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US Central Command boss Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie takes questions from reporters during a Pentagon press briefing on Oct. 30, 2019. DVIDS screenshot.​

​Pentagon Provides Details, Videos of Baghdadi Raid

The top US commander in the Middle East on Oct. 30 provided a new look into the Oct. 26 raid that led to the death of Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. US Central Command boss Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, who oversaw the mission, said the raid in Syria’s Idlib Province targeting Baghdadi was the result of an “intense, interagency effort” to crack down on a priority target. Airpower for the mission included US remotely piloted aircraft, armed helicopters, and fourth- and fifth-generation fighter aircraft that watched over the fight. Several standoff munitions from US aircraft then leveled the compound. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Holloman F-16 Crashes, Pilot Recovering After Ejection

A pilot is recovering at a local hospital after ejecting from an F-16 before it crashed Oct. 29 near Holloman AFB, N.M., the base announced. The F-16, assigned to Holloman’s 49th Wing, was on a training flight when it crashed around 7:15 p.m. It went down about 80 miles southeast of the base, the wing said in a release. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

AMC Challenging Crews to Train for Denied Environments

Air Mobility Command is expanding how it trains its aircrews to operate in contested environments by going beyond regular exercises and challenging airmen at random in daily operations. “The days of operating with impunity are over,” AMC boss Gen. Maryanne Miller said in prepared remarks at the Airlift/Tanker Association conference in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month. “We must be ready to compete at any level … to project such strength that we deter our adversaries from conflict.” Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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Green Beret Receives Medal of Honor

President Donald Trump on Oct. 30 awarded the Medal of Honor to Army MSgt. Matthew Williams for his actions during a 2008 battle in Afghanistan. Williams, who currently serves at Fort Bragg, N.C., was deployed to Afghanistan with Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3336, Special Operations Task Force-33, when his team came under fire in Shok Valley. “For more than a decade, Matt has stared down our enemies, fought back the forces of terror, and exemplified the virtue and gallantry of the American warrior,” Trump said at the White House ceremony. “He has completed five tours in Afghanistan, a deployment in Africa, and he continues to serve our country on Active Duty today.” Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Airmen Fly More Than 83K Pounds of Rice to Honduras

Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing at JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., recently picked up more than 83,000 pounds of privately donated rice worth nearly $120,000 from Altus AFB, Okla., and delivered it to Soto Cano AB, Honduras, an Oct. 29 Air Force release said. “Due to extreme poverty and natural disasters, more than 48 percent of the Honduran population in rural areas and 35 percent of the overall population are malnourished,” the release said. The Oct. 25 rice delivery, to be divvied up among “schools, orphanages, and general feeding programs for children and families,” is expected to feed nearly 500,000 Hondurans in the next 1.5 months, according to USAF. Airmen made the delivery as part of a federal program that uses military aircraft to transport donated humanitarian cargo, like food and medical supplies, to certain countries in need. The program has sent about 1.8 million pounds of aid to 14 nations in 2019, the release stated. —Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

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RADAR SWEEP


C-130J Damaged When Nose Gear Collapses on Tarmac at Little Rock
A C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft was damaged Oct. 29 when its nose landing gear collapsed while on the tarmac at Little Rock AFB, Ark., the 19th Airlift Wing said in an email. 1st Lt. Jessica Cicchetto, a spokeswoman for the 19th, said Oct. 30 that there were no injuries reported in the accident. Air Force Times

Space Companies to Compete for $40 Million Pot at Air Force Live Pitch Event
The US Air Force has selected 30 startups and small businesses to participate in a live pitch event Nov. 5-6 in San Francisco focused on the space industry. These companies will have an opportunity to win on-the-spot contracts from a pot of money estimated at about $40 million, said Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics. Space News

SECAF Visits First Base: F.E. Warren Air Force Base
Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett made her first official trip, and visited F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., on Oct. 27. Barrett, the 25th Air Force secretary, visited various facilities to gain a better understanding of the pivotal nuclear mission that defends the US and its allies. USAF release

OPINION: Pull the Nukes from Turkey—and Then Think Bigger
“Removing America’s nuclear weapons from Incirlik Air Base doesn’t have to drive a permanent wedge between Washington and Turkey,” write Jim Baird, Inkstick Media national security editor, and James Siebens, a research associate with the Stimson Center’s Defense Strategy and Planning program. Defense One

Lasers to Kill Cruise Missiles Sought by Navy, Air Force, Army
The Pentagon is pushing to double the power output of lasers, to over 300 kilowatts, so they can defeat a threat found in arsenals from the Russian army to the Chinese navy to Iran: cruise missiles. Breaking Defense

DISA Is Looking to Buy AI-Powered Cyber Defenses
The tools would use automation and machine learning to respond to common cyberattacks without any human intervention, freeing personnel to focus on more complex intrusions. Nextgov

Air Force Academy Captain Guilty in Child Sexual Exploitation Case
A US Air Force Academy captain faces up to three months in jail after pleading guilty to sexual exploitation of a child in an online sting operation. Capt. Paul Sikkema, 29, who served as an instructor at the school, also faces 10 years of supervised probation and must register as a sex offender, Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler said on Oct. 29. The Gazette

Eight Military Families in Texas Sue Housing Company over Water Leaks, Mold, and Bugs
According to the lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division and assigned to Magistrate Judge Richard B. Farrer, Hunt Military Communities “systematically under-maintained the military housing, subjected service members and their families to atrocious conditions, including pervasive mold that sickened them and destroyed their possessions, utilized substandard service providers to allegedly remediate the mold problems, subjected service members and their families to pest infestations and misled tenants about the remediation actions allegedly undertaken.” Stars and Stripes (subscription required)

VA Overhauls Police Force After Scathing Watchdog Reports, Lapses in Hospital Security
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced a major overhaul of the structure and management of its police force, in response to scathing watchdog reports on waste and poor oversight that led to lapses in security for patients and staff. Military.com

US Approves Upgrade for Japanese Eagles
The United States has authorized an upgrade to Japan's fleet of Mitsubishi-Boeing F-15J Eagle fighter aircraft, with the State Department announcing its decision on Oct. 29. As noted by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the approval covers upgrades to 98 of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's 156 F-15J single-seat combat aircraft to the new Japanese Super Interceptor configuration for an estimated cost of USD $4.5 billion. Jane’s Defence Weekly (subscription required)

One More Thing …

Homeowner Speaks of “Miracle” After Piece of USAF B-52 Bomber Falls from Sky and Misses her House by Inches
A homeowner has spoken of the 'miracle' that means her house was undamaged when a part from a B-52 bomber fell from the skies. The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, contacted police after hearing a 'loud thud' outside her property in Brailes, Warwickshire, at around 5.30 pm local time on Oct. 23. Gloucester Live