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​​Airmen from Kadena AB, Japan, conduct a combined land survey with Royal Thai Army partners on June 29 at Chiang Rai, Thailand. Defense Department photo

​US Airmen Played Key Role in Thai Cave Rescue

When the Thai government asked for US military assistance in the effort to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach, who were trapped in a flooded cave, 35 Kadena-based airmen responded. The airmen led the US rescue team and played critical roles in getting the boys and their coach to safety. Jennifer Hlad has the full story from Okinawa, Japan.


Selva: Complex Way Ahead for Space Force

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva on Friday recognized the complexities of the Trump administration’s push to establish a Space Force as a new US military service, a move that will require the approval of Congress and, he said, more resources.  Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.

F-15Cs Scramble to Intercept Plane Stolen from Seattle Airport

Two Oregon Air National Guard F-15Cs scrambled and went supersonic over Washington state to intercept a Horizon Air Q400 that was stolen from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and flew around the region before crashing. Richard Russell, an employee with the Alaska Air subsidy, stole the twin turboprop commuter aircraft from SeaTac and flew it around toward the mountains and over the Puget Sound. Two F-15Cs, from the 142nd Fighter Wing at Portland International Airport, scrambled, were carrying air-to-air weapons, and intercepted the Q400 near JB Lewis-McChord, Wash. A KC-135 tanker on alert at Fairchild AFB, Wash., launched to help the F-15Cs, and even a KC-46 Pegasus in the region on a test flight offered to assist the Eagles, according to air traffic control audio posted by The Drive's War Zone. The F-15s trailed the Q400 and tried to coax it further out to sea before it crashed on the small remote island of Ketron, south of Tacoma, killing Russell. "I appreciate the quick reaction and professionalism of our airmen and the entire NORAD team who were on alert today, as they are every day of the year," said USAF Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, commander of US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Command. —Brian Everstine​

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DOD “Governance Committee” to Help Implement New Space Initiatives

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson will be part of a “governance committee” to ensure quick implementation of Pentagon actions in Thursday’s Defense Department report on National Security Space reforms in preparation for creation of a Space Force. The report calls for establishment of a US Space Command, a Space Force, a Space Development Agency to develop and field new capabilities, and an operating structure with civilian oversight for the Space Force. Defense Department is also directed to speed space technology and development efforts. The committee will be led by the Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan. Other members will include the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the secretaries of the Army and Navy; the defense undersecretaries for research and engineering, for acquisition and sustainment, for personnel and readiness, and for policy; and the commander, first of US Strategic Command, then of US Space Command. The panel will work with others, including military leaders and other agencies to make sure the Space Force is well integrated with the rest of the government. Among the committee’s responsibilities will be establishing civilian oversight for the new service, establishment of the new command, identifying and consolidating current entities for Space Operations Force components, and preparing a legislative proposal for the authorities needed for the new service. —Steve Hirsch​

Lockheed Gets Another $105 Million for F-35 Block 4 Development

The Pentagon on Thursday awarded Lockheed Martin another $105 million for design and development of F-35 Block 4 common capabilities. The award, a modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, covers F-35 Phase 2.2(A)(1) pre-modernization of common capabilities of all F-35 variants, according to a Defense Department release. The bulk of the award, approximately $84 million or about 80 percent, is for the Air Force. Block 4 is expected to include the incorporation of additional weapons and enhancements to the aircraft’s electronic warfare suite. —Brian Everstine

Mattis Heading to South America for the First Time

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is on his way to South America for his first time in office, a trip the administration is touting as a showcase of the importance of a region not regularly highlighted in Pentagon operations. Mattis is visiting Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia, where he is expected to meet with senior officials and defense leaders in each nation. The trip comes as the US, including the Air Force, has been exercising alongside several South and Central American nations. For example, the US and about 20 other nations are currently participating in exercise Panamax 2018 at several locations inside the US. The exercise focuses on exercising joint security and stability operations, according to a US Southern Command release. In addition, the Colombian Air Force recently participated in Red Flag 18-3, which wrapped up in early August at Nellis AFB, Nev. —Brian Everstine

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RADAR SWEEP​

—Lockheed Martin and the Swedish government on Aug. 10 signed an agreement for the country to purchase the company’s Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missiles: Lockheed release.
—The Air Force on Thursday awarded Raytheon Co. a $110 million contract for foreign military sales of Paveway weapons: DOD release.
—TSgt. Michael Cleary, an aircraft structural maintainer with the 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, aided in saving three families while helping with fire response in California: Luke AFB release.
—An officer with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force recently became the first JASDF C-130J instructor pilot at Dyess AFB, Texas, after completing training through the Military Personnel Exchange Program: Dyess release.
—Scammers using the name Exchange Inc. have been targeting service members, offering used cars, trucks, and other items through the Army & Air Force Exchange Service: DCmilitary.com.
—Members of Air Force and Army communication elements came together for the first time during a cyber combat support training exercise Aug. 8 at Fort McCoy, Wisc.: 927th ARW release.
—Air Force Col. Shelly Schools has been assigned to preside over the Guantanamo Bay trial of a Saudi man accused of the 2000 USS Cole bombing off the coast of Yemen: McClatchy.
—Two Georgia Wing Civil Air Patrol cadets on Aug. 2 helped save a man’s life when they came up to a multi-car accident in Coweta County, Ga.: USAF release.