PEOPLE FIRST – February 26, 2016

Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, go to the web address listed at the end of the story.

James focuses on value of Airmen

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James spoke during the Air Force Association’s Air Force Breakfast Series Feb. 12 at the Key Bridge Marriot in Arlington, Virginia.

James emphasized that her number one priority is to take care of Airmen and she ensured the fiscal year 2017 budget focused on this.

James thanked Congress for their support to modestly upsize the active-duty force from roughly 311,000 to 317,000 by the end of this fiscal year. She also expanded on how the fiscal 2017 budget will support Airmen, such as a 1.6 percent pay raise for military and civilian forces, an expanded Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, additional support for child care facilities, and educational benefit boosts.

The secretary also spoke to the numerous operations Airmen are currently supporting around the world.

One part of taking care of people is ensuring the Air Force modernizes its aircraft fleet and develops its capabilities to ensure Airmen maintain an advantage as adversaries close the technological gap.

Tuskegee Airmen share life lessons

Three members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen visited with Airmen at the Pentagon during a meet and greet hosted by Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James Feb. 16.

Retired Col. Charles McGee and former Cadets William Fauntroy Jr. and Walter Robinson Sr. shared stories and insights about their lives as Tuskegee Airmen and as civilians after they left the military.

“I had a breadth of understanding of what could be, because I had accepted the training and the discipline,” said Robinson, who went on to be the first black postal manager in Washington, D.C.

The Tuskegee Airmen were named after the Tuskegee Army Airfield near Tuskegee, Alabama, where they received their pilot and aircraft maintenance training during World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen were not just flyers but also radio operators, navigators, bombardiers, aircraft maintainers, support staff, instructors, and all the personnel who kept the planes in the air.

“It was an interesting concept because the policy was … we (blacks) weren’t capable of doing anything technical, to include maintaining and flying airplanes,” McGee said.

New co-chairman joins Air Force’s retiree council

A new co-chairman will share the head of the table at this year’s Air Force Retiree Council meeting in May.

Retired Lt. Gen. Stephen Hoog, who left active duty in October, succeeds retired Lt. Gen. Steven Polk as council co-chair with retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney McKinley.

The co-chairs serve as personal advisers to the chief of staff and the secretary of the Air Force on all issues regarding retirees and their families. Hoog’s appointment was announced by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III.

Meeting at the Air Force Personnel Center, the council receives briefings on today’s Air Force structure from senior members of the Air Staff and other Air Force elements. This information helps the 19-member panel address issues submitted from 100 base-level retiree activities offices worldwide. Subjects range from health care to publication of the Afterburner newsletter to various benefit and entitlement enhancements.

Mobile ICU improves  care for wounded troops

The mission of the 379th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron in Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, is to provide medical care for wounded service members, while flying them to locations where they can receive further treatment.

The unit provides this service to U.S. military members, as well as coalition partners, supporting Operations Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel during aeromedical evacuations.

In 2015, more than 1,000 patients with a variety of injuries including gunshot wounds, brain trauma and blast injuries were flown out of the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility by the squadron. The unit’s Critical Care Air Transport Team, which consists of a doctor, nurse and therapist, provides care for the most critically wounded and has treated 10 service members since Jan. 1.

“We are basically a mobile intensive care unit,” said Master Sgt. Illeana, a 379th EAES respiratory therapist from Maryland. “We have everything we need to give people the most definitive patient care, just like they would receive in an ICU at a hospital.”

This mobile ICU consists of a five-member AE crew, a CCATT and about 1,000 pounds of equipment and supplies, including ventilators, medication, cardiac monitors and bandages.

More Stories From This Author