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

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