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.
Read more at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
Original article and resignation letter: Why I Don’t Want to Be a West Point Graduate
I do not wish to be in any way associated with an institution which willfully disregards the Constitution of the United States of America by enforcing policies which run counter to the same. Examples of these policies include mandatory prayer, the maintenance of the 3rd Regiment Shield, awarding extra passes to Plebes who take part in religious retreats and chapel choirs, as well as informal policies such as the open disrespect of non-religious new cadets and incentivizing participation in religious activities through the chain of command.
The United States military has an intelligence problem—it has too much of it.
As drones get better at taking video, the Air Force has an increasingly hard time analyzing it for potential threats, leading one expert to warn that the military might be missing potential attacks.
[Panetta to Congress: ‘We Are Not Going to Hollow Out the Force’]
“We have hundreds of Benghazis we might need to protect against, and we don’t have the computing power or the manpower to watch it as it’s happening,” says James Keagle, director of the Emerging Challenges Program at National Defense University.
It’s a problem the military is increasingly turning to automated systems to solve—analysts can use NFL-like telestrators to circle a door, for instance. If a drone detects unexpected movement near that door, it can automatically alert people on the ground. But that raises new issues: Human rights organizations object to giving drones even further levels of automation. But even with automation, the military is falling behind, some experts say.
As the East Coast is battered by Hurricane Sandy and the Atlantic City boardwalk washes into the Atlantic Ocean, it’s hard not to think about the pilots and aircrews who actually fly into these hurricanes.
The Air Force Reserve’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron has flown through Hurricane Sandy all week helping forecasters predict this unprecedented turn toward the New Jersey shore and through Pennsylvania.
This summer, Air Force Lt. Col. Jeff Ragusa listed a couple facts unknown about these Reservists who are the ones called every time the National Hurricane Center identifies a potential tropical storm. One fact I didn’t know is that the Hurricane Hunter were actually the product of a bar room dare. The rest of the facts provided by Ragusa are below:
A B-52 drops live guided bomb units as an F-15D Eagle follows during a June training exercise. The 60-year-old aircraft will soon receive its latest upgrade.
The B-52 is celebrating a big birthday this year — 60 — but unlike humans who feel the aches and pains of aging, the aircraft remains a premiere bombing machine that is expected to continue giving bad guys a real bad day through the 2040s, thanks to yet another upgrade.
“It’s a purely awesome machine,” said Senior Master Sgt. Daniel Dutton, B-52 command fleet manager for Global Strike Command. “It’s hard to put into words how well this aircraft was built and how well it’s been maintained over the last 50 or 60 years by our guys — out here on the flight line or deployed, it doesn’t matter.”
The bomber can carry nukes or provide close-air support by obliterating anyone shooting at U.S. troops, as it has in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
“When people ask, ‘What kind of armament, what kind of weapons can this thing carry?’ we basically say, ‘Well, pretty much the U.S. arsenal’ — granted the air-to-air role isn’t quite there yet,” said Col. Russell Hart, chief of the bomber operations division at Global Strike Command.
The U.S. Air Force successfully launched a United Launch Alliance Delta IV-Medium rocket carrying the third Global Positioning System IIF satellite at 8:10 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 37.
“The 45th Space Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center’s GPS Directorate, Boeing and United Launch Alliance team are proud to launch the third installment of the GPS Block IIF,” said Col. Robert Pavelko, vice commander, 45th Space Wing commander, who also served as Launch Decision Authority.
The first GPS IIF satellite, Space Vehicle 1, was launched by a Delta IV rocket on May 28, 2010 and the second one on July 16, 2011, both from Space Launch Complex 37 here at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The GPS Block IIF satellites are built by Boeing, and will be operated by the United States Air Force following their launch by United Launch Alliance, using Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles.
Just days before retiring as Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Norton Schwartz issued a document designed to dictate the conduct of U.S. airmen worldwide — all violations enforceable by military law. For the first time, amid regulations on tattoo size and flag handling etiquette, it laid down the law on religious proselytizing by leaders: Don’t do it.
Section 2.11 of the 27-page Air Force Instruction AFI 1-1 Standards of Conduct is the latest salvo in a battle over religious bias and Christian proselytizing in the military branch. It calls on officers and supervisors to “avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion.”
The document’s section on religion echoes a memo Schwartz sent out to all Air Force leadership on religion last September, but adds the threat of penalty for violations.
“COMPLIANCE WITH THIS PUBLICATION IS MANDATORY,” the memo says in bold, adding that “failure to adhere to the standards set out in this instruction can form the basis for adverse action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).”
I’m sure though that this somehow is all President Obama’s fault and that it just proves that teh gays, Mooslims, athetists, Reds, etc etc are taking over the Armed Forces.