Eglin AFB, Fla., will soon have nearly 21,000 acres of land buffering its east boundary from encroachment, according to a base release. “This 20,800-acre conservation easement will provide a critical buffer from future development for the many Department of Defense missions that Eglin’s test and training range support,” said Col. Shawn Moore, 96th Civil Engineer Group commander. An award from the Defense Department’s 2013 Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program challenge, together with action by the Florida state government and the land owner, made the land purchase possible. Eglin is contributing $550,000 in REPI funds, DOD $1.75 million, and Florida some $10.2 million for the land, the price of which the owner discounted by $7 million, states the Aug. 22 release. This purchase is the largest land acquisition in the REPI’s history, according to the release. REPI supports cost-sharing partnerships between the military services, private conservation groups, and state and local governments to protect military test and training capabilities and conserve land. (Eglin report by Mike Spaits)
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.