News Briefs – October 28, 2015

Officials: Navy pilot who buzzed Berkeley broke no rules

The Navy has determined a military jet pilot who zoomed close over Berkeley in January, alarming many residents, broke no federal rules.
Officials said Oct. 26 that the Jan. 27 flyover complied with all Federal Aviation Administration rules and Navy safety regulations.
The Los Angeles Times says the Navy’s report finds the pilot had FAA clearance for his elevation and flight path.
The afternoon flyover — estimated at between 2,500 to 3,000 feet — frightened some people. Several residents on Twitter reported that the loud, low-flying jet was noisy enough to set off car alarms, wake babies and scare office workers.
Officials said the jet traveled from Naval Air Station Lemoore, located southwest of Fresno, to the Bay Area and back. AP

Britain to keep 450 troops in Afghanistan through 2016

Britain will extend the stay of about 450 soldiers in Afghanistan throughout 2016, the defense secretary said Oct. 27 following a similar announcement by the United States to extend its military presence there.
British military personnel will continue to carry out noncombat roles, including the training of the Afghan army and supporting NATO operations in Kabul, Michael Fallon said.
He said the decision follows a review of Britain’s commitment “in light of the performance” of Afghan security forces and the overall security situation in Afghanistan. The soldiers were due to leave the country by the end of this year.
“The U.K. government recognized it would take time for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces to develop into a fully-fledged fighting force capable of providing complete security for the people of Afghanistan,” Fallon said in a statement.
President Barack Obama announced earlier this month that the U.S. will keep 5,500 troops in Afghanistan when he leaves office in 2017, giving U.S. forces more time to train the Afghan army and keep up the hunt for remnants of the al Qaeda network.
Obama said security in Afghanistan remains fragile and could deteriorate in some places.
Britain, a partner in the U.S.-led coalition that fought the Taliban in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, formally ended its 13-year campaign in October 2014 though it kept several hundred soldiers there in advisory roles.
Almost 150,000 Britons served in the conflict, and 456 died. AP

Report: Faulty cap contributed to Marine helicopter crash

Military investigators say an improperly installed filter cap contributed to a Marine Corps helicopter crash at a California base that killed the Marine pilot and her co-pilot, but they stopped short of say there was any wrongdoing.
The Marine Corps Times in a story Oct. 25 detailed the report of the probe into the Jan. 23 accident near the Twentynine Palms base that killed the pilot, Maj. Elizabeth Kealey, and the co-pilot, Capt. Adam Satterfield. The newspaper obtained the report through a Freedom of Information Act request.
At the time, Kealey was a captain and Satterfield a first lieutenant assigned to Marine Light Attack Squadron 169. Both were posthumously promoted.
Investigators cited numerous missteps, including an improperly installed filter cover that allowed the transmission to dump its oil during the flight. AP

Raytheon workers approve new three-year contract

The union representing the workers of one of southern Arizona’s largest employers has approved a new contract, avoiding a possible strike.
The Arizona Daily Star reports that employees of Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems voted in favor of the three-year contract during a meeting Oct. 25, the day the previous contract expired.
Leaders of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 933 had previously said the union and the company were not agreeing on several issues.
Among the issues at stake were wage increases, health care costs and pensions.
A failure to come to agreement could have led to a strike.
At the time of contract negotiations in 2012, the machinists’ union represented 1,600 hourly workers.
The last strike involving Raytheon was in 2006, which lasted 10 weeks. AP

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