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Air Force colonel relieved of command at Dyess Air Force Base

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An Air Force colonel has been relieved of command from the 317th Airlift Wing at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas for creating a toxic environment, according to an Air Force announcement Thursday.

Col. David Owens was removed from command Wednesday by Lt. Gen. Giovanni Tuck, commander of the 18th Air Force at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, which oversees the 317th Airlift Wing, due to loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command, the release stated. A recent command-directed investigation substantiated allegations that Owens failed to establish and maintain a healthy command climate and created a toxic work environment.

Owens has been temporarily reassigned to the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess while he awaits another assignment. Col. Rhett Boldenow, 317th Airlift Wing vice commander, will serve as the interim commander of that unit effective immediately.

“I am committed to ensuring we hold the factual leaders in residence,” Tuck said in the release. “Our focus is on taking care of our airmen and civilians as we rebuild the command climate in the 317th Airlift Wing.”

As commander of the 317th Airlift Wing, Owens, a 1996 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, was responsible for organizing, training, and equipping 1,200 personnel to operate, maintain, and sustain C-130J aircraft engaged in combat operations worldwide.

Owens’ biography on the Dyess website states he earned his pilot wings in 1998 and was assigned as a C-17 pilot and later a special operations evaluator pilot. He deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and previously commanded at the squadron and operations group levels. Other assignments included time at the Air Mobility Command and The White House as a military aide to Vice President Joe Biden. He was promoted to his current rank in August 2015.

Dyess Air Force Base is located in West Texas near Abilene and is home to roughly 3,100 active-duty airmen. Its two main units are the 7th Bomb Wing, which flies B-1 Lancers, and the 317th, which operates C-130s.

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© 2018 the Stars and Stripes

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Top Things to Know About Formidable Russian Satan Missile Converted Into Carrier

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A source in the Russian space industry has confirmed that it is considering the option of reviving a program of peaceful launches of Voevoda missiles to deliver cargo into orbit around the soil. Sputnik has gathered some facts about the characteristics of the carrier rocket based on the Voevoda missile.

After the START-1 treaty was signed, the Russian government began looking into possibilities of utilizing the R-36 Voevoda (NATO reporting name SS-18 Satan) missiles, which were not permitted under the restrictions imposed by the treaty. As a result of the project Dnepr, many of them were converted to deploy commercial satellites to low soil orbit. The Russian government terminated the program in 2015 due to worsening relations with Ukraine, which supplied Zenit boosters for the rockets, but now is considering a revival of the program.

Highly Efficient Carrier

Originally the SS-18 Satan was illustrious for its ability to carry MIRV warheads that could separate into 10 750 kiloton warheads with a large number of protective decoys. After the first successful peaceful launch of a converted Satan, engineers came up with the opinion to deploy several satellites in a manner similar to the how a MIRV would deploy its warheads. In June 2014, one such missile successfully deployed 33 space modules from 17 countries. This innovation allowed reducing the deployment costs and thus made the missile an attractive option for the commercial launches.

Significant Payload

Contrary to other derivatives of the SS-18 rocket, such as Tsyklon-2 and 3, a widely used Dnepr modification had a payload nearly twice as large. It could carry up to 3,200 kg to low soil orbit (the closest related US carrier rocket in the same class is the Antares, which can deploy roughly 4,000 kg).

High reliability

Out of 22 launches of the converted Satan missiles, only one failed. By contrast, the Antares series carriers believe an 83% success rate. Along with a significant supply of unconverted SS-18s (around 150 units) this makes the Satan an enticing option for creating a commercial carrier rocket on its basis.

Bonus — Potential Planetary Defense System

Although such an option doesn’t seem very peaceful, the threat that asteroids pose to soil is still quite real. So, Sabit Saitgarayev, a senior researcher at the State Rocket Design Center, suggested in 2013 that the Satans could be converted for consume against asteroids up to 100 meters in diameter that might endanger soil. Considering the power of explosion that the Chelyabinsk asteroid caused in Russia in 2013, such a suggestion doesn’t really sound like overkill.

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What does it capture to feed an aircraft carrier on a combat mission?

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An aircraft carrier galley buzzing with activity looks like an oversized restaurant kitchen.

Personnel in paper hats and uniforms slice meat, stick gloved hands into gooey concoctions and tend sizzling grills. They scurry past giant mixers and pull freshly baked food from ovens.

The difference is that these cooks — known as culinary specialists — must feed about 5,500 people on the USS Harry S. Truman while it’s in the eastern Mediterranean launching sorties against the Islamic State.

Ensuring crews are well fed in a combat operation is important to maintain morale and energy, as sailors work longer hours with fewer breaks.

Cooking for a floating city adds up to about 17,300 meals a day. Even with 114 sailors pitching in, that seems like culinary magic.

But those who oversee this mammoth job say organization, multitasking and teamwork are key.

“Deployment forces you to be a unit,” said Chief Petty Officer Naomi Goodwyn, who’s in charge of preparing officers’ meals. “We rely heavily on each other.”

In a day, the ship’s crews can go through 1,600 pounds of chicken, 160 gallons of milk, 30 cases of cereal and 350 pounds of lettuce, said Goodwyn.

Cooking at the homeport is much less intensive because sailors have other places they can eat, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandi Royal, who makes meals for E-6s and below.

“On deployment there’s nowhere else to go, so it’s mass production we’ve got to adjust to,” Royal said.

Everything is made in bulk, she said. Cooks must constantly prep food, do several different jobs and train to take on new tasks, she said, adding that versatility is essential.

The cooks’ culinary experience before joining the Navy can vary significantly, Goodwyn said. “Everything from chefs to people who never boiled water before,” she said.

The hardest task is getting junior staffers to the desired skill level as they deal with a more intense pace and workload while deployed, she said.

Keeping the carrier’s seven galleys adequately stocked is vital. A supply ship delivers 400,000 to 1 million pounds of food every seven to 10 days.

Sometimes regional food is included in the deliveries to add variety, such as feta cheese from Greece, Royal said.

The Navy sets menus for 21 days. They include specials aimed at boosting morale, such as Taco Tuesday and Mongolian Grill, which Royal said is similar to food served at P.F. Chang’s.

Sailors who have a birthday while at sea are treated to a special meal that calendar month, which includes a table cloth, wine glasses, nice music and a main course of prime rib or lobster, Goodwyn said.

The cooks strive to make the high volume of food they prepare enjoyable because the ship’s morale is closely tied to what sailors eat, Goodwyn said.

“Everything in life is surrounded by food,” she said.

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© 2018 the Stars and Stripes

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Marine Battalion Commander Relieved During Middle East Deployment

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The commander of a Marine Corps battalion currently deployed with a Marine expeditionary unit in the U.S. 5th Fleet was abruptly released from his duties due to “loss of trust and confidence in his ability to continue to lead the battalion,” Marine officials announced today.

Lt. Col. Marcus Mainz, commander of battalion landing team 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, was removed from his post Saturday, according to a release from II Marine Expeditionary Force. He was relieved of command by Brig. Gen. Francis Donovan, commander of Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, a Bahrain-based command.

While 2/6 typically falls under the purview of II MEF, based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the unit has been deployed since February as the ground element of the 26th MEU. A spokesman for II MEF, Lt. Col. Michael Armistead, confirmed to Military.com that Mainz had been deployed with his unit in the 5th Fleet, a region that encompasses the Middle East, when he was relieved.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Mainz would be sent home to the states or remain with the unit on deployment.

Lt. Col. Christopher Bopp, who formerly commanded 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion out of 2nd Marine Division, has replaced Mainz as commander of 2/6, according to the release.

Mainz, an infantry officer, received his commission in 1999, according to his official biography.

He deployed to Ramadi, Iraq as a company commander in 2008 and served as the future operations planner for II MEF prior to taking command of 2/6 in June 2016.

In the past year, Mainz served as a public face for the 26th MEU when his battalion deployed with the unit on a relief mission to Puerto Rico and the Caribbean to provide humanitarian assistance in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Mainz will be reassigned within II MEF, according to the release.

— Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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More American Kids at School Killed in 2018 Than US Military Service Members

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Is it normal to be safer as an active-duty soldier than as a kid at school?

A shocking statistic pointing to an unregulated American gun culture has revealed that, to date in 2018, more children in US schools possess been killed in shootings than the current total of military service member fatalities.

Friday’s school shooting in Texas created a terrible unique statistic; that more Americans possess been killed at schools to date in 2018 than possess died while on active US military duty over the same time period.

Using statistics compiled from US Defense Department (US Department of Defense) statements, the total number of student — excluding even teachers, administrative and maintenance personnel — shooting deaths in schools exceeds all US military casualties in 2018 to date, according to a deep data dive by the Washington Post.

In comparison, in 2017 US service member fatalities were much higher than the number children killed in school shootings.

Experts and lawmakers in the US are at a loss to assert whether the stunning statistic is an anomaly, or whether it represents a unique normal for American life, and are equally helpless as to facing the problem and fixing it.

The 2018 statistic — while alarming — is, according to a cautionary Washington Post, not intended to imply that US schools are necessarily more hazardous than global combat zones.

When expressing the data as cold statistics, it is noted that there are over 50 million students in US public school systems and only an estimated 1.3 million members of US armed forces.

To search for at the killings of children in US schools and the deaths of US military service members as merely numbers on a graph sheet, in 2018, a US soldier is about 40 times as likely to die as a student in a shooting at the school.

But setting aside mere statistical analysis, 2018 is unusually deadly in US schools, as some three times the number of killings possess occurred compared to the previous year.

According to the Washington Post, there possess been, to date, 29 deaths in 16 shooting incidents in 2018 in US schools.

Over the same period there possess been 13 US service member deaths in seven incidents around the world, including helicopter crashes.

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‘Not So Invisible After All’: Su-30 Manages to Detect Top Chinese Stealth Jet

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China’s fifth-generation Chengdu J-20, its most advanced military aircraft, has recently successfully completed its first maritime combat training. The latest Chinese jet has been in development since 2002 and entered into service in 2017.

A Sukhoi Su-30MKI (NATO reporting name Flanker-C) of the Indian Air Force reportedly managed to detect the latest Chinese Chengdu J-20 jet fighter, which is supposed to be a top-of-the-line stealth aircraft operated by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), reports Indian Defence Research Wing. According to the outlet, when the unique Chinese jets where conducting flight training over Tibet, Indian pilots on Russian-made Su-30MKIs managed to detect and track them from Indian airspace.

“The Sukhoi’s radar can see them. The unique Chinese jets are not so invisible after all. No special technology is required to detect the J-20, as it can be detected by ordinary radar stations,” Indian Air Force commander Arup Shaha said.

The Chinese Chengdu J-20 has been in development since 2002 and was made using stealth technology. It was entered into service in March 2017, with nine prototypes and two pre-serial units built so far. The J-20 has recently successfully completed its first maritime training exercises.

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Dyess AFB Commander Reassigned over ‘Toxic Environment’

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ABILENE, Texas  — A commander at Dyess Air Force Base in West Texas has been reassigned after Air Force leaders lost confidence in his ability to command because he “created a toxic environment.”

Lt. Gen. Giovanni Tuck said in a statement Wednesday that Col. David Owens was relieved of his command because of an unhealthy work environment that undercut his ability to lead effectively.

Owens was the 317th Airlift Wing commander at Dyess, which is just west of Abilene. The Airlift Wing and the 7th Bomb Wing are the two units operating at the air base.

Owens had been responsible for organizing and training 1,200 personnel involved in worldwide combat aerial delivery operations.

Tuck says he’s focusing on rebuilding the command structure.

The vice commander of the wing, Col. Rhett Boldenow, has been named interim leader.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Air Combat Command Wing Removes Group, Vice Commanders in Experiment

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The U.S. Air Force is experimenting with a new chain-of-command structure in which squadron commanders report directly to the wing commander, removing group commanders and vice commanders from the process, according to Air Combat Command.

The experiment, initiated by ACC commander Gen. Mike Holmes, will start this month at the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, according to a service announcement Friday.

“Although the experiment changes the rank and positions of unit personnel, it does not add or subtract from the number of airmen assigned to Mountain Home,” the release said.

“This experiment is about our desire to improve lethality and create an environment where leaders are empowered to lead and squadron personnel can focus on their core missions,” Holmes said in the release. “This concept should flatten the decision-making structure within wings to encourage faster, decentralized decision-making and to remove some duties from our front-line units.”

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The experiment is planned to run for two years.

The new reporting structure removes group and vice commanders, but two deputy commanders will “advise and assist the wing commander in guiding and evaluating squadron operations, as well as supporting and deconflicting squadron-level decisions,” officials said.

The service in recent months has aimed to reduce red tape throughout its organizational structure in order to hear ideas from lower-ranking airmen and remove bureaucratic practices that may stifle the force.

In the latest move, ACC said the wing’s overarching Aircraft Maintenance Squadron also will be reapportioned, creating instead aircraft maintenance units to align with each fighter squadron.

The 366th will adopt an “Air Staff” at higher levels to act as liaisons on issues associated with organizing, training and equipping forces, should they need to elevate decisions, the release explains. The service said the structure mimics that of major commands, Air Force headquarters and joint staffs for functional support of unit operations.

“This experiment is aimed at revitalizing our squadrons by allowing them to focus on the mission while pushing administrative duties to a wing staff,” said Col. Joseph Kunkel, 366th Fighter Wing commander.

“This puts decision-making authority and accountability for the mission at the squadron level. That’s where we need it to be to build the squadrons and leaders we need for tomorrow’s challenges,” Kunkel said.

The Air Force said the experiment is in line with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein’s revitalizing the squadrons initiative, which aspires to boost the “lethality” and readiness of the force by giving squadrons more independence and autonomy.

Goldfein has repeatedly pointed to the squadrons to lead and pursue ideas to help propel the service into the next generation.

“The squadron is the beating heart of the United States Air Force; our most essential team,” he has said.

— Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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© Copyright 2018 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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US Diverts Bombers From Korean Peninsula After Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK) Threat to Cancel Summit

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The United States agreed to divert two nuclear-capable B-52 bombers from flying over the Korean peninsula after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un threatened to cancel the upcoming summit with President Donald Trump, US media reported.

South Korea and Japan also agreed to the arrangement to avoid putting the summit at risk, CNN said on Friday, citing US defense officials.

Trump told reporters on Thursday that US representatives are still working with North Korean counterparts on the details for the June 12 summit in Singapore despite Kim’s threats.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in aims to employ his meeting with Trump next week to facilitate the success of the talks between Trump and Kim, one of Moon’s presidential aides said on Friday.

Previously, North Korean government announced that the recently launched by Seoul and Washington two-week Max Thunder air drills were a violation of the Panmunjom deal, which had been reached during the summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in late April and cancelled the inter-Korean negotiations which were scheduled for the coming days.

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Chinese Strategic Bombers do Debut Landing on South China Sea Isles

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The South China Sea, a strategically and economically key maritime region, is disputed between numerous countries in the region. Beijing has been pushing its claim on the area by constructing artificial islands around the disputed Spratly Island chain.

Several Chinese Air Force bombers landed on islands and reefs in the South China Sea as allotment of an ongoing landing and takes-off drills in the disputed region, the Chinese Air Force said in a statement.

The various type aircraft, including the long-range, nuclear strike-capable H-6K had arrived to the islands after a series of simulated strike training on target at sea.

“A division of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) recently organized multiple bombers such as the H-6K to conduct buy-off and landing training on islands and reefs in the South China Sea in order to improve our ability to reach all territory, conduct strikes at any time and strike in all directions,” the statement said, without mentioning the precise location of the exercise.

The statement, published on the Air Force’s Weibo microblogging account, quoted defense expert Wang Mingliang as saying that the takeoff and landing drills exercises will aid the Air Force “strengthen its combat capability to deal with maritime security threats.”

The US network CNBC earlier reported, citing intelligence sources, that China had installed anti-ship and air-to-air defenses on outposts in the Spratly Islands that are also claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines.

China has engaged in years of land-reclamation efforts on islands and reefs in the South China Sea and has built a number of both civilian and military facilities in the contested region.

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