Home Blog Page 61

McKenzie, Faley take command


The 452nd Operations Support Squadron and 452nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron held formal Assumption of Command ceremonies at March Field on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014.

Col. Mark Sigler, then commander of the 452nd Operations Group, passed the guidons to Lt. Col. Nick R. McKenzie, who accepted one as the new OSS commander, and to Lt. Col. Monsita Faley, who accepted hers as the new AES commander.

“As a past two-time OSS commander myself, I understand the unique challenges and opportunities 12 different specialties bring, and how they help provide a deeper understanding of how missions are really supported,” said Sigler. “I believe Lt. Col. McKenzie has the right touch to make a connection with Airmen and make a difference.”

Sigler said that squadron commanders help the Air Force maximize its contact between Airmen and the mission.

“Of all the squadrons, AES is unique in that it capitalizes most on this direct contact and benefit to the warfighter, the sick and the injured,” he said. “I believe Lt. Col. Faley will achieve both components and take AES to a better place.”

McKenzie joined the Reserve, from active duty, in 2001, and most recently served as flight commander of the 729th Airlift Squadron, March ARB. During this time McKenzie serve as both a C-17 Globemaster III pilot and supervised both fliers and non-fliers. Prior to that assignment,

McKenzie was an instructor pilot with the 730th Airlift Squadron here, where he flew numerous combat missions in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM, ENDURING FREEDOM and JOINT FORGE.

When asked about the initial impression of his new command, McKenzie warmly responded that it was great leading the 452nd OSS team before and he is glad to be back. Additionally, McKenzie was quick to answer what he thought of this team: outstanding.

Faley joined the Reserve, from active duty, in 1989, and most recently served as commander of the 302nd Airlift Wing’s 34th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.  During this assignment, Faley was responsible for leading approximately 74 officers and enlisted personnel, and managed the execution of global aeromedical evacuation and medical care missions. Prior to that assignment, Faley assumed multiple nursing and leadership positions at March ARB.

“With a new Air Force Inspection System and other changes, having all Airmen be on the same page will be a priority,” said Faley.

Faley noted that other goals she has are to ensure squadron morale is high and that they are always mission ready.

“I’m really excited to be back at March,” said Faley. “I feel like I’m back at home.”

The road to fitness: One Airman’s drive to get fit, inspire others

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Melissa Goslin, U.S. Air Force graphic/Airman 1st Class Tom Brading

BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (AFNS) — A photojournalist assigned to the 628th Air Base Wing public affairs office here has lost more than 60 pounds since he began his fitness journey a little more than a year ago.

Senior Airman Jared Trimarchi’s road to fitness has been paved with hard work and discipline, all to improve his health. Today, he inspires others to start their own journey.

“Losing weight isn’t easy,” he said. “But nothing worth having in life is.”

A humiliating reality check got Trimarchi’s attention; he was removed from the base’s ceremonial honor guard because his 250-pound frame didn’t present a professional appearance.

“My weight gain was my fault,” he said. “I was stuck in my old eating habits. Obviously, that is no excuse, … but it was mine. I had more excuses, too. I blamed my leadership, my genetics, and even my wife’s cooking skills.”

To be separated from something that gave him so much pride was a crushing blow, Trimarshi said.

“I was devastated,” he added. “Being a member of the honor guard team meant the world to me. From presenting the colors at ceremonies on base to giving full military honors at a fallen hero’s funeral, it was the most rewarding experience I’ve had in the Air Force and one of my most rewarding experiences in my life.”

The worst part of the ordeal, he said, was feeling as if the honor guard was better off without him.

“Due to the honor guard dress and appearance standards, Airman Trimarchi had to be temporarily removed from the team,” said Master Sgt. John Gott, the 628th Air Base Wing public affairs superintendent. “I was confident he would return to honor guard after losing weight and maintaining the proper appearance. We never gave up on him, and he didn’t give up on himself.”

Every journey begins with that first step, and for Trimarchi, that step was at the base running track. With every mile he put behind him, he became one step closer to his goal of returning to the honor guard.

“I started by simply eating smaller meal portions,” he said. “My body was trying to convince me I was hungry. I wasn’t. For me, the pain was just the mind trying to fight my body. I had to be stronger, mentally and physically.”

The battle raged in Trimarchi for the upcoming weeks, he said, and his mental and physical resilience became stronger with the passing days. Overcoming temptations such as sweets, fast food and soda, and replacing them with lean meat, fresh fruits and water was challenging, he added, but he never gave up on himself.

“I didn’t falter. Going back to the honor guard was my only option,” Trimarchi said. “I could’ve come up with excuses why getting out of bed at 4 a.m. to run was a bad idea, or why I deserved a ‘cheat meal,’ but I was done with the excuses. Making excuses, and not taking personal responsibility, is what got me into the mess I was in at the time.”

After two months passed, Trimarchi was able to return to the honor guard to complete his rotation with the team.

Achieving his short-term goal opened the door for Trimarchi to go for more. He is training to apply for Air Force special operations duty.

“Trimarchi’s passion for total fitness, healthy eating and exercise is contagious,” said Staff Sgt. William O’Brien, the NCO in charge of media operations in the public affairs office. “He’s young, idealistic, enthusiastic and motivated.”

But Trimarchi said he believes his story is more of a cautionary tale than a heroic one.

“Nobody should ever let themselves get to where I was,” he said. “Being in the Air Force, you already have a certain level of professionalism to maintain. It took me losing everything to learn how important that was, and I’ll never take something as meaningful as wearing the Air Force uniform for granted again.”

Noting that he now looks and feels better, Trimarchi said his journey wouldn’t have happened without the proper mindset and support.

“If you can conquer your mind, then your body will have no choice but to follow,” he said. “Just set a goal, get support, believe in yourself and never give up.”

Muncy tours DMA


452 AMW Commander Colonel Russell Muncy gets an orientation on the American Forces Network’s (AFN’s) Broadcast Center’s 24-7 Help Desk for military personnel who watch AFN TV overseas. The AFN Broadcast Center is, located on March Air Reserve base, originates eight TV services and 10 satellite radio services for Americans serving in Asia, Europe, Africa, South America and the Middle East.

Patriot Palm


Twenty-Four Westover Airlift Control Flight Airmen deployed to Oahu, Hawaii, Jan. 11 to conduct the 4 day training exercise, “Patriot Palm”. This joint exercise also provided approximately 40 special federal agents with the opportunity to train loading, off-loading and securing equipment onto various Air Mobility Command aircraft. This exercise utilized a C-5 Galaxy from Westover ARB, Mass. and two C-17 Globemaster’s from March ARB, Calif.

March communications engineer celebrates his roots

photo/ Charlie Gill

Randy Staley is a communications engineer at the AFN Broadcast Center on March Air Reserve Base.  He can carry a tune.  He’s not a singer, but a craftsman who uses wood and animal skins to create flutes and drums.  His flutes are fashioned using the pentatonic scale, which is classic Native American, among other cultures.  He uses wood that he finds in the forest, and carefully shapes them with his tools.  The drums are crafted from wood and natural hides.

Randy has always had an interest in music and Native American culture.  After attending some Indian ceremonies in Montana many years ago, he traveled home to perform a traditional blessing at his parent’s home in Ohio.  After the ceremony, his dad mentioned something that may not have surprised him as much as delighted him.  One of his grandparents was half Penobscot Indian.   The tribe is located in Maine.  Randy’s interest in Native Americans had now become his heritage. That heritage included the music of his ancestors, and so Randy began with creating drums.  Tightly bound elk or deer hide gives each drum it’s unique, rich sound, but Randy says it’s also a spiritual connection with the animal, “Each drum has a sound according to what  “voice” the skin carries,” he says.   That voice is reflected from the four winds of Earth;  north, south, east and west.  Each beat of the drum is a brings forth a deep, rich, almost  somber sound.  The flutes are fashioned from a single piece of wood. Randy is careful to use only wood from areas that allow collection of branches.  He sees a piece of wood not as just some fallen branch, but as a musical instrument.  He began to make flutes many years ago from vkits he would buy.  “They just didn’t have any character,“  he said.  So he took the next step—making his own.  But what about getting the pitch just right? Modern technology lends an ear.  A digital tuner ensures the flutes are pitch perfect.  As Randy plays, the rich notes call out from time forgotten.

Randy Staley spends his days making sure we are all connected, either by cell phone or desk phone.  He checks circuits that keep us in touch with each other. He fixes problems in an automated world.  When his day is finished, he spends evenings communicating in the most ancient of languages, the beat of times gone by, and winds of the past.

News Briefs 01/23/2015



There will be a Deserving Airman Commissioning Board held on Feb. 19, 2015. All packages are due to FSS/FSMPD by Jan. 24. For more information, contact 452nd Force Support Squadron Career Development at 655-3113.


The Air Force Reserve Command Yellow Ribbon Program invites you to a Regional Yellow Ribbon Training event to be held in Orange County, California, Feb. 27-March 1. This event will include activities, referral information, education, vendor booths and interactive breakout sessions that span the concerns and issues faced by reservists and their loved ones before and after a deployment, including: Tricare, Airmen & Family Readiness, ESGR,  legal assistance for wills & powers of attorney, Military Family Life Consultants, Personal Financial Consultants, and more. For information on the event and the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, contact the 452 AMW Yellow Ribbon Representative, Senior Master Sgt. Jo Carrillo, at 951-655-2571 or Josephine.carrillo@us.af.mil.


Did you know March ARB has a virtual Airman’s Attic? Log on to Facebook and search “March ARB Airman’s Attic” to like it. The site is where all Team March members can post things they are in need of and/or offer items (for FREE) that they would like to donate to help someone at March in need. The site is NOT for selling or advertising. All items offered must be completely FREE. The link is as follows: https://www.facebook.com/marchairmansattic?ref=tn_tnmn#!/marchairmansattic. Please share the site with your family and friends so we can help some of our own.


The 2015 Reserve Officer Association (ROA) Chapter 11 Recruitment Lunch will be held at Joe’s Italian Restaurant, 22308 Alessandro Blvd., Moreno Valley, Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 11 a.m. Lunch will be provided. All non-commissioned, warrant and commissioned officers are invited to attend. Agenda will include: ROTC Award Distribution Volunteers, Activity/ Service Award Project for 2015, 1st Shirt Run T-Shirts, upcoming conferences and JOLDS courses.


Spin Class: every Tuesday and Thursday at 11 a.m.

Zumba: every Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Friday at 10:15 a.m.

Battle Ropes/circuit training/TRX training weekdays at 12:30 and 5:30 p.m

For more information, visit the Fitness Center or call 951-655-2284.


Jan. 31: Fencing

Feb. 14: Go-kart racing at Adams Motorsport

Feb. 28: Flying Trapeze

For more information call ODR at 951-655-2816, Monday thru Friday 8:30 to 4:30. Trips are open to all personnel but Single Airmen have priority.


The Norton AFB Museum Board of Directors will host the sixth event in their ongoing series of “An Evening at the Museum”. The museum will open Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. for viewing of the museum and the outdoor Veterans Memorial area, including the newest addition, a section of the Berlin Wall. The auditorium opens at 7 p.m. for seating, which is limited and will be on a first come- first seated basis. Our guest speaker is Maj. Gen. David Post, USAFR (Ret). Post will begin the presentation at 7:30 p.m. and share the story of the 445th Military Airlift Wing (MAW) and focus on its teaming with the 63rd MAW while stationed at Norton AFB prior to its closure. Guests will learn how this AF Reserve (associate) Wing blended with the 63rd and absorbed their portion of the global airlift and logistics mission supported by Norton AFB.


Looking for an inexpensive way to vacation? Then why not try the Armed Forces Vacation Club.   The Armed Forces Vacation Club is a ‘Space A’ vacation condominium rental program developed to benefit active duty, Reserve and National Guard members as well as DOD civilians. Condos through this program are available at a flat rate of $349 a week. There are no dues, no hidden fees, just a great value for the men and women of our uniformed services. For more information or to make a reservation, log onto www.marchfss.com, click on the Ticket and Tours tab and then click on the Armed Forces Vacation Club tab.


The Retiree Activity Office is looking for folks who can volunteer their time for three hours a week. If you are interested, please call 655-4077 or 655-4079.


Jan. 31: Vegas Turnaround. ($20, must be 21 and older) Deadline to sign up is Jan 28.

Other tickets available at ITT include: San Diego Zoo and Safari Park (free for military, discounts for dependents); Patriot Jet Boat Tour on San Diego Bay ($16); SeaWorld Waves of Honor (service members and 3 dependents enter free; Castle Park Amusement Park tickets, includes unlimited regular rides and miniature golf ($16); Whale watching season starts Dec. 26 ($14); Disney 3-day hopper pass for up to 6 people ($130 for active duty, retired, Reserve, Guard).

For More Information on hours, ticket prices and events, visit MarchFSS.com, facebook.com/marchodradventure or call 951-655-4123.


The March A&FRC will host the TSP for military and civilians, Jan. 27 at Bldg. 2313, room 6 (MSG conference room), from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The workshop will be taught by Ms. Debi McCoy. All base personnel are invited to attend, so pack a lunch and join us! Please call 655-5350 to sign up.


Calendar year 2015 has 27 pay periods since the last pay day falls on Jan. 1, 2016 (a Federal holiday), which means you will be paid one day earlier on Dec. 31, 2015. 

If you are under the Federal Employees Retirement System and you wish to receive the maximum agency matching contributions for 2015, you must ensure you do not reach the $18,000 contribution limit before the last pay day of the year.  If you reach the contribution limit before the last pay period you will not receive matching contribution for the pay period (s) that no contributions were made.

If you want to distribute your TSP contributions over the remaining pay periods in 2015, update your election in the Employee Benefits Information System (EBIS).  If you decide to change your election, take into consideration the effective date of your election and how many pay periods remain in the year.    

For additional information on contribution limits and effective dates, visit the MyPers website and search “Thrift Savings Plan contribution limit”.


The Hap Arnold Club is holding a “Name that Dish” contest. The entry forms can be found at the club with the current name of the dish on each slip. All dishes are available at the Back Street Café in case you want to try them before giving them a name. Ballot boxes are located by the entry slips at the Back Street Café and at the Club cashier’s cage. Each consecutive contest will begin on the 11th of the month and close on the 10th of the following month. Winners will receive four tickets to the Aces Comedy Club (a $60 value!), so be sure to include your name and number on your entries. Good luck!


Col. Muncy has determined that the following FY 15 Unit Training Assemblies may only be rescheduled if the reschedule date is for the alternate UTA during the same month of the A and B UTAs for the months of February, May and August 2015. The wing commander will authorize reschedules outside of the same month, if absolutely necessary, on a case-by-case basis.


Implementation of the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) Act of 2011, under H.R. 2433, and the Veterans Employment Initiative (VEI) under Executive Order 13518, has driven a host of new requirements for transitioning personnel. The VOW Act made service-member participation in the re-designed TAP program mandatory as of Nov. 21, 2012.   This re-designed program expands counseling and guidance for active and Reserve members separating from the military after serving at least 180 days on active duty. Reservists going on or coming off of 180 consecutive days of orders due to school, BMT, deployments, TDY’s, etc. are required to comply with the following requirements:  pre-separation counseling at the A&FRC, VA Benefits briefing (parts I and II), CAPSTONE (DD Form 2958) and five-day TAP workshop.   

The VA Benefits brief can be completed in person at March ARB or online, You can attend the five-day TAP workshop at any active duty installation, or online (it takes four days and includes the VA Benefits briefing). For more information please contact the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 655-5350.

Local chaplain helps ANG recruiting efforts


Back in August of 2014, the 163d Reconnaissance Wing Chaplain Major David Sarmiento had the opportunity to be featured in a new Air National Guard (ANG) Chaplain Corps recruitment infomercial, the first of its kind in many years. In addition to the commercial, many still photos were taken of Sarmiento and four others to create marketing posters, calendars, brochures, and other types of promotional items for the recruitment effort.

“I was very honored and humbled to be a part of something so special,” said Sarmiento. “The feeling was surreal. The chaplains I had the opportunity to work with on this project were literally making history, reaching out to a new generation of chaplain candidates to carry on the Chaplain Corps legacy, which was started long ago by other great men and women that have chosen to serve.”

The goal was to reach a qualified pool of chaplain applicants from all walks of life and faith groups from various seminaries and faith communities. The majority of the commercial was shot in Burlington, Vermont, home of the 158th Green Mountain Boys. In it, Sarmiento was featured sharing an inspiring and thought provoking message.

“The team at ANG Creative that was assembled to shoot this commercial is an incredible group of talented, unformed and civilian members that make up the team. Each member of the marketing team took the extra time to take just the right shot, create the right lighting, and choose the best venue to deliver an inspiring message. The countless hours they put into this project and every project is nothing less than amazing.  I have the deepest respect and endearment for them; without them there would be no one joining the Air National Guard. The manner in which they feature every job in the ANG is inspiring and I am grateful to have worked with such a talented group of men and women.”

Sarmiento began his military career as an enlisted Airman in June of 1995, assigned to the 261st Combat Communication Squadron, in Van Nuys. He began his chaplain journey in April 2006, when he entered the Chaplain Candidate Program and later that same year attended Commissioned Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Upon completion of the program, Sarmiento was reappointed as a chaplain in the ANG, assigned to the 163rd Reconnaissance Wing here in 2009.

Sarmiento was later honored as the 2010 Chaplain of Year – Samuel Stone Award recipient for the Air National Guard Chaplain Corps recognized in January 2011 in Washington, D.C. by the then-General Craig McKinley, 26th Chief of the National Guard Bureau of the United States.  Sarmiento was chosen for the national level award from a group of eight nominees representing more than 300 Chaplains from throughout the United States and its territories, making him the first Hispanic American to receive this honor.

“My hope is that many outstanding men and women will be inspired to answer the call of service in the Air National Chaplain Corps,” said Sarmiento.

“There are great Chaplains and Chaplain Assistants all over doing a great job in some of the darkest, farthest, reaches of the world in places we may never know,” said Sarmiento. “To them I say thank you for the spiritual care you provide. You are not forgotten and I dedicate this commercial to you! You are the unsung heroes. Keep up the great work. You are making a difference each and every day.”

To view the video featuring Sarmiento, use the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jycwRvAk-c

Pentagon salutes Dr. King’s life, legacy

DoD photo by Casper Manlangit

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Defense Department members gathered Jan. 15 at the Pentagon’s annual observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, ahead of the federal holiday.

Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work called King a “true, remarkable American patriot and hero” and said he was honored to help pay tribute to the late civil rights leader.

“The most fitting way to honor Dr. King’s legacy is not just to celebrate this holiday or to celebrate his achievements, but to act on his word in what we do every day in the service of our nation,” Work said.

King, who would have been 86 today, was assassinated in 1968, less than four years after winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership of nonviolent civil disobedience in the advancement of civil rights.

A Proponent of Peace

Joining the deputy secretary to give the event’s keynote speech was Navy Adm. Michelle Howard, vice chief of naval operations. In 1999, Howard became the first African-American woman to command a combatant ship in the U.S. Navy, and in 2014, she became the first woman to rise to the rank of four-star admiral.

“Not only did (King) peacefully bring society through some of the most complicated and charged social upheavals of American history, but he also fostered change in the very hearts and minds of the American people,” Howard said.

Howard called King one of the greatest leaders the country has ever seen and recounted several of his most memorable words. Quoting King, she said “if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live” and “a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a motor of consensus.”

The admiral praised King for convincing so many that people work better together and for “overwhelming the status quo” with consistent, concentrated and insistently righteous perseverance.

Inclusiveness and Restraint

“He pushed both black and white citizens to look beyond themselves, beyond their comfort zones, habits or beliefs, to something bigger and better for all of us,” Howard said. “He rose above the pain and he taught his followers to demand the moral high ground … these lessons of inclusiveness and restraint are some of the hardest concepts throughout human history.”

For that reason, the admiral explained, it is even more important for Americans to continue to observe and remember Dr. King for the things he did and the principles he stood for.

“Today, as we honor this great American,” Work said, “let us also reflect on what we can do, each and every one of us in this room, throughout the Pentagon, throughout the armed services of our great nation, to further the struggle for human freedom and dignity that Dr. King helped to lead and for which he ultimately gave his life.”

King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986.

CSAF utilizes new technologies to engage with Airmen


WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Chief of Staff of the Air Force Mark A. Welsh III teamed up with Google to launch a live discussion with Airmen from bases around the world, using video chat technology.

Airmen asked both the general and his wife, Betty Welsh, questions about Air Force life, ranging anywhere from future mission and operations, to key spouse programs. A few of the questions were more personal, focusing on how the Welsh’s find time to reflect and relax, as well as advice on how military couples can make the most of their relationships.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s 30 seconds, or 30 minutes — you need to take the time to think about what you’re doing and why it’s important,” Welsh said.

The question and answer session was live-streamed from Google headquarters in Washington, and came at no cost to the government.

“One of our biggest challenges in the Air Force is communication — there’s no single perfect solution,” Welsh said. “We’re a big organization – you have to communicate via numerous methods if you’re really going to reach Airmen. This was another way to do that and Betty and I had a blast.”

To view the Google Hangout event, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=624Suq9a4xo

TRICARE patients must attest to health care coverage


WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2015 – As tax season begins, Defense Department officials want to remind TRICARE beneficiaries of changes in the tax laws, which require all Americans to have health care insurance or potentially pay a tax penalty.

For the first time since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, all U.S. citizens, including service members, military retirees and their family members, must report health care coverage on their 2014 taxes, said Mark Ellis, a Defense Health Agency health care operations program analyst.

For this year only, taxpayers will “self-attest” on their 2014 tax forms to each month in which they had health care coverage, he said.

Meets Minimal Essential Coverage

The act mandates that health care must meet minimum essential coverage, and TRICARE coverage meets that criteria for the majority of service members and their families, Ellis said.

TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Standard, TRICARE for Life, TRICARE Overseas, TRICARE Remote and the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan meet the minimum essential coverage, he added. When purchased, premium-based plan such as TRICARE Reserve Select or TRICARE Retired Reserve also fulfill the act’s requirements.

Uniformed service members who have questions about TRICARE, the act and the individual coverage mandate can visit the TRICARE website to download a fact sheet on TRICARE and the act, with TRICARE plans compared to minimum essential coverage, Ellis said.

Military beneficiaries that are solely eligible for care in military hospitals and clinics, for example, parents and parents-in-law, have an automatic exemption from the tax penalty for tax year 2014 only.

(NOTE: The TRICARE and ACA fact sheet is available at http://www.tricare.mil/~/media/Files/TRICARE/Publications/FactSheets/ACA_FS.pdf)

The site also has suggestions for those who need to purchase coverage to meet the act’s minimum requirements, he noted. That could include retired reservists, Selected Reserve members, young adults up to age 26 and those who leave military service but need transitional coverage, Ellis said.

TRICARE beneficiaries with tax questions should contact the Internal Revenue Service or their tax advisers, he emphasized.

“The experts there can help them,” Ellis said.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated that TRICARE would send tax forms to its customers in January 2015. That was incorrect. TRICARE customers, like all filers, will self-attest on their 2014 tax returns, no health care coverage forms will be mailed.