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The last survivor of the 1912 sinking of the “Titanic”, Millvina Dean, has died at the age of 97. She died in her sleep at a nursing home in Southampton, England, the city her family had tried to leave behind when it took the ship’s ill-fated maiden voyage, bound for America. Her death came on the 98th anniversary of the launching of the Titanic, on May 31, 1911.
Millvina Dean was just over 2 months old when she and her family set sail, third class, on the luxury ocean liner on April 10, 1912. Five days later, she was among about 700 passengers and crew who were rescued off the coast of Newfoundland. She and her mother, Georgetta, 32, and her brother Bertram, 23 months old, were put into lifeboats. Her father, Bertram, 27, stayed on board the ship and was among more than 1,500 passengers and crew members who went down with the RMS Titanic. The ship sank in less than three hours.
Dean, who was wrapped in a sack to protect her from the cold and lowered into a lifeboat, was the youngest of the 706 Titanic survivors. Her mother Georgetta and two-year-old brother Bertram also survived, dying in 1975 and 1992 respectively.
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Fire Island, N.Y. – A Coast Guard rescue crew rescued three boaters off Fire Island, N.Y. after their 40-foot sailboat ran aground in the fog.
Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound received a call via Channel 16 VHF radio from a crewmember aboard the sailboat Gwaihir stating their boat had run aground in a sandbar off Fire Island beach.
The Coast Guard launched a rescue boat crew from Station Fire Island to assist.
The rescue boat crew arrived on scene along with the Suffolk County Police Department and was able to reach the stranded boaters. The Suffolk County Police Department then safely returned the boaters to Station Fire Island.
The rescued boaters – Stu Williams, 49 of White Fish, Mont.; John Bosco, 40, of Berlin, Conn.; and Jeremiah Bailey, 29 – were not injured and are in good condition.
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A military helicopter crashed at Wheeler Army Airfield during a test flight Wednesday, killing both soldiers aboard, the US Army said.
The 2-seat OH-58D Kiowa Warrior went down Wednesday afternoon. The names of the soldiers killed were not released pending family notification.
Col. Matthew Margotta, commander of US Army Garrison Hawaii, said the Army was technically calling the accident a “hard landing” because the pilots were in control of the aircraft when it went down.
Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Earle Kealoha said firefighters responded to a call of a downed aircraft at 3:34pm. But when they arrived 4 minutes later, federal fire crews already had the fire under control. The Army said it was investigating the accident.
The helicopter belongs to the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, part of the 25th Infantry Division. The brigade is preparing for a 12-month deployment to Iraq scheduled to begin October.
Kiowa helicopters are used primarily for observation and scouting missions. They can be armed with missiles and machine guns, and they are typically flown close to the ground at speeds topping at 100 mph.
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Capt. Michael S. White, Commander Carrier Air Wing (CVW) made his 1000th “trap” on the flight deck of USS George Washington (CVN 73).
“I was very humbled. The privilege of getting 1,000 traps is a testament to our Sailors professionalism and the way they do their jobs right every day.” said Capt. Michael S. White.
George Washington’s Commanding Officer, Capt. David A. Lausman, was on the flight deck to congratulate White afterwards. After his trap, White was quick to thank the professionals on and below the flight deck who make naval aviation possible.
“I couldn’t have stopped today, or any of the previous 999 times, without an arresting gear team that knew exactly what they were doing, because there is little room for error,” White said.
White shared his moment at a reception and cake-cutting ceremony in one of George Washington’s arresting gear machinery rooms. Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Equipment 3rd Class John Ray was touched to get the first piece of cake, which traditionally would go to White.
White rejoined CVW 5 as Deputy Commander in September 2006 and assumed command in May 2008. He has made 10 deployments on seven different aircraft carriers, including George Washington, the Navy’s only permanently forward-deployed carrier.
The George Washington is underway in the western Pacific Ocean conducting its combat operations efficiency evaluation and advanced cyclic flight operations in preparation for its scheduled summer 2009 deployment.
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KABUL, Afghanistan – Four civilians were killed by a roadside bomb while an operation by U.S.-led forces left three people dead and a woman and child wounded on Monday.
The bomb struck the civilian’s vehicle and also wounded three civilians inside in Zabul province, said Jalani Khan, a provincial police official. He blamed the Taliban for planting the bomb.
Separately, U.S.-led troops killed three men and wounded a woman and a child during a raid against a Taliban commander in southern Helmand province Monday, the force said in a statement. It did not say whether the men were armed militants or civilians.
The wounded woman and child were transported to a coalition hospital for treatment.
Southern Afghanistan is the center of the Taliban-led insurgency. President Barack Obama has ordered 21,000 new American troops into Afghanistan, hoping to reverse Taliban gains.
Meanwhile, NATO-led troops in eastern Afghanistan seized and destroyed 2.24 tons (2 tons) of pure heroin valued at $3 million, the military alliance said in a statement Monday.
Troops discovered the heroin after searching a suspicious vehicle in the country’s east, NATO‘s International Security Assistance Force said. It did not identify the province or the exact date when the drugs were found.
U.S. and other Western officials have said the booming drug trade is funding the Taliban’s insurgency in Afghanistan and undermining governance.
The Space Shuttle Atlantis has landed in California, Sunday, where it was diverted after continuing stormy weather prevented a Florida touchdown.
Atlantis landed at 1539 GMT at Edwards Air Force Base.
The seven astronauts on board Atlantis have taken part in an ambitious and risky mission to service and re-fit the Hubble telescope.
NASA said that weather conditions over Florida forced flight controllers to give up on Sunday’s first landing opportunity at Kennedy Space Center.
Atlantis’ mission was intended to give a new lease of life to Hubble.
The orbiting observatory is regarded as one of the most important tools ever built.
The fifth and final mission to service Hubble has been hailed as a great success.
Over five spacewalks, astronauts installed new instruments and thermal blankets, repaired two existing instruments, replaced gyroscopes and batteries. The only disappointment was the failure to restore the high resolution channel on the Advanced Camera for surveys which has been responsible for many of Hubble’s most impressive images of deep space.
“This is not the end of the story but the beginning of another chapter of discovery by Hubble” said Ed Weiler, associate administrator for Science at NASA Headquarters.
“Hubble will be more powerful than ever. Continue to surprise, enlighten, and inspire us all and pave the way for the next generation of observatories.”
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The US Air Force (USAF) plans to fly the Boeing Phantom Works X-51A Waverider hypersonic engine research vehicle at up to Mach 6 later this year.
Joseph Vogel, Boeing X-51A programme manager, Advanced Network and Space Systems, and Charles Brink, X-51A programme manager, USAF Research Laboratory, spoke to reporters at Boeing’s Huntington Beach facility in southern California on 14 May. They said that the consortium running the programme – USAF, Boeing, DARPA and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne – had recently completed testing a “flight-like” ATACMS engine (SJX-61-1) at Mach 4.6 to 5 and that the first of four flight trials of the unmanned vehicle would take place in October or November.
The first flight test X-51A (FTV-1) – which comprises (from front to back) a cruiser vehicle and scramjet engine with a separate stage solid rocket booster with control surfaces – will be dropped from the wing of a B-52 bomber at about 50,000 ft at Mach 0.8 over Naval Air Weapons Station Point Mugu in California. The booster rocket will then fire the vehicle to about Mach 4.7 and 60,000 to 65,000 ft before the scramjet engages. Once the scramjet is engaged, the rocket booster will fall away and the cruiser section will climb to between 80,000 and 85,000 ft before accelerating to Mach 6.
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Air Force officials have announced plans to retire nearly 250 legacy fighters to fund a smaller and more capable force and redistribute people for higher priority missions. Retirement of approximately 250 aircrafts includes 112 F-15 Eagles, 134 F-16 Fighting Falcons and three A-10 Thunderbolt IIs. This does not include the five fighters previously scheduled for retirement in FY10.
“We have a strategic window of opportunity to do some important things with fighter aircraft restructuring,” said Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley. “By accepting some short-term risk, we can convert our inventory of legacy fighters and F-22 (Raptors) into a smaller, more flexible and lethal bridge to fifth-generation fighters like the F-35 (Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter). We’ll also add manpower to capabilities needed now for operations across the spectrum of conflict.”
The CAF restructuring plan, which will require appropriate environmental analyses, would enable Air Force officials to use reassignment and retraining programs to move approximately 4,000 manpower authorizations to emerging and priority missions such as manned and unmanned surveillance operations and nuclear deterrence operations.
This realignment would include the expansion of MQ-1 Predator, MQ-9 Reaper and MC-12 Liberty aircrews; the addition of a fourth active-duty B-52 Stratofortress squadron; and the expansion of Distributed Common Ground System and information processing, exploitation and dissemination capabilities for continued combatant commander support in Afghanistan and Iraq, among other adjustments.
Secretary Donley and General Schwartz have committed the Air Force to initiatives that will reinvigorate its nuclear enterprise and field 50 unmanned combat air patrols for ongoing operations by FY11.
“What we’re looking for is a force mix that meets the current mission requirements of combatant commanders while providing a capable force to meet tomorrow’s challenges,” Secretary Donley said.
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The Navy took delivery of its newest aircraft carrier, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), from Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. George H.W. Bush is the 10th and final Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.
“George H.W. Bush has been eight years in the making, with its keel laid in 2003, followed by christening in 2006 and today’s delivery. It’s a testament to the dedication and professionalism of both the Navy and our industry partners,” said Capt. Frank Simei, Navy program manager for in-service aircraft carriers.
George H.W. Bush is the most advanced ship of its class. Relative to the last aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan substantial design features were modified and new technologies inserted. Examples include a new vacuum marine sanitation system, a new jet fuel distribution system and numerous other new control systems and piping materials. These new features will reduce the lifecycle cost of the carrier.
“George H.W. Bush’s delivery completes the construction of Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, but their legacy will continue” said Simei. “This ship will be an important part of our maritime forces for the next 50 years.”
George H. W. Bush was commissioned Jan. 10 at Norfolk Naval Base. Doro Bush Koch, daughter of President George H.W. Bush, is the ship’s sponsor.