Wheelchair basketball attracts Air Force wounded warrior’s biggest fans
After a disappointing loss against the Navy, the Air Force wheelchair basketball team stood poised to start fresh in their game against the U.S. Special Operations Command Sept. 30, at the 2014 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:36:00 GMT
Global access can also mean global cyber crime
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which has become increasingly important in recent years as global Internet use continues to grow exponentially.

Wed, 01 Oct 2014 15:51:59 GMT
6 new AF Materiel Command units to form installation and mission support center
Six Air Force organizations moved under Air Force Materiel Command Oct. 1, in a step toward integrating and forming the foundation of the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center when the center is formally activated in 2015.

Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:19:00 GMT
Oct. 1 – Pulse on AF force management
Featured in this force management update are details regarding changes to the reduction in force board eligibility and ongoing civilian force management programs.

Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:42:00 GMT
Latest Airman magazine now available
The cover story for the October edition of Airman magazine is titled “Going Beyond,” and tells the story of several Air Force wounded warriors learning how to go beyond what others would call limits as they prepared for the Warrior Games. The October issue is now available to download...

Tue, 30 Sep 2014 20:31:00 GMT
AF updates voluntary education programs for FY15
Active-duty Airmen who want to take advantage of military assistance programs for voluntary education in the coming academic year will experience several changes beginning Oct. 1.

Tue, 30 Sep 2014 20:12:26 GMT
AF ensures command visibility on substantiated sex-related offenses
Air Force officials announced a new policy requiring the inclusion and command review of information on sex-related offenses in personnel service records Sept. 30.

Tue, 30 Sep 2014 19:21:53 GMT
Wheelchairs clash in the first basketball matches at Warrior Games
The first round of wheelchair basketball brought some fierce competition between the services during the 2014 Warrior Games at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Sept. 29.

Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:41:00 GMT
From partner to caregiver: Wife’s story of love, perseverance
When a couple talks about how they first met, a phrase commonly heard is, “Well, they just fell into my life.” For one couple, the expression could be taken quite literally. When Jeremiah Means first met Ashley, she was tripping in front of him as she tried to rush through a doorway. He called out to her to make sure she was ok and in that moment, their relationship began. Now, after eight years of marriage, it is Ashley who is there to catch Jeremiah when he falls. She not only holds the role of wife and companion, but also that of a caretaker to her husband, an Air Force wounded warrior.

Tue, 30 Sep 2014 16:51:00 GMT
AF integrates TAP into new Military Lifecycle Model
The redesigned Transition Assistance Program is in its third and final stage and will be integrated into the new Defense Department Military Lifecycle Model, Air Force Personnel Center officials said. The MLC, which will be implemented Oct. 1, is the latest in a series of improvements to the Transition Goals Planning Success...

Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:32:09 GMT
A love story: Healing the wounded warrior
By Senior Airman Jette Carr Air Force News Service He was a young Air Force officer healing from a recent trauma, and she was a dedicated single mother of two. Whether it was friends or fate that first brought them together, neither would have suspected that their chance meeting in Florida would be the key […]

By Senior Airman Jette Carr
Air Force News Service

He was a young Air Force officer healing from a recent trauma, and she was a dedicated single mother of two. Whether it was friends or fate that first brought them together, neither would have suspected that their chance meeting in Florida would be the key to his recovery.

140925-F-PA987-005Their introduction to each other was unlikely – not due to the events of the day they met, but of one roughly six months earlier, when Capt. Mitch Kieffer lay in a hospital bed in Iraq waiting to be medically evacuated to the states. He was suffering from injuries sustained after an improvised explosive device passed through his lightly armored SUV and damaged not only his body but also his mind.

Mitch said Ana Maria deserves credit for much of his continual improvement. It is also with her support that he is currently defending the title of “Ultimate Champion,” a title he earned at the 2013 Warrior Games, a Paralympic-styled event.

After his convoy was attacked, Mitch entered into a world of pain. His head hurt constantly, and he began to realize the manner and speed with which he had previously communicated had changed due to a traumatic brain injury.

“My cognitive processing speed was really slow,” he said. “By the time someone was saying something to me and I was breaking down the message and figuring out what I thought of it and how to respond, the moment had passed. So I became pretty quiet because I just couldn’t keep up with the speed of conversations.”

Mitch said he was cognizant of his mental impairment. As a math major who enjoyed analytics, he was terrified by his new reality and the possibility of the worst-case scenario – his struggle could be permanent, and his previous mental capacity was forever lost.

“That was the scary thing, because I couldn’t think,” he said. “I was trying, but nothing came to my head and I was pretty worried and I didn’t have much hope. As time went on, however, I started to notice I could pick things up a little quicker and still learn. It gave me more willpower to push harder.”

But Mitch admits it was his new family and the need to learn a new language that turned the tide on his learning process.

“It wasn’t until I met my future wife and my lovely two daughters that I actually started learning or speaking Spanish. They are from Peru originally, and that was just the mental workout I needed to help build the connections (in my brain) that I’d kind of broken.”

While the couple was dating, they took a trip to Peru to visit with Ana Maria’s family. Mitch said that at the time he didn’t know a “lick of Spanish,” but afterward, he was inspired to pick it up. He began to use a combination of Rosetta Stone, the English-Spanish dictionary and cassette tapes during his drive to and from work to learn Spanish.

Ana Maria believes it made all the difference in the world.

“I noticed that he just started picking (the language) up fast, to the point that now he can — it’s not 100 percent, but I would say that it’s 90 percent — that he can communicate with my family,” Ana Maria said, adding that she saw it also helped with his memory.

Ana Maria said Mitch’s struggles and setbacks weren’t apparent early in their relationship and she thought he was just a regular guy. She had never heard the terms TBI or PTSD.

“He came to me and told me, ‘hey this is what I have,’ and to me it was like, okay, just get it over with. Don’t worry stressing about it; you understand everybody has stress in their life … he’s like, ‘no, this is something different.’ So he gave me a couple websites and I just started looking and researching and reading material and then talking to other people.”

The PTSD manifested in Mitch’s life months after the TBI and added a new challenge to the relationship. Ana Maria started to see markers of the disease after they moved in together. Mitch was in school working on his master’s degree in operations research at the Air Force Institute of Technology in Ohio, and they had started to plan their wedding. Stress was high.

“You fight with your spouse or your boyfriend, but the fights that you have with people with PTSD or TBI; it’s different,” Ana Maria said. “It’s a different concept, so that’s when I (started to) notice … When I said something to him that would not be mean (to others), but to him was such a big deal, it was a little confusing.”

The relationship had strains, but Ana Maria said she has never changed her mind about marrying Mitch. She made a commitment to take the good with the bad.

After his diagnosis, both began to educate themselves and are learning how to cope with PTSD, each in their own way. For Ana Maria, she said patience and understanding are two key elements. In a given situation, she tries to take a moment to recognize if Mitch is talking or acting a certain way because of the influence of PTSD before she reacts.

Through their trials, Mitch and Ana Maria still maintain that newlywed spirit. She sees him as a driven, loving husband and a great father; and Mitch never lost that feeling he got the first time he laid eyes on her.

“To me it was like love at first sight; for her, she tells me that she thinks I was a loser,” he said teasing his wife. “I continue to tell the story that, no, she was smitten the first day that she saw me.

“It was just the right fit. I wasn’t looking for anything. I was (working through issues) and hurting quite a bit, (but ultimately,) there was nothing I could do. I was just hit by the love truck,” he chuckled.

Ultimately, their marriage is like any other. It takes effort and patience to make it work. Though they have additional battle scars to contend with, Mitch and Ana Maria said they will continue to face recovery head-on together.

Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:52:28 +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, 26 Sep 2014 18:25:50 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, 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
‘RUfit?’ jumpstarts resiliency, overall fitness

'RUfit?' officially rolls out Oct. 1 across bases in U.S. Air Forces in Europe to focus Airmen on a culture of balanced, holistic health.

Being mentally, physically, socially and spiritually fit can help Airmen, civilians and their families cope with the strain of daily life and recover when challenges are overwhelming. The program, Comprehensive Airmen Fitness was created to do just that.

"Our Air Force has made a significant investment in programs focused on our people," said Gen. Frank Gorenc, USAFE-AFAFRICA commander. "Airmen need to know what services are available to them and where to go to find those resources."
Wed, 1 Oct 2014 03:42:18 EST
Liberty Airmen present flags at Wembley Stadium

Underneath the lights at Wembley Stadium in London, approximately 100 48th Fighter Wing Airmen proudly held the flags of both the United States and the United Kingdom on Sept. 28 to kickoff the first of three international series football games this season.

The first 2014 NFL game at Wembley Stadium featured the Miami Dolphins against the Oakland Raiders. The Airmen, who work in various 48th FW units, took to the field, presenting large U.S. and U.K. flags. This not only showed the NFL's presence in London, but also the continued cooperation between U.S. visiting forces and their U.K. hosts.
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 08:26:53 EST
100th LRS Airman 'pools' resources, ideas to save environment

The 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels flight has a very dangerous job involving a flammable substance -- fuel. They ensure it's safely transported to aircraft and certain government-owned vehicles.

Second Lt. Evan Tilton from Shawnee, Oklahoma, is the 100th LRS Fuels Flight commander and his flight are responsible for a vital task -- getting fuel to the aircraft, without which, they couldn't fly their missions.

"We're responsible for approximately 4 million gallons of Jet Propellant 8 that we supply to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, 352nd Special Operations Group, the 95th Reconnaissance Squadron and any transient aircraft," Tilton explained.
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 04:08:26 EST
Storm blows through Incirlik

Two severe weather storm cells collided over Adana, Turkey Sept. 27 and forced a wall of wind across the base here, leaving tons of debris in its wake.

The storm brought heavy rain and gale-force winds which up-rooted trees from the ground, aluminum siding from structures and left debris covering portions of the base. The peak wind was estimated to be 72 mph at approximately 4:30 p.m.

"The 39th Civil Engineer Squadron responded to the clean-up project immediately after the storm had hit," said Capt. Thomas Sena, 39th CES quality assurance flight commander.
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:48:49 EST
Innovation by air traffic control tower team saves money

Coming together is something the Air Force takes pride in. Especially, when coming together promotes innovation and saves money. The Lajes Field air traffic control tower did just that when a new radar was installed in December of 2013. With that new radar, the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System or STARS would be coming too. And for that update, things would need to be changed.

"We looked at how much it will be to purchase, install and get this room set up appropriately," said Tech. Sgt. Ryan Headrick, 65th Operations Support Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of airfield automation.
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 06:47:00 EST
100th LRS commander's secretary gives insight into role

"It's always stressful to start a new job," said Monika Skor, 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander's secretary from Kysucke Nove Mesto, Slovakia.

For Skor, this is her first job working on a military installation, and English is not her native tongue.

"This is my second language, and the military vocabulary seems to be unlike any other," she laughed. "They use many acronyms. Plus, American-English is a bit different to British-English, especially the accent. The language is for me the most challenging aspect of the job."
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 06:35:04 EST
A 'Day in the Life' at the largest U.S. Air Base in Europe

With 680,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian Airmen on duty around the globe today delivering speed, range, flexibility, precision and payloads, effectively showing others what that looks like can be a challenge.

To deliver on this challenge, the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, spent months of pre-planning, coordination and post-production efforts to create a multimedia project titled, "Day in the Life of the 86th Airlift Wing" showing how the wing supports multiple Air Force, joint and international missions daily.
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 14:26:00 EST
JBPHH hosts Wings Over Pacific Air Show

Tue, 30 Sep 2014 15:03:46 EST
Airman helps injured runner to safety

When echoes of a screaming man filled the jungle, a 734th Air Mobility Squadron lieutenant made it his duty to find his location and carry him to safety. 

Approximately 80 people from a running club participated in a seven-mile trek through the jungle Sept. 13, 2014, in the hills of Merizo on the southern side of the island. The run began shortly after 4 p.m., and 1st Lt. Alex John, 734th AMS officer in charge of the airfreight terminal, was one of first to finish at approximately 8:30 p.m.
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 00:52:00 EST
F-35 Lightning II demonstration comes to Misawa

Lockheed Martin hosted an F-35 Lightning II cockpit demonstration simulation Sept. 24 through 26 at Misawa Air Base, Japan.

The demonstration was brought to Misawa in order to increase awareness of the new aircraft and to become familiar with the multi-role fighter that will ultimately be the mainstay aircraft of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and allied nations.

"The F-35 is going to be everywhere in the world," said Paul DuLaney, F-35 project manager for Lockheed Martin and former Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot. "We're introducing it to Airmen here, so everyone can understand just how important it will be to the mission."
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 00:46:00 EST
JBER honors POW/MIA day with somber ceremony

Service members honored missing and fallen comrades Sept. 19, during a POW/MIA ceremony at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

According to Defense Prisoner of War and Missing Personnel Office, National POW/MIA Recognition Day honors prisoners of war and missing service members and their families, and highlights the government's commitment to account for them.

"The POW/MIA ceremony is an opportunity to honor service members whose service takes an unfortunate turn and places them in the most difficult circumstances with little we can do to assist them," said Sen. Mark Begich. "Service members should take comfort in knowing that if they are ever a victim of these circumstances, their military brothers and sisters will continue to honor their service, support their families, educate the next generation about their sacrifice, and most importantly that they will never be forgotten."
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 16:22:00 EST
U.S. Airmen share medevac capabilities with JASDF

Taking care of your own--it is a responsibility maintained culturally by the U.S. Air Force and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. One way Airmen take care their own is through medical health care.

The 459th Airlift Squadron, from Yokota Air Base, Japan, flew to Kadena Air Base Tuesday and Wednesday to showcase their C-12 medical evacuation capabilities to a JASDF medical team while practicing the relatively new capability with the 18th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

"Aeromedical evacuation is an integral part of the Air Force's mobility mission," said Capt. Thomas Powell, 459 AS C-12 pilot. "The ability to fly patients throughout the Pacific ensures them the best care available and gets them where they need to be in the shortest amount of time possible."
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 03:42:00 EST
Nanjing Regional Air Force Command visits Pacific Air Forces

Thu, 25 Sep 2014 20:27:16 EST
67th Annual AF Ball

U.S. Air Force, Navy, Japan Air Self-Defense Forces and local community members come together to celebrate the 67th Annual Air Force Ball at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Sept. 20, 2014. The event included a Prisoners of War and Missing in Action commemoration and cake-cutting ceremony, as well as live entertainment from a local Japanese band. The ball's theme was "Celebrating Our History, Focusing on Our Future."  
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 04:18:44 EST
PACAF hosts Pacific Rim Air Power Symposium

Pacific Air Forces hosted military leaders from 20 countries throughout the Pacific region during the annual Pacific Rim Air Power Symposium held here Sept. 22-25, 2014. 

The PACRIM Airpower Symposium, previously known as the PACAF Director of Operations Conference, builds and improves multilateral relationships among air forces in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. This year's theme, "International Cooperation, a Capacity and Capability Multiplier," focused discussions on improving cooperation and coordination during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief crises, as well as enhancing the coordination of air assets during contingencies.
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 20:31:00 EST
Volunteers partner to clean base beaches for International Coastal Cleanup

Nearly 100 volunteers gathered at Tarague Beach Sept. 20 to participate in the 2014 International Coastal Cleanup.

The volunteers cleared several hundred pounds of trash, as well as five large trash bags containing recyclable materials to include tires, fishing nets and a discarded 55 gallon drum holding 10 gallons of waste oil, according to event organizers.

"I was so excited to see the turnout of volunteers, both the families [and service members]," said Thomas Spriggs, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron Environmental Flight chief. "This was a great event and I'm very appreciative of all the support we received."
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 00:27:00 EST
Valiant Shield 2014 comes to successful end

The fifth iteration of Valiant Shield came to a close here Sept. 23 after nine days of joint air, land and sea interoperability training between the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army.

"Overall, Valiant Shield 2014 was a very successful exercise," said Navy Rear Adm. Russell Allen, Valiant Shield exercise director. "Opposition forces provided a robust challenge to our air, sea and cyber forces, which enhanced our ability to function as a joint force and validated the Air-Sea Battle concept. The lessons learned will help further the development of tactics, techniques and procedures in the joint environment, especially those for the Air-Sea-Battle concept."
Tue, 23 Sep 2014 21:31:15 EST
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