Tag Archives: blog

Restoring a piece of history

By Ken LaRock
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

The Restoration Division at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is currently restoring a Stearman PT-13D Kaydet aircraft, a standard primary trainer flown by the U.S. and several Allied nations during the late 1930s and World War II. Plans call for this PT-13D to be part of an expanded Tuskegee Airman exhibit in the World War II Gallery to represent flight training during the war.

Continue reading Restoring a piece of history

VCSAF responds to Air Force SAPR blog comments, feedback

130606-F-FF749-039In the commentary below, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, General Larry Spencer, gives direct feedback to Airmen on comments and suggestions posted on the service’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response blog.

Since launching July 15, more than 900 comments have been posted on the blog, with more than 500 coming on the first posting.

“’We can’t fix this issue sitting in the Pentagon,’” said General Spencer in the inaugural SAPR blog post. “’We need each and every one of you to get engaged in addressing this issue… this crime, and it is a crime. We need to know exactly where you feel the issues are, so we can address them with laser focus. I need every one of you helping us find ways to ensure dignity and respect are prevailing qualities in our daily relationships.’”

Today, Spencer wants Airmen to know their voice has been heard by senior leadership and suggestions are being acted upon.

Gen. Larry Spencer
Air Force Vice Chief of Staff

Once again, you answered the call and responded to our request to hear from you – thank you.

More than two months ago, I launched the “Every Airman Counts” campaign in an effort to communicate directly with Airmen on how best to address the issue of sexual assault prevention and response within our organization. One of the tools we developed is a blog to stimulate discussion and for you to share your never-ending innovative suggestions, ideas, or concerns with each other and senior leaders. Let me tell you – your senior leaders read the blog daily and we appreciate your candid comments.

As of today, we have received roughly 900 comments on the blog. What’s more, we have had approximately 46,000 visits to the site. What this tells me is that you care – you are taking time to read about a problem that affects us all and give us suggestions on how to fix it.

There have been a lot of great comments – too many to discuss in this article – but I felt it was appropriate to give you some feedback and to highlight some recurring themes and key take-aways senior leaders have gleaned from the blog.

Key take-aways
First, a number of you mentioned the need for more focused training at all levels, but most importantly, for commanders and front-line supervisors. You’re also telling us we need realistic training with realistic scenarios and small group discussions for the training to be effective. We’ve taken some initial actions on each of these suggestions and will continue to expand and intensify our efforts.

Another issue you raised is that alcohol abuse is commonly linked to sexual assault. We hear you and the data shows you are correct. As a result, we have reached out to our MAJCOMs to gather best practices regarding use of alcohol in the dorms, and may explore different options to see what makes sense to implement across the Air Force.

Next, several blog entries highlighted victim blaming as a concern. To be clear, we cannot and will not blame the victim! Our training efforts will ensure every Airman understands the toll this trauma exacts on victims and their families. If you haven’t been to the blog to watch the videos of our three extremely strong survivors, I encourage you to do so – it is heart wrenching, but will truly help you understand the spectrum of trauma victims endure. It took a lot of courage for these women to come forward and tell their stories, but they did so to help others and help our Air Force.

Action taken
Based on your blog entries and feedback from focus groups, we have several other initiatives underway as well. On August 1st we implemented an advanced course on how to deal with sexual assault, and have trained more than 96 OSI agents and legal representatives to date. Additionally, we are developing a Basic Military Training Transition program where our newest Airmen will spend one-week in a classroom environment between BMT graduation and technical school. Here they will learn about a variety of issues to include the Air Force culture and what’s expected of them as Airmen. Finally, this month, we will share final outcomes of convicted court cases with the Air Force Times so all of our Airmen can have visibility on the final disposition of those convicted of this crime. Additionally, synopses of sexual assault convictions from 2010 to present can be found at http://www.afjag.af.mil/sexualassaultprosecution.

The Secretary of the Air Force, Chief of Staff, and I are fully committed to eradicating the crime of sexual assault from our Service – but we can’t do this alone. We need each and every one of you focused on this problem. Every Airman Counts means we treat each other with dignity and respect. Thank you again for helping us work this issue – we’re looking for “game changers” so keep those ideas coming.

Thank you also for all you do to make our Air Force the best the world has ever seen. Airpower!

Please continue to post your comments and concerns on the blog at http://afsapr.dodlive.mil.

PHOTO: Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Larry Spencer speaks with Airmen from the 11th Logistics Readiness Squadron on Joint Base Andrews, Md., June 6, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Erin O’Shea)

AF encourages Airmen to be key part of SAPR solution

Gen. Spencer, Air Force vice chief of staffby Staff Sgt. David Salanitri
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

In an effort to address the growing concern of sexual assault in the Air Force, the service has kicked off an initiative to give Airmen the capability for their voice to be clearly heard called “Every Airman Counts.”

“I believe Airmen are a key part of the solution to this,” said. Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, the director of the Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office. “They understand the problem, and they know what needs to be done to help conquer it. Now we need them to share those innovative ideas with us and each other. We need our Airmen talking about this issue.”

To enable this dialogue, the Air Force SAPR office members designed a blog to share ideas, collect suggestions, concerns, stories, and questions for Air Force leaders and SAPR officials. The SAPR blog site asks Airmen to make inputs on how the service can better combat sexual assault.”We can’t fix this issue sitting in the Pentagon,” said Gen. Larry Spencer, the Air Force vice chief of staff. “We need each and every one of you to get engaged in addressing this issue… this crime, and it is a crime. We need to know exactly where you feel the issues are, so we can address them with laser focus. I need every one of you helping us find ways to ensure dignity and respect are prevailing qualities in our daily relationships.”

Content on the site will be driven in part by Airmen making firsthand posts. In addition to the blog, the Air Force is organizing web chats that will be moderated forums for real-time information exchange between Airmen, subject matter experts and senior leaders.

Various experts in the SAPR area will host these discussions to gain a better understanding of the issues at every level.

“We’ve been doing a lot of talking on this issue,” Woodward said. “It’s important that we listen.”

The SAPR blog is just one of many actions the Air Force is pursuing to help address the issues sexual assault within the ranks and to offer support for victims. Other actions include the creation of the Special Victims Counsel program earlier this year, which provides constant support to sexual assault victims throughout the legal process.

Airmen can view the blog and make posts by logging into the Air Force portal with their Defense Department Common Access Card, and clicking on the photo tab titled Every Airman Counts or go to http://afsapr.dodlive.mil.

“‘Every Airman Counts is about you, our Airmen, our most precious resource,” Spencer said. “Our strength lies in our people, so we’re asking all of our teammates to help us stop sexual assaults now. The American people place great trust and confidence in our military. We cannot and will not violate that trust.”

PHOTO: Gen. Larry Spencer, the Air Force vice chief of staff, encourages Airmen to get involved with “Every Airman Counts”. The initative is designed to foster communication between Airmen and senior leaders about sexual assault prevention and response. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

To be continued…

Chief Master Sgt. Steve K. McDonald
By Chief Master Sgt. Steve K. McDonald
Air Force Personnel Enlisted Force Development

I have to admit I became a big fan of the television series “Lost” when a friend gave me past episodes on DVD that I watched while I was deployed.

After returning home, I watched the show without fail each week. One of the most frustrating things about following the series was being totally engrossed and losing track of time only to be brought to reality when the screen went blank and the words “To Be Continued …” appeared. You didn’t want the story to end; it was a disappointment. Wouldn’t it be nice if the show could go on forever? But, as the adage says, “All good things must come to an end.”

But is this adage an absolute truth? Since I began working in force development, I have come to learn that there are two things that should never come to an end: your personal and professional development. The concept of force development is extremely important in the Air Force. Developing and caring for Airmen has been one of the service’s stated priorities for many years.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy has spent the past three years espousing a philosophy of deliberately developing Airmen, as reflected in many of the Air Force’s policies and processes.

Within the world of doctrine and policy, force development is centered on the Continuum of Learning — a career-long process of individual development which connects education and training opportunities to assignment and deployment experiences.

In simpler terms, the Continuum of Learning consists of education, training and experience. For enlisted Airmen, this starts in basic military training and continues through initial skills training and into the first duty assignment.

Over the next four or 20 or 30 years, those same Airmen will continue their education and training from the Air Force by way of numerous assignments and deployment experiences. They will encounter people along the way and learn things about the service and themselves. Much of this will be deliberate in order to develop them both personally and professionally for future leadership roles in the Air Force.

But if we only focused on the resources employed by the Air Force, even force development would “come to an end.” That is why it is just as important to take a personal role in your own development. As many of you are aware, the Air Force chief of staff releases an annual reading list. Upon release of this year’s list, Daniel Sitterly, the director of force development under the deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, suggested that the Continuum of Learning should now consist of education, training, experience and reading. His point was valid.

I believe the point is that the Air Force does a good job investing in the development of individuals but we may not have done a very good job in getting people to invest in themselves.

There are many ways people can further their own development. Where the Air Force provides professional military education, individuals can pursue civilian educational opportunities. Where the Air Force provides upgrade skill training, individuals can read books and use computer-based training to enhance current skills or learn new skills. In addition to Air Force assignment and deployment experiences, Airmen can join professional organizations and take on leadership roles.

It goes without saying that the Air Force will continue to invest in the personal and professional development of its people. But with added emphasis and a commitment from individuals to invest in themselves, force development can reach new levels.
That’s the good thing about personal and professional development — they truly are designed “to be continued.”

New blog design

By Tanya Montgomery
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

Yes, it’s still us! We rolled out a new blog design today, and we’re taking care of the finishing touches. You can still expect to see the same of kind of content that highlights the perspectives, experiences, and mission of our Airmen. We’re excited about this new design, and we hope that you are too. As always, we’re open to suggestions and making things better for you, our readers.