Air Force Week in Photos
This week's photos feature Airmen from around the globe involved in activities supporting expeditionary operations and defending America. This weekly feature showcases the men and women of the Air Force.

Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:16:00 GMT
Then and now: Air Force basic military training
No two careers are identical, but for enlisted Airmen, past and present, there is one place that connects us all -- basic military training.   For the past 67 years, many have entered into what is now known as Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland, Texas, only to be transformed into Airmen of the world’s greatest Air Force; carrying with them the core values of integrity, service and excellence.

Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:17:00 GMT
Women’s legacy parallels Air Force history
As we celebrate the Air Force’s 67th birthday, we talk of how far we’ve come and look ahead to what the future holds, but it’s just as important to look at where we’ve been. The story of women in the military, specifically the Air Force, parallels that of the Air Force itself. In fact, for women pilots and early women Airmen, their history dates back five years before the Air Force officially became a separate service.

Thu, 18 Sep 2014 14:16:00 GMT
Defense leader praises Air Force as backbone of global reach
The Air Force's dominance in the skies, space and cyberspace is the backbone of the military's global reach and U.S. commitments around the world, a senior Defense Department official said Sept. 17.

Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:17:00 GMT
CMSAF outlines future force improvements
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody discussed the force’s way forward at the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition here Sept. 17.

Wed, 17 Sep 2014 20:03:03 GMT
67 plus years of airpower
"We didn't become the world's greatest Air Force by accident," said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody. "We got here through 67 years of American Airmen breaking new terrain and lifting us to a higher level. We should celebrate that innovation this year...

Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:59:00 GMT
AF to change instructions for oaths
The Air Force has instructed force support offices across the service to allow both enlisted members and officers to omit the words “So help me God” from enlistment and officer appointment oaths if an Airman chooses.

Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:30:56 GMT
Air Force Association honors 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year
The Air Force recognized its 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year at a gala hosted by the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition here Sept. 15.

Wed, 17 Sep 2014 01:59:00 GMT
Top Airman discusses Air Force future
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III spoke about the importance of embracing change and creating an adaptive Air Force at the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition, Sept. 16.

Wed, 17 Sep 2014 00:50:00 GMT
American Airmen video contest winner announced at AFA
The American Airmen Video Contest is over and the votes are in, the winner of the video contest is Air Mobility Command finalist Tech. Sgt. Brian Williams, 87th Security Forces Squadron at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, his video received 1,814 votes.

Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:22:00 GMT
Coins, careers and lessons learned: An Airman’s journey to knowing it all
By Senior Airman R. Alex Durbin 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs For me, September marks a bittersweet time of year. As the summer and the memories it brought fade, replaced with the brisk winds of change, I look forward to my Air Force anniversary and back on how far I’ve come in the past […]

By Senior Airman R. Alex Durbin
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

For me, September marks a bittersweet time of year. As the summer and the memories it brought fade, replaced with the brisk winds of change, I look forward to my Air Force anniversary and back on how far I’ve come in the past three years. With my annual reflection also comes a different anniversary, the Air Force birthday.111125-F-XY001-001

As I remember the highs and lows and the leaves change color in nature’s last blaze of glory, I am astonished how the present is different from the future I imagined three short years ago on the parade grounds of Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, in my pristine dress uniform and shaved head under the crisp, blue flight cap carefully slanted at the perfect angle.

I remember racing thoughts of mingled pride, relief and impending fear as I watched my Military Training Instructor move down Flight 005′s formation, extending a coin-laden hand to each newly minted Airman, welcoming them to his Air Force with a handshake and a few soft-spoken words.

When my MTI stopped and turned to me with a sharp, practiced movement, I felt my throat tighten and the butterflies in the pit of my stomach awake and take flight. I raised my hand to meet his firm grasp, and felt the hard, metallic coin for the first time. After he uttered his whispered welcome, which I have long since forgotten, I gripped the coin tightly and I returned my arm to the proper position, blending back into the still, blue sea of new Airmen.

After the ceremony concluded, I embraced my family for the first time in months and departed the parade grounds. My thoughts drifted back the round, unassuming coin tucked away in my wallet. As my family happily chattered about the base, their hotel room and the things I missed while away, I inspected the smooth edges and raised text of the blue and gold coin. I can remember with crystalline clarity my singular thought as I held the coin between my thumb and index finger.

This small piece of shaped metal, roughly the size a half dollar, was a symbol of everything I worked for in the past weeks. The hours spent sitting hunched over my bed folding, unfolding and refolding my clothes to exact specifications and perfect edges. The endless sound of boots rhythmically beating the ground in unison as 60 trainees marched to our MTI’s booming voice calling “One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four,” in a methodical cadence. The early mornings of more than 500 trainees running in circles, still rubbing the sleep from their eyes as the sun rose over the Texas horizon, smeared with brilliant streaks of gold and pink.

All the sweat and hard work led to this. The coin, I thought, was a memento to remind myself I endured and prevailed.

And for me in that moment, it was enough.

A few blurred days later, I awoke long before the sun and boarded a Boeing 747 bound for Fort Meade, Maryland, and the Defense Information School for journalism training, confident I learned everything I needed to know about the Air Force.

I quickly found out I was wrong.

After I landed at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, I, along with my fellow Airmen bound for DINFOS, collected our belongings and walked to the curbside pick-up area at a brisk pace common of recent BMT graduates.

As we exited the airport through a sliding glass door, I was met with the overwhelming sound of slamming car doors, family greetings and the grinding sound of plastic wheels on concrete mixed with the smell of engine exhaust, reminding me I was no longer in the quiet, confined training dormitories at Lackland.

The door closed behind me with a soft whoosh and a call from 20 feet down the road cut through the chaos. I turned to see a woman in a familiar blue dress uniform waving. As I approached, I saw the name “Price’ stamped in white letters on the rectangular blue name tag clipped to her pale blue shirt and staff sergeant chevrons sewn to each sleeve.

She introduced herself as one of our three Military Training Leaders and instructed us to load our luggage into the van parked behind her. My fellow Airmen and I rushed to accomplish the order, stuffing our belongings into the vehicle with haste.

Staff Sgt. Price gave a small, half smile and told the group to stop in a firm, but compassionate tone. “Slow down. You won’t fit everything in there if you rush.”

We waited for the rim shot or punchline. After weeks of BMT, it was almost as if the concept was alien in nature. After a second or two of waiting, we caught ourselves and carefully organized the luggage and piled into the van.

After a 30 minute drive of dodging midday Baltimore traffic, we arrived at Fort Meade and parked in front of the Air Force Training Detachment building. As we gathered our bags, I felt the chilly Maryland air whip at my cheeks and rustle the branches of tall pine trees, a stark departure from the warm fall temperatures and desert plants of South Texas.

Staff Sgt. Price showed each of us to our rooms and told us to unpack our things. While I settled into my new home on the second floor of the building, I hung my uniforms carefully and haphazardly stacked the rest of my belongings into the drawers beneath my armoire, then sat on my bed, unsure what to do with myself.

The problem was quickly remedied.

By day, I attended the Basic Public Affairs Course, learning everything I needed to become a competent, productive public affairs specialist. By night, I returned to the detachment, learning how to become a competent, productive Airman. The weeks slid by quickly as I fell into the routine. Formation, march, school, formation, march, exercise, dinner, bed. Rinse. Repeat.

The browns and oranges of fall turned to the whites and grays of winter, then the rebirth of spring brought the moment I anxiously awaited — graduation.

The school’s atrium was well lit from the March sun shining through the room’s ceiling-high windows as I entered in my dress uniform, freshly checked and rechecked for accuracy in front of the bathroom mirror. Nervously, I took my place next to my classmates and the ceremony began.

An Air Force senior noncommissioned officer spoke for a few moments on the meaning of the public affairs occupational badge I had clutched in my left hand, relfecting the sunlight back at me. As he described the meaning of each part, I traced the lightning bolt, quill and globe with my finger, smudging the polished metal.

My thoughts drifted back to the small blue and gold coin I inspected with the same intensity just a few months before. I realized it lay forgotten in the back corner of my armoire and felt a twinge of shame. I pushed the thought from my mind and it left as fast as it came as I snapped my attention back the ceremony.

The rest of the day was a blur of congratulations and celebration, my newly acquired badge proudly displayed on my dress coat.

The next day, I departed the detachment after a few bittersweet goodbyes and promises to stay in touch. I filled the back seat of my worn sedan and pulled out of the detachment’s parking lot, bound for Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. I slowed to a stop and took one last long look at my surrogate home. I thought of the Airmen still sleeping in their beds recharging and relaxing before the unending routine began again on Monday. Formation, march, school, formation, march, exercise, dinner, bed.

I put my car in gear and left the detachment in my rearview mirror as the sun rose ahead of me.

I arrived at Langley five hours later, the smell of salt water drifting on the gentle wind. After moving my things from my car to my room, I was gripped with excitement and anticipation. I was now an official public affairs Airman, and was ready to take the world by storm. After all, I was a DINFOS graduate; I scoffed at misplaced commas and could write a news story in my sleep! What else could I possibly need?

It should come as no surprise I was wrong again.

The realization that all of the knowledge I worked tirelessly to obtain was just the baseline came as a shock. But surely in a few years of on-the-job experience I would know everything I could possibly need, I thought once the idea sank in.


Now, nearly three years later, I look back at the young Airman I once was and laugh. Upon reflecting on the days and months and years of working and learning, I realized I’ve learned one core underlying truth: I don’t know everything, and that’s okay.

I’ve discovered in my short time as an Airman that it is impossible to know everything, but those two days in September remind me there is a giant world of Airmen to protect my weaknesses, just as I can protect their’s in return. The raised numerals on my Airman’s coin, which read 1947, remind me that millions of young men and women have endured what I have endured, prevailed where I prevailed and realized they too did not have all of the answers. Although I don’t know everything, I can say with certainty that together we can accomplish anything.

But then again, maybe in three more years, I’ll have the answers.

Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:21:45 +0000
Air Force Week in Photos
This week's photos feature Airmen from around the globe involved in activities supporting expeditionary operations and defending America. This weekly feature showcases the men and women of the Air Force.

Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:16:00 GMT
Air Force Week in Photos
This week's photos feature Airmen from around the globe involved in activities supporting expeditionary operations and defending America. This weekly feature showcases the men and women of the Air Force.

Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:16:41 GMT
Air Force Week in Photos
This week's photos feature Airmen from around the globe involved in activities supporting expeditionary operations and defending America. This weekly feature showcases the men and women of the Air Force.

Fri, 05 Sep 2014 15:42:00 GMT
Air Force Week in Photos
This week's photos feature Airmen from around the globe involved in activities supporting expeditionary operations and defending America. This weekly feature showcases the men and women of the Air Force.

Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:51:15 GMT
Air Force Week in Photos
This week's photos feature Airmen from around the globe involved in activities supporting expeditionary operations and defending America. This weekly feature showcases the men and women of the Air Force.

Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:45:34 GMT
RAF Alconbury hosts multi-national POW/MIA remembrance run

It was his 23rd mission - flying directly over Hanoi, North Vietnam, Oct. 26, 1967. Everything was fine until "a Russian missile the size of a telephone pole came up."

The sky was full of them, the U.S. Navy pilot said. It blew the right wing off his Douglas A-4 Skyhawk and sent him into an uncontrollable, downward spiral.

Frantically, the pilot pulled the ejection handle and was instantly knocked unconscious by the force at which he was thrown from the aircraft. Although he didn't realize it at the time, he had suffered a broken leg and two broken arms. His seemingly lifeless body hung by the strings of his parachute like a marionette as he slowly descended toward the Western Lake of Hanoi - extremely hostile territory.
Mon, 22 Sep 2014 09:17:38 EST
Are you ACE'ing your wingmen?

September is when the U.S. observes Suicide Prevention Month and military members could be more at risk for suicide than others.

Long deployments far away from loved ones, leaving family behind, a new home and way of life, long work hours and the sights of a deployed location could all have an effect on an Airman.

The chaplains are here to provide any military member with advice, or they're just someone to listen.

"Everyone is entitled to feel down or be in a funk for a period of time due to personal hardships or circumstances. However, when that funk turns into thoughts of suicide or prolonged depression, it's important to get help," said Maj. Randy Croft, 100th Air Refueling Wing deputy chaplain. "The Air Force offers numerous agencies of care (i.e. mental health, psychologists, counselors and chaplains) for Airmen dealing with suicidal ideations, but the first line of intervention is almost always a friend or co-worker."
Mon, 22 Sep 2014 06:12:00 EST
Air Advisors Branch reaches new level

The 435th Air Ground Operations Wing's Air Advisor Branch executed five missions at once, the most it has ever done in one week, Sept. 15-19 in three NATO countries.

The Air Advisor Branch is reaching out to three partner countries with five different missions traveling to learn and develop from each other in order to allow streamlined work and partnership in the future. The Air Advisor Branch has executed more than 70 missions across Europe and Africa since formed in 2012. Until recently the average number of mission in a single week had been two.
Mon, 22 Sep 2014 04:50:01 EST
Mobility Squadrons 'Round Up' top performers

The 726th Air Mobility Squadron, an Air Mobility Command tenant unit, hosted the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing Round Up on Spangdahlem Air Base, pitting several AMC squadrons in U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa against one another in one location Sept. 15-16, 2014.

"The round up is an event that we usually do every two years, where we come together as maintenance and aerial port teams to run challenge events in our career field," said  U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Wilbur George, 726th AMS aircraft services superintendent and native of Clarksville, Tennessee. "The round up is compiled of a challenge course to see which teams are the best."
Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:19:12 EST
Kansas Coyotes refuel Spangdahlem fighters

At more than 28,000 feet above ground, a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker and its crew assigned to the 117th Air Refueling Squadron in Topeka, Kansas, executed an aerial refueling mission with 52nd Fighter Wing F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft Sept. 18 at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

Aerial refueling is the process of transferring fuel from one aircraft to another during flight to allow aircraft to be airborne longer, extending its range and mission capabilities.

"The F-16 usually has a mission time of about an hour to an hour and a half," said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Andrew J. Taylor, a 52nd FW F-16 pilot. "Being able to use the tankers and refuel in the air is awesome for us. It allows us to do longer missions. We can set up a scenario, go fight and then go get fuel in the air to go back and fight again."
Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:19:00 EST
The mark of a leader: Aviano discusses 'servant leadership'

Commanders, officers, chiefs and first sergeants came together for a leadership development seminar, Sept. 15, as part of a 3-hour lecture on servant leadership.

Taught by internationally recognized author, James Hunter, the seminar focused on practices and principles that encompass what it means to lead by the "neck up."

"The whole challenge of leadership is if you can get people from the neck up; can you get the hearts, minds, spirits, creativity and excellence of those around you," said Hunter. "That's what leadership is all about, if you can develop the skill to inspire and influence people to excellence."
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 11:24:23 EST
SACEUR dedicates new NIFC building

During a ceremony at RAF Molesworth, United Kingdom, Sept. 3, U.S. Air Force Gen. Phillip M. Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, unveiled the dedication plaque for the new NATO Intelligence Fusion Centre.  

Established October 2006, the NIFC functions as a multi-national intelligence organization, made up of 26 NATO nations and one non-NATO nation, which supports operations across three continents.  

Breedlove recognized the invaluable and tailored intelligence services NIFC provides.  
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:52:50 EST
Valiant Shield 2014 continues joint-interoperability training

Despite several days of thunderstorms, torrential rainfall and a 6.7 earthquake that shook the island, Valiant Shield 2014 is moving forward, on schedule and meeting its prescribed training objectives.

"The exercise is going very well so far. We have met a lot of the objectives that we had planned for and accomplished a lot," said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Mike Huff, Valiant Shield 2014 chief exercise controller. "We chose to err on the side of safety and cancel a few flight events due to the weather, but in terms of mission execution, we were able to stay on track."
Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:31:59 EST
Kadena observes National POW/MIA Recognition Day

Fri, 19 Sep 2014 06:28:16 EST
Wolf Pack and ROK defenders tackle combat readiness training

More than 250 Airmen from the 8th Security Forces Squadron tackled quarterly combat readiness training with Republic of Korea Air Force and ROK special operations forces members Sept. 15 to 17 at Kunsan Air Base, ROK.

Wolf Pack defenders execute quarterly combat readiness training to ensure a seamless transition from armistice to contingency operations during both exercises and real-world situations.

"The overall goal for this training is to develop muscle memory," said Airman 1st Class Collin Dahlberg, 8th SFS response force member. "If we practice how we preach, there's no way we can fail. In case something happens in the real world, we'll be ready and know what to do."
Fri, 19 Sep 2014 04:15:00 EST
Island firefighters learn rescue skills in joint course

Department of Defense firefighters on Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam joined with their island partners from the Guam Fire Department to develop the skills to perform high-risk rescues by participating in the DOD Rescue Technician course this month.

Thirteen military and civilian fire fighter students from Andersen, Naval Base Guam and the Guam Fire Department participated in the three-week course taught by instructors from the 554th RED HORSE Squadron, said Stanley Torres, Andersen Fire and Emergency Services chief of training.
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:17:00 EST
Buff rocks Valiant Shield

Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:01:00 EST
51st CES Airmen complete crater repair training

Thu, 18 Sep 2014 04:54:00 EST
Jets take flight in Operational Readiness Exercise

Wed, 17 Sep 2014 05:01:22 EST
35th MDG hosts bilateral medical job shadow program

Recently, the 35th Medical Group hosted a job shadow program for Japanese medical students from Hirosaki University in Aomori Prefecture, Japan.

Held every summer for the past 13 years, the program provided seven days of on-the-job learning with professional Misawa physicians for the Japanese students.

Upon their arrival, students learned about American patient privacy and safety and were given a tour of the base's medical treatment facility. Throughout the program, the students rotated between different sections of the clinic to include pediatrics, the operating room and the urgent care clinic.
Wed, 17 Sep 2014 03:00:00 EST
No-notice exercise demonstrates Misawa readiness

Misawa Airmen responded to a no-notice recall Sept. 15, 2014, as part of exercise Beverly Sunrise 14-08.

This base-wide response demonstrated to Col. Timothy Sundvall, 35th Fighter Wing commander, how quickly the Airmen under his command could generate aircraft and relocate them and personnel to a deployed location.

"[Base leadership is] looking for exactly how long it takes us to generate aircraft and be ready to fight," said Capt. Austin Brown, 35th Operations Group deputy chief of standards and evaluations.
Wed, 17 Sep 2014 03:00:00 EST
Pacific Unity 14-8 culminates in Papua New Guinea with large cultural fest

Thousands of members of the local community came together in song and dance to celebrate the closing ceremony for Pacific Unity 14-8 in traditional Papua New Guinea fashion Sept. 12, 2014.

Pacific Unity is a bilateral Engineering Civic Action Program conducted with host nation civil authorities and military personnel. The primary mission of Pacific Unity 14-8 is to construct two new dormitories for female students at Togoba Secondary School while promoting interoperability between the U.S. and Papua New Guinea.
Tue, 16 Sep 2014 20:32:00 EST
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