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​The B-52 Ol' Crow Express II on the flightline at Andersen AFB, Guam, before a training flight. Staff photo by Brian Everstine.


Bombers Watching Over the Pacific

US Air Force bombers have kept constant watch and alert over the Pacific since 2004 as part of the continuous bomber presence mission. In recent years, this deployment has taken on increased importance in regions such as the contested South China Sea and near-regular flights to the Korean Peninsula as tensions flared. Air Force Magazine recently visited B-52s and airmen from the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron who conducted this mission over the summer. Read Brian Everstine's full story from the new issue of Air Force Magazine, and watch a video of a training flight.


Air Force Investigation into Physiological Incidents Gets New Leader

The Air Force’s team investigating the hypoxia-like incidents plaguing some of its aircraft has a new leader. Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Edward Vaughan has been named as the head of the Air Force Unexplained Physiological Events Integration Team, which was formed in January after a series the service was forced to ground its T-6 trainer fleet and some of A-10s after pilots reported hypoxia-like symptoms. The team is charged with finding solutions “to optimize human performance in tactical and training aviation and eliminate or minimize the impact” of physiological incidents, according to an Air Force release. Vaughan previously served in the Office of Reserve Integration for the Defense Secretary and he also commanded the 156th Airlift Wing in Puerto Rico. —Brian Everstine

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Two Service Member Deaths, One in Insider Attack, in Two Days in Afghanistan

A US service member died in a non-combat related incident in Afghanistan on Tuesday, one day after another US service member was killed in an apparent insider attack in the country, the Pentagon announced. The Tuesday incident happened in the eastern part of the country, though no additional details, including the specific service of the military member, was announced. On Monday, the US service member was killed and another injured when someone dressed in an Afghan military uniform opened fire also in the east of the country. The second service member is in stable condition, according to US Forces-Afghanistan. The incident is the sixth American combat-related death in the country so far this year. —Brian Everstine

Miller Takes Over US, NATO Mission in Afghanistan

Army Gen. Austin Scott Miller assumed command of the US and NATO mission in Afghanistan from retiring Gen. John Nicholson during a Sunday ceremony in Kabul. Miller, who previously was the commander of US Joint Special Operations Command, will now lead 41 nations in the training and advising mission, Operations Resolute Support and Freedom’s Sentinel, along with the US counter-terror mission there. "We must enable our Afghan partners in building their security and military capacity so that they are able to deny safe havens to terrorists in a long-term, and sustainable way,” Miller said at the ceremony, according to NATO. Nicholson, who was led the command since March 2016, was the “longest-serving NATO commander in the country,” according to the Defense Department.


MDA, DOD Leaders Call for Space Sensors to Deal With Hypersonic Threats

Top Pentagon leaders and the boss of the Missile Defense Agency on Tuesday reiterated their call for space-based sensors to detect and deter hypersonic missile threats. MDA can currently meet today’s threat, but the agency needs new investments and capabilities to “get ahead,” especially as the US lags on the development of hypersonics, MDA boss Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves said Tuesday. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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RADAR SWEEP


—The 403rd Wing at Keesler AFB, Miss., has moved its aircraft, from both the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron and the 815th Airlift Squadron, to Ellington Field, Texas, as Tropical Storm Gordon advanced toward the Gulf Coast. The 53rd WRS flew two missions, one Monday and one Tuesday, into the storm, which will make landfall by early Wednesday: 403rd Wing release.

—Lt. Col. Stephen Meister, when he was younger, regularly protested the Air Force’s intercontinental ballistic missile fleet. Meister this summer took over as commander of the 12th Missile Squadron, and leads the airmen who handle the weapons he once protested: The Washington Post.

—The Air Force on Friday awarded Raytheon a $282 million contract for high-definition target location accuracy turret upgrades for MQ-9 Reapers: DOD release.

—Jalaluddin Haqqani, the leader of the infamous Haqqani Network that is aligned with the Taliban, reportedly died in Afghanistan “after a long battle with illness,” according to the group: The Washington Post.

—An F-35C flying from the USS Abraham Lincoln was damaged in an aerial refueling exercise on Aug. 22. The strike fighter was receiving fuel from an F/A-18F Super Hornet when debris from the refueling basket entered the jet’s engine intake: USNI.

—Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons and airmen deployed to Keflavik AB, Iceland, to take over the NATO air policing mission. USAF F-15s from RAF Lakenheath, England, most recently flew the mission, returning home last week: NATO release.