The airmen of the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins AFB, Ga., who fly, operate, and maintain the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft have amassed 20,000 combat flying hours covering operations in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past four years, reports the Desert Eagle newspaper. And, some of these airmen have served in theater for more than a year; most have made numerous deployments. On the record flight—the 1,756th combat sortie—the Joint STARS crew, flying at 30,000 feet, heard a “mayday” call from troops stranded on a helicopter that had crashed in a lake. The E-8 crew relayed the distress call, bringing a speedy rescue.
A pair of Air Force units across two major commands have announced plans to purchase services from SpaceX’s Starlink constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit. The contracts come not long after service leaders praised the effectiveness of the satellite internet service in aiding Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.