Robert Hoover 2005 “Gathering of Eagles” lithograph. Air Force photo.
Robert A. “Bob” Hoover, WWII Army Air Forces pilot, test pilot, and legendary airshow performer, died Oct. 25 at the age of 94. Hoover, a young “flying sergeant” in WWII, was shot down in 1944 and interned at Stalag Luft 1 in Germany. Sixteen months later, he escaped, stealing a German FW 190 fighter and crash-landing it in the Netherlands. After the war, Hoover was a test pilot, chosen as the backup for the X-1 flight that broke the sound barrier; he flew chase on Chuck Yeager in a P-80 during the mission. He continued test flying after leaving the Air Force, working for the Allison Engine Company and then North American Aviation. During the Korean war, he taught US pilots deployed to Korea how to better handle the North American’s F-86; particularly how to dive-bomb with the jet, and later tested the F-100 Super Sabre. He became famous in the flying community for his ability to recover aircraft that had suffered midair calamities, once landing dead-stick in fog after his engine blew up. After he left North American, he began to fly a P-51 Mustang and an Aero Commander at airshows, winning fame and accolades for performances that others did not attempt to copy, such as engine-out aerobatic maneuvers. Hoover continued to perform into the 1990s and wrote an autobiography, Forever Flying. During his career he amassed an impressive number of records for time-to-climb, speed, and transcontinental speed, and accumulated an extensive list of awards, some of which were later named for him. The Air Force Association bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award on Hoover in 2015.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte disparaged the relationship between the US and the Philippines again Tuesday and warned the military alliance might not continue. Less than a week after he declared a “separation” from the US during a visit to China, Duterte said the US could “forget” an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the Philippines if he stayed in power longer, Reuters reported. He did not elaborate, but said he looks “forward to the time when I no longer see any military troops or soldier[s] in my country except the Filipino soldiers." State Department spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday the US government hasn’t seen any “policy traction” behind Duterte’s comments about the US-Philippine alliance, many of which have been walked back. “We’re going to continue to work at this relationship, we’re going to continue to meet our obligations under the defense treaty,” he said.During a Monday briefing, Kirby called Duterte’s recent comments “uncomfortable rhetoric” and said they were causing confusion. He also noted US Secretary of State John Kerry called his Philippine counterpart Sunday, and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel met with other leaders while in Manila earlier this week. “I think they both came away from the discussions realizing that the relationship remains stable and solid, and that we obviously are both going to have to work to sustain it and to keep it going,” Kirby said. “But they both came away from their discussions feeling that we were going to be able to work through this period and to continue to be able to meet our mutual requirements to one another.”
An F-35A Lightning II takes off from Hill AFB, Utah, on Sept. 17, 2015. Air Force photo by Alex R. Lloyd.
Lockheed Martin announced increased sales relative to 2015 in its third quarter earnings report released Tuesday, identifying the F-35 program as the major driver of its $11.6 billion in reported sales. “The biggest growth area for us is the F-35,” executive vice president and chief financial officer Bruce Tanner told reporters on a conference call. While CEO Marillyn Hewson, on the same call, praised the rollout of the first Japanese F-35A and Norway’s announcement of interest in the first proposed block buy of F-35s, Tanner said that most of the growth in the F-35 program came from unexpected increases in sustainment sales. The company’s cost estimates for setting up F-35 operations at military bases were too conservative, said Tanner. Despite this growth, there are financial challenges for the F-35 program. For one, delivery schedules will be delayed until sometime in 2017 as Lockheed completes coolant tube repairs on existing and in-production F-35s, Tanner said. Also, negotiations with the Defense Department for work related to low-rate initial production batches nine and 10 are currently held up by “typical sticking points” around pricing, terms, and profit level. Tanner said Lockheed had received some additional funding from the government, but not the entire amount. As a result, Lockheed reported $950 million in “exposure” on unpaid F-35 contracts, an amount Tanner said Lockheed hoped to receive either by the end of the year or during 2017.
Lockheed Martin reported success in its strategic efforts to “expand our footprint overseas” in a conference call discussing its third quarter earnings report with reporters Tuesday. CEO Marillyn Hewson said international demand is “growing faster than the DOD budget” and currently makes up 30 percent of the company’s total annual sales. She said that France and Germany are interested in buying more C-130Js, Poland is interested in a helicopter program, and allies in Europe, the Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East are buying missile defense systems. The company’s international sales in 2015 totaled $9.6 billion. By way of contrast, she warned that the US continuing resolution to fund the federal government, which freezes spending at previous-year levels, would certainly have “some level of impact” on Lockheed Martin sales. While she said this impact would be “minimal” as long as a budget deal was achieved by the end of December, Hewson expressed concern about uncertainty over the levels and sources of defense funding in the various congressional budget proposals.
Once ISIS is defeated in Iraq and Syria, the countries making up the coalition must work to defeat the group’s messaging and attempts for attacks in other nations, the leaders of the US and French militaries said Tuesday. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, speaking Tuesday at a meeting of the Counter-ISIL Small Group Ministerial meeting in Paris, said US Special Operations Command is leading the charge against external attacks by ISIS. This is being addressed in three ways: targeting ISIS' funding and organization structures in Syria and Iraq, interdicting the flow of foreign fighters, and undercutting ISIS’s message online, Carter said. “The collapse and destruction of ISIL in Iraq and Syria will destroy both the fact and the idea that there can be a caliphate based upon this ideology,” Carter said during a joint press appearance with French Minister of Defense Jean Yves Le Drian. The threat of external attacks has been a reality for some time, and it will remain after the fall of Mosul, but under “different conditions,” Le Drian said. (See also: OIR Goes Multi-Domain.)
The US-led coalition against ISIS is planning the isolation and retaking of Raqqa, led by local forces, even as the approach on Mosul continues. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, speaking Tuesday at a meeting of the Counter-ISIL Small Group Ministerial meeting in Paris, said the “force that takes Raqqa will have to be a local force—that’s vital to ISIL’s lasting defeat.” The coalition will not consult Russia on this fight, even though that country has a heavy military presence in Syria supporting Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Carter spoke with French Minister of Defense Jean Yves Le Drian, who said the coalition will reach out to Turkey during a meeting of NATO defense ministers tomorrow in Brussels to help with this fight. Turkish-backed forces recently took the strategic town of Dabiq. The coalition and Turkey’s “objectives must coincide” to defeat ISIS, Le Drian said through an interpreter. (See also: “Constant Pressure” Key to Defeating ISIS.)
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter attends the Counter-ISIL Ministerial Meeting in Paris, Oct. 25, 2016. DOD photo by USAF TSgt. Brigitte N. Brantley.
The US-led coalition has hit ISIS’s leadership in Mosul hard in the run up to the Iraqi-led offensive, taking out more than 35 commanders in the last 90 days. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, speaking Tuesday at a meeting of the Counter-ISIL Small Group Ministerial meeting in Paris, said the “coalition is providing a range of capabilities to enable the Iraqis to continue to shrink ISIL’s brutal control over Iraqi territory.” The coalition’s efforts to target high ISIL leadership has led to results that have “encouraged” the ministers. “In fact, you might say the most dangerous job in Iraq right now is to be the military emir of Mosul,” Carter said. Still, there will be a tough fight ahead as US-backed Iraqi and Peshmerga troops approach the city. (See also: Iraqi Approach to Mosul Moving Faster Than Expected and The Drumbeat Toward Mosul.)
MSgt. Michael Rigsby, 137th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron, spends time with his daughter prior to deploying from Will Rogers ANGB, Oct. 19, 2016. ANG photo by TSgt. Caroline Essex.
Around 30 airmen from the 137th Special Operations Wing at Will Rogers ANGB, Okla., deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel on Oct. 19, according to a press release. This marks the first deployment for the 137th as part of Air Force Special Operations Command. The wing transitioned from an air refueling wing under Air Mobility Command on Oct. 1, according to a spokesman. Over 140 members of the 137th SOW are currently deployed or have deployed recently to nine different locations in Southwest Asia.
Twelve F-16s from the District of Columbia Air National Guard’s 121st Fighter Squadron will deploy to Andersen AFB, Guam, in early November, according to a Pacific Air Forces press release. The deployment comes as participation in a theater security package, which US Pacific Command has used since 2004 to support security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The 121st FS is stationed as JB Andrews, Md.
Lt. Col. Erik Johnson, 340th Weapons Squadron commander, presses forward on the throttles of a B-52 Stratofortress during a training mission above the Gulf of Mexico Oct. 13, 2016. Air Force photo by SrA. Curt Beach.
Two B-1s from Dyess AFB, Texas, and two B-52s from Barksdale AFB, La., took to the skies above the Gulf of Mexico earlier this month to take out more than 200 digital enemy targets with simulated standoff weapon strikes. The live-fly exercise was part of a larger integration exercise at Barksdale between the the 77th and 340th Weapons Schools between Oct. 10-14, according to a 2nd Bomb Wing release. A six-month training course that involved 10 agencies within the bomber community preceded the exercise. During the Oct. 13 flight, the bomber crews simulated destroying enemy air defenses. “We integrate a lot of different capabilities to try to confuse the enemy to the extent that we can get those missiles to their intended targets,” said Maj. Kevin Johnson, 77th WPS B-1 instructor, according to the release. He said the use of standoff weapons is “a critical mission set that we need to be able to execute in order to hold our enemies at risk because as threat systems become more and more advanced, they have the ability to push us further and further away,” according to the release. 77th WPS student Capt. Jon Scott said even the short period of integration was effective. “Just in a few days, we’ve learned so much from each other,” he said, according to the release. “If you want to talk about an exponential curve, it’s near vertical after this week.” Students from both weapons schools will continue training together at Nellis AFB, Nev., for the final phase.
Air Force emergency room doctors and technicians treat patients with simulated injuries and illnesses during a medical global response force training exercise at JB Langley-Eustis, Va., Oct. 20, 2016. Air Force photo by SSgt. Natasha Stannard.
The 633rd Medical Group at JB Langley-Eustis, Va., tested their rapid support capabilities Oct. 17-21 by setting up a 25-bed field hospital on base and caring for simulated and real patients. The global response force training mission focused on what can be encountered during humanitarian missions, including basic medical needs, according to a 633d Air Base Wing release. The field hospital, which becomes operational within 60 hours of touching down, can provide care for up to 6,500 people. "A lot of times, this is the first sort of definitive care these people are seeing,” said Col. Susan Pietrykowski, 633rd Medical Group commander, according to the release. “What we see as basic needs is a higher level of care for them." The real-life care of Active Duty service members allowed the team to catch hiccups that could have disrupted actual humanitarian missions, said Maj. Aleacha Philson, 633rd Medical Operations Squadron pediatrics flight commander, according to the release.
Militants attacked a police training academy outside Quetta, Pakistan, Monday, killing dozens. Pakistani authorities blamed the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group for the attack that killed 59 people and wounded more than 100, but ISIS claimed responsibility Tuesday, reported Reuters. Masked gunmen stormed the campus and wreaked havoc with gunfire and explosives, according to eyewitnesses. They then held hostages for the nearly five hours it took security forces to take control. “The United States stands with the people of Pakistan and reiterates our commitment to support the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to end the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism and to promote peace, security, and stability in the region,” National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement following the attack.
With the upcoming issue, Air Force Magazine begins rolling out changes that will take effect over the next year. First, you will notice that this issue bears the cover date “November/December.” Here’s why: In 2017 we expect the magazine to go on sale at selected commercial newsstands. This issue is akin to a “change step” while marching, and brings us in line with other retail-sale magazines—which typically carry a date one month later than their publication. Your next issue of the magazine, arriving on the regular schedule in December, will be dated January 2017. Going forward, Air Force Magazine covers will always show the month after the magazine arrives. The main noticeable difference is that (for example), when you receive the annual USAF Almanac in May—same as in previous years—the cover will say June. Second, we are changing to 10 print issues and two digital-only issues per year. In March you will receive your April/May 2017 issue, which will be followed the next month by an online-only special edition covering all the news from the Air Force Association’s annual Air Warfare Symposium. Similarly, in September, Air Force Magazine will publish a combined October/November issue, which will be followed the next month by a digital-only special edition with the news from AFA’s annual Air, Space & Cyber conference. These digital-only editions will allow us to provide you with comprehensive coverage from AFA’s premier events weeks sooner. These marquee events are attended by all the top Air Force leadership and always produce a large amount of important news. In conclusion, AFA members will still receive 12 issues of Air Force Magazine per year. Ten of them (including the June USAF Almanac and our October/November double issue) will be in print. Two issues, delivered electronically in April and October, will be digital-only. We welcome your feedback and suggestions for the future as we work to make Air Force Magazine ever more timely, comprehensive, and responsive. As always, you can reach the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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