Silver Stars Go to Three USAF Pilots
Three Air Force pilots on Sept. 15 were awarded Silver Stars for gallantry in Operation Allied Force, NATO’s air action over the Balkans.
One recipient, Capt. James L. Cardoso, an MH-53 helicopter pilot, led an Air Force search and rescue team deep into Serb territory on the night of March 27 to snatch the pilot of a downed F-117 stealth fighter. Serb soldiers had intercepted the downed pilot’s radio messages and were closing in and within 30 feet of the pilot when the MH-53 arrived.
Silver Stars also were awarded to two F-16 pilots, Capt. Sonny P. Blinkinsop and Capt. Adam B. Kavlick. Blinkinsop was honored for risking his life to ensure the safety of a large group of US and British strike aircraft receiving heavy fire from Serb air defenses. Kavlick, while under fire, helped marshal forces to rescue his wingman, who had to eject near the city of Novi Sad after his airplane was struck.
Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen presented the decorations in a ceremony at Andrews AFB, Md.
Air Force Reserve Command’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron from Keesler AFB, Miss.-the famed “Hurricane Hunters”-has been busy this late summer and fall. A string of storms bouncing up the East Coast of the US has had them flying 12-hour missions in their specially equipped WC-130 airplanes an average of 3.5 times each day.
The squadron is the only DoD unit that routinely flies weather reconnaissance missions over the oceans which surround the US mainland. Its crews gather information on the size, heading, and character of each storm and feed it via satellite to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
“It’s exciting flying a hurricane mission, but it’s not as scary as it looks because we train constantly,” said SSgt. Jay Latham of the 53rd.
On each hurricane flight, a WC-130 aircrew penetrates the eye wall four times. Pilots aim for the dead center of the storm, where pressure and wind speed are lowest.
Using a spring-loaded gun, the dropsonde operator fires an 18-inch, 3-pound cardboard cylinder packed with electronics into the hurricane’s center. This sonde descends on a parachute, gathering pressure, wind speed and direction, temperature, and humidity data.
“Flying and doing a weather job is as good as it gets,” says Latham, who joined the Reserve after four years on active duty as a weather observer at Tyndall AFB, Fla.
Two USAF F-15 fighters on Sept. 16 confronted a pair of Russian bombers headed toward Alaska, officials said.
The Tu-95 Bear bombers had been detected on radar while still 200 miles from US territory. Both Russian aircraft turned away before crossing into US airspace and while they were still about 90 miles away from the fighters, which had flown from Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.
The event marked the first time since 1993 that USAF has noted Moscowcontrolled bombers being sent toward Alaska in such a manner. In the Soviet era, the Kremlin would routinely do so to test North American air defenses.
In June, two Russian Bears flew so close to Iceland’s coastline that a pair of Air Force F-15 fighters scrambled from a NATO air base to escort them around the island.
The Clinton Administration dismissed both of the June incidents as militarily insignificant. “Russia stayed well within international airspace, and there was no danger of confrontation,” said National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer.
Moscow, however, expressed “surprise and regret,” according to US officials, that US jets had intercepted two bombers in the September incident.
On Sept. 17, Secretary of Defense Cohen and other top military officials dedicated a new inscription carved on the empty Vietnam crypt at Arlington Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknowns: “Honoring and Keeping Faith With America’s Missing Servicemen.”
“Those words will always remain, eloquent in the clarity of their purpose, enduring by the dignity of their provenance,” said Cohen.
The Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Day ceremony was the culmination of events that began more than 25 years ago. Air Force 1st Lt. Michael J. Blassie was shot down on a combat mission over South Vietnam. Days after his crash, remains from a crash site were recovered, but officials could not prove their identity conclusively.
In 1983, officials selected those remains to be interred at the crypt reserved for the Vietnam Unknown. President Ronald Reagan presided over the interment ceremony on Veterans Day 1984.
But the advance of DNA identification technology proceeded apace. The family of Blassie, suspecting the Vietnam Unknown might be their loved one, petitioned the Defense Department to test the remains.
In June 1998, DoD specialists determined that the body was, indeed, that of Blassie. It was turned over to his family for burial.
DoD announced that it would not place another body in the crypt, as new technology made it possible to identify virtually all military remains. Instead, the national shrine would carry an inscription highlighting America’s commitment to account for all those missing in action, said officials.
“Science helped ease the sorrow and suffering of a family and return their son to his rightful place, and science may one day help ease the weight of grief of those who wait and wonder,” Cohen said. “But science cannot succeed without faith and without dedication.”
Clinton Administration officials said health insurance premiums for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program will rise an average of 9.3 percent next year.
That would mark the third consecutive year of substantial rate increases for the plan, under consideration as an alternative for military retirees in lieu of the Defense Department’s Tricare health care system. FEHBP premiums increased by 9.5 percent in 1999 and by 7.2 percent in 1998. Earlier in the decade, rate increases were considerably smaller.
The Office of Personnel Management said spending on prescription drugs and new technology in hospitals and doctors’ offices account for the bulk of the rate increases.
The FEHBP covers approximately 9 million federal workers, retirees, and their families worldwide. About 300 health plans participate in the FEHBP. The government pays 72 percent of the average premium.
The House in 1998 approved a demonstration project allowing thousands of certain Medicareeligible military retirees to utilize FEHBP starting in January 2000. Military retirees who have reached age 65, when Medicare kicks in, are currently not covered by Tricare.
Ryan Says Easing of Optempo at Hand
Long effort will pay off in the next six months, with such improvements as the Air Expeditionary Forces and the long-awaited pay raise finally coming to fruition, Chief of Staff Gen. Michael E. Ryan told airmen Sept. 1 on a visit to Peterson AFB, Colo.
The stand up of the new AEFs will not reduce total optempo, he said. But it does promise predictability, leading to increased use of the Guard and Reserve.
“As we use Guard and Reserve forces more, it lessens some of the active duty tempo,” said Ryan. “It puts predictability and stability in the lives of our folks, unless we have another Major Theater War.”
Operations in Kosovo, and recovery from the wear and tear thereof, could delay the coming of positive AEF effects. But it will be felt in the field by next spring, said the Chief.
Effects from the pay raise will likely appear faster. The new 4.8 percent increase is expected to take effect Jan. 1.
“These changes will have a positive effect,” said Ryan. “Our people don’t say, ‘Show us the money,’ but in some cases we ask so much from our folks that this kind of need-that they have to take care of their families monetarily-is really important.”
Families, after all, play a big retention role in today’s military. Most members of the service are married and thus have more than themselves to think about when making the decision to remain in service.
“The family has a vote, a big vote, on whether they stay or go,” said Ryan.
On other subjects, Ryan said that troops wouldn’t have to wait six months to see the payoff from greater integration between space and air forces. That is already here.
In Kosovo, space was involved across the whole spectrum of operations, in areas such as surveillance, intelligence, reconnaissance, navigation, weather prediction, and communication.
U-2 information, for instance, was beamed back to the US, interpreted by “reachback” personnel, and kicked right back to people in-theater.
“Integration is the process of making sure all the systems we have within our military capability interact with each other in a synergistic way, in an additive way, and that they are more than just a sum of their parts. In Kosovo we saw that in spades,” said Ryan.
“Space has become integral to all the operations we do; that’s why we call ourselves an aerospace force,” said the Chief.
The new undersecretary of the Air Force, Carol A. DiBattiste, traveled to Randolph AFB, Texas, this August to talk about something that relates to her past life and future duties: recruiting.
A former Air Force “mustang,” who served in both the enlisted ranks and as an officer, DiBattiste spent three tours as a recruiter on active duty. A lot has changed since 1991, when she last got a new recruit to sign on the dotted line, DiBattiste admitted. But she still thinks she can help the Air Force get out of the recruiting “pickle” it’s in.
The service will be about 2,000 recruits short this fiscal year, she noted. Senior leadership is worried and is pursuing a number of efforts to turn the situation around.
Solution one: More recruiters. The service needs “more top-of-the-line production recruiters,” she said. “That’s who sold me on the Air Force.”
Solution two: Enhanced prior-service recruiting. “They are qualified, they are skilled, they’ve received the thousands and thousands of dollars of training that we’ve pumped into them,” she said.
Solution three: More enlistment bonuses in more career fields. The service started offering such bonuses in more than 100 specialties last year.
But in the end, it all comes down to the recruiter promoting the service, she said.
“We’re different from private industry,” said Undersecretary DiBattiste. “We offer something different. We offer someone the ability to serve his or her country in a way that private industry does not.”
Delay Hits New Standoff Missile
The Air Force announced Aug. 27 that it is pushing the decision on low-rate production of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile from 2001 to 2002-in effect, delaying the program for a year.
The move is necessary because subcontractor Teledyne is moving slower than planned on engine development, due to design changes in the engine main bearing and digital fuel control, among other things.
In addition, configuration changes made by prime contractor Lockheed Martin have set back some airframe part deliveries, and the JASSM program is facing the unforeseen need for two extra development flight tests to calibrate data for the flight control and autopilot systems.
Both competitors in the Joint Strike Fighter program are proceeding apace, company officials said late this summer.
Lockheed Martin will end the concept demonstration phase on time and within budget, company representatives said Aug. 25. In February, the firm had predicted a $100 million cost overrun on its JSF program. It has since restructured its effort-planning to build only one cockpit, instead of three different ones for the three JSF variants, for instance.
Lockheed’s X-35A is about half completed and will fly next year in the configuration of the Air Force’s conventional JSF variant.
Boeing, for its part, is also on time and on budget, with 80 percent of its concept demonstration work already finished, according to Frank D. Statkus, vice president and general manager of the program.
Boeing’s X-32A conventional takeoff and landing demonstrator has been completely assembled, except for the Pratt & Whitney engine. Its X-32B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing demonstrator should be done by the end of the year. The Boeing demonstrators are slated to fly next summer.
Meanwhile, the Navy has decided to ask program competitors to increase the range of their naval JSF variants by 100 miles, to a 600-mile combat radius. Adding the range means adding more weight–already a concern for the carrier-based JSF, which will be heavier than its land-based counterpart.
Last Engine Completed at Kelly
An era ended at Kelly AFB, Texas, when the San Antonio Air Logistics Center completed work on its last F100 engine. Kelly workers first started to maintain the F100 engine, which powers F-15 and F-16 fighters, 26 years ago.
“We received the first F100 at Kelly in 1973,” said Curtis Mendez, F100 production manager. “It came in for unscheduled maintenance.”
The F100 flow peaked in the early 1980s at 27 engines a month. In recent years the workload has averaged about eight engines a month. “Whole up” work includes borescope inspection, break down into modules, disassembly, module repair and overhaul, replacement of electronic harnesses as required, reassembly, and testing.
Customers also sent individual engine modules-inlet fans, gearboxes, augmentors, and other sections-to Kelly for work. In the last 10 years Kelly had done more and more module maintenance, while the number of whole engines declined.
Following the 1995 decision to realign work at Air Force Air Logistics Centers, the service decided to keep 24 percent of its F100 work as a core workload. In a publicprivate competition, Oklahoma ALC won the right to perform F100 maintenance at Tinker AFB, Okla.
Kelly’s F100 workforce began closing out accounts and moving the last of its tools and equipment to Tinker on Sept. 1.
“We finished up what was here,” said Mendez. “Anything that was inducted here was completed here. This F100 was the last engine on work order.”
Historic Tuskegee Unit Rejoins Air Force
A unit with roots in the historic Tuskegee Airmen squadrons of World War II rejoined the US Air Force on Sept. 24 in a ceremony at Randolph AFB, Texas.
The 100th Flying Training Squadron was reactivated as part of the Air Force Reserve Command’s 340th Flying Training Group. It will train AT-38, T-1, T-37, and T-38 instructor pilots.
The 100th Fighter Squadron, when activated in 1942, was one of four original all-black flying units from Tuskegee AAF, Ala. These units compiled distinguished war records-they never lost to enemy fire a bomber under their escort. Yet they had to overcome prejudice from much of the military to even reach the European theater of operations.
“Standing up this historic unit is a big help in making people aware of the baseline these men set,” said Capt. P.J. Adams of the 340th FTG.
When fully staffed next summer, the 100th FTS will include 58 traditional Reservists, 15 Active Reserve members, and four support staff.
With its reactivation, two units of Tuskegee fame now make their home at Randolph. The 99th Flying Training Squadron already conducts T-1 instructor pilot training for Air Education and Training Command’s 12th Flying Training Wing.
The 55th Special Operations Squadron was inactivated in a Sept. 16 ceremony at Hurlburt Field, Fla. The action is part of Air Force Special Operations Command’s preparation for the eventual arrival of the tilt-rotor CV-22 Osprey at Hurlburt.
“The inactivation is part of the command’s preparation for the next century,” said Lt. Col. Steve Laushine, 55th SOS commander. “The 55th’s contributions to the [special operations forces] will not be forgotten when we close our doors.”
The 55th provided support in Operations Just Cause, Desert Shield, and Desert Storm. Unit members spent seven years supporting no-fly zone enforcement over Iraq.
Even as they were preparing to furl the unit guidon, they were pulled away to participate in Operation Allied Force. Members of the 55th were among the AFSOC team that rescued two downed US pilots during the NATO operation.
“I think the way the missions were executed says a lot for the caliber of all the men and women in AFSOC,” said Laushine, who was commander for both rescue missions.
The unit traces its heritage to the 55th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, which stood up in 1952 at Thule AB, Greenland. Among the aircraft it has flown are the HH-19, the HH-53, and most recently the MH-60G Pave Hawk. The 55th’s Pave Hawks were transferred to Air Combat Command.
Most unit personnel are moving to other major commands. Some will stay in Air Force special operations, though they will be flying or maintaining other airframes.
First Launch of New Sidewinder From F-15
On Sept. 1, the AIM-9X Sidewinder was launched into guided flight from a USAF F-15 for the first time. The missile hit a remotely piloted drone in the test, which was carried out at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
The firing also marked the first time the new short-range air-to-air weapon has been tested in a look-down, shoot-down engagement. The missile’s infrared seeker successfully tracked its target through launch, flyout, and intercept, said officials from program contractor Raytheon.
“This success comes on the heels of the successful F/A-18 guided attack against an F-4,” said Navy Capt. Dave Venlet, program manager, air-to-air missile systems, PMA-259. “These missile shots keep us on the path toward FY 2000 production approval.”
AIM-9X is a joint USAF-Navy program that is in the engineering and manufacturing development stage. Older Sidewinder models are in use by more than 40 nations.
A member of the House Armed Services Committee is pressing legislation that would make the Department of Defense’s anthrax vaccination program voluntary.
The Army’s decision to coordinate a new set of studies on the long-term effects of the vaccine is a step in the right direction, said Rep. Walter Jones Jr. (R) of North Carolina. But it isn’t enough, he said.
Jones’s bill would make the DoD vaccination program voluntary until such time as the FDA approves a new anthrax vaccine for humans or a new, reduced course of shots.
Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R) of New York is pushing related legislation that would suspend the vaccination effort until a series of health studies are conducted.
“It is our contention that the continuance of this program, in its current state as a mandatory requirement, will, rather than improve readiness as its stated goal, continue to further deteriorate both morale and retention, especially in the Reserve and National Guard units,” the two lawmakers wrote in an Aug. 3 letter to fellow members of Congress.
Cost Cuts Have Played Role in Launch Failures
Lockheed Martin’s recent string of space launch failures may have been at least partly caused by too much emphasis on saving money and too little on the “mission success” the company takes as its motto, according to the report of an independent panel released Sept. 8.
The panel-headed by former Martin Marietta President and Chief Operating Officer A. Thomas Young-concluded that “success needs to be re-established as the most important” element in preparing for launch.
The group recommended that Lockheed Martin prepare a flyout plan that will address personnel retention, management accountability, and quality control on the Titan IV program in particular.
Lockheed Martin President and COO Peter B. Teets told reporters that the firm had already begun “to make our oversight and quality control procedures more robust” as a result of the panel’s findings and would go along with the flyout plan suggestion.
Retired USAF Maj. Gen. Oris B. Johnson, a pioneer in night fighting and often-decorated veteran pilot of three wars, died Sept. 14 in Baton Rouge, La. He was 79.
Johnson entered the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet in November 1940. By 1943 he was commander of the 422nd Night Fighter Squadron, in the European theater of operations. The 422nd flew P-61 Black Widow aircraft, the first radar-equipped fighters ever fielded by the US.
After the war, his experience with advanced weaponry led to his appointment as project officer for a number of advanced fighters, from the F-86D to the F-101 and F-106. He later commanded 14th Aerospace Force, at Ent (now Peterson) AFB, Colo. During the Vietnam War era he commanded the 313th Air Division, Pacific Air Forces.
|F-22 Survives a Stealth Attack
After weeks of dispute, Congress sustained the F-22 fighter with a new $2.5 billion appropriation. “I’m satisfied that the F-22 is funded enough to keep it going,” said Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Senate defense appropriations subcommittee and the F-22’s key backer.
Lawmakers voted the funds as part of a $267.7 billion Defense Department appropriation (not including military construction) for Fiscal 2000.
The fighter program had been in turmoil since midsummer, when a small band of House appropriators, led by Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), launched a surprise attack on its production budget. The House chopped out $1.8 billion needed to buy the first production F-22s and approved only $1.2 billion for research. In contrast, the Senate had approved the full $3 billion request.
F-22 backers warned that the House, though it claimed to be seeking only a “pause” in the program, was actually killing it.
Senate and House negotiators on Oct. 6 shook hands over a compromise. Technically, it postpones fighter production (a House demand) from 2000 to 2001. However, it protects the production option by providing the following amounts:
A final go/no-go decision on production will come in 2001 and will depend on whether the F-22 during the next year meets an array of test goals for critical areas such as avionics. The Senate-House agreement specifically precludes production until the avionics software is successfully flown in an F-22.
“The testing language is quite strong,” Lewis said.
The Air Force wants the F-22 to replace the F-15, which will have been in service for 30 years by the time the Raptor becomes operational. USAF already has spent more than $20 billion to develop the F-22. It plans to produce 339 of the fighters, at a marginal cost of $85 million per fighter.
Funny Figures in the F-22 Fighter Flap
“With a most recent cost estimate of $200 million for each plane, we need to be asking if [building the F-22 fighter] is our most important priority.”
So said Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, just after his panel zeroed F-22 production funds last July. Lewis and other critics repeatedly cite the $200 million figure.
As the chart shows, per-aircraft cost can be calculated in nine ways. None reaches the level of $200 million. The highest figure is $184 million, but it is attained by using inflated dollars and including nonrecurring costs such as development and military construction.
Critics frequently imply that $200 million is the Raptor’s “sticker price”–what it will cost to buy each new F-22 from this point forward. The chart shows that flyaway cost (excluding sunk costs and inflation) comes to $85 million per F-22-not much more than what would be spent for a new, but far less capable, F-15E.
—Robert S. Dudney
|Clinton Doctrine? What Clinton Doctrine
In the wake of the successful NATO operation to oust the troops of Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic from Kosovo, President Clinton earlier this year proclaimed a new emphasis on humanitarian intervention that some experts labeled the “Clinton Doctrine.”
“Whether you live in Africa, or Central Europe, or any other place, if somebody comes after innocent civilians and tries to kill them en masse because of their race, their ethnic background, or their religion, and it’s within our power to stop it, we will stop it,” Clinton said at the time.
Then came East Timor. After Indonesianbacked paramilitaries began rounding up and killing civilians in their restive province after it voted for independence, the Administration suddenly changed its mind.
The US would support a multinational intervention, said US officials. But only a small number of US troops would actually take part. The world is a messy place after all, and the US can’t intervene everywhere, said Clinton’s National Security Advisor Sandy Berger.
“You know, my daughter has a very messy apartment up in college,” Berger said on Sept. 8. “Maybe I shouldn’t intervene to have that cleaned up.
“I don’t think anybody ever articulated a doctrine which said that we ought to intervene wherever there’s a humanitarian problem. That’s not a doctrine, that’s just a kind of prescription for America to be all over the world and ineffective,” Berger continued.
Berger later apologized for comparing his daughter’s housekeeping to the slaughter of innocents in a long-troubled part of the world.
|Survey Shows NATO Close on Serb Damage Estimates
NATO did a fairly good job of estimating the amount of damage it inflicted on Serb forces in Yugoslavia, but the alliance never used a running count of Serb equipment destroyed as a measure of its success, according to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, US Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark.
Clark briefed reporters in Brussels Sept. 16 on the results of an exhaustive survey intended to determine just how effective NATO was in striking Serb forces in Kosovo and southern Serbia during Operation Allied Force. He said NATO aircraft destroyed 93 tanks, 153 Armored Personnel Carriers, 339 military vehicles, and 389 pieces of artillery or mortars.
The figures are “actually pretty close” to those NATO was quoting toward the end of the bombing campaign, Clark asserted. (See chart.)
An assessment team, led by USAF Brig. Gen. John D.W. Corley, looked at pilot reports, gun camera footage, satellite and aircraft surveillance imagery, and eyewitness accounts, and some 35 experts made a direct, on-the-ground examination of 429 bombing sites in Kosovo.
Corley attributed the discrepancies in numbers to several causes: multiple hits on the same targets, hits on Serb decoys, relocation or covering of damaged vehicles, and an “exceptionally conservative” approach to the tally, which imposed “extremely rigorous” standards “to validate a successful strike.” Some hardware probably destroyed by NATO aircraft was not included in the count because it could not be satisfactorily confirmed as destroyed, he said.
Only those items that could be positively deemed “totally destroyed, nonsalvageable” were counted, Corley said.
This survey is based on data from an on-going 12-month Air Force effort to systematically understand the air campaign’s effects and glean useful lessons for future operations. The survey also fed into the Pentagon’s quick-look lessons-learned effort, but Clark’s briefing was spurred in large part by press reports questioning NATO’s vehicle-damage figures, given the relatively few hulks found in Kosovo after Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic capitulated. The reports also quoted Serb leaders claiming a vastly smaller number of vehicles destroyed than NATO figures suggested.
NATO destroyed about a third of Serbia’s 350 or so tanks, more than a third of its 430 to 450 APCs, and more than half of its 750 mortar and artillery pieces, according to Clark. He said he had “no way of knowing” what Serb casualties were. In monitoring the withdrawl of Serb forces from Kosovo, Clark said NATO has noted that “they’re missing a good deal of their equipment.”
In some cases, NATO pilots deliberately attacked known decoy sites so they could not be used for subsequent Serb “ambush traps,” Corley noted.
There was clear evidence that the Serbs had cleaned up the battlefield, and Corley said this was part of an effort on their part to make NATO’s strike planning and assessment job tougher. Scars on the ground found at many bombing sites indicated that very heavy objects had been dragged away and removed from the scene. Witness reports showed some damaged vehicles were covered with tarps. Some new pieces were brought in during the conflict, making the counting job harder still.
Col. Ed Boyle, who planned and coordinated the airstrikes at the Combined Air Operations Center in Vicenza, Italy, also explained that, because Serb military vehicles were often intermingled with civilian ones, and because the weather was bad about half the time, the Serbs “did have periods during this entire campaign when they could freely move around the battlefield, move equipment, and reposition it.”
Despite having what Corley described as “the most robust intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability seen in any conflict to date,” the battlefield could not be monitored nonstop.
Boyle noted that “it was not a perfect world out there, where we could see the battlefield 24 hours a day and be able to prevent them from moving equipment.”
Clark said the NATO strategy was two-pronged. One part was a “strategic attack line operating against Serb air defenses, command and control, [army troops and militias], their sustaining infrastructure, and supply routes and resources.” The other was a “tactical line of operation against the Serb forces deployed in Kosovo and in southern Serbia, … who were doing the ethnic cleansing.”
t was imperative that this latter target set get priority, Clark asserted, since ethnic cleansing was the principal motivator of NATO’s intervention in the first place. However, it was necessary to pursue “both lines of operation to be successful,” he said.
Clark added that the operation was a success.
“The conflict ended on NATO’s terms. Serb forces are out, NATO forces are in, the refugees are home, a cease-fire is in place. So in that sense, we succeeded in this conflict,” he said.
Clark conceded that the tank-plinking effort was an “extremely controversial part of the campaign,” but that, “from the very beginning, we said we didn’t believe in battle damage bean-counting as a way of measuring the effects of airpower.”
Wholesale destruction of the Serb army was not necessarily a goal of the tactical effort, Clark said. Rather, “what we had been successful in doing was keeping it in hiding, under wraps, ineffective. …What we found was that the Serb use of heavy equipment was quite constrained as a result of the airpower.”
The measure of success in the tactical effort is clear, Clark asserted. “We destroyed and struck enough,” along with more strategic targets, to get Milosevic to accept NATO’s terms.
Clark also asserted, without offering evidence, that another factor influencing Milosevic’s decision to capitulate was that “he had ample evidence to conclude that, had he not conceded when he did, the next step would have been the long-awaited and much-talked-about NATO ground effort.”
-John A. Tirpak
|Marines “Can’t Take Care of the Air Force”
The Air Force believes other US services need to take on some additional operational duties while USAF reconstitutes from the war in Kosovo, but a senior Marine had a response: No.
The Air Force’s Chief of Staff, Gen. Michael E. Ryan, recently argued the USAF case in front of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but the Marines say their own workload is so heavy that they can’t help out.
“I don’t think the Marine Corps right now can take care of the Air Force,” said Marine Lt. Gen. Frederick McCorkle, deputy chief of staff for aviation, on Sept. 9. “We’ve got our own problems.”
Many Marine air units are overworked, said McCorkle. Radar-jamming EA-6B Prowlers have been in heavy demand, for instance. During Operation Allied Force 17 of 20 Marine EA-6Bs were deployed.
|Defense Experts Oppose Test Ban Treaty
Fifty-two former cabinet officers, defense officials, military leaders, and lawmakers urged the Senate on Sept. 9 to reject appeals to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which President Clinton signed in 1996. In alphabetical order:
|When an Order Isn’t an Order
The three-star British general in charge of NATO forces in Kosovo refused to follow an order from his American superior, NATO supreme commander, four-star US Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark, to block Russian troops from taking over an airfield in June.
Gen. Sir Michael Jackson said he would not do it because “it’s not worth starting World War III,” according to an account related by Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton to Congress on Sept. 9.
The British officer successfully appealed to his own national chain of command, including top British government officials, to overturn Clark’s order.
In NATO, such an appeal-known as “using a red card”-is not unknown. Alliance procedures allow for a subordinate to ask his own commander for permission to disobey a foreign officer.
The incident was “troubling,” admitted Shelton. Military discipline during tense operations can be a “matter of life and death,” he told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
- Air Force Link Plus-a new Internet Web site that allows users to tune in to a multimedia service news broadcast 24 hours a day-went on the air Sept. 13. The site features clips from Air Force television and radio news, as well as print features, and can be reached at http://www.af.mil/aflinkplus.
- A joint ArmyAir Force team beat teams from 14 other countries to win the International Military Sports Council pentathlon championship in Warsaw, Poland, recently. It was the first such triumph for the US in 15 years.
- The Air Force won three of four Department of Defense firefighter awards presented at the International Association of Firefighters convention in Kansas City, Mo., held Aug. 30Sept. 2. SrA. Delton J. Tills, Air Force Academy, Colo., was named Military Firefighter of the Year. Tetsuro Hayashi, assistant fire chief at Kadena AB, Japan, was named Civilian Firefighter of the Year. And the 314th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department, Little Rock AFB, Ark., was named Fire and Emergency Services Department of the Year.
- The F-22’s Block 1.1 avionics suite was turned on for the first time Aug. 31. The suite, installed in Raptor 4004, is intended to integrate all radar, electronic warfare, and identification sensor data, among other things, in a manner that makes the resulting fused information easy for pilots to understand.
- An F-16D assigned to the 56th Fighter Wing, Luke AFB, Ariz., crashed while landing at about 11:26 p.m. on Sept. 20. The pilot, Maj. Sharon J. Preszler, ejected safely.
- The Air Force’s men’s softball team won its third consecutive Armed Forces Men’s Softball Championship title at a tournament played Aug. 2527 at Foster Stadium, Eglin AFB, Fla. The Air Force men scored 159 runs en route to the trophy.
- The Fiscal 2000 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve line and health professions lieutenant colonel selection board released on Sept. 1 a list of 827 majors picked for promotion, out of a candidate group of 1,435 majors. The list of promoted officers is available online at http://www.arpc.org.
- A failed self-locking mounting bolt caused an AIM-120 missile and launching rail to fall off an F-16 from Misawa AB, Japan, on an April 10 training run, according to an accident report released Aug. 30. A lack of guidance about how often the bolts should be checked contributed to the incident, concluded the report.
- The 17th Training Group, Goodfellow AFB, Texas, recently won the National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation Award. The honor is the highest military unit-level intelligence trophy in the Department of Defense.
- The Weapons School Adversary Support building at Nellis AFB, Nev., was dedicated to the late Col. John R. Boyd in a Sept. 17 ceremony. Boyd was a former Fighter Weapons School instructor who retired from the service in 1975 and died two years ago after a long bout with cancer. He was renowned for his elaboration of the “OODA Loop”–Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act-a concept for anticipating and crippling an enemy in a fast-paced battle.
- The Department of Defense has given the Navy the go-ahead to establish a new EA-6B Prowler squadron at NAS Whidbey Island, Wash. The radar-jamming Prowlers were in great demand during the Kosovo air war, and enlargement of the force is seen as one way to ease future demand. The move adds aircrews, not airframes-there are 123 EA-6Bs in the Navy and Marine Corps inventory, and the production line has been shut down for some time.
- Recruiter SSgt. Azzaam Rahmaan has hit the century mark-100 enlistees in less than a year. The 341st Recruiting Squadron member is the first Air Force recruiter to enter the “Century Club” since 1989.
- Two airmen from Fairchild AFB, Wash., helped save the life of a woman trapped in a burning car Sept. 1. Capt. Steven Clark, a 92nd Aerial Refueling Squadron flight surgeon, and SSgt. Robert Jones, a 92nd Security Forces Squadron Reserve augmentee, came to the woman’s aid after her car was rear-ended by a pickup truck. Smashing the car’s windshield, they pulled her to safety across the hood while the auto was enveloped in flames.
- MSgt. Mark E. Gibson, an instructor at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks AFB, Texas, received one month’s confinement, reduction in rank to basic airman, and a bad conduct discharge after pleading guilty to violations of military law during a Sept. 16 court-martial. Gibson’s offenses were having sexual relations with two trainees and lying to Air Force investigators about a separate incident.
- Capts. Clifford Rich and Brett Machovina, pilots from the 37th Helicopter Flight, F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., plucked an injured rock climber from mountainous terrain near Navajo Peak, Colo., in a daring August rescue. The crew balanced their UH-1N on a rock outcropping at about 11,300 feet, then inched out of the box canyon for the unit’s 775th overall save.