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​Two B-1B Lancers from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., arrive at Al Udeid AB, Qatar, March 31, 2018. Air Forces Central Command Twitter photo.


B-1s Return to Middle East as Afghanistan Fight Ramps Up

B-1B Lancers on March 31 returned to the Middle East, replacing B-52s that had been flying bomber missions in both the anti-ISIS and Afghanistan fights since 2016. B-1s returned home in 2016 for much-needed upgrades, and are now back in the fight as combat against the Taliban in Afghanistan is increasing. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.


F-35s to Make First Latin America Appearance This Week

The F-35 fighter will be on display for the first time in Latin America this week at the International Air and Space Fair, FIDAE 2018, April 3-8 in Santiago, Chile, according to the US Embassy there. In addition, the Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team will demonstrate maneuvers. Also present will be a B-52 bomber, a C-130 Hercules, a C-17 transport, and KC-10 and KC-135 refueling aircraft. The US presentations will also include one by the Wings of Blue parachute team from the Air Force Academy and an Air Force medical team, which will display a portable and air-transportable intensive care medical unit, part of which will be used by Chile’s air force as it prepares for a joint disaster-relief training exercise set for next year. —Steve Hirsch


US Strike Targets Al Shabaab Militants in Somalia

US aircraft continued its increased pace of operations inside Somalia, conducting an airstrike on Sunday that reportedly killed five Al Shabaab militants. The strike targeted a vehicle near El Burr north of Mogadishu, according to a US Africa Command release. US forces are using “all authorized and appropriate measures to protect US citizens and to disable terrorist threats” including partnering with Somali and African Mission in Somalia forces, according to AFRICOM. —Brian Everstine

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Pentagon ID’s Soldier Killed in Syria

The Pentagon on Sunday identified the Army Special Forces soldier killed Saturday in Syria as MSgt. Jonathan J. Dunbar, 36, of Austin, Texas. Dunbar and UK Army Sgt. Matt Tonroe were killed and five others were wounded when they were hit by an improvised explosive device near Manbij, according to US Central Command.  Dunbar was assigned to headquarters US Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. The fatalities were the first of the US-led coalition in 2018. —Brian Everstine


Air Force Raises Number of Hours of Free Childcare for Deployed, Remote Airmen

More hours of free child care are available for families of members of the military who are deployed or on remote assignments as of April 1, the Air Force said Monday. The increase provides “16 hours of pre-deployment care, 16 hours each month during deployment or remote assignment, and 16 hours of post-deployment care per child,” according to the release. Now, for example, an airman with two children deploying for six months would be eligible for 128 hours per child. —Steve Hirsch

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RADAR SWEEP


—Retired Lt. Col. Jimmy Kilbourne Sr., 84, was killed in a car accident March 24 in Winchester, Va., according to Air Force Times. Kilbourne was an A-1E Skyraider pilot, call sign Sandy 07, who helped rescue several Americans and South Vietnamese who had gotten caught in a “flak trap” on Nov. 8, 1967. (Read Air Force Magazine’s coverage of that operation.)

—The Air Force plans to replace its 9mm M9 pistols with the Army’s Modular Handgun System: Military.com.

—The Air Force recently announced the winners of the 2017 Nuclear Deterrence Operations Award and the Nuclear & Missile Operations Award: USAF release.