CMSAF Visits Aviano, Promotes Quality of Life Changes for Airmen
CMSAF Kaleth Wright told airmen at Aviano AB, Italy, on Monday the service is in the process of analyzing high year of tenure, which requires service members to leave Active Duty if they don’t get promoted after so many years in rank. Wright said his “gut tells me we are going to extend” HYT for senior airmen from eight to 10 years and for staff sergeants from 15 to 20 years. Although he acknowledged there is “still work to be done” to extend high year of tenure for technical sergeants from 20 years to 22, he said, “I think we’ll be able to do this.” Wright also highlighted other quality of life initiatives in the works, such a joint assignment program for mil-to-mil parents who are either divorced or who were never married, and the implementation of bereavement leave that would enable airmen to take care of their families after a tragedy without using up their regular leave time. Read Amy McCullough’s full report from Aviano.
B-52s Train With Japanese F-15s
Two B-52s flew alongside six Japan Air Self Defense Force F-15s as part of a “routine” bilateral training mission between USAF and Japan on Thursday. The B-52s from the 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, also trained with US Navy vessels near Okinawa, Japan, before returning to Guam, according to Pacific Air Forces. The flight with the Japanese aircraft focused on “combined capabilities, tactical skills, and relationships,” according to PACAF. The bombers, deployed from Barksdale AFB, La., are in Guam as part of the Air Force’s continuous bomber presence in the Pacific. They replaced B-52s from Barksdale’s 20th Bomb Squadron in the rotation earlier this month. —Brian Everstine
Air Force Begins JSTARS Depot Maintenance at Robins
The Air Force on July 17 began its own E-8C Joint STARS depot maintenance at Robins AFB, Ga., in an effort to deliver the aircraft more quickly. JSTARS program officials want more aircraft available for operations and training as the Air Force makes the transition to the Advanced Battle Management system, and one way to make assets available more quickly is for the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex to supplement contractors, said Brig. Gen. John Kubinec?, commander of the complex, in an Air Force release. Previously, depot maintenance was handled by Northrop Grumman at a facility in Louisiana, but the service has said the maintenance was too slow, with work taking up to 400 days, Bloomberg reported. An investigation last year showed that contract maintainers left drain holes covered during depot maintenance of a JSTARS between March 2015 and July 2016, causing $7.35 million in damage to the aircraft. —Steve Hirsch
Coalition Finds More Civilians Killed Inadvertently During Anti-ISIS Campaign
US and coalition investigators determined that 15 more strikes resulted in 105 additional unintentional civilian deaths as part of the ongoing air war against ISIS, bringing the total number of civilians killed, self-reported by the coalition, to 1,059. Every month, the coalition releases an updated accounting of allegations of civilian casualties it has investigated. The latest report, released Thursday, found that 16 more reports were deemed to be credible, and 106 deemed to be non-credible. The strikes mostly occurred in spring and summer of 2017 near Raqqah, Syria, along with other locations in both Iraq and Syria. These include a strike on Aug. 20, 2017 near Raqqa on an ISIS position in a residential area that inadvertently killed 33 people. There have been a total of 29,826 strikes as part of the ongoing campaign between Aug. 2014 and June 2018, according to US Central Command. —Brian Everstine
Senators Call on DOD to Address Afghan Black Hawk Issues
Two Senate Armed Services Committee members July 26 called for Defense Undersecretary for Policy John Rood to develop a plan to address challenges related to the Afghan Air Force’s switch from Russian Mi-17 helicopters to UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) raised their concerns in a letter responding to a May 21 report by the Pentagon Inspector General that pointed to concerns over-reliance on contractors for Black Hawk maintenance and continued training of pilots and maintainers on the Russian helicopter. —Steve Hirsch
—The Air Force Academy has implemented a new policy to shield sexual assault victims from misconduct charges such as underage drinking that could be associated with possible assaults: The (Colorado Springs) Gazette
—The Air Force on Friday awarded Gulfstream a $36.154 million contract modification for C-20 and C-37 fleet logistics: DOD release.
—The Air Force has scheduled a test launch of a Minuteman III from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., for early Tuesday morning: Noozhawk.
—A retired airman, who was seriously wounded in the Vietnam War, recently met a soldier who saved his life, 51 years later: The Associated Press.
—SSgt. James Tyler Grotjan, the airmen who died July 12 after a non-combat incident at Al Dhafra AB, UAE, was buried in Waterford, Conn., on Saturday: NECN.
—How a retired geologist found the long-lost wreckage of a C-119 in the Alaska Range: Anchorage Daily News.