AFCENT Alleviates Paperwork, Training Strain on Deploying Airmen
Air Forces Central Command is working to alleviate the strain of training and paperwork for those deploying to the Middle East in an effort to give airmen more time before they leave. Beginning March 21, AFCENT reduced the number of deployment checklists and instructions from 23 pages to nine, eliminating the need for home stations to create their own supplemental checklists, and eliminating the requirement for airmen to get two separate verification signatures from different offices for the same training, according to an AFCENT release. The command also extended the “shelf-life” of some training, such as in Information Assurance or Law of Armed Conflict, to avoid wasting more time. “At the end of the day, this is about making sure our airmen can focus their time before a deployment on what’s important—spending time with family and loved ones—and not wasting previous evenings in the office completing [computer based training],” said Col. Devin Statham, director of the AFCENT manpower, personnel, and services directorate, in the release. —Brian Everstine
USAF, Coalition Training Effort in Iraq to Become a Full Wing
The US-led coalition team focused on training the Iraqi Air Force will soon morph into a full wing based in the country focused on better train Iraqi pilots and forward air controllers. The new wing, at Balad AB, will have about 350 US service members helping build Iraq’s aviation capability. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
Airman Found Dead at Andersen, Cause Unknown
An airman at Andersen AFB, Guam, has been found dead, the base said Tuesday. The brief release said the airman, whose name is being withheld for 24 hours so next of kin can ben notified, was found, unresponsive in base quarters and was pronounced dead at about 3 a.m. “This is a terrible tragedy, and we are all deeply saddened by the loss of this airman,” said Brig. Gen. Douglas Cox, 36th Wing commander. “Losing a member of our team is the most difficult thing we face, and today we have lost a member of our Air Force family,” he said. The cause of death is under investigation. —Steve Hirsch
US-Led Coalition Still Targeting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, As Focus Shifts to Afghanistan
US and coalition aircraft are continuing to strike stubborn segments of ISIS in Syria and Iraq as the ongoing fight has waned. While US Central Command officials have said Afghanistan is its “main focus,” US and coalition aircraft in February conducted 747 strikes on ISIS in Iraq and Syria, while at the same time conducting 469 strikes in Afghanistan, according to Air Forces Central Command. However, the number of strikes conducted in Iraq and Syria within the past week is the lowest since Operation Inherent Resolve kicked off there in 2014, said Brig. Gen. Andrew Croft, the deputy air commander of Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command-Operation Inherent Resolve. While most of these strikes have occurred inside Syria, there are still “fragments” of ISIS left in Iraq. Namely, ISIS fighters are holed up in the Western Anbar desert, near Makhmur, and near Kirkuk, Croft said. The US-led coalition also is still focusing on ISIS targets on the Eastern border of Syria where there is still ongoing fights between the group and US-backed fighters. “We continue to fight, and drop, and strike as required,” Croft said. —Brian Everstine
USAF Announced 40-Person Team to Compete at Warrior Games
The Air Force has selected the 40-person primary team as well as 10 alternatives to compete at the 2018 Warrior Games, which will be hosted by the USAF at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., June 2-9. Three new sports will be included in this year’s event: indoor rowing, powerlifting, and time-trial cycling. Read the full story by Amy McCullough.
NATO Cuts Russian Mission in Growing Response to UK Attack
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Tuesday announced he had withdrawn the accreditation of seven staff members of Russia’s NATO mission and will deny the pending accreditation request for three others. The moves are part of the growing international response, including the Trump administration’s expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats, to the alleged Russian poisoning of a former Russian spy in Salisbury, England. Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.
—More than 1,000 airmen, family, and friends gathered for a memorial service at Moody AFB, Ga., March 21 to honor Capt. Mark Weber, a combat rescue officer with the 38th Rescue Squadron, who was killed in a helicopter crash in Anbar province in Iraq March 15: Air Force release.
—Air Force Academy Cadet 3rd Class Jack Bell, during the span of 72 hours, talked a suicidal man off the Interquest Parkway overpass in Colorado Springs, Colo., and helped find a crashed aircraft in a California coastal mountain range: Air Force release.
—The Afghan Air Force dropped a GBU-58 laser-guided bomb along the route of a major Afghan National Army clearing operation on March 22, marking the first time the AAF has dropped a laser-guided bomb in combat: Resolute Support release.
—Two top Senate Republicans, Majority Whip John Cornyn (Texas) and James Inhofe (Okla.), the second-ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, have asked the Trump administration to allow the sale of F-35s to Taiwan, pointing to threats from China: Reuters.
—Little Rock AFB, Ark., hosted more than 65 airmen from six wings of the C-130J Super Hercules force March 10 for training to increase interoperability and effectiveness: Air Force release.
—The week-long African Partnership Flight Senegal, in which the US and nine African countries traded procedures on aeromedical evacuation, casualty evacuation, and air and ground safety, ended March 23 after a closing ceremony at Captain Andalla Cisse AB, Senegal. More than 70 pilots, aircrew members, and medical professionals participated from Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and Togo: Air Force release.
—Airmen from the 33rd Maintenance Squadron recently were aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln at sea helping Strike Fighter Squadron 101 with maintenance as its F-35C pilots completed carrier qualification training requirements: Air Force release.