US Air Force Chief Helps Young Airman Locate Family In Puerto Rico

By Marcus Weisgerber, Defense One, 23 October, 2017

 

Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff, speaks with airmen at Malmstrom Air Force Base. Photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam  

After going a month without hearing from his hurricane-stricken family, Sr. Airman Malcom Soto-Gonzalez got a hand from an unexpected source. 

LAUNCH CONTROL CENTER CHARLIE, Montana — About 60 miles southeast of Great Falls, just off a two-lane highway, Sr. Airman Malcom Soto-Gonzalez keeps watch over this small building tucked behind a hill on the treeless countryside.

Armed with an M4 carbine, Soto-Gonzalez and other “Defenders” in his Air Force security-forces squadron guard nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles in their underground silos, along with the airmen who — if given the order — would enter codes and turn switches to launch them.

On Friday evening, just before dinner, Gen. David Goldfein paid a visit to the single-story control center as part of a six-day tour of nuclear-related facilities across the country. As instructed, Soto-Gonzalez described his job to the Air Force chief of staff. But it was a piece of information at the beginning of the young airman’s briefing that caught the general’s attention: Soto is from Puerto Rico, the American island recently devastated by Hurricane Maria.

Goldfein asked Soto-Gonzalez how his family made out. “I don’t know, sir,” the airman responded.

That silenced the other 10 or so people in the room. Soto-Gonzalez explained that he had last talked to his family exactly one month ago — the night before Maria struck — and had been unable to reach them since.

When Goldfein asked if the airman was worried about his mother, father, and brother, Soto-Gonzalez said, yes, but “service before self.”

Goldfein pledged to find Soto-Gonzalez’s family.

“You think about this young airman out there guarding the nation’s nuclear enterprise and pulling 12-hour shifts in a Montana winter wondering if his family is okay in Puerto Rico,” Goldfein said the next morning. The general was flying back to Washington after spending the night at the launch control center. “On the one hand, it’s an incredible testament to the dedication of this next greatest generation serving. On the other, it’s a reemphasizing [of] the responsibilities of leaders to take care of those great airmen.

“He needs to know if his family is okay, and we’re working on that right now,” he said.

Later that night, Soto-Gonzalez received a call from a friend in the Puerto Rico Army National Guard. “The first thing he said was that he had orders to be at my house to get me in contact with my family,” Soto-Gonzalez said Monday, recounting the phone call. Then, he spoke to his mother for the first time in a month.

His family is okay, but like most of the island’s population, they still have no power.

Goldfein’s opportunity to help Soto-Gonzalez find his family came totally by chance. The general was not scheduled to stop at this particular launch center. But bad weather rolled in earlier that afternoon, preventing helicopters from flying him from Malmstrom Air Force Base to a different, more distant launch control center. Soto-Gonzalez’s launch center, about an hour away, was the backup plan.

“I am more than grateful for what [Gen. Goldfein] did, and I will never forget it,” Soto-Gonzalez said.

Original article:  https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fgo.afa.org%2Fe%2F285922%2Fate-family-puerto-rico-141993-%2Fbdjgn%2F135899503&data=02%7C01%7Cjprobst%40msn.com%7C76406bad5870496f07e608d51b6bfb28%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636445072940080553&sdata=JzpnE4qBexTO6ywjfDw5fkIZkpv7bVhs3LSb%2BFlUMeM%3D&reserved=0

 

SOC, a trusted global provider of integrated security and critical infrastructure solutions with a history of assuring safe and effective operations for U.S. Government and commercial customers, has several Protective Force positions that will be imminently available in the Nevada area with work expected to begin in the January 2018 timeframe. These positions are tailor-made for former and separating Security Forces personnel, and they are well-compensated with lots of overtime opportunities. There is also tremendous opportunity for career advancement at the Nevada complex as well as other worldwide SOC locations.

Interested parties should contact the below listed lead recruiter. Additional information is available through the below links and at the SOC website on “Guidance for Veterans.” It is recommended you contact the recruiter directly before doing an on-line application.

http://www.soc-usa.com/careers/guidance-for-veterans

 

Security Police Officer I - Basic Readiness
https://jobs-soc-usa.icims.com/jobs/3141/security-police-officer-i---basic-readiness/job

Security Police Officer I - Basic Readiness – CAS (Sergeant)
https://jobs-soc-usa.icims.com/jobs/3142/security-police-officer-i---basic-readiness-cas-%28sergeant%29/job

Security Police Officer III - Advanced Readiness
https://jobs-soc-usa.icims.com/jobs/3145/security-police-officer-iii---advanced-readiness/job

Security Police Officer III – (SRT) Lieutenant - Advanced Readiness
https://jobs-soc-usa.icims.com/jobs/3146/security-police-officer-iii-%28srt%29-lieutenant---advanced-readiness/job

Armorer
https://jobs-soc-usa.icims.com/jobs/3165/armorer/job

Instructor
https://jobs-soc-usa.icims.com/jobs/3149/instructor/job

Curriculum Development Specialist
https://jobs-soc-usa.icims.com/jobs/3164/curriculum-development-specialist/job

 

Jeff Windham
Recruiter II | Government Services |Mason & Hanger | SOC
Day & Zimmermann
Office 703.955.5767 | Mobile  571.612.0830
3975 Virginia Mallory Drive, Suite 200 | Chantilly, VA 20151
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Government Services
Mason & Hanger | SOC

Desert Defender Graduates First Joint Service Course

The Warfighter Word, September 2017

By Debbie Aragon, AFIMSC Public Affairs

FORT BLISS, Texas — Working side-byside, Sailors and Airmen built critical skill sets during the first joint-service security course at the Desert Defender Ground Combat Readiness Training Center recently.

 

Although Sailors have attended two Desert Defender classes in the past, this was the first time Air Force and Navy students completed the same course together, according to Lt. Col. Bernard Sprute, Center commander.

 

Desert Defender, the Air Force’s largest security forces readiness training center, focuses on fundamental base defense training prior to a deployment. The standard security operations curriculum experienced by the joint students focused on topics like improvised explosive device detection, mounted and dismounted patrols, counter insurgency operations, culture awareness, entry control point operations, vehicle roll-over response, as well as combat lifesaving skills.

 

Desert Defender provides “a great, fundamental baseline prior to deploying, regardless of where you’re going to deploy. Whether it be a gulf state, Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere in Africa,” the commander said.

 

Bringing U.S. military services together in a front-lines joint training environment is “huge,” Sprute added. The training offers a consistent baseline, “not just for our Air Force security forces Defenders but for those Navy security forces going down range to the very same countries (Airmen) go to and provide the same sort of base defense and ECP operations we do.” One of the Navy students in the joint course was Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Norberto, a master-at-arms, or military policeman, assigned to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.

 

“Training with the Air Force allows us to learn tactics, techniques and a skill set that we wouldn’t have access to in our branch of service,” said Norberto. “It also leads to an exchange of techniques and ideas that can be built upon each other and allows us to have a deeper understanding and appreciation for our brothers and sisters in uniform.”

 

In addition to the joint environment, Desert Defender provides a safe environment for students to learn what can inherently be dangerous skills while in a safe, controlled environment. Mistakes made during training are quickly corrected by cadre members who are always nearby.

 

“Making mistakes in training allows for us to identify and correct them before they can potentially lead to catastrophic incidents downrange. The importance of having a safe and controlled environment to practice these skills and make the mistakes beforehand can be measured by the lives it can save in the future,” Norberto said. In addition to the standard security operations course, the Center offers a wide variety of training on more than 1.1 million acres at Fort Bliss.

 

“Whether you’re talking about a base defense operations course … mounted or dismounted operations, we have convoy live-fire ranges here, we have real full distance firing ranges. We have restricted airspace that we can fly the RQ-11B Raven in … it’s a great place for Defenders to come through and receive realistic training … as realistic as we can make it,” Sprute said.

 

The RQ-11B Raven is a small, unmanned aircraft system that provides security forces with real-time, direct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and target information.

 

“(Fort Bliss) offers a very, very realistic and rigorous training environment whether you’re talking about the elevation, the mountains, the heat, the critters … you name it, very realistic training environment to what you’re going to see downrange,” the commander said.

 

Desert Defender is part of AFIMSC’s Air Force Security Forces Center, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

 

 

United Way launches Mission United Military and Veteran Recognition Program

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (September 25, 2017) – The Mission United Military and Veteran Recognition Program, part of United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County’s military information and referral program, is kicking off today to help military, veterans and their families identify under-recognized services and discounts available to veterans and military members.

Helping military members navigate the robust, but often complex, community support programs for the military, Mission United’s new recognition initiative links military members, past and present, with support programs while also recognizing military-friendly agencies, stores, businesses and companies that acknowledge those who serve.

As part of the recognition program’s launch, Mission United is contacting 607 stores and 135 agencies offering either a military/veteran discount or military/veteran-specific program.

Participating local partners offering military services and discounts can be easily identified by a Mission United window decal displayed on the front door. Active duty, reservists, National Guard, veterans and their families will know that their service is appreciated and recognized by the facility displaying the Mission United logo.

“United Way became a MISSION UNITED partner because we saw a population in Military City USA that has a very specific set of challenges and needs,” said Andrew Sasseville, Senior Vice President of Community Services and Accountability for United Way and a retired Air Force officer. “Military members and veterans have been trained not to ask for help, so when they do, the situation is many times close to critical. MISSION UNITED makes the calls to address the need before the avalanche of other problems start.”

“Despite the amazing generosity of this great city, the true challenge is meeting the many requests for help with basic needs; whether it’s rent or utility assistance, or food, there is never enough,” said Sasseville. “By helping military and veterans save a few dollars, while at the same time giving those stores and agencies that go above and beyond to help military and veterans get the recognition they deserve, it is a win/win for all,” he added.

Utilizing social media, monthly newsletters, outreach events, relationships with the military instillations, and other partners, Mission United will bring attention to the agencies/stores/companies that “give that little bit extra” to military and veteran customers and clients. Mission United will also publish a booklet listing those agencies/stores/companies participating in the recognition program.

“It’s a pleasure to be part of the MISSION UNITED family,” said Travis Pearson, CEO of Family Endeavors. We are proud to display the logo on our facility so that veterans and military families know we are here to serve them.”

Mission United is staffed by three veterans, referred to as Military Navigators, who assist fellow veteran and military families in navigating the maze of health and human service programs available in the San Antonio area.

Established in 2015, Mission United handled over 10,000 calls in 2016 from active duty service members, reservists, veterans and their families. In addition, to help address the needs of vulnerable military families with children, United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County was awarded a five-year Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Prevention and Early Intervention Division. The Military Families and Veterans Prevention Program (MFVPP) grant provides a more complete offering of wrap-around support services. With over 100 families served in the first five months, the MFVPP grant is providing much needed support to our military and veteran community.

Military members call 2-1-1, a 24/7/365 confidential phone service dedicated to connecting people with community, health, and disaster services. Callers talk to a highly-trained call specialist who can navigate the complex system and connect callers to the best military or veteran resources, discounts, and benefit information, such as behavioral health, education and employment, and financial assistance.

For more information, please email Mission United at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.unitedwaysatx.org/mission-united.

Air Force’s Surprise JLTV Buy in FY18 Could Be Start of Larger Procurement Effort

By: Valerie Insinna, Defense News, 4 August 2017

A Humvee, left, and a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle stand on display for size comparison at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., on May 2, 2017. Senior leaders from U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command test drove the vehicle through one of Fort Eustis’ training areas to experience the new suspension and overall feel of the vehicle. (Staff Sgt. Teresa J. Cleveland/U.S. Air Force)

Service wants to replace 3,270-vehicle Humvee inventory

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force has quietly inserted itself into the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program with a request of 140 units in fiscal 2018, but the service is poised to buy hundreds — and perhaps even thousands — more vehicles if it can find the funding in future years.

Although budget documents show no further procurement planned for FY19 through FY22, the Air Force does not intend to see its JLTV acquisition end in FY18. The service wants to replace its entire 3,270-unit Humvee inventory, although the details are fuzzy on how much of the fleet can be recapitalized and when, Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews wrote in response to emailed questions from Defense News.

“We would like to eventually phase out the entire High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicles fleet with the newer vehicles,” she said, using an alternative name for the Humvee. “We are still formalizing our fleet management strategy of when we will acquire all of our hoped-for new vehicles and to what units they will go and in what order.”

The JLTV program was spearheaded by the Army and Marine Corps, which plan to buy a whopping 49,099 and 5,500 vehicles, respectively. The selection of Oshkosh as the JLTV manufacturer in 2015 was made with much fanfare, as the contract is the services’ largest vehicle program in decades.

In contrast, the Air Force’s decision to enter the program played out almost entirely behind the scenes. This January, Defense News broke the story that service officials were interested in purchasing the JLTV for security personnel that defend its missile launch facilities — although McAndrews stated that the service began looking for alternatives to replace the Humvee in 2012.

Air Force representatives had even traveled to Marine Corps Base Quantico last December for demonstrations and briefings before posting a request for information on tactical vehicles later that month.

“We ascertained the JLTV was the best fit for us because we rely on the expertise of the Army and Marines when it comes to acquiring tactical vehicles,” McAndrews explained, adding that the service did not conduct any independent testing.

The Air Force then requested $52.5 million in FY18 to procure 140 JLTVs. Of that sum, it plans to buy 46 utility variants (a two-seat version with a wide bed like a pickup truck); 48 general-purpose variants, which are the standard four-seat version; and 46 heavy-gun carrier variants, which have space for a gunner.

Those vehicles will be operated by Air Force security forces, explosive ordnance disposal teams, pararescue and personnel recovery units, tactical air control party teams, and special tactics forces, McAndrews stated.

The Air Force plans to begin fielding the JLTV in FY19, when full-rate production begins. Oshkosh spokeswoman Alexandra Hittle told Defense News that the company has the capability to meet the Air Force’s emerging demand, as well as that of the Army and Marine Corps.

“Additional buys will not affect USMC and Army deliveries,” she said. “Oshkosh stands ready to produce JLTVs for all services to ensure all of our troops receive the next-generation equipment they need to successfully complete their missions.”

Although the Air Force operates fewer Humvees than the Army and Marine Corps, its vehicles are experiencing similar problems in terms of performance and maintainability. The average age of the fleet is 10 years old, and users have commented on the Humvee’s lack of power and agility as more and more armor has been loaded onto the vehicles, McAndrews explained.

A few specific maintenance problems have also cropped up, particularly with vehicles operated in the hot temperatures of the Middle East.

“The biggest challenge with the HMMWV fleet is the injector pumps for vehicles in the Central Command area of responsibility, which require more frequent replacement due to the environment and operating them in high temperatures for long periods of time,” McAndrews stated. “A secondary issue is the braking system for up-armored vehicles. The added weight from the up-armor puts added strain on the brake pad, again necessitating more frequent maintenance.”

Make a Difference!  Donate.

Join Us.

32nd National Meeting
Sacramento, CA
23-26 August 2018

Room Cutoff 28 July 2018!!!

Holiday Inn Downtown
300 J Street Sacramento, CA
1-800-HOLIDAY (465-4329)
Request Group Code AAF
AFSFA reservations link
goo.gl/gD7bFg

Visitors Bureau
http://goo.gl/AR9xyS

33rd National Meeting
San Antonio, TX
26-29 September 2019