Air Force World

Sept. 1, 2008

Six Perish in B-52 Crash

A B-52H bomber assigned to the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, La., crashed July 21 off the northwest coast of Guam during a training mission, claiming the lives of six airmen—five aircrew from Barksdale and a flight surgeon from Andersen AFB, Guam.

The deceased airmen are: Col. George Martin, flight surgeon; Maj. Christopher M. Cooper, 33, aircraft commander; Maj. Brent D. Williams, 37, navigator; Capt. Michael K. Dodson, 31, copilot; 1st Lt. Joshua D. Shepherd, 26, navigator; and 1st Lt. Robert D Gerren, 32, electronic warfare officer. Martin was deputy commander of 36th Medical Group.

The mishap aircraft, which had no munitions aboard, was one of nine Barksdale B-52s that deployed to Guam in June for a four-month rotational stint to maintain the continual US bomber presence in the region.

McKinley To Head Guard Bureau

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on July 16 recommended to the White House that Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig R. McKinley, director of the Air National Guard, be the next chief of the National Guard Bureau.

“General McKinley is well-qualified for this important and historic assignment,” Gates said during a press briefing on that day. McKinley would be the first officer to lead the National Guard as a four-star general based on a provision in the 2008 defense authorization act.

McKinley has led the Air Guard since May 2006 and has served in the Air Force for 34 years. He would replace Army Lt. Gen. Steven H. Blum as NGB chief.

Airmen Awarded Bronze Star Medals

SSgt. Dean Conner, a combat controller with the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla., received two Bronze Star Medals, one with Valor Device, on July 21 for his actions while deployed to Southwest Asia. He received the Valor Device for a mission in which he was knocked unconscious from the impact of a rocket-propelled grenade, but then regained consciousness and returned fire, keeping the enemy from surrounding his team, and directed air strikes onto enemy locations.

SSgt. Joshua Andrews, a joint terminal attack controller with the 14th Air Support Operations Squadron at Pope AFB, N.C., received a Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device on July 3 for his actions in Iraq. Andrews controlled more than 30 combat aircraft during 36 hours of an operation and, even when wounded, he braved enemy fire to help move wounded to evacuation aircraft and continued controlling combat aircraft.

Three other airmen with the 14th ASOS—TSgt. Warren Williams, SSgt. George Earhart, and SSgt. James Spreter—also received Bronze Star Medals on July 3 for their actions in Southwest Asia.

USAF To Open Nuclear Summit

The Air Force said in July that it intends to convene a summit later this month to plot the way ahead to reinvigorate its nuclear mission. The summit will convene sometime after the nuclear task force that Acting Secretary Michel B. Donley created on June 30 concludes its work in crafting a “roadmap for rebuilding” USAF’s tarnished nuclear enterprise. Donley gave the task force 90 days to issue its final product.

The task force will also support the work of the independent review group that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates established in early June to look into organizational, procedural, and policy improvements across DOD’s entire nuclear enterprise.

F-22s Train at Guam

Five F-22s from the 90th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, arrived at Andersen AFB, Guam, on July 20 for two weeks of training and exercises with other USAF assets in the region. A maintenance issue with one F-22 prevented the unit from deploying six aircraft as originally planned.

This was the first time that Pacific Air Forces-assigned Raptors were forward based in the Pacific Theater, but was the second time overall that F-22s have appeared in the region. In February 2007, F-22s from the 27th FS at Langley AFB, Va., deployed to Kadena AB, Japan, for several months.

Donley Delays Maintenance Shift

Acting Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley decided to delay the realignment of maintenance units for fighter, bomber, and rescue aircraft into their respective flying squadrons, pending additional review, the Air Force announced July 2.

USAF originally announced the initiative in May as a means of enhancing warfighter capability by allowing the units to train as they would fight. Its implementation was set to commence on July 1 and be complete by Nov. 30. But Donley put off the move to have the opportunity “to discuss the appropriateness and timeliness of these changes with Air Force senior leaders,” said service spokeswoman Vicki Stein. As of late July, the issue was still under review.

Airmen Battle Fires

The 302nd Air Expeditionary Group, an amalgam of Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command assets and airmen from Colorado, North Carolina, and Wyoming, began operations on June 26 out of McClellan Airfield near Sacramento, Calif., to help battle raging wildfires in that state.

The unit flew eight specially modified C-130s, each fitted with tanks to allow them to drop 3,000 gallons of fire retardant on the flames in one mission. The 302nd AEG also included Navy and Marine Corps helicopters equipped with water buckets.

Bucket-carrying HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters of the California ANG’s 129th Rescue Wing at Moffett Federal Field chipped in. The wing received its firefighting certification July 2, becoming USAF’s first rescue unit so qualified.

Airmen Receive DFCs

Capt. Brian Erickson, an A-10 pilot with the 75th Fighter Squadron at Moody AFB, Ga., received the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device on July 11. He earned the honor for providing close air support under hazardous conditions to help save the lives of six members of a German provincial reconstruction team that came under insurgent attack in a Hindu Kush mountain range valley of Afghanistan on Oct. 16, 2006. He was deployed to Bagram Air Base at the time.

In addition to Erickson, Maj. David Torraca (now retired), Capt. Timothy Hood, and SSgt. J. H. Smith, crew members of an AC-130 gunship of the 4th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla., each received the DFC on June 20 for their actions in supporting Navy SEALs during a mission in Iraq on Sept. 12, 2007. Their AC-130 provided protective fire so that the SEAL team could evacuate three of its members wounded in a firefight with insurgents.

NATO Nations Sign C-17 Accord

The United States on June 11 signed a memorandum of understanding that establishes the NATO Strategic Airlift Capability program, under which 15 nations, including 13 NATO countries and partners Finland and Sweden, will jointly operate three C-17s transports out of Papa AB, Hungary, starting with the first aircraft before the end of the year.

The US is providing one C-17, and the partner nations are purchasing the two remaining aircraft under a foreign military sales arrangement. Current planning calls for delivery of the first C-17 in November and for having the second and third aircraft in place in early and mid-2009, respectively.

Air Force, Army Discuss UAVs

Senior Air Force and Army leaders met at Langley AFB, Va., on June 30 to discuss a new concept of operations for the employment of unmanned aerial vehicles in combat.

At the meeting, the services signed a memorandum that formalized ongoing changes to employ UAV capabilities for battlefield support.

Korean War Pilot Identified

The remains of Capt. William K. Mauldin of Pickens, S.C., an Air Force pilot with the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron who had been missing since the crash of his RF-51 Mustang in February 1952 during the Korean War, have been identified, the Department of Defense announced July 3.

Mauldin departed Kimpo AB, South Korea, on Feb. 21, 1952, on an aerial reconnaissance mission over North Korea; he was shot down during the mission and crashed near Sinan-ri. His remains were identified from among the 208 boxes of human remains turned over by North Korea between 1991 and 1994.

Guard Units Get New Missions

The Illinois Air National Guard’s 183rd Fighter Wing at Springfield was assigned two new nonflying missions on June 30. The unit will stand up an air and space operations center designated as the 183rd Air Operations Group and a centralized intermediate repair facility for the General Electric F110 engine. The engine facility will support five ANG F-16 flying units across the country.

Under BRAC 2005, the wing is scheduled to relinquish its F-16s before the end of the year—even though Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich has been resisting the loss of the aircraft mission. Conversion to the new roles will begin in Fiscal 2009; both should be fully operational two years later.

NORAD Moves Scrutinized

Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), chairman and ranking minority member of the House Armed Services Committee, respectively, introduced an amendment in July to the Fiscal 2009 defense authorization bill that would block further transfer of NORAD functions out of Cheyenne Mountain AFS, Colo., until there is more analysis.

In a July 2 letter to Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Skelton and Hunter called on Gates to “thoroughly review the additional costs and the resultant vulnerabilities” stemming from the move into a new joint command center with US Northern Command that opened in May at nearby Peterson AFB, Colo. Based on a briefing they received from the Government Accountability Office, the two lawmakers said the relocation “may jeopardize the nation’s ability to respond to a wide range of threats.”

F-22 Costs Estimated

The estimated costs of procuring an additional 75 F-22 stealth fighters beyond the Air Force’s current 183 aircraft program of record would vary between $13.7 billion and $19 billion out to Fiscal 2016, depending on which of three production schedules USAF chose, according to a RAND study completed in June.

RAND found that continuing F-22 production uninterrupted beyond the last aircraft currently under contract at rates of 20 aircraft per year in Fiscal 2010, 2011, and 2012, and then 15 in 2013, would be the most affordable scenario, costing $13.7 billion, with an average unit flyaway cost of $145 million.

The next option, warm production (i.e., continuing production but at a reduced rate), would cost $17.7 billion, with a flyaway cost of $170 million. The third option is the most expensive at $19 billion, with a unit flyaway cost of $200 million, because it entails shutting down Raptor production for two years and then restarting the line.

Mobile VIP Workspaces Sought

The Air Force announced in mid-July that it is purchasing two types of removable mobile command work spaces for use by military and senior civilian leaders traveling aboard mobility aircraft to austere or hostile locations.

The first model is the Senior Leaders In-transit Conference Capsule, an enclosed pod with work and rest areas that can be equipped with secure communications. The second module is the Senior Leaders In-transit Pallet that features a lighted conference table with reclining chairs.

The service came under some fire on Capitol Hill after press reports portrayed the work spaces as a luxurious acquisition for VIPs that the Air Force had at first attempted to buy with War on Terror funds.

USAF countered that these modules are needed to ease the burden on the service’s heavily taxed VIP transport fleet for shuttling members of Congress and senior members of the Administration and the Pentagon to the war zones and enabling them to be productive during the journey.

USAF Buys Missiles, Decoys

The Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a $107 million contract in June for the seventh production lot of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile. This lot covers 111 missiles, which brings USAF’s order to date to 1,053 missiles of the total 4,900 planned.

This is the first contract award since the national security importance of the JASSM program was recertified to Congress in May after a thorough Office of the Secretary of Defense-led review.

In July, Raytheon’s Miniature Air-Launched Decoy received approval for low rate initial production. Raytheon said it expects to build 150 of the radar spoofing weapons in the first production lot. The Air Force wants to have MALD assets ready to use by the end of 2009 on aircraft such as the F-16 and B-52H.

Maintenance Bidder Fights On

Alabama Aircraft Industries Inc. (formerly Pemco Aviation) filed a lawsuit in federal claims court in late June challenging the Air Force’s decision to award a $1.1 billion depot maintenance contract for the KC-135 tanker fleet to Boeing.

The move came after the Government Accountability Office in mid-June rejected the company’s most recent protest over USAF’s September 2007 award to Boeing. GAO first sustained a portion of AAII’s protest issues, but later sided with the service, after which USAF lifted its stop-work order on Boeing.

Jammer Work Goes Forward

The Air Force Research Lab awarded Boeing a $14.9 million contract in June to mature standoff jamming technologies for the service’s Core Component Jammer concept. Boeing and principal industrial partner Northrop Grumman will conduct engineering studies over the next three years focused on integrating powerful jamming pods on the wingtips of the B-52H bomber.

The B-52H has been designated as the demonstration airframe for the CCJ capability. The demonstration is notionally planned for 2011-12 after the initial three-year technology maturation effort. The Air Force envisions deployment of an operational system in the middle of next decade on the B-52H or perhaps a different platform.

Kaiserslautern Problems Linger

The Air Force has made significant improvements in its oversight of the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center project in Germany, but there are still problems with the complex’s schedule, construction quality, and costs, service and outside officials said during a House oversight hearing June 25.

Maj. Gen. Marc E. Rogers, vice commander of US Air Forces in Europe, said the service has created a Resident Director’s Office with a staff of 29 to oversee the project, but the real changes to resolve the issues must come from the German state entity charged with construction. The failure on the part of this state agency to overcome management failures led USAFE to ratchet up the issue to the federal level, enlisting the help of the US Embassy in Berlin, he said.

Government Accountability Office analysts said the total costs could rise above $200 million, some $80 million higher than originally projected.

RAND Hits T&E Consolidation

The Air Force should re-examine its plans to consolidate its test and evaluation infrastructure because some of the proposed changes would shutter facilities with unique capabilities, causing the service to sacrifice “high quality” T&E functions and place strains on the remaining assets, RAND concluded in a cost benefit analysis issued in late June.

Air Force Materiel Command in 2006 proposed the changes, which included the merger of the 46th Test Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla., with the 412th Test Wing at Edwards AFB, Calif., and the closure of additional facilities as a means of purportedly saving hundreds of millions of dollars. But RAND says, for example, that while the merger of the two wings at Edwards, in fact, could yield substantial savings in personnel costs, it “involves a fair amount of risk.”

Laser Shootdown Moving Forward

All of the technical capabilities for the Airborne Laser have been proved on the ground, and the program is planning a live shootdown in 2009, Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry A. Obering III, outgoing Missile Defense Agency director, told reporters July 15.

Afterward, the effort will go into a “transition period” during which MDA officials plan to examine the lessons learned from the testing phase and simultaneously look at how to manufacture components more easily and more cost efficiently since operational costs are threatening the program’s future.

“All of that data and knowledge will go into [deciding] what … the next tail number will look like,” Obering said.

DOD Aims To Keep Oversight of Military Space

Undersecretary of Defense John J. Young Jr., the Pentagon’s acquisition czar, said in July that he intends to retain oversight authority over military space programs, rather than turning them back to the Air Force.

However, Acting Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley said later that same month he would like to see USAF regain that role “at the earliest opportunity.”

Appearing before a House subcommittee on July 10, Young said, “I fundamentally disagree that a single service should have the total acquisition decision authority and milestone authority for a set of programs, as was done in space, and I would intend to retain acquisition authority over space programs.”

The 2001 Rumsfeld space commission recommended that the Air Force assume the role of executive agent for military space as one of many changes across the Defense Department to place a greater emphasis on space. The move was subsequently adopted by the Rumsfeld Pentagon, and the Air Force executed this role until March 2005 when the Office of the Secretary of Defense assumed control over all of the Air Force’s big-ticket weapons programs, including the space portfolio, during a USAF leadership vacuum.

At that time, several of the space projects, such as the Space Based Infrared System early warning satellite program, were beset by cost overruns, performance issues, and schedule delays. While the nonspace programs were returned to USAF oversight in January 2006, the space portfolio was never relinquished to its control.

But Donley, in a written statement prepared for his Senate confirmation hearing on July 22 to be Air Force Secretary, said the service “should be taking steps internally to raise confidence in its ability to manage space programs” so it could regain the executive agent role.

After 37 Years, General Moseley Calls It a Career

Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Chief of Staff since September 2005, formally retired from the Air Force on July 11 after 37 years of service. He was the 18th CSAF in the service’s history.

“We lose a participant, a creator, and a valuable member of today’s Air Force,” former USAF Secretary Michael W. Wynne said during Moseley’s retirement ceremony at Bolling AFB, D.C. Wynne presented Moseley with the Distinguished Service Medal.

“It was a real treat and honor to work with Mr. Wynne and fight the good fight for what was best for the US Air Force,” Moseley said in his final address. “Every day, at every opportunity, I always felt we were working with the best interests of the republic, doing what was right for America.”

Moseley’s official retirement date was Aug. 1. He and Wynne had tendered their resignations on June 5 at the urging of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates over what Gates said was his dissatisfaction with the Air Force’s stewardship of nuclear weapons.

But not everyone has accepted Gates’ rationale. For example, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), a member of the Congressional Air Force Caucus, gave a speech on the House floor July 16 claiming that the real reason for Gates’ action was over “disagreements on the strategic defense” of the nation.

Wynne and Moseley, he said, were not content “with simply toeing the line for today,” but were instead “pushing hard” to prepare for tomorrow’s potential conflicts, a “sacred duty” of military leadership, which Gates, however, has “disparagingly” referred to as “next-war-itis,” Stearns said.

Indeed Wynne and Moseley are owed “a debt of gratitude” for all they did to help win today’s fight and posture the nation for the future.

Weapons School UAV Courses Postponed

Just days before they were to begin, the Air Force in June placed its unmanned aerial vehicle weapons instructor course at its Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nev., on hold for six months, or perhaps a year.

The service had intended to begin the first UAV instructor course at the school in January—after completing a validation course this year—and start churning out an elite crop of instructors well steeped in tactics and capabilities. But instead, it is pressing every available operator, including instructors, back into an operational console seat at nearby Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nev., to provide additional intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance capability over Southwest Asia, per direction of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

While the Weapons School course is on hold, the basic schoolhouse at Creech remains open, and is receiving an influx of pilots through USAF’s Transformational Aircrew Management Initiatives for the 21st Century.

UAV operators at Creech remain under a freeze on permanent change of station movements that is keeping them in place. In an effort to mitigate the stresses on them and others at Creech—still a very bare bones base—the Air Force on July 17 authorized assignment incentive pay.

“Today’s ISR is a fast-moving ballgame,” said Maj. Joe Campo, operations director for the provisional Weapons School UAV squadron. But building expertise has been difficult because most UAV operators have served “one-off” tours before returning to other aircraft.

Gen. Robert T. Herres, 1932-2008

Retired USAF Gen. Robert T. Herres, who in 1985 became the first commander of United States Space Command, died July 24 at age 75. Herres also had served as the first vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Herres was born in Denver. He attended the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., but, after graduation, chose a commission in the Air Force because he saw a better chance at flying duty. He became a pilot of F-86 fighters, then served as an air electronics maintenance officer and later as a technical intelligence analyst. He taught at Air University before going to test pilot school at Edwards AFB, Calif.

As a test pilot with a master’s degree in electrical engineering and experience in technical intelligence, Herres was a natural to be selected, in 1967, as a military astronaut in the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program. The MOL was canceled in 1969 when it was decided that unmanned satellites could perform the same function at less cost.

Herres declined an offer to join NASA and returned to his Air Force career. He served in the Vietnam War, commanding the 310th Strategic Wing at U Tapao RTAB, Thailand, in 1973. After jobs at Strategic Air Command and Air Force Systems Command, he took over Air Force Communications Command in 1979. Two years later he became commander of 8th Air Force. He then took charge of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and Air Force Space Command in 1984. When US Space Command was formed in 1985, Herres was well-suited to the job.

In 1986, the Goldwater-Nichols legislation created the post of vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Herres was chosen as the first vice chairman; the Chairman under whom he served was Adm. William J. Crowe Jr. Crowe recommended Herres as his successor, but President George H. W. Bush chose Army Gen. Colin L. Powell, and Herres stayed on in his post.

Herres retired from the military in February 1990, after 36 years of service. He soon joined USAA, the San Antonio-based insurance and financial services company, and rose to become its chairman of the board.

Herres is survived by his wife of 51 years, Shirley Snecker Herres, and three children.

—John A. Tirpak

Robert C. Seamans Jr., 1918-2008

Robert C. Seamans Jr., a gifted technologist-administrator who served as the ninth Secretary of the Air Force and oversaw the development of many systems which are still in front-line service, died on June 28 at his home in Massachusetts. He was 89.

During his tenure at USAF, Seamans oversaw the development of the F-15 fighter and the E-3 AWACS airborne command and control system, set requirements for the B-1 bomber, launched the program which led to the A-10 attack aircraft, and chose the finalists in the Lightweight Fighter competition. That program eventually yielded the F-16 and F/A-18 fighters now serving in the Air Force and Navy, and in more than 30 allied nations around the world.

Born in 1918, Seamans earned an engineering degree from Harvard in 1939 and a master’s in aeronautics from MIT in 1942. By 1951, he had earned a doctorate in guidance and instrumentation, also from MIT, where he taught throughout the 1950s. During that period, he also became an advisor to the Navy, Air Force, and NASA, and worked for RCA and the Navy as a program manager on guidance systems for missiles, aircraft, and spacecraft. He also served on the Air Force’s Scientific Advisory Board from 1957 to 1967.

He was recruited to be Secretary of the Air Force in 1969 by Melvin R. Laird, Secretary of Defense under the newly elected president, Richard M. Nixon. Seamans originally planned to stay only two years in the job, but served four years because he wanted to put major programs such as the F-15, C-5, B-1, and F-111 on a more sound footing.

In addition, Seamans undertook a reform of Air Force personnel policies and ushered in the era of the all-volunteer force.

Seamans fell out of favor with the Nixon White House for his view—stated internally in the Administration—that the US should withdraw from the Vietnam War with all deliberate speed. He also made headlines when he acknowledged that he had not been consulted on or informed of operations such as the Cambodian bombing campaign of 1969-70.

Upon stepping down as Air Force Secretary in 1973, Seamans became head of the National Academy of Engineering. In 1978 Seamans returned to MIT and soon thereafter became its dean of the School of Engineering.

Seamans is survived by his wife of 66 years, Eugenia Merrill Seamans of Massachusetts, their five children, 11 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

—John A. Tirpak

Operation Iraqi Freedom—Iraq


By Aug. 19, a total of 4,147 Americans had died in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The total includes 4,136 troops and 11 Department of Defense civilians. Of these deaths, 3,370 were killed in action with the enemy, while 777 died in noncombat incidents.

There have been 30,561 troops wounded in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom. This number includes 17,082 who were wounded and returned to duty within 72 hours and 13,479 who were unable to return to duty quickly.

Reapers Begin Iraq Operations

The MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle, which has been used in combat over Afghanistan since September 2007, began operating in Iraq on July 18, the Air Force said. The Reaper offers increased weapons capability and larger intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance payload than its smaller cousin, the much-in-demand MQ-1 Predator.

The MQ-9 provides the capability to react with precision weapons “at the exact point where the ground commander wants the desired effect,” stated Lt. Gen. Gary L. North, commander of US Air Forces Central and commander of 9th Air Force, in a USAF release on July 22. Since its inception in combat, Reapers have flown some 480 sorties for more than 3,800 hours, the release said.

Operation Enduring Freedom—Afghanistan


By Aug.16, a total of 573 Americans had died in Operation Enduring Freedom. The total includes 572 troops and one Department of Defense civilian. Of these deaths, 364 were killed in action with the enemy, while 209 died in noncombat incidents.

There have been 2,379 troops wounded in action during OEF. This number includes 872 who were wounded and returned to duty within 72 hours and 1,507 who were unable to return to duty quickly.

Close Air Support Pivotal in Battle of Wanat

A massive frontal attack on a remote US outpost in Northeastern Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan was beaten back on July 13 after troops and air support battled with upward of 200 Taliban fighters attempting to overrun the position.

Taliban elements infiltrated the area around the base, partially by hiding out in the nearby village of Wanat, which is in Kunar Province. The assault began early in the morning as Taliban fighters opened up on the outpost and nearby observation post with a barrage of rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire from two directions.

Ground forces called in air support, which came in the form of Air Force A-10s, F-15Es, a B-1B, and an MQ-1 unmanned aerial vehicle. The B-1B dropped several 500-pound and 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions onto the attacking forces and their positions. A-10s made multiple passes firing 30 mm cannon rounds and dropping a 500-pound JDAM and general-purpose bomb on attackers as well.

The MQ-1 fired a Hellfire missile at the Taliban in the vicinity, while F-15Es performed a show of force to deter activities. Nearly four hours after the initial attack, the Taliban forces retreated.

Taliban elements suffered heavy losses in the fight. Nine US troops were killed in the attack, the highest single loss of life in an incident in the Near East nation since June 2005.

News Notes

  • Gen. William R. Looney III stepped down as commander of Air Education and Training Command on July 2 and retired from the Air Force after 36 years of service. Gen. Stephen R. Lorenz succeeded him.

  • On June 30, two F-16s from the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw AFB, S.C., flew the milestone 50,000th sortie for the Continental US NORAD Region as part of Operation Noble Eagle.

  • The F-22 made its first appearance over Britain in July, performing at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire on July 12 and July 13 and at the Farnborough International Air Show outside of London on July 14.

  • USAF and its British, French, and German counterparts on June 27 held a memorial ceremony at the Berlin Airlift Memorial at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin. They commemorated 78 Allied airmen who died during the 15-month airlift in 1948-49.

  • Lt. Gen. William L. Shelton was nominated on July 10 to be the new chief of warfighting integration on the Air Force Secretariat as well as USAF’s chief information officer.

  • Beale AFB, Calif., home to the Air Force’s RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle fleet, received its first Global Hawk Block 20 air vehicle on June 30.

  • The pilot’s loss of consciousness of the pilot from high G forces during a high speed turning maneuver caused the fatal crash of an F-16C fighter aircraft northwest of Luke AFB, Ariz., during a training mission on March 14, investigators announced in July.