Daily Report

March 26, 2009

Test Pilot Killed in F-22 Crash

Lockheed Martin test pilot David Cooley, 49, was killed in the March 25 crash of an F-22 stealth fighter about 35 miles northeast of Edwards AFB, Calif., where the aircraft was assigned for test purposes. The Air Force initially released news of the crash that afternoon, and, a few hours later, Lockheed and USAF released news of Cooley's death. According to the company statement, the 21-year Air Force veteran had joined Lockheed in 2003, working at the F-22 Combined Test Force at Edwards, where USAF and company pilots conduct Raptor testing. Maj. Gen. David Eichhorn, commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center which oversees the CTF, said in a USAF release, "This is a very difficult day for Edwards and those who knew and respected Dave as a warrior, test pilot, and friend." Lockheed officials said they "were deeply saddened by the loss of David and our concerns, thoughts, and prayers at this time are with his family." The Air Force is conducting an investigation into the accident, which is the second involving the new F-22 stealth fighter. The first crash, which was at Nellis AFB, Nev., occurred during the 2004 test and evaluation phase; the pilot ejected safely.

Upping the Rescue Challenge

Military rescue operations in Afghanistan have been tough—and take longer than those in Iraq—and the planned increase of US troop strength by 17,000 in that mountainous country will up the stakes, prompting Dutch Maj. Gen. Mart de Kruif, a commander in southern Afghanistan, to suggest there will be a "significant spike in incidents" requiring rescue forces, reports the USA Today. Air Force Col. Lee dePalo, commander of the 563rd Rescue Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., also told the newspaper that rescue operations in the Afghan theater often call for personnel who can fly in pitch darkness, scale peaks, and fight their way in and out. Among the forces the Air Force has lost in Afghanistan was TSgt. Jason Cunningham, a pararescue jumper who received the Air Force Cross posthumously for his valor in saving 10 troops during one rescue effort. And, part of the rescue mission also includes recovering the remains of fallen troops, which dePalo said prevents the Taliban and insurgents from displaying the bodies. "We deny that, and we provide closure to the families that I think is incredibly important," said dePalo. SSgt. Thomas Pearce, a PJ with the 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody AFB, Ga., told USA Today that one such recovery mission in 2006 took 10 hours as the rescuers had to establish defenses to fend off hostile forces.

“Fundamentally Critical”

Prompted by questions on the need to field a new bomber by 2018, the head of Joint Forces Command, Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, told lawmakers Tuesday, “The ability to penetrate and hold at risk what the enemy treasures is...

Taking Control

Two Air Force Space Command space operations squadrons, the 2nd SOPS and 19th SOPS at Schriever AFB, Colo., took charge of the new GPS satellite shortly after its launch March 24. “We’re getting ready to provide its combat effects to...

DOD Releases New China Report

The Pentagon on Wednesday released its latest review of the military prowess of the People's Republic of China. The report noted the "comprehensive transformation" being undertaken by China's military to covert from a mass army to one more suited to "fighting and winning short-duration, high-intensity conflicts along its periphery against high-tech adversaries." According to the report, the "disruptive military technologies," including those aimed at "nuclear, space, and cyber warfare" Beijing has embraced are "changing regional military balances" with "implications beyond the Asia-Pacific region." The Pentagon acknowledges that some of the capabilities China is developing have enabled it to "contribute cooperatively" to international peacekeeping and humanitarian and disaster relief operations, however, the report cautions against a continued "limited transparency in China's military and security affairs." Further, the report notes that Beijing has used both US and Russian air forces as its models in building a "more flexible and agile force able to operate off-shore in both offensive and defensive roles." And, "newer and more advanced aircraft make up a growing percentage of [China's combat air] inventory," states the report. (Report, caution large file)

No More GWOT?

According to various news reports, there is dispute over whether the Obama Administration has issued a formal change in lexicon for the Global War on Terror. The Pentagon believes the Office of Management and Budget put out such formal word,...

Boeing Pitches ABL As Multi-Mission Solution

The Obama Administration appears to be headed in these tough economic times toward an austere 2010 defense budget. Reportedly the Pentagon’s missile defense regime—including the YAL-1A Airborne Laser—is in the crosshairs again. Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of...

Reserve Adding MTIs, Too

Air Force Reserve Command's sole military training instructor squadron, part of the 433rd Airlift Wing at Lackland AFB, Tex., is working to beef up its 27-airmen unit of MTIs to help with the Air Force's surge of 8,000 airmen over the next two years. The active duty force is looking for current airmen to switch to MTI duty and some former MTIs to return to duty temporarily. The 433rd Training Squadron currently has eight to 10 Reservists working with basic military training flights and plans to up that number through both traditional Reserve and full-time Active Guard Reserve slots. "From a Total Force standpoint, we are stepping in right alongside the active-duty component," said Capt. Quinton Sasnett, with the 433rd TRS. And, according to the 433rd's TSgt. Jesse Gomez, "When you see Reservists working together with active-duty MTIs, there isn't a visible difference between what we do." Some of the 433rd TRS MTIs helped the Air Force fast-track its reactivation of the 321st TRS, a unit that the service had deactivated in early 2007 when it was still in drawdown mode. (433rd AW report by Capt. Carla Gleason)

A “Role Model”

California Air National Guard medical officer, Lt. Col. Susan Pangelinan, is a “role model” for her endeavors in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines, according to officials who presented her with a DOD STEM Role Model Award last week...

WWII Fighter Pilot Thacker Dies

Retired Air Force Col. John M. Thacker died of kidney disease March 6 at his home in Virginia, reports the Los Angeles Times (Thacker obituary is third in a series of obits.) He was 90. Thacker was one of the...

Air Sorties in War on Terrorism, Southwest Asia

March 23, 2009 Sortie Type OIF OEF OIF/OEF Total YTD ISR 19 4 23 3,238 CAS/Armed Recon 26 73 99 8,144 Airlift 125 125 10,875 Air refueling 47 47 3,725 Total 294 25,982 OIF=Operation Iraqi Freedom OEF=Operation Enduring Freedom ISR=Intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance...