Aerospace World

Nov. 1, 2000

Chiefs: Annual $50 Billion-$60 Billion Boost Needed

The US military chiefs have delivered to Congress this message: The country’s fighting forces are OK for the moment, the future looks troubling, and the get-well effort can’t be carried out on the cheap.

That is the essence of extended Sept. 27 testimony to the armed services committees in the House and Senate. The panels heard from heads of all four services and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton.

The chiefs, under questioning, indicated that the Pentagon budget needs to be boosted by $50 billion- $60 billion per year for the next 10 years. Annual increases included $20 billion-$30 billion for the Air Force, $17 billion for the Navy, $10 billion for the Army, and $1.5 billion for the Marine Corps.

Shelton said the US is prepared to fight and win two Major Theater Wars at more or less the same time, which is the basis of US national security strategy.

However, Shelton went on, the next President and Congress will have to increase defense spending to keep the troops ready and equip them with the kinds of weapons they need.

“We must find the resources necessary to modernize the force,” said Shelton.

Shelton’s comments were amplified by the other chiefs: Gen. Michael E. Ryan, USAF Chief of Staff; Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, Army Chief of Staff; Adm. Vernon E. Clark, Chief of Naval Operations; and Gen. James L. Jones, Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Though the service chiefs offered hard numbers, Shelton himself mentioned no specific budget figures and said the amount of additional defense spending would depend on the outcome of a planned Pentagon review next year.

Shelton said an overly large chunk of DoD spending is being used to fill gaps in near-term readiness, rather than going to pay for new equipment. “We are, collectively, robbing Peter to pay Paul,” Shelton said.

Boeing JSF Makes First Flight

Boeing’s Joint Strike Fighter concept demonstrator, the X-32A, made its first flight Sept. 18 from Palmdale, Calif., to Edwards AFB, Calif.

Its planned 40 minutes in the air was cut short to 20 after a chase airplane noticed hydraulic fluid leaking from the aircraft.

Company officials termed the leak “minor,” saying they were still able to complete planned tests. After it was repaired, a second flight Sept. 23 lasted nearly an hour and took the airplane to 10,000 feet.

“The airplane is a pleasure to fly,” said Boeing JSF chief test pilot Fred Knox.

The flights were the first of a planned five-month test program at Edwards. The program calls for 50 flights, totaling about 100 hours, to validate the Boeing airplane’s handling characteristics.

Boeing’s JSF test aircraft got into the air earlier than its Lockheed Martin counterpart, but Lockheed officials were quick to note their JSF concept demonstrator is much closer in design to their planned production aircraft.

Boeing has made several changes in its design that are not reflected in its X-32A. It has added horizontal tails and changed its wing shape, among other things.

AEF Cycle 2 Coming Up

As the Air Force neared the end of its first 15-month Aerospace Expeditionary Force cycle, officials are gathering up lessons and implementing changes to improve AEF Cycle 2.

The service launched the Expeditionary Aerospace Force concept Oct. 1, 1999, part of an effort to make the lives of its personnel more stable and predictable.

After the first 10 deployments of the AEFs, officials are pleased with the results. “My general impression is that the Aerospace Expeditionary Force is going very well,” said Brig. Gen. Dennis R. Larsen, commander of the AEF Center at Langley AFB, Va. “There are some growing pains, but any time you make a transition that is this major and involves an organization as big as the Air Force, there are bound to be some problem areas.”

As the service moves into its second cycle, the Air Force will be lengthening the deployments of the on-call Aerospace Expeditionary Wings.

“The AEWs will go from 90 days to 120 days, Larsen said.

AEW commanders found that, in 90-day deployments, the wings did not have enough time to recover and then be ready to go back on call.

“This also rotates who is on call for the holiday and summer season,” said Larsen.

Early Notification Strengthens AEFs

Improvement in the notification process stands out as one of the EAF’s biggest successes so far, said the AEF Center’s Larsen.

Prior to AEFs 5 and 6, notifications went out some 15 days before deployment. For the second cycle, which begins Dec. 1, notification comes 120 days prior to the start.

Shortfall rates-the measurement of units unable to carry out their AEF taskings-have also improved.

“We started out with about 3.2 percent of our taskings coming back as shortfalls in AEFs 5 and 6, but currently we’re down to 0.5 percent for AEFs 1 and 2 for the second cycle,” said Larsen.

With earlier notification, units now have time to make sure they have all the personnel they need to do their assigned jobs. Plus, the number of people covered by the AEF organization has increased. The service has gone from 90,000 to 141,000 AEF-deployable people.

Guard and Reserve units make up a significant portion of this manpower. Ten percent of combat support taskings and 24 percent of aviation unit commitments for the second cycle are filled by Guard and Reserve units.

Pentagon Warily Eyes North Korea

A new Pentagon report, publicly released Sept. 22, holds that North Korea, despite its recent overtures to the West, is still a major military threat that continues to devote a disproportionate share of its resources to armed might.

Pyongyang has deployed large numbers of rocket launchers, artillery pieces, and other weapons along its demilitarized zone border with South Korea, says the report, which is titled “2000 Report to Congress: Military Situation on the Korean Peninsula.” It was written at the behest of Congress by US commanders in South Korea and defense intelligence officials in Washington.

North Korean forces have stockpiled more than 500 shorter-range Scud missiles and still makes and fields No Dong missiles able to hit US forces in South Korea and Japan.

Moreover, said the report, North Korea has the ability to produce anthrax and other biological agents and has “produced munition stockpiles estimated at up to 5,000 metric tons of several types of chemical agents.”

North Korea “maintains a dogged adherence to a ‘military first’ policy even against the backdrop of a nation facing severe economic and social challenges,” the report states. It says the army is more than just a military organization, serving as “the central unifying structure in the country.”

The report concludes that “until North Korea’s conventional military threat is significantly reduced and its quest for nuclear weapons is eliminated, the Korean peninsula remains a dangerous theater.”

DoD Left Deutch Probe to CIA

The Pentagon insists it was not reluctant to investigate former Deputy Secretary of Defense John M. Deutch’s mishandling of classified information.

Instead, DoD at first thought it best to leave any such probe to the Central Intelligence Agency, officials said Sept. 20. Deutch left DoD to become director of the CIA in 1995.

“The CIA had already started down this road,” said a Pentagon spokesman, Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, at a briefing for reporters. “Rather than duplicating their effort, we felt that the best course of action was to let that professional investigation proceed.”

Deutch has admitted that he wrongfully violated CIA rules by writing and storing thousands of pages of classified data on home computers that were also used to access the Internet.

The CIA and the Pentagon have been investigating whether he committed similar violations during his Defense Department tenure.

The Pentagon’s internal damage assessment effort began after Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen received a CIA report in February 2000. DoD’s inspector general is looking into Deutch’s handling of department computers and where those computers now are. Some were disposed as surplus, some ending up at a Baltimore scrap dealer.

Readiness Still a Concern

US military readiness has improved, but in some key areas-particularly manning and training-problems remain, according to the Pentagon’s latest quarterly readiness report.

“Most major combat and key support forces are ready to meet assigned taskings, although there are force readiness and capability shortfalls that increase risk in executing operations,” concludes the report.

Added funds are helping ease some critical maintenance problems, officials noted. The Department of Defense has added $150 billion to its defense program since the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review-largely to bolster personnel, operations, and maintenance.

For its part, the Air Force has poured an extra $2 billion into spare parts in an effort to end aircraft cannibalization and increase mission capable rates.

The report judges all the services in three major areas: personnel, training, and equipment. It also highlights joint readiness concerns provided by theater commanders in chief, who focus on areas such as intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance deficiencies, information vulnerabilities, and the ability to disengage from current operations to meet timelines set for a two Major Theater War situation.

The latest report states that the “risk factors for executing ongoing operations and responding to a Major Theater War are moderate, while the risk for a second Major Theater War is high.”

Pilot Discharged Over Anthrax Shots

The Air Force on Sept. 1 discharged another active duty pilot for refusing to agree to an anthrax vaccination.

The pilot, former 1st Lt. Jamie C. Martin, had been assigned to Dover AFB, Del. He was discharged for disobeying an order.

Martin already had taken three shots of the six-shot anthrax vaccination program. He refused to take a fourth shot.

Martin told the Delaware State News, a Dover newspaper, that he received his first three shots, at two-week intervals, during August and September 1999, but that he refused to take any more because he became ill from the inoculations.

Martin, according to the newspaper, said, “The first wasn’t that bad. It was hardly noticeable. The second gave me some flu-like symptoms for about five or six days, but the third was a real doozy. It put me in bed. … I had severe headaches and every move was an effort because my body muscles hurt so badly. … When I was able to get up, I had vertigo and had to grab hold of furniture until the dizziness went away. I also had ringing in my ears and short-term memory loss.”

He said the side effects from the third shot continued for months.

Martin was assigned to Dover in June 1999 and was a captain-select, in line to fly C-5 aircraft. He said that, after refusing the fourth shot, his captain-select status was rescinded. He was given an honorable discharge under general conditions but fined $1,200.

F-22 Testing Moves Ahead

The F-22 fighter program by early fall had passed three of nine flight test milestones to be completed this year.

The most recent milestone entailed flight maneuvers with open weapons bay doors at high angles of attack. Raptor 4002 successfully completed this test Aug. 22.

Specific maneuvers included 360-degree rolls and full pedal sideslips. They were intended to test the ability of the weapons bay doors to withstand the stresses of intense pressure changes.

The “F-22 continues to perform outstandingly in all tests that we have performed, and it remains unsurpassed in both its handling and flight performance,” said Lockheed test pilot Jon Beesley.

Upcoming milestones include first flight of Raptors 4003, 4004, 4005, and 4006; radar cross section testing; weapons separation testing; and avionics flight tests.

As of Sept. 1, the F-22 had also completed 13 of 19 planned air vehicle ultimate load static tests. The latest static test, completed Aug. 23, was designed to test the strength of the aircraft’s midfuselage structure and engine inlet ducts.

Reserve Pilot Killed in Crash

An Air Force Reserve Command pilot was killed when his F-16C fighter crashed near Tulia, Tex., on Aug. 28.

Maj. Stephen W. Simons was assigned to the 301st Fighter Wing’s 457th Fighter Squadron, based at NAS Fort Worth JRB (Carswell Field), Tex.

Simons had been returning to Carswell from Hill AFB, Utah, when the accident occurred. The aircraft was carrying an inert AIM-9M training missile but no live munitions or bombs, according to a USAF news release.

Air Force officials said an accident report board has been established.

Edwards Gets Air Force Osprey

USAF’s first CV-22 Osprey arrived at Edwards AFB, Calif.-opening the tiltrotor era for the Air Force.

The aircraft, which will be used in flight testing, is a Marine Corps MV-22 reconfigured into the CV configuration at Bell Helicopter’s Flight Research Center in Arlington, Tex. Changes included addition of multimode radar for terrain following and terrain avoidance, auxiliary fuel tanks, and an integrated electronic warfare suite.

The CV-22 is intended to be used by Air Force units dedicated to US Special Operations Command.

“The arrival of this [first] aircraft means combined developmental and operational testing for the US Special Operations Command’s No. 1 acquisition priority,” said Lt. Col. Jim Shaffer, CV-22 multiservice operational test director.

The test program is scheduled to end in August 2002.

The Air Force plans to replace its fleet of MH-53J Pave Low helicopters with 50 CV-22s. Initial operational capability is set for 2004. The first set of four production aircraft will go to the 58th Training Squadron at Kirtland AFB, N.M., where they will be used for advanced aircrew training.

Fire-Fighting Effort Winds Down

Air Force Reserve Command’s support of fire-fighting efforts in the West wound down in September.

Two Modular Airborne Fire-Fighting System-equipped C-130s from the 302nd Airlift Wing, Peterson AFB, Colo., went home after Labor Day, ending a nearly six-week stint of fire fighting. Two C-130s and 49 Air National Guardsmen from the 146th Airlift Wing, Channel Islands ANGB, Calif., also flew home Sept. 5. The aircraft were sent home by the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. The center will rely on commercial businesses to keep up the fire war in the fall.

Since the beginning of the year, 75,089 fires have burned some 6.6 million acres in western states, according to the fire center. By way of contrast, an average year sees 62,435 fires burn about 2.96 million acres.

Guard and Reserve C-130 units have dropped more than 970,000 gallons of fire retardant on fires in California, Idaho, and Montana. The molasses-like retardant is 85 percent water, 11 percent salt, and 4 percent flow conditioners and red coloring agent. It does not extinguish fires so much as inhibit the combustibility of trees and undergrowth.

Missile Defense Cost Goes Up

The projected cost of the proposed National Missile Defense system has gone up, according to its chief military overseer.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronald T. Kadish, head of the Pentagon’s Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, told lawmakers that total acquisition and life-cycle cost of the basic NMD system would be $40.3 billion.

The estimate covers the program through Fiscal 2028. That estimate, Kadish said in Sept. 8 testimony before a House military subcommittee, includes the $5.7 billion already spent on the program and represents a $4 billion increase over previous figures.

Every Airman a Recruiter

“Get the word out: The Air Force is hiring.”

That is what Undersecretary of the Air Force Carol DiBattiste told members of the 81st Training Wing, Keesler AFB, Miss., during a recent visit.

This year the Air Force has begun an intense public awareness program to let school systems, businesses, civilian leaders, and retirees know that the Air Force needs people and has much to offer. The service recently launched a major ad campaign that brings home the Air Force message in movies and prime time, cable, and sports television broadcasts, DiBattiste said.

Enlistment bonuses are being offered in such hard-to-fill areas as mechanical and electronics engineering. The number of recruiters doubled from 800 in November 1999 to 1,600 today.

Retention goals are 55 percent for first-term airmen, 75 percent for second-term airmen, and 95 percent for USAF’s career personnel. Current figures are 52, 69, and 91, respectively.

Pay raises, improved retirement benefits, and improved health care should help retention, said the service’s second-ranking civilian. “The Air Force is a retention force and if we’re going to retain our quality people, we have to take care of our families,” she said.

Recruiting Service Sweeps

Not since January 1992 had all 28 of Air Force Recruiting Service’s squadrons overshot monthly enlistment contract goals.

They did so in August.

The AFRS units reported signing up from 101.2 percent to 155.9 percent of their contract quotas. The AFRS overall average was 114 percent.

Enlistment contract goals are purposely set higher than actual Air Force personnel needs, noted AFRS officials. That allows for cancellations and a typical 10 percent disqualification rate.

More recruiters, targeted bonuses, and TV ads all helped the AFRS push.

“We should also acknowledge all Air Force people who contributed to this success through the We Are All Recruiters program,” said Brig. Gen. Duane Deal, AFRS commander.

Reserve Recruiting Droops

While US armed forces have improved their recruiting for active duty personnel, attracting part-time warriors is proving harder than ever.

The Air Force, Army, and Navy now have all missed reserve recruiting goals for three years running, according to a report in the New York Times.

This year is unlikely to see a turnaround. Air Force Reserve Command is projected in Fiscal 2001 to fall 2,000 personnel short of its 11,321 recruitment quota.

The Navy reserve will likely be 4,000 short of its 18,410 goal.

A number of factors are contributing to this shortfall, say officials. For one, the post-Cold War force drawdown means that there is a smaller pool of active duty personnel to try and lure into the reserves when they separate from service. Such recruits have traditionally formed the backbone of the reserve force.

Also, propensity to serve in the reserves is declining. Among personnel leaving the Army, 21 percent now say they would consider the reserves. Four years ago, the figure was 41 percent.

This declining interest may stem in part from a realization that service in the reserves today means much more than weekends and summer camp. From the Balkans to the Gulf, USAF is leaning on reserve units to help carry out its missions. The average USAF reservist served 58 days last year. Aircrews served an average 110 days.

USAF Begins Flight Test of B-2 Upgrades

New B-2 flight tests at Edwards AFB, Calif., will examine upgrades that are intended to improve the operational capability of the nation’s stealth bomber fleet.

The first change to be tested will be the application of magnetic radar-absorbing materials on surface panels. The new materials should help technicians by reducing from hours to minutes the time necessary to get at the aircraft systems behind the panels.

Future upgrades to be tested include improved satellite links that will increase communications speed to the point where an entire mission can be uploaded to the aircraft while it is in the air; software upgrades to increase crew situational awareness; and integration of the joint air-to-surface standoff missile.

Team ABL Says Effort Is On Track

The Airborne Laser program is on track to attempt to shoot down a ballistic missile in September 2003, Team ABL officials said Sept. 12.

Col. Ellen Pawlikowski, the program manager, said the ABL is ready to go as it heads toward the engineering, manufacturing, and development stage.

Recently completed tests have validated the ABL’s optics, said Pawlikowski. The optics compensate for disturbances in the atmosphere via a deformable mirror. This compensation results in from two to 15 times more energy on target, according to tests.

Modifications on the ABL platform, a used Boeing 747, are near the halfway mark. When finished, the aircraft will have a bulkhead between the crew and the laser modules and chemicals, a 14,000-pound nose turret, and a titanium belly skin to handle and channel out laser exhaust.

Tailhook, the Sequel

Once again, the Tailhook Association is facing allegations of misconduct at one of its conventions.

Nine years ago, riotous behavior and debauched assaults on women at a Tailhook convention in Las Vegas caused the Navy to break off its official relationship with the group, which supports Navy and Marine Corps aviation. The new charge is much less serious, but if proved true, it could still cause the Navy to again sever its Tailhook ties.

The allegations stem from the claims of a married couple that was staying at the Sparks, Nev., hotel that was hosting this year’s Tailhook convention. The husband and wife allege that, to reach their room, they had to shoulder their way through a hallway crowded with naval aviators. As they did so, they were subject to verbal harassment, and at least one aviator made inappropriate physical contact with the woman, according to their allegations.

The Navy’s inspector general and its criminal service have begun an investigation.

World War II Memorial Moves Forward

A proposal to place a World War II memorial on the National Mall in Washington took a giant step forward Sept. 21 when the National Capital Planning Commission voted narrowly to approve the final design.

Some design issues were deferred. These issues included the plan for a central statue and plans for lighting and roadways. “We are absolutely delighted,” said Mike Conley, spokesman for the American Battle Monuments Commission. “It is the culmination of a very long and very public process, and it clears the way for us to break ground on Nov. 11.”

Opponents of placing a World War II monument on the Mall argue that it will spoil the open nature of the site and ruin the sight lines toward the Lincoln Memorial.

They also complain that it could infringe on areas where the crowd gathered to hear the Rev. Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.

Proponents feel that recognition of the World War II generation is long overdue and that the design is in keeping with the nearby Korean War and FDR Memorials.

“The bottom line is, this is a revered spot where people can come to reflect and learn about sacrifice of their family, neighbors, and friends,” said former Sen. Robert Dole, who led fund-raising for the $140 million memorial.

Report Details US Nuke Problems

The Department of Energy has reported that it has had to put off reliability testing of and repairs to major nuclear weapons as a result of problems caused by poor maintenance at DoE weapons facilities.

A new study, prepared by DoE’s inspector general, said basic maintenance problems have also set back the schedule for disassembling some older warheads. The report was made public Sept. 26.

According to a Sept. 27 Wall Street Journal story, the symptoms of deferred maintenance include leaky roofs and fire hazards. The problems are blamed on budget cutting, with the DoE study estimating it will need an additional $5 billion to $8 billion over 10 years to cope with the backlogs in its Stockpile Stewardship program, designed to keep the US nuclear weapons force effective without testing warheads.

Responding to the inspector general’s findings, Madelyn R. Creedon, deputy administrator for defense programs at the Energy Department, wrote that the agency agrees. She said that while the problems haven’t harmed the reliability of US nuclear weapons, “we face a number of challenges if we are to meet future requirements.”

The maintenance problems were found at two DoE facilities, one in Amarillo, Tex., and the other in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Key Senator Opposes New Service for Military Space

Sen. Wayne Allard, a Colorado Republican, serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee and chairs that panel’s Strategic Subcommittee, which oversees military space. Moreover, military space is, for him, a major local political issue, given the fact that Colorado is the home of US Space Command, Air Force Space Command, North American Aerospace Defense Command, and numerous space contractors.

At a Sept. 21 session of the Defense Writers Group in Washington, D.C., Allard was asked about the workings of the new, Congressionally mandated space commission and its key issue-should Congress take military space activities away from the Air Force and hand them over to a newly created military service? Allard’s response:

“[Sen.] Bob Smith, my predecessor as chairman of the Strategic Subcommittee, has pushed for a separate agency. … I think that the constraints on our military financially are such that this is not the time to be setting up a new agency, because it just means that much more money gets diverted from some other military needs which I see as much greater-for example, operation and maintenance of our equipment. We are at a time when our budget is severely constrained with the increased deployments that we’re having. … I think it would be inadvisable, at least at this time, to set up a separate space agency, or [give] space a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or something like that. I think it would be inadvisable. I think you’d set up a whole new bureaucracy, with ranking and commands. We’ve got better places to put our resources.”

“Significant Readiness Challenges, Today and in the Future”

From the Sept. 21 testimony of Lt. Gen. Robert H. Foglesong, deputy chief of staff, air and space operations, to the House Armed Services Military Procurement Subcommittee:

“Overall combat readiness is down a total of 23 percent since 1996. Air Combat Command, active duty combat units, led this decline, and their readiness dropped by a sharp 42 percent over the same period. As we strive to keep the readiness of our forward deployed units up, our Stateside units are paying the price as we operate in a limited resource environment marked by multiple contingencies.

“Today, our Air Force men and women and their commanders continue to ‘make things happen’ by coping with the readiness challenges, despite heavy tasking and tough fiscal constraints. Nonetheless, the mission capable rates for major Air Force weapon systems steadily declined by nearly 11 percent since 1991 to a mission capability rate of 73 percent today.

“Parts cannibalization rates are still very high and indicate increased workload on our maintenance personnel. These indicators continue to point to significant readiness challenges today and in the future.”

Strange Stories About Enola Gay;

They Just Keep Coming

Reporter Bob Thompson didn’t do his homework for his cover story, “The Museum of the American Century,” in The Washington Post Magazine Sept. 17. His subject was the National Air and Space Museum, so eventually, he got around to the controversy in 1994­95 when the museum planned to use the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, as the centerpiece in a political horror show.

Thompson didn’t put it that way, of course-but then he talked only to one side in the controversy, and he also ignored what his own newspaper had to say about it at the time.

In 1994, Air Force Magazine and the Air Force Association brought the museum’s plans to the attention of the public, the news media, and Congress. The museum cast the Japanese as victims more so than as aggressors in World War II and took a harsh view of American motives and actions.

The plan finally collapsed in 1995. The ill-fated exhibition was canceled and replaced with one that showed the aircraft and gave a straightforward account of events. The nonpolitical exhibition ran for three years and drew almost 4 million visitors-the most ever for a special exhibition at the museum.

Thompson, however, cites a “notorious” and “heavily politicized struggle” in which the exhibit was “stripped of meaningful content” when a “vehement attack by the Air Force Association sparked a widespread public outcry.”

In fact, the “meaningful content” stripped out was claptrap about World War II in the Pacific. “For most Americans,” the script said, “it was a war of vengeance. For most Japanese, it was a war to defend their unique culture against Western imperialism.”

Although Thompson may not know it, his newspaper came to the same conclusion that AFA did. A Post editorial in January 1995 said that early drafts of the Enola Gay script were “incredibly propagandistic and intellectually shabby” and had “a tendentiously anti-nuclear and anti­American tone.”

The next month, another Post editorial said, “It is important to be clear about what happened at the Smithsonian. It is not, as some have it, that benighted advocates of a special-interest or right-wing point of view brought political power to bear to crush and distort the historical truth. Quite the contrary. Narrow-minded representatives of a special-interest and revisionist point of view attempted to use their inside track to appropriate and hollow out a historical event that large numbers of Americans alive at that time and engaged in the war had witnessed and understood in a very different-and authentic-way.”

-John T. Correll

The Air Force Memorial: Congress Grants an Extension

Partly in reaction to a large volume of mail from their home districts, the House and Senate voted unanimously to extend the deadline to build an Air Force Memorial in metropolitan Washington, D.C.

This means the Air Force Memorial Foundation has an additional five years to finish fund-raising and break ground for construction. So far, $24.5 million of the approximately $30 million required has been raised.

Contributors include several aerospace firms and more than 70,000 individual donors, who generated a flood of mail to Congress in support of the memorial.

The project was initially authorized by Congress in 1993 and proceeded in orderly fashion through the numerous procedural and design reviews. A site on Arlington Ridge, adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery and overlooking the Potomac River, was selected, and the proposed design for the memorial received considerable acclaim, including a Washington Post report that heaped praise on it.

In 1997, however, a neighborhood group calling itself “Friends of Iwo Jima” began an opposition to the project, on grounds ranging from increased traffic in the area to a claim that the Air Force Memorial would “encroach” on the Marine Corps Iwo Jima Memorial-which is 500 feet up the slope and with a stand of mature trees in between. In time, Marine Corps veterans joined in the objection.

Parties seeking to block the Air Force Memorial brought suit in federal court and lost twice, the second time with prejudice. What the protests did achieve was to slow down fund-raising.

Without the extension, approved by the House Sept. 12 and the Senate Oct. 3, the project would have had to return to the beginning of the process and go through the series of reviews and approvals all over again.

Groundbreaking is now tentatively scheduled for the fall of 2001.

John Frisbee, 1917-2000

John L. Frisbee, 83, longtime author of Air Force Magazine’s “Valor” series, died Aug. 26 in Marshall, Va. He was buried in Arlington Cemetery.

Frisbee was a combat pilot in World War II, taught at West Point, was head of the History Department at the Air Force Academy, and retired from the Air Force in 1970 after extended service in the Pentagon. He then came to Air Force Magazine, rising from senior editor to executive editor to editor before his second retirement in 1980.

In 1983, he began his third career at age 66, taking over “Valor”-a monthly series about heroism in aerial combat-which he wrote until his health forced him to stop in 1998. Frisbee’s “Valor” is recognized as the best and most extensive body of work anywhere in the world on Air Force heroism. All 176 of his articles are available on the World Wide Web at

In 1987, Frisbee edited Makers of the United States Air Force, published by the Office of Air Force History.

News Notes

  • World War I Navy Yeoman Frieda Mae Hardin, the nation’s oldest woman veteran, died Aug. 9 in a nursing home in Livermore, Calif. Hardin was 103 and had been a featured guest speaker at the October 1997 dedication of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.
  • Heavy rains exceeding 23 inches caused major flooding at Kunsan AB, South Korea, during the period Aug. 24-27. Numerous base facilities flooded in the record downpour, and service personnel had to work with Republic of Korea army troops to clear mud slides from the primary road between the base and Kunsan City.
  • The Dec. 15, 1999, crash of an Air Force HH-60G helicopter in Kuwait was caused by pilot error, according to an accident report released Aug. 28. The HH-60, assigned to the 332nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, was on approach to a desert landing zone when it made a hard touch down and rolled to its side. The pilot had allowed the helicopter airspeed to drop too low, according to the report. The crew sustained only minor injuries.
  • A Navy inspector general report has found that naval aviation is suffering from serious training and financing problems and that many lower-level personnel do not believe Navy leadership will address their issues. A lack of training in use of precision guided weapons, for instance, led to a less-than-optimal hit rate in Kosovo during last year’s air campaign, according to the Navy inspector general.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a report of a Sept. 7 near miss between a United 757 and an F-117 from the 410th Flight Test Squadron, Edwards AFB, Calif. The F-117 was not in stealth configuration and was flying according to FAA rules at the time of the alleged incident.
  • The only surviving World War I Army Air Corps pilot celebrated his 104th birthday Aug. 14. Retired Lt. Col. John Potts, who lives today in a Sarasota, Fla., retirement community, also served in World War II and the Korean War.
  • On Aug. 31 a T-6 Texan II trainer assigned to the 12th Flying Training Wing, Randolph AFB, Tex., crashed just south of San Antonio. The aircrew, which was on a familiarization flight and conducting instrument procedures at the time, ejected with minor injuries.
  • US 3rd Air Force, based at RAF Mildenhall, UK, was granted Honorary Freedom of the Borough by the St. Edmundsbury council in an Aug. 27 ceremony. The honor-the first ever granted an American military unit-allowed 3rd Air Force to “parade through the streets of the borough with fixed bayonets, regimental band playing and colours flying,” according to the proclamation.
  • The 400th Missile Squadron, F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., has been named the best missile squadron in the Air Force for 1999 by winning the Association of Air Force Missileers’ General Samuel Phillips Award. The squadron is the only Peacekeeper unit in the Air Force.
  • On Aug. 23, a Boeing Delta III rocket successfully placed a data-gathering simulated payload into orbit. Instruments from the 9,500-pound satellite were to provide information to further validate baseline data on launch vehicle performance.
  • Elmer E. Mooring Jr. was presented with the Civil Air Patrol Brewer Award during the national conference of the CAP in San Antonio on Aug. 19. The award is given for contributions in providing aerospace education to young people.
  • The 30th Airlift Squadron and 374th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron recently completed a historic mission-the first humanitarian mission flown by the US Air Force into Communist China. The mission to Shanghai IAP returned an 83-year-old quadriplegic to her home. The woman had been living in the US and suffered a fall that broke her neck last April.
  • On Aug. 17, a Titan IVB successfully launched a classified payload for the US Air Force and the National Reconnaissance Office. It was the second Titan IV launch of the year and the 30th overall.