The Air Force’s special tactics community is “fortunate” to have a famed member—TSgt. John Chapman, who was killed in the famous March 2002 Battle of Takur Ghar—up for the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest honor for valor in combat. USAF MSgt. Robert Gutierrez, who received the Air Force Cross for his own actions in a 2009 battle in Afghanistan, told reporters Wednesday that Chapman’s award consideration, which would be a first for the Air Force in the Global War on Terror, is “a huge deal for us.” Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
Air Force Cuts Attrition Rate for Special Operations Training
The Air Force has cut the attrition rate for its special operations training from 80 to 90 percent to about 70 percent, the superintendent of standards and evaluations for the Battlefie?ld Airmen Training Group at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, told Pentagon reporters Wednesday. Master Sgt. Robert Gutierrez made his comments shortly after the establishment of the Air Force’s first unit dedicated to recruiting air commandos under a model including a “BA prep course” after basic military training but before the typical battlefield airman training pipeline. “We’ve learned over the years how to train more efficiently, safely, and effectively at the same time,” Gutierrez told reporters, and the Air Force has been able to achieve the attrition drop through “innovation and change.” He pointed to the battlefield airmen prep course, which, he said, makes those coming from basic training “fitter, faster, stronger, and more mentally resilient.” —Steve Hirsch
Kadena Shifts Aircraft Ahead of Typhoon
Eighteen F-15s and eight F-22s evacuated Okinawa to Yokota AB, Japan, in advance of an approaching typhoon. The move was the first time all of Kadena’s F-15s moved to Yokota, a step to protect the aircraft from Typhoon Maria. Read the full story by Jennifer Hlad, who is reporting from Okinawa.
Trump Calls on NATO Nations to Double Spending Goal
President Trump on Wednesday called on NATO members to double their current goal of defense spending, up to 4 percent from two as he continued to criticize member nations during a summit in Brussels. “We’re protecting everybody. And yet we’re paying a lot of money to protect,” Trump said Wednesday. “Now, this has been going on for decades. This has been brought up by other presidents. But other presidents never did anything about it because I don’t think they understood it or they just didn’t want to get involved. But I have to bring it up, because I think it’s very unfair to our country. It’s very unfair to our taxpayer. And I think that these countries have to step it up not over a 10-year period: they have to step it up immediately.” In 2014, NATO member nations pledged to spend at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on their militaries by 2024. As Wednesday’s proceedings ended, Trump and other leaders signed a 79-point declaration to reaffirm the alliance. —Brian Everstine
Old USAF Hueys Maintain High Capability Rate in Japan
The UH-1N aircrew and maintainers at Yokota AB, Japan, are among the smallest contingent flying the aging helicopter in the Air Force, and as such are the last to update the helicopters. However, the airmen are able to maintain a high mission capable rate for the aircraft as they ferry VIPs and stand by for search and rescue missions. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
—US officials said the Trump administration is getting ready to review its Afghanistan strategy, a year after President Trump reluctantly agreed to continued involvement there: Reuters.
— Airborne Tactical Advantage Co., which trains Air Force aircrews and others in air operations has begun to take delivery of the world’s largest private Mirage F1 fleet, which it plans to upgrade to meet the training requirements for future Defense Department adversary air support contracts: ATAC release.
—The Air Force is finalizing a contract to repair fence at Lake Havasu Municipal Airport, Ariz., after an F-16 crashed during a training flight out of Luke AFB: Havasu News.
— Army Air Forces SSgt. John H. Canty was buried Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery. Canty, a member of the 555th Bombardment Squadron, 386th Bombardment Group, IX Bomber Command, was shot down while aboard a B-26 Marauder near Baron-sur-Odon, France, on June 22, 1944. His remains were recovered from the crash site and recently identified: Hartford Courant.