If you’re a foreign policy nerd like some of us on the Air Force Times staff, then you can’t help but think the 162nd Fighter Wing has one of the cooler gigs in the Air Force. The 162nd, an Arizona Air National Guard unit, trains foreign militaries how to fly the F-16. They operate out of Tucson International Airport – home of the famed Tucson International Mariachi Conference! – and get to enjoy the lovely weather of the American Southwest. Their latest customer? The Royal Moroccan Air Force, which sent four F-5 pilots to train up on the Fighting Falcons.…

Today is the 100-day mark for operations over Libya and all is not well in the coalition. Initially tasked with enforcing a UN resolution to protect civilians threatened by Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, the international coalition is beginning to crack under the strain of a mission that seemingly has no end in sight. Here in the U.S. there is a tense debate over the legality of the operation since the Obama administration has not sought Congressional approval for the operation, which some argue violates the 1973 War Powers Resolution. Most, however, support the goal of regime change in Libya. In Britain,…

Air Force Special Operations Command has a new top officer, and in AFSOC tradition, the new guy is shrouded in a bit of mystery. This much we do know: Lt. Gen Eric Fiel arrived at Hurlburt Field after a stint as the vice commander of U.S. Special operations Command. Previous jobs include plenty of other positions at SOCOM, the deputy gig at the Joint Special Operations Command, 58th Special Operations Wing commander and commander of Air Force Special Operations Forces. But it’s a quote in the press release that makes us think Fiel might want to keep AFSOC’s actions in…

Americans believe the Air Force is third-most important branch of the military, trailing the Army and Marine Corps, according to a recent national poll. Seventeen percent of respondents listed the Air Force as “most important to our national defense,” Gallup announced June 21. The Army was seen as the most important (25 percent), followed by the Marines (24 percent), the Navy (11 percent) and the Coast Guard (3 percent). Sixteen percent believed the branches were the same. Gallup interviewed 1,020 adults representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error was 5 percent. The findings represent…

The B-2 is a cool plane. It’s stealth. It can fly from Missouri to, well, anywhere and back. It looks sleek. When yours truly was attending the vaunted University of Missouri journalism school, football season usually kicked off with a B-2 flyover from nearby Whiteman Air Force Base (and the Tigers beating up a cupcake opponent). And now Disney has managed to make the B-2 cute. The Spirit gets a cameo in the trailer for its upcoming movie Planes, which, as far as I can tell, seems to be more focused on a P-51 Mustang launching off an aircraft carrier.…

Everywhere senior military officials speak, one topic tends to keep coming up again and again: money. Everyone expects the Defense Department’s budget to shrink in the coming years. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has already unveiled a plan to slow the rate of growth in the Pentagon budget. Lawmakers in Washington argue over how to best cut the deficit and reduce the debt. For the Air Force, this will almost certainly mean doing more with less. Fewer aircraft. Less people. Older equipment. With that in mind, Bloomberg had a good reminder of where a lot of the money has been going…

I knew I shouldn’t have hit my Idi Amin photo quota so early in the week. Check out the fruit salad on this guy, as spotted by the This Ain’t Hell blog. I’d try to count how many ribbons he’s wearing (in addition to the Parachutist Badge and the Air Assualt Badge and the Combat Infantryman Badge and…), but I think my calculator would melt down. Check out some of the comments: USMC Steve: “Army as well as Air Force gongs and badges, but the boots are just a fashion faux pas.” TSO: “15 rows of medals, dude could kill…

The 10th Security Forces Squadron at the Air Force Academy will gather today to say to say goodbye to one of their own – Aghbar, a German shepherd and the Air Force’s most decorated military working dog. Man’s best friend in many ways has become an airman’s best friend, with hundreds of dogs accompanying airmen, soldiers and marines on patrols in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with working base security and law enforcement back home. Experts estimate that one dog is responsible for saving the lives of 150 service members, according to a call for legislation to improve the adoption process…

Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates took some outgoing-defense-secretaryish shots at NATO last week. Among the shots at the trans-Atlantic alliance: It’s “two-tiered” and faces “a dim, if not dismal future.” And then there was this zinger: “The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the U.S. Congress — and in the American body politic writ large — to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense,” he said.” Harsh words. So…

An investigation has found that pilot-error caused a T-38C Talon to crash  at Ellington Field, Texas on Feb. 14. Capt. David M. Cook,  a pilot with the 14th Flying Training Wing at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., was flying the air craft when  he apparently mistook the landing runway, lost altitude too quickly and allowed his airspeed to fall below a safe level,  according to a press release from the Air Force.  His fatigue also was cited as part of the reason for the crash. The crash occurred while Cook was flying during the fourth sortie of the day as…

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