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Daily Report

Tuesday October 11, 2011
  • Super Feat: The 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein AB, Germany, completed a first for any C-130J unit: launching 10 of its airplanes at the same time. "This is the first time a single squadron has put 10 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft into the air at once," said Lt. Col. Driscoll, 37th AS chief pilot and mission commander. The feat took place on Oct. 5 when the C-130Js, plus one C-17, took off from Ramstein for Italy, as part of Exercise Bayonet Resolve. At Aviano Air Base, they picked up 800 Army paratroopers from Vicenza Army Base, along with 12 Air Force joint terminal attack controllers and 130 Polish air force jumpers, for an airdrop over Hohenfels Army Airfield in southern Germany. "This is by far, the most realistic exercise we could complete compared to a real-world situation," said Driscoll. "The planning that made this exercise possible was extensive." (Ramstein report by A1C Ciara M. Travis)
  • New Evasion Training Center Opens in San Antonio: A new facility at JB San Antonio, Tex., built to accommodate all Air Force evasion and conduct-after-capture training, opened its doors to students. Roughly 6,000 students a year are expected to pass through the new facility, which began operations on Oct. 3. The $6 million-plus facility merges all Air Force ECAC training into one location under the 22nd Training Squadron, Det. 2. It includes an urban-evasion laboratory for training airmen to overcome obstacles they may encounter when avoiding capture in urban areas. "When they leave this course, if they become isolated in any environment in any part of the world, they'll have the skills necessary [to] adapt and overcome," said TSgt. James Davis, the detachment's ECAC course manager. Students going through the Combat Skills Training Course and Basic Combat Convoy Course at nearby Camp Bullis also will train at this facility. (Lackland report by Mike Joseph)
  • Airmen With Medical Codes May Still Deploy: Airmen who previously had limited deployment availability due to medical issues may find themselves tapped for additional stateside taskings. Based on a recent decision, the 602nd Training Group (Provisional) at Keesler AFB, Miss., has begun accepting airmen with restrictive deployment availability codes to work in its operations center and at its training detachments. The provisional group supports airmen who are attending Army combat skills training, combat airmen skills training, and the Basic Combat Convoy course. "The overarching intent is to support 2nd Air Force without reducing the Air Force's ability to meet combatant commander requirements," said Col. Henry Polczer, director of Air and Space Expeditionary Force and personnel operations at the Air Force Personnel Center at JB San Antonio, Tex. He added, "We will accomplish this by sourcing to a name those airmen who would otherwise not be able to deploy." (Randolph report by Jon Hansen)

  • Air Frame: An F-16 from the 13th Fighter Squadron at Misawa AB, Japan, prior to take-off from Eielson AFB, Alaska, during the Distant Frontier training exercise, Sept. 20, 2011. (Air Force courtesy photo) (Click on image above to reach wallpaper version.)
  • Barksdale Hosts Bomber Competition: Airmen with the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, La., participated in a munitions maintenance competition as part of this year's Global Strike Challenge. Members of the 2nd Munitions Squadron and the 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron last week showed off their skills in three areas: pre-flight, missile loading, and munitions building. "The competition is extremely important," said Capt. Brian Sporysz, 2nd MUNS operations officer. "It builds camaraderie among the individuals who are loading and building, and it helps prepare them for Barksdale's warfighting efforts." Speed and accuracy are the judges' main concerns in this competition. The final scores will be posted at Barksdale's Air Force Global Strike Symposium in November. Global Strike Challenge is the Air Force's premier bomber, ICBM, and security forces competition. Units participate from across Air Force Global Strike Command, Air Combat Command, the Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve Command. (Barksdale report by A1C Andrea F. Liechti)
  • Taiwanese Getting Best Bang for the Buck: The Obama Administration's decision to authorize the upgrade of Taiwan's legacy F-16A/B fleet rather than sell the Asian partner new F-16C/D airplanes makes the most sense right now, asserted two senior Administration officials. "It's our understanding, our belief, that the F-16 retrofit provides the best bang for the buck at this time. It's been the higher immediate priority," Peter Lavoy, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week. He said the proposed retrofit of the 145 Taiwanese F-16s would make "a significant contribution to Taiwan's air power" by giving the Taiwanese "an advanced fighter" configuration with radar and weapons capabilities "comparable to any fourth generation fighter available" to the US Air Force and its allies. Nonetheless, the Administration has "ruled nothing out" as far as the potential future sale of new-build F-16C/Ds to Taiwan, said Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs, during the same Oct. 4 hearing. The Taiwanese have requested 66 F-16C/Ds to replace their aged F-5s. "We continuously evaluate the situation across the Taiwan Strait," said Campbell.
  • Future Space Shuttle?: Larger versions of the Air Force's experimental X-37B orbital test vehicle could carry astronauts to space and back. "Once qualified for human flight, these vehicles could transport a mix of astronauts and cargo to the [International Space Station] and offer a much gentler return to a runway landing for the space tourism industry," said Arthur Grantz, Boeing's chief engineer of experimental space systems, during a recent space conference in California, reported The Air Force has two X-37s, which resemble a miniature version of NASA's now-retired space shuttles, in its fleet today. The second one is currently on orbit conducting classified experiments, following the successful roundtrip space mission of the first last year. Last month, Gen. William Shelton, Air Force Space Command boss, said the X-37s are a "wonderful capability," but the Air Force might not be able to afford to keep operating them due to tightening budgets and competing priorities.
  • Last U-2 Phase Inspection in Southwest Asia: A civilian maintenance team conducted the final phase inspection of a U-2 surveillance aircraft forward deployed to Southwest Asia. U-2s support operations in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing that functions from an undisclosed air base in the region. Since 2004, maintenance teams from contractor Lockheed Martin had been performing the inspections at the wing's overseas location. These crew chiefs and experts in hydraulic and fuels and avionics and electrics also supported the wing, when needed, by performing heavy maintenance jobs. However, since the Air Force is consolidating the inspections at Beale AFB, Calif., in order to reduce the U-2 fleet's operating costs, the final phase inspection with the 380th AEW took place in mid September. (380th AEW report by Capt. Gina McKeen)
  • ROTC Makes an Ivy League Comeback: Ivy League schools and additional prestigious universities are welcoming reserve officers' training corps programs back to their campuses now that the seemingly last major impediment—the ban on homosexuals openly serving in the US military—is no more. Brown University in Providence, R.I., the last Ivy League institution to ban ROTC, is studying the issue of ROTC returning. Just last month Air Force Secretary Michael Donley signed an agreement with Yale University to welcome an Air Force ROTC detachment back to the school beginning next fall. Already, too, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has signed agreements with Harvard, Columbia University, and Yale for the return of naval ROTC programs. And the faculty senate at Stanford University voted in April to bring ROTC back to its campus; discussions now are under way with the various military branches for that to happen. (AFPS report by Donna Miles)
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