CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. — Soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, respond to an exercise at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station with Strykers and Humvees July 15.
Existing support agreements ensure support between 21st Space Wing assets and Fort Carson during real world situations. The blocking force exercise tested the ability of Fort Carson and CMAFS to execute a joint mission, manage resources, stewardship of manpower and equipment readiness.
Owned and operated by the 21st SW on Peterson Air Force Base, CMAFS is designated as the Alternate Command Center, the primary being at North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Northern Command also located on Peterson AFB.
"The exercise demonstrates our joint commitment to protect the strategic missions of national significance in continuous operations at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station," said Col. Gary Cornn, 721st Mission Support Group and installation commander. "This is an important exercise showing the capability of Fort Carson's response if there is an increased threat."
The 4th ID, 1SBCT responded to provide a physical blocking force on key avenues of approach to CMAFS. In the event of a real world situation, the vehicles and personnel from Fort Carson would also be used for extra firepower, medical support, engineering and logistical support.
Strykers are eight-wheeled combat vehicles that are road legal and able to deploy immediately on and off road. The vehicles are capable of executing an array of missions and scenarios; more so than any other vehicle in the Department of Defense, said Maj. Kevin Boyd, 4th ID, 1SBCT public affairs officer. The Strykers give the 4th ID unique capabilities other Fort Carson units do not have.
"Working together in this joint security exercise was valuable for us as we worked the 759th Military Police Battalion from Fort Carson to open a closed gate to facilitate our movement up the mountain, and with the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station security forces to conduct link-up and support their security posture," said Boyd. "For our Soldiers it is important to know our neighbors and how we can conduct mutual aid for them to understand exactly what is needed and where to respond in a time of crisis cuts down our response time and enables us to bring the proper equipment."
We don’t want any cuts to Fort Carson. However, in light of the scope of today’s announcement, it is clear the Pentagon recognizes the strategic importance of Fort Carson and its missions, the critical role troops stationed there serve in protecting our national security, and all that Colorado offers our service members and their families. We commend the state and local communities for working together during this process to successfully emphasize those points to the Department of Defense.
Our office will continue to support efforts in Colorado Springs and throughout the state to further enhance the vital relationship between Colorado and our armed services. We will also continue to fight to replace the sequester, which is bad policy that could make these reductions worse and result in indiscriminate cuts to the Department of Defense and throughout the federal government.
As reductions are made, the Pentagon should provide service members with any resources needed for transition. Colorado’s communities stand ready to provide support for service members and their families.
General Johnson was the keynote speaker and one of several individuals honored by the DAR for their contributions to the nation's defense during DAR's National Defense Night as part of its 124th Continental Congress.
The Corbin Award honors the memory of Revolutionary War heroine Molly Corbin, who stepped up to man her husband's cannon when he was mortally wounded in the Battle of Fort Washington in 1775. She became the
first woman pensioner of the United States military in 1779.
The award pays tribute to women in all branches of the military for distinguished military service. General Johnson is the first woman to lead a Department of Defense service academy. She has also held numerous command and operational assignments since graduating from the Academy in 1981.
"It is a tremendous honor to receive the Corbin Award from the Daughters of the American revolution," said General Johnson. "Molly Corbin was one of our country's first warrior heroes, and the DAR has helped preserve her memory and valor with this award. I seek to uphold the honored legacy of American heroes like Molly Corbin."
National Defense Night also included awards to several other individuals, including retired Col. Lee Ellis, a former POW and author who spoke at the Academy's 2013 National Character and Leadership Symposium; Diane Carlson Evans, president of the Vietnam Women's Memorial Foundation; and J.R. Martinez, actor, author, motivational speaker, spokesperson and former U.S. Army soldier who served in Iraq in 2003.
The DAR is an active and vibrant women's service organization focused on promoting historic preservation, education and patriotism. DAR's Continental Congress is a time-honored tradition held in the nation's capital as its annual national membership meeting, and drew 3,500 attendees this year.
The DAR has been a supporter of the Air Force Academy for many years, and sponsors annual academic awards to the top cadets majoring in History and Mechanical Engineering.
Established in 2004, the National Homeland Defense Foundation was formed as a non-partisan, nonprofit forum for the United States’ response to the presence of terrorist threats.
Since its inception, NHDF has provided a public forum for the discussion and presentation of various homeland defense and security issues and solutions. The Foundation also hosted the annual National Symposium on Homeland Security and Defense for United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) for nearly a decade, as well as supported educational events, including the National Security Innovation Competition and Thought Leadership Conference.
In 2012, NHDF expanded its services and changed its mission to include a broader scope of work and provide support for defenders of the homeland – military veterans and first responders.
As part of that new mission, NHDF reached an agreement with Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments to establish and operate Peak Military Care Network, which provides services to and partners with other agencies to meet the holistic care needs of military members, veterans and families in the Pikes Peak region.
Since then, supporting Peak Military Care Network activities has become the focal point of the organization. To reflect that transition, NHDF’s Board of Directors decided to change NHDF’s name to Peak Military Care Network (PMCN).
“NHDF has contributed greatly to Homeland Security matters over the last decade, with lasting impacts to the nation,” said retired Army Lt. Gen. Ed Anderson, former President of NHDF and Chair of the PMCN Board of Directors.
“The NHDF/PMCN Board sees addressing the needs of our military, veteran and first-responder community as a critical focus moving forward. By changing our name to the Peak Military Care Network, we will be able to concentrate our identity and efforts on the collaborative and coordinating work of PMCN in order to serve our homeland defenders and their families.”
At least one in four residents of the Pikes Peak region is a former or current member of the military, making the area home to one of the highest concentrations of service members in the nation.
PMCN connects the needs of the community’s military service members, veterans and their families to the highest-quality resources by providing a central source for information, navigation and integrated services.
In turn, PMCN’s partner agencies are committed to understanding military and veteran culture and the unique challenges faced by service members, veterans and their families, working together to meet the needs of individuals and families to provide support for the military and veteran community.
About Peak Military Care Network
Peak Military Care Network supports collaboration among community, military and veteran service providers to assist those providers and service members, veterans, and their families in identifying resources and streamlining access to services to meet their needs. Connecting individuals and families to information and the highest quality resources, PMCN facilitates seamless transitions between service providers by providing a central source for information, navigation, and integrated services.
PMCN and its partner agencies offer a broad range of information and assistance to support the whole individual and family, including advocacy, behavioral health, child welfare and family support, crisis intervention, education, employment and workforce readiness, medical and physical health, social services, and transition and reintegration.
In addition, PMCN provides training and information-sharing opportunities to partner agencies to ensure community-based agencies understand the unique needs of the military and veteran community and are aware of available resources (including military and VA services) to keep individuals and families out of crisis and improve health and well-being.
Approximately 600 free, reserved-seat tickets for the Academy's Class of 2015 Graduation Ceremony will be available Thursday. Tickets must be picked up by the general public in person at:This year's featured speaker will be Deborah Lee James, the Secretary of the Air Force.
* The Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance offices at 102 S. Tejon Street, Suite 430, in downtown Colorado Springs, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
* The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce offices at 166 Second Street in Monument, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Department of Defense ID card holders may also pick up tickets at the Air Force Academy's Athletic Ticket Office, at the Cadet Field House, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. These ticket locations will be open Monday through Friday, except for Memorial Day.
A maximum of six tickets per person are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets cannot be mailed and there is no will-call at the stadium. Lost tickets cannot be replaced.
Because of increased security measures, individuals picking up tickets in Colorado Springs or Monument will need to provide the following information:
* First and Last Name,
* Date of Birth,
* Driver's License Number and which state the Driver's License was issued in.
Only the person picking up the tickets needs to provide this information. If that individual has a current DoD ID card, they will not need to provide additional information.
The Air Force Academy's Graduation Ceremony is May 28, beginning at 9:30 a.m., in Falcon Stadium and will include a commencement speech by the Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James. The ceremony will conclude with an aerial performance by the Air Force Thunderbirds, weather permitting.
Falcon Stadium gates will open at 7 a.m. on May 28. Due to increased security requirements, please ensure you arrive very early as traffic coming on base will be heavy and there may be long lines at the Stadium. All visitors should be prepared to show valid identification, vehicle registration and proof of auto insurance. Vehicles may be inspected upon entry. If Force Protection Conditions change, some scheduled events may also change or require additional security precautions for the safety of all our guests. Any event changes will be announced via local media and the Academies official Facebook page.
If the graduation ceremony is moved indoors due to dangerous weather or security reasons, general public and staff ticket holders will not be able to attend. If the ceremony is moved, notification will go out by May 28 at 7 a.m., via local media and the Academies official Facebook page.
For more information on the Air Force Academy Graduation, visit http://www.usafa.edu/superintendent/graduation/index.cfm?catname=graduation or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
In accordance with a NORTHCOM Directive, the United States Air Force Academy has increased security measures. Until further notice, the base is closed to all non-DoD ID cardholders. Visitors may be escorted onto base by DoD ID cardholders. Visitor access for official events will be permitted on a case-by-case basis.As for how visitors will be handled at the upcoming academy graduation, academy spokesman Meade Warthen says via email: "As you can imagine, the situation is very fluid right at the moment. We'll be issuing updates on access as we get closer to graduation."
Please monitor the USAFA Facebook page and website for more information on future events scheduled to be held at the Academy. Additionally, DoD ID cardholders can anticipate delays when entering the installation, and there may be traffic back-ups near both of the Academy's North and South Gates. As a matter of DoD policy, we do not discuss specific security measures. However, these measures are in place to ensure the safety and security of USAFA personnel, cadets, and assets.
USAFA leadership asks the public and military personnel to remain vigilant and if you see or hear anything suspicious, please contact Security Forces at (719) 333-2000.
Convoys will consist of no more than 30 vehicles per group, and 30-minute spacing is planned between each convoy. Convoys will travel at 40 miles per hour and utilize two routes.The PCMS has been controversial with surrounding landowners concerned about over-use of the grasslands.
Convoys will travel on Interstate Highway 25, U.S. Highway 160, U.S. Highway 350, State Highway 115, U.S. Highway 50, U.S. Highway 87, State Highway 167, and State Highway 10. Due to the increase in vehicle traffic and slow speed of the convoys travelers may experience delays.
No travel will occur on I-25 through Pueblo during the hours of 7 - 9 a.m. and 4 - 6 p.m., which is during peak rush hour time periods.
Increased dust and noise levels from this exercise can be expected during this time period, due to training and vehicle traffic throughout the training area. The training includes day and night blank-fire exercises incorporating aircraft and military members from the Army and Air Force.
The purpose of Raider Focus is to prepare Soldiers for any possible mission should the unit be called to support any contingency around the globe. During the exercise, crews will engage simulated targets using different scenarios to build team cohesion and ensure they are proficient in their skills. The unit will redeploy to Fort Carson in mid-June.
Noise complaints should be directed to the Fort Carson Public Affairs Office at (719) 526-9849.
Fort Carson implements new access control policies and procedures Friday, as directed by the Secretary of the Army. All visitors without a federal or DOD identification card (ID) entering the installation will be affected by the new changes.
Visitors, without a federal or DOD ID requesting one-day access to the installation will need to report to the Visitor Control Center (VCC), located at Building 6012 at Gate 1, with a valid state or federally issued photo ID (driver’s license if driving), vehicle registration and proof of insurance (if applicable). All personnel must have a valid reason for accessing the installation.
Members of the golf course or on a bowling league who do not have the proper identification must work through the respective management of those establishments to have the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sign the Fort Carson Form 2036 (Request for Fort Carson Access Control Card).
The Form 2036 must be digitally signed with a Common Access Card by a military sponsor, not hand signed. For organizations on post, such as the Army and Air Force Exchange Service and Defense Commissary Agency that don’t have CAC cards, provisions have been made in advance with these organizations to obtain passes for those who need them.
Visitors requesting unescorted access will be required to undergo a FBI National Crime Information Center III (NCIC) check prior to accessing the installation. Visitors with issues such as an outstanding arrest warrant, recent felony conviction or are listed on the Terrorist Screening database will not be allowed access and, if appropriate, will be turned over to legal authorities.
Visitors who are receiving a Fort Carson access pass may not escort other non-DOD ID cardholders onto the installation. Each visitor in the vehicle must go through the NCIC check to gain access.
The NCIC check helps law enforcement officers apprehend fugitives, locate missing persons, recover stolen property and identify terrorists. It also assists law enforcement officers in performing their official duties more safely and provides them with information necessary to aid in protecting the general public.
The VCC is open daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Visitors requesting access outside the VCC hours must go to Gate 3 off of Academy Blvd. to request a pass. Questions may be directed to the VCC at (719) 526-2332 or the Security and Access Control Office at (719) 526-5543.
More than 10 percent of the appointments at the clinic from Sept. 1 to Feb. 28 took at least 31 days to schedule, missing the Department of Veterans Affairs’ timeliness goal. That was the highest in the state and the 12th-worst out of 940 veterans outpatient clinics and hospitals reviewed nationwide. ...The Gazette talked to 39-year-old Air Force veteran Ken Ulin, who said he had experienced such a hard time obtaining medical help he "tried to overdose right in front of my psychiatrist at the VA," the paper quoted him as saying. "That didn't work out well. But I wanted to get their attention."
“It’s a chaotic mess,” said 69-year-old Kenneth Thibodeau of Colorado Springs, a Vietnam-era veteran who gets VA treatment for diabetes, blindness and an amputated leg.
He said he likes the care he gets from the VA – when he can get it.
“I think the scheduling part of it is the biggest problem right now,” said Thibodeau, deputy chaplain for the Colorado American Legion. “When I make an appointment or something, I get a phone call the day before saying they have to reschedule, and you don’t get a reason.”
A Republican congressman has introduced legislation that would force cadets at the Air Force’s Academy to say “so help me God” during their oaths every school year. He said the legislation is necessary because Americans don’t have “freedom from religion.”Well, we had to check in with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation founder, Mikey Weinstein, to get his take. Though he's been inundated with media calls, Weinstein took time to send us this statement:
Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) said the bill, called the Preserve and Protect God in Military Oaths Act of 2015, would protect the religious freedom of American troops.
“Our Constitution’s very First Amendment protects every individual’s freedom of religion. But our servicemen and women who protect our county with their lives are seeing that freedom under fire,” he said in a statement.
Congressman Sam Johnson should be tried for treason and sedition. The astounding ignorance and bigotry displayed by his brazen presentation of this proposed wretched sectarian legislation is literally mind-ripping. Not only does it viciously savage United States constitutional religious protections afforded all American citizens, including members of the U.S. military, it also provides an unparalleled bonanza of propaganda for our fundamentalist Islamic enemies such as Isis, the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Additionally, it enrages our Islamic allies and utterly desecrates and destroys military unit cohesion, good order, morale and discipline. The United States Congress should at the very least censure this constitutionally derelict villain and universally despicable human being.Lamborn wasn't happy about "so help me God" being made optional by the academy, leading him to issue this statement about the matter on Nov. 15, 2013:
Training activities in the Final EIS include electronic jamming systems, laser target sighting, tactical demolition, unmanned and unarmed aerial reconnaissance systems, and light unmanned ground vehicle training. In terms of training infrastructure, PCMS would establish two new drop-zones, and restricted airspace directly over PCMS for use during periods when training activity poses a hazard to non-participating aircraft. The restricted airspace would be activated as required by training scenarios. Among the changes made since publication of the Draft EIS are the removal of aviation rocket (2.75 inch) and flare training, removal of two of the original eight demolition sites from the proposed action, and reduction in the maximum charge per blast at one of the six remaining sites.For a little background on the project, you can read this previous blog. Or read the entire report below:
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is the only law that requires the government to assess every type of impact from its proposed actions, analyze alternatives, describe proven measures to mitigate the impacts and disclose all of that to the public for serious review before the government action is approved.
That level of assessment was not conducted or disclosed in DOD's latest EIS for Piñon Canyon Manuever Site, Colorado and so its plans and impacts remain hidden from the public now, just as in 2009, when DOD's PCMS Transformation EIS so failed NEPA's required analysis and public disclosure that it was thrown out by a federal judge.
Urging people across the country to submit comments, Jean Aguerre of watchdog group Not 1 More Acre! said, "Our goal is to re-establish the rule of law that requires public disclosure of government plans and rigorous analysis of impacts before their plans are approved, and to CLOSE Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site to end military takeover of Southeastern Colorado and Northern New Mexico."
William Guman & Associates, Ltd., a long-time Colorado Springs based landscape architecture and land planning firm, has been selected by the Veteran’s Administration as project landscape architect to develop construction documents for the long awaited National Cemetery to be constructed in El Paso County. Guman is part of the AES Group team that was awarded the primary contract to plan and design the cemetery. AES Group, Inc. is a certified service disabled veteran owned small business (SDVOSB) with primary offices in Parker, CO. Land planning for the new cemetery will be handled by The L.A. Group, PC, Saratoga Springs, NY, which has planned more than forty national cemeteries throughout the country.
Bill Guman, a licensed landscape architect, is pleased that there will be local representation on the National Cemetery’s consulting team hired by the VA.
“We think it was a wise decision for the VA to retain the services of prime consultants who are familiar with the unique requirements of our area,” said Guman. Design criteria for which the VA expressed much concern included long-term sustainability of the cemetery’s landscape. “The VA recognized that this region does not have the water resources that many other national cemeteries have to help keep them green for much of the year,” Guman said. He acknowledged that it will be challenging to design a drought tolerant landscape for the cemetery that is still attractive and in keeping with the National Cemetery Administration’s (NCA) design guidelines.
“There is an expectation for a national cemetery to always appear lush and manicured,” said Guman. “But Southern Colorado is a high plains desert and is obviously different than Arlington, Virginia” he added.
“The design team will be looking at xeric landscape alternatives that require far less water and care than acres of bluegrass lawn found in most national cemeteries.”
The El Paso County National Cemetery master plan will provide for up to for 125,000 grave sites across the 375 acre Rolling Hills Ranch property the VA purchased earlier this year. Schematic documents for approximately 50 acres of the property are being planned to support 10 year burial projections (approximately 15,300 gravesites) for the Phase 1 build out. The project will include pre-placed crypts, columbarium niches and in-ground cremains pre-placed urn crypts. The completed design will include a main entrance area, roadways, irrigation, utilities, landscaping, signage, committal service shelters, memorial walls, combined public information center and administration building, maintenance building complex, honor guard building, parking, public restrooms and temporary structures necessary to operationally support an early construction turnover of a limited number of gravesites. The VA’s estimated cost of construction for this project is between $28 million and $50 million dollars.
The project will be designed to LEED silver certified standards and meet all Federal Energy and Sustainability mandates. Planning and design of the new National Cemetery is anticipated to commence in December, with construction scheduled to begin in late 2015. Early turnover scheduling for Phase 1 should allow interments at the cemetery to commence in 2017. The National Cemetery’s Rolling Hills Ranch site is located on Drennan Road, approximately one-quarter mile east of Peterson Air Force Base and Marksheffel Road.
The partnering opportunities in our community are unique and extensive. The region hosts key military assets like US Northern Command that is responsible for all Department of Defense response to civil authorities, including in cases like large fires, as well as key military aerial firefighting capabilities, such as the 302nd Air Wing’s Modular Aerial Firefighting Systems (MAFFS) and Fort Carson’s helicopter fleet, that have responded to many fires in Colorado.In addition, the proposal, obtained by the Independent through the Colorado Open Records Act, notes "a multitude of high tech companies" are located in Colorado Springs, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Exelis, Hewlett Packard, Booz Allen Hamilton, Harris Corporation, and Quantum Corporation.