Air Force

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US Airman and French Train Hero Gets Promoted

It's now Sgt. Spencer Stone to you

(Newser) - One of the three Americans who foiled a terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train in August got himself a promotion Friday, NBC News reports. US airman Spencer Stone, 23, was promoted from airman first class to staff sergeant for his part in subduing the gunman. According to the Air Force ... More »

$80B Stealth Bomber Project Takes Flight

The LRS-B will become 'backbone' of Air Force: Carter

(Newser) - One of the most expensive projects in the Pentagon's history has been awarded to Northrop Grumman. The company won the bid to build the Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) at a cost that could top $80 billion, reports the Los Angeles Times . Northrop will get more than $20 billion to... More »

F-35's Fancy New Helmets Come With Wild Price Tag

And also some serious problems

(Newser) - How cool does a helmet have to be before you can justify spending $400,000 on one? That's the question before the Pentagon, which is expected to spend around $1 billion on helmets for its new fleet of state-of-the-art F-35s, the Air Force Times reports. In fairness to the... More »

Rockhound Finds WWII Bomb in Utah Desert

He was disappointed when the Air Force blew it up

(Newser) - Ex-Marine Craig Alvord calls it a "once-in-a-lifetime" find after more than 50 years of rockhounding: a 500-pound unexploded WWII-era bomb. According to the Desert News , Alvord found the 6-foot-long bomb while hunting rocks in Utah's West Desert Monday. He tells KSL he was nervous finding the bomb, so... More »

27 Airmen Nearly Died Because of a Loose Nut

It caused a fire that did $62.4 million in damage

(Newser) - Twenty-seven airmen had a brush with death when the 51-year-old Air Force plane they were aboard caught fire just before takeoff, thanks to one nut connecting the plane's oxygen tubing that wasn't tightened properly, CNN reports. The damage to the surveillance plane is being estimated at more than... More »

Air Force Updates Old Advice for New Age

It used to be 'loose lips,' now it's 'loose tweets'

(Newser) - Just as soldiers were warned "loose lips sink ships" during World War II, modern airmen are being warned "loose tweets destroy fleets" in the social-media age. ABC News reports US Air Forces Central Command sent out a security notice last week warning personnel of the "fine line"... More »

Airman Killed in Jump Was About to Tie the Knot Again

Marty Bettelyoun had recently proposed to his wife of 8 years

(Newser) - Married for eight years, Jennifer Bettelyoun was about to have the dream wedding she and hubby Marty Bettelyoun missed the first time around. After a quick romance, the couple were married by a justice of the peace just before Marty, a special operations airman, was posted to a base in... More »

Freefall Accident Takes Airmen's Lives

Details will be a long time coming

(Newser) - A military freefall training exercise ended in tragedy on Monday. The Air Force Times reports Tech Sgt. Timothy A. Officer Jr. and Tech Sgt. Marty B. Bettelyoun died from the injuries they suffered during parachute training at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The details of the accident itself won'... More »

Burnout Rate Forces Cut in Drone Flights

Military is losing more pilots than it trains

(Newser) - Doing a job where you kill strangers on the other side of the world and then go home to your family every night is the kind of thing that can grind people down, the military admits. Drone operators have a high burnout rate , and the Air Force says it expects... More »

These Troops Go Behind Enemy Lines to Check the Weather

Air Force's combat weathermen can make or break a critical mission

(Newser) - Before US special operations forces raided the Pakistani compound where Osama bin Laden was hiding out in 2011, there was likely at least one other type of specialist with boots on the ground: a weatherman. The Air Force's SOWTs—special operations weather technicians—are some of the military's... More »

Now Online: Air Force UFO Files

John Greenewald's efforts pay off with website culled via Freedom of Info Act

(Newser) - In the latest "one-stop shopping for conspiracy theorists" news, a "UFO enthusiast" has launched a site he says is the first complete, searchable database of the Air Force's declassified UFO files, the Air Force Times reports. John Greenewald has spent almost 20 years reaping the benefits of... More »

US Drone Program Caught in 'Perfect Storm'

Air Force has 7 pilots per 8 positions needed: report

(Newser) - The US Air Force has enough drones for its needs—but it doesn't have enough pilots to use them effectively, the Daily Beast reports. While the US faces a formidable enemy in ISIS, the fleet is at the "breaking point," with Pentagon requests exceeding Air Force capacity,... More »

Air Force Fires 2 More Nuke Commanders

Fresh problems for troubled missile corps

(Newser) - The Air Force fired two more nuclear commanders yesterday and disciplined a third—fresh evidence of leadership lapses in a nuclear missile corps that has suffered a rash of recent setbacks, including the firing last year of its top commander for being a "drunken boor." The most senior... More »

Female Pilot Led UAE Airstrikes Against ISIS

Maj. Mariam Al Mansouri, 35, was first woman to join Emirates' air force

(Newser) - If a country's going to send military pilots to fight ISIS, it's going to send its very best. Which is why the United Arab Emirates selected Maj. Mariam Al Mansouri, 35—the first female fighter pilot in the Emirates air force—to lead one of its airstrike missions... More »

Air Force Rules 'So Help Me God' Optional in Oath

Those enlisting now have the choice to omit the reference to a supreme being

(Newser) - The Air Force says it will now allow men and women taking a service oath to omit the words "so help me God" since an airman in Nevada was recently refused re-enlistment after striking out the words on his paperwork. "We take any instance in which Airmen report... More »

Air Force Boots Atheist Who Won't Say 'God' in Oath

Critics say requirement is 'unconstitutional,' secular oath should be allowed

(Newser) - Critics are decrying an "unconstitutional" Air Force decision to refuse an airman's re-enlistment after the unnamed officer crossed out the words "so help me God" in the oath papers he had to sign, reports the Air Force Times . Although the Air Force hasn't confirmed details, a... More »

Off-Duty Air Force Pilot Helps Land United Jet

Original pilot on passenger plane suffered a heart attack

(Newser) - Capt. Mark Gongol flies B-1B bombers for the Air Force in his day job, and he had to put those skills to use while returning from vacation with his family on a United jet. About a half-hour into the flight from Des Moines to Denver, Gongol figured something was wrong... More »

Troubled Air Force Base Failed Nuke Drill

Security forces couldn't recapture nuke quickly enough

(Newser) - Um, whoops? The Air Force failed a drill at a nuclear missile base last summer, according to a previously unreleased internal review obtained by the AP . Armed forces at the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana simulated a hostile takeover of a missile launch silo, but... More »

Police Shoot Unarmed Airman in the Stomach

Alabama officer opened fire on the young man—but why?

(Newser) - Police shot an unarmed Air Force airman in the stomach Thursday after the 20-year-old pulled over on an Alabama freeway, the man's family says. Michael Davidson was driving from Texas to an Air Force base near Goldsboro, NC, when he became too tired to drive, decided to pull over,... More »

Military's Coffee Alternative: Shocks to the Brain?

Air Force testing electric stimulation for drone operators

(Newser) - When you're spending hours tracking the activity of spy drones, it can be hard to stay alert, even if you've got Red Bull. Now, the military is testing a caffeine alternative, and it involves the unlikely tactic of shocking drone operators' brains, the Boston Globe reports. The results... More »

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