by By Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert and Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain
136th Airlift Wing Public Affairs/Texas Military Forces Public Affairs
10/17/2013 - NAVAL AIR STATION FORT WORTH JOINT RESERVE BASE, Texas (Sept. 19, 2013) — A World War II veteran was presented the Distinguished Flying Cross during a ceremony here at the 136th Airlift Wing, Texas Air National Guard, Sept. 19, 2013.
Thomas P. Faulkner of Dallas was presented the award for his actions while serving as a first lieutenant and bomber pilot with the U.S. Army Air Forces’ 15th Air Force, in Italy. Faulkner, 88, earned the award when he was 19, but he was never presented the medal or told of his receiving the award.
“The Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) was authorized by an Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, and amended by Executive Order 778-6, on Jan. 8, 1938,” said Lt. Col. James Castleman, the wing’s executive officer. “It was first awarded to Capt. Charles A. Lindbergh, U.S. Army (Air) Corps Reserve, for his solo flight of 3,600 miles across the Atlantic in 1927.”
Additionally, the DFC is awarded to service members who distinguish themselves in combat for “heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight,” Castleman said.
Apologies for an odd linking situation.
Wired IO9 did a piece drawn from the GQ article. I do suggest reading both links. The professional psycologists have one idea. I have another. How about these guys get to do a bunch of humanitarian drone missions as a break. Rotate them more often. Maybe just maybe back up on the target list a little. Less murky.
It’s a captivating read - one definitely worth reading in its entirety - but we were particularly struck by the section exploring Bryant’s PTSD diagnosis, which he received just a few months after his heavy concscience led him to leave the Air Force:
It was an unexpected diagnosis. For decades the model for understanding PTSD has been “fear conditioning”: quite literally the lasting psychological ramifications of mortal terror. But a term now gaining wider acceptance is “moral injury.” It represents a tectonic realignment, a shift from a focusing on the violence that has been done to a person in wartime toward his feelings about what he has done to others — or what he’s failed to do for them. The concept is attributed to the clinical psychiatrist Jonathan Shay, who in his book Achilles in Vietnam traces the idea back as far as the Trojan War. The mechanisms of death may change — as intimate as a bayonet or as removed as a Hellfire [an air-to-ground missile common aboard Predator drones]—but the bloody facts, and their weight on the human conscience, remain the same. Bryant’s diagnosis of PTSD fits neatly into this new understanding. It certainly made sense to Bryant. “I really have no fear,” he says now. “It’s more like I’ve had a soul-crushing experience. An experience that I thought I’d never have. I was never prepared to take a life.”
terminallance.com is a military themed comic by a former Marine Lance Corporal and is a true delight most times though military experience tends to make it funnier :) This one was just too delightful not to share.
Todd Starnes, closet case extraordinaire for Fox “News,” continues to push the discredited and deeply stupid myth that the repeal of DADT has led to the persecution of Christians in the military. This time, he takes up the case of one Air Force Sergeant Philip Monk, and does great violence to the truth in the process:
Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes repeated the discredited myth that the post-Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) military is persecuting Christians, citing the case of an anti-gay airman who castigated his Air Force superiors to the media as evidence.
In a September 6 column for FoxNews.com, Starnes reported that Sgt. Phillip Monk “is now facing a formal investigation” after inaccurately telling Starnes last month that he was relieved of his duties because he told his openly lesbian commander that he opposed same-sex marriage.
Officials at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio said that Monk and his commander had simply “agreed to disagree,” adding “the wing commander said there was no punishment” for Monk’s comments. Base officials stated that Monk was relieved of his duties because he was at the end of his assignment - not because of his views on LGBT issues. That didn’t stop Monk from blasting the Air Force in his August interview with Starnes:
“I was relieved of my position because I don’t agree with my commander’s position on gay marriage,” Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk told Fox News. “We’ve been told that if you publicly say that homosexuality is wrong, you are in violation of Air Force policy.”
“I was essentially fired for not validating my commander’s position on having an opinion about homosexual marriage,” he said.
Monk said he is brokenhearted over the way the military has treated him.
“The narrative is that you cannot say anything that contradicts Air Force policy.”
He said in essence, Christians are trading places with homosexuals.
That’s right. You saw it coming a mile away…Christians being persecuted by teh gayz.
Problem is…well…it isn’t true:
Try as Starnes might to depict the investigation of Monk as an all-out assault on conservative Christians in the military, it’s clear that Monk’s harsh words for his Air Force superiors may well have breached military regulations on soldiers’ conduct. Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice prohibits soldiers from engaging in speech or actions “of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.” Going to the media with unfounded allegations that the Air Force is retaliating against Christians would likely merit an investigation under Article 134.
Space Florida, a state-backed economic development agency, doubled its budget to refurbish two old space shuttle hangers in an effort to lure a secretive military project to the Kennedy Space Center.
Space Florida board members agreed to add $4 million to the project, with is aimed at relocating the Air Force’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicles to Florida from California.
The 29-foot-long robotic spaceships, which resemble miniature space shuttles, are experimental vehicles the military has been flying since April 2010. The program’s third mission, launched on Dec. 11, 2012, remains under way.
The Air Force has not disclosed what the X-37B is doing in orbit, nor when or where it will land. Two prior X-37B missions lasted 224 days and 469 days respectively, and landed autonomously at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The program currently consists of two vehicles.
The military has said it is considering relocating the program to Florida to save money on operations. The vehicles are launched on unmanned Atlas 5 rockets from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, located just south of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. They could land on the shuttle’s no-longer-needed runway.
It’s been two years since NASA’s space shuttle program came to an end, but thousands of Americans still dream of becoming astronauts. Eight of them – four men and four women – were introduced Monday as NASA’s astronaut candidate class for 2013.
More than 6,300 people applied to become astronauts-in-training, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a video announcement. That is the second-most applications the space agency has ever received, according to a NASA statement.
The bios of the eight people selected will probably make you feel like a bit of a slacker. Two of them have PhDs and one is a physician training in sports medicine. Four have experience as test pilots for the Navy or Air Force. One person is working at the Pentagon on ways to defeat the homemade bombs that have plagued troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of them is the station chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s research outpost in American Samoa.
Many headlines are emphasizing the fact that half the astronaut candidates are women – the first time NASA has had gender parity in an astronaut class. (There were four women in the astronaut candidate class of 1998, but they accounted for just 16% of the class’s 25 members, according to a post from Phys.org).
PHOTOS: Amazing images from space
Some NASA watchers certainly see this as a cause for celebration. On the other hand, the fact that we’re even talking about whether these new astronauts are men or women is a sign that there’s still a ways to go. In the earliest days of the American space program, 13 women were being considered for the astronaut corps before then-Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson quashed a proposal to test their worthiness for space, Meg Waite Clayton wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed marking the 50th anniversary of the first spaceflight by a woman.
The Air Force stripped an unprecedented 17 officers of their authority to control - and, if necessary, launch - nuclear missiles after a string of unpublicized failings, including a remarkably dim review of their unit’s launch skills. The group’s deputy commander said it is suffering “rot” within its ranks.
“We are, in fact, in a crisis right now,” the commander, Lt. Col. Jay Folds, wrote in an internal email obtained by The Associated Press and confirmed by the Air Force.
The tip-off to trouble was a March inspection of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., which earned the equivalent of a “D” grade when tested on its mastery of Minuteman III missile launch operations. In other areas, the officers tested much better, but the group’s overall fitness was deemed so tenuous that senior officers at Minot decided, after probing further, that an immediate crackdown was called for.
The Air Force publicly called the inspection a “success.”
But in April it quietly removed 17 officers at Minot from the highly sensitive duty of standing 24-hour watch over the Air Force’s most powerful nuclear missiles, the intercontinental ballistic missiles that can strike targets across the globe. Inside each underground launch control capsule, two officers stand “alert” at all times, ready to launch an ICBM upon presidential order.
“You will be a bench warmer for at least 60 days,” Folds wrote.
The 17 cases mark the Air Force’s most extensive sidelining ever of launch crew members, according to Lt. Col. Angie Blair, a spokeswoman for Air Force Global Strike Command, which oversees the missile units as well as nuclear-capable bombers. The wing has 150 officers assigned to missile launch control duty.
But her nomination has been blocked by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, who wants to examine Helms’s previously unpublicized decision to overturn the conviction, on charges of aggravated sexual assault, of a captain at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Helms’s action mirrors another case that has drawn angry attention from Congress and prompted legislators to propose landmark changes in military law. In that instance, victims’ advocates called for the firing of Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin, commander of the Third Air Force in Europe, after he tossed out the sexual-assault conviction of a star fighter pilot in February.
In both cases, the generals ignored the recommendations of their legal advisers and overruled a jury’s findings — without publicly revealing why. Neither general was a judge and neither observed the trials, but they intervened to grant clemency before the convictions could be heard by an appeals court.
WWII in Color: Rare Photos From 1942 Show Flying Fortress Bombers and Their Heroic Crews in the Mighty 8th Command
Millions of poignant black-and-white photos have come out of the World War Two era, but it is not often that scenes from the deadliest conflict in human history can be seen in living color.
In 1942, LIFE Magazine sent Margaret Bourke-White, one of its four original staff photographers and the first female photojournalist accredited to cover WWII, to take pictures of the VIII Bomber Command, commonly known as the Eighth Air Force or The Mighty 8th.
The photographs, executed in brilliant hues that make them look almost like oil paintings, put on full display the massive American B-24s and B-17s - or Flying Fortresses - that rained terror on Nazi-control cities often in tandem with the Royal Air Force.
In the early stages of the war, the Eighth Air Force and the bombers under its command were praised for the ‘fantastic accuracy’ of the attacks.
But as the conflict dragged on, the Flying Fortresses and their crews would face heavy loses, the most dramatic of which came in October 1943 when 60 bombers were destroyed and 600 pilots perished in a single raid in Germany.
Some of Bourke-White’s pictures show everyday scenes from the base in England, like the portrait of an American pilot with a pink toy bunny - likely a good luck charm from a child - tucked in his waistband.
These guys do a remarkable job getting their aircraft back on the ground with a minimal amount of damage. It could have very easily gone the other way. Also, notice early in the video there is a sequence showing a F-111 dumping fuel with the afterburners on lighting up the night sky. Something a little unique to the F-111.
The Australians flew the F-111 a lot longer than our Air Force. The airplane was originally designed to land on a carrier deck so the gear structure is very strong. Even landing on a long runway you just maintain 10 degrees angle of attack until the runway stops your descent.
Because this is the way the airplane was designed to be landed it felt just fine inside the airplane, but for an observer outside the aircraft it looked like you forgot to flare and really clobbered the landing. I don’t know if metal fatigue was a factor in this accident but they are fortunate the wheel fell off upon liftoff and not while accelerating down the runway in full afterburner.
Using the tail hook to catch the arresting cable was a great idea, as you will see. Arresting wires on runways are not like the ones on the flight deck of a carrier. They provide less resistance and let you decelerate over about a 900 ft. range, something you wouldn’t have room to do on a carrier.