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  • Pilot Killed in F15 Crash Identified

    9/2/2014

    ​Lt. Col. Morris "Moose" Fontenot Jr was killed Aug. 27, 2014, when his F-15C crashed in western Virigina. He was assigned to the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes ANGB, Mass. Air National Guard photo.

    The Massachusetts Air National Guard on Friday identified the pilot who died when his F-15C crashed Wednesday in the mountains of western Virginia as Lt. Col. Morris “Moose” Fontenot Jr. Col. James Keefe, commander of the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base, Mass., said he was announcing Fontenot’s name at the request of the family and “with a sense of profound sadness. We will continue to keep the Fontenot family in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.” Fontenot, a 1996 Air Force Academy graduate, was a full time Air Guardsman with the 104th FW, serving as wing inspector general and as an F-15 instructor pilot, with more than 2,300 flight hours, the Air Guard said. He is a graduate of the Air Force Weapons School, has served as a squadron commander at multiple locations, and is a decorated combat veteran. Fontenot’s F-15 Eagle was on a solo flight to Texas for an aircraft upgrade. He reported a mechanical problem shortly before radio communications were lost. Search parties that reached the wreckage determined that Fontenot did not successfully eject from the jet before the crash. An investigation into the crash is ongoing.

  • Pentagon Will Not Call Russian Military Action in Ukraine “Invasion”

    Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby refused to call the apparent intrusion of Russian forces into Ukraine an “invasion,” but suggested it was a reaction to Ukraine’s recent gains against the Russian separatists. “I will not try to detail what the Russian military is doing. We don’t have a perfect view of the situation,” Kirby told Pentagon reporters Friday. But he said it was a continuation of the heavy buildup of forces on Ukraine’s borders and other actions intended to support the separatists. Kirby would not offer any new actions the US or its allies might take in response to the Russian “incursion,” but said it likely would be a major topic at the NATO summit next week in Wales. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will attend that summit, then go on to visit Georgia, which was invaded by Russia in 2008, and to Turkey, which he said, shares US concerns about the ISIS extremists’ advances in Iraq and Syria. Kirby said the stepped up US exercises and rotational deployments into Eastern Europe, most of which have involved Air Force units, would continue and “we have looked at ways to make the training regime more aggressive.”  (See also Air Force Magazine’s September cover story on airpower in Europe.)

  • Any Action Against ISIS in Syria Will Not Be Just Military, Pentagon Says

    The President has directed the Pentagon to intensify its analysis of options for degrading the capabilities of the ISIS extremists inside Syria, but whatever those options are, “they won’t be just military,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said Friday. The military has been considering Syria as it has examined possible additional actions against ISIS in Iraq, but it is “not prepared for a more fulsome discussion” with the President, Kirby said at a Pentagon briefing Friday. Kirby strongly rejected a reporter’s assertion that the delay in presenting options means the military is not ready for any action against ISIS. Although the detailed planning has not been completed, “no one should doubt we are ready,” he said. Kirby said the military considers ISIS a threat to the nation, “but we believe they do not have the capacity today to make a major strike on the homeland.” The US has conducted about 110 airstrikes in Iraq, mostly near the vital Mosul Dam, because ISIS still threatens it. Kirby said the Iraqi operations cost an average of $7.5 million a day, which after roughly 75 days would total about $560 million, coming from the overseas contingency fund.

  • Spotlight: SSgt. David W. Wallace III

    9/2/2014

    ​SSgt. David W. Wallace III, shown here, the plans and programs noncommissioned officer for the
 91st Security Forces Group 
at Minot AFB, N.D., is one of the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2014.

    SSgt. David W. Wallace III, the plans and programs noncommissioned officer for the 
91st Security Forces Group 
at Minot AFB, N.D., is one of the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2014. Wallace authored a response-time matrix for 150 off-installation nuclear sites that maximized resources and minimized response times. His product was benchmarked throughout 20th Air Force for all intercontinental ballistic missile units. He reinvigorated outdated site defense plans to enhance the security posture for 150 launch facilities and 15 missile alert facilities. He also completed four college courses; the 12 completed credit hours culminated in a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice. Wallace also organized the Minot Air Force Base Spouse Showcase, which highlighted base products and services to more than 300 dependents. In addition, he was selected as the Air Force’s 2013 Outstanding Security Forces Support Staff Airman of the Year. Air Force Magazine is shining the spotlight on each OAY in the days leading up to AFA's Air & Space Conference that starts on Sept. 15 in National Harbor, Md. AFA will honor these airmen there. Also featured to date:

    SrA. Aaron T. Feliciano          SrA. Shabree N. Heasell

  • A Reaper First

    9/2/2014

    ​Air Frame: For the first time ever, the California Air National Guard's 163rd Reconnaissance Wing flies the MQ‐9 Reaper in the airspace over the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, Calif., July 30, 2014. (Air National Guard photo by SrA. Michael Quiboloy) (Click on image above to reach wallpaper version.)

  • Dover to Start Construction on New Runway

    Dover AFB, Del., is preparing for the removal and reconstruction of the base’s primary runway, Lt. Col. Steven Sylvester, the 436th Airlift Wing’s chief of safety, told Air Force Magazine. Sylvester said the $98.3 million overhaul on the 69-year-old 01-19 runway will address drainage issues, cracking, and spalling of the concrete. “It has gotten to the point where it needs to be replaced for safety and the continued viability of” the missions stationed at Dover, Sylvester said. The 18 C-5s on base, he said, will remain operative over most of the 16 months of construction, but they will have to be temporarily relocated in early 2016 for “roughly four-to-six months.” Sylvester said the location of the temporary home for the C-5s is not yet known. The runway is estimated to be completed “mid-June of 2016.” Col. Michael Grismer, 436th Airlift Wing Commander, said the runway completion project “is essential to preserve the viability for a critical component of our nation’s mobility infrastructure.” Grismer said Dover operates the Defense Department’s “largest aerial port, our only port mortuary, and we provide approximately 20 percent of America’s out-sized strategic airlift capacity. We are deliberately collaborating with others to ensure this project is completed safely [and] on-time,” added Grismer.

  • Edwards to Dismantle Icon of the Manned Space Program

    9/2/2014

    Technicians at NASA's Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility, later redesignated Armstrong Flight Research Center, began mounting the Space Shuttle Atlantis atop NASA's 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft for the ferry flight back to the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., following its STS-44 flight in 1991. NASA courtesy photo. ​

    An iconic structure at Edwards AFB, Calif., that is symbolic of the glory years of NASA’s manned space program, is about to be dismantled and turned into scrap. The towering structure, called the Mate-Demate Device, was used to service a space shuttle that had to land at Edwards after a space mission, then lift the space ship to mount it atop the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft for a return flight to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Built in 1976 for $1.7 million, the device was used 59 times from 1977 to its last shuttle lift in 2009. After a study of possible alternative use, the MDD structure is being dismantled under a $178,700 contract, three years after the last shuttle mission ended the US manned space program launched in 1961 by then-President John F. Kennedy. “People at this base know that the MDD has definitely become a part of the landscape. When you drive onto the base, it’s one of the landmarks you see, and it will leave a hole in your heart when it’s gone,” David McBride, NASA Armstrong Center director, said in release.

  • A New Air Force One

    9/2/2014

    The Air Force expects to release an approved acquisition strategy for the Air Force One fleet this fall, reported Bloomberg. The designation “Air Force One” applies to any fixed-wing aircraft carrying the President. However, it is most often associated with two Boeing 747-200 passenger aircraft that are outfitted with a conference room, presidential suite, and advanced communications gear that allows the President and his staff to work while in the air. The Air Force is considering a myriad of options for the Air Force One planes, including buying the 747s from Boeing and contracting the customization out to another company. “Boeing has a 70-year history of helping fulfill this mission, and we believe that makes us best-qualified to build on our longstanding expertise and deliver the integrated capabilities this unique system requires,” company spokeswoman Caroline Hutcheson told the outlet. Hutcheson said Boeing and the Air Force are “in an ongoing dialog” about the company’s role in producing the planes. The existing aircraft are slated to reach the 30-year service life in 2017, but the first new Air Force One is not expected to be delivered until 2018, reported Bloomberg.

  • AMC Gets Its First Accredited Fire Department

    9/2/2014

    Air Mobility Command’s Fire and Emergency Services Flight at McConnell AFB, Kans., recently earned its accreditation, making it AMC’s only accredited fire department. The unit received its accreditation earlier this month from the Commission on Fire Accreditation International, states a release. “This [accreditation] validates our program,” said SMSgt. William Taylor, deputy fire chief of the 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron. It assures others that they “are getting the best possible service that can be provided.” The unit tested more than 250 performance indicators within a three-year time period to get the accreditation, states the release, and it will continue to better itself through annual reports to ensure they are completing all requirements. “Every month, we'll review one chapter to make sure we are continuing to do what we need [to do] to stay accredited,” said 22nd CES Fire Chief Charles Hutson. “At the end of the five-year plan, we'll be ready for re-accreditation because we've gone through the manual every year.” The unit is one of 13 accredited Air Force units, states the release.