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Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Antonio Travis, right foreground, has been recognized by editors of Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world for his efforts after the Haiti earthquake. Travis is shown here with Air Force combat controllers (from left) Senior Airman William Barrett, Staff Sgt. Kyle Graman, Staff Sgt. Jose Diaz, Staff Sgt. Joshua Craig, Staff Sgt. Chad Rosendale and Senior Airman Johnnie Yellock. U.S. Air Force photo[/caption] NEW YORKâ€“ Time magazine editors have named Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Antonio D. Travis to the 2010 Time 100, the magazine's annual list of the 100 most-influential people in the world, for his efforts after the Haiti earthquake.
Travis was one of the first U.S. military members on the ground at the Toussaint L'Ouverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, only 30 hours after the Jan. 12 earthquake and less than 12 hours after the nation's president requested U.S. assistance. The chief led a team of special tactics airmen from the 23rd, 21st and 123rd special tactics squadrons. With his team of combat veterans, Travis led the largest single-runway operation in history, using hand-held radios to control thousands of aircraft. Their air traffic control tower was a card table set up next to the airport's runway. "Twenty-eight minutes after touchdown, we controlled the first air landing followed immediately by a departure, and we did not slow down for the next 12 days," said Travis, who hails from Nelson County, Ky. After establishing control of the airfield there, his team orchestrated an orderly flow for incoming aircraft and dealt with the constraints of the inadequate airfield, which potentially could have limited relief operations. Facing 42 aircraft jammed into a parking ramp designed to accommodate 10 large planes and untangling the gridlock was the first of many seemingly insurmountable challenges necessary to facilitate the flood of inbound relief flights. In the dawn of the U.S. response to the Haitian crisis, Travis coordinated with Miami-based Federal Aviation Administration officials via text messaging on his BlackBerry. His ingenuity paid massive dividends as priority aircraft transited the small airport, delivering lifesaving water, food and medical supplies in support of the U.S. Agency for International Development-led international humanitarian effort. From chaos, Travis established order as his combat controllers reduced a four-hour hold time in the air on Day 1 to less than two hours on Day 2 and less than 15 minutes by Day 3. For 12 days, 24-hours-a-day, the airfield team ran the international airport in Port-au-Prince. Together with more than 200 other airmen from Hurlburt Field, Fla., they tirelessly ensured the safe and effective control of more than 4,000 takeoffs and landings, an average of one aircraft operation every five minutes, and enabled the delivery of 4 million pounds of humanitarian relief to the people of Haiti. Without computers or electricity, Travis and his team controlled as many as 250 aircraft daily, exceeding the normal capacity of the airfield by 1,400 percent without a single incident. By Jan. 25, his team was able to hand operations over to Air Force air traffic controllers with a portable control tower. While directing the airfield operations, Travis also supervised a group of pararescuemen, known as PJs, and medical technicians who augmented a search-and-rescue team from Virginia. These teams were credited with 13 technical rescues and 17 additional saves. Additionally, the special tactics airmen he led surveyed nearly 100 sites for use as potential humanitarian relief supply delivery sites. His teamsâ€™ technical expertise and unflagging commitment ultimately led to successful air deliveries by C-17 Globemaster IIIs of humanitarian aid that included more than 150,000 bottles of water and 75,000 packaged meals that subsequently were delivered to earthquake victims by helicopter. Travis is the chief enlisted manager of the Air Force Special Operations Training Center at Hurlburt Field. He served seven-and-a-half years in the Marine Corps before transferring into the Air Force as a combat controller in 1993. As a senior combat controller, he has supported combat, combat support, humanitarian, and search-and-rescue operations throughout the United States, the Pacific and European theaters, and at many austere locations across the globe. Travis is married to the former Andrea Lawrence of Bardstown, Ky. Their children are Brittany, 21; Amanda, 19; and Emily, 15. Like Army Rangers and Navy SEALS, Air Force special tactics airmen are an elite force of special operators. They are combat controllers, who conduct tactical airfield operations and close air support; PJs, who conduct combat search and rescue; special operations weathermen, who provide tactical weather forecasting and environmental reconnaissance; and tactical air controllers, who integrate close air support into special operations missions. Time's full list and related tributes of all those honored appear in the magazineâ€™s May 10 issue, available on newsstands and online. April 30, 2010: By Air Force Maj. David Small, Air Force National Media Outreach Office'
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Air Force Tech. Sgt. Oswald Steley, left, talks with Air Force Staff Sgt. Gavin Ramos at a base in Southwest Asia, April 8, 2010. Steley is deployed from the 60th Force Support Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol[/caption] SOUTHWEST ASIA- Air Force Tech. Sgt. Oswald Steley does everything he can to provide servicemembers deployed here with morale, welfare, recreation and education support.
Steley is the manager of the 380th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron's learning resources center here, where servicemembers can check out movies, educational material, music and language CDs and fictional, biography and reference books. He works six-days-a-week, 12-hours-a-day."The [learning resource center] is a morale-booster for all our deployed troops," said Steley, who is deployed from the 60th Force Support Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. "It helps improve the quality of life for people who are far from home by providing movies for entertainment, educational material for college work, training resources for learning a new language and a whole lot more."Steley not only maintains a hefty volume of material for the center, but also provides on-the-spot customer service."I have a lot of customers who come in and tell me it makes them feel a little more at home by having the LRC available to them," Steley said. "I'll usually help them find what they need, tell them a little about what we have available, and make sure their visit was a successful one." As a services craftsman, Steley supports more than 1,900 deployed servicemembers for the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing. Support programs cover a variety of areas, and Steley has to be ready to support any one of them in addition to managing the center. Services airmen manage and direct programs, operations and retail sales. They also supervise and work in appropriated-fund food service and lodging activities, recreation, fitness and sports programs, linen-exchange operations, mortuary affairs programs, honor guard teams and services readiness programs. They also identify facility requirements and conduct surveys to determine renovation, construction and modernization needs, the job description states. In deployed locations, they establish and supervise bare-base facilities that provide food, fitness, lodging, sports management, recreation, laundry, mortuary services and field exchange operations. In all the services functions, Steley has to maintain mandatory job knowledge in areas such as accounting procedures, management principles, merchandising, marketing, automated information systems, food service facility operations, subsistence management, requisition and issue procedures, menu planning and lodging operations. "I've done a lot of different jobs in my more than 15 years in this career field," Steley said. "In services, we work in many different places, and I know all of them. I think the most rewarding for me though was working for eight years as a fitness trainer." Steley said he wanted to see the world when he left his hometown of Metter, Ga., to join the military. "Being deployed applies to my original goals to see the world," Steley said. "I've been able to see different cultures and experience the diversity. I've been able to see a lot and have enjoyed every bit of it. I'm glad I joined." The technical sergeant added that he always has been proud to serve and will proudly continue to do so. "I serve now so my son doesn't have to," Steley said, expressing the importance of defending America's freedoms, to include freedom of choice. "It will be a choice for him like it was for me." April 29, 2010: By Air Force Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol- 380th Air Expeditionary Wing ***SOT***
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Air Force Lt. Col. Lisa Pike, right, contributed to standing up the first army officer candidate course for Afghan women during her recent deployment to Afghanistan. Courtesy photo[/caption] RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas, Recent efforts by airmen and their coalition partners have led to opportunities for women in Afghanistan to serve as commissioned officers in the Afghan army.
Pike served as the chief of staff for the Combined Training Advisory Group Army, a subordinate command of NATO Training Mission Afghanistan and the U.S. militaryâ€™s Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan. Her mission focused on helping to train, advise, coach and monitor the Afghanistan National Army Training Center in establishing a doctrine and education and training system capable of supporting the Afghan armyâ€™s development.Creating the first womenâ€™s officer candidate course included working with potential students to discuss the course and outline the commitments theyâ€™d have to make to participate."I counseled our Afghan counterparts on the program and met with women currently in the [Afghan army]," Pike said. "I discussed with them the fact that they are the first for all of these initiatives, and their success is very important not only to women in Afghanistan, but to the future of their country and its army." In addition to opportunities available through the officer candidate course, National Military Academy of Afghanistan officials noted that the academy admits 10 women per year. Women attending the academy make long-term commitments that involve studying at the academy for one year, attending medical school for six years and committing to the army for 20 years. "I am very proud of all these women for stepping forward and taking a chance on making a difference," Pike said. "I think it is important to have representation of an entire nation when building for the future, and it is essential for all people of a nation to be educated. Education is the key to success." Pike said she used these opportunities not only to tell Afghan women about the education and training programs available to them, but also to serve as a role model and to provide mentorship. "I, along with other coalition women, have provided a positive example of what women can contribute, when given the chance, to the leaders of the training center and army," she said. Pike's dedication and professionalism played a critical role in the Afghan armyâ€™s development, said British Brig. Gen. Simon Levey, Combined Training Advisory Group Armyâ€™s commanding general. "I have no doubt that it was due to her endeavors as a female role model that the commander of [the training center] decided to run the first female officer candidate course," Levey said. "She was his inspiration, as she was for the coalition staff." The creation of regional military training centers has doubled the training center's capacity, Pike said. During the majority of her tour, she added, the focus was on growing the army. That focus recently changed to developing the army. "With that comes the creation and implementation of branch-specific schools in order to train and educate a more balanced force for the future," she said. Pike said she learned a lot during her deployment and developed many relationships with her coalition co-workers and Afghan counterparts that were mutually beneficial to the success of their training mission and to the future of the Afghan people. "The relationships we have built with our Afghan counterparts and the work they and our team have done to increase both the quantity and quality of training for the Afghan National Army has been exceptional," she said. "I think I contributed to the senior [training center] leadership's ability to see that women can be professional and competent officers, and that women can participate in their army and in the development of their country." April 28, 2010: By Air Force Staff Sgt. Steve Grever- Air Force Personnel Center ***SOT***
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Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Chirstelle Byll, right, interprets a lecture on physical security planning to sailors and coast guardsmen from Senegal, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Equatorial Guinea during a port security class aboard the USS Gunston Hall, April 13, 2010. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class John Stratton[/caption] DAKAR, Senegal A U.S. sailor born and raised in Togo has found herself back in Africa on a unique mission aboard USS Gunston Hall supporting Africa Partnership Station West.
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Chirstelle Byll, an operations specialist, moved to Baltimore from her native Togo at age 19 and joined the Navy in December 2005. Currently assigned to USS Stout, she was selected to assist instructors from the Security Force Assistance Detachment of the Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Assistance Training Command, using her native French-speaking skills to interpret the course material for sailors from various French-speaking African nations."A friend recommended me," Byll said. "I jumped right on it, knowing it would be a great opportunity to come back to Africa and help out. I went through an instructor school before joining the team. I then had to familiarize myself with the course material that we would be teaching to the African sailors."Byll interpreted for the port-security and train-the-trainer classes taught by Navy Chief Petty Officer Jerry Mosley that included sailors and coast guardsmen from Senegal, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Equatorial Guinea. "Byll is a great asset to the team," Mosley said. "She brings with her an understanding of the African culture and can also relate to being a U.S. sailor." Byll agreed that her background is an asset. "I believe the African sailors relate to me a little more than the other instructors," she said. "They feel more comfortable asking me questions if they need help." Byll added that she hopes the students can take the training and apply it when they return home. Chief Petty Officer Joseph Ndiaye of the Senegalese navy said he was thrilled to have the African-born U.S. sailor interpret for him. "I was unaware at first that she was from Togo," he said. "This was a big surprise and a great opportunity, because she knows both cultures." Byll said she plans to make a career in the Navy, noting she eventually wants to obtain an officerâ€™s commission. The training being conducted through Africa Partnership Station West is part of an international initiative developed by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa that aims to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. Itâ€™s designed to enhance professional development and provide a valuable motivational and instructional experience to increase the awareness of maritime safety and security, officials said. April 27, 2010: By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class John Stratton- USS Guston Hall ***SOT***