Hurricane Florence Watch: Base Evacuations Continue, Staging Operations Expand

Air Force bases along the East Coast continued aircraft evacuations on Wednesday as Hurricane Florence approached, while other military locations further inland have become staging areas for the government’s response to the storm. Shaw AFB, S.C., on Wednesday, sent its F-16s to Tyndall AFB, Fla., as the Category 4 storm continued to barrel toward the coastline. Shaw’s evacuation follows other bases in the area, including JB Charleston, S.C.; JB Langley-Eustis, Va.; and Seymour-Johnson AFB, N.C. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Sheppard T-38s Resume Flying After Mishap

T-38s at Sheppard AFB, Texas, returned to flight Wednesday after a Talon crashed Tuesday on the base’s runway. Two pilots, one from the German Air Force and one USAF pilot on temporary duty at Sheppard from Vance AFB, Okla., were taken to medical facilities after ejecting from a T-38 that “departed the runway” before takeoff Tuesday morning. Flying operations were grounded Tuesday, with the 80th Operations Group resuming flight on Wednesday afternoon, according to Air Education and Training Command. Other T-38 bases across AETC did not ground their aircraft following the mishap. Wednesday’s incident was the fourth involving T-38s within the past year. In November 2017, one pilot was killed and another injured when their Talon crashed near Laughlin AFB, Texas. Last month, a T-38 crashed near Vance and another Talon crashed in May near Columbus AFB, Miss. In those mishaps, the pilots were able to eject. In May, following the Columbus crash, AETC boss Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast said there was not a trend in the mishaps. —Brian Everstine

USAF, Navy Combine Physiological Incident Investigation Teams

The Air Force is joining forces with the Navy to further investigate unexplained physiological events as hypoxia-like incidents continue in both services. The Air Force and Navy on Tuesday announced the Joint Physiological Episodes Action Team, which will combine data, research, and resources to “improve safety and combat readiness,” Brig. Gen. Edward Vaughan, the head of the Air Force-Physiological Episodes Action Team, previously known as the Unexplained Physiological Events Integration Team, said in release. This USAF group was convened in January to investigate a series of hypoxia-like incidents that impacted the T-6 fleet, among other aircraft. —Brian Everstine

Mattis, Pompeo Certify Saudi Efforts to Reduce Civilian Casualties in Yemen

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have certified that the Saudi Arabia-led coalition is working to reduce civilian casualties in their air war in Yemen following recent high-profile incidents. The Saudi-led coalition, which receives USAF aerial refueling and assistance in an air operations center, has been criticized for civilian casualties, including an August strike that killed dozens of children. Mattis last month dispatched a US three-star general to Riyadh to investigate the incident. Pompeo, in a Wednesday statement, said he certified to Congress on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates “are undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians” in their campaign. The Trump administration “has been clear” that ending the conflict is a “national security priority,” Pompeo said. Mattis, in a separate statement, said he endorsed Pompeo’s certification, and that the Defense Department is working with the UN Special Envoy to “achieve a negotiated end to this fighting.” —Brian Everstine

Arizona Air National Guard F-16s Participate in Czech-Led Exercise

F-16s from the Arizona National Guard’s 195th Fighter Squadron and supporting airmen, are participating in the Czech-led Exercise Ample Strike 2011 at Namest AB, Czech Republic. The Sept. 3-14 exercise will also include Air Force B-52s. It is aimed at improving forward air controllers’ and joint terminal attack controllers’ skills, as well as improve standardization and interoperability among NATO members and partners. In addition to the B-52Hs, from the 307th Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, La., USAF KC-135s from the 55th Air Refueling Wing of the Nebraska Air National Guard will also participate, according to the announcement. Other countries participating include Belgium, Denmark, Croatia, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, Finland, and Sweden, according to NATO. –Steve Hirsch


—Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Tuesday confirmed that two of the 55 boxes of remains recently returned from North Korea have been identified: UPI.

—The Air Force Reserve Command will hold an officer continuation board Jan. 28 to Feb. 2 offering officers in high-demand career fields who have failed to promote at least twice an opportunity to continue serving: AFRC release.

—The Air Force Academy Wings of Blue skydiving team won a championship medal Tuesday in mixed formation skydiving during the US Parachute Association National Skydiving Championships:

—The Trump administration is pushing to change the categorization of drones under the Missile Technology Control Regime as part of efforts to make it easier to export military drones: Defense News.