New U.S. government research indicates that female military veterans commit suicide at nearly six times the rate of other women and at rates nearly equal to that of male veterans -- a finding that surprised researchers because women are generally are far less likely than men to commit suicide. The findings raise questions about the backgrounds and experiences of women who serve in the United States' armed forces. [more inside]
Nearly two years after the Numbered Air Force Commander overturned the court-martial conviction of a fighter pilot for sexual assault, the Chief Prosecutor for the Air Force has retired and joined the advocacy group devoted to changing the way the military prosecutes these crimes. His decision to retire was based, in part, on continuing clashes with senior Air Force judge advocates regarding his positions on how the military treats survivors of sexual assault and a downgraded performance review (denied by the Air Force) as a result of his conversations with members of Congress about how the military prosecutes these kinds of crimes. In the meantime, the Commander who overturned the court-martial conviction has retired (minus one of his stars) and the Inspector General who went on social media to express his "bitterness" with the situation and whose own handling of sexual assault cases has come under fire is still in his position overseeing military discipline.
An airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada has allegedly been denied the ability to re-enlist after he refused to use the words "so help me God" in his oath. On September 2, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter (pdf) on his behalf. Up until last fall, Air Force Instruction 36-2606, which spells out the active duty oath, had a provision where an airman could omit the words, but that was dropped last October.
You may have heard how sounds travel farther during a temperature inversion, when air near the ground is cooler than the air above. But do you know how this phenomenon is related to the 1947 UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico? [more inside]
Honor and deception: A secretive Air Force program recruits academy students to inform on fellow cadets and disavows them afterward.
On November 9th, 2013, the four remaining Doolittle Raiders will perform their final Toast Ceremony.
There's no where to hide anymore. The United States Air Force has a Brony squadron! Here's the squadron patch.
The Nazis called them “Night Witches” because the whooshing noise their plywood and canvas airplanes made reminded the Germans of the sound of a witch’s broomstick. Ms. Popova was a member of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment of the Soviet Air Forces during WWII. Composed entirely of women, most in their teens and early 20's, the Night Witches flew over 23,000 missions with only 40 2-woman crews. Popova herself flew over 850 missions and was shot down several times.
"When you were up there in a plane, you’d get shot at, and you couldn’t call field artillery to support you. You had no ambulance, no medic. There was no tank to come in and run over the enemy. All it took was one accurate aircraft shot, and a plane full of 10 guys was gone. The commanders, for the most part, understood this,” Conway continues, “So there was a little bit more leniency in that regard than there would have been with ground guys. The officers figured, ‘Well, if this guy wants to paint a naked lady on the back of the jacket, what good is it to try to stop him? He could be dead tomorrow morning.’ The main objective was winning the war, not enforcing minor regulations and rules.”
The permanent collection of the (US) National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago contains more than 2,500 pieces of art by 250 artists, all of which can be seen at NVAM Collection Online. The site includes biographical material on the artists who created the work. Featured Artwork. A small selection. (Via. Images at links in this post may be nsfw, and/or disturbing to some viewers.)
In 2006, the United States Air Force declassified part of one of its secret programs: Constant Peg, the 4477th Test and Evaluation Squadron, which flew MiGs. [more inside]
NPR show us and tells the story of five men who agreed to stand directly below and observe a nuclear explosion.
On July 19, 1957, five Air Force officers and one photographer stood together on a patch of ground about 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. They'd marked the spot 'Ground Zero. Population 5' on a hand-lettered sign hammered into the soft ground right next to them.
The U.S. Air Force's robotic X-37B space plane came back to Earth today (June 16) after 15 months in orbit on a mystery mission. [more inside]
India's DEFEXPO 2012, is 'not a carnival in the truest sense', but rather ' the seventh in the series of biennial Land, Naval and Internal Security Systems Exhibition . . . clearly steering the path of steady growth . . . receiving overwhelming and unprecedented international response.' As for arms dealers? 'On arms dealers, the minister [India’s Defence Minister AK Antony] insisted, “There are none I am aware of.”' [more inside]
From blimps to bugs, an explosion in aerial drones is transforming the way America fights and thinks about its wars. Predator drones, the Cessna-sized workhorses that have dominated unmanned flight since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, are by now a brand name, known and feared around the world. But far less known is the sheer size, variety and audaciousness of a rapidly expanding drone universe, along with the dilemmas that come with it.(via) [more inside]
Noel Perrin, "The Best American Novel about World War II": Guard of Honor is a classic (I think), but it is a hard one to put in an American literature course. Why? Because [James Gould] Cozzens was not a romantic. ... Its rightful place is as one of the greatest social novels ever written in America. [more inside]
There are an increasing number of homeless military vets living in Los Angeles. The VA in Los Angeles has a 400 acre parcel of land meant to house vets. Slight problem: the VA has decided to lease the property to various area businesses instead of using the land for its intended purpose.
Final Salute. Between 2004 and 2005, "Rocky Mountain News reporter Jim Sheeler and photographer Todd Heisler spent a year with the Marines stationed at Aurora's Buckley Air Force Base who have found themselves called upon to notify families of the deaths of their sons in Iraq. In each case in this story, the families agreed to let Sheeler and Heisler chronicle their loss and grief. They wanted people to know their sons, the men and women who brought them home, and the bond of traditions more than 200 years old that unite them. Though readers are led through the story by the white-gloved hand of Maj. Steve Beck, he remains a reluctant hero. He is, he insists, only a small part of the massive mosaic that is the Marine Corps." The full story ran on Veteran's Day, 2005 and won two Pulitzer Prizes: one for Feature Photography, another for feature writing in 2006. A nice single-page version of one section: Katherine Cathey and 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey (via.) The Rocky Mountain News closed in 2009. [more inside]
"Tanks Are Mighty Fine Things!" And Other Tales Of Truthiness... At the end of World War II, Chrysler sent small hardbound books to shareholders chronicling ways the company had contributed to the war effort. Two have now been placed online at the Chrysler Imperial Club's website: "Tanks are Mighty Fine Things" and "A War Job 'Thought Impossible' (The story of the Chrysler-Sperry Gyro-Compass)" (Via) [more inside]
In August-September 1965, India and Pakistan went to war for the second time since their independence in 1947. On September 19, a civilian aircraft (Beechcraft Model 18) carrying the Chief Minister of the Indian state of Gujarat (bordering Pakistan) was shot down by a Pakistani Air Force pilot (flying an F-86F). Now, 46 years later, the Pakistani pilot has written a condolence letter to the daughter of the pilot of the Indian civilian aircraft.
For the second year in a row, the U.S. Military has lost more troops to suicide than it has to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Previous posts regarding PTSD) [more inside]
With Air Force's Gorgon Drone 'we can see everything.' "In ancient times, Gorgon was a mythical Greek creature whose unblinking eyes turned to stone those who beheld them. In modern times, Gorgon may be one of the military's most valuable new tools. This winter, the Air Force is set to deploy to Afghanistan what it says is a revolutionary airborne surveillance system called Gorgon Stare, which will be able to transmit live video images of physical movement across an entire town."
The first pictures of China's "5th generation" fighter prototype were leaked this week. The aircraft, believed to be the J-20, is expected to have its first flight in early 2011. [more inside]
After a test flight nearly ended in disaster at the start of the Civil War, Professor Thaddeus Lowe recovered his balloon and headed back North. Recognizing the potential use of air vehicles in the war, he managed to get an invitation to the White House in order demonstrate the capabilities of balloons in the war effort. [more inside]
Lookout Mountain Laboratories (Hollywood, CA) was originally built in 1941 as an air defense station. But after WWII, the US Air Force repurposed it into a secret film studio which operated for 22 years during the Cold War. The studio produced classified movies for all branches of the US Armed Forces, as well as the Atomic Energy Commission, until it was deactivated in 1969. During this time, cameramen, who referred to themselves as "atomic" cinematographers, were hired to shoot footage of atomic bomb tests in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and the South Pacific. Some of their films have been declassified and can be seen here. [more inside]
“In all honesty, we don’t know when it’s coming back for sure” - The US Air Force's first launch of the X-37b reusable space vehicle has provoked much speculation, with some even wondering if the Pentagon is reviving Nazi space-bomber plans. But was the launch of spaceplane an attempt to mask the launch of another secret weapon?
Certainly you've read of the Space Shuttle's imminent retirement, but are you prepared for the secret robot "mini" shuttle, the X-37B? After a decade of checkered development under NASA, DARPA (with assistance from Scaled Composites' White Knight) and finally the U.S. Air Force, the first X-37B spaceplane, the Orbital Test Vehicle, is ready for an April 19th launch.
Declassified secrets about the top-secret U.S. military base Area 51 revealed: Great food, cash-stuffed briefcases, no UFOs.
Colonel Russell Williams is an elite pilot. He has flown the aircraft carrying the Prime Minister and the Governor General of Canada on both domestic and overseas flights. He commands CFB Trenton, Canada's largest air force base and home of much of the nation's aviation might. Colonel Williams has been "a shining bright star" of Canada's military. He has hobnobbed with top brass, both political and military.
He is also accused of being a serial rapist, home invader, and murderer..
He is also accused of being a serial rapist, home invader, and murderer..
Air force personnel stole Malaysian fighter jet engine(s) from a military warehouse to sell on the black market abroad. Chaos ensues. Humour lurks. Rumours fly. Previously.
Finally got around to sending this log, it scares me to read it, I don’t understand how we got out alive... [PDF] Joel Punches' first-person account of a B-17F Navigator assigned to the 8AF, 385 BW, Great Ashfield England during 1943-1944. The diary chronicles his missions during that time - including his Escape and Evasion after being shot down over Hamburg. His fifth mission was Schweinfurt Ball Bearing Factory on 10/14/43.
Pictures of military subjects, many of them annotated, from all over such as Russia, Malaysia, Japan (Special Police), Ireland, Cyprus, Sri Lanka and Canada. [more inside]
15 year old Kimberly Anyadike is flying across the country (YouTube) to honor the Tuskegee Airmen. [more inside]
A Presidential Boeing 747 along with two fighter planes continuously circled jarringly close to the tops of buildings in Lower Manhattan and Jersey City this morning. From the ground it looked as though a plane had been hijacked again, and the Air Force was attempting to force it down. Panic ensued. Another terrorist attack? No, just a top secret photo op. [more inside]
How to blog, or counter-blog, for the US Air force, in handy flow chart form.
Constantine's Sword (google video) A former priest's personal journey through the tangled and sometimes violent history between Christians and Jews.
I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me is a new book by author and interesting person Trevor Paglen. He collects patches designed by military personnel to commemorate secret "black-ops" projects.
The "Nuclear Nav." On March 11, 1958, Captain Bruce Kulka was the navigator on an Air Force B-47 Stratojet carrying nuclear bombs to an airfield in North Africa. Somewhere over the southeastern US, the captain sent him to back the bomb bay to check on a cockpit warning light. As he climbed through the narrow space around the Mark 6 nuclear bomb, Kulka grabbed the emergency release pin by mistake. [more inside]
The Air Force finally went and got themselves a proper memorial. Although he’s now deceased, the man who designed it also designed some other buildings around town. It’s a unique structure, with time-tested big lead balls to compensate for the wind. On opening day, a ‘sky-parade’ of old and new aircraft paid tribute, flying overhead in sequence. Some like it, some don’t.
Scott Crossfield, Pilot, Pioneer. (1921-2006) "In the days of the research airplane program, things were somewhat different than the bureaucracy that we find ourselves in today. For instance, there could be a day where I would do an X-1 launch early in the morning, fly the X-4 over lunch hour, and do a D-558-II launch in the afternoon."
Precious Pet or Tax-Payers' Property? Severely wounded in Iraq, sergeant wants to take $18,000 of Air Force equipment home on leash.
Air Force Seeks Bush's Approval for Space Arms (nytimes.com). The US Air Force seeks to develop several frightening weapons,including one called "Rods from God," which would fire metal rods at a target from the edge of space, striking with the force of a small nuclear weapon. With a presidential directive expected in the weeks to come, what consequences could an approval have on the global community?
USAF playing cat and mouse game over Iran and yes: there is no hard evidence that this is taking place. But we do recall what Bush had earlier said about the axis of evil and his warnings to Iran about nuke capability. "The U.S. Air Force is playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse with Iran's ayatollahs, flying American combat aircraft into Iranian airspace in an attempt to lure Tehran into turning on air defense radars, thus allowing U.S. pilots to grid the system for use in future targeting data, administration officials said. "We have to know which targets to attack and how to attack them," said one, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The U.S. Air Force is quietly spending millions of dollars investigating ways to use a radical power source -- antimatter, the eerie "mirror" of ordinary matter -- in future weapons. "The energy from colliding positrons and antielectrons "is 10 billion times ... that of high explosive," Edwards explained in his March speech. Moreover, 1 gram of antimatter, about 1/25th of an ounce, would equal "23 space shuttle fuel tanks of energy." Thus "positron energy conversion," as he called it, would be a "revolutionary energy source" of interest to those who wage war." Doesn't that just make you feel safer?
"The Air Force, in their ultimate wisdom, assembled a group of 102's and took them to Southeast Asia. Bush volunteered to go."
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