Alma Bulawan When Washington and Manila started talking about the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement that will see more U.S. troops on Philippine soil, many advocates for Filipino Amerasians saw an opportunity. So far, though, there has been no talk of a deal. Although many people in Subic and Olongapo welcome the cash that comes with visiting ships, some are wary of the U.S. return. Alma Bulawan, president of Buklod, the rights group, says they are bracing for a rise in abandoned and neglected children. In her decades in Subic, she has seen an endless stream of ships and sailors. The one constant: “They leave.” [Source: Washington Post | Emily Rauhala | May 15, 2016 ++]
USAF Painted Aircraft ► Making a Comeback It took 31 days to transform this otherwise dull gray F-15 Eagle into a colorful abstract worthy of its noble avian namesake. The powerful warplane is adorned with wisp-like feathers that stretch across its 43-foot wingspan and onto its fuselage. Its nest, Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Ore., is home to the the 173rd Fighter Wing and the Air Force's only F-15C training schoolhouse. The ramp holds 32 Eagles in all. But this bird — tail number AF79-041 — stands out among its siblings. The colorful nose art — well, body art — is so loud that the airmen who created it required special permission. Painted to celebrate the Oregon Air National Guard's 75th anniversary, the plane is turning heads everywhere it flies. It's a throwback to a era when American combat aircraft weren't just deadly; they had swagger.
Across the Air Force today, airmen are once again decorating all kinds of aircraft. Fighters and bombers, sure, but also refueling tankers, cargo transports and even a few drones. In the process, they're reviving a tradition that may not be as racy as it was during World War II, but one that resonates just as strongly today. “Basically, we just wanted something bold that was going to make an impact,” Master Sgt. Paul Allen, the artist behind the 173rd's F-15 design, told Air Force Times. Allen and his team — six airmen working days, two working nights — created stencils and applied them to the jet using low-tack vinyl. “The guys took a lot of pride in this. ... And people considering coming into the Guard who see this see we have a lot of pride in our unit." AF79-041 is currently on deployment, part of a six aircraft rotation to Finland, where it's getting "some serious PR," said Col. Jeff Smith, the 173rd's commander. The design will be erased by next year, so the wing wants to make the most of its awe-inspiring appearance.
Painted aircraft are popping up all over, flying combat missions against the Islamic State group, deterring a resurgent Russia and keeping a wily North Korea at bay. What's driving this trend? In a word, nostalgia. Throughout history, those who've fought in battle have immortalized their experiences through art. During the dawn of aerial warfare, pilots began to personalize their machines. “Nose art," said Brett Stolle, curator at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, "was first conceived during World War I by French and German aviators who pioneered the application of personalized markings, insignia, and garish paint schemes for their combat aircraft." The practice became common in Europe, migrating from a combat phenomenon to parading over victory celebrations. It caught on among American aviators during World War II, in what became known as the golden age of nose art. It was the hey day of America's pin-up culture. The leggy ladies photographed in magazines made motivational cameos on deployed military hardware. Some of the images were notoriously bawdy — work that would never fly in today's Air Force.
Roger Connor, an aeronautics specialist at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, called it a "unit cohesion thing." Often, he said, “the farther the theater was from the home front, the more elaborate and often the more risque the nose was.” It wasn't all racy ladies, though. Well-known cartoon characters — like Mickey Mouse, Snow White, Bugs Bunny — were also favorites, Stolle said. This sort of art was embraced by women as well as men. In 1943, for example, Walt Disney drew a “Fifinella,” depicted as a small winged female gremlin coming in for a landing. She became the Women Airforce Service Pilots official mascot and insignia patch. After the war, much of the fleet's nose art was wiped away. It reappeared sparingly during the wars in Korea and Vietnam, but the resurgence was meager. In the early 1970s, Air Force Chief of Staff John D. Ryan placed a moratorium on aircraft art. Still, some aircrews quietly brought it back for the more recent wars in the Middle East.
Today, there are strict rules in place, and all nose art suggestions must go through a rigorous approval process. The policy is not unlike those governing troops' tattoos and workplace decor. Designs must be "distinctive, symbolic, gender neutral, intended to enhance unit pride, designed in good taste," and abide by copyright and trademark laws, according to an Air Force memorandum signed in 2015. Increasingly, airmen seem willing to play by those rules. The beloved A-10 Warthog has its snarling teeth, of course. Airmen will pay homage to local communities with popular mascots on KC-135s or C-130s, hatching the plane's nickname. Even a RQ-4 Global Hawk drone donned chalked-on nose art for a brief time in honor of a Tuskegee fighter pilot. "This is a tradition across the Air Force," Smith said. "This truly is a source of morale and pride, especially for the dedicated crew chief to know that they have a little mark of themselves on the airplane."
An Air Force firefighter, right, gets a briefing on the A-10 Thunderbolt by an airman from the 74th Fighter Squadron, 23rd Fighter Group from Pope Air Force Base. The Flying Tigers arrived at Bagram Air Base Saturday March 23, 2002 Senior Master Sgt. Chad Heithoff, with the 55th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, helped jump-start a nose art project in 2014 for the KC-135 tankers at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas. Now he's moved on to the RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. Known as "The Cobra Ball," one of Offut's RC-135s bears a serpent, tightly coiled around a black sphere. Heithoff recently returned from a deployment to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. "I saw a lot of aircraft with nose art," he said. "I think this is starting to spread." [Source: USA TODAY | Oriana Pawlyk | May 14, 2016 ++]
Warrior Web ► DARPA Walking Assist Suit Hiking miles and miles with hundreds of pounds on your back sucks. Fortunately, the Pentagon is trying to make it suck less. At DARPA's Demo Day on 11 MAY, researchers showed off the agency's "Warrior Web" program, which, if used in the field, would help soldiers carry their 80 to 100-pound packs without getting overly tired. "Our core goal is to reduce fatigue over long marches," Patrick Murphy, a researcher at Harvard's Wyss Institute, told Tech Insider. "It will augment the forces you're exerting as you march to help reduce the metabolic fatigue over a long distance." In places like Iraq and Afghanistan, troops might be walking on patrol for five to 10 miles or more with all of their gear. And once they get to where they are going, they may need to kick in a door and capture a bad guy in lieu of an extended water break.
That's where Warrior Web comes in: Instead of getting burned out on the hike, troops get an assist to their muscles each time they take a step. "As you plant your foot, the motor will pull a cable along your hamstring," Murphy said. "That will augment what your hip is doing as you walk."
Warrior Web is still in the early stages of research and development, but it would have direct impact on the battlefield. Right now, the system is a bulky proof-of-concept device attached to the wearer and the pack, but it should end up getting smaller and weigh less in the future. DARPA wants it to be similar to the look and feel of a diver's wet suit. Still, it's important to note the system doesn't reduce the weight that soldiers feel, but Murphy said they'll need to use less energy to keep moving. And so far, most soldiers who have tried it out like it, according to Murphy. "We generally do get very good feedback," he said. "The system does a good job of adapting to individual timing." [Source: Tech Insider | Paul Szoldra | May 2016 ++]
MCAS Futenma Okinawa Update 08 ► Arrest Fuels Relocation Opposition Japan's prime minister expressed his "strong indignation" Friday after an American working on a U.S. military base in Okinawa was arrested on suspicion of abandoning the body of a Okinawan woman who disappeared last month. "I have no words to express, considering how the family feels," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters. "We urge the U.S. side to take thorough measures to prevent the recurrence of such events." The arrest sparked outrage on Okinawa, where anti-U.S. military sentiment is high because of a heavy American troop presence. It could fuel further opposition to the relocation of a U.S. Marine Corps air station on the southern Japanese island, a long-delayed project that Abe has been trying to push forward in the face of large protests.
Police said Kenneth Shinzato, 32, was arrested 19 MAY after he was questioned and investigators found the body at a location he provided, a forest in central Okinawa. Investigators determined that the body is that of a 20-year-old woman missing since 28 APR, when she messaged her boyfriend that she was going for a walk. Police said they suspect Shinzato was also responsible for her death. He has not been charged. In Washington, Defense Department spokesman Peter Cook said the man arrested was a U.S. military contractor. "This is an appalling tragedy," he said. The U.S. military extends its "deepest sympathies to the people of Japan, and express our gratitude for the trust that they place in our bilateral alliance and the American people." Kyodo News agency said Shinzato used to be a Marine.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. military was cooperating fully with local authorities in their investigation. "This is a terrible tragedy and it's obviously an outrage," he told reporters in Washington. Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga said he was "outraged" and that the death of the woman broke his heart. "As I look back at all the developments to date, I'm simply speechless," he said. Onaga has spearheaded opposition to the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from a densely populated neighborhood in central Okinawa to another site on the island, saying the facility should be moved away from Okinawa instead.
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida summoned U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy to convey his "regret" over the crime. Kennedy said: "Nothing that I can do or say will make up the loss or to bring her back, but I want to express to you my determination and that of my military colleagues to cooperate fully with Okinawan police and the Japanese government, and we will double our efforts to make sure this will never happen again." Okinawa is home to more than half of about 50,000 American troops based in Japan. Many Okinawans complain about crime and noise connected to the bases. [Source: The Associated Press | Mari Yamachuci | May 20, 2016 ++]
Military Portrait► Airman’s Fitness Training
Senior Airman Terrence Ruffin, 16th Electronic Warfare Squadron, strains for an extra rep on a weight machine at the fitness center on Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. In November, the Airman became the youngest professional bodybuilder on the circuit at age 21. [Source: DoD 2015 Photo Competition | Tech Sgt. Samuel King Jr., USAF| April 27, 2016 ++]
Air Force One ► Replacement | Modified Boeing 747-8 The Air Force gave Boeing the green light to start submitting design proposals for the new presidential aircraft that will likely shuttle either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton around the world. The Air Force on March 10 posted online an amendment to its Air Force One contract — also known as the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization — authorizing Boeing to begin preliminary design activities. In January 2015, the Air Force announced it had chosen the Boeing 747-8 as the platform for the next Air Force One, and gave the company a sole-source contract to modify the aircraft. If all goes well with the design and development process, the new presidential aircraft could be up and running in 2019 or 2020, in time for the next president to use it before the end of his or her first administration. The aircraft are expected to last 30 years. But the government has somewhat scaled back its plans for the new Air Force One. As recently as Jan. 29, the contract synopses on FedBizOpps said the government would buy “up to three” new aircraft. Now, the latest version of the contract synopsis said the government will buy two modified 747-8 aircraft from Boeing.
The 747-8 is the latest model of Boeing’s 747. The Air Force said last year it determined a wide-body, four-engine passenger aircraft such as the 747-8 was necessary to serve as the next Air Force One. In January, the Air Force also awarded Boeing a contract for conducting risk reduction activities for the new Air Force One — trying to find opportunities to cut costs and increase efficiencies while meeting the needs of fielding the new plane. Factors that drive the cost of the new presidential airplane include its maintenance, air refueling capability, and state-of-the-art communication equipment. This contract is only for the modification of the 747-8s. The Air Force is buying the airplanes under a separate contract. The two airplanes now serving as Air Force One are Boeing 747-200Bs, with the tail codes 28000 and 29000. The first was delivered in 1990.
According to the White House's website, the iconic aircraft has onboard electronics designed to protect against an electromagnetic pulse and a secure communications system that would allow it to operate as a mobile command center in case of a nuclear or other serious attack on the United States. The current Air Force One has 4,000 square feet of floor space on three levels. There is a suite for the president including an office and conference room, two galleys capable of producing 100 meals, quarters for Secret Service, senior advisers and others who accompany the president, and a medical suite that can be used as an operating room. A doctor is always on board Air Force One. [Source: Air Transport | May 11, 2016 ++]
Anderson AFB Guam ►B-52H Crashes on Takeoff Seven crew members of a B-52 Stratofortress that crashed around 8:30 a.m. 19 MAY while attempting to take off at Andersen Air Force Base avoided a more catastrophic accident, the base’s 36th Wing commander said. “We are thankful that the air crew are safe,” said Brig. Gen. Douglas Cox, 36th Wing commander. “Because of their quick thinking and good judgment in this emergency situation, the air crew not only saved their lives, but averted a more catastrophic incident.” The crew members weren’t injured after having safely evacuated from the aircraft, which was on its way to a training mission. The Air Force didn’t release any statement Thursday about what might have caused the crash. The incident was being investigated.
Crashed B52H Stratofortress at Anderson AFB Guam May 19, 2016 B-52s can carry a wide assortment of weapons, including cruise missiles, but during the accident, the aircraft was only carrying what the base’s leadership called “inert munitions.” These practice munitions posed no danger to the local community, according to the base’s leadership. Andersen environmental specialists are assessing any potential impacts that may have resulted from leaked fluids or burning aircraft materials to prevent damage to the ecosystem, the base leadership stated. Emergency response personnel from Andersen, Navy Base Guam, Joint Region Marianas and the government of Guam promptly established a cordon and extinguished the flames, according to a release from Andersen. “Our personnel regularly train to respond to crises like the one we experienced today,” said Cox. “We’re also grateful for the support from our Government of Guam and U.S. Navy partners in addressing this serious incident.”
The B-52 was deployed to Andersen from Minot Air Force Base, in North Dakota, as part of the military’s continuous bomber presence mission in the Pacific. The crew members are from the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron and were performing a routine training mission, according to Andersen. It’s the second crash involving a B-52 in Guam in eight years. In July 2008, a B-52 crashed into the ocean about 35 miles northwest of the island, killing all six flight crew on board, according to an Air Force investigation report. The 2008 crash occurred five minutes before its scheduled flyover during the 64th Guam Liberation Day parade. The aircraft crashed because of a mechanical failure in one of the aircraft’s wings, according to the report.
The B-52 Stratofortress long-range, heavy bomber aircraft has a wingspan of about 185 feet and a length of 159 feet. The H model, first delivered in 1961, is capable of delivering conventional air-launched cruise missiles, and has been used in several operations such as Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. B-52Hs can carry a maximum capacity of 20 missiles per aircraft, according to the Air Force. Pacific Command has maintained a rotational strategic bomber presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region for more than a decade to foster partnerships with allies, and to keep adversaries at bay. In January, a B-52 from Andersen conducted a low-level flight near Osan Air Base, South Korea, after North Korea days earlier purported a successful hydrogen bomb test. B-52s deploy several times a year globally for rotational exercises. In the Middle East, several B-52s from from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, are currently using precision-guided bombs against the Islamic State. “Today’s incident is a reminder of the danger our men and women in uniform put themselves in every single day, whether flying a mission or for training,” Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo said. [Source: Pacific Daily News | Jerick Sablan & Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno | May 19, 2016 ++]
POSYDON ► DARPA Underwater Navigation Project BAE Systems has been selected by DARPA to develop a system that will allow underwater craft to navigate accurately even when sailing below the surface of the water. The project, called Positioning System for Deep Ocean Navigation (POSYDON), "aims to replace current navigational methods that pose a detection risk for undersea vehicles forced to surface periodically to access the space-based Global Positioning System (GPS), which cannot sufficiently penetrate seawater," according to a BAE news release. "In addition, access to above-water GPS may be denied by hostile signal jamming. Under DARPA’s POSYDON program, a BAE Systems-led team will create a positioning, navigation, and timing system designed to permit vehicles to remain underwater by using multiple, integrated, long-range acoustic sources at fixed locations around the oceans." "The vehicle instrumentation needed to capture and process acoustic signals for accurate navigation will also be developed under this program," BAE said. "The company will leverage its expertise and capabilities in signal processing, acoustic communications, interference cancellation, and anti-jam/anti-spoof technologies for the program." The BAE team also includes the University of Washington, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Texas at Austin. [Source: C4ISR & Networks | Michael Peck | May 19, 2016 ++]
USMC Occupational Titles ► Gender Neutral Assessment One of the most time-honored phrases in the Marine Corps — "every Marine a rifleman" — could get an update as the service's top leaders consider new gender-neutral job titles for all positions. The Marine Corps is conducting a sweeping review of its military occupational specialty titles, Capt. Philip Kulczewski, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon, told Marine Corps Times. The move follows a January directive from Navy Secretary Ray Mabus that Navy and Marine leaders ensure all job titles are gender neutral as ground combat jobs opened to women. Mabus specifically wanted the word "man" dropped from all titles. That could mean that female Marines — or even men — heading to ground-combat jobs may not pick up traditional titles like rifleman or artilleryman.
Kulczewski declined to answer questions about how many titles could change, when the review would be complete or what the new job names could be, since the review is still ongoing. Navy Capt. Patrick McNally, a spokesman for Mabus, also declined to comment on the status of the sea services' reviews. Initially, a Navy official told Marine Corps Times that Mabus didn't intend to change iconic titles like "infantryman," "rifleman" or "midshipman." Instead, the official said, he only wanted titles to change if the word "man" stood alone as a separate word, like reconnaissance man or field artillery sensor support man. But a Marine official with knowledge of the review said "every single" title, billet and job description is being looked at.
The Corps' most senior leaders — including the commandant and assistant commandant — along with members of Training and Education Command; Marine Corps Combat Development Command; Manpower and Reserve Affairs; Plans, Policies and Operations; and Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, are involved in the assessment, the official said. Mabus ordered the Marine Corps to conduct the review the same day he instructed Commandant Gen. Robert Neller to develop a plan to make the service's entry-level training coed. Within days, it was determined that men and women would continue training separately at Marine boot camp. But the job title review forged ahead. "As we achieve full integration of the force ... this is an opportunity to update the position titles and descriptions themselves to demonstrate through this language that women are included in these MOSs," Mabus wrote in the January order. "Please review the position titles throughout the Marine Corps and ensure that they are gender-integrated as well, removing 'man' from the titles and provide a report to me as soon as is practicable."
The Navy took its review one step further. In addition to finding gender-neutral job title options, its leaders are also on the hunt for rating titles that better match what sailors do. Navy yeomen, for example, could end up with a title like administrative specialist. “I was talking to a corpsman the other day and guess what they used to be called? Pharmacist’s mate," Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens told Navy Times in January. "... Maybe there [are] rating titles out there that just don’t make sense anymore." Stevens, the Navy's top senior enlisted leader, kicked off a canvassing of the fleet earlier this year in order to get sailors' thoughts and recommendations on the new titles. “This has to come from the fleet,” he said. "It needs to work its way up through enlisted leadership. ... They are the voice of their people." [Source: Marine Corps Times | Gina Harkins | May 19, 2016 ++]