News Briefs – November 16, 2018


AF identifies deceased pilot

The aircrew members involved in the T-38 Talon incident from Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, on Nov. 13, 2018, have been identified.
The deceased, Capt. John F. Graziano, 28, was an instructor pilot with the 87th Flying Training Squadron at Laughlin AFB. He was from Elkridge, Md., and is survived by his mother, father, sisters and brother.
Injured was Capt. Mark S. Palyok, an instructor pilot, also with the 87th FTS. He was transported to Val Verde Regional Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries.  He was treated and released Nov.14.
“Knowing how everyone is effected by this tragedy, my immediate concern is making sure that every member of our Laughlin family is okay,” said Col. Lee Gentile, 47th Flying Training Wing commander. “Together, we are Laughlin and now is the time that we stand together to take care of one another.”  The incident occurred at about 7:40 p.m. on Laughlin.
The cause of the incident is under investigation.
“Our investigators are doing everything possible to ensure they investigate this incident to the fullest.” said Gentile.  
The 87th Flying Training Squadron prepares student pilots and Airmen for multi-domain operations. It conducts specialized undergraduate pilot training for the United States Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and allied nation’s air forces.

Germany’s Merkel calls for creation of an EU army

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the European Union should work toward creating its own joint army, just after marking the centenary of the end of World War I with world leaders in France.
Merkel told EU lawmakers Nov. 13 that “we have to work on the vision of one day creating a real European army.”
In a speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Merkel underlined that such a force would not mean the end of NATO, the U.S.-led military alliance.
She also called for the creation of a European security council.
It’s not the first time such a call has been made. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was widely criticized after suggesting the creation of a European army; notably by Britain, a staunch ally of the United States. AP

One Navy officer sentenced, one pleads guilty in bribery case

A retired U.S. Navy captain has pleaded guilty, while another former Navy officer was sentenced to 17 months in prison in a wide-spanning Navy bribery scandal involving a Malaysian defense contractor.
Jeffrey Breslau, 52, of Georgia, pleaded guilty in federal court in San Diego on Nov. 8 to a criminal conflict of interest charge. So far 33 people have been charged in the case.
Leonard Francis, nicknamed “Fat Leonard,” paid Breslau to ghostwrite his emails. Prosecutors say Francis overbilled the U.S. Navy by more than $35 million for services for ships.
Also Nov. 8, retired Master Chief Ricarte Icmat David, of the Philippines, was sentenced to 17 months. Prosecutors say the 62-year-old allowed Francis to inflate invoices for services never rendered.
David’s lawyer, Eliot Krieger, said the sentence was fair.
“I think the court understood that Mr. David took responsibility for his action and understood the seriousness for what he did,” he said, adding that otherwise his client “has led an exemplary life.”
Breslau’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. AP

Pilots says Boeing didn’t disclose jet’s new control feature

Pilots who fly Boeing’s 737 MAX in the U.S. say the airline manufacturer didn’t tell them about features of a new flight-control system that reportedly are part of the investigation into last month’s deadly crash in Indonesia.
The pilots say they were not trained in new features of an anti-stall system in the plane that differ from previous models of the 737.
The automated system is designed to help pilots avoid raising the plane’s nose too high, which can cause the aircraft to stall. It automatically pushes the nose of the plane down.
But if that nose-down command is triggered by faulty sensor readings — as suspected in the Lion Air crash — pilots can struggle to control the plane and it can go into a dive and perhaps crash. AP