Shortly after the Air Force offered nonjudicial punishment in lieu of court-martial, Maj. Harry Schmidt, the Illinois Air National Guard F-16 pilot who mistakenly bombed Canadian troops in Afghanistan in April 2002, demanded to stand trial instead. Four Canadians were killed and eight wounded in the incident.
Schmidt said June 25 he wants to clear his name.
Lt. Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander of 8th Air Force, had reviewed the evidence and recommendations from an Article 32 hearing held earlier this year and, on June 19, had announced he would issue a letter of reprimand to Maj. William Umbach, the lead F-16 pilot involved in the incident, and initiate Article 15 action against Schmidt.
Umbach, who did not release weapons, was cited for “leadership failures.” Carlson also recommended the service accept Umbach’s request to retire.
Schmidt allegedly failed to follow an order to make certain his target was not friendly and to “stand by,” as instructed by an Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft. He has maintained that there was no warning that coalition forces were in the area on night exercises.
For additional background, see “Aerospace World” news items: “Pilots Blamed in Canadian Deaths,” August 2002, p. 16; “USAF Changes Tarnak Farms Disciplinary Authority,” September 2002, p. 21; “Air Force Charges Two Pilots in Deaths of Canadians,” October 2002, p. 19; “The Case of the ANG Pilots: Blame, Support, and Conflicting Testimony,” February, p. 20.
The Air Force is considering a permanent change to the air and space expeditionary force rotation cycle, according to the head of AEF planning.
Maj. Gen. Timothy A. Peppe told Stars and Stripes that deployments may be extended to 120 days from the current 90-day AEF template. The Air Force already intends to use two temporary 120-day deployments to help cover a reconstitution period for forces returning from duty in Southwest Asia.
Going to a longer deployment would increase the time that personnel spend at their home base between AEFs, “and that would be a good thing,” Peppe said.
The Navy will extend the deployments of its carrier battle groups beyond the traditional six months if doing so will help meet wartime “surge” demands, said Adm. Vernon Clark, Chief of Naval Operations.
“ I am not going to short-cycle one [carrier] home [just] to say, ‘We made it in six months,’ and then have a ripple effect through three or four more battle groups,” Clark told reporters in June. “We’re going to be able to deploy five or six [battle groups] any time [the President] wants to,” he added.
During peacetime, the Navy typically has three of its carrier battle groups deployed at any given time.
Ability to surge does not mean the Navy will arbitrarily extend deployments, however. Clark noted there will be negative morale and recruiting consequences if routine six-month deployments become nine months long.
It took a commitment from the White House, but, on June 23, Idaho Sen. Larry E. Craig (R) agreed to release the last of the 212 Air Force officer promotions he had placed on hold.
The Air Force, in turn, had to meet with Craig to discuss adding more C-130 transports to the Air National Guard unit at Gowen Field in Boise. (See “Aerospace World: C-130s for Promotions?” July, p. 10.)
The June 23 releases were for 18 general officer promotions.
The dispute became public before Craig relented on promotions for more than a hundred lower-ranking officers.
According to Craig, the Air Force seven years ago promised it would base eight C-130 transports at Gowen Field. “In 1996, Idaho received four C-130s in what the undersecretary of the Air Force at the time said was the ‘first installment’ of eight aircraft,” Craig said in a statement.
Since then, “I have secured over $40 million in military construction dollars in anticipation of a full squadron” of eight aircraft, Craig added.
The Air Force in June announced its preferred plan for basing the 100 KC-767 aerial refueling aircraft it expects to lease from Boeing. (See “100 Tankers,” p. 64.) According to USAF’s “tanker roadmap” the following bases will be affected:
Fairchild AFB, Wash., will receive 32 KC-767s by 2010 and will get up to $200 million in military construction funds.
Grand Forks AFB, N.D., will receive 32 KC-767s by 2009 and $176 million in construction funds.
MacDill AFB, Fla., will receive 32 KC-767s by 2011 and some $200 million in milcon funds.
Robins AFB, Ga., will eliminate its existing tanker inventory, creating room for future missions.
The remaining four KC-767s will be backup inventory. The lease arrangement will also allow the Air Force to retire its 133 aged KC-135Es.
Air Reserve Component units at the following bases will transition from E model KC-135s to R models as part of the tanker realignment:
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Bangor, Maine
- Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Forbes Field, Kan.
- McGhee Tyson ANGB, Tenn.
- McGuire AFB, N.J.
- Scott AFB, Ill.
- Sioux City, Iowa
- Beale AFB, Calif.
- Phoenix, Ariz.
- Selfridge ANGB, Mich.
The basing plan is contingent on Congressional approval of the tanker leasing plan.
The relatively quick conclusion of major combat operations in Iraq meant the war cost less than government projections.
“ The business plan for the war was roughly as successful as the military plan,” Mitch Daniels, outgoing director of the Office of Management and Budget, told USA Today.
The expense projections “look pretty darn good” he added.
Congress in March approved $62.6 billion to pay for combat operations and deployments. However, compared to prewar projections, there were fewer precision weapons expended and there were fewer oil well fires and fewer refugees to attend to than expected.
In House and Senate versions of the Fiscal 2004 defense authorization bills, lawmakers proposed that the Air Force bring back the majority of the B-1 bombers the service plans to retire by Sept. 30.
The action would require the Air Force to return to service 23 of the 32 B-1s destined for retirement.
The Air Force opposes the move, noting in a statement that it would cost more than $1.1 billion through Fiscal 2009 to retain the aircraft. This funding is “simply not available elsewhere in the Air Force budget,” according to a USAF spokesman.
The lawmakers authorized $20.3 million “to begin the regeneration of the 23 B-1B aircraft,” the House report on the bill states.
An Air Force official described the $20.3 million figure as “nothing,” given that it is less than two percent of the total funds needed to keep the B-1s in service. USAF decided to draw down the B-1 fleet from 93 to 60 aircraft to free up funds needed to upgrade and sustain the remaining aircraft in the fleet.
According to the USAF statement, forcing the Air Force to bring back the bombers without properly funding them “threatens to undo all the gains” USAF has made in B-1 reliability and performance.
On June 11—more than two years after two F-15Cs crashed in Scotland, killing both pilots—the Air Force released accident investigation findings that faulted the pilots and a Royal Air Force air traffic controller.
USAF investigators determined that a breakdown in “terrain avoidance responsibilities” led to the deadly March 2001 accident.
Lt. Col. Kenneth Hyvonen and Capt. Kirk Jones were on a low-level training flight when they flew into a mountain.
The F-15C Eagles, from RAF Lakenheath, UK, crashed into the snow-covered Cairngorm Mountains after the pilots descended below a safe altitude while lacking “positive visual contact with the ground,” the accident board determined.
It was four days before the bodies of both pilots were recovered. (See “Aerospace World: Two USAF F-15s Crash in Scotland,” May 2001, p. 14.)
The release of the investigation report was delayed for more than a year by the court-martial of the British air traffic controller, who was acquitted of professional negligence.
USS Constellation, the Navy’s second-oldest aircraft carrier, will be retired this month.
The retirement will leave the sea service one carrier short of its standard level for about a year, as Constellation’s replacement, Ronald Reagan, is still under construction.
Ronald Reagan is not expected to reach its home port at NAS North Island, Calif., until 2004. The new carrier will first deploy sometime in 2005, according to Navy plans.
Constellation served a seven-month tour in support of Gulf War II, during which it launched 1,500 combat sorties that delivered 1.3 million pounds of munitions.
Maintainers Set Record MC Rate
The 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess AFB, Tex., surpassed the standard 67 percent mission capable rate for B-1 bombers for 12 straight months. It’s the first time a unit has set such a record for the B-1.
Maintainers began the record run last June and culminated it with a 76.1 percent MC rate in May, according to unit officials.
The MC rates are determined by the percent of a unit’s assigned aircraft that are ready to perform missions.
The Dyess success rates were attributed to the increased funding for spares and parts that then began flowing through the pipeline.
“ We have more parts on the shelf now, have less cannibalization actions, and less weekend maintenance duties,” said CMSgt. Douglas Fournier, 7th Operations Group maintenance superintendent. He added, “Morale is the highest it’s been in years.”
Air Force officials are developing new methods to calculate its mission capable rate goals to improve how the service buys, operates, and retires aircraft. They intend to submit the new methods to senior leaders by late summer.
According to Defense News, Gen. John P. Jumper, USAF Chief of Staff, ordered changes to be made to the current MC rate process during February’s Corona meeting, a quarterly meeting of top Air Force leaders.
At the same meeting, Air Force Secretary James G. Roche established a new service panel to track aircraft as they fly and age. The intent is for the panel to certify the airworthiness of USAF aircraft.
The House Appropriations Committee allocated $368.6 billion to defense in its version of the Fiscal 2004 spending bill—$3 billion less than requested. The reason: DOD did not spend all it was given for the war in Iraq.
Committee chairman C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) said the allocation is an agreed-upon starting point for budget deliberations with Senate appropriators.
USAF recently cut the selective re-enlistment bonuses for 47 career fields and decreased the amounts in some 53 others. At the same time, it added or boosted SRBs for another 40.
The additions and increases took effect June 4, while the decreases and cuts were to begin July 4.
The cuts reflect increased retention rates in some career fields, according to Maj. Gen. Peter U. Sutton, USAF’s director of learning and force development.
He said, too, that USAF will continue to shift the bonuses based on the needs of the service. The bonuses provide up to $60,000 for enlisted members in certain skills.
Advancing GPS III To Cost More
Moving up the launch date from 2012 to 2010 for Global Positioning System III satellites would cost more than $300 million in funding through 2009, OSD officials have determined.
Of that, $45 million would be needed just for Fiscal 2004.
The “quick look” figures were developed in response to a question from Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, according to Inside the Air Force. Rumsfeld had issued a “snowflake” memo in February to his staff asking why the GPS III would not launch in 2010.
Other higher priorities led the Pentagon to zero out the Fiscal 2004 funding for GPS III.
Defense authorization committees in the House and Senate restored $45 million and $80 million, respectively. Budget resolution of the program awaits markup by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
Officials at Eglin AFB, Fla., have begun development of an air-launched decoy that is designed to draw enemy fire. By doing so, it will disclose enemy air defense capabilities and help keep pilots out of harm’s way. (See artist’s concept at left.)
Officials awarded Raytheon $88 million to develop the Miniature Air-Launched Decoy and deliver 1,500 units by 2011 at a maximum unit cost of $125,000.
Civil Air Patrol in June launched a Corporate Partner Program, a marketing arrangement with corporations to support CAP’s activities in homeland security, the war on drugs, and youth development.
The program allows businesses of any size to use the CAP name and corporate partner mark in advertising, marketing, and promotions.
Retired USAF Col. Al Allenback, CAP executive director, noted that corporations supported CAP and other civil defense organizations in the 1940s and 1950s.
|Raptor Cuts Undermine “Buy to Budget” Plan
Both House and Senate lawmakers reduced USAF’s request for F/A-22 Raptor funding in the Fiscal 2004 defense authorization bill. The move flies in the face of the “buy to budget” strategy and could signal that USAF will not be able to reach its fleet goal of 381 F/A-22s.
The Air Force sought $3.7 billion to pay for 22 Raptors next year. The Senate authorization bill cut the F/A-22 budget request by $217 million, effectively reducing next year’s quantity to 20.
House authorizers also cut the 2004 request—by $161 million—citing Fiscal 2003 program efficiencies as justification.
However, such efficiencies are at the heart of the buy-to-budget agreement USAF reached with OSD. Under the agreement, USAF can buy as many Raptors as possible for a set amount of money each year. OSD views that as incentive for the service to keep the cost of the airplane down.
For instance, in 2003 the Air Force initially requested 23 Raptors but lowered the quantity to 20 when developmental problems forced the service to reprogram some funds from production to development accounts. USAF later determined that new efficiencies would allow the service to buy an extra aircraft in 2003 and remain within its budget.
Service officials had counted on the buy-to-budget strategy to enable them to eventually purchase 381 aircraft—the baseline number needed for its 10 air and space expeditionary force structure.
In addition to the amount House authorizers deem should be cut due to program efficiencies, they stipulated that improvements must be made to the aircraft’s advanced software or they will remove another $136 million from the F/A-22 account.
By mid-June, the Congressional appropriators had not yet finalized their versions of the 2004 budget.
|Report: Academy Lost Focus on Assault Problem
The Air Force working group looking into sexual assault allegations from current and former cadets at the Air Force Academy found no evidence of systemic acceptance of sexual assault, cadet mistreatment, or avoidance of responsibility among the academy leadership.
However, focus on the problem of sexual assault had waned in recent years, the group determined.
USAF General Counsel Mary L. Walker headed the group, which began its investigation in February. Walker released their report June 19.
It stated, “A number of cultural and process matters are problematic.” They include the high incidence of alcohol use in assault cases and the lack of coordination between units responsible for responding to charges of sexual assault.
“ Direct focus by the superintendents on sexual assault issues appeared to gradually lessen after 1997 … [due] to competing demands,” the report noted.
The cadet environment was also found to be troublesome, in that there exists a climate of “gender-based comments about women [and] off-color jokes,” while cadets frequently place loyalty to their peers above values.
Overall, the report conceded, “It is difficult to establish the extent of the sexual assault issue at the academy.” The academy defines and records assaults differently than the Air Force.
The working group recommended integrating all agencies responsible for responding to complaints and involving academy leaders in victim support and protection of privacy. Privacy and support were two areas where victims often misunderstood the process after they filed a complaint.
An independent Congressionally mandated panel was created in late May and held its first public hearing June 23. The seven-member committee, appointed by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, is headed by Tillie K. Fowler, a lawyer and former Republican Congresswoman. (See “Aerospace World: DOD Names Air Force Academy Review Panel,” July, p. 15.)
One member of the panel—Amy McCarthy, a United Airlines pilot and academy graduate—already stepped down amid concerns over her ability to be impartial. She had been publicly skeptical of claims of rape by female cadets, according to the New York Times on the Web.
On June 26, McCarthy was replaced by Anita M. Carpenter, who is chief executive officer of the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault and a noted victim’s advocate.
|The Military Is the Most Trusted US Institution
Americans are more confident in the military than any other US institution, according to a recent Gallup poll. In the 30th annual installment of Gallup’s “Confidence in Institutions” survey, four-fifths of Americans have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the military, the highest level of trust of the 15 institutions included in the poll.
The military was also the most trusted institution among younger Americans aged 18-49. More than three-quarters of the younger demographic expressed confidence in the military.
The only areas to receive votes of confidence from more than half of those surveyed were the military, the police (61 percent), and the Presidency (55 percent). Organized religion and banks rated 50 percent each.
Trust in the military has made great strides over the last 30 years. When the military was first added to the survey in 1975, with memories of Vietnam still fresh in people’s minds, only about 60 percent of Americans expressed confidence in the military. Six years later, shortly before the Reagan Administration’s defense buildup, the number had dropped even lower to 50 percent.
The highest rating Gallup has recorded thus far for confidence in the military came in 1991, after Operation Desert Storm, when it reached 85 percent.
|Space Struggles With Four Systemic Challenges |
Military space programs face four systemic problems that historically have resulted in “the majority” taking extra time to develop and going over budget, according to two June reports from the General Accounting Office.
Some of these problems are being addressed in new military space programs, but some of the same hurdles remain. Common problems include:
GAO found that the Space Based Infrared System-High missile warning system and the Advanced Extremely High Frequency military satellite communications system suffered from all four of these types of problems.
The Congressional watchdog agency did report that DOD has made some progress in addressing these root causes.
Further, GAO noted that “many satellites launched over the past two decades have lasted longer than expected.” It cited the Defense Support Program satellites that currently provide missile warning as having operated “well past design lifetime.”
|Veterans Task Force Issues Report, Sparks Fly
Why do the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs conduct separate physical exams of veterans, one before discharge and one afterward
What is the reason for separate purchasing systems? Why are VA and DOD medical record systems incompatible
According to a federal task force study, Congress and the President should demand closer coordination of staff, facilities, and other resources of these two mammoth health care systems.
The 129-page report of the President’s Task Force to Improve Health Care Delivery for Our Nation’s Veterans, delivered to President Bush on May 28, recommends greater collaboration to control a combined $50 billion cost and to ensure a “seamless transition” for veterans from military to VA health care.
One recommendation would set the VA budget high enough to fully fund health care for enrolled veterans in Priority Groups 1 through 7. Group 1 veterans have service-connected disabilities of 50 percent or more. Group 7 veterans have no service-connected ailments but are relatively poor, having incomes above a national VA means test but below a government geographic index of pay adequacy.
The number of enrollees in Groups 1 through 7 grows by 360,000 a year.
Left out of the new funding scheme would be Group 8 veterans, who have no service-connected ailments and who are not in poverty. These veterans first were offered access to VA health care in 1998 in return for agreeing to co-payments. Their enrollment has grown by 220,000 a year and was suspended in January to ease an access problem for all veterans.
The report urges the President and Congress to work together to end this “unacceptable” access status and an obvious mismatch between demand and resources.
The report also calls for:
The task force was formed two years ago to recommend ways in which DOD and VA could better collaborate on veteran care.
Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.), chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, described the task force report as “magnificent” and moved quickly on the controversial full-funding provision. (See “Action in Congress,” p. 20.)
However, the plan was attacked by another senior member of the House panel, Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.). Buyer charged that the panel had been “hijacked” by several task force members with close ties to large veterans service organizations. How else, asked Buyer, could one explain the task force recommendation to pay for health care for all enrolled veterans, including those with no service-connected injuries
Buyer said in an interview that the report was not responsive to the goals set out in its charter but had instead been guided by political considerations.
What is clogging the VA system, said Buyer, is not a shortage of money but the fact that Congress in 1996 made a big “mistake” by approving open enrollment of all veterans. Buyer noted that he himself had gone along with this plan.
Buyer recalled that the Congressional Budget Office had warned of a looming mismatch between demand and resources, but the committee leaders and veterans groups “mocked” the predictions, believing costs would be kept within bounds by new efficiencies, co-payments charged to some veterans, and reimbursements from employer health insurance plans. None materialized, said Buyer.
Priority 7 and 8 veterans, those with no service-related disabilities, cost the VA $2 billion last year, about 10 percent of overall costs. Rather than admit open enrollment was a mistake, the task force and veterans group now argue, said Buyer, “just give us more money.”
— Tom Philpott
|DOD OKs V-22 Osprey Production
The V-22 tilt-rotor is ready to shift into high gear, senior defense officials say.
Pentagon acquisition chief Edward C. Aldridge, who reviewed the program before retiring May 23, said the redesigned program has met all key performance parameters and reliability and maintainability standards. He declared the V-22 program sufficient to increase production “above the minimum sustaining rate.”
Following two deadly crashes in 2000 that killed 23 Marines, the Osprey had design defects corrected and validated through intense flight tests and inspections, according to V-22 program manager Marine Corps Col. Dan Schultz.
Schultz told reporters June 19 that, for the past six years, the program has been at a minimum sustaining rate—11 aircraft per year—the lowest number manufacturer Bell Boeing can build per year and keep the production line open.
The program office is evaluating five different options for increasing the production rate, beginning in Fiscal 2005, Schultz said. Currently, the Pentagon’s long-range spending plan calls for 11 tilt-rotors to be built in 2005, then 20 in 2006.
Aldridge said production will likely increase to “14 to 15” aircraft in 2005, based on “what’s affordable” within the 2005 budget. He also directed officials to “define options” for enhanced capabilities by adding the Joint Tactical Radio System and Link 16 for improved communications.
Schultz said there is always money to be found in budgets for “great ideas,” but there are no guarantees that funding will be made available in Fiscal 2005.
The V-22 is expected to replace a host of legacy helicopters, including Air Force Special Operations Command’s MH-53 Pave Lows.
Schultz noted that AFSOC-specific testing also has been progressing well.
|Lockheed Martin, Boeing Face Off Over EELV
Defense giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin squared off in court when Lockheed filed suit June 10 against its longtime rival.
The lawsuit claims Boeing employees, one of whom previously worked for Lockheed, systematically stole proprietary information that helped Boeing win 19 of 28 lucrative Evolved Expandable Launch Vehicle contracts.
According to the suit, Boeing employees used inside information about Lockheed’s EELV bid to ensure they could offer a “lower cost, technically superior proposal.”
The result was “Lockheed Martin’s ongoing loss of a significant portion of the Air Force space launch business over a 10-year period,” adversely impacting Lockheed’s future business prospects, the company alleged.
Boeing won all seven of the initial EELV launches and 19 of the first 28 missions. This was “seen by the marketplace as tacit endorsement of Boeing’s launch vehicle over Lockheed Martin’s, making it much more difficult” for Lockheed to compete for commercial launches, the lawsuit alleged.
Boeing also took action—in the court of public opinion. In an unusual move, the company placed full page ads in several nationally prominent newspapers the day before the lawsuit was filed, admitting that some employees had “behaved unethically” but defending the company’s overall integrity.
In the ads, Boeing Chairman and CEO Philip M. Condit wrote that “the actions of a few individuals” are not representative of the company as a whole. However, as a large organization, Boeing is “not always perfect,” Condit added.
Lockheed Martin noted in its lawsuit that at least one of the individuals accused of the industrial espionage was terminated for “possessing and distributing Lockheed Martin EELV-related proprietary documents during the EELV competition.”
|Strom Thurmond, 1902-2003
Strom Thurmond of South Carolina—the longest serving Senator in US history—died June 26 in Edgefield, S.C. He was 100.
He was born on Dec. 5, 1902, in Edgefield. After graduating from Clemson College in 1923, he became a teacher and, later, county school superintendent. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1930. He was elected a state senator in 1933, then pushed for fellow legislators to name him a circuit judge in 1938.
In 1941, Thurmond joined the Army as a captain in a civil affairs unit. On D-Day in 1944, as a lieutenant colonel, he landed in France by glider and captured German soldiers with a pistol. He received a Bronze Star for valor and the French Croix de Guerre.
He was elected governor of South Carolina in 1946. Thurmond went to the Senate in 1954 after winning the election as a write-in candidate—the only Senator to ever win by write-in vote. During most of his tenure, he served on the Armed Services Committee, becoming chairman in 1995. He retired from the Senate in January, after 48 years in office.
Shortly before he left office, the Air Force named a C-17 airlifter Spirit of Strom Thurmond to honor his many years of support for the armed forces.
|Robert Stump, 1927-2003
Robert L. Stump, who served in the House of Representatives for 26 years, died June 20 in Phoenix of a blood disorder. He was 76.
Stump, who was born April 4, 1927, in Phoenix, retired from Congress in January. He had been chairman of both the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and Armed Services Committee.
He served as a combat medic in the Navy during World War II. In 1951, he graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in agronomy. Stump was elected to the Arizona state House of Representatives in 1959, where he remained until 1967, when he was elected a state senator. He was elected to Congress in 1976.
Stump routinely supported spending increases for military forces and veterans. During three terms as Veterans’ Affairs chairman, he pushed for improved health benefits.
- USAF plans to base eight C-17 airlifters in Hawaii, primarily to transport a planned Army brigade of 300 Stryker armored vehicles. The aircraft are expected to arrive in Fiscal 2006.
- Pentagon officials approved a $900 million project to construct a high-speed fiber optic network connecting US defense command posts around the world.
- Rough times for the US semiconductor industry threaten the development of new military systems, said Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) in a June white paper. He asserted that China and other East Asian countries use government subsidies to boost their computer chip manufacturing base at the expense of US companies. If the trend continues, he said, the US will eventually become dependent on potentially unreliable foreign sources for high-end semiconductors necessary for advanced weapons systems. He suggested that tax breaks could help strengthen the US manufacturing base.
- The Senate on June 23 confirmed Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa Jr. to be the new superintendent at the Air Force Academy.
- The Army plans to develop uniforms and helmets wired with sensors and connected to a common network. General Dynamics, which received a contract for up to $3 billion June 12, is to provide the first prototype by 2006 and outfit the first soldiers by 2010. The helmet will hold a camera, Global Positioning System antenna, and receivers. Images will be viewed via an eyepiece.
- In June, Air Force One—for the first time since Gulf War I in 1991— flew across Iraq as it transported President Bush to the Middle East.
- Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, resigned June 20, citing a desire to spend more time with her family. Lawrence Di Rita, a special assistant to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, is serving as acting spokesman.
- On June 12, Tallil AB, Iraq, received its first commercial cargo aircraft since coalition forces secured the base during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Other military-contract commercial airplanes are expected to follow. Falcon Express Cargo Airlines from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is scheduled to make three deliveries per week, according to Maj. Seann Cahill, commander of the 407th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron.
- DOD plans to move its Internet Protocol 4-based systems and equipment to IP 6 by 2008, said John P. Stenbit, DOD’s chief information officer. The new version, which expands IP address space, improves security, eases mobile communications, and generally enhances service, will enable the Pentagon to integrate elements of its Global Information Grid and move toward “net-centric warfare and operations.”
- President Bush on June 5 established a spectrum policy initiative to develop recommendations to improve radio frequency spectrum management policies and procedures for the federal government and to address state, local, and private spectrum use.
- Two USAF organizations on June 4 received the David Packard Award for Acquisition Excellence. The Joint Direct Attack Munition Joint Project Office delivered JDAMs in half the time and at half the cost as projected. The Passive Attack Weapon quick reaction capability team delivered a complete and operationally tested system in less than 100 days.
- On June 13, Maj. Jeffrey Olesen, a U-2 pilot, received the 2002 Koren Kolligian Jr. Trophy for his actions to safely land his aircraft when the engine malfunctioned during a 2001 Operation Southern Watch mission over Iraq. After exhausting established tech procedures to fix the problem, he had to put the engine in idle, where it became stuck, causing the U-2 to operate like a glider. There was no checklist covering descent from the U-2’s normal operating altitude of 70,000 feet with an engine in idle. Olesen is assistant director of operations for the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale AFB, Calif.
- Retired MSgt. Trinidad Castinado on June 2 received the Air Medal, second oak leaf cluster, for his actions nearly 60 years earlier during a bombing mission over Germany. The original paperwork had been lost, but Castinado’s supervisor at Kirtland AFB, N.M., who heard about the airman’s heroism, prompted a search for records to confirm the award. On a 1944 bombing run to a key target in Germany, Castinado, a gunner on a B-24, gave his oxygen mask to the radio operator whose mask had failed to work and who had been ordered to bail out as the bomber climbed to 10,000 feet. Castinado parachuted from the bomber, despite the danger at that altitude, since the radio operator was more important to the mission.
- The Library of Congress on May 22 celebrated Bob Hope’s birthday with a special tribute. Hope, who turned 100 on May 29, performed for USO audiences through World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the 1991 Gulf War. The library now has a permanent exhibit, “Bob Hope Gallery of American Entertainment,” housing more than 85,000 pages of Hope’s jokes and other material from his 80 years in show business.