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

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."

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.”


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
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.
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
Connecticut Wing

CTWG: Final SAR EVAL Press 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




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.


CTWG: 7 November Search & Rescue Evaluation Initial Press Release


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

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


05 November 2009

USAF: Space Debris Challenges

11/5/2009 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The chief of U.S. Strategic Command wants better tools for protecting against threats from space debris -- an estimated 20,000 pieces of manmade material orbiting around the planet.

Gen. Kevin P. Chilton laid out what he described as his "wish list" Nov. 4, emphasizing the importance of being able to predict collisions between debris and valuable satellites.

Given the scarce number of personnel tasked with carrying out this mission, "we are decades behind where we should be, in my view," General Chilton said in a speech at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.

The collision in February of an American and Russian satellite changed an assumption underlying the use of space. General Chilton called the collision between the Iridium and Kosmos satellites the "seminal event" of the year for STRATCOM.

"The big space theory, like the big sky theory, kind of came to a close when that happened -- the thought that we wouldn't have to pay attention to the movement of every satellite up there because there's so much space up there and such a low probability that they'll run into each other," he said.

Those working in the field likely never bought into the theory that a collision was unlikely, the general said, and the event drove home the reality to those responsible for budgeting.

"It's amazing what one collision will do to the resource spigot," he said. "Once that happened, we started to see some resources start to flow in the right directions and some creative thinking going on to improve our ability to predict collisions between the 800 satellites that we care about up there that are active and the more than 20,000 pieces of total debris." More here...

USAF: New cyberspace support career field stood up Nov. 1

11/5/2009 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force officials here converted more than 43,000 total force enlisted Airmen from former communications career fields to cyberspace support Nov. 1.

The new Air Force specialty is made up of three former career fields: communications-electronics, 2EXXX; knowledge operations management, 3AXXX; and communications-computer systems, 3CXXX.

The new cyberspace support career field family is 3DXXX, which is broken into 11 new Air Force specialty codes: 3D0X1, knowledge operations management; 3D0X2, cyber systems operations; 3D0X3, cyber surety; 3D0X4, computer systems programming; 3D1X1, client systems; 3D1X2, cyber transport systems; 3D1X3, RF transmission systems; 3D1X4, spectrum operations; 3D1X5, ground radar systems; 3D1X6, airfield systems; and 3D1X7, cable and antenna systems.

In addition, Air Force officials converted more than 8,800 civilian-equivalent positions. The conversions were driven by force reductions and skill-set convergences required to meet both cyberspace support and cyberspace operations missions, said Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Call, the Air Force knowledge operations management and postal career field manager. The current 33S communications officer transformation is under way and should be decided in near future, the chief added.

"Folks at Air Force personnel (A1) and the Air Force Personnel Center did a remarkable job implementing both personnel and manpower conversions," Chief Call said. "This effort was one of the largest AFSC transformations ever accomplished by these teams. At midnight Oct. 31, all personnel and manpower positions automatically converted to a primary 3DXXX AFSC path." More here...

04 November 2009

USAF: Air Force engineers help keep Afghan roads safe for travel

Our primary goal for this mission is to make sure the cages and covers, which our contractor installed, are still properly secured the way they are supposed to be," said Capt. Rick Vermillion, an engineer assigned to the PRT and deployed from Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. "Insurgents have been using the tactic of filling the culverts, which run directly under the road, with explosives."

According to the captain, the cages have slowed the insurgents down, making it more difficult for them to complete their mission.

While on patrol, safety and security is paramount for all involved.

"We take every precaution when it comes to inspecting these ditches," said Tech. Sgt. Erik Field, the NCO in charge of quality assurance for the PRT, deployed from Ramstein Air Base, Germany. "We have to make sure there is nothing inside the culverts. We do that from a distance just in case we are being watched and they decide to detonate it."

Once the scene is secured, the engineers can get up close to the area, looking to make sure the work has been done as agreed to in the contract. They will, for instance, check to see if the contractor used the proper type of concrete. They also look for signs of tampering and to see if anything has been removed or filled. More here...

03 November 2009

CTWG: CT Wing Conference 2009

Col Mary Feik with one happy cadet.
Maj Dill after meeting Mrs Vice.
The last 5 CT Wing Commanders.
A very mysterous Col...
(Nathan Hale Inn, UCONN, Storrs CT) 23-25, October - The Senior Officers and Cadets of Connecticut’s 700 member, Civil Air Patrol met October 23rd through 25th at the University of Connecticut to review the results of 2009’s events and plan for the upcoming challenges of 2010.

Attending hands on workshops ranging from communications and first aid certifications to the discussion of pilot specific issues in open forums, the members of Connecticut’s Air Force Auxiliary focused their attention on the critical themes of pride in self, pride in unit and most importantly, service before self.

The weekends special guests included, hero of the Pentagon’s 9/11 terror attack, Col John Davies, US Army Retired who is also a UCONN Alumni. Col Davies was the key note speaker at the evenings formal Banquet and Cadet Ball. Also in attendance, Women in Aviation, Pioneer Hall of Fame member, accomplished pilot and aerospace engineer, Col Mary Feik, the last five sequential Commanders of the Connecticut Wing, representatives of the Air Force Association, the United States Air Force, United States Army as well as other dignitaries from CAP’s National Headquarters, North East Region Command, Connecticut Wing Command and its thirteen Connecticut based squadrons.

A number of special awards were proffered upon Connecticut members including Commanders Commendations and Meritorious Service awards as well as the precious Life Saving Medal. Col Feik, personally handed out a number of awards to Connecticut cadets. Col Feik, age eighty six, currently travels the country presenting a special CAP Cadet Achievement Award named in her honor. To date, she has bestowed more than 5000 cadet awards, all in person.

Some of the CT Wings 2009 accomplishments were highlighted. These include, a nation leading rise in membership base over the last three years, from 500 to 700 members, the stand up of the States first CAP Cadet academic program at New Fairfield High School - with its membership reaching full squadron strength almost immediately, a summer cadet encampment that surpassed 100 cadet basic attendees and a ground breaking five General Billy Mitchell Awards awarded in a single evening.

On the operational mission front, Connecticut leads the nation in hours flown per aircraft including orientation flights, Long Island Sound Patrols in cooperation with the US Coast Guard and the State of Connecticut, storm damage assessment missions, Homeland Security infrastructure missions and missions in support of the Drug Enforcement Agency and other Federal and State agencies.

A special highlight of the Friday evening Commanders Reception, Colonel Jack Swift, USAF (Ret), former commander of the 103rd Fighter Wing at Bradley Field gave an in depth talk about the Air Force Association’s current activities and how these activities can support its members, CAP programs and our communities.

02 November 2009

Public Service: Project Valour-IT, Soldiers Angels

Project Valour-IT began when Captain Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss was wounded by an IED while serving as commander of a tank company in Iraq in June 2005.

During his deployment he kept a blog (an online personal diary, opinion forum, or news analysis site-called a milblog or military weblog when written by a servicemember or about military subjects). Captivating writing, insightful stories of his experiences, and his self-deprecating humor won him many loyal readers. After he was wounded, his wife continued his blog, keeping his readers informed of his condition.

As he began to recover, CPT Ziegenfuss wanted to return to writing his blog, but serious hand injuries hampered his typing. When a loyal and generous reader gave him a copy of the Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred software, other readers began to realize how important such software could be to CPT Ziegenfuss' fellow wounded soldiers and started cast about for a way to get it to them.

A fellow blogger (blog author) who writes under the pseudonym FbL contacted Captain Ziegenfuss and the two realized they shared a vision of providing laptops with voice-controlled software to wounded soldiers whose injuries prevented them from operating a standard computer. FbL contacted Soldiers Angels, who offered to help develop the project, and Project Valour-IT was born.

In sharing their thoughts, CPT Ziegenfuss (now a Major) and FbL found that memories of their respective fathers were a motivating factor in their work with the project. Both continue their association with this project in memory of the great men in their lives whose fine examples taught them lasting lessons of courage and generosity.

In the years since its founding in 2005, the project has acted to meet emerging needs and its mission of supporting the the severely wounded has expanded. In addition to voice-controlled laptops, Valour-IT now helps provide active and whole-body video games such as Wii Sports, which is used to great effect in physical therapy, and personal GPS systems that help compensate for short-term memory loss and organizational/spacial challenges common in those with brain injuries.

So if the calling seizes you, hit the AF button below and start catching up!

Morale: Army & Navy opinions of the AF

The Army and Navy are having a bit o fun about the AF. How does one get even?

Current Events: Control of Iran is no longer in the mullahs hands

The Revolutionary Guards are no longer hiding their absolute, defacto control of the Iranian government.

Published: October 23, 2009
Iranian authorities arrested the wives and family members of a number of high-profile political detainees at a religious ceremony in Tehran, several reformist Web sites reported Friday.

Iran Delays Its Decision on Shipping Nuclear Fuel (October 24, 2009) The raid happened Thursday after the family members of one detainee, Shahab Tabatabee, announced on the Web site Norooz News that they were holding a prayer ceremony for his release. Mr. Tabatabee, a member of the reformist party Islamic Iran Participation Front, was sentenced to five years in prison last week.

The police raided the ceremony at a private home a few minutes after it began, according to a relative of some of the people who were arrested.

Officers arrested nearly all the guests except for several young women who were attending with infants and toddlers.

There were conflicting reports on the Web sites as to the number arrested. The relative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said 60 people had been arrested, which would make it the largest mass arrest in recent months.

Two senior clerics, Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri and Grand Ayatollah Yousef Sanei, denounced the raid, opposition Web sites reported. At least three opposition Web sites reported the arrests, each citing witnesses.

The wife of Abdullah Ramezanzadeh, a prominent prisoner who was the government spokesman under former President Mohammad Khatami, and the wives of several former members of Parliament were among the detainees.

USAF: EB-52 Discontinued, Navy EA-18G Growler version more affordable

October 28, 2009: The U.S. Air Force has backed away from developing a new electronic warfare aircraft. Now it will rely on UAVs equipped with jammers, and electronic jamming pods on non-specialized (as jamming aircraft) warplanes. This was not the preferred approach. Last year, the air force revived a program to convert some of its B-52 heavy bombers into radar jamming aircraft. This would be done by equipping the bombers with jamming pods (that are similar in appearance to large bombs). More here...

Current Events: US and Israel reiterate to Moscow: Military option is on the table

October 31, 2009, 8:20 PM (GMT+02:00) DEBKAfile's US intelligence sources report indications of impending war preparations against Iran after Tehran's rejections of the UN-brokered proposal to ship its enriched uranium overseas for further enrichment. These sources reveal that the administration is seeking congressional authorization to open America's Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Furthermore, the US-Israeli joint US-Israel Juniper Cobra ballistic exercise is in full swing. Finally, US and Israel officials have been instructed to warn Moscow that the military option is still on the table if Iran's nuclear program is not halted by diplomatic means.

The US SPR which contains 727 million barrels of petroleum is only opened in time of war. Under an agreement signed with Israel in 1975, Washington undertakes to supply Israel with its fuel needs for five years in an emergency.

Word of these apparent war preparations appeared Saturday Oct. 31, the day after Iran's senior nuclear negotiator delivered a counter-proposal to the UN-brokered plan to the IAEA in Vienna which excised its main object, which was to reduce the enriched uranium stocks in hand for Iran to make a nuclear bomb.

The joint US-Israeli military exercise which ends Tuesday, Nov. 3, moved to the Tel Aviv arena last Tuesday with US forces drilling defensive action against a prospective Iranian missile attack or a seaborne strike from the Mediterranean on Israel's central conurbation.

For the last three days, Moscow has had nothing to say about the Iranian rejection of a plan which would have sent Iranian uranium to Russia for reprocessing, although Tehran previously indicated to the Kremlin that the international plan would sail through. DEBKAfile's Moscow sources regard the rebuff as Tehran's response to the suspension of Russian S-300 missile defense batteries after they had already been packed for delivery to Iran.

01 November 2009

USAF: Training Internationally

10/28/2009 - AIR FORCE STATION AGRA, India (AFNS) -- U.S. and Indian air force officials are pleased with the positive results of all of the joint-training operations executed here during Cope India, Oct. 19 to 23.

Cope India is a United States and India airlift exercise that provides training for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. A combined total of 25 sorties were flown on the C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 H and J Hercules during the exercise, which took place here.
Cope India is a United States and India airlift exercise that provides training for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. A combined total of 25 sorties were flown on the C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 H and J Hercules during the exercise, which took place here. More here...