DOVER AFB MARKS 75 YEARS
From World War II to the Global War on Terrorism, Dover AFB’s rapid global mobility mission has been at the forefront of American military might, and Dec. 17, 2016, marked 75 years of American Air Power in Dover.
Just 10 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Municipal Airport, Dover Airdrome, opened on Dec. 17, 1941, and was assigned to the 1st Air Force. Throughout the war, the base underwent several name changes, from Municipal Airport, Dover Airdrome, to Dover Army Airbase, Dover Subbase, Dover Army Airfield and, finally in 1948, Dover Air Force Base.
“This base has gone from a small World War II coastal patrol base, which was looking for German U-Boats off the coast, to the strategic installation it is today,” said Col. Ethan Griffin, 436th Airlift Wing commander. “Today, Dover’s rapid global mobility capability means that our C-5s and C-17s deliver combat power anytime and anywhere.”
Today, Dover AFB is home to a fleet of 18 C-5M Super Galaxy and 13 C-17 Globemaster III airlifters, operated jointly by the active-duty 436th AW since 1966, and the Reserve 512th AW since 1973. This represents 20 percent of the nation’s out-sized airlift capacity. These two wings have a combined total force strength of more than 11,000 individuals.
In addition to the two airlift wings, the base is also home to several mission partners, to include: the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, and the Joint Personal Effects Depot. AFMAO is responsible for the base’s most well-known mission, returning America’s fallen heroes by a dignified transfer. Since opening in 1955, Dover AFB’s Port Mortuary has processed the remains of more than 58,000 service members. It has also processed the remains of victims from other major events, such as the Jonestown mass murder-suicide, the Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia, and military personnel killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“How appropriate that America’s fallen heroes should come home to the place where what they fought for and the values they fought for were first ratified,” said Robin Christiansen, Mayor of Dover.
Not only has Dover AFB had a national impact, it has had a lasting impact on the local community. Currently, Dover AFB has an approximate $629.8 million economic impact on the local area.
AIRMAN RECEIVES STEP PROMOTION, ONE OF 14 IN AMC
Lt. Gen. Samuel Cox, 18th Air Force commander, presented then-Staff Sgt. Chad Hardesty, 436th Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School instructor, a promotion to technical sergeant through the Stripes for Exceptional Performers promotion program at an all-call here on March 3, 2017.
Hardesty was one of 14 Air Mobility Command members selected for STEP promotion in 2017.
“Earning this promotion is clearly a rare and impressive achievement,” said Col. Ethan Griffin, 436th Airlift Wing commander. “Tech. Sgt. Hardesty’s inspiration, dedication and professionalism while serving in our Airman Leadership School has been nothing short of outstanding. … We’re honored to serve alongside the excellent Airmen of Team Dover, such as men like Tech. Sgt. Hardesty.”
According to Air Force Instruction 35-2502, “this program supplements existing Airman Promotion programs and is designed to accommodate unique circumstances that, in the commander’s judgement, clearly warrant promotion. It is intended to provide a means to promote Airmen for compelling, although perhaps not quantifiable, reasons.”
To Hardesty, this is the key when pursuing an Air Force award or the top ratings.
“You have to leave no doubt that you’re the best pick,” Hardesty said. “At the end of the day, you can look back and know that you left everything on the table — there was nothing more you could have done to make your package or EPR better. Even if you don’t win the award or get the rating you worked for, you can be proud of your hard work and accomplishments along the way.”
Col. Griffin added one final statement in a wingwide statement: “Please share your congratulations next time you see him and keep ‘Delivering Excellence’!”
DAFB HONOR GUARD PAYS TRIBUTE TO TUSKEGEE AIRMAN
The Dover AFB Honor Guard performed military honors at a funeral service for retired Maj. John L. Harrison Jr., World War II veteran and Tuskegee Airman, March 31, 2017, at the Chapel of the Four Chaplains at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia.
“It’s a great honor to give military funeral honors to the fallen Tuskegee Airman,” said Tech. Sgt. Isaiah Martin, NCO in charge of the Dover AFB Honor Guard. “I was able to step in his footsteps; he paved the way for us to do what we do today. It was a great honor to give back to him.”
The Tuskegee Airmen are a group of African-American military pilots who fought in WWII with the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the U.S. Army Air Forces. Harrison was one of nearly 1,000 pilots who trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field, near Tuskegee, Alabama, as a segregated unit.
“We were Americans, we were young, and we wanted to defend our country, just like everyone else,” Harrison said in a 2009 oral history.
During the war, Harrison saw combat over Italy. During the later stages of his Air Force career, Harrison also was the first African-American pilot to regularly fly passengers and cargo across both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. He retired in June 1963.
AIRMEN, COPS FACE OFF FOR CHARITY
The Dover Eagles and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 15 hockey teams played against each other in a charity game March 11, 2017, at the Centre Ice Rink in Harrington, Delaware.
The proceeds from the game, totaling $2,800, went to the family of Correctional Officer Lt. Steven Floyd, who was killed in the line of duty during a riot at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center. Floyd’s widow, Saundra Floyd, attended the game and dropped the ceremonial first puck.
“These are a great bunch of people,” said David Gist, FOP Lodge 15 president. “We have fun every year, it’s competitive and, most importantly, we filled the stands. So it’s a win-win for everybody.”
Charity hockey games between the Eagles and FOP are nothing new. Over the past few years, the organizations have played an annual game to raise money for good causes and organizations. As for the gameplay, it was a close competitive matchup. The 2015 game saw an Eagle 7-5 victory, while 2016 went the other way with a 9-7 FOP win. This year’s match up came down to the end, with a 6-4 Eagles win.
DENTAL CLINIC WINS AIR FORCE AWARD
The 436th Aerospace Medicine Squadron’s dental flight was recognized in February 2017 as the Air Force’s 2016 Medium Dental Clinic of the Year.
The dental clinic currently operates as a team of six dentists and 18 dental technicians and serves 3,700 active-duty patients. This is the second time the flight has won the award in the past five years.
“This award is not only a testament to the hard work and dedication of the personnel of the dental operations flight but also a reflection of the commitment of the men and women of Dover Air Force Base as a whole,” Capt. Matthew Pastewait, 436th AMDS dentist. “With support from leadership at all levels, we frequently examine our internal processes and look for ways to provide the highest quality of care for our patients while maintaining a high rate of readiness.”
The award highlights the clinic’s dedication to Team Dover and its mission to “Deliver Excellence.” During runway construction last year, many of Team Dover members followed the installation’s C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft temporarily located at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. During this time, many of the Airmen were at risk of going overdue on readiness on dental items, but the clinic was still able to maintain 99.5 percent base readiness, through a proactive partnership with JB MDL.
TEDDY-GRAMS FOR TROOPS
The USO hosted a Teddy-Grams for Troops event on Feb. 10, 2017, with food donated by the Dover Mission BBQ and Teddy-Grams donated by the Delaware State Police and community members. Several beauty queens — Rose Buckley, International Ms. 2017; Elysa Acosta-Millan, Elite Miss Delaware 2017; Kimberly Phillips, Mrs. Camden Delaware America 2017; and Elissa Troise-Greco, Mrs. Lewes Delaware America 2017 — volunteered their time to hand out Teddy-Grams and serve meals to Airmen and their families at the USO.
A total of 155 teddy bears were donated by the Delaware State Police and community members to be distributed to local troops and their families. The teddy-gram messages were written by students from William Henry Middle School and the 21st Century Community Learning Center.
RUNWAY REOPENS WITH RIBBON-CUTTING CEREMONY
More than 200 members of Team Dover and the local community attended a ribbon cutting ceremony Sept. 23, 2016, on the flightline behind the 436th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department on Dover AFB. Those in attendance included several U.S. senators, local government members and members of the 436th Airlift Wing, 512th AW, 166th AW and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.
The ribbon cutting ceremony commemorated the completion of Phase II of runway construction and celebrated the effective partnerships between various organizations at every level of cooperation that culminated in the successful conclusion to this phase. It featured static C-5M Super Galaxy and C-17A Globemaster III displays, which were made available for viewing and tours, and concluded with the touchdown of a C-5M and C-17A, the first to land on the newly reconstructed Runway 01-19.
Though the runway has reopened, runway construction is not yet complete. As the construction moves into Phase III, Dover AFB’s shorter Runway 14-32 will close to allow construction on a portion in proximity to Runway 01-19 as well as several taxiways.
All construction is slated for completion during the summer of 2017, ending the 28-month long, $112 million construction project.
TEAM DOVER EXERCISES FUEL SPILL CONTAINMENT
Team Dover emergency responders from several base agencies participated in a fuel spill exercise April 20, 2017.
The scenario: A hurricane struck the coast of Delaware and approximately 2.5 million gallons of Jet-A fuel spilled when a housing container was damaged. The high winds spread fuel outside the permanent containment area surrounding the silos. One person suffered full-body exposure to the fuel and needed immediate medical treatment.
The exercise, conducted under the Commander’s Inspection Program, was designed to fulfill annual requirements and test the emergency response capabilities and readiness of the installation, said Tech. Sgt. Rachel Weis, Inspector General NCO in charge of wing exercises.
Members from the 436th Security Forces Squadron; 436th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Fire Department and Infrastructure and Utilities shop; 436th Airlift Wing Emergency Management; 436th Medical Operations Squadron ambulance response team; and 436th Aerospace Medicine Squadron’s bioenvironmental engineering flight came together to provide a unified response to the simulated threat.
MIDDLE SCHOOL RECOGNIZED AS NATIONAL BLUE RIBBON SCHOOL
On Sept. 28, 2016, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. recognized the Dover AFB Middle School as a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School.
The school is one of nearly 330 public and private schools across the nation selected for this prestigious title, which recognizes elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve at high levels or significant improvements are observed in students’ level of achievements.
DAFBMS was the only middle school in Delaware selected and one of 27 in the U.S.
COLOR RUN RAISES AWARENESS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT
About 200 runners participated in the Sexual Assault Awareness Month Color Run on April 21, 2017, at Dover Air Force Base. The event was aimed at raising awareness of sexual assault and to reinforce that “protecting our people protects our mission.”
The annual run was open to the entire Team Dover community. Volunteers waited at five different color stations to cover passing runners in brightly colored powder. The powder is environmentally friendly and is made up of mostly cornstarch, baking soda and dyes. Although the powder is not harmful, runners are provided scarves to prevent them from inhaling it during the run.
The 5k course started and finished at the Joint Personal Effects Depot and ran along the full distance of Atlantic Avenue.
Some runners chose to run as a team while others ran individually. The run was one of several events hosted by the Dover AFB Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.