Defense Nuclear Weapons School

Defense Nuclear Weapons School A public information portal for the Defense Nuclear Weapons School

The Defense Nuclear Weapons School (DNWS), in existence since 1947, is located on Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, N.M. This Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) school is a unique entity that provides training in nuclear weapons, nuclear and radiological incident command, control, and response, as well as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosives (CBRNE) modeling for the Department of Defense (DOD), and other federal, state, and local agencies.

Night training advances incident response capabilitiesby Maj. Katrina Moon, Defense Nuclear Weapons SchoolKIRTLAND AIR F...
05/21/2021

Night training advances incident response capabilities
by Maj. Katrina Moon, Defense Nuclear Weapons School

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M – In the event of a nuclear weapons accident or incident, the safety of our military and the public relies on the specially trained Incident Response Force to provide emergency assistance and establish safe command and control of the site.

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Defense Nuclear Weapons School trains first responders in the Nuclear Emergency Team Operations (NETOPS) course. The 10-day course was developed decades ago, in response to lessons learned from nuclear accident responses, and is a class the schoolhouse staff strives to improve annually.

“We cannot keep doing the same old thing,” said Nicholas Martin, academic lead for nuclear response. “We must find more ways to challenge the students, because you simply do not learn without some aspect of struggle.”

Recently overhauled, NETOPS now includes more hands-on practice with equipment, more teamwork and opportunities to practice critical thinking, and the first-ever night exercise.

“We wanted more realistic training. ‘Well then, let’s do it at night,’” said Martin. “Emergencies don’t just happen from nine to three.”

Students are now instructed to ‘not’ report to the classroom for that day of instruction, and instead are placed on a one-hour recall status. When they receive the call in the middle of the night, they then hurry to assemble with the rest of their “Initial Response Force” classmates to respond to a simulated aircraft accident carrying nuclear materials.

“Their job is to first, find and care for any casualties,” said Martin. “Second, they locate and identify any possible classified materials. Finally, the students map any and all areas of radiological contamination at the site.”

The supportive relationships between Kirtland AFB units enabled the preparation of the exercise site and ex*****on of the training event. The New Mexico Air National Guard 210th RED HORSE Squadron also provided incomparable support preparing the night exercise site.

“This was an awesome opportunity to provide support and get a lot of people hands-on heavy equipment training,” said Master Sgt Juan Cordova, flight chief for the 210 RED HORSE Heavy Equipment Shop. “It was a win-win.”

The 58th Maintenance Group’s Aerospace Ground Equipment Flight has been supporting the exercise, providing on-call support personnel and a dozen floodlight illumination carts.

“The AGE flight always stands ready to perform our primary mission. However when a need exists anywhere on base, we are happy to help cover,” said Tech. Sgt. Stephen Klemko, 58th MXS AGE flight chief. “We will find a way.”

DNWS, with the support of base mission partners, provides unmatched training to Incident Response Forces.

“We are the only unit in the entire DoD that offers this training,” said Martin. “We have an obligation to continue to make it better and more challenging for our students.”

To enroll or for more information, call the NETOPS course manager at 505-853-2786.

02/08/2021

Heroes to All Americans

By Colonel George R. Farfour
Chief, Inspections and Education Department
Defense Threat Reduction Agency
Kirtland AFB, NM

February, as Black History Month, is a time to reflect on the contributions of African-Americans to our country. Though no single article can adequately cover African-American history justly, there are few areas that can rival the vast participation of African-Americans in war.

African-Americans came to the aid of their country every time it called. From the foundations of independence to the sands of Iraq, African-American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Guardians have demonstrated they too have a fierce love of country and a stubborn fortitude to succeed in battle.

African-Americans stand proud in our fighting history and deserve their rightful place in the study of that history.

From Crispus Attucks, who was killed by British soldiers during the Boston Massacre in 1770, to the freed and escaped slaves of the Civil War, through the Buffalo soldiers of Wild West to the Tuskegee Airman and right up to today, there has been no shortage of African-American patriots. Here are remembrances of just a few.

The 10th U.S. Cavalry, a Buffalo Soldier unit was deployed to Cuba during the Spanish-American War. The 10th Cavalry became famous for having five African-American soldiers receive Medals of Honor. In doing so, the 10th Cavalry wrote its heroics in blood. One soldier, Edward L. Barker, Jr., even rose to the rank of captain, an extremely rare event for the day.

The 369th Infantry Regiment, an African-American New York National Guard unit known as the "Black Rattlers" fought in World War I under the French 4th Army and achieved amazing battlefield successes. Despite the obvious racial prejudices of the time, they earned an impressive number of awards for valor receiving more than 171 decorations. The entire regiment received France's prestigious Croix de Guerre. While they still had to ride on the back of the bus, their heroics were so well-known that they received the unprecedented honor of leading the New York City World War I victory parade. And the German’s, recognizing the amazing tenacity of their enemy, gave them the nickname, “Harlem Hell-fighters”.

World War II brought forth another wave of distinguished African-American patriots. On the USS West Virginia, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Doris Miller, a cook, was up early Dec. 7, 1941. As he served breakfast, explosions rocked the mighty ship and he went to the upper deck. Seeing flames, chaos and death, Miller first aided his wounded commanding officer, taking him to safety. Then he took up a station at one of the many unmanned machine guns and began firing.

Although he was trained only as a cook with no instruction in the use of the automatic weapon, Miller reportedly downed two Japanese aircraft before the attacks stopped. He never left his post during the hours of the attack, a post he assumed out of necessity. The commander of the Pacific Fleet, Navy Adm. Chester Nimitz, personally presented Miller with the Navy Cross, an award for valor second only to the Medal of Honor.

Brigadier General Charles McGhee, recently promoted and honored by the President in a State of the Union speech, also gives us an enduring lesson in fortitude to the mission. After endless attempts to downplay their abilities, the Tuskegee Airmen were finally placed in combat with a single mission—escort and protect bombers of the German strategic bombing offensive. When asked why he had never become an ace—shooting down 5 or more enemy aircraft, he said, “becoming an Ace was never more important than protecting the bombers”. In other words, the mission is more important than individual fame. And they have become legendary for their commitment to the mission, and as a result to our country.
Vietnam saw 18 year-old Army Pfc. Milton Olive III receive the Medal of Honor for an act of bravery few people in any war have equaled. Olive's unit was under heavy enemy attacks from the Viet Cong. As the enemy fled the counterattacks of Private Olive's 3rd Platoon, a few VC turned back and threw gr***des, one of which landed near Olive, three of his buddies and the platoon leader. Olive grabbed the gr***de and covered it with his body, absorbing the blast and saving his fellow soldiers while ensuring success of the counterassault.

At the White House ceremony to present the Medal of Honor posthumously to Olive's parents, President Johnson summed up the reason we should remember the example of Olive and others like him: "In dying, he taught those of us who remain how we ought to live."

Another Vietnam War hero, Col. Fred Cherry, endured torture, solitary confinement and repeated beatings as a prisoner of war for more than seven years. He was brutally tortured when he refused to sign statements that the United States was a racist country or make broadcasts encouraging African-American soldiers not to fight. Even after suffering the most brutal torture -- including an operation to repair a broken rib with no anesthesia -- he never gave in to his captors, telling them, "You'll have to kill me before I denounce my country."

All of these men practiced and validated ideals which are uniquely American. Often in our history, those most persecuted are they who realize most clearly what it is to be American. As Americans, we should look at these examples and so many more -- not just in February, but all year -- to remind us that all Americans contribute to the preservation of what makes America the greatest country in history.

Hopefully, through role models such as these African-Americans, we can all live Cherry's words, "Race has nothing to do with it -- I'll succeed because I'm good," both in our own goals and how we look at others. Their ability to do just that is what makes them not just heroes to African-Americans, but heroes to all Americans.

# #

09/29/2020

210th Red Horse squadron support to DNWS is a ‘win-win…win’

Airmen from the New Mexico Air National Guard’s 210th RED HORSE Squadron at Kirtland AFB, N.M. are providing support to the Defense Nuclear Weapon School while receiving valuable training as they work.

In the fall of 2019, members of DNWS started to work with the 210th RED HORSE Squadron and the 58th Training Squadron to help relocate air frame training aids to a DNWS training site on base.

Eager to get valuable training hours on their heavy equipment, it wasn’t until the RED HORSE team found time in between other missions to make the ‘big’ moves happen for the schoolhouse.

“Some personnel even came to work on their days off to see these airframes safely moved,” said Col. George R. Farfour, DNWS commandant. “This isn’t just a ‘win-win’ for the organizations working on these projects. This is a ‘win’ for the hundreds of joint service, multi-national, and interagency students DNWS typically sees in a year who will learn about contamination monitoring on these training aids.”

Using their heavy crane, flat bed trailers, and in some cases all terrain forklifts, the RED HORSE team was able to plan and carefully execute safe moves for each of the large training aids. The equipment moves demonstrate to other commands on base that this important heavy-lift capability is locally available to them. More important is the timely renewal of critical skills the RED HORSE Airmen are getting on the heavy equipment.

“Getting hands-on heavy equipment training while solving real-world problems is a huge benefit to RED HORSE, especially in preparing for our upcoming overseas deployment," said Lt. Col. James C. Willis, commander of the 210th RED HORSE Squadron.

Matt Thompson, DNWS historian, says that with the training aids in place, students will practice contamination monitoring techniques that were employed by military responders and aircrew during Operation TOMODACHI in 2011 - the humanitarian effort that provided relief to Japan after a tsunami damaged the nuclear power plant there.

“Of particular interest to the students are aircraft engines because of their tendency to collect and concentrate even minute amounts of contamination found in the air,” he said. “A C-130 transport aircraft engine provided by the 58th TRS will serve as one of those training aids, as well as be a great addition to the UH-1 helicopter airframe training aid.”

Once the UH-1 helicopter airframe was unloaded at the DNWS training area, the RED HORSE team and the DTRA Albuquerque motor pool team developed a method of using forklifts and short slings to move the single ton airframe short distances.

“The UH-1 training aid presented a unique challenge,” Thompson said. “It rested on skids and would require wheels to make it less dependent on heavy equipment for movement. Original ground handling wheels would have cost tens of thousands of dollars and were quickly rejected as an option.”

DNWS training specialists then developed a caster wheel design that could be fabricated for a fraction of the cost.

“To get these caster wheel assemblies built, one of the DNWS training buildings was turned into a fabrication shop by the RED HORSE team,” Willis said. “Over the next few weeks, the DNWS team provided all of the material, hardware, cutting and welding supplies needed for the project. Many hours of cutting, hand fitting, welding and grinding were then conducted by our RED HORSE Airmen.”

This allowed the RED HORSE team to rotate personnel so everyone could practice steel fabrication skills that will be needed in future deployments. Willis says his Airmen are ready and willing to support anywhere they can, and that he’s particularly pleased to assist the schoolhouse.

"Earlier in my career, I had the opportunity to benefit from several DNWS courses, and it is the best training I've had in the military,” Willis said. “The 210 RED HORSE is delighted to help out DNWS in any way we can."

(See previously posted photos and captions below).

Members of the New Mexico Air National Guard 210th RED HORSE Squadron use a crane and flatbed trailer in April to reloca...
09/29/2020

Members of the New Mexico Air National Guard 210th RED HORSE Squadron use a crane and flatbed trailer in April to relocate a modified HH-60 helicopter airframe and training aid from the 58th Training Squadron’s aircraft yard to the DNWS training site on Kirtland AFB. The HH-60 airframe move is one of many projects that the RED HORSE Airmen are performing for DNWS, most of which are done in between other missions. Photo by Matt Thompson, DNWS

A member of the 210th RED HORSE team (left) welds a wheel caster in July while another member looks on.  The wheel caste...
09/29/2020

A member of the 210th RED HORSE team (left) welds a wheel caster in July while another member looks on. The wheel caster aided in the transport of the UH-1 helicopter airframe pictured in the background. The airframe was relocated to the DNWS training site on base to be used as a training aid. Members spent a couple of weeks fabricating the casters provided by DNWS and rotated throughout the project to acquire metal cutting, welding and fabrication skills. Photo by Matt Thompson, DNWS

Master Sgt Juan Cordova and Staff Sgt Joseph Baca (center) of the 210th RED HORSE Squadron receive  challenge coins from...
09/29/2020

Master Sgt Juan Cordova and Staff Sgt Joseph Baca (center) of the 210th RED HORSE Squadron receive challenge coins from Defense Nuclear Weapons School Commandant, Col. George R. Farfour (far left) while their commander, Lt. Col. James Willis, looks on (far right). The three members represented the entire RED HORSE squadron at the DNWS schoolhouse on Sept 3 in recognition of their team’s outstanding and ongoing support to the school. Among some of their major accomplishments to-date, the RED HORSE team prepared and moved several heavy training aids to a DNWS training site on base, to include two large non-airworthy helicopter airframes and one non-serviceable aircraft engine courtesy of the 58th Training Squadron. Thousands of students attend DNWS training courses every year, whether in-class or online, primarily for radiological and nuclear incident response training. The training aids will be used for classes on contamination monitoring. Photo by John Familette, DNWS

09/29/2020

DNWS commandant retires, reflects upon 30 years of service
by Defense Threat Reduction Agency Defense Nuclear Weapons School Public Affairs

The Defense Nuclear Weapons School, established in 1947 at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., said goodbye Aug. 28 to its 30th commandant.

Col. Mark E. Bowen, who entered the Air Force in 1990 as an intercontinental ballistic missile launch officer, ceremonially retired here after 30 years of service, the last four as the school’s commandant.

As the leader of DNWS, Bowen ensured the school effectively educated, trained and supported all agencies and responders to a nuclear or radiological incident or accident. During his tenure, more than 100,000 students attended in-residence or took online DNWS courses. He gives credit for many of his achievements to those he worked with along the way.

“Several events in my career benefitted me as commandant,” Bowen said. “I started in ICBMs and learned how the operators do the mission at the ground level, which served as a great start to my career. In the nuclear enterprise, you have to follow the written directives, no matter what. You have to comply with guidance until it is changed, and that mindset needs to be instilled in education and training across the force.”

Growing up in the nuclear enterprise, Bowen was able to see how many organizations operated and succeeded, which helped him make the DNWS even more successful.

“Early in my career, I got to spend time with Minot (Air Force Base) maintenance teams in the field, observe what they did and how they did it at that level. Then in my first joint assignment at U.S. Strategic Command I got the ‘big picture’ perspective, beyond the operational unit level. That was very helpful. I followed that with assignments in Space Command and acquisitions, which helped me be a better officer and manager of the Defense Nuclear Weapons School.”

When Bowen arrived at DNWS in 2016, following his command experiences, he says he understood the direction to take the school and what the product needed to be as part of a combat support agency. The legacy he leaves at DNWS benefits the Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Force. He said he leaves with many good memories.

“I don’t believe there’s a bad assignment out there,” he said. “It’s the people that make the difference, and every part of the mission is important.”

Maj. Gen. Christopher E. Craige, the commander of the Air Force Personnel Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, presided over Bowen’s retirement ceremony. He and Bowen have known each other for the past nine years.

“He is a man of extreme character,” Craige said of Bowen during the ceremony. “Leader, mentor, friend. That’s what I would sum up for Mark.”

The general said he would see Bowen care about Airmen as though they were family.

“That’s what sets you apart,” he said.

At DNWS, Bowen said he was repeatedly pleased and impressed by the caliber of people who came to work every day. Whether leaders, instructors, or support staff, he said everyone mattered when it came to meeting the school’s mission, which is to provide education and training in the nuclear enterprise and countering weapons of mass destruction in support of joint service and interagency organizations worldwide. He said it’s the effort of the individuals that makes the school better.

“Every day, our people made the instructional materials better and more relevant,” Bowen said. “They reached back to their communities from both recent and past assignments to understand the current needs of the operational forces. The expertise of our people is a big part of the DNWS ‘claim to fame,’ and we do our jobs exceptionally well. Not only because we can teach, but because we listen to what the customers and organizations need and then deliver it.”

An example includes the continuing effort to increase the school’s relevance, particularly to the radiological and nuclear communities. Since the “RN” portion of CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high-yield Explosive) is DNWS’ so-called “bread and butter,” DNWS staff seeks to discover training gaps in the radiological and nuclear fields and then works to fill those gaps.

“If you want RN training, we are the best in the DOD,” he said.
One organization asked the DNWS to produce a course that highlighted the life of nuclear weapons and the historical processes to keep track of and secure the weapons. “We ‘opened doors’ for them to better understand how the DOD addresses, maintains, and secures nuclear weapons,” Bowen said. “The course had immediate impact and helped improve current and future operations across the organization.”

Although officially retired, Bowen says he’ll continue to support the school.

“Mr. (Vayl) Oxford (Defense Threat Reduction Agency director) is very vocal about including allies and supporting Combatant Commands,” Bowen said. “I’ll continue to open those doors with U.S. Central Command, U.S. Pacific Command, and even in areas where nuclear weapons are not their ‘bread and butter’ but need to be prepared for conventional nuclear integration and associated transitions. DNWS will do some great things in the future, preparing our forces and leadership with information that will make them more effective in the nuclear arena.”

To finish a full career in the nuclear enterprise, and at a school that the DOD deems as the premier DOD military multi-service and joint CBRNE training facility, seems fitting. It speaks to his dedication and desire to serve the country, even beyond his time in uniform.

“I’m honored to have served our nation for 30 years,” Bowen said. “My family is the reason why I served -- to maintain that freedom that we all enjoy. My service to God through my church certainly helped set me up for success, and to be a colonel and a commander was an extraordinary experience.”

“I will cherish it all for the rest of my life,” he said.

(See two previously posted photos with captions on the story below).

Col. Mark E. Bowen remarks on his 30-year Air Force career at his retirement ceremony held Aug. 28 at Kirtland Air Force...
09/29/2020

Col. Mark E. Bowen remarks on his 30-year Air Force career at his retirement ceremony held Aug. 28 at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. The last four years of his career he served as the commandant for the Defense Nuclear Weapons School, the Department of Defense’s premiere DOD military multi-service and joint CBRNE training facility which is located at Kirtland. Photo by John Familette, DNWS

Col. Mark E. Bowen (right) relinquishes command in 2013 of the 39th Maintenance Squadron located at Incirlik Air Base, T...
09/29/2020

Col. Mark E. Bowen (right) relinquishes command in 2013 of the 39th Maintenance Squadron located at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, after his first command tour. Bowen then promptly assumed command of the 52nd Munitions Maintenance Group at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany before becoming the 30th commandant of the Defense Nuclear Weapons School at Kirtland AFB, N.M. in 2016. Bowen concluded his Air Force career in ceremony on Aug. 28 following an esteemed 30-years, the last four as DNWS commandant. Bowen’s presiding officer over the retirement ceremony was Maj. Gen. Christopher E. Craige, commander of the Air Force Personnel Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Craige (left) is also who relinquished Bowen’s command of the 39th Maintenance Squadron in 2013. Bowen says given the opportunity to be a commander twice and a commandant were true highlights of his career. Air Force file photo

11/01/2017

Over 80 rad/nuc incident response trained between courses held in Wyoming and New Mexico in October, to include general officers and key staff. Next up, New Mexico & California in next six weeks.

09/28/2017

80+ UNM AFROTC cadets rad/nuc trained yesterday - our future leaders of the Air Force!

09/17/2017

Over 50 more students IRNIR trained in Colorado and New Mexico. FY18 in-house course flyer to post soon. Also, book a mobile training team today so we can bring the two-day rad/nuc incident response course to you. Call the registrar at (505)846-5666 for details.

08/27/2017

Next IRNIR class is 7-8 September at DNWS. Sign up today.
Call (505)846-5666 or click the link in any of our posted announcements.

08/12/2017

50 more students rad/nuc awareness trained in Ohio.
Colorado, Florida and California are next.

07/08/2017

DNWS teaches over 30 different Radiological & Nuclear based courses that range from basic to advanced, and is provided to audiences worldwide. Derived from the Manhattan Project in 1947, DNWS is located at Kirtland AFB, NM and remains a truly unique asset that is available to military, responders and emergency managers from all levels of government. The two-day Introduction to Radiological & Nuclear Incident Response course is a great place to start as it provides a good foundation to other DNWS courses and increases confidence when operating in the "rad/nuc" environment.

06/07/2017

Over 40 IRNIR trained in past two weeks at DNWS: Navy, Army, Air Force, DOE, OST, local fire and police. Sign up now for the next in-house IRNIR scheduled 7 - 8 Sept. https://dnws.abq.dtra.mil

05/12/2017

More mobile training opportunities coming in the next few months. Watch for announcements posted here soon!

04/21/2017
Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)

Watch this video...

We're celebrating 70 years of excellent training at the Defense Nuclear Weapons School -- here's a quick look at what the DNWS was, is, and does!

04/19/2017

Defense Nuclear Weapons School's cover photo

04/19/2017
Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)

Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)

The DNWS has been training the U.S. nuclear force for seven decades! The first few classes were pretty small, but we now train thousands of troops every year, in addition to other first responders, DoD civilians, and some of our allies' CBRNE/CWMD forces.

04/17/2017

UPCOMING IN-HOUSE SCHEDULE FOR THE INTRODUCTION TO RADIOLOGICAL & NUCLEAR INCIDENT RESPONSE COURSE AT KIRTLAND AFB, NM.

Call (505) 846-5666 to register. U.S. Military and DoD Government civilians can register here: https://dnws.abq.dtra.mil/

Thurs/Fri, 4-5 May
Sat/Sun, 20-21 May
Thurs/Fri, 1-2 June
Thurs/Fri, 7-8 September

04/05/2017

30+ IRNIR trained in the State of Washington in March.

04/05/2017

Completed another IRNIR Mobile Training event, this time at Holloman AFB. Near 40 trained.

04/03/2017

Trained over 50 in Wyoming through the Nuclear Weapons Incident Response Training (NWIRT) course in March.

03/18/2017

Five more IRNIR courses to go in two states (Washington and New Mexico) in the next two weeks! Look out for new course announcements next week. One to Florida in April, one to Missouri and one in New Mexico in May.

03/09/2017

Taught rad/nuc incident response courses in NM, TX and MO in the past 5 weeks. Next up is WA, NM and FL. Military, Responders, Emergency Managers, government civilians Federal, Tribal, State, County, City...look for course announcements here and sign up.

02/08/2017

12 more mobile training opportunities are scheduled throughout the US this fiscal year for the Introduction to Radiological and Nuclear Incident Response course. Three in-house IRNIRs at Kirtland AFB remain, including one scheduled for 2-3 March. Course announcements coming soon.

01/11/2017

In addition to our in-house course offering posted yesterday, Introduction to Radiological and Nuclear Incident Response, we send mobile training teams upon request to teach the class all over the world. Call (505) 846-0663 for details.

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Night training advances incident response capabilities
by Maj. Katrina Moon, Defense Nuclear Weapons School

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M – In the event of a nuclear weapons accident or incident, the safety of our military and the public relies on the specially trained Incident Response Force to provide emergency assistance and establish safe command and control of the site.

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Defense Nuclear Weapons School trains first responders in the Nuclear Emergency Team Operations (NETOPS) course. The 10-day course was developed decades ago, in response to lessons learned from nuclear accident responses, and is a class the schoolhouse staff strives to improve annually.

“We cannot keep doing the same old thing,” said Nicholas Martin, academic lead for nuclear response. “We must find more ways to challenge the students, because you simply do not learn without some aspect of struggle.”

Recently overhauled, NETOPS now includes more hands-on practice with equipment, more teamwork and opportunities to practice critical thinking, and the first-ever night exercise.

“We wanted more realistic training. ‘Well then, let’s do it at night,’” said Martin. “Emergencies don’t just happen from nine to three.”

Students are now instructed to ‘not’ report to the classroom for that day of instruction, and instead are placed on a one-hour recall status. When they receive the call in the middle of the night, they then hurry to assemble with the rest of their “Initial Response Force” classmates to respond to a simulated aircraft accident carrying nuclear materials.

“Their job is to first, find and care for any casualties,” said Martin. “Second, they locate and identify any possible classified materials. Finally, the students map any and all areas of radiological contamination at the site.”

The supportive relationships between Kirtland AFB units enabled the preparation of the exercise site and ex*****on of the training event. The New Mexico Air National Guard 210th RED HORSE Squadron also provided incomparable support preparing the night exercise site.

“This was an awesome opportunity to provide support and get a lot of people hands-on heavy equipment training,” said Master Sgt Juan Cordova, flight chief for the 210 RED HORSE Heavy Equipment Shop. “It was a win-win.”

The 58th Maintenance Group’s Aerospace Ground Equipment Flight has been supporting the exercise, providing on-call support personnel and a dozen floodlight illumination carts.

“The AGE flight always stands ready to perform our primary mission. However when a need exists anywhere on base, we are happy to help cover,” said Tech. Sgt. Stephen Klemko, 58th MXS AGE flight chief. “We will find a way.”

DNWS, with the support of base mission partners, provides unmatched training to Incident Response Forces.

“We are the only unit in the entire DoD that offers this training,” said Martin. “We have an obligation to continue to make it better and more challenging for our students.”

To enroll or for more information, call the NETOPS course manager at 505-853-2786.
Heroes to All Americans

By Colonel George R. Farfour
Chief, Inspections and Education Department
Defense Threat Reduction Agency
Kirtland AFB, NM

February, as Black History Month, is a time to reflect on the contributions of African-Americans to our country. Though no single article can adequately cover African-American history justly, there are few areas that can rival the vast participation of African-Americans in war.

African-Americans came to the aid of their country every time it called. From the foundations of independence to the sands of Iraq, African-American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Guardians have demonstrated they too have a fierce love of country and a stubborn fortitude to succeed in battle.

African-Americans stand proud in our fighting history and deserve their rightful place in the study of that history.

From Crispus Attucks, who was killed by British soldiers during the Boston Massacre in 1770, to the freed and escaped slaves of the Civil War, through the Buffalo soldiers of Wild West to the Tuskegee Airman and right up to today, there has been no shortage of African-American patriots. Here are remembrances of just a few.

The 10th U.S. Cavalry, a Buffalo Soldier unit was deployed to Cuba during the Spanish-American War. The 10th Cavalry became famous for having five African-American soldiers receive Medals of Honor. In doing so, the 10th Cavalry wrote its heroics in blood. One soldier, Edward L. Barker, Jr., even rose to the rank of captain, an extremely rare event for the day.

The 369th Infantry Regiment, an African-American New York National Guard unit known as the "Black Rattlers" fought in World War I under the French 4th Army and achieved amazing battlefield successes. Despite the obvious racial prejudices of the time, they earned an impressive number of awards for valor receiving more than 171 decorations. The entire regiment received France's prestigious Croix de Guerre. While they still had to ride on the back of the bus, their heroics were so well-known that they received the unprecedented honor of leading the New York City World War I victory parade. And the German’s, recognizing the amazing tenacity of their enemy, gave them the nickname, “Harlem Hell-fighters”.

World War II brought forth another wave of distinguished African-American patriots. On the USS West Virginia, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Doris Miller, a cook, was up early Dec. 7, 1941. As he served breakfast, explosions rocked the mighty ship and he went to the upper deck. Seeing flames, chaos and death, Miller first aided his wounded commanding officer, taking him to safety. Then he took up a station at one of the many unmanned machine guns and began firing.

Although he was trained only as a cook with no instruction in the use of the automatic weapon, Miller reportedly downed two Japanese aircraft before the attacks stopped. He never left his post during the hours of the attack, a post he assumed out of necessity. The commander of the Pacific Fleet, Navy Adm. Chester Nimitz, personally presented Miller with the Navy Cross, an award for valor second only to the Medal of Honor.

Brigadier General Charles McGhee, recently promoted and honored by the President in a State of the Union speech, also gives us an enduring lesson in fortitude to the mission. After endless attempts to downplay their abilities, the Tuskegee Airmen were finally placed in combat with a single mission—escort and protect bombers of the German strategic bombing offensive. When asked why he had never become an ace—shooting down 5 or more enemy aircraft, he said, “becoming an Ace was never more important than protecting the bombers”. In other words, the mission is more important than individual fame. And they have become legendary for their commitment to the mission, and as a result to our country.
Vietnam saw 18 year-old Army Pfc. Milton Olive III receive the Medal of Honor for an act of bravery few people in any war have equaled. Olive's unit was under heavy enemy attacks from the Viet Cong. As the enemy fled the counterattacks of Private Olive's 3rd Platoon, a few VC turned back and threw gr***des, one of which landed near Olive, three of his buddies and the platoon leader. Olive grabbed the gr***de and covered it with his body, absorbing the blast and saving his fellow soldiers while ensuring success of the counterassault.

At the White House ceremony to present the Medal of Honor posthumously to Olive's parents, President Johnson summed up the reason we should remember the example of Olive and others like him: "In dying, he taught those of us who remain how we ought to live."

Another Vietnam War hero, Col. Fred Cherry, endured torture, solitary confinement and repeated beatings as a prisoner of war for more than seven years. He was brutally tortured when he refused to sign statements that the United States was a racist country or make broadcasts encouraging African-American soldiers not to fight. Even after suffering the most brutal torture -- including an operation to repair a broken rib with no anesthesia -- he never gave in to his captors, telling them, "You'll have to kill me before I denounce my country."

All of these men practiced and validated ideals which are uniquely American. Often in our history, those most persecuted are they who realize most clearly what it is to be American. As Americans, we should look at these examples and so many more -- not just in February, but all year -- to remind us that all Americans contribute to the preservation of what makes America the greatest country in history.

Hopefully, through role models such as these African-Americans, we can all live Cherry's words, "Race has nothing to do with it -- I'll succeed because I'm good," both in our own goals and how we look at others. Their ability to do just that is what makes them not just heroes to African-Americans, but heroes to all Americans.

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210th Red Horse squadron support to DNWS is a ‘win-win…win’

Airmen from the New Mexico Air National Guard’s 210th RED HORSE Squadron at Kirtland AFB, N.M. are providing support to the Defense Nuclear Weapon School while receiving valuable training as they work.

In the fall of 2019, members of DNWS started to work with the 210th RED HORSE Squadron and the 58th Training Squadron to help relocate air frame training aids to a DNWS training site on base.

Eager to get valuable training hours on their heavy equipment, it wasn’t until the RED HORSE team found time in between other missions to make the ‘big’ moves happen for the schoolhouse.

“Some personnel even came to work on their days off to see these airframes safely moved,” said Col. George R. Farfour, DNWS commandant. “This isn’t just a ‘win-win’ for the organizations working on these projects. This is a ‘win’ for the hundreds of joint service, multi-national, and interagency students DNWS typically sees in a year who will learn about contamination monitoring on these training aids.”

Using their heavy crane, flat bed trailers, and in some cases all terrain forklifts, the RED HORSE team was able to plan and carefully execute safe moves for each of the large training aids. The equipment moves demonstrate to other commands on base that this important heavy-lift capability is locally available to them. More important is the timely renewal of critical skills the RED HORSE Airmen are getting on the heavy equipment.

“Getting hands-on heavy equipment training while solving real-world problems is a huge benefit to RED HORSE, especially in preparing for our upcoming overseas deployment," said Lt. Col. James C. Willis, commander of the 210th RED HORSE Squadron.

Matt Thompson, DNWS historian, says that with the training aids in place, students will practice contamination monitoring techniques that were employed by military responders and aircrew during Operation TOMODACHI in 2011 - the humanitarian effort that provided relief to Japan after a tsunami damaged the nuclear power plant there.

“Of particular interest to the students are aircraft engines because of their tendency to collect and concentrate even minute amounts of contamination found in the air,” he said. “A C-130 transport aircraft engine provided by the 58th TRS will serve as one of those training aids, as well as be a great addition to the UH-1 helicopter airframe training aid.”

Once the UH-1 helicopter airframe was unloaded at the DNWS training area, the RED HORSE team and the DTRA Albuquerque motor pool team developed a method of using forklifts and short slings to move the single ton airframe short distances.

“The UH-1 training aid presented a unique challenge,” Thompson said. “It rested on skids and would require wheels to make it less dependent on heavy equipment for movement. Original ground handling wheels would have cost tens of thousands of dollars and were quickly rejected as an option.”

DNWS training specialists then developed a caster wheel design that could be fabricated for a fraction of the cost.

“To get these caster wheel assemblies built, one of the DNWS training buildings was turned into a fabrication shop by the RED HORSE team,” Willis said. “Over the next few weeks, the DNWS team provided all of the material, hardware, cutting and welding supplies needed for the project. Many hours of cutting, hand fitting, welding and grinding were then conducted by our RED HORSE Airmen.”

This allowed the RED HORSE team to rotate personnel so everyone could practice steel fabrication skills that will be needed in future deployments. Willis says his Airmen are ready and willing to support anywhere they can, and that he’s particularly pleased to assist the schoolhouse.

"Earlier in my career, I had the opportunity to benefit from several DNWS courses, and it is the best training I've had in the military,” Willis said. “The 210 RED HORSE is delighted to help out DNWS in any way we can."

(See previously posted photos and captions below).