F-22s Replace F-35s at Kadena
F-22s deployed to Kadena AB, Japan, this week to replace a group of F-35As that had deployed to the base last year. The F-22s and airmen from the 525th Fighter Squadron at JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, are at the base for US Indo-Pacific Command’s theater security package, which began in 2004 as a “routine and integral” part of the command’s force posture, according to a Pacific Air Forces release. The last F-22 deployment to the base took place in 2014. F-35s deployed to Kadena from Hill AFB, Utah, in November to train with other USAF and regional allied aircraft. —Brian Everstine
KC-135 Makes Emergency Landing After Possible Lightning Strike
A 128th Air Refueling Wing a KC-135 Stratotanker based at General Mitchell ANGB, Wis., returned to Milwaukee on Wednesday after experiencing a possible lightning strike, the wing confirmed on Thursday. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Wednesday reported the emergency landing at Mitchell International Airport, which shares a runway with the wing, saying the airplane blew out two tires in a landing accompanied by thick smoke, keeping the airplane stranded on the runway for more than an hour. Col. Jim Locke, 128th Air Refueling Wing commander, said in a statement to Air Force Magazine that the crew safely landed and left the aircraft. The wing sent a team to tow the aircraft off the runway. The statement said an investigation of the incident would begin. —Steve Hirsch
New Active Duty Special Operations MQ-9 Squadron Planned for Hurlburt
Air Force Special Operations Command will stand up a new MQ-9 mission control element squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Currently, active duty AFSOC MQ-9 personnel have only been stationed at Cannon AFB, N.M. The move will include about 60 more personnel at the Florida base, though no aircraft will be based there. The base is also already home to the Reserve’s 2nd Special Operations Squadron. The move comes as the Air Force is increasing both the number of MQ-9 aircraft and the amount of operating locations. “Establishing this squadron at Hurlburt Field provides this MQ-9 community with a second assignment option, which will result in increased retention and career growth opportunities while enhancing operations,” AFSOC spokeswoman Capt. Amanda Farr said in an email to Air Force Magazine. —Steve Hirsch
US-Led Coalition Discloses Additional Civilian Casualties
Syria Threatens US Presence Within Its Borders, Pentagon Urges Focus on ISIS
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday warned US troops to leave his country or face military action, while Pentagon officials responded by urging Assad’s enablers, Russia and Iran, to exert pressure on that regime. Assad, speaking to Russian state media RT, said the US and its allies will be forced to leave if they do not go on their own. Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said during a Thursday briefing that the US is only in Syria to face ISIS, and the US is calling on Russia and Iran “to make sure Syria lives up to its commitments.” While not directly challenging Assad, the Pentagon urged other actors to let the US and its allies continue its mission of targeting ISIS because “attacking US forces would be a bad policy,” USMC Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the director of the Joint Staff, said during the briefing. The Pentagon avoided putting a timeline on operations, but said US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have made progress on the east side of the Euphrates River targeting remnants of ISIS in that area. —Brian Everstine
—Donald H. Peterson Sr., a USAF veteran and astronaut who flew on the first voyage of the Challenger space shuttle and completed a spacewalk, died May 27 in El Lago, Texas. He was 84: The Washington Post.
—The Pentagon needs to improve its guidance and formalize a quality review process for proposals for the $4.1 billion it has allocated for its Global Train and Equip program, the Government Accountability Office says in a new report: GAO.
—The Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability System is nearing flight tests, currently scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year: Defense Daily.
—Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson recently recognized nine airmen with the Air Force Leadership Award, for exceptional Air University students, faculty, and staff: Maxwell AFB release.
—Tests on a well near a Michigan Air National Guard training center found that it doesn’t have dangerous chemical contaminants, the latest in a series of reports of chemicals near USAF facilities: Associated Press.