Selva Takes Over AMC
Gen. Paul J. Selva took command of Air Mobility Command from Gen. Raymond E. Johns Jr. in a ceremony at Scott AFB, Ill., Nov. 30.
Selva now leads the nearly 134,000 members of the mobility air forces—including Guardsmen and Reservists—who provide airlift, aerial refueling, and aeromedical evacuation. Before taking charge of AMC, he served in Hawaii as Pacific Air Forces’ vice commander.
Johns, who had led AMC since November 2009, retires from the Air Force after 35 years of service, on Jan. 1.
The command’s NCOs inducted Johns into the command’s Order of the Sword on Nov. 28, in recognition of his support for AMC’s enlisted airmen.
Cody Selected as Next CMSAF
Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III has named CMSgt. James A. Cody to serve as the 17th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, service officials announced.
Cody serves as command chief of Air Education and Training Command and will assume his new position on Feb. 1, following the Jan. 31 retirement of CMSAF James A. Roy, who has served in the post since June 2009.
“We are excited to welcome Chief Cody and [his wife] Athena to the team as they take the baton from the Roys,” said Welsh. “The next few years will be filled with many opportunities and challenges, and our Air Force will greatly benefit from the leadership, experience, and wisdom they bring.”
Cody joined the Air Force in 1984.
Defense Authorization Bill Passed
The Senate unanimously approved its $631.4 billion version of the Fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill Dec. 4, providing funds for national defense programs and the war in Afghanistan.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, told reporters following the bill’s passage that the total amount authorized is about $230 million less than President Obama requested.
Those figures correspond to the bill iteration that the SASC approved in May. Levin said senators added 145 amendments to the full Senate’s final version.
Among its many provisions, the bill provides a 1.7 percent military pay increase, fully funds efforts to train and equip Afghan security forces, and requires defense contractors to report classified cyber network breaches to the Pentagon, said Levin.
Other measures continue biofuel research, tighten sanctions on Iran, ban transfers of Guantanamo detainees to the United States, and require reports on the resources needed for the Pentagon’s Asia-Pacific region pivot.
The House passed its version of the bill in May, authorizing $635.2 billion. House and Senate authorizers must confer and agree to a final version of the bill before it can go to President Obama.
F-35 Price Halved
After about a year’s worth of negotiations, the Defense Department in November reached a deal with Lockheed Martin for the fifth lot of F-35 strike fighters. The agreed unit price will be about half the cost of aircraft in the first lot.
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little, on Nov. 30, said the deal was the result of “a tough negotiation” but that DOD was “pleased that we’ve reached an agreement.”
In this lot, Lockheed Martin is expected to manufacture 32 F-35s: 22 Air Force F-35As, three Marine Corps F-35Bs, and seven Navy F-35Cs.
“Production costs are decreasing, and I appreciate everyone’s commitment to this important negotiation process,” said Vice Adm. David J. Venlet, then F-35 program executive officer.
Lot 5 production actually began in December 2011 under an undefinitized contract action that enabled Lockheed Martin to begin work before the parties agreed to the final contract terms.
The unit-cost data for Lot 5 will be made available once the contracts are finalized and signed, according to Little.
Kelly Goes South
Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly received his fourth star and took charge of US Southern Command Nov. 19 from Air Force Gen. Douglas M. Fraser, who had led the organization since June 2009.
Kelly comes to SOUTHCOM from the Pentagon, where he had served since March 2011 as senior military assistant to the Defense Secretary.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin E. Dempsey credited Fraser with assembling an impressive interagency team at SOUTHCOM to build partnerships with nations in Latin America and the Caribbean during his tenure.
SOUTHCOM oversees the US military’s engagement in those areas, including counternarcotics activities.
Fraser retired from the Air Force Jan. 1, concluding a 37-year career in uniform.
Space Flights On Hold
Air Force Space Command has delayed all space launches using the Pratt & Whitney RL-10 upper-stage motor until command investigators find the cause of a recent anomaly, said AFSPC boss Gen. William L. Shelton.
“We have to find out what happened” during the GPS IIF satellite launch earlier this year, Shelton said, speaking at an Air Force Association breakfast in Arlington, Va., on Nov. 7.
With no alternative upper-stage motor supplier to Pratt & Whitney, “there is no plan B,” he said, and AFSPC can’t afford to risk the loss of a payload, such as the X-37 reusable spaceplane that had been slated to fly in November. (It launched Dec. 11.)
The RL-10 did not produce expected thrust, requiring “a bit of a diving save” during the Oct. 4 GPS mission, and command officials found items “in the data that we didn’t like,” said Shelton.
He explained that although “the upper stage got us to orbit,” had the satellite payload been any heavier than it was, “we might not have made it.”
Second Chinese Stealth Jet Flies
China’s second fighter bearing apparent stealth design features has flown from an airfield in northeastern China, according to international press reports.
The Shenyang J-31 prototype flew for 11 minutes, with its undercarriage in the landing configuration, before touching down during the Oct. 31 sortie, reported Agence France-Presse.
The aircraft, alternately referred to as the F-60 or J-21, first appeared in photos leaked in June and bears a strong resemblance to the F-22 and F-35.
“The layout is similar, but the material and quality are inferior,” said Andrei Chang, a military expert on China, quoted in AFP’s report.
The first flight came only weeks ahead of Chinese President Hu Jintao’s planned handover of power to his successor. “I think the regime is trying to show off … that the Hu Jintao regime achieved a lot for China,” said Chang.
First Operational F-35 Unit
The Marine Corps officially established its first F-35B operational squadron on Nov. 20 during a ceremony at MCAS Yuma, Ariz.
The service redesignated Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 121, formerly an F/A-18 squadron, as Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, the unit that will oversee F-35B tactical operational training at Yuma.
The transition marks the F-35 strike fighter’s progress from a testing and training platform toward full-scale operations, said service officials.
Lockheed Martin transferred the first three operationally coded F-35Bs to the Marine Corps during the event, bringing the service’s F-35B fleet to 16, according to the company. The other 13 aircraft are assigned to the joint service schoolhouse at Eglin AFB, Fla., where they support pilot and maintenance training.
F-35Bs are slated to replace legacy F/A-18, AV-8B, and EA-6B aircraft in the Marine Corps inventory.
Permanent Place in Poland
US and Polish officials established a permanent US aviation detachment at Lask Air Base, about 100 miles southwest of Warsaw, during a ceremony there in November.
The small unit, dubbed the “Av-Det,” represents the first full-time presence of US military personnel on Polish soil, according to a US Embassy news release issued Nov. 9, when the unit stood up.
The detachment’s primary purpose is strengthening the US-Polish security partnership through regular bilateral—and eventual multilateral—training exercises and rotational deployments of US military aircraft, starting this year.
Poland has expansive training ranges and airspace less restricted than that of NATO allies in Western Europe, say US officials.
The Av-Det, reporting to the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, will comprise 10 personnel who will be joined by up to 200 visiting airmen and contractors during quarterly rotations by F-16s, C-130s, and other aircraft.
The United States and Poland concluded an agreement on the detachment in June 2011.
US-Australia Space Cooperation
The United States and Australia will establish a radar station and an optical telescope site on Australian soil to bolster the two countries’ ability to detect, track, and identify space objects, such as satellites and debris, according to the Pentagon.
Australia will operate an Air Force C-band ground-based radar system that the two allies will set up at the Harold E. Holt Naval Communications Station at North West Cape in Western Australia, according to the Defense Department’s Nov. 14 news release.
The US will deliver the radar in 2014, when it will become the first space surveillance sensor in the southern hemisphere designed to watch for objects in low Earth orbit. The radar will “significantly contribute to tracking high-interest space launches from Asia,” said DOD.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Space Surveillance Telescope will also bed down in Australia at a to-be-determined location. The SST is configured to monitor areas of deep space associated with satellites in geosynchronous orbits.
The SST finished testing at DARPA’s New Mexico site in August.
The announcement came toward the end of Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta’s official visit to Australia, where he met with his Australian counterpart, Stephen F. Smith.
Iranian Frogfoot Fires on MQ-1
An Iranian Su-25 attack jet fired twice on an unarmed MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft flying in international airspace over the Persian Gulf in November, the Pentagon confirmed. The RPA wasn’t hit.
“The incident occurred over international waters approximately 16 nautical miles off of the Iranian coastline” on Nov. 1, said Pentagon spokesman George Little.
The MQ-1 was “conducting routine surveillance” and “was not hit and returned to its base safely,” he stated.
“We believe they fired at least twice and made at least two passes,” he said, adding that the RPA was stalked for a “period of time” after being fired on but had never entered Iranian airspace.
Pentagon officials believe that this was the first time an aircraft fired on an RPA in the gulf’s international airspace.
Through Swiss intermediaries, the US told Iran it “will continue to conduct surveillance flights over international waters,” said Little.
Iran recovered an American RQ-170 Sentinel RPA that came down on Iranian soil in December 2011.
F-35 School Passes Test
The F-35 schoolhouse completed a test run of its pilot training pipeline, completing its operational utility evaluation at Eglin AFB, Fla., Nov. 15.
The OUE was the last major hurdle before the 33rd Fighter Wing is cleared to begin full-up F-35 training, according to wing officials.
“We were able to conduct the flying portion in less than half the time than we planned for because things went so well with the flying; weather was good; maintainers were doing a great job,” said 33rd Fighter Wing commander Col. Andrew J. Toth.
The initial cadre of four student pilots began transition training in September. After six weeks of academic instruction and 24 sorties, they graduated as fully qualified F-35A Lightning II pilots.
“Once we receive the Air Education and Training Command’s approval stating we are ‘ready for training,’ we can begin our first class,” said Toth.
After one year’s normalized training, the schoolhouse plans to graduate about 100 pilots and 2,100 maintainers annually.
On Nov. 2, the school surpassed 500 joint service F-35 sorties since it began flight operations in March, according to F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin.
Second F-22 Crashes at Tyndall
A second F-22 Raptor crashed at Tyndall AFB, Fla., in November, on the same day the Air Force released details of a previous F-22 mishap that had occurred at the base in May. (See below.)
The F-22 struck the ground about a quarter-mile east of the base’s “drone” runway at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 15, according to a base statement that day. The fighter was consumed by flames within the base perimeter. The pilot, who ejected safely, was taken for medical examination on base. Local officials closed a nearby highway as a safety precaution following the crash.
After a four-day safety grounding of Raptors at Tyndall, fighter operations resumed.
“We will continue to accomplish our mission while the safety investigation board searches for the cause” of the accident, said 325th Fighter Wing commander Col. David E. Graff. He flew one of the first Raptor sorties on Nov. 19, when training missions got under way again.
The Air Force initiated a safety investigation board to ensure that no fleetwide issues contributed to the crash. Although Tyndall is home to USAF’s Raptor schoolhouse, Graff said the pilot involved in the incident was not a trainee.
Too Low and Slow
A student pilot’s failure to advance his F-22’s throttles to full military power before retracting the landing gear on a touch-and-go was to blame for a belly landing at Tyndall AFB, Fla., on May 31, 2012.
“Without sufficient thrust, the aircraft settled back to the runway, landing on its underside,” skidding along the runway to a stop, Air Education and Training Command officials announced in a press release Nov. 14 summarizing the accident investigation.
The pilot, assigned to Tyndall’s 43rd Fighter Squadron, “was able to safely exit the aircraft, suffering only minor injuries,” stated the release.
The student pilot was on only his second solo F-22 flight when the mishap occurred, according to a base spokesman.
The Raptor suffered damage that will cost an estimated $35 million to repair, AETC investigators said.
Global Strike Champs
Air Force Global Strike Command wings from Whiteman AFB, Mo., and Minot AFB, N.D., claimed top honors in the third annual Global Strike Challenge, command officials announced.
Airmen from across the command, along with members of Air Combat Command’s B-1 units, competed in the challenge.
The 509th Bomb Wing from Whiteman took the Fairchild Trophy for best bomb wing, while the 91st Missile Wing from Minot claimed the Blanchard Trophy for best ICBM wing. The awards ceremony took place at Barksdale AFB, La., Nov. 7.
This year marks the second time the 509th has won top honors, while the 91st captured the ICBM title for the first time, officials said.
Among the other winners, Whiteman received the Ellis Giant Sword for best bomber maintenance group, Minot’s 91st Security Forces Group won the Charlie Fire Trophy for best security forces group, and Minot’s 54th Helicopter Squadron repeated as the winner of the Bourland Trophy for best helicopter squadron.
Pilot Error Felled Firefighter
The pilot’s failure to identify dangerous weather conditions and abort in time was the chief reason for a fatal C-130 crash during firefighting operations in South Dakota last summer.
Air Mobility Command investigators said the North Carolina Air National Guard crew elected to continue dropping retardant on wildfires in the face of an impending thunderstorm in the area.
The Modular Airborne Firefighting System-equipped Hercules flew through a “microburst,” causing the aircraft to hit the ground on July 1, stated AMC’s Nov. 14 news release summarizing their report.
“If you add all the pieces up, it was very clear they shouldn’t have attempted the second drop,” said Brig. Gen. Randall C. Guthrie, quoted by Stars and Stripes.
Investigators said that poor communication with the spotter aircraft and conflicting storm avoidance guidelines also contributed to the mishap.
The aircraft and crew were assigned to the ANG 145th Airlift Wing at Charlotte/Douglas Arpt., N.C.
The F-22 Raptor force comprising the Hawaii Air National Guard 199th Fighter Squadron and Active Duty 19th FS achieved initial operational capability at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in November.
“This is a huge milestone for our combined 154th and 15th Wings. IOC means we are able to deploy a portion of our F-22 Raptors, anytime, anywhere, in support of theater operations,” said Brig. Gen. Braden K. Sakai, commander of the Hawaii ANG’s 154th Wing.
According to wing officials in a news release Nov. 9, the Hawaii-based Raptors were expected to reach full operational capability roughly a month later in December.
Operational controllers at Schriever AFB, Colo., took charge of AEHF-2, the Air Force’s second Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite, in November.
After launching from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., last May, AEHF-2 spent several months maneuvering to its assigned orbit before undergoing a battery of on-orbit tests.
Air Force Space Command acquisition officials at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., began testing in August and handed off control authority to the 4th Space Operations Squadron at Schriever, Nov. 7.
“We are excited and proud to achieve this significant milestone along the path to full operations for the Advanced Extremely High Frequency system of vehicles,” said Lt. Col. Scott Trinrud, squadron commander, at the formal transfer ceremony.
AEHF-2 joins AEHF-1, which arrived at its on-orbit station in October 2011. The AEHF spacecraft will complement and ultimately replace Milstar communications satellites.
“With a pair of AEHF satellites on orbit, we can now offer higher data rates for users via crosslinks between the satellites,” said Lt. Col. Alistair Funge, the squadron’s director of operations.
Airmen of the 4th SOPS will now control and operate the military communications satellite for the rest of its estimated 14-year service life, according to Schriever officials.
A pair of C-130Js from Ramstein AB, Germany, deployed for a joint training exercise with French Air Force C-130Hs at Air Base 123 near Orleans, southwest of Paris late last year.
“This is the first time that French and American C-130 crews have trained together in France,” said French Air Force Lt. Col. Laurent Neumann, vice commander of Transport Squadron 2/61. “We regularly work together according to standardized procedures, but it is important to regularly upkeep the bonds of confidence that unite us,” he said in the French Air Force’s Nov. 19 news release.
The aircrews practiced low-altitude formation flying, joint airdrops, and airborne assault tactics during the week-long exercise that ran from Nov. 12 to Nov. 16.
About 40 aircrew members and support personnel from Ramstein’s 37th Airlift Squadron participated in the event. The units plan to build on it with more training in the future.
Indian Air Force at Charleston
Maintenance instructors at JB Charleston, S.C., trained the Indian Air Force’s initial cadre of C-17 maintainers ahead of delivery of the country’s first Globemaster IIIs later this year.
“These Indian airmen are going to be the ones standing up the initial C-17 unit,” explained TSgt. Paul Higgins, an instructor with the 373rd Training Squadron Det. 5.
“We are learning the basics of the aircraft as well as the technical manual,” said Junior Warrant Officer Prakash Chand, an IAF student, according to a Charleston release.
India ordered 10 C-17s to replace its elderly fleet of Il-76 airlifters. Boeing plans to deliver the first airframes this year and expects to complete the order in 2014.
In the meantime, the detachment overseeing C-17 training at Charleston is teaching some 100 Indian airmen every aspect of the new airlifter’s use.
The first students graduated from the program Nov. 8.
F-35 Nuke Tweak
Boeing is designing a new B61 nuclear free-fall bomb tail-kit assembly, under a recent $179 million contract, as part of the B61 Mod 12 Life Extension Program.
The redesigned tail will enable the F-35 strike fighter to carry the B61, while the overall LEP is to improve the safety, security, and use control of the decades-old weapon.
“We will apply our proven experience in tail kit production to this platform to effectively upgrade a vital deterrent capability,” Debbie Rub, Boeing general manager in charge of missile programs, said in a company press release Nov. 27.
The contract covers the three-year design, development, and qualification phase for the new tail kit, and Boeing said the design will replace many obsolete parts to improve the bomb’s reliability.
B-2 Spirits also carry the B61 as part of its nuclear armament package.
300th Drone Phantom
BAE Systems recently completed conversion of the 300th QF-4 Phantom II Full-Scale Aerial Target for delivery to the Air Force, company officials said.
The company modified the former RF-4 Phantom recce variant with autonomous controls and other changes over several months in their hangar at Mojave, Calif.
“We have been the sole provider of QF-4s for the Air Force since 1996,” said Gordon Eldridge, company Aerospace Solutions vice president in BAE’s release Nov. 12.
BAE’s drone conversion line “now has more than 35 years of combined experience and a solid track record of success,” he said.
The complex rework and refurbishment requires approximately six months, according to BAE.
Work began on the final QF-4 in May, and BAE plans to deliver 14 more QF-4s, according to the news release.
USAF’s prototype QF-16 drone, which will succeed the QF-4, flew for the first time this spring. (See box “QF-16 Drone Enters Test,” at right.)
Winglets for the Galaxy
Lockheed Martin recently tested new wingtip designs aimed at improving the fuel efficiency of the C-5M Super Galaxy. Engineers evaluated two separate winglet designs fitted to a 10-foot-long C-5 model in the 16-foot transonic wind tunnel at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex in Tennessee.
“The kinds of savings we’re talking about … is reducing the fuel burn of a C-5 by something on the order of 166 gallons per hour” with the addition of features such as winglets, said Jack O’Banion, company mobility improvement director. “The largest consumer of jet fuels is air mobility” in the US military, so the possibility for savings is huge, he explained.
Lockheed Martin is testing winglet designs as the first of several improvements it hopes to make to the Air Force’s C-5 fleet, if service funds permit, according to an AEDC release Nov. 14.
Work began on the most expansive B-1 Lancer upgrade project since the bomber entered service, officials at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex on Tinker AFB, Okla., said in November.
Every B-1 in the fleet will be fitted with new Integrated Battle Station modifications over the next eight years, according to Tinker officials in a Nov. 27 press release.
Tinker’s 76th Aircraft Maintenance Group will add a fully integrated data link, upgrade the bomber’s vertical situation displays, and incorporate a central integrated test system into the Lancer.
The new gear will replace the B-1’s now-obsolete flight instruments and significantly increase the aircrew’s real-time situational awareness and communications ability with other forces, according to the Air Force.
The first B-1 arrived at Tinker to begin modifications in September, and as of late November two of the bombers had already received the new equipment, leaving 61 airframes to go, according to Tinker.
The Air Force retired three B-1s in September, leaving a total of 63 still in service.
Boeing is prime contractor for the Lancer IBS project.
The Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin another $489.4 million for ongoing upgrade work installing new engines and improvements on the service’s C-5 Galaxy airlifters.
The most recent installment covers Lot 6 of the C-5 Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program which has an overall estimated value of some $4.5 billion, according to Lockheed Martin spokesman Chad Gibson.
The company had delivered nine upgraded C-5M Super Galaxys to the Air Force by early December.
Overall, the Air Force intends to modernize 52 of its C-5s (one C-5A, 49 C-5Bs, and two C-5Cs) to the new C-5M standard by 2016. These aircraft feature new engines and other performance improvements installed under the RERP, along with new cockpit avionics from a previous, separate modernization initiative.
The RERP is scheduled for completion in 2016.
Next Gen Logistics System Axed
After spending more than $1 billion on the Expeditionary Combat Support System since 2005, the Air Force notified Congress in November that it is canceling it.
ECSS was the supply chain management tool that service officials thought would transform the Air Force’s logistics enterprise, but the effort hasn’t panned out, the Dayton Business Journal reported.
Service officials confessed that the ECSS program has not yielded any significant military capability and announced on Nov. 8 that it cannot meet the Pentagon’s Fiscal 2017 financial-improvement and audit-readiness requirements, according to the newspaper.
After three restructures of the ECSS program in the past three years, “it became apparent the Air Force will be better served by developing an entirely new strategy,” they said, noting that the Air Force will do that by moving forward with other options.
Another $1.1 billion would have been necessary to field ECSS capability by 2020, but that amount would have resulted in much less capability than originally envisioned with ECSS, officials said.
Personnel Records Test
The Air Force postponed indefinitely an upgrade of its central personnel records database to allow thorough testing of the changes before implementation, the Air Force Personnel Center announced.
“It’s critical we ensure our airmen have the best possible personnel data system, and to do that we need to complete testing on the new system before we upgrade MilPDS,” the Military Personnel Data System, Air Force’s assistant deputy personnel chief Robert E. Corsi Jr. said in a release Nov. 2.
Service officials originally intended to take MilPDS—which provides information for pay, career progression, and retirement functions—offline for upgrade in December.
However, “despite the best efforts of many, we must delay the upgrade,” said Corsi. Effects of the delay were expected to be “minimal” on airmen, and AFPC kept a November early retirement and separation application deadline in place.
Maj. Gen. Frederick Blesse, 1921-2012
Retired Maj. Gen. Frederick C. “Boots” Blesse, a top US fighter ace of the Korean War, died Oct. 31 in Melbourne, Fla., at age 91, according to his obituary.
Born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1921, Blesse graduated from West Point in June 1945.
He flew more than 220 combat missions in the F-51, F-80, and F-86 during the Korean War, scoring 10 confirmed aerial kills between April and October 1952.
Blesse later penned the book No Guts, No Glory that served as a basis of Air Force fighter combat tactics for years, proving influential with other air arms as well.
Blesse also flew numerous combat missions during the war in Vietnam. Prior to retiring in April 1975, Blesse served as the Air Force’s deputy inspector general.
He earned numerous military honors including the Distinguished Service Cross during his 30-year military career.
Starting this year, B-2 bombers will begin regular worldwide training deployments to each of the US combatant commands’ areas of responsibility, according to 8th Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Stephen W. Wilson.
“Our B-2s will rotate to forward operating locations all over the world in small numbers for a few weeks at a time, a couple of times a year,” Wilson said in an interview from 8th Air Force headquarters at Barksdale AFB, La., Nov. 7.
Air Force Global Strike Command pulled B-2s out of the recurring bomber rotations to Andersen AFB, Guam, in 2010. The move followed a serious engine fire that heavily damaged a B-2 earlier that year at Andersen and the total loss of another B-2 in 2008 following a crash on the Andersen runway. Instead, “we’re going to put them into the ‘new normal,’ ” beginning with a short Pacific deployment for an exercise in 2013, said Wilson.
“We’re doing that with all the geographic combatant commanders,” including those in Central and South America, Southwest Asia, and Europe, in addition to the Asia-Pacific region, he said.
Because US commanders for these regions have no permanently assigned bombers, “they want to exercise and train with them regularly,” he said. As a result, “both of us will get better.
Col. Ralph S. Parr Jr., 1924-2012
Retired Col. Ralph Sherman Parr Jr., a Korean War double ace who was the only American pilot to receive both the Distinguished Service Cross and the Air Force Cross, died Dec. 7 in New Braunfels, Tex.
Parr flew P-38 Lightnings in the Pacific during the last year of World War II and then entered the Reserve. Reactivated for the Korean conflict, he flew F-80s at the beginning of the war and F-86s at the end; in between, he worked developing aerial tactics. Redeployed to Korea for the last weeks of the war, he shot down 10 enemy aircraft in just 51 days, including the last aircraft shot down during the conflict, an Il-12 cargo airplane.
He remained with the Air Force after the war, serving in a number of posts in the US and abroad. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, he was command post director at MacDill AFB, Fla.
In 1963, Parr was selected to be one of the first instructor pilots in the new F-4C Phantom II and helped bring that aircraft into the inventory. In the Phantom, he served two tours in Southeast Asia.
During the siege of Khe Sanh, diverted from escorting a C-130 cargo mission in bad weather, Parr repeatedly attacked and destroyed North Vietnamese mortar and gun positions. He pressed the attack despite heavy fire and severe damage to his aircraft, even after the commander of the Marine Corps troops he was protecting advised him to break off. Parr also orchestrated strikes on enemy positions by other aircraft. For this action he received the Air Force Cross. During the conflict he served as deputy commander and then commander of the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing.
After Vietnam, Parr was posted to Iran, where he was chief of staff of the Military Assistance Advisory Group. He then served at Eglin AFB, Fla., as deputy chief of staff for operations at the Tactical Air Warfare Center, and then chief of staff of the Armament and Development Test Center. He retired as a colonel in 1976, having amassed 641 combat missions and more than 6,000 hours in fighters, as well as more than 60 decorations, which included the Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal, 10 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and 41 Air Medals.
BMT Abuse Findings
An Air Force investigation into cases of sexual abuse in its basic military training courses has identified five major deficiencies in the program, along with 46 corrective measures.
Maj. Gen. Margaret H. Woodward, who led the investigation into sexual misconduct by military training instructors at JBSA-Lackland, Tex., outlined 22 findings from the review in a press briefing at the Pentagon, Nov. 14.
Her report highlighted insufficient oversight, poor instructor selection, lack of emphasis on responsibility, barriers to reporting, and inadequate policy and guidance as the key institutional factors contributing to the breakdown in discipline.
“Leadership stands out as the most important area to address,” according to an accompanying report from Air Education and Training Command, which said good leadership would be able to “overcome weaknesses in institutional safeguards.”
AETC plans to implement all but one recommendation: to shorten basic training. It was already being reviewed under a separate study, AETC commander Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr. explained during the briefing.
Officials decided not to segregate Air Force basic training, but will instead institute four-person instructor teams including at least one female MTI for every two flights to increase peer accountability.
Over the previous 60 days, Woodward’s team conducted 215 interviews, surveyed 18,000 Air Force personnel, and conducted focus groups with trainees, instructors, and spouses.
The team visited Air Force Officer Training School at Maxwell AFB, Ala., four Air Force tech schools, and an Army basic training site for comparison, in addition to conferring with Navy and Marine Corps training leaders before making their recommendations.
QF-16 Drone Enters Test
The first batch of QF-16 Full-Scale Aerial Targets arrived at Tyndall AFB, Fla., in November to begin developmental testing.
“In the imminent future, the QF-16 will take air-to-air testing and evaluation to the next level,” said Lt. Col. Lance Wilkins, Tyndall’s 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron commander.
The QF-16 is designed to be flown manned or unmanned, depending on mission needs. The aircraft arrived at Tyndall Nov. 19, under pilot control.
The QF-16 prototype was set to undergo six months of trials at Tyndall with the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group to ensure the airplane’s compatibility with the Gulf Range Drone Control System, according to base officials.
Activities then move to Holloman AFB, N.M., where the QF-16 will undergo four months of additional testing.
The aircraft will then return to Tyndall for the workup to the full-scale target’s initial operations there.
Boeing is under contract to convert up to 126 early model F-16s to the QF-16 configuration to supercede USAF’s current QF-4 Phantom drone fleet.
The QF-16 prototype first flew last May and Boeing expects to deliver the first production drone in 2014.
|The War on Terrorism
Operation Enduring Freedom
By Dec. 12, a total of 2,158 Americans had died in Operation Enduring Freedom. The total includes 2,155 troops and three Department of Defense civilians. Of these deaths, 1,711 were killed in action with the enemy while 445 died in noncombat incidents.
There have been 18,137 troops wounded in action during OEF.
Details of the Drone War
As of this fall, USAF remotely piloted aircraft had dropped 1,160 weapons on ground targets in Afghanistan since 2009, according to newly released data from Air Forces Central.
Air Force RPAs operating over Afghanistan include the MQ-1 Predator, which can carry Hellfire air-to-surfaces missiles, and the MQ-9 Reaper, capable of carrying both Hellfires and 500-pound precision guided bombs.
The Air Force recorded a total of 225 RPA strikes in 2009, 278 in 2010, 294 in 2011, and 333 during the first 10 months of 2012, according to strike data released Nov. 7 for Southwest Asia through Oct. 31, 2012.
Dunford To Lead ISAF
The Senate approved the nomination of Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. to lead US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Dec. 3.
Dunford, who serves as the Marine Corps assistant commandant, will replace Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen as the head of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. Allen has commanded it since July 2011.
Obama tapped Dunford in October for the post, saying at the time Dunford would “lead our forces through key milestones in our effort that will allow us to bring the war to a close responsibly” by the end of 2014.
Obama has nominated Allen to be the next NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and also lead US European Command.
Blue Sheriff in Town
Air Force security forces took over security responsibility for Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, from the Army, standing up a new group for the task.
The 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram established the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Group in a ceremony on base in November.
Comprising some 1,300 joint force and coalition personnel, the 445th is now in charge of protecting the nearly 35,000 US and coalition personnel and their equipment at Bagram, as well as the more than 300-square-mile security zone surrounding the base, according to the unit’s Nov. 16 news release. “It is still the security forces mission, but our area of responsibility has increased,” explained A1C Marlon Harris, an entry gate controller with the group.
The 455th AEW commander, Brig. Gen. Joseph T. Guastella Jr., presided over the ceremony for Col. Brian Greenroad, the group’s first commander.
Manas Gets Expeditionary Group
The 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Afghanistan activated the 466th Air Expeditionary Group at the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, to oversee the more than 2,300 airmen serving in Afghanistan on joint expeditionary tasks or as individual augmentees.
“The existence of this unit and our presence embodies and reinforces our solemn commitment to support joint expeditionary tasked airmen serving in harm’s way, and we will not let them down,” said Col. John Cline, who assumed command of the group during the Nov. 26 stand-up ceremony.
“I regularly visit our JET airmen in Afghanistan, and we could not accomplish the mission without their efforts,” said Maj. Gen. H. D. Polumbo Jr., task force commander, presiding over the activation.
The 376th Air Expeditionary Wing is the host unit at Manas, a major air hub for coalition sustainment operations in Afghanistan.
|Senior Staff Changes
RETIREMENTS: Gen. Douglas M. Fraser, Gen. Raymond E. Johns Jr., Maj. Gen. Thomas K. Andersen.
CHANGES: Maj. Gen. (sel.) Charles Q. Brown Jr., from Dep. Dir., Ops., CENTCOM, MacDill AFB, Fla., to Dep. Cmdr., AFCENT, and Dep., Combined Force Air Component Cmdr., CENTCOM, Southwest Asia … Brig. Gen. Scott L. Dennis, from Spec. Asst. to the Cmdr., 9th AF, ACC, Shaw AFB, S.C., to Asst. Dep. Cmdr., AFCENT, and Asst. Vice Cmdr., 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force, ACC, Shaw AFB, S.C. … Brig. Gen. Sandra E. Finan, from Principal Asst. Dep. Administrator for Mil. Application, Office of Defense Prgms., Natl. Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy, Washington, D.C., to Cmdr., AF Nuclear Weapons Ctr., AFMC, Kirtland AFB, N.M. … Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, from Cmdr., AF Nuclear Weapons Ctr., AFMC, Kirtland AFB, N.M., to Asst. C/S, Strat. Deterrence & Nuclear Integration, USAF, Pentagon … Brig. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, from Asst. Dep. Cmdr., AFCENT, and Asst. Vice Cmdr., 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force, ACC, Shaw AFB, S.C., to Dep. Dir., Ops., CENTCOM, MacDill AFB, Fla.
SENIOR EXECUTIVE SERVICE CHANGES: Anthony J. Baumann, to Dir., Contracting, Warner Robins Air Log. Complex, AF Sustainment Ctr., AFMC, Robins AFB, Ga. … Randall D. Culpepper, to AF PEO, Combat & Mission Spt., Office of the Asst. SECAF, Acq., Pentagon … Jorge F. Gonzalez, to Dir., Engineering & Tech. Mgmt., AF Life Cycle Mgmt. Ctr., AFMC, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio … Charles L. Matson, to Chief Scientist, AF Office of Scientific Research, AFRL, AFMC, Arlington, Va. … George D. Duchak, to Dir., Info., AFRL, AFMC, Rome, N.Y.
CHIEF MASTER SERGEANT RETIREMENT: CMSAF James A. Roy.