Welsh Sworn in as Chief of Staff

Gen. Mark Welsh became the Air Force’s 20th Chief of Staff during a ceremony at JB Andrews, Md., on Aug. 10. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley swore in Welsh at 11:56 a.m. US East Coast time. “Today, being sworn in...

Airman Killed in Afghanistan

Maj. Walter D. Gray, 38, of Conyers, Ga., died Aug. 8 from injuries suffered during a suicide bomb attack in Kunar province, Afghanistan, announced the Pentagon. Gray was assigned to the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Carson, Colo....

McCain Eyes C-27Js to Fight Fires

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member, introduced legislation that would transfer 14 of the C-27J transports that the Air Force wants to divest to the US Forest Service for use as dedicated aerial firefighting assets. "The Forest Service needs to modernize its entire air tanker fleet," said McCain in a statement on S. 3441, the Wildfire Suppression Aircraft Transfer Act of 2012. "We have an opportunity to take the C-27J, an aircraft the Pentagon no longer wants, and give it to the Forest Service to enhance aircraft safety and lower existing maintenance costs," he added. Better that than to have discarded C-27Js "sit in an airplane boneyard," he said. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) are bill co-sponsors. Already some local southern California lawmakers are expressing support for the McCain bill, reported the Southwest Riverside News Network on Aug. 7. McCain introduced the bill on July 25. The Air Force leadership proposed divesting the C-27J fleet in Fiscal 2013 as part of cost-cutting measures in its budget submission for next fiscal year. Thus far, however, congressional defense overseers have not supported this move. (S. 3441 full text)

US, Russia Create Bomber Exchange Program

A delegation from Barksdale AFB, La., visited Engels Air Base in Saratov, Russia, establishing the foundation for a US-Russia long-range aviation bomber exchange program, announced Air Force Global Strike Command officials. “We’re going to fly B-52s to Russia and they’re...

Finally on the Fork

Members of the 69th Reconnaissance Group at Grand Forks AFB, N.D., launched one of their RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 40 remotely piloted aircraft from Grand Forks for the first time, representing another milestone in Global Hawk operations at the base....

Mountain Home Training Airspace Expanded

After more than seven years of work and planning, the Air Force expanded the aerial training range at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, to provide more realistic training for the base’s F-15Es and other aircraft. The Mountain Home Range Complex, as...

Clearly Understood Need for Interagency Cooperation

Under the Obama Administration, “there has been a sea-change” in the level of cooperation between the Pentagon and State Department, said Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs. State Secretary Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta—as well as...

Bomb Away

BF-3, an F-35B test aircraft, became the first F-35 strike fighter to release a weapon in flight, when it successfully deployed an inert 1,000-pound bomb over the Atlantic Ocean during an Aug. 8 test from NAS Patuxent River, Md. “While...

Tweaking Tanker Turbines

The Air Force will upgrade the first 60 engines for the KC-135R tanker fleet with fuel-saving features next year, announced Air Mobility Command officials. Under the CFM propulsion upgrade program, the Air Force will have the KC-135’s CFM56-2 (F108) engines...

Thinking Beyond the Fence

Air Force Reserve Command has adopted a new initiative aimed at building a better relationship between mission support group commanders at its installations and local city leaders. Known as “MSG as City Managers,” the initiative’s goal “is to change the...

Galactic Project’s Final Touch

The West Virginia Air National Guard’s 167th Airlift Wing at Martinsburg ANG Base completed the last phase of a five-year infrastructure project to support its transition to the C-5 Galaxy transport, according to wing officials. Extending the base’s taxiway alpha...