041020 Aviano

Aviano Airmen Stay Mission Ready in a COVID-19 Hot Spot

Aviano Air Base is situated in the northeast of Italy, not far from what was the global hotspot of the new coronavirus outbreak. However, as the virus spread through the region, Aviano’s Airmen and aircraft have been able to fly as much as normal, if not more, through a realignment of their training priorities, increased social distancing, and finding new ways to be flexible. “We’re taking really, really careful precautions to ensure the safety of all of our members and their families. But it can’t be understated how important it is that we’re still projecting airpower,” said Capt. Claire Bieber, an F-16 pilot with the 510th Fighter Squadron.
AETC Command Team visits Sheppard AFB

AETC Commander on Stop-Loss: We’re Not There Yet

While the COVID-19 pandemic has set back BMT shipping rates, Air Education and Training Command boss Lt. Gen. Brad Webb said an Air Force stop-loss order isn’t on the table yet. “Our assessment is that we don't have to take other measures, such as stop-loss, which of course has been ... discussed inside of Washington. We're not at that point yet,” he said. The Air Force has significantly reduced the BMT class size, from about 700 trainees to just 460. "We had a little bit of a cache that you would always expect of a training pipeline ..., but we're going to eat into that the longer this continues," Webb said.
Air National Guard COVID-19 Response

Illinois Guard C-130s Deliver Isolation Pods for Coronavirus Response

The Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Airlift Wing was recently called to serve on short notice to bring in high-demand COVID-19 treatment devices for hard-hit Chicago. On April 8, two C-130Hs and 14 Airmen ferried 250 isolation pods, a total of 13,500 pounds of cargo, from the manufacturer in Eugene, Ore., to Chicago’s Midway International Airport, to be used at the McCormick Place alternative care center in Chicago. “[This mission] flows into the Air Force core values and why we put on the uniform every day, and why we do what we do,” said Maj. Brian Rezac, the aircraft commander for one of the C-130s and the chief of safety for the 182nd Airlift Wing. “It is to help others.”
Coast Guard escorts USNS Comfort into New York Harbor

DOD Could Move Medical Personnel as NY Demand Changes

The Defense Department may move its medical personnel from the New York area to other facilities or parts of the country that are hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic because of lower-than-expected demand. DOD has provided military employees to 11 civilian hospitals around New York City, as well as on the USNS Comfort hospital ship docked nearby, and at the city’s Javits Center. They intended to treat trauma and emergency care patients that hospital staffs could not handle at the same time as coronavirus patients, as well as lighten the load of people suffering from the COVID-19 illness. But as the Javits and Comfort locations see fewer patients than projected, and medical needs ramp up in places like New Orleans, Detroit, and Texas, the military could shift its expertise elsewhere. It is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on those decisions.
EFMP graphic

Exceptional Family Member Program Launching Online Portal for Travel Screening

On April 15, the Air Force Exceptional Family Member Program will launch a web portal to let participating families start, track, and request updates on their Family Member Travel Screening packages from the comfort of their homes, according to an April 8 release from the Air Force Surgeon General. According to the release, USAF is also working to ensure EFMP families can get the medical clearances they need to PCS as planned once military travel goes back to normal.

Radar Sweep

Snapshot: DOD and COVID-19

Air Force Magazine

Here's a look at how the Defense Department is being impacted by and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commercial Aircraft Industry’s Woes Could Help Air Force Pilot Retention

Air Force Times

It’s too early to know how the new coronavirus pandemic could impact ongoing Air Force efforts to decrease the pilot shortage, the head of Air Education and Training Command said April 10. “Well, it’s not helping,” said AETC Commander Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, who acknowledged that the service’s undergraduate pilot training capacity has been reduced due to the spread of COVID-19.

USAF Band of Flight Working Hard at Home, Still Reaching Public

Dayton Daily News

“We’re looking at ways to keep connected to our local community and support the mission of our Public Affairs teams,” said Tech. Sgt. Kelcey McDonald, non-commissioned officer in charge of productions with the Air Force Band of Flight. “We’re currently working on three different campaigns all of which are of band members working from home.”

New Virtualization Capability to Support Space Force

National Defense Magazine

An Atlanta-based company has established a new virtualization ecosystem that can support and test technologies for the Space Force and other commercial service providers. Envistacom believes its new Transport Virtualization Ecosystem can streamline the Space Force’s vision to develop satellite communication technologies without lengthy development cycles, a company executive said.

General Atomics Opens Satellite Factory in Colorado

Space News

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems, based in San Diego, Calif., has opened a spacecraft development, integration, and test factory in Centennial, Colo., the company announced April 9. A longtime defense contractor, General Atomics in recent years has expanded its space business after acquiring two small satellite manufacturers.

One More Thing

Report Released on French Rafale Passenger’s Accidental Ejection Reveals Both Human and Technical Failures

The Aviationist

You may recall an unusual incident from Mar. 20, 2019, when a civilian passenger riding in a two-seat Armée de l’Air Dassault Rafale ejected from the aircraft while the pilot flying remained at the controls, despite his canopy being jettisoned, and managed to make an emergency landing. The report from the incident has just been released by French officials, and it makes for bizarre reading.