Navy Honors USAF War Hero
In an unprecedented tribute, the United States Navy christened one of its ships with the name of an Air Force officer—a hero from the Vietnam War who gave his life to save a Marine Corps aircrew partner.
The service announced in November that it would name an ammunition ship after the late Capt. Steven L. Bennett, a Vietnam–era OV-10 pilot and recipient of the Medal of Honor.
During a mission over Vietnam in 1972, the OV-10 bearing Bennett and his backseater, Marine Capt. Mike Brown, was severely damaged by a missile. To save the life of Brown, whose parachute had been shredded by the missile, Bennett elected to try to ditch the OV-10 into the Gulf of Tonkin, although he knew a pilot in the front seat of that aircraft had never survived a ditching. The maneuver cost him his life but saved Brown.
The incident—for which Bennett was awarded the Medal of Honor—formed the basis of Air Force Magazine’s first installment of the “Valor” column, published in February 1973.
Congress Raises Pilot Bonus
The Air Force reported Nov. 19 that Congress’ strengthening of the Aviator Continuation Pay program marks a big step on the way to solving the problem of low retention in the pilot force. The provision was contained in the Fiscal 1998 National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law Nov. 18.
The key provision increases Aviator Continuation Pay for Fiscal 1997 and 1998 eligibles from a $12,000 annual payment to $22,000 per year. Known as the “pilot bonus,” ACP goes to pilots after they complete an initial flying training service obligation and if they agree to stay on active duty through their 14th year.
The increase in the ACP restores the original value of the bonus established in 1989.
“With this measure, Air Force officials want to send a clear message that the service provides a variety of options to retain its experienced pilots to meet readiness requirements,” said Lt. Gen. Michael D. McGinty, deputy chief of staff for personnel.
A record low 29.7 percent of eligible pilots accepted an ACP bonus this year, according to Air Force statistics. USAF officials hope the changes will turn the program around.
The act also contains authority for variable-length ACP agreements. The Air Force will offer one-, two-, and three-year agreements at $6,000, $9,000, and $12,000 per year, respectively.
McGinty added, “These increases in compensation are only one part of our efforts to retain these important midcareer pilots.” [See “Congressional News,” p. 22.]
USAF Gets MiGs From Moldova
The US secretly bought 21 modern MiG-29 jet fighters from the cash-strapped nation of Moldova this fall and has transported them to Wright–Patterson AFB, Ohio, for study, the Defense Department announced Nov. 4.
The airplanes—which included some nuclear-capable S models—cost the US government some $40 million, according to reports. The reason for the purchase was not so much to get a peek at their technology, which US analysts have seen before, but to prevent them from falling into the hands of another buyer: Iran.
Some USAF officials hope to use the MiGs to reestablish the Cold War–era “aggressor” squadron, which flew dissimilar combat training missions at Nellis AFB, Nev. This unit flew Soviet-made or Soviet-style aircraft and tactics, providing US pilots the chance to test their skills against the forces of possible adversaries. It was disbanded in the early 1990s.
A major impediment, however: where to find the money to revive this unit
F-22 Balances Weight, Capability
The F-22 is already some 200 to 300 pounds heavier than it should be, and will probably gain more as development proceeds, but the added weight should not materially affect the airplane’s abilities, said Lockheed Martin officials in a briefing for reporters.
Weight is currently causing the aircraft to narrowly miss three of its 40 performance specifications, but “we believe we have margin in the performance” to handle the problem, said Paul Schlein, Lockheed Martin’s deputy air vehicle product manager.
There are no plans to put the airplane on a diet, as the overriding goal now is cost reduction, pointed out Schlein.
Efforts to make the F-22 easier to maintain, through changes in the placement of some removable panels, are one reason it is becoming heavier. But Schlein says the weight issue won’t hinder future upgrades that add even more heft. “If we lose a couple of feet per second [in performance], we do it,” he said.
Congress Wins Depot Showdown
Despite serious political concerns, President Clinton swallowed a Congressional demand for legislation that will have the effect of steering Air Force maintenance work to three government depots.
Clinton on Nov. 18 signed the 1998 defense authorization bill into law. The bill contained the contested depot provision.
At issue in the dispute was the fate of jobs at soon-to-be-shuttered McClellan AFB, Calif., and Kelly AFB, Texas. The Clinton Administration has backed a so-called “privatization in place” policy, under which private firms could bid for repair work they would do at the two depots once the Air Force leaves.
However, that did not sit well with members of Congress representing three USAF air logistics centers that are scheduled to remain open: Ogden ALC at Hill AFB, Utah; Oklahoma City ALC, Tinker AFB, Okla.; and Warner Robins ALC, Robins AFB, Ga.
These lawmakers managed to insert a provision in the bill that would require contractors using McClellan or Kelly to include in their bids the market cost of those facilities.
That negates a major price advantage they might hold over government depots, which are required to “charge” enough to recover their own costs. The White House had threatened to veto the bill over the issue. The number of House and Senate votes for the legislation, however, was decisive.
USAF Centralizes Space Operations
A new 14th Air Force Space Operations Center opened at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., on Nov. 13. The center will provide USAF the capability to track and control all of its space assets from one location.
Specific tasks will include such things as monitoring of space surveillance systems, satellites, and missile warning and space launch systems. The 14th AF commander will be able to task Air Force space forces to support commanders in warfighting theaters around the globe, stated the Air Force.
The center will issue a Space Tasking Order, similar to the Air Tasking Order, for assets under its control. Previously, space units received such orders from diverse elements, including Cheyenne Mountain AS, Colo., US Space Command, Air Force Space Command, and wing command posts.
Air Force Meets Recruiting Goals Again
For the 18th year in a row, Air Force Recruiting Service met its annual target for new enlistees when Jorge Sandoval Jr. became the 30,200th young person to head for Basic Military Training at Lackland AFB, Texas.
Hitting the goal—again—was not easy, noted AFRS Vice Commander Col. Bob Mead. The strong economy gave many youngsters good-paying alternatives to military service. An increase in the number of high school students opting for college complicated recruiters’ jobs further.
“We work very, very hard to make it look like it’s easy,” said Mead.
Sandoval, a 22-year-old Texas native, signed on for a six-year Air Force enlistment as a ground radar systems apprentice. After basic, he will spend 36 weeks at Keesler AFB, Miss., for operational training. Like 99.1 percent of Air Force recruits this year, Sandoval has completed high school. Like 19 percent of the new airmen, he accumulated 15 or more semester hours of college credit before deciding to enlist.
Surveys show the top reason young people join USAF is to take advantage of training and education opportunities. Sandoval is typical here as well—he will receive 67 semester hours of college credit through the Community College of the Air Force upon finishing his operational training.
Sandoval had no part in another recruiting record the Air Force set this year, however. Women comprised 28.1 percent of new enlistees, an all-time high and up two percent from last year.
DoD Announces Sweeping Overhaul …
Defense Secretary William S. Cohen on Nov. 10 announced a sweeping plan to trim thousands of jobs from the top levels of the Pentagon bureaucracy, streamline operations, and close more bases—all to free up billions of dollars for modernization programs.
Cuts in the Office of the Secretary of Defense reflect a change in philosophy, Cohen said at a briefing. “We are getting out of the management business,” he said. “We are going to focus on core functions—policy decisions and recommendations.”
Specifically, the new Defense Reform Initiative calls for the elimination of 30,000 positions from the 141,000 now employed by OSD and its support agencies. Civilians in eliminated jobs will get pink slips; military personnel will be reassigned to duty elsewhere.
The Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and its related staff will be reduced by 29 percent, to about 1,800 jobs, over the next five years. Ten percent of the 18,000 troops and officers who work around the world in US military command headquarters will be taken off administrative duties and assigned combat-related jobs.
… Plus Realignments, Closures
In addition to the personnel cuts, the DRI calls for the formation of a new Threat Reduction and Treaty Compliance Agency by combining the functions of three existing bodies: the On-Site Inspection Agency, the Defense Special Weapons Agency, and the Defense Technology Security Administration.
Among other structure shuffles, the DRI would also eliminate the post of assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence and create a new office intended to focus only on intelligence matters.
The most controversial aspect of the DRI, however, will probably be its call for two more rounds of base closings—one in 2001 and another in 2005. This year Congress, sensitive to the job concerns of constituents, rejected one Pentagon proposal for more base cuts.
Even without base closings, the DRI could save the Pentagon $6 billion a year, say defense officials. That could greatly help them in their effort to boost procurement spending from today’s $45 billion level to a $60 billion goal.
Military Health Care Defended
Over the last 10 years, military health care has become equal to or better than any health care system in the country, according to Department of Defense officials.
They issued the statement to rebut a recent series of articles, produced by Cox News Service and widely reprinted in newspapers around the US, which was highly critical of military health care.
John F. Mazzuchi, deputy assistant secretary of defense for clinical services, said the Cox series focused on older cases and glossed over quality improvements that the Pentagon has made in recent years.
During the 1970s and early 1980s, many of the physicians coming into the military simply walked into recruiting offices—and thus were not always the best in their professions. But since then, said Mazzuchi, DoD has launched two initiatives intended to produce homegrown doctors: the Health Professions Scholarship Program and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Only about one in 20 applicants to the USUHS is admitted, and today both programs provide the vast majority of military physicians.
DoD now pays doctors more if they have current board certifications in their specialties or subspecialties. DoD since 1988 has required its physicians to pass state licensing exams.
Retiree Dental Plan Contract Awarded
Sacramento-based Delta Dental Plan of California has won a five-year Pentagon contract to provide low-cost dental insurance to military retirees and their families. The plan will provide services throughout the US, Puerto Rico, Canada, US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and Northern Mariana Islands. It will be available beginning Feb. 1.
Costs will vary, depending on location. But monthly premiums will average $12.26 for one person, $23.80 for two, and $39.31 for a family, according to Delta. The annual deductible will be $50, and annual benefits will be capped at $1,000, not counting preventative and diagnostic services.
Enrollees must initially sign up for 24 months and pay four months’ premiums up front. After the first two years have passed, enrollment will be on a month-to-month basis.
The plan will feature a variety of services, from basic checkups to treatment of gum disease and oral surgery. Some services—mainly diagnostic and preventative ones—will not require a co-payment. Others will require cost sharing of 20 to 40 percent.
Delta will mail information about the plan to those who are eligible.
JSF Power Plant Passes Milestone
Pratt & Whitney has successfully completed the Critical Design Review milestone for the two F119 derivative engines it is developing for the Joint Strike Fighter. The mid-November end of the three-month CDR process means that Pratt & Whitney can now start building and testing actual power plants.
“The review confirmed that the designs do meet the requirements for the JSF program,” said Robert Cea, JSF engine program manager.
Pratt & Whitney has faced challenges in adapting its F119 engine, originally developed for the F-22, to the multiple needs of the JSF program, said company officials. The engine must fit the designs of the JSF’s two competing airframe manufacturers, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, as well as meet the varying needs of the carrier-based, conventional, and short takeoff and landing JSF variants.
Engineers at Pratt & Whitney started with the same engine core, then added different fans and low turbines for model variations. JSF power plants will share gear boxes, lubrication systems, external architecture, and controls with F-22 Raptor models—significantly reducing development risk, according to firm officials.
General Electric, with versions of its YF120 engine, is also in the running for the JSF propulsion award.
USAF Seeks Korean War–Era Families
DoD, the Air Force, and the other services are mounting an intense effort to find family members of servicemen who vanished in the Korean War and still remain unaccounted for.
The public outreach follows negotiated agreements with North Korea allowing joint searches in that secretive country.
“We’ve begun to open some doors in North Korea, and we need to reestablish contact with the families of our unaccounted-for servicemen,” says Tom Perry, chief of the Air Force Missing Persons Branch at the Air Force Personnel Center.
Four joint operations inside North Korea have already been conducted. The remains of what are believed to be seven US soldiers have been recovered. The remains of one soldier have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
“As we’re able to obtain additional circumstance-of-loss information or recover remains from North Korea, we’ll need to inform the families,” says Perry. “Unfortunately, in some cases, nearly 45 years have elapsed since the Air Force has had contact with many of the families.” More than 900 Air Force servicemen remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.
Air Force families can call toll free (800) 531-5501. The Army number is (800) 892-2490. The Navy number is (800) 443-9298, and the Marine number is (800) 847-1597.
USAF Opens New Officer Reduction Program
The Air Force announced Nov. 19 that it would offer voluntary loss programs to about 1,650 officers to meet Fiscal 1998 end strength requirements. Those 1,650 would be over and above the normal number of losses predicted as a result of attrition and other routine causes.
The offer applies to those officers wishing to separate or retire early in Fiscal 1998. The only financial incentive program is early retirement, said USAF; Voluntary Separation Incentive and Special Separation Benefit will not be offered.
To meet its force-reduction targets, the Air Force needs 1,650 officers to separate or retire in 1998 (compared to 1,050 officers in 1997). Officials expected 1,000 officers to take early retirement. The Air Force said that the rest of the losses would be achieved mostly through active duty service–commitment waivers and limited use of time-in-grade and commissioned service–time waivers.
Officers eligible for the early retirement program may submit their applications to the Air Force Personnel Center through their military personnel flights. AFPC began accepting applications on Dec. 2. Applications are handled on a first come, first served basis.
“Bat-21” Rescue Crew Buried at Arlington Cemetery
The recently repatriated remains of six airmen who were part of the famed “Bat-21” rescue attempt in South Vietnam were buried Nov. 19 in Arlington National Cemetery with full honors, the Air Force announced.
Finally laid to rest were Capts. John H. Call III and Peter H. Chapman II, TSgts. James H. Alley, Allen J. Avery, and Roy D. Prater, and Sgt. William R. Pearson. All were killed in the crash of their HH-53 rescue helicopter.
On April 6, 1972, their helicopter—call sign “Jolly Green 67″—was performing a search and rescue mission over Quang Tri, South Vietnam, when it was hit by enemy fire and crashed. Other aircraft in the rescue squadron located no survivors.
The crew of Jolly Green 67 was part of the effort to rescue downed airmen Lt. Col. Iceal Hambleton and 1st Lt. Mark Clark. The efforts to locate and rescue both men, which involved separate Air Force, Army, and Navy operations, were the basis of the 1988 movie “Bat-21.”
DoD Holds Summit on Reserve Health Care
The Pentagon on Nov. 18 announced it would hold the first Reserve Health Care Summit to address health care issues, entitlements, and legislative policies affecting the readiness of US military reserve components.
DoD said the objective was to improve readiness of reservists and ensure that those who become ill or injured as a result of service receive appropriate health care and medical benefits.
“This summit is about taking care of the people who make up nearly one-half of our total military force,” said Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen. “I am committed to the seamless integration of the active and reserve components. To achieve a seamless force, we must update our medical policies to ensure that they support mission requirements as we enter the 21st century. This summit is another step toward further integration.”
The summit was to be presented in three phases, the last this month, and hosted by Deborah R. Lee, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, in conjunction with Dr. Edward D. Martin, acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.
NATO Expansion; More Cost Questions
NATO bureaucrats don’t think the cost of NATO expansion will be as high as the Clinton Administration thinks.
US officials have said that their rough calculations for accepting three new members into NATO was $27 billion to $35 billion through 2009. The US share of this cost was set at $2 billion, with the rest paid by other old and new European Allies.
Meanwhile, NATO analysts produced a study in November putting the cost of incorporating Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic at only $2 billion over the next decade. A rapidly diminishing threat, among other things, means that the new members can be defended with existing equipment and troops, said the report. That estimate was greeted with open skepticism in some quarters in Washington.
Even the Clinton Administration estimates seemed to be unrealistically low, in the view of some. A recent study by the Cato Institute, for one, calls those estimates “fatally flawed” and puts the true expansion price at closer to $70 billion, with $7 billion of that to be paid by the United States.
Cato said DoD estimates are based on faulty assumptions. DoD assumes, for instance, that new members will upgrade their air defenses with the improved version of the Hawk—a SAM system introduced in the 1960s. Factoring in the purchase of more modern Patriots would increase costs almost fourfold, says Cato.
USAF named the nation’s newest B-2 stealth bomber Spirit of Louisiana in a ceremony at Barksdale AFB, La., on Nov. 10. The airplane was the 17th B-2 to be named.
William J. Lynn was sworn in as undersecretary of defense (comptroller) in a Nov. 19 Pentagon ceremony. Lynn had been confirmed by the Senate on Nov. 13. Lynn previously served as the director for program analysis and evaluation in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He replaces John J. Hamre, who recently became deputy secretary of defense.
The Air Force set a new Titan IV launch record Nov. 7 with a third successful launch of the heavy lift booster within 23 days. The previous record for three Titan IV launches was 65 days, set last year. “We’ve moved one step closer to the Air Force’s dream of routine access to space,” said Brig. Gen. Randall F. Starbuck, 45th Space Wing commander.
The commissary at Eglin AFB, Fla., was named best large commissary in the continental United States at an awards ceremony held during the American Logistics Association’s annual convention in Philadelphia. Ramstein AB, Germany, won for best large commissary outside the US. The honors were judged by the Defense Commissary Agency.
The 21st Security Policy Squadron, Peterson AFB, Colo., won an Air Force Productivity Award for Professional Excellence for saving $500,000 in the design of shipping containers for military working dogs.
USAF’s Thunderbirds air demonstration team staged its 3,500th show at Nellis AFB, Nev., on Oct. 11. During the unit’s 44-year history, more than 295 million people in 59 countries have seen the Thunderbirds perform.
The Air Force is putting the finishing touches on a new Jump Start outsourcing program that it hopes will save about $1 billion in the year 2000, said Brig. Gen. Larry W. Northington, director for manpower, organization, and quality, at a Pentagon briefing. The program consists of a variety of engineering and services initiatives, most in the areas of communications, he said.
Former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry was named a director of Boeing on Nov. 11. Perry, who left the Pentagon last January, is currently an engineering professor and international studies senior fellow at Stanford University.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the X-33 launch site was held at Edwards AFB, Calif., on Nov. 14. The X-33, a subscale reusable launch vehicle technology demonstrator, is scheduled to make as many as 15 test flights from its 25-acre Edwards complex beginning in July 1999.
Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Sara E. Lister resigned under fire Nov. 14 after referring to the Marines as “extremists” at a public forum. The comment had infuriated Marines and their supporters in Congress, who demanded her ouster.
The former chairman and current ranking minority member of the House National Security Committee, Rep. Ronald V. Dellums (D–Calif.), announced that he will resign at the end of the 105th Congress. A former Marine, Dellums consistently argued for lower defense spending. His place in the established order will be taken by Rep. Ike Skelton, a pro–defense Missouri Democrat.
A C-141 Starlifter from the 62d Airlift Wing, McChord AFB, Wash., flew more than 47,000 pounds of relief supplies to Vietnamese victims of Typhoon Linda, which struck southern Vietnam in early November. The supplies, donated by US Pacific Command, included tents, cots, blankets, and hospital supplies.
The 97th Air Mobility Wing at Altus AFB, Okla., received its eighth and final C-17 Globemaster III on Nov. 10. “The hard work—the work of producing the finest aviators in the world—lies ahead,” said Col. Christopher A. Kelly, wing commander. The 58th Airlift Squadron will eventually train about 800 pilots a year in the C-17. Its student load is projected to peak sometime in 2003.
Maj. Pamela D. Hrncir of the 559th Flying Training Squadron, Randolph AFB, Texas, was named a recipient of the Woman Pilot Recognition of Excellence Award by Woman Pilot magazine. A 12-year Air Force veteran, Hrncir is currently assistant operations officer and directs a Pilot for a Day program for young cancer patients and their families.
In a ceremony held in the rotunda of the Capitol on Oct. 29, Congress took the unprecedented step of declaring entertainer Bob Hope an honorary veteran for his tireless efforts to lift the spirits of US servicemen abroad.
Jacques S. Gansler was sworn in Nov. 10 as undersecretary of defense for acquisition and technology. Most recently executive vice president and director of TASC Inc., an Arlington, Va., information technology firm, Gansler has served in several Pentagon procurement positions and is the author of a number of books and articles on the business of buying weapons.
|NDP Takes Aim at “Two War” Strategy
Maintaining the capability to fight and win two Major Theater Wars at about the same time is unnecessary and diverts resources from other, more pressing defense needs.
That was the major conclusion of the National Defense Panel, a group of civilian and retired military experts set up by Congress to provide an independent counterpoint to the Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review. The panel, which worked for nearly a year, released its final report on Dec. 1.
The NDP asserted that there is only a remote possibility that two Major Theater Wars would break out simultaneously or in quick succession, and it said that the money spent to maintain the force structure such a strategy requires should instead be spent on “experimentation” and “new capabilities.”
By contrast, the Pentagon, in its QDR, placed a two–MTW strategy as the centerpiece of its planning decisions.
The group championed a “transformation strategy” that would elevate prototyping and Joint forces to top priority, while maintaining standing forces more closely matched to realistic threats and operating tempo. It also suggested that the US be “more selective” in choosing to participate in Military Operations Other Than War, in order to reduce operating tempo and save money.
Panel Chairman Phillip A. Odeen, head of the defense contractor BDM, said the group had been in “pretty close contact” with top defense leaders in both houses of Congress throughout their research. He said he expects that panel members will be called to testify at the same hearings this winter at which Pentagon leaders present and justify their upcoming defense budgets. The panel anticipated flat defense spending levels in the coming decade.
The NDP determined that nations hostile to the US and its interests will likely “learn from the Gulf War” and either use asymmetrical means to inflict harm on American forces or, at the very least, deny the US a “build up” phase in a future war. NDP members pointed to the dangers posed by information warfare, weapons of mass destruction such as chemical and biological weapons, and expressed worry about a coming age of urban warfare and terrorism. They urged the United States to formally embrace the concept of “homeland” defense, suggesting that the Pentagon involve the National Guard much more deeply in this enterprise but giving short shrift to the idea of deployment of a ballistic missile defense system to protect US territory.
Taken in concert with the NDP’s view that forward basing will become less available as time goes by, it put emphasis on stealthy, long-range aircraft “rather than smaller, shorter-range aircraft” as a proper place to put resources and expressed “concern” that this is not the way the Pentagon is investing in the future.
Asked specifically if the panel was referring to more B-2 bombers, NDP member Gen. James P. McCarthy, USAF (Ret.), said the group was more concerned that there seem to be no plans for long-range attack airplanes beyond the B-2. Odeen explained that bombers may not necessarily be the right successor to the B-2; he averred that the US might be better off pursuing unmanned aerial vehicles or some other types of long-range aircraft.
The panel urged all of the armed forces to become lighter, more mobile, and more flexible, specifically questioning the wisdom of buying any new “heavy” weapons, such as a new main battle tank for the Army. In addition, it counseled the services to set cutoff dates for modifying and upgrading “legacy systems” of today that simply won’t be able to handle the threat of three decades from now. Instead, it argued that the US can “accept some risk” in the near term by divesting itself of such systems and applying the savings to modernization.
“The panel believes priority must go to the future,” it said in its report.
In the future world of 2020 and beyond, “we will need greater mobility, precision, speed, stealth, and strike ranges while we sharply reduce our logistics footprint,” the panel asserted. Future operations will be “increasingly Joint, combined, and interagency. Furthermore, the reserves will need to be fully integrated with active forces.”
The NDP urged “at least two” more rounds of base closings to better harmonize force structure and infrastructure, as well as to free up money for modernization. It asserted that there is no longer any point to maintaining a “surge” capability in defense industry, since future wars will likely be long over before any replacement hardware could be rushed into production; it also suggested even greater streamlining of defense procurement practices.
A “budget wedge” of $5 billion–$10 billion annually is needed to “support a transformation strategy,” and the funds should come from cutting bases and terminating increasingly expensive legacy systems.
Ploesti Hero General Johnson Dies
Retired Air Force Gen. Leon William Johnson, who earned the Medal of Honor for his leadership in the Ploesti, Romania, air raids of 1943, died Nov. 10 in Fairfax, Va. He was 93.
During World War II, Ploesti, was the site of vast oil refineries, which were critical sources of energy for the German war machine. They were one of the richest bombing targets in Axis-controlled territory—and one of the best defended.
In the summer of 1943, then–Colonel Johnson was commander of the 44th Bomb Group, which was on loan to Ninth Air Force. He took off from North Africa for the 2,400-mile round trip to the Romanian town, but clouds separated him and his group from the main body of aircraft, which arrived first. By the time Johnson reached the target, defensive gunners had been fully alerted.
Johnson drove his airplane toward the refinery through towering flames at an altitude of 30 feet. Just when it seemed the fire would consume him, an explosion opened a tunnel of air, and he and six other bombers shot through it and dropped their payloads. Johnson’s aircraft was burned black from the flames but nonetheless made it safely back to base.
Awarded the Medal of Honor on Nov. 22, 1943, Johnson said, “I cannot consider this a personal award. I consider this a citation for the leader of the group in acknowledgement of a job well done by the group.”
After the war, Johnson transferred to the new Air Force and eventually helped organize 3d Air Force in England. He later served in a variety of sensitive jobs, including Air Force representative to the United Nations Military Staff Committee and director of the National Security Council Net Evaluation Subcommittee. He retired in 1965, after more than 40 years of service.
|Senior Staff Changes
NOMINATIONS: To be General: John P. Jumper.
To be Lieutenant General: David W. McIlvoy, Lansford E. Trapp Jr.
CHANGES: Brig. Gen. Larry K. Arnold, from Vice Cmdr., 1st AF, ACC, Tyndall AFB, Fla., to Cmdr., 1st AF, ACC, Tyndall AFB, Fla. … Lt. Gen. Frank B. Campbell, from Cmdr., 12th AF, ACC; Cmdr., USSOUTHCOM Air Forces; and AF Component Cmdr., USSTRATCOM, Davis–Monthan AFB, Ariz., to Dir., Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment, Jt. Staff, Pentagon … Lt. Gen. Patrick K. Gamble, from Cmdr., Alaskan Cmd., PACOM; Cmdr., 11th AF, PACAF; and Cmdr., Alaskan NORAD Region, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, to DCS, Air and Space Ops., USAF, Pentagon … Gen. (sel.) John P. Jumper, from DCS, Air and Space Ops., USAF, Pentagon, to Cmdr., Air Forces Central Europe, NATO; Cmdr., USAFE; and AF Component Cmdr., USEUCOM, Ramstein AB, Germany.
Lt. Gen. David J. McCloud, from Dir., Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment, Jt. Staff, Pentagon, to Cmdr., Alaskan Cmd., PACOM; Cmdr., 11th AF, PACAF; and Cmdr., Alaskan NORAD Region, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska … Lt. Gen. (sel.) Lansford E. Trapp Jr., from Dir., LL, OSAF, Pentagon, to Cmdr., 12th AF, ACC; Cmdr., USSOUTHCOM Air Forces; and AF Component Cmdr., USSTRATCOM, Davis–Monthan AFB, Ariz.
SENIOR ENLISTED ADVISER RETIREMENT: CMSgt. Nicholas S.P. Davis.
SEA CHANGE: CMSgt. Mike L. Myers, to SEA, USAFA, Colorado Springs, Colo.