First Woman Commands Special Operations Squadron

March 3, 2009

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An Airman from the 4th Special Operations Squadron became the first female flying squadron commander in Air Force Special Operations Command during a ceremony at Hurlburt Field, Florida on Feb. 20.

Lt. Col. Brenda Cartier assumed command of the 4th SOS, which employs the AC-130U Spooky gunship, from Lt. Col. Jim Rodriguez in a hangar packed with family, friends and colleagues.

“It’s a historic moment for us in AFSOC,” said Col. Dennis Pannell, 1st Special Operations Group commander, who officiated the ceremony.

Colonel Cartier is a fire control officer on the gunship with more than 4,000 flying hours, and previously served as the squadron’s operations officer under Colonel Rodriguez.

“She’s well prepared and well trained to take on this task, and we really look forward to her ability to lead this squadron in combat,” Colonel Pannell said.

Women at the front lines are no longer rare. For the story of some realy tough ladies, readThe Few. The Proud.: Women Marines in Harm’s Way

Colonel Rodriguez called the new commander his friend and confidant.

“She has tremendous patience, intellect and unending energy,” he said. “She will take this squadron on to new and greater things.”

Colonel Rodriguez served as commander for 22 months, during which time the squadron was constantly deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, added four operational aircraft and was named best flying squadron in AFSOC for 2007.

“Your leadership is clearly evident,” Colonel Pannell said. “While there is tremendous talent in the 4th [SOS], it takes steady and mature leadership to develop it. You’ve laid the foundation for many leaders of Spooky lineage.”

Colonel Rodriguez’s family members traveled from as far as Honduras to witness the ceremony. He received the Meritorious Service Medal for his tenure as squadron commander and operations officer.

Colonel Cartier said she was “very blessed” to take command of a squadron with such a rich history and such a relevant mission.

“When I arrived 12 years ago, the gunships were the newest weapons system, unproven in combat, but ready for action,” she said. “Today we are the longest continuously deployed AFSOC weapons system, and one of the most combat-experienced squadrons in Air Commando history.”

The 4th SOS has been deployed in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom since Sept. 11, 2001, logging more than 1,800 accident-free combat sorties.

“We will continue to be challenged and called upon to support our nation’s efforts,” Colonel Cartier said. “I assure you I will give you the full measure of my commitment to ensure the 4th SOS remains the most feared and revered weapons system platform on the battlefield.”

Lauren Johnson

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C-17 Aircraft Secures 30,000 Jobs

March 2, 2009

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Defense spending is a major contributor ro economic stimulus — and always has been. The C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft is a case in point.

The Air Force is now on contract to buy 15 more C-17s, bringing the planned inventory up to 205 airplanes. That means the new “last day” of C-17 production, barring further USAF orders, will be in late 2010, according to Jean Chamberlin, Boeing’s vice president for mobility programs.

Read the history of the Globemaster aircraft family
The company continues to spend its own money to “preserve an option” for the Air Force to buy more, based on the stated wishes of Congress, Chamberlin said at a Boeing briefing Feb. 17 in Arlington, Va.. Joining the defense-stimulus bandwagon, she said the C-17 is a good jobs program, employing 30,000 people in 43 states, mostly clustered in California, Texas, Missouri, and Connecticut. It puts $8 billion into the national economy and employs 650 supplier companies.

Continued USAF production is essential to keep the airplane attractive for export; 15 a year is the minimum economic quantity, Chamberlin noted. Countries that have expressed interest in buying the C-17, apart from those that have already acquired or ordered (Australia, Britain, Canada, Qatar, and a NATO consortium) include India, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.

F-22 Raptor — Major Acquisition Unlikely

February 25, 2009

According to Air Force Magazine, US Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz is noncommital on continued F-22 Raptor fighter jet acquisition, but his words sound bearish. Here’s what Air Force Magazine writes:

The Air Force’s new acquisition objective for the F-22 likely won’t be officially announced until President Obama decides whether to certify the airplane as a critical defense program that must be kept going, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told Washington-based defense reporters Feb. 17.

See the F-22 Raptor in action: History – Modern Marvels : F/A-22 Raptor

Lawmakers in both houses have urged the President to continue Raptor production in the short term, pending another review of the necessary total number. Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen has publicly stated the Air Force is looking at perhaps an additional 60 Raptors. Rumor has it that Mullen will make the final call.

Schwartz said the new number has been run through “an analysis which I feel is credible” and was arrived at “objectively.” He added that the Air Force is not afraid to revisit old assumptions and react to changes.

However, he dodged saying just what strategic considerations have changed that would make the F-22 less important in the future. The new number will be a “moderate risk” inventory, Schwartz said, and “I will be happy to defend the numbers when they become public.” However, he said there was “considerable skepticism about the validity” of the old Air Force target of 381 F-22s. “Maybe there will be equal skepticism of the new number,” he continued, “but it is my number and that is what we will use.”

February 24, 2009

At the acupuncture clinic at Andrews Air Force Base (Maryland), Col. (Dr.) Richard Niemtzow and Col. (Dr.) Stephen Burns run the service’s first full time acupuncture clinic. For them, acupuncture treatments are a full-time job.

The Air Force surgeon general announced recently that a pilot program to train a cadre of active duty physicians in the emerging discipline of medical acupuncture will begin in March. The two doctors are are at the forefront of the training.

“This is a unique course whose goal is to incorporate acupuncture into the practice of military medicine in the clinic and battlefield environments,” said Dr. Niemtzow.

The curriculum has been developed by Dr. Niemtzow and specialists at the Helms Medical Institute in Berkeley, Calif., and has been specifically designed for use in a military environment.

“It is in fact, the first course of this kind to be offered in the Department of Defense,” said Dr. Niemtzow. “The techniques that will be taught are time-tested and can be used to treat neuro-musculoskeletal pain as well as common functional and organic problems.”

Dr. Burns reinforces the value of acupuncture and its ease of application.

“Acupuncture may be performed using traditional needles. Or (physicians can use) electro-acupuncture or even laser acupuncture. It is just one more tool to help (them) do their job better”

Martha Lewis, a volunteer at the information center at Malcolm Grow Medical Center here, is a strong believer in acupuncture.

“My husband and I volunteer at the hospital,” she said. “And we kept seeing these folks come into the hospital barely able to walk down the hall. They would be on canes. Or have walkers. And then about 30 minutes to an hour later they would be back. But the change was amazing. They would have a spring in their step! And no walker or cane.

“Well we wanted to know what was going on and where were these folks going that the treatment made such an amazing difference,” Mrs. Lewis said. “So we stopped someone and they told us they were getting acupuncture. Well, I knew that whatever it was they were doing, I wanted some of that. So I tried it. And it gave me my life back!”

Mrs. Lewis says thanks to her treatments she can now can now get out and around. She has even been on cruises, something she never could do before due to her chronic pain.

“It really did change my life.” said Mrs. Lewis.

Airman 1st Class Christa Jessen from the Women’s Health Clinic here, was experiencing pain in the back of her legs. She came to the clinic and had battlefield acupuncture for the first time. She said she was skeptical before having it done.

“I had heard about this before,” she said. “I thought I would try it. But I had no idea it worked this well! This is fantastic!”

The smile on her face when she was told to walk really showed why this procedure could help doctors in the future. She was glowing.

Lt. Col. (Dr.) Wilbur Peralta from 779 MDOS also swears by acupuncture. He was experiencing pain in his shoulders.

“They put the needles in one point on each side of the ear and the pain was immediately gone,” Dr. Peralta said. “I can’t believe in less than 10 minutes my pain is gone!”

For more on how acupuncture can help YOU, read: Acupuncture for Everyone: What It Is, Why It Works, and How It Can Help You

USS George H.W.Bush completes Sea Trials

February 23, 2009

See the ultimate book on the US Navy’s final Nimitz class aircraft carrier, the USS George Herbert Walker Bush (CVN 77): CVN-77 GEORGE H. W. BUSH, U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier (Colorful Ships #3)

Northrop Grumman  has completed builder’s sea trials of the nation’s newest and most advanced nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77).

Builder’s sea trials provide an opportunity to test systems, components and compartments at sea for the first time. The trials also include high-speed runs and a demonstration of the carrier’s other capabilities.

Read the complete article USS George H. W. Bush Completes Trials

U.S. Army Africa: What is it?

February 22, 2009

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U.S. Army Africa: What is it?

Based in Vicenza, Italy, U.S. Army Africa is America’s first and only All-Army team dedicated to achieving positive change in Africa. As the Army component to United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM), U.S. Army Africa, in concert with national and international partners, conducts sustained security engagement with African land forces to promote peace, stability and security in Africa. As directed, the command deploys as a contingency headquarters in support of crisis response.

The transformation to U.S. Army Africa symbolizes America’s enduring commitment to Africa. With about 250 members in the command, the Army recognizes U.S. Army Africa’s current structure and size are inadequate and are analyzing options to increase the capabilities of the command. Regardless of size, U.S. Army Africa acknowledges the responsibility to create a world-class organization that is well-designed, expertly run and mission focused.

 

Just a few months ago, U.S. Army Africa had only a few members with operational experience and little knowledge of Africa’s history, geography and security challenges. Today, all of U.S. Army Africa’s primary staff officers and many of its junior officers and non-commissioned officers have participated in planning activities, staff talks, or exchange programs in Africa. The Command also embarked on a training and education program including week-long seminars from African experts to members of USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and added African modules to the Leader Development and Education for Sustained Peace program on-line.

Data: US Army

Robot Aircraft Refuel in the Air

February 20, 2009

The Air Force Research Lab has awarded a Boeing-led industry team a four-year, $49 million contract to continue work on the technology that will enable unmanned aerial vehicles to rendezvous autonomously with tanker aircraft and refuel, the company announced Feb. 5. These activities are Phase II of AFRL’s automated aerial refueling program. During Phase I, a Boeing-led team demonstrated that a single UAV could safely maneuver behind a tanker aircraft in refueling positions and conduct a breakaway maneuver. Under Phase II, the consortium, formally named the AAR integrator team, will coordinate flight tests that will include autonomous multi-ship operations and the actual delivery of fuel to a manned surrogate UAV. Boeing’s team includes Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, plus General Electric Aviation, Rockwell Collins, and Sierra Nevada Corp. Phase II will be divided into two parts to mature components to allow boom and receptacle and potentially probe and drogue refuelings.
Read more about robots at war:Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century

Airborne Laser offers new era for ballistic missile defense

February 19, 2009

The ultimate multimedia experience:2009 Lasers in the Military: Defense Department R&D Projects, Current Weapons, Guidance Applications, Bombs and Missiles, High-Energy Lasers (CD-ROM)

Unlike other missile defense systems, which require one or more interceptors to destroy a single ballistic missile, an ABL can destroy up to 20 missiles before its chemical supply is depleted and must be refilled. Thus, a handful of ABL planes potentially could provide around-the-clock protection against fairly sizable missile attacks emanating from a country such as North Korea. [ FULL STORY ]

Find exciting military aviation images as posters, framed art prints, 2009 calendars, and greeting card sets. Visit the PatriArt Gallery today — your one-stop shopping site for military and patriotic themed holiday gifts. Worldwide delivery available.

Special Operations: The Global Struggle

February 18, 2009

Get the real story: Special Operations Force: The Secret Soldier

While Iraq and Afghanistan have the greatest number of U.S. troops, the Special Operations Command is engaged in counter-terrorism operations around the world. [ FULL STORY ]
Find Special Operations Forces posters, framed art prints, 2009 calendars, and greeting card sets. Visit the PatriArt Gallery today — your one-stop shopping site for military and patriotic themed holiday gifts. Worldwide delivery available.

OR

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Can the US Afford its Military? Some Say No

February 18, 2009

 

Worried About America’s Future? Read Jack Cafferty’s Newest Book:Now or Never: Getting Down to the Business of Saving Our American Dream

With the combined cost of the economic stimulus package and the Wall Street bailout now projected by some estimates to top $2 trillion, and the federal deficit spiraling, U.S. officials are fretting that current levels of defense spending may be unsustainable. [ FULL STORY ]

Find US military motifs on tee-shirts, caps, and other casual clothing, as well as on beer steins, mousepads, clocks, and dozens of other office and gift items. Visit The Military Chest today — your one-stop shopping site for military and patriotic themed holiday gifts. Worldwide delivery available.