Tag Archives: Air National Guard

Week in Photos, Feb. 24, 2012

By Airman 1st Class Christopher Gere

Whether they man the gate, respond to an installation distress, or go outside the wire, Security Forces Airmen make sure they know how to get the job done. Thanks to their constant training, they can mix in with Soldiers and Marines to take the fight to the enemy. If you like this picture, you should like the rest in the Air Force Week in Photos.

Photo: U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 169th Security Forces Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., respond to security threats to an aircraft during joint exercise Operation Rita February 2, 2012. Security forces members were transported by South Carolina Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawks to a destination near the alleged activity to begin their reconnaissance mission. Operation Rita was conducted to emphasize the importance of security forces members’ need to be familiar with Army aviation as well as loading and unloading from active helicopters. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Cook)

Week in Photos, Feb. 10, 2012

 By A1C Westin Warburton

As this week comes to an end, take some time to check out this Week in Photos. Also, Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, so don’t forget about that special someone!

Photo: U.S. Air force Capt. Thor Boland, Mike Broderick and Brandon Lavalley return from the Nevada Test and Training Range on day three of Red Flag 12-2, Jan. 25, 2012, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The pilots are assigned to the 4th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. (U.S. Air Force photo by  Master Sgt. Benjamin Bloker)

Week in photos, Feb. 3, 2012

 U.S. Air Force C-130J Hercules cargo aircraft By Airman 1st Class Krystal Tomlin
U.S. Air Force Public Affairs

With a wing span a great as four F-16s the C-130 is a massive aircraft. To see such a huge piece of equipment take-off is a mesmerizing site. In this photo the Hercules soars above the cloud deck followed by the smoke of flares swirling in a frenzy of displaced air.

This photo says “The sky is the limit and the U.S. Air Force goes beyond that.” Whether we’re bringing troops and supplies into a hostile area or aid to a disaster torn nation, the Air Force gets the job done.

Jump on over to our Flickr site to see more examples of awesome airpower in our most recent Air Force Week in Photos set.

Photo: A U.S. Air Force C-130J Hercules cargo aircraft from the 146th Airlift Wing, California Air National Guard, conducts flare training off the Ventura County coast Jan. 10, 2012. The flares are used as tactical infrared countermeasures to confuse and redirect heat-seeking missiles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dave Buttner)

Remembering the Fallen–A Soldier Comes Home

In the past, we’ve brought you blog posts about fallen servicemembers. These stories are a reminder and tribute to the men and women who make the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country. While the media usually covers stories about the fallen heroes, other events sometimes push aside the importance of recognizing the military. Below is a background paragraph about a letter (full text below) that was published in the Washington Post about Lt. Brian Bradshaw, 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, who was killed in Afghanistan on June 25. The letter comes from Capt. James Adair and Master Sgt. Paul Riley of the Georgia Air National Guard, who flew Lt. Bradshaw from a forward base to Bagram Air Base for his final flight home.

“On July 5, The Post published a letter from Martha Gillis of Springfield, whose nephew, Lt. Brian Bradshaw, was killed in Afghanistan on June 25, the day that Michael Jackson died. The letter criticized the extensive media coverage of Jackson’s death compared with the brief coverage of Lt. Bradshaw’s death. Among the responses was the following letter, written July 9 by an Air National Guard pilot and a fellow member of the crew that flew Lt. Bradshaw’s body from a forward base in Afghanistan to Bagram Air Base. Capt. James Adair, one of the plane’s pilots, asked the editorial page staff to forward the letter to the Bradshaw family. He and Brian Bradshaw’s parents then agreed to publication of these excerpts.”

Full letter by the Guardsmen:

Dear Bradshaw Family,

We were crew members on the C-130 that flew in to pick up Lt. Brian Bradshaw after he was killed. We are Georgia Air National Guardsmen deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. We support the front-line troops by flying them food, water, fuel, ammunition and just about anything they need to fight. On occasion we have the privilege to begin the final journey home for our fallen troops. Below are the details to the best of our memory about what happened after Brian’s death.

We landed using night-vision goggles. Because of the blackout conditions, it seemed as if it was the darkest part of the night. As we turned off the runway to position our plane, we saw what appeared to be hundreds of soldiers from Brian’s company standing in formation in the darkness. Once we were parked, members of his unit asked us to shut down our engines. This is not normal operating procedure for that location. We are to keep the aircraft’s power on in case of maintenance or concerns about the hostile environment. The plane has an extremely loud self-contained power unit. Again, we were asked whether there was any way to turn that off for the ceremony that was going to take place. We readily complied after one of our crew members was able to find a power cart nearby. Another aircraft that landed after us was asked to do the same. We were able to shut down and keep lighting in the back of the aircraft, which was the only light in the surrounding area. We configured the back of the plane to receive Brian and hurried off to stand in the formation as he was carried aboard.

Brian’s whole company had marched to the site with their colors flying prior to our arrival. His platoon lined both sides of our aircraft’s ramp while the rest were standing behind them. As the ambulance approached, the formation was called to attention. As Brian passed the formation, members shouted “Present arms” and everyone saluted. The salute was held until he was placed inside the aircraft and then the senior commanders, the sergeant major and the chaplain spoke a few words.

Afterward, we prepared to take off and head back to our base. His death was so sudden that there was no time to complete the paperwork needed to transfer him. We were only given his name, Lt. Brian Bradshaw. With that we accepted the transfer. Members of Brian’s unit approached us and thanked us for coming to get him and helping with the ceremony. They explained what happened and how much his loss was felt. Everyone we talked to spoke well of him — his character, his accomplishments and how well they liked him. Before closing up the back of the aircraft, one of Brian’s men, with tears running down his face, said, “That’s my platoon leader, please take care of him.”

We taxied back on the runway, and, as we began rolling for takeoff, I looked to my right. Brian’s platoon had not moved from where they were standing in the darkness. As we rolled past, his men saluted him one more time; their way to honor him one last time as best they could. We will never forget this.
We completed the short flight back to Bagram Air Base. After landing, we began to gather our things. As they carried Brian to the waiting vehicle, the people in the area, unaware of our mission, stopped what they were doing and snapped to attention. Those of us on the aircraft did the same. Four soldiers who had flown back with us lined the ramp once again and saluted as he passed by. We went back to post-flight duties only after he was driven out of sight.

Later that day, there was another ceremony. It was Bagram’s way to pay tribute. Senior leadership and other personnel from all branches lined the path that Brian was to take to be placed on the airplane flying him out of Afghanistan. A detail of soldiers, with their weapons, lined either side of the ramp just as his platoon did hours before. A band played as he was carried past the formation and onto the waiting aircraft. Again, men and women stood at attention and saluted as Brian passed by. Another service was performed after he was placed on the aircraft.

For one brief moment, the war stopped to honor Lt. Brian Bradshaw. This is the case for all of the fallen in Afghanistan. It is our way of recognizing the sacrifice and loss of our brothers and sisters in arms. Though there may not have been any media coverage, Brian’s death did not go unnoticed. You are not alone with your grief. We mourn Brian’s loss and celebrate his life with you. Brian is a true hero, and he will not be forgotten by those who served with him.

We hope knowing the events that happened after Brian’s death can provide you some comfort.

Capt. James Adair
Master Sgt. Paul Riley
GA ANG 774 EAS Deployed
Please click here to see additional links. Our thanks go to the Guardsmen for providing their services to Lt. Bradshaw, and also for sharing such a heartfelt story with the rest of the world. And of course, our deepest respect to Lt. Bradshaw for his sacrifice.

Airmen with LASIK vision correction can transfer to Reserve, Guard

This week, we have another success story from the Air Force Continuum of Service (CoS) initiative (watch our video for more information).  LASIK corrective eye surgery is a common procedure that thousands of people undergo each year, including Airmen.  In May 2007, the Air Force lifted a ban thus allowing Airmen who received LASIK vision correction to fly high-performance aircraft.

Now, another barrier has been lifted!

The CoS program successfully completed an initiative allowing Airmen who have had LASIK eye surgery to transfer from the regular component to the reserves. Previously, the policy was that individuals having LASIK surgery were not eligible to transfer to the reserve component, even if it was performed while on active duty.

On May 21, 2007, the Air Force began accepting applicants who had LASIK surgery into flight training and navigator training.  This initiative clears the way for experienced Airmen to move to the Guard and Reserves and is one less barrier to moving between the regular and reserves components, allowing them to continue their career and service to the nation.

Help us help you – submit your issues and suggestions to the CoS Tracking Tool (access requires a .mil address and CAC card)!

Thanks to SAF/MR – Manpower and Reserve Affairs for sending this post.