No Damage Reported After Tonopah Earthquake

A powerful earthquake in the vicinity of Tonopah Test Range in Nevada did not cause any immediately apparent damage to the base or facilities on the nearby Nellis range complex, a Nellis Air Force Base spokesperson reported. Tonopah is where the Air Force maintains its fleet of stealthy F-117 attack jets in "flyable storage." The Air Force would not comment on whether the aircraft suffered any damage.
Checkered Flag 18-1

Eglin F-22 Crashes, Pilot Ejects

An F-22 from the 43rd Fighter Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., crashed the morning of May 15 just north of the base. The pilot safely ejected and was taken to the hospital for evaluation. The F-22, assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing, was flying a training sortie with Eglin’s 33rd Fighter Wing about 12 miles northeast of Eglin in the base’s test and training range when the pilot was forced to eject.
Space Force Flag

Space Force to Governors: Tell Us Why You Deserve to Host Space Command HQ

The Space Force is asking local leaders across the country to nominate themselves to host the headquarters of U.S. Space Command. With the Space Force established and headquartered in the Pentagon, the Air Force and Defense Department announced May 15—the same day it unveiled the new service’s flag in a White House ceremony—it has revised how it will establish the permanent location of U.S. Space Command. John Henderson, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, in a letter to the nation’s governors, called for “eligible communities to self-nominate to serve as the host for this critical mission.” States have until June 30, 2020, to nominate. Once the nominations are received, the Air Force will evaluate the options based on the previous criteria and the top scoring candidates will receive a site visit for additional research. The Air Force expects a final selection for the preferred headquarters in early 2021.

Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent Passes Preliminary Design Review

The Air Force's Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program has passed its preliminary design review, clearing the way for an award of the engineering and manufacturing development contract by the end of September. If all goes as planned, the new intercontinental ballistic missiles will be deployed to existing silos starting in the late 2020s and continue through most of the 2030s.
Lt. Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach

Wilsbach Nominated to Lead Pacific Air Forces

Lt. Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach has been nominated to take command of Pacific Air Forces, replacing Gen. C.Q. Brown who is the presumptive next Air Force chief of staff. President Donald Trump nominated Wilsbach, currently the commander of 7th Air Force and deputy commander of U.S. Forces-Korea, to lead the 46,000 airmen in PACAF, according to a release. Before his current job, Wilsbach was the commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command’s Alaskan region, commander Alaskan Command for U.S. Northern Command, and commander of 11th Air Force.
X-37B

X-37B Offers New Opportunity for Student Satellite Builders

The X-37B spaceplane launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on May 17, sending the U.S. Air Force Academy's largest batch of satellite experiments to date along for the ride. USAFA’s FalconSat program, run with the Air Force Research Laboratory and contractor Geneva Technologies, is a hands-on opportunity to design, build, test, launch, and operate small satellites for the Department of the Air Force while still in school. FalconSat-8, which will tag along on the X-37B for the first time, is carrying five experiments onboard. “Anytime we can find relationships that allow us to leverage rides that are already going up, we take advantage of that wherever we can,” Col. Luke Sauter, head of USAFA’s astronautics department, said May 14. “It's a win-win for both organizations.”
U-2 Pilot

U-2 Fleet Welcomes First Reservist Pilot

A Reservist has qualified to fly the U-2 spy plane for the first time in Air Force history, using a fast-track program that opens up new manning options for the intelligence enterprise, the 9th Reconnaissance Wing said May 13. Maj. Jeffrey Anderson joined the highly selective U-2 program while serving on Active-duty, then moved to the Air Force Reserve, the service said in a release. After flying Delta Airlines jets for two years, he returned to the military through an initiative known as the “commander-directed requalification program,” which allows pilots who have fallen behind on aircraft qualification for a short period of time, usually less than 36 months, to rejoin the force.

Virtual Events: 6th Annual Schriever Space Forum, and More

On Nov. 20, the Air Force Association's Schriever Chapter will host the 6th Annual Schriever Space Futures Forum—a live, virtual event—featuring appearances by Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John E. Hyten, Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. David D. Thompson, Space and Missile Systems Center Commander Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, and incoming U.S. Space Command boss Lt. Gen. (sel.) John E. Shaw. Register for free here.

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.

DOD Takes Lead Role in Trump's 'Operation Warp Speed' Vaccine Effort

Inside Defense

President Trump on May 15 launched a whole-of-government COVID-19 vaccine effort called "Operation Warp Speed" and said the Pentagon will have a major role to play. "When a vaccine is ready, the U.S. government will deploy every plane, truck, and Soldier required to help distribute it to the American people as quickly as possible," he said during a White House press conference alongside senior government officials.

Oversight of Veterans Homes to Be Probed after Virus Deaths

The Associated Press

A congressional watchdog agency has agreed to investigate the Veterans Affairs Department’s oversight of homes for aging veterans following a surge of coronavirus deaths at the state-run facilities. The Government Accountability Office said in a letter May 14 that it will conduct a review into the VA’s oversight of care at state veterans homes after a request by a group of Democratic U.S. senators.

Pentagon Keeping an Eye on Space Industry Bankruptcies but No Actions Planned Yet

Space News

The Pentagon does not plan to rescue companies in financial distress except in extreme circumstances, said Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics. The Defense Department would intervene if it were at risk of losing access to key supplies or if a U.S. company that develops technology of great value to the military were being targeted by foreign buyers, said Roper. Otherwise, “We simply cannot do stimulus for every company that is under duress right now.”

One More Thing

Conor Daly’s Car, Number for Indy 500 to Honor USAF

Indianapolis Star

Daly will be in the No. 47 car, in order to pay homage to the founding of the U.S. Air Force in 1947. It will be painted bright orange, a tribute to Chuck Yeager, the first pilot to break the sound barrier. The 104th Indianapolis 500 will be run on Aug. 23 after being rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.