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Tag: Air Force


McChord passes surprise nuke inspection

McChord Air Force Base’s 62nd Airlift Wing earned a satisfactory grade – the highest possible – following a weeklong surprise nuclear surety inspection, the wing announced Thursday.

The inspection took place Aug. 17-24 by officials from the Air Mobility Command Inspector General and studied four areas: management and administration, personnel reliability, safety and logistics movement.

The wing’s 4th Airlift Squadron is tasked with transporting the military’s nuclear warheads. McChord officials often describe the mission as their highest priority.

“This is another validation of the emphasis and professionalism we place on the (nuclear) mission,” wing commander Col. Kevin Kilb said in a release. “We take that responsibility very seriously … It’s such an honor to have this mission and I’m extremely proud of our airmen.”

For more information, click below to read the press release:

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Local links, Aug. 27

The Army is tweaking the areas of responsibility for its Special Forces groups, the Fayetteville Observer reports, but the folks at 1st SF Group at Fort Lewis will maintain their focus on the Pacific region:

1st Special Forces Group:
3rd Special Forces Group to focus on Afghanistan, Pakistan [Fayetteville Observer]

McChord Air Force Base:
Moving Cargo at the 386th Logisitics Readiness Squadron [DVIDS]

17th Fires Brigade:
Community Leaders Discuss Key Issues at Basra Forum


Embedded teams in Afghanistan are ‘exit strategy’

Maj. Mike Ake, a Washington National Guard soldier, poses with Afghan children during his 2008 deployment.
Maj. Mike Ake, a Washington National Guard soldier, poses with Afghan children during his 2008 deployment.

The Afghan army struck first, securing an area around a housing compound in rural Kunduz province. The national police then led the search. Accompanying them was a team of American and Swedish military advisors.

The search turned up a weapons cache containing an assault rifle, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, a recoilless rifle, ammunition containers and other weapons parts.

But perhaps more remarkable than the find was the eclectic group of people who did the finding. The U.S. team assisting the Afghans included a Tacoma police lieutenant, a Lakewood school teacher and a Spanaway National Guardsman.

The raid last September shows how Afghan security forces work alongside international advisors through the U.S. military’s embedded training team and police mentor team programs.

“It goes back to T.E. Lawrence, who said it’s better they do it half as well than we do it for them,” said one advisor on that raid, Army Maj. John Hinkle of Federal Way. He was paraphrasing the British officer commonly known as Lawrence of Arabia.

“Sometimes they wouldn’t listen to you. Sometimes they would,” Hinkle recalled of the Afghans. “But often they really wanted our help.”

Nearly a year later, the war effort in Afghanistan is getting renewed attention after years in the shadow of Iraq. A Fort Lewis-based Stryker brigade is in the country for the first time, battling the Taliban in the south as the Afghan people prepare for their second presidential election Thursday.

But for the insurgency to be tamed and the country to regain its footing, some say the Afghans must continue relying on foreign advisors, such as embedded training teams.

“The ETTs are our exit strategy from Afghanistan,” said Army Lt. Col. Phil Osterli, a 42-year-old Spanaway resident who served alongside Hinkle. “When people ask if we need a surge in Afghanistan, I say we do. The Marines, the Strykers ¬ they are important. But more important for the long-term are programs like ETTs.”
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Runway closure means more night flying


The temporary closure of a runway in Moses Lake will mean more Air Force jets flying the night skies of Pierce County.

Contractors working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin working Monday on Grant County International Airport’s “assault strip” – called such because it is reinforced to handle C-17 Globemaster III cargo jets landing at a steep angle.

Crews from McChord Air Force Base and other installations use the runway for nighttime landings. But with the runway’s monthlong closure, some of those training flights will land at McChord. Other Air Force bases across the Western United States will accept some of the flights as well.

The actual number of extra flights coming into the base hasn’t yet been determined, a spokesman for the 62nd Airlift Wing said Wednesday.

“We’re looking at other options,” Tech. Sgt. Oshawn Jefferson said. “We’re looking at sending some of these flights as far away as Wyoming. So we don’t have a number right now.”
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