End of the Line

Barring something unforeseen, the Air Force has ordered its last F-22s. On Oct. 29, the service let a $474 million contract to Lockheed Martin for the four F-22s that will constitute Lot 10 production and complete the program of record...

Another Minot Shakeup

Col. Joel Westa was relieved of command of the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB, N.D., on Oct. 30, becoming the second nuclear wing commander in less than three weeks to be sacked at the North Dakota base. Maj. Gen. Floyd Carpenter, commander of 8th Air Force, the 5th BW’s parent organization, removed Westa, who had led the wing since November 2007. Col. Douglas Cox, former vice commander of the 36th Wing at Andersen AFB, Guam, will take over the wing, which operates nuclear-capable B-52 bombers. According to an 8th AF release, Westa was not accused of misconduct. Rather, it cites a loss of confidence in his ability to command based on his “inability to foster a culture of excellence” and “lack of focus” as well as the wing’s “substandard performance” during nuclear surety inspections. (For more, read the Minot Daily News’ Oct. 31 report.)

Dropping In

Nine Pacific air chiefs visited Air Mobility Command headquarters at Scott AFB, Ill., on Oct. 28 as part of a multi-stop tour of Air Force installations. Gen. Gary North, Pacific Air Forces boss, escorted the group, which comprised the air...

Nuclear Word Smiths

During a senior leadership meeting in October, Air Force Global Strike Command officials crafted the mission statement and vision for the new organization, which will oversee the nation’s ICBMs and nuclear-capable bombers. The command’s mission is to: “Develop and provide...

Help Wanted for New Gig

The Air Force seeks airmen to participate in the new “Afghanistan Pakistan Hands Program,” a counterinsurgency initiative established by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen to create greater continuity, focus, and persistent engagement across the battlefield...

Done Deal

The US and Colombia on Oct. 30 signed the new bilateral defense cooperation agreement that grants the US access to at least seven Colombian military bases, including three air force installations, from which to mount counter-narcotics and counter-terrorist surveillance activities...

New Tanker Sighting

The second of Australia’s new A330-based tankers touched down at Dover AFB, Del., on Oct. 29 for a stopover during its long journey from Australia to Spain, where it will undergo military certification testing. This aircraft stopped the previous day...

New Radar for Ellsworth

Airmen assigned to Ellsworth AFB, S.D., along with some contractors, recently completed the installation of a state-of-the-art digital airport surveillance radar system that will allow air controllers in the base’s Dakota Air Traffic Control Facility to control more airspace in...

C-37A Unit Recognized

The 310th Airlift Squadron at MacDill AFB, Fla., in October received world-wide recognition when Gulfstream Aerospace named it one of the inaugural winners of the Gulfstream Outstanding Flight Award, presenting it with the Alber-Rowley Trophy. “It was an amazing feat...

CV-22 Gets Training Boost

The Boeing-Bell Helicopter team building the V-22 tiltrotor aircraft has received a contract to upgrade the training system for Air Force Special Operations Command’s CV-22 tiltrotor aircraft. In a release Oct. 30, Boeing said this work entails adding an aircrew...

Air Sorties in SWA 10-26-09

Air Sorties in Southwest Asia, Oct. 26, 2009 Sortie Type OIF OEF OIF/OEF Total YTD ISR 28 28 56 13,824 CAS/Armed Recon 24 74 98 29,106 Airlift 150 150 39,985 Air refueling 41 41 14,356 Total 345 97,271 OIF=Operation Iraqi...