By unitedweroll on May 8, 2014 | In Military News and Support
Tacoma Airmen killed in Laos 44 years ago finally home
by Tech Sgt. Sean Tobin
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
5/7/2014 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- After having been missing for more than 44 years, the remains of Air Force Capt. Douglas D. Ferguson, who was killed when his F-4D Phantom aircraft was shot down over Laos in 1969, returned home May 1 in Lakewood, Washington.
Last year, members of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command excavated the Dec. 30, 1969 crash site in Laos and found remains and artifacts they believed were those of Ferguson, a Tacoma native and 1963 graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School.
Through DNA testing and a dental records match, JPAC officials were able to positively identify the remains as being Ferguson's, said the captain's sister, Sue Scott, who was notified of the DNA match last January.
"When I received word of the positive identification, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops," said Scott. "We've been working on this for more than 40 years."
Ferguson's remains arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Wash., May 1. McChord Field Honor Guard members met the casket at the airplane and ceremoniously transferred it to the awaiting hearse.
A procession of vehicles, including Ferguson's hearse, police vehicles from Joint Base Lewis-McChord as well as state and local agencies, family members, and Patriot Guard Riders, left the SeaTac airport and headed to the Mountain View Funeral Home in Lakewood.
From a freeway overpass along the route, firefighters from JBLM and Central Pierce County, shadowed by a large U.S. flag draping down from the extended ladders of their fire engines, saluted the procession as it passed below them.
"That's what makes me teary is that I feel like we are embraced by love," Scott later said, referring to the firefighters on the procession route.
The following day, 627th Air Base Group Chaplain (Maj.) John Shipman held a funeral service for Ferguson at the McChord Theater. Hundreds of family members, former classmates of Ferguson, and members of JBLM attended the service. Col. Anthony Davit, 627th ABG commander, provided opening remarks.
"While I know that Captain Ferguson's family has been waiting for his return for more than 44 years, I have been waiting for nearly 28," Davit told those in attendance, referring to his time as a cadet in college where he always wore a POW/MIA patch on his flight suit. "I would often think about all the sacrifices those that came before me had made, and in many cases, may still be making. These thoughts guided my growing desire to serve and uphold the legacy of the great men and women that came before me."
Scott reflected on all the people over the decades who have helped her brother return home, and those who came to show their support once he finally did come home.
"I am so grateful," said Scott. "This is the best of who we are as Americans."
Ferguson was buried with full military honors later that day at the funeral home in Lakewood, in a plot just a few feet from where his parents are buried.
"There have been ups and downs over the years for sure," said Scott. "But the process has allowed me to meet the people who honor our country, not just with their service, but those who continue to give and give. That's what blows me away."
Ref: Original Article & Photos - http://www.amc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123410080&source=GovD
By unitedweroll on May 8, 2014 | In Military News and Support
French village memorializes US WWII aircrew
by Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Wilson
USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs
5/8/2014 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- The people of Avord, France, dedicated a memorial May 8 honoring the crew of a U.S. B-17 Flying Fortress shot down during World War II.
The B-17, nicknamed the Georgia Rebel II, crashed at about 12:00 p.m. April 28, 1944, on a mission bombing a Nazi German-occupied airfield, Avord Air Base, located in the middle of France.
"For some of us it is very important to remember these young guys," said Frederic Henoff, event organizer. "Like me, when I go for the first time in the U.S., I don't know this big country and these young guys are from the middle of the U.S., some poor farmers' sons and they came for the first time over the ocean in another country and they were killed for us -- for freedom -- it's very important."
Seven of the crew members were killed during the raid and the three who survived became prisoners of war. Family members from three of the crew members attended the ceremony, including 2nd Lt. and navigator Arthur Guertin's sister, Marie Lukacs-Buchannan, and her daughter, Ann Lukacs.
"It is so humbling and we are so grateful for the French to actually be doing this ceremony," said Lukacs. "I mean, it means a lot that after 70 years they would even still remember and care enough to honor the seven of them that were killed in the plane."
During the war, Guertin's family received notification that he was missing in action shortly after the mission, in May 1944. The family was notified by telegram that he was confirmed as killed in action on New Year's Eve that year.
Lukacs said her mother, who is now 92, took the news especially hard because the two were extremely close siblings.
"He was the brother that always looked out for her and, you know, they had this special bond."
The news also came as a shock because the family had dealt with a similar situation during the war, which had a much different outcome.
"I think the thing that was deceiving for the family was that he had been MIA (missing in action) once before when he was in Sweden," said Lukacs. "He had just been reunited with his squadron after being in Sweden for eight months and a month later this mission happened."
The dedication ceremony included a church service, wreath-laying ceremonies, an exhibition on the 1944 bombardments, and dinner. The local community, French air force, and U.S. Air Force had representatives in attendance.
"I was extremely honored to represent the United States Air Force to the family and to see the emotional impact it had on them to have a U.S. representative," said Colonel Robert Huston, U.S. Air Force representative at the event. "It made it that much more special and reminded me just how much of an honor it is to represent our country and our Air Force when I get a chance."
Henoff expressed the importance of this ceremony and memorial for him and the Avord community.
"When you see the white crosses in the American cemetery, I have tears in my eyes," said Henoff. "When you look at the birth date, it's just young men. It's very important for us to remember these guys, not only for me, for many, many people in France."
The crew of the Georgia Rebel II consisted of:
1st Lt. Harold F. Henslin, pilot -- killed in action
Major Osce V. Jones, co-pilot -- survived, POW
2nd Lt. Arthur L. Guertin, navigator -- killed in action
1st Lt. Eugene Arning, bombardier -- killed in action
Tech. Sgt. Jo. R. Karr, engineer -- killed in action
Tech. Sgt. J. W. Padgett, radio operator -- survived, POW
Staff Sgt. George B. McLaughlin, ball turret gunner -- killed in action
Staff Sgt. Clarence T. Williams, right waist gunner -- killed in action
Sgt. William B. Blackmon, Jr., left waist gunner -- survived, POW
Staff Sgt. Edward H. Sell, tail gunner -- killed in action
Ref: Original Article and Photos -
By unitedweroll on May 8, 2014 | In Military News and Support
April 29, 2014
By Capt. Kelly E. McKenzie
JANGSUNG, South Korea (April 29, 2014) -- Leaders from 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, visited the Republic of Korea Field Artillery School here, April 1, to discuss integrating women into the field artillery career field.
The visit featured a junior officer exchange between five female U.S. Army field artillery lieutenants and the first six female field artillery officers of the Republic of Korea, or ROK, army, currently students at the ROK Field Artillery School.
"These six women, where they go, and what they do, will set the tone," said Col. Michael Lawson, commander of 210th Field Artillery Brigade, commenting on the impact the first women in ROK field artillery will have.
During the junior officer exchange, the women had a candid discussion on everything from why they chose field artillery, to what challenges and issues they have faced, all things the ROK lieutenants were concerned about as the first-ever females.
"It's the closest that a female can get to being in combat," said 2nd Lt. Jillian Mueller, a native of Lakefield, Minn. "It's combat arms, and that's what I wanted to do."
The women from 210th Field Artillery Brigade, each shared similar experiences as one of only a few women in the U.S. field artillery, both in school, and in their units.
"In artillery school, I was the only girl in my platoon, and it was fine that I slept in a tent with the boys," said 2nd Lt. Dong Hwa Lee, the liaison officer for 6th Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment and a native of Tamuning, Guam.
ROK 2nd Lt. Kim Yuna asked how U.S. units are dealing with females being in the field with males and how the U.S. Army addresses living conditions.
"I'm in the field right now, and we have a tiny tracked vehicle. You can fit three people in it, and I sleep there every night with my guys," said Mueller, the executive officer of A Battery, 6th Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, and the only female in her unit. "We are so tired. It's so uncomfortable. If we get to sleep, we are happy to sleep anywhere."
In the ROK army, units have to set up a separate tent for females in the field because it is a big deal in Korean culture for males and females who are not married to stay in the same living space, explained 2nd Lt. Hwang Hee-jeong.
"It's good to see how their struggles are different from ours," said 2nd Lt. Alexandria De Luna, from Weslaco, Texas.
While discussing their different challenges, the junior officers also found ways they were very alike.
"It was eye-opening being able to be there and learn first-hand their passion for field artillery and how it's similar to ours," said De Luna, the executive officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 6th Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment.
The female officers got to know each other over a social lunch, and guided tour of the ROK women's barracks.
"The most lasting impression to me was how similar they are to us," said 2nd Lt. Raeseana Phelps, a native of Fort Knox, Ky. and the ammunition officer for 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment. "All the questions they had are the questions females in the U.S. Army had coming into field artillery."
The female officers joined senior leaders from the ROK Field Artillery School, and 210th Field Artillery Brigade, for a conference about integrating women into the field artillery. The discussion included a comparison of the ROK and U.S. field artillery education systems, and opportunities for females to serve.
Since the U.S. Army opened all positions to field artillery officers in January 2014, Maj. Gen. Oh Jeong-il, commandant of the ROK Field Artillery School, expects the ROK army to follow in a few years.
"The goodness of what the U.S. Army is doing, and what the ROK army is doing is, it's opening up opportunities for officers who have skills, and for officers who can think," said Lawson.
The ROK army opened field artillery to female officers beginning with these six students, but still does not allow women to serve in some positions, such as cannon battery executive officer or forward observer.
The ROK army continues not to allow enlisted women in field artillery, while the U.S. Army recently opened those positions. Enlisted field artillery women began joining units in November 2013.
"We have a set of physical standards to ensure that, male or female, a Soldier isn't put into a job that they are not capable of doing," said Lawson.
The visit began with a tour of the school's museum and an overview of ROK field artillery. The leaders got an up-close view of Hwacha, Korea's first multiple launch system.
The group ended the visit with a tour of current ROK artillery equipment, including the K9 self-propelled howitzer and the K10 ammunition loading vehicle.
• VIDEO: TRADOC NOW! Soldier 2020
• Army.mil: Women in the U.S. Army
• Army.mil: Asia and Pacific News
• STAND-TO! Soldier 2020
• 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division visit the Republic of Korea Field Artillery
• First female National Guard Soldiers graduate Field Artillery School
• Thousands of Field Artillery officer jobs open to women
• Army describes plans for integrating women into combat
• Field artillery training integrates women into combat specialties
• Army must complete analysis before opening jobs to women
• Secretary of Defense rescinds 'Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule'
Army opens more jobs to women
By unitedweroll on May 8, 2014 | In Military News and Support
Blog Note: SrA Michelle Hussey is a guest on this week's United We Roll World Tour Show at Stardust Radio Network Inc. Check our Archive site in appr one week to hear a tape of this week's show - located at www.stardustradio.info
by Public Affairs Staff
386th Air Expeditionary Wing
5/2/2014 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- This week's Rock Solid Warrior is Senior Airman Michelle Hussey. Hussey is a requirements manager assigned to the 386th Expeditionary Communications Squadron. The Columbus, Ga. native is deployed from the 51st Combat Communications Squadron, Robins Air Force Base, Ga.
Q: What is your family's military heritage (anyone else in your family who was/is in the military?):
A: Over 90% of the males in my family are either active, prior service, or retired from the military
Q: What is your mission here (in general terms)?
A: My mission is to fulfill all communication requirements in a timely manner so that organizations across the wing can successfully complete their missions with zero to little downtime.
Q: What are some of the best parts of your mission?
A: The best part of my mission is seeing the finished products of major projects knowing that I played a key role in them.
Q: What are some of the challenges you face while conducting your mission, and how do you overcome them?
A: One challenge that I face while conducting my mission is determining what the customer actually needs. I overcome these challenges by conducting site surveys and helping the customer understand what is needed in order to fulfill their requirement.
Q: How does your job differ in a deployed environment vs. home base?
A: In a deployed location the tempo is much higher than my home base.
Q: How many times have you deployed?
A: This is my first deployment.
Q: What makes this deployment unique?
A: The quality of life here and being able to take moral trips off base makes this deployment unique.
Q: Why did you join the Air Force?
A: I joined the military for independence, education and to add to my family's many accomplishments throughout the different branches of the military
(The Rock Solid Warrior is a weekly spotlight focused on an outstanding member of the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing. These unsung heroes have been nominated by their unit leadership to be recognized for their efforts while deployed.)
By unitedweroll on May 5, 2014 | In Military News and Support
United We Roll World Tour Show
Stardust Radio Network Inc www.stardustradio.com
Tuesday 05/06/14 1:00pm - 3:00pm Central (Live)
Wednesday 05/07/14 6:00pm - 8:00pm Central (Repeat)
Welcome Stardust Listeners -
We thank you for joining us on Tuesday, May 6th of 2014.
May is Military Appreciation Month!
Our guests for this week come from the US Army and the US Air Force. All are serving in countries that are thousands of miles from the USA and many loved ones. Our first two guests come from the 2nd CAB (combat Aviation Brigade) which has both deployed and PCS (Permanent Change of Station) members on duty in South Korea. Our next two guests are deployed in Southwest Asia with the 386th AEW (Air Expeditionary Wing).
Our first guest is Private Bradley Dixon, who works as a geo-spatial engineer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd CAB on this one year deployment. Private Dixon began his military experience with JROTC in High School, then went into Basic Training, followed by 5 months of school for his job, then after a brief leave for some personal time, he was off to a year tour of duty with the 2nd CAB in S. Korea. A sense of patriotism and carrying on the family legacy of service encouraged Private Dixon to stand guard over our country and our freedom.
Also assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd CAB on a one year deployment is our next guest, Staff Sergeant Veronica Zanotti. Currently serving with IT over the military computer systems, SSG Zanotti has held other positions including that of Drill Sergeant. Mentoring younger soldiers is clearly one of the duties that SSG Zanotti enjoys as we learn a great deal about her experiences during her 10 years of service. Having her husband's company on weekends while he is on deployment with another unit not too far away has made time off more enjoyable. We learn a great deal during this visit with such a dedicated soldier.
Our next two visits come from the 386th AEW (Air Expeditionary Wing known as The Rock), which is currently deployed to Southwest Asia. Both of our guests are with the 386th ECS or Expeditionary Communications Squadron though they have different jobs while on deployment.
Senior Airman Chelsey J. Brown is a Client System Technician (CST) who maintains all communications equipment including computers, radios and telephones. To the civilian, this title would be an IT Tech and requires 6 months of training. With 6 years of service and this being her second deployment, SrA Brown is enjoying the living quarters, ability to wear civilian clothes and some of the other facilities more than her first deployment. Sleeping and studying take up the majority of time off for this enthusiastic Airman.
Senior Airman Michelle A. Hussey is the Requirements Manager for the 386 ECS, which involves the ordering of any communication materials by units with the 386th AEW. This job and the job at home as an IT Tech both require a full working knowledge of the equipment that is being used to ensure that the correct items are being ordered and to prevent delays in the receipt of correct parts. With three years in the Air Force so far, SrA Hussey is carrying on a large family legacy of service, though she is the first female member to do so.
The taped visits contained in this show represent our 1,262nd through 1,265th interviews with our Heroes of Freedom.
We are extremely honored to bring these outstanding guests to you all. We believe you will find each of these visits to be inspirational, informational and a wonderful opportunity to meet men and women who are keeping our country safe and our freedom secure from their duty stations around the world.
United We Roll World Tour at Stardust Radio Network, Inc
www.stardustradio.com - click Listen Live button
Tuesday 5/06/14 1:00pm
Wednesday 5/07/14 6:00pm (repeat)
1:00pm - Introduction / Announcements
(6:00pm - Introduction / Announcements)
2nd CAB / Talons
Interview #1 (appr 1:11pm/6:11pm) - Private Bradley Dixon
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd CAB
Interview #2 (appr 1:40pm/6:40pm) - SSG Veronica Zannotti
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd CAB
386 AEW / The Rock
Interview #3 (appr 2:11pm/7:11pm) - SrA Chelsey J Brown
Interview #4 (appr 2:37pm/7:37pm) - SrA Michelle A Hussey
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Fisher House Chairman Kenneth Fisher receives the 2014 Heroes of Military Medicine Lifetime Achievement Award
By unitedweroll on May 4, 2014 | In Military News and Support
First, as a military daughter and secondly, as an American who realizes that our very Freedom and American Way of Life is protected by those who serve, it is very difficult to find words that truly express the amount of appreciation I feel for fellow Americans like the Fisher Family for the amazing support they have and do provide for our Wounded Warriors and their Families.
More than 200,000 military families have received assistance from the Fisher House Foundation as they reach out to members who have been wounded in fields of combat thousands of miles from home and right here in the USA (Fort Hood). As you read this article, you will learn of the many ways the Fisher House Foundation provides support.
SUPPORT! You will hear this word in everyone of our 1,265 interviews. Whether it comes in the form of a card drawn by a child, a care package from a stranger or just the knowledge that our troops are being prayed for by those who they protect at home, it is the support that helps to fuel their energy while they accomplish their missions.
The Fisher Family and their Foundation mean more than words can say to most any military family and to the very well-being of wounded loved ones. While not everyone can provide support at this level, we can certainly take a few minutes each week to write a note in a card or have fun putting together a care package and making sure our support and our love from home is felt by troops who serve all around the world.
You can learn more about the wonderful Fisher Houses, the events that are held for each one, how to volunteer and much more by going to the website at http://www.fisherhouse.org/.
Winnefeld Hails Fisher House Chairman as Hero
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 2, 2014 - The Fisher House Foundation's role in assisting military families has grown over the past 13 years of war, and selfless work of the foundation's chairman has earned the Defense Department's gratitude, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here yesterday.
Navy Adm. James A. "Sandy" Winnefeld Jr. presented Fisher House Chairman Kenneth Fisher with the 2014 Heroes of Military Medicine Lifetime Achievement Award during a ceremony honoring individuals who have directly improved the lives of service members, veterans and their families.
"It really is a special privilege for me tonight to personally pay tribute to a man who has dedicated so much of his life to others," Winnefeld said.
"I regularly remind people that our military is a family business," the admiral said. "No one epitomizes that sentiment more than Ken Fisher, and his wonderful wife, Tammy, who have carried on the Fisher family legacy of focusing on military families."
The Fisher House Foundation is best known for providing comfort homes where the families of service members and veterans' families can stay at no cost while their loved ones receive treatment at military or Veterans Affairs medical facilities.
The vice chairman said he first became aware of the foundation more than two decades ago, working for Army Gen. Colin L. Powell, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"It was abundantly clear to me that General Powell thought the world of Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher," he said. "Mary and I witnessed first-hand the power of this organization in my next tour as we helped cook Thanksgiving dinner at one of the original Fisher Houses at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego."
Fisher House has grown exponentially in scope and importance over the nation's last 13 years of war, Winnefeld said, including building 63 houses in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom over that time -- and they're building more.
"Fisher House provides the next-best thing to being home with family," he said. "We all know the strength of family during the healing process."
The Fishers, Winnefeld said, are not content with just providing housing; they also have a program called "Hero Miles."
"Hero Miles allows families to travel to the bedside of injured service members at no cost," he explained. "And if the local house is full, their 'Hotels for Heroes' program covers hotel costs for families."
Winnefeld said the Fisher House website details the "incredible numbers" of people they've supported over the years -- more than 200,000 families have been served, he noted, more than 22,000 in 2013 alone.
"That's enormous," the vice chairman said. "Seven thousand students have received $11 million in scholarship awards. Over 46,000 airline tickets have been provided by Hero Miles to service members, and their families, worth [more than] $60 million."
But those are only the public numbers of the support the foundation provides, Winnefeld said. "The foundation is right there behind the scenes whenever tragedy occurs," he added.
The vice chairman candidly noted that Fisher House "can be much more agile than we can be in DOD."
"They don't just wait for families to approach them," Winnefeld said. "After the recent Fort Hood shooting, the Fisher House Foundation was instantly there with support. Hero Miles provided round-trip tickets for family members of the wounded who required hospital stays. They provided round-trip tickets in support of family members of the deceased to attend the memorial ceremony. Of course, multiple families were housed in the Fisher House, and others were given rooms in the Marriot."
When Fort Hood's commander met with the grieving families, he said, it was at the Fisher House. "Their focus is to quietly assist our families while filling in the gaps, while honoring their service and their privacy," Winnefeld said.
Fisher House is now led by Zachary Fisher's nephew, Ken Fisher, Winnefeld said, who serves as the foundation's chairman. "His selfless work has brought relief to thousands of people at the most difficult moments of their lives when the only thing they should be concerned with is their loved ones' recovery," he said.
Winnefeld emphasized that if something having to do with helping military families is happening, Ken Fisher is "probably not very far away, and probably helping us maintain high standards whatever 'it' is."
The vice chairman said he was "humbled" to be near Fisher, who he called "one tough cookie," noting that has been bestowed with the titles of honorary Marine and Green Beret.
"Ken, on behalf of our military families, thank you so much for your lifetime of service, integrity, sacrifice and commitment to us," Winnefeld said. "We will be forever grateful. I cannot think of anyone more suitable for the lifetime achievement award."
Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, also lauded Fisher as he noted military medicine is a "mission of passion."
"Among you is a giant," he told the audience. "Ken Fisher and the entire Fisher family's work needs little explanation in this room. I will say this: what the Fisher House Foundation has done represents our future. The need for more tightly integrated public-private partnership is part of a set of solutions to our challenges and will make us stronger."
(Follow Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallAFPS)
Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr.
Dr. Jonathan Woodson
The Fisher House Foundation