USAF Reviewing its Handling of Texas Shooter’s Criminal Record Notification
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein have launched “a complete review” of how the service handled the criminal records of former Airman Devin Patrick Kelley, who is accused of killing 26 people and wounding at least 20 others at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday. Former Airman Devin Patrick Kelley enlisted in the Air Force in 2010. In 2012, he was convicted by a general court-martial on two charges of domestic assault against his wife and stepson and he served a year in confinement at Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in California, before being released from the service as an E-1 with a bad conduct discharge in 2014, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said. “Federal law prohibited him from buying or possessing firearms after this conviction,” said Stefanek. However, “Initial information indicates that Kelley’s domestic violence offense was not entered into the National Criminal Information Center database by the Holloman Air Force Base Office of Special Investigations.” Read the full story by Amy McCullough and Wilson Brissett.
Pentagon Says Only Ground Invasion Could Destroy North Korean Nukes
The White House has asked Congress for an additional $4 billion in large part for the Defense Department to counter North Korean threats. “This request supports additional efforts to detect, defeat, and defend against any North Korean use of ballistic missiles against the United States, its deployed forces, allies, or partners,” according to the letter. The request, which also includes funds for additional troops in Afghanistan and to fix two US Navy ships, comes as President Donald Trump arrived in South Korea on Tuesday as part of a 13-day tour of Asia. It also follows a recent Pentagon letter to Congress, which stated that a ground invasion of North Korea would be “the only way” to identify and destroy “all components” of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program “with complete certainty.” In response to such an invasion, North Korea might “consider the use of biological weapons as an option,” the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff wrote in response to a request from Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.). In addition, Pyongyang has long possessed the ability to produce chemical weapons, such as “nerve, blister, blood, and choking agents,” and it “likely possesses a [chemical weapons] stockpile” already. Those agents could be deployed against a ground invasion “by modifying a variety of conventional munitions, including artillery and ballistic missiles,” the Pentagon wrote. Whatever may unfold on the Peninsula, “the Joint Force fully supports the economic and diplomatic pressure campaigns” the US is currently leading against North Korea, and the US military remains “postured to respond in the event of a provocation or conflict,” the Pentagon insisted. —Wilson Brissett
USAF Taking Applications for Next Round of Enlisted Pilots
The Air Force is currently taking applications from noncommissioned and senior noncommissioned officers ahead of the next selection board for the enlisted RPA pilot career field. Last year the service received more than 800 applications from qualified NCOs to become RQ-4 Global Hawk pilots, but selected only 30 to enter pilot training. The service is encouraging those who did not receive slots last year to reapply by Nov. 15. “Just like officers from other career fields apply to become pilots, [the Air Force Personnel Center] will conduct annual selection boards every January to select qualified enlisted airmen for entry into this new, exciting career field,” said MSgt. Mark Moore, who is managing AFPC’s enlisted aviator assignments process, in a press release. “Applicants have no need to be in their retraining window or be concerned about the end date of an overseas assignment.” The Air Force plans to grow the enlisted pilot corps to about 100 NCOs over the next four years.
Special Forces Member Killed in Afghanistan
Sgt. First Class Stephen B. Cribben, 33, of Simi Valley, Calif., died Saturday in Logar Province, Afghanistan, “as a result of wounds sustained while engaged in combat operations,” according to a Defense Department press release. Cribben was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, Fort Carson, Colo. The DOD is currently investigating the incident. —Wilson Brissett
Partners Receive First F-35 Full Mission Simulators
Lockheed Martin recently delivered F-35 full mission simulators to international partners for the first time. The Israeli, Italian, Japanese, and Norwegian air forces received the simulators, which are crucial for the next stage of F-35 partner pilot qualification, training, and mission preparation. Dozens of international pilots and maintainers have already received US-based training for the F-35, and others have received in-country training from one of Lockheed’s global mobile training teams. Lockheed plans to send additional pilots and maintainers to partner nations beginning next year as the F-35 program prepares for full-rate production, according to a company release.
—Air Force Undersecretary Matt Donovan acknowledged the Air Force has had a tumultuous relationship with Congress over the years, but says “the team that’s in place now,” as well as some recent policy changes, have “really helped the relationship with Congress:” Defense News.
—The Flying Jennies of the 825th Airlift Squadron at Keesler AFB, Miss., have reached full operational capability again. In 2013, the Air Force announced the transfer of 10 C-130J aircraft from the squadron, but two years later the decision was reversed. On Nov. 3, the 825th AS completed its journey back to FOC: Keesler release.
—Offutt AFB, Neb., has taken additional steps to protect the base against drones: Fox News, via the Associated Press.
—Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, talks about how she broke through various gender barriers through the course of her career: New York Daily News.
—Airmen using the Benefits Delivery at Discharge program can submit their claims earlier, allowing them to receive the benefit the day after being discharged: USAF release.