Airman Dies in Afghanistan
An Air Force Special Operations Command combat controller with the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron died Sept. 16 in Afghanistan. SrA. Daniel R. Sanchez, 23, of El Paso, Tex., died at a medical facility in Tarin Kwot, Afghanistan, after being wounded by enemy fire during combat operations in Oruzgan province.
Maj. Chris Larkin, 23rd STS commander, said in a Sept. 17 statement, “Danny was a fine airman and a valuable member of our close community.”
Eglin Airman Killed in Iraq
The Department of Defense confirmed the death of an Eglin AFB, Fla., airman Sept. 16. SrA. James A. Hansen, 25, died Sept. 15 of wounds received during a controlled detonation at JB Balad, Iraq. Hansen was an airfield management operations coordinator at Eglin.
Lt. Col. David F. Radomski, commander of the 46th OSS, said Hansen had a positive impact on everyone who worked with him. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. He will be sorely missed.”
USAF, Navy To Collaborate on RPVs
The Air Force and Navy announced the first meeting of a new joint working group for their respective RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) remotely piloted vehicles. The meeting was from Aug. 3 to 5 at Beale AFB, Calif., where the two services discussed the development of joint operations and training for the two programs.
In addition to discussions about activities with the two fleets, Navy officials observed how Beale’s 1st Reconnaissance Squadron trains future Global Hawk pilots, and how the 12th RS employs the aircraft in theater. The Navy wanted to see how the Air Force conducts its RQ-4 operations and how to best fit the BAMS program alongside to save money, said Cmdr. Wes Naylor, BAMS program manager.
The working group is one of the initiatives to emerge from the memorandum of agreement the two services signed in June to seek synergies in operating the Global Hawk-BAMS fleets. The goal is for each branch to be able to fly the other’s aircraft and also to potentially form joint RQ-4 Global Hawk and BAMS squadrons.
C-5 Moves Anti-matter Detector
A C-5M from Dover AFB, Del., flew an enormous $2 billion anti-matter detector from Geneva, Switzerland, to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Aug. 26, where the device will be transported to the International Space Station aboard the final space shuttle flight next February.
The 8.3-ton Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, developed by the European Organization for Nuclear Research and a coalition of scientists from 16 countries, NASA, and the US Department of Energy, has been under development for 16 years. When scientists discovered the AMS wouldn’t fit in a 747 freighter, they specifically put in a request for the C-5M, USAF’s modernized and upgraded Super Galaxy featuring new engines and avionics. The airlifter arrived in Geneva after delivering supplies to Afghanistan and Iraq. The aircraft’s commander, Capt. Matt Matis, said the mission was a great opportunity to showcase the aircraft’s capabilities.
The AMS will dock with the ISS this coming February to gather evidence of charged particles such as anti-matter to help physicists understand the composition of the universe, according to Nobel Laureate Samuel C. C. Ting, the experiment’s leader, from MIT.
Kehler to Take Over STRATCOM
Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, who has led US Strategic Command since October 2007, will retire from active duty after 34 years, the Air Force announced Sept. 2. President Obama nominated Gen. C. Robert Kehler to succeed him at STRATCOM. Kehler has been leading Air Force Space Command since October 2007. Kehler previously served as STRATCOM’s deputy commander for two-and-a-half years.
Chilton is a command astronaut pilot with more than 5,000 flight hours. He graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1976, entering undergraduate pilot training in May 1977. He flew assignments in the RF-4C and F-15 and tested weapons in the F-4 and F-15. Chilton served 11 years at NASA, flying on three space shuttle missions.
Raytheon Wins SDB II Contract
The Air Force selected Raytheon on Aug. 9 to supply the Small Diameter Bomb Increment 2 system, and awarded the company a $451 million contract to begin engineering and manufacturing development of the weapon. Raytheon beat a Boeing-Lockheed Martin team vying to build the new munition. SDB II is an air-launched precision strike standoff weapon that would improve on the first generation of SDBs by being able to hit moving and fixed targets in all weather conditions.
The design Raytheon submitted is designated the GBU-53B and features a seeker with millimeter-wave radar, uncooled imaging infrared, and semi-active laser modes. Bomb deliveries are expected to begin in 2013. Air Force F-15Es and Marine Corps and Navy F-35s will be the initial aircraft to carry SDB IIs.
Bradley Airport Gets New Center
Construction began Aug. 5 on a new air and space operations center at Bradley Airport in East Granby, Conn. It will be managed by the 103rd Airlift Wing.
Responding to decisions in the 2005 BRAC round, the Air Guard wing is adding the facility for its new AOC, as well as offices, conference space, and training areas. The wing’s 103rd Air and Space Operations Group will run the AOC, which is to reach initial operational capability by next spring.
In March, the base began expanding the wing’s facility for repairing engines for A-10 ground attack aircraft as part of another BRAC-directed move.
C-130J Associate Unit Established
On Aug. 6 at Keesler AFB, Miss., the Air Force reactivated the 345th Airlift Squadron, as an active associate unit to Air Force Reserve Command’s 403rd Wing, which operates C-130Js at the base.
The arrangement will put 345th AS personnel alongside their Reserve counterparts in Keesler’s 815th AS and 403rd Maintenance Group. They will fly eight AFRC C-130Js. Eventually the unit will operate 10 J models. The 345th AS is organized under the 19th Airlift Wing at Little Rock AFB, Ark., and is now the third active associate squadron assigned to the wing.
GPS Satellite Goes to AFSPC
The 2nd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever AFB, Colo., took command of GPS IIF-1 on Aug. 25, the Air Force’s first Global Positioning System Block IIF satellite. The satellite entered service on Aug. 30, joining 30 other operational satellites in the GPS constellation.
The satellite operators assumed responsibility for the spacecraft from airmen at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., who oversaw operations during its on-orbit checkout after the May 27 launch. In early August, the Air Force announced the IIF-1 had reached its designated operational orbital station.
Boeing is building 12 Block IIF satellites for the Air Force. They feature a more robust military signal, improved accuracy, and a new civil signal.
Airmen Train With Polish Unit
About 50 airmen from Ramstein AB, Germany, trained with Polish military personnel at Powidz AB, Poland, from Aug. 13 to 19, working on training requirements for C-130 Hercules operations.
Members of Ramstein’s 86th Airlift Wing and 435th Contingency Response Group conducted parachute jump drills, night flying practice, and related activities with airmen of the Polish Air Force’s 3rd Air Wing and Polish Operational Mobile Reaction Group. The 86th AW flies C-130Js, while the Polish 3rd AW flies refurbished C-130Es. Ramstein aircrews fulfilled their night flying requirements as well, as there were fewer restrictions in the Polish airspace.
Under the banner of Operation Screaming Eagle, the exercises strengthened bonds and built on the partnership the two C-130 units formalized in June when they became sister wings.
Exercise Pushes Tools for Combat
Airmen with the 480th Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance Wing at Langley AFB, Va., collaborated with members of the Army, Navy, Marines Corps, and the armed services of several allies during Empire Challenge 10, an annual ISR demonstration and exercise designed to improve interoperability and push proven new technology to help troops in combat.
The demonstration, which ran from July 26 to Aug. 13, tested out more than 30 new capabilities with the goal of delivering them to commanders in Afghanistan. “You can go out on a limb and take risks during an exercise that you wouldn’t dare try in a real-world operation,” said 1st Lt. Josh Cutino, mission operations commander with Langley’s 30th Intelligence Squadron. Airmen used the Distributed Common Ground System as the tool to integrate technologies during the exercise. DCGS is a worldwide network of hubs, which analysts use to share and exploit imagery and intelligence and disseminate information to troops in combat.
Viper Destroyed for Drone Test
Air Force weapons testers at Eglin AFB, Fla., blew apart an F-16 fighter on the base’s range Aug. 19 to test the flight termination system to be installed on modified QF-16 target drones, USAF’s next generation aerial target aircraft.
Up to 126 early model F-16s will be converted to the QF-16 designation as remotely piloted target drones by Boeing. They will be used to test performance of new air-to-air and surface-to-air weapons. The range test in August was one step toward satisfying range safety requirements for the new drones, said Kevin Diggs, the QF-16 test and evaluation lead.
The QF-16s are scheduled to enter service around 2014 and will replace the Vietnam-era QF-4s currently used by the Air Force.
GPS Block III Ready for Production
Air Force and industry officials completed the critical design review of the Global Positioning System Block III satellite about two months ahead of time, prime contractor Lockheed Martin announced Aug. 20.
The next generation satellite system is ready to enter the production phase after its design was scrutinized for four days at Lockheed’s Newtown, Pa., facility by company officials and more than 350 members of Air Force Space Command, DOD, and other federal agencies.
The Block III satellites guarantee signals three times more accurate than current GPS spacecraft and provide three times more power to military users, said Col. Bernard J. Gruber, GPS wing commander at Los Angeles AFB, Calif. The new Block III satellites also will feature improved timing and anti-jamming capabilities. Up to 12 of the GPS Block IIIA satellites will be produced under the current contract. The first will be ready for launch by 2014, according to Lockheed officials.
ANG Hosts NATO Exercise
The Wisconsin Air National Guard hosted the first-ever international training exercise in the US for NATO forward air controllers. Called Ramstein Rover 2010, the exercise ran from Aug. 21 to Sept. 3 at Volk Field ANGB’s Combat Readiness Training Center in Madison and other nearby facilities. The training offered realistic scenarios to help alliance FACs prepare for deployments to Afghanistan.
About 40 NATO personnel participated from Belgium, Britain, Canada, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Slovenia. Fifteen FAC instructors coached them, and A-10s, F-16s, B-1s, KC-135s, remotely piloted vehicles, and helicopters supported the exercise. Col. Rob Redanz, the exercise director, said the scenarios offered valuable opportunities for air and land integration in situations the FACs would face down range.
ABL Missile Test Canceled
The Missile Defense Agency terminated its planned Airborne Laser test bed shootdown experiment off the California coast on Sept. 1, when corrupted beam control software steered the laser off center. It was to have been the second shootdown test. Originally scheduled for Aug. 17, the test was delayed several times to fix other problems. An Aug. 24 test was scrapped due to difficulties with calibration of the tracking beam, MDA officials said. MDA planned to reschedule the test for mid-October.
MDA Director Army Lt. Gen. Patrick J. O’Reilly had said the ALTB’s second shootdown test would have attempted to knock down a Scud-type medium ballistic missile from twice the distance of the initial test in February (which hit a missile from a distance of more than 50 miles over the Pacific).
USAF Studies Consolidated Training
The Air Force announced Aug. 16 it is considering the creation of a training campus at Hurlburt Field, Fla., that would consolidate its command and control instruction across the force. Training in one location would leverage cross functional expertise and provide a dedicated venue, said Maj. Gen. Stanley T. Kresge, commander of the Air Force Warfare Center at Nellis AFB, Nev.
The integrated campus would include formal C2 training for component numbered air forces, air and space operations centers, and staff forces. Hurlburt is already home to Air Combat Command’s 505th Command and Control Wing. ACC officials have tasked Kresge’s organization with overseeing a study to explore the viability of the campus, and expect the results to be complete for a senior-level decision in January.
F-35 Sensor Makes Test Bed Flight
The modern Electro-optical Targeting System sensor under development for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter made its first flight aboard a surrogate test aircraft, Lockheed Martin announced Aug. 16.
The sensor, known as EOTS, flew on the F-35’s cooperative test bed aircraft, a modified 737 known as CATBird, and provided the first opportunity to test and evaluate how it integrates into the F-35’s sensor architecture, Lockheed officials said. Test flights on CATBird represent the final step prior to EOTS integration on BF-4, the F-35 test aircraft equipped with a full suite of mission systems.
EOTS will provide pilots with high-resolution imagery, automatic target tracking, and laser designation, all at standoff ranges.
GAO To Expedite Protest Ruling
The Government Accountability Office will issue its ruling on US Aerospace’s KC-X tanker protest in early October, about a month earlier than required by law, the agency confirmed in August. According to the GAO, the decision on US Aerospace’s complaint against the Air Force is expected by Oct. 6, which is 35 days sooner than the Nov. 10 deadline.
US Aerospace lodged a protest on Aug. 2, after learning the Air Force considered its proposal ineligible for arriving after the KC-X contract deadline. The company disputes the point, contending their proposal had arrived at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, before the deadline of 2 p.m. on July 9. Pentagon officials have maintained they would announce the winning KC-X contractor sometime this fall—likely after the midterm November elections.
The Air Force is already evaluating tanker bids by Boeing and EADS North America.
Predator Unit Breaks 50,000 Hours
Reflecting the rapid growth of the remotely piloted aircraft mission, the first Air National Guard unit assigned to operate MQ-1 Predators surpassed 50,000 total flying hours with them, less than four years into its tenure of operating the RPAs.
The ANG’s 163rd Reconnaissance Wing at March ARB, Calif., surpassed the milestone during a routine mission supporting operations in Southwest Asia on Aug. 7, the wing announced. To put the milestone in perspective, the wing used to fly KC-135 tankers about 3,000 hours annually, said Col. Randall Ball, the 163rd RW commander. The wing switched from Stratotankers to Predators in November 2006, part of the 2005 BRAC restructuring.
Air Guardsmen use ground stations at March to control Predators flying in Afghanistan, and the 50,000-hour mark includes nearly 1,400 hours accumulated by the wing’s Predator schoolhouse.
Pilot Error Led to E-4B Damage
The pilot of an E-4B aircraft excessively increased the pitch angle while landing at night at Offutt AFB, Neb., which damaged the aircraft’s tail when it struck the runway, according to the results of an Air Combat Command accident investigation board released Aug. 20.
The tail and lower fuselage sustained about $3.1 million in damage, but the crew and pilots were not injured in the May mishap. The AIB identified several factors that contributed to the accident, including pilot misperception of conditions and procedural errors such as overcontrolling the input to the yoke of the aircraft.
E-4B National Airborne Operations Center aircraft serve as airborne command and control platforms for the President and DOD leadership during national emergencies.
Scientist Praises Smaller ABL
The Airborne Laser Test Bed is a “remarkable physics experiment,” said Zachary J. Lemnios, director of defense research and engineering at the Department of Defense, in a meeting with reporters in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 19, but the Pentagon is pursuing smaller lasers which would fit onto smaller platforms he called more feasible for real-world use.
Lemnios, the Pentagon’s top scientist, told reporters research into high kilowatt solid-state lasers will advance significantly over the coming months, as the Air Force and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are funding a number of projects using the ALTB to validate other high-powered laser concepts.
Donley Sees Progress on Housing
Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley said in a Sept. 1 speech the service will have built or renovated more than 23,000 privatized homes by the end of Fiscal 2010. The 23,000 number counts all the homes built or renovated since 1998.
The Air Force’s cooperation with private developers has been a “quiet, but successful,” partnership, Donley said, allowing the service to leverage taxpayer dollars to provide homes at lower cost to thousands of airmen who might otherwise have waited years longer for them. In August, 97 junior enlisted airmen and their families moved into new homes at Barksdale AFB, La., built by private developer Pinnacle.
Development Initiatives Approved
The Air Force’s Force Management and Development Council approved an initiative in August that transforms the way the service prepares its senior enlisted leaders, giving enlisted leaders more say in identifying airmen for the right jobs and developing and managing enlisted talent within their respective career fields.
Within the service’s specialty codes, senior noncommissioned officers will be directed into critical positions, based on training, education, and experience, according to a USAF statement announcing the change. Staff sergeants, for example, will have to attend the NCO academy before pinning on their next chevron. This is designed to give them leadership skills earlier in their careers. To make this possible, the Air Force will expand NCOA capacity by 16 classrooms, and a site location task force will determine which of the existing locations of the academy will be expanded in the near future.
Lakenheath Takes On Baltic Mission
An expeditionary contingent of F-15s and airmen from the 493rd Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath, England, assumed responsibility for NATO’s Baltic air policing mission Sept. 1.
The deployment will last four months, during which 125 airmen and their F-15s—now the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron—will operate out of Lithuania AB, Lithuania, securing the airspace of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The 493rd EFS replaces a Polish Air Force unit in the policing mission.
The deployment marks the third time since 2004 the US Air Force has had the rotational Baltic defense mission, and the second time for the 493rd’s F-15s.
Troops Retain Combat Pay in Iraq
The end of formal combat operations in Iraq under Operation New Dawn does not mean the end of combat pay for airmen and other military personnel still operating in the country, according to the Department of Defense.
According to DOD statements, troops deployed to Iraq are eligible for hostile fire-imminent danger pay, hardship duty pay, and incidental expenses. Pay for enlisted troops will still be tax exempt, while pay for officers remains tax exempt up to $7,611.30 a month, as was the case during Operation Iraqi Freedom. These payments compensate military members for arduous conditions and additional burdens and dangers associated with being deployed to a combat zone, a DOD spokeswoman said. Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula were designated combat zones in January 1991.
World War II Airmen Identified
The remains of two airmen missing in action from World War II were identified and returned to their families for burial with full honors, the Pentagon’s Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office announced.
US Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Ray F. Fletcher, of Westborough, Mass., was buried Aug. 20 in Burlington, Vt.
On May 10, 1944, Fletcher and four others on board a B-25 Mitchell bomber took off from Ajaccio, Corsica, on a courier mission to Ghisonaccia, Corsica. They failed to reach the destination and were reported missing three days later. Two days afterward, French police found aircraft wreckage on the island’s Mount Cagna.
The US Army visited the crash site later that year, reporting that remains were not recoverable. Not until 1989 did Corsican authorities notify the Army they had found wreckage of a World War II-era aircraft and turned over remains collected at the mountainous location. In 2005, a DOD Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command team excavated the site and recovered additional remains and crew equipment. DOD scientists used DNA to help identify Fletcher’s remains.
DOD also announced the identification of Sgt. John P. Bonnassiolle. He was a crewman in a B-24J bomber that went down over Germany in 1944. The remains were identified and then returned to his family. Bonnassiolle, a native of Oakland, Calif., was buried Aug. 10 in San Francisco with full military honors.
Bonnassiolle was one of 10 airmen lost on April 29, 1944, when their bomber crashed near the town of East Meitze, Germany, north of Hanover during a bombing raid directed against Berlin. Excavation of the site by a German citizen in 2003 led DOD to uncover remains and crew-related equipment, including identification tags.
Gen. T. Ross Milton (1915-2010)
Retired Gen. T. Ross Milton, leader of the second bombing raid on Schweinfurt, Germany, in October 1943, and of the first successful daylight strike on Berlin five months later, died Aug. 24 in Oro Valley, Ariz. He was 94.
Born in 1915 in Hawaii to an Army family, he graduated from West Point in 1940. After completing pilot training, he flew in Eighth Air Force in World War II, participating in some of the Eighth’s most storied operations. After the war, he served as chief of staff for the Combined Airlift Task Force for the Berlin Airlift from 1948 to 1949; commander of the 41st Air Division and 13th Air Force; and USAF inspector general and comptroller. He retired from the Air Force in 1974, and became a longtime contributor to Air Force Magazine.
|Conaton Becomes Lead for USAF Space
Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley in August designated the Air Force undersecretary, currently Erin C. Conaton, as the senior Air Force official for space matters at the headquarters level. This came after an extensive review of headquarters space functions.
The Air Force undersecretary’s office is now the focal point for planning, policy, strategy, international relations, interagency relations, and working with the Office of the Secretary of Defense on all space matters, Donley said in a memo dated Aug. 25. The lone exception is space acquisition oversight, which shifts from the undersecretary’s office to the purview of the Air Force’s assistant secretary for acquisition. The move consolidates all service acquisition functions—space and non-space—under one office.
Donley’s memo outlined Air Force headquarters-level realignments to streamline space oversight, following the completion of a space review he ordered last December. The review discovered space functions were fragmented, leading to confusion over roles, responsibilities, and relationships.
Another result of the space review is the establishment of an Air Force Space Board, per Donley’s memo. “This board will serve as the overarching forum to integrate acquisition, international affairs, plans, requirements, operations, and training efforts related to space,” he wrote. The Air Force undersecretary will co-chair the board, along with the USAF vice chief of staff. The head of Air Force Space Command and other senior Air Staff and USAF secretariat officials will sit on the board as well.
|Gates Puts JFCOM On Chopping Block
As part of his push to scale back overhead and reduce inefficiencies in the Pentagon’s budget, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates is recommending the closure of US Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va.
“Training joint forces, generating joint forces, creating joint doctrine, and experimenting with that doctrine are all valuable tasks,” he said. “However, they do not necessarily require a separate four-star combatant command.” Gates plans to assign JFCOM’s functions to other organizations, including the Joint Staff. The Defense Business Board which advises Gates suggested the idea in July, noting it considered the command too bloated with contractors and redundancies.
Among Gates’ other initiatives are the elimination of the office of the assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integration. These changes would take effect in Fiscal 2012, if Congress allows them. Not long after the announcement, several members of Congress pushed back—particularly the Virginia delegation. In late August, the Senate Armed Services Committee announced it would hold a hearing in September on the planned closure. Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) called the White House’s and OSD leadership’s failure to consult Congress on the recommendations “deeply troubling,” and urged Gates to be more forthcoming with additional details regarding the planned closure.
USAF Supports Iraqi Freedom DrawdownOn Aug. 19, the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, from JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., crossed the Iraq-Kuwait border, the last dedicated combat brigade in Iraq to draw down. Overhead, airmen provided an armed overwatch, keeping a protective eye on the movement of soldiers across more than 300 miles of desert. Manned fighters surveyed and protected the route, while joint airborne battle staff personnel flying aboard a C-130 helped keep communications linked up. The withdrawal came just days before Operation Iraqi Freedom formally ended.
Sept.1 saw the US mission in Iraq acquire a new handle: Operation New Dawn. With Operation New Dawn, the Air Force will have a smaller footprint in Iraq as it is primarily responsible for training and advising the rebuilding Iraqi Air Force. The force had only 1,500 airmen and 28 aircraft two years ago, but as of late August had 7,000 airmen and more than 100 aircraft.
The IqAF will grow to more than 10,000 members by 2012, according to USAF officials. Iraqi airmen are already beginning to integrate onto bases formerly dominated by US and coalition forces, such as Joint Base Balad, Ali Base, and Sather Air Base in Baghdad.
Roughly 6,000 airmen will remain in Iraq, said Maj. Gen. Joseph Reynes Jr., director of Air Component Coordination Element-US Forces Iraq, and their missions will remain largely the same: providing intelligence-surveillance- reconnaissance, cargo and passenger airlift support, and armed overwatch of Iraqi forces in case strikes are needed. The mission will be demanding and complicated, he added, but airmen will work to train Iraqi forces throughout the country so they can take over the mission completely by the end of 2011.
Thirteenth Air Force concluded a civil engineering summit at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, on Aug. 22 for midlevel officers from 14 Asia-Pacific partner nations, from Bangladesh and Cambodia to India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and others. The exchange enhanced regional partnerships and interoperability among the nations. Training focused on areas such as emergency management preparation, disaster response, and fire prevention.
Air Combat Command released the draft environmental impact statement for a proposed expansion of the Powder River Training Complex over portions of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. The Air Force wants to modify the airspace to enable B-1s from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., and B-52s from Minot AFB, N.D., to train more realistically. This includes establishing new low-altitude airspace and high-altitude training areas. Some civil traffic would be affected, according to the document.
More than 250 airmen and a contingent of F-16s from Aviano AB, Italy, completed a two-week visit at Kallax AB, Sweden, in August, where they trained with Swedish airmen and Gripen fighters. During the deployment, beginning July 30, airmen from Aviano’s 555th Fighter Squadron and 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron worked with counterparts of the Swedish Norrbotten Wing, conducting air-to-air and air-to-ground flying missions at the Vidsel Test Range.
Lt. Gen. Donald C. Wurster, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, topped the list of 2010 selectees for the Air Commando Hall of Fame, announced Aug. 13. Others selected for induction were Col. Richard F. Brauer Jr., Col. James B. Connors, Col. Kenneth H. Poole, Col. Walter K. Schmidt, CMSgt. Michael J. Ramos, CMSgt. A. Eugene Adcock, and CMSgt. Nicolas S. Kiraly, all retired. The final two selectees, both deceased, were Col. Russell E. Rakip and Maj. William Grosvenor Jr.
Student pilot error caused the crash of an ANG MQ-1B Predator remotely piloted aircraft during a training mission April 20 over Southern California, ACC investigators determined in a report released Aug. 20. The pilot failed to recognize the Predator’s speed was too low during final approach, causing a stall and hard landing at an airport in Victorville, Calif. Upon impact, the Predator broke apart, resulting in its total loss and the loss of the inert Hellfire training missile on its wing.
The Air Force’s enlisted heritage museum at Lackland AFB, Tex., reopened Aug. 12 after a nine-month renovation. The facility was also renamed the USAF Airman Heritage Museum, replacing the old History and Traditions Museum. The museum now features interactive technology, improved lighting, and 31 total exhibits.
Boeing has begun production of the seventh Wideband Global SATCOM spacecraft, WGS-7, under a $187 million contract, the Air Force announced Aug. 19. The contract covers the items needed to begin the satellite’s production, according to the contract announcement. WGS-7 is expected to be in the Block II configuration, satellites that provide military communications to US and allied forces around the world.Three WGS spacecraft are already on orbit.
Members of the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota AB, Japan, welcomed a group of Japanese, including World War II Imperial Army veterans, to the base as part of events to mark the 70th anniversary of the installation, known during the war as Tama Army Airfield.