Saturday, December 22, 2012

Washington Perspective

On Tuesday, December 18th, Members of the House and the Senate released conference language aligning their respective versions of the FY 2013 Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). AFA will provide comprehensive analysis of the legislation after it is signed into law by the President. In the mean time, we wanted to let you know about two specific items of particular interest--the Retirement Commission and TRICARE fees. Below are some of the highlights:


The NDAA establishes the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission to review compensation and retirement benefits. The commission is charged with ensuring the long-term viability of the All-Volunteer Force, enabling a high quality of life for military families, and to modernizing the compensation and retirement systems in a sustainable fashion. The legislation calls for grandfathering current service members and retirees.

The Commission will have nine members—the President appoints one member; the Majority Leader of Senate, in consultation with the SASC Chair, appoints two members; the Minority Leader of Senate, in consultation with the Ranking Member of SASC, appoints two; the Speaker of the House, in consultation with the Chair of HASC, appoints two; and the Minority Leader of the House, in consultation with the Ranking member of HASC, appoints two. This process is supposed to occur within 4 months and the eventual reconditions will be submitted to the President within 15 months. 

 Commission members are expected to possess knowledge regarding federal civilian, military and private sector compensation; military family policy development; and implementation and actuarial science. The Secretary of Defense will also make recommendations to Congress in consultations with the Secretaries of Homeland Security, HHS and OMB.

The commission will have a budget of $10,000,000.


The FY13 NDAA restates the firmly held sense of Congress that access to quality health care services during retirement is a benefit earned though prior service to our nation. Thus, the FY13 NDAA rejects the Administration’s proposals to increase existing fees and create new charges. Instead, the FY13 NDAA includes a modest increase in TRICARE pharmacy co-pays in 2013 and a cap on pharmacy co-pays beginning in 2014 that would allow fees to rise by no more than the annual retiree COLA. This funding adjustment is offset by a 5-year pilot program, which requires TRICARE for life recipients to obtain refills of maintenance drugs through the TRICARE mail-order program.

To read the full conference report:

Summary from SASC Chairman Carl Levin's office:

Summary from HASC Chairman Buck McKeon:

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Greetings from AFA

As the year comes to an end, we want to communicate our sincerest appreciation for all that our members, volunteers, supporters and friends have done throughout the year. We hope you will enjoy this special time of year with family and friends, and we look forward together to a great New Year.

While many of us have the opportunity to spend the holidays with loved ones, we must remember the courage and commitment to service displayed by our Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and Marines, who may be separated for their families during this time. Their dedication is remarkable and we have great pride and appreciation in the work they do.

Without a doubt, the successes of this Association have to be attributed to the support of many. Our hearts are truly filled with gratitude for all that you do. Together, as we move into 2013, we can build on those efforts to expand the reach of AFA to help improve the quality of life of our nation’s Airmen and support our Air Force in the challenges ahead. 

May your holiday season be filled with much joy and happiness!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

AFA Congratulates Advancing Teams in CyberPatriot Competition

CyberPatriot—The National High School Cyber Defense Competition recently announced the top scoring teams who will be advancing to Round 3, the semifinal round of competition.

CyberPatriot, an education initiative produced by AFA in 2008, is a one-of-a-kind cyber defense competition that provides students hands-on learning about cyber security. CyberPatriot V brought in more than 1,200 team registrations from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Department of Defense Dependent Schools in both Europe and the Pacific, and Canada in the two-track competition. Teams have registered from public, private, parochial and home schools in the Open Division, and JROTC units of all Services, Naval Sea Cadets Corps and Civil Air Patrol squadrons filled the All-Service Division.

During the second round of competition, held the first and second weekends of December, teams set out once again to defend virtualized networks of computers. Teams were scored according to how quickly and effectively they established and maintained secure networks. The scores of the first and second preliminary rounds were aggregated to determine which teams moved forward.

Is a team from your community among the top 93? To view the list of advancing All Service Division teams, click
here. To view the full list of advancing Open Division teams, click here.

Congratulations to all the teams!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

AFA Statement on the Passing of Sen. Inouye

The Air Force Association would like to express our sincere condolences on the recent passing of U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye. 

We had the honor of knowing him and the greatest respect for his life’s work. Sen. Inouye was a 2005 recipient of AFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes not a single achievement, but a lifetime of work in the advancement of aerospace.

Sen. Inouye was a World War II combat veteran. He returned home highly decorated with a Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star, Purple Heart with cluster and 12 additional medals and citations. His Distinguished Service Cross was later upgraded to Medal of Honor – the nation’s highest award for military valor.

First elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962, Sen. Inouye was serving his ninth consecutive term at the time of his passing. He dedicated his career to strengthening national security and enhancing the quality of life for military personnel and their families. He also addressed important issues including aviation and maritime transportation as the Co-Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

He was well known and highly respected for his bipartisan approach and consensus building on the Hill. He truly was a valued member in the community and his own profession. Our deepest sympathy is with his family and friends.

His service to our country should be an example for all of us.

NIC's Global Trends Report

A new study was recently released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, highlighting global trends by 2030: The National Intelligence Council's (NIC) Global Trends Report engages expertise from outside government on factors of such as globalization, demography and the environment, producing a forward-looking document to aid policymakers in their long term planning on key issues of worldwide importance. Particular pieces of interest: 
  • Demand for resources will increase owing to an increase in global population from 7.1 billion today to about 8 billion by 2030. Demand for food set to rise 35 percent; energy 50 percent over the next 15-20 years. 
  • Nearly half of world population will live in areas with severe water stress. Fragile states most at risk, but China and India are vulnerable to volatility of key resources. 
  • A big theme that the US will be taking is collaborating with allies and partners around the world going forward

Monday, December 17, 2012

Words from an OAY: SSgt Banks

Staff Sergeant Angelo Banks, of the 81st Security Forces Squadron, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, is the second guest OAY blogger in the series. His duty title is "Pass & Registration Clerk." SSgt Banks led eight Airmen as team leader of a quick response fire team while deployed to Manas, Kyrgyzstan. His team secured 90 sorties, which transported 296 tons of cargo worth $451 million. Airman Banks also trained members of the Kyrgyzstan military to search vehicles for improvised explosive devices and led 13 members in 19 flyaway security missions to 39 austere forward operating bases, delivering 1,300 passengers and three detainees.

I am SSgt Angelo C. Banks from Keesler AFB, MS. In October 2006, I decided to join the United States Air Force. I made the decision because my father, who was helping me financially at the time, decided that was no longer an option. With school being my number one priority my father gave me an alternative option how to earn my education for free. January 23, 2007, I was on a plane going to Lackland AFB, TX.

My experience as a Security Forces member has given me a unique outlook on the Air Force. I have obviously gained some experiences and seen some situations that others will not have the privilege to appreciate. Some can say they have been to a certain base in Afghanistan, whereas I can boast being to several Forward Operating Bases, networking with troops from all branches of the military. I have had the opportunity to go through rough but exciting and academically satisfying training that will be valuable to many locations and jobs outside and inside the United States. Security Forces is surely costly on your family and time, but it is a job that you and your family can appreciate the time served in.

Being able to have the Security Forces experience along with my faith, family and support system, I have been honored to receive several awards within the past year. I do not take my reputation lightly and understand that without family, great leadership, and humility there would have been no chance for those opportunities. There are a plethora of Airman in our United States Air Force that deserve these accolades just as much, if not more, than me. My advice to any of those Airmen would be to continue to work hard and appreciate your support system and, in due time, your hard work and humbleness will pay off in a way that will consecrate your future.

For me, there is a bright future ahead to include reaching goals such as graduating with my bachelor degree in Sociology, entering into OTS, and raising my two children to the best of my ability. The Outstanding Airmen of the Year award will play a big part in my future in the Air Force, if I continue with the dedication and ambition it took to get where I am today. I have seen many talents thrown away by peers due to lack of focus. These mistakes motivate me every day to constantly strive higher and never let any situation deter me from getting to the next level of my life.


Angelo C. Banks
Staff Sergeant, USAF

Read last month's guest blog post from SMSgt Callaway >>

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

AFA Announces National Conference and Symposia Dates for 2013

AFA officially announced the 2013 dates for its three national conferences and symposia:

Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition

February 20 – 22, 2013
Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel, in Orlando, Florida

Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition
September 16 – 18, 2013

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland
Global Warfare Symposium
November 21 – 22, 2013
Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California

AFA’s annual conferences are unique opportunities for networking n and professional development where AFA brings together Air Force leadership, industry experts, academia and current aerospace specialists from around the world to discuss the issues and challenges facing America and the aerospace community today. Our national conference attracts the top echelon of USAF senior leadership and offers attendees major conference addresses, forums and professional development workshops that focus on challenges and accomplishments unique to the Air Force and the aerospace.

Check back at periodically for registration updates.

AFA's Next Mitchell Hour: Strategy in a Time of Austerity

Mark your calendars for the last event of the year from the Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies. AFA's next Mitchell Hour welcomes Dr. Andrew Krepinevich, defense policy analyst and President of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), as the guest speaker. The topic of his discussion is “Strategy in a Time of Austerity.”

Dr. Andrew Krepinevich is a recognized intellectual leader within the national security community. As president of the CSBA, he leads a team who has helped inform and shape the public discourse on the matters of strategy, defense planning and military investment options for the 21st century; and formulated concepts of operations to address the emerging anti-access area denial threats. During this Mitchell Hour, he will discuss his most recent article, “Strategy in a Time of Austerity: Why the Pentagon Should Focus on Assuring Access”—published in the November/December 2012 issue of Foreign Affairs.

This Mitchell event will take place on Tuesday, December 18, 2012, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., at AFA’s national headquarters. Mitchell Hours are free to attend. Find out more here:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Could this be what a Northrop Grumman LRS-B might look like?

The US Air Force has embarked upon a new Long Range Strike family of systems--one component of which is the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B). Dave Majumdar from Flightglobal shared this piece, speculating on what the next generation bomber may look like:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Support for our Fighting Falcons!

AFA is proud to support our United States Air Force Academy Football team as they prepare for the Armed Force Bowl later this month, but we need your help. In an effort to pack the stands in our favor, we are helping spread the word on the Academy's annual initiative to provide assistance to enlisted personnel of all services to attend a bowl game. Essentially the Air Force Academy buys down the cost of tickets and generous donors (individuals, groups and corporations) provide additional resources so that most deserving airmen, soldiers, sailors, marines and coast guardsmen and their family members receive complimentary tickets to attend the college bowl game. This year, the Academy will be playing in the Armed Forces Bowl in Ft. Worth, TX on 29 Dec.

Donations are tax deductable to the extent possible. Recipients of the tickets are chosen by installation commanders, chief master sergeants, first sergeants or their equivalents. This flier explains the program and provides instructions on how to purchase/donate tickets. For additional information, please contact the United States Air Force Academy Ticket Office at 1-800-666-USAF or go to their web site at:

Best of luck to our Fighting Falcons!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Tribute to the 71th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941, this nation fell victim to a surprise aerial attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy that claimed the lives of more than 2,000 Americans, including 68 civilians. This attack did not only propel US involvement into the war, but it unified this nation and helped shape who we are today. We pay tribute to those who lost their lives that fateful day and to those that followed so bravely. Without their courage, sacrifice and perseverance, freedom would not have triumphed. Today we join the nation in saluting the veterans of Pearl Harbor and all of those who bravely served in World War II.

The smoldering battleship USS NEVEDA silhouetted in the fire and smoke of the destroyer
USS SHAW which exploded when her magazine was hit by bombs from Japanese aircraft
during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Photo courtesty of the National Archives.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Senate Passes Defense Authorization Bill

The Senate on Dec. 4 unanimously approved its version of the Fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill, providing $631.4 billion for national defense programs and the war in Afghanistan. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, told reporters that senators added 145 amendments to the full Senate's final version. Among its many provisions, the bill: 
  • supports the Pentagon’s plans for the Air Force to spend $3.7 billion on the F-35 fighter program
  • allows a 1.7 percent military pay increase
  • fully funds efforts to train and equip Afghan security forces
  • allows the Pentagon to continue pursuing biofuels
  • tightens sanctions on Iran
  • bans transfers of Guantanamo detainees to the United States
  • authorizes the Air Force to spend $87 million less on its KC-46 aerial tanker program than the $1.9 billion the service requested.
For more reading:
Air Force Magazine's Daily Report: Senate Passes Defense Authorization Bill

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December Issue of Air Force Magazine

Have you checked out this month's issue of Air Force Magazine?

5 Must Reads:
  • Editorial on the fiscal cliff and sequestration
  • Adversary Stealth, highlighting the recent developments in Russian and China
  • Spotlight on the Air National Guard, the training and the equipment that serves as the first responders in the event of attack on the American government as well as those serving to protect the continental U.S.
  • US and Australia quietly bolstering their military relationship
  • ...and an Airpower Classic detailing the rise of the F5.
Read one of the world’s foremost publications in the fields of defense and aerospace reporting >>

Airpower: A National Asset

Earlier this week, an AFA member had a great article published in his local publication, in Central Florida.
America's Air Force is critical to its safety
By Mike Emig (Special to the Star-Banner)

In modern conflicts, airpower truly is a national asset. Airpower is extensively used at the entry point of conflict, preparing the battlefield and providing much needed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). As conflicts charge on, airpower doesn’t cease, but becomes that much more important to all other operations: air attacks, close air support, aeromedical evacuation, reconnaissance, etc. Then it does not leave a zone until after the last of the ground troops are withdrawn.

The role of airpower continues to be an integral part of the strategic planning of military missions. In Iraq and Afghanistan, airpower forces struck first at hostile forces on the ground, provided continuous ISR of the battle space, kept the skies clear of dangers with hundreds of thousands air patrols, provided highly responsive medical evacuation for the wounded and contributed the massive airlift capabilities required to move and sustain a joint force across the globe. But let’s not forget the rescue efforts and humanitarian relief during natural disasters in Haiti, Japan and here at home.

Read more here >>

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Happy 71st Anniversary to Civil Air Patrol!

Photo courtesy of the National Archives
 This Saturday, the Civil Air Patrol will commemorate its rich heritage as it celebrates its 71st anniversary! 

The all-volunteer, nonprofit organization of more than 61,000 members was founded on Dec. 1, 1941, less than a week before the iconic Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Immediately, they jumped into action – 59 members died, 26 were lost at sea and seven others were seriously injured while carrying out CAP missions during World War II.
Today, the Civil Air Patrol has undeniably remained a true asset to America’s defense. They help train and mentor today’s youth through aerospace education programs nationwide. They undergo search and rescue missions; disaster relief; and other emergency services yearlong. These individuals have performed
with great heroism and professional in all that they do.

AFA and CAP has an outstanding relationship, as we have a strong history of working closely together to further the initiatives of educators with our grant programs and promote STEM education with our CyberPatriot program.The partnership AFA has with the Civil Air Patrol continues to be fueled with a passion for furthering the educational opportunities for the public.

But in all that they do, CAP demonstrates the highest sense of patriotism and pride in their mission, and their legacy of selfless
sacrifice and commitment to country and community continues to thrive through today’s members and volunteers.
On behalf of the Air Force Association, we wish CAP a very happy 71th birthday!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Upcoming Mitchell Institute Event: Strategy in a Time of Austerity

AFA's Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies welcomes Dr. Andrew Krepinevich, defense policy analyst and President of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), as the guest speaker for an upcoming Mitchell Hour. The topic of his discussion is “Strategy in a Time of Austerity.”

This Mitchell event will take place on Tuesday, December 18, 2012, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., at AFA’s national headquarters.

Dr. Krepinevich is a recognized intellectual leader within the national security community. As president of the CSBA, he leads a team who has helped inform and shape the public discourse on the matters of strategy, defense planning and military investment options for the 21st century; and formulated concepts of operations to address the emerging anti-access area denial threats. During this Mitchell Hour, he will discuss his most recent article, “
Strategy in a Time of Austerity: Why the Pentagon Should Focus on Assuring Access”—published in the November/December 2012 issue of Foreign Affairs.

Mitchell Hours are free to attend. 
For more information, visit

DOD Space Policy

The latest space policy document coming out of the Pentagon appears to have drawn a line in the sand on all types of deliberate interference with space systems, highlighting that deliberate interference with US DOD space systems will be deemed “irresponsible” during peacetime and possibly “escalatory” during crises.

Read the full article in Space News:
Pentagon Draws the Line on Deliberate Satellite Interference

(If interested, additional reading on the subject can be found here:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

AFA Thanksgiving Statement

Thanksgiving is a special time and opportunity to show our appreciation and gratitude to the men and women of the U.S. military for their unyielding support to this nation. As we work to tackle the economic challenges, we pause for this occasion to speak of our appreciation to servicemen and women addressing the global challenges this nation faces. Their sacrifice and valor is unmistakable, and we wholeheartedly thank them. In addition, we are appreciative to our military family – the spouses, children and family of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen – who have had to sacrifice for our nation as well. We truly admire their courage.

And finally, we are so very thankful for the members and volunteers of AFA who put great time, dedication and effort in carrying out the many AFA initiatives year-round. With great pride we recognize that their continual support has been instrumental in fulfilling the goals in our mission: to educate, to advocate and to support on behalf of the Air Force. We could not be the “force behind the force” without them.

On behalf of AFA, we wish a joyous and peaceful Thanksgiving to all.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Global Warfare Symposium: Session Summaries

The 2012 Global Warfare Symposium, held in Los Angeles, CA on November 15-16, focused heavily on space-based ISR. More information on the speakers and content can be found in the audio podcasts ( in the Daily Report archives, and in upcoming issues of Air Force Magazine. Below is a recap of the remarks made by the many high-caliber speakers at this year’s symposium.


Space Superiority: And Enduring Source of American Strength - Dr. Jamie Morin, Undersecretary of the Air Force

Dr. Morin kicked off the symposium stressing the Air Force’s role as THE space force, with space focus as a fundamental pillar of air superiority.  Looking at our accomplishments over the past century including the work in the private sector, Morin remarks that the “advances of today stand on the shoulders of innovative engineers” and will continue to with Airmen at the core. In the question and answer session he mentioned that 20% of the FY13 Air Force investment budget is for space, and that the cost of mission assurance is avoiding the cost of failure. “The best way to avoid a space Pearl Harbor,” Morin says, “is to know it’s coming.”

Faster-Better-Cheaper, Transformation, COIN, Pivoting, Rebalancing, etc. (How About a Longer View?) – Bran Ferren, Co-Chairman, Applied Minds, LLC

Ferren took an unconventional, high level, long range look at technology in his engaging talk. Using GPS as an example of a program with a series of progressions starting with no interest to one of our most valuable assets. That said, he advises the Air force to make the commitment today to get off reliance on GPS in the next 10 years before it’s used against us. “Innovation has never come out of requirement,” he states, and we have a bad model currently of not rewarding success but punishing failure. With more risks, the faster we move and the more we learn. If the Air Force can focus on education and great thoughts within a “259 year vision,” then we will “put the world on notice that America is not just a soundbite nation”. Ferren suggested starting with fixing acquisition, fundamentally changing ISR and creating survivable communications. Ferren got mixed reviews from the audience, but he certainly shook things up.

The Asia Pivot in the Context of US Grand Strategy – Dr. Adam Grissom, Senior Political Scientists, RAND Corp.

Dr. Grissom first described grand strategy as an evolving idea made up of ends, ways and means, like the U.S. Constitution. The golden era of American grand strategy for him was in the 40s and 50s during the Truman and Eisenhower years, while the turning point is now. Our previous approach, he suggests, is no longer sustainable, and our level of deficit spending is no longer viable. The challenge he sees for the United States is to start on a sustainable path, avoid the cycle of instability leading to fiscal pressure and retrenchment. The USAF is central in addressing this, and has played a role in the past. For Grissom, it’s about numbers: a combat Air Force can be everywhere at once.

Panel: The Challenge of ISR Across the Extended Domain: Moderated by Lt Gen Ellen Pawlikowski, with John Celli of Space Systems/Loral, Dr. Walter Scott of DigitalGlobe, and Kay Sears of Intelsat General

In this industry panel, speakers ended the day with offering advice for leveraging commercial industry to yield affordable solutions to move forward. Cost-effective option are out there for ISR, and the Air Force will have to get creative.


Air Operations in Israel’s War Against Hezbollah – Dr. Benjamin Lambeth, Senior Fellow, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments

Starting with a RAND Study in 2007 and a letter of support, Lambeth dove into Israel’s air offensive,  the “rocket wars” and the move to ground strength. Was the Lebanon campaign that much of a setback for Israel he asks? The bottom line: even the most cable air weapon imaginable can never be more effective than the strategy it is expected to support. The report can be found here:

USAF Global Posture-- Dr. Stacie Pettyjohn, Associate Political Scientist, RAND Corp.

Dr. Pettyjohn looked at the extensive and global posture of the Air Force in terms of a posture triangle of strategic anchors, support links and forward operating locations. Our international basing options will depend on our close security partners, regime type and access relationships with other nations. She predicts that emerging partners will want a US presence, but on a less permanent basis, while periodic or continuous rotation of forces will be a good fit for other partners.

Space Command Update – Gen William Shelton, Commander Air Force Space Command

“There’s not anything we do in the Air Force that doesn’t involve space and cyber” said General Shelton to start. General Shelton continued with an overview of the current state of satellites (aging), sustaining capabilities, and the future focus. For an information-focused command going forward the Air Force will have to take advantage of the nontraditional IRS collected on sensors and pods of aircrafts and study possible alternatives for wideband communications with commercial services.

Air Force ISR –Lt Gen Larry James, DCS, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance

General James looks to the worldwide strategic focus across air, space and cyberspace with future air-centric ISR. While efforts shift to the Pacific, James reminded us that intelligence never left the Pacific, and will become less associated with a platform. With an airborne perspective, the way ahead will include non-traditional ISR on stealth platforms with the ability to do standoff operations. With current crowd-sourcing, intelligence is already available via twitter, facebook, and cameras on cell phones. He stressed the need for the right information at the right time to the right person to make the right decisions using our resources.

The Space Mission –Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX

Shotwell introduced the audience to SpaceX’s test and capabilities while framing the conversation with space competition in the private sector for work with the USAF. By including SpaceX and other competitors, the Air Force could increase launch capability by 50%, along with increased buying capacity and power for mission assurance. The focus in space will be getting data and intelligence to the warfighter.

America’s Secret Mig Squadron –Col Gaillard “Gail” Peck, USAF (Ret,), Author and USAF Fighter Weapons School Instructor

Colonel Peck also spoke at the 2012 Air and Space Conference on this topic. His involvement with this formerly secret project led to a book on the subject that goes into great detail on how the USAF adapted and learned to fight Migs. Check out his book:

State of the Air Force –Michael Donley, Secretary of the Air Force

Secretary Donley concluded the symposium with an emphasis on Asia Pacific and the Middle East with a smaller, leaner, but agile, flexible and technologically-advanced force. He reinforced the need for space-based ISR and reminded us that airpower is well suited to meet the challenges of geography and distance.

During the awards dinner the following were awarded:

Gen Bernard Schriever Fellowship to Lt Gen Susan Helms
Gen Thomas D. White Space Award to Lt Gen Ellen Palikowski
Michael Wilson Scholarships to Cadets Daniel Myers and William Schimmel

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Veterans Day Poem

Below is a poem submitted from an AFA member from our Paul Revere Chapter, based in Massachusetts, written for Veterans Day. It's a form of tribute and thank you to his fellow Veterans and servicewomen and men.

All That Veterans Protect
“Freedom Walk”
November 9, 2012

An older brother awoke, in the middle of the night.
To the sobbing cries of his little brother tike

What’s the matter, my little guy?
“Oh nothing…nothing at all” was the soft reply.

But the reason for the tears and a dream so severe,
Was the thought of war and the body counts to fear.

You see the town was safe and the childhood happy
Many thanks to those who were protecting our land

A little boy’s world could be enlarged so wide
Simply from a black and white TV at his side

The thought of war and nothing but death,
Was too much to bear beyond a little boy’s path

But the boy grew-up and also served his country,
Increased respect for God and Country

Many airmen and soldiers have gone to their graves
Sacrifices many, before even one could shave

We have our Veterans to thank this November day
Too many to count, their legacy intact, we should repay

That boy grew up, realizes each day, with modest intellect
That there is much to preserve and much to protect

Most of all the sacrifice of our Veterans
Their compassion complete!

Thank you my Veteran brothers and sisters for your protection
Your dedication repeats!

Your service, your bravery we cannot forget and certainly not just talk
As I watch a new little boy starts his freedom walk.

- K.M. Taylor
(Paul Revere Chapter, MA)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Words from an OAY: SMSgt Callaway

Just in time for the holidays, we've been fortunate to have several of the 2012 Outstanding Airmen of the Year (OAY) lend themselves to being guest bloggers. The distinguished title of OAY is given annually to 12 outstanding enlisted personnel for superior leadership, job performance, community involvement, and personal achievements. AFA honors the 12 Outstanding Airmen at our annual convention in September in Washington, D.C. 

In this blog series, the OAYs will share with readers their experiences as an OAY, offer a glimpse into some of their fears and give insight to their field of expertise.

The first guest blogger is Senior Master Sergeant Laura Callaway, of the 60th Medical Operations Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, California. Her duty title is "Physical Medicine/Emergency Department Support. SMSgt Callaway led the Air Force’s largest physical medicine and emergency departments and forged a clinical practicum with the University of California-Davis, which was identified as a career field benchmark. She secured a multi-year contract worth $2 million to ensure on-site care for veterans, reducing diverted care by 30% and saving $500,000. Sergeant Callaway cultivated the Air Force’s largest civilian physical therapy training exchange program, chartering agreements with five universities to work with 15 interns and saving the Air Force $600,000.

There are so many words to describe the amazing opportunity afforded to represent the outstanding enlisted men and women of today's Air Force. There are two things that immediately came with this honor and oddly
enough two of my greatest fears. Public speaking and being photographed...I know most people who know me would laugh at that statement as many have heard me "speak my mind" but it's funny how God and life put you in places for reasons.

I would say up until now that I have been able to speak about very specific, job related or personal events that are so close to me that I can ramble on for days about them. Now with a specific audience and an expectation I find myself out of my comfort zone. I am excited but nervous, anxious but intimidated...I don't want to disappoint anyone. I find myself listening to everyone from an educational point of view, trying to pick-up any "golden nuggets" they might throw out on how to speak eloquently. I am floored by the many different styles, I listened to a 75-year-old man speak about his past and the future, very specific, spelled out, 10-page speech. I listened to the Wing Commander, who was told an hour before that he would be speaking, and went to the podium with a couple of things jotted down on a napkin, hit it out of the park. I listened to our Command Chief speak to the newest members of our Air Force, warmed them up and made them feel relaxed, was able to pull ideas and topics from them and relate it to his goal. Then I spent the weekend stressing, reviewing, practicing and changing a 10 minute speech of my own. 

As for the 2nd fear, photographs...I have never liked having my picture taken, as long as I can remember. Don't really know why, just feel uncomfortable with lights, cameras, maybe it's the focusing part, but I am getting over it pretty quickly because it seems silly. And since I can't really find a problem associated with it to focus on I am working on just doing it. I think that as with the first, the fears are about trying to do or be my best and failing is not an option. A growing experience for sure and I would love to hear what others feel under the same situations... any ideas, notions, tricks?


Superintendent, Physical Medicine/Emergency Department
60 Medical Operations Squadron