Air Force Times is off to the Academy

Cadet 1st Class Carter Post of Cadet Squadron 7 addresses the Class of 2018 after they arrive at the cadet area. (Sarah Chambers / Air Force Academy)

Cadet 1st Class Carter Post of Cadet Squadron 7 addresses the Class of 2018 after they arrive at the cadet area. (Sarah Chambers / Air Force Academy)

On Monday morning, 1,160 basic cadets making up the US Air Force Academy’s Class of 2018 will assemble in the cadet area on-campus, and begin marching several miles to the most challenging part of their basic training: Jacks Valley. They’ll spend the next 11 days living in a tent city, running assault and obstacle courses, learning first aid, drilling with weapons, and learning leadership skills.

And Air Force Times is going to be there.

This weekend, photographer Mike Morones and I will fly out to Colorado Springs. We’ll be there for the march and the first few days of their Jacks Valley training, as well as other training activities on base. Like I said earlier this month when the Class of 2018 began their training, we’re looking forward to meeting the next generation of Air Force officers and learning more about why they’ve decided to serve, and seeing how they meet the challenges that come with basic training.

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Summer: The time of awkward Air Force safety PSAs

Public affairs crews at multiple bases and major commands are doing what they can to keep airmen safe, notably uploading a series of awkward public safety announcements to YouTube.

PA folks at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., have produced a series of great safety videos, with very high production and puppet value, called “Awkward Puppet Moments.” The one above reminds airmen to drink enough water while exercising in the Nevada heat. I recommend watching all of their videos.

The videos focus on the typical summer safety issues: hydration, bicycle safety, water safety, etc. Air Combat Command’s entry, posted today, is a timely play on the “most interesting man in the world.”

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Airman killed in 1952 crash in Alaska returns home

Paul Martin, oldest brother of Airman 3rd Class Howard Martin, wipes a tear from his eye during his brother's funeral July 12, 2014 in Elwood, Indiana. Howard Martin died November 22, 1952 during a C-124 crash in Alaska. His remains were not recovered or identified until earlier in 2014 and were returned home July 10, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Sarah Hall-Kirchner)

Paul Martin,  brother of Airman 3rd Class Howard Martin, during his brother’s funeral July 12 in Elwood, Indiana.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Sarah Hall-Kirchner)

The remains of an airman recovered in 2012 from a six-decade-old crash site in the Alaska mountains are now home.

Airman 3rd Class Howard Martin, of Elwood, Indiana, was one of 52 service members who perished in the Nov. 22, 1952 crash — and one of only 17 whose remains have been identified since an Army National Guard crew discovered the unearthed wreckage during a training mission two years ago.

The C-124 Globemaster came to rest on a glacier and disappeared under an avalanche of rock and snow after flying into a mountain during a winter storm. The melting glacier had traveled 12 miles from the place of impact when the wreckage was spotted.

An eight-person team from  Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command flew to the glacier to collect human remains in 2012. It took many more months of testing to identify the 17.

Martin’s family and friends gathered on the tarmac of Indianapolis International Airport July 10 to receive his remains in a dignified transfer ceremony, according to a news release from Air Mobility Command. Also returned to the Martin family: the airman’s driver’s license and Social Security card.

“I can hardly describe the anticipation,” the airman’s brother, Paul Martin, said in the release. “Mom and dad both kept thinking that one of these days they’ll find him and bring him home so they bought three cemetery plots rather than two.”

Martin’s parents died before that happened.

Members of the Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, Honor Guard transport the remains of Airman 3rd Class Howard Martin during a dignified arrival at the Indianapolis International Airport July 10, 2014. Martin died during a C-124 crash in 1952 and his remains were recovered earlier in 2014.

Members of the Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, Honor Guard transport the remains of Airman 3rd Class Howard Martin.

The airman was buried July 12. The Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, Honor Guard served as pallbearers at the airman’s funeral.

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Elwood waving American flags to celebrate Martin’s return, the news release said, and the mayor of Elwood declared July 12 Airman 3rd Class Howard Martin Remembrance Day.

Storm flips F-16 in Davis-Monthan boneyard

Courtesy photo, via Davis-Monthan public affairs.

Severe winds Sunday caused a retired F-16 to briefly take to the air again at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, boneyard this week.

Winds recorded at about 65 mph miles per hour hit the boneyard, where retired aircraft sit in storage, and flipped lightweight F-16 flipped onto another Falcon. The steel cable tie-downs that were used to secure the aircraft snapped due to the high winds. The jet had recently had its engine removed, which made it light enough to go airborne, according to a base news release.

The base lost power at about 7 p.m. Sunday night. Civil engineers at the base were able to restore power to all but three facilities by Monday afternoon. Some buildings were damaged during the storm, according to the base.

There has been no cost assessment of the damage, according to base public affairs. No injuries were reported, and flying operations returned to normal Monday afternoon, the release states.

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Thunderbirds fly over the 2014 MLB All Star Game

The Thunderbirds returned to the Major League Baseball All Star Game in Minneapolis last night, after missing last year’s midsummer classic.

Twin Cities station KFAN posted this time lapse video, which included the national anthem and the flyover demonstration before the game.

Last year, the demonstration team did not perform in New York City because of limits on flight hours due to sequestration.


64 Joint Base McGuire moms meet the Kardashians at Operation Shower event

Mothers from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst ask Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian about children's fashion and their experience as mothers during an Operation Shower event in Jersey City, New Jersey. Operation Shower is a non-profit organization providing baby showers for military families to ease the stress of having a new baby. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Tara A. Williamson)

Mothers from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst ask Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian about children’s fashion and their experience as mothers during an Operation Shower event in Jersey City, New Jersey. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Tara A. Williamson)

Sixty-four new and expecting moms at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey took home a new crib, a rocker seat, an air purifier, a $100 gift card and a host of other gifts while hobnobbing with Kim, Kourtney and Khloé  Kardashian of tabloid fame July 7.

The event was courtesy of Operation Shower, a nonprofit that has hosted dozens of baby showers for over 1,600 military moms and families since its founding in 2007.

The Kardashian sisters of E! network’s “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” hosted the July 7 shower at Battello, a waterfront restaurant in Jersey City.

The 64 moms also received toys, clothes, blankets, a bottle set and a box of diapers, according to a base news release.

“When I was in the military we didn’t have events like this,” Aimee Robinson, wife of Chief Master Sgt. Phillip Robinson, 87th Air Base Wing command chief, said in the news release. “We had to go to the thrift store or Airman’s Attic. I love that the civilian community is saying, ‘We’re not doing this to look good, we’re doing this because the military families deserve this.’”

The mothers thought only one of them would take home a new crib, which they believed was a raffle prize. When the number was drawn, the women realized they were all winners.

“One of the mother’s at our table couldn’t believe it,” Robinson was quoted as saying. “She was floored. ‘I won the crib? Everyone won the crib?’ These women are humbled; they appreciate it.”

In addition to hosting the July 7 shower, the Kardashians are giving their fashion line, Kardashian Kids, to military moms who receive Operation Shower’s shower-in-a-box.

Khloé  Kardashian told Elle.com: “Operation Shower is a phenomenal organization. It basically relieves the burden of throwing a baby shower when your spouse or husband or whoever is getting deployed …. They have showers in a box that provide you with all the essentials, or for our situation, we’re giving our fashion line, Kardashian Kids, and essentials to all these people. They’ve given over 700,000 of these boxes to families, and it really just releases some of the pressure of not knowing even where to turn to know where to start.”

Being the official photographer for the Thunderbirds

From Jet to Jet- Being the USAF Thunderbirds Official Photographer from Jaron Schneider on Vimeo.

Videographer Jaron Schneider posted this video telling the story of Staff Sgt. Larry Reid, Jr. Reid is the official photographer for the Thunderbirds.

Reid is one of two photographers for the team, responsible for taking some of the crazy photographs that depict the official demonstration team in action. In the video, he describes how he uses his gear in the back of an F-16D to get the photos.

The Thunderbirds are in the middle of their demonstration season. Here’s the schedule.

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Four airmen save father of three from drowning

Four airmen were at the right place at the right time when a father of three children was caught by a strong current in the Buttahatchee River in Caledonia, Mississippi, over Memorial Day weekend.

Staff Sgt. Joshua Keith, Airman 1st Class Kyle Carpenter, Senior Airman Ryan Werner and Staff Sgt. Alexander Gordy, all part of the 14th Operations Support Squadron at Columbus Air Force Base, helped save and revive a father who jumped in after his three children, according to a news release. The children’s grandfather also jumped in to help, but after struggling with the current, was unable to be revived and passed away, the release said.

“We were just enjoying ourselves at the river, and we heard someone screaming ‘my, my kids’ off in the distance,” Staff Sgt. Joshua Keith said. “We stood up and looked and saw what we thought were two kids that were caught in the current. We saw two people jump in after them so we thought they were alright and sat back down. Then a couple seconds later we saw someone else jump in and one man struggling to get back to the bank. That’s when we noticed there were three kids in the water not two, and realized that they needed our help,” he said in the release.

Staff Sgt. Alexander Gordy, Airman 1st Class Kyle Carpenter, Senior Airman Ryan Werner and Staff Sgt. Joshua Keith, 14th Operations Support Squadron, pose for a photo June 24 outside their place of work, the Radar Approach Control.

Staff Sgt. Alexander Gordy, Airman 1st Class Kyle Carpenter, Senior Airman Ryan Werner and Staff Sgt. Joshua Keith pose for a photo June 24 outside their place of work, the Radar Approach Control at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. (Airman John Day/Air Force photo).

The father was able to get the kids out of the current but not able to get out of the river himself. The airmen had to run down the river banks to get closer to the distressed swimmers and then swam “50 yards of cross currents to get to them,” Senior Airman Werner said.

After getting to an accessible shoreline, they dove in for the father and grandfather.

“I grabbed the grandfather and tried to drag him upstream to the shore but the current was too strong, and I was swallowing water so I had to let him go and catch my breath,” Keith said. “When I got to the bank, two of my friends were already diving in and out of the water searching for the guy.”

While the airmen were still searching in the water, additional onlookers began assisting in the search. One bystander finally located the father and dragged him to the shoreline, but the father was not responsive, the release said. “He was completely blue and was not breathing so I started CPR on him,” Keith said. Airman 1st Class Carpenter quickly joined in to assist. After almost four minutes of CPR, the father started responding.

Meanwhile, Werner and Staff Sgt. Gordy were busy searching the river. “We just continuously kept diving under water and feeling for him on the bottom of the river,” Gordy said. “We didn’t have any visibility, the water was brown and the current was rushing by me. I finally grabbed something that felt like a big wet pillow and tried to drag it to the surface.”

Emergency responders were at the scene when the airmen finally got the grandfather out of the water. While the paramedics performed CPR, Keith took the children aside into “their car and gave them stuffed animals trying to distract them,” he said. The release stated that the grandfather passed away.

The family’s identity was not made public.

The airmen were acclaimed as demonstrating “the Air Force Core Value of Service Before Self when they attempted to save the lives of two drowning men.”

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