Tag Archives: Bloggers Roundtable

Efforts in Developing ANSF Health Care System

In a Wednesday, June 23 DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable, U.S. Air Force Col. Schuyler K. Gellar provided information about the Afghan National Security Forces health care system and his team’s role in helping to develop their medical capabilities to a self-sustaining level.

A major component of developing the health care system is increased recruiting. Doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals are needed. “The single largest obstacle to the development of the Afghan National Security Forces health care sector is lack of physicians,” Col. Geller, command surgeon and commander of the Medical Training Advisory Group, said.

For more information, see the transcript and audio recording of this bloggers roundtable, visit “DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable: Development of ANSF Health Care Capability.”

Firefighters serving Ali Base

One of vital components of any base are the firefighters. The fire protection flight of the 407th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, Ali Air Base, Iraq, provide a plethora of services to the 13,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines assigned to Ali Air Base. Two key members of this flight, Assistant firechiefs, Master Sgt. Charles Harrison and Tech. Sgt. Ryan Glosson, were the featured guests on the DoD Bloggers Roundtable Sept. 1.

The fire protection flight is composed of 40 Air Force personnel that serve the largest airfield in Iraq, according to Sergeant Glosson. The firefighters provide fire fighting support for the entire base, which includes everything from electrical fires and medical emergencies, especially heat related problems to incidents on the airfield. They even respond to civilian emergencies if necessary, he explained.

What’s more, the fire protection flight provides training for Iraqi firefighters from the nearby city of Nasiriyah. The training is an intense six-week course that includes all aspects of firefighting, including live-fire training. Live-fire training involves real-life scenarios such as burning buildings and vehicles, Sergeant Harrison said.

Both Sergeants will be leaving Ali soon, but they said the firefighters who replace them will continue the tradition of excellence. The entire interview can be heard here.

(U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Robert W. Valenca)

Post by Master Sgt. Stephen Delgado

Supporting Afghan Elections

U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Shawn Newland, an engineer with the Nangarhar Provincial Reconstruction Team, discusses the ongoing construction of a girls’ school with the construction workers for the project, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, July 30, 2009. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Jennifer Cohen)

Brig. General Damien Cantwell, Australian Defense Forces and Brig. Gen. Eric Tremblay, Canadian Forces gave bloggers an update on the upcoming Afghan elections during a Department of Defense Bloggers Round Table, Aug. 18. General Cantwell is the chief of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Election Task Force and serves as the primary point of contact with all external agencies involved in the planning and conduct of the Aug. 20 elections. General Tremblay is the ISAF spokesperson.

The generals discussed the various problems confronting the election such as security, rebuilding, fraud, women’s roles and violent intimidation from insurgents.

General Cantwell said the Air Force is playing a key role in supporting the election process. “The Air Force is providing support and enabling activities,” he said. They are there to provide close air support if needed, and the Air Force has been moving large numbers of people and materiel. Also, they have helped with planning and support well beyond Afghanistan’s borders. They are in position to provide the necessary air overwatch and information gathering, he continued.

The Air Force has kept a low profile, but are available to respond to situations if they arise. They will be called on for whatever is needed. It is a low-profile, highly agile position, General Cantwell said.

The Bloggers Roundtable can be heard in its entirety here.

Post by Master Sergeant Steve Delgado

Lt. Gen. Gary North discusses air operations in theater of war — more Air Force

Lt. Gen. Gary North recently spoke to a number of bloggers about his role as 9th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Central Commander. Bloggers wanted to know if he anticipates an increase of airpower over Afghanistan similar to the increase of ground troops in that country.

His answer? Yes. There will be an increased Air Force presence both on the ground and in the skies over Afghanistan.

“Well, we will see an increase of our airmen in proportion based on the requirements that the increase in ground forces bring in,” he said. ” I have already moved in several extra C-130s to provide the inter-theater lift to move those personnel on the battlefield. We’ve moved in several helicopters for our combat CSAR and medical evacuation. And I am planning — based on an ongoing analysis, I’m prepared to bring in additional fighters if the analysis of the effort– ways that we will need to have more forces overhead. My goal is to meet the requirements and, of course, the way you can do that and this is the beauty of our asymmetric ability to fight is with our tanker force, you can take two ships or fighters or a bomber, the B-1, and keep them overhead for extended vulnerability periods, vul periods is what we call it, and so you’re capitalizing on that effect of a tanker overhead to be able to produce that armed overwatch for an extended period of time. So we will see an increase of airmen”.

“We anticipate in 2009 that we will at least surpass 16 million pounds and most probably be up between 20 million and 25 million of pounds of air dropped equipment and supplies as the fight continues,” said the General.

Click here for more of this topic, and  the complete transcript and audio file. The Bloggers Roundtable, supported and run by the Department of Defense (DoD) brings together bloggers and online journalists for interviews about events and issues within the DoD. The Roundtable is a great example of the shift to social media, as well as a reminder of the importance of bloggers.

Where else can a 14-year NCO from the Army be on the same line with Wired’s Danger Room, which gets 12 million monthly readers? The lines are blurring and the levels are equalizing regarding who gets access and who can report to millions around the world.

Military PAOs, and the government in general, need to recognize that there are people getting news in non-traditional ways and it’s time to work with those sources; encourage bloggers and engagement and conduct outreach with them.