Tag Archive: US Air Force

Thunderbirds Release 2015 Show Schedule







” The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds have finalized their 2015 show schedule. In its 62nd season, the team is slated to perform 71 demonstrations at 39 locations.

  The flying unit, officially known as the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, will perform its first public flyover of 2015 at the opening of Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix, Arizona, Feb. 1.

The remainder of the schedule is as follows:

Feb. 22: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida
March 8: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nevada
March 14-15: Titusville, Florida
March 21-22:  Lancaster, California
March 28-29:  Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi
March 31- April 5: Easter Break
April 11-12: Tyndall AFB, Florida
April 18: Louisville, Kentucky
April 25-26: Lakeland, Florida
May 2-3: Dyess AFB, Texas
May 9-10: Millville, New Jersey
May 16-17: Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina
May 23-24: Wantagh [Jones Beach], New York
May 28: U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado
May 30-31:  Aurora, Colorado
June 6-7: Waco, Texas
June 13-14: Whiteman AFB, Missouri
June 20-21: Dayton, Ohio
June 27-28: Mankato, Minnesota
July 4-5: Traverse City, Michigan
July 11-12: Gary, Indiana
July 18-19: Niagara Falls, New York
July 22: Cheyenne, Wyoming
July 25-26: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
July 28 – August 2: Mid-Season Break
August 8-9: La Crosse, Wisconsin
Aug. 15-16: Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota
Aug. 22-23: Open Date
Aug. 29-30: Midland, Texas
Sept. 5-7: Cleveland, Ohio
Sept. 12-13: Owensboro, Kentucky
Sept. 19-20: Joint Base Andrews, Maryland
Sept. 26-27: Millington, Tennessee
Oct. 3-4: Mather [Sacramento], California
Oct. 10-11: Grand Junction, Colorado
Oct. 17-18: Houston, Texas
Oct. 24-25: Lake Charles, Louisiana
Oct. 31-1 Nov.: Joint Base San Antonio, Texas
Nov. 7-8: Moody AFB, Georgia

  The release of the show season is good news for the squadron’s Airmen, who normally spend up to 220 days a year traveling. Aside from performing impressive aerial demonstrations, Thunderbird Airmen visit with local schools and hospitals, hold enlistment ceremonies and conduct media engagements to speak with people about the Air Force.

” We are extremely excited to represent the Air Force during the upcoming season” said Lt. Col. Greg Moseley, U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron commander and lead pilot. “Our newest team members have been training rigorously to ensure we execute our mission safely while showing the public what their Airmen can do.”

  Moseley is expected to depart the squadron after a change of command ceremony scheduled to occur Jan. 7, 2015. Lt. Col. Christopher Hammond, an experienced fighter pilot with more than 2,000 flight hours, will assume command of the squadron for the 2015 and 2016 demonstration seasons.

” It’s an honor to share the story of U.S. Airmen serving at locations around the globe,” said Hammond. “We hope these stories inspire others to learn more about aviation and opportunities to serve.”

  The Thunderbirds were formed in 1953, and since have been charged with demonstrating the professionalism of Airmen and the capabilities of modern airpower. The 2015 season marks the 33rd year the squadron has performed in the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Assigned to Air Combat Command, the squadron is composed of nearly 130 Airmen serving in more than two dozen Air Force job specialties.

  The primary product of that teamwork is a Thunderbirds aerial demonstration, which includes approximately 40 maneuvers, featuring formation flying and solo routines. The entire show, including the beginning ground ceremony, lasts about one hour. A typical air show travel season extends from March to November.

  To learn more about the Thunderbirds, visit www.afthunderbirds.com., or find afthunderbirds on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. “


U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron Public Affairs











Boeing Test Flies The Unmanned QF-16 Fighter



Boeing Pilotless F-16





” As a pilotless F-16 roared into the sky Sept. 19 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., members of Boeing’s QF-16 team and the U.S. Air Force celebrated.

  The flight represented the first unmanned QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target flight.  Put another way, fighter pilots now have an adversary for which to train against that prepares them like never before.

  Two U.S. Air Force test pilots in a ground control station at Tydall remotely flew the QF-16, which is a retired F-16 jet modified to be an aerial target. While in the air, the QF-16 mission included a series of simulated maneuvers, reaching supersonic speeds, returning to base and landing, all without a pilot in the cockpit.

“ It was a little different to see it without anyone in it, but it was a great flight all the way around,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Ryan Inman, Commander, 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron. “It’s a replication of current, real world situations and aircraft platforms they can shoot as a target. Now we have a 9G capable, highly sustainable aerial target.”

  Prior to the QF-16, the military used a QF-4 aircraft, which was a modification of the F-4 Phantom, a Vietnam-era fighter The modified QF-16 provides pilots a target that performs closer to many jets flying today.

  The QF-16s were all retired aircraft. Boeing retrieved them from Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona and restored them for flight.

  Next up, live fire testing moves to Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. The military will ultimately use QF-16s for weapons testing and other aerial training.

  So far, Boeing has modified six F-16s into the QF-16 configuration.

  To see the QF-16 make its first flight, watch the video. To see highlights from the cockpit video, click the link (pilotless F-16) in the written story.”













B-52 Bomber Gets Its First New Communications System Since the 1960s








” The B-52 bomber, one of the great stalwarts of America’s military arsenal, is getting its first major communications system upgrade since the Kennedy administration.

  Yes, the high-flying, long-distance bomber is finally ditching its old-school cathode ray tube, green-on-black screens for full-color LCDs, and it’s getting a suite of upgrades that will make it an even more formidable weapon in the skies.

  The Boeing B-52 has been the United States’ preeminent strategic bomber since it entered service in 1955. The B-2 Spirit, introduced in 1997, may have stealth on its side, but it can’t match the B-52’s 8,800-mile range or 70,000-pound payload capacity. In the earliest years of the Cold War, there usually was at least one B-52 airborne at all times. Later, the plane flew missions over Vietnam and during the Gulf War. They bombed Yugoslavia in 1999 and, more recently, flew sorties over Afghanistan and Iraq. And as old as it is, the Air Force expects the venerable plane to remain in service for at least another 35 years.

  So it’s time they got an upgrade. In April, the Air Force began the four-year process of fitting its fleet of 76 B-52s with Boeing’s new Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) system. For the first time, B-52 crews can easily retarget weapons and change mission parameters while airborne. They can see intelligence data overlaid on maps shown on high-def LCD screens. And the plane’s myriad communications, targeting and navigation systems can receive data electronically, rather than having it relayed by radio and entered by hand.

  The previous communications system, which got a minor upgrade in the 1980s, worked well enough for past missions, but the evolving role of the B-52 on the world stage requires new capabilities. President Obama is shifting much of the military’s might away from the Middle East to the Pacific Rim. More missions flown over an enormous ocean places new importance on the B-52’s intercontinental capability.”












From The Pentagon To Life In A Van



” After a 30-year military career in which he earned three graduate degrees, rose to the rank of colonel, and served as an aide to Pentagon brass, Robert Freniere can guess what people might say when they learn he’s unemployed and lives out of his van:

Why doesn’t this guy get a job as a janitor?

Freniere answers his own question: “Well, I’ve tried that.”

  Freniere, 59, says that his plea for help, to a janitor he once praised when the man was mopping the floors of his Washington office, went unfulfilled. So have dozens of job applications, he says, the ones he has filled out six hours a day, day after day, on public library computers.

  So Freniere, a man who braved multiple combat zones and was hailed as “a leading light” by an admiral, is now fighting a new battle: homelessness.”

Continued …












” (Foreign Policy) – Quietly and without much notice, the Air Force has reversed its policy of publishing statistics on drone strikes in Afghanistan as the debate about drone warfare hits a fever pitch in Washington. In addition, it has erased previously published drone strike statistics from its website.”





 Air Force Missile Site 8 – That Nearly Began World War 3







 ” Retired top-secret installations are nothing short of jaw-dropping, and this one is nothing short of that. This top secret facility was also once known as Titan II ICBM Site 571-7because of the massive Titan II missile that it housed inside of it.

Located about 15 miles south of Tucson, this large 8 level installation is now a museum. During the time of its operation it was one of the most important missile sites. ”













16 Years Ago Today

Khobar Towers , June 25, 1996

  ” The Khobar Towers bombing was a terrorist attack on part of a housing complex in the city of KhobarSaudi Arabia, located near the national oil company (Saudi Aramco) headquarters of Dhahran. In 1996, Khobar Towers was being used to house foreign military personnel.

A rigged truck adjacent to Building #131 in the housing complex was said to have exploded, and the eight-story building housed United States Air Force personnel from the 4404th Wing (Provisional), primarily from a deployed rescue squadron and deployed fighter squadron. In all, 19 U.S. servicemen and one Saudi[1] were killed and 372 of many nationalities were wounded. Although Al-Qaeda has been incorrectly described by some sources as the likely culprit, the official June 25, 1996 statement by the United States identified members of Hezbollah Al-Hejaz (Party of God in the Hijaz)[1][2] as the responsible party ” 

  ” Shortly after 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25, 1996, Staff Sergeant Alfredo Guerrero climbed up to the rooftop of Building 131 in the Khobar Towers residential complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, to check on the two sentries positioned there.� It was a clear, cool night.� Building 131 was on the northern perimeter of the sprawling complex of high-rise apartment buildings.� Similar buildings where the locals lived stood beyond the barbed-wire fence that surrounded Khobar Towers.�From the rooftop, Sergeant Guerrero surveyed the landscape below, looking for anything unusual.� After a terrorist bombing in Riyadh seven months earlier in which five Americans were killed, U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia were in a heightened state of alert…. “

Staff Sergeant Guerrero

   ” At the same time, on the roof of Building 131, Sergeant Guerrero saw something he didn’t like. At about 9:45 p.m., a Datsun drove into the parking lot.� The compact car circled the lot, then stopped and flashed its headlights before leaving.� Two other vehicles then entered the lot a white Chevrolet Caprice and a large sewage tanker truck.� The truck drove down the second-to-last row of the lot, then turned left as if it were heading back in the direction that it had come.�But the truck pulled to a stop, and Sergeant Guerrero heard the grinding of gears as it went into reverse.� The driver started backing up toward the fence directly across from Building 131.

Guerrero and his men wasted no time.� As the truck was still in motion, they contacted the wing operations center to issue an evacuation alert.� Running back into the building, they initiated a “waterfall evacuation,” yelling to residents on the top floor to vacate the building.� These airmen were trained to notify the residents on the floor below as they departed, each floor notifying the next until the entire building was empty.� During a false alarm the previous month, Building 129 had been evacuated in five minutes.� But that night only the residents of the top three floors ever received the warning…. “

  Reliable” A tanker truck filled with 5,000 pounds of plastic explosives was driven into the parking lot of the Khobar Towers residential complex in Dhahran, and parked about 80 feet from a building housing 100 U.S. Air Force personnel.

Sentries noted the suspicious truck and attempted an evacuation, but they had little time before the bomb was detonated.

Nineteen Americans were killed, most of them from Eglin and Patrick AFBs in Florida.

In June 2001, the Justice Department charged 13 Saudis and one Lebanese with the bombing. The Lebanese was identified only as “John Doe.”1

  Possible It really isn’t clear who is responsible for the bombing. The Saudis and Americans blamed a little-known group called “Saudi Hezbollah,” which has ties to Iran and the better-known Lebanese Hezbollah.

Iran denied any role in the bombing.

The 9-11 Commission said evidence of Iranian involvement is strong but there are also signs al-Qaeda played a role.2