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Meeting the Chief of Staff and Shuttle Launch Bad News

Cocoa Beach Pier Cocoa BeachBy Lance Cheung, Photojournalist, Defense Media Activity-San Antonio

Oct. 29, 2010
I met the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz today. In the past, I only reached him through a telephoto lens at one event or another across the nation. Today, I shook his hand and told him what to do. So what if it was just to adjust the way he sat in a chair while he chatted with Staff Sgt. Mareshah Haynes, the Defense Media Activity team journalist who interviewed him.

The bad news occurred while waiting for General Schwartz. On the Cocoa Beach Pier, I overheard someone say the space shuttle was delayed.

As much as I knew that sticking to a launch time was next to impossible, I also knew that launching a spacecraft is also next to impossible, but not too much for the NASA team. So I have one more day in my plans to see this marvel– but not two days.

Tomorrow, I’ll get my credentials early in the morning. Planning is key because the finale of Air Force Week is the Cocoa Beach Air Show and the expected 75,000 attendees might cripple traffic in any direction on the narrow Space Coast region.

PHOTOS: The Cocoa Beach Pier (top) and Cocoa Beach (bottom). (U.S. Air Force photos\Lance Cheung)

Anxious for the Shuttle Launch

CheungBy Lance Cheung, Photojournalist, Defense Media Activity-San Antonio

Oct. 28, 2010
Photojournalistic coverage of Air Force Week Cocoa Beach is fun and challenging, but what I am anxiously awaiting is watching the launch of space shuttle Discovery on mission STS-133,  on Nov. 1. This will be the first time for me. It took me 24 years of an Air Force career and a few more years to realize that if I wanted to see a launch I’d have to take some time and money and just do it. So, while there, why not share the experience with you? Keep checking in for updates leading up to the launch.

More about me: I’m a 24-year veteran who served as a Fuels Specialist and then as a Combat Aerial Photojournalist. After retiring as a master sergeant and starting up a commercial photography business, I returned to my last unit (now Defense Media Activity) as a civil service photojournalist to continue the adventure and capture images telling the Air Force story.

PHOTO: (U.S. Air Force photo\Lance Cheung)

AF Week Day 3: The Day Airmen Were Like Celebrities

The Kennedy Space Center is a pretty cool place, and we made it even cooler. Exactly how, you ask? By making some cameos! The Wings of Blue dropped by– er, I mean down– into Kennedy Space Center. An HH-60 Pave Hawk flew in and landed to support the pararescue static display for Air Force Day, which the crowd loved (thanks to the 920th Rescue Wing pilots who were the ones that flew it in). The AF Honor Guard performed throughout the day, and the crowd must have loved them because they wanted autographs. Tops in Blue and Max Impact also performed to some crowds. It was boiling hot today, but people still enjoyed the entertainment. Of course, Airmen and families had fun hanging out at the KSC too. That’s it for today, but I’m sure tomorrow will be pretty fun as well.

PHOTOS: (Top) Air Force displays and attractions were set up throughout Kennedy Space Center, such as the famous Air Force A-10 Monster Truck.
(Second from top) The 920th Rescue Wing’s HH-60 Pave Hawk flies into Kennedy Space Center.
(Second from bottom) The Air Force Honor Guard performs for a Kennedy Space Center and Air Force Week crowd.
(Bottom) The Air Force Parachute Team, Wings of Blue, jumps down into Kennedy Space Center.
Photos courtesy Auburn Davis, 45th Space Wing Public Affairs

Air Force Global Strike Command Reaches Full Operational Capability



By Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

Here’s something a little different. With the edge coming off the heat in the northwest Louisiana “Ark-La-Tex” region and with Air Force Global Strike Command’s just-declared Full Operational Capability under their belt, the vast majority of the 900 full-time members of the headquarters staff gathered outside the Global Strike Command headquarters building at Barksdale Air Force Base for a family photo of sorts Oct. 21. The temperature on picture day was sunny and an unseasonably warm 85 degrees with very low fall humidity of less than 50 percent.

What the group accomplished was not just a first-ever headquarters staff photo (“suitable for framing”) but the culmination of a remarkably fast build-up of the first all-new major command in nearly 30 years, from scratch. Members of the headquarters gathered for the picture, recognizing the Command’s rapid growth from about 50 full-time and 50 temporary duty employees to nearly 900 full-time staff in less than 14 months.

In remarks after the photograph, Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, Global Strike Command commander, praised Barksdale’s host 2d Bomb Wing and community leaders for their support providing workspace, living space, schools and a welcome reception to members of the new command. Imagine being the 2d Bomb Wing, already having a numbered Air Force headquarters (8th Air Force) on base and then being tasked to bed-down, as they call it, about 900 new people, a new three-star commander, and all the facilities and housing they would need to get their jobs done starting immediately and finishing in about a year’s time. Apparently, from the general’s remarks, the men and women of the 2d Bomb Wing succeeded. Their vice commander, Col. Tom Hesterman, and wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Joe Ann Pace represented the wing in the photo.

Not only that, the general praised the local Shreveport-Bossier City community for their welcoming attitude and Southern Hospitality in assisting with the transition. On stage with the general and Global Strike Command Chief Master Sgt. Jack Johnson were community leaders Mr. Doug Rogers, of the local military affairs committee, and Mr. Murray Viser and Ms. Linda Biernacki, who are civilian advisors to the commander.

Good job to all in building a command without the command’s three missile wings and three bomb wings missing a beat! Obviously there were some heroic efforts by the 2d Bomb Wing to bring all those new folks and new mission on base so quickly.

Air Force Global Strike Command is now full-up, providing combat-ready forces for nuclear deterrence and global strike operations with, as they say, “a special trust and responsibility for the most powerful weapons in our Nation’s arsenal,” and abiding by their motto: To Deter and Assure.


AF Week Day 2: Hangin’ with Sea Creatures

We love our Airmen, and guess who loves them too? Whales? Yes, or at least we’d like to think so. For Air Force Week, Airmen were at SeaWorld making dolphins and whales flip for them. Airmen of Note, which is the Air Force jazz band, had many great performances today. Airmen and Hometown Heroes were recognized and honored during SeaWorld’s Believe show, and several members of the Air Force Color Guard from Patrick AFB and the lead singer of Airmen of Note were featured in the show too. The new Manta roller coaster was quite a hit with the Airmen. It was perfect weather, short lines and all in all a great day at SeaWorld for Hometown Heroes, Airmen and families. More to come tomorrow.
PHOTOS: (Top) Patrick AFB Color Guard and the lead singer of Airmen of Note perform the National Anthem at the opening of the Believe show at SeaWorld in support of Air Force Week Cocoa Beach. (Middle) An Orca Whale welcomes Airmen at believe show at SeaWorld during Air Force Week Cocoa Beach. (Bottom) Airmen of Note perform at the Wild Arctic pavilion at SeaWorld for Air Force Week. Photos courtesy Auburn Davis, 45th Space Wing Public Affairs.

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