Brig. Gen. Charles McGee flew more than 409 combat missions during his legendary Air Force career — and nearly five decades later, the barrier-breaking aviator’s service continues to leave people in awe.
McGee, who flew patrol and strafing missions with the Tuskegee Airmen in the then-segregated armed forces during WWII, was the first African American to command a stateside Air Force wing and base in the integrated Air Force. His military service continues to be remembered and honored, including by President Donald Trump. McGee received an honorary promotion from colonel to brigadier general through the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which Trump signed on Dec. 20, 2019.
Read the story here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2020-news-articles/above-and-beyond-brig.-gen.-charles-mcgee,-usaf-(ret),-on-his-world-war-ii-service/
On the battlefield, the two officer-brothers who make up the “Palicia Militia” represent the best of the Army and Air Force. But recently, they stepped into a different arena to challenge one another – an athletic competition on NBC hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Lt. Col. Eric Palicia, USA, deputy chief of staff for Engineering at U.S. Army Europe Headquarters, and his brother, Capt. Noah Palicia, USAF, a flight instructor for the 36th Airlift Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan, squared off in season two of The Titan Games; their episode aired June 15. Later this season, 1st Lt. Haley Johnson, USA, a registered nurse at Fort Benning Ga., will appear on the show.
Read the story here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2020-news-articles/officer-brothers-battle-on-nbcs-titan-games/
Just a day after the official start of hurricane season, Hurricane Hunter pilots from the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps and Air Force Reserve were called for their first missions of the year – flying into Tropical Storm Cristobal.
“We go right through the middle of the storm, right through the eyewall and eye, up to anywhere from two to seven or eight times per flight,” NOAA Corps Lt. Cmdr. Adam Abitbol, who has flown into hurricanes for the past six years, told MOAA in a recent interview. “There’s definitely some points that can be more stressful during that flight.”
Hurricane Hunter pilots are tasked by NOAA’s National Hurricane Center in Miami to fly into the storm and drop instruments that measure winds, temperature, and humidity. The instruments transmit the data back to the aircraft in real time before falling into the ocean, where they biodegrade.
The information is collected by researchers and scientists onboard and shared with the National Hurricane Center, which uses it to supplement other indicators to better predict hurricane routes and severity. The goal is to provide the accurate information to Americans on the ground so they can prepare or evacuate.
Abitbol joined the NOAA Corps after flying reconnaissance missions in EP-3 aircraft for the Navy for about 10 years. As a Florida native, hurricanes were a steady part of his childhood and serving as a hurricane pilot was a personal point of pride.
“We all do it out of a sense of pride and duty and everyone on the plane is very committed to that,” Abitbol said.
Sharing hurricane airspace with the NOAA Corps are the Air Force Reserve’s Hurricane Hunter teams, which fly WC-130 aircraft.
“My mom still thinks I’m crazy for doing this,” said Capt. Will Simmons, USAFR, who flies for the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron at Keesler Air Base, Miss. Simmons, who earned a degree in meteorology, has flown through the center of 88 hurricanes in his five years with the squadron.
“Outside of improving the forecast, saving lives is the ultimate goal,” he said. “And if I can serve my country and also be part of a mission that I love and possibly save lives, I can’t think of a better career to have.”
Former Air Force Secretary Deborah James worked to set herself up for the job she thought she wanted — a diplomat with the State Department. She learned a foreign language and completed a coveted internship with the State Department. She graduated, submitted her application, and waited for a job offer that would never come.
Read my story here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2019-news-articles/former-air-force-secretary-on-setting-yourself-up-for-success/
How long does it take to train an officer? For some senior enlisted airmen, the answer may be as little as two weeks.
Select senior noncommissioned officers (SNCO) will have a chance to speed through the service’s Officer Training School (OTS) in as little as 14 days, as part of two beta test courses at the Officer Training School-Accelerated Commissioning Program will be offered at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., beginning this summer. The courses, which include 36 SNCO candidates apiece, will take the place of the traditional 40-day OTS curriculum.
Read the story here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2019-news-articles/air-force-trial-program-turns-senior-enlisted-into-officers-in-14-days/
Air Force Col. Nick Hague, a NASA flight engineer, savored the moments his spacecraft moved further away from Earth and closer to the edge of darkness in space.
The March launch was Hague’s second chance to make it to the orbiting laboratory known as the International Space Station (ISS) after a rocket booster failure minutes after an Oct. 11 launch led to a mission abort.
He was thrilled to arrive and spent time in the observatory dome, gazing down at Earth.
“That’s our window to the world,” Hague said from the ISS in a special April 17 interview with Military Officer magazine. “It faces the Earth so we can go down there. Sixteen times a day I can watch the sun rise and the sun set and look down to see just how marvelous a planet we live on.”
Hague shared how the Air Force prepared him for space exploration, how he drew from his training as a test pilot during the aborted launch, and how he hopes to influence other military members.
A B-24 gunner who flew missions to drop spies and supplies into France and Italy during World War II has received the country's highest civilian honor.
Air Force Col. Russell “Cliff” Hastler Jr. (Ret), a 93-year-old Life Member of MOAA from Ohio, recently was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal. Hastler enlisted as a member of the Army Air Corps, then returned to service as an Air Force officer, retiring in 1978 after 30 years of service.
“During World War II, I wanted so much to serve as a pilot, and we all wanted to do the right thing,” Hastler said in a written response to MOAA's questions provided through his family. “That sense of patriotism has remained a part of my being to this day. It's been my greatest honor to serve my country as a member of the military, and especially as an Air Force officer.”
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/MOAA-Life-Member,-a-World-War-II-Veteran,-Receives-Congressional-Gold-Medal.aspx
Twelve boys rode their bicycles to a cave June 23 in Thailand. Dropping their bikes at its mouth, they followed their 25-year-old soccer coach on a team-building exercise. But heavy rains partially flooded the cave system, forcing the group to retreat further inside for higher ground. Eventually, they were trapped in Tham Luang Nang Non, a cave that rescuers didn't quite understand.
As information about the structure of the cave trickled in, rescuers were challenged to devise a rescue plan for a dark space, parts of which are no bigger than a man's rib cage. The Thai government called the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command for help. Here's how the Air Force's 320th Special Tactics Squadron led U.S. efforts in the
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The Air Force would add seven operational fighter squadrons to its ranks under an expansion plan. (1st Lt. Lauren Linscott/Air Force)
The Air Force's top leaders want to boost the number of operational squadrons from 312 to 386 over the next seven to 12 years, the service's top civilian announced Monday.
Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson revealed the plan in remarks during the Air Force Association's Air, Space and Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md. The announcement did not include updated end strength figures or plans to pay for the additional 74 squadrons.
Those squadrons are critical to the Air Force's ability to defeat violent extremists and maintain readiness, Wilson said.
“What we know from analysis … the Air Force is too small for what the nation expects from us,” Wilson said, noting the current 312 operational squadrons are not enough. “So what will it take? 386.”
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/The-Air-Force-Wants-to-Add-74-Operational-Squadrons--Here-s-the-Breakdown.aspx