From Sea to Space: NASA Selects Three Sailors for 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class

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Three Sailors are on their way to join the growing list of Navy astronauts!

NASA announced June 7 that Lt. Kayla Barron, Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Dominick and Dr. Jonny Kim were selected from a record breaking 18,300 applicants to join its 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class of just 12 people.

2017 NASA astronaut candidates. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of NASA)
2017 NASA astronaut candidates. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of NASA)

Barron, Dominick and Kim as well as their fellow astronaut candidates will return to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, in August to begin two years of training. Then, they could be assigned to any of a variety of missions, including: performing research on the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft built by commercial companies, and departing for deep space missions on NASA’s new Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket.

Get to know them below!

Lt. Kayla Barron

As a submarine warfare officer, Lt. Kayla Barron was a member of the first class of women to join the submarine community. The Washington native graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering in 2010. A Gates Cambridge Scholar, Barron earned a Master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Cambridge.

Lt. Kayla Barron (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of NASA)
Lt. Kayla Barron (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of NASA)

Her graduate research focused on modeling the fuel cycle for a next-generation, thorium-fueled nuclear reactor concept. Following graduate school, Barron attended the Navy’s nuclear power and submarine officer training before being assigned to USS Maine (SSBN 741), an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine homeported in Bangor, Washington. Barron qualified as a submarine warfare officer and completed three strategic deterrent patrols while serving as a division officer aboard Maine. At the time of her selection, Barron was serving as the Naval Academy’s superintendent’s flag aide.

Barron has been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various unit commendations. She is a Trident Scholar and distinguished graduate of the Naval Academy.

Upon completion of two years of training as an astronaut candidate, Barron will be assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office while she awaits a flight assignment.

Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Dominick

Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Dominick, a Colorado native, earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of San Diego and a Master of Science degree in Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. He graduated from U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. He has accumulated more than 1,600 flight hours in 28 aircraft models, 400 carrier arrestments, 61 combat missions and nearly 200 flight test carrier landings (arrested and touch-and-go).

Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Dominick (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of NASA)
Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Dominick (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of NASA)

Dominick was commissioned through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps following graduation from the University of San Diego in 2005 and reported to Pensacola, Florida, for flight training. He was designated as a naval aviator in 2007 and reported to Strike Fighter Squadron 106, Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia, for transition to the F/A‑18E Super Hornet. Following his initial training, Dominick was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 143. He made two deployments to the North Arabian Sea, flying close air support missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While with Strike Fighter Squadron 143, Dominick was selected to attend the Naval Postgraduate School / U.S. Naval Test Pilot School Co-Operative Program, where he earned a Master of Science in Systems Engineering from the Naval Post Graduate School and graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School.

Designated a developmental test pilot in 2013, Dominick was assigned to the fixed wing carrier suitability flight test department of Air Test Evaluation Squadron 23. There, he served as developmental flight test project officer for a variety of carrier suitability test programs, including MAGIC CARPET, Joint Precision Approach & Landing Systems, Infrared Search and Track Pod, and the precision approach and landing certification of aircraft carriers. He flew developmental flight tests in the F/A-18ABCD, F/A-18E/F, and EA-18G. Additionally, he contributed to the X-47B (Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike), V‑22, T-45, E-2C, C-2A and F-35C test programs.

In 2016, Dominick returned to an operational naval squadron, Strike Fighter Squadron 115, flying F/A-18E Super Hornets in the forward deployed naval forces stationed in Atsugi, Japan.

At the time of his selection as an astronaut candidate in June 2017, Dominick was at sea aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) serving as the department head for Strike Fighter Squadron 115.

Dominick was the 2015 Naval Test Wing Atlantic Test Pilot of the Year. He has been awarded the Strike Flight Air Medal (three awards); Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards)

Upon completion of two years of training as an astronaut candidate, Dominick will be assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office while he awaits a flight assignment.

Dr. Jonny Kim

Dr. Jonny Kim (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of NASA)
Dr. Jonny Kim (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of NASA)

Dr. Jonny Kim, a California native, trained and operated as a Navy SEAL, completing more than 100 combat operations and earning a Silver Star and Bronze Star with Combat “V”. Afterward, he went on to complete a degree in Mathematics at the University of San Diego and a Doctorate of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Kim enlisted in the Navy as a seaman recruit following graduation from Santa Monica High School in 2002. After completion of training at Naval Special Warfare, he was assigned as a special warfare operator to SEAL Team 3. He served as a combat medic, sniper, navigator and point man on more than 100 combat operations spanning two deployments to the Middle East before he was commissioned into the Medical Corps following graduation from the University of San Diego in 2012.

At the time of his selection in June 2017, Kim was a resident physician in emergency medicine.

Kim’s military decorations include the Silver Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”; Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “V”; and various other service awards.

Upon completion of two years of training as an astronaut candidate, Kim will be assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office while he awaits a flight assignment.

Comment below to join us in congratulating these Sailors!


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From Sea to Space: NASA Selects Three Sailors for 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class

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

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

A Sailor’s Experience with Career Intermission Program

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By Lt. Michael FonbuenaLt. Michael Fonbuena

The Career Intermission Program, which originally began as a small-scale pilot, has afforded me the opportunity to seek out an advanced degree at a prestigious university of my choosing while also allowing me the ability to continue my career in the naval service. Overall, I have had an extremely positive experience with CIP and feel that the Navy should strongly advertise this program to junior officers as an alternative means of obtaining graduate education.

As I was midway through my shore tour, I found myself debating a question which many junior officers often find themselves debating: Should I stay in or should I get out? There are many factors which weigh in to such a decision: financial, professional, family, etc. For me, however, the most important factor was the ability to obtain a quality graduate education that aligned with both my academic and professional interests. After researching the options available to me through the Navy, I became extremely discouraged by the lack of diversity in educational opportunities. (To be fair, I was not ready to sign JCSRB at the end of my second sea tour which limited my opportunities, but I feel that can be said of many junior officers who need to experience a shore tour before they are ready to make such a critical decision.)

The only option which truly aligned with my interests was the Pol-Mil Master’s Program.  However, the timing was not likely to work as it would put me at department head school past the seven and a half year mark; also there is only one applicant accepted to a two-year Master’s program each year. One applicant – this is a huge disservice to the Naval Officer Corps. Needless to say, I was discouraged at the opportunities available to me. Then, I discovered CIP after many hours of online searching, and it immediately peaked my interest. The main draw was the ability to continue my career as a department head while also being afforded the opportunity to obtain a Master’s degree of my choosing at an institution of my choosing.

Overall, I have had an extremely positive experience while participating in this program. I have been able to see what life outside of the military is like, I have been re-invigorated by the educational opportunities which have been presented to me, and I feel I have gained many valuable skills which are not traditionally gained in Navy graduate programs and will serve both myself and the Navy well in the long run.  Below are some thoughts on CIP:

Positives:

  • Ability to obtain the degree I desired at a university of my choosing
  • Obtained diverse skills which will be valuable to myself and the Navy in the long run
  • Allowed to use Post 9/11 GI Bill and retained medical/dental benefits
  • Eliminates timing issues regarding career progression

Negatives:

  • Stipend not substantial enough to make sufficient impact in day-to-day life
  • Program not well known to service members
  • Unable to collect YCS 6 JCSRB payment due to program restrictions

Suggestions:

  • Heavily advertise CIP to junior officers, particularly as an alternative vehicle to obtain graduate education
  • Increase the monthly stipend to approximately 1/5 of base pay to create a larger incentive for participation in CIP
  • Develop partnerships with academic institutions to help junior officers get accepted to top-tier Master’s programs while participating in CIP
  • Remove the restriction that do not allow participants to receive CSRB; at minimum, make it so junior officers could retroactively receive any payments they otherwise would be ineligible for because of the existing clause making it ineligible for individuals to participate in CIP while under CSRB. This might make sense in some context, but not for junior officers, who should be primary target group of CIP
  • Work to place members in a position applicable to the Master’s Degree they obtain during CIP – for example, if someone goes to Wharton to obtain their M.B.A., place them in a financial position at the Pentagon immediately upon return to active duty; if a person goes to Harvard Kennedy School to obtain their M.P.P., place them in an OLA or Pol-Mil billet. This will not only leverage the ideas obtained during their studies but also advance the service member professionally and validate them academically.

This has been an extremely valuable program, and I feel that it should be largely expanded from its current scope. It provides the Navy the opportunity to tap into a segment of junior officers who would be extremely valuable to the Navy long-term but might otherwise separate due to a lack of educational opportunities.  I would further recommend the Navy conduct an extensive survey in order to discover what percentage of junior officers across all levels would be encouraged to stay if given the chance to participate in CIP and what would encourage their participation.


Editor’s note: Lt. Michael Fonbuena graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in history in 2007. At sea, he served as Electro/Auxo in USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) and DCA in USS Benfold (DDG 65), ashore he served as a gas turbine assessor for Engineering Assessments Pacific in San Diego, Calif. He is currently a Master’s of Public Policy candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles and was awarded the Torang Jahan Fellowship for Globalization Studies.

This article – 

A Sailor’s Experience with Career Intermission Program

Marines Blog

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Colonel Walt Ford, USMC (Ret)

DiamondVsBasilone

Who is the Ultimate Marine’s Marine? Each day, we’ll compare two Marine Corps legends across three categories: Service (actions while in uniform), Legacy (how their service continued to impact the Corps and the world) and Motivation (esprit de corps and overall badassery). The Marines Blog will judge initial rounds internally and guest writers will take over for the final rounds. Be sure to make your voice heard by voting in our simultaneous fan bracket here on the Marines Blog. Share your opinion on our Facebook page, or tweet your thoughts with us @usmc using the hashtag: #UltimateMarine

This round is being judged by Colonel Walt Ford, USMC (Ret), the publisher for Marine Corps Association periodicals and editor of Leatherneck Magazine. Leatherneck, started by then-Brigadier General John A. Lejeune in 1917 as the Marine Barracks Quantico newspaper, and becoming a magazine published by the Marine Corps Institute in 1921, was an official publication of the Marine Corps, staffed by active duty Marines until 1972. It’s mission continues to be to tell the Marine Corps story, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Searchable archived articles back to 1921 may be accessed via the magazine’s website.

ViewBracketThe Marine Corps has more than its share of myths and legends, but few Marines are surrounded by less fact and more fiction than Master Gunnery Sgt. Leland “Lou” Diamond and Gunnery Sgt. John “Manila John” Basilone. While these two definitely rate high in the pantheon of Leatherneck Lore as “Giants of the Corps,” and previous bloggers have superbly presented much about each and his legacy, I’ll add a few tidbits for your consideration and, for what it’s worth, give you my take on each, relative to theViewFanBracket established criteria: Service — Their actions while serving in uniform. Motivation — motivating stories/anecdotes/details about them. Legacy — How their actions continued to impact the Corps/world after they left. From that we’ll consider which of these two legends has the more lasting impact on our Corps of Marines.

MGySgt Leland “Lou” Diamond (and not Diamond Lou, who would also make for a very interesting discussion), famously known as “The Honker” because of his loud, often obnoxious voice clearly heard above the din of barroom or battle, was heralded as the master-mortarman of World War II, and certainly was one of the most eccentric Devil Dogs to ever pull on dungarees.

He was a fairly old railroad switchman when he decided to take part in the action in France. Promoted to corporal before deploying from Quantico, the self-confident, cocky Marine cussed and killed the “Boche” from Belleau Wood to the Armistice. Returning Stateside, the salty Lou Diamond was discharged in August 1919. But he quickly found “civvies” didn’t fit him well and came back to his family — the Corps. For the next two decades, America forgot about professional warfighters like Lou Diamond. But Diamond was happy. First he served as an armorer. Then he was in a machine gun company while doing duty with those machine gun artists, the Fourth Marines, in China.

The mortars became Lou’s sweethearts and hundreds of stories began to circulate through the Corps about the amazing accuracy of Lou Diamond’s 81mm mortars. His proficiency with the 37mm cannon and heavy machine guns gained the respect of the Japanese too.

Manila John Basilone — well, he’s documented as coming to the Corps in July 1940 as a “doggie” and didn’t even go to Marine boot camp. Is that important? Over the history of the Corps, there have been a great many soldiers see the light and come to the Corps. Boot camp? While few WWII leathernecks did not complete recruit training, a great many Marines who went to war as part of “The Fire Brigade” in August 1950 had not gone to boot camp — don’t make the mistake of telling one of them he’s not a real Marine!

Both these leathernecks were brave, dedicated to their profession and much loved by their Marines who would follow them to Hell and bring back the Devil if asked. In the case of Lou Diamond, he was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions in WWII, but this came years after the fact. Manila John was recommended for the Medal of Honor by the battalion commander of 1st Bn, 7th Marines, LtCol Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, for his actions on the night of Oct. 24-25, 1942. He was awarded the medal during a formation in Balcombe, Australia, in May 1943. Basilone also earned a Navy Cross leading his men on Iwo Jima, and the Purple Heart when he was killed in action on Iwo.

Service: GySgt John “Manila John” Basilone

Both these giants were loved by their Marines as professionals, but also because of their often eccentric personalities.

When Diamond was on liberty, he was known to have a beer bottle in each hand but was no roisterer. Still, he liked his beer. Once at a China station, where the nearest bar was far from the post, Diamond is said to have set up a Chinese man in the bar business right across the street from the Marine barracks. He was known to hold forth with salty tales even after the lights were out.

But Diamond has no edge on Basilone. Basilone’s prodigious appreciation of alcoholic libations was heralded from the Philippines to the States, certainly in New Zealand and Australia, and his homemade “hooch” on Guadalcanal was legendary. Opposite of Lou, Manila John was known as a bit of a brawler on liberty who really could turn out your lights.

Family, well Lou was married to the Corps — right to the end. Manila John — he enjoyed the ladies until a very pretty young hash-slinger in a Camp Pendleton mess hall, Sgt. Lena Mae Riggi, won his heart. They married on July 7, 1944, and shortly thereafter Gunnery Sgt. Basilone was sent back to the Pacific where he was killed on Iwo Jima leading his Marines, Feb. 19, 1945.

She christened the Navy destroyer escort USS Basilone (DDE-824) in 1949 and later helped erect a statue in her husband’s honor at Raritan, N.J. She never remarried, stating, “Once you have the best, you can’t settle for less.”

Lou’s family members were all Marines and the families of his Marines. Many of the Marine children on base at San Diego imagined that the Lord had a scraggly white goatee, a lot of hash marks on his sleeve and a stern visage, just like Master Gunnery Sgt. Lou Diamond.

How did Lou Diamond look? Well, we know from the photo above about his goatee and white hair, but let’s read what Gunny Sgt. Mickey Finn said on that subject:

“One day, coming back from Nicaragua, I got off the train at Quantico, and there was Lou Diamond with his bulldog, Bozo. This Bozo was the ugliest bulldog I ever saw. But, I would say that Bozo was considerably prettier than Diamond.”

Beside Bozo, the homely bulldog at Quantico, Diamond had many pets. At the time the First Marine Division was preparing to leave New River for the South Seas, Diamond was the owner of a particularly ornery goat named “Rufus” and a couple of “trained” chickens whose names were said to be too impolite to print. These were left in New River under the care of a farmer. While he was in the Solomons, rumor had it that Diamond sweated about meat shortages back in the States because he was fearful that Rufus and the educated chickens might be barbecued in his absence.

Basilone? Well, he had no known pets.

Motivation: Master Gunnery Sgt. Lou Diamond

Both Lou Diamond and Manila John were media darlings. Both were on the cover of various magazines such as Time, Life and Leatherneck. In 1949, several million Americans once again re-heard Diamond’s story via the “Cavalcade of America.” Then in a June 1, 1955, television version on the “Cavalcade of America” originally entitled, “The Old Breed,” and later dubbed “The Marine Who Lived 200 Years,” Ward Bond played Lou embellishing the already ostentatious reputation of the by-then deceased “Diamond in the Rough.”

Of course, Basilone is much more well-known today because of the 2010 HBO miniseries, “The Pacific.” Basilone was also featured in the 1995 Iwo Jima documentary, “Red Blood, Black Sand.”

Books, well I don’t recall any on Lou Diamond, but two 2010 books quickly jump to mind on Manila John. One, billed as family-authorized and on the Commandant’s Professional Reading List is, “I’m Staying With My Boys: The Heroic Life Of Sgt. John Basilone, USMC.” Opinion only — a much more balanced, well-presented book on Manila John is “The Hero of the Pacific: The Life of Marine Legend John Basilone,” by noted Marine veteran and author, now-deceased James Brady. Both books positively portray Manila John.

Legacy: GySgt Manila John Basilone

Every Marine today is taught of the heroism, leadership and commitment of Manila John Basilone. Lou Diamond is lost in history to most Marines. Bringing him to life again via this blog is fantastic and I’m proud to be part of the effort. But, in overall service, motivation and legacy, the tip of the hat and hand salute has to go to Gunnery Sgt. John “Manila John” Basilone.

— — — — — —

Round One

Daly vs Lejeune

Foss vs Hulbert

Diamond vs Gray

Basilone vs Johnson

Puller vs Barnum

Hathcock vs Mawhinney

Vittori vs Glenn

Butler vs Davis

Round Two

Daly vs Foss

Diamond vs Basilone

Puller vs Hathcock

Glenn vs Butler

— — — — — —

The fan bracket has taken a different turn than the Marines Blog. Today’s fan match is between Gen. Alfred Gray and Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone. Read the first round blog to catch up on Gray and cast your vote below.

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