SrA. Michael J. Hinkle II, 24, of Corona, Calif., died last week due to a non-combat-related incident in Southwest Asia, according to the Defense Department. Hinkle died March 16; the cause of his death is under investigation, stated DOD in a release. Hinkle was assigned to Ellsworth AFB, S.D., as a cyber transport systems journeyman with the 28th Communications Squadron. He was deployed to an undisclosed air base in Southwest Asia as a member of the 386th Expeditionary Communications Squadron. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our fellow airman,” said Col. Jeffrey Taliaferro, Ellsworth’s 28th Bomb Wing commander, in a release. He added, “Mike will be missed by all of us, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.” (See last week’s initial coverage.)
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.