Showing posts with label US Air Force. Show all posts
Showing posts with label US Air Force. Show all posts

05 October, 2023

Archer Receives First U.S. Air Force Payment

Archer Aviation Inc. a leader in electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, announced this week that the U.S. Air Force has provided the company with its first installment of nearly $1M on their recently announced contracts valued at up to $142 million. The initial payment is expected to be the first of many payments made to Archer by the U.S. Air Force and signals the ongoing advancement of the partnership from signature to execution as the AFWERX Agility Prime program works diligently with Archer to assess the transformational potential of the vertical flight market and eVTOL technologies for DoD purposes.

The initial payment is related to a contracted deliverable for a mobile flight simulator which the U.S. Air Force and Archer will use together to train pilots, assess flight controls and improve U.S. Air Force personnel’s understanding of the operational capabilities of Archer’s civilian use eVTOL aircraft platform and potential future development of aircraft for Air Force use. The simulator will also be deployed to key public and industry events to increase public awareness and engagement with eVTOL technology.

Several more of Archer’s deliverables are already underway with the U.S. Air Force as part of the contracts, which include the sharing of wind tunnel testing reports, project specific certification plans (PSCP’s) and Subject Specific Certification Plans (SSCP’s).

“Archer’s eVTOL technology can help maintain the United States’ position as a global leader in aviation. To see our historic contract with the U.S. Air Force move from signature to execution at a rapid pace is a reflection of the strong commitment that the U.S. Department of Defense has made to securing our country's future by investing in transformational technology,” said Adam Goldstein, Archer’s CEO and founder.

With its vertical takeoff and landing capabilities, target payload of approximately 1,000lbs, proprietary electric powertrain system, and low noise profile, Archer’s Midnight aircraft represents a potential paradigm shift in military aviation and operations. These aircraft hold the promise of enhancing rapid response, agility, and operational effectiveness across a wide range of mission profiles, from personnel transport and logistics support to rescue operations and more. Archer’s Midnight aircraft are expected to provide a much safer and quieter alternative to helicopters while being more cost-effective for the U.S. military to transport, operate and maintain in the field.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

30 June, 2023

Three Generations of Breaking Barriers: T-7A Red Hawk Soars with U.S. Air Force Test Pilot

Maj. Bryce Turner, a test pilot from the 416th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards AFB, California, has achieved a historic feat by becoming the first Air Force pilot to fly the T-7A Red Hawk. On June 28, the aircraft lifted off at 11:51 a.m. Central Standard Time during a test flight at the Boeing aircraft delivery centre in St. Louis, Missouri.

The T-7A is a brand-new, state-of-the-art pilot training system created specifically for the Air Force, with the purpose of training future fighter and bomber pilots. The aircraft is the first digitally designed tactical aircraft, finessed using model-based systems engineering and 3D design tools. The aircraft will replace the 1950’s era T-38 Talon, providing the next generation of warfighters the training capability needed to face current and emerging threats. The T-7A is affectionally crimsoned ‘Red Hawk’ as a homage to the iconic Tuskegee Airmen.

The accomplishment of flying this unique aircraft adds another chapter to the Turner family's rich legacy of aviation firsts. As a third-generation Air Force fighter pilot, Turner follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Alexander Parker Turner, one of the first African American jet pilots in 1956, and his father, Col. (Ret.) Bryan Turner, the first African American F-22 pilot. His callsign, affectionally known as “Triple”, reflects these three generations of Airmen.

Turner's journey is a testament to his exceptional aptitude for aviation and unwavering determination. From an early age, his passion for flying was ignited as he watched his father perform with the Viper Demo Team at Misawa Air Base, Japan. With a strong affinity for problem-solving and mathematics, Turner pursued engineering studies at the University of Virginia, ultimately earning a degree in Aerospace Engineering while participating in the Reserve Officer Training Corps.

29 April, 2022

Boeing CEO knocks planemaker's deal with Trump on Air Force One....

Boeing said Wednesday it recorded a $660 million charge in its development of Air Force One as its chief executive questioned the planemaker's U.S. presidential aircraft deal, reports Reuters.

In December 2016, then U.S. President-elect Donald Trump extracted a promise from then Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg that the cost of replacing Air Force One would not exceed $4 billion. Trump had earlier urged the government to cancel purchase of Boeing's new Air Force One saying it was "ridiculous" and too expensive.

Boeing on Wednesday recorded a $660-million charge on the Air Force One program, "primarily driven by higher supplier costs, higher costs to finalize technical requirements and schedule delays." It recorded a $318-million charge in April 2021 on the program "largely due to COVID-19 impacts and performance issues at a key supplier."

"Air Force One -- I'm just going to call a very unique moment, a very unique negotiation, a very unique set of risks that Boeing probably shouldn't have taken," Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun told investors. "But we are where we are, and we're going to deliver great aeroplanes. And we're going to recognize the costs associated with it."

The Boeing 747-8s are designed to be an airborne White House able to fly in worst-case security scenarios, such as nuclear war, and are modified with military avionics, advanced communications and a self-defence system.

Boeing received a $3.9 billion contract in 2018 for two 747-8 aircraft to be delivered around 2024. The Pentagon said this month the planes are not likely to be delivered until 2026.

Reporting by David Shepardson and Eric M. Johnson

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AMC Museum receives USAF’s first KC-10A Extender

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J.D. Strong II

The very first KC-10A Extender ever produced for the U.S. Air Force was retired from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, to its new home at the Air Mobility Command Museum on Dover AFB, Delaware, April 26, 2022, writes Roland Balik.

Tail number 79-0433 was the first of 60 KC-10A aircraft produced for the Air Force by McDonnell-Douglas and used primarily for aerial refuelling with the capabilities of carrying up to 27 pallets of cargo or performing aeromedical evacuation missions.

The aircraft made its first flight July 12, 1980, and entered service Oct. 1, 1981, with the 32nd Air Refueling Squadron at JBMDL. On Sept. 2, 1994, the Extender was transferred to the 305th Air Mobility Wing at JBMDL.

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J.D. Strong II

“This KC-10A was the first KC-10 built and flown as a demonstrator aircraft, and was essentially the prototype for testing both aircraft and air refuelling system on just about every aircraft in the USAF inventory,” said John Taylor, AMC Museum director. “The AMC Museum is a prime location for such an aircraft, and would enable the museum to exhibit in its entirety over 60 years of strategic and tactical air refueling history alongside a KB-50, KC-97 and KC-135.”

During a brief ceremony, Col. Shanon Anderson, 436th Airlift Wing vice commander, reflected on his time flying this particular KC-10.
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J.D. Strong II

“I flew this aircraft the first time 21 years ago on Nov. 24, 2001, two months after 9/11 on a combat mission as a copilot,” said Anderson. “I flew my last mission four years later on my 104th combat mission; as an [instructor pilot].”

The KC-10 became the 36th aircraft added to the museum’s inventory.

“The process of retiring the KC-10 started about two years ago, said Stuart Lockhart, 305th AMW historian. “On the July 13, 2020, tail number 86-0036 took off from McGuire [AFB] for that long flight out to the boneyard. And to many of the old hands present, that date is going to sound very familiar; it was exactly 40 years and one day to the date of the first flight of the KC-10 on July 12, 1980. Of course, the aircraft that took that first flight is the one we honor here today.”

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J.D. Strong II

According to Taylor, the KC-10 is scheduled to be on static display during the 2022 Thunder Over Dover airshow, May 21-22, and will eventually be parked at the museum after repositioning current display aircraft, and preparing a parking spot.

Story by Roland Balik

For additional information about the KC-10 at the museum, visit

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19 April, 2022

U.S. Air Force’s first E-4B simulator is up and running

Photo by Kendra Williams

E-4B pilots and flight engineers have a new way to accomplish training thanks to the delivery of a new E-4B-specific simulator. The milestone was commemorated during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a facility in La Vista, Nebraska on the 14th of April.

“The acquisition of the E-4B simulator is the culmination of hard work between Kallita Air, CymStar and the Air Force to bring a dedicated E-4B training capability to the warfighter at their home station,” said Maj. Gen. Andrew Gebara, 8th Air Force commander and ceremony officiator.

Prior to the local trainer, 595th Command and Control Group operators and maintainers were required to train in a 747 simulator with various contractors in locations across the U.S. The recent acquisition of the E-4B simulator is a first for the Air Force.

In September 2020, an indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract valued at approximately $9.5 million was awarded to CymStar for the build and delivery of an E-4B training system in order to meet the training needs of Air Force Global Strike Command.

15 February, 2022

30 years of combat air power - US Air Combat Command.

On June 1, 1992, the U.S. Air Force’s Tactical Air Command and Strategic Air Command major commands combined to form Air Combat Command.

The establishment of ACC followed the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and marked a post-Cold War shift from preparing for large-scale peer conflict to readying forces for smaller-scale regional conflicts and humanitarian operations. Upon activating, ACC assumed control of all fighter units based in the continental United States to also include all bomber aircraft, reconnaissance platforms, battle management resources, and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

ACC focused in on its newly streamlined objectives, creating a culture of inclusivity and diversity, and laid the foundations, from past to present, for success and a legacy of Airmen-led innovation.

Video by Staff Sgt. Crystal Housman

ACC’s beginnings:

The establishment of ACC in 1992 was entrusted to retired Gen. John M. Loh, the final commander of TAC, who set his sights on defining an inclusive culture for the new command.

Loh did not consider himself to be a pioneer, he was just fortunate and humbled enough to be named the first commander of Air Combat Command, and to set the stage and operating style of the command. According to Loh, this wasn’t the old SAC or the old TAC, but a new command that required a new and different culture.

He made communicating his intent for the new command a critical part of his leadership strategy.

When he went out to the field he ensured all Airmen knew they were vitally important to the success of ACC’s mission.

ACC’s future:

ACC leaders are always looking to the future. The creation of a fighter roadmap, assuming the role of lead command for cyber, and other major efforts like standing up the 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing, developing cyber mission defence teams, and establishing a Diversity and Inclusion office create more opportunities for ACC Airmen to grow.

To improve readiness the command is instituting the Combat Air Force Force Generation model. ACC is evolving its organizational structures, warfighting concept of operations, force presentation and generation, and how it prepares its Airmen to ensure they are ready strategic competition.


July 1, 1993 – ACC’s ICBM mission, along with the Twentieth Air Force and F.E. Warren AFB transferred to Air Force Space Command.

July 27, 1993 – The first female fighter pilot, 2nd Lt. Jeannie Flynn, began her F-15E course flight training at Luke AFB.

Aug. 11-13, 1993 – Two B-1Bs from the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth AFB circumnavigated the globe for the first time and in a record-breaking 24.4 hours non-stop.

Dec. 11, 1993 – ACC officially accepted ACC-1 (the “Spirit of Missouri), it’s first B-2 aircraft.

June 3, 1995 – Two 7th Bomb Wing B-1Bs landed after completing a historic 36-hour, 13 minute, 20,100 mile, non-stop around-the-world flight.

Aug. 25, 1995 – A 2nd Bomb Wing B-52H Stratofortress and it’s five-member crew set an aviation world record from Edwards AFB, flying 5,400 nautical miles, unrefueled, with a payload of 11,000 pounds – in 11 hours, 23 minutes with an average speed of 556 mph.

Aug. 31, 1995 – ACC’s first SR-71 Blackbird aircrew became fully mission qualified, with the second crew being qualified Nov. 21, 1995.

June 11, 1996 – The first production E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft was formally accepted by ACC and the 93d Air Control Wing at Robins AFB.

April 9, 1997 – The first production F-22 was unveiled and named “Spirit of America.”

Sept. 11, 2001 – As one of the earliest response unit F-15 Eagles from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley AFB were scrambled in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Dec. 30, 2002 – ACC accepted its first F-22 Raptor.

Jan. 22, 2006 – The 27th Fighter Squadron from Langley AFB flew the first F-22 operational sorties in support of Operation NOBLE EAGLE.
Feb. 7, 2008 – The first overseas operational deployment of the 12 F-22 Raptors from the 27th Fighter Squadron supporting the U.S. Pacific Command’s Theater Security Package in the Western Pacific.

March 6, 2013 – ACC’s first F-35s were delivered to Nellis and Edwards AFBs.

May 3, 2013 – ACC declared Initial Operation Capability for the F-35A.

Oct. 1, 2015 – ACC officially transferred the B-1B lancers of the 7th and 28th Bomb Wings and the Long-Range Strike-Bomber Program to Air Force Global Strike Command, placing all strategic command bomber assets under a single MAJCOM.

Sept. 1, 2017 – As the first operational F-35 unit, the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill AFB received its twenty-sixth and final block 3F F-35A.

June 7, 2018 – Air Force officials announced the service’s cyber responsibilities will realign to ACC from AFSPC.

April 15, 2019 – ACC F-35A Lightning II’s deployed into combat for the first time from the 4th Fighter Squadron at Hill AFB.

April 30, 2019 – Two U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II’s conducted the first combat airstrikes of that platform in support of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.

Oct. 11, 2019 – ACC activates Sixteenth Air Force at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, integrating Twenty-Fourth Air Force along with Air Force Cyber, and Twenty-Fifth Air Force into a single headquarters to provide global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, cyber, electronic warfare and information operations.

Aug. 20, 2020 – ACC activates Fifteenth Air Force, integrating wings and direct reporting units from the Twelfth Air Force and Ninth Air Force to form the 15th AF, responsible for generating and presenting ACC’s conventional forces.

Oct. 29, 2020 – The first iteration of AGILE FLAG ended. The experiment was a stepping stone to the ability to deploy into theatre as Lead Wings.

Nov. 5, 2020 – The 23rd Wing and 347th Rescue Group leadership received the Air Force’s first two HH-60W Jolly Green II helicopters at Moody AFB.

April 20, 2021 – ACC’s receives its first F-15EX Eagle II designated EX-2 at Eglin AFB, Florida.

 by Staff Sgt. Dana Tourtellotte

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02 June, 2021

B-1B Lancer Undergoes Electronic Warfare Testing in the BAF

 Photo by Giancarlo Casem

A B-1B Lancer was rolled into the Benefield Anechoic Facility (BAF) at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on May 20. The aircraft will undergo testing of a portion of the B-1B Defensive Software suite, Pre-processor Flight Software (PFS) 6.42.

“We’re going to look at the AN/ALQ-161A and its response to various threat signals,” said Capt. Shawn Whitney, who serves as the B-1B PFS 6.42 project test lead for the Global Power Bomber (GPB) Combined Test Force (CTF).

The aircraft used for the test is a B-1B Lancer from the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron, 53rd Wing, out of Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. It will be in the BAF for approximately two weeks Whitney said.

“PFS 6.42 is the latest block-cycle upgrade in the B-1B’s defensive system suite of software that utilizes the AN/ALQ-161A to protect the B-1 and aircrew. It employs approximately 108 line-replaceable units in an integrated architecture to automatically detect, identify, prioritize, and jam hostile radars in a dense electromagnetic environment,” Whitney explained.

Reaching across flights in the pursuit of safety

In 2020, the Air Force Medical Readiness Agency began investigating whether there was possible exposure to carcinogens for personnel working with fighter jets, specifically to hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen created out of regular chromium.

As a consulting agency for all of the Pacific Air Force, the Theatre Prevention Medicine Flight out of the 18th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron, were tasked to assist with the research. They then turned to the Human Performance Optimization Flight and the Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight — their brother flights from the OMRS — to collect the samples needed for analyzing.

Regular chromium is often used in anti-corrosion paint, which is used by General Electric on some of the aircraft parts they provide to Kadena Air Base, explained 1st Lt. Madeleine Kallerud, the occupational health element chief for the Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight.

“Once it gets oxidized and reacts with calcium and magnesium that come from the engine, it creates this more hazardous part of hexavalent chromium, which is the concern,” she said. “Hexavalent chromium has been identified by the Occupational Safety Health Administration as being a potential carcinogen. There’s a potential contact and inhalation hazard over the course of eight hours.”

24 April, 2021

GDC Technics lays off 223 people after losing Air Force One job

Photo Boeing
GDC Technics confirmed on Friday that it was being forced to lay off 223 jobs after Boeing gave the subcontractor the sack from working on the new VC-25B aircraft, commonly known as Air Force One when the President is on board. 

GDC Technics CEO Brad Foreman said it anticipated most operations at its Fort Worth headquarters would cease. It also would close its San Antonio facility where the Air Force One work was done.

Boeing had taken legal action against GDC, which it said was running into financial problems and had missed deadlines, causing millions in damages to Boeing and jeopardizing work critically important to the U.S. Air Force and the president.

07 February, 2021

KC-135 Stratotankers; fuelling the fight as Red Flag 21-1 integrates space, cyberspace for joint all-domain operations training

Photo by Airman 1st Class Dwane Young

Red Flag 21-1 is well underway. Pilots, crew members and maintainers look to find their stride within the frenetic pace of day and night missions. Those who look to the skies over Nellis AFB can bear witness to the revolving door of aircrafts constantly taking off and landing.

Tasked with refueling these aircraft is an integrated team from the 906th Air Refueling Squadron (ARS), Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, and the 91st ARS, MacDill AFB, Florida, and their KC-135 Stratotankers.

The KC-135 Stratotanker has provided aerial refueling for the United States Air Force, joint partners and allied nation aircraft for more than 50 years.

“This is my first Red Flag, and it’s amazing,” said Senior Airman Edwin Mensah, 906th ARS boom operator. “I’ve been refueling aircraft for five years now, but you really don’t get to do it at this level unless you deploy.”

Red Flag provides essential training for its participants, but for Capt. Titan Miller, 906th ARS KC-135 pilot, it also serves as a benchmark of accomplishment.

Miller participated in Red Flag ten years ago as a Boom Operator and now returns as a KC-135 pilot.

“This moment for me is a dream realized,” said Miller. “Red Flag is designed to give you critical experience and no matter the job you perform, after you leave here, you leave better.”
Photo by Airman 1st Class Dwane Young

06 February, 2021

Firebirds training in southwestern US highlights C-17 capabilities

Photo Photo by Airman 1st Class Faith Schaefer

On the morning of Jan. 8, 2021, 13 U.S. Airmen, all assigned to the 517th Airlift Squadron, boarded a C-17A Globemaster III aircraft and flew from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson to March Air Reserve Base, California. Their mission: to train and prepare for global operations in a deployed environment, reports Samuel Colvin.

The crew brought computers, printers, projectors and other supplies with them to set up a mobile mission-planning cell (MMPC) to plan airlift operations in a simulated austere environment. An MMPC kit can be set up anywhere in the world to plan airlift operations in locations where a well-established network may not be available.

The week of training focused on Agile Combat Employment (ACE), an operational concept designed to develop Airmen to become multi-functional and operate from smaller, tactical-level forces to increase combat capability.

21 January, 2021

The United States has committed air and naval power, plus sailors and marines to the UK’s premier military deployment of 2021.

The United States has committed air and naval power, plus sailors and marines to the UK’s premier military deployment of 2021.

US Marine Corps F-35 Lightning jets – identical to those flown and maintained by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force – will join HMS Queen Elizabeth on her maiden deployment. 

Also joining the carrier when she leaves Portsmouth later this year is the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS The Sullivans as both a shield (defence against air and submarine attack) and spear (among other firepower, Tomahawk cruise missiles).

She will be one vessel in the ring of steel around the 65,000-tonne Royal Navy flagship; the full composition of Carrier Strike Group 21 will be announced before the force sets sail. 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and US Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller put their signatures to a UK-US Joint Declaration for the Carrier Strike Group 2021 deployment committing the US Navy to taking part in the deployment, which is due to take the carrier group to the Asia-Pacific region. 

“This joint declaration paves the way for the US Navy and Marine Corps to be joining the HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group this year for the inaugural Carrier Strike 21 deployment,” Mr Wallace said. 

“I am delighted that the UK now possesses a 21st-Century carrier strike capability, which has been greatly assisted by the unswerving support and cooperation of the United States at all levels over the past decade. 

“This deployment embodies the strength of our bilateral ties and reflects the depth and breadth of this vital defence and security partnership.” 

As the US Marine Corps and the UK operate the identical ‘B’ variant of the F-35 (short take-off/vertical landing), it means both nations’ jets can operate seamlessly off their ally’s flight decks – as Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 (VMFA-211) did aboard Queen Elizabeth off Scotland last autumn. 

Also taking part in those exercises was The Sullivans, which takes her unusual name from the five brothers lost when their ship went down in World War 2; their fate has been honoured with two warships in their name, and it also inspired the Oscar-winning movie Saving Private Ryan.

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28 December, 2020

COVID-19 vaccination arrives at RAF Lakenheath

Photo Jessi Monte
The U.S. Air Force 48th Fighter Wing received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccinations at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, on Sunday 27th December 2020.

The United States Government has purchased COVID-19 vaccines and is making them available to the Department of Defense for distribution and administration to DoD personnel. Initially, the vaccine will be offered under an Emergency Use Authorization, and vaccinations will be voluntary until achieving full Food and Drug Administration approval.

“The health of our force, families, and communities always remains a top priority,” said Col. Jason Camilletti, 48th Fighter Wing commander. “This vaccine is an important part of the way forward as we continue to care for the communities where we live and work.”

Initial quantities of the vaccine are limited and will be distributed on a rolling delivery basis as more vaccines become available. Tri-base personnel, (RAF Lakenheath, RAF Mildenhall, RAF Feltwell) will be prioritized to receive the vaccine based on the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and on the DoD COVID Task Force’s assessment of unique DoD mission requirements.

22 November, 2020

Cargo aircraft turned rescue platform for astronaut recovery

Photo Senior Airman John Linzmeier

It’s November 13th, two days before a historic rocket launch and a helicopter pilot approaches a cargo jet on a clear Friday morning at JBPH-H. He is carrying a black box and surrounded by movement; truckloads of rescue crafts and personnel are loaded onto the airframe, prepping the jet to save astronauts in the event of a premature water landing.

Story by Senior Airman John Linzmeier

U.S. Space Force Capt. Richard Burges, an HH-60 Pave Hawk pilot, steps onto the C-17 Globemaster III, cracks open the case and connects an apparatus to a side-panel near the door. This roll-on equipment adds the Search and Rescue capability to the C-17– one that was not intended for the aircraft’s original design.

The device is called a Lightweight Airborne Radio System (LARS), a communication device that is pre-built into modern rescue airframes, such as the HH-60. In the same way that rescue Airmen use the radio to locate and recover personnel in denied territory, the externally set up LARS is now ready to help the Hawaii Air National Guard aircrew to search for and rescue a downed capsule in the event of an emergency anywhere in the Pacific.

23 October, 2020

A pilot’s pilot: Honoring Capt. Mark “Tyler” Voss and his Gold Star family

Photo By Lori Bultman | U.S. Air Force Capt. Mark “Tyler” Voss perished in a plane crash near Chon-Aryk, Kyrgyzstan, while on his sixth deployment

By Rachel Kersey | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The Gold Star is known as the military honor no one wants. It commemorates the tragic death of a military member who has perished while engaged in combat against a hostile enemy.

On Friday, May 3, 2013, Capt. Mark “Tyler” Voss perished in a plane crash near Chon-Aryk, Kyrgyzstan, while on his sixth deployment, making his family a Gold Star Family who will be honored, along with many other families, annually on the last Sunday of September.

Marcelle “Marcy” Voss, Capt. Voss’ mother, celebrated his service and honored his sacrifice with seven other local families at an event hosted in a veteran-owned restaurant in Kerrville, Texas, the city she lives in. Though it has been seven years since her son died, she still finds ways to honor his memory and share his story.

04 October, 2020

Cargo airline Atlas Air trains Air Force One's pilots......

Air Force One  arriving at London Stansted                                                                                  Photo MAG

Atlas Air operates the world’s largest fleet of Boeing 747 Freighters going to 90 countries, it is a leading provider of outsourced aircraft and aviation operating services.  It confirmed this week that the United States Air Force has exercised its option to continue its pilot and flight engineer training contract for Air Force One with Atlas Air, Inc.  

Atlas Air has been training Air Force One pilots and engineers since October 2007 and under this new extension, crews for the Air Force’s VC-25, which is a highly modified version of the Boeing 747-200, will receive ground and flight-simulator training at Atlas Air’s world-class training centre in Miami, Florida.

“Air Force One," the designated call sign of the aircraft when the President is on board, consists of two specially configured Boeing 747-200B aircraft.

“We are honoured to provide this vital training to the pilots and crews of Air Force One and the Presidential Airlift Group. Their exacting demands for safety, professionalism, efficiency and security make this contract extremely meaningful, and is a testament to the training provided by our highly experienced instructors,” said John Dietrich, President and Chief Executive Officer, Atlas Air Worldwide. “This contract extension is the result of our team’s unwavering commitment to safe and efficient operations.”


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28 September, 2020

US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 31st Fighter Wing are supporting the NATO enhanced Air Policing mission in Bulgaria

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever

Airmen and U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 31st Fighter Wing are supporting the NATO enhanced Air Policing mission in Bulgaria, from Sept. 28 to Oct. 23, 2020, with other U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa units.

Enhanced Air Policing is part of the Alliance’s assurance measures for eastern allies. The assurance measures have provided continuous military presence and meaningful activity in the eastern part of the Alliance on a rotational basis.

Approximately 140 personnel and six F-16s from the 555th Fighter Squadron deployed in support of the Allied mission along with various units from Aviano Air Base, Italy, and Airmen assigned to the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

The presence of U.S. fighter aircraft in Bulgaria demonstrates NATO nations working together, maintaining and developing effectiveness at all levels, sharing risks, burdens and costs. The continued support of the U.S. with their deployment to Europe emphasizes the transatlantic link among Allies.

“The Triple Nickel’s participation in NATO enhanced Air Policing allows us to demonstrate comprehensive deterrence and defense through joint and combined interoperability,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brian Lewis, 555th FS director of operations. “Mission sets like these not only reinforce the capability, capacity, and readiness of the Alliance, but generate an appreciation for allied and partner contributions. Operating together is crucial to our effectiveness.”

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25 July, 2020

U.S. Air Force delivers aid to Honduras

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 22nd Airlift Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, California, off-load a T6 container July 18, 2020, at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. The T6 container held 17,000 pounds of COVID-19 medical supplies for Honduras communities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jonathon Carnell)
Airmen assigned to the 22nd Airlift Squadron at the U.S. Travis Air Force Base, delivered humanitarian aid supplies to Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, July 18, writes  Senior Airman Jonathon Carnell.

The mission was in support of the Denton Program, a Department of Defense transportation program that moves humanitarian cargo, donated by U.S. based non-governmental organizations, to developing nations.

The Airmen transported 58,000 pounds of cargo in a C-5M Super Galaxy. The cargo consisted of eight pallets, two vehicles , two excavators and a 40-foot container filled with medical supplies to treat COVID-19 patients.

“A lot of what is on this aircraft will go to COVID-19 response,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jeffrey Uherka, Joint Task Force-Bravo civil military operations director at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. “The 40-foot container is heading to Intipuca, which is an underserved community.”

19 July, 2020

US KC-46 Completes Its First Aeromedical Evacuation Mission

KC-46A Pegasus Completes It's First Aeromedical Evacuation Mission
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nilsa Garcia

Airmen from the 931st Air Refueling Wing and 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron participated in a Total Force mission to test capabilities of the KC-46A Pegasus during its first aeromedical evacuation on July 10, 2020.

Over the course of six flights and 17 hours, the mission, which originated at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, transited five patients and two attendees to Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia; Patrick AFB, Florida; and Travis AFB, California. The mission was evaluated by the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center.

“I don’t think most people realize the amount of training and dedication the team has when they come out and do a mission like this,” said Maj. Michael Murphy, 905th Air Refueling Squadron pilot. “Everyone really performed well and at a high level.”

15 June, 2020

Controlling the skies: US Air Force Yokota Air Base ATC

The sun rises over the Air Traffic Control Tower at Yokota Air Base, Japan, June 12, 2020. Air traffic controllers with the 374th Operations Support Squadron report for duty before an airfield opening. Responsible for managing the flow of aircraft through all aspects of their flight, ATC specialists ensure the safety and efficiency of air traffic on the ground and in the air. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)
With traffic lights and lanes ushering vehicles where they need to go in an orderly fashion all too common on our roads on the ground, what little realize is that same framework exists in the sky above. While the sky does not have tangible lights as roads do, the communication provided by Yokota Air Base’s 374th Operations Support Squadron Air Traffic Control team act as that same kind of safety net, 24-hours a day -- allowing aircraft to get to their destinations safely.

“A lot of people know about the tower portion of our career field,” said Staff Sgt. Brandon Johnson-Farmer, 374th OSS OSAT air traffic control journeyman. “The tower portion is responsible for essentially a bubble of airspace directly over our flight line extending outwards. In that bubble, it is our job to visually ensure every aircraft arriving or departing our installation has an approved flight plan and are coordinated with from parking to takeoff and vice versa.”

With the ATC tower handling Yokota’s flight line out to a radius of 5 miles and 2,500 ft. of elevation, the lesser-known aspect of ATC, the Radar Approach Control team picks up an additional radius of 60 miles and 24,000 ft. of elevation, providing communications to meet aircraft needs of not just military equipment at Yokota, but every aircraft that makes its way through that airspace.