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May 2, 2014

News Briefs May 2, 2014

Top two Pentagon intelligence officials quitting

The Pentagon says the top two officials at its Defense Intelligence Agency are retiring.

The departure of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as director of the DIA and David Shedd as his deputy was announced Wednesday by the Pentagon press secretary, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby. Kirby said the two are retiring this year, but he was not more specific about the timing and offered no reason for their decisions to leave.

Kirby said the Flynn and Shedd retirements have been planned for “some time.” He said replacements would be announced later. AP

High-tech blimp seeks wealthy suitors for future

The maker of an experimental blimp-like aircraft is seeking $60 million from investors to finance a future fleet of cargo-carrying airships.

The Orange County Register reported April 29 that Aeroscraft Corp. of Montebello has announced a stock offering, seeking to sell 1 million shares at $60 a share to institutional and high-net-worth investors.

The blimp manufacturer, which recently changed its name from Worldwide Aeros Corp., plans to build 22 new airships by 2020 or 2021. One version is capable of carrying 66 tons of freight. Another has a 250-ton capacity.

The new type of hybrid aircraft combines airplane and airship technologies. The 230-foot vessel has piston engines that allow it to move vertically and a new type of buoyancy control system.

Construction took place inside a blimp hangar at a former military base in Tustin, Calif. AP

Navy dolphin trainer drowns in San Diego Bay

A contractor with a Navy program that trains dolphins and sea lions for missions drowned during a nighttime exercise in San Diego Bay, the first death for the program that started in 1959, a Navy spokesman said April 30.

Navy spokesman Jim Fallin said 29-year-old Coll Perske was part of a team of contractors with Virginia-based Science Applications International Corp. April 27, training Navy dolphins and sea lions to intercept someone in the water. The San Diego County coroner’s office says colleagues pulled Perske out of the water and he was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Navy is investigating the incident but initial reports indicate the mammals had no contact with Perske before he failed to resurface, Fallin said.

The Navy’s $28 million marine mammal program, headquartered in San Diego, trains 80 bottlenose dolphins and 40 California sea lions to do everything from finding underwater mines to stopping enemy divers. The mammals, with good eyesight, sonar and diving abilities, have also been used to protect ports.

The program’s nonessential training is on hold during the investigation, Fallin said. AP

NATO opens second Baltic air base in Estonia

NATO has opened its second Baltic air base in Estonia as part of the military alliance’s increased regional air policing mission during the Ukraine crisis.

Estonia’s military says four Danish fighter jets arrived at the Amari air base, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) southwest of the capital Tallinn April 30.

The Royal Danish Air Force F-16 planes will patrol the skies of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for four months in coordination with NATO fighter jets stationed in Lithuania. After that, Germany will take over the rotational mission.

In an opening ceremony, Estonia’s Prime Minister Taavi Roivas praised NATO’s decision to deploy planes to the country, saying it will boost regional security.

NATO has carried out Baltic air patrols from a former Soviet base in Lithuania since 2004. AP

House panel rejects cuts in military benefits

Congress is saying “not so fast” to a Pentagon proposal to cut subsidies to military commissaries where service members and their families shop at a reduced cost, as well as other proposed changes to benefits.

The House Armed Services Committee unveiled its draft legislation April 29, and Republicans and Democrats on the military personnel subcommittee were expected to approve April 30.

Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the committee, said the legislation rejects Pentagon proposals “that would have increased out-of-pocket costs for military families.” In proposing its fiscal 2015 budget, the Pentagon called for a $1 billion cut over three years to the subsidies for commissaries, reducing the amount to $400 million. The Defense Department is also calling for smaller housing allowances and changes in the health care program. AP




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Headlines January 23, 2015

News: Two Marines identified in deadly California helo crash - Two Marine Corps officers killed when their helicopter crashed during a training exercise in the Southern California desert were remembered Jan. 25 as talented pilots. Greek F-16 crashes in Spain during NATO exercise - Ten people died Jan. 26 after a Greek air force F-16 jet crashed...
 
 

News Briefs January 26, 2015

Navy wants to increase use of sonar-emitting buoys The U.S. Navy is seeking permits to expand sonar and other training exercises off the Pacific Coast, a proposal raising concerns from animal advocates who say that more sonar-emitting buoys would harm whales. The Navy now wants to deploy up to 720 sonobuoys about 12 miles off...
 
 
Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards

ANG conducts air refueling training with NATO allies in Germany

Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards A NATO E-3A AWACS aircraft approaches a Utah Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker for air refueling during a training flight over Germany on Jan. 13, 2015. Nearly 30 airme...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales

Ramstein Airmen train with French air force

Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales Two U.S. Air Force pilots and a French air force navigator discuss the route to the drop zone during a simulated low-level drop Jan. 21, 2015, at Orleans – Bricy Air...
 
 

Marines receive first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant

The first F-35C Lightning II, carrier variant, for the U.S. Marine Corps touched-down on the flight line at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 13, from the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth, Texas, to begin training in support of carrier-based operations. U.S. Marine Lt. Col. J.T. Ryan, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 501 detachment commander...
 
 

VA announces single regional framework under MyVA initiative

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Jan. 26 that it is taking the first steps under the MyVA initiative to realign its many organizational maps into one map with five regions to better serve Veterans. The new regions under the MyVA alignment will allow VA to begin the process of integrating disparate organizational boundaries into...
 




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