Mighty Lonely Out Here:

Gene Rector of the Macon Telegraph reports on the problems that still confront the Air Force’s one—and so far only—blended wing, the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins AFB, Ga. It has been five years since the service created the combined active and Air National Guard wing that operates and maintains E-8C Joint STARS ground radar aircraft, and as Rector notes, the need to meld personnel systems and administrative processes and tackle legislative constraints has prompted the Air Force to back off plans to create more blended units. Administrative issues notwithstanding, the active and Air Guard airmen of the 116th have sustained an impressive record in the war on terror, amassing last summer some 20,000 combat hours over Southwest Asia. (Read our 2003 article “The Blended Wing Goes to War,” for more on this unique unit.)