Army Gen. Carter Ham, US Africa Command boss, praised the “very strong and professional relationship” between the US military and Botswana Defense Force at the ceremony marking the conclusion of three weeks of aeromedical evacuation training at Thebephatswa AB, Botswana, as part of exercise MEDLITE 12. US personnel, including Air National Guardsmen, instructed their Botswanan counterparts and provided assistance to several villages around the base, such as constructing roads, building ponds, and providing dental and medical care to local residents. “Medicine has a diplomatic value that sometimes you just don’t see,” said Lt. Col. Matt Peterson of the Minnesota Air Guard’s 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron in St. Paul. As part of the exercise, which concluded on Aug. 16, North Carolina Air Guardsmen provided hands-on training for some 30 BDF medical personnel in classroom and simulated evacuation settings. (Thebephatswa report by TSgt. Chad Thompson)
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.