Joint STARS Achieves IOC
The Air Force declared Dec. 18 that the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft fleet achieved initial operational capability. IOC was reached seven years after the original E-8, then a developmental aircraft, played a starring role in the Gulf War.
The announcement came as the third operational E-8C of the fleet was assigned to the 93d Air Control Wing, Robins AFB, Ga. The Joint STARS aircraft are used to track vehicle activity on the ground and relay targeting information to air and ground units.
The aircraft is a modified Boeing 707 equipped with a large, canoe-shaped radar mounted under the fuselage. The radar is capable of locating and tracking vehicles moving on Earth’s surface out to a distance of several hundred miles. The data link can transmit such information to ground stations or other aircraft.
Delivery of the first production E-8C took place in 1996. Joint STARS aircraft flew more than 150 operational missions in Desert Storm and Joint Endeavor (1995–96).
Ten more Joint STARS aircraft are currently projected for delivery, which would increase the fleet to 13.
More Joint STARS Sought
A potent group of Senate and House members are pressing DoD to procure the full Joint STARS fleet of 19 production aircraft, not the 13 currently planned.
The step, if adopted by Defense Secretary William S. Cohen, would require the Pentagon to restore the six E-8s that it cut from the Air Force program during the Quadrennial Defense Review in 1997. The Pentagon imposed the cut in the belief that European NATO nations would buy six aircraft for their own services, but these nations decided not to do so.
In a Dec. 8 letter to Cohen, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D–Conn.) and 12 other Senators said DoD needed to revisit the issue. "To ensure that our forces have the operational assets they require, particularly given NATO’s rejection of the Joint STARS proposal, we strongly believe the planned buy of Joint STARS should be immediately returned to the originally programmed 19 aircraft."
Three days earlier, 88 House members sent a similar letter to Cohen, calling for inclusion of two more E-8s in the Fiscal 1999 DoD budget, which will be submitted this month.
Panel Eyes Assignment System
An Air Force working group Dec. 10 kicked off a three-month review of the Officer Assignment System with two days of briefings about the system’s evolution and the current state of the force.
The current OAS was started in January 1995 and was last modified with the addition of a More Voice/More Choice program in June 1996.
"Based on feedback from the field, I believe the time is right to initiate a thorough review to validate or make changes, if necessary, to the principles and processes of OAS, ensuring it fits our current force structure and composition," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael E. Ryan.
The review group is made up of officers from commands and specialties throughout the Air Force. Chosen to head the group was Gen. John A. Shaud, USAF (Ret.), current executive director of the Air Force Association.
Shaud said that the service has changed a great deal in recent years, handling an increase in operations and personnel tempo with a smaller, leaner force, and if the review panel can recommend steps to help deal with this situation, it will. At the same time, said Shaud, "I don’t foresee the group recommending a major overhaul that produces a system officers won’t recognize."
Arlington Cemetery Plot Thickens
In the wake of an intense political controversy over the possibility of inappropriate burials, it was agreed that the body of M. Larry Lawrence, the late US envoy to Switzerland, should be removed from an Arlington National Cemetery grave and reburied elsewhere.
The decision to remove Lawrence’s body was made by his widow, but outraged members of Congress and veterans groups were already moving toward demanding such action.
Lawrence was a major financial contributor to the Clinton campaign in 1992 and to the national Democratic Party. He was one of 69 persons granted special waivers to be buried at the cemetery over the past five years.
The waiver was based in part on Lawrence’s claim—now known to be fraudulent—that he served heroically on a Merchant Marine ship during World War II and suffered grievous battle wounds in a German U-boat attack. Republicans produced documents showing that the tale of seagoing heroics was a fabrication.
Congressional leaders of both parties want the General Accounting Office to review the process for granting waivers for burial at the cemetery. Rep. Terry Everett (R–Ala.), chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs oversight and investigations subcommittee, said, "The subcommittee still has an interest in questions concerning the State Department’s actions in the granting of the waiver for Mr. Lawrence."
Lawrence died of cancer in 1996 at his official residence in Bern, Switzerland.
366th AEW Chalks Up Firsts
According to Air Force officials, the "Gunfighters" of the 366th Air Expeditionary Wing, which is based at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, accomplished a number of firsts while deployed to Bahrain this fall in support of Operation Southern Watch.
During the unit’s time in the Middle East it underwent an Operational Readiness Inspection—marking the first ORI completed in theater during a real-world contingency. The deployment was also the first time bombers, fighters, and tankers from the same wing have flown together in support of a contingency.
And, until the Bahrain tour, the B-1B Lancers of the 34th Bomb Squadron had never bedded down with the wing in a deployed location.
"It’s been said that it’s historic," said Brig. Gen. Randall "Mark" Schmidt, 366th AEW commander. "What I think is historic is that all three of those things happened at the same time, and I’m glad that it was the Gunfighters."
Conducting an ORI during a real-world operation was an initiative on the part of Air Combat Command to try and lower operational tempo in a unit. The wing’s checkup went well, said inspectors.
"The unit has demonstrated [its] ability to accomplish the mission [it was] sent here to do," said Col. Steve Spencer, chief of the ACC inspector general team.
Inspectors themselves faced time pressure due to the decision to conduct the ORI in the Middle East. Typical preparation for such an inspection begins six months ahead of time. In this case, ACC had only 45 days.
The ORI was conducted in two phases. After the first phase, the IG marked out five days for training to prepare the unit for the second half.
Supertyphoon Slams Andersen
Air Force personnel at Andersen AFB, Guam, weathered some 12 hours of Typhoon Paka on Dec. 16, with winds gusting to more than 230 mph and sea levels rising to 35 feet above their normal state, the Air Force said.
Andersen officials reported no deaths and only minor injuries. However, the fury of the storm caused major damage to buildings, equipment, automobiles, and trees, the Air Force reported Dec. 19.
Flying debris smashed windows and damaged cars, buildings, and facilities. Water damage from rain penetrated many buildings on base, including upper-level floors in the dormitories.
Andersen weather officials said the highest recorded winds were 205 knots, or about 236 mph.
DoD spokesman Kenneth Bacon announced the Pentagon was sending five C-5 transport aircraft loaded with equipment—primarily electrical generating equipment and communications equipment, such as portable telephones, to replace the infrastructure that has been destroyed by the typhoon—as well as blankets, water, and food.
Essential medical care, dining, and food facilities were spared in the storm. Running on generator power, these services, including the commissary and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service shoppette, were operational and open for business. Water service was interrupted in some areas, and television transmissions were cut off.
Troops To Get Anthrax Shots
On Dec. 15 the Department of Defense announced that it intends to systematically vaccinate everyone in the armed services against anthrax.
One of the most dangerous biological warfare agents known to science, anthrax is an infectious disease that normally affects animals. If placed into weapons it would be 99 percent lethal to unprotected individuals who have been exposed, according to the Pentagon.
While there is no hard evidence that any nation has ever used anthrax in battle, the US needs to take the possible proliferation of such a weapon of mass destruction seriously, said officials. Initially, the vaccinations will be given to 100,000 personnel serving in the high-threat areas of the Persian Gulf and Korea. Eventually all active and reserve military members will get the shots.
"Our goal is to vaccinate everybody in the force so they will be ready to deploy anywhere, anytime," said Deputy Secretary of Defense John J. Hamre, who will monitor implementation of the program.
The immunization program consists of an initial round of three subcutaneous injections given two weeks apart. Three additional injections are then given at six, 12, and 18 months. Annual booster shots are necessary if full-strength immunity is to be maintained.
The anthrax vaccine was first developed in the 1950s and approved by the Food and Drug Administration for public use in the 1970s. It uses dead bacteria instead of a weak, living strain of the disease. In this respect it is similar to the diphtheria vaccinations that most US children receive when they enter school.
Panel Urges Separate Training
A special panel appointed by Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen recommended Dec. 15 that the Army, Navy, and Air Force do more to separate men and women during basic and advanced training.
The Federal Advisory Committee on Gender-Integrated Training and Related Issues, set up in June and headed by former Kansas Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker, concluded that the sexes should be housed in separate barracks and train separately at operational unit levels—Air Force flight, Army platoon, and Navy division.
Currently, all the armed forces except the Marine Corps train men and women together at all levels and often house them in separate bays or floors of the same barracks building.
Drill instructors now spend far too much time simply trying to prevent cases of sexual harassment, the panel concluded. It also found that barracks integrated by sex have a higher rate of disciplinary problems.
Men and women would still work together in the field and in the classroom, under the panel’s recommendations. Members also urged that all the services toughen the physical requirements for women in basic training to counter a widespread belief that they are too easy.
Cohen Orders Review of Gender Report
Defense Secretary Cohen on Dec. 16 instructed the military services to assess the proposals of the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender-Integrated Training and Related Issues and report back in mid-March.
"It is clear from the report that the panel shares my determination to make sure that military training is fair, demanding, and effective," Cohen said.
The Pentagon chose to emphasize that the panel supported continuation of gender-integrated training, not the fact that it found problems.
Cohen asked the military services to "review these recommendations and report back to me within 90 days with their assessment, to include the manpower and personnel implications and the costs that might be associated with their implementation."
Air Battle Managers in Demand
Air battle managers who have left active service but are members of the Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard may be able to return to full-time status if they wish.
Air Force Personnel Center officials want to increase the number of ABMs in the force. These officers, formerly called air weapons controllers, are responsible for the control of aircraft on missions that involve airspace and data link management.
ABMs are assigned to E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System, E-8 Joint STARS, and EC-130E Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center aircraft.
The Air Force is particularly interested in luring back ABM captains from the Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard. Majors may also apply.
Applicants must have a security clearance and must still be able to pass ABM physical requirements.
Enlisted Promotion Rates Rise
Air Force promotion rates to staff, technical, and master sergeants will increase for the second year in a row, according to service personnel officials. Meanwhile, promotion rates for seniors and chiefs will remain above the minimums laid out in the Total Objective Plan for Career Airmen Personnel.
"Last year we were able to increase promotion rates to the highest levels seen in the last 10 years for staff, technical, and master sergeants, and we are pleased to announce the 1998 promotion rates will increase for these grades as well," said Lt. Gen. Michael D. McGinty, USAF’s deputy chief of staff for personnel.
The largest jump will come at the technical sergeant level. This promotion rate will be 2.5 percent higher than in 1997, making the promotion rate at this grade 17.6 percent.
The percentage of master sergeants promoted will go up 1.8 percent, to 23.4 percent. The staff sergeant rate will edge up from 18.5 percent last year, to 18.7 percent in 1998.
By law, senior and chief master sergeant promotions are limited to three percent of the total enlisted end strength. TOPCAP plans make sure the Air Force stays within this law’s bounds.
Since end strength is a driving factor, the promotion rates for seniors and chiefs can be difficult to predict with precision. "However," said McGinty, "we anticipate the promotion rates will remain above the TOPCAP minimum promotion selection rates, which are six percent for seniors and 13 percent for chiefs."
Last year, the senior and chief promotion rates were 7.6 percent and 18.1 percent, respectively.
USAF Astronaut Honored (Finally)
Some 30 years after his death, the late Air Force Maj. Robert H. Lawrence Jr. finally gained official recognition for being the country’s first African American astronaut and received honors for his contributions to the US space effort.
During a Dec. 8 ceremony, Lawrence’s name was added to the Astronauts Memorial Foundation’s Space Mirror at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The act marked the culmination of a years-long campaign by supporters to gain official status for Lawrence, who had never been listed as an astronaut in official accounts of the space program.
Lawrence died in an F-104 fighter crash in 1967. He never achieved the 50-mile altitude which was then a requirement for anyone seeking to wear astronaut wings. Under the different criteria of today, however, Lawrence would qualify for astronaut status, and his family has long pushed for his name’s inclusion on the memorial honor roll.
Whiteman Receives Latest B-2
The 509th Bomb Wing’s B-2 fleet grew to 10 as the latest stealth bomber arrived at Whiteman AFB, Mo., from the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, Calif., USAF announced Dec. 8.
Air Vehicle 2 is the third Block 30 B-2 bomber to join the Whiteman fleet. It is also the first B-2 from the six original flight test aircraft to arrive at Whiteman.
Block 30 B-2s feature the latest technology and weapon carriage capability. The original B-2s were termed Block 10 while the next models were termed Block 20. Whiteman is scheduled to have 21 Block 30 B-2s by the year 2000.
The first Block 30, Spirit of Pennsylvania, arrived at Whiteman in August. The second, Spirit of Louisiana, arrived Nov. 10.
Minuteman II Fades Away
The last Minuteman II missile silo to be destroyed under terms of the 1991 START treaty was imploded at Whiteman AFB, Mo., on Dec. 15. The site, known as H-11, had been completed in—and had been in continuous operation since—May 1964, when Nikita Khrushchev headed the Soviet Union.
The silo was destroyed in a blast set off by the simultaneous turning of seven keys. The silo destruction was mandated by terms of the START I accord signed by President George Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev on July 31, 1991. The basic goal of the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks agreement was reduction in the actual number of nuclear weapons deployed by the superpowers.
The Minuteman II site was located north of Dederick, Mo., some 90 miles southwest of Whiteman, which served as home for the 351st Missile Wing from February 1962 through July 1995, when the 351st and the last of its missiles were inactivated.
At one time, the missile field under Whiteman’s control contained 150 Minuteman II launch facilities and 15 launch control facilities.
The removal of Minuteman IIs from silos began in 1991; the last missile was pulled out of its underground launcher in 1995.
Gansler Cites IW, WMD Needs
Jacques S. Gansler, the new undersecretary of defense for acquisition and technology, said in his first remarks since taking office that the Pentagon needs to spend more on integrated information technologies and defense against weapons of mass destruction.
Future adversaries are unlikely to even attempt to match US forces airplane for airplane and tank for tank, said Gansler in a Nov. 13 address at a Phoenix symposium. Instead, they are likely to use "asymmetrical approaches" such as biological weapons strikes against US infrastructure.
"To counter these sophisticated, asymmetrical threats, the US must not only actively pursue counterproliferation efforts but also take maximum advantage of our leadership position in advanced technology—especially in the information field," said Gansler.
Specifically, the United States needs an integrated, multiservice command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C3ISR) infrastructure as quickly as possible, according to the new acquisition chief. Such a network should be able to handle both tactical and strategic needs. "This is the critical element of an effective 21st century warfighting capability," he said.
US forces need to pay particular attention to development and deployment of long-range, all-weather, "smart" weapons capable of taking advantage of the C3ISR network, said Gansler. He also urged that defense against such tough threats as weapons of mass destruction, information warfare, and low-cost ballistic missiles must no longer be put into the "too hard" category.
"They must be addressed as priority issues," he said.
DoD Reports High-Tech Projects
The Pentagon announced nine new 1998 Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration programs on Nov. 21.
ACTDs are meant to combine new technologies with new operational concepts and are to produce deployable systems within four years.
Forty-two ACTDs are now under way. Most address operational concepts laid out in Joint Vision 2010, such as dominant maneuver and precision engagement.
Among the items on the ACTD list:
Precision Target Identification through advanced infrared and electro-optical systems and laser radars.
Joint Continuous Strike Environment, intended to optimize use of weapons and set priorities for the engagement of time-critical targets.
Unattended Ground Sensors, meant to provide better weather data and keep a round-the-clock eye on potential targets.
Joint Biological Remote Early Warning System, aimed at testing a network system for US European Command and US Central Command.
New Look at UAV Needed?
The US military may need to undertake a thorough review of unmanned aerial vehicles to determine what jobs they are truly fit for and how they might best save scarce operational dollars, according to a member of the Air Force’s Scientific Advisory Board.
UAVs have come a long way in recent years toward winning acceptance within the military, Peter Worch told a National Defense Industrial Association UAV symposium last fall. Integration of new technologies, such as GPS navigation, and improved endurance have helped in that regard.
But a hard look at UAV plans could help judge whether they are truly capable of such missions as serving as a relay for airborne command-and-control data. While unmanned platforms might be ready to replace Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center C-130 aircraft, they are not yet ready to do the jobs of such other systems as Joint STARS, AWACS, and Rivet Joint, said Worch.
USAF Readies JASSM Selection
The Pentagon has approved a revised Air Force acquisition plan for the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile. The plan calls for the selection of a prime contractor in April, instead of July as previously scheduled.
The new plan also calls for a delay of about three months in beginning engineering and manufacturing development after the choice between competitors Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
Acceleration of the program was necessitated by a Congressional cut in the 1998 JASSM budget request from $203 million to $128 million. JASSM will receive another $43 million, however, if an analysis mandated by lawmakers determines that it is indeed the best choice for the Pentagon’s next-generation, long-range stand-off weapon.
The Navy would prefer to end its participation in JASSM, for the most part, and put its money into a variant of the Standoff Land Attack Missile–Expanded Response instead.
JDAM Faces Production Delay
The Joint Direct Attack Munition is facing a one-year delay in full-rate production due to a number of design problems.
Two JDAM variants—the 2,000 lb. BLU-109/Mk. 84 and the 1,000 lb. BLU-110/Mk. 83—have had to be slightly redesigned because tests showed they were unstable at high angles of attack. In addition, JDAMs mounted on F/A-18s have exhibited excessive vibrations in some circumstances.
The delay will provide time for more operational testing, said Air Force officials. Low-rate production will continue.
Together the Air Force and Navy plan to buy 74,000 JDAM kits. Fitted on Mk. 83 and Mk. 84 bombs, the JDAM precision guidance equipment is meant to give the weapons 13-meter accuracy.
Thurmond to Step Aside
Sen. Strom Thurmond (R–S.C.) announced that he will step down as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee at the end of 1998.
"I think the time has come for me to turn the reins of the committee over to the next generation of leadership," he said Dec. 4.
Thurmond, 95, is already the oldest and longest-serving senator in US history. He said he intends to serve out the rest of his term, which lasts until January 2003, and to continue as a member of the committee, despite turning over his chairman’s gavel.
Thurmond became head of the panel in 1994, when Republicans won control of the Senate. Sen. John W. Warner (R–Va.) is the second-highest-ranking GOP member of the committee and is in line to succeed Thurmond.
New Info Program Office
Air Force leaders have decided that the way the service buys and operates command-and-control electronics needs to change—and that has led to the establishment of a new Electronic Systems Center program office: Defense Information Infrastructure–Air Force.
The Air Force can simply no longer afford to keep acquiring and managing hundreds of separate C3 systems, said Matt Mleziva, director of the new program office.
"We were designing those systems against requirements based on previous experience and contingencies, such as the Cold War," said Mleziva. "But we were using those systems in ways the people who wrote the requirements never envisioned."
Real-world experience in places such as Bosnia has shown that operators spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get their separate data systems to work together. The Air Force leadership has charged DII–Air Force with the task of designing an integrated command-and-control system that can work with service and coalition partners.
DII–Air Force will then ensure that applications unique to particular parts of the Air Force—such as Air Combat Command mission planning for the F-117A stealth fighter—can plug into the common C3 architecture.
The new DII framework is mostly in place at Hanscom AFB, Mass. The office has four product area directorates: Global Awareness, which deals with collecting information from all possible sources; Global Grid, which oversees such areas as fixed base command infrastructure; Dynamic Assessment, Planning, and Execution, which includes use of collected data in mission plans; and Modeling, Simulation, and Training, which can create a Joint synthetic battlespace.
VA Rule Change Aids Vets
Veterans who served in bitterly cold locations may now be eligible for Department of Veterans Affairs benefits due to a change in how VA evaluates cold-related injuries.
The US government has provided servicemen disability compensation for frostbite and cold-related injuries for years. But previous rules provided only for the rating of cold-related injuries to feet.
The new rule—based on the latest medical knowledge—revises the criteria to include injuries to any part of the body due to cold exposure. Conditions that may be related to cold injury include circulatory problems, skin cancer in frostbite scars, and arthritis of exposed parts.
Vets who believe they suffer from these problems should contact the nearest VA regional office for assistance.
US NCOs Impress Kazakhs
Military leaders from Kazakhstan toured Andrews AFB, Md., in December to study how the US uses its enlisted force. Evidently, they were amazed by the responsibilities given enlisted personnel and noncommissioned officers.
"In the old Soviet air force, a lieutenant colonel would do the work that a master sergeant does in the US Air Force," said USAF Col. Randall Larsen, 89th Operations Group commander, who hosted the tour.
Included among the visitors was Gen. Col. Mukhtar Altynbayev, Kazakhstan’s minister of defense. Altynbayev was particularly surprised to find out that enlisted personnel maintain the vice president’s and President’s airplanes, said US officials. And they were impressed with one plus one enlisted personnel dormitory accommodations—which they said were of a quality reserved for field grade officers in their country.
US Troops to Stay in Bosnia
President Clinton advised Congress on Dec. 18 that he intended to maintain US forces in Bosnia even after the June 1998 cutoff date for their participation in the peacekeeping efforts in the former Yugoslavia.
The White House announcement surprised no one. It had long been expected, despite Administration claims that no decision had been made.
Said Clinton: "It remains in the US national interest to help bring peace to Bosnia, both for humanitarian reasons and to arrest the dangers the fighting in Bosnia represented to security and stability in Europe generally. Through American leadership and in conjunction with our NATO Allies and other countries, we have seen real and continued progress toward sustainable peace in Bosnia."
The US currently maintains about 8,000 troops in Bosnia as part of the 1995 Dayton peace accords. All NATO nations and 20 others, including Russia and Ukraine, have provided troops or other support of the effort.
Clinton’s announcement drew fire from several prominent members of Congress, including Sen. John McCain (R–Ariz.), who supported the original deployment in December 1995. McCain now contends that the Clinton Administration had simply lied about its intentions.
USAF Notes Cause of B-1 Crash
In early December, the Air Force released the results of its investigation into the crash of a B-1B heavy bomber Sept. 19 near Alzada, Mont., concluding that the accident occurred while the crew was performing an oft-practiced defensive maneuver.
The crash killed all four crew members. [See "B-1B Crash Claims Four," November, p. 18.]
The investigation, conducted by officers of Air Combat Command, said that the move involves evading a threat by slowing down and sharply turning. The report said that the bomber, while executing the turn, developed an excessive sink rate and was unable to recover.
The accident report said the Air Force was unable to determine which of the two B-1B pilots on board were actually in control of the aircraft at the time of the mishap.
At the time of the accident, the B-1B was on a training mission to perform low-level defense countermeasures and simulated bombing over the Powder River Military Operating area.
Fiscal 1997 was the Department of Defense’s safest flying year ever. There were 68 major military aviation accidents in 1997, with a toll of 76 deaths and 54 aircraft destroyed. By contrast, in 1996 the department logged 116 deaths and 66 aircraft destroyed.
Capt. Greg Harbin, an 11th Reconnaissance Squadron unmanned aerial vehicle operator, was recently awarded an Aerial Achievement Medal for safely landing a UAV after its engine seized 150 miles from the ground control station at Mostar AB, Bosnia. Harbin remotely guided the craft as it glided for about 30 miles, safely avoiding populated areas.
Gen. John P. Jumper on Dec. 5 became commander of US Air Forces in Europe. Jumper assumed responsibility for more than 32,000 active duty, reserve, and civilian members when he accepted the USAFE guidon from Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and commander in chief, US European Command. Jumper, a 30-year Air Force veteran with more than 1,400 combat flying hours, also takes over Allied Air Forces Central Europe.
Air Force personnel who participated in the disaster relief operation North Central United States Floods 1997 are eligible for the Humanitarian Service Medal, according to the Office of the Secretary of the Army. Those interested should contact the 319th Mission Support Squadron career enhancements office at Grand Forks AFB, ND.
Military personnel who lived off base and suffered losses in last spring’s North Dakota floods are eligible for up to $100,000 in personal property reimbursements, per a provision in the 1998 defense authorization bill. Officials estimate that 700 Air Force members will qualify for the aid.
Whiteman AFB, Mo., personnel moved 125,000 Redwing Blackbirds away from the flight line last fall in an effort to ensure safety of pilots. The birds were persuaded to roost elsewhere by the detonation of pyrotechnics.
Beginning as early as June, all reserve active status personnel will be issued the same color identification card as active duty forces—green. Replacement of the reserves’ current red ID cards is intended to symbolize the full integration of the active and reserve military components.
The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force launched a home page on the World Wide Web in early December. The site, at http://www.af.mil/lib/cmsaf/, includes information about CMSAF Eric W. Benken and his current issues, speeches, and staff.
The Starlifter era ended at Travis AFB, Calif., with the January inactivation of the 20th Airlift Squadron. The base received its first C-141 in April 1965; the 20th AS’s C-141s departed for other locations and eventual retirement.
The right main landing gear of an OC-135B aircraft collapsed upon touchdown at Andrews AFB, Md., on Dec. 5. The aircraft is assigned to the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron at Offutt, AFB, Neb. None of the 15 people on board were injured.
The National Transportation Safety Board has concluded that poor communication on the part of air traffic controllers was a factor in an incident last year in which the crew of a civilian 727 airliner maneuvered to avoid what it felt was a dangerous approach by an Air National Guard F-16 fighter.
On Dec. 7, the 15th Medical Group clinic at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, was dedicated to the first Army Air Corps doctor killed during World War II. 1st Lt. William R. Schick, a 31-year-old flight surgeon, was aboard one of 12 B-17s which landed at Hickam in the midst of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He received a fatal wound from a strafing Zero fighter while escaping from his burning aircraft on the runway.
Concluding an intense engine competition begun in 1993, the Republic of Korea Air Force has chosen General Electric F404 turbofan engines to power its new KTX-2 advanced trainer/light combat aircraft. The aircraft, under development by Samsung Aerospace in conjunction with Lockheed Martin, is currently scheduled to enter production in 2005.
The American Fighter Aces Association, an organization of 550-plus US military pilots with five or more victories, will move its headquarters and memorabilia from Mesa, Ariz., to San Antonio this year. The new 23,000 square foot museum will be located near the Alamo and will contain artifacts contributed by aces of World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
Geraldine Pratt May, the first Air Force woman to attain the grade of colonel and first director of Women in the Air Force, died Nov. 2 at Menlo Park, Calif. She was 102.
May joined the newly formed Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in July 1942, receiving her commission in August 1942. In March 1943, she was one of the first female officers to be assigned to the Army Air Forces, where she served as WAC staff director of Air Transport Command.
With the enactment of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act in June 1948, May received a reserve commission in the newly created Air Force and was appointed director of Women in the Air Force, which carried the rank of colonel.
Senior Staff Changes
RETIREMENT: Maj. Gen. Rondal H. Smith.CHANGES: Lt. Gen. (sel.) Stewart E. Cranston, from Cmdr., AFDTC, AFMC, Eglin AFB, Fla., to Vice Cmdr., AFMC, Wright–Patterson AFB, Ohio ... Brig. Gen. Paul V. Hester, from Cmdr., 53d Wg., Air Warfare Center, ACC, Eglin AFB, Fla., to LL, OSAF, Pentagon ... Maj. Gen. Silas R. Johnson Jr., from Dep. Dir. Ops., Natl. Mil. Cmd. Center, Pentagon, to Vice Cmdr., 21st AF, AMC, McGuire AFB, N.J. ... Maj. Gen. Michael C. Kostelnik, from Dir., P&P, AFMC, Wright–Patterson AFB, Ohio, to Cmdr., AFDTC, AFMC, Eglin AFB, Fla.
Lt. Gen. (sel.) David W. McIlvoy, from Dir., Strategic Planning, DCS, P&P, USAF, Pentagon, to Vice Cmdr., AETC, Randolph AFB, Texas ... Brig. Gen. Charles F. Wald, from Spec. Asst. to C/S, USAF, Natl. Defense Review, Pentagon, to Dir. of Strategic Planning, USAF, Pentagon.
SENIOR EXECUTIVE SERVICE CHANGES: Garry W. Barringer, to Sr. Technical Dir., Air and Space Cmd.-and-Control Agency, Langley AFB, Va. ... Ajmel S. Dulai, to Technical Adviser, Systems Engineering, ASC, Wright–Patterson AFB, Ohio ... James R. Speer, to Principal Dep. Asst. (Financial Mgmt.), OSAF, Pentagon ... Phillip W. Steely, to Exec. Dir., San Antonio ALC.
Daily Report: The day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
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