic supplies on site. Meals, lodging on site, and training materials are included. Staff activity dates vary by assignment.

If you have any additional questions please direct them to the NESA staff at NESA@capnhq.gov or call 1-888-211-1812 extension 323.

We look forward to seeing you at the 2009 NESA!