Edward G. Rendell
The Adjutant General
Jessica L. Wright
End of an Era . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Pennsylvania National Guard says goodbye to respected leader . . . . . . . . . 9
Remembering, honoring fallen service members . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
A n the beat goes on . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Edward G. Rendell
The Adjutant General Weather or not, this station is ready . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Maj. Gen. Jessica L. Wright
Keystone Airmen unlock Kyrgyzstan kindergarten’s potential . . . . . . . . . . 14
Executive Editor/State Public Affairs Officer
Lt. Col. Christopher Cleaver Train as you treat: the 21st century Combat Lifesaver Course . . . . . . . . . 16
Sgt. Matthew E. Jones
Big hearts on the Big Island . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
State Public Affairs Staff A more accurate, more effective mortar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Maj. Cory Angell
Capt. Jay Ostrich A run to remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Staff Sgt. Ted Nichols
Sgt. Damian Smith 19th annual State Veterans Homes Week . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
From Gulf to golf, bunker to bunker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
State Public Affairs Office
Pennsylvania National Guard
Fort Indiantown Gap
Building 8-41 Departments:
Annville, PA 17003
Final Roll Call . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
ystone Newsmakers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Curator’s Corner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
ON THE COVER: Sgt. Lindsey Myers, top, and
Spc. Isiah White treat a simulated casualty during
Bob Ulin, Publisher
a Combat Lifesaver Course training lane May 20
Marie Lundstrom, Editor at Fort Indiantown Gap. The lanes feature intense
Gloria Schein, Graphic Artist stressors, such as battle sounds, screaming
Chris Kersbergen & Darrell George, Advertising Sales instructors, fog and darkness, in order to test the
Soldiers’ skills under pressure.
Toll Free: (866) 562-9300 Photo: Sgt. Shawn Miller
Fax: (907) 562-9311
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Fall 2010 / GUARDIANS / 1
FINAL ROLL CALL
Sgt. 1st Class Bryan hoover holds a piece of a
rocket-propelled grenade in Zabul, Afghanistan,
May 15. Photo: Courtesy of Dan Shakal
from California University of Pennsylvania.
He was a track coach with the Elizabeth-
Forward School District.
Hoover joined the Marine Corps in
October 1999 and served on active duty
until September 2004. In March 2005,
after months in the Marine Corps
Reserve, he enlisted in the Pennsylvania
Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Hoover and Sgt. 1st Class Robert Fike provide security for the Zabul, Afghanistan,
Provincial Reconstruction Team, May 14. Photo: Courtesy of Dan Shakal Hoover’s military awards include the
Army Commendation Medal, Pennsylvania
Two Pennsylvania Army National They were serving with the Pennsylvania Commendation Medal, Navy/Marine
Guard Soldiers were killed by a suicide Army National Guard’s Company C, 1st Corps Achievement Medal, Marine Corps
bomber in Zabul Province, Afghanistan, Battalion, 110th Infantry, based in Good Conduct Medal, Global War on
on June 11. Connellsville. They were providing security Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Iraq
Sgt. 1st Class Robert J. Fike, 38, for Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul. Campaign Medal, Air Assault Badge and
Conneautville, Crawford County, and “These were experienced Soldiers Humanitarian Service Medal.
Sgt. 1st Class Bryan A. Hoover, 29, West who had done other combat deployments Fike and Hoover previously served
Elizabeth, Allegheny County, were on a and were dedicated to serving the nation together in Iraq in 2007 and 2008 with
foot patrol in the Bullard Bazaar when and the commonwealth,” said Maj. Gen. the 28th Military Police Company.
they were killed in the blast. Randall Marchi, commander, 28th Infantry They are the 35th and 36th Soldiers
Division. “It is a tragic loss and we send of the Pennsylvania National Guard killed
our heartfelt sympathies to their families in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
and friends.” They were posthumously awarded the
Fike was a 1989 graduate of Penn- Purple Heart. O
Trafford High School, Harrison City. He
earned a bachelor’s degree from Edinboro
University and worked as a corrections
officer at the Albion State Correctional
Institution. He joined the Pennsylvania
Army National Guard in September 1993.
In his 16 years of service, he served two
other tours: one in Saudi Arabia from
2002 to 2003 and another in Iraq from
2007 to 2008. His awards include the
Army Commendation Medal, Army
Achievement Medal, Armed Forces
Reserve Medal, Global War on Terrorism
Expeditionary and Service Medals, and
Iraq Campaign Medal.
Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Hoover and Sgt. 1st Class
Sgt.1st Class Robert Fike poses with his daughter Hoover graduated from Elizabeth- Robert Fike provide security at the Bullard
MacKenzie before deploying to Afghanistan. Forward High School in 2000 and earned Bazaar in Zabul, Afghanistan, May 7.
Photo: Courtesy of Fike Family a bachelor’s degree in sports management Photo: Courtesy of Dan Shakal
Fall 2010 / GUARDIANS / 3
Four 111th Fighter Wing A-10 Thunderbolt IIs fly in formation
during a refueling mission over New Jersey in May 2005.
Photo: Kenn Mann
The 111th Fighter Wing officially bid farewell to their A-10 Thunderbolt II
aircraft at the End of an Era ceremony June 6 at Willow Grove Air Reserve Station.
The ceremony commemorated 86 years of flying for the unit, which is scheduled
to transition for their new mission, termed AFFOR, or Air Force Forces. The mission
is an Air Force Headquarters staff augmentation package. Personnel assigned to the
AFFOR will train to augment headquarters staff agencies.
Although its long-term future remains unclear, the 111th has a clear history of
Courtesy of the 111th Fighter Wing excellence in the air.
The 111th FW’s history began with the establishment of the 103rd Observation
Squadron in June 1924, based on the sod fields of Philadelphia Airport as a unit in
the 28th Infantry Division. The 103rd’s first commander was Maj. Charles Biddle,
who had flown in World War I as part of the famous Lafayette Escadrilles,
a volunteer group flying French aircraft before the United States officially entered
into the war.
The pilots of the 103rd flew a wide variety of observation aircraft for the next
18 years. The most well-known of these aircraft was the JN-4 Jenny, an open cockpit
biplane. It was replaced in the 1930s and early 1940s with metal-skinned, prop-driven
In February 1941, the unit was ordered to active service, performing anti-
submarine patrols off the coast of New England. In 1943, the 103rd was given steady
upgrades in equipment beginning with the P-39 Airacobras, P-40 Warhawk and the
B-25 Mitchell. Eventually the unit converted to the F-5C, a photo-reconnaissance
version of the P-38 Lightning.
The 103rd ended up in the China-Burma-India Theater in 1944. It supported
U.S. Army forces fighting the Japanese in the jungles until the end of the war.
Staff Sgt. John Deyoung, an aircraft mechanic
from the 65th Operations Support Squadron
at Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal, completes a
post-flight inspection of the 111th Fighter
Wing’s A-10A Thunderbolt II aircraft in support Four A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 103rd Fighter Squadron are sprayed with water by two
of Operation Southern Watch in January 2008. 111th Fighter Wing fire trucks as the jets taxi in from the unit’s final combat training sortie during a
Photo: Tech. Sgt. Scott W. Johnson ceremony on June 6 at Willow Grove Air Reserve Station. Photo: Tech. Sgt. Marie D. Harmon
4 / GUARDIANS / Fall 2010
The 111th Fighter Wing lineage comes Group initially flew the U-3A Blue
from the 391st Bomb Group (Medium), Canoe and then transitioned to the O-2
which was constituted in 1943 with four Skymaster.
flying squadrons. It trained at MacDill The Forward Air Control mission was
Field, Fla., in the Martin B-26 Marauder sustained with the unit’s switch to the
and then flew ground attack missions over OA-37 Dragonfly in 1981. The unit made
Western Europe in 1944. Late in the war, several deployments to Central America
the pilots transitioned to the A-26 Invader in the 1980s to support allied training.
aircraft, for combat missions against The 111th received its current aircraft, the
German railroads, highways, bridges and OA-10A Thunderbolt II in 1988. The unit
armor vehicles. For its actions in World was redesignated as the 111th Fighter
War II, the wing was decorated with the Group in 1992 and then as the 111th
Distinguished Unit Citation. Fighter Wing in 1995.
In 1946, the 391st was redesignated The wing deployed to Kuwait in 1995
the 111th Bombardment Group (Light) to support joint combat flight operations
and returned to the Pennsylvania National for Operation Southern Watch over Iraq.
Guard flying the B-26. The Air National The 111th was the first Air Guard fighter
Guard was reorganized in 1950 and the unit deployed to Al Jaber, Kuwait, and
wing was re-designated as the 111th the first Air National Guard wing to serve
Composite Wing. The unit was not directly a solo three-month Operation Southern
deployed for the Korean War, but many Watch deployment.
of its unit members were sent into combat In 1996, the 111th Fighter Wing pilots Col. Tony Carrelli receives the unit’s flag from
there, assigned to other units. transitioned from the OA-10 AFAC Maj. Gen. Stephen M. Sischo, deputy adjutant
In 1952, the unit was removed from mission to the A-10 attack mission. The general-Air, Pennsylvania National Guard, and
active duty status and personnel were assumes command of the 111th Fighter Wing
second 111th Fighter Wing deployment
during a change of command ceremony held
returned to the Air National Guard as to Kuwait occurred in 1999, again to Aug. 2, 2009, at Willow Grove Air Reserve Station.
part of the 111th Fighter Bomber Group. (Continued on page 7) Photo: Tech. Sgt. Marie Harmon
The unit transitioned to the F-51 Mustang.
In 1953, the wing made the jump from
propeller to jet aircraft with the arrival of
the F-80 Starfighter and then the F-84
Thunderjet, which arrived in 1954.
The unit was redesignated the 111th
Fighter Interceptor Group in 1955, and
transitioned to the Air Defense mission
flying the F-94 Starfire. The unit finished
service in this mission in 1959 while flying
the F-89H Scorpion, an all-weather rocket
and missile firing interceptor.
In 1962, the unit made the transition
from interceptors to transports, flying the
Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter. One year
later, the 111th ended its 39-year history
at Philadelphia Airport and moved to
new facilities on the north end of the
Willow Grove Naval Air Station. In 1969,
the unit changed missions again, return- Lt. Col. Scott Hreso, Col. Howard Eissler, Col. Jim Blaydon and Lt. Col. Bill Griffin, A-10 pilots with the
ing to its original roots as an observation 111th Fighter Wing, walk a U.S. flag flown in the A-10 flyover toward the stage during a ceremony on
unit. The new 111th Tactical Air Support June 6 at Willow Grove Air Reserve Station. Photo: Master Sgt. Stanley Woods
Fall 2010 / GUARDIANS / 5
of an operated by the
ERA OA/ A-10 Thunderbolt II (1988-2010)
(Continued from page 5)
OA/ A-37B Dragonfly (1981-1988)
O-2 Skymaster (1970-1981)
U-3 A/B Blue Canoe (1969-1970)
An A-10 from the 103rd Fighter Squadron turns to make C-97G Stratofreighter (1963-1969)
an approach to fire its 30 mm GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling
gun at Avon Air Force Range, Fla., March 5, 2009. F-89H Scorpion (1959-1962)
Photo: Master Sgt. Patrick Cashin
F-94C Starfire (1957-1958)
F-94B Starfire (1956-1957)
support joint combat flight operations for Operation Southern Watch over Iraq.
Immediately following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the 111th deployed back to Al F-84F Thunderjet (1954-1957)
Jaber to support joint combat flight operations for Operation Southern Watch over F-80 Starfighter (1953-1954)
Iraq and the new Operation Enduring Freedom over Afghanistan. Weapons personnel
from the 111th assisted in the loading of combat ordnance for the first sorties into F-51D Mustang (1953-1954)
Afghanistan during November 2001.
RB-29 Superfortress (1951-1952)
In October 2002, the wing was the lead unit for a short-notice deployment to
Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. The 111th aircraft supported joint combat flight A-26B Marauder (1948-1951)
operations with U.S. Army Special Forces and coalition ground forces in Afghanistan
for Operation Enduring Freedom. The A-10s were flown and maintained in very B-25D Mitchell (1943-1945)
primitive and hazardous conditions, yet the 111th personnel flew 100 percent of the F-5E Tiger II (1944-1945)
assigned tasking for their entire deployment.
About six weeks after returning from Afghanistan, the 111th again volunteered to P-40F Warhawk (1943-1944)
participate in another deployment to Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait, its fourth visit, from
February 2003 to May 2003. The wing deployed for joint combat flight operations, in P-39Q Airacobra (1943-1944)
support of U.S. Army, Marine and British ground forces as part of the initial phase of O-52 Owl (1942-1943)
Operation Iraqi Freedom. Wing personnel were initially stationed at Al Jaber before
transferring to Tallil Air Base, Iraq, midway through the initial campaign. O-57 Grasshopper (1942-1943)
The 111th Fighter Wing was awarded the Air National Guard Distinguished Flying
O-49 Vigilant (1941-1942)
Unit Award in 2004 and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, with Valor, in 2005.
The unit made two more trips to Southwest Asia in the A-10 to support combat O-47 North American (1938-1943)
operations; for Operation Iraqi Freedom in Al Asad, Iraq, in 2007, and again for
Operation Enduring Freedom in Bagram, Afghanistan, in 2008. O-46 Douglas (1937-1942)
The unit ended its proud and distinguished 86-year aviation history when the final O-38 Douglas (1932-1937)
aircraft departed in August. O
O-17 Courier (1927-1932)
O-11 Curtiss Falcon (1926-1932)
O-2H Douglas (1926-1932)
PT-1 Trusty (1924-1932)
JN-4 “Jenny” (1924-1928)
F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 8th Fighter
Wing and South Korean air force’s 111th
Fighter Wing prepare to take off for a joint
training exercise June 8, 2007, from Kunsan
Air Base, South Korea. This was the first time
since the South Korean 111th Fighter
Squadron moved to Kunsan that the South
Korean and American units had briefed, flown
and debriefed together on a dedicated mission.
Photo: Tech. Sgt. Darcie Ibidapo
Fall 2010 / GUARDIANS / 7
Pennsylvania National Guard says goodbye
to respected leader
By Airman 1st Class Claire Behney Graduating from the United States
Air Force Pilot Training program in 1952,
As the firing party performed its 21- Frank H.
Smoker completed more than 5,000 flying
gun salute, the weapons’ report resonated Smoker Jr.
hours, including five combat missions
in the hearts and minds of the audience
in Vietnam, in C-121 aircraft, while __________
as they stood to honor a highly esteemed
assigned to what is now the 193rd Special
and influential man, retired Pennsylvania
Operations Wing. 1925–2010
Air National Guard Lt. Gen. Frank H.
During his 42-year military career,
Smoker served in various Air National
While paying respect to his loss, it’s
Guard capacities including commander
also important to celebrate his achieve-
of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard
ments. For Smoker, it was a life filled with
headquarters and Pennsylvania’s deputy
accomplishments and dedication to his
adjutant general – Air, until his retirement
community, country, fellow service members
in June 1985. and a board of directors. Smoker served
and the organization he loved.
Smoker, who received an honorary as president of the museum from 1985 to
A member of the Greatest Generation,
promotion to the lieutenant general on the January 2010.
Smoker was a true patriot. From his
Pennsylvania National Guard retired list, “He was a real leader and just a
youth, where he earned recognition as an
earned the Air Force’s highest peacetime pleasure to work with,” Oellig said. “Gen.
Eagle Scout, to his retirement years,
decoration, the Air Force Distinguished Smoker was the perfect gentleman, the
when he authored and published Back at
Service Medal upon his retirement. nicest man you’d ever meet and I’m really
the Gap – a History of Fort Indiantown
The history of the Pennsylvania going to miss him.”
Gap, Smoker lived a life of extraordinary
National Guard was something of partic- Agnes Moss, a retired Pennsylvania
ular interest to Smoker. He played a Air National Guard administrative assis-
Smoker’s military career began with
critical role in standing up the Pennsylvania tant, said “He ran a very efficient, good
his enlistment into the Army Air Corps in
National Guard Military Museum at Fort office and was fair with everybody.”
1943. He served with the 8th Air Force and
Indiantown Gap. Moss said she worked with Smoker
was assigned to the 92nd Bombardment
“Thanks to him, we got a lot of for 40 years and remembers how good a
Group, Podington Air Force Base, England,
support from the Air National Guard,” writer he was, writing wonderful speeches
where he completed 26 missions over
said Charlie Oellig, Pennsylvania National that everyone talked about.
Europe and completed 222 combat hours
Guard Military Museum curator. “I think he commanded respect;
as a B-17 aircraft navigator. Gen. Smoker
Oellig said Smoker was persistent about everyone seemed to respect him and not
was released from active duty as a captain
starting the museum, working with the the just position he had, but the person
and World War II veteran in 1946.
late Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard Scott, he was,” Moss said.
While serving in England, Smoker met
46th adjutant general of Pennsylvania, in Following a lengthy illness, Gen.
his wife, former Kathleen M. Farrow of
forming a team with the state museum Smoker passed away July 16. O
England, with whom he celebrated
their 64th wedding anniversary in
December. Together they had two
children, Barbara and David.
Col. David Smoker is the current
commander of the 193rd Mission
Support Group, 193rd Special
Smoker, born in Columbia, Pa.,
joined the Pennsylvania National
Guard in October, 1946. On Jan. 17,
1947, he became a member of the
53rd Wing Headquarters during
its initial federal recognition.
This was the first Pennsylvania
Air National Guard unit to be
Retired Pennsylvania Air National Guard
Lt. Gen. Frank H. Smoker was laid to rest
at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery
July 21. Photo: Lt. Col. Chris Cleaver
Fall 2010 / GUARDIANS / 9
Flags line the
entrance to the
Fort Indiantown Gap
National Cemetery for
Memorial Day 2010.
Photo: Joan Z. Nissley
By Airman 1st Class Claire Behney
On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed an act
establishing an official flag for the new nation. Since then, the
American flag has served as the icon of our nation’s freedom, Volunteers help members of the National Sojourners’ Harrisburg Chapter 76
and its colors, each symbolic, wave strong every Memorial Day and the Lancaster County Navy Club’s Ship 166 place flags for the annual
memorial display at the Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery during
along the entrance drive to the Fort Indiantown Gap National
Memorial Day 2009. More than 5,000 small American flags were placed
Cemetery, Annville, Pa. this year in ordered columns and rows to represent each of the service
The color red symbolizes hardiness and valor; the white, members killed in action since Sept. 11, 2001. Photo: William Hall
purity and innocence; and the blue represents vigilance, perse-
verance and justice – the kind of vigilance, valor and commit- “When we started, it was only about 800 flags and unfortu-
ment displayed by the more than 5,000 service members killed in nately it has grown,” said Larry Rutt, Chapter 76 member and
action since Sept. 11, 2001. former president. “We now include those killed in action in both
Twice a year, Memorial Day and Veterans Day, The National Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Sojourners, Harrisburg Chapter 76, sets out their traditional Master Sgt. Scott Fritz, 193rd Special Operations Wing fuel
ordered rows of small American flags. Each one represents a cell supervisor and a 10-year member of Chapter 76, said the
single service member who died supporting operations in Iraq memorial is all about paying tribute to the fallen and honoring
or Afghanistan. anyone touched by these service members.
“It gives me a great feeling to take part in doing something “Everybody, in some way, shape or form, has been affiliated
for the families of the men and women who lost their lives, to with the military, even if it’s just a family friend,” said Fritz.
honor those service members’ dedication and sacrifice,” said “They are able to look at the 5,000-plus flags in the memorial
Vaughn Schwalm, president of National Sojourners, Harrisburg and say ‘they’re doing that for me’ and that’s what we’re hoping
Chapter 76. and I’m sure we do that.”
Chapter 76 works in conjunction with the Navy Club, To Schwalm, remembering the significance of what each flag
Lancaster County Ship 166, to create this flag memorial. The represents is essential.
weeklong process begins with gridding out the location of each “When you come out, you can walk through the flags and
flag along the entrance drive to the cemetery. Members and just look at them and think ‘oh they look really beautiful,’ but
volunteers carefully measure the exact location for each flag, when you walk through them and walk by every single flag, you
creating straight and even columns and rows. After about a day need to think of each of them as a person and the history of
and a half of gridding, holes for the flags are punched into the that person,” Schwalm said.
ground and the placing of the flags begins. And it’s that kind of remembrance that Rutt suggests
“When you’re actually putting a flag in the ground with your should consume everyone on Veterans Day, Memorial Day and
hands and you realize that flag represents the history of a person, every day to honor the fallen and the service personnel yet to
their life from being born up until they die and everyone they’ve come home.
connected with through that life, it’s heart wrenching when you “The reason to keep doing this memorial is because we can
get involved in it,” said Schwalm. never forget what the men and women of our brave armed forces
The Sojourners initially began this display on the lawn of have done for us,” said Rutt. “It’s to inspire pride in what our
the Zembo Shine in Harrisburg in 2004, about a year after the military does and if we can do that in a spectacular manner such
start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. as this then we will continue to do so for as long as we can.” O
10 / GUARDIANS / Fall 2010
AND THE BEAT GOES ON
By Retired Sgt. 1st Class Tom Leonard
Memorial Day abounds with traditions knock on the door or the cries of anguish bleachers and mingled with the troops on
and rituals. It usually starts in the morning and pain when the door was opened. the floor to begin the long process of
with a community parade, including fire Witnesses said that people way down the recapturing a lost year – all except Mrs.
engines, high school bands, civic associa- street heard the wailing. Mrs. Resnick Mike Egan. She just sat there gazing out
tions, color guards and motorcycles. was never the same. She died that way. on the gym floor, looking left to right as
As the procession winds through the Another casualty, and the beat goes on. if hoping for a presence that was not
town, it may pause at a cemetery or town Years later in fall 2000, I left the going to be there.
monument. A prayer is said, comments military. Like many others before me, I There would be no medal for her, no
made, a rifle salute is fired and the air is marched in the Veterans Day parade in award, not even a hug and a kiss. Will she
filled with the mournful strains of Taps. Media and walked with the American be able to renew her life, to start again?
The afternoon is filled with baseball, Legion through the cemeteries planting After all, Mike was her life. For his
barbecues and the opening day at the flags. But something was missing; it just daughter there will be no dad at gradua-
pool. So much gaiety for a day set aside seemed so perfunctory. A few years later, tion or to walk her down the aisle at her
to reflect and honor the nation’s war dead. my old National Guard unit, Troop B, 1st wedding. All those future events that
What am I missing? Squadron, 104th Cavalry, received its will never be. So there was the missing
When I was in Vietnam, I would go marching orders to Iraq. So I went to the element. The pain that is part of Memorial
over to the airbase. I could see the silver armory and saw them off as they boarded Day, but somehow lost in the celebration.
colored wings of the cargo planes sitting the buses, and I waved them goodbye Not anymore, for every time I plant those
on the flight line with ramps lowered. and Godspeed. flags in the local cemetery, I will remember
I could see the silver caskets lined up According to official records, Troop B that day and the emotions that it evokes
waiting to be loaded into the cargo hold. performed its mission admirably and with and tell myself, “I hope we never have to
I could feel the blast from the propellers much élan with the loss of five personnel. do this again.”
as the transport taxied out to the runway. Five is such a small number; it most But we will, for it is part of the human
I could see it climb to the heavens to begin certainly can be overlooked, discounted condition. The intensity of the pain and
its lonely journey home. or lost in the overall assessment of events. the loss is restrained by how well we
I turned away and walked back to the Only comrades and family understand manage our situation. Conflict will always
company area. Along the way, I passed a their missing presence. be there, as will adversaries. And you
group of new arrivals. Their instructors They were Lt. Mark Dooley and hope for more Soldiers like Mike to man
took them for a short run to help them Spc. Christopher Merchant from Vermont, the ramparts. And the beat goes on. O
get acclimated. Together they sang a Spc. William Fernandez, Spc. William
familiar refrain: “If I die on the old drop Evans and Sgt. Michael Egan from
zone, box me up and send me home. Tell Pennsylvania.
my girl I did my best, then bury me in the Egan came to us after the events of
leaning rest.” So much bravado in that 9/11 from the Marine Corps. He could
rhyming chant, but it is necessary, for it use the pay and missed the camaraderie
inculcates a sense of mission-first and duty. from his days in the Corps. There’s that
When asked: “How do you stand Soldier’s spirit again.
there when confronted by war elephants, I went back to the armory to see
chariots, archers and spearmen?” An old Troop B come home. As I looked down
Assyrian soldier once replied: “A soldier’s Roosevelt Boulevard in northeast
spirit.” For it is a soldier’s spirit that Philadelphia, I could see the convoy
allows them to cross hundreds of yards of approach. Lights flashing, sirens wailing,
open field at Gettysburg even with 600 flags flying, motorcycle escort, the convoy
muskets pointed in their direction, or motored to the Armory front door. Car
claw their way up Hamburger Hill in rain, doors opened and there was a loud cheer
muck and even friendly fire only to hear: from the assembled crowd. There was
“Well we made it to the top of another much hand shaking, back slapping, hugs
pile of dirt.” Or man a redoubt against and kisses, and smiles all around. What
thousands of yelling communist Chinese a far cry from the reception Vietnam
soldiers at the Chosin Reservoir while troops received.
nearly freezing to death. In these I followed the service personnel into
scenarios and thousands more like them, the armory and watched as the families
the beat goes on; drums keep pounding a filled the bleachers and the troops formed
rhythm to the brain: Ladi Doti De, Ladi up on the gym floor. The commander
Doti Di. called them to attention and honor was
I never saw that airplane land. I never rendered to the colors. Medals were
saw the staff car with the three Marines pinned on, awards were handed out,
and parish priest turn the corner onto comments were made, and without further
Glenthorne Road in Upper Darby. I did ado, the commander called the unit to
not see the staff car stop in front of attention and simply said, “Troop dis-
Bobby Resnick’s house. I did not hear the missed.” The families filed out of the
Fall 2010 / GUARDIANS / 11
Story and photos by Airman 1st Class Claire Behney
weather station. “The weather briefing form then gets attached
Thunderstorms and nor’easters are two of the biggest weather to their flight plan and the two documents go together to give
threats that could ground a pilot. From behind the scenes, the the pilot a release to fly.”
193rd Special Operations Wing weather station works to forecast
these conditions to ensure the safety of anyone transiting through
Muir Army Air Field at Fort Indiantown Gap.
Staged on the flight line of Muir Army Air Field, the weather
station’s three-man team has a combined total of more than
100 years of meteorology experience making them a key asset
to the Gap.
“It’s an aviation type of forecast; we’re strictly pilot
oriented here so it’s much more detailed,” said Don Roth, a
meteorological technician with the weather station. “We’re telling
the pilots how high the clouds are, how far they’ll be able to see,
what the winds are going to be, what the pressure is going to be
for their aircraft. So it’s a little bit different than telling you that
it’s going to be cloudy with a chance of showers.”
This information is given to the pilots in a mandatory weather
briefing from the weather station before every takeoff.
“The pilots report to us in the weather station for a DD Form
175-1 Weather Briefing,” said Bruce Russell, manager of the
Bruce Russell, manager of the 193rd Special Operations Wing weather station,
works alongside meteorological technicians Gary Peel and Don Roth, seated,
to review satellite weather scans of the local area in preparation for reporting
a local area weather briefing.
Don Roth, a meteorological technician with the 193rd Special Operations Wing
weather station, reviews one of several weather charts that are posted daily for
the technicians’ assessment. Information obtained from these charts is given to
pilots of Muir Army Air Field in mandatory weather briefings prior to every takeoff.
12 / GUARDIANS / Fall 2010
Along with briefing pilots, the weather he had priority issues to accomplish, our customers enough lead time to be
station releases a local weather report Russell added. able to get things back into the hangers
three times a day that goes on their “When we saw the storm crossing the and cleared off the ramps.”
network for customers concerned about river headed for Muir, we advised him While the weather station is success-
conditions. to return to base immediately and he did, fully mission focused, their dedication to
“Even on the best weather days, we just beating the microburst – another save.” the career field plays a key role.
are always looking over the horizon for The weather station also rose to the “I don’t think I could do anything
the next approaching storm to predict the challenges of this year’s winter storms. else,” said Roth. “It’s a new puzzle to
impact that it will have on flying opera- “What a year this has been, and we’ve solve every day, and when you go to
tions,” Russell said. been doing really well in putting out the weather school, you never see the sky the
The Eastern Army Aviation Training warnings,” said Russell. “We’ve hit the same as the person that doesn’t know
Site, for example, conducts aircraft quali- snow fall amounts well this year and gave what they’re looking at.” O
fication courses, instructor pilot training
and many other aviation training courses.
Other customers include the post’s
non-flying operations that also receive
weather warnings. In order to issue these
advisories, the weather station coordinates
with the 15th Operational Weather
Squadron, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
“We are the 15th’s eyes forward,” said
Russell. “We are their local eyes and ears.”
The weather station also assists
with required on-the-job training for the
Airmen of the 15th, as well as the Airmen
of the 193rd Special Operation Wing’s
203rd Weather Flight.
According to Gary Peel, a meteoro-
logical technician with the weather station,
once Airmen graduate from military
technical school, they can report to the
weather station for key hands-on fore-
casting experience and to apply what they
learned in school.
“The Airmen come in highly motivated
and they’ve got the knowledge. We just
help fine tune them and get them mission
ready,” said Peel. “It’s not something we
have to do, but it’s a way we can help.”
Both the 203rd Weather Flight and
the weather station fall under command of
Col. Christopher Dutton, 193rd Regional
Support Group commander. While the
Weather Flight is the combat arm and
deploys, the weather station is immobile
and staffed with civilian technicians,
The team members of the weather
station are all retired Air Force non-
commissioned officers with more than
20 years of active duty service in the
meteorology field. That expertise can be
seen every day, whether on the job or
working alongside new Airmen, sharing
what they know.
“Just last week, we had a crew flying
around during a thunderstorm watch and
we were communicating over the FM
radio with them,” said Russell.
The pilot asked to keep him advised
to the movement of the storm because
Fall 2010 / GUARDIANS / 13
Story and photos by
Senior Airman Nichelle Anderson Air National Guard, received support for
the humanitarian assistance program
Members of the Pennsylvania Air from family members and friends.
National Guard, deployed with the 376th “All of the crayons, coloring books,
Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, and activity books were sent from a friend
delivered goods and spent time with back home who obtained a donation from
children from the Yagodka Kindergarten Crayola,” explained Tech. Sgt. Patrick
in Vinogradnoye Village, Kyrgyzstan, Geiser, a noncommissioned officer from
during a humanitarian assistance visit the 111th.
in April. Torres said support from the commu-
Airmen also donated coloring books, nity, families and friends at home is what
crayons, activity workbooks, children’s helps Airmen from the Transit Center at
books, toys, sports equipment and cookies Manas donate a variety of items that aren’t
to the school. available in a deployed environment.
“In the past we’ve brought toys, “I have a friend back at home who
games and balls that the children can is a teacher at a predominately Russian
share mutually and ultimately will be left school, and the books were donated by
for the school,” explained Capt. Michael his class,” Geiser said. “Each kid in his
Tech. Sgt. Patrick Geiser jokes with a student
Torres, 376th ESFS flight commander. class was given extra credit if they brought
at the Yagodka Kindergarten in April at
Airmen from the 111th Security Forces one book in Russian to contribute to Vinogradnoye Village, Kyrgyzstan. During a visit
Squadron, Pennsylvania Air National the school.” to the school Airmen from the Transit Center at
Guard; 159th Security Forces Squadron, With the Manas Area Benefit Outreach Manas donated coloring books, crayons, activity
Louisiana Air National Guard; and the Society and the 376th Expeditionary workbooks, toys, children’s books, sports
161st Security Forces Squadron, Arizona Civil Engineer Squadron, the 376th ESFS equipment and cookies.
14 / GUARDIANS / Fall 2010
helps to improve the facilities of the
Yagodka Kindergarten. During each
visit, Airmen spend time with the children
and continue to look for ways to improve
“(Airmen) have come and done some
painting, cement work, replaced piping
throughout the building, installed new
radiators and enhanced the overall look
of the playground,” said Torres.
During the visit, Torres toured the
school with Principal Burul Aktasheva to
address concerns and determine projects
necessary to further improve the facility.
The squadron has supported the kinder-
garten for about two years, and although
the Airmen may only stay in Kyrgyzstan
for a few months before they return home,
the humanitarian assistance mission
remains the same.
“Although we’ve done some things
for this school, I think they’ve done as
much for us as we do for them,” Torres
said. “We saw the smiles here. It’s an
amazing experience. It brings me back to Tech. Sgt. Patrick Geiser shows off the box of children’s books to Burul Aktasheva, the principal of
home, keeps me grounded in my job and Yagodka Kindergarten, during a visit in April at Vinogradnoye Village, Kyrgyzstan. Air National
illustrates what I’m really doing it for. Guardsmen from the 111th Security Forces Squadron, Pennsylvania Air National Guard, have been
I love it, I think it’s great.” O essential in providing humanitarian assistance to the children of the school.
Fall 2010 / GUARDIANS / 15
Spc. Lucas Davidson of the 131st Transportation
Company calls for help as he treats a simulated
casualty during a Combat Lifesaver Course
training lane May 20 at Fort Indiantown Gap.
The lanes feature intense stressors, such as
battle sounds, screaming instructors, fog and
darkness in order to test the Soldiers’ skills
Staff Sgt. Kelly Eitreim, top, of the 131st
Transportation Company evaluates a simulated
casualty during a Combat Lifesaver Course training
exercise May 20 at Fort Indiantown Gap.
Train as you treat:
the 21st century
Combat Lifesaver Course
16 / GUARDIANS / Fall 2010
Story and photos by Sgt. Shawn Miller
Painful screams cut through the thick
smoke and noise of gunfire as a four-
person combat lifesaver team scrambled
through the dark looking for the casualties
amid the chaotic war zone.
Although those screams were those
of actors on a training exercise at the
Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s
Medical Battalion Training Site, the stress
felt by the students of the Combat
Lifesaver Course was very real as they
conducted the culminating event of the
“This type of training was hands-down
the best medical training I’ve ever been
through in the 10 years I’ve been in the
military,” said Sgt. Mike Quartucci of
the 131st Transportation Company, a
Pennsylvania Guard unit that is scheduled
to mobilize before the end of 2010.
After being broken into four-Soldier
Spc. Matt Meily of the 213th Personnel Company looks for casualties as he enters a simulated attack
teams, the students were thrust into
zone during his Combat Lifesaver Course training exercise May 20 at Fort Indiantown Gap. The
hectic mock warzones complete with training lanes feature realistic battle sounds, smoke, obstacles and live Soldiers acting as casualties in
Hollywood-style special effects including order to better train Soldiers for deployment.
colored strobe lights, heavy smoke and
violent gunfight sounds blaring over loud- with a better grasp on what they had do,” said Johnstone in reference to the
speakers. Add in the screaming instructors learned the previous two days. “It made hyper-realistic training lanes.
demanding faster action, and the students it very realistic as opposed to just doing By overloading the stress and pushing
experienced what Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer it in a classroom environment,” said Staff the Soldiers to fight through the confusion
Jordan has dubbed “the frazzle effect.” Sgt. Kelly Eitreim of the 131st. to react and save lives, the instructors hope
“Once you get stressed to the point As the Army constantly adapts to to point out strengths and weaknesses
that you have that surge of adrenalin, you changing combat environments across the while still in a controlled atmosphere.
lose your cognitive skills and you lose your world, the training that Soldiers receive Once the real chaos starts, these new
fine motor skills,” explained Jordan, an must also adapt. “This is not an Army combat lifesavers will have training to
instructor at the MBTS. “We want them requirement; this is something that we rely on. O
to still be able to perform with that
The course starts with classroom
presentations teaching all facets of first
aid on the battlefield. The students then
move into individual skill labs to try the
procedures first-hand on mannequins. On
the final day of class, the students bring it
all together with the training lane.
“They have to be able to give a good
assessment, prioritize the wounds and
then treat appropriately,” said Jordan,
discussing the goal of the event.
Even if the Soldiers are doing every-
thing right in the lanes, the instructors
still demand more just to keep the stress
at a maximum. “The staff is probably one
of the greatest things at stressing the
students out,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jim
Johnstone, the noncommissioned officer
in charge of the training. “Whether or not
they’re doing well or doing poorly, we still
find things to nitpick about.” Spc. Isiah White, left, and Sgt. Lindsey Myers treat a simulated casualty during a Combat Lifesaver
No matter how frazzled the Soldiers Course training lane May 20 at Fort Indiantown Gap. The training lanes are designed to deprive
got, however, they all seemed to emerge Soldiers of basic sensory skills while adding intense stress to test skills under fire.
Fall 2010 / GUARDIANS / 17
Story and photos by Tech. Sgt. Culeen Shaffer
E malama kakou is Hawaiian for
“to care for all,” and that is exactly what
28 Airmen of the 193rd Special Operations
Wing’s Medical Group did the moment
they arrived in Hilo, Hawaii, on June 10.
As part of the Hawaii Medical
Innovative Readiness Training (HIMIRT)
program, members of the 193rd Medical
Group provided free health and dental
screenings to the people of Hilo and
surrounding areas for six days. Assisting
the 193rd was a dentist from the 104th
Fighter Wing, Westfield, Mass., and five
members from the 171st Air Refueling
Wing, Pittsburgh, Pa. The Airmen also
worked closely with the Bay Clinic, Staff Sgt. Matthew Nettles, a medical technician with the 193rd Medical Group, pricks the finger of a
patient to do a glucose test in Hilo, Hawaii, in June.
Office for Social Ministry and the State
of Hawaii Department of Health. This exams, height and weight measurements, afraid to come back and have her picture
mission was the first HIMIRT on the Big dental care, and medical background and taken with me and smile with me; that
Island of Hawaii. family history reviews. was the most rewarding.”
Medical Group members took the “We saw 93 people, which in a course Airman 1st Class April Loeper, 193rd
concept of “E malama kakou” to heart. of four days with a treatment facility is Medical Group medical technician, said
“We were told that it was a humani- quite a bit,” said Maj. Wade Newman, a she found the locals’ appreciation to be
tarian mission in Hawaii where we would dentist with the 193rd Medical Group. the most rewarding aspect of the mission.
be providing free medical screenings to Duff assisted in the medical screenings, Pennsylvania community members
the underserved,” said Staff Sgt. Katie but she also entertained the children while also played a role in the 193rd’s mission
Duff, a medical technician with the 193rd family members were being screened, to Hawaii.
Medical Group. “Not only was I excited which significantly impacted both the Derrick Duff, president of Mid-State
that it was Hawaii, but more so because children and their families. Occupational Health Services in
it was a humanitarian mission, and I truly “At one of the health fairs, I made Williamsport and father of Staff Sgt. Katie
love helping those in need.” friends with a little boy who stole my heart, Duff, loaned four cholesterol machines
HIMIRT provided much needed care and we ran into him on a few different to the Medical Group. Many Hawaiians
and a training opportunity for members of occasions – I won’t forget him,” said Duff. had not had their cholesterol checked in
the 193rd and the local community. Nurses Because of the attention the little boy years and for some this was their first time.
and medical technicians of the 193rd and received on his first encounter with the
staff of the Bay Clinic, for example, con- medical group, the next time he saw them
ducted cardiopulmonary resuscitation and he immediately ran up and tagged some
intravenous training sessions at the Bay Airmen, resuming the game of tag they
Clinic’s office, Keaau Clinic, Hilo. played with him before.
Along with medical training, the “Everyone in the medical unit has a
medical care included cholesterol checks, huge heart, and we were happy to help,”
glucose checks, blood pressure checks, eye Duff said.
The people of Hawaii expressed their
appreciation to the Airmen.
Newman had extracted the teeth of
five-year-old Nalyssa Keawekane. As a
sign of gratitude, Keawekane and her
siblings made a thank you banner and
leis of construction paper and yarn for the
military members and the staff at Bay
Clinic and OSM.
“Seeing that kid (Keawekane) over
Senior Airman Courtney Mishoe, an optometry there that I treated on Monday and Maj. Danelle McMinn, an optometrist with the
technician with the 193rd Special Operations seeing how happy and healthy she is,” said 193rd Special Operations Wing’s Medical Group,
Wing’s Medical Group, checks the vision of Newman in regard to what he found most checks the vision of a patient in Hilo, Hawaii,
Eli Ishimoto in Hilo, Hawaii, in June. gratifying from the mission. “She was not in June.
18 / GUARDIANS / Fall 2010
193rd Medical Group
medical unit award
The 193rd Special Operations
Wing Medical Group was recently
awarded the Theodore C. Marrs
Award as the Outstanding Medical
Unit for 2009 at the 2010 Air
National Guard Readiness Frontiers
conference in Minneapolis, Minn.,
on June 19.
The medical group provides
direct mission support to the third
largest wing in the Air National
Guard, which includes eight
geographically separated units.
Nalyssa Keawekane and her grandmother Malie Keawekane, with the help of Lt. Col. Robert Petley, an
optometrist of the 193rd Special Operations Wing’s Medical Group, presented a banner to members of “The motivation of the 193rd
the 193rd Medical Group at Wailoa River State Park in Hilo, Hawaii, in June. Medical Group was also tested
and proved this year through
Staff Sgt. Chris Frederickson, 193rd came together to provide health care multiple wing inspections, deploy-
medical administration specialist, works through HIMIRT in Hilo. ments and short-notice support
at Washington Elementary in Barto. She “The 193rd Medical Group may only worldwide,” said Col. David Gann,
spoke with a fellow teacher, Julee Carns, come together one weekend a month
193rd Medical Group commander.
about her concern of keeping the Hawaiian and for missions like this, but when we
children entertained while their family are together the teamwork is unbelievable “The successful results of these
received the free health screenings. and we consider each other family,” Duff daunting missions confirm our
Carns is the monitor of a council made said. “There isn’t anything we can’t do commitment to excellence.
up of Washington Elementary students when we do it together.” O
called the Kindness Council. This group
raised more than $200 to purchase color-
ing books and other items for the children
Carns also received other donations
which included crayons from Linda and
Frank Gerhinger of National Penn
Bank in Barto; “kids under two” toys
from Jen Huffman, manager of the
Wendy’s in Pottstown; and baseball cards
of Philadelphia Phillie Shane Victorino,
a Hawaii native, and figurines of the
Phillie Phanatic from Kelly Yergin of the
Philadelphia Phillies organization.
From medical care to donated equip-
ment and toys, Airmen and community
Staff Sgt. Katie Duff, a medical technician with
the 193rd Special Operations Wing’s Medical
Group, pricks the finger of brave 23-month-old
Kahia Inman in Hilo, Hawaii, in June, while his
mother Malia Duvauchelle holds him.
Fall 2010 / GUARDIANS / 19
With every movement, the mortar tube of the Mortar Fire Control system
must be re-sighted, a task Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 103rd Armor
learned while training at Fort Indiantown Gap in June.
A more accurate,
more effective mortar
An M-1064 Weapons Carrier sits at Fort Indiantown Gap as the Soldiers
20 / GUARDIANS / Fall 2010 from 3rd Battalion, 103rd Armor, prepare a training mission.
Pvt. Jeremy Kissinger, an M-1064 Weapons Carrier driver from Headquarters
Company, 3rd Battalion, 103rd Armor, bore sights a 120 mm mortar as he learns to
operate the Mortar Fire Control System in June at Fort Indiantown Gap.
Story and photos by Spc. Coltin Heller
Speed and firepower are important assets of today’s military. When
combined, their effect is twofold: the enemy is defeated faster and troop
survival is increased. With this fact in mind, the Mortar Fire Controls
System was created.
Before the MFCS was implemented, all mortars were fired from
grounded positions and all coordinates and fire commands were trans-
mitted by radio from the forward observer, which were in turn relayed to
the mortar position. Not only did this process take time, but the room
for error could not be ignored.
Thanks to the MFCS, mortars are now as mobile as their vehicles and
supported by the latest technology. Computers connect vehicles to each
other, reducing human error and decreasing the time between fires. Sitting in the back of the M-1064 Weapons Carrier, a 120 mm
“It’s ten times faster,” said Sgt. Bryan Laubach of the Lewisburg- mortar tube awaits the Soldiers who are going to learn to use it.
based Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion,
103rd Armor. “The MFCS also dramatically
reduces the error,” said Laubach, comparing
the old system to the new system.
Two hundred meters was the standard
margin of error with the grounded system,
while under the MFCS the margin drops to a
mere 75 meters. Laubach recently returned
from Afghanistan and had only fired the
ground-based mortars. He is learning, along
with the other Soldiers in his unit, how to
operate the MFCS.
The 120 mm mortar tubes are mounted
in the back of an M-1064 Mortar Carrier, a
modified version of the M-119 Troop
Carrier. The vehicle commander sits in front
of the computer display to monitor incoming
information. The fire coordinates are then
sent to the rear of the vehicle, to the gunner,
so he can adjust the weapon for maximum
“It’s spot on,” said Pfc. Ryan Campbell,
also with Headquarters Company. “The risk
of danger close is also reduced. We effectively
create a bubble of safety where we can’t fire,
keeping other Soldiers safe.”
Thanks to the MFCS the Soldiers will be
able to minimize damage to their own troops
while at the same time conducting swift and
effective fire missions against the enemy. O
Fall 2010 / GUARDIANS / 21
“He would still be around 10 years from
now, 20 years from now if he could.”
Four other Pennsylvania Guardsman
also ran in the marathon.
Sgt. Dan Kysela, Company B, 1-110th
Infantry, finished in 2:57:28. He qualified
for the National Guard’s All Guard Team.
Staff Sgt. Matthew Stern, of the R&R
Battalion, was running his first marathon
and finished in 3:14:41. He also qualified
Team Eberly poses for a photo the day before the National Guard Bureau Marathon on May 2 in for the All Guard Team.
Lincoln, Neb. Photo: Courtesy of the Nebraska National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Clayton MacKnight,
3rd Battalion, 166th Training Regiment,
By Sgt. Matt Jones
finished in 3:45:33 and qualified for the
A team from the Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention 2011 NGB Marathon.
Battalion ran in the National Guard Bureau Marathon on May 2 in honor of a Pennsylvania Sgt. Steven Burns, Pennsylvania Army
National Guard drill sergeant who was killed while training for the event. National Guard Training Site Command,
On the morning of March 17, Master Sgt. Mark A. Eberly, 39, was running along finished in 3:48:33 and qualified for the
Route 183 in Bernville when he was struck from behind by a car. He was pronounced 2011 NGB Marathon. O
dead at the scene.
Fellow drill sergeants Sgt. 1st Class Kriss Berry, Sgt. 1st Class
Joseph Patterson, Staff Sgt. Gabriel Sweger and Sgt. 1st Class John
Walton, along with Sgt. 1st Class Wendy Diaz and Staff Sgt. James
Smigo of the Recruiting and Retention Battalion, ran in honor of
Eberly. Team Eberly finished with a chip time of 4:32:21 and
qualified for the 2011 National Guard Bureau Marathon.
In a message addressed to Eberly and distributed to members
of the Pennsylvania National Guard, Team Eberly said “Master
Sgt. Eberly, this was for you, we did it.”
“When we entered the University of Nebraska stadium running
cadence, the Pennsylvania Army National Guard brought the
entire stadium to a standstill as we heard them announce (Eberly’s)
name over the loudspeaker,” the message stated.
Sgt. 1st Class Gino Burns, who worked with Eberly as a recruiter,
said he was a huge workout fanatic. “As a matter of fact, if he were
standing here right now, he would ask you if you run, and if you
didn’t, he would ask why you don’t,” said Burns shortly after Eberly’s
death. “Any time I put on my running shoes, I think of him.”
Although Eberly was less than two years from being eligible to Members of the Pennsylvania National Guard’s Team Eberly celebrate a
retire, Burns said he was dedicated to the military and would have successful run after the National Guard Bureau Marathon on May 2 in
stayed around much longer. “He wouldn’t leave,” said Burns. Lincoln, Neb. Photo: Master Sgt. Alan Brown, Nebraska Air National Guard
Fall 2010 / GUARDIANS / 23
By Joan Z. Nissley
Pennsylvania’s six veterans homes, operated
by the Department of Military and Veterans
Affairs, celebrated the 19th annual State
Veterans Homes Week from June 13 through
“State Veterans Homes Week is designed
to make citizens aware of the resident veterans
in their community and to thank the staff and
volunteers of these homes who provide selfless
and exceptional care for these heroes each and
every day,” said Brig. Gen. Mike Gould, the
state’s deputy adjutant general for veterans
affairs. “It’s also an opportunity for members of
the community to visit the homes, meet some
of America’s honored veterans, and explore
the numerous volunteer programs available.”
U.S. Army veteran Frannie Dwyer enjoys a visit from
the Phillie Phanatic during the Corvette Show spon-
sored by the American Dream Corvette Club during
State Veterans Home Week in June at the Southeastern
Veterans Center. Photo: Patty Carfagno
24 / GUARDIANS / Fall 2010
Veterans at the Delaware Valley Veterans Home celebrate Flag Day during State Veterans Home Week
in June. Photo: Bill Jackson Storage Units • Vehicle Storage
Special activities throughout the week included ceremonies, special musical enter-
tainment, golf and fishing tournaments, carnivals and picnics.
The six homes serve more than 1,600 eligible veterans and their spouses and include
the Delaware Valley Veterans Home in Philadelphia, the Gino J. Merli Veterans Center
in Scranton, the Hollidaysburg Veterans Home in Hollidaysburg, the Pennsylvania
Soldiers and Sailors Home in Erie, the Southeastern Veterans Center in Spring City
and the Southwestern Veterans Center in Pittsburgh.
For more information about veterans home eligibility, volunteer opportunities or www.campingworld.com
employment at a veterans home, visit www.paveterans.state.pa.us. O
Dan Sorbo, a Purple Heart recipient who served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1948, participates in a
sandcastle building competition at the Southwestern Veterans Center during State Veterans Home
Week in June. Photo: Chris Veitch
Fall 2010 / GUARDIANS / 25
By Capt. Jay Ostrich
The pressure of driving iron through sand, running from
bunker to bunker, or getting near troubled woods while
desperately trying not to hit innocent civilians is nothing new for
most combat veterans.
But for one day in late June, combat veteran Chief Master
Sgt. George Vasiloff couldn’t be happier to have done all of that.
Especially being near troubled woods – Tiger Woods, that is. In a familiar pickle,
That’s because, through what he describes as the “luck of Chief Master Sgt.
the draw” and a little help from his Army brethren, Vasiloff was George Vasiloff tries
asked to play a round of golf with the world’s best, if not most to figure a safe way
infamous, golfer at the AT&T National Pro-AM held at the out of the sand while
Aronomink Country Club, Newtown Square. playing alongside
They didn’t need to ask twice. the golf great Tiger
With a slight breeze and early morning dew glistening from Woods on June 30
at the 2010 AT&T
the tee box of the majestic, 430-yard first hole, Vasiloff, a 27-year National Pro-Am
veteran of the Air Force, was introduced to an enthusiastic crowd tournament at
and his golf dream began. Aronomink Country
Square. Photo: Capt.
Hauling off boldly with a driver, he hit a towering shot that
faded into a thicket of lush, green rough. Sitting 85 yards ahead
of him, squarely in the middle of the neatly manicured fairway,
was the champion, Woods. One shot later, Woods was on the
green putting for birdie. As for Vasiloff, he was back with a
familiar friend – the sand.
All in perspective
Just a few short weeks before, Vasiloff, chief of logistics with
201st RED HORSE Squadron of the Pennsylvania Air National
Guard, Fort Indiantown Gap was finishing up his third combat
After sinking a birdie putt to place his team in the lead, Tiger Woods shows Retired Pennsylvania Army National Guard Col. Joe Laneski, center, and
his gratitude with a hearty fist bump to Chief Master Sgt. George Vasiloff, Chief Master Sgt. George Vasiloff, right, study the swing and strategy of
chief of logistics for the 201st RED HORSE Squadron, at the 2010 National 14-time major golf champion Tiger Woods at the 2010 National Pro-AM
Pro-AM tournament June 30 in Newtown Square. Photo: Tech. Sgt. Stacy Gault tournament June 30 in Newtown Square. Photo: Capt. Jay Ostrich
26 / GUARDIANS / Fall 2010
tour in an austere location devoid of green
anything let alone the comfy confines of
The unit’s six-month mission was to
build and repair military infrastructures that
support missions as part of the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan. For the chief, driving his
Airmen and keeping them safe was the only
thing he could think about. Doing that for
a golf ball would have to wait.
But as he walked up through the par-4
second hole, where he would again find
himself in a bunker, it all started to come
into perspective for both the chief and
“George thinks he died and went to
heaven,” said a beaming Ronda J. Vasiloff,
his wife of 16 years. “Usually we would be
worried about when he’s in the sand. Not
today though. Today there are no worries.”
After slightly struggling to find his
best game through three holes, his caddy, Tiger Woods and Chief Master Sgt. George Vasiloff walk up to their approach shot, as fans cheer in
retired Army Col. Joe Laneski, former admiration, at the 2010 National Pro-AM tournament June 30 in Newtown Square. Vasiloff was selected
Pennsylvania National Guard chief of to play with Woods just weeks after returning from combat in Afghanistan. Photo: Capt. Jay Ostrich
staff, took the bulky bag off his shoulders “Who is that guy?” asked a casually said Ronda, who followed him with a
and presented Vasiloff with his trusted clad country club couple after watching smile throughout his 7,000-yard journey.
driver and some comic relief. Vasiloff outdrive the champ on yet This was just fine with his professional
“The bag’s getting heavy,” said Laneski another hole. playing partner, who was happy to talk
to his golf partner of 12 years. “You better “He must be the president of the club about his father, Earl Woods, a U.S. Army
start playing.” or something,” replied another. lieutenant colonel and two-tour Vietnam
After all, it was Laneski who had “No, he is just a normal military guy,”
submitted his name for the AT&T military (Continued on page 29)
caddy program, which turned into an invite
to play in the Pro-Am when the sponsor
of the Tiger Woods Foundation learned
Vasiloff could score near par.
Like any good troop, Vasiloff followed
orders and sent a missile 330 yards on the
466-yard par 4, fourth, sailing it past three
bunkers and softly landing it on the fairway
about 15 yards ahead Woods, winner of
more than 70 PGA events, including
14 major titles.
But if that wasn’t enough, Vasiloff
chipped onto the green eight feet below
the hole and coolly drained a birdie putt,
one ahead of the champ who hadn’t yet
broken par and wouldn’t be able to muster
it on the fourth.
When asked on the next fairway
whether he felt pressure, the humble hero
paused and put it all into perspective.
“After the first hole, when I could
finally breathe, I realized pressure is send-
ing your guys out on a combat convoy,”
said Vasiloff. “This here? This is just fun.”
The real hero
As Vasiloff settled in and hit his groove,
sending bomb after accurate bomb down
the hilly and treacherous course, Tiger’s
fans started a buzz about the man with
the buzz cut.
Fall 2010 / GUARDIANS / 27
From Gulf to golf, bunker to bunker (Continued from page 27)
Tiger Woods, son of former U.S. Army Lt. Col.
Earl Woods, studies the swing of Chief Master
Sgt. George Vasiloff, a chief of logistics for the
Chief Master Sgt. George Vasiloff talks to world champion Tiger Woods about his upbringing in a 201st RED HORSE Squadron, at the 2010
military family and an upcoming putt to conclude their round of golf together at the 2010 National National Pro-AM tournament on June 30
Pro-AM tournament June 30 in Newtown Square. Photo: Tech. Sgt. Stacy Gault in Newtown Square. Photo: Capt. Jay Ostrich
veteran, who introduced Tiger to golf at And as Tiger Woods shook hands with amateur golfer, but a superior Airman
a young age and remained a coach and his partner and walked over an isolated and a champion at life.
mentor throughout his life. bridge by himself, Chief Master Sgt. From the Gulf to golf and bunker to
Woods, the tournament host, wanted George Vasiloff humbly walked through bunker, it was a perfect ending to a near
a way to honor the military through golf. the crowd and into the loving arms of his perfect day. O
“I just think it was something that family, not just as an above-average
should be honored, and that’s why we’re
doing it,” he said. “It’s just a way to say
With a special military pavilion and
more than 30,000 complimentary tickets
given to military members and their
families, Woods hopes they were
“Tiger knows where we are coming
from,” said Vasiloff. “This was just a great
For Ronda, this was just another
example of her husband being humble and
thanking others before taking credit
“He is a noble man,” said Ronda, who
tried to hold back tears of pride. “He is
in a noble profession, and he gives it his
whole heart and soul.”
His caddy and friend, who hours
earlier had helped bring it all into per-
spective, couldn’t have agreed more.
“He’s dedicated to his family and to
his service first,” said Laneski. “The third
love of his life is golf, and somehow he’s
able to tie it all together and be excellent
Ultimately, the team finished a 7-under
par 63, tied for seventh, far from the
prestige both have felt at being the best
in their business.
Fall 2010 / GUARDIANS / 29
A better way of doing business
In the wake of the Pennsylvania
Guard’s largest modern deployment, a
specially created think tank is energizing
efforts to improve the way the organiza-
tion conducts internal business.
To that end, the Continuous Process
Improvement team held a workshop in
May and set out to find ways of stream-
lining joint operations. With roots in Lean
and Six Sigma, the CPI philosophy is
designed to align an organization with its
The Lean philosophy is designed to
increase efficiency, eliminate waste and
simplify workflow with a focus on high-
value steps. Six Sigma focuses on increas-
ing consistency, reducing variation and
In a 2009 memorandum introducing Pennsylvania National Guard members discuss the seven primary goals they developed during the
the CPI concept, Gen. Craig McKinley, Continuous Process Improvement workshop in May. Courtesy photo
Chief of the National Guard Bureau,
wrote: “The joint CPI program will help During the workshop, the Pennsylvania maintaining unit and individual pre-
our enterprise become mission-ready team pinpointed several goals, each with paredness, and continuity of operations
and mission-capable by removing waste- specific objectives and benchmarks to were among the topics targeted for
ful and non-value-added activities.” measure success. Homeland defense, improvement. O
30 / GUARDIANS / Fall 2010
During 1st Lt. Reed Preece’s combat mission in Iraq, an
explosive round pierced his Stryker vehicle and set it on fire. With
his helmet knocked off and shrapnel injuries to his face and back,
Preece ordered the evacuation of the smoke-filled vehicle.
After exiting, he noticed his gunner was still inside. Pfc. Brian
Miller had two broken legs and was stuck in the Stryker’s front
hatch. With no thought to his personal safety and, despite his
injuries, he climbed on top of the burning vehicle and, along with
another Soldier, pulled Miller to safety.
After coordinating a medevac request, Preece directed his
Soldiers to question local civilians regarding the attack. His quick
actions resulted in the collection of intelligence that led to the
targeting of a nearby insurgent hideout. O
Dale Earnhardt Jr. stands with 1st Lt. Reed Preece.
Photo: Sgt. Michael Baltz, 107th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Eight National Guard members from the 8 Soldiers and 8 Missions program stand with Dale Earnhardt Jr. after unveiling his car on June 30. Pennsylvania
National Guard 1st Lt. Reed Preece, second from left, was chosen as one of the eight Soldiers to be featured on Earnhardt’s car during a NASCAR race in
Daytona, Fla. Photo: Sgt. Michael Baltz, 107th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Fall 2010 / GUARDIANS / 31
CURATOR’S CORNER By Charles Oellig
Thirty-one members of the Harrisburg City Grays, Headquarters Company, 55th Brigade, 28th Infantry Division, pose
wearing parade dress uniforms in 1933 – gray cadet-style jackets with white cross belts, white trousers and dark blue shakos
trimmed in white with white plumes. These uniforms were worn only for parades and ceremonies. The two officers in the front
row are Capt. Statton L. Rice and 2nd Lt. Raymond H. Hoffman.
Today, the lineage of the City Grays is carried on by Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 28th Infantry Division. O
This is the 28th in a series of historical photographs of Pennsylvania National Guardsmen of the past, submitted by Charles Oellig, curator
of the Pennsylvania National Guard Military Museum at Fort Indiantown Gap. The museum is open Mondays and Fridays, from 10 a.m. to
4:30 p.m., or other days by appointment. Call (717) 861-2402 or visit www.pngmilitarymuseum.org for more information or to schedule an
appointment. The museum is closed on major holidays.
Tactical Air Control Party Airmen of the 193rd
Special Operations Wing’s 148th Air Support
Operations Squadron pull security around a
Stryker during a four-day field training exercise
Sgt. Ryan Piersol of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s 213th Personnel Company operates the at Fort Indiantown Gap in May. More than 50
Humvee Egress Assistance Trainer on May 15 at Fort Indiantown Gap. The HEAT, as it is often called, Airmen took part in the FTX and played a role
allows Soldiers to experience a rollover in a controlled environment so they can react more intuitively in the scenarios. Other participants included
and precisely if they encounter a rollover while deployed. Piersol, who is certified to operate the the various support elements of radio mainte-
HEAT, was supporting pre-deployment validation training, which several units from the 213th Area nance, supply, vehicle maintenance and four
Support Group went through at Fort Indiantown Gap to stay a step ahead in the deployment Lithuanian Joint Terminal Attack Controllers.
process. Photo: Spc. David Strayer Photo: Master Sgt. George Roach
32 / GUARDIANS / Fall 2010