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June 26, 2013

News Briefs June 26, 2013

U.S. IDs Vietnam War soldier remains

The Pentagon says it has accounted for a northern Michigan soldier whose helicopter was shot down during the Vietnam War.

The POW/Missing Personnel Office said June 25 that Army Spec. 5 John L. Burgess of Suttons Bay was crew chief aboard the helicopter that crashed June 30, 1970. The UH-1H Iroquois was on a command and control mission in Binh Phuoc Province.

Three others aboard also died. They were 1st Lts. Leslie F. Douglas Jr. of Verona, Miss., and Richard Dyer of Central Falls, R.I.; and SFC Juan Colon-Diaz of Comerio, Puerto Rico. Pfc. John Goosman survived.

The Pentagon says remains representing Burgess, Dyer and Colon-Diaz will be buried as a group in a single casket July 2, at Arlington National Cemetery. AP

U.S. military base workers in Ohio appeal furloughs

More than 150 civilian employees at Ohio’s largest military base have taken steps to appeal furloughs imposed because of federal budget cuts.

The civil service workers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are among 6,800 nationwide attached to the U.S. Air Force Materiel Command seeking exemptions from the forced time off. Their union, the American Federation of Government Employees Council, had urged them to appeal, the Dayton Daily News reported.

More than 10,000 civilian employees at the base near Dayton began receiving the furlough notices this month.

About 680,000 civilian employees will get the furloughs one day a week for 11 weeks, starting July 8. A Pentagon spokeswoman said the Defense Department has not tracked how many civil service employees have objected to furlough notices at all military installations.

The Pentagon imposed the furloughs because of $37 billion in spending cuts, and has projected about $1.8 billion in savings from forcing employees to stay home.

Employees had seven days to respond to a furlough notice, which were hand-delivered by supervisors late last month and early this month. Wright-Patterson spokesman Daryl Mayer said it will take a couple weeks for all the appeals to be reviewed.

If an exemption isn’t granted, employees can appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Wright-Patterson has said about 2,300 civil service workers are already considered exempt from furloughs. They include most intelligence analysts, along with firefighters, medics, child care workers and a sexual assault response coordinator. AP

Boeing to compensate Polish airline for 787s

Boeing will offer compensation to Poland’s national airline for the months-long grounding of its 787 planes, a Polish government official said June 24.
The world’s fleet of 50 Boeing 787s was grounded in January after batteries smoldered on two planes owned by two Japanese airlines. Two among the grounded planes were owned by Poland’s LOT airline. They have all resumed flying since Boeing fitted all 787s with redesigned batteries.

Deputy Treasury Minister Rafal Baniak said that the grounding of LOT’s planes, which lasted until June, had cost over 100 million zlotys ($30 million) in lost business alone. Among other costs, LOT had to extend the lease on its 767s to carry out scheduled flights.

Talking to Radio PiN, Baniak would not estimate the total cost of the grounding, but said Boeing promised to make a compensation offer in July.
The manufacturer is still trying to identify the root cause of the battery problem.

LOT currently has four 787 planes, dubbed ìDreamlinerî by Boeing. It took delivery of another two since the grounding was announced and is due to receive one more next year.

The carrier is struggling financially and had hoped that the fuel-efficient aircraft would improve its earnings.

Meanwhile, the airline has asked the European Commission’s approval for its restructuring and development plan that calls for layoffs and some 380 million zlotys ($ 110 million) in government aid.

If the commission determines that the government aid hinders competition, it can demand concessions from the company.

Last year, with the EU Commission’s conditional consent, LOT received 400 million zlotys in government aid that helped it pay old debts. AP

Crowds way down at Ohio air show

The lack of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds jet team likely led to much smaller crowds than usual at the Vectren Dayton Air Show last weekend – which also was marred by a fiery crash on opening day.

Air show manager Brenda Kerfoot tells The Dayton Daily News that the two-day event drew just 23,000 people. The show typically attracts about 70,000.
Kerfoot attributed it to the Thunderbirds and other military support pulling out because of federal budget cuts.

June 22, a wing-walking stunt performer and her pilot were killed when their biplane went down in a fiery crash.

The show’s largest crowd in recent years was 80,000 in 2009 when the Thunderbirds performed. Last year’s crowd had dropped to 47,000 amid extreme heat. AP




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