Tyndall Closes Its Gates to Displaced Residents as Rebuild Continues
Tyndall AFB, Fla., closed its gates to evacuated residents on Sunday as the base moves to another phase of recovery following Hurricane Michael’s destruction. The base opened its gates to residents last week, allowing them time to retrieve valuables and take pictures of damaged residences, but that access ended on Sunday. Col. Brian Laidlaw, commander of the 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall, said in a Saturday statement that “we still do not have the capacity to sustain any more than a minimal population on our base.” Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
DoD’s Space Force Plan Diverges from USAF Vision
Air War in Afghanistan Increases Pace as Anti-ISIS Fight Slows
US and coalition air operations in the anti-ISIS fight in Iraq and Syria have continued to slow, as the war in Afghanistan has increased to the point that strikes this year, as of the end of August, have already surpassed all of 2017. US aircraft in Afghanistan released 715 weapons in August, bringing the 2018 total to 4,429, with 5,047 total strike sorties so far this year. This compares to 4,603 sorties in all of 2017, with 4,361 bombs dropped, according to statistics released by Air Forces Central Command. AFCENT released August’s numbers on Sunday, and September’s totals have not yet been released. In Iraq and Syria, US and coalition aircraft dropped 241 weapons in all of August—the lowest monthly total since the air war began in 2014. So far this year, coalition aircraft have flown 10,728 strike sorties with 506 including at least one weapon release, according to AFCENT. —Brian Everstine
T-6 Oxygen Problems Continue as Fix Takes Shape
USAF officials are warning that the long-term fix to physiological problems plaguing the T-6 fleet will take some time, and while “proactive” steps are being taken, hypoxia-like incidents are continuing. Brig. Gen. Edward L. Vaughan, the leader of the Air Force Physiological Event Action Team, recently visited the 12th Flying Training Wing at JB San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, to meet with student pilots and maintainers on the issue, and said “while many proactive steps are already well underway, and others are coming in the next weeks, the process of procuring and fielding major hardware solutions will require some time,” according to a news release. During Vaughan’s visit, a T-6 pilot on a routine training flight experienced a physiological incident. The Air Force said it was “an opportunity” for the team to see first hand how the situation is handled. USAF Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, speaking Oct. 10 at a Senate Armed Services readiness subcommittee hearing, said the Air Force is confident that it has identified the right fix and it is a “priority” for leadership. —Brian Everstine
Resolute Support Service Member Killed in Afghanistan Insider Attack
A coalition service member in Afghanistan was killed and two more injured Monday in an insider attack, the Pentagon announced. Officials with NATO’s Resolute Support mission did not disclose the nationality or specific service of the military members. Initial reports indicated that a member of the Afghan security forces committed the attack, according to a Resolute Support statement. The attack is the second insider attack within a week in Afghanistan, following the Thursday attack in Kandahar that killed a local police chief and intelligence official. The Taliban took credit for the attack, and claimed that Resolute Support Commander Gen. Austin S. Miller was also targeted. The Washington Post reported Sunday that US Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey D. Smiley, commander of Train, Advise, Assist, and Command-South, was injured in the attack. —Brian Everstine
USAF, Estonian Air Force Mark Completion of Joint-Use Facilities
US Air Forces in Europe and Estonia’s air force have marked completion of joint-use facilities with a ribbon cutting to open an aircraft maintenance hangar at Amari Air Base in that country, the first completed military construction project fully funded by the European Defense Initiative, the Air Force said Friday. The $13.86 million project also included a hazardous cargo pad, squadron operations facility and dormitory; the dormitory is set for completion in the spring. More than $38 million in EDI funds are being invested at the base. Brig. Gen. Roy Agustin, director of logistics, engineering and force protection, at headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, said, “The $18 million in completed projects to date, and the over $20 million about to break ground, increases the capabilities, capacity, and responsiveness of this world-class base for Estonian, United States and NATO allies to exercise and operate from as a joint team to address multi-domain security threats by a regional adversary against the sovereignty of NATO allies.”—Steve Hirsch
Air Force Program Trains Embedded Mental Health Providers
The Air Force has established its first operational training program for embedded mental health care providers and technicians, preparing them to join integrated operational support teams, the service said last week. These teams embed within squadrons to offer consultative support for airmen and leadership; adding mental health providers is expected to boost IOS teams’ ability to increase squadrons’ performance. The training has been available since May at the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. “We are there to advise commanders on ways to improve the operational environment so their airmen can perform well under strenuous, high-risk conditions,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Tryon, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Aeromedical Operational Psychology program at USAFSAM. The week-long IOS program is designed to build on typical clinical skills to provide an introduction to embedded care. —Steve Hirsch
—President Trump, shortly after threatening to withdraw the US from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty on Monday warned that the US would build up its nuclear arsenal to pressure Russia and China: Reuters.
—Recent assassinations of Afghan Air Force pilots highlight the danger that the highly trained airmen face inside the country, and the effectiveness of the US effort to train the aircrews: Stars & Stripes.
—Air University, earlier this month, conducted beta testing for new course material aimed at improving the development of flight commander’s courses for the Air Force: Air University release.
— Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson issued new guidance to improve the Installation Voting Assistance officers to better help airmen and their families vote: USAF release.