McKinley Takes Charge of ANG
Lt. Gen. Craig R. McKinley, a 32-year Air Force veteran, became the 12th director of the Air National Guard on June 3. In this capacity, he will head a force of more than 106,000 Air Guardsmen, along with their fighter, mobility, and other types of aircraft.
McKinley, a fighter pilot and former official of the Air Force Association, succeeds Lt. Gen. Daniel James III as ANG’s senior leader. James officially retired June 3.
The new Air Guard director most recently had served as Air Force assistant deputy chief of staff for plans and programs at the Pentagon. He earlier had served as commander of 1st Air Force and commmander of NORAD’s continental US region, Tyndall AFB, Fla.
McKinley also has been active in AFA work, serving in the past as a national vice president, national director, state president, and member of the Executive Committee.
Hayden Takes Command at CIA
Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden was sworn in on May 30 as the 20th CIA director, in Langley, Va. President Bush and National Intelligence Director John D. Negroponte attended a second, public swearing-in the following day.
Hayden was approved for the post by a 78-15 Senate vote on May 26. He became the first active duty military officer to head the CIA since Adm. Stansfield Turner served two of his four years in the job while on active duty in 1977-78.
Hayden, who succeeded Porter J. Goss at the CIA, was already the highest-ranking US military intelligence officer. Since April 2005 he had served as the first deputy director of national intelligence. A career intelligence officer, Hayden previously served more than six years as the director of the National Security Agency at Ft. Meade, Md.
Chilton Heads Space Command
Air Force Space Command’s new chief, Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, has become the first astronaut to lead USAF’s space activities and forces, headquartered at Peterson AFB, Colo.
Before heading to Space Command on June 26, Chilton commanded 8th Air Force at Barksdale AFB, La. The Senate on May 19 confirmed his fourth star and new assignment. Chilton succeeds Gen. Lance W. Lord, who retired in March.
A 1976 Air Force Academy graduate, Chilton was a fighter pilot and then test pilot. He was selected as a NASA astronaut in 1987 and flew three space shuttle missions, two as pilot and one as commander.
He also served as the deputy program manager for the international space station operations before returning to USAF assignments.
Air Force RIFs Lieutenants
Air Force Personnel Center announced May 3 that a force-shaping board had selected 843 lieutenants for involuntary separation. (USAF planned to reconsider on June 26 192 of them because of a records error.)
Eligible lieutenants from the 2002 and 2003 accession groups were notified May 10 of their status, either by a senior rater or by a deployed commander.
Officers not selected for retention will be separated no later than Sept. 29, said the release, but all could apply for the Palace Chase or the Blue to Green programs.
Palace Chase transfers the lieutenants into the Guard and Reserve without a break in service if applied for by Aug. 1. The Blue to Green Program gave officers the opportunity to transfer to the Army, if an application was submitted by June 15.
Those officers who no longer wanted to serve in uniform were allowed to apply for civil service employment through the Office of Personnel Management.
Departing lieutenants are entitled to post-separation benefits and services for 180 days and expanded Montgomery GI Bill opportunities.
Payton Tapped for Acquisition Post
Sue C. Payton was nominated by President Bush in April to become the Air Force’s top civilian weapons buyer, a post that has been vacant since Marvin R. Sambur resigned in January 2005.
If approved by the Senate, Payton will fill the Air Force’s last senior leadership vacancy.
As assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, research, and development, Payton would guide the acquisition of aircraft, missiles, bombs, intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance platforms, and systems other than space and space-related ones.
Payton has been working in the Pentagon as head of the advanced systems and concepts shop in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, supervising so-called Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration projects. The Global Hawk reconnaissance drone started as an ACTD, for example.
Earlier, Payton was acting director of defense research and engineering.
An industry veteran, Payton was vice president of applied technology for ImageLinks, Inc., a remote sensing and image processing company in Melbourne, Fla. She also has worked for Martin Marietta, now part of Lockheed Martin.
Hanoi Taxi Retires
The “Hanoi Taxi,” a C-141 Starlifter famed for picking up American prisoners of war held by North Vietnam, was handed over to the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, on May 6. Ceremonies there marked the end of an era: It was the last Starlifter still in service with USAF.
The aircraft had flown to Gia Lam airport near Hanoi, North Vietnam, on Feb. 12, 1973 as part of Operation Homecoming, the repatriation of more than 500 American POWs. Kept in service since then, the aircraft was chosen to represent the entire Starlifter fleet at the museum.
The 445th Airlift Wing (AFRC) at the base hosted more than 120 of the former POWs and their families for the aircraft’s retirement ceremonies.
The Starlifter will go on display this summer at the outdoor airpark, bearing markings like those it wore in 1973.
Sonny Montgomery, 1920-2006
Former Rep. Gillespie V. “Sonny” Montgomery (D-Miss.), champion of veterans’ benefits and father of the Montgomery GI Bill, died May 12 in Meridian, Miss., at the age of 85.
His legislation, which expanded the 1944 GI Bill, widened educational benefits for active duty military and, for the first time, made them available to members of the National Guard and Reserve. Military enlistees have consistently cited educational benefits as one of the major reasons for joining the US armed forces.
President Reagan signed the measure in 1984. Four years later, Montgomery co-sponsored another law that changed the Veterans Administration to the Cabinet-level Department of Veterans Affairs.
During his 13 years as the chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Montgomery pushed to give vets ever-greater benefits in life insurance, medical coverage, and preferred eligibility for home loans.
He served 15 terms in the House, from 1967 to 1997. He was on active duty in the Army in World War II and the Korean War and had retired as a major general in the Mississippi National Guard.
Boeing To Pay Huge Fine …
Boeing and federal prosecutors have reached an accord that could end a number of high-profile civil and criminal cases.
Under the agreement, announced in May by Boeing and the Justice Department, the defense contractor would pay a fine of $615 million, and the government would drop further pursuit of two major acquisition abuse cases.
The fine is believed to be the largest ever assessed against a defense contractor.
The deal, if it holds up, would end a three-year investigation into possible criminal activity within the company and return it to a status wherein it can freely do business with the government. The fine includes $565 million to cover civil claims and $50 million to end a criminal inquiry.
Part of the agreement constrains Boeing from procurement misdeeds for the next two years; if it does not comply, the government would be free to resume the investigation into previous charges.
Some $565 million of the Boeing fine would be transferred to accounts of the Air Force and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
… Stemming From Two Cases
The company’s troubles stemmed first from its use of stolen proprietary Lockheed Martin data on the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.
During an October 1998 EELV competition, Boeing employees illegally obtained 25,000 pages of Lockheed Martin rocket data. (See “Washington Watch: The Boeing Case,” September 2003, p. 12.)
Boeing was subsequently stripped of $1 billion in DOD launch contracts and was suspended from the rocket business for 20 months.
The second case began several years later, when Boeing improperly recruited a top career Air Force acquisition official, Darleen A. Druyun, while she was still picking winners and losers of Air Force contracts.
Druyun was prosecuted for steering Air Force contracts to Boeing in exchange for a job deal negotiated with Boeing’s former Chief Financial Officer Michael M. Sears. Both Druyun and Sears were later fired and served time in prison.
Boeing has agreed to cooperate with the investigation and “will accept responsibility for the conduct of its employees and make additional commitments regarding ongoing compliance.”
The company has put numerous programs in place to educate its employees on what is and isn’t legal in competing for government work.
Panel Cuts Army’s JCA Budget …
The Senate Armed Services Committee opted to cut nearly all of the Army’s budget request for a new small airlifter, insisting the service wait and work with the Air Force on the program.
Of $113 million requested for a new small cargo airplane to replace the C-23 Sherpa and C-12 Huron, the Senate cut $109 million.
The Senate Armed Services airland subcommittee, chaired by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), said in making the cut that the Air Force hadn’t set its requirements for a similarly sized aircraft yet, even though the two services have agreed to pursue the program, called the Joint Cargo Aircraft, cooperatively. (See “Aerospace World: News Notes,” May, p. 23.) The Senate panel does not want the aircraft to be skewed to Army requirements that would not meet Air Force needs.
The two services want the JCA to support widely dispersed ground forces that would be using short, austere runways lacking typical airfield navigational aids. The Army, citing an “urgent need,” wants to field something starting in 2008, because its Sherpas and Hurons are old and increasingly unreliable, but USAF plans to wait until 2010. The Air Force requested just $15 million for the JCA in its 2007 budget request.
The House authorization bill fully funded the Army’s request, leaving a resolution to the budget conference in August.
… While JCA Battle Emerges
While the Air Force and Army develop their requirements for the Joint Cargo Aircraft program, contractors have set up a number of industry teams to compete for the program.
Boeing said on April 30 it would join as a subcontractor a US-Italian venture headed by L-3 Communications and Finmeccanica’s Alenia unit to offer the C-27J Spartan aircraft. Boeing’s role in the venture was undisclosed as of late May. Rolls Royce also is on the team, as the engine supplier.
Raytheon is heading up a team offering the C-295 and CN-235 aircraft along with European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co.’s CASA unit, based in Spain. The aircraft would be built at an EADS plant in Mobile, Ala.
Lockheed Martin has decided to offer a version of the C-130J Hercules. Separately, Lockheed also is involved with the C-27J program as a cockpit electronics supplier.
The Air Force and Army hope to open the Joint Cargo Aircraft Program office in October and expect to see deliveries of the first aircraft not later than 2010.
Krieg: 20-Year Tanker Replacement
It will take about 20 years to replace the Air Force’s fleet of KC-135 tankers, the Pentagon’s acquisition chief said in May.
Kenneth J. Krieg, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, told Reuters that the “evolving” Pentagon plan to recapitalize the tanker fleet calls for buying 15 to 20 tankers per year.
He said the Air Force requirement is about 400 to 500 aircraft. He also said that there are advantages to buying more than a single kind of airplane.
“It gives you management options when you have a mixed fleet of size,” he said.
A Rand analysis of alternatives earlier this year said there was little cost difference between current generation airliners that could be converted to use as an aerial tanker (see “Charting a Course for Tankers,” June, p. 64), and that competition would probably spur contractors to make better deals on an annual tanker buy.
The two top competitors for the tanker replacement so far are Boeing or a joint Northrop Grumman-EADS team. Boeing is expected to offer its KC-767 aircraft, and the Northrop Grumman-EADS team has been readying an entry based on the Airbus A330. (See “The European Invasion,” June, p. 68.)
The Air Force expects to award a tanker contract in summer 2007.
GPS Hits a Slowdown
The next generation Global Positioning System, GPS III, will shift to a slower track in order to employ new, less-risky policies governing space acquisition. The new policies have been laid down by Air Force Undersecretary Ronald M. Sega.
The Air Force has decided not to award a GPS III contract for Fiscal 2006, and the contract may be delayed a year or more. The program, for which both Lockheed Martin and Boeing are competing, likely will be altered to implement a more incremental approach to adding new capabilities. Sega has said that the unbridled growth of requirements and technical change has caused many USAF space projects to go over budget and schedule in the past few years.
Sega’s new policy comprises a four-stage space program development cycle—science and technology, technology development, systems development, and then systems production—intended to ensure that space technologies are matured at a manageable rate. Once the first few programs to be affected get going, USAF is hoping for reduced acquisition cycle time, reduced technical and budget risk, and more stability in production.
The Air Force also is hoping to make the next generation GPS smaller, lighter, and less complex.
Current generation GPS satellites are still being delivered. The Air Force believes it can afford to delay their replacement because GPS satellites already on orbit are lasting longer than expected.
ANG Declares Sniper ATP IOC
The New York Air National Guard’s 174th Fighter Wing is the first individual unit to declare initial operational capability with the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod. Ceremonies marking the event were held with the Syracuse-based unit on April 21.
Since Air Combat Command declared Sniper ATP to be operational command-wide in August 2005, the pods have been in high demand and have been moved around from unit to unit, particularly those deploying to Southwest Asia.
The 174th is the first unit to have the full range of pods, support equipment, and documentation—“the full checklist”—to be individually IOC, program director Ken Fuhr said. The unit has about a dozen of the pods. The Air Force has accepted delivery of about 100 of the systems.
Sniper is an electro-optical device that permits visible and infrared viewing and targeting of the ground in a way that can be shared digitally with ground forces and others. It has been used extensively to conduct video reconnaissance in the Southwest Asia theater. (See “Eyes of the Fighter,” January, p. 40.)
Fuhr said the system is being adapted for a range of platforms and will begin flight-testing on the B-1B bomber this month.
Hybrids Head to Space
The Air Force has awarded four contracts to explore the development of a “hybrid” launch vehicle—one that would have a winged, reusable first stage.
Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Orbital Sciences of Virginia and Andrews Space of Seattle each were awarded “studies and analysis” contracts worth about $2.5 million apiece for the Hybrid Launch Vehicle program.
A hybrid rocket would be able to deploy satellites with as little as 24 to 48 hours of notice. It could boost the rest of the rocket stack to about 28 miles before returning like an airplane. It would be unmanned.
The Air Force thinks the idea could sharply reduce the cost of a missile launch—perhaps as much as two-thirds, versus today’s evolved expendable launch vehicles built by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The rocket also could be used to boost a weapon into an orbital or suborbital trajectory.
After reviewing each company’s studies, the Air Force plans to pick two competitors to go on to develop their concepts by Fiscal 2007. An operational hybrid rocket could be in service by 2018.
RED HORSE Goes Airborne
Airmen practiced a new skill in April: Parachuting with Army troops into a fight, then seizing an undeveloped airfield and quickly turning it into a usable one.
Air Force RED HORSE engineering specialists and soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division parachuted into a field at Pope AFB, N.C., where there was an old runway in disrepair and unusable. Some 2,000 soldiers and more than 30 airmen participated in this exercise called Joint Force Entry. The airmen cleared the runway and got it ready for use, so that a C-17 could land on it and offload supplies and equipment.
The specialists were from Nellis AFB, Nev., Hurlburt Field, Fla., and Langley AFB, Va., while the 82nd is based at Ft. Bragg, N.C., adjacent to Pope.
One of the airborne RED HORSE units will use training from Joint Forced Entry this summer when it deploys with the Army to Afghanistan.
RED HORSE engineers are experts in runway and ramp construction, maintenance, and repair. They got their start in 1966 during the Vietnam War. (See “The RED HORSE Way,” February 2003, p. 70.)
F-22A Fix Pegged at $100 Million
It will cost $100 million to fix structural flaws discovered in 73 F-22A Raptors, according to the Air Force.
The structural flaws involved were found on the aft boom—where the horizontal tail attaches to the fuselage—and on the forward boom, where the wing attaches to the fuselage. Cracks in both areas were discovered during fatigue testing. The Air Force said the forward titanium booms received improper heat treatment during manufacturing, reducing their strength.
Flaws found on the aft boom of 41 aircraft would be fixed beginning in January, while the other 32 airplanes would be corrected on the production line.
The flaws did not affect the flight safety of the aircraft, the Air Force said, and no redesign of the aircraft is necessary.
Intruder Hacks Tricare System
A computer hacker gained unauthorized access to one of the Tricare public servers, the Defense Department announced April 28.
An investigation of the intrusion showed that information had been compromised. Investigators didn’t know the source of the crime nor did they know if the information was misused.
“As a result of this incident, we immediately implemented enhanced security controls throughout the network and installed additional monitoring tools to improve security of existing networks and data files,” said William Winkenwerder Jr., the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.
Tricare Management Activity sent letters to all people who may be at risk of identity theft. The crime is under investigation.
Admiral Nominated for SOUTHCOM
A Navy admiral has been nominated to head US Southern Command, which is responsible for military operations in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Pentagon announced May 4 that President Bush had nominated Vice Adm. James G. Stavridis to be commander of SOUTHCOM and to be promoted to four-star rank.
As SOUTHCOM chief, Stavridis would be responsible for democracy stability operations in Latin America and also would oversee the detention facility at US Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
If confirmed by the Senate, Stavridis would succeed Army Gen. Bantz J. Craddock, who has served as SOUTHCOM chief since November 2004.
|PACAF’s Top Chief To Be 15th CMSAF
The Air Force on May 1 announced the selection of CMSgt. Rodney J. McKinley to become the 15th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. He succeeds CMSAF Gerald R. Murray. Plans called for Murray to retire on June 30.
McKinley’s job is to represent the interests of the Air Force’s enlisted men and women and to serve as personal advisor to Gen. T. Michael Moseley, the Chief of Staff, on enlisted issues.
McKinley most recently has served as the command chief master sergeant for Pacific Air Forces, located at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. He was the PACAF commander’s principal advisor on matters of interest to enlisted personnel.
Before his PACAF assignment, McKinley had command chief master sergeant assignments at Ramstein AB, Germany; Langley AFB, Va.; Al Udeid AB, Qatar; and Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.
|Airmen MIA From Vietnam War Identified
The remains of two Air Force sergeants carried as missing in action since the Vietnam War have been identified, the Defense Department announced May 1.
TSgt. Donald R. Hoskins of Madison, Ind., and SSgt. Calvin C. Cooke of Washington, D.C., were identified. Cooke was to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on June 20 with full military honors.
Hoskins and Cooke were among seven people aboard a C-130E cargo airplane on April 26, 1972 that was flying to An Loc City, South Vietnam, to conduct a low-level night airdrop to resupply South Vietnamese forces. En route, the aircraft was hit by enemy fire and crashed into the countryside, killing all crew members.
Enemy activity prevented any recovery attempts until 1975 when a Vietnamese search team found artifacts and remains belonging to another crewman.
Beginning in 1988, Vietnamese nationals have provided remains found at the crash site to US officials.
Prior to Hoskins and Cooke, the remains of Maj. Harry A. Amesbury, the C-130E pilot, had been identified. Remains also were previously found that were attributed to Cooke, but this was not confirmed until recently.
In 1992, a joint Vietnamese-US team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, interviewed several Vietnamese nationals who led the team to the crash site and also turned over remains they had found. Another joint team returned to the site in 1993, uncovering more remains.
In 1998, the National League of Families of American Prisoners Missing in Southeast Asia contacted JPAC to notify them of a woman in Georgia who had further remains belonging to Amesbury. Those remains were turned over to JPAC.
JPAC scientists and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory specialists used mitochondrial DNA and dental remains to identify Hoskins and Cooke.
|Kagan: Outspoken Generals Within Their Rights
Retired generals who made headlines this spring by calling on Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to step down for bad management of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are within their rights and don’t have to be publicly silent on such matters.
That was the conclusion of military commentator Frederick W. Kagan, writing for the Weekly Standard. Kagan, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and former associate professor at West Point, noted in the May 8 edition that no retired generals have ever been prosecuted for making negative comments about the military’s senior leadership, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 88 of which bars such speech by active duty personnel.
While he acknowledged, in the May 22 edition of the Standard, that the UCMJ does cover retired personnel, “to prosecute a retired officer, the military would have to show that the words used ‘create a clear and present danger,’ leading to evils ‘that Congress has a right to prevent.’?” That’s a lot tougher for a prosecutor, Kagan wrote, than proving that such speech by an active duty service member interfered with “?‘loyalty, discipline, mission, or morale of the troops.’?”
Generals, Kagan said, have taken an oath to protect the Constitution, “not to be loyal to the present occupants of the executive branch.” Even serving officers, Kagan wrote, are “forbidden … to carry out orders that they believe to be unlawful.”
The nation needs the unvarnished opinion of retired generals as a counterweight to the dwindling military experience among the Pentagon’s civilian leadership and those serving in Congress, Kagan argued. The outspoken generals didn’t “cross the line,” he said, and “no one benefits from silencing them in the name of civilian control of the military.”
|JEFX Enhances Battlefield Communication
The Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marines joined coalition partners from England, Australia, and Canada in late April for an exercise focused on improving network-centric technology on the battlefield, held primarily at Nellis AFB, Nev.
The Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 2006 used live-fly, live-play ground and naval forces, simulation, and new technology demonstrations. JEFX 2006 specifically introduced eight new technology initiatives to explore ways to streamline data processing and command and control functions on the battlefield.
Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, then commander of 8th Air Force and the combined force air component commander, described this year’s key goal—to enhance the performance and capability of combined air and space operations—during a briefing at the Pentagon’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Visualization Center.
Chilton explained that testers employed data links, extended networks to link operational and tactical levels of execution, and refined the coordination process for collecting, fusing, and distributing information.
At Nellis, a NASA WB-57 flying at 60,000 feet carried a payload to link tactical data and communications systems using the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node. The BACN is an Internet protocol-based airborne communications and information server that enables data sharing and provides tactical and strategic air pictures for situational awareness.
JEFX was supported by personnel at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Hurlburt Field, Fla., Vandenberg AFB, Calif., Scott AFB, Ill., and Langley AFB, Va.
JEFX began in 1998, focusing on the concept of reachback, to move information forward, instead of people and equipment, and to provide situational awareness to deployed commanders. The experiment is held every two years.
Planning for JEFX 2008 is already under way, according to Lt. Col. J.J. King, deputy director of the Air Force Experimentation Office, the lead agency for the experiment. King told reporters at the Pentagon’s C4ISR Visualization Center that the next experiment will focus on space and global strike missions.
=””> Planning for JEFX 2008 is already under way, according to Lt. Col. J.J. King, deputy director of the Air Force Experimentation Office, the lead agency for the experiment. King told reporters at the Pentagon’s C4ISR Visualization Center that the next experiment will focus on space and global strike missions.
|World War II Airmen Finally Are Identified
Two Army Air Forces airmen carried as missing in action since World War II were identified in May, and their remains were returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
First Lt. Herbert W. Evans of Rapid City, S.D., and Pfc. Gerald L. Rugers Jr. of Tacoma, Wash., were individually identified. They were part of a four-man crew, but the remains of their crewmates, Capt. Douglas R. Wight of Westfield, N.J., and Cpl. John W. Hanlon of Arnett, Okla., could not be identified.
Group remains that are presumed to include Wight and Hanlon were buried at Arlington National Cemetery on May 9.
On March 27, 1944, the four airmen, flying a C-46 Commando, departed a base in Kunming, China, en route to Sookerating, India, as part of the Allied resupply missions over the Himalayan Mountains. Such missions were called “Hump” flights.
The crew requested a radio bearing, but there was no further communication. The aircraft did not reach its destination, and searches during and after World War II produced no results.
Chinese officials notified the US in 2001 that the wreckage of an American World War II aircraft had been found on Meiduobai Mountain in Tibet. In 2002, a joint US-Chinese team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), excavated the site, where they found human remains, aircraft debris, and personal items.
JPAC scientists and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory specialists used mitochondrial DNA from the remains to identify Evans and Rugers.
|>The War on Terrorism
Operation Iraqi Freedom—Iraq
By June 12, a total of 2,493 Americans had died in Operation Iraqi Freedom. This total includes 2,486 troops and seven Defense Department civilians. Of those fatalities, 1,965 were killed in action by enemy attack, and 528 died in noncombat incidents.
There have been 18,356 troops wounded in action during OIF. This includes 9,920 who returned to duty within 72 hours and 8,436 who were unable to quickly return to action.
First Iraqi Joint Operations Center Opens
The Iraqi Ground Forces Command Joint Operations Center opened on May 3 at Camp Victory, Iraq, the first of its kind for the Iraqi Army.
The center is a state-of-the-art command and control facility responsible for directing all 10 Iraqi Army divisions. Once the center assumes operational control, it will plan and direct operations to defeat the insurgency.
Coalition Forces Raid Safe Haven
On May 14, coalition forces attacked a trio of suspected terrorist safe houses in Yusifiyah, south of Baghdad. The raid killed approximately 25 terrorists and destroyed the three targeted buildings and a vehicle loaded with weapons and ammunition, according to a Multi-National Force-Iraq news release. Afterward, the area was searched by ground troops, and four suspected terrorists were detained.
The air strikes were prompted when small-arms fire was spotted coming from one house.
Three female Iraqi civilians were treated for wounds after the raid. Two were medically evacuated and one girl was treated on site and released.
Terrorists fired at coalition forces and the injured civilians as they left the scene.The ground forces called in close air support and air units fired back, killing 20 terrorists.
Operation Enduring Freedom—Afghanistan
By June 12, a total of 292 Americans had died in Operation Enduring Freedom, primarily in and around Afghanistan. The total includes 291 troops and one Defense Department civilian killed in action and 147 who died in nonhostile incidents such as accidents.
A total of 750 troops have been wounded in Enduring Freedom. They include 296 who were able to return to duty in three days and 454 who were not.
Air Force Strikes Enemy Caves
Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles struck two caves inside a mountain north of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in Operation Mountain Lion on May 2.
The caves, dug into a 7,000-foot tall mountain, were used to store munitions and launch mortar and rocket attacks against coalition forces.
One F-15E dropped a JDAM into the opening of a cave, causing multiple secondary explosions from the weapons hidden inside.
Another F-15E destroyed a second cave with several accurate hits. Both aircraft then flew battle damage assessment passes to make sure they destroyed the targets.
The aircraft and pilots were deployed with the 336th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron from Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.
Airmen Help Rebuild Afghanistan
About 180 airmen will be going out into remote areas of Afghanistan to offer medical and reconstruction aid and help stabilize the local economy, the Air Force said.
Divided among six 80-member Army-Air Force teams, the 30 airmen on each team will deploy for about a year, handling a wide variety of civil affairs functions, from political to engineering. In many places, they may face considerable danger.
The units trained for several months at Ft. Bragg, N.C., where they received instruction on combat skills, weapons training, Afghan culture, land navigation, information operations, first aid, and driving in rugged terrain.
The units are called Provisional Reconstruction Teams. They are taking over from Army-led units in order to reduce the strain on heavily employed Army specialists in the PRT field.
In addition to the Air Force PRTs, there are also six Navy and nine NATO-commanded teams in northern and western Afghanistan.
By Breanne Wagner , Associate Editor
The F-22A was to make its Pacific debut during Northern Edge 2006, a joint military training exercise in Alaska held to prepare for crises in the Pacific region. Twelve Raptors from Langley AFB, Va., were to deploy for the June 5-16 exercise. A permanent Raptor wing is to be established at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, in fall 2007.
Active duty military personnel who can speak a foreign language are now eligible for a pay raise of up to $12,000 per year effective June 1, the Defense Department announced in May. Qualified Guard and Reserve members are eligible for a $6,000 yearly bonus. The increase in Foreign Language Proficiency Pay ranges from $300 per month to $1,000 per month, depending on the level of proficiency and the need for the language.
USAF awarded Boeing and Raytheon contracts in April to develop the Small Diameter Bomb Increment II. Boeing was awarded $145.8 million and Raytheon received $143.9 million for the work. After a 42-month risk reduction phase, one contractor will be picked to develop the program. Work for the two contracts is scheduled to be completed in October 2009.
A 16-year-old Civil Air Patrol cadet was awarded the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award in May. It is the highest CAP cadet award, given for excellence in leadership, character, fitness, and aerospace education. Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force Chief of Staff, presented the award to CAP Col. Katrina Litchford. Spaatz was the first Air Force Chief of Staff; after retirement, he was also the first chairman of the board of CAP.
The Air Force Research Laboratory plans to test fly a B-52 bomber with alternative fuel at Edwards AFB, Calif., in September. The experiment was prompted in part by rising fuel costs and the service’s reluctance to rely on foreign petroleum products, the Air Force said in May. Two of the bomber’s eight engines will be powered in part by a natural gas jet fuel that is made using the Fischer-Tropsch process, a special technique that can convert natural gas, coal, and shale to liquid fuel products.
Tyndall AFB, Fla., received an early version of the F-22A Raptor in April to be used as a permanent ground trainer for students learning aircraft maintenance. The aircraft, previously used in testing to determine the F-22’s airworthiness, had its engines removed along with certain sensors and wire bundles to meet Tyndall training requirements.
Boeing received a $180 million contract from the Air Force in May to upgrade the fire-control radar on the service’s fleet of B-1B bombers. Modification kits are to be built by subcontractor Northrop Grumman and will be tested through 2009. Boeing plans to flight test a fully upgraded B-1 at Edwards AFB, Calif., in 2010. The full fleet of B-1Bs is to be equipped by 2014.
Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Ga., won an operations research competition on May 1 for its superior C-5 repair work. The ALC will receive the Franz Edelman Award in November for using operations research—a method of using analytical techniques to make better decisions—to streamline C-5 maintenance, reducing the aircraft’s repair and overhaul time by 33 percent. The Edelman Award is given by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, a Maryland-based professional society.
USAF awarded a $90 million contract on April 21 to General Dynamics, L-3 Communications, and Science Applications International Corp., for modeling, simulation, and analysis and for infrastructure for a replicated battlefield environment. Work is scheduled to be completed by December 2008.
Boeing announced plans on May 1 to buy Aviall, the largest provider of new aviation parts and services, for $1.7 billion. The acquisition is Boeing’s biggest in a decade. Boeing will take on $350 million in net debt as part of the acquisition. Plans called for the deal to close at the end of the third quarter in the fall, but Boeing did not expect to see any extra earnings as a result of the acquisition until 2007.
US and Canadian military forces practiced coordinating federal and local responses to man-made and natural disasters in Exercise Ardent Sentry 2006, held in May. Exercise events took place throughout the US and Canada, with local field training conducted at Selfridge ANGB, Mich., Tyndall AFB, Fla., and Playas, N.M.
TSgt. James Mazurek from Minot AFB, N.D., was awarded $10,000 in April for a money-saving and safety-enhancing suggestion. Mazurek recommended inserting a warning paragraph in B-52 bomber technical orders describing how to correctly hook a tow bar to the landing gear on the aircraft. The tip prevents main landing gear damage and could save the Air Force an estimated $95,740 annually. All active duty military and appropriated fund personnel are eligible for cash awards of up to $10,000 for good ideas submitted to the Air Force Innovative Development Through Employee Awareness program.