2015 Air Force Year In Review

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by Air Force Social Media

This 2015 Year in Photos feature Airmen around the globe involved in activities supporting expeditionary operations and defending America. This yearly feature showcases the men and women of the Air Force.

We have selected a few of our favorites from the gallery, which you can view fully at:

2015 Air Force Year In Review

Enjoy!

The Air Force and its mission partners successfully launched the AFSPC-5 mission aboard the Space and Missile Systems Center procured United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., May 20, 2015. The Atlas V rocket carried into low Earth orbit an X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, marking the fourth space flight for the X-37B program. (Courtesy photo/United Launch Alliance)
The Air Force and its mission partners successfully launched the AFSPC-5 mission aboard the Space and Missile Systems Center procured United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., May 20, 2015. The Atlas V rocket carried into low Earth orbit an X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, marking the fourth space flight for the X-37B program. (Courtesy photo/United Launch Alliance)
Tech. Sgt. Timothy Cotterall is decontaminated following attempts to identify multiple biological contaminants in a simulated lab March 18, 2015, during a Global Dragon training event at a training center in Georgia. Global Dragon provided a refresher course for Airmen, allowing them to put their skills to use to identify live chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents and materials. Cotterall is an emergency manager with the Air National Guard. (New York Air National Guard photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher S. Muncy)
Tech. Sgt. Timothy Cotterall is decontaminated following attempts to identify multiple biological contaminants in a simulated lab March 18, 2015, during a Global Dragon training event at a training center in Georgia. Global Dragon provided a refresher course for Airmen, allowing them to put their skills to use to identify live chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents and materials. Cotterall is an emergency manager with the Air National Guard. (New York Air National Guard photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher S. Muncy)
Marine Corps Hospital Corpsman Melissa Irvin, a 1st Dental Battalion dental corpsman from Camp Pendleton, Calif., carries a box of medical supplies to Unggai Primary School, where medical professionals are setting up during Pacific Angel 15-4 at Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea, May 29, 2015. Efforts undertaken during Pacific Angel help multilateral militaries in the Pacific improve and build relationships across a wide spectrum of civic operations, which bolsters each nation’s capacity to respond and support future humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Marcus Morris)
Marine Corps Hospital Corpsman Melissa Irvin, a 1st Dental Battalion dental corpsman from Camp Pendleton, Calif., carries a box of medical supplies to Unggai Primary School, where medical professionals are setting up during Pacific Angel 15-4 at Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea, May 29, 2015. Efforts undertaken during Pacific Angel help multilateral militaries in the Pacific improve and build relationships across a wide spectrum of civic operations, which bolsters each nation’s capacity to respond and support future humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Marcus Morris)
This F-16A Fighting Falcon was last assigned to the 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, N.Y., as a ground maintenance trainer before it was retired from service and disassembled Nov. 5, 2015. The aircraft is set to be reassembled and placed at the main entrance of the New York National Guard headquarters in Latham. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Call)
This F-16A Fighting Falcon was last assigned to the 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, N.Y., as a ground maintenance trainer before it was retired from service and disassembled Nov. 5, 2015. The aircraft is set to be reassembled and placed at the main entrance of the New York National Guard headquarters in Latham. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Call)
An Afghan air force member jumps into the arms of U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Prosymchak near Forward Operating Base Oqab, Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 13, 2015. Prosymchak is assigned to the Train, Advise, Assist Command-Air security forces and is deployed from Joint Base Charleston, S.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Corey Hook)
An Afghan air force member jumps into the arms of U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Prosymchak near Forward Operating Base Oqab, Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 13, 2015. Prosymchak is assigned to the Train, Advise, Assist Command-Air security forces and is deployed from Joint Base Charleston, S.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Corey Hook)
Special tactics Airmen from the 24th Special Operations Wing jump out of an MC-130H Combat Talon II at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 7, 2015. The Airmen were from various special tactics career fields, including special operations weathermen, combat controllers, pararescuemen and tactical air control parties. The 24th SOW’s mission is to provide special tactics forces for rapid global employment to enable airpower success. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher Callaway)
Special tactics Airmen from the 24th Special Operations Wing jump out of an MC-130H Combat Talon II at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 7, 2015. The Airmen were from various special tactics career fields, including special operations weathermen, combat controllers, pararescuemen and tactical air control parties. The 24th SOW’s mission is to provide special tactics forces for rapid global employment to enable airpower success. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher Callaway)
Members of the 354th Fighter Wing inspection team walk toward first responders Jan. 26, 2015, during a major accident response exercise at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The MARE tested first responders’ skills in a controlled environment to give them confidence in handling real-world situations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joshua Turner)
Members of the 354th Fighter Wing inspection team walk toward first responders Jan. 26, 2015, during a major accident response exercise at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The MARE tested first responders’ skills in a controlled environment to give them confidence in handling real-world situations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joshua Turner)
U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force aircraft fly in formation during exercise Cope North 15 Feb. 17, 2015, off the coast of Guam. During the exercise, the U.S., Japan and Australia air forces worked on developing combat capabilities enhancing air superiority, electronic warfare, air interdiction, tactical airlift and aerial refueling. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson)
U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force aircraft fly in formation during exercise Cope North 15 Feb. 17, 2015, off the coast of Guam. During the exercise, the U.S., Japan and Australia air forces worked on developing combat capabilities enhancing air superiority, electronic warfare, air interdiction, tactical airlift and aerial refueling. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson)
The U.S. Air Force Academy’s Class of 2015 tosses their hats in celebration as the Thunderbirds roar over Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 28, 2015. Over 800 cadets graduated and became second lieutenants. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James addressed the graduates during the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo/Liz Copan)
The U.S. Air Force Academy’s Class of 2015 tosses their hats in celebration as the Thunderbirds roar over Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 28, 2015. Over 800 cadets graduated and became second lieutenants. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James addressed the graduates during the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo/Liz Copan)
Staff Sgt. Arin Vickers, assigned to the 435th Supply Chain Operations Squadron, is greeted by her dog when she arrives at an airport USO in St. Louis on May 6, 2015. Vickers was gone for six months, and her friends and family were there to greet and surprise her by bringing along Baxter. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erica Crossen)
Staff Sgt. Arin Vickers, assigned to the 435th Supply Chain Operations Squadron, is greeted by her dog when she arrives at an airport USO in St. Louis on May 6, 2015. Vickers was gone for six months, and her friends and family were there to greet and surprise her by bringing along Baxter. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erica Crossen)

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2015 Air Force Year In Review

Operation Christmas Drop 2015

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By Anderson Air Force Base Public Affairs

The 2015 Operation Christmas Drop officially kicked off Dec. 8 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Military members from the 36th Wing, 374th Airlift Wing, 734th Air Mobility Squadron, 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and international partners from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force gathered for the opening ceremony celebrating the first ever trilateral execution of Operation Christmas Drop.

Ongoing since 1952, Christmas Drop is the Department of Defense’s longest running humanitarian airlift mission and impacts more than 20,000 islanders annually. C-130 aircrews will deliver nearly 40,000 pounds of supplies by executing more than 20 low-cost, low-altitude airdrop training missions to islanders throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau.

We have compiled this gallery of our favorite images that put you in a C-130 with the aircrews.

Enjoy!

A young girl colors the side of a donation box that is being prepared for Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 5, 2015, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. During the humanitarian air drop mission, aircrews from the U.S., Japan and Australia will deliver a variety of donations to remote island residents via low-cost and low-altitude airdrops from C-130s. Children decorated the boxes to add their own holiday wishes for children on the islands. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)
A young girl colors the side of a donation box that is being prepared for Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 5, 2015, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. During the humanitarian air drop mission, aircrews from the U.S., Japan and Australia will deliver a variety of donations to remote island residents via low-cost and low-altitude airdrops from C-130s. Children decorated the boxes to add their own holiday wishes for children on the islands. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)
A local villager waits while Louis Mangtau, Chief of Fais Island, sorts through supplies that were dropped during Operation Christmas Drop 2015, Dec. 8, 2015, at Fais Island, Federated States of Micronesia. Operation Christmas Drop is a humanitarian/disaster relief training event where C-130 crews provide critical supplies to 56 islands throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau.This year marks the first ever trilateral execution that includes air support from the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force.(U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
A local villager waits while Louis Mangtau, Chief of Fais Island, sorts through supplies that were dropped during Operation Christmas Drop 2015, Dec. 8, 2015, at Fais Island, Federated States of Micronesia. Operation Christmas Drop is a humanitarian/disaster relief training event where C-130 crews provide critical supplies to 56 islands throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau.This year marks the first ever trilateral execution that includes air support from the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force.(U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
A C-130 Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron drops a bundle filled with donated goods and supplies during Operation Christmas Drop 2015, at Fais Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 8, 2015. Airmen delivered over 800 pounds of supplies to the island of Fais during the drop. This year marks the first trilateral Operation Christmas Drop where the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force work together to provide critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands impacting 20,000 islanders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
A C-130 Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron drops a bundle filled with donated goods and supplies during Operation Christmas Drop 2015, at Fais Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 8, 2015. Airmen delivered over 800 pounds of supplies to the island of Fais during the drop. This year marks the first trilateral Operation Christmas Drop where the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force work together to provide critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands impacting 20,000 islanders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Islanders from Fais watch a C-130 Hercules fly over head during Operation Christmas Drop 2015, at Fais island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 8, 2015. A C-130 Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron delivered over 800 pounds of supplies to the island of Fais during Operation Christmas Drop 2015. This year marks the first ever trilateral Operation Christmas Drop where the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force work together to provide critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands.(U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Islanders from Fais watch a C-130 Hercules fly over head during Operation Christmas Drop 2015, at Fais island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 8, 2015. A C-130 Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron delivered over 800 pounds of supplies to the island of Fais during Operation Christmas Drop 2015. This year marks the first ever trilateral Operation Christmas Drop where the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force work together to provide critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands.(U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Islanders from Fais sit down to wait for the bundle drop during Operation Christmas Drop 2015, at Fais Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 8, 2015. A C-130 Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron delivered over 800 pounds of supplies to the island of Fais during Operation Christmas Drop 2015. This year marks the first ever trilateral Operation Christmas Drop where the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force work together to provide critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Islanders from Fais sit down to wait for the bundle drop during Operation Christmas Drop 2015, at Fais Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 8, 2015. A C-130 Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron delivered over 800 pounds of supplies to the island of Fais during Operation Christmas Drop 2015. This year marks the first ever trilateral Operation Christmas Drop where the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force work together to provide critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
A low-cost, low-altitude bundle of donated goods drops to Ngulu island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. Operation Christmas Drop allows the 374th Airlift Wing and international partners from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force to practice dynamic delivery airdrop with unsurveyed drop zones while providing critical supplies to 20,000 islanders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
A low-cost, low-altitude bundle of donated goods drops to Ngulu island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. Operation Christmas Drop allows the 374th Airlift Wing and international partners from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force to practice dynamic delivery airdrop with unsurveyed drop zones while providing critical supplies to 20,000 islanders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
(Left to right) Maj. Bryan Huffman, Pacific Air Forces C-130 pilot, and Staff Sgt. Joel Powell, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, drop a low-cost, low-altitude bundle to Ngulu island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. This is a PACAF event which includes a partnership between the 374th Airlift Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan; the 36th Wing, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; the 734th Air Mobility Squadron, Andersen AFB of the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Hawaii; the University of Guam; and the Operation Christmas Drop private organization. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air  Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
(Left to right) Maj. Bryan Huffman, Pacific Air Forces C-130 pilot, and Staff Sgt. Joel Powell, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, drop a low-cost, low-altitude bundle to Ngulu island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. This is a PACAF event which includes a partnership between the 374th Airlift Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan; the 36th Wing, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; the 734th Air Mobility Squadron, Andersen AFB of the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Hawaii; the University of Guam; and the Operation Christmas Drop private organization. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster and Col. TY Chamberlain, 36th Wing vice-commander, drops a low-cost, low-altitude bundle to Kayangel Atoll, Republic of Palau, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, and is the first trilateral execution of the event with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force C-130s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster and Col. TY Chamberlain, 36th Wing vice-commander, drops a low-cost, low-altitude bundle to Kayangel Atoll, Republic of Palau, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, and is the first trilateral execution of the event with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force C-130s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
A low-cost, low-altitude bundle containing supplies, educational materials, toys and other donated goods, dropped from a U.S. C-130, floats toward Kayangel, Republic of Palau, bringing holiday cheer Dec. 11, 2015 during Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, and is the first trilateral execution of the event with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
A low-cost, low-altitude bundle containing supplies, educational materials, toys and other donated goods, dropped from a U.S. C-130, floats toward Kayangel, Republic of Palau, bringing holiday cheer Dec. 11, 2015 during Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, and is the first trilateral execution of the event with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Airmen from Team Yokota and Andersen wave out the back of a C-130H Hercules to the people of Kayangel, Republic of Palau, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. Every December, C-130H Hercules aircrews from Yokota head to Andersen Air Force Base to execute low-cost, low-altitude humanitarian airdrops to islanders throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau. These islands are some of the most remote locations on the globe spanning a distance nearly as broad as the continental U.S. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Airmen from Team Yokota and Andersen wave out the back of a C-130H Hercules to the people of Kayangel, Republic of Palau, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. Every December, C-130H Hercules aircrews from Yokota head to Andersen Air Force Base to execute low-cost, low-altitude humanitarian airdrops to islanders throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau. These islands are some of the most remote locations on the globe spanning a distance nearly as broad as the continental U.S. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Maj. Bryan Huffman, left, Pacific Air Forces C-130 pilot, checks a drop zone over Ngulu island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop and the first time international partners joined in execution through Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force C-130 support. The event provides critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands impacting about 20,000 people covering 1,000 by 1,800 nautical miles of operation area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Maj. Bryan Huffman, left, Pacific Air Forces C-130 pilot, checks a drop zone over Ngulu island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop and the first time international partners joined in execution through Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force C-130 support. The event provides critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands impacting about 20,000 people covering 1,000 by 1,800 nautical miles of operation area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Aerial image of Fais Island, Ulithi Atoll, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 8, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Aerial image of Fais Island, Ulithi Atoll, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 8, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
C-130s from the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force park on the ramp at Andersen Air Force Base, Dec. 6, 2015 in preparation for Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop and the first trilateral execution of Department of Defense's longest running humanitarian airdrop mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
C-130s from the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force park on the ramp at Andersen Air Force Base, Dec. 6, 2015 in preparation for Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop and the first trilateral execution of Department of Defense’s longest running humanitarian airdrop mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Staff Sgt. Travis Livingston, 36th Airlift Squadron flight engineer, checks instruments over the Pacific Ocean, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. Every December, C-130H Hercules aircrews from Yokota head to Andersen Air Force Base to execute low-cost, low-altitude humanitarian airdrops to islanders throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau. These islands are some of the most remote locations on the globe spanning a distance nearly as broad as the continental U.S. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Staff Sgt. Travis Livingston, 36th Airlift Squadron flight engineer, checks instruments over the Pacific Ocean, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. Every December, C-130H Hercules aircrews from Yokota head to Andersen Air Force Base to execute low-cost, low-altitude humanitarian airdrops to islanders throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau. These islands are some of the most remote locations on the globe spanning a distance nearly as broad as the continental U.S. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
First Lt. Sydney Croxton, 36th Airlift Squadron C-130 pilot, flies over Republic of Palau, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, and is the first trilateral execution of the event with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force C-130s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
First Lt. Sydney Croxton, 36th Airlift Squadron C-130 pilot, flies over Republic of Palau, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, and is the first trilateral execution of the event with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force C-130s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Col. TY Chamberlain, 36th Wing vice- commander, writes a holiday greeting to the recipients of one of the boxes of donated goods in support of Operation Christmas Drop, Dec. 11, 2015. Operation Christmas Drop is a PACAF event which includes a partnership between the 374th Airlift Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan; the 36th Wing, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; the 734th Air Mobility Squadron, Andersen AFB of the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Hawaii; the University of Guam; and the 'Operation Christmas Drop' private organization. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air  Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Col. TY Chamberlain, 36th Wing vice- commander, writes a holiday greeting to the recipients of one of the boxes of donated goods in support of Operation Christmas Drop, Dec. 11, 2015. Operation Christmas Drop is a PACAF event which includes a partnership between the 374th Airlift Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan; the 36th Wing, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; the 734th Air Mobility Squadron, Andersen AFB of the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Hawaii; the University of Guam; and the ‘Operation Christmas Drop’ private organization. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Maj. Lucas Crouch, 374th Airlift Wing pilot, and 1st Lt. Sydney Croxton, 36th Airlift Squadron pilot, conduct preflight checks Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. Every December, C-130H Hercules aircrews from Yokota head to Andersen Air Force Base to execute low-cost, low-altitude humanitarian airdrops to islanders throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau. These islands are some of the most remote locations on the globe spanning a distance nearly as broad as the continental U.S. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Maj. Lucas Crouch, 374th Airlift Wing pilot, and 1st Lt. Sydney Croxton, 36th Airlift Squadron pilot, conduct preflight checks Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. Every December, C-130H Hercules aircrews from Yokota head to Andersen Air Force Base to execute low-cost, low-altitude humanitarian airdrops to islanders throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau. These islands are some of the most remote locations on the globe spanning a distance nearly as broad as the continental U.S. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Villagers from Piig, Federated States of Micronesia, look on as a C-130 Hercules from Yokota Air Base, drops them a bundle of donated goods during Operation Christmas Drop 2015 on Dec. 13, 2015. Operation Christmas Drop is the Department of Defense's longest running humanitarian mission covering 56 remote islands in Micronesia. This is the first year the Royal Australian Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force have participated in the drops. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Melissa K. Mekpongsatorn)
Villagers from Piig, Federated States of Micronesia, look on as a C-130 Hercules from Yokota Air Base, drops them a bundle of donated goods during Operation Christmas Drop 2015 on Dec. 13, 2015. Operation Christmas Drop is the Department of Defense’s longest running humanitarian mission covering 56 remote islands in Micronesia. This is the first year the Royal Australian Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force have participated in the drops. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Melissa K. Mekpongsatorn)
An island in Republic of Palau, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop 2015. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, and is the first trilateral execution of the event with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force C-130s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
An island in Republic of Palau, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop 2015. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, and is the first trilateral execution of the event with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force C-130s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Airmen pack donated books for Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 5, 2015, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Crews built 100 bundles with donations such as non-perishable food items, clothing, fishing supplies, tools, toys and other various goods that intend to bring holiday cheer to remote Pacific Islanders. Operation Christmas Drop is a humanitarian aid/disaster relief training event where C-130 aircrews perform LCLA airdrops on unsurveyed drop zones while providing critical supplies to 56 islands throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)
Airmen pack donated books for Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 5, 2015, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Crews built 100 bundles with donations such as non-perishable food items, clothing, fishing supplies, tools, toys and other various goods that intend to bring holiday cheer to remote Pacific Islanders. Operation Christmas Drop is a humanitarian aid/disaster relief training event where C-130 aircrews perform LCLA airdrops on unsurveyed drop zones while providing critical supplies to 56 islands throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)

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Operation Christmas Drop 2015

Grateful for our Airmen

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By Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr. Air Force Social Media

Unofficially Thanksgiving is the kickoff to the season of gratitude and thankfulness expressed during the holidays. The Air Force social media team would like to say that we are grateful for the opportunity to highlight and share the stories of our most valuable assets in the Air Force’s inventory. That’s our Airmen! We would like to take a moment to express our thankfulness to the Airmen for all your hard work supporting the mission of the Air Force, to fly, fight, and win; in air, space, and cyberspace. You continue to demonstrate with confidence our Air Force core values: Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all you do.

The First Sergeants Council made 125 Thanksgiving baskets Nov. 20, 2015, inside the Chapel Activity Center on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., for Airmen selected by the first sergeants around base. After making the baskets, the first sergeants delivered them to the Airmen while they worked. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brandon Valle/Released)
The First Sergeants Council made 125 Thanksgiving baskets Nov. 20, 2015, inside the Chapel Activity Center on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., for Airmen selected by the first sergeants around base. After making the baskets, the first sergeants delivered them to the Airmen while they worked. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brandon Valle/Released)
Airman 1st Class Natalie Corona, 99th Force Support Squadron food service apprentice, prepares garlic bread to be served for dinner at the Crosswinds Dining Facility on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Nov. 18.  The Crosswinds DFAC will be serving Thanksgiving meals to Airmen and Department of Defense ID cardholders on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mikaley Kline/Released)
Airman 1st Class Natalie Corona, 99th Force Support Squadron food service apprentice, prepares garlic bread to be served for dinner at the Crosswinds Dining Facility on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Nov. 18. The Crosswinds DFAC will be serving Thanksgiving meals to Airmen and Department of Defense ID cardholders on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mikaley Kline/Released)
Senior noncommissioned officers and officers serve food to Airmen during the 2013 Thanksgiving luncheon at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. (U.S. Air Force photos/Airman 1st Class Sandra Marrero/Released)
Senior noncommissioned officers and officers serve food to Airmen during the 2013 Thanksgiving luncheon at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. (U.S. Air Force photos/Airman 1st Class Sandra Marrero/Released)
Desserts and breads line a table during the annual Thanksgiving meal Nov. 27, 2014, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The base dining facility staff prepared Thanksgiving meals more than 9,000 servicemembers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kia Atkins/Released)
Desserts and breads line a table during the annual Thanksgiving meal Nov. 27, 2014, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The base dining facility staff prepared Thanksgiving meals more than 9,000 servicemembers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kia Atkins/Released)

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Grateful for our Airmen

U.S. Air Force: Sharpening our skills

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By Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr. Air Force Social Media

Your U.S. Air Force is a global force. The complex operations and missions that our Airmen are responsible for stretch far beyond our nation’s borders into other areas of our world. You will take comfort in knowing our Airmen are constantly training and sharpening their skillset to meet the expectations of our leaders. Take a look below of a recent Pacific Theater exercise meant to ensure peace and security on the Korean Peninsula.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Uecker, 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew team chief, tightens a guided bomb unit onto an A-10 Thunderbolt II during the Vigilant Ace 16 exercise on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 1, 2015. The A-10 can hold up to 16,000 pounds of mixed ordnance, employing a wide variety of conventional munitions including general purpose bombs, cluster bomb units, laser guided bombs, joint direct attack munitions, rockets, illumination flares and the 30 millimeter cannon, capable of firing 3,900 rounds per minute. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kristin High/Released)
Staff Sgt. Christopher Uecker, 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew team chief, tightens a guided bomb unit onto an A-10 Thunderbolt II during the Vigilant Ace 16 exercise on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 1, 2015. The A-10 can hold up to 16,000 pounds of mixed ordnance, employing a wide variety of conventional munitions including general purpose bombs, cluster bomb units, laser guided bombs, joint direct attack munitions, rockets, illumination flares and the 30 millimeter cannon, capable of firing 3,900 rounds per minute. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kristin High/Released)
Airmen from the 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit load munitions onto an A-10 Thunderbolt II during the Vigilant Ace 16 exercise on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 1, 2015. Exercises such as this help test team Osan's ability to survive and operate in wartime constraints. The weapons Airmen from the 25th AMU are responsible for 10 varieties of conventional munitions that can be loaded onto the A-10 frame. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristin High/Released)
Airmen from the 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit load munitions onto an A-10 Thunderbolt II during the Vigilant Ace 16 exercise on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 1, 2015. Exercises such as this help test team Osan’s ability to survive and operate in wartime constraints. The weapons Airmen from the 25th AMU are responsible for 10 varieties of conventional munitions that can be loaded onto the A-10 frame. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristin High/Released)
Staff Sgt. Christopher Uecker, 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew team chief, tightens arming wire on an A-10 Thunderbolt II during the Vigilant Ace 16 exercise on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 1, 2015. The arming wire holds the guided bomb unit in place until proper aerial release. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristin High/Released)
Staff Sgt. Christopher Uecker, 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew team chief, tightens arming wire on an A-10 Thunderbolt II during the Vigilant Ace 16 exercise on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 1, 2015. The arming wire holds the guided bomb unit in place until proper aerial release. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristin High/Released)
Staff Sgt.Woodrow Walkup and Senior Airman Kameron Whitener, 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew team members, prepare to load 30 millimeter rounds onto an A-10 Thunderbolt II during the Vigilant Ace 16 exercise on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 1, 2015. The A-10 is a highly accurate and survivable weapons-delivery platform, capable of carrying up to 16,000 pounds of munitions including the 30 millimeter cannon which can penetrate tanks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristin High/Released)
Staff Sgt.Woodrow Walkup and Senior Airman Kameron Whitener, 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew team members, prepare to load 30 millimeter rounds onto an A-10 Thunderbolt II during the Vigilant Ace 16 exercise on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 1, 2015. The A-10 is a highly accurate and survivable weapons-delivery platform, capable of carrying up to 16,000 pounds of munitions including the 30 millimeter cannon which can penetrate tanks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristin High/Released)
Senior Airman Kameron Whitener and Airman 1st Class Brandon Jones, 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew team members, prepare to load 30 millimeter rounds onto an A-10 Thunderbolt II during the Vigilant Ace 16 exercise on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 1, 2015. Each team has three Airmen who are all responsible for different portions of the load. The one-man is the supervisor, the two-man is responsible for tools and aircraft preparation and the three-man is responsible for driving the jammer and munitions preparation. Without each member, the crews would not be able to properly load munitions in the safest way possible. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristin High/Released)
Senior Airman Kameron Whitener and Airman 1st Class Brandon Jones, 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew team members, prepare to load 30 millimeter rounds onto an A-10 Thunderbolt II during the Vigilant Ace 16 exercise on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 1, 2015. Each team has three Airmen who are all responsible for different portions of the load. The one-man is the supervisor, the two-man is responsible for tools and aircraft preparation and the three-man is responsible for driving the jammer and munitions preparation. Without each member, the crews would not be able to properly load munitions in the safest way possible. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristin High/Released)
Weapons load crew team Airmen from the 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit prepare to load munitions onto A-10 Thunderbolt IIs during the Vigilant Ace 16 exercise on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 1, 2015. The munitions Airmen can load up to 16,000 pounds of mixed ordnance onto the A-10 airframe. The A-10 is powered by two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofan engines producing 9,065 pounds of thrust each, and the A-10 is capable  of reaching speeds of 450 nautical miles per hour. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kristin High/Released)
Weapons load crew team Airmen from the 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit prepare to load munitions onto A-10 Thunderbolt IIs during the Vigilant Ace 16 exercise on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 1, 2015. The munitions Airmen can load up to 16,000 pounds of mixed ordnance onto the A-10 airframe. The A-10 is powered by two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofan engines producing 9,065 pounds of thrust each, and the A-10 is capable of reaching speeds of 450 nautical miles per hour. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kristin High/Released)
Staff Sgt. Christopher Uecker and Senior Airman Nathan Smith, 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew team members, drive a guided bomb unit to be loaded onto an A-10 Thunderbolt II during the Vigilant Ace 16 exercise on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 1, 2015. The weapons section of the 25th AMU is responsible for the maintenance and loading of various missiles, pylons, and other armament systems onto the A-10 fleet. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristin High/Released)
Staff Sgt. Christopher Uecker and Senior Airman Nathan Smith, 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew team members, drive a guided bomb unit to be loaded onto an A-10 Thunderbolt II during the Vigilant Ace 16 exercise on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 1, 2015. The weapons section of the 25th AMU is responsible for the maintenance and loading of various missiles, pylons, and other armament systems onto the A-10 fleet. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristin High/Released)

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U.S. Air Force: Sharpening our skills

Busted, top 10 RPA myths debunked

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by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay
432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing

Drones. The once harmless term has taken on new meaning in recent years largely due to misinformation, Hollywood dramatizations and their growing uses in non-military settings. For the men and women of the remotely piloted aircraft enterprise who provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to combatant commanders around the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, dispelling myths associated with their mission is now a top priority.

1. Myth: Drones and RPAs are the same.

Fact: In today’s mainstream media drones often refers to both small aerial capable vehicles with photo or video capabilities and, incorrectly, to U.S. Air Force RPAs. In the U.S. Air Force inventory a remotely piloted aircraft requires aircrews to operate but don’t have the capability to carry crews on board. Also in the USAF inventory, RPAs such as the Global Hawk are used to provide ISR data by recording imagery and are often incorrectly labeled as “drones.” (U.S. Air Force illustration by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay)
Fact: In today’s mainstream media drones often refers to both small aerial capable vehicles with photo or video capabilities and, incorrectly, to U.S. Air Force RPAs. In the U.S. Air Force inventory a remotely piloted aircraft requires aircrews to operate but don’t have the capability to carry crews on board. Also in the USAF inventory, RPAs such as the Global Hawk are used to provide ISR data by recording imagery and are often incorrectly labeled as “drones.” (U.S. Air Force illustration by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay)

2. Myth: RPAs fly themselves.

 Fact: RPAs are flown by a pilot, with the assistance of a sensor operator for the entire duration of the flight. Additionally, for every RPA combat air patrol there are nearly 200 people supporting the mission in various capacities. This includes pilot, sensor operator, mission intelligence personnel; aircraft and communications maintainers; launch and recovery element personnel; and intelligence personnel conducting production, exploitation, and dissemination operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Adawn Kelsey)
Fact: RPAs are flown by a pilot, with the assistance of a sensor operator for the entire duration of the flight. Additionally, for every RPA combat air patrol there are nearly 200 people supporting the mission in various capacities. This includes pilot, sensor operator, mission intelligence personnel; aircraft and communications maintainers; launch and recovery element personnel; and intelligence personnel conducting production, exploitation, and dissemination operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Adawn Kelsey)

3. Myth: Military RPAs are used to spy on U.S. civilians.

Fact: The Air Force only flies RPAs in the United States for training purposes. The only exception is with the appropriate level of coordination and approval RPAs can be used to support the aerial imagery needs of civil authorities in rare and urgent cases where local, state, or federal officials cannot use nonmilitary means of support. This level approval usually resides with the Secretary of Defense. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Senior Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)
Fact: The Air Force only flies RPAs in the United States for training purposes. The only exception is with the appropriate level of coordination and approval RPAs can be used to support the aerial imagery needs of civil authorities in rare and urgent cases where local, state, or federal officials cannot use nonmilitary means of support. This level approval usually resides with the Secretary of Defense. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Senior Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)

Additionally, the following guidelines structure how training flights work:
– Training is normally conducted in airspace over and near federal installations and unpopulated training ranges that have been set aside for that purpose.
– Information gathered during training missions that is relayed to ground stations is seldom retained after training operations.
– Any information retained after training missions is deleted shortly afterwards in accordance with regulations (typically no more than 90 days).
– During training missions, pilots and sensor operators are not applying or receiving the analytical support necessary to allow them to use imagery to identify individuals beyond gender and approximate age.

4. Myth: RPAs strike randomly.

 Fact: The vast majority of the time, the Air Force’s RPA fleet is used for ISR, not for strike activity. They are governed by the same procedures as other aircraft capable of employing weapons. RPAs are not ‘unmanned,’ and do not act autonomously to drop a weapon or choose a target. Human beings are an integral part of the system and will continue to be the decision makers. RPA pilots are not bound by a set timeline to strike a target; they spend days, weeks, and sometimes months observing the patterns-of-life of a subject and provide that information to the network of tactical personnel, intelligence members, databases and decision makers before any action is pursued. They are connected to a huge network of intelligence from multiple sources – including platforms, sensors, people and databases – to national decision makers, combatant commanders, and tactical level personnel. (Courtesy photo)
Fact: The vast majority of the time, the Air Force’s RPA fleet is used for ISR, not for strike activity. They are governed by the same procedures as other aircraft capable of employing weapons. RPAs are not ‘unmanned,’ and do not act autonomously to drop a weapon or choose a target. Human beings are an integral part of the system and will continue to be the decision makers. RPA pilots are not bound by a set timeline to strike a target; they spend days, weeks, and sometimes months observing the patterns-of-life of a subject and provide that information to the network of tactical personnel, intelligence members, databases and decision makers before any action is pursued. They are connected to a huge network of intelligence from multiple sources – including platforms, sensors, people and databases – to national decision makers, combatant commanders, and tactical level personnel. (Courtesy photo)

5. Myth: RPAs are made from alien technology and are flown from area 51.

Fact: The U.S. Air Force actually has a long history of unmanned flight and we are still learning new and better ways to fly.  We will continue to improve our methods of training, conducting operations and employing new weapon systems. The development and integration of unmanned aircraft represent a continuation of this trend and has been around since the early 1900s. The primary installations where RPAs are based and flown are Beale AFB, CA; Holloman AFB, NM; Creech AFB, NV; and Grand Forks AFB, ND.  There are additional Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard installations that are part of the distributed ground stations that support RPA flights and data analysis.(U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay)
Fact: The U.S. Air Force actually has a long history of unmanned flight and we are still learning new and better ways to fly. We will continue to improve our methods of training, conducting operations and employing new weapon systems. The development and integration of unmanned aircraft represent a continuation of this trend and has been around since the early 1900s. The primary installations where RPAs are based and flown are Beale AFB, CA; Holloman AFB, NM; Creech AFB, NV; and Grand Forks AFB, ND. There are additional Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard installations that are part of the distributed ground stations that support RPA flights and data analysis.(U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay)

6. Myth: RPAs are unmanned and require less manpower to operate.

Fact: In order to support ISR missions around the world, every RPA CAP requires the dedication of nearly 200 Airmen in various capacities to maintain 24/7, 365 day vigilance. The pilot, with the help of the sensor operator, flies the RPA for the entire duration of the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay)
Fact: In order to support ISR missions around the world, every RPA CAP requires the dedication of nearly 200 Airmen in various capacities to maintain 24/7, 365 day vigilance. The pilot, with the help of the sensor operator, flies the RPA for the entire duration of the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay)

7. Myth: RPA pilots are just “gamers.”

 Fact: Our Airmen are trained to be the best pilots in the world, regardless of aircraft. Our fully qualified aircrews consistently exceed expectations for both flight safety and operational effectiveness. Like pilots in manned aircraft RPA pilots are required to meet the same qualifications. New RPA pilots undergo a very intense training program before they fly operational missions. This training curriculum lasts approximately one year, and many current Air Force RPA pilots and trainers have already completed undergraduate pilot training in manned aircraft as well. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Vernon Young)
Fact: Our Airmen are trained to be the best pilots in the world, regardless of aircraft. Our fully qualified aircrews consistently exceed expectations for both flight safety and operational effectiveness. Like pilots in manned aircraft RPA pilots are required to meet the same qualifications. New RPA pilots undergo a very intense training program before they fly operational missions. This training curriculum lasts approximately one year, and many current Air Force RPA pilots and trainers have already completed undergraduate pilot training in manned aircraft as well. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Vernon Young)

8. Myth: Everyone in the RPA community suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

 Fact: According to a 2014 paper from the United Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, studies have shown that 4.3 percent of Air Force RPA operators report symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. This is lower than the 4 to 18% of PTSD reported among those returning from the battlefield and lower than the projected lifetime risk of PTSD for Americans (8.7%, American Psychiatric Association, 2013). In addition, Creech Air Force Base established a Human Performance Team in 2011 comprised of an operational psychologist, an operational and aerospace physiologist, three flight surgeons and two Religious Support Teams to aid Airmen in dealing with stressors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay)
Fact: According to a 2014 paper from the United Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, studies have shown that 4.3 percent of Air Force RPA operators report symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. This is lower than the 4 to 18% of PTSD reported among those returning from the battlefield and lower than the projected lifetime risk of PTSD for Americans (8.7%, American Psychiatric Association, 2013). In addition, Creech Air Force Base established a Human Performance Team in 2011 comprised of an operational psychologist, an operational and aerospace physiologist, three flight surgeons and two Religious Support Teams to aid Airmen in dealing with stressors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay)

9. Myth: RPA aircrews are not compassionate to the missions they perform.

Fact: Airmen performing RPA operations receive moral, ethical, psychological and physiological training to build readiness that is sustainable over time. The Air Force will continue to support combatant commanders with RPA missions while also focusing on initiatives that reduce stress on personnel and remain committed to providing the best care possible for every Airman, regardless of the career field with which they are associated.(U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay)
Fact: Airmen performing RPA operations receive moral, ethical, psychological and physiological training to build readiness that is sustainable over time. The Air Force will continue to support combatant commanders with RPA missions while also focusing on initiatives that reduce stress on personnel and remain committed to providing the best care possible for every Airman, regardless of the career field with which they are associated.(U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay)

10. Myth: RPAs will replace manned aircraft

 Fact: According to Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Mark A. Welsh III, “the Air Force needs a number of platforms.” He continued by saying this includes manned and unmanned assets to accomplish sustainable air supremacy. “Air superiority is a mission. It's not a platform, it's a mission. So ideally, you'd have both tools available to you." (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay)
Fact: According to Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Mark A. Welsh III, “the Air Force needs a number of platforms.” He continued by saying this includes manned and unmanned assets to accomplish sustainable air supremacy. “Air superiority is a mission. It’s not a platform, it’s a mission. So ideally, you’d have both tools available to you.” (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay)

Despite the misconceptions surrounding the RPA enterprise Air Force leadership remain optimistic on the future capabilities RPAs can provide.

“What our RPA professionals are doing in today’s fight and in preparing for future conflicts is simply incredible. RPAs and their operators are in the highest demand from our combatant commanders because of the situational awareness and strike capabilities that they enable. Despite being some of the newest weapon systems in the Air Force inventory, RPAs fulfill critical demands in every theater 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” said Gen. Hawk Carlisle, Air Combat Command commander.

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Busted, top 10 RPA myths debunked

Special Tactics Airmen march to honor fallen brothers in arms

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151004-F-GV347-021By 1st Lt. Katrina Cheesman, 24th Special Operations Wing

After more than 800 miles on the road, 20 Special Tactics Airmen finished their journey to honor fallen teammates, crossing through the gate here with families of those Special Tactics Airmen killed in combat.

The march was held specifically for Capt. Matthew Roland, special tactics officer, and Staff Sgt. Forrest Sibley, combat controller, who were killed in action, Aug. 26, 2015, Afghanistan.

“These men walked 812 miles, demonstrating to the vast majority of the southern part of America what our country values,” said Lt. Gen. Brad Heithold, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command. “And that’s people who are willing to make sacrifices.”

Special Tactics Airmen honor fallen with memorial marchThe marchers walked day and night through five states to honor the fallen special operators who gave their lives in service to their country, relaying the 812 miles in two-man teams.
Special Tactics Airmen honor fallen with memorial marchAcross the southern part of America, communities and individuals took time to cheer on the marchers, and honored the fallen with salutes and hands over hearts. Some community members even prepared home-cooked meals for the Special Tactics Airmen, who would walk a total of 90 miles with a 50-pound assault pack on their back, and a memorial baton in their hand.

While the marchers blew through anticipated timelines by completing their 12.6 mile-legs in three hours instead of the expected four, this consistent speed didn’t come without its costs. Throughout the ten-day period, they experienced large blisters, muscle tears, heat exhaustion and dehydration. One Special Tactics Airmen completed his 90-plus miles with three broken ribs.
“We are pretty tired and beat down, but it’s about telling the story of the guys who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said a Special Tactics combat controller about the march. “That’s why we do this: to remember the brothers we lost and show support to the families.”

Special Tactics Airmen honor fallen with memorial marchFor many of the Gold Star families and Special Tactics Airmen, it was a reunion. The ST Airmen had carried memorial batons engraved with the names of the fallen hallway across the country to walk alongside the families who lost their loved ones. This was not the first time they had done this; most of the families had attended all four of the memorial marches, which first occurred in 2009.

“Who’s got Argel?” one family member shouted into the chaotic crowd of hugging people, searching for the person holding their son’s baton. Eventually, the batons and their safekeepers found their way to the right family. Then the Airmen, who had so diligently carried it over 800 miles, handed it over to the family and walked the last mile with them.

At the end of the final mile, the Airmen took part in a small ceremony. The batons were solemnly saluted and returned, one by one, to a waiting Special Tactics Airmen, as the names of the 19 teammates were called.

The batons will be returned to their display case in memory of the fallen, and will only be removed for a memorial march if another Special Tactics Airmen is killed in action.
Then, as tradition in the Special Tactics community, all Airmen formed up to complete memorial pushups, honoring teamwork, fallen comrades, and Roland and Sibley.

“The fallen’s legacy will never die because we will continue to honor their sacrifices and perpetuate their excellence,” said Col. Wolfe Davidson, 24th Special Operations Wing commander, of the 19 Special Tactics Airmen killed in action since 9/11. “We aren’t ever going to quit talking about them. We will walk across this country to say, ‘we will never forget you.’”

For more coverage, visit the AFSOC Blog here: http://bit.ly/1OGniGs.

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Special Tactics Airmen march to honor fallen brothers in arms

Worldwide Air Force

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The Air Force mission is to fly, fight, and win in air, space, and cyberspace anytime and anywhere. Every time I see images or watch video footage of my fellow Airmen I’m motivated even more to live out the Air Force core values. It’s almost like hearing your favorite song before you go to work out. After you hear the song, you are mentally prepared to accomplish your workout goals.

Here are a few videos that highlight parts of the Air Force mission from around the world that truly give insight into the amazing things Airmen are doing across the Air Force.  We’ll be sure to share more videos in the future of other Air Force missions. I chose to highlight these videos because of the job diversity shown in each video. We have more than planes in the Air Force; people assume we are all pilots or aircraft maintainers. All of the jobs in the Air Force reinforce our mission to fly, fight and win. We are truly one team! We will never falter, and we will not fail

Air Force Special Operations Command’s  primary mission is to deliver highly trained, capable and ready Airmen to conduct special operations. The mission is to organize, train and equip Airmen to execute global special operations.

The primary mission of U .S. Air Forces Pacific Air  Force (PACAF) is to deliver rapid and precise air, space and cyberspace capabilities to protect and defend the United States, its territories and our allies and partners; provide integrated air and missile warning and defense; promote interoperability throughout the Pacific area of responsibility; maintain strategic access and freedom of movement across all domains; and posture to respond across the full spectrum of military contingencies in order to restore regional security.

U.S. Air Forces in Europe Air Forces Africa (USAFE) directs air operations in a theater spanning three continents, covering more than 19 million square miles, containing 104 independent states, and possessing more than a quarter of the world’s population and more than a quarter of the world’s Gross Domestic Product.

What Air Force mission intrigues you the most?

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Worldwide Air Force

Infographic: Global Strike

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By Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Social Media

The Air Force leverages its global strike capabilities to project military power with a lighter footprint than other military option. Our aircraft and combat Airmen possess unique abilities that are critical to achieving tactical, operational and strategic effects during combat operations. The infographic below highlights how different Air Force assets are used to accomplish our mission of providing global strike capabilities to combatant commanders on “Any target, any time!”

gs-info

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Infographic: Global Strike

The Road to Recovery

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By Retired Master Sgt. Daniel Waugh

Archery
Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Waugh, draws his bow back during training for the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games being held at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. , June 19-28, 2015. Waugh is competing in shooting and archery in this year’s games. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie/Released)

My story began in 2006 the day after Christmas while I was on my third deployment to Iraq as a tactical air control party Airman. My team and I were on patrol in Sadr City, Iraq, completing a blocking operation for a special operations team that was on a mission.

As we provided protection for the special operations team, there was a blast from a rocket propelled grenade launcher that hit my vehicle and knocked me out of the turret. We all were fine, but while my team was EXFIL-ing (removing personnel from a hostile environment), we were hit again. Next thing I know, I woke up and was lying on the ground. I have never really spoken about this.

One of the guys in my truck was killed. My driver lost his leg, and I woke up fine.

So I thought.

After the deployment, I came home and enjoyed life for five months before I was tasked to deploy again. Little did I understand the injuries I had suffered. I sustained a brain injury and a broken back, and I blew out my right ear drum, which left me with significant balance issues (not allowing me to run anymore or walk quickly).

Through a friend of a friend, I was able to meet athletes from the Wounded Warrior Program. I always knew there was a program specifically for wounded warriors, but I never knew the full extent of the adaptive sports program. So I went to see what this was all about.

I thought I had recovered; I thought I was resilient. I mean, I went back to a war zone three times after getting blown up. I thought nothing could faze me.

In February 2015, I went to an Air Force Wounded Warrior camp known as ”Trials,” three months after having back surgery. On day one, I wanted go home as I decided this wasn’t for me.

Although I wanted to leave, I stuck it out for two days, and I made the team. However, I started to realize I hadn’t recovered. It had been eight years since getting injured, and I never knew that I was still struggling with things. Slowly, I eventually began to open up to people on the team. This is when my healing process began.

Robin Hood
Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Waugh, celebrates hitting a “Robin Hood” during his archery practice at the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games being held at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. , June 19-28, 2015. A “Robin Hood” is when the archer hits another arrow of theirs dead on into the end of the arrow on the target. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie/Released)

Because I made the team, I was able to work and meet additional athletes at a training camp held at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in preparation for the Warrior Games. This is when I met the amazing people of the Air Force Wounded Warrior Adaptive Sports Program. This is when it clicked.

There are pillars of resiliency, and socially I wasn’t there. I had dealt physically, mentally, spiritually, etc., but socially, I had shut out the Air Force. I began to open up more socially in the Air Force and speak to the other members of the wounded warrior team. I started to hear their stories and get to actually know the other people, realizing I wasn’t alone. That is when I realized how great the Wounded Warrior Program is, and I began to put myself back together.

Now I am here today getting ready to compete in the Warrior Games, and I’m still progressing in my healing process.

It has been a long road to get here. I know everyone has his or her own struggles and road to travel. There are people in different stages; it can take years to really feel like you are there. But I am here, and I didn’t think I was going to be here. But I am happy that I am.

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The Road to Recovery