Hanging shirts for domestic violence awareness

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By Airman 1st Class Kyle Gese
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Airing out the dirty laundry is one thing, but Karen Pilalas’ 4th-grade class helped the 52nd Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy hang up shirts to raise awareness for domestic violence.

Brittny Gainey, 52nd MDOS Family Advocacy intervention specialist, spoke to the students about how to stop violence.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and in 1990 the Clothes Line Project was created to help raise awareness and prevent violence. It began to spread across the world, turning into an international anti-domestic violence campaign.

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In 2006, the campaign spread to Spangdahlem where children hung painted shirts on a clothes line outside of the post office. This project was tailored to the teen center and school-age children, but on occasion adults would help paint the shirts, too.

Gainey said some adults would get really emotional because they either knew a victim of domestic violence or they were a victim themselves. She also said the project was very therapeutic for them.

Family advocacy now plans to revolutionize the project to reach a wider audience. Gainey said this may be the last year that they hang shirts to raise awareness. The new project will include more people and will be visible around the base, so stay tuned!

Posted in Mission Support, Relationships, Spangdahlem | Leave a comment

Safeguarding your digital footprint

By Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

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Social media is a great resource for Airmen and their families to share information and stay connected to relatives at home and abroad.

Although many depend on these wonderful tools, recent events have encouraged us to re-evaluate our digital footprint to ensure our personal and professional information is protected from online predators and individuals who want to do us harm.

While social media use can be entertaining and informative, it poses potential operations security weaknesses, and Air Force Instruction 1-1, Air Force Standards, provides guidance on appropriate social media use by Airmen.

OPSEC and personal privacy concerns should be paramount when using social media. Military members have recently been threatened on social media by terrorist organizations looking for information they can use to harm military families and disrupt Air Force operations.

The following tips will make it more difficult for unwanted users to acquire your data through social media:

• Be cautious when accepting friend requests and interacting with people online. You should never accept a friend request from someone you do not know, even if they know a friend of yours.

• Don’t share information you don’t want to become public. Remember, once you put something out there, you can’t control where it goes.

• Disable location-based social networking, or geotagging, on all social media platforms. Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification to photographs, video, websites and text messages.

• Avoid posting work or personal schedules and travel itineraries, especially deployment information and return dates for yourself, a loved one or a unit.

• If you ever hesitate before clicking ‘post’, reconsider the content you are about to share. Our team follows the motto: When in doubt, throw it out!

• Adjust your privacy settings to ensure your posts and profile information is secured and seen only by approved audiences. This last tip applies to any social media platforms you may use, but since Facebook is the most widely used, we want to share this detailed how-to guide on how to secure your profile. Check out this guide for more details.

Practicing good OPSEC and helping family members follow these security measures is essential to protecting personal and mission-critical information on social media. If you ever feel you are being threatened or you notice vulnerable information online, be sure to alert the social media platform’s help center and your local OPSEC manager for assistance.

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Hiking Devil’s Canyon

If you live on or around base, it can be pretty easy to forget Germany is a great, big, beautiful place out there even if you’ve never stepped foot in a major European city. I’m talking about the wilds, baby, and boy are they right on our doorstep.

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I got a firsthand look during my recent “death-defying” Devil’s Canyon hike with Outdoor Recreation. Death-defying levels may vary.

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About a thirty-minute drive and we were at the start of our nearly five-hour trek through the once submerged canyon. Our guide pointed out the local flora and animal tracks, educating our little band on the dangers and surprises of the German wilds.

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We learned to identify poisonous plants, ate others I previously thought were the bane of a hiker’s existence and got a chance to enjoy some awesome local cuisine not picked off the path.

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One thing I would recommend to the would-be hiker is bring good shoes and water. While the Devil’s Canyon itself is a short stretch at the end, the winding path through the surrounding hills is both gorgeous and a little perilous for a klutz like me.

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There are stretches of this hike that can take your breath away with their beauty. There are others that can literally knock the wind out of you if you happen to take a tumble.

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While I’d recommend this hike to someone with a little bit of experience, a novice hiker can also get by with a good pair of shoes and a hardy appetite for adventure.

If you decide you need a day of exploration pretty close to home, this hike may be right up your alley. Outdoor Rec has some great guides who keep the trip entertaining and you may be surprised how much you’ll learn.

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It’s a hike that’s difficult enough to work up a sweat, but not too extreme for a novice either. So if you’re up for a trek on the wild side, why not give the Devil’s canyon a shot? Keep on exploring, my fellow adventurers. I hope to see you out there!

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Parade armed by weapons Airmen

From loading weapons on aircraft to inspecting or fixing parts, Airmen work long hours on the flight line to keep planes in the wild blue yonder.

In addition to this, a select group of Airmen do something more to help the local community and base.

Aircraft armament systems Airmen across the Air Force select one quarter of the year to volunteer in their local communities to give back as an entire career field.

Roughly 40 2W1 Airmen from Spangdahlem chose to support the to Bitburg Middle/High School during their annual homecoming parade and pep rally.

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“Ensuring the students’ safety during the evening’s chants, parade and bonfire remained their top priority,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ernest Hatley, 52nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron NCO-in-charge weapons maintenance and event lead.

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The Airmen not only helped for the school event; they also raised money for a local German orphanage.

Though homecoming came to an end, Spangdahlem’s 2W1 Airmen will continue to give back to the base and local communities.

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Oh! Snap! Vol. 14

It’s been a busy month Saber Nation and we’ve got the photos to prove it. Our Airmen, family members, civilians and host nation friends have been involved in everything from concerts to birthdays, campaigns and memorials. Take a look at the latest Oh! Snap! for a complete rundown of events:

14991105019_6b7d5518a7_kOur 52nd Fighter Wing commander, Col. Pete Bilodeau, goes through immersion training with the fire department.

15174415106_93e89624e5_kThe Bitburg Barons football team began the 2014 season with a home game against the Baumholder Buccaneers. The Barons beat the Buccaneers 32-8.

15205670975_0c7da15ce8_kSpangdahlem kicked of the Combined Federal Campaign-Overseas with a 5K run and a field goal competition.

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15019683730_fc5bbfc13e_kSabers remember the fallen in the a 9/11 Memorial Run and

15243581171_dd049460d3_k Tops in Blue stopped by performed for Saber Nation as part of their 2014 annual tour.

15233121386_f287903a22_kSpangdahlem Airmen and family members celebrated the Air Force Birthday with a ball.

 

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Happy Birthday U.S. Air Force – 67 years and counting!!

Today marks 67 years since the 80th U.S. Congress established the U.S. Air Force as its own military branch Sept. 18, 1947. Since then, thousands and thousands of aircraft have patrolled the skies to ensure the service’s mission to fly, fight and win.

In honor of this occasion, let’s take a look at back at some of the aircraft that flew in the skies above Spangdahlem since the base’s activation May 10, 1953.

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RF-80 “Shooting Star” 1953 – 1956

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RB-26 “Invader” 1953 – 1957

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RB-57 “Canberra” 1954 – 1957

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RF-84 “Thunderjet” 1955 – 1958

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F-4D “Phantom II” 1967 – 1968
F-4D “Phantom II” 1969 – 1971
F-4D “Phantom II” 1971 – 1982
F-4E “Phantom II” 1978 – 1987

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F-4G “Phantom II” 1979 – 1991
F-4G “Phantom II” 1991 – 1994
F-16C/D “Fighting Falcon” 1987 – 1991
F-16C/D “Fighting Falcon” 1991 – Present

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A/OA-10A “Thunderbolt II” 1992 – 2013

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That’s a big gas spill

Water starts gushing out of a fire hose, and victims lay on the ground.

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First responders are about to have a crazy morning.

The fire department receives a phone call, possibly for another crisis they’ll have to extinguish.

“Exercise Exercise Exercise– we have a class three fuel spill in progress!!”

Instead of fuel and real casualties, firefighters dealt with water and simulated injuries in this Sept. 12 exercise with the expectation that they were real.

With that, first responders donned in full gear arrived to the scene of the spill to determine their next move.

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They quickly notice the injured Airmen and that their first priority remains to get any casualties to safety.

The distance to do that, added to the weight from their own gear, provided the fire fighters with no simple task.

Airmen participate in Exercise

Once the paramedics received the injured, the firefighters worked with water fuels systems maintenance Airmen to quickly contain and clean up the simulated fuel spill.

The maintenance Airmen, dressed in all-white suits and green visors, set up a plug in a drainage ditch to stop the fuel from further leakage.

Airmen participate in Exercise

Airmen quickly contained the area and then simulated cleaning up the spill.

All the participants came together after the exercise to see what worked and what could have gone better to make sure they’re prepared in case the real thing happens.

It might have just been water today, but it could be fuel tomorrow. Regardless, 52nd Fighter Wing Airmen constantly train for various scenarios to maintain readiness for any contingency.

Written by Airman 1st Class Dylan Nuckolls

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Tops in Blue rocks Saber Nation

As the lights dimmed and the crowd hushed, I couldn’t help but feel a rush of nervousness, anticipation and excitement. As a first-term Airman, I had no idea what to expect from my first Tops in Blue performance.

I knew who they were and what they did, sure, but what the actual performance was like? No clue.

I had been to a musical before and it was fun – I enjoy musicals; you have actors, performers, singers and musicians putting out a symphony of audial and visual excitement all brought together by practiced choreography.

According to their mission statement posted on their website, Tops in Blue, serves as an expeditionary entertainment unit to provide quality entertainment from within Air Force resources for the Air Force family, with priority to Air Force personnel stationed worldwide at remote and deployed locations while simultaneously promoting community relations, supporting recruiting efforts and serving as ambassadors for the United States of America and the United States Air Force.

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What does that mean? Basically, Tops in Blue are service members who dedicated their time, energy and efforts to make sure that they can bring entertainment and joy to Air Force service members and their families, especially to those who are deployed to locations far away from home.

So what can one expect from an actual performance?

For those of you who are curious just as I was, here’s what went down.

The performance launched with the Singing Sabers, a group of singers from the Spangdahlem community who use their vocal talents to support ceremonies, followed by a speech by none other than our very own wing commander, Col. Pete Bilodeau. With a microphone in hand, he started the show.

“They’re celebrating their 60th year of entertaining us,” said Bilodeau. “They started in ’53 and they’ve also done movies, television shows and they even did Super Bowl performances. They’ve got 39 active-duty members that are detailed for one year and nine months out of the year they are on permissive TDY to serve us … and that’s awesome.”

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The lights dimmed, and the show, ladies and gentlemen, started with a bang.

My eyes were blitzed by a plethora of colors, lights, costumes, sets and various performances.

Even though the power went out not once, but twice during the performance, the troupe displayed hardcore professionalism and an undying dedication to their craft. Without the aid of electronic equipment during those periods of darkness and silence, Tops in Blue kept singing, even in acapella, because the show must go on.

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The group performed covers of popular songs, such as “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, complete with performers dressed up like the minions from the film “Despicable Me 2” and the singer dressed up like Pharrell Williams, and “Applause” by Lady Gaga, with three performers dressed up in suits with “hamster heads”.

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The performers also played classics like “Georgia on my Mind” by Ray Charles, “Walking in Memphis” by Mark Cohn and “My Girl” by Jackson 5.

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The children loved it when the group performed “Tale as Old as Time” from the Disney film “Beauty and the Beast” and “Let It Go” from the Disney movie “Frozen” and the audience was held emotionally captive by the tear-jerking, awe-inspiring song “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood.

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Yeah, I know. But let me tell you, it was that good.

The show came to a swirling stop with a speech by one of the performers, U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jeremiah Barnes, a 56th Communications Squadron cyber systems operations journeyman assigned to Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and native of Nashville, Tenn.

Standing on stage with the rest of his troupe behind him, he spoke before the grand finale of the show.

“From the Korean War to Vietnam, from Bosnia to Afghanistan, Tops in Blue has been there to provide quality entertainment for our brothers and sisters in arms,” said Barnes. “As we fight this global war on terrorism, Tops in Blue will continue to be where they are needed; when they are needed … we will be needed.”

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Like any great performance, the show came to a halt, leaving me blinking in the fluorescent lights of reality wondering, “What have I been doing with my life all this time? Why haven’t I seen this sooner?”

Not only did they deliver quality entertainment like they said they would, they brought feelings of warmth, pride and honor. My chest swelled and my face flushed as I realized one truth that night: I am proud to be an American, defending my people, my country and our way of life.

Looking back, I’m glad I had the honor and privilege of not just covering the performance, but being able to witness their magic firsthand and tell their tale to you. My message? Tops in Blue isn’t just a group of performers who delight in musical numbers and acts; they are our unsung singing American heroes who bring morale, joy, warmth and pride to our service members all around the world, especially to those who are very far from home.

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Would I see them again? Most definitely. Should you see one of their performances? Is that even a question?

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDw4uFAFnlk 

Blog, video and photos by Airman 1st Class Timothy Kim

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Dorm Wars: only ONE can claim victory

Fierce competition, determination and teamwork dominated Saber Nation last month as part of the second annual Dorm Wars competition.

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During the month of August, roughly 100 dormitory Airmen engaged in spirited contests over 16 different events in the competition in an effort to take home the coveted A-10 gun barrel traveling trophy.

The Dorms Wars standings were so close on the last day of the final five events, Dorm Wars officials doubled the points, making it even more crucial for determining the champion.

Fellow Airmen, supervisors, squadron, group and wing leadership came out to support the dorm Airmen competing in events ranging from flag football to billiards and paintball.

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The competition got fierce at times, but it brought Airmen to meet others not only from their own dorms but around base as well.

Defending champion, Dorm 227, came up short for a repeat this year, as Dorms 134 and 140 jointly earned the title as the Dorm Wars champion.

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Oh! Snap! Vol. 13

Wow Sabers! A month has gone by, and you know what they say, “Time Flies when you’re having fun!” Our Airmen and families have been really busy with events and activities ranging from the 480th FS in Souda Bay, Greece, to Diversity Day, Back to School and WWII memorial commemorations. Here’s what our photojournalists captured this month to recognize these events.

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