Retired Army Col. Ralph Puckett waited more than 70 years to receive the nation's highest award for combat valor. And when he got word that he'd be presented with the Medal of Honor, he questioned why the White House would go to all the trouble of presenting it to him. "I understand that your first response to us hosting this event was to ask 'why all the fuss ... can't they just mail it to me?'" President Joe Biden quipped at Friday's presentation ceremony. "I'm incredibly proud to give Col. Ralph Puckett's acts of valor the full recognition they have always deserved.’”
Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, Veterans Affairs officials are lifting all restrictions on visitors to veterans cemeteries across the country provided that they have been vaccinated against coronavirus. That means no masks, no social distancing, and no limits on group size at any of the 155 national cemeteries, starting May 26. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are expected to continue wearing masks and avoiding crowds, in keeping with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Officials developing the trinational Future Combat Air System program are considering multiple combinations of sixth-generation fighter and remote carrier designs, with the intent to settle on a prototype for each in the next three years. As the first part of the first phase of the FCAS program wraps up by the end of 2021, France, Germany, and Spain are weighing three designs for the next-generation fighter prototype and six variations of remote carrier systems, French defense officials told reporters at a May 20 press conference.
After 20 years of constant deployment as a key element of U.S. military response around the globe, special operations forces are at an inflection point. There are fewer commandos deployed, spending less time downrange that at any point in years. Yet the force continues to be plagued by incidents like the December slaying of a Delta Force NCO at Fort Bragg. And with President Joe Biden ordering all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the question becomes: What now for special operations forces in an era of increasing tension with China and Russia?
The Senate Armed Services Committee plans to hold a joint confirmation hearing May 25 to vet President Joe Biden’s nominees for Air Force Secretary and two other key Pentagon posts. Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s former acquisition boss who also spent time in industry, is up for the Secretary job overseeing the Air Force and Space Force. Heidi Shyu, previously the Army’s top acquisition official and a Raytheon alum, is under consideration to become undersecretary of defense for research and engineering. And Susanna Blume, who ran the Center for a New American Security’s defense program, is nominated to direct the Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office.
The Colorado Air National Guard’s 138th Space Control Squadron will host a groundbreaking ceremony for its Space Control Building at Peterson Air Force Base on May 25. The facility will be the “foundation of Colorado’s offensive space control capability,” incorporating training, planning, and maintenance for one of the military’s only deployable space squadrons, officials said.
The U.S. Air Force has elevated an investigation into a former Space Force commander who was fired for comments made during a podcast promoting his new book, which claims Marxist ideologies are becoming prevalent in the United States military. A command-directed investigation into Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier, who last week was fired as commander of 11th Space Warning Squadron at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, will now be investigated by the Air Force Inspector General, officials announced May 20.
The industry consortium devising a satellite network to keep the European Union from falling too far behind the megaconstellation gold rush is weeks away from nailing down key criteria. The group has already made initial proposals on elements including frequency and orbital characteristics, according to Dominic Hayes, frequency manager for the EU space program at the European Commission’s Defence Industry and Space department.
Jeff Bezos' commercial spaceflight company recently sent dinosaur bones into space to support its nonprofit's Dream Big Alabama initiative and the Huntsville Science Festival. The fossil fragments, each 65 to 70 million years old, lifted off in April on the 15th and last test flight before Blue Origin plans to start flying people aboard its New Shepard suborbital launch vehicle.