By unitedweroll on Sep 5, 2014 | In Military News and Support
It takes courage to face the fight, more than most can muster as is evidenced by the fact that less than 1% of the US population fights for the freedom of 100% of the population. It also takes courage to talk about what it takes to go into battle. We salute SrA Julian Rangel for standing guard over our country and our freedom and for sharing his thoughts in the following article.
Overcoming fear: Airman’s training takes over during firefight
By Senior Master Sgt. Mike Hammond, NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan public affairs /
Published July 27, 2014
KABUL, Afghanistan -- (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series on AF.mil. These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)
It was just after 4 a.m., July 17. Many on the base at Kabul International Airport, and forward operating base Oqab nearby, were still catching a last hour or two of sleep before the day would begin.
The bad guys, however, were not sleeping. Under the cover of darkness, a small force determined to attack the Kabul Airport and Afghan air force Base next to it, took over a multi-story building under construction just north of the target. Armed with multiple rocket propelled grenades, automatic weapons, suicide vests, and a vehicle rigged to explode, the attackers crept up to the rooftop and prepared to unleash hell.
Fortunately for the coalition members living and working on base, a small group of Air Force security forces defenders were not sleeping -- they were paying very close attention to their duties. Those who weren’t on shift would be ready to go within minutes -- from a comfy bed to slinging lead.
Senior Airman Julian Rangel, deployed from the 30th Security Forces Squadron at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, was in bed on his day off when he heard what sounded like indirect fire and indiscriminate mortars, followed by the more unusual sound of small arms fire.
Dressed in shorts, skater-style shoes and his body armor, Rangel rushed to see how he could help. Soon, he was assigned as gunner for one of two Air Force quick reaction force, or QRF, teams. The teams would be sent outside the FOB in mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles to try and gain a closer and more advantageous position from which to engage the enemy.
“It was a roller coaster of emotions for me,” Rangel said. “When I was in that vehicle waiting for the gate to open so we could go out and fight from closer, I was scared. I was breathing fast, almost hyperventilating. That’s when Tech. Sgt. (Rafael) Melendez (the vehicle commander) turned to me, made eye contact, and told me to slow down; to take deep breaths. He calmed me down.”
Once the vehicle left, the Airmen maneuvered to a position between two buildings on the Afghan air force’s Kabul Air Wing, which surrounds FOB Oqab.
“Almost immediately, I spotted two guys on the rooftop firing and then my training automatically kicked in,” Rangel said. “I started laying down 6-9 round bursts (from the M-240, 7.62mm machine gun), just like I’d been taught. In fact, it actually felt like training to me at the time.”
Maneuvering to a new position, Rangel and his teammates were dangerously close when the attackers detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device near a checkpoint.
“That was my ‘oh (shoot)!’ moment, and I got scared then!” Rangel said. “But it didn’t get a whole lot better. We moved up near a gate and an RPG hit just 35 meters away from us. When we moved to some other buildings, another RPG hit the building above us. I still remember the glass shattering and blowing outward.”
Throughout this time, Rangel, from the gunner position in the vehicle, was sending a lot of lead downrange as suppressive fire. He estimates he went through about 400 rounds in total during the firefight. Eventually, fear for his life gave way to frustration.
“My particular weapon isn’t necessarily meant for precision so much as suppressive fire,” Rangel said. “But still, it was frustrating me that I kept hitting the building right where the guy was and he’d duck, then pop up and shoot more, and then run to a different window.”
Eventually, the operations center called out a cease-fire. The majority of the attackers were eliminated and the rest were about to meet a quick reaction force of Afghan Security and coalition members who had surrounded the attack position and began clearing the building from within.
For a period of time that seemed to last forever, the Air Force defenders had to hunker down as the attackers who had not encountered the QRF yet continued firing. Finally, the QRF cleared the last of the attackers and after some additional procedures the firefight finally ended.
The attack and defense had taken over four hours overall and for the first two it was constant action for the Air Force security forces.
“When it was done, I was truly glad it was over,” Rangel said. “Shooting at someone and being shot at is not a good feeling.”
“As we were driving back to our FOB, through the Afghan Air Force base, the Afghans were coming out to see us drive by – giving us thumbs up, smiling, giving us applause,” Rangel said. “I felt very proud and felt truly like we were a part of a team.”
Looking ahead, Rangel said he will approach the rest of the tour with a different perspective than he had prior to the attack.
“Although it is done, it really isn’t; because every time I go into a tower, every time I get in a vehicle, it replays for me in my head,” Rangel said. “To be honest, I’m scared. I think most of us are. We don’t want to go through something like that again. But if we have to, I’m confident we’ll get through it again.
“In training, they preach to us about muscle memory,” Rangel said. “Actions are very repetitive and seem redundant. It was very frustrating at the time. But Thursday morning (July 17), I finally understood what that meant, why it was important. When it mattered most, the training took over and we got through it with no serious injuries to our side!”
By unitedweroll on Sep 5, 2014 | In Military News and Support
Published August 25, 2014
WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Nominations are being accepted and reviewed for inclusion in Portraits in Courage, Vol. IX, now through Oct. 13.
“For seven years now Portraits in Courage has told Airmen’s stories of courage, valor and heroism,” said Lt. Col. Paul Baldwin, the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Engagement Division deputy. “Airmen perform incredible feats every day and their stories exemplify our warrior ethos. This is an excellent way to share them.”
Air Force officials said packages should focus on leadership, valor, courage, exemplary performance and commitment, or service above self in either a combat, combat support role or extraordinary event outside the normal call of duty.
Submissions should highlight the nominees’ accomplishments during the previous two years and appeal to an audience of Airmen, their families and civilians.
The 300-500 word pieces, officials added, should be in narrative format and not only shed light on the Airman’s career field, but relate a compelling story that reinforces the service’s core values, culture and the Airman’s Creed.
Packages must include the nominees’ biography, SURF, nomination form and three supporting high-resolution digital photos (no less than 300 pixels per inch), featuring the Airman in action and donned in his or her Airman battle uniform, flight-duty uniform or equivalent tactical uniform.
Individuals wishing to submit a story should contact their base public affairs office and submit their nomination packages to their respective major command, two-letter or direct reporting unit, who can each send up to five packages.
Questions regarding submissions can be emailed to email@example.com.
To view previous editions of Portraits in Courage, click here.
The following is an example of a narrative submission: “Veronica [Cox] is an intel Airman. She was acting as an intel analyst when the earthquake devastated Japan and all the aftermath that came. Because she spoke fluent Japanese she volunteered to help any way she could. So one night, sitting on a Pave Hawk helicopter doing damage assessment and intel collection from that helicopter they flew over an area of the local landscape where she saw a bunch of rocks arranged on the ground in the low light that looked like Japanese characters. So she asked the pilot to descend. She saw that no kidding, it was a sign calling for help. She directed him to go lower, and they found 200 isolated civilians. She hoisted down to the roof of the building they were in and when her feet hit the top of the roof she yelled in Japanese, “We’re the U.S. Air Force and we’re here to help.” …What an incredible story. She helped save 200 lives that night. And on nine more combat search and rescue missions she saved a lot more.” - General Welsh, CSAF
By unitedweroll on Sep 4, 2014 | In Military News and Support
United We Roll World Tour Show
Stardust Radio Network Inc www.stardustradio.com
Saturday 09/06/14 10:00am - 12:25pm Central (Live Show)
*Live Show To Be Followed by Repeat Presentations
through appr 10am Central on Sunday 09/07/14
Welcome Stardust Listeners! We thank you for joining us on Saturday, Sept 6th 2014.
This week we have three new interviews with 7 Heroes of Freedom who are on deployment with the Air Force 386 AEW in Southwest Asia or with the Army 3rd ESC in Afghanistan.
Our first guest is SrA Albin Cvoric who is with the 386 ESFS 9Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron) and is assigned to the VVV or Visitor Center. It is here that SrA Cvoric greets people who wish to enter the base and he checks for proper credentials, etc. Having been born in Bosnia, SrA Cvoric remembers what it was like to live in a war torn country and that even some of the simplest things we have every day here in the USA may not be available in other countries. As a Reserve member Ohio, SrA Cvoric and his family must balance both civilian and military lifestyles. This is a wonderful visit that you will not want to miss. Thank You, SrA Cvoric!
Our second guest is also deployed with the 386 ESFS and works at the VCC as well in patrols on and off base. SrA Alexandra M Klus is also a Reserve member and is enjoying her second deployment (both on volunteer basis), though the hours are long, time off is short and she had just returned from another deployment last November. When home, SrA Klus has been hard at work on her education and is looking to capture her Master's Degree! We appreciate so much the time and information SrA Klus was able to share with us. Thank You, Sra Klus!
Our next five guests are from the 3rd ESC (Expeditionary Sustainment Command) in the G6 or Signal Section. As we will hear, this section is like the "AT&T" of the command as they provide all things communication. "This includes computers, phones, radios and any means of communications to be integrated into DOD network and the outside world. .... We bridge the lines of communications between other units and outside agencies that enable coordination to move assets around the world or coordinate troop movements." If this sounds like a huge task, it is! Here to explain this mission to us and to share more about their Army experiences are: LTC John J. Dismer, Maj Robert Loyd, Chief Michael Kirk, SFC Daniel P. Adam and SPC Cory A. Malone. Thanks to all of you for your time, your information and for your service!
Our live show will run 10am - 12:25pm Central on Saturday morning, which we will also record. Then we will let the copy of the show play for the following 24 hours (until appr 10am - 12pm Sunday morning) so that family members will find it easier to hear their loved ones in the interviews. After the broadcast period, an MP3 copy will be made of this show and placed on our Archive site where anyone can listen or download a copy. Please allow about a week before looking for the show on the Archive site at www.stardustradio.info.
We are extremely honored to bring the voices of these outstanding guests to all of you. Once again, we believe you will find each of these visits to be informational, inspirational and a wonderful opportunity to meet men and women who are keeping our families safe and our freedom secure from their duty stations around the world.
The taped visits contained in this show take us to our 1,323rd visit with deployed members. We are extremely grateful that our service members have felt comfortable to join us and to share their information with our listeners. We learn something with every visit and it gives us the opportunity to say "Thank You" to all of the members and families who serve on behalf of our Stardust Radio family.
Thursday, September 11th, will be the 13th anniversary of the tragic attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington DC and the plane that was taken over by the brave passengers and ended its flight in a field in Pennsylvania. Too many lives were cut short on that day and ever since as the War on Terror has gone on for 13 years. We have placed the Six Moments of Silence in our blog. Click on the Blog button on the United We Roll page at www.stardustradio.com.
MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL & MAY GOD BLESS THE USA!
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United We Roll World Tour at Stardust Radio Network, Inc
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Saturday 9/06/14 10:00am CDT
10:00am - Introduction / Announcements
386 AEW / The Rock
Interview #1 (appr 10:11am) - SrA Albin Cvoric
Interview #2 (appr 10:38am) - SrA Alexandra M Klus
Interview #3 (appr 11:08am) - G-6 Signal Section
LTC John J Dismer - Maj Robert Loyd - SFC Daniel P Adam
SPC Cory A Malone - Chief Michael Kirk
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SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 - SEPTEMBER 11, 2014
September 11 - The Six Moments of Silence
*At 8:46 AM on September 11th, 2001, the hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the WTC
*At 9:03 AM the hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the WTC
*At 9:37 AM the west wall of the Pentagon was hit by the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77, the impact caused immediate and catastrophic damage to the Department of Defense
*At 9:59 AM the South Tower of the WTC collapsed
*At 10:03 AM the passengers and crew of the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 acted to retake control of the airplane and thwart the taking of additional American Lives by crashing the airliner in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in doing so , give their lives to save countless others
*At 10:29 AM the North Tower of the WTC collapsed
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By unitedweroll on Sep 4, 2014 | In Military News and Support
Blog Note: So many times we have referred to our military members as "Givers", because they are always so willing to reach out and help others at home and away. This story just adds more proof to the Giver title.
Face of Defense: Airmen Add Candy to Humanitarian Airdrops
By Air Force Staff Sgt. Shawn Nickel
U.S. Air Forces Central Command
U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY, Sept. 3, 2014 - The U.S. government provided the container delivery system bundles and the military aircraft, but something just seemed to be missing on packages destined to be dropped to Iraqis who had fled from terrorists in northern Iraq.
Air Force Master Sgt. Stephen Brown had something sweet in mind for the Iraqis' children to make things just right.
Following in the footsteps of Air Force Col. Gail Halvorsen, the original "Candy Bomber" who dropped candy for children during the Berlin Airlift in 1948, Brown taped a package of Skittles to a bundle of packaged halal meals that was delivered to displaced Iraqis near Sinjar Mountain earlier this month.
"Although my favorite candy that doesn't melt in this desert heat is Starburst, I took what I had in my bag and just taped it to the side of the box," Brown said. "After that, everyone started making the drops a little personal with more candy, and I even think I saw a teddy bear."
The acts of kindness by the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron aircrews have graduated from single packs of candy to garbage bags full of donated sweet treats for the most recent airdrops in the area of Amirli, Iraq, Aug. 31.
"We've been really impressed with the turnout and dedication of our wingmen," said Air Force Master Sgt. Emily Edmunds, 816th EAS loadmaster superintendent. "We are definitely not at the level of the Candy Bomber, but I'd give us an 'almost' for our modern version of it."
Overall, two C-17 Globemaster IIIs and two C-130 Hercules dropped 10,545 gallons of water and 7,056 meals in 109 bundles, and almost every one dropped with a little extra. Items that airmen had received in care packages or had bought themselves, as well as items given just for the occasion, have made this a big deal for the squadron, Brown said.
"I can just imagine being in the shoes of these parents down there. Not being able to provide much during a time of war would be heartbreaking," he said. "This could be something that will make a dire situation a little brighter, even if it's just for a few moments."
By unitedweroll on Sep 4, 2014 | In Military News and Support
One giant leap for Vietnam Vets!
DoD willing to reconsider discharges of Vietnam vets with PTSD
Sep. 3, 2014 - 06:00AM
By Andrew Tilghman
The Defense Department has agreed to reconsider the bad-paper discharges for thousands of Vietnam-era veterans who may have suffered from combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder but were kicked out of the military in the era before that became a diagnosable condition.
In a new rule announced Wednesday, the Pentagon said veterans from the Vietnam era and other past wars with other-than-honorable discharges will be given “liberal consideration” if they seek to correct their military records and provide some evidence of a PTSD diagnosis that existed at the time of their service.
Upgraded discharges could result in the restoration of some benefits, such as disability pay, separation pay or GI Bill benefits from the Veterans Affairs Department, which are typically denied to vets who receive other-than-honorable discharges. Health care in the VA system is typically provided to veterans regardless of their discharge.
In today’s military, PTSD is considered a mitigating factor for misconduct and behavioral problems. The military services are required to grant a medical evaluation to any service member who claims PTSD before finalizing a bad discharge.
The Pentagon’s new rule comes in response to a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of several veterans in March that claimed the Defense Department was wrongfully denying discharge upgrade applications from veterans with claims and evidence of PTSD. The new policy was applauded by the Yale Law School Veterans’ Legal Service Clinic, which is spearheading the federal lawsuit.
“DoD appears to be taking a significant step to correcting a longstanding injustice,” said Jennifer McTiernan, a student intern involved with the lawsuit.
However, she said, it’s too early to tell how the new rule will be implemented and the lawsuit is likely to continue.
For years, the military services have rejected PTSD claims from Vietnam-era vets with what McTiernan called “Catch-22-like denials” that say changes cannot be granted without a diagnosis of PTSD from the 1970s — even though PTSD did not become officially recognized by the medical profession until 1980.
And for many veterans, fixing their official discharge document, known as a DD 214, is about more than VA benefits.
“Having an other-than-honorable discharge is a stigma. When someone has a DD 214 with an other-than-honorable discharge on it, it leads employers to possibly not hire them, it leads to discriminatory treatment in other aspects of their lives, it negatively affects their life prospects,” McTiernan said.
“These are veterans who honorably served their country and have a psychological wound of war and they should be recognized for having served honorably, not stigmatized and discriminated against,” she said.
The Sept. 3 memo was signed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, a former Army sergeant who earned two Purple Hearts for combat injuries he suffered in Vietnam. Hagel, a longtime veterans’ advocate and former top official at VA, played a key role in finalizing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The lawsuit estimates that a quarter-million Vietnam-era veterans were separated with other-than-honorable discharges and up to 80,000 of them may have suffered from PTSD. The Pentagon’s new rule will apply to all veterans with discharges prior to the formal recognition of PTSD in 1980. The vast majority of those are likely to come from the Vietnam era.
The Pentagon is also ordering the four military services to mount a “public messaging campaign” this year and next year targeting veterans who may be affected by this policy change.
The new guidance is focused on veterans with low-level misconduct that may have resulted in administrative discharge. It is unlikely to affect veterans who were court-martialed for serious misconduct and kicked out with a bad-conduct discharge or dishonorable discharge.
One defense official familiar with the policy change said the aim is to strike a balance between addressing concerns from veterans who suffered from a legitimate psychiatric disorder without eroding the respect derived from honorable service and the millions of veterans who earned it.
“This is not a get-out-of-jail-free card,” the defense official said.
In effect, a veteran seeking a revised discharge will have to prove three elements: that he or she suffered from PTSD at the time of service, that the cause was related to military service and that the symptoms were a factor in the misconduct underlying the other-than-honorable discharge.
The memo is directed toward the Army’s and Air Force’s Boards for Correction of Military Records and the Board for Correction of Naval Records, which handles requests from sailors and Marines.
The memo says: “Liberal consideration will be given in cases where civilian providers confer diagnoses of PTSD or PTSD-related conditions” and there is further evidence that the disorder existed at the time of service.
“Liberal consideration” will be granted in cases where any document — military or otherwise — can substantiate the existence of one or more symptoms of what is now known as PTSD.
However, in cases involving “serious misconduct,” the boards will “exercise caution” and carefully consider the likely causal relationship of symptoms to misconduct, the memo says.
Scrutinizing records that are now more than 40 years old will be a challenge, especially since some of them were destroyed in a massive 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.
The last time the Pentagon issued forcewide guidance for service-level records corrections boards was in the wake of the 2011 repeal of the “don’t ask don’t tell” law. That guidance allowed former service members to seek changes to their military records if their separation was related to the military’s 17-year ban on gays serving openly in uniform.
By unitedweroll on Sep 4, 2014 | In Military News and Support
Congratulations and Thank You to the Airmen of the 452nd!
452nd AMW wins Airlift-Tanker Association Sherrard Award
by Senior Airman Joseph Dangidang
452nd Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
9/3/2014 - MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, California -- The 452nd Air Mobility Wing here is the 2014 recipient of the Airlift/Tanker Association's Lt. Gen. James E. Sherrard III Award.
The award recognizes a reserve wing for outstanding contributions to the overall success of the Mobility Air Force mission . The nomination package highlighted wing achievements from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.
"We wanted this to be a 'team' award to spur unit camaraderie," said retired Maj. Gen. 'Buddy' Reed, one of the originators of the award. "The award is to recognize the wings/groups that distinguished themselves above all others in their performance of their mission in support of the AMC mission."
The Air Force Reserve unit achieved an impressive 13,454 flying hours, transporting 6,186 short tons of cargo and 51,887 personnel from various organizations, including the National Air and Space Administration, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Army and Air National Guard. The wing supported numerous worldwide operations including Haiti and Santo Domingo humanitarian relief with 183 tons of cargo, 68 pallets, and 83 passengers, and coordination with NASA to support its $253 million Aquarius Satellite delivery mission.
Operationally, the wing completed significant missions such as the processing Marines and tons of cargo and equipment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The wing was also the lead unit for U.S. Central Command's first tanker Forward Operating Base in Afghanistan.
"Our goals are to organize, train and equip," said Col. Russell Muncy, 452nd AMW commander. "The 452nd is unique because of its high level of commitment to ongoing missions around the world," he said. "We are constantly called upon to provide services to major commands and we do so as a fully-integrated Total Force wing."
Muncy is no stranger to the Sherrard Award. He commanded the 507th Air Refueling Wing, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, when the 507th earned the honor in 2012.