Archives for: May 2009
By unitedweroll on May 31, 2009 | In Military News and Support
During our weekly interviews with deployed troops over the past years on United We Roll at Stardust Radio, we have heard it over and over again. “Our families have the hard job” “We just come over here and do the mission, our families have the heavy stuff to take care of”. “Our families provide us with the support to do what we do.” And on and on. Many of our troops do feel that their families are not recognized for all that they do. It is the responsibility of all of us who have access to broadcasts, websites and written journalism to educate our public as to the contributions these families make and the appreciation that is due to them by those of us who live with liberty and freedom in the USA.
Too often, the families are the unsung heroes, the silent members of the military – yes, folks, the families are just as much contributors to our freedom as their members in uniform. It is not just the separations, late night emails, infrequent phone calls, letters and packages they send to their loved ones. It is also the extra duties that the spouse takes on when they become the only adult in the home and in charge of getting children to/from school and activities, paying bills and balancing the checking account, shopping, laundry, yard and auto maintenance, home cleaning and repairs, getting the dog to the vet and so much more. For one person, there just are not enough hours in some, perhaps most, days. Did we even mention those who work outside the home as well? And then, when the quiet night hours come, the time when they were used to talking with their marriage partner, there is no one with whom to share their concerns or to relieve their stress.
We hear the comments made by our military members during these visits every week as they speak with great admiration for their spouses and children. Love sent home to a wife who just graduated college despite taking care of two year old twins and everything else at home. Thanks sent to a wife for her patience with so many missed anniversaries. Admiration and love, along with a bit of humor, expressed for a husband who was taking care of the kids, house, and pets while mom was on deployment. A loving message sent to a son who was missing home while staying with family in another location til his parent gets home. So many messages of appreciation have been sent to parents, siblings and other family members for their support and values.
Fortunately, most military families have a very strong support system within their own community on a military installation. Whether it is the FRG (Family Readiness Group) support system as in the Army or another military based system, it is there. Some National Guard families who do not live near a military base, camp or post may not have as much of this community support and assistance available to them. However, support system in place or not, that does not excuse the rest of us fellow Americans from being aware of what these incredible spouses and children do, let alone knowing how we can support them and from doing just that.
How many of us remember the days when a neighbor would pop by with a warm pie fresh from the oven for no reason at all? How many remember the days when neighbors would reach out to help each other with projects like a car repair, house project and others? Does your neighbor even know who to call for help if you have an emergency? How much time does it take to stop by and lend a smile and maybe a helping hand? Think of it this way, wouldn’t it be nice to give a little back for the freedom and way of life we have here in the USA? Check around. If you have a military family in your neighborhood, stop by and thank them for your freedom. And, if a member of that family goes on deployment, see if you can help out or spend a few minutes of friendly support.
In November 1998, President Clinton acknowledged our military families: “President Clinton recently hailed military families, and America will soon honor their unique service during Military Family Week, Nov. 22 to 29. The president called on American families across the nation to give special thanks during this holiday season for the service and sacrifice of America's men and women in uniform and their families. …. Americans owe a profound debt of gratitude to our military families," Clinton said in his 1998 message to military families.” A lot of thought went into this article as it expanded on issues faced by families of a deployed military member. You can see the article in its entirety at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=41769.
In May 2008, President Bush declared May 8, 2008 and each year forward as Military Spouse Day
( http://armyhousehold6.com/2008/05/05/military-spouse-day-a-proclaimation-from-president-bush/ ) and in May 2009, President Obama also declared May 8, 2009 as Military Spouse Day
( http://www.army.com/news/item/5136 ).
Yes, we have April for Military Childrens' Month and May for Military Appreciation Month. How many communities take advantage of those dates to show their support? And why should support not be year round as our military members and families serve year round? What about the families of wounded soldiers who now also face additional expenses for travel to medical facilities and time off for care giving, just to start?
The bottom line is that no political proclamation or party positioning alters the fact that military families and loved ones of military members have been doing what they do for years upon years upon years. We should not have to educate our fellow Americans on support for our military members and families. This should be as much a way of life for every American as it is for the families to see their military member off for another deployment.
In my opinion, humble or not, the words “Thank You” do not begin to cover the amount of appreciation and pride that so many of us feel for our incredible Americans and their families who volunteer for the dangerous duty of protecting our country and our freedom.
May God Bless You & Watch Over You All!
By unitedweroll on May 26, 2009 | In Military News and Support
Bombs on target: loading the bomb
by Staff Sgt. Mareshah Haynes
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
3/21/2008 - BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq -- The call goes out and people begin to scatter. There's a sense of urgency in the air that can almost be felt, like static electricity that makes the hair on your arms stand up. The pilots and crew chiefs are preparing for the mission -- to rumble like thunder overhead and strike their targets from the sky like lightning.
Thanks in part to armament systems specialists like those assigned to the 332nd Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, the lightning strikes its target with precision.
"A lot of people think we just attach the bombs to the racks," said Master Sgt. Cliff Hamon, 332 EAMXS Viper aircraft maintenance unit noncommissioned officer in charge.
"There are a lot of things we do to ensure they actually hit their targets," said the sergeant deployed from Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
Armament systems specialists, commonly known as weapons loaders, are responsible for maintaining, loading and troubleshooting weapons systems as well as loading them onto aircraft. They also load and service aircraft gun systems on F-16 Fighting Falcons, said Staff Sgt. Peter Yuenger, 332 EAMXS Viper AMU armament systems specialist, who is deployed from Hill AFB.
One particular weapons system component armament systems specialists maintain is alternate mission equipment, which attaches to the wings of an aircraft and, in turn, creates a means to attach munitions.
"When they [planes] have scheduled maintenance, we'll turn them in and we'll completely strip the jet; there won't be any AME on it," said Tech. Sgt. Delbert Schoonover, 332 EAMXS Viper AMU armament systems specialist. "When we get it back, we have to reinstall the AME and do then do a reliability check before we can accept any bombs to hang on the aircraft."
Each weapons loading crew consists of three members who fill positions numbered one through three.
The first position is the supervisor, who ensures the whole operation is going smoothly and according to checklist procedures. The person in the second position assists the supervisor and is responsible for the tools required for the load. The person in the third position transports the munitions to the aircraft. Together, the three Airmen perform function checks, load the bombs onto the aircraft and make sure they're properly configured, Sergeant Yuenger said.
The entire loading process, on average, can take anywhere from 45-90 minutes.
"It all depends on the crew who's doing it, which munitions have to be loaded and if there's a press for the aircraft to be loaded in a specific amount of time," Sergeant Yuenger said.
The mission requirements, directing which munitions should be loaded and in what configuration, are generated by the theater commander and relayed to the crews by the expediter, Sergeant Hamon said.
The expediter manages the people on shift and sets loading priorities according to the flying schedule and timelines. He or she coordinates with munitions flight Airmen to get the bombs, missiles and bullets as well as chaff and flare (used as countermeasures when aircraft are fired at) required to load the aircraft.
While the weapons loaders need to be able to perform their duties in a fast and efficient manner, safety is a priority.
"A lot of career fields train on an annual or semi-annual basis," Sergeant Hamon said. "In our career field, we train and certify on weapons safety and handling on a monthly basis."
Another responsibility of an armament systems specialist is maintaining the avionics storage management system, which allows the aircraft to communicate with the load on board such as GPS-guided munitions.
"The aircraft has a computer box in it that sends a signal throughout the aircraft," Sergeant Schoonover said describing the avionics storage management system.
Yet sometimes problems arise with the mission-critical system. "You can have a malfunction anywhere through the wire harness or the wing span or a circuit card gone bad in the box," said the sergeant who is deployed from Hill AFB.
"It's like the engine light coming on in your car," Sergeant Yuenger said. "You know something is wrong, but you don't know what it is."
It's the weapons loader's job to locate the problem and correct it.
With all their responsibilities, the armament systems specialists assigned to the 332 EAMXS Viper AMU, are integral in helping the Air Force maximize its key capability of precision targeting.
"You feel like you have a really big part in what's going on [with the war]," Sergeant Yuenger said. "There's a saying in this career field, without weapons it's just another airliner."
By unitedweroll on May 26, 2009 | In Military News and Support
The brief news releases below are provided as a follow-up to the interview we had the honor of hosting with 1SG David Roman and that is being aired in our Tuesday, May 26th show. This show is dedicated to Memorial Day and the remembrance to all who have and do serve.
BAGHDAD –1st Sgt. David Roman, A Company, 46th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy), 225th Engineer Brigade, of Holland Patent, N.Y., describes the battle scene that fateful night six years ago before the run honoring Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith April 5. The tower (left) littered with bullet holes, displays a haunting reminder of the battle that took the platoon sergeant’s life. Roman, who served with Smith in the 11th Engineer Battalion, organized the event for his fallen friend.
(Sgt. Rebekah Malone, 225 Eng. Bde. PAO, MND-B.)
BAGHDAD – Nearly 1000 Soldiers race to remember the fallen hero, Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, early Sunday morning, April 5 on the Victory Base Complex, here. (Staff Sgt. Bradley West, 46th Eng. Combat Bn. (Heavy), 225 Eng. Bde. PAO, MND-B.)
BAGHDAD – Lt. Col. Brian Foley, of Blackstone, Mass., commander of the 50th Signal Battalion from Fort Bragg, N.C., wins the 11.46 km Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith Memorial Run in a commanding time of 44:08 on Victory Base Complex, April 5. The winner said it was an honor to run the race that started at the location Smith lost his life six years ago.
(Sgt. Rebekah Malone, 225 Eng. Bde. PAO, MND-B.)
BAGHDAD – A participant of the Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith Memorial Run displays the photo of the fallen hero on April 5 in Baghdad. Smith, posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, lost his life six years ago when his platoon was attacked near Baghdad International Airport. (Sgt. Rebekah Malone, 225 Eng. Bde. PAO, MND-B.)
However do we at home begin to understand the feelings our Freedom Fighters share as they cover each other's backs and stand side by side in battle? And, how do we express our deepest sorrow yet our greatest admiration for our Fallen Heroes and for Sgt 1st Class Paul R. Smith, whose actions saved the lives of possibly 100 or more soldiers? How do we express our sorrow to the families of the Fallen Heroes? Prayer seems to be the single answer to all the questions. Prayers for the welfare of our troops and their families. That is a good place to start.
By unitedweroll on May 26, 2009 | In Military News and Support
United We Roll @ Stardust Radio
Memorial Day Show - Tuesday, May 26, 200
(Repeats Wed May 27th at 6:30pm Central)
Hello Stardust Alumni and Listeners and welcome on this Tuesday, May 26th 2009, the day after our observance of Memorial Day. With the actual Memorial Day taking place on this upcoming Friday, May 30th, it provides us with a full week to think each day of those who have served and to offer thanks for those who still do serve. Though this is something we should do each and every day, regardless of appointed days of remembrance.
As we listen to these very special visits today from deployed members who are spending their holidays away from home while defending freedom, we will sprinkle our show with music that is appropriate to those who have served in various periods of our history. Please note that, due to the number of heartwarming visits we have to share today, our show will be longer than usual, ending at 5:30pm Central time/6:30pm Eastern time. The show will be repeated Wednesday, May 27th at 6:30pm Central/7:30pm Eastern.
We will begin this week’s show with a beautiful visit held on Monday, May 25th as we observed Memorial Day with Army SSG Jason Kendrick, who is deployed with the 56th IBCT, 36th ID. SSG Kendrick is not a stranger to us as he has helped us to connect previously with a deployed a member. He discusses what this important date means to our troops who follow today in the footsteps of those who have served in the past and who we honor at this time, but also SSG Kendrick offers more about those who serve now from his point of view as he is on his fourth deployment and covers many newsworthy events in his job as a Public Affairs Officer. I can guarantee that soft-spoken SSG Kendrick will touch your hearts with the strength of his words.
Next we will speak with three members of the 376th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, Escort Flight. Joining us are SrA Kristofer Thorsheim, SrA Anthony Port, and MSgt Kevin Douglas who have taken on duties with this security force team while on deployment. Working 12 hour days, 6 days per week does not dim the enthusiasm or dedication that these airmen have for their mission as you will hear during this visit. How they spend their one day off is as different as are the individuals. From a young airman to a more experienced Veteran who will soon be teaching at the Air Force Academy, there is no doubt that all are dedicated to the protection of our country and freedom.
Our third interview will be with Maj Diana Echols, who is deployed with the 506th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron which provides fuel (not just for the vehicles), who runs the base supply, vehicle maintenance and operations, munitions storage, the small air cargo/passenger terminal, and logistics planning. They are a true customer service unit supporting the base. When asked what Maj Echols would like to speak about, she replied “My Airmen. They are amazing.” And we will hear about some of those amazing airmen.
It is very appropriate that we hear from 1SG David Roman during this Memorial Day period. Besides other deployments, 1SG Roman is currently deployed in the Baghdad area for the 3rd time, serving with A Co 46th Engineer Combat Battalion (HEAVY). Upon his return to the area, this soldier found that some damages that had occurred to buildings during a combat action in an earlier deployment are still very visible. It was a combat action that also took the life of a friend and fellow Hero of Freedom, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. 1SG Roman was responsible for a joint effort by other troops that recently resulted in a memorial being placed at that place of combat in memory of the Fallen Hero whose actions that day saved numerous other soldiers. There is more to the visit with 1SG Roman today and an article in our UWR blog to follow up.
Our next visit will be with some Vipers - not the snake type, but members of the 332nd AEW, 4th EAMU Vipers. Our guests are members of this unit of F-16 weapons loaders and maintainers. Now, if you think loading and maintaining is a simple procedure, you are in for a big lesson. As the saying goes, “without weapons it's just another airliner." Join us as we visit with deployed Air Force members SrA Derek Potter, SSG Daniel Gonzales, TSG Erik Gardner and SSG Michael Baker. You will also find an article in our UWR Blog for more information.
Our final visit for today will be with Maj James Brindle, who is currently deployed with the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne. Maj Brindle has been very helpful in bringing some wonderful visits with deployed members to us here at United We Roll and Stardust Radio. This time we get to speak directly with him. As a Public Affairs Officer, Maj Brindle feels that he has the best job as it allows him to talk with soldiers from all areas of the Brigade on a personal level, to highlight their dedication to mission and country, to assist in bringing their stories back to the USA and to help those serving in his unit to send shoutouts to home, among many other duties. The Major shares some of these and other great stories with us today.
As always, we are extremely honored to bring you these visits with our Heroes of Freedom. And, we are very honored to have you, our listeners, join us each week as we receive these incredible stories and news while they are being made.
May God Bless You All and May God Bless America!
By unitedweroll on May 25, 2009 | In Military News and Support
Wallace Bruce said so very much in not so many words - for those...
Who Kept The Faith,
and Fought The Fight;
The Glory Theirs,
The Duty Ours.
I believe that Mr. Bruce's words mean that we owe those who have fought for our country and our freedom in more than one way.
First, there is the glory - the memory - that we are honored to keep of the lives given, the sacrifices made, the youngsters who grew up when they hit their first beach or jungle or desert or flew their first aerial dog fight or fought to keep their ship afloat.
Then, there is the duty we owe to those who have given so much to protect liberty and freedom and who passed it on to us so that we may pass it on to our children and them to theirs. The duty we owe to see that this country continues to be the place of liberty and freedom that our forefathers declared it to be with their blood and sacrifices in the 1700's.
The duty that we owe to those who step forward everyday to put aside personal fortunes and gains in order to put on the uniforms of our country and protect our streets, our homes, our families, our freedom at the cost of their own lives, time with their own families and time to enjoy the freedom they protect.
Glory belongs to so few while duty belongs to so many. May we always be blessed to have the dedicated men and women who are willing to serve and may the rest of us be blessed with the sense of duty to follow through here at home.
On this Memorial Day of 2009, we remember and give thanks.
May God bless America and those, along with their families, who continue to serve and protect.