Surface Warfare Week: Vital Education Tool for Our Nation’s Future Officers

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By Vice Adm. Tom Rowden
Commander, Naval Surface Forces

There are many constants in the life of surface warfare officers: getting underway on a ship, making sure our Sailors and ships are ready to deploy, and every summer, hosting midshipmen from our nation’s universities.

Midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy and Reserve Officer Training Corps units from around the nation participate in yearly summer training. I believe investing fleet time in training our future leaders is extremely important to extending our legacy of maritime dominance for years to come. Perhaps one of most influential events we conduct is “Core Training for Midshipmen” (CORTRAMID) and “Professional Training for Midshipmen” (PROTRAMID).

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Feb. 13, 2017) The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) fires a 5-inch lightweight gun during a live fire exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Feb. 13, 2017) The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) fires a 5-inch lightweight gun during a live fire exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/Released)

I still remember my midshipman summer experience 37 years later like it was yesterday. And what I learned then, I still use today. As it happens, during my summer training as a midshipman, I had the opportunity to meet one of our great naval leaders, Vice Adm. “Hank” Mustin, aboard the frigate USS Miller. He spoke to the officers in the ship’s wardroom and he left me with a lasting memory. He emphatically stated, “the United States Navy exists to control the sea.” His words are as applicable today as they were decades ago.

Midshipmen 3rd class Keegan Kush, from Omaha, Neb., participates in a sea and anchor detail aboard the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56).
Midshipmen 3rd class Keegan Kush, from Omaha, Neb., participates in a sea and anchor detail aboard the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56).

CORTRAMID is designed to educate ROTC midshipmen going into their sophomore year of college about fleet operations, while PROTRAMID is focused on rising juniors at the Naval Academy. Both month-long training blocks consist of the same curriculum, one week in each of the major communities: surface warfare, submarine force, naval aviation and the Marine Corps. The major distinction setting this training apart from all others is that once it’s completed and the midshipmen return to their schools, they are required to sign the five-year commitment to continue forward in their commissioning programs. No pressure!

On Monday, we’ll kick off the 2017 CORTRAMID/PROTRAMID season and I wholeheartedly believe this training is vital for these future naval officers. The month they spend with the fleet sets the framework for their perception of each community and hopefully sheds some light on the reality of each as well. For the surface warfare community, it’s our duty, and an honor, to help teach them about what it is we do. We accomplish the orientation during Surface Warfare Week, more commonly called Surface Warfare Officer Week. I want it to be known that SWO Week is, if nothing else, an essential education tool that allows midshipmen to get their questions answered, in operational environments, prior to service selection.

The Littoral Combat Ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) sails alongside USS Nimitz (CVN 68) as part of a strait transit demonstration during the aircraft carrier's Sustainment Exercise off the coast of Southern California, April 14. Fort Worth, a semi-planing, mono-hull vessel, is a fast, agile, and mission-focused platform designed to employ modular mission packages that can be configured for three separate purposes: surface warfare, mine countermeasures, or anti-submarine warfare. The ship is designed to operate in hostile near-shore environments, known as "the littorals", and to defeat asymmetric "anti-access" threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. Fort Worth is the second of the Freedom variant of LCS. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Phil Ladouceur/Released)
The Littoral Combat Ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) sails alongside USS Nimitz (CVN 68) as part of a strait transit demonstration during the aircraft carrier’s Sustainment Exercise off the coast of Southern California. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Phil Ladouceur/Released)

It’s my desire for them to be as informed as possible before making this life altering decision. I cannot – and we shouldn’t – make the choice for them. Everyone has their place in our great Navy and while we pride ourselves on diversity, we need to be mindful that not everyone is meant to be a surface warfare officer and that is absolutely all right. I want each and every midshipman to choose the community that is best for him or her; to do what they love and be the best officer they can be in service to our great Navy. We just need to ensure that the time they spent learning about the SWO community is educational and represents the broad spectrum of what our community has to offer them upon commissioning.

We achieve this goal through a designed program that not only gets midshipmen underway on multiple platforms of ships, but also integrates the training with non-conventional pipelines like riverine squadrons and naval beach group and takes them to the Basic Division Officer Course where they will receive formal training as junior officers once commissioned and formally assigned to the SWO community. We also provide interactions with junior officers and chief petty officers from the waterfront who are currently stationed aboard surface ships. These active duty leaders mentor small groups through the week’s schedule and a SWO Week competition; most importantly, they answer questions about our great community. We wrap-up the week in a more relaxed environment, a barbecue social where other junior officers and chiefs from the waterfront come to support and answer any last queries about surface warfare.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (March 23, 2015) Ensign Joseph Lillie, from Lakewood, Ohio, stands officer of the deck watch at the radar console aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58). Laboon is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Desmond Parks/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA (March 23, 2015) Ensign Joseph Lillie stands officer of the deck watch at the radar console aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Desmond Parks/Released)

For general guidance, I can tell the midshipmen that the surface warfare community remains committed to putting the most advanced ships in the hands of the most capable Sailors. Among all warfare communities, they will be the first to hit the deck plates, leading Sailors almost immediately following commissioning. Furthermore, our junior officers have the rewarding experience of driving the world’s most capable ships and employing our most sophisticated weapons systems. When midshipmen select surface warfare, they will start out on their first ship having more responsibility than their civilian counterparts might ever have.

Our community is on the leading edge of adopting personnel policies that are increasingly rewarding for the most talented officers. Our officers have unique opportunities to pursue graduate level education, intern at some of the most prestigious companies, and train to become an expert tactician in the fleet. The officers that join the surface community will have the satisfaction of leading Sailors in the midst of a rapidly changing maritime security environment.

EVERETT, Wash. (Nov. 1, 2016) Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, speaks to Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) during his visit to Naval Station Everett.. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Montemarano/Released)
EVERETT, Wash. (Nov. 1, 2016) Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, speaks to Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) during his visit to Naval Station Everett. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Montemarano/Released)

I truly believe it’s the experience and perspective gained throughout this orientation week that allows us to leave an indelible impression upon each midshipman as we send them back to their commissioning sources better informed about the fleet and more knowledgeable in the process. The talent we attract now is tomorrow’s leadership of the surface force. I sincerely thank all of the units and personnel that will help make CORTRAMID/PROTRAMID 2017 our best summer yet for surface warfare education. I look forward to meeting some of the next generation of naval officers, include those who will select surface warfare.


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Originally posted here – 

Surface Warfare Week: Vital Education Tool for Our Nation’s Future Officers

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)

Originally posted here:

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.

Continued here:

Busted, top 10 RPA myths debunked

12 examples of Air Force holiday cheer

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By Sarah Swan

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Staff at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force searched the archives and found some examples of holiday celebrations and greetings from Airmen through the decades. As Christmas approaches, we hope you enjoy looking through these artifacts. Please keep our military members, especially those who are away from their loved ones, in your thoughts this holiday season and throughout the year.

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12 examples of Air Force holiday cheer

LSP Preparing Marines for Higher Education

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A Marine supervises from the center of The Basic School permanent personnel battalion during a 10-mile hike aboard the westside of Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., June 28, 2013. This was the first hike The Basic School has done for regimental physical training in the last 3 years. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Cuong Le/Released)

A Marine supervises from the center of The Basic School permanent personnel battalion during a 10-mile hike aboard the westside of Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., June 28, 2013. This was the first hike The Basic School has done for regimental physical training in the last 3 years. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Cuong Le/Released)

Ensuring quality education and admission support from institutions of higher learning is crucial to a smooth transition.  There are many programs available outside of government but the military services are also interested in developing complimentary programs for those veterans wishing to compete and place through traditional school admissions processes. The Marine Corps created the Leadership Scholar Program (LSP) to assist exiting Marines gain admission to colleges and universities for their desired undergraduate program.

Marines who are selected into the program are given top-notch support throughout the transition and admission process.  This support includes assisting Marines in the application process, coordinating interviews with admission officers, providing consistent updates on application status, and offering a single point of contact to answer any and all questions.  Sgt. Michael Liao will be separating in June and thanks to the LSP will be attending Princeton University.  He stated, “The Leadership Scholar Program plays a critical role by advocating on behalf of Marines, to college admissions boards.”  Many times it can be difficult for service members to portray all the experiences and expertise gained while serving to an admissions board.  LSP takes an active approach to giving Marines an opportunity to communicate these unique skills in person.

Another aspect of LSP is a partnership with colleges and universities.  When a college or university signs on to participate in the Leadership Scholar Program they are committing to secure acceptance of qualified applicants.  Through this partnership the colleges/universities provide the LSP with all necessary admission requirements, timelines, academic criteria, and reporting instructions.  Relationships built between the Marine Corps and these institutions provide an avenue for Marines to receive dedicated admission support and interviews when needed.

To be eligible to participate in the LSP, Marines must be high school graduates and possess a minimum combined score of a 70 on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) and a General Technical (GT) score of 115 or higher.  Applicants are screened to ensure they meet the requirements of the institution to which they wish to apply and then forwarded to the admissions office for a final decision.  Marines usually start the LSP application process at least 12 months before leaving active duty. 

Through these efforts the admissions process is less daunting as LSP acts as the conduit to helping Marines navigate into the school do their choice.  Former Marine, Joseph Prive speaks of his LSP experience, “I attended a few LSP-sponsored meetings with admissions counselors from elite universities, and I then realized that even I could be a successful student, pursue my interests, and enjoy it.  LSP provided me with direction, encouragement and confidence when I needed it the most.”  Currently, the LSP has over 238 institutions in 45 States and the District of Columbia participating, with a long range goal of having at least two colleges/universities in each State.  These partners recognize that a Marine’s experience while in the military make them well-suited for success in an academic environment.

Get more information on the Leadership Scholar Program

Rosye Cloud is Director of Policy for Veterans, Wounded Warriors, and Military Families

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LSP Preparing Marines for Higher Education