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​USAF Capts. John Nygard and Salvador Cruz, 79th Fighter Squadron instructor pilots, present flowers to the mothers of two soldiers who were killed in action in April 2018. Nygard and Cruz were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for their role in saying 88 other lives that day. USAF photo by A1C BrieAnna Stillman.


Shaw F-16 Pilots Receive DFCs for April 2017 Mission

Two F-16 pilots at Shaw AFB, S.C., received Distinguished Flying Crosses for actions in a 2017 firefight in Afghanistan, where they were credited with saving 88 American and allied lives. Capts. John Nygard and Salvador Cruz, instructor pilots with the 79th Fighter Squadron, conducted four airstrikes during a chaotic fight, where they received fragmented information before intervening to protect friendly forces. “Every single person that was there really made a huge difference and really made a bad situation come together,” Nygard said in a release. “They trusted us to employ weapons really close to them and trusted us to do our job professionally, quickly and without error. We trusted them as well to give us the right information as to what to target and where they were. It was that communication back and forth that made things happen.” During the incident, two US soldiers were killed in the battle with ISIS in Nangarhar Province. —Brian Everstine


AFSC Commander Urges Congress to Expand Hiring Authorities to Strengthen Civilian Workforce

The head of the Air Force Sustainment Center told House legislators on Thursday the service is struggling to recruit the talent it needs to ensure success in future fights, and he called on Congress to expand direct hiring authorities. AFSC commander Lt. Gen. Lee Levy thanked members of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee for the expedited and direct hiring authorities DOD does have, but he likened it to being able to direct-hire a quarterback, but not the rest of the team. “I need all of the team in order to be successful,” he said.  Read the full story by Amy McCullough.


Skunk Works Celebrates 75th Anniversary and a Full Parking Lot   

The Lockheed Martin “Skunk Works” organization rang in its 75th birthday Thursday, celebrating not only its storied heritage but a booming order book, with so many projects that its top leadership openly worried about how tough it is to hire enough engineers and technicians to do all the work. Outgoing Skunk Works leader Rob Weiss and incoming head Jeff Babione spoke to several reporters about the outfit’s culture, the work they see dominating the coming years, their priorities and the challenges ahead. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

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Space Efforts Crucial to US Defense, STRATCOM Chief Tells Audience

Gen. John Hyten, the commander of US Strategic Command, gave a Washington audience an impassioned defense of US national security space efforts. Addressing an audience at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, he painted a picture of a changed space environment that the US must consider as a military domain. Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.

USAF-Designed “Plug and Play” Pod Takes First Flights

An Air Force-designed sensor pod took its first flight on an MQ-9 Reaper earlier this year, after two years of development to create a way to “plug and play” multiple sensors on different aircraft. The AgilePod began development in 2016 as a joint venture between the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, and was successfully demonstrated over three flights in March, according to a June 12 Air Force Materiel Command release. The pod uses open, adaptable architecture to offer non-proprietary systems than can quickly change payloads and work on multiple airframes.


Andersen Global Hawks Deploy to Misawa for the Summer

A squadron of RQ-4 Global Hawks from Andersen AFB, Guam, recently deployed to Misawa AB, Japan, for the fourth time. The remotely piloted aircraft, which are assigned to the 69th Reconnaissance Group, Det. 1, will conduct theater-wide operations out of Japan through the Fall. “This rotational deployment of the Global Hawk is temporary but necessary in order to provide a base from which the platform can be reliably operated during months in which inclement weather, including typhoon activities, has the potential to hinder readiness,” states the release. The Air Force sent five Global Hawks to Yokota AB, Japan, in 2017, as well as three to Misawa in 2015 and two there in 2014. The service kept the RQ-4s at Andersen in 2016 because the Misawa runway was under construction. Global Hawks have been based on Guam since 2010. —Amy McCullough

Aviation Mishaps Not Linked to Flying Hours, Service Officials Say

Military service witnesses told a House Armed Services subcommittee hearing they do not see a correlation between hours of flying time and air accident rates. They pointed instead to other factors, such as changes in operational tempo, which they believe are linked to such mishaps. Read the full story by Steve Hirsch. EDITOR’s NOTE: This entry originally appeared in Thursday’s Daily Report, but the link was broken.

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RADAR SWEEP


—A US strike inside Libya on Wednesday reportedly killed one Al Qaeda fighter southeast of Bani Walid. The strike was the second in a week targeting militants in the area: US Africa Command release.

—A B-52 from the 96th Bomb Squadron at Barksdale AFB, La., flew alongside French fighters over France on June 12 to commemorate US aviators entrance into World War I a century ago: DOD release.

—Members of the Michigan Air National Guard’s 217th Air Operations Group worked with their Latvian counterparts in Riga earlier this month to test a new component of the European Partner Integration Enterprise, which allows for ISR operations in a deployed environment: DOD release.

—US forces delivered a C-130E Hercules to Ethiopia on June 7. The country will use the airlifter for regional peacekeeping and humanitarian missions: AFRICOM release.

—A four-member team from 12th Air Force traveled to Chile from May 13 to June 8 to conduct a two-week course on crash damaged disabled aircraft recovery, with Chilean airmen in a variety of F-16 maintenance career fields: USAF release.

—The Air Force is accepting applications from captains who are interested in the Chief of Staff of the Air Force Captains Prestigious Ph.D. program. Under the program, three captains will be chosen to earn doctorates in strategic studies at a civilian university: USAF release.