Shining a Spotlight on the 2018 Outstanding Airmen of the Year

The Air Force Association will recognize the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2018 on Sept. 17, during the opening night of its Air, Space & Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md. A total of 36 nominees were considered, and an Air Force selection board chose the 12 winners on the basis of leadership, job performance, and personal achievement. The Outstanding Airman of the Year program debuted at AFA’s 10th annual National Convention in 1956, and the association has continued to shine a spotlight on the outstanding airmen from each major command every year since. Read the full story to learn more about each airman.

Preparation and Posture: How Air Mobility Command Prepared for Hurricane Florence

Air Mobility Command’s capabilities for rapid mobility across the globe have made it a centerpiece of USAF’s readiness, but its role in responding to domestic emergencies like Hurricane Florence is also a huge part of its mission. AMC’s preparations for the storm’s arrival began far before it came within beach-battering reach of North Carolina’s coastline, Col. Jimmy Canlas, vice commander of the 618th Air Operations Center (Tanker Airlift Control Center) at Scott AFB, Ill., told Air Force Magazine in a recent interview. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

Independent Group Reviewing USAFA Sports as Former Athletes Face Hazing Charges

The US Air Force Academy has hired an outside agency to review its athletic programs as multiple athletes face possible years in prison for alleged hazing incidents. The Academy has hired Collegiate Sports Associates, which began a series of visits to the Academy in mid-September, and plans to wrap up its investigation in mid-October. The group is visiting coaches, staff, current and former athletes, all team captains, and the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, the Academy said in a release. “We are eagerly awaiting their report because we are committed to not only holding people accountable for this type of behavior, but we want to prevent it in the future,” according to the Academy statement. The move comes as the Academy will hold Article 32 hearings for two former members of the swim team who face charges stemming from a series of alleged hazing incidents. During those September incidents, the two cadets allegedly forced freshmen swimmers to strip, blindfolded them, and forced them to vomit, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. The cadets face up to six years of confinement for alleged obstruction of justice and dereliction of duty, according to the Academy. —Brian Everstine

Delta II Rocket Makes Final Flight

Saturday’s launch from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., of a NASA ice-monitoring satellite was the final one for the United Launch Alliance medium-lift Delta II rocket, frequently used for civilian and military launches. According to Aerojet Rocketdyne spokeswoman Mary Engola, whose company supplied the main and upper-stage engines, of the 155 Delta II launches, 58 have been for National Security Space purposes, including launches for the Defense Department, Air Force Research Laboratory, National Reconnaissance Office, US Air Force, Missile Defense Agency, and NATO. The Delta II began lifting payloads ranging from national security missions to commercial communications to Mars rovers in 1989. “The Delta II will go down in history as one of the world’s most successful launch vehicles, and we’re proud to be part of that legacy,” said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne’s CEO and president. —Steve Hirsch

House, Senate Conferees Reach Agreement on Fiscal 2019 Spending Bill

Congress released details on the conference version of the Fiscal 2019 defense appropriations bill, which includes $674.4 billion for the Defense Department—$19.8 billion above the enacted level for Fiscal 2018. The legislation is expected to be taken up in each House in coming weeks before being sent on to President Trump for his signature. Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.

NATO Head Hopes for Turkey S-400 Solution

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday said he hoped the Trump administration and Turkey could find a solution to their disagreement over Turkey’s plan to buy the Russian S-400 missile system and the F-35 strike fighter. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson in May noted the Trump administration’s concern with Turkey’s plans to buy the S-400 system, saying the move presented problems, particularly related to the location of advanced aircraft in Turkey, including the F-35. “We would not want to have that aircraft close to the S-400,” she said at the time. Stoltenberg acknowledged that military acquisition decisions are national questions, but said “what is important for NATO is, of course, interoperability.” He said he had discussed this “many times” in Ankara and Washington, adding, “I hope that it’s possible to find a solution, because what we see now is a challenge for all of us.” —Steve Hirsch

Lockheed Martin Wins $7.2 Billion GPS III Satellite Contract

The Air Force on Friday announced it had selected Lockheed Martin for a fixed-price-type contract worth up to $7.2 billion for 22 GPS III follow on satellites. Boeing and Northrop Grumman, earlier this year, had decided not to challenge Lockheed Martin for the next round of GPS III satellites, which essentially guaranteed Lockheed would get the award. The Air Force said in Friday’s announcement it had saved five months by eliminating a layer of reviews and speeding source selection. Moreover, using a fixed-price contract means the contractor would be responsible for any cost overruns, according to the release. —Steve Hirsch

Pratt & Whitney Gets Two F-35 Engine Contracts, Worth $453.6 Million

The Pentagon on Thursday awarded Pratt & Whitney a combined $453.6 million for F-35 engine parts and labor. The first award, a $266 million cost-plus-incentive fee fixed price contract covers program administrative labor for depot activations, material and support equipment for depots, and mockup engines for the USAF, US Marine Corps, Navy, and non-US F-35 participants, according to a Pentagon release. A large portion of this contract, $83.6 million, covers USAF purchases. The second announcement, a $187.6 million modification to a previously awarded contract, covers initial spare parts and deployment spares for the F135 Lot 12 production contract. This modification covers fan modules, augmentors, gearbox modules, engine fans, and clutches. —Brian Everstine


—The Space-Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellite is officially operational, the Air Force announced. The satellite was launched on Jan. 19, and is now healthy and sending data to the Air Force’s Mission Control Station: SMC release.

—The Dutch Ministry of Defense will pull its deployed F-16s from the anti-ISIS fight at the end of the year, citing the decline in pace of operations and the upcoming transition to the F-35: Netherlands Ministry of Defense release.

—US Army Lt. Gen. Paul LaCamera took command of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve on Thursday, taking over command of the anti-ISIS fight from Army Lt. Gen. Paul Funk: DOD release.

—Pacific Air Forces and the Royal Malaysian Air Force held the first airman-to-airman talks Sept. 5-6 at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The meeting will help set up future bilateral engagements between the US and Malaysia: PACAF release.

—The family of Capt. Michael Trubilla has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Continental Motors, which manufactured the engine in a Beechcraft Baron 95-B55. Trubilla, who was stationed at Offutt AFB, Neb., crashed in July 2016 while on a training flight with the LeMay Aero Club at Offutt: