Aerospace World

Dec. 1, 2005

F/A-22 Wraps Up Deployment

The 1st Fighter Wing at Langley AFB, Va., sent some of its new F/A-22 Raptors to Hill AFB, Utah, on Oct. 15, marking the first deployment of the fighters. The new stealth fighters wrapped up their action and returned on Oct. 28.

The move was designed to gauge the F/A-22’s readiness to be declared operational in December.

A group of 167 airmen deployed from Langley to Hill for a two-week training period. The trip was intended to give the troops the chance to practice wartime capabilities in “a foreign environment,” the Air Force said.

During the deployment, the F/A-22s released inert Joint Direct Attack Munitions in simulated air strikes.

It also marked the first time since the 1970s that the 1st Fighter Wing from Langley performed an air-to-ground mission.

NRO and USAF, Together Again

The director of the National Reconnaissance Office is again in the chain of command of the Secretary of the Air Force, the Pentagon announced Oct. 6.

Donald M. Kerr, the NRO chief, was named to a new, additional post of assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force for intelligence space technology, effective Oct. 3.

Until recently, the NRO job was part of the portfolio of the undersecretary of the Air Force. However, it was peeled away in recent months in a shakeup of national intelligence functions. (See “Washington Watch: NRO Job Taken From Air Force,” October, p. 16.)

The new post will allow Kerr to “support the Secretary of the Air Force in carrying out his [Defense Department] executive agent for space responsibilities,” Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in announcing the new job.

The Air Force undersecretary, Ronald M. Sega, is DOD executive agent for space but did not get the NRO job when he was sworn in.

The NRO director post had been within the Air Force’s chain of command for 44 years. The breakup was intended to let the USAF undersecretary and the NRO director each devote full attention to their respective organizations.

Now, Predator Four-Ships

The first four-ship sortie of Predator MQ-1 drones was flown on Sept. 14 at Creech AFB, Nev. Using the newest upgrade, known as the Multiaircraft Control, or MAC, system, Predator pilots flew two-ship sorties Sept. 12 and 13 and progressed to four-ship sorties on Sept. 14 and 15.

The MQ-1 Predator is a medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft that can carry Hellfire missiles. The MAC system was tested to see if it could enable a single pilot to simultaneously control four aircraft. It successfully allowed one pilot to engage a target while controlling three other Predators flying nearby.

“While one pilot controls all four Predators, sensor operators assigned to each Predator are able to collect data using the sensor ball,” said Lt. Col. Steven Tanner, commander of Det. 4, 53rd Test and Evaluation Group.

Operational testing missions were expected to be flown using the MAC system at Eglin AFB, Fla., and Nellis AFB, Nev. They were to conclude in November.

Airmen Get Army Commendations

Five members of Air Force Reserve Command’s 908th Airlift Wing, Maxwell AFB, Ala., have been tapped to receive Army Commendation Medals for their contribution to Army operations in Iraq. Plans called for award of the medals in December.

The honored airmen were MSgt. George Campbell, MSgt. Vera Berry, TSgt. Steven Smith,TSgt. Cynthia Blais, and SSgt. John Traum, all of whom had served as vehicle operators in Iraq.

The Reservists in early 2004 volunteered to help their Army colleagues supply Army and Marine forces in Iraq. USAF put together a 250-man company that went through Army training before deploying.

The Reservists dealt with roadside and homemade bombs in Iraq. Moreover, the base where they were stationed took 390 rounds of mortar fire during their year-long deployment.

When they weren’t dodging mortar fire, the airmen drove five-ton trucks and carried out administrative jobs in Balad.

Nightingale Calls It a Day

The last active duty Air Force C-9 Nightingale—tail no. 876—officially retired on Sept. 20 when it flew from Ramstein AB, Germany, to Andrews AFB, Md., where it will remain as part of the base air museum.

The C-9 medical evacuation aircraft was tapped for retirement because of its short range and use of engines that no longer meet noise restrictions at some airports.

This last Nightingale entered service in 1971 and had seen duty both as an aeromedical evacuation aircraft and as the aircraft of the supreme allied commander of NATO.

This type of aircraft was the only USAF system specifically designed to move patients. The mission has been taken over by other mobility aircraft.

USAFA Gets Female Commandant

Col. Susan Y. Desjardins was selected on Oct. 7 to be commandant of the cadets at US Air Force Academy and commander of the 34th Training Wing. She is the first woman to hold the job, for which she would be promoted to brigadier general.

The new commandant will oversee the training of 4,000 cadets and will direct a staff of 930.

Desjardins graduated from the academy in 1980, having been in the first class to include women. She will supervise cadet training in the wake of various controversies at the school.

Desjardins is a pilot with more than 3,600 hours flying transport and aerial refueling aircraft. She previously commanded the 437th Airlift Wing at Charleston AFB, S.C.

She was one of 156 women who entered the academy in 1976. Ninety-six graduated in the Class of 1980.

C-17 Drops Booster

An Air Force C-17 on Sept. 29 successfully deployed a dummy rocket.

The test of the joint USAF-Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency “QuickReach” booster takes the program a step closer to its goal of fielding a low-cost, rapid-reaction small satellite launcher.

The booster was built by AirLaunch and is being pursued under the USAF-DARPA Falcon program. The goal is to be able to launch a fresh satellite within 24 hours and for less than $5 million.

The C-17 flew to 6,100 feet with the dummy booster inside the cargo bay. At the designated time, the crew released it, and it was pulled from the bay by gravity alone. The test demonstrated that the booster would not hit the C-17’s cargo bay ceiling on its way out. The aircraft was flying at 167 mph when the booster was deployed.

If DARPA and the Air Force decide to pursue the project, they would attempt a test launch of a 1,000-pound satellite in 2008. That launch would come at an altitude of 33,000 feet.

U-2 Accident Report Released

A catastrophic sequence of events that caused loss of electrical and hydraulic power led to a fatal U-2 crash in June, the Air Force announced. (See “Aerospace World: Airman Dies in U-2 Crash,” August, p. 14.)

Air Force investigators said the aircraft was in a critical phase of flight, making a descending turn below 3,500 feet in preparation for landing at night, when the power takeoff shaft, an element of the airframe-mounted accessory drive, failed.

As a result, hydraulic power and the AC and DC generators went out. Vibration, loss of electrical power, and loss of cockpit lighting and displays convinced the pilot, Maj. Duane W. Dively, that the engine had experienced a severe malfunction, even though it actually was operating, investigators reported.

The accident investigation board concluded that Dively was spatially disoriented and lost situational awareness in the 63 seconds from the time the shaft failed until the aircraft hit the ground.

The U-2 was assigned to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale AFB, Calif. It was returning to the United Arab Emirates after a 17-hour high-altitude night mission over Afghanistan. Dively was regarded as one of the service’s most experienced U-2 pilots.

Reserve Wing Gains C-5As

The 445th Airlift Wing in October received the first two of a planned fleet of 11 giant C-5A airlifters.

The wing, an Air Force Reserve Command outfit based at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, took possession of the first Galaxy on Oct. 3 and the second on Oct. 5.

The unit had been flying C-141s ever since its activation in 1994. Plans now call for the last Starlifter to retire in 2006.

The C-5s, with an average age of 35, are only five years younger than the C-141s that they replace. However, new wings and other improvements have kept the big transports in good shape, said Col. Jim Blackman, 445th Operations Group commander.

All C-5As were built between 1968 and 1973, “but they still have a projected service life of 25 years,” said Blackman.

The Galaxy, unlike the Starlifter, can load or unload from either end. The C-5 stands six stories tall and can carry more than a quarter-million pounds.

All-Female Crew Flies into Combat

A recent C-130 combat mission in Southwest Asia featured an interesting statistical anomaly: It was flown by an all-female aircrew. Evidently, the composition of the crew was the luck of the draw.

The airmen—Capt. Carol Mitchell, 1st Lt. Siobhan Couturier, Capt. Anita T. Mack, SSgt. Josie E. Harshe, TSgt. Sigrid M. Carrero-Perez, and SrA. Ci Ci Alonzo—were deployed to the 737th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron flying cargo and troops in and out of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa, according to Air Mobility Command.

The all-female crew flew together for the first time aboard the Vietnam-era C-130 during a mission 6,800 miles away from their home base with the 43rd Airlift Wing at Pope AFB, N.C.

All the women aboard the C-130 agreed that while the mission did mark a unique experience in Air Force history, female crews shouldn’t be singled out. “I don’t believe the Air Force should seek out all-female crews,” said Alonzo. “Instead, we should focus on experience.”

During the mission, the crew transported 151 marines and their equipment.

Russia, India Stage Wargame

Russia and India conducted joint military exercises Oct. 10-19 in western India’s Rajasthan desert region.

The stated goal of the wargame was to increase interoperability between the two militaries. It focused on joint airborne, maritime, and anti-terrorist operations.

The exercise followed the unprecedented Chinese-Russian military wargames in August that served to showcase Russian military equipment. (See “Aerospace World: China, Russia Stage Large Exercise,” October, p. 20.) China later purchased Russian aerial refueling tankers.

The August exercise took place under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

India in July was admitted to the Shanghai group as an observer, as were Pakistan and Iran. The full members are Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

“Wild Weasel” Exhibit Opens

A new “Wild Weasel” museum exhibit salutes the combat accomplishments of Air Force crews that suppressed air defenses in the Vietnam War.

The exhibit at the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, opened in September.

The museum exhibit features not only an F-105G Thunderchief Wild Weasel fighter but also a Soviet-designed SA-2 surface-to-air missile and launcher that the Weasels were built to destroy. Also seen in the exhibit are maps, flight gear, helmets, patches, and photos of Weasel crew members and aircraft.

The Weasels flew some of the most dangerous missions in the Vietnam War, shooting antiradar missiles directly into the throats of the lethal North Vietnamese SAM radars.

In Vietnam, 34 Wild Weasel aircrew members were killed or missing in action, and another 19 became POWs.

The first Wild Weasels were modified two-seat F-100Fs, with the pilot flying and firing from the front seat and an officer in the back, tracking enemy radar systems. Later, the F-105F and F-105G took on the role. The F-4G, which retired in the mid-1990s, was the last dedicated Wild Weasel aircraft.

Druyun Released From Prison

Darleen A. Druyun, the former Air Force acquisition official who pleaded guilty to violating conflict-of-interest laws by favoring Boeing in contracts, left federal prison on Sept. 30.

She served nine months at a medium-security facility in Marianna, Fla., was fined $5,000, and was ordered to give three years of community service.

Druyun was imprisoned following a scandal involving Michael M. Sears, Boeing’s former chief financial officer. Sears and Druyun discussed her taking a job with Boeing when she retired from Air Force civilian service. Such talks were illegal, since Druyun was involved in negotiating various contracts with Boeing, including a high profile deal to lease aerial tankers. Druyun eventually took the job, at twice her government salary.

Druyun also admitted favoring Boeing in some contracts in order to secure employment for her daughter and son-in-law.

The Druyun affair sparked broad reviews of contracts the Air Force had with Boeing in which Druyun was involved, as well as service and Pentagon acquisition practices. It helped to bring about the resignation of Air Force Secretary James G. Roche and service acquisition chief Marvin R. Sambur. (See “Washington Watch: Roche, Sambur Going, But Controversy Lingers,” January, p. 8.)

Sears also was convicted of violating conflict-of-interest laws and was imprisoned for four months.

US Gains Airfield in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan has granted the US permission for indefinite long use of one of its airfields while American forces carry out anti-terrorist operations in the region.

Kyrgyzstan’s decision follows the expulsion of US forces from Uzbekistan’s Karshi-Khanabad Air Base. It also comes after a July statement issued by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization demanding a date for US troop withdrawal from Central Asia.

In a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Oct. 11, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev pledged to cooperate with the US for open-ended use of Ganci airfield.

Bakiyev leads a new government in Kyrgyzstan; the base was initially used under arrangements with the previous government, ousted in March.

In a joint communiqué, Krygyzstan said it would “support the presence of coalition forces in the Kyrgyz Republic until the mission of fighting terrorism in Afghanistan is completed, a mission supported by the United Nations.”

The deal was struck after months of negotiations. Kyrgyzstan agreed to allow the US to keep using the base in exchange for additional funds for services and facilities. The higher payments were still under negotiation in late October, but the US had previously paid Bishkek $40 million to $50 million per year.

Boeing Loses Contract to Lockheed

A classified USAF space program contract has been taken away from Boeing and given to rival Lockheed Martin.

The move came after the initial program experienced billions of dollars in cost overruns, according to the New York Times.

The National Reconnaissance Office in September issued a statement saying that the Future Imagery Architecture project, on which Boeing was the contractor, was being “restructured,” but few details were given.

The Times said a significant chunk of the work had been given over to Lockheed, which initially lost out in the competition for the $15 billion project. The announcement came following reports that Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte recommended an overhaul of the program.

Negroponte signaled in his review that the remainder of the program involving radar for surveillance would stay at Boeing.

USAF announced in September that it would review all space programs that are behind schedule and over budget after the Senate cut $500 million in three major military space programs.

USAFA Withdraws Chaplain Paper

The Air Force Academy has withdrawn a document that allowed military chaplains to evangelize troops not affiliated with a specific religion, the Pentagon announced in October.

The academy acted shortly after a 1977 academy graduate, Michael L. Weinstein, sued USAF, seeking stricter policies against evangelization.

The “code of ethics” for chaplains said, “I will not proselytize from other religious bodies, but I retain the right to evangelize those who are not affiliated.”

Weinstein filed the lawsuit in protest of the code of ethics that he believed violated the Constitution’s separation of church and state. The lawsuit said the academy fostered discrimination and harassment of non-Christians.

Weinstein repeatedly asked the Air Force to revise the policy, but the request was denied until it was withdrawn entirely.

The code of ethics was written by the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces, an association of religions that provide chaplains to the military. The document was never officially recognized by the Defense Department, but was handed out to chaplains at the Air Force Chaplain School, Maxwell AFB, Ala., according to the Washington Post.

Northrop Grumman Gets $2.5 Billion Missile Defense Deal

Northrop Grumman was awarded a Missile Defense Agency contract worth up to $2.5 billion as the prime contractor for the Joint National Integration Center, the Pentagon announced Sept. 20.

The contract calls for modeling and simulation work supporting the Ballistic Missile Defense System.

A two-year base contract is slated to start in February 2006 at a minimum value of $30 million and a maximum of $500 million. If all three one-year options and five one-year award terms are picked up, the potential 10-year contract could be worth $2.5 billion, according to the Pentagon.

Work on the contract will be done at Schriever AFB, Colo. The work is to be completed in late January 2008.

Air Force Rushes Relief to Pakistan

The Air Force moved quickly to deploy rescue personnel, equipment, and relief supplies to Pakistan after that country was struck by a devastating magnitude 7.6 earthquake Oct. 8.

Air Mobility Command on Oct. 10 deployed the 621st Contingency Response Wing from McGuire AFB, N.J., to Pakistan.

The Air Force sent C-17 and C-130 aircraft into the devastated area carrying clothes, sleeping bags, cots, tents, food, vehicles, cargo loading and maintenance equipment, generators, and temporary housing materials.

More aid was soon on its way from Travis AFB, Calif.; Dover AFB, Del.; Westover ARB, Mass.; Kelly Field Annex and Lackland AFB, Tex.; Memphis Arpt., Tenn.; Stewart ANGB, NY.; McChord AFB, Wash.; and Charleston AFB, S.C.

Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters were delivered to Pakistan aboard Air Force C-5 Galaxy transport aircraft.

Combined Joint Task Force-76 from Bagram AB, Afghanistan, conducted airdrop missions beginning on Oct. 14 to deliver relief aid to remote areas of Pakistan.

The Total Force effort became an international mission as airmen helped unload a field hospital delivered via an Iranian Il-76 cargo aircraft. A USAF C-17 also transported the first Qatari mobile hospital to Pakistan on Oct. 15. Loaded with seven Qatari Army soldiers and 90,000 pounds of cargo, the C-17 airlifted the men and supplies to the operations hub at Islamabad Arpt., Pakistan.

US airmen also worked closely with German, Japanese, Swiss, and Afghan forces, as well as representatives from other nations, the Air Force said.

As of Oct. 21, the US military had transported more than 1,200 tons of relief supplies, according to Navy Rear Adm. Michael A. LeFever, who coordinated the military response. A total of 17 helicopters had been provided and an additional 20 were en route. By Nov. 9, 10,217 locals had been evacuated.

Colorado ANG Best at 2005 Tiger Meet of the Americas

The Colorado Air National Guard was the overall winner of the 2005 Tiger Meet of the Americas, hosted in October by Mountain Home AFB, Idaho.

The friendly international competition and exercise, held every other year, is open to units that have a “big cat” as their mascot or theme. The TMOTA is modeled after the NATO Tiger Meets that have been held since 1961.

The competition revolves chiefly around maintenance to support a flying program involving tactics and weapons delivery, but also includes an artistic contest for colorful “tiger” markings applied to participating aircraft and other, nonmilitary pursuits. The exercises are meant to build military-to-military relationships with other regional air forces.

The 391st Fighter Squadron, of host Mountain Home, won the maintenance trophy. The Colorado ANG won for best-painted aircraft, and the ANG’s 140th Wing/120th FS out of Buckley ANGB, Colo., won for best overall team. The 79th FS, from Shaw AFB, S.C., was runner-up and will host the 2007 TMOTA.

Seven units, with 25 aircraft and 321 personnel, participated. Aircraft types included CF-18s from Cold Lake, Canada; F-16s from Shaw and Buckley; a C-21 from Buckley; a NATO E-3 AWACS aircraft; KC-135s from Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.; a B-1 from Ellsworth AFB, S.D.; and T-38s from Whiteman AFB, Mo. German Tornado fighters also flew during the week-long games.

The TMOTA brings squadrons together for a rare chance to showcase differing fighter tactics through wargames as well as to promote teamwork and cooperation to prepare for overseas deployment.

The flying component involved air-to-air missions, refueling, low-level navigation tactics, and dissimilar aircraft training.

Boeing and Lockheed Team Up for SDB II Competition

Boeing and Lockheed Martin want to team up to jointly compete for the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) Increment II program, the companies announced in October.

Under the teaming arrangement, Boeing would be the leader and Lockheed Martin the principal supplier. Boeing would be responsible for the overall weapon system, supplying the air vehicle and data link, while Lockheed Martin would have total subsystem responsibility for the seeker system.

“We will enhance the capability of Boeing’s proven SDB I system with addition of our advanced multimode seeker,” said a Lockheed spokesman.

Boeing began production on the first phase of the SDB this year. The new seeker, designed to find moving targets, also is expected to allow attacks on more targets with fewer sorties.

Boeing was expected to have the $2.7 billion SDB program to itself until the Government Accountability Office determined that former Air Force procurement official Darleen A. Druyun may have unfairly favored Boeing in awarding the contract. (See “Druyun Released From Prison,” p. 22.) In response, the Air Force decided to open the second phase of the project to competition. Plans called for USAF to release its request for proposals on SDB II in late October.

Rivet Joint: 15 Years in the Sand Box

In August, the Air Force’s small RC-135 Rivet Joint community marked 15 years of continuous operations supporting Defense Department missions in Southwest Asia.

The anniversary recognizes that Rivet Joints—RJs for short—have kept watch over the Middle East since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1990. The operations exceeded in length even those of E-3 AWACS units, which ended their continuous SWA mission in 2003. Offutt AFB, Neb., is home base to the RJs.

The RC-135s have supported each Middle East deployment of Air and Space Expeditionary Forces, all the while remaining in low-density, high-demand status, according to Maj. Gen. John C. Koziol, then commander of Offutt’s 55th Wing. The aircraft’s ability to provide “direct tactical support to the warfighter” has made it indispensable to unified commanders, Koziol said. The RC-135 collects signals intelligence and performs other, undisclosed missions as well.

Because their missions are considered highly sensitive, RC-135 crews are permitted to say little about what they do, or how. Air Force officials, however, have noted that the mission has evolved from “intelligence preparation of the battlefield” to “live” support of forces on the ground.

“I don’t believe in ‘near-real time,’?” Koziol added.

The RJ crews often see the results of their intelligence-gathering almost immediately.

“We hear it,” said Lt. Col. Ron Machoian, commander of Offutt’s 38th Recconnaissance Squadron. “I can listen to us informing an engagement on the ground, while I’m airborne.”

As RJs gather information about an imminent ambush, the intel can be passed to air liaison officers to “call in A-10s or a B-1. They strike the location, … and our ground forces wind up maneuvering to engage and check out those locations,” he explained.

The friendly ground forces “wind up finding a devastated enemy location with caches of weapons. … You get feedback on that in near-real time, as well.”

Such an operation may occur four to six times per deployment.

“I got an e-mail on at least two different occasions where somebody offered to buy us kegs of beer” because of the difference the RJ crew made for the troops on the ground, noted Lt. Col. John Rauch, commander of the 338th Combat Training Squadron.

“There is no doubt that we are saving American lives” with the information that is flowing to troops in contact with the enemy, Machoian said.

The shift from intelligence prep to dynamic support makes today’s RJ mission “fundamentally different,” said Col. Don Kelly, deputy commander of the 55th Operations Group. Information is no longer gathered and processed on the ground, as it was during the Cold War. RJ crews are “using it the minute we find it,” he said.

The mission has evolved even over the past few years. Early in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, it was the air packages that needed the most support. Today, said 55th Operations Group Commander Col. Dennis R. Wier, RJ information “is key to how soldiers and marines do their jobs.”

—Adam J. Hebert

Memphis Belle Airman Robert Hanson Dies

Robert Hanson, the last surviving crew member of the famed World War II bomber Memphis Belle, died Oct. 1 in Albuquerque, N.M., at the age of 85.

Hanson was the radio operator of the B-17 that was one of the first US aircraft to survive 25 bombing missions over Europe during World War II. Between November 1942 and May 1943, the 10-man crew racked up 148 hours in the air and dropped more than 60 tons of bombs over Germany, France, and Belgium.

The crew shot down eight enemy aircraft, had five probables, and damaged a dozen more.

Hanson, along with each Memphis Belle crew member, received the Distinguished Flying Cross. After his tour of duty, Hanson became a salesman and then regional manager of Nalley Fine Foods in Walla Walla, Wash. He also worked for a candy company in Spokane before moving to Mesa, Ariz., and then to Albuquerque.

The aircraft and its crew were portrayed in a 1944 documentary, called “The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress,” and in a fictionalized 1990 film, “Memphis Belle,” which featured its final mission in 1943. The famous aircraft is now undergoing restoration at the National Museum of the US Air Force. (See “News Notes,” below.)

C-141 Flies Last Combat Mission

The Air Force flew the last C-141 combat mission on Sept. 26 in Iraq. The venerable Starlifter type will leave the inventory entirely in 2006.

The aircraft, operated by the 445th Airlift Wing at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, transported sick and wounded patients from Iraq to the Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany. The flight marked the end of a five-day mission in which the Starlifter transported cargo to Europe before continuing to the Middle East.

The Reserve wing from Wright-Patterson now operates eight C-141s. Soon, all will be replaced with C-5s. (See “Reserve Wing Gains C-5As,” p. 17.) Aircrews will continue flying C-141s within the continental US until the last one is flown to Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.

Operation Iraqi Freedom—Iraq


By Nov. 7, a total of 2,035 Americans had died in Operation Iraqi Freedom. This includes 2,030 troops and five Defense Department civilians. Of those fatalities, 1,590 were killed in action, and 445 died in noncombat incidents.

There have been 15,477 troops wounded in action during OIF. This includes 8,227 who returned to duty within 72 hours and 7,250 who were unable to quickly return to action.

September Marks Large Haul of Weapons Caches

Coalition and Iraqi troops seized 31 weapons caches in and around Baghdad in September, marking the largest monthly haul of weapons since May, according to military officials.

Troops were often tipped off by Iraqi citizens as to where the weapons were held.

US troops on Sept. 17 found one of the largest caches in the Radwiniyah area of western Baghdad, containing rocket-propelled grenade rounds, motors, and fuses, as well as rockets, mortar rounds, and TNT. A terror suspect was detained at the site and held for questioning.

During a Sept. 21 raid, US troops found a weapons cache in central Baghdad that included mortar rounds and rockets, RPGs, improvised explosive devices, and cell phones, which can be used to detonate IEDs. Five terrorists were killed during the raid.

Three more raids throughout Iraq were conducted in the last week of September, uncovering more mortar and artillery rounds, TNT, rockets, hand grenades, machine guns and rifles, and 75 pounds of ammunition.

Operation Enduring Freedom—Afghanistan

Afghanistan Casualties

By Nov. 7, 248 Americans had died in Operation Enduring Freedom, primarily in and around Afghanistan. The total includes 125 troops killed in action, 122 who died in nonhostile incidents such as accidents, and one Defense Department civilian.

A total of 646 troops have been wounded in Enduring Freedom. They include 255 who were able to return to duty in three days and 391 who were not.

RED HORSE Replaces Ramp at Bagram

RED HORSE engineers from Nellis AFB, Nev., in October removed and replaced 60,000 square meters of ramp space at Bagram AB, Afghanistan.

The 1st Expeditionary RED HORSE Group replaced the ramp to give US and coalition aircraft new parking space.

The $4.4 million construction project “was designed to withstand … medium-load, fixed-wing aircraft,” as well as rotary wing aircraft, according to Capt. Todd Williams, officer in charge of the RED HORSE detachment. “Up to this point, the Army has been using the ramp primarily to park their helicopters,” said Williams.

The airmen removed the Soviet steel planking that covered the ramp space and excavated two to four feet of soil. A new base was made, and then 20-inch-thick concrete slabs were put in place to cover the new ramp.

News Notes

By Tamar A. Mehuron, Associate Editor

  • The Pentagon thinks a high-powered microwave device can be made to neutralize some deadly roadside bombs, or IEDs (improvised explosive devices). IEDs have posed the most dangerous threat to coalition troops in Iraq. The microwave devices, being developed by Alliant Techsystems, will jam signals sent by terrorists to detonate the bombs. They have been tested in the United States.
  • Under a new Pentagon directive, service members can be reimbursed for protective gear they bought for themselves between Sept. 10, 2001, and Aug. 1, 2004. Due to a shortage of personal body armor in the early days of the war on terrorism, some military members bought their own. Eligible members will be reimbursed in an amount not exceeding $1,100 for any one piece of equipment.
  • The Shingo Prize, dubbed the “Nobel Prize of manufacturing,” goes this year to Air Force Materiel Command’s three air logistic centers. The award was made in October to Ogden ALC at Hill AFB, Utah, Oklahoma City ALC at Tinker AFB, Okla., and Warner Robins ALC at Robins AFB, Ga. The prize recognized their effective implementation of “lean transformation” practices.
  • The most advanced GPS satellite ever built was launched Sept. 25 from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. The $75 million Lockheed Martin satellite was the first of eight GPS IIRs, developed to improve the system’s navigation and timing signals on the ground. Three more GPS IIRs will be launched in 2006.
  • Spurred by this year’s hurricane horrors, Air Force Personnel Readiness Center created a natural disaster registration form for Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard personnel, retirees, and dependents. The form would contain vital information to help Air Force families caught up in sudden evacuations.
  • Saudi Arabia has signaled that it might want to buy $2 billion of new US military equipment. DOD announced on Oct. 3 that the package would include $760 million in logistics and technical support for Saudi F-15, F-5, RF-5, and C-130 aircraft and for air-to-air missiles.
  • The US Customs and Border Protection agency on Oct. 4 took the wraps off a Predator B unmanned aerial system acquired for the monitoring of US borders. Real-time images from the UAS will strengthen CBP’s Arizona Control Initiative. The aircraft will fly long-endurance missions.
  • The B-17 Memphis Belle arrived at the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, on Oct. 12. The World War II bomber entered the restoration hangar after years of outdoor display in Memphis, Tenn. It will now undergo comprehensive restoration, expected to take at least seven years.
  • SSgt. Merle Y. Strang, a former Air Force chaplain’s assistant, was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for helping to evacuate orphans in a 1950 South Korean airlift. The medal was accepted by the Rev. Homer Strang on behalf of his brother in a Sept. 27 ceremony in Brewer, Maine.
  • The Senate Armed Services Committee in October waived a rule requiring DOD officials formerly employed in the defense industry to buy insurance on their corporate pensions. The rule was written to prevent conflict of interest between public decisions and private financial security. The panel lifted the requirement in light of the currently high premiums for such insurance.
  • Air Force officials on Sept. 28 announced the establishment of the Negotiation Center of Excellence at Maxwell AFB, Ala. The center is housed within Air University, and its goal is to provide problem-solving and communication skills to Air Force supervisors as part of their professional development.
  • USAF awarded CDO Technologies, Dayton, Ohio, a $96 million contract for technical data support services at Robins AFB, Ga. The five-year contract carries an option for an additional three-year order.
  • The Air Reserve Order Writing System, a new Web-based personal orders process for Air Force Reservists, began operations on Oct. 1. The new system allows Air Force Reserve personnel to generate their military orders from any computer in the world.
  • Lockheed Martin’s facility in Liverpool, N.Y., has received an $89 million contract for six Air Navigation/Transportable Primary Secondary solid-state radar systems, radomes, diesel engine generators, operator training, and 12 months’ technical support in conjunction with foreign military sales to Pakistan. Work is scheduled to be completed by September 2009.
  • Air Force Portal, the worldwide Air Force intranet, has been made more secure with the development of the common access card and personal identification log-on procedure. This replaces the old system of logging on with just an ID number and password.
  • USAF has awarded an $88 million contract to PSC Military Housing Co., Salt Lake City; Jones Lange LaSalle Inc., Washington, D.C.; Alvarez and Marshal Real Estate Advisory Service, New York, and FPS Advisory Group, Annapolis, Md. The contract supports the Military Housing Privatization Initiative to use underutilized real estate for federal facilities by providing privatized financial, legal, and real estate investment and development. Work is scheduled to be completed by September 2012.