USAF Expanding Chemical Warfare Training in Pacific
CMSAF Kaleth Wright wants bases in the Far East to resurface training protocols for airmen to be prepared for chemical warfare. The training, which Wright says has atrophied over the years, is aimed at preparing more airmen for potential deployment to the Korean Peninsula in the face of potential war in the region, Wright told Air Force Magazine in a Sept. 14 interview at the Pentagon. North Korea launched its second ballistic missile over northern Japan that same day. The missile flew about 2,300 miles, which also is roughly the same distance from North Korea to Guam. North Korea has the world’s second largest chemical weapons stockpile and US Forces Korea officials have long believed any potential conflict with the North would involve chemical weapons. Read the full story from Gideon Grudo.
Trump Salutes Air Force 70th, Calls for End of Sequester
President Donald Trump offered 70th birthday greetings and praise to the Air Force on Friday, saying the Air Force is the “most technologically advanced fighting force on the planet” and pledging to help it remain that way through targeted funding. Speaking at JB Andrews, Md., at a joint-service air show, Trump asserted that his administration has added $20 billion to the defense budget, “and we’re going to be doing much more than that.” He said cuts to the Air Force over 26 years, and halving of its fighter squadrons—even as the service has been in combat every one of those years—is “terrible” and promised his efforts to “end the defense sequester once and for all.” Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.
Mattis Forms Panel to Look at Transgender Ban Implementation
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has ordered the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Deputy Secretary of Defense to convene a panel to determine how to implement the White House’s directive to bar transgender individuals from serving. The panel has until Feb. 21, 2018, to submit its recommendations on how President Trump’s August directive would be carried out and be “consistent with military readiness.” The move means the Pentagon is operating under current policy until at least February, with transgender individuals still able to serve, re-enlist, and receive treatment, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Rob Manning told reporters on Friday. The Sept. 14 internal memo from Mattis was not released to the public, and is going to service Chiefs to be disseminated to service members, Manning said. The White House on Aug. 25 sent the Pentagon a presidential memorandum on “Military Service by Transgender Individuals,” with Mattis in turn ordering a “study and implementation plan.” The White House directive has an effective date of March 23, 2018. —Brian Everstine
Spotlight: SrA. Nicole A. Moore
SrA. Nicole A. Moore, an aerospace medical service technician with the 59th Medical Operations Squadron at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, is one of the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2017. Moore had a key role, as a mass casualty first responder, in US Air Forces Central Command’s largest transitional care ward. Her innovation and attention to detail led to the care ward extending its life support capability by 400 percent, saving the lives of 14 critically injured soldiers. As an Honor Guard member, she led 70 details across 3,400 miles that cultivated a positive Air Force image and honored over 2,000 families. She mentored her fellow airmen with their college enrollments. Finally, she was highlighted as the representative of a successful Air Force lifestyle in Futures Magazine, a DOD publication. Air Force Magazine has been shining the spotlight on each OAY in the days leading up to AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference, which starts Sept. 18 in National Harbor, Md. (Read about all 12 OAY.)
Space Studies Program Coming to Air Command and Staff College
Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) is making plans to roll out a new advanced space studies program within the next year, John Terino, chairman of the department of airpower at ACSC, told Air Force Magazine. The program, which has been in the works for the last two years, will be modeled on advanced studies programs, like the School for Advanced Nuclear Deterrence Studies at Kirtland AFB, N.M., and could be operational as early as the 2018 academic year, Terino said. Read the full story by Wilson Brissett.
B-52 Deploys to Europe for Training
A B-52 Stratofortress arrived at RAF Fairford, UK, this week to conduct flying training, joint and allied training, and theater integration. The bomber will participate in SERPENTEX, a French Air Command-led exercise focused on integrating air and land forces that also will involve JTAC-qualified personnel. In June, three B-52s joined two B-2 bombers and three B-1Bs at Fairford for the first simultaneous deployment of all three bombers to Europe.
The Air Force’s Hurricane Response
As the South was hit with two historic hurricanes within weeks, the Air Force faced a daunting mission of keeping its aircraft safe and helping with the massive relief effort. Air Force Magazine highlighted some of the most powerful photos of the Air Force’s hurricane relief efforts on our Flickr page. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
—Pacific Angel 17-2 is underway in Vietnam. During the bilateral humanitarian assistance effort, US and Vietnamese military personnel are working together to provide infrastructure improvements for schools, a health clinic, and community centers: Pacific Air Forces release.
—More than 200 US Central Command personnel are training with Egyptian forces during Bright Star 2017 at Mohamed Naguib Military Base. The 10-day exercise started on Sept. 10 and will focus on command-post and field-training scenarios. Bright Star was first held in 1981 but has been on hold since 2009: USAF release.
—The Defense Department has identified the remains of 2nd Lt. Donald Underwood, who was aboard an Army Air Forces bomber known as the “Miss Bee Haven” when it crashed in January 1944 just after takeoff from the Gilbert Islands. The bodies were recovered and buried in what is now the country of Kiribati: Associated Press.
—A painting by artist Michele Rushworth of retired Gen. Mark Welsh, the 20th Chief of Staff of the Air Force, was unveiled during a ceremony at the Pentagon on Sept. 14. The Air Force Association and the Air Force Sergeants Association worked with the Air Force? to commission the portrait and helped coordinate the logistics of the ceremony: USAF release.