Sunday, January 15, 2012

F-15E reaches 10K flying hour milestone

1/14/2012 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- In the early hours of the day, the aircraft parking ramp at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, was alive with activity. Checklists were run, hatches checked, bombs loaded and missions briefed, as the crew chiefs, support units, and flyers of F-15E Strike Eagle #89-0487 achieved a milestone 10,000 flying hours Jan. 13

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan-- F-15E Strike Eagle #89-0487 is specially painted to celebrate its multiple achievements at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Jan. 13, 2012. #89-0487 is the only F-15 to have had a successful air-to-air kill and is now the only F-15 to have logged 10,000 hours of flying time. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Ericka Engblom) hi-res
1/14/2012 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- In the early hours of the day, the aircraft parking ramp at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, was alive with activity. Checklists were run, hatches checked, bombs loaded and missions briefed, as the crew chiefs, support units, and flyers of F-15E Strike Eagle #89-0487 achieved a milestone 10,000 flying hours Jan. 13.

by Tech Sgt. Vernon Cunningham
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

F-15E Strike Eagle #89-0487, or "#487" for short, was commissioned Nov. 13, 1990. It's the first F-15 of any type to reach 10,000 hours, despite being younger than many F-15A and F-15C models. During its service, the aircraft participated in operations Desert Storm, Deliberate Guard, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom.

The accomplishment of flying more than 10,000 hours was shared by the entire 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. The 455th EAMXS includes the 335th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit and supporting units.

"It has taken more than 21 years of qualified maintenance technicians performing more than one million hours of inspections and repairs in all types of environments at home station, depot facilities, TDY and AEF locations to ensure aircraft #89-0487 was available to deploy on numerous TDYs and AEFs," Chief Master Sgt. John Parrott, 335th EAMU superintendent said. "It also took careful, timely loading and maintenance by hundreds of weapons technicians in conjunction with countless hours of repairs and inspections performed by avionics, electrical and environmental, engine, fuels, egress, and structural Airmen."

The current crew chiefs for #487 are all deployed from Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. They agreed that good maintenance and support were critical.

Senior Airman Eric Rock, 455th EAMS crew chief assigned to #487, said," This is the squadron flag ship. This accomplishment definitely shows the caliber of those before us and those who are crewing it now. They are putting the best and most motivated on the team."

The #487 crew chiefs have been working with the same aircraft for the past year. Since arriving at Bagram, the high demand for the flag ship helped highlight the team cohesion needed to keep the aircraft mission ready.

"When we got here, it was at 8,800 hours," Staff Sgt. Ryan Forsse, 455th EAMS crew chief assigned to #487, said. "We put 1,200 hours on it in the past three months. During that time, this aircraft dropped 15 percent of all bombs deployed in our fleet. To keep it flying at that pace, it was very important to keep the same crew on it to get to know the aircraft."

Rock said each plane has a specific personality.

"Keeping the same crew working on it allows for the technician to see trends," Rock said. "You get to know what is going on with it, what sounds normal and what works."

The crew chiefs specifically acknowledged that all of the support units were integral in reaching the 10,000 flying hours milestone.

"When we have a problem that needs to be fixed by another shop, they come out quickly for this jet," Forsse said. "This is the squadron flag ship, so all the shops push to get this aircraft fixed, armed up and back in the air. Any time we need something, they are on it."

Lt. Col. David Moeller, 335th Expeditionary Flying Squadron commander, is the current weapons systems officer for #487. Moeller fully appreciated the impact of the work done by the F-15E #487 team.

"It's not just about the hours in the sky," Moeller said. "The maintenance ability to keep this jet flying so it may support the current fight is amazing. This is 24-hour, all-weather, ops throughout the OEF battlespace. Maintenance, weapons, and all support by the 455th makes this possible. It was a total team effort."

In addition to the ground support, a lot of work was done in the air for #487.

"This milestone also required skilled, proficient pilots and weapons systems officers flying more than 3,500 sorties," Parrott said. "Like the crew that dropped a GBU-10 on an Iraqi Mi24 helicopter during Operation Desert Storm. "

F-15E #487 is the only one of its kind to record an air-to-air kill.

As a personal tribute to history, Moeller chose to pass the honor of flying over 10,000 hours to Capt. Ryan Bodenheimer, 335th F-15E EFS pilot, and Capt. Erin Short, 335th EFS weapons systems officer. Both are deployed from Seymour-Johnson AFB.

"It just seemed appropriate that the longest flying F-15E be flown by the youngest flyers in the unit," he said.

Perrot summed up the significance of #487's sustained mission capability.

"It has taken 21 years of two things: pride and passion," he said. "Pride in the work completed with fellow Airmen, ultimately for the excellence of the Air Force. And passion - regardless of the weather, obstacle or task faced, successful completion is the only goal".

source and more hi-res photos here:
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Suicide bombers held hostages in security headquarters in central Ramadi

RAMADI, Iraq, Jan.15 (Xinhua) -- Suicide bombers on Sunday stormed the building of counter-terrorism headquarters in central Ramadi after two suicide bombers blew themselves and held hostages, a source from Anbar's provincial police told Xinhua.

The attack occurred around midday when three explosions, including a car bomb, rocked central Ramadi, some 100 km west of Baghdad, near the government building, the source said on condition of anonymity.

Afterwards, gunmen traded fire with the guards of the counter- terrorism headquarters, paving the way for several suicide bombers to storm the building and held unknown number of hostages, the source said.

He said that fierce fighting is underway between Iraqi security forces which surrounding the site and the attackers inside.

"Initial reports said that a police officer was killed and three policemen wounded," the source said without giving further details.

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Imposter Taliban kidnappers killed in Peshawar ‘shootout’

PESHAWAR: Two kidnappers, posing to belong to the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, were killed in shootout with the police in Peshawar on Sunday.

A policeman was also killed in the exchange of fire.

“The kidnappers had been threatening to abduct a child of one of the families in a locality under the precincts of the Yaqatoot Police Station [in Peshawar]. The group had also been sending letters to the family, written on letterheads of the TTP,” SHO Saifur Rehman told The Express Tribune.

Keeping the families’ names confidential to ensure security and protect identities, police said that the kidnappers had been calling and threatening other families for ransom too.

The police then came up with a plot to catch the culprits. The family, which was being threatened, was asked to pay Rs0.5 million in ransom to kidnappers near the Ring Road in Peshawar. When the money was paid, police intercepted the kidnappers and gunned them down. However, the kidnappers returned fire and managed to fire at a gunner of the SHO, who sustained a serious injury and later succumbed to it.

“Two pistols, three cell phones, the ransom money and a dubious motorcycle was recovered from them,” the SHO said.

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NATO helicopter crash in eastern Logar province

According to local authorities in eastern Afghanistan, a NATO helicopter crashed in eastern Logar province on Saturday.

Chief of the provincial council for eastern Logar province Dr. Abdul Wali Wakil confirming the incident said, the incident was confirmed by International Security Assistance Force based in this province.

Dr. Wakil said, the incident took place in Baraki district of eastern Logar province.

The source further added, the main reason behind the crash of the NATO helicopter was not immediately confirmed.

However, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force have not formally announced the incident.


ISAF said on twitter an hour ago:
"No, there was no ISAF helo crash in Logar Sat. which means no casualties either"
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Al-Qaida militants take over town in SE Yemen

United Nations Security Council Resolution 924
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ADEN, Yemen, Jan. 15 -- Dozens of al-Qaida militants Sunday morning seized a town in Yemen's southeastern province of al-Bayda, a provincial security official told Xinhua.

"The al-Qaida members backed by armored vehicles stormed the al- Bayda province overnight, taking control over the Radda city from all surrounding entrances and directions," the official said on condition of anonymity.

"A small security barrack in the city was unable to confront the storming campaign of the well-armed groups and the police forces didn't show any kind of resistance," he said.

Al-Baydda province, bordering the restive province of Abyan, is considered to be another new stronghold of the al-Qaida terrorist group.

A local resident told Xinhua that "we were surprised that such armed groups defeated the security forces, it is another scenario like Abyan."

In al-Baydda's neighboring province of Abyan, the government forces backed by U.S. Marine troops and air force have been fighting militants of the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) for more than eight months after the terrorists took over Abyan's capital city of Zinjibar in late May 2011.

The AQAP group has seized several cities and towns across the restive southern provinces, as the Yemeni government forces engaged in fierce clashes with militants over past months, leaving hundreds of people killed.

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2 Taliban killed, 26 detained in Afghanistan

The Central Unit is a Quick Reactionary Force ...
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KABUL, Jan. 15 -- Security forces have killed two Taliban insurgents and detained 26 others over the past 24 hours, the Afghan Interior Ministry said on Sunday.

"Afghan National Police (ANP), Afghan National Army and Coalition Forces have launched 10 joint operations in Nangarhar, Kandahar, Helmand, Wardak, Logar and Ghazni provinces over the past 24 hours," the ministry said in a press release.

"As a result of these operations, two armed insurgents were killed, one wounded and 26 others were arrested by the ANP," it said.

The joint forces also seized a handful of weapons besides defusing 35 anti-vehicle mines in the above operations, it said.

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9 killed, 4 injured in police station attack in NW Pakistan

Location of Dera Ismail Khan District (highlig...
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ISLAMABAD, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- At least nine people including two policemen and three suicide bombers were killed on Saturday when militants attacked the office of a senior police officer in northwestern Pakistani city of Dera Ismail Khan, reported local Urdu TV Samaa.

According to the report, the attack that lasted for more than one hour was launched on Saturday afternoon when about ten armed militants stormed the office of Khalid Sohail, District Police Officer of the city.

The attackers who were reportedly wearing police uniforms entered the building from the main entrance. One suicide bomber blasted himself soon after entering the main gate while his nine accomplices including two suicide bombers hurled hand grenades at the people inside the building.

After the explosion, fierce exchange of firing took place between militants and the police. The D.P.O was present inside his office with other police officers when the attack took place. Two of the attackers tried to enter inside his office but the police succeeded in stopping them from targeting senior police officers including D.P.O.

Another suicide bomber detonated his suicide vest during the shootout while the third suicide bomber was shot dead by the police.

There were an estimated 50 people inside the building when the attack happened. Six people including two policemen were killed at the spot.

Army and police stationed in nearby area were called in when the attack was reported.

Three militants were killed and three others were arrested in an injured state by the police while others escaped successfully.

Later, talking to media, Interior Minister Rehman Malik condemned the attack and said that during the last few months security forces remained the main target of militants. Militants are trying to demoralize them by repeated attacks on law enforcement agencies.

Malik also rejected the media reports that the Pakistani government is having peace talks with local Taliban leaders.

Following the attack, security was beefed up in Dera Ismail Khan and provincial capital Peshawar.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast so far.

Saturday's attack is the third of its kind in Dera Ismail Khan. Earlier on Nov. 23 last year, three policemen were killed and four others injured when 14 militants attacked a police station in the same area.

On June 25 last year, ten policemen were killed while 12 others injured when a police station on the outskirts of the city was attacked by a group of Taliban militants.

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Militants joint peace process in Baghlan Afghanistan

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Taliban leader in Tala Barfak district of Baghlan province, Mullah Hafiz and 4 of his men who were fighting against government forces put down their guns and joint peace process today.

General Assadullah, provincial police chief said, “These men were the key members of Taliban who had received trainings in Pakistan. Joining these militants to peace process will have a vital role in the security of Tala Barfak district of Baghlan province.”

Abdul Samad Stanikzai, Provincial Chief of Peace Council said, “Those who join peace process in this province, they are always threatened by powerful Taliban militants and this has resulted in reluctance of other militants to join the peace process.”

Mr. Stanikzai appeals from security officials in Baghlan province to take necessary security arrangements for those who newly join this process.

A number of the reconciled militants said Militants are still active in Tala o Barfak district and vowed to encourage the other militants to join the peace process.

This comes as 300 militants have joint peace process so for, over 100 of whom have been provided with the employment opportunities by provincial peace council in Baghlan province.

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Jan.14., 2012. - ISAF Joint Command Evening Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan (Jan. 14) — An Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search for a Taliban leader in Marah Warah district, Kunar province, Thursday. The targeted leader, Rostum, directed a group of insurgent fighters who planned and led attacks against Afghan forces throughout Kunar province. He was responsible for leading an attack against a school-opening ceremony in the Daridam village in June 2011.

During the operation, the security force assessed the situation, ensured no civilians were in the area and called for a precision airstrike which killed Rostum and his associate.

No civilians were injured during the operation.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:

In Dand district, Kandahar province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of a Taliban leader today. The leader is thought to be responsible for Wednesday’s suicide-bomb attack against an Afghan police official in Kandahar province. Two suspected insurgents were detained during the operation.
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