The Air Force Reserve Command’s 403rd Wing at Keesler AFB, Miss., on July 11 dispatched the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron Hurricane Hunters on their first storm chase of the 2008 season. Flying a WC-130J Hercules aircraft specially configured for the Air Force’s only hurricane mission, airmen of the 53rd WRS sought out Hurricane Bertha, at the time a category 1 storm with winds up to 85 mph as it headed toward Bermuda. The National Weather Service later downgraded Bertha to a tropical storm. (Keesler report)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.