Will Rogers ANGB selected as sole candidate to replace MC-12s with new AT-802U Sky Warden Formal Training Unit

Source: United States Air Force

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall selected Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma, as the sole candidate location to replace its MC-12 Liberty with the AT-802U Sky Warden and to convert the MC-12 Formal Training Unit to the AT-802U Total Force Integration FTU.

Will Rogers ANGB will receive 28 AT-802Us and about 80 personnel to support the mission of the 310th Special Operations Squadron. The squadron will relocate from Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, to Will Rogers ANGB, creating an active association with the 185th SOS.

The AT-802 Sky Warden is a multi-role platform capable of close air support, armed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and precision strike missions in support of geographically isolated special operations forces.

A site survey at the candidate location is scheduled in spring 2023 and will assess operational requirements, potential impacts to existing missions, housing, infrastructure and manpower.

Once the site survey is complete, the Department of the Air Force will conduct an environmental impact analysis, which is expected to be complete in fall 2023, before a final basing decision is made.

Coast Guard, partners search for missing snorkeler off Maui

Source: United States Coast Guard

Coast Guard, partners search for missing snorkeler off Maui

HONOLULU — The Coast Guard, Maui Fire Department, and Ocean Safety are searching for a missing snorkeler off Maui, Friday.

The 60 year-old female snorkeler was last seen approximately 75-yards off of Keawakapu Beach, Maui, Thursday, while snorkeling with her husband.

At 1:00 p.m., Thursday, Sector Honolulu watchstanders received a report from Maui Fire Department of the 60 year-old female snorkeler missing due to a reported shark attack off of Keawakapu Beach, Maui. Sector Honolulu watchstanders immediately issued an urgent marine information broadcast and launched Coast Guard rescue crews to assist partner agency assets.

Involved in the search-

-An Air Station Barbers Point MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew

-An Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew

-A Coast Guard Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew

-Maui Fire Department

-7 Ocean Safety jet skis 

-The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126) 

Anyone with information is requested to contact the Coast Guard on Channel VHF 16 or by phone at 808-842-2600.

For breaking news follow us on twitter @USCGHawaiiPac

-USCG-

CORRECTION: Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle assists sailing vessel Watoosh beset by weather 150 miles south of Puerto Rico

Source: United States Coast Guard

 

CORRECTION: Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle assists sailing vessel Watoosh beset by weather 150 miles south of Puerto Rico

EDITOR’s NOTE – CORRECTION:  A third image included in the original news release sent out Dec. 8, 2022 was not from the sailing vessel Watoosh.  The two other images also included in this correction properly show the sailing vessel Watoosh in tow. Click on images to view caption.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle assisted two U.S. boaters aboard the sailing vessel Watoosh in the Caribbean Sea and completed a two-day tow of the sailing vessel to Salinas, Puerto Rico Thursday afternoon.

The boaters, a man and a woman, reportedly departed Curacao aboard the 40-foot vessel Watoosh on a voyage to Puerto Rico, and were two days overdue because of bad weather and constant high north winds that prevented the Watoosh from making way and caused the vessel to run out of fuel.

“I’m thankful for the skill and professionalism of this crew, they performed superbly locating and taking the disabled vessel in tow,” said Lt. Cmdr. Charles Wilson, Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle commanding officer.  “We are also appreciative of the good Samaritan who relayed the call for assistance to the Coast Guard as vessel Watoosh fell victim to an unusual weather pattern for this area.  It is critical that mariners plan voyages with respect to the forecasted weather, their navigation equipment, and their capabilities, especially their ability to communicate a distress.”

Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received a call from the Panamanian-flagged cargo ship Sider Colombia Tuesday night reporting that the ship had received a VHF Channel-16 communication request for assistance from the sailing vessel Watoosh, approximately 150 nautical miles south of Ponce, Puerto Rico.  The sea state conditions on scene prevented the ship from providing fuel to the vessel Watoosh, however the ship continued to relay communications until the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle arrived on scene.

Once on scene, the crew of the cutter Joseph Doyle launched the cutter’s Over-the-Horizon small boat to go onboard the vessel Watoosh and help transfer 92 gallons of diesel fuel.  Despite refueling efforts and providing troubleshooting assistance, the vessel’s engines did not restart.  Facing deteriorating weather conditions in the form of eight to ten foot seas, the Joseph Doyle crew established a tow of the vessel Watoosh and the cutter began its transit to Puerto Rico.

Once within five miles from Salinas, Puerto Rico, the cutter Joseph Doyle rendezvoused and transferred the tow of the Watoosh to a friend of the boaters.  The friend was assisted by his brother, a Coast Guard Auxiliary member, who used his 29-foot Glacier Bay named Coy de Mar to complete the tow of the Watoosh to safe harbor in Salinas.

Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle is a 154-foot fast response cutter that is homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

For more breaking news follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

-USCG-

U.S. Coast Guard, Army National Guard conducting Port Security and Resiliency Assessments in Guam, CNMI

Source: United States Coast Guard

U.S. Coast Guard, Army National Guard conducting Port Security and Resiliency Assessments in Guam, CNMI

 

SANTA RITA, Guam — The Port Security and Resiliency Assessment (PSRA) team is in Guam the week of Dec. 5, 2022, and will soon travel to Saipan to conduct comprehensive assessments of the commercial ports and other critical maritime infrastructure to provide insight into potential vulnerabilities and recommendations to mitigate any threats.

Capt. Nick Simmons, the Captain of the Port for Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and commander of U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam, met with and welcomed the PSRA team Tuesday.

“There is no shortage of interest in building our regional resilience and capability out here, but it is a partnership, and we are committed to working closely with the Port Authority of Guam and our Department of Defense colleagues to do it right,” said Simmons. “We are excited to have the PSRA team here in Guam. The report they produce is designed to complement our Area Maritime Security Assessment and aids our federal maritime security coordinators. It is another tool we and our partners can use to be objective about port investments and support additional grants.”

The team consists of experts and technical specialists from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Army National Guard’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Battalion who apply their operations and emergency response backgrounds to these assessments. Their goal is to provide feedback on improving resiliency and mitigating threats from possible terrorism or natural disasters. This in-depth approach may not be regularly available to local port areas. In the past year, this team has been in Alaska and other parts of the contiguous United States.

“This is a no-fault non-regulatory assessment which provides an opportunity, not only to strengthen positive relations with port stakeholders, but also provide space for recommendations to enhance their security posture and support for improvements to existing infrastructure,” said Lt. Michael Bosch, team lead for CG-PSA-2.

Each assessment has four phases: (1) advance research and scoping, (2) pre-assessment, (3) assessment, and (4) post-assessment phase. The pre-and post-assessment phases are conducted at the home office in Washington, D.C. During the assessment, the team speaks with the on-site port and marina managers, does a walkaround, reviews procedures and physical security, and applies technology. This technology includes 3D imaging and drones to create a virtual tour, also called a panoramic tour, which is a wide-ranging view or video simulation of an existing place that is useful to many port users and managers.

In Guam, the team did a port ride along with U.S. Coast Guard Station Apra Harbor, met with port and Navy personnel, and assessed the commercial port, as well as Navy Base Guam, Agana Boat Basin also known as the Gregorio D. Perez Marina, and Agat Marina. They will soon go to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and assess Tanapag Harbor.

PSRAs can be used for several reasons, including to support an area maritime security assessment, typically through the assessment of five sites and one waterway based on top scenarios within the sector, scaled to focus on specific concerns within the port area, a national special security event, or video capture of a waterway to support training or maritime domain awareness needs. These assessments can also be used to support grant applications for port and waterway improvements.

As announced in October, the Jose D. Leon Guerrero Commercial Port, also known as the Port of Guam, is among several Western Pacific entities receiving federal grant money through the 2022 Port Security Grant Program to ensure supply chain resiliency within Guam and the Mariana Islands.

Guam and CNMI will receive close to $2.1 million from the PSGP, with the Port Authority awarded just over $564,000, Guam Customs and Quarantine awarded more than $526,000, and CNMI’s Commonwealth Port Authority receiving about $88,000. The PSGP is one of four grant programs under the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency that focuses on strengthening the nation’s critical transportation security infrastructure.

The purpose of the PSGP is to provide the necessary funds for not only state partners but local, territorial, and private sector partners to enhance security measures and resilience to critical maritime infrastructure and build threat readiness.

For more U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam news, visit us on DVIDS or subscribe! You can also visit us on Facebook or Instagram at @USCGForcesMicronesia or Twitter @USCGFMSG. 

-USCG-

Coast Guard medevacs a 72-year-old man 90 miles off the coast of San Diego

Source: United States Coast Guard

Coast Guard medevacs a 72-year-old man 90 miles off the coast of San Diego

SAN DIEGO — The Coast Guard medically evacuated a 72-year-old man from a cruise ship approximately 90 miles off the San Diego coast, Tuesday.

Cruise Ship Crown Princess crewmembers contacted Coast Guard Sector San Diego Joint Harbor Operations Center watchstanders requesting a medevac for a man experiencing stroke-like symptoms. 

A Sector San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew launched to Crown Princess’s location. 

The Jayhawk crew arrived on the scene and hoisted the man, his spouse and the cruise ship’s nurse and transported them to Scripps La Jolla Medical Center.

The patient was in critical condition when he was transferred to emergency medical services.

-USCG-

Bussiere assumes command of Air Force Global Strike Command

Source: United States Air Force

Gen. Thomas Bussiere assumed command of Air Force Global Strike Command during a ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base Dec. 7, becoming the newest leader of the organization responsible for the nation’s only intercontinental ballistic missile and strategic bomber forces.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., presided over the ceremony.

“You provide strategic deterrence, global strike and combat support, so the Air Force can execute our mission to fly, fight and win. Airpower anytime, anywhere,” Brown said, speaking with AFGSC Airmen. “I am thankful for the continued professionalism of the 34,000 Global Strike Airmen who operate, sustain and secure two-thirds of the nation’s nuclear forces.”

With this change of command, Bussiere became the seventh commander of AFGSC. He is responsible for the nation’s fleet of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles, the land-based component of the nuclear triad. He is also responsible for all the nation’s strategic bombers, which include the nuclear-capable B-52H Stratofortress and B-2 Spirit, as well as the conventional-only B-1B Lancer.

Addressing an at-capacity crowd of Airmen, distinguished visitors, commanders and senior Air Force leaders at Barksdale AFB’s historic Hoban Hall, Bussiere said, “Our mission is critical to our national defense, and you are critical to our national defense.

Every commander, chief, enlisted member, officer and civilian, it will take a whole team to compete and win,” he added. “We can’t do this without you.”

The general also spoke of the legacy of the command and its long history.

“Our proud legacy of long-range strike is in both NAFs (Numbered Air Force), and we continue to follow their footsteps as we position ourselves for a new era of strategic competition,” he said. The legacy and embodiment of long-range strike is right here in this command.”

Bussiere is a 1985 graduate of Air Force ROTC from Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont. He has served in a variety of flying, staff and command assignments, including commander of Eighth Air Force at Barksdale AFB, and deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt AFB, Nebraska. He is a command pilot with more than 3,400 hours in the T-38 Talon, F-15C Eagle, B-2A Spirit, B-1B Lancer and F-22 Raptor. He led F-15C combat missions during Operations Southern Watch and Vigilant Warrior and B-2 combat missions during operations Allied Force and Iraqi Freedom.

“I am so humbled and proud to lead this historic command,” Bussiere said. “Strikers, you are the best in the world at what you do, and I know you will continue to do great things for our nation.”

Bussiere assumed command from Gen. Anthony Cotton, who is scheduled to take command of U.S. Strategic Command Dec. 9.

U.S. Coast Guard conducts further community engagements in Pohnpei after COVID hiatus

Source: United States Coast Guard

U.S. Coast Guard conducts further community engagements in Pohnpei after COVID hiatus

 

POHNPEI, FSM — As part of Operation Rematau, the crew of the USCGC Frederick Hatch (WPC 1143) conducted community engagements in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, from Nov. 20 to 24, 2022.

“We appreciate the support of the U.S. Embassy team and the Australian Maritime Advisors to make our visit a success,” said Lt. Patrick Dreiss, commanding officer of Frederick Hatch. “Coming into these islands and doing community relations is a lot of fun. It might seem like work, but especially when the local high schoolers come aboard, it is exciting to show off the ship and see how much they enjoy seeing the different capabilities and the cool things our ship can do. It’s fun to watch our crewmembers get the chance to show the vessel to them also.”

The crew hosted visits from more than 80 senior students at Pohnpei Catholic School and the Cavalry Christian Academy, colleagues from the U.S. Navy Seabee detachment in Pohnpei, embassy staff and families, and members of the FSM National Police Maritime Wing. They also took time to experience local food and culture, dive, hike the waterfalls, and visit the ancient ruins of Nan Madol, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“While playing the Seabee detachment at the softball field in town, an impromptu game between the Americans and a local high school team broke out with a considerable crowd gathering to watch,” said Dreiss. “We’re calling out the Seabees on our team for the narrow 10-9 loss. But seriously, it was a great event for all.”

The community events are part of a more extensive regional patrol. The Frederick Hatch crew also conducted six at-sea boardings of fishing vessels with an FSM shiprider aboard. No major violations of applicable regulations were noted during the boardings. This activity was the first time in several years an FSM shiprider could accompany U.S. Coast Guard crews as the country resumes normal operations after limiting travel as a COVID precaution.

“We had a fisheries officer from the FSM Maritime National Police conduct boardings on vessels in the FSM Exclusive Economic Zone. It’s a great opportunity to swap stories and learn from each other, like how they view the issues we are trying to tackle when it comes to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. It’s a great chance to strengthen our bond with our allies and regional partners. We would like to thank Mr. Perry Tewasmal, our FSM shiprider, for coming aboard and being a Frederick Hatch crewmember,” Dreiss said.

The Frederick Hatch’s arrival to Pohnpei was ahead of schedule as they executed a medical evacuation of a 31-year-old Vietnamese fisherman from the Nauru-flagged, 69.4 meter (227 foot) purse seiner fishing vessel, Ocean Galaxy 195 nautical miles (224 statute miles) south of Pohnpei.

“It was an absolute team effort by every member of Frederick Hatch to medevac the injured crewmember from the Ocean Galaxy successfully. Witnessing each crewmember perform at the highest level after completing two boardings earlier the same day to help a fellow mariner was awesome to watch,” said Dreiss.

The fisherman reportedly fell 12 feet earlier the same day, sustaining a head and possible spinal injury. He was conscious and talking but lost feeling and motion in his right arm and both legs, exhibiting severe concussion symptoms. The Frederick Hatch crew completed the transit to Pohnpei in about eight hours to arrive around midnight. They then transferred the injured fisherman to awaiting emergency medical services, who took him to the local hospital. The embarked hospital corpsman and linguist accompanied the fisherman to pass on relevant medical details and ensure hospital staff could communicate with him.

The Frederick Hatch is on an expeditionary patrol in Oceania in support of Operation Rematau and Operation Blue Pacific to promote security, safety, sovereignty, and economic prosperity in Oceania. In Micronesia, Rematau means people of the deep sea. It highlights the connection between mariners and honors the shared understanding in the Pacific that securing the future requires long-term vision and a carefully considered regional strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.

The Frederick Hatch is the 43rd 154-foot Sentinel-class fast response cutter named for a surfman and lighthouse keeper who was a two-time Gold Life Saving Medal recipient. The Service commissioned the ship along with its sister ships, Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139) and Oliver Henry (WPC 1140), in Guam in July 2021. These cutters are a vital part of the U.S. Coast Guard’s enduring regional presence serving the people of the Pacific by conducting 10 of the Service’s 11 statutory missions with a focus on search and rescue, defense readiness, living marine resources protection, and ensuring commerce through marine safety and ports, waterways, and coastal security.

For more U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam news, visit us on DVIDS or subscribe! You can also visit us on Facebook or Instagram at @USCGForcesMicronesia or Twitter @USCGFMSG. 

-USCG-

U.S. Coast Guard completes investigation into Ever Forward grounding

Source: United States Coast Guard

U.S. Coast Guard completes investigation into Ever Forward grounding

BALTIMORE – U.S. Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capitol Region completed its marine casualty investigation on Tuesday into the March 13, 2022, grounding of the container ship Ever Forward in the Craighill Channel.

The Report of the Investigation determined the incident’s causal factors to be the pilot’s failure to maintain situational awareness and attention while navigating, and inadequate bridge resource management.

Immediately following the grounding, Coast Guard marine investigators began the investigation to determine the factors that led to the Ever Forward grounding and develop recommendations to prevent similar marine incidents from happening in the future. 

Based on the finding of facts, the Coast Guard is recommending that marine operators develop and implement effective policies outlining when the use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices is appropriate or prohibited, and that vessel owners and operators ensure and promote crew awareness of policies regarding the duties and obligations of officers on watch for the safety of the ship, even when a pilot is embarked.

A redacted copy of the Report of the Investigation is available to the public and posted on Marine Casualty Reports for easy accessibility, while complying with the provisions of the Privacy Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and associated federal regulations.

Access to the full investigation and evidence will be available through the FOIA process. 

The Coast Guard has published two Findings of Concern and has made them publicly available at the Coast Guard’s Inspections and Compliance Findings of Concern webpage. The purpose of Findings of Concern is to share information related to unsafe conditions to the public, state, or local agencies. 

The Coast Guard was the lead agency for all evidence collection activities involving the investigation. The Maryland Department of Labor, Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, conducted an independent investigation, with access to evidence collected by the Coast Guard. 

The 1,095-foot Ever Forward, a Hong Kong flagged container ship, grounded in the Chesapeake Bay on March 13 while transiting, with 4,964 containers aboard, from the Port of Baltimore to Norfolk, Virginia.

Under a Unified Command consisting of the U.S. Coast Guard, Maryland Department of the Environment, and Evergreen Marine Corporation, a comprehensive salvage plan to free the ship was developed and implemented, including dredging and towing operations, which freed the Ever Forward on Sunday, April 17, 2022. 

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DAF COVID-19 Statistics – Dec. 6, 2022

Source: United States Air Force

Below are current Coronavirus Disease 2019 statistics for Department of the Air Force personnel.

DAF TOTAL STATS
  CASES* HOSPITALIZED RECOVERED* DEATHS*
Military** 113,860 0 113,090 16
Civilian 25,044 0 24,829 115
Dependents 19,468 0 19,425 8
Contractors 6,461 1 6,415 32
Total 164,833 1 163,759 171

*Numbers include all cases reported since the last update Nov. 1.
**Military includes Active and Reserve components.

DAF TOTAL VACCINATED
  ACTIVE DUTY GUARD RESERVE TOTAL FORCE
% Fully Vaccinated 99% 94.5% 95.9% 97.6%
DAF APPROVED EXEMPTIONS
  ACTIVE DUTY GUARD RESERVE TOTAL FORCE
Medical 171 153 78 402
Administrative 10 622 35 667

*Civilian statistics are unaccounted for.
**Numbers are subject to change.

The Department of the Air Force is complying with the court order to pause all disciplinary and adverse actions for those refusing the COVID-19 vaccine who submitted a timely religious accommodation request. This includes the Air Force Reserve Command processing Airmen to the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). 

Medical: Medical exemptions are determined individually by the member’s medical provider.

Administrative: Administrative exemptions are determined individually. For example, if a member obtained a commander-approved submission for separation or retirement by Nov. 1, they are administratively exempt.

Religious Accommodation: Religious accommodations are a subset of administrative exemptions and are determined by the MAJCOM/FLDCOM commanders. The DAF has 30 business days (active component in CONUS) to process requests. Members who receive a denial of the accommodation request ha five calendar days from the denial to 1) begin a COVID-19 vaccination regimen, 2) submit an appeal to the final appeal authority or 3) request to separate or retire. Appeals are determined by the DAF’s Surgeon General with inputs from the chaplain and staff judge advocate. Individuals do not have to get immunized as long as their request is in the process of being decided. 

Members who continue refusing to obey a lawful order to receive the COVID-19 vaccine after their accommodation request has been denied or retirement/separation has not been approved will be subject to initiation of administrative discharge proceedings.

Personnel Numbers (approximates):

  • 323,000 Active Component (U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force) 
  • 103,000 Air National Guard
  • 64,000 Air Force Reserve
  • 490,000 Total Force (Active Duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve)