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Archive for the ‘Air Force’ Category

The A-10 Using The German Autobahn As An Airstrip

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

The A-10 was designed to fight a war we fortunately never had to fight. Built to kill Warsaw Pact tanks as they poured across the Inter-German Border, the units that flew the Warthog developed plans to operate from makeshift FAARPs set up along the Autobahn in case their bases were destroyed by NBC attacks.

Yesterday, four A-10s from the 127th Wing, Michigan Air National Guard, performed highway landing practice in Estonia, as part of NATO Exercise Saber Strike 16. This is the first time this tactic has been practice since 1984.

To learn more, visit

1968 – SAC Simulated Emergency Response

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

That’s a painfully slow drive to the aircraft. Not sure which base this is but during the same timeframe the British V Force crews would move to dispersal airfields during periods of alert and sleep in caravans within running distance of the bombers.

Thanks Casket!

Remember That Arc’teryx Kit The PJs In Alaska Bought?

Monday, March 21st, 2016

Well, it’s been put to good use, in some of the most extreme environments in earth.


An Alaska Air National Guardsman from the 212th Rescue Squadron, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, watches the jumpmaster prior to jumping out of a C-17 Globemaster III flown by the 249th Airlift Squadron onto the U.S. Navy’s Ice Camp Sargo in the Arctic Circle in support of Ice Exercise 2016, March 15, 2016. The two squadrons worked together to airdrop 10 PJs, two Alaska National Guard Soldiers and a 9,500-pound arctic sustainment package to the camp. ICEX is a joint-force exercise which allows multiple military branches to assess readiness in the arctic, increase operation experience in the region, develop partnerships and collaborative efforts, and advance understanding of the arctic environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Richardson/Released)

The Wing King at Lakenheath Gets It

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

This OP-ED was published last week on the RAF Lakenheath website. It was written by Col Robert Novotny, the 48th Fighter Wing CC. I’m sharing it because it’s as refreshing as it is controversial. The reason it’s controversial is becuase we have a senior leader telling Airmen to focus in the mission. The Air Force has completely lost its way in recent years. Mission seems to be the last thing on anyone’s mind as they all scramble to do non-mission things in order to get promoted. There’s another reason I like this letter. It sounds like Col Novotny knows how to run a short meeting.

Senior Airman BTZ? Be the ‘Wolf!’

by Col. Robert Novotny
48th Fighter Wing Commander

3/15/2016 – ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England — There are three meetings I attend every week, and they’re the most important meetings in my current job.

The first is Wing Stand-Up, held three days a week, where we cover the status of our aircrew, pararescuemen, all 81 combat aircraft, the airfield, communications and logistics. Our mission is simple…Deliver Precise Combat Power from the Air, and Stand-Up sets the tone. This, my most important meeting, lasts about 20 minutes, except when we fold in weekly intelligence updates, which adds 10 more.

My second important meeting is the Newcomers Welcome, held every Tuesday morning. There are no slides. The Command Chief and I speak to all base newcomers for only 30 minutes. It’s important because everyone needs to “hear it from the horse’s mouth” about how important the Liberty Wing is to the National Security of the United States and NATO. We don’t talk about DUIs, reflective belts or policy letters. We talk about the mission of the wing.

The final important meeting is on Thursdays, when I have lunch with our First-Term Airmen Center, or FTAC, graduates. After a few days of base indoctrination and adjustment, the Command Chief and I eat lunch with the FTAC’ers to, again, “hear it from the horse’s mouth.” I talk for about 10 minutes, and the remaining 50-minute lunch is spent answering questions and dispelling rumors. I want them to know exactly how to make a good first impression and how their individual actions impact the wing’s mission.

During a recent FTAC lunch, I was asked a well-meant question by a young Airman, but, in the end, it was actually quite disappointing. Essentially, this Airman asked if there were any volunteer activities that the Chief and I could point him toward so he could highlight himself for Senior Airman Below-the-Zone consideration. Regrettably, this was not the first time I’d been asked a question about “extracurricular activities” that might be regarded for promotion or advancement. About half of his lunch-mate’s ears perked up, while the other half had expressions of disdain. I waited a few seconds to respond.

My answer was simple: “STOP! Wrap yourself in the mission, and become the ‘wolf.'” He looked at me confused, so I went on to explain. Volunteerism or extracurricular activities are exactly the things I am NOT looking for. Instead, I want this young American to dive, head-first, into their new job. Become the very best Airman: skilled, motivated, optimistic and aggressive about getting the mission done. In my opinion, raising your right hand at basic military training satisfies the volunteerism category for a good couple of years. 

As a young pilot, I was consumed by my profession. I spent weekends in our vault, flying the little desktop trainer with classified copies of the tactics manuals open next to the machine. I read countless Weapons School papers and never passed up an opportunity to deploy with the squadron. While there were numerous pilots more talented than me, I would wager that I worked harder than the many of them. I also crushed my additional duty as the Chief of Squadron Training. If the Operations Officer gave me a task, it got done, quick. And suddenly, I became a go-to officer. Unknowingly, I became one of the ‘wolves.’ 

I told this young Airman about becoming the best in their flight, section, or squadron. The Airman who, when the squadron deploys, your name will be high on the list, because you know your craft, you work hard, you’re a good teammate, and, if there’s a crappy job to get done, the leadership can count on you to “git ‘er done.” 

Harvey Keitel said in Pulp Fiction, “I’m Winston Wolfe. I solve problems.”

Without a doubt, your section chief or first sergeant has an additional duty or project that has command interest – like running the next retirement ceremony, leading the Air Force Assistance Fund campaign in the squadron or something like that. Those are important tasks that the commander needs to get done so he or she can continue to focus on the mission. Like flies that need to be swatted, the ‘wolf’ makes light of those tasks, alleviating the burden on the squadron.

Be the first Airman into upgrade training – the one who knows the tech orders and Air Force Instructions better than anyone. Always be willing to help with the toughest surgery, hardest broke jet, longest mission-planning session, rainiest guard posting, worst weekend shift or what have you. Be dependable, competent, efficient and aggressive. Understand how and where you fit into the wing’s mission and why your job is important. Finally, be the Airman who FINDS A WAY TO ‘YES.’ 

I firmly believe these ideas are being captured by our enlisted evaluation system changes. While the roll-out has been rocky, and we’re far from perfect, I am incredibly pleased with the change toward recognizing ‘wolves’ earlier. At Lakenheath, we’ve made changes to our quarterly awards, prioritizing mission accomplishment over the other categories. We are looking to identify and promote ‘wolves.’

Don’t get me wrong, volunteering because you have time and you genuinely want to volunteer is awesome. Events like our Annual Awards party, which 1,000 people attended, the Air Force Ball, with 950 attendees, the Maintenance Professional of the Year banquet, with 1,200 people in attendance, our 9/11 remembrance ceremony, and more, are made possible because of volunteers. But volunteering because you need to round-out an awards package is not what we need. Spend that extra time learning more about your job.

Wing commanders coin ‘wolves.’ Squadron Commanders promote ‘wolves’ to Senior Airman BTZ. There is no secret. It’s simple: Crush your job, be the best in your section, flight or squadron. Evolve into the ‘wolf’, and, I guarantee, you will find what you seek. 

Attention US Army – That’s Not What An F-35 Looks Like

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

The US Army just released an updated edition of TC 3.01-80, ‘Visual Aircraft Recognition’, the old FM 44-80.

This manual is written as a reference to assist the user in the technique of identifying friendly, hostile, or foreign country aircraft. This manual provides information on current operational aircraft that may be observed worldwide or in the combat area. It can be used as source material for personnel conducting unit training in visual aircraft recognition (VACR). The procedures in this publication apply throughout the United States Army. The data contained herein is based on the best information available at the time of publication; however, it is not all-inclusive because of some classification guidelines. This publication, by nature, has a built-in time lag, and some aircraft may still be under development or classified at the time of writing, but may be fielded or unclassified at, or after, publication.

Unfortunately, they misidentified something rather major, like the aircraft that the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy are all pinning their hopes and dreams on; the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

This is the image they assigned to the new F-35…but it’s not an F-35.

Thanks to the diligent USAF JTACs who caught this!

Operation Safeside

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

Designated by the code name “OPERATION SAFESIDE”, the 1041st USAF Security Police Squadron (Test) was formed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii from a cadre of USAF graduates of the Army Ranger school. From that original unit, the Air Force eventually stood up the 82nd Combat Security Police Wing and subordinate units the 821st, 822nd and 823rd Combat Security Police Squadrons. This is an example of the equipment worn by those Security Policemen while deployed to Viet Nam.

He is a short two-part, USAF film on this unit.

Part I

Part II

Today, the lineage of these units lives on in the 820th Base Defense Group and its subordinate squadrons.

Command Master Airman

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

I don’t know who created this, but it’s brilliant.  
Thanks Brett W!

Troy Industries Introduces GAU-5/A/A Reproduction Carbine

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Absolutely, the most exciting firearm announcement for me at SHOT Show 2016 was from Troy Industries. Owner Steve Troy and I first met in 1998 while serving in the Air Force while we were both deployed to Ali Al Salaam Air Base in Kuwait with different units. And, it’s in the Air Force that we both used GAU-5 and GUU-5 carbines.

The GAU-5/A/A was employed by participants in Operation Ivory Coast during 1970’s daring raid on Son Tay prison in North Viet Nam.

The attention to detail is fantastic and you can tell this was a labor of love for Steve Troy. I can’t wait to order mine. They’ve even included the old-style buttstock and pistol grip. Troy Industries has also created a GAU-5/P (below) with its more modern accessories.

Here is Troy’s press release:

In partnership with The National League of POW/MIA Families.

The GAU-5/A/A is the United States Air Force version of the XM117E2 Commando Carbine. This firearm historically replicates the weapon used by The Son Tay Raiders in the largest rescue attempt of American POWs. 45 of the 56 Special Forces troopers were equipped with the GAU during the night raid on the Son Tay prison camp. The GAU-5/A/A was highly desired by Commando Forces for its compact size, fire power, high reliability and reduced signature.

In partnership with The National League of POW/MIA Families, we offer this limited edition, historically accurate GAU-5/A/A with modern manufacturing excellence. Portions of the proceeds will go directly to support their sole purpose: “to obtain the release of all prisoners, the fullest possible accounting for the missing and repatriation of all recoverable remains of those who died serving our nation during Vietnam.”

Availability of this collector’s item is limited, pre-order yours today at