Aerospace World

July 1, 2005

Moseley Tapped for CSAF

President Bush on May 16 announced that Gen. T. Michael Moseley is his choice to be the next Air Force Chief of Staff. Moseley is currently serving as vice chief of staff, a position he has held since August 2003.

If confirmed by the Senate, Moseley would succeed Gen. John P. Jumper as USAF’s top uniformed official. Jumper will likely retire in September, when his four-year term as Chief expires.

Moseley, a graduate of Texas A&M University, entered the Air Force in 1971 and began his career as a T-37 instructor pilot before transitioning to F-15 operations.

He later served as USAF legislative liaison and commanded 9th Air Force and US Central Command Air Forces during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Four Airmen Die in Iraq Crash

Four airmen died in Iraq on May 30. The Iraqi Air Force aircraft they were flying in crashed on a training mission after departing from Kirkuk Air Base en route to Jalula, in the country’s east. The Air Force fatalities were: Maj. William Downs of Winchester, Va.; Capt. Derek Argel of Lompoc, Calif.; Capt. Jeremy Fresques of Clarkdale, Ariz.; and SSgt. Casey Crate of Spanaway, Wash.

The airman were permanently stationed at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Downs was assigned to the 6th Special Operations Squadron; Fresques, Argel, and Crate were assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron. One Iraqi aviator also died in the incident.

The aircraft was a single-engine Comp Air 7Sl used for surveillance and personnel transport, according to a May 31 Defense Department news release. The airplane was one of seven that the United Arab Emirates had donated to the fledgling Iraqi Air Force.

Keys Confirmed as ACC Chief

Nine months after being nominated for the post, Ronald E. Keys was confirmed by the Senate May 26 for promotion to four-star rank as head of Air Combat Command. The last four-star officer to head ACC was Gen. Hal M. Hornburg, who departed in the fall of 2004 and officially retired Jan. 1.

The Senate Armed Services Committee had put “holds” on various Air Force leadership nominations pending the Air Force’s turning over documents. Those documents related to the proposed lease and then purchase of 767 aerial tankers from Boeing.

After Hornburg’s departure, ACC was headed by Vice Commander Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright from mid-November 2004 until February of this year. Wright was then succeeded as the vice by Lt. Gen. William M. Fraser III.

Prior to his appointment as ACC chief, Keys was deputy chief of staff for air and space operations at the Pentagon.

Virginia ANG Wing Moves On

The Virginia Air National Guard’s 192nd Fighter Wing, slated to integrate with Air Combat Command’s 1st Fighter Wing, will leave its current home in Richmond and move to Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Va.

Defense Department officials in May announced the consolidation as part of the Pentagon’s proposed base realignment and closure (BRAC) actions.

The Virginia ANG unit flies F-16s, and the ACC wing is soon to fly F/A-22 Raptors. The Richmond-Langley integration will allow ANG personnel to participate in F/A-22 operations from Day 1. It is one of six Future Total Force test cases the Air Force is using to evaluate various FTF concepts.

Pentagon BRAC documents explain that “the Air Force distributed the F-16s from Richmond to other F-16 bases using military value and judgment.” The aircraft will go to the Des Moines, Iowa, ANG station and Homestead ARB, Fla., to be used for homeland air defense.

BRAC documentation says authority over the Richmond ANG’s real estate will pass to the Army, while the wing’s airmen will “associate with the 1st Fighter Wing” about 70 miles away.

1st Gets First Raptor

ACC’s 1st FW, Langley AFB, Va., received the first combat-ready F/A-22 Raptor on May 12. The fighter was delivered by Lt. Col. James Hecker, commander of the 27th Fighter Squadron, directly from the Lockheed Martin assembly plant in Marietta, Ga.

Air Force officials announced that F/A-22 deliveries will continue at a rate of approximately two per month until the 27th FS has its full complement of 26 Raptors. Initial operational capability should be reached by the end of this year.

Langley already had use of three “loaner” Raptors, which soon will be returned. One F/A-22 from Edwards AFB, Calif., is used for maintenance training and is not flown. Two other F/A-22s from the training program at Tyndall AFB, Fla., are being used for follow-on pilot training.

Strykers Go to USAF Unit

Tactical air control parties and combat weathermen at Eielson AFB, Alaska, recently became the first airmen to operate Stryker armored vehicles.

The eight-wheeled Strykers are key components in the Army’s effort to transform itself into a lighter, more mobile force. They fill what had been a gap between Humvees and heavily armored personnel carriers such as the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

The Air Force’s TAC-Ps and combat weather teams travel, train, and work with Army units and serve with them in combat. Eielson’s 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron, which received five of the vehicles, is a tenant at the Army’s nearby Ft. Wainwright.

The 3rd ASOS’ primary mission is augmentation of the Army’s 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team with Air Force assets and capabilities.

Strykers are “faster than the traditional Humvee and much more survivable, especially in urban situations,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Russell J. Smith, commander of the 3rd ASOS.

The vehicles also offer a “total picture of the battlespace” outside the vehicle, he said.

Airman Dies in HH-60 Crash

TSgt. Scott A. Bobbitt died May 11 when an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashed near Kirtland AFB, N.M. Two other airmen were injured in the midafternoon training accident, which occurred some 100 miles northeast of Santa Fe, N.M.

Bobbitt (the flight engineer), the pilot, and the copilot were assigned to the 58th Special Operations Wing’s 512th Rescue Squadron at Kirtland. The Air Force will investigate the cause of the accident.

Turkey OKs Incirlik Use

Turkey in May cleared USAF to use Incirlik Air Base as a cargo hub for C-17s supporting operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Six C-17s will deploy to the base, which will serve as a kind of transshipment point. Civilian cargo aircraft will bring in and drop materiel and equipment, and the C-17s will load and redistribute the cargo to forward operating locations, the Journal of Turkish Weekly reported.

Relations between the US and NATO ally had been strained by the 2003 Iraq War when Turkey refused to let US troops move through its territory to open a northern front in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The agreement comes after months of lobbying by Washington.

F-16s Intercept Wayward Cessna

Air National Guard F-16s on May 11 intercepted, warned, and diverted a small Cessna aircraft that violated Washington, D.C.’s, restricted airspace. The pilot did not respond to many radio transmissions ordering him to turn away, before he finally did so.

US authorities said the wayward, slow-flying aircraft came within three miles of the White House. The interception was performed by a pair of F-16s from the 113th Wing, Andrews AFB, Md. They support Operation Noble Eagle.

The alert aircraft had to make three passes by the Cessna and drop flares before the aircraft finally diverted. By this time, the White House and Capitol Building were being evacuated.

Had this been a terrorism attempt, the air defense fighters “would have stopped” the aircraft before it could hit a target in the nation’s capital, said Lt. Col. Tim Lehman, one of the intercepting pilots.

The Cessna, which contained a pilot and a student pilot, had taken off in Pennsylvania, en route to North Carolina, but became lost along the way. It was escorted to the Frederick, Md., airport by the F-16s and a Homeland Security Department Black Hawk helicopter.

UAE Gets Advanced F-16s

The United Arab Emirates on May 3 received its first 10 F-16E/F Desert Falcon multirole fighters from Lockheed Martin.

The UAE has 80 of the aircraft on order, and they are “unmatched in a broad range of capabilities,” said Ralph D. Heath, Lockheed Martin vice president for aeronautics. The fighters have advanced radars, defensive systems, and engines and feature conformal fuel tanks for extended range.

The Desert Falcon is more advanced than any US Air Force F-16 and is more capable than the F-16I flown by Israel, according to the Jerusalem Post. The UAE purchase “is one of the few weapon systems in the hands of an Arab state qualitatively superior to that in the Israeli arsenal,” the paper reported.

Desert Falcons were flown by UAE pilots recently trained at Tucson Arpt., Ariz., for F-16 operations.

Army: Space Is “Critical”

The Army is “critically dependent” on space capabilities for land warfare, says a new doctrine paper prepared by Army headquarters.

Moreover, the paper asserts, the service in the future will be even more reliant on advanced space-based capabilities, most of which are provided by the Air Force.

In a foreword to the report, Lt. Gen. Larry J. Dodgen, commander of Army Space and Missile Defense Command, said that future space systems will bring to fruition the Army’s “future force concepts of information superiority, enhanced situational awareness, and high-tempo, noncontiguous operations.”

The service expects soldiers to make greater use of space capabilities as new technologies enable “more flexible and less expensive access” to the realm.

“Space-based capabilities contribute to all Army operations,” the paper states. Space-enabled systems provide position, velocity, and timing data, environmental monitoring, vital intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance capabilities, and missile warning support to the Army.

These “robust capabilities” are “necessities for success on the battlefield,” said the paper.

The doctrine paper states that space is a vertical extension of the battlefield and that the realm has been “especially instrumental” during the war on terrorism.

Religious Climate Probed

The Air Force created a task force to investigate the religious climate at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The move came in response to allegations that the academy fostered an environment hostile to cadets who are not evangelical Christians.

A May 4 Air Force news release said that the task force will assess “practices of the academy chain of command that either enhance or detract from a climate that respects both the ‘free exercise of religion’ and the ‘establishment clauses’ of the First Amendment.”

The release quoted Michael L. Domznguez, the acting Secretary of the Air Force, as saying, “Mutual respect is essential to the culture of the airmen.”

Dominguez was to review the task force’s findings and then announce what steps, if any, the Air Force considered necessary.

Anthrax Shots To Resume

The Pentagon in May announced it would resume anthrax vaccinations, using emergency authorization granted by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Pentagon’s anthrax vaccination program was halted by federal court injunction on Oct. 27, 2004. (See “Aerospace World: News Notes,” December 2004, p. 18.)

According to a May 3 press release, troops will have “an option to refuse the vaccination without penalty” in the restarted Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program.

Most vaccinations will go to “military units designated for homeland bioterrorism defense and to US forces assigned to the US Central Command area of responsibility,” the release explained. Troops stationed in South Korea also will get priority.

BAE Systems To Buy US Firm

Britain-based BAE Systems said it plans to purchase the American firm United Defense Industries, maker of the US Army’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

The purchase, announced March 7, has cleared US regulatory hurdles, according to press reports.

The purchase, valued at nearly $4 billion, will expand the size and capabilities of what is already Europe’s largest defense contractor. This would be the largest-ever acquisition of a US defense contractor by a foreign firm.

Officials with both companies expect the acquisition to be completed in mid-2005.

Predictive Battlespace Awareness Shows Progress

The Air Force is showing signs of progress toward the long-standing goal of creating “predictive battlespace awareness,” said Gen. Ronald E. Keys, chief of Air Combat Command, who was at the time deputy chief of staff for air and space operations on the Air Staff.

Tools are now in use that detect patterns even if none are readily apparent. “When you look at the data, you see no pattern—but there actually is a pattern there,” he said.

Knowing where and when to look for threats would pay huge operational dividends—and also help alleviate the strain on low-density/high-demand capabilities.

The demand for intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance capabilities “is insatiable,” said Keys. “Every pixel of the Earth seems to be equally capable of having what I call the ‘eureka bite,’?” he said.

“We sift all of that through to find what we are looking for—but looking is not seeing and seeing is not understanding,” Keys cautioned at a breakfast sponsored by the defense consulting firm DFI International.

Predictive battlespace analysis must be able to “shape the battlefield so that we’re not just looking, we’re actually sensing,” he said.

Moving the ISR process from “one of discovery to one of confirmation” requires systems that “stare in the right places,” Keys said. For example, surface-to-air missiles cannot be parked on a 45-degree slope, so there is no point in dedicating ISR assets to look there.

“We need predictive tools to do that,” he said, tools that are now showing promise in Iraq.

Pentagon Clashes With Commission on US Overseas Basing

The Congressionally chartered Overseas Basing Commission recently charged that the Defense Department was moving too quickly to shut down installations worldwide. The Pentagon begs to differ.

The DOD plan to shutter excess overseas facilities, which would bring back to the US tens of thousands of troops, is “front loaded,” the commission asserted in its May 9 report. “If we continue at the current pace, we are liable to handicap operational capability and run the risk of creating new vulnerabilities.”

At a press conference held the same day, Raymond F. Dubois, acting Army undersecretary, noted that the overseas realignment plan lasts through 2011.

To suggest that we need to slow that down, or we need to reorder these priorities, is … in error,” he said.

One commission concern is that DOD does not have enough mobility capability to quickly and forcefully respond to overseas contingencies. “Budgetary plans for mobility assets are inadequate to meet projected lift demand,” the report notes.

Pentagon officials have said, however, that it is nearly impossible to predict where a contingency will flare up in the future, and an antiquated basing posture solves nothing. Tank brigades in Europe, for example, are there because that is where they were left at the end of the Cold War—not because of prescient planning or intelligence about future threats.

“We think that both flexibility and speed of response are critical attributes,” said Christopher Henry, principal deputy undersecretary for policy, at the Pentagon briefing. “Much of that speed can be gained by bringing heavier forces back to the United States.”

Strategically, the commission made several specific recommendations concerning the Air Force.

The report called Okinawa “the strategic linchpin” for US military capabilities in East Asia. Despite the mixed reception US forces receive from Okinawans, “diminishing our combat capability on the island would pose great risk to our national interests in the region,” the commission stated.

The report suggests that Marine Corps aircraft at Okinawa’s Futenma air station relocate to nearby Kadena Air Base or to Iwakuni air station on Japan’s main island of Honshu. “All other Marine Corps assets should remain on Okinawa,” the report recommends.

The commission also calls for the US to review its defense treaty with Iceland and “update it to reflect the post-Cold War security environment.” The Air Force regularly rotates air defense assets such as F-15C fighters and E-3 AWACS battle management aircraft to NAS Keflavik, Iceland, through the Air and Space Expeditionary Force system.

The commission also raises quality of life concerns, noting that tens of thousands of troops and family members will be brought “home” to domestic bases “that may not have been given adequate time or budget to prepare for their proper reception.”

Dubois dismissed this concern, saying new military construction will be performed for the returning troops. “They will have the appropriate infrastructure,” he said. “They’re not moving into World War II, clapboard, coal-fired barracks—which I was in, in 1967.”

Air Force Unwraps Changes for Indian Springs

One of USAF’s remote outposts is getting a higher profile as the service expands its use of Predator unmanned aerial vehicles.

The site is Creech Air Force Base, located in the desolate desert northwest of Las Vegas. The Air Force announced plans to rename Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field on June 16, in honor of Gen. W. L. “Bill” Creech, the late chief of Tactical Air Command, 1978-84. And as the UAV’s prominence grows, so will Creech Air Force Base.

The base currently has the UAV BattleLab and a new runway. Soon, it will have larger pilot training classes, additional Predator aircraft, and a UAV “center of excellence.” All this is driving “big new investments” at the field, said Maj. Jim Ackerman, assistant operations director for the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron, which runs the Predator training.

The site may see $200 million in Predator-related construction projects. It already has a new cross-runway, which was necessary because the lightweight Predator cannot land in crosswinds stronger than 18 mph. This had been a frequent problem.

The town of Indian Springs still has a sleepy feel to it, especially when compared to the bustle at nearby Nellis AFB, Nev. But the Air Force announced March 18 that the three-squadron Predator fleet will expand to as many as 15 squadrons. These new units need pilots, and the three-month training courses with 15 pilots will soon grow to 20 students. Classes with 30 students have been discussed.

Maj. Sam P. Morgan, an A-10 pilot, went through the Predator training this spring. He volunteered for a three-year UAV assignment, seeing the opportunity to “get in on the ground floor of a major new creation.”

Morgan and other new Predator pilots learn close air support and deconfliction techniques as part of their initial training. However, Morgan noted, “When I graduate here, I won’t know how to take off or land.”

Graduated pilots head straight to the operational units supporting missions over Iraq and Afghanistan, learning the takeoff and landing procedures later. SSgt. Kimberly Farrell was a student in the Predator sensor operator program. She had worked with U-2s, but noted that Predator is different because it uses streaming video.

Farrell was preparing for “SCAR weekend” at Indian Springs, when students practice strike coordination and reconnaissance skills with visiting manned fighters. Another former imagery analyst, SSgt. Rachel Hatfield, is now a Predator sensor instructor. She said the students typically also get to perform a live Hellfire shot before graduation. Originally, the Predator performed only reconnaissance, but counterland operations (lasing targets for strike aircraft) began in 2001. Weaponized training, utilizing onboard Hellfire missiles, began in 2002.

All the Predators are now weaponized MQ-1s, said Ackerman. Plans call for a new squadron to stand up at the base next year, as the first jet-powered MQ-9 Predators arrive at the facility.

Air Warfare Center Goes Total Force

The Nevada Air National Guard and USAF’s Air Warfare Center signed a memorandum of understanding May 11 outlining how Guard personnel will integrate with the AWC. Guard airmen will soon participate in every mission performed at the Nellis AFB, Nev., warfare center, but will begin by focusing on Predator operations. The agreement formalizes one of the six Future Total Force test cases the Air Force is using to evaluate missions with integrated Guard, Reserve, and active duty personnel. By mid-May, the Nevada Guard had 20 people stationed at its new Las Vegas detachment, with plans to grow the unit to 65 personnel by the end of 2005. An additional 98 Air Force Reserve Command airmen are expected to join the total force effort.

The initial work is with the MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle. Guardsmen will be joining the 53rd Wing and 57th Wing at Nellis and Indian Springs AFAF, Nev., officials wrote in a news release. “This is the first step in a total force package” to support the Air Warfare Center’s broad mission, officials wrote. The AWC performs operations, training, testing, tactics development, and evaluation and had experienced manpower shortages across the board. But Col. Pete McCaffrey, a Reservist heading the total force initiative for the AWC, said the integration plan is not an attempt to use Guardsmen and Reservists to fill active duty shortfalls.

Instead, the initiative should increase combat capability while moving Reserve Component personnel into new and growing mission areas. With many legacy fighters being retired, the reserve components cannot afford to have a “flying club” mentality, McCaffrey told Air Force Magazine. Command opportunities will go total force as well. Integration provides opportunities for Reserve Component airmen to take on new missions and leadership. McCaffrey said the most qualified people will lead at the warfare center, regardless of which component they come from. But this must be handled carefully.

If, for example, a Reservist is made commander of the F-16 weapons school, his old unit will want to fill the position he vacated—potentially damaging the Reservist’s career down the road. Therefore, McCaffrey said total force positions need to be managed much like general officer assignments are, or the Air Force will be “building a house of cards that’s going to collapse.”

The War on Terrorism

Operation Iraqi Freedom—Iraq

Casualties

By June 2, a total of 1,663 Americans had died in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The total includes 1,659 troops and four Defense Department civilians. Of those fatalities, 1,274 were killed in action by enemy attack, and 389 died in noncombat incidents.

There have been 12,762 troops wounded in action during OIF. This includes 6,395 who returned to duty within 72 hours and 6,367 who were unable to quickly return to action.

Operation Matador Targets al Qaeda

Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps aircraft were major players in May’s Operation Matador, a large-scale effort to destroy al Qaeda forces operating along Iraq’s loose border with Syria. US Central Command officials said aircraft provided intelligence and close air support for the May 7-14 operation. Marine Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, Joint Staff operations director, told reporters at the Pentagon that the operation was targeting hard-core insurgents, many of whom fled from Fallujah last year.

Terrorists fought in military uniforms, including protective vests, he said. “We know this is a determined enemy, that he has the skill and ordnance … to be able to resist fiercely,” Conway said.

Air Force aircraft supporting Operation Matador included F-15E Strike Eagles, MQ-1 Predator armed reconnaissance drones, Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles, and U-2 spyplanes. Helicopters also played a key role. Officials noted in a May 11 release that AH-1W Super Cobra crews “saw three armed males digging holes into the road to place explosives. The helicopters engaged and killed the terrorists.” “You never knew if you were talking to Air Force, Navy, or Marine aviators,” said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Scott Campbell, commander of the 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company. “You always had the same result—bombs on target.”

“Gun Trucks” Escort Convoys

US Central Command has taken a lesson from the Vietnam War and brought back massive, armored “gun trucks” to serve as convoy escorts. By May, 31 of the trucks were operating in Iraq—and CENTCOM officials wanted more. The five-ton converted cargo trucks are protected against small-arms fire and improvised explosive devices. They also offer offensive capability, through .50-caliber machine guns and other weaponry. Steven J. DeTeresa, an engineer with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, told the House Armed Services Committee May 5 that Livermore and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency developed the trucks after officials noticed similarities between enemy tactics in Iraq and tactics in Vietnam decades earlier. The trucks are “a much more serious convoy protection platform” than even an up-armored Humvee, DeTeresa said, “and they are saving lives.” Each conversion kit costs roughly $40,000.

Marine F/A-18s Collide, Kill Two

Two Marine Corps aviators died May 2 when their F/A-18 Hornet fighters collided in flight over southern Iraq. They were flying at roughly 30,000 feet when radio contact was lost. US Central Command officials said there was no indication that they were brought down by enemy attack. Maj. John C. Spahr and Capt. Kelly C. Hinz were both based at Miramar MCAS, Calif. They were flying from the carrier Carl Vinson in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Operation Enduring Freedom—Afghanistan

Casualties

By June 2, a total of 188 US troops had died supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, primarily in and around Afghanistan. The total includes 75 troops killed in action and 113 who died in nonhostile incidents such as accidents.A total of 591 troops have been wounded during Enduring Freedom. They include 161 who were able to return to duty within three days and 311 who were not.

Attempted Ambush Ends in Gun Battle

Two Marines, Lance Cpl. Nicholas C. Kirven and Cpl. Richard P. Schoener, were killed in a five-hour gun battle with insurgents May 8, Combined Forces Command officials in Afghanistan reported. The Marines “received reports of insurgent activity near their location,” explained a press release the day after the battle. As the unit “maneuvered toward the insurgents to investigate, about 25 people attacked them” with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. “The insurgents split into two groups, one of which fled to a village while the other [hid inside] a cave on a nearby ridgeline,” the release recounted.

Air Force A-10 aircraft attacked the insurgents inside the cave and performed the initial battle damage assessment.

Fifteen insurgents were killed in the battle. Six others were injured and taken into custody, according to a later press release.

News Notes

By Tamar A. Mehuron, Associate Editor

  • The Air Force Association honored USAF vehicle operators for their service in combat convoy escort duty for the US Army in Iraq, naming five as Team of the Year for 2005. Team members are: SrA. John N. Chege, Langley AFB, Va.; TSgt. Jason D. Hohenstreiter, Minot AFB, N.D.; SrA. Joshua Powell, Eielson AFB, Alaska; MSgt. Dennis A. Ross, Bolling AFB, D.C.; and SSgt. Amelia C. Solomon, RAF Mildenhall, Britain.
  • Geographically separated Air Force units in Britain now come under the 501st Combat Support Wing, activated May 12 at RAF Mildenhall. Formerly, they answered to the 38th CSW at Sembach Annex, Germany. The change caused realignment of the 420th Air Base Group and the activation of the 422nd and 423rd ABGs.
  • Col. Stayce Harris became the first African-American woman to command an Air Force flying wing. Air Force Reserve Command officials in May announced that Harris had been selected to head the 459th Air Refueling Wing, Andrews AFB, Md. The wing flies KC-135R refuelers.
  • Air Force Special Operations Command AC-130 and MC-130 aircrews on April 25 received the first 20 of a planned 400 sets of panoramic night vision goggles. The new goggles provide a 95-degree field of view, more than double that of the old goggles, which had a 40-degree field of view.
  • USAF continued to expand its expeditionary presence on Guam, bringing onto the US island four F-15Es from Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. An April 29 KUAM News report said the aircraft will be joined at Andersen Air Force Base by eight more Strike Eagles and 300 support personnel on temporary deployment.
  • MSgt. Robert Colannino Jr. received the Air Force Sergeants Association’s 2005 Pitsenbarger Award for lifesaving actions that helped save his aircrew after its MH-53M Pave Low was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade during a night mission in Iraq April 12, 2004. The Hurlburt Field, Fla., flight engineer administered emergency medical aid to several wounded crew members and helped shut down the helicopter’s engines, allowing the crew to escape.
  • For actions in the same incident, Capt. Steven Edwards on May 6 received the Koren J. Kolligian Trophy for his outstanding airmanship in the MH-53M Pave Low helicopter. Though badly wounded and having lost his instrument panel, windscreens, and throttle control panel, Edwards landed the Pave Low safely, saving eight crew members. The Kolligian Trophy recognizes excellence in air safety.
  • Twenty-nine enlisted airmen have earned the opportunity to become officers as the result of the most recent selection process by the Officer Training School Selection Board. The airmen were among 138 future officers chosen from a pool of 231 applications.
  • Munitions specialists got new software that integrates online munitions orders with a database of suppliers, reducing waiting time, according to USAF officials. The Operations and Sustainment Systems Group, Gunter Annex, Ala., said the Combat Ammunitions System program keeps track of all munitions stored by USAF.
  • Airmen at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, have begun training with a new rifle designed for urban combat. Smaller than the M-16, the M-4 carbine features a reflex red dot sighting system for rapid-response engagements and infrared imaging capability for use at night. The new weapon is expected to be better suited to close-quarters battle in urban areas.
  • E-8 Joint STARS aircraft and personnel recently marked a milestone of 10,000 combat hours while deployed with the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia.
  • Airmen traveling to or from a CENTCOM deployment location now may wear their uniforms, rather than civilian clothing, according to a USAF policy change announced in a May 13 Air Force news release. The change makes it easier for the public to recognize the service of Air Force personnel in the Global War on Terror and aligns the policy with that of the other military branches.
  • Arthur J. Myers, director of Air Force Services, was inducted into the Boys and Girls Clubs of America Hall of Fame in May. Myers was a Boys Club member in his home state of New Jersey and was saluted for his work in Air Force Services. The honor pays tribute to former members with outstanding achievements in their respective career fields.
  • Two Air Force civilians and one Air Force base garnered three of four 2004 National Awards for Federal Librarianship. The winners of the Library of Congress Awards are: Federal Librarian of the Year, Barbara Wrinkle (Air Force Library and Information System’s libraries branch chief, Air Force Services Headquarters, San Antonio); Federal Library Technician of the Year, Mary Alice Mendez (Defense Language Institute’s English Language Library, Lackland AFB, Tex.); and Small Library/Information Center Category (with a staff of 10 or fewer federal/contract employees), Edwards AFB, Calif., Library.
  • USAF in April completed an environmentally friendly hangar at March ARB, Calif., to house C-17s, according to an April 26 Air Force news release. The hangar features recycled construction materials, light-reflective elements, and new flooring that never needs painting and resists fuel and oil spills. The first of eight C-17 tenants arrives Aug. 9.