Preparations Underway at Nellis for F-35 Aggressors
Nellis AFB, Nev., already is busy planning for the reactivation of the 65th Aggressor Squadron, even though it’s not slated to start receiving F-35 strike fighters until early 2022. “For the Adversary Tactics Group, this is a really big deal for us. Our mission set is to know, teach, and replicate the threat in air, space, and cyberspace. From my vantage point, we’re really good at knowing and teaching the threat, but we have some challenges in the replication area,” Col. Travolis Simmons, commander of the 57th ATG, told Air Force Magazine recently. “The F-35 is really going to assist in addressing some of those challenges.” The service will build a new hangar and add more sunshades for the F-35s, but Simmons said the existing ramp space should be sufficient. Read the full story by Amy McCullough.
Head of Air Force Warfare Center Relieved of Command
Maj. Gen. Peter Gersten, who has led the Air Force Warfare Center at Nellis AFB, Nev., since July 2017, was relieved of command on June 2 due to a “loss of confidence in his ability to command,” according to an Air Combat Command release. ACC boss Gen. Mike Holmes made the decision based on an “alleged unprofessional relationship,” according to the command. Gersten’s deputy, Brig. Gen. David Snoddy, has taken over command of the Warfare Center until Maj. Gen. Charles Corcoran, previously announced as the incoming head of the organization, takes command in July. “The Air Force holds leaders to high standards and expects them to uphold the core values of the service at all times,” an ACC spokeswoman told Air Force Magazine, noting there is an investigation ongoing and that further details won’t be released for now. Read the full story by Amy McCullough and John A. Tirpak.
Bunch: Boeing’s Recent Wins May Signal Change in Cost Estimating Methods
The Air Force may have to re-think the way it does cost estimating after Boeing’s big contract wins last year, which came in far below the service’s estimates, according to Gen. Arnold Bunch, head of Air Force Materiel Command. Just on the T-X and UH-1N Replacement projects, Boeing’s bids were nearly $12 billion lower than what USAF expected the work to cost, but Bunch wants to see if Boeing can actually perform to those numbers before changing the estimating system. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.
How Airpower Paved the Way for D-Day
On June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, in the biggest amphibious assault in world history, which was made possible in large part by airpower. Generalleutnant Adolf J. F. Galland, the “General of Fighters,” had lost half his available airplanes by March of that year, half of their survivors in April, and half of those that remained in May. That last month, 25 percent of his fighter pilots also perished, many of whom were veterans of combat over Spain, France, Britain, Greece, Iraq, the Western Desert, and Russia. By the time the first boot hit the sand at Normandy, the Allies owned the air above the beach, enabling the US Army Air Forces’ strategic and tactical air forces (and those of the Royal Air Force as well) to concentrate on pounding German positions and forces. On D-Day alone, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s airmen flew nearly 11,000 tactical air support sorties. Heavy and medium bombers hammered railheads, junctions, and bridges. Fighter-bombers forced Nazi troops and vehicles off roads, leading German Field Marshal Erwin J. E. Rommel to complain that “the enemy’s air superiority has a very grave effect on our movements. There’s simply no answer to it.” Read more by Richard P. Hallion from the Air Force Magazine archives in “Air Dominance from Normandy to the Bulge.”
World War II Triple Ace Bud Anderson in His Own Words
Retired Col. Clarence “Bud” Anderson, who was assigned to the 357th Fighter Group during World War II, was one of America’s top ace in the P-51 Mustang, scoring more than 16 kills and becoming a triple ace. Mustangs helped ensure allied air superiority from 1944 through the end of the war. Their mission evolved from simply escorting bomber missions into Germany to, in the words of Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, “killing the Luftwaffe,” by aggressively pursuing any aircraft in the skies, whether or not they were attacking bombers. The steady and disastrous attrition of the Luftwaffe opened up avenues for the Allies to press on into Germany on the ground, unhindered by German air attack. Anderson, 97, recently sat down for an extensive interview with Air Force Magazine, in which he discussed his early flight training, some of his flying experiences in Europe during the war, as well as his exploits in flight test and as a combat pilot in Vietnam. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak and watch a video by Mike Tsukamoto, which includes footage of the aircraft Anderson flew and actual gun-camera film from a four-on-four mission Anderson led against German BF-109Gs.
B-52 Arrives in European Theater for Astral Knight Exercise
A B-52 Stratofortress has entered European airspace on a mission to participate in the Astral Knight 2019 exercise at Aviano AB, Italy. The mission, scheduled to take off and land from Barksdale AFB, La., has been closely coordinated with allies and partners in the region. USAFE release
3 Space Challenges for the Intelligence Community
The White House’s nominee to lead the intelligence community’s space agency said he would rely on artificial intelligence and new partnerships with industry to better position the National Reconnaissance Office for the next generation of space threats. C4ISRNET
Lawmakers Want the Final Say on Air Force One Paint Job
A House panel has drafted legislation that would require congressional approval if Trump wants to change the Kennedy-era livery. Defense One
Planning for Next-Gen ICBM
Representatives of Northrop Grumman Corporation, one of two companies vying for a multi-billion dollar contract to provide the nation’s next intercontinental ballistic missile system, were in Minot on June 3 to continue their efforts to reach out to the Minot community. Minot Daily News
Wait Time for Burial at Arlington Can Be Nearly a Year: IG Report
Military families can wait up to 49 weeks for burials of loved ones at Arlington National Cemetery because of the high demand for graveside ceremonies and the increasing mortality rates of older veterans, according to a Pentagon Inspector General’s report. Military.com
Baghdad’s Green Zone Reopens to the Public After 16 Years
Baghdad’s Green Zone area, the heavily fortified strip on the west bank of the Tigris River, reopened to the public June 4 after 16 years—a move meant to portray increased confidence in the country’s overall security situation after years of war. Associated Press via Yahoo! News
US to Launch New Program to Fight Extremism in Philippines
US and Philippine officials on June 4 discussed a new program to thwart efforts by Muslim extremists to recruit and mobilize followers in the country’s south after a bloody siege by jihadists aligned with the Islamic State group. Associated Press via Military Times
One More Thing …
97-Year-Old WWII Veteran Parachutes to Mark D-Day Anniversary
A US veteran who parachuted into France during D-Day in 1944 defied his age on Wednesday as he recreated his courageous feat of 75 years ago as part of ceremonies to mark the famous landings. Agence France Presse via Military.com