News Briefs – July 23, 2018


Helicopter mishap turns Army medical drill into real deal

A medical evacuation drill at a California military base turned into a real emergency when two U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopters participating in the exercise blew down four large tents and injured 22 Army Reserve soldiers, officials said July 19.
No one was seriously injured in the mishap July 18 at Fort Hunter Liggett, though two soldiers had to be airlifted to a hospital for treatment as others troops provided medical care.
“They were equipped and trained to immediately jump in, and they were quickly able to respond to the situation,” said Master Sgt. Valerie Resciniti, an Army spokeswoman.
Injuries included cuts and bruises, sore shoulders, injured limbs and non-serious head trauma, Col. David Heflin said.
That wasn’t what was supposed to happen as the 228th Combat Support Hospital out of San Antonio, Texas, participated in the medical evacuation training exercises happening throughout the service this month.
The military was investigating why the choppers were so close to the nylon tents that collapsed from the wash of the rotors.
Photos of the scene showed the green tents, which can sleep up to 40 people, partially crumpled and tent stakes ripped from the ground.
The tents were not fully occupied when they came down, Resciniti said.
Twenty soldiers were evacuated to the Fort Hunter Liggett Troop Medical Center and neighboring hospitals, Heflin said. All were released from the hospital by July 19.
The accident occurred during annual training exercises for about 8,000 Army Reserve soldiers and military troops from Canada, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Colombia.
The 20-day combat support training exercise ends July 27.
Fort Hunter Liggett is about 170 miles south of San Francisco. The sprawling base is the largest U.S. Army Reserve Command post. AP

Saudi Arabia signs deal for 5 Spanish-built warships

Saudi Arabian Military Industries says it has signed a deal with Spanish state-owned shipbuilder Navantia to establish a joint venture to supply five warships.
The announcement July 19 formalizes a plan reached in April when the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, visited Spain and met with then-Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Defense Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal. At that time the agreement was valued at 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion).
The state-owned company says Navantia will build five Avante 2200 corvettes for the Royal Saudi Navy, starting in the fall, and finish its work by 2022.
SAMI says the contract will provide 6,000 direct and indirect jobs for five years. AP

Specialist facing U.S. Army discharge sues for citizenship

A U.S. Army specialist born in South Korea has sued to demand a response to her American citizenship application after the military moved to honorably discharge her.
Yea Ji Sea, a 29-year-old from Gardena, California, who has served four years and is assigned to the duty station at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, filed a lawsuit July 19 in federal court.
She came to the country as a child on a visitor visa and held other visas before enlisting in 2013.
She applied to naturalize in 2014 but was denied after immigration officials alleged there was a fraudulent document in one of her visa applications.
Sea reapplied for citizenship in 2016, but has not yet received an answer. Once discharged, she can’t work legally and could face deportation proceedings.
A Department of Justice spokesman declined comment. Messages were sent to the Defense Department and Army. AP

Pentagon to give Ukraine $200 million more in military aid

The Pentagon says it will provide $200 million in additional training, equipment and advisory assistance to Ukraine’s military.
The money is meant to aid various aspects of Ukraine’s military, including the command and control of forces, secure communications and medical treatment. A timeline for delivery of the aid and fielding of equipment is to be determined later, the Pentagon said in an announcement July 20.
The new assistance comes amid efforts by the Ukraine government to make its armed forces more functional with those of the NATO alliance.
It also coincides with political debate over U.S.-Russian relations in the aftermath of the Helsinki summit and President Donald Trump’s position on Russia’s military intervention in eastern Ukraine. AP

U.S. Labor chief stresses training during Boeing SC visit

The United States’ top labor official made a stop July 20 at Boeing’s South Carolina facilities, highlighting a new Trump administration commitment to workforce development.
During U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta’s visit to the aerospace giant’s sprawling North Charleston plant, Boeing officials signed a pledge to invest in work-based education and training, with the company saying it’s investing in programs to help employees hone technical skills and the latest tools and technologies.
“Investing in American workers is a strategy that will lead to great returns for individuals, for companies, for communities, and for our nation,” Acosta said. “Boeing has set a great example with their pledge that many large and small businesses, unions, trade organizations, and educational institutions can repeat.”
The pledge was follow-up to an executive order signed Thursday by President Donald Trump, who is asking companies to commit to enhancing their job training endeavors and invest in apprenticeship programs. The president said that nearly two dozen companies and trade organizations — including Boeing, Apple, General Motors and Walmart — had agreed to sign a pledge to provide the training for their workforce during the next five years.
“Companies are pouring back into our country — companies that frankly left 10 and 20 years ago _ and they’re coming back and we need people to work for those companies,” Trump said July 19. “We need talented people. We need people with training.”
The president’s 2016 campaign included a pitch to help the “forgotten men and women” who have suffered amid globalization and a shifting economy. The pledge and an executive order Trump signed creating a national council for U.S. workers and a workforce policy advisory board aim to address the needs of manufacturing workers as the president has engaged in trade disputes that have rattled the economy.
The White House said the “Pledge to America’s Workers” would provide at least 3.8 million new career opportunities for students and workers over the next five years, including apprenticeships, work-based learning and continuing education.
Last month, employees on Boeing’s South Carolina flight-line voted to unionize, a rare victory for organized labor in the South. On July 20, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers President Robert Martinez Jr. told The Associated Press that the Machinists “encourage companies making this pledge to also commit to working with unions so that we will have the highly-skilled workers we need to meet the challenges awaiting us.” AP

Boeing, Airbus report roaring sales at close of Farnborough

Airbus and Boeing say demand for aircraft surged at the Farnborough International Airshow amid increased passenger and cargo traffic.
The world’s biggest commercial aircraft makers reported firm orders and commitments for future purchases worth tens of billions of dollars as the show’s commercial side ended July 19.
U.S.-based Boeing announced a total of 673 orders and commitments for planes, compared with 571 at last year’s Paris Air Show, which alternates with Farnborough as the aviation industry’s premier showcase. Airbus said it received orders and commitments for 431 aircraft, compared with 326 at the Paris event.
Boeing says its total reflects “resurgence in demand for freighters and strong order activity for the 737 MAX and 787 passenger airplanes.”
Airbus says it saw “strong market appetite for all our leading aircraft product families.” AP