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  • BONE Transplant


    A B-1B takes off from al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, April 8, 2015. Air Force photo by SrA. James Richardson

    ​The Air Force’s B-1 fleet, along with its Long-Range Strike Bomber program, is moving from the oversight of Air Combat Command to Air Force Global Strike Command, effective Oct. 1, announced the service on Monday. The 63 B-1s in the inventory and some 7,000 airmen will transfer to AFGSC under the move, joining the Air Force’s nuclear-capable B-2A and B-52H fleets under the command, states the service’s release. The B-1s, which deliver only conventional munitions, are primarily spread across the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess AFB, Texas, and the 28th BW at Ellsworth AFB, S.D. “With a single command responsible for the Air Force's entire long-range strike fleet, the airmen in AFGSC will benefit from better coordination and increased sharing of expertise,” said Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh. Plus, the consolidation will “help provide a unified voice to maintain the high standards necessary in stewardship” of the bombers, said Secretary Deborah Lee James. AFGSC spokeswoman Capt. Michele Rollins told Air Force Magazine the detailed planning surrounding the realignment was still a work in progress, when asked if the 7th BW and 28th BW would become part of 8th Air Force, AFGSC’s organization that oversees the B-2 and B-52 forces.

  • Nellis' Lightning Nexus

    ​Maintainers inspect one of the 10 F-35As sent from Luke AFB, Ariz., to Nellis AFB, Nev., for training, April 15, 2015. Air Force photo by SSgt. Darlene Seltmann

    The 56th Fighter Wing at Luke AFB, Ariz., conducted its first training deployment with the F-35A strike fighter, sending airmen and 10 of its jets to Nellis AFB, Nev., for two weeks, according to a release. The Luke F-35As flew training sorties alongside F-35s assigned to Nellis and Eglin AFB, Fla., over the Nevada Test and Training Range from April 4 to April 18, states the release. This exercise was an important indicator of the Air Force’s state of progress toward having its first unit of combat-ready F-35As available for combat around fall 2016, said officials. "Until now, the Air Force F-35 program had not moved this many jets and conducted sustained operations at another base," added Lt. Col. Michael Ebner, commander of Luke's 61st Fighter Squadron. "Operating away from Luke has been a huge success for the wing, Team Nellis, and the F-35 program," said 56th FW Commander Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus. Luke, home to the F-35A schoolhouse, currently hosts 20 F-35As, including two Australian jets, states the release.

  • US, France Expand Space Data Sharing

    ​US Strategic Command and the French defense ministry strengthened an existing agreement for the sharing of space situational awareness data, announced the command on Monday. The two organizations commemorated the signing of the new arrangement on April 14 in Colorado Springs, Colo. It builds upon the initial sharing agreement of January 2014 by permitting “an advanced exchange of SSA data, which is essential for spaceflight safety and may include classified information, when appropriate,” states STRATCOM’s release. "We are pleased to expand our space partnership with France, one of our oldest and closest allies,” said STRATCOM Commander Adm. Cecil Haney. “These agreements are mutually beneficial, enabling greater spaceflight safety, increasing our national security and that of our allies, and enhancing our 24/7 global operations," he said. During his tenure at STRATCOM’s helm, Haney has warned of the vulnerability of US space assets and the need to enhance SSA capabilities. STRATCOM has agreements in place for sharing space information with US allies and partners, including Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, and South Korea.

  • GPS IIF Satellite Transitions to Operators' Control


    ​Air Force Space Command earlier this month transferred control authority of the latest on-orbit GPS IIF navigation satellite to the airmen of the 2nd Space Operations Squadron and Air Force Reserve Command’s 19th SOPS at Schriever AFB, Colo., according to a release. "Ownership has been transferred from the developers to the operators," said 2nd SOPS Commander Lt. Col. Todd Benson in the April 17 release. "We'll continue with more on-orbit checkup. Soon, we'll set the vehicle 'healthy to all users,' which means the general populace can start using it," he added. The Air Force and its industry partners on March 25 launched this satellite, the ninth GPS-IIF spacecraft, into space from the central Florida coast. It was the first of three GPS IIF launches scheduled in 2015. The Schriever airmen took control of the satellite on April 3, states the release. AFSPC in 2014 deployed the most GPS satellites that it has in more than 20 years, launching four into orbit.

  • Building the Cyber Force


    ​The Defense Department is about halfway to the goal of fielding a ready force of 133 teams of cyber specialists by the end of Fiscal 2016 to protect the US military's information network and support US combatant commanders worldwide, said Lt. Gen. James McLaughlin, US Cyber Command's deputy commander. This cyber mission force, spanning the services, represents "a significant way of bringing capacity and capability to bear in our ability to defend the United States and to accomplish the Department of Defense missions in cyberspace," McLaughlin told the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee’s emerging threats and capabilities panel on April 14. The Air Force already has 17 of its teams available, with two fully operational and the other 15 having achieved initial operational status, said Maj. Gen. Burke Wilson, head of 24th Air Force, the service's cyber operations arm, at the same oversight hearing. "In addition to providing unprecedented support to joint coalition combat forces in Afghanistan and Syria, these cyber forces are engaged in support to combatant commanders and Air Force commanders around the world as well as defense of the nation," he said. (Wilson’s prepared testimony)

  • Keeping Out of Harm’s Way


    ​Workers process family members at Kadena AB, Japan, during the base’s non-combatant evacuation exercise, April 8, 2015. Air Force photo by SSgt. Marcus Morris

    ​Airmen at Kadena AB, Japan, this month practiced non-combatant evacuations with sailors and soldiers, processing and safely moving some 150 Okinawa military families, during a mock emergency drill earlier this month, announced wing officials. Working with Red Cross representatives and 18th Wing finance and housing personnel, the airmen went through the response procedures required to get the families to a rally point for aircraft to take them to a safe location in the case of an actual emergency that made it unsafe for them to remain on the island, like an approaching typhoon. The early April exercise allowed the airmen to practice with real families and better prepare for an actual non-combatant evacuation operation, said Lorrie Perkins of the 18th Force Support Squadron’s Airmen and Family Readiness Center. The drill was also important to let the families know “what they might need to get out of town,” said Col. Debra Lovette, commander of the 18th Mission Support Group. The 18th Wing usually conducts NEO drills twice a year, but officials would like to increase the frequency, states the release.

  • Academy Gets Air Guard Military Trainer


    ​MSgt. Donald Steven Sanders, a veteran KC-135 maintainer with the Tennessee Air National Guard’s 134th Air Refueling Wing at McGhee Tyson ANG Base, became the first Air Guard member selected to serve as an academy military trainer at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., according to a release. “He’ll represent us well,” said Col. Burl Lambert, commander of the 134th Maintenance Group. “I think it’s a great thing for the Guard and I think it’s a great thing for the Air Force Academy,” added Lambert. Sanders is a veteran repair and reclamation craftsman, with more than 23 years as an airman and extensive experience working on KC-135s, states the April 13 release. He received the new assignment through the Air Force’s Developmental Special Duties program, which places qualified airmen in roles outside of their given career field in order to foster their leadership skills and leverage their experience. Sanders said he looks forward to being an AMT because he’ll have the opportunity to “get out there and grow a little bit more.”

  • No Jet Left Behind

    ​Workers remove the F-4E on static display at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport from its pedestal, March 31, 2015. Air National Guard photo by SMSgt. Mary-Dale Amison​​​

    The Missouri Air National Guard is moving three static jets of the former 131st Fighter Wing in St. Louis to Whiteman Air Force Base to join the unit’s successor, the 131st Bomb Wing, according to a unit video posted on Monday. The aircraft were left behind on display at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport after the fighter unit left for Whiteman in 2008 to become a bomb wing supporting B-2A stealth bomber operations with Whiteman’s Active Duty 509th BW. Workers removed the three fighters—an F-4E Phantom II, F-15A Eagle, and F-100 Super Sabre​from their mountings at the end of March and in early April and shipped them to Whiteman. All three will ultimately go on display at the wing's new heritage park, according to a Missouri National Guard release. The F-4E, serial number 68-0338, scored two North Vietnamese MiG kills during the Vietnam War, according to a post at the Facebook page ​of the wing’s veterans community.​