An F-16C Fighting Falcon is flying with a special paint job in honor of the squadron’s 90th anniversary. The newly painted F-16C flew from the Texas Air National Guard’s 111th Fighter Squadron. All the colors and markings have specific meanings, reflecting the unit’s nine-decade history.
The rudder is painted like a JN-4 Jenny, which the squadron flew in the 1920s. The schemes for the wings and flaps recall the paint schemes of the pre-World War II era. While the blue fuselage represents the Korean War, in which the squadron earned credit for two air victories. The gray underside represents the jet age. The “N5 A” was the insignia the squadron’s P-51 Mustangs sported during World War II, in which the squadron claimed 44 air victories. Also representing World War II is the star on the fuselage, while the star on the wing represents the pre-World War II era. “Ace in the Hole” and the star on the tail replicate the markings of the squadron’s F-84s during the Korean War. The ventral fin, partially obscured, reads “Est. 1917.”
Today the 111th FS is part of the 147th Fighter Wing, based at Ellington Field in Houston.
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The Lockheed F-117A Blackjet is a single-seat, twin-engine stealth ground attack aircraft operated solely by the United States Air Force (USAF). It was the first operational aircraft initially designed around stealth technology. Also known as the Nighthawk, it has a string of other nicknames. Before it was given an official name, engineers and test pilots referred to it as “Cockroach”, a name that is still sometimes used. As it prioritized stealth over aerodynamics, the first model was nicknamed “The Hopeless Diamond”. It was also called “Wobblin’ Goblin” due to its alleged instability at low speeds. Locals in the area around Holloman Air Force Base (AFB) referred to it as simply “Stealth”.
The unique design of the F-117A provides exceptional combat capabilities. The aircraft can employ a variety of weapons and is equipped with sophisticated navigation and attack systems. A digital avionics suite increases mission effectiveness and reduces pilot workload. The first Blackjet was delivered in 1982, and the last delivery was in the summer of 1990.
The F-117A has been used several times in war. It first saw combat in the United States invasion of Panama, during which two Blackjets dropped two bombs on Rio Hato airfield. During Operation Desert Storm in 1991, F-117As flew approximately 1,300 sorties and scored direct hits on 1,600 high value targets in Iraq. Although the F-117As flew through some of the most heavily defended areas in Desert Storm, not one aircraft was shot down or damaged.
Since moving to Holloman AFB in 1992, the F-117A has been deployed to Southwest Asia more than once. On the first trip of the 49th Fighter Wing, Blackjets flew nonstop from Holloman to Kuwait for approximately 18.5 hours – a record for single-seat fighters that stands today. The F-117A has since been used in the Kosovo War in 1999, Operation Enduring Freedom, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Only one aircraft has been lost in combat, to Serbian forces. On March 27, 1999, during the Kosovo War, an Isayev S-125 Neva-M shot down an F-117A with a Serbian improved Neva-M missile. The pilot survived.
Despite its successes in the Kosovo and Iraq Wars and its high mission-capable rate, the F-117A was nevertheless designed with late 1970s technologies. Program Budget Decision 720, dated December 28, 2005, proposed retiring the entire fleet by October 2008 to make way for more F-22 Raptors. By late 2006, the Air Force had closed the F-117A pilot school, and announced the retirement of the Blackjet. The first six F-117As to be retired made their last flight on March 12, 2007 after a ceremony at Holloman AFB to commemorate the aircraft’s career.
On June 28, 1919, World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. November 11 thus became Armistice Day, the first of which was proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919.
Armistice Day officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926 and a national holiday in 1938. On June 1, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation changing the name to Veterans Day to honor all US veterans. In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. However, November 11 was a significant historic date to many Americans. Since the change to the fourth Monday in October, 46 states had either continued to commemorate November 11 or had reverted back to the original date based on popular sentiment. In 1978, Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.
Specialist James Kaye, a UH-60 crew chief with the 1st Battalion,
228th Aviation Regiment, takes a load of food from a local civilian to deliver to the
south central region of the Dominican Republic.
On November 11, a team of service members from the United States and the Dominican Republic delivered more than 4,900 pounds of provisions to villages in the south central region of the Dominican Republic, as part of the relief effort following Tropical Storm Noel. Deliveries of food, blankets and medical supplies had been ongoing since the beginning of the month.
Two US teams also set up makeshift clinics in the towns of Paya and Valdesia on November 10, treating more than 600 villagers. Another team dropped medical personnel and 300 pounds of supplies in Paya for a follow-up to a November 10 Expeditionary Medical Liaison team mission. Local civilians and military personnel assisted in loading the bags into the team’s Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, which delivered the goods to the towns of El Rocodo, Miguel Martin and El Desechado.
Chief Warrant Officer Four Tim Connor, one of two UH-60 Black Hawk pilots flying the missions, commented that the team was well-received in each village they visited. “As soon as they heard and saw the helicopter coming in, the people in the towns ran waving and cheering to where we were landing,” he said. “They were very eager to help us offload the supplies, which gives us more time to visit other villages.”
Amphibious assault ship USS Tarawa (LHA 1)
cuts through the Pacific Ocean while on deployment in support of
maritime security operations and the global war on terrorism.
The Tarawa Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG), made up of over 5,500 sailors and marines, is capable of conducting strike warfare and engaging enemy forces in the air, and on and beneath the sea’s surface. It is supported by various aircraft, including the CH-46 Sea Knight, CH-53 Sea Stallion, AH-1 Cobra, UH-1 Iroquois, SH-60 Seahawk and AV-8B Harrier.
On November 5, the San Diego element of the Tarawa ESG departed for a six-month deployment to the US 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operations. Units from San Diego include Amphibious Squadron 1, USS Tarawa (LHA 1), USS Cleveland (LPD 7), USS Germantown (LSD 42), 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and elements of Naval Beach Group 1. Also joining the Tarawa ESG in Pearl Harbor are USS Port Royal (CG 73), USS Hopper (DDG 70) and USS Ingraham (FFG 61).
During a 2005 deployment, the Tarawa ESG conducted maritime security operations, participated in Exercise Bright Star and served as an afloat staging base in the North Arabian Gulf, training with the Iraqi Navy and guarding key Iraqi oil terminals.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Robbin Cresswell)
Tech. Sgt. David Adcox holds his military working dog Samo, as decoy Staff Sgt. Jeremy Toliver agitates the dog during a demonstration Nov. 7 for the 5th International Working Dog Breeding Conference at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. The conference was attended by 140 people from 16 countries, representing military, government and non-government programs, academia and industry. The conference focuses on the improvement of dogs through selective breeding for working occupations such as military, police, detection and assistance. The sergeants and Samo are from the 341st Training Squadron at Lackland.
A sudden blast in the hull of a Navy Cruiser during routine maintenance injured six workers last Saturday. Two of them are in critical condition, authorities said.
Subcontractors from the National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. were working in the fuel tank of the USS Lake Champlain as it sat in dry dock when the explosion occurred just after noon, said San Diego Fire Department spokesman Maurice Luque.
“Apparently it was caused by flammable gas that ignited,” Luque said. “We don’t know how or why.”
Two of the workers were taken to UC San Diego Medical Center with “major trauma burns” that Luque said were life-threatening.
Two others had moderate injuries and were taken to the hospital, Luque said, and two more were treated at the scene and released.
The Hughes H-4 Hercules is a heavy transport, flying boat aircraft designed and built by the Hughes Aircraft company, making its first and only flight.
On November 2, 1947, Hughes obliged, taking the H-4 prototype out into Long Beach Harbor, CA for an unannounced flight test. Thousands of onlookers had come to watch the aircraft taxi on the water and were surprised when Hughes lifted his wooden behemoth 70 feet above the water and flew for a mile before landing.
Despite its successful maiden flight, the Spruce Goose never went into production, primarily because critics alleged that its wooden framework was insufficient to support its weight during long flights. Built from wood due to wartime raw material restrictions to the use of aluminum, it was nicknamed the “Spruce Goose” by its critics, some of whom accused Howard Hughes of misusing government funding to build the aircraft. The Hercules is the largest flying boat ever built, and has the largest wingspan and height of any aircraft in history. Made only for a prototype, the H-4 Hercules was stored until April 5, 1976.
Today, the Spruce Goose survives in good condition at the Evergreen Aviation Museum.
Family and friends of Bangladesh Air Force personnel mill around
a US Marine Corps F/A-18C Hornet during an open house
on October 26, at Kurmitola Air Base, Bangladesh.
This past October 24 to 31 saw bilateral exercises take place between the US Marine Corps and the Bangladesh Air Force (BAF). Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 (VMFA-314), also known as the “Black Knights”, and several other detachments from Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, were among the participants.
“The purpose of this exercise is to practice and learn from each other,” said Wing Commander Rafik, the senior BAF officer in charge of the exercise, as he addressed officers from both countries on the opening day of the exercise. “We look forward to some good, safe flying.”
Exercise Sumo Tiger 2007, as it is called, is part of an ongoing effort by the US military to strengthen the security of Asia and the Pacific region. The goal is to enhance US forces’ ability to work alongside militaries throughout the region and to promote professional relationships between participants.
During the exercise, the Black Knights trained against Chinese-made F-7 Fantan jet fighters and Russian-built MiG-29 Fulcrums. Avation support personnel from the US and Bangladesh also shared their knowledge with one another.
On October 26, the exercise participants took a break from flying. Hundreds of family members and friends of BAF personnel visited Kurmitola Air Base to view an American F-18C Hornet and a Bangladeshi F-7