Friday, June 29, 2012

McChord "Shaky" Discovered in Alaska

The Air Force Magazine Online reports an Air Force C-124A (Ol' Shaky) transport that crashed en route from McChord AFB, Wash., to Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, on Nov. 22, 1952, was discovered earlier this month by an Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crew on Colony Glacier in Alaska.

JPAC investigators think the wreckage is that reported by the Associated Press on June 28 (via the New York Daily News). All 52 personnel aboard the aircraft—41 passengers and 11 crew—perished in that accident, according to AP.

The eight-person JPAC team, which arrived on the glacier on June 18, retrieved bone fragments, personal effects and military survival equipment. The collected material is going to a JPAC personnel identification lab.

Defense Department forensic scientists intended to scout the area for a follow-on recovery effort. Due to deteriorating weather and glacier conditions, the team ended up recovering as much evidence as possible.

Monday, June 25, 2012

ShuttleFest Invites All

After a 30-year career training crews for every Space Shuttle mission, NASA’s Space Shuttle Trainer Crew Compartment comes to its new home in the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery, leaving its long-time home at the Johnson Space Center in Houston for its new home at The Museum of Flight in Seattle.

On Saturday, June 30th at The Museum of Flight in Seattle, we will be hosting ShuttleFest in welcome.  And you are invited to come celebrate!

The Space Shuttle Trainer Crew Compartment will arrive at The Museum of Flight at 11 a.m. on June 30th kicking off ShuttleFest, a week full of exciting events and activities with appearances by a star-studded line-up that includes Gov. Christine Gregoire and several well-known NASA Astronauts who will be signing commemorative posters and meeting the public.

The event is free to the public. Come join ShuttleFest! Brought to you by Boeing and BECU.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Noteworthies with a Local Link

The Air Force Magazine Online reports President Obama has nominated Lt. Gen. Paul Selva for promotion to the rank of general for an assignment that the Pentagon has yet to disclose, according to the Senate's webpage of non-civilian nominations. However, there's been no official public announcement of it yet from the Defense Department.

(Then Col.) Selva served as 62nd Airlift Wing Commander at then McChord AFB in 2001-02.  Selva is a 1980 Air Force Academy graduate. He has been vice commander of Pacific Air Forces since October 2011. A command pilot, Selva has more than 3,100 hours in large transports like the C-5 and C-17, and tankers like the KC-10 and KC-135. The Senate's webpage lists Selva's nomination with a date of June 7.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

JBLM Air Expo

Two Aviation Units to JBLM

The Department of the Army announced today the planned relocation of two aviation units to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.: 1st Battalion, 229th Air Cavalry Squadron will relocate from Fort Hood, Texas, and convert to an Attack/Reconnaissance Battalion; and Company D, 123rd Aviation Regiment will relocate from Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

These force structure actions represent a net increase of 531 military and zero civilian authorizations for the Army at Joint Base Lewis-McChord; a decrease of 402 military and zero civilian authorizations at Fort Hood; and a decrease of 129 military and zero civilian authorizations at Fort Wainwright. These actions will be completed by Oct. 15, 2012.

These force structure actions represent the final phase of the activation of the 16th Combat Aviation Brigadeat Joint Base Lewis-McChord to meet the Army’s broader strategic and operational requirements. These actions incorporate the Army Force Generation Model and Army Transformation initiatives, both of which are required to achieve the Army’s goal of rebalancing the force. Overall, these unit relocations will help the Army meet the increased demand placed on its aviation assets and provide combatant commanders with flexible, trained and highly-mobile forces to execute operations worldwide. The Army is transforming to provide a more relevant organization to meet its worldwide strategic and operational requirements.

For additional information, contact the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, Office of the Secretary of the Army, at 703-693-7589.

New Study on Military Compensation

The Department of Defense released today the report of the 11th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation (QRMC), which assesses the effectiveness of military pay and benefits.  Full recommendations, in greater detail, can be viewed on the Web here.

Every four years, the DoD is directed by the President to complete a review of compensation principles and concepts for members of the uniformed services.

The 11th QRMC began in 2010, and focused on the following four areas established by the President:  special and incentive pays for critical career fields; combat compensation; wounded warriors, caregivers, and survivor compensation; and Reserve and National Guard compensation and benefits.

DoD will study the recommendations for potential implementation and, if needed, send selected proposals to Congress as proposed legislation.

The 11th QRMC began its study by analyzing the relative standing of military compensation with civilian wages as context for decisions about elements of the military compensation system.  The QRMC found that regular military compensation (RMC) for enlisted personnel and officers compares favorably with civilian wages for those with comparable education and experience.  Highlights of the QRMC recommendations for each of the study areas follow.

Special and incentive pays.  Special and incentive pays are a cost-effective means of achieving manpower objectives.  In conducting its assessment of several high-demand career fields, the QRMC found that a versatile career incentive pay authority could have great utility and recommends establishing such an authority.

Combat compensation.  The QRMC concluded that the relationship between combat compensation and the degree of danger to which a member is exposed has eroded, with members most likely to be exposed to the hazards of combat receiving the smallest benefit.  Thus, the QRMC recommends that combat compensation be restructured so that those who are exposed to the greatest danger receive higher compensation, regardless of grade by:  establishing differentials in hazardous duty pay, and replacing the Combat Zone Tax Exclusion with a refundable Combat Tax Credit and a refundable Direct Support Tax Credit.

Wounded warriors, caregivers, and survivors.  The QRMC researched the financial well-being of service members wounded in combat and survivors of fallen warriors.  The QRMC also examined the financial implications for family members who take on the role of caregiver for a wounded service member.

Wounded warriors.  The QRMC's research showed that income loss increases with severity of injury, but disability payments more than offset the loss, on average.  However, the QRMC recommended that the department continue to examine wounded warriors' earnings and disability payments to fully understand the long-term financial impact of being injured.

Caregivers.  The new DoD and VA benefits provide a source of compensation and help offset earnings losses some caregivers experience.  However, the QRMC recommends that the two programs be more closely aligned.

Surviving spouses.  Similar research of surviving spouses found that recurring survivor benefits replace a significant portion of income loss.  However, the QRMC recommends partially eliminating the reduction in Survivor Benefit Plan payments when a spouse is also entitled to Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, and equalize Survivor Benefit Plan payments when a guard or reserve member dies while performing inactive duty training.

Reserve Compensation, Benefits and Duty Structure.  Today, the reserve components serve two purposes -- to support operational missions on a regular basis and to provide strategic depth.  Yet the QRMC found the reserve compensation system was designed to support a strategic reserve by optimizing compensation for training, and therefore, the system is misaligned with current utilization of the guard and reserve in an integrated total force.  The QRMC recommended modernizing the reserve compensation system by transitioning the reserve components to a total force pay structure under which a member receives full pay and allowances for each day of duty regardless of the type or purpose of duty.  Further, the QRMC recommended transitioning the reserve components to a retirement system that is more closely aligned with the active duty system with guard and reserve members receiving retired pay upon reaching their 30th anniversary of military service, having completed 20 qualifying years.

The QRMC also examined the breadth of benefits available to guard and reserve members and their families, and made recommendations involving health care, educational assistance, and disability.

The QRMC found that the reserve duty structure is complicated, confusing and cumbersome.  Thus the QRMC recommends reducing the number of authorities under which a reserve component member can be called or ordered to duty from 30 to 6.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Noteworthies with a Local Link

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr.; Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert; Commander, U.S. Northern Command Army Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr.; Commander, U.S. Transportation Command Air Force Gen. William M. Fraser III; Commander, U.S. Pacific Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III; Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., testify at a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee concerning the U.N. Convention Law of the Sea at 10 a.m. EDT, in room 216, at the Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Noteworthies with a Local Link

IJC Commander to Brief Live from Afghanistan

Army Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and deputy commander, U.S. Forces -- Afghanistan, will brief the media live from Afghanistan at 11:30 a.m. EDT, June 11, in the Pentagon Briefing Room (2E973) to provide an update on current operations.

Journalists without a Pentagon building pass will be picked up at the River Entrance only.  Plan to arrive no later than 45 minutes prior to the event; have proof of affiliation and two forms of photo identification. Please call 703-697-5131 for escort into the building.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Evergreen Fleet Cruise Hosting Open

Dear business leaders and Chamber volunteers:


You and your special guest (spouse, significant other, associate*) are cordially invited to host the Chamber’s annual EvergreenFleet Cruise, June 13, sponsored by America’s Credit Union, Harborstone Credit Union and TriWest Healthcare Alliance.

The purpose of the Evergreen Fleet Cruise is to foster networking and community links between civilian and military leaders.  The Cruise, presented by the Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee in collaboration with the Tacoma Yacht Club, is a cruise of Puget Sound aboard private yachts. There will be a welcome reception hosted by MultiCare Health System and a picnic by Gallucci’s Catering with refreshments hosted by Sperry Ocean Dock at the Club’s Wollochet Bay Outstation.

The purpose of the reception is to afford participants an opportunity to meet in a comfortable atmosphere prior to beginning the Cruise by 10:00 a.m.  The reception will be between 8:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. at the Tacoma Yacht Club.  Arrival time at the reception is permitted to be variable.  Yachts will depart by 10:00 a.m.

Please refer to the enclosed invitation for more information.  The Chamber wishes to have all participants confirmed by June 5th.  Please consider (me) Gary Brackett, at 253/682-1720, the contact for you about this project.  You may email your registration to Janice Hutchins.

*Military guests are invited by the Chamber in coordination with local commands.  Please do not personally invite military personnel as your guests outside this protocol. 

TV Tacoma to carry “VA News” and “The Field Report”

TV Tacoma will add two more programs to its lineup starting June 1, 2012 – the “VA News” and “The Field Report”.  The new programming will broadcast Tuesday through Sunday on TV Tacoma each week.

“VA News” is a weekly program designed to provide timely news and information about the Department of Veteran Affairs and the many programs and services available to American Veteran’s.

“The Field Report” is produced at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and will give viewers insight into events and activities of Tacoma’s closest military neighbor.

“VA News” and “The Field Report” will be broadcast together each week at the following times:

  • Tuesdays – 11:30 a.m.
  • Thursdays – 4 a.m.
  • Fridays – 4 p.m.
  • Saturdays – 5:30 a.m.
  • Sundays – 9 a.m.

“The Military has a long history in this community,” said John N. Miller, TV Tacoma Production Coordinator.  “With so many in our community having served our nation, or having some tie to Joint Base Lewis-McChord we felt  that these shows would provide useful and interesting information to our viewers.”

TV Tacoma is available on both the Click! and Comcast cable systems. On Click!, TV Tacoma can be seen on Channel 12 in the Tacoma city limits and in Pierce County, with the exception of University Place, where it can be found on Channel 21. On Comcast, TV Tacoma can be seen on Channel 12 in the Tacoma city limits and on Channel 21 in Pierce County. For programming information or program streaming, visit

Soldiers' Military Credentialing and Licensing

Today, the Department of Defense joined the State of Washington's initiative to recognize soldiers', airmens' and sailors' for civilian industry-recognized certifications.  The Chamber was an early advocate, along with businesses and other local and state veterans' organizations as advocates for this issue.

Said Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta Regarding Military Credentialing and Licensing:  "I applaud President Obama's initiative to help thousands of service members obtain industry-recognized certifications for the trade skills they have learned and worked hard to master while in uniform.

"Supported by the efforts of the Defense Department's Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force, these certifications will give our returning troops a leg up in a competitive job market, and they will make it easier for veterans to transition to civilian life.

"Going forward, the President and I will remain committed to addressing the full range of challenges our troops and their families face as they leave the service, and to making sure that these men and women have the support they so richly deserve.  They are a national asset, and they stand ready to continue making our country great in their civilian careers."