SSgt. Bartek Bachleda, a KC-135 boom operator with the 909th Air Refueling Squadron at Kadena AB, Japan, was flying aboard a commercial flight en route from Chicago to Japan when he noticed that the aircraft was losing fuel. He had spotted what he thought was a leak during take-off and continued to monitor the situation as the aircraft reached cruising altitude. Bachleda notified a flight attendant who initially dismissed his story, but he captured the fuel flow on video and tried again, identifying himself as an airman and showing the video. That brought the flight’s captain to his side and the decision to land in San Francisco. The captain credited Bachleda with saving the flight’s 300 passengers. (Kadena report by TSgt. Rey Ramon)
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.