May -June 3008 -

May -June 3008 -

May / June 2008

"Self-Help"…in my Air Force

experience that's what you did when

your office needed fresh paint and

carpet. Well, not anymore, especially

with all those personnel actions you

once came over to the MSF to have

done for you.

For those of you shaking your

heads, trust me, I feel your pain…it

took me years to switch to online

banking but now I wonder how I

survived without it. I love doing

business from the comfort of my

home at any time I want. Guess what?

That is the beauty of the Personnel

Service Delivery Transformation

(PSDT). You can do things from

home when it's convenient for you.

And like the bank, we're still here

during normal business hours if you

have problems.

Currently, there are two systems that

provide online self service actions:

virtual Military Personnel Flight

(vMPF), accessed through the AF

Portal, and virtual Personnel Center-

Guard & Reserve (vPC-GR),

accessed through

mil. Within the next few years,

applications from both of these plus

lots more, will be combined into

Defense Integrated Military Human

Resources System (DIMHRS).

DIMHRS is a Department of Defense

system that will revolutionize human

resource administration for the

military. It is a single, centralized

system for pay and personnel actions

that ensures we can access

information and resolve issues no

matter where we are. How great for

the deployed Air Guard member who

happens to be at another service's

base. As one story has it, an Air Guard

member stationed at a Marine base

had to ride a convoy 60 dangerous

miles to the nearest Air Force

installation to resolve some pay and

personnel issues.

Thanks to the vMPF and vPC-GR,

that guardsman can stay at the secure

Marine base or you, from the comfort

of your home, can easily check your

records and complete a variety of

actions. What actions, you ask?

Currently, on vMPF you'll find items

we have in common with our active

duty brethren: correction of military

record (BCMR), virtual record of

emergency data (vRED), point

summary…you really need to go to

the site and see everything that's there.

On the vPC-GR you'll find items with

processes that are unique to us in the

Guard: point corrections, retirement

applications and very soon

evaluations and awards and

decorations. So for the 10% of you

who haven't yet gotten your account,

Just Do It!

The on-line transition is only one of

the many things keeping us busy. I'm

thrilled to report that after a couple of

tough years transitioning from the

tanker to Predator, we have achieved

103% end strength for Wing manning

(yep, we're doing the happy dance).

This is a huge accomplishment that

starts with recruiting and retention but

quickly involves the efforts of every

section in the MSF, MDG and the

gaining units-it takes the whole team

to acquire the high quality folks we

call Grizzlies. But don't stop your

efforts referring friends, neighbors,

coworkers, or the guy at the dry

cleaners we still have many

opportunities within the Wing for

these people, especially in Operations


Finally, I'd like to ask for everyone's

help as we move to return to normal

operations. We've worked hard to be

very flexible-mission first, paper

second. I need to ask you all to do

your part to start sending the

paperwork and normalizing timelines.

Although we can get someone to

school within days it's better for all of

us if a training request is

accomplished and classes selected in

months not days. Also, since the

ANG Reset took affect April 1st we

need to clean up the paperwork

ensuring our folks are properly

assigned to their positions. If you can

help us, I'd appreciate it and it will

allow us to better help you when it

comes time for things like awards,

promotions or school.

This is a great Wing, filled with

topnotch people and we are honored

to have the opportunity to serve you

and ensure your careers and families

are taken care of.


Mission Support Flight Commander

y Senior Airman Paul Duquette

March 10 marked a day of accomplishment

for 2nd Lt. Kel Thede, who

participated in his first National Guard

Biathlon competition at Camp Ripley in


The lieutenant, who is assigned to the

163d Reconnaissance Wing Military

Equal Opportunity Office, took part in the

competition, which consisted of three

different race types: individual sprint, team

ski patrol and relay.

Lieutenant Thede competed in two of

the three race types; one 10k and a 20k

individual sprint and a 15k ski patrol race.

"To prepare for the competition, I roller

bladed to simulate the cross country skiing

and then went to the shooting range to

practice the rifle," said Lieutenant Thede,

"The rifle is pretty unique and it has a

News 3

Wing Member Participates in National Guard Biathlon

different feel from most rifles. Another

thing that was different, was trying to

simulate having skis on at the firing range."

While Lieutenant Thede was

competing in his first race, he questioned

himself about his reasons for participating,

but by the end of his third race he was

already looking forward to competing in

next year's biathlon.

"After I progressed through the

individual races to the ski patrol, some of

my teammates and competitors

complimented me on a noticeable

improvement," said Lieutenant Thede.

Photo submitted by 2nd Lt. Kel Thede

In full gear, 2nd Lt. Kel Thede participates in the National Guard biathlon competition.

Submitted by Senior Master Sgt.

Melanie Zimmers

Over the next three On Guard

Issues the issue of Sleep Deprivation

will be discussed to include mishaps,

weight gain, stress and shift work.

The first to be discussed is mishaps.

Almost everyone knows that

sleep deprivation is a major cause of

highway accidents. According to the

National Highway Transportation

Board (NTSB), driver drowsiness

and fatigue account for more than

1,500 deaths a year on our highways.

Let's take a look at how lack of

sleep may also have been the cause

of some of the major disasters in

recent history:

In March 1979, the nuclear

accident at the Three Mile Island

occurred between midnight and 3

a.m. (when night workers tend to be

the drowsiest) and was caused by a

serious lack of judgment.

In January 1986, the managers

who authorized the launch prior to

the Challenger explosion had little

sleep the night before. The mission

had problems from the start, which

kept crews working around the clock

to iron them out. Seventy-three

seconds into the mission, the

Challenger exploded, killing the

entire crew.

In April 1986, a shutdown and

test of reactor #4 at the Chernobyl

Sleep Deprivation

Nuclear facility was to take place at

1 a.m. Things went wrong when

several safety features were turned

off. Thirty-one people died shortly

after the explosion, but thousands

more will die from the long-term

effects of radiation.

There is a cumulative impairment

that develops in the brain's ability to

think fast, react quickly and

remember things. A single night at

four to six hours of sleep can cause

the speed at which we think to slow

down. Each day adds an additional

burden or deficit to your cognitive


Most people can get by a day or

two by using counter measures, such

as caffeine, physical activity and

bright lights, but at some point the

impairment gets so bad, there is

nothing that helps except sleep.



Bivouac Provides Readiness Training For CES Troops

Civil Engineers set up tents during a readiness exercise, which took place April 3-6 at the March ARB Regional Training Site.

Story and photos by

Tech. Sgt. Julie Avey

Imagine being the first person, or

among the first group of people, to arrive

in a battlezone or disaster area and your

responsibility is to prepare for follow on

forces to arrive.

For the men and women of the 163d

Civil Engineer Squadron the scenario

previously described is a reality they face

at a moment's notice, and for that reason

constant training and preparation is a way

of life. In fact, the squadron recently

conducted a bivouac to gauge their

effectiveness in such situations.

The dictionary defines the word

bivouac as a military encampment made

with tents or improvised shelters usually

without shelter from enemy fire. Once at

the selected site, troops temporarily

provide the basic requirements needed for

survival until additional forces and

equipment can arrive to provide the

requirements on a sustainable basis.

Although temporary, ranging from

several hours to just a few days, the

mission that takes place at the camp site is

complex and is a necessity for the survival

of those setting up the camp and the

forces that follow. Airmen from the CES

took part in a Bivouac over the April drill

weekend as part of their annual training,

which is also an Air Force requirement.

According to Master Sgt. John Nortz,

deployment scheduler for the squadron's

Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force

(Prime BEEF) component, the exercises

are an important part of the squadron's


"The squadron has to train like we

deploy, and that is the main reason behind

holding an exercise such as the Bivouac,"

Sergeant Nortz said.

But gearing up for deployment does

not always mean going overseas.

Although the unit has supported combat

few miles down the road from home to

support a local emergency.

In fact, the last two deployments for the

CES took place in the U.S., one of which

only about 100 miles away. In 2005, the

squadron was tasked with providing

support to the greater New Orleans area

during Hurricane Katrina disaster relief

operations, and in late 2007, the unit

deployed to the San Diego area to support

efforts to suppress the California wildfires.

"The public does not always

recognize how much of a first responder

the military civil engineering group is


Senior Airman Chris Valenzano (right),

Senior Airman Zachary Gray, 163d Civil operations during Operation Iraqi 163d Civil Engineer Squadron, explains

Engineer Squadron, places a stake Freedom and has even deployed to how to set up a decontamination tent to

used to secure a decontamination tent

Senior Airmen Shawn Oommen and

overseas locations such as Turkey, for Air

during a CES readiness exercise, which

Vernonica Lemus, also from the 163d

took place April 3-6 at the March Air National Guard units, deploying can also CES, during a CES readiness exercise

Reserve Base Regional Training Site. mean loading up your gear and moving a held April 3-6.

y Senior Airman Duquette

Three Wing members from the 163d

Maintenance Group returned recently

from a four-month tour at Kandahar Air

Base in Afghanistan, where they

supported ‘round-the-clock MQ-1

Predator operations overseas.

For all three members, Staff Sgts

Michael Astolfo, Skyler Swinhart,

Predator crew chiefs, and Senior Airman

Eric Hurley, a Predator avionics

technician, this was their first deployment

with the Predator. The team replaced two

other Wing members, Master Sgt. Allen

King, a Predator crew chief, and Senior

Airman Dustin Cornell, a Predator

avionics technician, who returned in

December after being the first California

Air National Guard maintainers to deploy

in support of overseas maintenance

operations for the Predator.

While tasked with providing

maintenance support to warfighters in the

area of operations, the team also had to

face the threat of attacks against the base

by enemy forces.

"The base was attacked on a regular

basis," said Airman Cornell, "The first

time we were attacked was a wake up call

News 5

Maintenance Group Members Return From Afghanistan

to me. It made me realize I was in a war


But, despite the hazards, Sergeant

Astolfo said there were ways to take your

mind off the situation.

"It wasn't all war over there, we had

some fun too," said Sergeant Astolfo,

"Both myself and Sergeant Skyler won

the best mustache award. Sergeant Skyler

won it because he had the best, but mine

wouldn't grow right, so I won it because it

was the most messed up."

During their tour, Sergeant Astolfo

and Airman Hurley were both recognized

for being the maintainers of the month.

Photo submitted by Senior Airman Dustin Cornell

Senior Airman Dustin Cornell points to a

graphic painted on a Predator. Each

graphic represents a successful strike.

Photo submitted by Staff Sgt. Michael Astolfo

Left to right, Staff Sgt. Skyler Swinhart, Senior Airman Eric Hurley and Staff Sgt.

Michael Astolfo were all recognized for their accomplishments during a four-month

deployment to Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan.


until the disaster plan is in full swing

during a real-world event and people see

us out there," Sergeant Nortz said. "The

public is always appreciative of what we

do when we're out there supporting realworld

operations, so the training really

makes a difference to the nation when put

it into action."

Many for the civil engineering

occupations that are called to do the

mission include carpenters, electricians,

air conditioning and heating (HVAC)

technicians and heavy equipment


According to Chief Master Sgt. Jeff

Myers, CES, the unit trains to support all

types of missions because a big part of the

squadron's responsibility is to be ready for

any disaster.

"The Bivouac exercise is a chance for

Airmen to practice their skills in a learning

environment in order to be ready for the

real-world call," Chief Myers said. "We

don't always know who, or what rank, will

be tasked to deploy, so training scenarios

help mentor and put supervisors and

subordinates in different roles that they

may be asked to fulfill under real-world

circumstances. It also provides an

opportunity to see the process and see

where we stand individually and as a


"No matter what job you have you

need to learn basic war time tasking skills,

and this helped me grow in that area,"

said Senior Airman Marissa Lopez, a

CES material manager, who augmented

the security forces team for the exercise.

"This exercise gave me a good

perspective on issues that I would have

otherwise not thought of and helped me to

prepare for the increased stress level that

may occur. I may be called upon to fill

different roles and positions during realworld

events, and now I'll better


y Senior Airman Paul Duquette

Though the forecast called for rain,

more than 150 Grizzlies, friends and

family members enjoyed a mostly

bright and shiny Southern California

day during the sixth annual Spring

Fling, which took place March 15.

Among the festivities were an

Easter egg hunt, face painting, jumpers,

food, cupcake decorating, a new fire

truck, horse rides, a motorcycle

policeman, the Chik-fil-A Cow and, of

course, the Easter Bunny.

Chief Master Sgt. Patricia Vegas,

who has played the role of the Easter

Bunny every year since the creation of

the Spring Fling, commented on her

feeling of donning the long-eared


"I love playing the Easter Bunny,

the children are fantastic,” she said.

“This year, the Easter Bunny paid a

Photos by Staff Sgt. Diane Ducat

Above, Gavin, son of Staff Sgt. Diane Ducat rides a pony. Below, Senior Master Sgt.

Tyler Hessheimer, Jonanthan Dodge and Derek Hessheimer sit with the Easter

Bunny, played by Chief Master Sgt. Patricia Vegas, during the 163d Reconnaissance

Wing’s annual Spring Fling on March 15 at the Black Forest.

special visit to the members in the ground

control station, to raise their spirits. If

people could see what I see, through the

bunny's eyes, everyone would volunteer."

"The Spring Fling is a nice event for our

families and friends, and the people who

organized it did a great job," said

Information Management Specialist Staff

Sgt. Al Dupont. "It's awesome to have the

opportunity to meet the families of our

fellow grizzlies."

"I want to give a special thanks to

everyone who helped make this a great

event," said the Family Readiness Program

Manager Debbie Hambrick. "Everyone had

a great time and the kids had tons of fun."

"Despite the potential for less than perfect

weather conditions, volunteers pulled

together to host a very successful and fun

event," said Col. Albert Aimar, 163d

Reconnaissaince Wing commander. "Thanks

to all those who made this event possible."

Photos by Staff Sgt. Diane Ducat

Above - Senior Master Sgt. Silvia Aceves puts her paintbrush to

work as a face painter during the Spring Fling, something she’s done

since the event began six years ago. Left - Sara Gardner gives the

Easter Bunny a “bunny hug” during the day’s festivities. Below (left

to right) - Master Sgt. Rudy Robles, Staff Sgt. Luis Robles, Staff

Sgt. Al Dupont, Senior Master Sgt. Ernie Pallares and Senior Airman

Paul Duquette share cooking duties for the more than 150 Spring

Fling attendees.



Hesperia High School ROTC Unit Gets Hands on Look at Predator

Photo by Senior Airman Paul Duquette

First Lt. David Gunty, from the 163d Maintenance Group, talks about the MQ-1 Predator and Wing’s mission to a group of

cadets from Hesperia High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC Unit CA872 during a visit to the Wing March 26. In addition to

seeing a Predator up-close, they were also treated to a briefing from one of the Wing’s Predator pilots.

Photo by Tech. Sgt. Julie Avey

General Sees Predator Wing During JA Visit

Brigidier General Andrew Turley, Air National Guard advisor for the

Air Combat Command Judge Advocate from Langley Air Force

Base, Va., receives a briefing from Tech. Sgt. Heath Branham

during a visit to the 163d Reconnaissance Wing’s Judge Advocate

office March 2. During his visit, the general received tours of

Predator facilities an briefings on the Wing’s mission.

Photo byTech. Sgt. Julie Avey

Wing Medical Group Gears Up

Senior Airman Angel Gonzalez receives a dental

examination as part of preparations for the 163d

Medical Group’s biennial Health Services

Inspection, which took place April 3-5.

Briefs 9

May and June

UTA Meal Schedule

Both UTAs are shared with the

452nd AMW. When enlisted

members are authorized lodging

Friday before the unit training

assembly, they are entitled to

breakfast Saturday morning, as well

as lunch and dinner Saturday and

breakfast and lunch Sunday. All

meals will be provided by the Hap

Arnold Club and no letters are


Billeting Hotline

If you have any issues,

complaints, or concerns regarding

your billeting reservations or

contracted room, or if you need to

make a last minute cancellation of a

reservation, please notify the first

sergeant's on-call hotline number at

(951) 453-5433. A Wing first

sergeant will answer this phone

number beginning Friday evening

and continuing through the Sunday

morning of each drill weekend. If

you need to cancel a reservation

during the month, please contact

your lodging point of contact.

Remembering Our Veterans

The 11th Annual "Remembering

Our Veterans and Their Families:

Past, Present and Future" event is

scheduled for Saturday, May 24,

from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at

Arcadia County Park, 405 South

Santa Anita Ave., Arcadia, 91006.

A special tribute to the armed

forces, co-hosted by News Channel

4 Weatherman Fritz Coleman, will

be held at 11:30 a.m. The event will

include skydivers, flyovers, a "Wall

of Remembrance" for veterans,

military displays, food, live

entertainment and other events and

information for the entire family.

The event will be held rain or shine.

For more information, call (626)

967-1441 or (909) 394-2264.

Family Readiness

The Family Readiness office is a

valuable resource that can provide

assistance to Wing members and their

families during times of need. The

office also offers a wide array of

literature and informational materials

on benefits and entitlements as well

as benevolence opportunities. For

more information please contact

Debbie Hambrick at extension 2165.

DoD Transition Assistance

Turbo Tap is Department of

Defense's official Web site for

providing information for

servicemembers transitioning from

military service. The site, also

supported by the Departments of

Labor and Veterans Affairs, is

intended to supplement the services

offered by the Transition Assistance

Offices and other groups. For more

information or to register, visit the

Web site at www.transition

SERE 100 Training

Due to extreme demand to

access SERE100, Level B Code of

Conduct, the Advanced Distributed

Learning System Web site is

experiencing an overwhelming

number of attempts to access and

use the system resulting in

degraded performance. To fix the

issue, new servers are sheduled to

be added April 14 to support the

larger client load. In an effort to

further reduce the workload, those

who do not require the training

within the next 30 to 60 days for

deployment or permanent change of

station are encouraged to wait until

the new servers are installed.

Due to delays in completing the

training, Air Force Chief of Staff

General T. Michael Moseley has

pushed the completion date back to

Oct. 31 for the service’s Air

Reserve Components.

Pilot Selection Board

The 163d Reconnaissance Wing

Operations Group will hold a pilot

selection board June 7. Interested

applicants should e-mail Lt. Col.

Kirby Colas at kirby.colas Additionally,

applicants must submit an

electronic resume, introduction

letter and no more then three letters

of recommendation by June 6.

Applicants will be notified with the

time and location of the board upon

review of their package.

Sensor Operator Board

The 163d Reconnaissance Wing

Operations Group will hold a sensor

operator selection board May 17.

Interested applicants should e-mail

Chief Master Sgt. Bruce Garcia at


Additionally, applicants must

submit an electronic resume,

introduction letter and no more then

three letters of recommendation by

May 9. Applicants will be notified

with the time and location of the

board upon review of their package.

New Year, New Laws

Beginning July 1, it will be

illegal to use a handheld wireless

telephone while operating a motor

vehicle in California. Once passed,

penalties for violations of the law

include fines ranging from $20 to

$76 for the first offense and $50 to

$190 for subsequent offenses.

Motorists are authorized to use

hands-free devices.



by Senior Airman Paul Duquette

Staff Sgt. Nathan Fisher has been in

the military for a combined total of

seven years - four with the Marines and

the last three years with the Wing. His

experience with the Marines as a small

computer specialist allowed him to

transfer straight over to the Air National

Guard without initial or retraining for

his traditional position as an

Information Assurance technician.

But, dealing with computers doesn’t

stop at the base gates for Sergeant

Fisher. As a civilian, he works as an

information technology manager for

LDI Mechanical. In this capacity, his

duties range from Web site and

computer maintenance to network or

vendor contract problems. Working at

the main office in Corona, he oversees

branches in Sacramento and Costa

Photo submitted by Master Sgt. Stan Thompson

Staff Sgt. Nathan Fisher provides

technical support to Staff Sgt. Grant Cera

with an active directory issue.

Mesa, Calif.; Las Vegas, Nev.;

Baltimore, Md.; New Jersey, N.J. and

Denver, Colo.

Staff Sgt. Nathan Fisher

Working in the IA department,

Sergeant Fisher issues home Common

Access Card readers and assists

customers with any problems they may

have, but he also works with folder

security and active directory.

"My military experiences have

helped me in my civilian job," said

Sergeant Fisher, "The Marine Corps

gave me a general understanding of all

of the IT aspects, so I was sort of a Jack

of all trades and master of none. But the

Air Force gave me a more specialized

knowledge of my job, so I learned

certain aspects of my field more in


So, whether he's assisting customers

with technical support or traveling to

Baltimore to fix a network problem, one

could say, Sergeant Fisher adepts to his

surroundings and uses his military

training and experiences to his advantage.

MSG Commander

Recongizes Wing Airmen

Photo by Tech. Sgt. Julie Avey

Congratulations to Tech. Sgt. Jonathan

Gaygay, who was presented a

certificate of appreciation for service in

the Blue Eagle Honor Guard.

Photo by 1st. Lt. David Gunty

Congratulations to Structural and Fabrication Mechanic Tech. Sgt. Michael Porter

who retired April UTA after 33 years of service. Above Maintenance Squadron

Commander Maj. John Keen presents the retirement certificate.

Salutes 11

Welcome Newcomers



Ida Lucchesi


Tech. Sgt.

Stacy Zendejas


Staff Sgt.

Antonio Garcia


Staff Sgt.

Jason Sweetser


Keith Ericson

Scott Crandell

Daniel Carrero

Staff Sgt.

Juan Castro


Staff Sgt.

Ricky Shaw


Staff Sgt.

Samual Andrews


Senior Airman

Bheanzor Ferrer


Alexander Bush

Hannah Reed

Senior Airman

Darrell Dizon


Senior Airman

Malina Shaw


Senior Airman

Sean Melodia


Airman 1st Class

Antonio Hernandez


Joshu Morin

Airman 1st Class

Bonnie Gaffney


Airman 1st Class

Richard Sauceda


Congratulations to Maj. Matthew Dutkiewicz, who completed Air

Command and Staff College via correspondence.

Hats off to Staff Sgt. Richard Merrall and Senior Airmen Vance Jackson,

Randall Miller and Jedd Penaflor, who all completed Airman Leadership School

via correspondence. Airman Jackson also scored a 90 percent on Course 1 of


Congratulations to Tech. Sgt. Mathew Rose, who completed the NCO

Academy course via correspondence.

Also, congratulations to Airman Basic Zakia Webster, who was awarded the

Honor Graduate ribbon for completing Air Force Basic Military Training.

The ON GUARD is proudly

published for the members of the 163d

Reconnaissance Wing and their



Col. Albert Aimar









Public Affairs Office

Maj. Brenda Hendricksen

Capt. Al Bosco

Master Sgt. Stan Thompson

Tech. Sgt. Joe Prouse

Tech. Sgt. Julie Avey

Staff Sgt. Diane Ducat

Senior Airman Paul Duquette

Senior Airman Clint Woods

The ON GUARD is the official

newsletter published by and for the

members of the 163d

Reconnaissance Wing, March Air

Reserve Base, CA. The contents of

the ON GUARD are not

necessarily the official views of, or

endorsed by, the US government,

DoD, Department of the Air Force,

or the 163d RW.

163 RW/PA

MARCH ARB CA 92518-1627












More magazines by this user
Similar magazines