Air Force World

Aug. 1, 2010

Airmen Die in War Zone Crash

Four airmen were killed and three wounded when their HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashed near FOB Jackson in Afghanistan’s restive Helmand province June 9.The crash occurred while the helicopter was performing casualty evacuation missions for Operation Enduring Freedom. One of the injured airmen died three weeks later from the injuries he sustained in the crash.

Killed were 1st Lt. Joel C. Gentz, 25, of Grass Lake, Mich., assigned to the 58th Rescue Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nev.; TSgt. Michael P. Flores, 31, of San Antonio, assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.; SSgt. David C. Smith, 26, of Eight Mile, Ala., assigned to the 66th Rescue Squadron, Nellis; and SrA. Benjamin D. White, 24, of Erwin, Tenn., assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron, Davis-Monthan. The wounded airmen were assigned to the 66th RQS from Nellis. The fifth airman to perish, Capt. David A. Wisniewski, 31, of Moville, Iowa, died July 2 after being evacuated to the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md.

Initial reports indicated the helicopter was brought down by hostile fire, but a subsequent Air Force statement said the crash’s cause is under investigation.

The airmen and aircraft involved were assigned to the 563rd Rescue Group, a geographically separated unit of the 23rd Wing at Moody AFB, Ga.

F-35 STOVL Goes Supersonic

Lockheed Martin announced June 14 that its F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing variant of the Lightning II strike fighter reached supersonic speed for the first time during a June 10 test flight at NAS Patuxent River, Md.

The test aircraft BF-2 performed the flight, marking the first time in military aviation history that a supersonic radar-evading stealth fighter is capable of short takeoff/vertical landing, Lockheed Martin officials announced. It was BF-2’s 30th flight. Marine Corps pilot Lt. Col. Matt Kelly flew the aircraft to 30,000 feet and accelerated to Mach 1.07 in the offshore test. Future testing will expand the flight envelope of the aircraft out to a top speed of Mach 1.6, which is the fighter’s top speed with a full internal weapons load of 3,000 pounds.

BF-2 is the third F-35 to achieve supersonic flight. Two F-35A conventional Air Force variants have also broken the sound barrier.

F-35C Makes First Flight

CF-1, the first Navy F-35C test aircraft, performed its inaugural flight June 6 from NAS JRB Fort Worth, Tex., Lockheed Martin announced June 7. The 57-minute flight was performed by Lockheed test pilot Jeff Knowles, a retired naval aviator.

The F-35C is a carrier-optimized variant of the Lightning II, and features a larger wing and control surfaces and structural strength greater than the Air Force F-35A and Marine Corps F-35B variants. AF-1, the first weight-optimized USAF F-35A, first flew in November 2009. BF-1—the first short takeoff and landing F-35B aircraft—first flew in June 2008.

Air Guardsman Commands OTS

For the first time, a member of the Air National Guard now commands the Air Force’s Officer Training School at Maxwell AFB, Ala. The milestone occurred June 8 when Col. Timothy O’Brien took over the school, after having been the deputy commander since September 2009.

Just last year, the Air Guard moved its officer training from McGhee-Tyson ANGB, Tenn., to Maxwell to consolidate with the active duty and Air Force Reserve. “Colonel O’Brien is a natural leader who inspires both the students and the faculty,” said Brig. Gen. Teresa A. H. Djuric, commander of the Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development, the organization that oversees OTS.

Djuric said in June that OTS is continuing to evolve with the changes, and the school is hoping for a more natural integration of the Air Guard, active duty, and Reservists in the future.

Malmstrom Hosts Nuke Exercise

Air Force Global Strike Command held its first-ever response task force exercise at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., from June 1 to 4, where first responders, public affairs representatives, and other officials collaborate on a response to a simulated nuclear weapons incident at one of USAF’s nuclear facilities.

Malmstrom is home to the 341st Missile Wing and its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles. In the past, multiple commands were responsible for providing and training their own RTFs, which have now been consolidated under AFGSC. The scenario involved the simulated collision of a commercial gas tanker and a vehicle carrying hazardous cargo near the base, and provided an opportunity for experts from the command, wing, and other organizations to go over checklists and procedures in response to an accident.

According to Brig. Gen. Everett H. Thomas, the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center commander and RTF boss, the 341st Missile Wing’s performance was superb, from initial response to management of the entire scenario.

McGuire CRG Furls Colors

The 816th Contingency Response Group at JB McGuire, N.J., inactivated on June 11, as part of a restructuring that consolidated the 621st Contingency Response Wing’s capabilities.

The 816th was the first operational group established in the wing. First activated in March 2005, it was responsible for tasks such as opening expeditionary air bases and responding to events such as natural disasters where urgent humanitarian aid and air mobility ports were required.

The wing’s CRG assets are now consolidated in the 817th CRG and the 818th CRG. The restructuring also transfers some of the mission to the New Jersey ANG’s 108th Air Refueling Wing at McGuire, creating an Air Guard CRG.

NORAD, Russia Plan Air Drill

North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Russian Air Force will conduct a cooperative air defense exercise this month, focusing on combating terrorism.

NORAD announced the event in a June 15 release, stating the exercise will take place in both Russian and US airspace to include Western Alaska and Eastern Russia. The scenario will involve both Russian and US aircraft monitoring an international flight seized by terrorists.

Gulf Spill Hits USAF Training

Air Education and Training Command suspended parachute water survival instruction off Pensacola, Fla., June 4 due to effects of the ongoing Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the result of an explosion—which killed 11 platform workers—and subsequent destruction of the offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

AETC officials told Air Force Magazine that some tar and oil residue were discovered in the bay where the training occurs under direction of the Air Force detachment at NAS Pensacola. The discovery prompted local government health and safety officials to declare it inappropriate to conduct training in the area.

Student pilots are being sent in the interim to Fairchild AFB, Wash., to receive some of the instruction. AETC said 55 new USAF students normally come through Pensacola each week for training, which takes place 48 weeks a year.

Whiteman, Ellsworth Win RPA Mission

The Air Force announced June 21 that Whiteman AFB, Mo., and Ellsworth AFB, S.D., will host ground control stations for MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft. Each base will add around 280 personnel, civilians and military, for the new mission.

Initial operational capability with the new Predator squadron at Whiteman is planned for February 2011, while the Reaper squadron plans to reach IOC at Ellsworth by May 2012.

These bases are the right locations for the next set of Predator and Reaper ground control stations, said Kathleen I. Ferguson, deputy assistant Air Force secretary for installations. “They will provide the Air Force with the right kind of synergy for training purposes,” she said in the announcement.

B-1 Upgrade Advances

Boeing announced in June the start of flight testing for a B-1B bomber upgraded with new digital avionics for the bomber’s aft cockpit.

The B-1’s fully integrated data link (FIDL) performed in its first flight test on June 4 at Edwards AFB, Calif. The crew successfully tested the Link 16 link by sending and receiving text messages and receiving virtual mission assignment data such as target coordinates.

The program conducted three flight tests in June, and additional flights will take place through January 2011. The entire fleet of 66 B-1Bs is expected to receive the FIDL upgrade. Boeing anticipates receiving a production contract for the FIDL kits for the fleet this coming November.

Lockheed Claims F-35 Savings

Lockheed Martin will likely quote a price for the fourth production lot of F-35s that is about 20 percent below the estimate developed by DOD’s cost assessment and program evaluation group, the company’s chief executive officer, Robert Stevens, told reporters June 17. The company has managed to cut unit costs of the F-35 by 50 percent over the first several production lots, he claimed, and is so confident it can meet the target the company will likely take a fixed-price incentive-type contract for the fourth lot—which would be two years earlier than previously planned.

The company’s confidence stems from cost “actuals” from building the first production airframes, and success in hitting this year’s flight test targets so far (in contrast to 2009’s lackluster flight test schedule). As of June, a handshake deal with the government for Lot 4 was only a few weeks away, said Daniel J. Crowley, aeronautics division chief operating officer and former F-35 manager.

In addition, Lockheed officials believe that the F-35 will ultimately match the prices of the Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet or the most advanced version of the F-16, Stevens noted.

First Response Forces Announced

The National Guard Bureau selected Ohio and Washington state to host the first of the Pentagon’s homeland response force (HRF) units, to be established no later than the end of Fiscal 2011.

The new HRFs will provide a self-deployable capability to respond across the country to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive incidents, according to the Pentagon’s June 3 announcement. Eventually, DOD plans to have one HRF unit in each of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 10 regions. Each HRF will feature around 570 Air Force and Army National Guard personnel, ranging from CBRNE experts to security forces, command and control personnel, and others. The Ohio and Washington state HRFs will evolve out of those states’ existing CBRNE enhanced response force packages. The National Guard Bureau said it is currently completing work on the location of the remaining eight HRFs.

Montana Guard Reaches F-15 IOC

Col. Peter Hronek, commander of the Montana Air National Guard’s 120th Fighter Wing in Great Falls, declared the unit had reached the initial operational capability milestone on June 6, completing its BRAC-mandated conversion from F-16s to F-15s a full year ahead of schedule.

The IOC declaration came the day after the unit successfully completed its Phase Two operational readiness exercise, a major precursor to being considered combat ready. Wing officials said the wing’s accomplishment not only saved money but gets the unit’s F-15s back in the fighter force sooner.

The 120th FW’s future remains unresolved, as news reports from the Great Falls Tribune indicate the unit might lose its F-15s to a California ANG unit as early as October 2011.

Clapper Tapped for Top Intel Post

President Obama on June 5 nominated retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper to be the director of national intelligence, the office responsible for coordinating the activities of military and nonmilitary organization across the US intelligence community.

Clapper, currently the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, was described by Obama as one of the nation’s “most experienced and most respected intelligence professionals.” If the Senate confirms Clapper, he would fill the post left by retired Adm. Dennis C. Blair, who resigned in May.

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates supported Clapper’s nomination, saying the President could not have found a “more experienced person or [one] with a better temperament to do this job and actually make it work, than Jim Clapper.” Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.), vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, commenting after the nomination’s announcement, said Clapper, has blocked Congressional efforts to empower the DNI. Bond was not inclined to support his confirmation.

B-52s, Raptors Arrive on Guam

Six B-52s from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB, N.D., and 12 F-22 Raptors from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley AFB, Va., started arriving at Andersen AFB, Guam, on June 3, in support of the 36th Wing’s continuous bomber presence and theater security package missions.

The deployment of more than 300 airmen from both wings will last approximately six months as part of a normal rotation of US combat forces in the Pacific. Col. Charles Patanaude, commander of Minot’s 5th Operations Group, said Andersen affords his crews “fantastic” training opportunities. The B-52s replace a contingent of B-2 bombers from Whiteman AFB, Mo.

USAF Suspends L-3 Unit

The Air Force temporarily suspended L-3 Communications’ Special Support Programs Division from receiving new federal contracts on June 3, after finding that it improperly monitored e-mail traffic on the government’s computer network for its own private corporate intelligence gathering purposes, according to a memo from USAF’s deputy general counsel.

The decision is pending the completion of a criminal investigation into the matter.

According to the June 3 memo, the L-3 division “purposefully and intentionally” monitored the e-mails of its employees, other government contractors, and US government employees using US Special Operations Command’s computer network. The memo states the company has admitted to conducting the surveillance and that none of the actions were appropriate or adhered to standards of ethical business conduct.

Transfers Could Impact Military

New legislation proposed by the Obama Administration to sell off up to 500 megahertz of electromagnetic spectrum over the next 10 years was criticized as careless and shortsighted by a leading electronic warfare advocacy group in June.

Due to the impact the handover would have on the US military, the Association of Old Crows, in a June 30 statement, said it is opposing expeditious passage of the Radio Spectrum Inventory Act and other auction legislation by Congress, which would sell off up to 500 megahertz of electromagnetic spectrum for commercial purposes. The military relies heavily on the spectrum, the AOC said. It would be hasty to auction any part of the spectrum until measures are taken to ensure the relocation does not disproportionately affect military electronic warfare and communications activities that use the spectrum to train and fight, wrote AOC President Christopher Glaze to the Federal Communications Commission. The Department of Defense has a long way to go toward making changes in doctrine, organization, and development of a plan to ensure the changes don’t affect operations, he added.

Obituary

Retired Lt. Col. William H. Holloman III, a Tuskegee Airman and the Air Force’s first African-American helicopter pilot, died June 11 in Kent, Wash. He was 85.

Holloman, a St. Louis native, volunteered for the all-black aviation training program at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Ala., later flying a P-51 Mustang with the 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group. Based in Italy, he and his fellow airmen struck targets in Germany, Austria, and Eastern Europe from 1944 to 1945. Holloman flew 19 combat missions, including bomber escort and strikes on Axis targets.

After the war, Holloman worked in South America and flew small commercial airplanes in Canada. As an Air Force reservist, he was called back to active duty for tours during the Korean War and Vietnam, when he switched services and joined the Army. He retired from the Army in 1972.

Remains of Vietnam War MIA Airmen Identified

The remains of four airmen missing in action since the Vietnam War were identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors, according to a June 14 Department of Defense report.

The missing airmen are Capt. Peter H. Chapman II of Centerburg, Ohio; TSgt. Allen J. Avery of Auburn, Mass.; TSgt. Roy D. Prater of Tiffin, Ohio; and Sgt. James H. Alley of Plantation, Fla.

All four airmen were among the six aboard an HH-53C helicopter on a combat search and rescue mission over Quang Tri province, South Vietnam, on April 6, 1972. The helicopter was struck by enemy fire and crashed.

Field investigations by Vietnam and the US at the site in the late 1980s and early 1990s led to an excavation where remains of the crew were found. Three of the six crew members were identified in 1997, with recent technical advances helping the Pentagon to identify additional remains.

Prater was buried in Columbia City, Ind., on June 19, while other burials were scheduled individually by the families of the airmen.

On June 10, DOD’s Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office announced the identification and accounting-for of nine US airmen missing in action since the Vietnam War.

Air Force Col. William H. Mason of Camden, Ark.; Lt. Col. Jerry L. Chambers of Muskogee, Okla.; Maj. William T. McPhail of Chattanooga, Tenn.; Maj. Thomas B. Mitchell of Littleton, Colo.; CMSgt. John Q. Adam of Bethel, Kan.; CMSgt. Calvin C. Glover of Steubenville, Ohio; CMSgt. Thomas E. Knebel of Midway, Ark.; CMSgt. Melvin D. Rash of Yorktown, Va.; and MSgt. Gary Pate of Brooks, Ga., were buried as a group June 10 in Arlington National Cemetery. The individually identified remains of each airman were previously returned to the families for burial.

On May 22, 1968, the men were aboard a C-130A on an evening flare mission over Salavan province, Laos. Fifteen minutes after the aircraft made a radio call, the crew of another US aircraft observed a large ground fire near the last known location of Mason’s C-130. Due to anti-aircraft fire, a search and rescue attempt was not initiated.

Over the course of 40 years, investigators conducted a series of investigations and excavations to recover wreckage, human remains, and personal effects.

The POW/Missing Personnel Office announced June 2 the identification of remains belonging to an Air Force F-4 Phantom pilot missing since the Vietnam War.

Air Force Col. Elton L. Perrine of Pittsford, N.Y., was buried in late May at Arlington National Cemetery. On May 22, 1967, Perrine and Capt. Kenneth F. Backus completed a nighttime strike against the Cao Nung Railroad Yard near the town of Kep in North Vietnam. After the run, another aircrew reported an isolated explosion east of the target, thought to be Perrine’s F-4C Phantom. Rescue attempts were not initiated due to anti-aircraft fire.

Analysts developed leads over 28 years, and searched four locations in Lang Son province as potential crash sites, eventually conducting four excavations with Vietnamese teams. While Perrine’s remains were identified, no remains connected to Backus have been recovered at the locations yet.

Global Hawk Costs Facing Air Force Scrutiny

The Air Force has asked the Pentagon’s independent cost estimation team to determine what the costs of the RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft should be, the service’s senior acquisition executive told reporters June 18.

David M. Van Buren said he expects the “should-cost” analysis to be completed this month or September at the latest. The review was prompted by the Air Force’s dissatisfaction with the state of the Global Hawk program, with Van Buren telling reporters the service is not pleased with the “learning curve” on the high-altitude intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance aircraft. On both the government and the contractor side of the effort, he added, things need to get better (the prime contractor is Northrop Grumman). In most programs, the cost of each successive lot goes down, but the Global Hawk is “going in the wrong direction,” he said, noting the process of negotiating new contracts for the RPA takes an “excruciating” amount of time.

For Northrop Grumman’s part, the company stated in June that several initiatives have been implemented to improve turnaround. Among them, Northrop’s sensor supplier, Raytheon, has increased work shifts to expedite repairs. Raytheon will also host a dedicated interim repair line at its El Segundo, Calif., facility to quicken the pace of repairs. Government and contractor personnel are making repairs in theater when appropriate, a Northrop spokesperson said, in order to return Global Hawks to full operational use as quickly as possible.

On the positive side, Van Buren told reporters in June that the Block 20 Battlefield Airborne Communications Node version is doing “quite well.” The technology, known as BACN, acts as a voice communications relay over long distances and helps bridge disparate frequencies, allowing ground troops on frequency-limited radios to talk with close air support aircraft. The Air Force is pushing for Global Hawks to deploy with BACN in Fiscal 2011.

Gates Reasserts Veto Threat on C-17, F-35 Engine

Testifying before Senate appropriators June 16, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates warned lawmakers not to underestimate the Obama Administration’s resolve in stopping development of the F136 alternate engine for the F-35 strike fighter in the Fiscal 2011 budget. Gates additionally expressed his disapproval about Congress adding money for any more C-17 airlifters.

Gates also stated he would “strongly recommend” the President veto any legislation that continues the C-17 or the alternate engine. Earlier in June, Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, indicated the White House might not follow through on a threatened veto since the bill contains language enabling repeal of the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on homosexuals serving in the military, which Obama favors. “It would be a serious mistake to believe the President would accept these unneeded programs simply because the authorization and appropriations legislation includes other provisions important to him,” Gates said. The Pentagon has long sought to cut the F136 in favor of Pratt & Whitney’s F135 as the sole engine for the fighter, but the alternate engine enjoys deep support on Capitol Hill.

Indeed, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in late June that he “can’t imagine” Obama would veto the defense bill over the alternate engine.

Asked by Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) about a potential production gap in US military widebody aircraft once the C-17 line closes, Gates said there is “significant” commercial widebody aircraft production capability in the United States, and there is time to adjust it to a military application if needed.

Singling out the F136 engine, Gates added a new criticism aimed at the General Electric-Rolls Royce effort: its performance. Gates told Senate appropriators he believes the engine currently offered by the team “probably does not meet the performance standards that are required,” and the taxpayer would be on the hook to bring it up to standard. Following the June 16 hearing, GE-Rolls Royce issued a statement taking issue with Gates’ comments, noting the assessment is at odds with the Pentagon’s own review, which has “consistently awarded very good and excellent ratings to the F136.”

Air Force To Stick With Four BUFF Squadrons

Under the new nuclear force posture announced in May, the Air Force will retain its four operational squadrons of dual-role B-52H bombers and modify a portion of the fleet for conventional-only operations, according to Maj. Gen. C. Donald Alston.

Alston, the commander of 20th Air Force, was the Air Staff point man on nuclear matters when he briefed reporters on the changes June 2. He said the B-52s will move forward with responsibility for both nuclear and conventional roles under the new posture.

Air Force Global Strike Command will retain responsibility for B-52H bombers that lose their nuclear mission, he added. While the conversion is part of the changes associated with the New START Treaty with Russia, the bombers will not return to Air Combat Command—which oversaw them up until this past February. The conventional B-1 fleet will remain with ACC.

Global Strike Command “will have to manage the mini conventional-only B-52 fleet plus the dual-role B-52 fleet, and there will be challenges associated with that,” Alston said.

The US intends to maintain up to 60 nuclear-capable bombers, and while the B-2 force of 20 bombers will not be altered from its current dual-role mission, a good portion of USAF’s remaining 76 B-52s will be converted to a conventional-only role to meet the 60-aircraft cap, he added. Having fewer nuclear B-52s is not regarded as a challenge for maintaining the current deployment tempo of the four B-52 squadrons in nuclear rotations.

The War on Terrorism

Operation Enduring Freedom—Afghanistan

Casualties

By July 16, a total of 1,166 Americans had died in Operation Enduring Freedom. The total includes 1,164 troops and two Department of Defense civilians. Of these deaths, 874 were killed in action with the enemy, while 292 died in noncombat incidents.

There have been 6,876 troops wounded in action during OEF. This number includes 3,118 who were wounded and returned to duty within 72 hours and 3,758 who were unable to return to duty quickly.

Bagram Bird Radar Now Running

Air traffic controllers at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, are now using a system known as Merlin to help aircraft flying to and from the base avoid bird strikes during takeoff and landing. Merlin, an all-weather portable S-band radar system, is able to scan skies for miles around the base to give pilots and ground crews more atmospheric awareness.

Bagram is the first air hub in a combat zone to use Merlin. The radar data is fed into a computer system that calculates the height and distance of any birds in the area, allowing controllers to notify aircrews of potential hazards.

Afghan C-27s Performing Well

The introduction of the C-27A transport aircraft into the Afghan National Army Air Corps (now officially an Air Force) is helping the air service rebuild and get rid of inefficient Soviet-style operations, Air Force Brig. Gen. Michael R. Boera, commander of the Combined Airpower Transition Force in Afghanistan, told reporters via teleconference from Kabul June 10. “That is how we are making the paradigm shift with the Afghans to the Western way of thinking, of flying, of training, of operating airplanes,” he said.

As of June, the Afghans had five of their 20 planned C-27s in place. While they are refurbished 20-year-old aircraft, they bring a whole new level of capability to the Afghan air service, Boera said. Mission capable rates were around 60 percent in June, but the trend is up after addressing issues such as the lack of spare parts, he added.

Operation Iraqi Freedom—Iraq

Casualties

By July 16, a total of 4,416 Americans had died in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The total includes 4,403 troops and 13 Department of Defense civilians. Of these deaths, 3,488 were killed in action with the enemy, while 928 died in noncombat incidents.

There have been 31,883 troops wounded in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom. This number includes 17,910 who were wounded and returned to duty within 72 hours and 13,973 who were unable to return to duty quickly.

Air Force Unit Withdraws From Kirkuk

Members of the 506th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron at Kirkuk Regional Air Base transferred authority for base security to soldiers from the 1st Special Troops Battalion of the US Army.

The squadron was then officially inactivated, becoming the first Air Force unit to fully withdraw from Kirkuk since the buildup of US forces there beginning in April 2003. The inactivation is part of the overall drawdown of US forces in Iraq.

Balad C-130 Crew Manually Lands Ailing Flight

A C-130H Hercules crew from the 777th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron safely landed its aircraft at JB Balad, Iraq, after overcoming multiple in-flight mechanical problems on June 9.

There were 34 passengers aboard the airlifter, which was tasked to deliver the personnel from Baghdad Airport to Erbil, Iraq. After the aircraft climbed to 12,000 feet, loadmasters on the flight reported a severe leak in the primary hydraulic system. Several gallons of hydraulic fluid sprayed into the cabin before the co-pilot could shut off the pumps. Crew members helped passengers don emergency oxygen hoods.

The flight engineer was forced to use manual procedures to lower the landing gear and flaps to prepare for the landing at Balad. The pilot, Capt. Matt Mansell, landed the aircraft successfully, with only partial power in the flight controls and no anti-skid braking.

Passengers were evaluated by medical care providers and released.

News Notes

  • More than 55 airmen visited Bangladesh June 10-16 as part of the third Operation Pacific Angel, a US-Bangladesh humanitarian operation. A Hawaii ANG KC-135 arrived at Dhaka with civil engineers and medical officials, including doctors, dentists, and other specialists.

    • Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz served as president of CONJEFAMER 2010 in Washington, D.C., June 13-17, an event that brought air chiefs from 17 countries and two observer air forces to the nation’s capital to discuss cooperation and security in the Americas.

        A B-1B bomber of the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron flying June 12 in Southwest Asia eclipsed 10,000 flight hours—becoming the first B-1B to pass that mark. The bomber did so during a 14-hour mission in Afghanistan.

          Lockheed Martin announced June 21 it had completed the system requirements review for the Air Force’s Global Positioning System Block IIIB satellite. The company is under contract to build up to 12 GPS Block IIIA satellites.

            More than 250 airmen, soldiers, and marines are taking part in New Horizons Panama 2010, a US Southern Command-sponsored exercise that kicked off in June and runs through mid-September, with 12th Air Force serving as lead planner for the event.

              On June 16, the Air Force conducted a Minuteman III ICBM flight test from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. According to the 30th Space Wing, the missile’s single unarmed re-entry test vehicle traveled 4,190 miles before hitting its planned impact point in the Pacific Ocean’s Marshall Islands.

                The 71st Fighter Squadron completed its final deployment in late May, when members of the unit and their F-15s returned home to Langley AFB, Va., after two weeks of temporary duty at Tyndall AFB, Fla. The unit will be inactivated in the fall as part of a drawdown of legacy fighters.

                  The 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, opened a new aircraft parking ramp on June 5, greatly enhancing the base’s capacity to support coalition operations in the country. It features an 18-acre parking area with five in-ground fueling points.