The Pentagon on Thursday identified the airman who died in Syria earlier this week as SSgt. Austin Bieren. Bieren, 25, of Umatilla, Ore., died March 28 in northern Syria of reported natural causes. He was assigned to the 21st Space Wing at Peterson AFB, Colo., and was deployed in support of combat operations, according to a Defense Department statement. Bieren is the second US service member to die in Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve, following the November death of Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott Cooper Dayton.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.