Missing F-16 Pilot’s Body Recovered

An Italian vessel on the Adriatic Sea on Thursday recovered the body of F-16 pilot Capt. Lucas Gruenther, announced officials at Aviano AB, Italy. Gruenther had been missing since Monday when contact was lost with his F-16 during a nighttime...

Hagel Defends His Record

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska—President Obama's nominee to be the next Defense Secretary—addressed his critics' concerns about his views on America's nuclear arsenal, Iran, and Israel during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. SASC Ranking Member Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) were among his toughest critics. "Though I respect Senator Hagel, his record to date demonstrates that he would be a staunch advocate for the continuation of the misguided policies of President Obama’s first term. Retreating from America’s unique global leadership role and shrinking the military will not make Americans safer," said Inhofe in his opening remarks. He called Hagel "the wrong person to lead the Pentagon at this perilous and consequential time." Hagel struck back, saying: "No one individual vote, no one individual quote, no one individual statement defines me, my beliefs, or my record." He added, "My overall world view has never changed, that America has and must maintain the strongest military in the world, that we must lead in the international community to confront threats and challenges together, and take advantage of opportunities together, and that we must use all our tools of American power to protect our citizens and our interests." (Hagel's responses to advance policy questions)

Senators Press Hagel on Nuclear Views

During Thursday's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on former Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination to be the next Defense Secretary, senators from both sides of the political aisle scrutinized Hagel's endorsement of the Global Zero Commission report that last year called for slashing nuclear weapons stockpiles. SASC Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) questioned whether now was the right time to unilaterally disarm in light of recent aggressive acts by North Korea, like its long-range missile test. Hagel countered, saying neither Global Zero's position, nor his own, has ever been for unilateral disarmament, but rather for acting only in concert with other nations. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) pointed out that the Global Zero report "refers to itself as a dyad, not a triad report." He questioned the report's proposal to eliminate "the 76 nuclear B-52 bombers entirely, leaving only 18 B-2 bombers [and] reducing nuclear submarines from 14 to 10" as well as "eliminating all tactical nuclear weapons, [and] de-alerting all weapons." Hagel responded that the report "didn't propose or call for anything," but rather was "illustrative—proposing nothing, but laying out different scenarios and schedules." He said he is "committed to maintain a modern, strong, safe, ready, and effective nuclear arsenal" and to "modernizing our nuclear arsenal." (Hagel's responses to advance policy questions) (For more on the Global Zero Commission report, see Zero Deterrent from Air Force Magazine's 2012 archive.)

Hagel’s View on Iran

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday that, if confirmed as Defense Secretary, he remains "fully committed" to "preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon." The Nebraska Republican said he "agreed with multilateral sanctions against Iran," because he believes they "have an effect." However, he acknowledged that he made past decisions on unilateral sanctions against Iran on a "case-by-case" basis. Hagel stumbled at one point during the hearing, saying he supported a "containment" policy against Iran, but later offered a correction: "I misspoke and said I supported the President's position on containment. If I said that, I meant to say we don't have a position on containment." Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) asked if Hagel believed "all options should be on the table when we confront Iran," to which Hagel responded, "absolutely." Hagel also reiterated his belief that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. (Hagel's responses to advance policy questions)

Special Tactics Airmen Honored for Valor

Eight special tactics airmen last month received the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device during ceremonies in Portland, Ore., and at JB Lewis-McChord, Wash. On Jan. 23, Air Force Special Operations Command boss Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel and Oregon Air...

Spang Will Lose its Warthogs

The inactivation of the 81st Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, will proceed this year, affecting about 500 personnel who operate and maintain the unit’s A-10 ground-attack airplanes, announced base officials. This move is part of the Air Force force...

Holloman F-22s Return from Middle East

A contingent of F-22s and more than 200 airmen arrived back at Holloman AFB, N.M., this week after a nine-month deployment to the Middle East, announced 49th Wing officials. Members of the base’s 7th Fighter Squadron and 49th Maintenance Group...

Air Force Academy Grad in Super Bowl

Air Force Reservist Capt. Chad Hall, a 2008 Air Force Academy graduate, will dress for the San Francisco 49ers for Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on Feb. 3, according to an academy release. The 26-year-old wide receiver, who lettered...

Editor’s Note

We’ve updated Wednesday’s entry on the retirement ceremony for Lt. Gen. Bud Wyatt, who stepped down on Jan. 29 as Air National Guard director, to include additional coverage of the event.