NEWS OF THE FORCE | Friday, September 18, 2015 - Page 2

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Sep 18, 2015, 3:50:08 PM9/18/15
  NEWS OF THE FORCE | Friday, September 18, 2015 - Page 2

U.S. Air Force news
    A B-52H Stratofortress, No. 61-1021, assigned to the Air Force Reserve Command's 307th Bomb Wing, is the first B-52H bomber to be converted as part of the New Start bomber Conversion program.
    Air Force Reserve pilots sat with children and helped them build paper airplanes used to compete against the pilots in flying competitions.
    Members of Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana's honor guard stood in formation prior to a presentation of colors ceremony during an Air Force Ball at Grissom.
    All 50 states will be represented in the upcoming Air Force Association (AFA)'s Cyber Patriot VIII national youth cyber defense competition. The AFA established CyberPatriot in 2009 to attract high school students tp the program. Northrop Grumman, Symantec, Cyber Silver, the Air Force Reserve, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Leidos, and the University of Maryland's University College are the sponsors of the program.
    Sweden’s Saab is confident of selling training jets to the U.S. Air Force, but believes its bidding partnership with Boeing could lead to further cooperation with the U.S. aircraft maker whoever wins the $11 billion contest, its chief executive said. Boeing and Saab are among contenders for a deal to replace the aging T-38 trainer in a competition known as "T-X." Experts have said that Boeing’s north St. Louis County, Mo., complex would be a prime candidate to build the aircraft. Saab Chief Executive Hakan Buskhe said he was “very happy” with the two-year-old partnership with Boeing and that he was not worried about the cost of their new design, even though it was “significant.” “It is so tempting that you can't stay out and I think we will win. That is my view,” Buskhe said of the competition, speaking to Reuters at a London defense exhibition. “If we don’t win, we have learned a lot of other things and we have shown it is possible to work together and have created a culture between Boeing and Saab such that we could do more things together.” Despite being rival fighter manufacturers, Boeing and Saab already cooperate in adapting an air weapon for ground forces. In 2013, they agreed to develop a new plane to try to win the U.S. order for 350 trainers. The U.S. Air Force plans to launch that competition formally in 2017, and analysts say it could eventually buy up to 600 planes. The design of the Boeing-Saab proposal has been one of the industry’s closest secrets, but Boeing offered a glimpse at an Air Force Association (AFA) event in Washington, D.C., this week. A teaser graphic showed a long and slender nose section and partial cockpit, with no engine inlets or wings in sight. Experts said that indicated the aircraft may be larger and more ambitious than traditional trainers such as Britain’s popular Hawk, whose wings and engines sit close behind the pilot. The Northrop Grumman Corp., builder of the current T-38, had originally teamed with Britain’s BAE Systems to offer the Hawk, but tightened the contest this year by announcing it had switched to an all-new model. Also offering a clean-sheet design is Textron, Inc. Lockheed Martin has partnered with Korean Aerospace Industries to offer the South Korean T-50. And Italy’s Finmeccanica, recently abandoned by U.S. partner General Dynamics in a bid to offer a jet based on the Italian M-346 trainer, is looking for a new U.S. partner, executives said at the DSEI defense event in London.
    An airman deployed with the 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron is not only in the Air Force, he's also a volunteer with the Civil Air Patrol who dedicated his free time to training youth and responding to crisis situations. The CAP, which has provided support to emergency services as well as aerospace education and cadet programs for the past 74 years, is now included in the Air Force's definition of its "Total Force." Air Force Capt. Luis Aponte, the 455th CS' operations officer at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, and a member of the 156th Airlift Wing of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard, has been a CAP member for three years. Aponte is the former director of operations for the Puerto Wing of the CAP. His main mission with the CAP is to operate as a pilot for the Cessna 172 and 182 aircraft. With his arrival, the CAP can now says it has deployed to Afghanistan, sort of.
    And NOTF received the following anonymous message today through our website: "Recent web blogs, newspaper stories and our common experience show us that the Civil Air Patrol (USAF civilian auxiliary) is working aggressive campaigns against those members who report (through approved internal channels) activities of fraud and other criminal behavior. Disturbing evidence is now hemorrhaging out of the USAF and the CAP complaint management tools and from the personal collections of former investigating officers who have been threatened and penalized. These materials demonstrate widespread abuse and suppression. During the recent national conference in Orlando, Fla., the announcement came that Texas Wing commander Col. Steve Hudson would be stepping down immediately to be replaced with interim commander Lt. Col. Sean Crandall. Col. Hudson had just taken on the billet at the end of April 2015. There was no mention of personal reasons in the announcement, and it is very unusual for a wing commander to be put down so quickly after taking command since the selection process takes months. Commanders have been removed in the past for personality conflicts and refusing to obey orders to cover-up injustices. In 2012, The Dayton Daily News published an article concerning the removal of CAP Lt. Col. Jim Shaw as the CAP national curator over the misappropriation of artifacts donated to the CAP, a 501-3(c) non-profit organization. NOTF used the CAP’s own communiques and documents to show that it was CAP Lt. Col. Mark Hess who initially reported this event. Hess’ membership was soon terminated when he refused to drop his efforts to get the CAP to explain what actually happened to the donated artifacts. Shaw was later given positions of authority in the Georgia Wing under Col. Richard Greenwood. According to court documents, on Nov. 11, 2013, Hawaii Wing vice-commander Major Eduardo Zayas forged a flight instructor's signature on a Civil Air Patrol pilot evaluation form so that he could fly cadets on orientation flights. It took 16 months for this story of felony forgery, cover-up and whistle-blower reprisal to surface when the Maui News published its first article, Air Patrol Turbulence about it in March of this year. Follow up stories reported that Hawaii Wing commander Col. Jeff Wong refused to discipline Zayas and no corrective action was taken until the at-risk flight instructor initiated a criminal complaint outside the Civil Air Patrol's channels because the CAP’s safety and IG reporting processes were corrupted. "Ex-Civil-Air-Patrol Pilot Gets Fine for Forgery," .Col. Wong acknowledged to authorities the receipt of "abuse of authority allegations" as soon as Zayas, a reportedly narcissistic military veteran, assumed his command. Wong said no action was taken on those complaints because "none of these allegations were sustained." In reprisal, members were “kicked out” and the victimized flight instructor was "excommunicated from the Civil Air Patrol" and was blocked from participating in taxpayer-funded mission activities. While the Civil Air Patrol complaint system and command structure was somehow unable to truthfully investigate the allegations and protect squadron members, 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen found it routine and straightforward to deliver a decisive forgery conviction and a $2,000 fine against Zayas, with no chance for him to keep the conviction off his record. As if to back the criminal findings in Hawaii, The Rome News Tribune ran a story this past May in which Georgia Wing commander Col. Richard Greenwood lied about the existence of official CAP complaints and an associated Report of Investigation (ROI). The ROI (currently in widespread underground circulation) documents that then Lt. Col. Greenwood (who was wing vice commander at the time) repeatedly misled his wing commander (Col. Tonya Boylan) and created an environment behind her back that allowed Lt. Col. Brett Slagle, Lt. Col. Joe Knight, III, and several suspended pilots in the Georgia Wing to execute a cover-up of unsafe, fraudulent and intimidation practices designed to advance themselves and then-Southeast Region commander Col. Alvin Bedgood to higher levels in the organization. The Rome Civil Air Patrol unit is defunct; and the Calhoun unit merged into Dalton's: Just last month, NOTF proved the report’s existence by publishing select pages along with Bedgood’s disciplinary letters to Slagle and Knight. Greenwood told the Rome paper that unit closures were the result of "falling membership participation," but evidence in circulation reveals that direct orders were given to subordinates to refuse support to those units and to harass squadron staff, thereby blocking the squadron commanders’ ability to complete the missions. The disenfranchisement of some dues-paying members to benefit the aspirations of others continues to infuriate the membership. Recall the very public self-destruction of the Gen. Pineda regime in 2007 and the FAA findings on aircraft discrepancies and safety in the Texas and Pennsylvania Wings of the CAP. Remember the valid findings of reprisal and group eradication in the Florida Wing. Take note of the embezzlement cases that led to the 'Wing Banker' and its current misuse. Consider Gen. Carr's early removal in 2014. As a result, the numbers of those left in a state of CAP "collateral damage" have now grown beyond what can be buried: . As Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark A. Welsh, III, proudly announced the inclusion of the Civil Air Patrol in the USAF's "Total Force" concept, it becomes clear to most why evidence of this cancerous crisis is perpetually suppressed, and why so many volunteer members depart the program in disgust. For years,the CAP's BoG (Board of Governors) has allowed cover-up and reprisal to become standard practice, and so repeated regulation and safety violations are encouraged in certain wings and regions to get desired results from "tapped" individuals willing to 'play ball.' These recent events are now seen as only the tip of a looming iceberg. As former investigating officers and complainants step onward and upward, there is much more to be revealed. In these findings, those USAF and CAP officers exposed as having turned a blind eye to the evidence and will be shown to have been derelict in their duty."
VA news
    VA has added 22 additional U.S. Navy ships to the presumption of Agent Orange exposure list. And recently several Coast Guard vessels were also added.
    And an Essex County, N.J., man today admitted he defrauded the Department of Veterans Affairs of over $150,000 in disability benefits over a 13-year period, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced. Paul Tillson, 49, of Bloomfield, N.J., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi in Newark's federal court to an indictment charging him with embezzlement of funds from the United States. According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court: From July 1991 through January 1992, Tillson served as an administrative clerk in the U.S. Army in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. From November 2000 through July 2013, Tillson received $150,164 in disability benefits based on his claims of combat-related injuries. Through an investigation by the Department of Veterans Affairs, it was determined that Tillson did not serve in a combat function or engage in combat during his tour of duty overseas, which commenced after cease-fire terms had been accepted by Iraq. Tillson also acknowledged that he falsified information related to his alleged combat stressors. The charge of embezzlement of funds from the United States carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 16. U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of the Inspector General's Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey G. Hughes, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas S. Kearney, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.
U.S. Navy and Marine Corps news
    The U.S. and the Republic of Korea alliance took center stage as more than 3,000 guests joined both the U.S. and ROK Navy and Marine Corps forces in the commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the Incheon Amphibious Landing operation on Sept. 15. The landing, codenamed "Operation Chromite," occurred on Sept. 15, 1950, when General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, the supreme commander of United Nations forces, led more than 40,000 troops in the successful surprise amphibious assault.
    Fifty-six sailors from the Recruit Training Command (RTC) were promoted to the rank of chief petty officer at a ceremony held at the Blue Jacket Memorial Chapel in Great Lakes, Illinois, on Wednesday. Before the ceremony, the new chief petty officers made their final march together as chief petty officer selectees marched from the USS Yorktown to the Blue Jacket Memorial Chapel. Upon arrival, they were met by their family, friends, and over 300 staff members from the command, including Rear Adm. Stephen Evans, the commander of the Naval Service Training Command, Capt. Doug Pfeifle, the commanding officer of the RTC, and Command Master Chief Matthew Laing, the command master chief of the RTC, also participated.
    The Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) held its annual suicide awareness training at their headquarters in Virginia Beach, Va., on Sept. 14.
The training coincided with National Suicide Awareness Month and was held to remind NECC personnel of the importance of "One Small Act" to save a life.
    Navy Medicine West (NMW) hosted a ceremony commemorating the Navy Reserve's 100th anniversary, in San Diego, Calif., on Sept. 12. The ceremony honored the service of Navy reservists over the past century and highlighted contributions of past reservists in the medical field, while also touching on what the reserve is today and what it might become in the future. "For 100 years, reserve sailors have answered the nation's call," said keynote speaker Rear Adm. Victor C. Hall, deputy commander of Navy Medicine West. "Reserve sailors, since their establishment in 1915, have transformed numerous times to meet the needs of the nation."
    The amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47), along with the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), arrived at port Mina Salman, Bahrain, for a scheduled port visit on Sept. 14. This second port visit to Bahrain will provide sailors and Marines the opportunities for finishing up in-port repairs while providing them time to enjoy sightseeing, shopping and relaxation.
    The Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS)' Mine Warfare Training Center (MWTC), which manages and operates Mineman (MN) "A," "C," and "F" schools, recently hosted the MN Combat Systems Strategic Training Ratings Review (CSSTRR) onboard Naval Base Point Loma, Calif., Sept. 1-3. Eleven U.S. Navy commands and three ships, including the mine countermeasures ships USS Ardent (MCM 12), USS Champion (MCM 4) and USS Scout (MCM 8), attended to discuss current and future Mineman rating initiatives.
Representatives from fleet and training commands, including Afloat Training Group Pacific (ATGPAC) and Littoral Combat Ship Squadrons (LCSRON) 1 and 2, were present, as well as community mangers from the Navy Personnel Command. Major Mine Countermeasure staffs in attendance were the Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC), Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCMRON) 3 and Mine Countermeasures Division (MCMDIV) 31. The CSCS oversees 14 learning sites, including the MWTC, and is responsible for combat systems training across the ratings of fire controlman, operations specialist, gunner's mate, sonar technician- surface, mineman, interior communications electrician and electronics technician.
    Seven sailors celebrated career milestones as they donned their khakis, pinned on their anchors, and joined the esteemed ranks of chief petty officers (CPO) at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The process started one month prior when these seven first class petty officers were selected to undergo the chief training process called "CPO 365 Phase Two." Phase Two is designed to instill advanced leadership and networking skills in the new chiefs.
    The Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention (NADAP) Office is partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) by participating in National Take-Back Day, on Sept. 26. The event offers Navy personnel and their families a safe venue to turn in expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs to a local drop-off site anonymously and free of charge. Take-Back Days serve as an opportunity for all sailors to take a proactive role in the effort to prevent the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. In the previous nine Take-Back events from 2010-2014, 4,823,251 pounds, or 2,411 tons, of drugs were collected nationwide.
    Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo received a first-hand look at some of the technology used to train sailors during a visit to the Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) on board Naval Station Newport, R.I., on Sept. 14. During the visit to SWOS, she was accompanied by Capt. Dennis Boyer, the station's commanding officer. SWOS Executive Officer Capt. Kevin Meyers and Richard Callas, the SWOS' executive director, led the tour as the governor received a demonstration of the Full Mission Bridge trainer and a virtual tour of the Narragansett Bay using the system. The Navy uses the Full Mission Bridge simulator to train surface warfare officers in all aspects of shipboard navigation and seamanship with the capability to virtually recreate 77 ports worldwide.
    More than 85 Navy Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARC) from across the globe gathered for training at the Admiral Gooding Center on the Washington Navy Yard, in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 15. Maj. Gen. Camille M. Nichols, director of the Department of Defense's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (DOD SAPRO), provided opening remarks for the three-day training, and emphasized the importance of the program and the good work being done to help address this important issue.
    A Brazilian cardiologist, pediatrician and orthopedic surgeon are serving alongside joint-military members and volunteers from various non-governmental organizations (NGO) aboard the Military Sealift Command's hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) during Continuing Promise 2015 (CP 15). Brazilian Army Col. Roberto Batista, a cardiologist, and Lt. Cesar Cima, an orthopedic surgeon, embarked on board Comfort in April while Brazilian Navy Lt. Anabeatriz Reis, a pediatric intensive care physician, embarked the ship in May to serve on Comfort's six month humanitarian civic assistance mission.
Comfort's team is providing medical care, conducting community engagements and a veterinary seminar, and facilitating engineering projects in Haiti in support of Comfort's eleventh and final mission stop for CP-15. During this stop, Batista, who previously served in Haiti during earthquake relief efforts in 2010 at General Ba Cellar Base in Porto Principe, arranged for CP-15 leadership to tour the base and meet with members of the Brazilian Battalion.
    Vice Adm. Frank C. Pandolfe, has been nominated for reappointment to the rank of vice admiral and for assignment as assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Pandolfe is currently serving as director, Strategic Plans and Policy, J-5, the Joint Staff, and senior member, United States Delegation to the United Nations Military Staff Committee, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
    Rear Adm. Raquel C. Bono has been nominated for appointment to the rank of vice admiral and for assignment as director of the Defense Health Agency, Falls Church, Va. Bono is currently serving as director, National Capital Region Medical Directorate/chief of the Medical Corps, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md.
    Rear Adm. David C. Johnson has been nominated for appointment to the rank of vice admiral and for assignment as principal military deputy assistant to the Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development, and Acquisition), the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Johnson is currently serving as program the program executive officer for submarines, Washington Navy Yard, D.C.
    Rear Adm. Elizabeth L. Train has been nominated for appointment to the rank of vice admiral and for assignment as deputy chief of naval operations for Information Dominance, N2/N6, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations/director of Naval Intelligence, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Train is currently serving as director, National Maritime Intelligence Integration Office and commander, Office of Naval Intelligence, Washington, D.C.
    Republican U.S. senators pressed the Pentagon yesterday to flex U.S. military muscle by sailing Navy ships within 12 miles Chinese-claimed islands in the South China Sea.
    The U.S. Marine Corps will deploy its Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II strike fighters on combat sorties from Britain's new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth II.
    The U.S. armed forces took a giant leap as U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps will open all military jobs to women.
    And last month, helicopter number 153369 made the type's last public flight from Marine Squadron HMM-774, a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve unit.
Today in history
    On Sept. 18, 324 A.D., in the Battle of Chrysopolis: Constantine the Great gained control over Roman Empire. In 1851, the first-ever issue of The New York Times was published - it was started by Henry Jarvis Raymond and George Jones. In 1882, The Pacific Stock Exchange opened. In 1895, the Atlanta Compromise was delivered by Booker T. Washington. In 1919, eight Chicago White Sox teammates agreed to throw the 1919 World Series, causing a huge scandal; and women in the Netherlands were given the right to vote. In 1965, the TV comedy show Get Smart, starring Don Adams and produced by Mel Brooks, debuted. In 1975, the FBI's Most Wanted, Patty Hearst, was arrested after a year of being on the list. In 1977, the first photograph of the Earth and Moon together was taken by NASA's Voyager I. Read more.
The parting shots
    You can't fight city hall, and apparently also not your pastor. A small church in northeastern Georgia is defending its decision to revoke the membership of a 103-year-old woman who disagreed with the pastor. The Athens Banner-Herald reported today that the Union Grove Baptist Church, of Elberton, said Genora H. Biggs was displaying conduct detrimental to the congregation. The woman has been a church member for 92 years but disagreed with its pastor, Timothy Mattox, about worship practices that include laying hands on members. Biggs, a retired teacher, said such activities aren't Baptist but were introduced at the church by Mattox, one of her former students. "He is a holy sanctified minister, or so he says. We voted him in and we didn't know it until he was there. We are Baptists and that's what we want to stay," Biggs said. A statement from the Union Grove Church said fellow members decided to remove Biggs. "It was determined by the congregation during a church conference meeting, in which Mrs. Biggs was present at the time of the meeting, that the behavior of Mrs. Biggs and others was detrimental to the church at large and could no longer be allowed," according to the statement. Church members voted in August to revoke Biggs' membership, although she has continued attending services. Biggs was previously a church officer, and her father was one of its founders. She received a letter about her expulsion. "I was unhappy and shocked," said Biggs. "I joined the church when I was 11 years old." Also banned from the church was Biggs' grandson, Eliott Dye, a member for 30 years, and Kevin Hamm, an ordained minister who was also a member of the church. "I tried to talk with (Mattox) and he was just determined to say, 'You can't come over here, period,'" Hamm said.
    A federal appeals court ruling yesterday could lead to a new Supreme Court test of the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate: whether the administration of President Obama has done enough to accommodate the objections of religiously affiliated non-profit organizations such as universities, hospitals and charities. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, in St. Louis, Mo., said forcing two Missouri organizations to offer contraceptive coverage to employees - even indirectly - would violate the groups’ religious freedoms. The decision was at odds with that of every other appeals court that has considered the issue. Those courts have said the government’s compromise was adequate. Such splits among the courts usually compel the Supreme Court to settle the issue.
    And in today's top celebrity birthdays (Sept. 18): Rapper Leonard "LA Capone" Anderson (1996-2013); Cyclist Lance Armstrong is 44; Pop singer Frankie Avalon is 76; Actor Robert Blake is 82; R&B singer Towanda Braxton is 42; Soccer player Sol Campbell is 41; Dr. Ben Carson is 64; Country singer Taylor Dye is 20; Actor Barrett Foa is 38; Voice actress June Foray is 98; Actor Aiden Gallagher is 12; Actor James Gandolfini (1961-2013); Actress Greta Garbo (1905-1990); Tampa, Fla., radio talk show host and sports announcer Jack "Cracklin' Jack" Harris is 74; Model Keeley Hazell is 29; Basketball player Serge Ibaka is 26; TV reality star Danielle Jonas (Married to Jonas) is 29; 1980 Playboy Playmate of the Month and TV reality star Jeana Keough (The Real Housewives of Orange County) is 60; K-pop singer Megan Lee is 20; Rapper Amber Liu is 23; Actor James Marsden is 42; Singer, dancer and actor Asher Monroe is 27; TV reality star Jinkx Monsoon (RuPaul's Drag Race) is 27; Model Arizona Muse is 27; Latin pop singer Kevin Ortiz is 20; Actress Holly Robinson Peete is 51; College basketball coach Rick Pitino is 63; TV producer Dan Provenmire is 52; Baseball player Ryne Sandberg is 56; TV reality star Shannon Sarich (Bad Girls Club) is 28; Male model Patrick Schwarzenegger is 22; Reality TV star Angela Simmons is 28; Actress Jada Pinkett Smith is 44; Boxer David Rodriguez is 38; Actor Jason Sudeikis is 40; Actress Jennifer Tisdale is 34; Actress Aisha Tyler is 45; British pop singer and songwriter Jack Walton ("Stereo Kicks") is 19; Rock drummer Sean Waugarman ("Walk the Moon") is 28; and rapper, actor and TV show host Xzibit (Pimp My Ride) is 41.
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