Tag Archives: Germany

How I became an American Airman

Amn Weckerlein and familyby Airman Basic Martin Weckerlein

Last Friday, almost 13 years after I graduated from German Army basic military training, I graduated from United States Air Force Basic Military Training.

I was a former German tank commander and military training instructor in the Bundeswehr, serving as required for my native country. Now, I will be an air transportation specialist in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, serving my adopted country.

I like the military lifestyle. It is organized and has a structure. If you work hard, you can advance faster, go through the ranks, get more responsibility, and always learn something new. You always meet new people and get to move around the world. 

I joined because I liked the military. I gave up my German military career so that my American wife, Julie, could have her U.S. Air Force career. I don’t regret my decision, as we have a beautiful family and a great life. But, I was missing the military, and I’m glad to have this opportunity to serve again.

Since I already served in the military, and since I was once an instructor myself, there weren’t really any surprises for me during U.S. Air Force BMT. I was reminded, though, about the importance of patience. Most of the trainees were much younger than me. They didn’t catch on to military lifestyle as fast as I wanted them to. I was picked as element leader in the first week, and it was easy to fall back into the instructor role. I knew I could do the things that were required, but the others were still learning. I had to slow down and be hands-on with helping others, teaching them to pay attention to detail.

There were many differences between German military basic training and U.S. Air Force basic training. At the time of my service, all young men had to serve. Not everyone wanted to be there. Eventually, everyone learned what they needed to learn and came together as a team. But in the U.S. military, everyone volunteers. While there were still attitude problems every now and then, ultimately, everyone wanted to be there, and I could sense the difference.

I am glad I have this second opportunity to serve again, and I look forward to my Air Force Reserve career.

PHOTO: Airman Basic Martin Weckerlein stands on the parade field with his family after graduating from Air Force Basic Military Training on April 12. Weckerlein was assigned to the 326th Training Squadron, Flight 270, at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. (Courtesy photo)

Week in photos, March 16, 2012

St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow, but the week in photos is available today.
Look back on the week before forgetting it during your weekend festivities.
Have a good weekend, stay safe and enjoy!

Two Alaska Air National Guard HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters

Photo: Two Alaska Air National Guard HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters fly in formation over Alaska, March 14, 2012. The primary mission of the Pave Hawk helicopter is to conduct day or night personnel recovery operations into hostile environments to recover isolated personnel during war. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Sean Mitchell)

Medical assistance to Libya


By Tech. Sgt. Karen J. Tomasik
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

The U.S. Department of State requested assistance in evacuating wounded Libyan fighters to medical facilities outside the country that could treat their injuries. See additional information in the photo caption below and see additional photos here. We’ll be updating the set as more imagery from the mission becomes available.

Photo: Airmen from the 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and a Critical Care Air Transport team from Landstuhl Regional Medical Center unload wounded Libyan fighters from a U.S. Air Force C-130J Hercules cargo aircraft Oct. 29, 2011, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. At the request of the Department of State and directed by the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Africa Command is supporting U.S. and international humanitarian relief efforts in Libya. Specifically, the U.S. military transported four wounded Libyans for treatment in medical facilities in Europe and 28 to facilities in the United States.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Chenzira Mallory)

Volcano, schmalcano… Air Force keeps missions from Europe movin’

By Tech. Sgt. Phyllis Hanson, Air Force Public Affairs Agency

Despite Mother Nature’s volcanic eruption in Iceland disrupting air travel for thousands, quick thinking and flexibility kept the Air Force’s crucial aeromedical and cargo airlift missions moving.

On April 15, a weather forecast, from the Air Force Weather Agency’s 2nd Weather Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., showed the eruption could affect flights across much of Northern Europe to include Ramstein Air Base, Germany, which happens to be a transition point for wounded warriors coming from Afghanistan and Iraq.  Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany is normally where the wounded would be treated and rest for a couple of days before heading on to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.090417-F-1830P-186

Air Mobility Command’s 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., took immediate action by moving out cargo and tanker planes from Germany to Naval Station Rota and Moron Air Base in Spain, a good distance south of the enveloping ash clouds about to snuff out all air travel in northern Europe. Most importantly, this decisive diversion enabled the aeromedical evacuation missions to continue — ensuring the wounded warriors were still able to get to the U.S. with little disruption.

During a DoD Blogger’s Rountable held April 21, Air Force Brig. Gen. Randy Kee, vice commander, 618th TACC, discusses in detail the diligent maneuvers that occurred in order to overcome the impending “dark cloud” and continue with the joint-force missions supporting Operations Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn (of Operation Iraqi Freedom)

“Since April 15, the missions that had to be re-routed or adjusted around the ash cloud have delivered 23,268 passengers and nearly 7,000 tons of cargo, ensuring our worldwide commitments continue to be met, including support to Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. These figures represent more than enough people to fill Madison Square Garden and 175 fully loaded semi trucks – said General Kee, Vice Commander, 618th TACC.

“But when we’re talking about keeping cargo moving to the warfighter or moving our wounded warriors to the care they need, we’re going to do whatever it takes to safely keep the mission moving,” said General Kee.

The flight routings took longer, adding about 1.5 additional flying hours, as well as additional operating costs and more fuel usage.In addition to the diversions to Spain, additional support was necessary at both Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan and at Balad Air Base, Iraq.

While the dust settles over the European sky, missions from the temporary southern locations will continue.