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SSgt. Charles Gamez preps Biba, an Air Force working dog, for a search and rescue training exercise at Kadena AB, Japan, on Nov. 19. Staff photo by Jennifer Hlad. 

Four-Legged Airmen Sniff Out Crime at Kadena

At the gate, at the post office, and at the airport, Kadena’s working dogs and their handlers are doing jobs that can’t be matched by any machine. Read the full story from Okinawa, Japan, by Jennifer Hlad.​​

All-Guard Tankers in Afghanistan Contribute to Increased Pace of Strike Operations

Just over one year since the mission returned to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, the US tanker presence has built into eight Air National Guard KC-135 units flying a high pace of operations to support an increase in fighter operations against the Taliban. In September 2017, the Air Force deployed tankers to Afghanistan for the first time in about five years as US operations surged. The presence is now comprised of all Air National Guard Stratotanker units from New Hampshire, Iowa, Kansas, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Illinois, Maine, and Nebraska, according to a 445th Air Expeditionary Wing release on the mission. Tankers were previously flying “over the horizon” missions from Al Udeid AB, Qatar, during which crews would have to fly up to three hours to join up with fighter aircraft and would regularly fly 16- to 18-hour duty days, according to the wing. “When we take off, we can get to our positions within 25 minutes instead of two and a half hours, ready to offload gas,” said MSgt. Mat Ellison, a 340th EARS boom operator, in the release. As of the end of September, these aircraft have flown 3,316 tanker sorties, offloading 127 million pounds of fuel during 13,537 refuelings, according to Air Forces Central Command. Meanwhile, strike aircraft in the same timespan have conducted 5,213 strikes, the highest since 2010. —Brian Everstine

​Satellite Industry Looks to Collaborate with DHS on Cyber

The satellite industry wants to create an Information Sharing and Analysis Center for Space, following the lead of two dozen other industries that share threat data among competing companies and with the Department of Homeland Security. The new Space-ISAC, which would be the 25th member of the National Council of ISACs, underscores growing concerns that U.S. satellite infrastructure supporting both military forces and civilian industries is vulnerable to cyber attack. Read the full story by Shaun Waterman.

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Operation Christmas Drop Set to Begin

The US military’s longest running humanitarian mission, Operation Christmas Drop, is set to kick off on Dec. 10. This year’s iteration, the 67th since the effort began in 1952, will include aircraft and airmen from Andersen AFB, Guam; JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; Yokota AB, Japan; the Japan Air Self-Defense Force; the Philippine Air Force, and the Royal Australian Air Force. The operation delivers food, tools, and toys through airdrops to more than 57 remote islands across 1.8 million square miles in the South-Eastern Pacific, including the Northern Mariana Islands, Micronesia, and Palau, according to an Andersen release. This year will be the second time upgraded C-130Js will fly in the operation. Since it began, US and allied aircrews have dropped over one million pounds of charitable goods in a humanitarian mission that doubles as airdrop training for the aircrews. Andersen is collecting donations for the operation at several locations throughout the base and Guam. —Brian Everstine

Goldfein, Wright Tell Puerto Rico Guard they are an “Important Asset” to the Force

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright on Nov. 17 visited the Puerto Rico Air National Guard, assured them they are an “important asset” within the Total Force, and urged accountability at all levels. The leaders visited the 156th Airlift Wing, which has a “strategic location” between US Northern Command and US Southern Command, as well as a unique bilingual skill that makes it important to the Air Force, Goldfein said according to a release. The base is being rebuilt and modernized following damage sustained by Hurricane Maria last year, with more than $65 million programmed within two years, according to the wing. Earlier this year, the wing lost nine airmen and a WC-130H in a fatal crash near Savannah, Ga. The investigation into the crash found systemic issues within the wing, including a culture of “apathy and low morale” linked to airmen believing they were an afterthought to the broader Air Force and not feeling they were an important part of the Total Force. —Brian Everstine

Misawa F-16 Mishap Caused by Years-Old Maintenance Issues, Investigation Finds

An F-16 pilot at Misawa AB, Japan, was forced to jettison tanks and return to base after an engine fire in February. An Air Force Investigation Board found that the fire was caused by an obsolete part installed in 2012 by a maintenance shop that was in “general disarray” and did not follow maintenance protocols. A separate investigation into a 2012 F-16 mishap found that the same F-16 shop was not proficient. (Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Nov.  21 Daily Report, but the link was broken) Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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RADAR SWEEP

Travis Muslim Airman Gets First Faith-Based Shaving Waiver
A US Air Force airman from the 821st Contingency Response Squadron, has become the first Airman to be granted a religious accommodation for a shaving waiver based on his Muslim faith. Travis AFB.

Thunderbirds Commander was Fired After Grabbing Neck of Another Pilot in Bar Argument
Months of tension over former Thunderbirds commander Lt. Col. Jason Heard’s perceived risk-taking leadership style boiled over in a “physical altercation” in a Maryland bar last September. Air Force Times.

Top NATO Leader Warns Against Competition Amid Talk of a European Army
The U.S.-led NATO alliance warned Tuesday that the European Union should avoid competing with NATO as the key security pact on the Continent, after leaders in Germany and France raised the possibility of setting up a European army. Stars and Stripes.

France, Germany Agree on Next Step for Fighter Jet Program
France and Germany have reached an agreement on the next steps in a joint program to design a next-generation combat jet, French Defense Minister Florence Parly said. Reuters.