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An F-16 from the 457th Fighter Squadron taxis before taking off from Romanian Air Base 71 on June 26, 2019. The squadron is deployed to Romania for a theater security package. Staff photo by Brian Everstine.

​F-16s, MiG-21s Fly Together as USAF Shows its Resolve to Eastern Europe

CAMPIA TURZII, Romania—The US Air Force’s mission to assure European allies is coming together in the skies over Transylvania, with F-16s from Texas flying alongside Soviet-era MiG 21s. About 300 airmen and 12 aircraft from the 457th Fighter Squadron at NAS JRB Fort Worth, Texas, deployed to the small airfield here in late May as part of a theater security package. During the deployment, US and Romanian airmen are learning about each other’s tactics, with the USAF aircraft also flying alongside Italian Eurofighters and in exercises across the region. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Missileer Improvements Hit Mark, but Still More to Do

Performance and professionalism in the Air Force’s nuclear ranks has improved in the last few years following a spate of personnel issues, but there’s always more work to be done, the service’s top uniformed officer said on June 26. “I believe we’ve come a long way,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said at an AFA Mitchell Institute breakfast. “We’ve all had to make sure that we keep our foot on the gas on this. I’m optimistic, but I’m not comfortable.” Nuclear operators have hit rough patches over the past decade: low morale and lost focus coupled with reports of drug use, weapons mismanagement, a proficiency test cheating scandal, and frequent staff turnover. In response, the service launched programs to revamp training, regulations, and job tenure. Now, the Air Force is developing its missile-managing employees’ leadership skills at the same time as it develops new strategic systems. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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Iran Unlikely to Learn Much from Recovered Navy Drone, US Still Operating in Region
Despite Iran’s claims to have recovered parts of the US drone it shot down over the Strait of Hormuz last week, the wreckage is most likely too damaged to be mined for insight into US military technology. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said the attack wouldn’t deter USAF patrols over the Persian Gulf, and he doesn’t forsee a significant change to the assets the service operates in the region. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory and Rachel S. Cohen.

USAFA, Test Pilot School Vetting New Recruitment Approach

Two of this spring’s US Air Force Academy graduates were nominated to join the Air Force Test Pilot School in 2022 in a new partnership meant to thoughtfully select younger officers, the service said in a June 26 release. “Test Pilot School is a highly competitive, 48-week educational opportunity for aviators, combat systems officers, remotely piloted aircraft pilots, and engineers,” according to the Air Force. “Graduates of the course receive a Master of Science in flight test engineering and go on to test a variety of aerospace weapon systems for use in the Air Force.” Second Lts. Maria Carter and Abraham Eaton, potential engineering candidates, will pursue master’s degrees, jump to a test unit at Edwards AFB, Calif., for about eight months, then head to Test Pilot School if confirmed by a selection board. The effort aims to keep more test pilots in the community instead of losing them to other areas. “Based on their time in service, [USAFA] graduates are often called to serve in command positions or outside the test community after their initial, post-graduation commitment,” the Air Force said. “Unlike other engineering candidates, they will not be required to complete two years’ service in their field before attending TPS.” Program participants are required to return to USAFA as teachers. —Rachel S. Cohen

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RADAR SWEEP


NATO Chief Threatens Response if Russia Doesn’t Comply with Nuclear Treaty
NATO’s secretary general has warned Russia will face “credible and effective” measures should the country not comply with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by an Aug. 2 deadline set by the United States. Defense News

US Cyber Attack on Iran Shrouded in Digital “Fog of War”
A claim by US officials that a retaliatory cyber attack ordered by the White House crippled Iranian missile launching systems will remain almost impossible to substantiate, experts say. Agence France Presse via Military.com

US Airstrike Targets al-Shabaab in Support of the Federal Government of Somalia
In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, US Africa Command conducted one airstrike targeting al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, June 24, 2019. AFRICOM release

Air Force Medical Service Unveils New Model for Active Duty Care
In an effort to return more Airmen to duty quicker, the Air Force is rolling out a new medical model to restore the overall readiness of our military. USAF release

Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Rescind 20 Medals of Honor Issued in Connection with a Massacre of Native Americans
On a day the first Medal of Honor was bestowed on a living Iraq War recipient, lawmakers and members of the Sioux nation announced their plan to take away those awarded for what became known as the Wounded Knee Massacre. Air Force Times

US Military Says Two Service Members Killed in Afghanistan
The US military said two of its service members were killed on June 26 in Afghanistan, but did not offer any details surrounding the circumstances of their deaths. Associated Press via Military.com

One More Thing...

Report: The US Military Is Creating a Carbon Pollution Bootprint
A new study from Durham and Lancaster universities in England shows the US military is one of the larger climate polluters on the planet. If all US military operations were looked at as a nation, the study says, its fuel emissions alone would make it the 47th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. Popular Mechanics