JBSA-Lackland, USPS San Antonio Honor Military Working Dogs

By Vicki Stein, AFIMSC Public Affairs, 15 August 2019

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Members of the Security Forces community and the U.S. Postal Service gathered at the Military Working Dog Monument here Aug. 15 for a local ceremony to unveil the new U.S. Postal Service MWD forever stamp.

 

Headquarters USPS officially unveiled the stamp at the American Philatelic Society’s 133rd annual convention Aug. 1, in Omaha, Nebraska.

 

The Air Force Security Forces Center Air Force MWD Program Manager and trustee for the monument, Master Sgt. Steven Kaun, opened the ceremony saying the location was a fitting place since it was a historical site where MWD teams gather to show their respect and honor each other.

 

 

Kaun then introduced Robert D. Carr, Jr. the 28th Postmaster of San Antonio. Carr, a former Army Ranger who spent 30 years in the service, said the stamp collection included the four most common breeds of MWDs — the German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherd.

 

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Steven Kaun (left), USAF Military Working Dog program manager, Maj. Matthew Kowalski, 341st Training Squadron commander, and Robert Carr, Post Master of San Antonio, pose for a photo during the Military Working Dog Stamp ceremony Aug. 15, 2019, at Joint Base San Antonio-Medina Annex, Texas. The stamp honors dogs who have served in the U.S. armed forces since the U.S. Army created the War Dog Program K-9 Corps and began training man’s best friend in March 1942. (U.S. Air Force photo by Sarayuth Pinthong)

 

“It was my privilege to be in the 82nd Airborne in the Ranger battalion to work alongside the dog handlers and their military working dogs and see them in action in real world environments,” Carr said. “It’s amazing what these animals can do.”

 

The stamp honors dogs who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces over the past century, starting in World War I when dogs were originally enlisted by the Quartermaster Corps, and a diversity of breeds was accepted.

 

Carr said the idea of working dogs went even further back to the founding of our country and noted there’s a memo from the first Postmaster General Benjamin Franklin in the Postal Headquarters where Franklin recommended using dogs in the Armed Forces in the War of Independence because they could confound the enemy and cause distraction.

 

Maj. Matthew Kowalski, 341st Training Squadron commander, joined Carr and Kaun to unveil the Forever MWD stamp to the applause and barking of attendees, which included current MWDs and puppies from the Defense Department Breeding Program.

The DOD Military Working Dog program, the world’s largest training center for military dogs and handlers, has been based at JBSA-Lackland since 1958. The DOD Military Working Dog Veterinary Service and the Holland Working Dog Hospital, the largest for military working dogs, are also located on JBSA-Lackland.

 

Working with their handlers, military working dogs are called upon to deter and detect. They are trained in narcotics, explosives and intruder detection, and those duties often place them in harm’s way.

 

The Military Working Dog Teams National Monument is a U.S. National Monument that represents all handlers, dogs and veterinary support from all military service branches. The monument grounds include a 3,000 square foot granite plaza, granite pedestals, granite history wall, granite benches and water fountain. The granite pedestals have large bronze statues of dogs and handlers. One of the inscriptions reads: “Dedicated to all U.S. Military Working Dog Handlers and their beloved dogs who defend America from harm, defeat the enemy, and save lives.”

 

American Lake Veteran’s Golf Course

By: Capt (ret) David Van Pay

As an avid golfer, I’ve played nearly all the public golf courses in western Washington. One of the neat courses I’ve played is the American Lake Veteran’s Golf course, Lakewood, WA. The front nine holes is old school. Wide open fairways with tiny greens. The back nine was designed and built by Jack Nicklaus a couple years ago. The back nine plays like a resort course that holds your attention on every shot. The most amazing part of this story is the mission and the all-volunteer staff who manage and operate the course for its Veteran patrons.

The mission of the American Lake Veterans Golf Course is to provide affordable services to veterans, active members of the armed forces and their legal dependents. Green fees for 18 holes of golf are $15. The annual fee is $200. Fees are waived for disabled and elderly veterans. Other services with no fees include golf lessons, mobility impaired golf carts and golf equipment donated by the public. Donated used clubs are refurbished and given to interested veterans. Last year, they issued over 1600 sets of clubs to local veterans.

Programs and events include Blind Rehab training, golf equipment and golf tournaments for the blind. They also organize “Down Range” reunion for disabled golfers, wounded warrior tournaments VA hospital in-patient picnics and programs for homeless veterans. They also gather Christmas presents for VA Hospital in-patients.

All these programs and the care and maintenance of the golf course are managed by 230 dedicated volunteers. There are no paid employees. A volunteer kitchen staff purchases and prepares food enjoyed by golfers playing in various tournaments throughout the year. Other food service programs include food for VA Hospital in-patients and homeless veterans and their dependents.

Since 2004, Friends of ALVGC have provided over $7 million worth of improvements to the golf course, including buildings, a $1.4 million Rehab Learning Center which includes a golf simulator. They also installed a $600K irrigation system and purchased 12 mobility impaired golf carts. They also obtained 72 new golf carts through donations from local golf courses, service clubs and private people.

The course is the only ADA compatible golf course in the country and has equipment and facilities to assist disabled veterans learn and enjoy the game of golf. The “Friends” are currently raising funds to extensively modify the old front nine holes to better accommodate mobility impaired golf carts and improve grounds maintenance.

In May 2017, the VA signed over the golf course to the Friends of ALVGC. The group continues to maintain the golf course and equipment and programs in an exceptional fashion. Truly a labor of love for this amazing group of veteran volunteers.

The Evergreen-Ron Blatman Chapter recently donated a set of golf club to the “Friends.” In turn, they will pass the clubs onto a needy veteran who has an interest in playing golf.

If you or your chapter has an interest or want more information, check out their “Friends” on their website at www.veterangolf.org.

IDEAS FOR A BUG OUT BAG

By Rick Fulton , (Part 1 of a 2 part series)

A bug out bag in the car trunk or bedroom closet is a first priority kind of grab and go kit, for immediate use the first two days of a disaster, and then as a building block for a longer period, if needed.

What should be in a bug out bag? The very first item is an inventory list inside, right on top. You immediately know what you have to work with.

Be the injury major or minor, you need a first aid kit in a plastic box which is sufficient to the needs of addressing anything that is immediately life-threatening. Commercially available kits may need to be somewhat supplemented with additional triangular bandages, a thorough first aid handbook and a large nail clipper

Disposable space blankets -- Small flashlight with extra batteries -- Zip lock bags

Sealed food bars -- Plastic ponchos -- Gel type ballpoint pens and small notebook

Extra money -- Wire saw (good for creating small pile of tender to light fires)

Multi tool -- Fire starter, plus lighter or storm proof matches kept in a plastic container

100 foot of para cord -- Blue plastic tarp for shelter -- Required daily medications

Survival whistle -- Life Straw water filter to drink from puddles (be careful with this)

Roll of duct tape -- Plastic trash sacks (Many purposes shelter or ground cloth)

Cell phone/charger -- Portable radio -- Compass -- Emergency blankets (disposable)

Soap/Sanitizing wipes -- Playing cards -- Folding shovel -- Collapsible hiking pole

Photo identification card for each person. Taped to it is a piece of paper, should be laminated, which has blood type and next of kin information, plus the home address.

A plastic bottle or container for fire lighting items such as disposable lighters or matches which can double as water bottle.

A firearm? Very much a personal choice, as long as you are familiar and comfortable with being armed. With modern ammunition now available, even a .22 caliber pistol can be adequate for snakes, protection against dogs and other similar-sized wildlife, and for signaling. There is room in the bag for fifty or more shells, plus what is in the loaded weapon. Keep the gun in a belt holster, and don't take it out unless it is for a last resort situation.

All these things fit in a day pack. Packs come in a variety of sizes and prices, but are generally inexpensive. Check and make sure you can carry it on your back. The situation might require you to make a hike. Remember, not everything goes inside the bag. A rolled tarp can be tied to the handle, and most bags have places for water bottles.

This list is intended as a starting point for a bug out bag, concerning what fits best for your local circumstances. You can certainly add as you believe is warranted, but just remember weight, and also remember this is intended to keep you and your family or group going for just a couple days. After that, there will be help coming to you.

Final point: Always know where the bug out bag is stored, and every now and then, use the inventory list, and give it a quick check. If you need it, above all else, keep the faith.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The author, an AFSFA member, was part of the Hurricane Katrina recovery mission in southern Mississippi for five months, immediately after the storm came ashore.

An Air Force first — a Sikh in beard and turban graduates at Lackland

Airman 1st Class Sunjit Singh Rathour stood out in the crowd as he graduated Thursday from Security Forces training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

It was inevitable, given that he was the only airman in Team 36 wearing a beard and a turban as he crossed the stage.

“To be honest, it went in the blink of an eye,” he told reporters. “It felt amazing.”

To read more: https://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/An-Air-Force-first-a-Sikh-in-beard-and-turban-14471785.php

 

CSAF Charts Air Force Defender Way Forward in the Year of Integrate Base Defense
By Alex Delgado, 502 ABW Public Affairs / Published October 02, 2019

 

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein addresses Security Forces Defenders, past and present, at the 33rd Air Force Security Forces Association national meeting banquet in San Antonio 28 Sept 2019, in San Antonio, Texas.

 

Joint Base San Antonio, Texas - Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein discussed the Air Force’s transition from Year of the Defender to Year of Integrated Base Defense, focusing on how elite Defenders fit into a layered defensive network, in a speech at the 33rd National Meeting of the Air Force Security Forces Association in San Antonio Sept. 28.

 

Goldfein began by speaking about the beret worn by Air Force Defenders. “That beret represents those who are the best in the world at integrated base defense,” he said. “Elite Defenders…wearers of that beret guard our nation’s treasures and it is our sacred duty to protect them.”

 

Goldfein announced The Year of the Defender a year ago, “which led to the Reconstitute Defender Initiative,” he said.

 

But it was a serious security incident at Royal Air Field Mildenhall, England, where an individual was able to drive onto the flight line and ram into an aircraft before he was apprehended, that got the program moving.

 

“A challenge was turned into an opportunity,” said Goldfein. “We took a good hard look at ourselves in the mirror and determined that we had gone for way too many years without investing in our elite Defenders as a foundation of who we are as a globally engaged service.”

 

“So we re-focused on proficiency and small unit tactics,” he added. “We increased our investment in our Defenders with $180 million in new equipment just last year.”

 

RDI encompassed new training, new tactics, techniques and procedures, and a renewed expeditionary focus.

 

“We’ve made great progress, but we have miles to go,” said Goldfein. “And I will commit to you that we are not going to take our foot off the gas.”

 

Goldfein referenced the annual Wing Commander Conference he recently hosted, where he engaged with 280 warriors for two days talking about the business of warfighting and leadership.

 

There, Goldfein shared his vision where an Alpha Warrior Operational (physical) fitness program will be directly associated with the tough business of base defense, along with daily weapons marksmanship training. “I’m not talking about once or twice a year,” he said. “I’m talking about every day, because confidence in our primary weapons comes from repetition.”

 

Goldfein went on to say that building state of the art ranges at each base would be unattainable, but that there may be answers in being creative and expeditionary at home.

 

He referenced a shoot house built by the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron at Hulburt Field, Fla., which was built from steel and plywood for about $18,000, and is used daily with live rounds.

 

“We have got to get creative to get our Defenders more trigger time and work on proficiency and competence with their weapons,” said Goldfein. “And I don’t want you to wait for me to move out on this; as I told the wing commanders; I trust you, go long, I’ve got your back.”

 

Goldfein went on to emphasize the importance of his message. “We’ve got to be laser focused on combat proficiency because the threat is outside the wire right now as we sit here,” he said. “They are sizing us up, looking for weaknesses in our lines; what we want them to determine is that we are just too hard a target to penetrate.

 

“I want them to see the beret and know that they are up against the best and are doomed to fail,” he added.

 

“So we’re going to build on our progress from The Year of the Defender to focus on how elite Defenders fit into a layered defensive network,” he said. Our Defenders should be looking at the entire integrated base defense network that included sensors well beyond that fence line to get a sense of the operational environment.”

 

“Every Defender should be connected; A walking server, a node in a network that senses and shares data and communications at the speed of relevance against the threat.”

 

Goldfein went on to define what some current and future threats look like. “So now it’s time to prepare for the next attack that will likely include cyber operations, hybrid warfare, Special Forces and enemy drones.”

 

“It’s your creativity, your ingenuity, your innovations and your courage that are going to help us prepare for that fight,” he added.

 

“This is one thing I can look at each and every one of you in the eye tonight with absolute clarity, we have from this moment until that fight starts to get our forces ready,” he said. “And we should treat every week as the last week of peace, and an absolute blessing.”

 

Goldfein closed by addressing Defenders in the audience. “So to our Defender team here tonight past and present, and your justifiably proud families,” he said. “What an honor it is for me to be part of this special evening, I could not be prouder to serve with each of you as your chief when our country needs us most.”

 

Make a Difference!  Donate.

Join Us.

34th National Meeting
Dayton, OH
23-27 September 2020
Hotel reservation link
coming in February 2020

35th National Meeting
Nashville, TN
17-22 August 2021