Airman Dies in Basic Training
A 19-year-old boot camp trainee at Lackland AFB, Tex., died Aug. 7, after apparently contracting a respiratory virus.
Amn. Paige Renee Villers of Norton, Ohio, died at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio. A recruit had not died in basic training since 2002.
Citing family privacy, the Air Force declined to provide an official statement about Villers’ death. Villers was initially admitted to Wilford Hall in the spring.
Confined to a wheelchair and on a ventilator, Villers nevertheless graduated from basic training in July. Although she experienced a short period of recovery, she soon relapsed, according to Air Education and Training Command officials. A memorial service at Lackland took place on Aug. 9 and was attended by Air Force leadership, including CMSAF Rodney J. McKinley.
USAF To Cut 5,400 This Year
The Air Force plans to reduce to an end strength of 328,500 airmen in Fiscal 2008, down 5,400 from this year, the service said in announcing its latest round of “force shaping” in August.
The goal is to get down to 316,000 active duty personnel by the end of Fiscal 2009.
The effort will begin with offers of voluntary separation pay to about 200 officers, with 12 to 15 years of service, in career fields where there is a surplus of people. Those approved for VSP will get a lump sum equal to three times the standard involuntary separation pay rate, but must depart before June 30, 2008. The Air Force doesn’t plan to hold selective early retirement boards as it did in January or order a reduction in force.
However, in March of next year, a force shaping board will meet to consider cutting 130 officers from the 2005 year group. The majority of the reductions will come from normal attrition and retirements, said Col. Chuck Armentrout, the chief of military force management policy.
The ultimate end strength goal of 316,000 could be raised by about 1,000 people, depending on how the Army and Marine Corps increase their ranks.
Last 60 F-22s on Contract
The Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin $5 billion in late July for three lots of F-22 Raptors. The award brings the total multiyear contract value to $7.3 billion and means the production line will operate through 2011.
The Pentagon previously awarded $2.3 billion of the contract to buy long-lead parts and to maintain manufacturing flow. After a protracted debate with Congress over the proposed multiyear funding, the plan was approved after a RAND report concluded that the Air Force would save at least $50 million on the deal.
Lockheed Martin had completed final assembly on 105 Raptors and formally delivered the 100th aircraft by late August.
The first of the MYP aircraft will come off the Marietta, Ga., production line in 2008. Thereafter, the last three F-22 lots now under contract will be built at a rate of 20 per year.
Raptor Flies at Elmendorf
F-22s began operating from Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, on Aug. 8, making the far north installation the first of two Pacific bases that will eventually host the advanced fighter.
The F-22 went operational with the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf. Later this year, the 477th Fighter Group will stand up at the base as a Reserve associate to the 3rd Wing, becoming the first Reserve unit to operate and maintain the fighter.
By the end of 2009, Elmendorf will have 40 F-22s.
Prior to the Raptor’s arrival in Alaska, F-22 pilots and crew chiefs trained at the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley AFB, Va., to develop their skills under a program called “Ready Elmendorf.” The F-22 has been operational at Langley since 2005. A designated F-22 maintenance trainer aircraft was also deployed to Elmendorf to get technicians up to speed.
At a ceremony marking the stand-up of the F-22 at Elmendorf, Pacific Air Forces chief Gen. Paul V. Hester said the aircraft will provide unrivaled air supremacy in the Pacific and the most “lopsided and unfair advantages ever seen in the airpower age.”
CSAR-X Delays Mount
The Air Force’s new combat search and rescue helicopter program likely won’t get under way by the end of 2007, mostly because of an unfavorable late August ruling by the Government Accountability Office.
The GAO upheld a second protest by Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky regarding the $10 billion CSAR-X contract to Boeing, dashing USAF hopes of resolving the protests promptly and leaving the service unsure of how to proceed.
The protest, lodged in June, is the second sustained by the GAO since the Air Force selected Boeing’s HH-47 Chinook variant in November 2006 as the best value solution. The GAO agreed with Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky that they could offer updated information on the support costs of their entries, the US101 and HH-92, respectively. The Air Force had rejected updated bids because both companies offered data developed after the initial award date.
The decision raised the possibility that the Air Force might scrap the results outright and begin a new competition. GAO said the service should terminate its contract with Boeing if further evaluation shows the HH-47 is not the best value after all.
Sue C. Payton, USAF acquisition chief, said USAF is reviewing the decision and developing a plan to address the findings.
All Airmen To Get SERE
Survival training used to be reserved for pilots and special operators who might find themselves cut off from support and awaiting rescue in some hostile environment. That’s going to change, however.
The Air Force leadership decided in August to broaden the focus of survival, evasion, resistance, and escape training and incorporate it at all levels of the service.
“We need to inject these skills across the entire force,” said Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley. Speaking to service leaders at a meeting in August, he said all airmen now face threats, overseas or even in the US, and must have the knowledge to deal with and survive such situations.
SERE training is currently conducted on three levels: All airmen get entry-level training, while a second level is provided to those with a moderate risk of capture, and a third is reserved for those with a high risk of capture.
Second and third level training is normally provided to aircrew members and those in high-risk fields such as battlefield airmen, combat control, pararescue, combat weather, and tactical air control.
Maintainers Back to Squadrons
Flying squadrons could get their maintainers back if no problems are found with the idea, said Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley in August.
Moseley wants to undo a five-year-old shift that took maintainers out of flying squadrons and segregated them into their own maintenance units—a move that put more distance between crew chiefs and pilots who work with the same aircraft.
He believes that squadrons of all types should mirror the structure of deployed flying units as much as possible. Most of the work of the Air Force is done at the squadron level, and Moseley wants commanders to have the most complete capabilities at that level as possible.
Moseley is evaluating feedback on the proposal from noncommissioned officers and squadron, group, and wing commanders. He added that he has not decided if the shift should apply to unmanned aerial vehicle squadrons, airlifters, tankers, or special operations squadrons, but it is “absolutely the right thing to do” for fighter squadrons.
Lt. Gen. Gary L. North, head of US Central Command Air Forces, said he supports the initiative since it would create a cohesive unity of command and give the flying squadron commander the ability to take control of all aspects of the flying mission.
B-52s Cleared for New Gas
Air Force engineers have cleared the B-52 to fly routine operational missions with a new experimental fuel blend, Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne said in August.
Wynne made the announcement at Edwards AFB, Calif., where testing using a blend of JP-8 jet fuel and synthetic Fischer-Tropsch fuel was completed earlier this year. The B-52H was selected because of its eight engines, which allowed isolated testing of the synthetic while still having plenty of other engines to power the bomber if something went wrong.
Recently, the Air Force ordered 281,000 gallons of synthetic fuel for further testing on the C-17 and B-1B in the coming year.
The Air Force plans to certify the C-17 for FT fuel next and hopes to certify every airframe in the fleet to run on a synthetic blend by 2011.
USAF Wants Maverick Restart
The AGM-65 Maverick missile, which the Air Force has been phasing out, could go back into production, since the weapon has been useful in Afghanistan.
In August, the Air Force asked Raytheon for information about reopening the production line for the laser guided version of the Maverick, which has hit moving targets without causing undue collateral damage. The missile has been used by the A-10 Warthog close air support aircraft, and has been in USAF’s inventory in various iterations for more than 30 years.
The Maverick is one of the few precision weapons the A-10 can use in its legacy configuration.
The Maverick can also be carried by the F-15E Strike Eagle and the F-16.
US Spurns Pacific “Spheres”
The US has no interest in a Chinese proposal that China and the United States divvy up the Pacific Ocean according to each country’s “sphere of influence.”
Gen. Paul V. Hester, commander of Pacific Air Forces, told reporters during an August conference call that there are no plans to cede any regions of the Pacific to Chinese control.
The Chinese government proposed the idea to Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander of US Pacific Command, during his recent visit to China. It suggested that the US should stick to the Eastern Pacific and that China could be the hegemon in the Western Pacific region.
Hester, who made his own trip to China in July, said the US “needs to be” in the Western Pacific, where it has numerous security and trade interests.
During Hester’s visit, he was allowed to tour a base that flies the Su-27 fighter. He said that military-to-military relations with China are progressing and that China fulfilled the itinerary to which it agreed when his visit was planned. However, Beijing declined his request to fly China’s new J-10 fighter, and Hester came away from the trip with no fresh insights into China’s military “vision.”
AFSOC Takes Over Cannon
The last hurdle in making Cannon AFB, N.M., an Air Force Special Operations Command base was cleared in August, when the environmental impact statement was signed, allowing the shift. Transition of the base to the AFSOC mission will begin almost immediately, and the base officially becomes an AFSOC installation the first of this month.
William C. Anderson, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment, and logistics, approved the change. Cannon had been an Air Combat Command base.
Col. Tim Leahy will be the first commander of the base’s 27th Special Operations Wing. AFSOC announced in late August that the first airmen and aircraft are expected to arrive at Cannon by November, and that the transition will take three years to complete.
Support personnel for the 27th Fighter Wing, which lost its F-16s in the 2005 BRAC round, are expected to remain at the base under the new command.
The first aircraft to arrive at Cannon as part of the shift will be MC-130W Combat Spear aircraft, which will come from Hurlburt Field, Fla. The MC-130W gets special ops troops in and out of combat and also provides aerial refueling for SOF helicopters and CV-22 tilt-rotors.
Cannon is to host about 100 aircraft and 5,000 people.
Futuristic Airlifter Flies
Boeing’s X-48B Blended Wing Body experimental aircraft flew for the first time in July.
The flying wing-type aircraft, which is a subscale demonstrator, flew for about 30 minutes at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB, Calif., climbing to an altitude of 7,500 feet.
The 21-foot composite-skinned unmanned aerial vehicle is slated to make about 25 test flights at low speed. The Air Force Research Laboratory and NASA are aiding Boeing with its research.
Boeing’s head of advanced systems, George K. Muellner, said he believes that a full scale blended wing body aircraft could be ready for service as a cargo or tanker platform in the next 20 years.
Two X-48B aircraft were built for Boeing by Cranfield Aerospace Ltd. of Britain. Ship one was used for wind tunnel testing and is available for flight test if there is a problem with ship two, which flew in July. The aircraft’s three turbojet engines will allow flights up to 10,000 feet and 138 mph. The test program next will evaluate its low-noise characteristics and handling in the transonic range.
Space Loses Air Staff Slot
The Air Staff consolidated in August, and the operations directorate for space was eliminated.
The decision to close the shop came from Air Force Space Command and the deputy chief of staff for operations, and puts space operations on the same footing as combat operations, mobility, and special operations.
Maj. Gen. Roger W. Burg, who was in charge of what was known as A3S, will now command 20th Air Force at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo.
The elimination of the A3S office led to some concerns that there would be no space “voice” on the Air Staff, but Burg and other senior leaders said the Air Staff will continue to benefit from having officers with space backgrounds; they will be interspersed with other shops.
JSF Overcharges To Be Refunded
Lockheed Martin disclosed in August that it had inadvertently overbilled the government $265 million on the Joint Strike Fighter program over the last five years. It notified the Pentagon and will refund the money, with interest, the company said.
The overcharges relate to invoices for work performed by Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems—both subcontractors on the JSF program. Northrop is involved in assembling part of the airplane’s center fuselage as well as avionics components, while BAE makes the aft fuselage and tail surfaces as well as electronics.
The error will not affect the F-35 program’s schedule or budget, Lockheed said.
Gen. Lance Smith To Retire
Air Force Gen. Lance L. Smith, who has served since November 2005 as commander of US Joint Forces Command and as NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation—both based in Norfolk, Va.—announced in August his intention to retire.
Smith will depart his command in November and retire in January, according to a Pentagon announcement. He will have served in the Air Force for 38 years. His replacement was not immediately announced.
Nellis Center Continues To Grow
The Air Force continues to make progress in consolidating various warfare centers into a single entity at Nellis AFB, Nev., the service said in August.
USAF formerly had several warfare centers around the country. In 2005, it began merging elements of the centers into the US Air Force Warfare Center at Nellis.
During a senior leadership summit at the Pentagon in August, Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley said USAF needs to keep streamlining its warfare center operations because the service’s various contributions to operations are part of a seamless whole, and should be practiced that way.
The Air Force leadership also discussed resource allocation, responsibilities, and how the center can better integrate with other services and other armed forces pursuing similar goals.
Joint “Valiant Shield” Ends
The largest Pacific joint exercise of the year concluded in August, after eight days of testing interoperability between Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard assets.
Valiant Shield 2007—formerly known as Joint Air and Sea Exercise (JASEX)—was conducted around Guam, and saw more than 2,900 sorties flown by about 280 aircraft. It involved land, air, and maritime scenarios. The air operations center at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, orchestrated the wargames. The first Valiant Shield took place last year.
Missions practiced included defensive counterair, electronic attack, suppression of enemy air defenses, intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance, air refueling, interdiction, and anti-surface warfare.
Air Force bombers timed their arrival over targets to coincide with aircraft launched from aircraft carriers; the two services then prosecuted coordinated simulated attacks.
Air Force B-52, F-15C, F-16CJ, KC-135, and E-3 AWACS aircraft flew in the exercise.
Hawker Hunter and Lear jets, provided by contractors, flew as simulated enemy aircraft using electronic warfare pods, according to Pacific Air Forces officials.
Misawa Hosts F-15s
While some of the F-16s based at Misawa AB, Japan, were deployed to Iraq in July, the base hosted F-15s from Kadena AB, Japan, for an exercise called “Seikan War,” with Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-15s.
The exercise is one result of the improved cooperation and realignment agreement discussed in May by the US and Japan. About 80 people traveled to Misawa to participate in the four-day exercise.
The training included small scale engagements as well as large scale tactics with 10 or more aircraft. Maintainers and pilots were also trained to be able to move a combat capable force to another location for operations.
Assignment System Updated
The Pentagon has announced details of its joint qualification system, toward getting a more comprehensive picture of the qualifications of officers for joint assignments and promotions.
The new four-level system is an enhancement of the first tenets of “jointness” set out in the Goldwater-Nichols legislation of 1986 and is in effect as of Oct. 1.
While officers may still earn designation as a joint qualified officer—formerly a joint specialty officer—by finishing the requisite joint professional military education and a standard joint duty assignment, they may also earn qualification by accumulating equivalent experience, education, and training.
The system awards points through successive qualification levels, while accounting for the intensity, environment, and duration of each activity. The new system encourages officers’ career-long development of joint expertise, since it recognizes experiences earned from commissioning to retirement.
The new system also incorporates a Total Force approach to joint assignments that allows active and reserve component officers to earn the same joint qualifications.
NPOESS Is Restructured
The Air Force restructured the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System in July, along with its partners NASA and the Department of Commerce and the prime contractor Northrop Grumman.
The troubled environmental satellite program was recertified as a needed capability by the Office of the Secretary of Defense last year, and new cost and management controls were put in place on the modified $4.2 billion contract. The new schedule delivers sensors to the NPOESS preparatory project to support a 2009 launch, and calls for the launch of the first NPOESS satellite in 2013.
The re-baselined system consists of two spacecraft, nine sensors and associated equipment, 15 receptor sites, the command, communication, and control system, ground stations, and operations through 2016.
The sensors encompass a host of weather and environmental technologies that will replace legacy weather satellites.
CAP Chief Suspended
The Civil Air Patrol suspended its national commander in August as it investigated allegations that another member of the CAP took Air Force exams for him.
CAP Maj. Gen. Antonio J. Pineda was suspended after a special board meeting in Montgomery, Ala., where members received an inspector general’s report on the allegations. The suspension is for up to six months while the board mulls its final decision on the matter, said Maj. Gen. Richard Bowling, chairman of CAP’s board of governors.
CAP Vice Commander Brig. Gen. Amy S. Courter assumed Pineda’s post.
CAP is an Air Force auxiliary that operates aviation programs and flies civil defense and search and rescue missions. The organization has 55,000 volunteers across the country.
The CAP inspector general announced last December that an investigation had begun into the allegations that another CAP member took Pineda’s exams in 2002 and 2003 to allow him to complete courses at the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Ala.
Stamp Honors Jimmy Stewart
Hollywood icon and World War II bomber pilot Jimmy Stewart, who was also one of the 12 founders of the Air Force Association, has been honored on a commemorative US postage stamp, issued in August.
Stewart had just received his first Oscar in 1941 for “The Philadelphia Story” when he joined the Army Air Forces. He went on to fly the B-24 Liberator on 20 combat missions in Europe and was twice awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He went on to serve in the Air Force Reserve for 27 years and retired from the service as a brigadier general in 1968.
Also in August, a technology center at Bolling AFB, D.C., was named the Brig. Gen. James Stewart Theater in honor of his service and his efforts to promote Air Force heritage and morale programs.
|Vietnam MIA Airmen Identified
Three airmen missing in action since the Vietnam War were identified in August by the Pentagon’s POW/Missing Personnel Office.
The remains of Lt. Col. James H. Ayres of Pampa, Tex.; Lt. Col. Charles W. Stratton of Dallas; and Lt. Col. Alton C. Rockett Jr. of Birmingham, Ala., were identified through DNA analysis of remains collected in Southeast Asia between 1989 and 2005. The remains were returned to the airmen’s families.
Ayres was buried Aug. 10 in Pampa and Rockett was buried Aug. 20 in Arlington National Cemetery. Stratton is to be buried in October at Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery.
Ayres and Stratton were lost in 1971, when the men were flying a night mission over Laos in their F-4E Phantom II. Investigation of the area around the suspected crash site turned up remains during recovery expeditions between 2001 and 2005.
Rockett was lost in 1967, while flying an F-4C on an armed reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. Unidentified remains that had been repatriated by Vietnam in 1989 were tested and found to be those of Rockett.
|John C. Stetson, 1920-2007 |
John C. Stetson, the 12th Secretary of the Air Force, died Aug. 2 at his home in Lake Forest, Ill. He served from 1977 to 1979 under President Jimmy Carter.
During Stetson’s tenure as civilian leader of the Air Force, the service began fielding the F-15 in large numbers and introduced the F-16 in squadron service. The Air Force also began developing modern stealth technology during his term in the office.
Stetson was born in Chicago and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1943, later studying at the Northwestern University Business School in the late 1940s.
He worked as an engineer for Douglas Aircraft before being commissioned in the Navy as a communications officer in World War II. Following the war, he worked as an engineer for various companies in the Chicago area, then joined Booz Allen Hamilton in 1951 where he eventually became a partner. He handled a number of assignments with aircraft companies dealing with military and commercial aircraft and the firm’s work for oil companies in Iran and Kuwait.
Before becoming Secretary, Stetson was a president and director of A.B. Dick Co., a manufacturer of office business machines. He was a director of the Houston Post Co., Kemper Corp., Belden Corp., and Powers Regulator Co.
|New and Improved Warthog Takes to the Field
The A-10C, the version of the Warthog with the first major upgrade of the 30-year-old attack aircraft, went operational in August.
Gen. Ronald E. Keys, then chief of Air Combat Command, said the “precision engagement” version is “ready to go to war.” It was scheduled to do just that by deploying to Afghanistan by the end of September. Keys spoke at a ceremony at ACC headquarters at Langley AFB, Va.
The first unit equipped with the upgraded Warthog is the Maryland Air National Guard’s 104th Fighter Squadron.
The A-10C can use precision weapons such as Joint Direct Attack Munitions and laser guided bombs. Other improvements include an all-new digital “glass cockpit,” a new data link, new communications equipment, and the integration of advanced targeting pods such as the Litening II and the Sniper. The modified Warthog can strike at targets from higher altitudes, while the pilot spends less time working dials and switches.
The Michigan Air National Guard will be second to get the improved airplanes, and the entire fleet will be so upgraded by 2011.
Separate from the enhancement package, which was once called the “Hog Up” program, the Air Force will rewing the A-10 fleet as a permanent fix to structural cracks that began appearing about two years ago. Boeing won the contract for the wing replacement.
A long-desired improvement to the A-10 is a re-engining program, which has been considered for several years, but has been dropped from each budget due to other priorities. New engines would allow the A-10 to climb faster, fly at higher altitudes, carry more weapons, and spend less time in maintenance. The Air Force still hopes to fund the upgrade at some point.
“This is not the ‘Super Hog’ we envisioned,” Keys said at the Langley ceremony, “but this is a better-than-average Hog.”
Lt. Col. Ralph Hansen—ACC’s director of A-10 requirements—told reporters that the Air Force has requested funds in its FY 2008 supplemental to test upgraded A-10 engines. He added that if the tests are successful, USAF could begin an engine retrofit as soon as 2010 or 2011—which could extend the life of the aircraft beyond its planned 2028 retirement.
|Gen. Russell E. Dougherty, 1920-2007
Retired Air Force Gen. Russell E. Dougherty—strategic thinker, former head of Strategic Air Command, and former Air Force Association Executive Director—passed away on Sept. 7 at his home in Potomac Falls, Va. He was 86.
Dougherty commanded SAC in the period 1974-77. During this time, he helped steer US nuclear strategy away from a counter-city, assured destruction stance and toward one of counterforce—the targeting of adversary military capabilities rather than cities. Much of his career was focused on the issues of the Cold War, as he worked to bring into service more precise strategic weapons for both ICBMs and the bomber force.
In retirement, Dougherty was a “senior statesman” who was often called upon for counsel on international security matters, and he served on a variety of advisory boards. He received numerous honors and awards for his work, both during and after his Air Force career.
He was known as an unfailingly considerate and compassionate leader and was famous for a phrase he used often in speeches and posted in his offices: “There is nothing in your job description that requires you to be an SOB.”
Robert E. Largent, AFA Chairman of the Board, said, “Airmen everywhere have lost a great friend,” calling Dougherty “an incomparable leader—a true icon for the United States Air Force and the Air Force Association.”
Born in Glasgow, Ky., in 1920, Dougherty began his military career at age 15, when he joined the 123rd Cavalry of the Kentucky National Guard as a bugler. He put himself through Western Kentucky University, playing trumpet and managing a dance band in his off hours, and took a job with the FBI upon his graduation in 1941. He planned to obtain a degree in law.
However, at the start of World War II, Dougherty entered the aviation cadet program, receiving both his wings and a commission in the Army Air Corps in 1943. He began his flying duties as an instructor, then switched to piloting B-17 bombers and, later, B-29s. During the war, he married Geralee Shaaber, his wife until her death in 1978.
After the war, Dougherty was in the inactive Reserve while he studied law at the University of Louisville. However, he missed flying the big bombers and, in 1946, accepted a regular commission in the Army Air Forces, with the proviso that he be allowed to finish the degree and take the Kentucky bar exam. The AAF agreed.
Back in uniform, he was given additional duties as an Air Force Reserve instructor. He commanded a small flying unit, requalifying pilots who wanted to return to active duty, and built a reserve air transport wing.
Dougherty received his law degree in 1948 and was assigned to Guam, where he served as a pilot in the 19th Bombardment Wing and as a judge advocate. From there, he served at Air Force Materiel Command, working in procurement and contracts, but in 1952, he gave up his JAG duties to be a full-time pilot.
In the period 1953-59, Dougherty had various assignments with Strategic Air Command. He went back to flying the B-29, and then qualified in the B-47—USAF’s first all-jet bomber—in 1954. He commanded a bomb squadron and worked up to being director of operations at 15th Air Force.
Through the mid-1960s, Dougherty served four tours at the Pentagon and was an eyewitness to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and other famous events. He also served in Europe, doing stints in policy and planning with US European Command.
Promoted to three stars in 1970, he served in the key job of deputy chief of staff for plans and operations. In 1971, he commanded 2nd Air Force at Barksdale AFB, La., where he was in charge of the bulk of SAC’s bombers and tankers.
He became a four-star general in 1972, first serving in Europe as chief of staff of NATO Allied Command. Two years later, he assumed command of SAC, headquartered at Offutt AFB, Neb.
During his tenure at SAC, Dougherty oversaw the initial deployment of the Short-Range Attack Missile carried aboard B-52s.
In 1977, Dougherty retired from the Air Force, after 35 years of service on active duty. During those years, he amassed flying time in more than 70 types of aircraft, ranging from the piston-engined bombers of World War II to the triple-sonic SR-71 Blackbird of Cold War vintage.
A year after retirement, Dougherty was married for the second time, to Barbara Brooks of Birmingham, Ala.
Within two years, Dougherty signed on as Executive Director of the Air Force Association. He ran the organization for six years, during which membership soared.
After AFA, he joined the law firm of McGuire Woods LLP, remaining with them until yet another retirement in 1999.
During his second career as a lawyer, he served on the Defense Science Board as well as other advisory panels, such as the board of visitors at Air University and National Defense University. He also pursued philanthropic pursuits, and was named Man of the Year by two charitable foundations.
In “The Strategic World of Russell E. Dougherty” (February 2005), his one-time military aide, Tom Domingues, quoted to this magazine Dougherty’s oft-repeated farewell to his office staff: “Good night, good people. I couldn’t do it without you.”
Dougherty is survived by his wife Barbara, son Mark, and daughter Diane (DeDe) Ralston. His son Bryant died in 1990.
|New, Larger Balad Hospital
The hospital at Balad AB, Iraq—one of the busiest in US Central Command’s area of responsibility—is in a new, larger facility.
The 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group at Balad closed up the old Air Force Theater Hospital on Aug. 3 and opened the new 97,000-square-foot facility.
About 150 base volunteers and 380 airmen helped move patients and equipment to the new facility, where airmen had been setting up equipment and supplies since late June.
Balad had averaged about 2,000 surgical procedures per month. The new structure features up to 20 intensive care units, 40 beds, and eight operating tables. It offers better environmental controls, power distribution, and plumbing as well.
|The New Imperatives of Unmanned Vehicles
Two of the top priorities in the ongoing development of unmanned aerial vehicles are greater autonomy and the ability to operate safely in unrestricted airspace, the Air Force’s top uniformed acquisition officer said in August.
Lt. Gen. Donald J. Hoffman, speaking to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, said USAF is experimenting with a system that makes it possible for a single Predator UAV operator to manage three or four aircraft at once. He also asked for industry’s assistance in developing more autonomous vehicles and said that operating in civilian airspace will propel the use of UAVs to a new level.
Hoffman said that the multi-Predator console is being tested at Creech AFB, Nev. For many missions, he said, sensor operators—rather than a pilot—can handle simple tasks such as monitoring a site once a vehicle is on station. However, if a mission calls for a strike, the pilot can take over. The capability has great implications for the future, both in reducing the number of pilots needed and in extracting value from multiple UAVs working together to assess and prosecute targets.
Hoffman asked industry to develop better means of providing UAV pilots and sensor operators with sensory information about the aircraft and its surroundings, saying this will vastly improve the acceptance of UAVs transiting or working in civil airspace. Specifically, he asked for improvements in collision avoidance, especially for smaller aircraft.
The new capability is urgently needed now that an increasing number of Air National Guard units are operating UAVs, and they will need to train in airspace near or over populated areas. Today, large swaths of airspace must be set aside to accommodate UAV practice.
|The War on Terrorism
Operation Iraqi Freedom—Iraq
By Sept. 11 a total of 3,762 Americans had died in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The total includes 3,755 troops and seven Department of Defense civilians. Of these deaths, 3,082 were killed in action with the enemy while 680 died in noncombat incidents.
There have been 27,848 troops wounded in action during OIF. This number includes 15,336 who were wounded and returned to duty within 72 hours and 12,512 who were unable to return to duty quickly.
Mosque Bomber Killed by Air Strike
A senior al Qaeda terrorist believed to be the mastermind behind two massive bombings of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, Iraq—events that touched off deadly sectarian violence in February 2006 and earlier this year—was killed in a coalition air strike in August, according to US and Iraqi officials.
During the operation, coalition forces raided a series of four buildings that were linked to Haitham Sabah al Badri—a senior leader of an Iraq-based al Qaeda cell. As forces approached, several armed men moved from the buildings into outdoor ambush positions waiting for forces to approach. The team called in close air support.
The strike killed al Badri and three other terrorists, one of whom was a foreign national. Ground forces also discovered weapons on the site and detained seven other suspects.
Operation Enduring Freedom—Afghanistan
By Sept. 8 a total of 437 Americans had died in Operation Enduring Freedom. The total includes 436 troops and one Department of Defense civilian. Of these deaths, 251 were killed in action with the enemy while 186 died in noncombat incidents.
There have been 1,567 troops wounded in action during OEF. This number includes 615 who were wounded and returned to duty within 72 hours and 952 who were unable to return to duty quickly.
Kandahar Airfield Transferred to NATO
For the first time in Operation Enduring Freedom, NATO took full control of a large airfield and operational staging base when it assumed command of Kandahar Airfield from the US Army in July.
The airfield is under the supervision of four nations: the US, Britain, Canada, and the Netherlands. The nations share responsibility for providing troop support and maintenance of facilities and structures on the base. Until now, the US military has run the airfield, which houses about 10,000 US military, coalition, and civilian personnel.
The field hosts Air Force fighters, unmanned aerial vehicles, and combat search and rescue aircraft, among other assets.
By Marc V. Shanz , Associate Editor
- Rolls Royce and General Electric received Air Force contracts in August to develop technology for the next generation of combat aircraft engines. Both companies will test certain components as part of the Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology program. Air Force Research Laboratory in 2009 will pick one design. The contract would run through 2012, and would be worth up to $296 million to Rolls Royce or $231 million to GE.
- The “marginal” category has been purged from USAF physical fitness evaluations, which will now be somewhat harder and graded as pass or fail. Previously, airmen who scored below 70 on the fitness test failed, those who scored 75 or higher passed, and scores in between were rated “marginal.” Now, a score below 75 is considered a failing grade, and airmen will have to retest within 90 days. The change supports new fitness standards, and was made a few weeks after the new performance reports were developed.
- A new name—the 83rd Network Operations Squadron—has been bestowed upon the old 83rd Communications Squadron, Langley AFB, Va. The unit, which will now support the Air Force’s cyberspace mission, is part of the 26th Network Operations Group located at Lackland AFB, Tex. Responsibilities include intrusion detection, Web proxy services, and firewall management.
- Humvees used by the 820th Security Forces Group at Moody AFB, Ga., have heftier armor. The unit has received about 18 upgraded-armor Humvees to use in both training and deployments to the US Central Command theater of operations. The vehicles are outfitted with the thickest armor modifications, known as frag 5, featuring a 600-pound door and additional plating at key points on the vehicle.
- An F-15 from the 44th Fighter Squadron, Kadena AB, Japan, slid off the runway and into the grass at A.B. Won Pat Airport on Guam in August. The aircraft was not damaged and the pilot was not injured. The aircraft was forced to land at the civilian airport due to poor visibility at Andersen Air Force Base some 12 miles to the north. The fighter was participating in the Valiant Shield exercise.
- The Alaska Air National Guard helped save a climber who broke a leg on Pioneer Peak, south of Palmer, Alaska, in August. A partner wrapped the man in warm clothes and then hiked out to notify Alaska state troopers. The police called the ANG for assistance. Pararescuemen with the Guard’s 210th and 212th Rescue Squadrons hoisted the man to safety the next day and flew him to a regional hospital.
- About 1,300 victims of a massive earthquake near Lima, Peru, received medical assistance from Air Force and Army specialists in August. About 30 airmen and soldiers flew to the stricken area aboard a C-130J flying out of Soto Cano AB, Honduras. The task force comprised a mobile surgery team, communications specialists, and a small security detail. The aircraft belonged to the Maryland Air National Guard’s 135th Airlift Group.
- USAF and NATO in August staged its first exercise in Iceland since the closure of Naval Air Station Keflavik in 2006. Exercise Northern Viking 2007 brought in E-3A AWACS aircraft from Germany, F-15s and KC-135s from RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall, Britain, F-16s and a P-3 from Norway, and rescue helicopters from Denmark. The goal was to demonstrate the ongoing NATO military commitment to Iceland.
- The 76th Helicopter Squadron was formally deactivated at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., on Aug. 2. Squadron airmen will transfer to new units. Its four helicopters went to units at Minot AFB, N.D., Malmstrom AFB, Mont., and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo. The 76th had accumulated more than 35,000 accident-free flying hours in its 34-year history. It supported surveillance and security for the base’s space launch and test range.
- Boeing received an $18 million contract from the Navy in August to design, develop, and produce the Undergraduate Military Flight Officer ground-based training system for Training Wing 6 at NAS Pensacola, Fla. Air Force weapons systems officers assigned to the F-15E Strike Eagle will receive the training along with Navy counterparts who go on to the F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-6B Prowler, EA-18G Growler, or E-2C Hawkeye.
- US Northern Command helped monitor and respond to Hurricane Dean, a Category 5 storm that passed through the Caribbean and lashed the Yucatan Peninsula in August. While the storm did not hit the US mainland, NORTHCOM dispatched teams to Texas and Louisiana to coordinate efforts with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. An eight-person Joint Patient Movement Team from Scott AFB, Ill., deployed to Austin, Tex.
- The 37th Airlift Squadron, Ramstein AB, Germany, supported a high-altitude, low-opening airdrop training exercise in Bosnia in August. The unit’s C-130s dropped 13 US jumpers from Ramstein, Stuttgart, and RAF Lakenheath, Britain, along with three Bosnian jumpers near Banja Luka. HALO operations feature a long free fall followed by a low-altitude parachute opening.
- The first Afghan pilot to be trained by the US Air Force was selected in August. Faiz Mohd Ramaki, a translator, was referred to the program by Air Force officers who worked with him while deployed to Afghanistan and said he was a go-getter. Ramaki scored highly on his aptitude tests. He will attend USAF’s Aviation Leadership Program at Laughlin AFB, Tex.
- The largest single US assistance project for Kyrgyzstan since its independence was performed by the 376th Expeditionary Medical Group in August. The team provided training and medical equipment to three local hospitals in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, as part of the US State Department’s Operation Provide Hope. Over the past three years, the program has disbursed about $42 million in humanitarian assistance.
- Pacific Airlift Rally 2007, a US and Indonesian-hosted airlift symposium and exercise, took place at Halim AB, Indonesia, from Aug. 20 to 24. The rally comprised seminars, a command post exercise, and a field training exercise for airlift forces from numerous countries across the Pacific and some out-of-area allies. Participants carried out a humanitarian airlift mission in the wake of a simulated major earthquake.