Air Force officials at Keesler AFB, Miss., gathered on Aug. 28 to dedicate the consolidated aircraft maintenance facility of Air Force Reserve Command’s 403rd Wing in honor of the late Lawrence Roberts, a retired Air Force colonel who was a member of the famed World War II-era Tuskegee Airmen and longtime resident of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The new $22.6 million building is where mechanics perform maintenance on the wing’s WC-130J weather-monitoring aircraft and C-130J transports. Roberts began his military career at Keesler Field as an Army Air Corps pre-aviation cadet private in 1943 and joined the Tuskegee Airmen in 1944. He retired from the Air Force as commander of Keesler’s maintenance and supply group in 1975. He died in 2004. Lucimarian Roberts, the colonel’s widow, was unable to attend the ceremony, but watched it online. Three of his four children attended. (Keesler report by Jonathan Hicks)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.