By unitedweroll on Feb 21, 2013 | In Military News and Support
This article includes comments from SSG Daniel T Blowers II, our first guest on our United We Roll show at Stardust Radio Network Inc Tuesday, February 19th.
POL fuels Transit Center mission
Posted 2/4/2013 Updated 2/4/2013
by Tech. Sgt. Rachel Martinez
376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
2/4/2013 - TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyzstan -- The Transit Center at Manas runs on fuel. Without it, service members could not accomplish the missions of air refueling, airlift and onward movement.
The 376th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron's Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants flight is the unit responsible for fueling those missions.
Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Garner, fuels superintendent deployed from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, oversees a team of more than four dozen POL Airmen operating the second largest fuel bladder farm in the U.S. Air Forces Central Command area of responsibility. The unit's primary mission is to receive, issue and store aviation fuel. Additionally, the unit provides the base with diesel and unleaded fuel, commonly referred to as ground fuel, for vehicles and generators.
The deployed POL flight operates much as they would at home station. Two section chiefs oversee five different elements: control center, fuels lab, training and support, distribution and bulk storage.
"When we deploy, the only thing that is different is the personnel and the location," said Garner. "The processes and organizations are the same so we can go right in and operate without any problems."
The control center is the hub of operations for the POL flight. Every receipt and delivery of fuel is tracked by the service center controllers. This is also where fuel is ordered and drivers are dispatched out for deliveries.
While the control center tracks all the fuel coming in and out of the Transit Center, the fuels lab tests it all.
"We test to make sure it is clean and dry," said Tech. Sgt. Ronald Gaspar, the fuels lab NCO in charge. "Clean means it is without contaminants. Dry means it is without water."
The lab is also responsible for determining the amount of additives to be put in the fuel. Additives include a static dissipater, icing inhibitor, corrosion inhibitor and lubritidy inhibitor. To ensure the level and quality of additives are just right, fuel samples are pulled at multiple points in the process.
"If I don't do my job and follow the guidelines just right, we can create issues with the aircraft," said Gaspar, who is deployed from Scott Air Force Base, Ill. "It's a challenge, but I love my job."
The bulk storage element is responsible for the upkeep of two dozen fuel bladders and a steel constructed storage tank, as well as the associated hoses and pumps. Currently, the POL Airmen are in the process of replacing valves on the storage tank hoses in order to improve operations.
"We are switching from butterfly valves to gate valves," said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Spatz, NCO in charge of bulk storage. "The fuel pressure can actually push open the butterfly valves. The gate valves provide us better isolation of the fuel and are less prone to breakdown."
From the storage area, the distribution element delivers fuel to where it is needed. Because the Transit Center flies tankers, the amount of fuel delivered can quickly add up.
"Since October we've issued about 45 million gallons of aviation fuel," said Garner. Calendar Year 2012 totals included delivery of 117 million gallons of aviation fuel, 1.2 million gallons of diesel fuel and 175,000 gallons of unleaded fuel. "From my experience, if you're pushing more than 100 million gallons in a year, then you're jobbing it."
Behind all the other elements is the training and support element, ensuring every POL Airman has the necessary training and tools to do the job. Staff Sgt. Daniel Blowers, deployed from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the NCO in charge of training support. He recently had the opportunity to see fuel operations beyond the POL flight when he flew on a KC-135 Stratotanker.
"I've never seen a boom operator work before," said Blowers. "I've refueled plenty of aircraft before, but never from another aircraft. It was great to talk with the boom operator and compare notes.
"The coolest part was when we refueled a C-17 [Globemaster III] - knowing that aircraft was headed downrange and supporting the fight" he said. "POL directly supports that."
Garner, a 25-year veteran in the career field, knows the impact POL has on the mission.
"To use a football analogy, I compare our job to that of the offensive linemen," said Garner. "We make things happen so that the quarterbacks - the aircraft and aircrew - can make the mission happen. We know we have to get fuel out of the bladders and into aircraft so that the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force units downrange get the fuel and support they need. And we are pretty darn good at it."
By unitedweroll on Feb 20, 2013 | In Military News and Support
American history is still the best reading material for all ages. Perhaps if we had more of our history portrayed in movies and TV, it would help our youngsters - all of us - to fly our flags and puff out our chests with pride!
It might help those who move to this country understand why Americans are free, why we have our Constitution and way of life that we do, before these are history, too.
First African-American Medal of Honor Recipient Safeguarded Flag
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2013 - The U.S. flag has been a symbol of American courage and patriotism for more than 200 years, and those who serve in the military hold it in high reverence.
So it's no surprise that Army Sgt. William H. Carney risked his life in 1863 to safeguard the symbol of American pride and inspiration, earning the distinction of being the first African-American to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
Carney, the son of slaves, was born in Norfolk, Va., on Feb. 29, 1840. As a young man, he was ambitious and eager to learn, and excelled in academics despite laws and restrictions banning African-Americans from learning to read and write.
After his parents' slave owner died, the Carneys were granted their freedom. Carney's father moved further north, searching for a suitable area to settle down. After stops in Pennsylvania and New York, the elder Carney took his family to New Bedford, Mass.
Carney spent the remainder of his adolescence in New Bedford, working odd jobs and pursuing his interests in the church. He attended services at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and Union Baptist Church, and was on the precipice of making ministry his life's work when the Civil War began. Carney decided he could better serve God by serving in the military to help free the oppressed.
On March 4, 1863, Carney, along with 40 other African-Americans from New Bedford, joined Company C, 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry Regiment, to fight in the Civil War.
According to state records, the regiment was the first African-American Army unit to be raised in the northern states, and its fighting force included two of famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass' sons.
After only three months of training in Readville, Mass., they were shipped to the main area of fighting in South Carolina, where they saw action at Hilton Head, St. Simon's Island, Darien, James Island and Fort Wagner.
It was at Fort Wagner that Carney's heroic actions earned him the nation's highest military honor.
On July 18, 1863, 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry Regiment soldiers led the charge on Fort Wagner. During the battle, the color guard, John Wall, was struck by a fatal bullet. He staggered and was about to drop the flag when Carney saw him.
Carney seized the flag, and held it high despite fierce fighting, inspiring the other soldiers. He was wounded twice -- in his leg and right arm -- and bled heavily. Although the Army sergeant could hardly crawl, he clutched the flag until he finally reached the walls of Fort Wagner. He planted "Old Glory" in the sand and held it tightly until he was rescued, nearly lifeless from blood loss.
According to accounts, Carney still refused to give up the flag to his rescuers, but grasped it even tighter. He crawled on one knee, assisted by his fellow soldiers, until he reached the Union temporary barracks, ensuring the flag never once touched the ground.
For his bravery, on May 23, 1900, Carney was awarded the Medal of Honor, becoming the first African-American to receive the medal.
His citation reads: "When the color sergeant was shot down, this soldier grasped the flag, led the way to the parapet, and planted the colors thereon. When the troops fell back, he brought off the flag, under a fierce fire in which he was twice severely wounded."
Special Report: African-American History Month
New Bedford Historical Society Web Page on Army Sgt. William H. Carney
Congressional Medal of Honor Society Web Page on Army Sgt. William H. Carney
Center of Military History – Medal of Honor
By unitedweroll on Feb 20, 2013 | In Military News and Support
As Sequestration comes ever closer, it is also more clear that our beautiful country - the United States of America - may be totally destroyed by the political games and egos in Washington DC. They have already taken care of themselves by passing laws to protect THEIR income and healthcare, while not doing the jobs they were elected to do - protecting our country and our fellow Americans. No matter what party they call their own, it does not seem that either one is standing up for our country. Has the air in DC been poisoned with something that disables patriotism and loyalty to the USA?
... "Within a year, two-thirds of the Army combat brigade teams will be at unacceptable levels of readiness, Hale said. Most Air Force units not deployed will be at an unsatisfactory readiness level by the end of the year. Navy and Marine Corps readiness also suffer, Hale said." ...
If Sequestration Triggers, Furloughs Begin in Late April
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2013 - If sequestration is triggered next week, unpaid furloughs for civilian Defense Department employees will start in late April, Pentagon officials said here today.
Sequestration is a provision in budget law that will trigger major across-the-board spending cuts March 1 unless Congress agrees on an alternative.
DOD Comptroller Robert F. Hale told reporters at a Pentagon news conference that if sequestration happens, the department will cut virtually every program and investment, and that almost all civilian employees will feel the pain.
Jessica L. Wright, the acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said that sequestration and the continuing resolution -- a temporary funding measure for the federal government that's set to expire March 27 -- also will have a devastating on military personnel.
"But on our civilians, it will be catastrophic," she added.
"Everything is going to be affected, should sequestration go in effect," Wright said. "That's a guarantee. I think that everybody will be impacted by this action. And I think it's incumbent upon us to try to ease that where we can."
The department already has taken actions to alleviate some of the pressures. DOD has slowed spending, instituted a hiring freeze, ordered layoffs for temporary and term employees and cut back base operations and maintenance.
If sequestration hits, this pain will seem minor by comparison. Operations and maintenance funding is the only way to provide the $47 billion in required cuts for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
Within a year, two-thirds of the Army combat brigade teams will be at unacceptable levels of readiness, Hale said. Most Air Force units not deployed will be at an unsatisfactory readiness level by the end of the year. Navy and Marine Corps readiness also suffer, Hale said.
The process of furloughing civilians began today, with Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta sending notification to Congress. "That starts a 45-day clock ticking, and until that clock has run out, we cannot proceed with furloughs," Hale explained.
If sequester happens, each employee will be notified. "That starts a 30-day clock -- waiting period -- before we can take any action," the comptroller said. "The bottom line is furloughs would not actually start for DOD employees until late April, and we certainly hope that ... in the interim, Congress will act to de-trigger sequestration."
The vast majority of DOD's almost 800,000 civilian employees will be furloughed, Wright said. DOD civilians in a war zone and political appointees who are confirmed by the Senate will not be furloughed. Nonappropriated fund employees and local national employees will not be affected.
Limited exceptions will be made for the purposes of safety of life and health, Wright said, such as firefighters and police. And if a military hospital has only one neonatal nurse, for example, that person could be exempted, she added.
While military personnel accounts are exempt from sequestration, there will be second- and third-order effects, Wright said. For example, hours at exchanges and commissaries could be affected, and family programs could be reduced or cut. It is unclear at this point how DOD Education Activity schools will be affected.
The spending cuts will affect military health care, as some 40 percent of the personnel working in the system are civilians. Elective surgeries could be delayed or eliminated, and costs cannot be shifted to the TRICARE military health plan, because that program also will be hit by cuts.
Affected employees would be furloughed for 22 discontinuous days -- 176 hours -- between implementation and the end of fiscal 2013, with no more than 16 furlough hours per pay period.
Fiscal 2013 is just the beginning of a decade of budgetary problems, Hale said.
"The Budget Control Act actually requires that the caps on discretionary funding beyond fiscal '13 be lowered for defense by $50 billion to $55 billion a year," he said. "If those come to pass, then we will have to look at a new defense strategy. That would be the first thing that we'd do."
The new strategy would accept more risk and also be based on having a smaller military.
For now, officials "devoutly would wish for some budget stability right now," Hale said. "And I think it would benefit the department and the nation."
Robert F. Hale
Jessica L. Wright
Office of Personnel Management Frequently Asked Questions on Furloughs
Special Report: Sequestration
By unitedweroll on Feb 16, 2013 | In Military News and Support
United We Roll World Tour Show
Stardust Radio www.stardustradio.com
Sunday 02/17/13 9:30am - 10:30am Central (Live)
Welcome to our weekend morning edition of a
United We Roll World Tour weekend series special.
This weekend, we bring you two outstanding visits with soldiers who
are on deployment with the 1st Sustainment Brigade in Afghanistan.
United We Roll at Stardust Radio Network, Inc
www.stardustradio.com - click Listen Live button
9:30am - Introduction / Announcements
Interview #1 (appr 9:35am) - SGT Alejandro Figueroa
Interview #1 (appr 10:06am) - SPC James McCray
Show ends at appr 10:30am Central
If you are not able to stay through the show this morning,
it will repeat on Sunday 02/17 evening at 7:00pm Central.
After the repeat show has been broadcast, an MP3 copy will be posted on the
Stardust Radio Network Inc Archive site at www.stardustradio.info.
Stardust Radio Network Inc
Supporting Our Military For 11+ Years
To hear our broadcasts - go to www.stardustradio.com and click the Listen Live button. A sound box from Live 365 will appear where you can adjust the settings to suit your listening pleasure. If you see red colored bars in the volume indicator, that means that station sound is buffering and it will turn to green and begin to play shortly. There is no fee for the service as provided.
Local Area Riverside, Iowa - Tune in to 1690 AM radio
Past Show MP3 Tapes - Are available on our show archive site at www.stardustradio.info. Go to the main page, click on the United We Roll button on the left, then scroll down to the show you wish to hear or download. Left click the link to listen or right click to download. There is no fee for the downloads.
For more news & articles on current happenings, please visit our United We Roll sites at:
Stardust Radio – www.stardustradio.com
United We Roll Blog – click World Tour blog button on United We Roll page at www.stardustradio.com
Stardust Archive Site for MP3 Copies of Shows - www.stardustradio.info
United We Roll Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/UnitedWeRoll
Twitter – www.tweeter.com/JudiBUSA
MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL & MAY GOD BLESS AMERICA!
By unitedweroll on Feb 14, 2013 | In Military News and Support
Was it forty years ago? These images and so many others from this time have lived in my heart for so long. Too many of my friends received news that their Dads were not coming home. Too many families are still waiting for theirs to come home. I feel guilt sometimes that I was one of the lucky ones - that my Dad did come home. Will the tears never end?
I give thanks every day for the lives spared in war. I cannot imagine how these brave POWs survived the brutal torture, the filth, the diseases, the broken bones and everything else that they endured. It is impossible for me to read this article without tears blurring the page. I hope that each prayer somehow makes its way to each of these Heroes so that they know how deeply they are appreciated and loved by us, their Fellow Americans.
I pray every day that my fellow countrymen and women all across the USA do or very soon will understand that the only wall between them and the loss of their freedom, their American way of life, is made up of the men and women who have and do serve in our military every day.
As I go to light my candle this Valentine evening, it is for the POWs who came home 40 years ago today, for those who have not yet returned, for those in faraway places who are fighting today and waiting for their turn to come home and for all the families, who also wait. Sometimes too long.
Operation Homecoming for Vietnam POWs Marks 40 Years
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2013 - Forty years ago today, a C-141A Starlifter transport jet with a distinctive red cross on its tail lifted off from Hanoi, North Vietnam, and the first flight of 40 U.S. prisoners of war began their journey home through Operation Homecoming.
By the day's end, three C-141A aircraft would lift off from Hanoi, as well as a C-9A aircraft from Saigon, South Vietnam. In a steady flow of flights through late March 1973 under terms set through the Paris Peace Accords, 591 POWs returned to American soil.
Americans were spellbound as they watched news clips of the POWs being carried in stretchers or walking tentatively toward U.S. officers at the awaiting aircraft for the first flight from Hanoi's Gia Lam Airport.
The POWs ranged from privates first class to colonels, all wearing new gray uniforms issued by the North Vietnamese just before their release.
Air Force Tech. Sgt. James R. Cook, who suffered severe wounds when he bailed out of his stricken aircraft over North Vietnam in December 1972, saluted the U.S. colors from his stretcher as he was carried aboard the aircraft. Also on the first flight was Navy Cmdr. Everett Alvarez Jr., the first American pilot to be shot down in North Vietnam and, by the war's end, the longest-held POW there. He spent eight-and-a-half years in captivity.
Celebration broke out aboard the first aircraft -- nicknamed the "Hanoi Taxi" -- as it lifted skyward and the POWs experienced their first taste of freedom.
Historian Andrew H. Lipps captured the magnitude of the moment in his account, "Operation Homecoming: The Return of American POWs from Vietnam."
"Imagine you're imprisoned in a cage; imagine the cage surrounded by the smell of feces; imagine the rotted food you eat is so infested with insects that to eat only a few is a blessing; imagine knowing your life could be taken by one of your captors on a whim at any moment; imagine you are subjected to mental and physical torture designed to break not bones but instead spirit on a daily basis. That was being a prisoner of North Vietnam," Lipps wrote.
"Then imagine one day, after seemingly endless disappointment, you are given a change of clothes and lined up to watch an American plane land to return you home. That was Operation Homecoming."
Aeromedical teams assigned to each aircraft tended to the former POWs during the two-and-a-half hour flight to Clark Air Base in the Philippines, the first stop on their trip home. Meanwhile, many of the POWs joked and smoked American cigarettes as they caught up on all they'd missed while in captivity: fashion trends and the women's liberation movement, among them.
"Everything seemed like heaven," recalled Air Force Capt. Larry Chesley, who, after being shot down over North Vietnam, spent seven years in the notorious "Hanoi Hilton" and other POW prisons. "When the doors of that C-141 closed, there were tears in the eyes of every man aboard," he said.
Air Force Maj. Gen. Ed Mechenbier, the last Vietnam POW to serve in the Air Force, recalled the emotion of his own journey out of North Vietnam on Feb. 18, 1973. "When we got airborne and the frailty of being a POW turned into the reality of freedom, we yelled, cried and cheered," he said.
The POWs arrived to a hero's welcome at Clark Air Base, where Navy Adm. Noel Gayler, commander of U.S. Forces Pacific, led their greeting party. Joining him were Air Force Lt. Gen. William G. Moore Jr., who commanded 13th Air Force and the homecoming operation at Clark, and Roger Shields, deputy assistant secretary of defense for POW/MIA affairs.
Speaking to the crowd that lined the tarmac to welcome the aircraft, returning POW Navy Capt. Jeremiah Denton -- who would go on to earn the rank of rear admiral and later was elected to the U.S. Senate, representing Alabama -- elicited cheers as he thanked all who had worked for their release and proclaimed, "God bless America."
Air Force Lt. Col. Carlyle "Smitty" Harris, who spent almost eight years as a POW after being shot down over North Vietnam, joined the many other POWs who echoed that sentiment. "My only message is, 'God bless America,'" he said, dismissing assertions in the media that the POWs had been directed to say it.
"With six, seven or eight years to think about the really important things in life, a belief in God and country was strengthened in every POW with whom I had contact," he said. "Firsthand exposure to a system which made a mockery of religion and where men are unable to know truth made us all appreciate some of the most basic values in 'God bless America.'"
Air Force Col. Robinson Risner, the senior Air Force officer at the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" honored today by a statue in his likeness at the U.S. Air Force Academy, choked back emotion as he arrived on the second C-141 flight from Hanoi.
"Thank you all for bringing us home to freedom again," he told the crowd.
After receiving medical exams and feasting on steak, ice cream and other American food, the former POWs received new uniforms for their follow-on flights home. Their aircraft made stops in Hawaii and California. The first group of 20 former POWs arrived at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., on Feb. 14, 1973.
News clips of the arrival reveal the deep emotion of the freed POWs as they arrived on the U.S. mainland. Navy Capt. James Stockdale, who went on to become a vice admiral and vice presidential candidate, was the first man to limp off the aircraft.
Stockdale paused to thank his countrymen for the loyalty they had showed him and his fellow POWs. "The men who follow me down that ramp know what loyalty means because they have been living with loyalty, living on loyalty, the past several years -- loyalty to each other, loyalty to the military, loyalty to our commander-in-chief," he said.
Of the 591 POWs liberated during Operation Homecoming, 325 served in the Air Force, 138 in the Navy; 77 in the Army and 26 in the Marine Corps. Twenty-five of the POWs were civilian employees of U.S. government agencies.
In addition, 69 POWs the Viet Cong had held in South Vietnam left aboard flights from Loc Ninh. Nine other POWs were released from Laos, and three from China.
Forty years after their release, two of the former POWs serve in Congress: Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas.
A dinner and ceremony being planned for late May at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in California will honor the POWs, recreating the dinner the president hosted for them at the White House in 1973.
Operation Homecoming Fact Sheet
U.S. Vietnam War Commemoration
By unitedweroll on Feb 14, 2013 | In Military News and Support
... "In this context, sequestration will upend our defense strategy," he said. "It will put the nation at greater risk of coercion. And it will require us to break commitments to our men and women in uniform and their families, to our defense industrial base, and to our partners and allies." ...
By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2013 - Sequestration will force a drawdown "more difficult and decidedly different" than any other in the nation's history, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the House Armed Services Committee today.
Its deep, across-the-board spending cuts, combined with a dangerous and uncertain security environment, aging equipment and rising health care costs, place the nation squarely on the verge of an unprecedented readiness crisis, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said.
In a hearing that lasted nearly four hours, Dempsey, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and the Joint Chiefs of Staff all spoke of the dangers posed to national security by sequestration and the possibility that the continuing resolution now funding the government in lieu of a budget will be extended.
Sequestration was delayed until March 1 by a bill passed in January. If implemented, it would mandate about $500 billion in across-the-board defense spending cuts over 10 years in addition to cuts mandated over that period by the 2011 Budget Control Act.
"We are facing the prolonged specter of sequestration while under a continuing resolution, while we are just beginning to absorb $487 billion worth of cuts from 2011, and while we're still fighting and resourcing a war," the chairman said.
"There is no foreseeable peace dividend," Dempsey said.
"In this context, sequestration will upend our defense strategy," he said. "It will put the nation at greater risk of coercion. And it will require us to break commitments to our men and women in uniform and their families, to our defense industrial base, and to our partners and allies."
The new defense strategy formed last year could execute and absorb $487 billion in spending cuts over the next decade Dempsey said. "I can't sit here today and guarantee you that if you take another $175 billion that that strategy remains solvent."
The Defense Department is committed to fulfilling its role in the nation's economic recovery, the chairman said. But, he added, this requires budget certainty, time to implement reductions in a responsible manner and flexibility to transfer and reprogram money.
When parts of the defense budget are deemed untouchable by Congress, Dempsey said, readiness loses. "Everything needs to be on the table," he said.
Congress must ask itself what it wants of the military, Dempsey said. "If you want it to be doing what it's doing today, then we can't give you another dollar. If you want us to do something less than that, we're all there with you, and we'll figure it out."
Failure to act to avert sequestration eventually will require the department to reduce its international security commitments, Dempsey said, and to become less proactive about protecting national interests.
"When I testified before this committee last year, I said that if we fail to step up properly on the budget, we will reduce our options, and therefore increase our risk," he said. "Our military power will be less credible, because it will be less sustainable. Now, we're only a few days away from making that risk a reality."
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey
Sequestration 'Wolf' Eats at Nation's Readiness, Carter Says
Service Chiefs Detail Sequestration Consequences
Sequestration Will Force Moral Dilemma, Dempsey Says
Carter Warns of Readiness Crisis, Urges Delay in Cuts
Dempsey: Budget Factors Place Defense Strategy in Jeopardy