News Briefs – January 20, 2016

U.S. Air Force officer dead in non-combat incident in Qatar

A U.S. Air Force officer from Kansas has died in a non-combat related incident while serving in Qatar.
The Department of Defense says 42-year-old Maj. John D. Gerrie died Jan. 16 in Al Udeid Air Base. The cause of death was not immediately released.
DOD says Gerrie was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. He was assigned to 453rd Electronic Warfare Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
Gerrie is a native of Nickerson, Kansas. AP

Philippine plane warned by `Chinese navy’ in disputed sea

Philippine officials say they received two intimidating radio warnings from people who identified themselves being from the Chinese navy when they flew a Cessna plane close to a Chinese-constructed island in the South China Sea.
Eric Apolonio said the incident happened Jan. 7 when he and other personnel of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines flew to a Philippine-occupied island for an engineering survey ahead of the planned installation of aviation safety equipment on the island.
The island, which the Philippines calls Pag-asa, is close to Subi Reef, which has been transformed by China into an island in the disputed Spratly chain.
Apolonio said the voice message warned that the aircraft was “threatening the security of our station.” He said they continued their trip. AP

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