May 30, 2018

News Briefs – May 30, 2018

Artificial reef in Florida will honor lost US submarines

An undersea monument off Florida’s Gulf Coast will honor more than 4,000 officers and crew members who have died while serving aboard American military submarines since 1900.
The On Eternal Patrol Memorial Reef will be installed on the ocean floor about 9 miles from Sarasota.
The artificial reef will consist of 65 balls, each bearing a plaque identifying a submarine lost while on duty. One additional ball will represent crews and submarines lost in non-sinking incidents. Each ball weighs 1,300 pounds (590 kilograms) and stands 3 feet (1 meter) tall.
Subtropical Storm Alberto’s crossing of the Gulf of Mexico delayed the installation of the first ball May 28. In a ceremony May 27, buglers played taps and a military honor guard presented American flags to representatives for each lost submarine. AP

Memorial honors WW II Navy men who died in California crash

A new memorial honors a dozen Navy men killed in an aircraft collision during a training exercise in Southern California during World War II.
News of the midair crash in San Diego County on May 30, 1944 was little noticed with the war raging overseas.
The Los Angeles Times reported May 26 that a group of dedicated researchers last month paid tribute to the fallen Navy fliers with a bronze memorial near the crash site atop Palomar Mountain. The commemoration includes a 2-foot-tall family crucifix one of the men had been given when he went off to war.
The crash occurred as a group of bombers were flying low and interacting with fighter aircraft that were performing mock intercepts. One of the fighter planes collided with one of the bombers. AP

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor closed indefinitely

Damage to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu was worse than expected and it will remain closed indefinitely, officials said.
Boat transportation to the attraction was suspended May 6 after one of the vessel operators noticed a crack on the outside of the memorial, Hawaii News Now reported .
Tourists were allowed to disembark at the memorial after crews completed interim repairs. But the cracks reappeared hours later, indicating a more serious issue.
“There is a brow or an edge where the visitor ramp meets the memorial, and at that point, there’s been some fissures located on the exterior,” said Jay Blount, a spokesman for the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. “After further investigation on the interior, it was determined that the structure is not supporting the loading ramp the way that we need.”
Engineers are working to figure out possible long-term solutions.
“The amount of time needed to implement the repairs is unknown, but the (National Park Service) will continue to provide information to the public as our team of specialists works together to restore access as soon as possible,” memorial staff said May 25 in a news release.
Other areas of the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center remain open. AP

Guilty plea in USS McCain collision court-martial

The officer in command of the USS John S. McCain when it collided with an oil tanker near Singapore in August 2017, killing 10 sailors, has pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty, the Navy said May 25.
Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez entered his plea during court-martial proceedings at Washington’s Navy Yard.
The Navy said the formal charge to which Sanchez pleaded guilty was “negligent dereliction of duty resulting in death.”
Sanchez was sentenced to a punitive letter of reprimand and forfeiture of $2,000 a month in pay for three months. As part of a plea agreement, he will submit a request to retire, the Navy said.
At a separate court-martial May 24, boatswain’s mate Chief Petty Officer Jeffery D. Butler pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty. He was sentenced to a reduction in rank. Butler’s role aboard the McCain was certifying sailors on the destroyer’s navigation system.
The McCain accident happened two months after another destroyer in the Pacific, the USS Fitzgerald, collided with a commercial ship in waters off Japan, killing seven sailors. The officer in command of the Fitzgerald at the time, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, faces homicide charges. His court-martial has not yet been scheduled. Attorneys for Benson assert that public statements by the Navy about Benson’s actions have jeopardized his chances for a fair trial. AP

Boeing pledges $1.5M for STEM to National WWII Museum

Boeing says it will give $1.5 million to support science, technology, engineering and math programs at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
Among other things, the money will expand the museum’s annual robotics challenge from a one-state event to a regional tournament, so students from Mississippi, Alabama and Texas can also compete. Finals will be at the museum.
The donation also will add three new interactive exhibits to the STEM Innovation Gallery.
The museum began its STEM education program in 2012. It currently offers STEM education field trips and summer science camps to over 1,000 students annually, and hosts weekend workshops and professional learning opportunities for teachers. AP

Allegiant Air picks up first Alabama-built Airbus jet

Commercial aircraft company officials gathered in Alabama May 23 to celebrate the delivery of the first U.S.-produced Allegiant aircraft.
The Airbus Final Assembly was the 69th jet delivered but the first one built in the country, reported. The low-fare carrier, based in Las Vegas, has routes connecting to cities including New Orleans, Jacksonville, Savannah, San Diego, Orlando, New York, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Austin.
The company described its newest jet as “the 11th of 13 new A320 aircraft scheduled for purchase directly from Airbus, to be inducted into Allegiant’s fleet this year.”
The new jets had previously been built in Toulouse, France, and Hamburg, Germany.
Allegiant has 99 Airbus jets in service or on order and plans to be flying an all-Airbus fleet by the end of the year.
“Today’s delivery is an exciting milestone for Allegiant and our ongoing commitment to providing access to affordable, safe and reliable air travel for many people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to fly,” said Maury Gallagher, CEO and chairman of Allegiant. “This delivery is also an important step in our transition to an all-Airbus fleet, increasing efficiencies across our entire operation, and bringing economic advantages in fuel savings, higher seat capacity and more.”
More than 380 Airbus representatives, executives from Airbus and Allegiant Air, a team of Allegiant employees gathered at the Airbus production facility in Mobile.
Bob Lekites, Executive Vice President of Customers for Airbus Americas, said the relationship between the two companies “has allowed Allegiant to expand their ultra-low cost consumer flight options.”
Lekites added. “We are proud to deliver Allegiant their first Airbus aircraft manufactured in Mobile, and we look forward to providing them more aircraft that exceed customer expectations.” AP

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