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​An F-22 Raptor pilot from the 27th Fighter Squadron waits for permission to taxi Dec. 4, 2018, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Peter Thompson.

​Bonus Pay Up to $420K Available To Certain Pilots In Fiscal 2019

In its ongoing bid to reverse a shortage of around 2,000 pilots, the Air Force this week announced bonuses worth up to $420,000 over 12 years for certain groups of aviators. Fighter, bomber, and mobility pilots can receive as much as $200,000 up front if they sign on for another 10 to 12 years. Airmen can apply for the fiscal 2019 bonuses until Aug. 30. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

MC-130 Crew Receives Distinguished Flying Crosses for Role in 2017 Yemen Operation

The six-member crew of an MC-130 Commando II on Tuesday received Distinguished Flying Crosses for their involvement in the January 2017 raid on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula inside Yemen. Over the course of the 16-hour mission, the crew provided emergency casualty care and refueled 25 aircraft in a hostile environment, as the US Navy SEAL raid deteriorated, resulting in the death of a SEAL and the destruction of a USMC MV-22. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Tyndall Hosts First Silver Flag Since Hurricane Michael

Tyndall AFB, Fla., on Jan. 15 hosted its first Silver Flag exercise since Hurricane Michael largely destroyed the base in October and prompted uncertainty about the future of the exercise. Silver Flag is a capstone pre-deployment training exercise for USAF civil engineers, where they practice rebuilding contingency air bases in a detachment east of Tyndall’s flight line. The Silver Flag location sustained severe damage as a result of the hurricane, prompting RED HORSE airmen from nearby Hurlburt Field to deploy to Tyndall to begin to rebuild the location. Initially, the Air Force was unsure if the location would keep the Silver Flag mission, but the airmen were able to rebuild the infrastructure fast enough for Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson to announce in November that Silver Flag would remain. The 823rd RED HORSE Squadron Det. 1 started its first class of 165 students earlier this month, according to a Tyndall release. “After the hurricane, there was so much that wasn’t normal. Getting this first class on the ground helped us to attain a sense a normalcy and get us back into our groove and rhythm,” SSgt. Kenneth Smith, 823rd RHS instructor, said in the release. Four days after the exercise started, a tornado struck Tyndall, but a base spokesman said, it “had no impact on Tyndall’s units or missions.” The tornado hit a lodging building and vehicles on the base’s south side, approximately 10 miles from the Silver Flag facility.—Brian Everstine

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Bipartisan Public Service Commission Still Mulling Drafting Women

The National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service in its interim report Jan. 23 did not definitively recommend whether and how to draft women through the Selective Service System. However, it outlined options for improving the paths Americans can take to serve the country through elected office, community service, and more. The commission will release its final report by March 2020. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

HASC Announces New Roster of Subcommittee Leaders

The House Armed Services Committee on Jan. 23 announced its new lineup of members who will lead each subcommittee, revealing four Democrats who will move from ranking member to chair and other groups that will see more of a shakeup. Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) will serve as the full committee’s vice chair. The committee will hold its first organizational meeting of the 116th Congress on Jan. 24. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.


OSD: Transgender Military Service Ban Can’t Be Enforced Yet

Despite yesterday’s Supreme Court decision to suspend two court orders challenging the Defense Department’s ban on transgender military service, a remaining lower-court injunction is keeping DOD from being able to legally enforce the restrictions while deliberations on lawsuits opposing the policy continue, the Office of the Secretary Defense confirmed Wednesday. Four court orders originally prevented DOD from implementing the controversial policy, which was proposed in a February 2018 memo from former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to President Trump, DOD spokeswoman Lt. Col. Carla Gleason told Air Force Magazine. Tuesday’s Supreme Court order removed two of them, “and one had been previously removed by action of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit,” but the one that remains stands in the way of the ban going into effect, Gleason said. In the meantime, DOD has reached out to the Justice Department about “next steps in the litigation.” Gleason said DOD welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision because “it is critical that the department be permitted to formulate personnel policies that it determines are necessary to ensure the most lethal and combat-effective fighting force in the world.” —Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

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RADAR SWEEP


Barksdale Airman Sentenced to 35 Years for Killing Roommate
A Barksdale airman has been sentenced to 35 years of confinement and will be dishonorably discharged from the Air Force after being found guilty in the murder of his roommate. Shreveport Times

US House Votes Overwhelmingly to Bar US Exit From NATO
The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation Tuesday evening that seeks to bar President Donald Trump from withdrawing from NATO amid renewed concerns over his commitment to the 29-nation military pact. Defense News

Air Force Moves Ahead With Headquarters-Level Merger of Intel, IT Functions
The Air Force is pressing ahead with a planned restructuring of its headquarters staff elements in charge of IT, cyber and intelligence issues. The service has already picked a prospective leader for the combined organization. Federal News Network

Russian Heavy Bomber Crash-Lands in Arctic, Killing Three
A Russian long-range bomber crash-landed in the Arctic Tuesday, leaving three of its crew of four dead, officials said. Air Force Times

'We Are All Survivors'
Having faced numerous hardships throughout her life, it would have been easy for Kristen Christy to give up. Instead, she has dedicated her life to giving back. AFRC News

One More Thing...

Nellis AFB Wing Boss Talks To Us About His Novel Aggressor Paint Job Facebook Contest And More
A new aggressor paint scheme is bound to grab the attention of the military aviation community. Sometimes these paint jobs emerge out of nowhere, other times they are rumored to be in the works. But never before has one been chosen from a structured crowd-sourcing contest on social media, at least until now. The Drive