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Pennsylvania Guardians - Spring 2008

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Pennsylvania Guardians - Spring 2008 Powered By Docstoc
					       Governor
    Edward G. Rendell
                                The Adjutant General
                                     Maj. Gen.
                                  Jessica L. Wright
                                                             Features:
                                                           Final Roll Call . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
                                                           Driving home a difference in Afghanistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
                                                           Death on call: A new breed of air combat warrior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
                     Governor                              112th AOS: Maestros over mayhem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
                  Edward G. Rendell
                                                           When life hands you Lemmons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
              The Adjutant General
             Maj. Gen. Jessica L. Wright                   From snowdrifts to sand dunes: 1/104th Cavalry readies for Egypt . . . 22
   Executive Editor/State Public Affairs Officer           Stryker’s sly Fox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
            Lt. Col. Christopher Cleaver
                                                           Hate is enough . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27
                  Managing Editor
                  1st Lt. Jay Ostrich                      Jumping to conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
              State Public Affairs Staff
                     Joan Nissley
                    Kevin Cramsey
                   Capt. Cory Angell
                                                             Departments:
                  Sgt. Damian Smith
                   Spc. Matt Jones                        From The Adjutant General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
            State Public Affairs Office                   Guardians on Guard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
            Pennsylvania National Guard
               Fort Indiantown Gap                        Army Newsmakers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
                   Building 8-41
                Annville, PA 17003
                                                          Air Newsmakers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
          www.dmva.state.pa.us
                                                          Curator’s Corner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24


                                                                                                           ON THE COVER: Airpower on solid ground isn’t
                                                                                                           exactly what people think of when they hear
                                                                                                           about the Pennsylvania Air National Guard. But
                                                                                                           in the non-linear world of 21st century warfare,
                                                                                                           a new generation of air combat warrior is
                                                                                                           increasingly seeing more time of terra firma than
                                                                                                           ever before. Guardians takes a look at what two
                 Bob Ulin, Publisher                                                                       unique units are doing to project airpower with
             Susan Harrington, Editor                                                                      their feet and future planted firmly on Earth.
           Gloria Schein, Art Director                                                                     Photo: Tech. Sgt. Matt Schwartz
         Darrell George, Advertising Sales

        Toll Free: (866) 562-9300
           Fax: (907) 562-9311
      Web: www.AQPpublishing.com
                                                                     www.dmva.state.pa.us
    This unofficial magazine is an authorized          endorsement by the State of Pennsylvania,                and public officials, better informed on the
publication for members of the Pennsylvania            Pennsylvania National Guard, DoD, AQP                    issues and events affecting the Pennsylvania
National Guard. Contents of the magazine are           Publishing Inc., the Department of the Army              National Guard.
not necessarily the official view of, or               and/or the Air Force or the publisher of this                Editorial content is edited, prepared and
endorsed by, the U.S. Government, the                  magazine of the firms, products or services              provided by the Office of Public Affairs, JFHQ-
Department of Defense, Department of the               advertised.                                              PA. All photographs and graphic devices are
Army and/or the Air Force or the Pennsylvania              Pennsylvania Guardians magazine is                   copyrighted to the Pennsylvania National
National Guard. The appearance of advertis-            published by the Pennsylvania National Guard             Guard, unless otherwise indicated.
ing in this publication does not constitute            to keep its members, the Guard command

                                                                                                                   Spring 2008 / GUARDIANS / 1
FROM THE ADJUTANT GENERAL
                                                                       Maj. Gen. Jessica L. Wright

     The recent passage of the fiscal 2008 Defense Authorization Act will mean much more
than a well deserved pay raise for our Soldiers and Airmen. The authorization also includes
the National Guard Empowerment Act, which will significantly enhance our ability to
perform the full spectrum of Guard missions.
    From the smallest domestic response to full-scale combat operations, the Guard will have
increased visibility to include fair and equitable funding considerations from the Pentagon and
the promotion of chief, National Guard Bureau to four stars.
    This sweeping legislation also postures the Guard to respond to present and future threats
by designating the Joint Force Headquarters and the National Guard Bureau as joint activities
of the Department of Defense. This will streamline a number of processes and allow for a
more rapid response to emergencies here at home and abroad.
    It is important to note that the National Guard Empowerment Act would never have passed
without the proven track record of you our citizen Soldiers and Airmen. You have earned the
respect of our nation. Thanks to your efforts, America’s best insurance policy just got better.
                                                  Sincerely,



                                                  Jessica L. Wright, MG, PAARNG
                                                  The Adjutant General




Final Roll Call
   “These heroes are dead. They died for liberty – they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free,
under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows and the embracing vines.
They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest.
Earth may run red with other wars - they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of
death. I have one sentiment for Soldiers living and dead: Cheers for the living; tears for the dead.”
                                                                                                                 – Robert G. Ingersoll


     A senior Pennsylvania Army National Guard officer died at              “If I had one word to describe ‘Doc’
Brooke Army Medical Center, Texas, due to injuries received from        Berrettini, the word would be ‘inspiring,’”
an improvised explosive device attack in Khowst province,               said Chaplain (Capt.) Iris Dickerson. “He
Afghanistan.                                                            touched the lives of everyone he came in
     Lt. Col. Richard J. Berrettini, 52, Eldred, McKean County, died    contact with.”
Jan. 11, nine days after the HMMWV he was a passenger in was                Berrettini is the second Pennsylvania
attacked. He was serving a one-year tour and was scheduled to           National Guard officer lost in combat since
return home at the end of the month.                                    the Sept. 11 attacks. Lt. Col. Michael
     A South Carolina National Guard Soldier and an interpreter         McLaughlin, 44, of Mercer was killed
were also killed in the incident. A Maryland National Guard Soldier     Jan. 5, 2006, by a suicide bomber at an Iraqi police recruiting
was injured.                                                            station in Ramadi, Iraq. Thirty Pennsylvania National Guard
     Berrettini, a nurse practitioner, was assigned to the              Soldiers have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Pennsylvania Army National Guard Medical Detachment, Erie                   As a civilian, Berrettini was a Port Allegheny High School
Clinic. He volunteered to serve in Afghanistan and was assigned         nurse. He was a former active duty Sailor and joined the
to the South Carolina National Guard.                                   Pennsylvania National Guard in 1984.
     “Lieutenant Colonel Berrettini was a committed and dedicated           Berrettini is survived by his wife, Jane; mother, Doris; brother,
Soldier who deeply cared for his fellow service members,” said          Nello; and two sons Vincent, 26, and Christopher, 22. Vincent is a
Maj. Gen. Jessica L. Wright, state adjutant general. “We mourn the      U.S. Air Force Academy graduate and an Air Force pilot.
loss of Richard and our thoughts and prayers are with his family        Christopher is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy.
during this very trying time. He represented the best of our                He was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart and Combat
commonwealth and country and he made the ultimate sacrifice.”           Action Badge. O


                                                                                                    Spring 2008 / GUARDIANS / 3
 Guardians on Guard
                                                     Editor’s note: Graphics
                                                     represent just some of the
                                                     recent PA Guard
                                                     deployments worldwide.




                      San Diego, CA
                          201st Red Horse




                                                                                                                   Columbia
                                                                                                              OSA – Detachment 22

 Members of the 1/104th Cavalry don chemical masks
 during a training event at Fort Lewis, Wash. The unit
 recently arrived in the Sinai to enforce the 1979 Camp
 David Accords between Egypt and Israel.




 The stars of The Learning Channel’s American Chopper pose with a group of Pa. Guardsmen
 July 31. Paul, Paulie and Mikey Teutal, along with Orange County Chopper executive vice president
 Steve Moreau spent the day at Fort Indiantown Gap to get footage for an episode of their            Dressed in civilian attire, members of
 television show featuring the building of a National Guard-themed bike. The OCC crew brought        Detachment 22 of OSACOM pause in
 two of their famous custom choppers; the Commanche Bike and the POW/MIA Bike. The                   Columbia before supporting active duty
 Keystone Soldiers brought along their own American chopper, a CH-47 Chinook helicopter.             forces there.



4 / GUARDIANS / Spring 2008
                                                 Kuwait
                                           28th MP Company
                                            283rd Personnel
       Egypt                              Services Detachment
   1/104th Cavalry
                                                                         Members of the 1/104th Cav. recently traded in the snows of
                                                                         Washington for the sands of Egypt.




                                                                Afghanistan
                                                                 3/103rd Armor


                         Iraq
                271st CBCS
   Headquarters 213th Area Support Group
         128th Chemical Company




                                                                     Soldiers from the 213th Area Support Group received a special
Master Sgt. Beth Bieren, member of the 112th Air                     holiday touch when several Pennsylvania organizations shipped
Operations Squadron, had the opportunity to meet Gen.                fresh Christmas trees and plants to the unit. Led by the state
David Petraeus, commander of Multi-National Force-Iraq.              Department of Agriculture and the Pennsylvania Mushroom
Bieren is serving six months in Iraq supporting intelligence         Growers Association, several dozen trees and shrubs were sent to
operations.                                                          the unit in Balad, Iraq.



                                                                                 Spring 2008 / GUARDIANS / 5
Story and photos by Lt. Col. George M. Schwartz

    Throughout 2007, a small team of
Pennsylvania Army National Guardsmen
assigned to the 55th Brigade Combat
Team (Forward) of the Pennsylvania
National Guard’s 28th Infantry Division,
advised and supported a unit of the
fledgling Afghan national army.
Throughout the year, the experiences of
the 55th BCT (FWD) were broad, pro-
fessionally fulfilling and at times, tragic.
I had the honor of leading the team.
    Upon arrival in Afghanistan in                                                                                    Pennsylvania Guardsmen
                                                                                                                      on a patrol pass through
January 2007, we were assigned to work
                                                                                                                      a tunnel in Laghman
with the 1st Brigade, 201st Corps – the                                                                               Province, March 2007.
ANA’s very first brigade. Garrisoned
at Camp Darulaman on the southern
outskirts of Kabul, the brigade was con-
ducting counter-insurgency and security
operations in Kabul and four key
provinces around the capital. Our brigade
advisory team included two U.S. Marine               three directions. About half of the team and I took over the brigade headquarters
Corps mentoring teams and one head-                  mission, the role for which we had been trained. Half of the team was handpicked
quarters team comprised of Army                      to take on the job of advising the brigade’s 5th Kandak, the combat service support
Soldiers from every component, Navy                  battalion, under the leadership of Maj. Robert C. Jorgensen Jr. Two other team
Petty Officers and an Air Force officer.             members with law enforcement experience, 1st Lt. Joe Mitchell and Master Sgt. Kevin
    Due to a massive reorganization                  Bittenbender, volunteered to be mentors to the ANP.
within TF Phoenix – the U.S. joint task                  In early May 2007, the majority of the brigade deployed to the 201st Corps
force responsible for training the ANA               eastern zone area of responsibility, adding four additional provinces to its area of
and the Afghan national police – the                 responsibility. The EZAO is bounded by the Tora Bora region in the south, the
original 16-man team was soon split in               Hindu Kush mountain range in the north, and Pakistan to the east. May is the
                                                     beginning of the combat season in eastern Afghanistan because as the snow melts in
                                                     the mountain passes, the insurgents and foreign fighters cross into Afghanistan and
                                                     renew the insurgency.
                                                         For the next six months, the brigade was based in Jalalabad in an old fort that had
                                                     been the last stronghold of the Taliban. Most of the 5th Kandak team and our two
                                                     ANP advisors were based in Asadabad. The environment in the EZAO is similar to
                                                     that of the Indian sub-continent, so our Soldiers had to persevere against natural
                                                     hazards such as temperatures up to 120 degrees, cobra snakes in the FOBs and
                                                     tropical diseases like malaria, in addition to the enemy.
                                                         Contact with the insurgents was frequent, and included improvised explosive
                                                     devices, rocket attacks and direct fire engagements. For a two-month period, Kunar
                                                     Province alone accounted for half of all enemy contacts in the country, more than
                                                     even the infamous Helmand Province. Violence and the American death toll in
                                                     Afghanistan actually reached the highest level since the U.S.-led invasion toppled the
                                                     Taliban movement in 2001.
                                                         We were personally familiar with this tragic statistic because we lost our close
                                                     comrades Master Sgt. Scott Ball and Sgt. Jan Argonish on August 27. Both were killed
Lt. Col. Schwartz and 1st Sgt. Walter, team leader   by enemy fire during a violent ambush in the Kunar River Valley. Throughout the
and team NCOIC of the 55th BCT (FWD) discuss         year, three other advisors from the brigade team died in combat and 11 more were
Afghan national army operations at FOB Maiwand       wounded. In addition to our fellow mentors, 35 soldiers from the 1st ANA Brigade
in Logar Province, September 2007.                   were killed and 56 wounded in action.

8 / GUARDIANS / Spring 2008
     Despite our tragedy, there was also great
accomplishment. In 2007, the ANA with our
advisers by their side, completed more than
1,250 combat patrols, 440 resupply convoys
and combat logistic patrols, 250 security
missions and 220 combat operations.
Together, we also prevailed in more than
250 kinetic contacts with the enemy.
    As our year came to a close, the 55th
BCT (FWD) was helping to make history as
it turned over the brigade advisory mission
to the first French team to join TF Phoenix.
For a great part of 2007, French battalion
advisory teams served under the direction of
our U.S. headquarters. Several Pennsylvania
Guardsmen were recognized with French
medals for their efforts in making their new
mission a success. The effort is an important
part of the new French policy in Afghanistan
and President Nicholas Sarkozy visited the
brigade in December to talk with the U.S.
and French soldiers making it happen.
    We made a strong investment in the
Afghan national security forces in 2007, and
leave with the satisfaction of knowing that we
made a difference. “Our” Afghans are better
able of ensuring the security of their country;   An Afghan national army major looks out the door of a Black Hawk helicopter during an aerial recon
and, as a result, our own country is safer. O     in the Kunar Valley, May 2007.




                                                                                                     Spring 2008 / GUARDIANS / 9
ARMY NEWSMAKERS
1-112th Infantry live fire                        Aviator recognized for
training                                          a lifetime of service
By Pfc. Sherece Maddox and Pfc. Coltin Heller,    By Capt. Cory Angell
109th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
                                                      The Chapel of Four Chaplains presented
    The woods at Fort Indiantown Gap              retired Chief Warrant Officer John Travers with
seem still, the trees standing like skeletal      the Bronze Medallion of the Legion of Honor,
sentinels. However, amidst the stillness          Nov. 2 at Fort Indiantown Gap.
are the Soldiers of the 1-112th Infantry              “The Chapel of the Four Chaplains was
of Bradford, Pa., actively moving through         founded in memory of four Army chaplains who
the woods as they train on Range 34, the          died during the sinking of the Dorchester off the
Infantry Squad Battle Course.                     coast of Greenland in World War II,” said
    The ISBC is designed for infantry             Patricia Aversa, program coordinator for
units such as the Pennsylvania National           the chapel.                                           Chief Warrant Officer John Travers
Guard’s 1-112th to conduct live fire drills.          She said the chaplains gave up their own life discusses the significance of history
The course included pop-up targets and            jackets to Soldiers who did not have them and         with the local media.
silhouettes of buildings.                         calmed men in the panic. They were last seen
    The procedures the unit conducted             with their arms linked kneeling on the slanting deck in prayer.
were advancing to an objective, line of               “The organization strives to recognize those who selflessly serve their com-
fire toward an objective, basic fire and          munity and nation,” said Aversa. “It’s important that we recognize those who have
maneuvering assaults to clear the objec-          done so much for others.”
tive. These tasks set the foundation for              “Travers served with the Pennsylvania National Guard as a UH-1 pilot for
proper squad solidarity.                          nearly 30 years,” said Larry Babitts who serves on the board of directors for the
    The unit was broken down into                 Chapel of the Four Chaplains.
nine-man squads for the exercise, with                According to the award citation Travers started his service with the regular
the squads rotating throughout the day.           Army in Viet Nam where he was awarded 31 Air Medals and a Silver Star.
They started out by making a dry run                  In 1972 during Hurricane Agnes, Travers, then a pilot with the 104th Armored
through the course and progressed to              Cavalry, was credited with rescuing 53 civilians.
blank and live ammunition to simulate                 “His military service and continuing work with statewide veteran’s organizations
a real world scenario.                            is exactly what this organization tries to recognize,” said Babitts. “His devotion to
    To further simulate a combat environ-         his country, community and fellow veterans is an example we should all live by.”
ment, mock improvised explosive devices               “It’s an organization that I have always admired and never thought of myself as
were used in the mission. After the               one of its possible honorees,” said Travers. “It was a very pleasant surprise.”
objective was reached and security was
established, Stryker vehicles arrived to
transport the squads and any mock
casualties. To familiarize themselves with           The draft Supplemental Environ-           Light Utility Helicopter
medical evacuation procedures and                mental Assessment looks at potential          headed to PNG
entering and exiting vehicles, the squads        environmental, cultural and socio-
and simulated casualties were taken to a         economic impacts related to operation             Already the envy of many with its
UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.                     of a Multi-Purpose Training Range on          Stryker Brigade, the Pennsylvania
    The exercise was focused on practic-         Fort Indiantown Gap.                          National Guard will add another mile-
ing reacting to contact and preparing                According to computer studies done        stone system to its arsenal later this year.
for what could happen overseas. The              by Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., some rounds       The Lakota Light Utility Helicopter
unit as a whole is ready for any type of         fired at the MPTR will ricochet off post      will be assigned to the Eastern Army
deployment, said Sgt. William Hasson of          and into SGL 211 along the north              National Guard Aviation Training Site
B Company of the 1-112th.                        border of the installation. This requires     at Muir Field by June.
    Spc. Dale Rupp, B Co. of the 1-112th,        military officials to establish a surface         EAATS will be the only schoolhouse
said, “This is a vital training asset aid for    danger zone on 900 acres of state Game        in the Army for the UH-72A. Eight
future missions.”                                Lands 211 land.                               aircraft will eventually be assigned to
                                                     After comments are received on the        the program and two other aircraft
Environmental Assessment                         draft, a final document will be prepared      will be assigned to the Security and
                                                 for release in several months. The lengthy    Support Battalion.
released
                                                 study found no significant impact to the          The Lakota is a general support
   A long awaited environmental docu-            physical environment.                         helicopter that can support Homeland
ment was released to the public and                  To review the draft Supplemental          Security and counter drug operations.
regulatory agencies for comment in               Environmental Assessment go to                The $5 million aircraft has a crew of two
mid-January.                                     www.dmva.state.pa.us.                         and can carry six passengers.

                                                                                                Spring 2008 / GUARDIANS / 11
AIR NEWSMAKERS
171st Air Refueling Wing                            six observers Jan. 23. These inspectors              Corey Pierce worked on the ISP rewire
inspection                                          joined the remainder of their team down-             of four buildings at Balad AB, Iraq.
                                                    range. Nearly 200 inspectors watched                 During this period, the team installed
    The 171st Air Refueling Wing has                and recorded the performance of the                  more than 158,000 ft. of extensive
received good preliminary reports in                171st in all phases of 8044, deployment,             premise rewiring along with more than
response to its Operational Readiness               Ability to Survive and Operate and                   2,500 terminations. To avoid any dis-
Inspection, which took place late January           redeployment operations to validate                  ruption, this work had to be done in the
through early February.                             mission capabilities.                                evening hours since the buildings were
    The inspection involved a one-week                  Brig. Gen. Roy Uptegraff, 171 ARW                active during the day.
intra-theater air refueling scenario with           commander, was to receive the official                   In Afghanistan, Master Sgt. Robert
flying packages, headquarters, medical              outbrief in Pittsburgh, Feb. 14. The out-            Muth led a team comprised of Staff Sgt.
and associated support taskings. Eight              brief was scheduled to be conducted at               Frank McHenry, Staff Sgt. Chris Swisher,
KC-135s and four C-17s moved 77 short               the 171st Steel City Café.                           Staff Sgt. Adam Morton and Senior
tons of cargo and 380 unit members                                                                       Airman Ray MacGregor, installing six
from Pittsburgh to Gulfport, Miss., home                                                                 VSAT antennas upon a 60 ft. tower at
of the Air National Guard’s Combat                  270th EIS plays integral                             Kabul AB, Afghanistan, dramatically
Readiness Training Center. There the                role in GWOT                                         increasing the base communications
unit joined members from the 151st Air                                                                   capability.
Refueling Wing and the 85th Aerial Port                 Personnel from the 270th EIS played                  At Bagram AB, Afghanistan,
Squadron to combine as the 802nd Air                an integral role in installing major                 Muth’s team overcame weather issues
Expeditionary Wing. More than 300                   communications infrastructure in Iraq                and regional instability, to complete an
unit members made up the “mobility                  and Afghanistan.                                     install 15 days ahead of deadline.
machine” that ensured personnel and                     Under the supervision of Master Sgt.             Considered the number one project in
cargo were ready for movement.                      Stephen Coulbourn, Senior Master Sgt.                the AOR at the time, the team placed
    Twenty Air Mobility Command                     Charles Peek, Staff Sgt. Darryl Oliver,              more than 60,000 ft. of cable along with
inspectors arrived in Pittsburgh along              Staff Sgt. Christopher Murphy and Staff              13 underground splices necessary for
with 13 outside unit augmentees and                 Sgt. Richard Ellis and Senior Airman                 fiber and copper connectivity.


  193rd receives funding to assist flight operations
                                                                                                                    Space for aircraft parking
                                                                                                                and safe taxiway operations
                                                                                                                have long been a concern for
                                                                                                                Airmen at the 193rd Special
                                                                                                                Operations Wing.
                                                                                                                    This problem will be alle-
                                                                                                                viated thanks to recent govern-
                                                                                                                ment funding. U.S. Rep. Tim
                                                                                                                Holden provided a $1 million
                                                                                                                check to go with $5 million
                                                                                                                previously appropriated during
                                                                                                                a ceremony at the wing Dec. 27.
                                                                                                                The additional funds will assist
                                                                                                                with meeting the project’s cost.
                                                                                                                    Collocated at Harrisburg
                                                                                                                International Airport, civilian
                                                                                                                flights taxi very close to the
                                                                                                                unit’s aircraft. In addition, the
                                                                                                                unit has long dealt with cramped
                                                                                                                parking accommodations.
                                                                                                                    Construction for the joint
                                                                                                                aircraft parking apron expansion
                                                                                                                and taxiway relocation project is
   Flanked by U.S. Rep. Tim Holden and State Rep. John Payne, Tech. Sgt. Georgia Powell and Staff Sgt. Ashley   scheduled to begin later this year.
   Roughsedge receive a ceremonial check for the upgrade of wing facilities. Photo: Tech. Sgt. Matt Schwartz


                                                                                                          Spring 2008 / GUARDIANS / 13
       A      s Airmen, they are the nation’s
    premier multi-dimension maneuver force,
    with the agility, reach, speed, stealth,                                               Finding their way behind enemy
                                                                                           lines and putting bombs on target
    payload, precision and persistence to                                                  is what 148th ASOS Staff Sgt.
    control air, space and cyberspace any-                                                 Shawn Bearinger and Airman
                                                                                           Murphy Fountain III are all about
    where on the planet.                                                                   during exercises at FTIG.
        But, ask citizens how more than                                                    Photo: Tech. Sgt. Matt Schwartz
    4,000 members of the Pennsylvania Air
    National Guard achieve this mission and
    you will invariably hear something about
    airplanes and flying. Although pilots or
    aircrew comprise less than 10 percent of
    the U.S. Air Force, in the public eye, if
    you are an Airman, you fly.
        Perception may be reality, but as the
    landscape of 21st century warfare
    evolves, the demands upon the PANG
    continue to change with it. Add to this a
    steady growth of “Purple” operations
    with other services, and the drumbeat to                                      By 1st Lt. Jay Ostrich and
    change this misperception grows louder                                        Senior Airman Raina Kane
    than a sonic boom.
                                                    Behind the camouflaged and steely-eyed glare of a 148th Air Support
        Ultimately, the PANG continues to       Operations Squadron member you’ll find the new face of an Air combat
    modernize their highly deployed flying      warrior. But unlike their brothers and sisters who bravely take to the skies
    force with a battle tested arsenal of       to defend our freedom, this new generation of Airmen find their future
    A-10s, EC-130Js and KC-135s. But in         and mission on solid ground.
                                                    “In a split second, you go from quiet and relative calm to your entire
    this edition of Pennsylvania Guardians,     world erupting around you as time slows to a crawl,” said Master Sgt.
    we take a look at two unique units that     Aaron Gibbs, 148th ASOS Tactical Air Control Party, of his mission
    are simultaneously changing their           behind enemy lines. “You don’t have time to think things through; you
    missions and public perception by           have time to react or die.”
                                                    Known affectionately as “Air Force Infantry,” Gibbs is one of a select
    showing why modern-day Pennsylvania         few who has earned the privilege of wearing the black beret and crest of
    airpower finds itself on solid ground.      this new face of Air combat warrior. Headquartered at Fort Indiantown



14 / GUARDIANS / Spring 2008
Gap, the mission of this elite unit is to      to be able to
provide combat ready TACP assets to            shoot, move
their supported Army units. This includes      and communi-
the 55th Brigade Combat Team and               cate. During
56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team of            the FTX we
the Pennsylvania Army National Guard,          stressed all
said Lt. Col. Terrence L. Koudelka,            three to ensure
148th commander.                               that our men are
    So intertwined and critical are TACPs      trained to
to successful Pennsylvania Army National       standard. The more
Guard missions, Airmen here are                they use the radios and
authorized to wear the Keystone patch of       equipment while they are here,
the 28th Division. With this honor, their      the better off they will be when they are
combat duties require them to maneuver         in theater.”
behind enemy lines while they meticu-              Since the 148th ASOS is a new unit,
lously plan, request and direct air strikes    they are always on the lookout for
against targets in close proximity to          new members.
friendly forces. On the battlefield, they          “We try to educate people as we meet
are known by bogged down friendly forces       them, but we’re always looking to get
as “Death on call.”                            members and leadership from the wing
    “The 148th ASOS advises those              to come out and see what an ASOS is all
Army Brigades on U.S. and allied air and       about,” said Ball.
space power, war fighting doctrine and             “We find that in talking to new
capabilities, integrates close air support,    recruits or guys interested in being a
airlift and reconnaissance air assets into     TACP that they want to be challenged
the ground commanders joint battle             and want to have a direct result in the
plan,” said Koudelka.                          Global War on Terror,” said Staff Sgt.
    The TACP motto tells more of the           Shawn Bearinger, 148th ASOS TACP.
tale: “The strong shall stand, the weak        “Being a TACP fills both of those voids.
will fall by the wayside.” For the members     You put bombs on target and see the
of the 148th, living this motto as a team      immediate results, knowing that you
is an uncompromising way of life.              saved American lives.”
    “This means that everyone works                Ready to head over and join up? First
together to accomplish the same mission        you should read over our core values.
– putting bombs on target,” said Master            “Integrity first is a core value that
Sgt. Scott Ball, 148th ASOS TACP.              we take very seriously in an ASOS,”
“TACPs work in groups of two men, and          said Ball. “We need to accomplish the
we need to know that we can trust each         mission and know that the guy standing
other explicitly.”                             next to you will be able to handle the
    That trust will now be forged with         pressure while under fire from the
their new partners in the Stryker Brigade.     enemy and that you can trust him to do
    “The tradition of TACPs working with       the right thing.”
the Army is an old concept dating back             Just as quickly as the chaos ensues,
to the Korean War, but it’s the newest         the engagement is over and time is back
mission in the Pennsylvania Air National       to its normal pace.
Guard,” said Ball. “I would venture to             “For the first time in 30 minutes,
say that most people have no idea what         you actually have time to breathe and
our job entails, the specialized gear that     think about what just happened,” said
we need and the training it takes to           Gibbs. “It is only now that you under-
become a TACP and stay proficient.”            stand why the training has been so hard,
    During a recent field training exercise,   and why the motto of ‘train like we fight’
the 148th ASOS had the opportunity to          is so important.
show what makes them “train like they              “You feel the pride, you are a
fight,” their squadron motto. The FTX          member of the brotherhood of combat
lasted four days, where members worked         warriors, which, when asked, stepped
day and night to simulate actual deploy-       forward and took the fight to the enemy
ment scenarios.                                – right into their backyard. You and your
    “Deployments require a lot of the          partner are the two deadliest men on the      Airmen are familiar with flying over mountains, but now
same training as the FTX,” said Gibbs.         battlefield.                                  they scale them. The 148th ASOS members search for
“The three tenets of our career field are          “You are a TACP.” O                       a rendezvous point during field training exercises at
                                                                                             FTIG. Photo: Tech. Sgt. Matt Schwartz


                                                                                            Spring 2008 / GUARDIANS / 15
  As if conducting an air war symphony, Master Sgt. Beth Bieren, 112th intelligence specialist,
  explains to Airmen why a particular target needs to be taken out.


Story and photos by 1st Lt. Jay Ostrich

    Within sight of the glitz and kitsch of the Las Vegas Strip,           mayhem, a 17-member team from Happy Valley ready to take
another finely tuned concert prepares to take a desert stage. It           the wand as a conductor who makes sure all players are in
has all the trimmings of high-tech sound systems, coordinated              unison, hitting precise notes at the right time.
wardrobes and full-throttle pyrotechnics. But unlike those for
mere public folly, this performance is a matter of life, death
and national security.
    The stage is an intimidating 12,000-square-mile range in the
desert sands adjacent to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The two-
                                                                          Overture
                                                                               Their job as maestro is set within the relatively safe con-
week production, called Operation Red Flag, aims to provide                fines of a Combined Air and Space Operations Center, a nerve
advanced combat training for U.S. and Allied aircrews in a                 center of operators and systems used to prosecute an air
highly realistic threat environment. The orchestra, a combina-             campaign. This small but vital force allows the Air Force to
tion of airmen from the U.S., Canada and France, hopes to                  accurately target enemies anywhere on the planet while avoid-
synthesize their efforts and aircraft to make sweet sounds of              ing fratricide and unnecessary collateral damage.
freedom ring throughout the world.                                             As a fiery red sunset descends upon the desert, Maj. Aaron
    Flawless communication and careful coordination are                    Vance, 112th AOS chief of training and senior air defense
needed to seamlessly execute this mission though. Strike one               officer, sits confidently behind a massive bank of computers
sour chord here and the whole opera, the entire mission, falls             and microphones. It is the calm before the storm. He knows
miserably flat.                                                            that within a few minutes, his team must coordinate their
    Enter center stage the 112th Air Operations Squadron,                  efforts to help F-16s and French Mirage fighter planes deliver
Pennsylvania Air National Guard, from State College. It is one             a deadly payload of justice to a formidable enemy.
of only five such Guard and Reserve units capable of coordi-                   Vance’s job is to communicate specific CAOC decisions to
nating this intricate air symphony. They are the maestro of this           an E-3 Sentry, an airborne warning and control system,

16 / GUARDIANS / Spring 2008
AWACS, aircraft that provides in air       prioritize what targets are more valuable               As for the decisions made by these
surveillance, command and control          to the overall mission.                             Happy Valley airmen, Fast seemed
and communications to in-theater               “We have to be quick, flexible and              genuinely impressed.
fighter planes.                            calm,” said Sublett. “You can’t just focus              “They did an outstanding job,”
    “After all the analysis, we issue      on one aspect or contingency of war. You            said Fast. “These folks are knife-
through the AWACS an Air Tasking           need to see the bigger picture.”                    in-the-teeth kind of airmen and I am
Order, which basically tells pilots what       After concluding that available fighter         confident they are now ready to
to do, where to go and when they should    aircraft can get the job done effectively           augment any mission anywhere around
do it,” said Vance, a Tyrone native and    and safely, a plan is approved and relayed          the world.”
U.S. Air Force Academy graduate.           to the AWACS, who in turn pass it on to                 Staff Sgt. Adam Walters, an air
“Essentially, we tell these instruments    the pilots who can get it done. The con-            tasking order technician with the 112th
what notes they should play.”              cert can now resume in full force.                  on his first Red Flag mission, agreed
    Their mission tonight is to deftly                                                         with the overall assessment.
interpret endless streams of incoming
intelligence and data in order to
destroy valuable targets in less than 20
minutes of their identification. The
                                           Finale                                                  “At first I was nervous as can be
                                                                                               to be here,” said Walters, who learned
                                                                                               a completely new system at Red Flag
                                                                                               and works as an auditor in Altoona.
                                               Just minutes later, bombs and live
goal: 100 percent mission effectiveness    fire rain hell upon the selective targets           “Now I have no idea what I was
and zero coalition casualties.             and light up the desert night. The stage            sweating about – this has been a
    “Tonight is a culmination of train-    is now silent, and although the enemy               great experience.”
ing and a conclusion to our conversion     has been destroyed and much of the                      Behind him, 112th Lt. Col. Bob
from simulation to live bombs and          audience has returned home, the mission             Petersen finishes up his paperwork as
missions,” said Vance. “The end result,    of the 112th AOS continues. It is time to           acting CAOC chief here and reflected
we hope, is to end the war. Some targets   read the reviews.                                   on what has been an intense two weeks
allow you to do so more quickly.”              The main critic of tonight’s 112th              of training.
                                           performance is Maj. Paul Fast, 505th                    “They did an exceptional job,” said

Intermezzo                                 Operations Squadron, a lead strategy
                                           instructor, whose small cadre of CAOC
                                           experts have guided this group through
                                                                                               Petersen, who added that this was the
                                                                                               best exercise he had ever been
                                                                                               through. “Everybody was working
                                                                                               together to get the job done and I am
    If accurate analysis is the sheet      weeks of painstaking performances. He
music for mission effectiveness and        will begin a detailed brief aimed at                very proud of the folks who came
ending the war, then the men and           analyzing the good, the bad and the ugly            out here.”
women of the 112th who operate the         of tonight’s mission that will last into the            With the reviews in, and the critics
intelligence cell of the CAOC hold a       wee hours of the morning.                           pleased, the 112th AOS heads back to
steady quill.                                  “In the debrief process, we figure out          Happy Valley, ready for the next show
    The team must help strategically       what happened and why it happened,”                 in any venue around the world that
navigate pilots and airmen through a       said Fast. “Operation Red Flag provides             needs the maestro’s touch. O
tangled web of weapons, warmongers         a realistic environment and this is a
and innocent civilians, by determining     fantastic way for these airmen to see the
threats, assessing damage and moni-        impacts of good and bad decisions.”
toring the execution of orders. Without
proper intelligence, pilots would not
have the knowledge they need for
mission effectiveness and targets could
escape. Moreover, pilots themselves
can quickly become enemy targets.
    “If our mission fails, the political
side of the house won’t be happy,”
said Lt. Col. Lee Sublett, a senior
intelligence officer for the 112th.
“Ultimately, good people can die.”
    Tonight, Sublett and his team
receive information that a key
enemy scientist working on weapons
of mass destruction has been located
in a building near a mosque and a
high-ranking official has been located
in a stationary railcar near civilians.
They must now decipher whether              Staff Sgt. Adam Walters looks at mission tactics with Lt. Col. Aaron Vance while he communicates
the target can be taken out without         with a myriad of aircraft flying above during Red Flag exercises at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
undesired collateral damage and


                                                                                                Spring 2008 / GUARDIANS / 17
By Kevin Cramsey

    As a member of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s                         “In 2005, we started to revisit the idea,” Scott said. “Then,
l93rd Special Operations Wing, Tech. Sgt. Scott Lemmon has                   the following year, we put our names on the list.”
been deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation                           In August 2006, they attended their first educational class
Enduring Freedom.                                                            at the Lancaster-area adoption agency they enlisted to help
    Having fulfilled his role in those missions, Lemmon,                     with the adoption.
together with his wife, Becky, is immersed in another inter-                     “They shock you into reality and show you a film with the
national mission.                                                                                              worst-case scenarios,” Scott
    Call it OPERATION EVA.                                                                                     recalled. “Then they ask you if
    At the core of the mission is                                                                              you want to proceed.”
a “deployment” to Guatemala                                                                                         Undeterred, the couple
to bring little Eva to America to                                                                              moved forward with the
start her new life with her new                                                                                process, and proceeded to
parents in Mount Holly Springs,                                                                                the home study phase, where
Cumberland County.                                                                                             prospective parents are
    The Lemmons have been                                                                                      evaluated for their suitability
going through the meticulous                                                                                   to adopt.
international adoption process                                                                                     “It’s amazing how they boil
since shortly after Eva was born                                                                               your life down to 10 pages,”
Aug. 20, 2007.                                                                                                 Scott said.
    Recently, they traveled to                                                                                     After receiving a referral
her Central American homeland                                                                                  for a child in June 2007, the
for their first face-to-face visit                                                                             Lemmons experienced a set-
with their soon-to-be-delivered                                                                                back when the birth mother
bundle of joy. If all goes accord-                                                                             decided not to put her child up
ing to plan, they will be bringing                                                                             for adoption.
Eva to her new home in America                                                                                     “As devastating as it was, it
this spring.                                                                                                   validated our understanding of
    A 12-year member of the                                                                                    the process,” Scott said. “They
Pennsylvania Air National                                                                                      do have the right to change
Guard, Scott has been doing                                                                                    their mind if they feel they
quite a balancing act in recent        Resplendent in a red outfit sent overseas to her home in Guatemala
                                                                                                               made a mistake.”
years, juggling his “Citizen-          by her soon-to-be-parents, Pennsylvania Air National Guard Tech.            Disappointed, but not
Soldier” duties with his personal      Sgt. Scott Lemmon and his wife, Becky, little Eva will soon be coming   defeated, Scott and Becky
and professional responsibilities.     to America to start her new life with her new family.                   waited for another referral
    Since he and Becky married         Photo: Courtesy of Scott Lemmon                                         from the agency. And, on
six years ago, Scott has                                                                                        Sept. 6, that referral came in
deployed three times with the                                                                                   the form of a little 6-lb. 7-oz.
193rd Communications                                  “I’m both nervous and excited                             bundle named Eva Naomi. The
Squadron; resumed his studies                         about going through with this.                            Lemmons changed her middle
and earned two master’s                              I’m looking forward to sharing                             name to Bonita. “It literally
degrees from Penn State in                                                                                      translates into ‘Beautiful
Harrisburg; started a new job as           this experience with my wife because I know                          Life,’” said Scott. “It is a name
a data base administrator at the                   she is going to be a great mother.”                          that will hopefully serve her
U.S. Army War College in                                                                                        well all during her life.”
Carlisle; and kept up his                                                                                          Eva was placed with a foster
fatherly duties to 11-year-old Becca and 14-year-old Matt, his               mother who has been seeing to all of her needs since shortly
children from his first marriage. Add to this he and his wife’s              after her birth. The couple has been receiving regular updates
efforts to adopt Eva and, well, you’ve got a full dance card.                on Eva since that time, but the overall process has been some-
    Adopting a child was discussed in the days after their                   what slow, due in part to a new adoption treaty being worked
marriage, Scott said, but he and Becky opted to enjoy one                    out by the United States and Guatemalan governments.
another’s company and travel during the initial years of                         “I’m both nervous and excited about going through with
their union.                                                                 this,” Scott said. “I’m looking forward to sharing this experience

20 / GUARDIANS / Spring 2008
with my wife because I know she is going
to be a great mother. I know it sounds
cliché, but in the six years we’ve been
together, we’ve never had an argument.”
     Becky said she can’t wait to have a
little girl in the house, which the couple is
remodeling in anticipation of Eva’s arrival.
     “We live in an older house, so we’re
rearranging it,” said Becky. “She (Eva)
is going to have a little window seat in
her room.”
     Becky, a native of Cumberland
County, has also been busying herself by
learning about Eva’s homeland.
     “I’ve read a few books,” she said.
“And, actually, there are a lot of children’s
books and other books about the history
of Guatemala. I love to read, so I’m really
looking forward to reading to her.”
     While Eva has certainly spurred their
interest in Guatemala and Central
America, Becky said their interest in
Central and South America can actually           The Lemmon family – Becky, Becca, Matt and Scott – celebrate Scott’s recent graduation from Penn
be traced back to Scott’s deployment to          State University’s Harrisburg campus, where he earned two master’s degrees.
Ecuador in fall 2002.                            Photo: Courtesy of Scott Lemmon
     “Scott really became interested in
the culture when he was there,” Becky said.
     In addition to the Ecuadorian deployment, Scott deployed                goals and his family,” Kann said. “Even now, as changes in the
to the Persian Gulf twice, first in spring 2003, and then                           Air Force and Air National Guard have forced him to
again in the fall 2005, when he was asked to join the                                 retrain into a new military path, I’m certain his track
deployment as a last-minute fill-in.                                                    record of commitment and success will follow him
     Although the 2005 deployment interrupted his                                         down this path as well.”
master’s studies once more, Scott answered the call to                                          For Scott, the decision to serve his country
duty with the same resolve he has always shown since                                      was not a difficult one. “I did not want to hit 40
joining the Pennsylvania Air National Guard in 1996.                                      one day and say I was able to serve but not willing
     Chief Master Sgt. David Kann, Lemmon’s super-                                       to serve,” he said.
visor at the 193rd Communications Squadron, said                                                     Having made good on that pledge,
Lemmon has made outstanding contributions to the                                                Lemmon, at age 38, is now happily waiting to
wing during his career.                                                                                begin the long, yet rewarding service
            “He has amazingly found the                                                                       that OPERATION EVA will no
correct balance between his civilian job,                                                                         doubt require. O
his military obligations, his personal


A 12-year member of the Pennsylvania
Air National Guard, Tech. Sgt. Scott
Lemmon proudly displays the flag
during one of his overseas
deployments.




                                                                                                    Spring 2008 / GUARDIANS / 21
“Dealing               Story and photos by Capt. Cory Angell

with the                   As the wind snaps sharply against their                      “Last night we had to collapse one tent
elements is just       uniforms, Sgt. Michael Wodopuja and his                      and move everyone into the other,” said
                       squad stand on a mountain at the Yakima                      Wodopuja. “We tried to secure it, but the
part of what           Training Center. After 24 hours at the obser-                wind was too strong so we just dropped it
                       vation point, these cold but lively Soldiers                 before it blew away on us.”
a Soldier does.”       eagerly grab their gear as relief arrives.                       Ironically, the Soldiers of the 1/104th
                                                                                                     Cavalry would endure wintry
                                                                                                     conditions in the mountains of
                                                                                                     Washington in preparation for
                                                                                                     duty as Multinational Force
                                                                                                     Observers in the sand dunes of
                                                                                                     the Sinai desert in Egypt.
                                                                                                         “Dealing with the elements
                                                                                                     is just part of what a Soldier
                                                                                                     does,” said Wodopuja. “The
                                                                                                     guys haven’t complained. They
                                                                                                     just know it’s what we do, and
                                                                                                     they are excited about the
                                                                                                     upcoming mission.”
                                                                                                         Even though this is the first
                                                                                                     time the Pennsylvania National
                                                                                                     Guard has performed the MFO
                                                                                                     mission, Command Sgt. Maj.
                                                                                                     Timothy Zaengle will be
                                                                                                     returning for the second time.
                        Behind the frozen wire, Pfc. Clarence Wilkins, Philadelphia, and Spc.            “Twenty-five years later, I
                        Andrew Torres, East Stroudsburg, discuss their duties as gate guards.        went over for a reconnaissance


22 / GUARDIANS / Spring 2008
and the mission hasn’t changed very
much,” said Zaengle, who was
22 years old and serving in the 82nd
Airborne on his first trip to the region.
“I feel very confident that these troops
are well prepared.”
    The Camp David Peace Accord
between Egypt and Israel was signed in
March 1979. The United Nations was
charged with enforcing the peacekeeping
pact until 1981. Thereafter, the MFO
was developed, and it has been perform-
ing the mission ever since.
    This particular mission is unique,
Zaengle explained, because operating
the observation posts will not only
ensure the continued success of the long-
standing agreement, it will also develop
future Guard leaders.
    “This mission places a great deal
of responsibility on our team and squad
leaders” said Zaengle. “They run the
show out at these remote observation
posts. They will have to make a lot of
decisions with no guidance from higher.
The mission is sure to hone their
leadership skills.”
    Soldiers are sure to benefit from
working with other armies from around
the world. Columbia and Fiji will have
troops there as well, said Zaengle.
    “It’s always good for Soldiers to have
that experience,” said Zaengle. “They
will get to see how other armies operate
and what their customs and training
are like.”
    Lt. Col. Robert Langol, squadron
commander, said the unit has overcome
many challenges since it mobilized and
has become a cohesive unit.
    “About half of the troops have come
to us from other units,” said Langol.
“They have come together as a team, a
very diverse one with many different
talents. They were not all cavalry troops.
    “I think we will see that benefit when
we finally perform the mission, because
having Soldiers with different skills will
grant us certain abilities that your average
cavalry unit wouldn’t possess.”
    As Wodopuja’s Soldiers pack their
equipment onto the truck and eagerly
await the opportunity to get out of the
cold, they are reenergized by knowing
that their long training has come to a
conclusion.
    “They are happy because now they
are done with the training and now
they just want to get there and do the
mission,” he continued. “Right now
they want to get warm and they’re sure
to in Egypt.” O


                                               Spring 2008 / GUARDIANS / 23
CURATOR’S CORNER
                                  This young second lieutenant is John A. Jones of Company G, 14th
                               Infantry Regiment of Pittsburgh. He enlisted as a private in Company C,
                               14th Regiment, Feb. 1, 1880, then transferred to Company G in June 1891,
                               with the rank of corporal. He was promoted to sergeant July 15, 1892.
                               Jones was commissioned a second lieutenant July 10, 1893. He resigned
                               from the Guard on Feb. 3, 1898, after 18 years of service.
                                  He is wearing a Model 1892 dress coat with the shoulder straps of a
                               second lieutenant and regimental numbers on the collar. He wears a
                               bronze basic marksman’s badge with bars showing four years of qualifica-
                               tion and a silver keystone badge for the fifth year of qualification as a
                               marksman. The tiny pendant suspended below the keystone badge would
                               indicate years of qualification for years five through nine. O



                               This is the 20th 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 Monday and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or other days
                               by appointment. Call (717) 861-2402 for more information or to schedule an
                               appointment. The museum is closed on major holidays.




24 / GUARDIANS / Spring 2008
                                                                                                           “The M93 Fox is a light-armored
                                                                                                       vehicle that acts as a conduit for NBC
                                                                                                       missions down range,” said Sgt 1st Class
                                                                                                       James E. Brickel, platoon sergeant for
                                                                                                       D Troop, 2-104 Cavalry. “It is self-
                                                                                                       contained and has the ability to function
                                                                                                       independently until fuel, water and
                                                                                                       food supplies are diminished. Almost all
                                                                                                       testing can be done without the inter-
                                                                                                       vention and possible compromise of
                                                                                                       human life.”
                                                                                                           The MM-1 Chemical Warfare
                                                                                                       Computer, which can be installed in
                                                                                                       the Fox or the Stryker, employs sampling
The Fox is a six-wheeled, light-armored vehicle, similar in many ways to the Stryker. The members of   tubes lined in plastic, sampling tongs
the Pennsylvania Guard's 2-104th Cavalry’s NBC platoon know it will get the job done if the unit is    and sampling wheels that operate in a
deployed by the end of 2008. Photo: Pfc. Megan Gautsch                                                 potential chemical environment while
                                                                                                       Soldiers are inside.
                                                                                                           “The days of rolling out in full
                                                                                                       MOPP4 are over,” said Brickel.
By Spc. Matthew E. Jones and Pfc. Megan Gautsch, 109th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
                                                                                                           MOPP4 is a protective posture
     Starting out the new year, approximately 650 Pennsylvania Guard members had                       making Soldiers wear rubber boots,
been engaged in international operations, including Operation Iraqi Freedom. That                      gloves, and a heavy suit, regardless of
                                                  is likely to change soon. By the end of              the heat.
                                                  the year, what is poised to be a historic                “It is an excellent system as a whole,
                                                  deployment for Pennsylvania could                    but adaptation is a challenge,” said
                                                  send nearly 6,000 Soldiers from the                  Brickel. “This equipment needs to be
                                                  commonwealth to Iraq.                                run for a minimum of four hours per
                                                       Among those to potentially deploy               week, which is a lot for us to do when
                                                  with the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat                 preparing for deployment,” said Brickel.
                                                  Team are Soldiers of the 2-104 Cavalry                   Regardless of their affiliation with
                                                  D Troop, a York-based Stryker unit.                  the Stryker brigade, D Troop will likely
                                                  The Stryker vehicles are the pinnacle                be deploying with the Fox.
                                                  of accessible military technology and                    “We don’t expect to deploy with the
                                                  highly sought-after tools of the trade               Strykers, we might be outfitted with the
                                                  for modern cavalry units. Those who                  new vehicles when we return though.”
                                                  operate these stealthy vehicles, nick-                   Soldiers like Spc. Camilo A.
                                                  named “Ghost Riders” by Iraqis, are                  Gonzales, a chemical operations
                                                  just as elite.                                       specialist with the unit, continue to do
                                                       A great majority of this force                  preventative maintenance checks on the
                                                  slated for deployment to Iraq with the               vehicles without complaint.
                                                  Stryker brigade has naturally been                       “I do the PMCS for the Fox, ‘it isn’t
                                                  outfitted with the Stryker. With a                   difficult,’” he said.
                                                  passing glance, one might think D                        Gonzalez admits certain quirks do
                                                  Troop’s NBC (nuclear, biological and                 exist with using the Fox in lieu of the
                                                  chemical) reconnaissance team has                    Stryker, but as platoon leader 2nd Lt.
Sgt. Tamelle P. Hill, NBC operations specialist,
2-104th Cavalry, notices something wrong during a been equipped with this vehicle as                   Jordan T. Seiler said, if the 2-104th as a
January vehicle inspection. The crew of this Fox  well. A closer look reveals that they                whole call themselves “the eyes and ears
vehicle worked hard to get the vehicle in perfect are actually using what might be                     of the Army,” D Troop’s NBC team will
shape during the unit’s drill weekend.            considered a cousin of the Stryker, the              continue to act as their nose, regardless
Photo: Pfc. Megan Gautsch                         six-wheeled Fox.                                     of their assigned vehicle. O

                                                                                                       Spring 2008 / GUARDIANS / 25
                                             For 12-year-old Rhiannon Kerstetter, the joys
                                         and simple pleasures of celebrating a birthday
                                         have long since passed. As fate would have it, the
                                         attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, came on her special day.
                                         Since then, this daughter of Senior Master Sgt.
                                         Michelle Kerstetter, 193rd Special Operations
                                         Wing’s finance supervisor, has looked upon her
                                         birthday with a sense of foreboding and dread.
                                             “Bad things always seem to happen on that
                                         date,” said Kerstetter, whose husband Staff Sgt.         Senior Master Sgt. Kerstetter's niece and
                                         Jason Kerstetter, serves in the Pennsylvania             nephews find moments of hope and levity among
                                         Army National Guard.                                     area attractions in Central Pennsylvania.
                                             So last year, when Rhiannon anxiously asked
                                         her mother what terrible things would happen on her birthday, Kerstetter, a mother of five,
                                         lovingly reassured her that nothing bad was going to happen.
      By 1st Lt Jay Ostrich
                                             As the family awaited a special birthday phone call from the child’s grandmother in
                                         Kentucky, her worst nightmares would painfully unfold. Indeed, the call would come from
                                         there, but it wasn’t from her beloved grandmother.
                                             “They were gone,” said a teary-eyed Kerstetter.
    “For the Guard,                          Her sister had called to break the news. Their mother, Karen Comer, and sister-in-law,
                                         Tracy Burke, a mother of three, had been found murdered in their home in Kentucky, along
 this is about family.                   with a family dog. According to police reports, a gunman entered the residence and shot the
                                         two women while three children were still inside the home. The children hid for more than nine
   We would like to                      hours before 9-year-old son, Matthew, called 911 for help.
                                             In the weeks following the investigation, Kerstetter has opened up her heart and already
   take as much off                      bustling home to her 2-year-old niece and two nephews, aged 9 and 4. Eight was not enough
                                         for Kerstetter.
     their plate as                          Love and support for the children flows with abundance, but overcoming financial hardships
  possible in order to                   and added responsibilities for a grieving household of 10 has presented Kerstetter with signi-
                                         ficant obstacles. Between getting the children to school, taking them to counseling, balancing
 let this family bond                    daily routines and traveling to Kentucky for custody and criminal court proceedings, Kerstetter
                                         said this Guard family is stretched thin.
       and heal.”                            “Sergeant Kerstetter has always been in the role of taking care of the needs of others and
                                         now she could use a little help,” said Master Sgt. Sherri Foy, force sustainment supervisor and
                                         friend. “It just broke your heart to look at that gorgeous little girl and realize she no longer had
                                         a mommy. I knew we had to do anything we could to help them.”
                                             Several members of the unit, past and present, were among the first to step up and relieve
                                                                    some of the stresses. They provided help with meals, chores around
                                                                    the house and access to resources that would help restore some
                                                                    normalcy to the household.
                                                                       But for the children, the nightmare would continue. On Oct. 15,
                                                                    Kentucky State Police arrested military police officer, Sgt. Brent A.
                                                                    Burke, 29, stationed at Fort Campbell. The father of the two youngest
                                                                    children was charged with two counts of murder, burglary, three
                                                                    counts of wanton endangerment and cruelty to animals.
                                                                       Hate was indeed enough for this newly blended family.
                                                                       Although the children are getting steady counseling to help with
                                                                    coping, the effects of this tragedy are ongoing.
                                                                       “The kids have hidden under the table thinking it was the robber
                                                                    coming back again,” said Kerstetter. “It’s sad to see.”
                                                                       But love and hope are taking an even stronger hold of the family,
                                                                    she said. Just knowing her Guard family is standing behind her, has
                                                                    come as much relief.
                                                                       “For the Guard, this is about family,” said Foy. “We would like to
Master Sgt. Sherri Foy helps unpack      take as much off their plate as possible in order to let this family bond and heal.”
food, clothing and toys donated by           Providing gift cards for food, entertainment and gas, as well as toys and clothes will make a
citizen Jennifer Chapman,                difference, said Foy.
Middletown. Chapmen felt com-
                                             And as surely as those words went out over the airwaves of Central Pennsylvania, those
pelled to help bring some relief in
this time of tragedy after seeing a      prayers were answered as help from civilians started to pour into the base.
local news station story on Senior           For the Kerstetter family, it was a sign of hope through the goodness of humanity. Just as
Master Sgt. Kerstetter and her           Americans rebuilt after the tragic losses of Sept.11, this family will look to heal and grow
family. Photo: Tech Sgt. Matt Schwartz   stronger with a little help from their friends in the Pennsylvania National Guard. O
                                                                                                    Spring 2008 / GUARDIANS / 27
    Jumping to conclusions – The Pennsylvania Army National
    Guard’s only official airborne unit took the final leap. On the morning of
    Oct. 21, the 104th Infantry Detachment (long-range surveillance)
    performed its final jump as a unit at Fort Indiantown Gap’s west field.
    The unit, which was the only 28th Infantry Division unit with its own
    unique beret flash, officially disbanded near the beginning of 2008, due
    to modularity. Many Soldiers expressed an interest in joining the
    Pennsylvania Guard’s 28th Aviation Brigade. Others plan on going active
    and joining the 82nd Airborne Division. Photos: Spc. Matthew E. Jones




28 / GUARDIANS / Spring 2008

				
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