By unitedweroll on Jun 2, 2014 | In Military News and Support
June 6th is the 70th anniversary of D-Day and many celebrations are being held in Europe to celebrate the arrival of the "Liberandos", those who came to free the occupied countries. The following article will bring back memories for many Americans and hopefully our youngsters will gain in knowledge and the immense sense of pride that goes along with being a member of the USA.
The fight for Freedom is just as important today as it was 70 years ago. Let's keep our history in the present, as we can always learn from our past.
Ramstein Airmen Rekindle Piece of D-Day History
By Air Force Staff Sgt. Sara Keller
86th Airlift Wing
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany, June 2, 2014 - Seventy years ago, young men from the 37th Troop Carrier Squadron at RAF Cottesmore, England, prepared their aircraft and themselves for what soon would be known as one of the most significant and meaningful days in the history of the world: D-Day.
Today, airmen of the 37th Airlift Squadron are preparing for the June 6 anniversary of that day. But this time, they'll be flying to honor and remember those brave men who took part in the Normandy invasion during World War II.
On Memorial Day, May 26, the 37th Airlift Squadron welcomed the Douglas C-47 Skytrain known as Whiskey 7, allowing them to experience a piece of their squadron's rich history.
The C-47s were the first aircraft the 37th Troop Carrier Squadron flew when it was formed in 1942. When the squadron was re-designated as the 37th Airlift Squadron and based in Germany, it flew C-130s. Today, it flies the C-130J Super Hercules.
"It was a few years ago we found out that the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo, New York, had the last airworthy C-47 from the original 37th TCS," said Air Force Capt. Andrew Richter, a 37th Airlift Squadron pilot. "About two years ago, we really started working with the museum to help in any way we could to bring the C-47 to Ramstein and the 70th anniversary."
After two years of intense fund raising and coordination, a team of volunteers from the museum made the 3,600-mile trip to Germany and flew with the C-130J from the 37th Airlift Squadron for the first time.
"We have such a rich history here at the 37th, and it's amazing to see our squadron's heritage first-person," Richter said. "The C-47 is the first aircraft our squadron flew, and it means so much to us to have the opportunity to fly with a piece of our history and participate in the French 70th anniversary of D-Day [observance]."
It has taken thousands of hours, about $250,000 and hundreds of people to get Whiskey 7 to Ramstein, and it's not just the airmen of the 37th Airlift Squadron who felt the need for the historically significant journey to happen.
"The biggest reason we brought Whiskey 7 to Europe for the D-Day anniversary is because that airplane is a symbol of what those men did 70 years ago for the entire world," said Christopher Polhemus, Whiskey 7 lead pilot. "Our crew chief really put it into perspective. He said, 'Those men came as liberators, not as conquerors.' The entire European continent was under the tyranny of Nazi control. They were not free."
Polhemus said airmen from the 37th Airlift Squadron were extremely helpful, and that he's thankful for all of the time and effort they put into bringing Whiskey 7 here.
"We learn about our history as soon as we walk in the door. We see it on the walls around us. ... It's ingrained in us," Richter said. "To bring W7 here, fly next to it and parking it right in front of our squadron, it's just surreal."
Ramstein Air Base
By unitedweroll on May 29, 2014 | In Military News and Support
by Staff Sgt. Jacob Morgan
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
5/28/2014 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Most people think that during an emergency they would step up to the plate, act heroically and do what is necessary to save lives. Thinking one might rescue the day is a noble thought, but acting on those thoughts is what sets the nation's heroes above noble thinkers.
"Every pilot thinks 'what would I do if this all goes wrong' on an aircraft they are not controlling," said Capt. Mark Gongol, 13th Air Support Operations Squadron assistant director of operations at Fort Carson. "As a professional courtesy, we all know the aircrew at civilian airlines are extremely qualified, but as a byproduct of being a pilot, I always have a heightened awareness when flying. However, I never thought I would be in the situation I was in."
Gongol, his wife and daughter were on the way from Des Moines International Airport Dec. 30, with 151 other passengers and six crewmembers, after spending the holidays with his family. To him and his family, the day was just like any other, except for a short flight delay due to weather.
Approximately 30 minutes into the flight, Gongol, a B-1B Lancer pilot, noticed the engines power down to idle. The thoughts immediately started jumping through his head; there were a variety of reasons why the engines would shut down to idle, none of them categorized as normal. Slowly, the aircraft began to descend and turn right.
"Over the public address system; a flight attendant asked if there was a doctor on board the plane," said Gongol. "A few more calls went out for medical professionals and the flight attendants were all hurrying to first class with their beverage carts and a first-aid kit."
At that moment, Gongol thought it was a medical emergency with a first class passenger, his instincts told him to stay seated and stay out of the way. A fourth call went out, "are there any non-revenue pilots on board, please ring your call button." Immediately, Gongol realized the pilot was the patient. He looked to his wife; as she gave him a nod, Gongol pressed his button and headed toward the flight deck.
Arriving at the flight deck, Gongol saw four flight attendants and two passenger nurses assembling a make-shift bed, medical kits were strewn across the ground and the captain of the aircraft was seated in his chair, eyes dilated, sweaty, clammy and disoriented. Gongol immediately thought the pilot was suffering some serious cardiac trauma.
"After they moved the pilot, I was asked by the first officer, 'are you a pilot,' which was quickly followed with 'what do you fly,'" said Gongol. "I knew she was in a serious situation and that question gave her five seconds to judge if I would be useful. I also had about five seconds to asses her, 'was she panicking, or was she OK to fly the aircraft?' We both finished our silent assessments, she made the right judgment and told me to close the door and have a seat."
From there, Gongol was calm and collected, and the first officer decided that he would be most useful to talk on the radios, back her up on the aircraft's checklists and look for anything going wrong.
Having been an aircraft commander, Gongol is used to making decisions, but he knew the best way to get the aircraft down safely was to play a support role to the first officer and make things as normal as possible for her. In an emergency situation, he had the ability to place himself outside the situation for a second and make the right call.
"She was calm, but you could tell she was a little stressed, who wouldn't be," said Gongol. "At the beginning, I interrupted her flow of operations, but we figured everything out extremely quickly. She was very impressive."
There were hundreds of issues the two pilots talked through on the aircraft while descending; cabin pressure, approach, contact with air traffic control, visual cues and programming of the auto-pilot were just a few, said Gongol. At about 500 feet above ground level, the first officer hand-flew the approach to a normal touchdown.
After landing, the first officer turned to Gongol and asked if he knew where to taxi, she had never been to the Omaha airport before. Taken aback by how cool, calm and collected the first officer had acted without knowing the airport, Gongol remembered landing at the airport before pilot training.
"Surprisingly, taxiing was the most stressful part of the day for the first officer," said Gongol. "She had never taxied a 737 before and the ATC had no idea that the pilot was the reason for the emergency. We had to make a quick decision that her switching to the pilot's seat and taxiing the aircraft without the training was necessary to save the captain's life."
As the air stairs went down and the aircraft was shut down, Gongol and the first officer talked through the decisions they had just made. Gongol assured the first officer that every decision she made would be backed up by him; he would have taken the exact same actions had he been in her place.
The captain of the aircraft is recovering well and contacted Gongol directly to thank him. The crew of the aircraft, the two nurses who provided first aid for the captain and the first officer have all been in contact with Gongol; an emergency has brought together several strangers as friends.
"I saw nothing but the finest professionalism under pressure out of the flight attendants, the nurses and the first officer," said Gongol. "Everyone aboard the aircraft remained calm, there is no doubt in my mind this contributed above all else to our successful outcome. In my opinion any military pilot would have done the exact same thing I did."
Gongol acted in an emergency situation, realized the role that would be best for him to play and while he was not necessarily the direct savior to more than 150 souls on board, his actions contributed to a safe ending to the flight. His actions, according to him, do not make him a hero. However, they surely place him one step above a noble thinker.
Statement by VA Secretary Shinseki on the VA OIG Interim Report regarding the Phoenix VA Health Care System
By unitedweroll on May 29, 2014 | In Military News and Support
May 28, 2014
“I respect the independent review and recommendations of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) regarding systemic issues with patient scheduling and access. I have reviewed the interim report, and the findings are reprehensible to me, to this Department, and to Veterans. I am directing that the Phoenix VA Health Care System (VAHCS) immediately triage each of the 1,700 Veterans identified by the OIG to bring them timely care.
“I have already placed the Phoenix VAHCS leadership on administrative leave, and have directed an independent site team to assess scheduling and administrative practices at the Phoenix VAHCS. This team began their work in April, and we are already taking action on multiple recommendations from this report.
“We will aggressively and fully implement the remaining OIG recommendations to ensure that we contact every single Veteran identified by the OIG. I have directed the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to complete a nation-wide access review to ensure a full understanding of VA’s policy and continued integrity in managing patient access to care. Further, we are accelerating access to care throughout our system and in communities where Veterans reside.
“It is important to allow OIG’s independent and objective review to proceed until completion. OIG has requested that VA take no additional personnel actions in Phoenix until their review is complete.”
# # #
By unitedweroll on May 29, 2014 | In Military News and Support
Stardust Note: This is a great article! Growing up with my Dad being a fighter pilot in the Air Force, I was familiar with the term "Wingman" and I knew it had to do with flying on a pilot's wing in formation and being there to help if/when needed. But, when I asked my Dad if my interpretation was correct, he sat me down and explained how a wingman can be there for anyone - not just for a pilot. I believe this was the first real understanding of how we can reach out to help others by being observant and caring. I believe this article is one of the best explanations I have seen since that talk with Dad so many years ago.
I love that I have seen the term "Wingman" used so much in these past years. If one is serious about being a person's Wingman, that person is certainly blessed.
What is a Wingman?
Commentary by Col. Jeannine Ryder
386th Expeditionary Medical Group
5/18/2014 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Wingman - a title used over and over again throughout the Air Force. After a little research, I found the AF has 27 posters depicting messages on the Wingman concept. Most communicate that an individual's responsibility is to find a Wingman and keep them informed of their current life situation. I have another theory - each of us should be proactive and ensure our teammates have one individual they feel has their best interests at heart, a person who will support them with zero judgment. Qualifications of a Wingman:
1. Approachable - ability to be open, a friendly face or "cheerleader"
2. Good Listener - ability to let people vent, express their feelings and know when listening is all the person needs
3. Honest - ability to be a straight shooter; doesn't give the individual what they want, gives them what they need, knows the difference between the two
4. Time - ability and willingness to give someone your time
5. Perceptive - ability to know when someone needs undivided attention because something is going on in their life that may possibly be overwhelming or stressful
6. Discernment - ability to know when to gently nudge or shove an individual to professional help or a supervisor if necessary
7. Gut Feeling - ability to know when the needs of this person are beyond your capability and a higher authority/expert needs to be notified
8. Trustworthy - ability to be a confidant, words spoken between you are not to be shared
Rank is not the decider of who will be a Wingman. During my squadron command, something emotionally traumatic happened in my life. It truly knocked me to my knees for two weeks. I prided myself on keeping my emotions in check and leading with consistency. I could not keep that standard. I gave my leadership team a low-level awareness about my situation (no specifics). I apologized if my emotions or actions were out of the ordinary and I gave them permission to openly get me back to "reality" if necessary. My superintendent, Master Sgt. Dan Wilson (now retired), truly was my Wingman during this difficult time. He was loyal, honest and kept me on task for those very cloudy two weeks. I did not choose him. I planned to suffer in silence to the best of my ability. Dan pretty much stormed in and said, "Let me help you." I am forever grateful he did because I was in desperate need of a Wingman.
You have to ask yourself are you the cliché Wingman that the AF banters about almost every day or a REAL Wingman and ready to answer the call. Just because you want to be a Wingman does not make you a Wingman. A Wingman must show the characteristics listed above on a consistent basis in order for an individual to believe and trust them. Be ready because there is someone out there who needs a Wingman to be the trusted friend and confidant, who will help get them to the other side of a bad situation.
By unitedweroll on May 28, 2014 | In Military News and Support
We were very honored to interview Col Bradley T. Hoagland on Memorial Day and to share that visit during our show on Tuesday, May 27th. If you missed that show, it will repeat on Tuesday, June 3rd at 6pm Central.
It is always a learning curve to hear about things as they are seen through the eyes of a commanding officer. Col. Hoagland shared plenty of time and information with us, helping us to understand even more about the men and women who serve in the Air Force, deployments and much more. This is a visit that you really do not want to miss.
If you cannot listen to the next show, watch for the MP3 copy to be placed on our archive site around the 8th of June. That site is located at www.stardustradio.info. In the meantime, the following is a very enjoyable article about Col. Hoagland along with a friend and officer from his hometown.
Face of Defense: Hometown Friends Serve Together on Deployment
By Air Force 1st Lt. Holli Nelson
386th Air Expeditionary Wing
SOUTHWEST ASIA, May 14, 2014 - Throughout life, there are people who inevitably leave lasting impressions -- an imprint on our consciousness. As examples, mentors and friends, they help us strive to be better, push harder and reach for higher goals.
For Air Force Lt. Col. Elizabeth Clay, Air Force Col. Brad Hoagland made a difference in her life and career more than 28 years ago, when the two were in high school. Today, they find themselves serving together halfway around the world -- he as the vice commander of the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing and she as deputy commander of the 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Group.
Clay and Hoagland grew up in the neighboring small towns of Elyria and Oberlin, Ohio, where they attended the same elementary and high schools. Hoagland, three years ahead of Clay in school, had three younger brothers, one of whom was in the same grade as Clay.
Both were active in their high school athletics programs, with Clay playing volleyball, basketball and running track, and Hoagland winning two state championships in football during his high school years. It was during this time that the two learned the importance of working as a team, dedication and setting high goals for themselves. It was this foundation that would propel both forward in their Air Force careers.
In 1986, Clay was attending the end-of-year awards ceremony for her high school and witnessed a special moment in Hoagland's life. He had been called onto the stage at Elyria Catholic High School to be presented with his appointment to the Air Force Academy. An Air Force major presented the appointment letter and spoke to the audience about the prestige and honor that accompanies attending the academy. It had a profound impact on Clay.
"At that moment," Clay said, "I knew that's where I wanted to go to college. Over the next few years, I set my focus on getting good grades and participating in the extracurricular activities I needed to get into the academy."
With the bar set high, Clay dedicated herself to preparing for the journey ahead. Every summer, when Hoagland would come home from school, Clay spoke to him about his experiences, eager for knowledge and insight into the life of an Air Force cadet. Ever the mentor, Hoagland presented Clay with her first cadet "Contrails" book so she could begin studying for her freshman year, helping to ensure she was as prepared as could be for what was ahead.
In 1989, Clay received a congressional nomination to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, but did not receive the appointment. Disappointed, but resolute in her desire to attend the Air Force Academy, she began classes at her local community college, waiting for her opportunity to apply. The next year, Clay received another nomination, this time to the Air Force Academy. She was accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy preparatory school, where she completed her academics and played volleyball.
Her hopes of attending the academy and gaining success in her college dreams were high until she injured her knee playing volleyball in 1990. Because of the injury, she was medically discharged from the Air Force and disqualified for admission into the academy.
Once she finished out her year of the preparatory school, Clay moved back to her hometown of Oberlin, where she rehabilitated her knee and again took classes at the community college. As she worked through her injury and the multiple setbacks she had faced, she never let her goal out of sight.
The following year, with her knee rehabilitated enough to be medically cleared, she reapplied to the Air Force Academy and received her appointment to the freshman class of 1992.
"It took me awhile, but three years after graduating high school, I was finally accepted into the freshman class," she said.
She pursued her degree in general studies with a concentration in biology, played for two years on the academy's volleyball team, and graduated in 1996 with a bachelor of science degree.
In the course of all the ups and downs in Clay's life, Hoagland's career and success had been a beacon for her. He graduated in 1990 with a degree in civil engineering and set off for his life in the Air Force, not truly knowing how much his example and mentorship had inspired this young woman.
"If it wasn't for Colonel Hoagland, I would not have known about the academy," Clay said. "He encouraged me through my high school years and beyond to continue to pursue it."
In small-town Ohio, Hoagland said, not many people aspired to join the military or attend a service academy. At the time, he added, he was one of only a handful of people from Elyria ever to have ever been appointed to and graduate from the Air Force Academy.
The two academy graduates found themselves deployed together for the past year.
"Here I am today, 28 years after Colonel Hoagland sparked my interest in the academy," Clay reflected. "I'm serving side by side with him in a foreign country that was once devastated by a brutal enemy."
Since 2013, Hoagland has been leading more than 1,700 airmen as the vice wing commander, and Clay ensures all flightline operations run smoothly as the deputy maintenance commander.
"It means a lot to me to be sharing in the same mission accomplishment at a deployed location with the person responsible for sparking my interest [in the academy] during high school and, ultimately, for me serving in the Air Force," Clay said. "I'm honored to be serving under such a phenomenal leader as Colonel Hoagland."
After they complete their tours here, Hoagland will assume command of the 11th Wing at Joint Base-Andrews, Maryland, and Clay will return to Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, to work at Air Mobility Command headquarters.
"I can't think of a more rewarding profession than serving in the armed forces and leading people to accomplish great things," Clay said. "I have grown as a leader and am a better person now than I was 20 years ago because of what I've learned from the people I've worked with through the years."
By unitedweroll on May 28, 2014 | In Military News and Support
United We Roll World Tour Show
Stardust Radio Network Inc www.stardustradio.com
Tuesday 05/27/14 1:00pm - 3:10pm Central (Live)
Tuesday 06/03/14 6:00pm - 8:10pm Central (Repeat)
Welcome Stardust Listeners -
We thank you for joining us on Tuesday, May 27th of 2014.
We have a special show today as we are bringing you three interviews which were taped with our deployed members on Memorial Day. No matter how far from home our men and women in uniform may serve, they also observe the importance of days such as this one when we reflect on the sacrifices made by so many Americans who gave their lives so we may remain free.
We begin our show by sharing an outstanding visit we hosted with Col Bradley T Hoagland, Commander of the 386th AEW (Air Expeditionary Wing) located in Southwest Asia on Memorial Day. With almost 300 combat missions in the air and multiple deployments both in the air and on the ground, Col Hoagland shares a wealth of information with us about military life and those with whom he serves. We appreciate the sincere thoughts shared about the deep meaning of this day when Americans all across our country should come together to give thanks to those who gave their lives for our freedom. After a year away from loved ones, we wish Col Hoagland and his family a joyful reunion.
Our next two guests come from the 2nd CAB (Combat Aviation Brigade) which is based in South Korea.
Specialist Richard Stillman is a tremendously dedicated Flight Medic who is assigned to Charlie Company, 3-2 GASB, a unit with the 2CAB. Stationed here as his first duty station since July 2011, SPC Stillman is on PCS (Permanent Change of Station) status rather than deployment and is accompanied by his wife and their rescued bi-lingual dog. With a little over a year to go, we hope to catch up with SPC Stillman again before he leaves South Korea.
Our next guest is not a stranger to Stardust Radio Network. Sergeant Nicole Hall is a member of the Public Affairs Office with the 2CAB and has been involved in bringing us many of the guests from this unit for the past several months. In addition to being a photojournalist with the PAO, SGT Hall also hosts a weekly radio show on AFN. With just over 4 years in the Army, this is already her second tour in South Korea.
The taped visits contained in this show take us up to our 1,272nd interview with our Heroes of Freedom who are serving far from home.
We are extremely honored to bring these outstanding guests to you all. Once again, 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 families safe and our freedom secure from their duty stations around the world.
United We Roll World Tour at Stardust Radio Network, Inc
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Tuesday 5/27/14 1:00pm
Tuesday 6/03/14 6:00pm (repeat)
1:00pm - Introduction / Announcements
(6:00pm - Introduction / Announcements)
386 AEW / The Rock
Interview #1 (appr 1:10pm/6:10pm) - Col Bradley T Hoagland
386 AEW / Commander
2CAB / The TALONS
Interview #2 (appr 1:56pm/6:56pm) - SPC Richard Stillman
C Co, 602 ASB
Interview #3 (appr 2:45pm/7:45pm) - SGT Nicole Hall
2 CAB / PAO
Live show on Tuesday 5/27 ends at appr 3:10pm Central
Repeat show on Tuesday 6/3 ends at appr 8:10pm Central
If you are not able to stay through the show on Tuesday May 27th, it will repeat on Tuesday, June 3rd at 6:00pm Central. About 4 days 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.
MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL & MAY GOD BLESS THE USA!
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Who Serve To Protect Our Freedom...
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for all that you do every single day!
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