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Air Force rolls out new enlisted personnel handbook: Here’s what changed

Published: Thursday, July 12, 2018 @ 10:08 AM

Airmen from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base hold a large American flag during a pregame ceremony prior to a Wright State University basketball game at the Nutter Center. The college hosted a military appreciation night. (U.S. Air Force photo/R.J. Oriez)
Staff Writer
Airmen from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base hold a large American flag during a pregame ceremony prior to a Wright State University basketball game at the Nutter Center. The college hosted a military appreciation night. (U.S. Air Force photo/R.J. Oriez)(Staff Writer)

The U.S. Air Force just rolled out its new enlisted personnel handbook, and it’s changing up the way enlisted airmen will address senior master sergeants.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright announced the changes on Facebook. The Air Force no longer requires an associate’s degree from the Community College of the Air Force as a promotion requirement for master sergeants.

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“One of the biggest changes you’ll see, one that we’re also working to codify in our other AFIs, comes in para 3.1.3.1. An Associate’s Degree from the CCAF is no longer a promotion requirement,” Wright said.

New changes also address the way airmen address their top enlisted leaders. Airmen may address E-8s as “senior” or “sergeant” now, according to the handbook. The handbook defines the enlisted force structure and implements policy. This new handbook replaces the 2009 Air Force rules. View the handbook here.

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“To all the Seniors who’ve been telling people to stop using Senior, apparently now you’re officially a Senior, Senior,” one airmen commented on Wright’s announcement.

The changes are part of an initiative to address dated amendments.

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Dayton VA loses $90K in equipment. Why that’s ‘as close to zero as we can reasonably get.’

Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 @ 6:39 PM


            Dayton VA Medical Center. JIM NOELKER/STAFF
Dayton VA Medical Center. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

The Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center lost more than $90,000 in equipment between 2014 and 2017, according to a new investigation.

Dayton VA Public Affairs Officer Ted Froats said the number, which equates to about $22,500 a year, represents a fraction of the Dayton VA’s yearly inventory — around .0002 percent.

“The reality of running a 24/7 hospital with 500,000 outpatient visits a year is that that’s probably as close to zero as we can reasonably get,” Froats told this news organization in an email.

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VA facilities across the country lost more than $1 million in that time period, according to a WBNS-10TV investigation.

In Dayton, a total of $90,305 was lost.

John Hoellwarth, the national director of communications for AMVETS, said veterans deserve accountability regardless of the value.

“Whether it’s $1 million or $1.50, veterans deserve a VA that’s accountable,” Hoellwarth said.

Froats said that from 2015 to 2016, the Dayton VA cut their lost equipment per year in half, and the organization continued that progress into 2017.

The Dayton VA lost the least amount of equipment of the centers that were investigated. In Columbus, the VA facility lost $318,068.38; in Chillicothe, that number was $279,912.45.

The losses came even after the VA spent $24 million in Ohio to attach tracking devices to some equipment. The tracking devices, also known as real-time location systems or RTLS, either ping out a device’s location or allow a VA employee to scan for the items to keep track of them, according to the investigation.

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That doesn’t mean the devices will always work. According to records obtained as part of the investigation, the Dayton VA hired a contractor in 2014 to do an inventory of its equipment inventory listings, but the contractor left more than 1,000 items out of the inventory.

According to the records, the individuals that installed the RTLS in Dayton “did not perform well” and some of the devices were shown as being in rooms other than what they were, making the RTLS useless in the facility’s search for the lost items.

Records noted that the VA expected to find most or all of the missing equipment with the next inventory.

“It is our belief these items are not stolen and should be identified when the next wall-to-wall inventory is conducted,” the report reads.

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Froats said theft isn’t always the cause of losses, and items like stretchers or infusion pumps that travel with patients and can be mixed up in other units or even another hospital.

Froats said the Dayton VA prides itself on keeping track of its equipment.

“I’m a taxpayer, my boss is a taxpayer, her boss is a taxpayer,” Froats said. “We take lost equipment very seriously at the Dayton VAMC, and that’s why we’re proud to be the best in Ohio – successfully tracking 99.9998 percent of our annual inventory.”

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Thunderbirds celebrate milestone year representing US Air Force

Published: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 @ 9:05 AM

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Pilot Killed in F-16 Training Flight Crash

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds have been roaring through the skies for 65 years.

The Thunderbirds are celebrating its 65th year of representing the U.S. Air Force. On May 25, 1953, the Air Force’s official air demonstration team, designated the 3600th Air Demonstration Unit, was activated at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. The unit was named the “Thunderbirds” in part because of the strong Native American culture in Arizona.

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The first demonstration team flew and maintained the F-84G Thunderjet. “The straight-wing configuration of the F-84G was considered well suited for aerobatic and demonstration maneuvers, though the aircraft could not exceed the speed of sound,” according to the Thunderbirds team.

The Thunderbirds have traded aircraft throughout the years, flying the F-84F Thunderstreak, the F-105B Thunderchief, the F-100Ds and the F-16.

<p> FILE - In this June 18, 2010 file photo the U. S. Air Force Thunderbirds practice a maneuver during a rehearsal in preparation for a weekend air show, in Oklahoma City. The U.S. Air Force says a member of its Thunderbirds flight demonstration team was killed in the crash of his F-16 fighter jet in central Nevada. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki,File) </p>(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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The Thunderbirds did not fly at the Vectren Dayton Air Show this year. Military jet teams like the Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels are the biggest draw for the air show and organizers bank on their appearance to bring tens of thousands to the grounds at James M. Cox Dayton International Airport. The show can draw as many as 65,000 or more spectators when the teams fly, officials say.

In 2016, the Thunderbirds crashed prior to the Dayton Air Show, and injured Pilot Capt. Erik Gonsalves and Tactical Aircraft Maintainer Staff Sgt. Kenneth Cordova. The F-16 sustained significant damage, and the Thunderbirds cancelled all performances at the air show.

WATCH the Thunderbirds commemorate 65 years.

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Verizon’s new military discount program could save you hundreds

Published: Thursday, July 05, 2018 @ 10:53 AM

Soldier Gets To See Family For Memorial Day Weekend Thanks To Stranger’s Kindness

Verizon’s new military discount program could save you hundreds of dollars every year.

Last week, Verizon launched its new program — active military, veterans and Gold Star families are eligible to save up to $40 every month on their cellphone plans. The deal offers $15 off regular monthly prices on one phone plan. It also offers $30 off on two lines or $40 off on three lines under Verizon’s unlimited plans.

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Military families can receive a $200 Mastercard prepaid card when activating a new 4G LTE smartphone on a new line of service, according to the company.

To get the military discount, simply login to your account and choose the unlimited plans you need.

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10 major Wright-Patt updates that happened in June

Published: Tuesday, July 03, 2018 @ 10:25 AM

Col. Bradley McDonald is retiring from the Air Force and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base got a new installation commander, UDRI landed a $72 million Air Force contract, and the Dayton VA Medical Center named a new associate director. Here’s what you need to know about what happened in military and veteran news last month:

1. New base leader at Wright-Patt

Col. Thomas P. Sherman made two firsts in June: He made his first trip to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, and he became the installation commander of the largest Air Force base by population. The 44-year-old California native and Air Force Academy graduate who served in Afghanistan and Iraq replaces Col. Bradley McDonald, who retired after a 24-year career in uniform and will return to his native Idaho.

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Sherman, a six-time commander who has an extensive background in base security forces around the world, was a detachment commander at the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., before taking on his new job. READ MORE

2. Defense bill blocks transfer of Wright-Patt jobs, senator says

A manufacturing technology office with 55 jobs could not be transferred from the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson to the Pentagon under a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act passed in the Senate. The initiative with oversight for the entire military identifies manufacturing needs critical to national defense and gives grants to support manufacturing production so the capability remains viable in the United States, officials have said.

3. UDRI lands $72 million Air Force contract

The University of Dayton Research Institute has landed a $72 million, six-year contract that provides research and engineering support to the Air Force Research Laboratory. The work, part of AFRL’s Quick Reaction Evaluation of Materials and Processes program, includes testing of environmentally friendly technologies, determining the cause of component failures , evaluating materials and protective coatings on advanced aerospace systems, among other things. READ MORE

4. Dayton water quality: What we know now about potentially dangerous chemicals

Some Dayton drinking water may contain a potentially dangerous substance that previously caused several local water wells to be shut down, officials say. The city of Dayton and Montgomery County are notifying customers about the substance, which was detected in treated water at Dayton’s Ottawa Water Treatment Plant.

The substance has been used in firefighting chemicals at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and at Dayton’s firefighting training center, this news organization previously reported. READ MORE

5. Fairborn firm lands nearly $25 million defense deal

A Fairborn defense contractor has landed a seven-year, $24.9 million cyber research deal with the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Department of Defense said. The Design Knowledge Co. will develop the Innovative Cyber/Infrastructure Threat Assessment Environment Mission Assurance program to assess microelectronics, cyber threats and security vulnerabilities and situational awareness and malware protections, among other priorities. READ MORE

6. Top Air Force leaders gather at Wright-Patt

The Air Force’s top leadership brass was at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base this week in an annual closed-door gathering known as Corona Top. Air Force officials were tight lipped on the meeting this year, but the event focused on strategy, acquisition, science and technology and innovation, according to Air Force spokesman Michael Martin. READ MORE

7. Today’s veterans include more women, minorities

New Census Bureau figures show the post 9/11 generation of veterans is the most diverse in history, helping to erase some of the stereotypes of the past. Nearly half of those who served after 9/11 are under the age of 35. Of that group, 17 percent are women, 15.3 percent are African-American and 12.1 are Hispanic, according to the Census. READ MORE

The Hope Hotel at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will host a military career fair Jan. 18. The career fair is free of charge for attendees and will feature more than 40 of Miami Valley s top employers. The event will take place at the Hope Hotel, located at 10823 Chidlaw Road. It will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ty Greenlees/CMGO

8. Pentagon told to cut spending on F-35 program

The Pentagon has agreed to resolve major technical deficiencies with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter before moving ahead with full-rate production, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has a large stake in the future of the jet as a contender to manage the Air Force version of the F-35, congressional lawmakers have said. READ MORE

9. Dayton VA names new associate director

The Dayton VA Medical Center has a new associate director. Jennifer DeFrancesco, 30, has permanently taken over the $128,000-a-year post after serving as acting associate director for a year.

DeFrancesco, a Pittsburgh, Pa., native, began her career as a biomedical engineer at the Indianapolis VA Medical Center in 2010.In Dayton, she will supervise 11 administrative departments leaders, such as the chiefs of engineering, fiscal services, human resources, pharmacy, prosthetics, and the campus police force, and a workforce of about 800 employees. READ MORE

10. Air Force grounds B-1B bombers

The Air Force grounded its fleet of B-1B Lancer bombers because of concerns with its ejection seat, Global Strike Command said in a statement. Air Force leaders discovered an issue with the ejection seat components during an emergency landing of a B-1 in Midland, Texas, which led to the safety stand down, the command said in a statement. READ MORE

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