News Briefs – October 21, 2015


MQ-1B Predator crashes in Turkey

An Air Force MQ-1B Predator, a remotely piloted aircraft, crashed in southern Turkey at approximately 9:36 p.m. local time, Oct. 19.
The aircraft experienced mechanical failure after conducting a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. The Air Force maintained positive control and brought the aircraft down in an unpopulated area.
There were no military or civilian injuries. U.S. military and Turkish officials have positive control of the aircraft. An investigation is underway to determine the specific cause of the crash.

NATO shows off its military muscle in 30-nation exercise

U.S. Marines and other NATO troops have staged a mock amphibious assault on Europe’s coastline as part of the alliance’s biggest exercise in 13 years.
The Trident Juncture training event being held through November in Portugal, Spain and Italy involves about 36,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen from more than 30 countries.
It’s a show of strength designed to send a message to potential foes, organizers and analysts say, that NATO possesses the power to deter potential attackers, and it hasn’t forgotten about southern Europe despite pressing concerns on its eastern border.
The maneuvers are testing the flagship NATO Response Force — quick-deployment units created in 2014 and due to be ready by next year.
Troops stormed a section of the southern Portuguese shoreline Oct. 20, using hovercraft and helicopters. AP

Top U.S. military officer arrives for talks in Iraq

The top U.S. military officer landed in Iraq Oct. 21 to get an update on the battle against Islamic State militants, saying he sees no prospect right now for Russia to expand its airstrike campaign into the war-torn country.
Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was making his first trip to the warzone since taking the top post on Oct. 1. He told reporters traveling with him that earlier reports that the Iraqi government wanted Russia to conduct airstrikes in Iraq are no longer in play. He said U.S. officials spoke with Iraqi leaders and were told no Russian strikes have been requested.
Dunford said he wants to talk with his commanders to get updates on battles in Beiji and Ramadi.
“Being in the job about two weeks, one of the things I want to do is go over here, get eyes on, on the ground,” Dunford said as his C-17 headed into Irbil.
Dunford’s flight into Iraq was suddenly delayed when Iraqis on the ground in Irbil refused to allow his C-17 aircraft to land because it’s a cargo plane.
Just before 9:30 a.m., local time, as Dunford’s plane approached Irbil, the crew was directed to fly instead to Baghdad.
The change set off a flurry of activity on the plane, as military staff quickly yanked phones and cords out of containers to make urgent phone calls to officials on the ground, as the C-17 flew toward Baghdad. After about a half-hour, the aircraft got permission to land in Irbil.
It was unclear what triggered the mix-up, but officials said the plane’s flight had been pre-approved by Iraqi leaders.
Iraqi officials have broad concerns about any effort to provide equipment or weapons directly to the Kurds. AP

Pentagon admits mistaken forced entry at charity clinic

The U.S. military acknowledges that an armored vehicle carrying U.S. personnel deliberately crashed through the closed gate of the medical compound in northern Afghanistan where 22 people were killed in a U.S. air attack two weeks ago.
Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said Oct. 19 it was a mistake. He said that the Afghan vehicle carrying U.S. personnel drove through the closed gate last Thursday to gain access to the compound run by an international charity called Doctors Without Borders.
Davis said they believed incorrectly that none of the charity’s personnel were present. He said the visit was to assess the “structural integrity” of the building damaged in the Oct. 3 attack.
Davis said the U.S. is working with the charity group to repair damage to the gate. AP