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President Donald Trump prepares to present the Medal of Honor to TSgt. John Chapman's widow, Valerie Nessel, during a ceremony Wednesday at the White House. Chapman is the first airman to receive the award for action since Vietnam. SSgt. Rusty Frank, USAF.​


Chapman Posthumously Awarded the Medal of Honor

President Trump on Wednesday posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor to TSgt. John Chapman, who was killed in March 2002 during the Battle of Takur Ghar in Afghanistan. Chapman was originally awarded the Air Force Cross, but after an extensive review, his award was upgraded. He is the first airman to receive the award for actions after the Vietnam War. “Our nation is rich with blessings, but our greatest blessings are the patriots like John … who carry our freedom on their shoulders, march into the face of evil, and fight to their very last breath so that we can live in freedom and safety and peace,” Trump said during the ceremony. Read the full story by Brian Everstine of Chapman’s heroic final hours and the process to upgrade his medal.


Nose Gear Collapses After F-35 In-Flight Emergency

The nose gear collapsed on an F-35A strike fighter after the aircraft experienced an in-flight emergency and returned to Eglin AFB, Fla., around 12:50 p.m. on Wednesday. The F-35, which is assigned to the 58th Fighter Squadron there, landed safely and the pilot “suffered no injuries,” according to a release from the 33rd Fighter Wing. Local media snapped photos of the aircraft, showing it nose-down on the runway, but the extent of damage was not clear Wednesday evening. An investigation is underway, according to the Air Force. —Amy McCullough


Hickam Aircraft Evacuate as Hurricane Lane Heads Toward Hawaii

All USAF aircraft assigned to JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, have either evacuated or are preparing to depart for other locations to ride out Hurricane Lane, base spokesman Chuck Anthony told Air Force Magazine on Wednesday. The Category four storm is expected to hit Oahu sometime on Thursday. Aircraft assigned to the base include F-22 Raptors, KC-135R tankers, and C-17 Globemasters. USAF officials declined to say where the aircraft are going during the storm. —Amy McCullough

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Battlefield Airman Prep Course Looks to Develop Candidates Before Entering Training Pipeline

The Air Force is using an array of sensors to gather information as students progress through  its new battlefield airmen prep course at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, as a way to help ensure more candidates are successful in the Air Force special operations training pipeline. The course is part of the service’s effort to recruit and train the right candidates for positions such as combat controllers, pararescuemen, special operations weather technicians, tactical air control party specialists, explosive ordnance disposal technicians, and survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialists, and officials already are seeing real results. Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.


Reserve Chief Keeps Breaking Barriers

Air Force Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. Maryanne Miller will be the first Reservist to ever pin on a fourth star, after the Senate confirmed her promotion to general on Monday. This is not the first barrier Miller has blasted through. In 2016, she also made history when she became the first female to lead the Air Force Reserve. Miller is a command pilot with more than 4,800 hours flying numerous aircraft, including the KC-10 and C-17. She joined the Air Force in 1981 and graduated from the ROTC program at Ohio State University. She has held a variety of a positions on the Joint Staff and Air Staff. —Amy McCullough

McKenzie Tapped for CENTCOM

President Donald Trump has nominated Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie for a fourth star and assignment as commander of US Central Command. If confirmed, McKenzie, who currently serves as director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, would replace Army Gen. Joseph Votel who has led the command since 2016.

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Peace in Afghanistan?

The commander of US forces in Afghanistan told reporters on Wednesday there is an “unprecedented window of opportunity for peace right now in Afghanistan,” saying Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is “working to take advantage of it.” The Taliban has not yet accepted Ghani’s offer, which he announced on Sunday, for a second ceasefire to mark the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, but US Lt. Gen. John Nicholson told reporters via a teleconference from Kabul that for the first time there is an overwhelming desire by the majority of the Afghan people to end the violence in their war-torn country. Nicholson cited “numerous groups across Afghanistan,” including religious movements, civil society, youth activists, and women’s groups, who were all “calling for peace.” He said the US State Department has agreed to “work with the parties to reach agreement that brings a permanent end to this war,” but he also emphasized that any peace process must be Afghan led. “The US is prepared to support, facilitate, and participate in these discussions,” said Nicholson, but this must be “Afghans talking to Afghans.” Nicholson also noted that any ceasefire would only apply to the Taliban, saying other counterinsurgency operations will continue. —Amy McCullough

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RADAR SWEEP


—Maj. Gen. Thomas Sharpy, deputy commander of Air Mobility Command, has been nominated for a third star and assignment as deputy chief of staff for capability development, Supreme Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Va.: DOD officer announcement.

—C-17s from JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., will conduct their first mission of the year in support of Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica on Sept. 1: USAF release.