BMT Graduation at Keesler

Keesler AFB Graduates Proof-of-Concept BMT Flight

Nearly 60 Airmen from 37th Training Wing Detachment 5 graduated from Basic Military Training at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., on May 15, according to an 81st Training Wing release. The graduation marked the end of a six-week proof of concept that looked to show that bases other than Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, could host BMT if extenuating circumstances demanded it. “COVID-19 may be a defining moment, but it doesn’t define who you are as an Airman,” Air Education and Training Command boss Lt. Gen. Brad Webb said during the ceremony. “These last few weeks at Keesler Air Force Base have defined that.” All of the graduates will stay at Keesler to pursue technical training, the release stated. According to Air Education and Training Command spokesperson Jennifer Gonzalez, "officials are taking this week to evaluate BMT at Keesler and determine the way forward."
Attorney General William Barr

FBI: NAS Pensacola Shooter Linked to al-Qaida

The Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation on May 18 said Royal Saudi Air Force 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani, who killed three U.S. Navy sailors and injured eight more Americans in a December 2019 attack at NAS Pensacola, Fla., had “significant ties” to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula dating back to before he came to the U.S. for training. The FBI was able to access iPhones belonging to Alshamrani, which the shooter had tried to destroy during the attack before he was shot and killed. The phones had “information previously unknown to us that definitively establishes Alshamrani’s significant ties to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula,” Attorney General William Barr said during a press conference.
Kunsan AB

USFK Lowers Health Protection Level as South Korea Makes Progress in COVID-19 Fight

U.S. Forces Korea is lowering its health protection condition effective May 20 for forces across the country, except for the greater Seoul area, as South Korea makes progress with its efforts to control the coronavirus outbreak. The command, in a May 18 release, said that based on the country’s “current COVID-19 conditions remaining favorable to their newly implemented social distancing and preventive measures,” the HPCON level will lower to “Bravo.” The direction includes both Osan and Kunsan air bases. This means troops will be allowed to sit in restaurants, go shopping, and conduct outdoor activities while maintaining social awareness and wearing a mask when needed. U.S. personnel are still restricted from visiting Seoul, which continues to see new cases.
Hurricane Hunters fly first mission of 2020 Atlantic Season

Hurricane Hunters Get Early Start on 2020 Season

The Hurricane Hunters got an early start to the 2020 Atlantic season, flying into Tropical Storm Arthur as it formed in the Atlantic on May 16. Arthur approached the Carolinas on May 18, making this the sixth consecutive year there has been a named storm in May, before the hurricane season officially starts on June 1. The Reserve 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron’s WC-130J flew into the storm as it approached the Bahamas, providing weather data to the National Hurricane Center to improve its forecast models, Lt. Col Anthony Wilmot, the squadron’s director of operations, said in a release.

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.

Thousands Defer Plans to Leave the Military During Crisis

The Associated Press

Across the military, uncertainty about future jobs or college opportunities is driving more service members to re-enlist or at least postpone their scheduled departures. As unemployment, layoffs and a historic economic downturn grip the nation, the military—with its job security, steady paycheck, and benefits—is looking much more appealing.

Veterans with COVID-19 Will Be Given Prostate Cancer Drug in Trial

Military.com

Researchers at the Veterans Affairs Department and University of California-Los Angeles are studying whether a chemotherapy drug for prostate cancer can help reduce the severity of COVID-19 in men. The VA announced last week that it will test degarelix, also known by its brand name Firmagon, in nearly 200 veterans hospitalized with the novel coronavirus at VA medical centers in Los Angeles, New York City, and the Puget Sound area of Washington state.

Canadian Air Force Officer Dies After Jet Crashes During Coronavirus Tribute

NBC News

A member of an elite Canadian air force squadron died May 17 after a jet crashed into a British Columbia home during a celebration for front-line workers in the coronavirus pandemic, authorities said. The Royal Canadian Air Force identified the deceased as Capt. Jenn Casey, a public affairs officer who joined the "Snowbirds" in 2018. Another team member, Capt. Richard MacDougall, was seriously injured.

OPINION: Setting Up the Space Force for Success

Forbes

"Space is crucial to modern American life whether viewed from an economic, information, or national security vantage," writes retired USAF Lt. Gen. David Deptula, dean of AFA's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. "Accordingly, it is crucial to ensure the new military service is aligned for success. This demands an honest assessment of its needs and key challenges, with full recognition that establishing the new Space Force as a separate service was just the first step of many that need to be taken."

Senators Ask Air Force to Not Terminate Partnerships with Space Launch Industry

Space News

Two senators from key committees have asked Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett to rethink plans to terminate existing partnerships with companies if they do not win a National Security Space Launch procurement contract. In a May 13 letter to Barrett, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) call on the Air Force to continue funding agreements signed with three launch companies in October 2018. The Air Force plans to terminate the agreements except those with companies that win a National Security Space Launch Phase 2 procurement contract.