Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wire: Iraq Girds for Tuesday's US Troop Withdrawal

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2009 -- Newswire services this evening reported that despite a wave of deadly bombings this week, Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Saturday that the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraqi cities shows Iraq can handle its own security.

On Saturday, few if any of the 133,000 U.S. troops still in Iraq were visible in its cities, with most already having pulled out of urban centers in recent weeks. They have assembled in large bases outside urban centers and will continue to conduct combat operations in rural areas and near the border, USA Today reported.

The U.S. pullback from Iraq's urban centers scheduled to be finished Tuesday.

But a string of bombings in the capital and in northern Iraq this week, including two of the deadliest attacks in over a year, have shaken Iraqis.

On Sunday a truck bomb packed with nearly a ton of explosives exploded in a Shiite town just outside the ethnically tense city of Kirkuk, killing 82 people. Officials blamed al-Qaida in Iraq for the attack.

On Monday, the increased violence killed more than 30 people in Baghdad's Shiite neighborhoods.

On Wednesday, a massive blast in Sadr City left 78 people dead and over 200 wounded.

The Kirkuk bombing and the Sadr City blast were the two deadliest attacks this year.

On Thursday, a bombing at a bus station in a Shiite neighborhood in southwest Baghdad killed at least seven people and wounded 31, police said. Another three bombs and a mortar strike killed two others around the capital. Nine American soldiers were wounded in two roadside bombings against a convoy in eastern Baghdad, the U.S. military said. And a roadside bombing killed a man in the northern city of Mosul, AP said.

On Friday, a bomb killed at least 13 people at a market in Baghdad.

That left the death toll since last Saturday at over 250 people, according to a USA Today report.

The Reuters news service said U.S. and Iraqi officials have warned they expect the number of attacks to rise as the U.S. troops pull back, and also in the run-up to parliamentary elections next January.

As of Saturday, June 27, 2009, at least 4,318 members of the U.S. military had died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

The figure includes nine military civilians killed in action. At least 3,455 military personnel died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

The AP count is one fewer than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Friday at 10 a.m. EDT.

The British military has reported 179 deaths; Italy, 33; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 21; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Denmark, seven; El Salvador, five; Slovakia, four; Latvia and Georgia, three each; Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand and Romania, two each; and Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan and South Korea, one death each.

(Report from newswire sources.)

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Combat Camera: Aboard USS John C Stennis, June 27, 2009

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GULF OF ALASKA (June 22, 2009) Lt. Jim Imlah, from Newport, Ore., launches an F/A-18C Hornet, from the Death Rattlers of Marine Strike Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 323, from the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). John C. Stennis is participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kyle Steckler.)

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GULF OF ALASKA (June 22, 2009) An Air Force F-22 Raptor executes a supersonic flyby over the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). John C. Stennis is participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Ronald Dejarnett.)

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GULF OF ALASKA (June 22, 2009) Senior Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Wilson Theodore, from New Orleans, signals that an F/A-18C Hornet, from the Death Rattlers of Marine Strike Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 323, is on the catapult and ready to begin final checks before launching from the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). John C. Stennis is participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kyle Steckler.)

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GULF OF ALASKA (June 19, 2009) Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Garrett P. Hazelwood, from Corona, Calif., scrubs the wing of an F/A-18C Hornet from the Blue Diamonds of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 146 aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). John C. Stennis and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 are participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Walter M. Wayman.)

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GULF OF ALASKA (June 22, 2009) An Air Force F-22 Raptor executes a supersonic flyby over the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). John C. Stennis is participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Ronald Dejarnett.)

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GULF OF ALASKA (June 19, 2009) An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from the Eightballers of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8 embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), flies off the coast of Alaska. John C. Stennis and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 are participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Josue L. Escobosa.)

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GULF OF ALASKA (June 19, 2009) The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) is underway off the coast of Alaska. John C. Stennis and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 are participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Josue L. Escobosa.)

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GULF OF ALASKA (June 19, 2009) An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from the Eightballers of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8 takes off from the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). John C. Stennis and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 are participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Josue L. Escobosa.)

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GULF OF ALASKA (June 19, 2009) An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from the Eightballers of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8 takes off from the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). John C. Stennis and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 are participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Josue L. Escobosa.)

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GULF OF ALASKA (June 19, 2009) The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) is underway off the coast of Alaska. John C. Stennis and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 are participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Josue L. Escobosa.)

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GULF OF ALASKA (June 19, 2009) Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuels) 1st Class Counsil Griffin, left, from Detroit, Mich., Lt. Cmdr. Chuck Villegas, from Los Angeles, and Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Taylor Miller, from Rockville, Md., monitor aircraft movements and operations in flight deck control during flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). John C. Stennis and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 are participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kyle Steckler.)

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PACIFIC OCEAN (June 17, 2009) Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) Airman Manolito Recto, from Vallejo, Calif., stands flight line safety watch as an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the Argonauts of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 launches from the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). John C. Stennis and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 are participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kyle Steckler.)

Related: Photo Essay: Alaska Gov Sarah Palin Aboard USS John C Stennis

COMBAT CAMERA More Combat Camera Imagery on THE TENSION

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US Navy Updates Confirmed Cases of H1N1 (Swine Flu) to 328

News in Balance
News from the U.S. Navy.

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2009 -- The U.S. Navy updated its confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza June 26 to 328 sailors, of which 304 have returned to duty.

The Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED), the headquarters for Navy medicine, continues to monitor the health of the force to ensure necessary precautions are being taken to educate and safeguard Sailors, civilian personnel and family members.

Additional information on the H1N1 influenza is available at:

(Report from a U.S. Navy news release.)

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Video Package: Gov Sarah Palin Visits Troops at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo

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News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2009 -- Embedded above is a video package made from "Combat Camera Video: Gov Sarah Palin Visits Troops at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo" b-roll about the Alaska Governor visiting troops at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo and meeting with local teenagers from the area. (Produced by Capt. Jonathan Shiroma, 69th Public Affairs Detachment. Length: 00:01:58.)

COMBAT CAMERA More Military Imagery on THE TENSION

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Combat Camera Video: Gov Sarah Palin Visits Troops at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo

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NOTE: News readers click here to watch the video.

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2009 -- Embedded above is a b-roll video Gov. Palin visiting Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo. Scenes include the governor arriving by helicopter, visiting with troops, and giving a speech to the soldiers. (Produced by Spc. Joseph Samudio, 69th Public Affairs Detachment. Length: 00:04:49.)

COMBAT CAMERA More Military Imagery on THE TENSION

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US Airpower Summary, June 26, 2009: A-10s Target Anti-Afghan Forces

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A-10 Thunderbolt IIs provide close-air support to ground troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. The A-10's excellent maneuverability at low air speeds and altitude and its highly accurate weapons delivery make it an ideal aircraft for supporting coalition operations. (U.S Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lance Cheung.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, June 26, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations June 25, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

In Afghanistan, Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs strafed anti-Afghan forces personnel in a Surkhabad orchard with their 30 mm cannons. The enemy had opened fire on an Afghan and coalition ground unit with rocket-propelled grenades.

In the vicinity of Lashkar Gah, a coalition aircraft and a Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet employed guided bomb unit-12 and -38 munitions to target enemy forces engaging Afghan and coalition military personnel. The strikes destroyed enemy fighting positions in a compound and in a tree line, ending RPG and automatic weapons fire coming from those spots. Later, a coalition aircraft flew a show of force over a friendly convoy to prevent it from being attacked.

A Navy F/A-18C Hornet dropped a GBU-12 against a hostile fighting position in Sangin after coalition personnel detected an enemy group there armed with RPGs, assault weapons and a recoilless rifle preparing to attack. The strike destroyed the position and prevented the enemy attack from taking place.

Near Tarin Kowt, an F/A-18C employed GBU-38s against the entrance of a cave when anti-Afghan gunmen using it for a natural bunker started firing from it. The bomb closed the cave and eliminated the hostile position's threat to Afghan security force personnel. In a separate engagement in the same area, an Air Force B-1B Lancer and an F/A-18E conducted shows of force preventing an enemy attack after a group of anti-Afghan forces was spotted readying for an ambush.

In Landar, an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle conducted a show of force during coalition ground operations. The maneuver provided additional presence and made it more difficult for enemy units to create conflict.

An additional F-15E flew a show of force to deter anti-Afghan forces activity near Qal-E-Naw. The aircraft remained in the area providing top cover for friendly ground troops.

An A-10 carried out a show of force in the vicinity of Tirgari and performed tactical reconnaissance in order to protect a friendly convoy after one of the vehicles was hit by a roadside bomb. The unit was able to regroup and move on safely.

Joint terminal attack controllers assigned to coalition units verified the success of these missions.

In total, 73 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Nineteen Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Afghanistan. In addition, two Navy aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.

In Iraq, coalition aircraft flew 24 close-air-support missions for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions integrated and synchronized with coalition ground forces, protected key infrastructure, provided overwatch for reconstruction activities and helped to deter and disrupt hostile activities.

Twenty-four Air Force and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Iraq. In addition, two Air Force aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.

Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft and C-17 Globemaster IIIs provided intra-theater heavy airlift, helping to sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa.

Approximately 150 airlift sorties were flown, 400 tons of cargo were delivered and about 3,000 passengers were transported. This included about 71,600 pounds of aerial resupply cargo dropped over Afghanistan.

Coalition C-130 crews flew as part of operations in Afghanistan or Iraq.

On June 24, Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and "Guardian Angel" teams transported six patients to coalition field hospitals from locations in Afghanistan. Pararescue team members located, rescued and began treatment to stabilize patients in the battlefield. The HH-60G transported these patients to field hospitals in less time than it takes for a civilian patient to reach emergency care by ambulance in most major cities.

Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 55 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.0 million pounds of fuel to 253 receiving aircraft.

(Report from a U.S. Air Force news release.)

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Pentagon Identifies Army Casualty (OIF)

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2009 -- The following news release made available Friday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement identifying a casualty:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Spc. Joshua L. Hazlewood, 22, of Manvel, Texas, died June 25 in Arifjan, Kuwait, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 614th Automated Cargo Documentation Detachment.

The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation.
(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

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Pentagon Identifies Army Casualty (OEF)

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2009 -- The following news release made available Friday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement identifying a casualty:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

1st Lt. Brian N. Bradshaw, 24, of Steilacoom, Wash., died June 25 in Kheyl, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.
(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

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Pentagon Identifies Army Casualty (OIF)

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2009 -- The following news release made available Friday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement identifying a casualty:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Spc. Casey L. Hills, 23, of Salem, Illinois, died June 24 in Iraq of injuries sustained during a vehicle roll-over. He was assigned to the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment, Pago Pago, American Samoa.

The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation.
(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

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Wire: Obama Executive Order to Allow Indefinite Detention of Terror Suspects

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2009 -- Newswire services this evening reported that the Obama administration, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close Guantanamo, has drafted an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.

The Washington Post said such an order would embrace the position of former president George W. Bush that certain people can be detained without trial for long periods under the laws of war.

After months of internal debate over how to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, White House officials are growing increasingly worried that reaching quick agreement with Congress on a new detention system may prove impossible. Several officials said there is concern in the White House that the administration may not be able to close the facility by the president's January deadline, the Washington Post said.

White House spokesman Ben LaBolt did not directly respond to press questions about an executive order but said the administration would address the cases of Guantanamo detainees in a manner "consistent with the national security interests of the United States and the interests of justice."

This is a developing story.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: White House Drafts Executive Order to Allow Indefinite Detention of Terror Suspects

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Pentagon: Air Force Announces Fiscal 2010 Force Structure Realignments

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2009 -- The following news release made available Friday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement announcing the Air Force proposed force structure realignment for fiscal 2010:
Today the U.S. Air Force announced its proposed force structure realignment for fiscal 2010. It reflects adjustments which will provide adequate resources to accomplish the Air Force mission.

"The force structure announcement reflects our best effort to meet the expanding Air Force mission areas and growing joint demands," said Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force chief of staff.

It includes a summary of military and civilian personnel changes and reassignment of aircraft at Air Force bases for the upcoming fiscal year. It does not include programmatic actions in fiscal 2011 and beyond.

"We've made some hard choices," Schwartz said. "However, we believe this is the best overall design to meet America's national security needs and support to the joint fight."

The announcement specifies the force structure changes experienced by the Total Force-Air Force active duty, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve. Implementation of these actions will occur only after completion of appropriate environmental analyses.
(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

Document download: Fiscal 2010 Force Structure Realignments

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OEF Summary, June 26, 2009: Troops in Afghanistan Find Heroin, Destroy Bomb Near School

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2009 -- Afghan and coalition forces detained several suspected Taliban militants overnight during an operation designed to disrupt Taliban bombing and rocket attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

In the province’s Nad Ali district, a combined force patrolled near the village of Marjeh, to compounds where intelligence sources reported a known Taliban commander was located.

While clearing the compounds, the force encountered a threat. Officials did not provide details of the threat, but said it was “eliminated” after several escalation-of-force measures.

The force completed the search without further incident, detained a handful of suspected militants, uncovered about 350 pounds of black-tar heroin and confiscated an AK-47 rifle. The heroin was destroyed.

No Afghan or coalition forces or noncombatants were injured in the operation, officials said.

In other news from Afghanistan, Afghan National Police and coalition forces found and eliminated six insurgent bombs near a village school in the Khayr Kot district of Paktika province June 24.

A coalition forces route-clearance patrol and explosive ordnance disposal team conducted a controlled detonation to eliminate the threat.

This was the fifth incident in the last week involving insurgent bombs being placed near schools and educational facilities in eastern Afghanistan, officials said.

National police and coalition forces recently responded to and eliminated the threat from a bomb found near a teachers center and public hospital in the Behsood district of Nangarhar province, and insurgent bombs caused extensive damage to educational facilities in three other locations in the region, officials said.

No one was injured in the school explosions.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Afghanistan news releases.)

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OEF Update, June 26, 2009: Troops Conduct Anti-Taliban Operation in Helmand Province

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

KABUL, Afghanistan, June 26, 2009 -- Afghan and coalition forces detained several suspected Taliban militants during an operation overnight to disrupt Taliban improvised explosive device and rocket attacks against Afghan national security forces and coalition forces in Helmand.

In Nad Ali District, Helmand province, a combined force patrolled near the village of Marjeh, about 25 km west of Lashkar Gah, to compounds where intelligence sources reported a known Taliban commander to be located.

While clearing the compounds, the force encountered a threat. After performing several escalation of force measures to no avail, the threat was eliminated.

The force completed the search without further incident, detained a handful of suspected militants, uncovered about 350 pounds of black tar heroin bundled in 20-pound bags and confiscated one AK-47 rifle. The black tar heroin was destroyed in place.

No ANSF, coalition forces or non-combatants were injured in this operation.

(From a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.)

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OEF Update, June 26, 2009: US Servicemember Dies of Non-Combat Related Injury in Afghanistan

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

KABUL, Afghanistan, June 26, 2009 -- One U.S. servicemember died Friday of noncombat related causes following a vehicle accident in eastern Afghanistan.

The incident is under investigation.

The service member's name is being withheld pending next of kin notification.

(From a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.)

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Living History: First B-36 Peacemaker, June 26, 1948

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On June 26, 1948, the 7th Bombardment Group received the Air Force's first operational B-36 Peacemaker heavy bomber. The B-36 was the largest American bomber every produced as its 230 foot wingspan was almost 50 percent longer than that of the B-52 Stratofortress that replaced it. (U.S. Air Force illustration.)

Living History:

WASHINGTON, Jun 26, 2009 -- On June 26, 1948, the 7th Bombardment Group received the Air Force's first operational B-36 Peacemaker heavy bomber. The B-36 was the largest American bomber every produced as its 230 foot wingspan was almost 50 percent longer than that of the B-52 Stratofortress that replaced it. During its eight years of service, it was one of America's major deterrents to aggression, and it was famous for "never having fired a shot in anger." The huge six-engine bomber was designed to deliver nuclear weapons against an enemy on the other side of the globe.

On Feb. 12, 1959, the last B-36 Peacemaker was retired from the Air Force inventory when an all-jet bomber force took over the aircraft's duties.

Development of the huge plane began in 1941. The Army Air Forces wanted a bomber that could fly from the United States to Europe, drop bombs, and then return. The prototype first flew Aug. 8, 1946, and operational models were delivered to Strategic Air Command in 1948.

The debate over the projected combat effectiveness of the B-36 was very intense in the years immediately following World War II when defense spending was minimal. The U.S. Navy, in particular, was a strong opponent of B-36 procurement. During the -B model production run, the Air Force authorized the addition of four jet engines mounted in two outer wing nacelles. The jets were an attempt to improve the performance of the B-36 by increasing the maximum speed and altitude for the aircraft. Most of the B-36B fleet was retrofitted with the jet engine modification and re-designated B-36D or RB-36D.

The fleet was not fully operational until 1951. Although the aircraft had great range, the slow cruising speeds at combat weight (about 225,000 lbs.) caused the entire B-36 program to be criticized as outdated in the post-World War II era of jet development.

By 1952 all of the B-36s were delivered as or converted to "J" models, which had improvements over other models and stronger landing gear.

SPECIFICATIONS
  • Span: 230 feet
  • Length: 162 feet 1 inch
  • Height: 46 feet 9 inches
  • Weight: 410,000 lbs. (max. gross weight)
  • Armament: Sixteen M24 20mm cannons in eight nose, tail and fuselage turrets; plus bombs--nuclear or 86,000 lbs. of conventional (Featherweight III aircraft had only 20mm cannons)
  • Engines: Six Pratt & Whitney R-4360-53 radials of 3,800 horsepower each and four General Electric J47-GE-19 turbojets of 5,200 lbs. thrust each
  • Crew: 13 after Featherweight III conversion; 15 otherwise
PERFORMANCE
  • Maximum speed: 411 mph. [418 mph. for B-36J] at combat weight
  • Cruising speed: 230 mph
  • Range: approximately 10,000 miles
  • Service Ceiling: 43,600 feet (at combat weight)
(Sources compiled from Air Force History Support Office and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force; from a report that appeared on AF.mil.)

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wire: Obama Threatens Veto of Defense Budget Bill Over F-22, F-35

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2009 -- Newswire services this evening reported that the U.S. House of Representatives was set to approve on Thursday a $550.4 billion defense authorization bill for fiscal 2010 that has drawn a veto threat from President Barack Obama because it contains money for fighter jets he does not want.

The bill also authorizes $130 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the fiscal year that begins October 1.

The Reuters news service reported that the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said it supported the overall bill but the president's senior advisers would recommend a veto unless some provisions were dropped.

The OMB said it strongly objected to the House decision to include $369 million in advanced procurement funds to buy 12 more F-22 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp despite a Pentagon decision to halt production at 187.

The administration also objected to House lawmakers adding $603 million to the bill to continue work on an alternate F-35 fighter engine being built by General Electric Co and Rolls-Royce Group Plc.

The OMB said the changes would delay the fielding of the F-35 and have an adverse effect on the Pentagon's overall strike fighter inventory, Reuters said.

Update: The Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday agreed to authorize funding for seven more F-22 jets.

This is a developing story.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: House nears vote on $550.4 billion defense bill

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Wire: Iraq Violence Surges Back as Bombings Kill 200 Ahead of US Withdrawal

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2009 -- Newswire services this evening reported that the bombing of a Baghdad bus station Thursday pushed the death toll from a week-long series of blasts near Shiite targets to about 200, calling into question Iraq's ability to provide security as U.S. combat troops withdraw from cities.

The Associated Press said the wave of attacks is undermining Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's declaration of a "great victory" over the "foreign occupation" in the U.S. pullout from urban areas by next Tuesday's deadline. He has declared June 30 a national holiday to be marked with celebrations.

On Sunday a truck bomb packed with nearly a ton of explosives exploded in a Shiite town just outside the ethnically tense city of Kirkuk, killing 82 people. Officials blamed al-Qaida in Iraq for the attack.

On Monday, the increased violence killed more than 30 people in Baghdad's Shiite neighborhoods.

On Wednesday, a massive blast in Sadr City left 78 people dead and over 200 wounded.

The Kirkuk bombing and the Sadr City blast were the two deadliest attacks this year.

On Thursday, a bombing at a bus station in a Shiite neighborhood in southwest Baghdad killed at least seven people and wounded 31, police said. Another three bombs and a mortar strike killed two others around the capital. Nine American soldiers were wounded in two roadside bombings against a convoy in eastern Baghdad, the U.S. military said. And a roadside bombing killed a man in the northern city of Mosul, AP said.

That left the death toll since Saturday at about 200.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: Iraqi bombings kill scores ahead of US withdrawal

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Photo Essay: Alaska Gov Sarah Palin Aboard USS John C Stennis

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GULF OF ALASKA (June 22, 2009) Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and husband Todd Palin greet the crew of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) during an informal address in hangar bay two. Palin embarked as a distinguished visitor aboard John C. Stennis during the ship's participation in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate.)

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GULF OF ALASKA (June 22, 2009) Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and husband Todd Palin greet the crew of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) during an informal address in hangar bay two. Palin embarked as a distinguished visitor aboard John C. Stennis during the ship's participation in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Josue L. Escobosa.)

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GULF OF ALASKA (June 22, 2009) Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, right, listens as Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) 1st Class John Childs, from Fayetteville, N.C., explains the basic components and functions of an arresting gear engine in arresting gear room three aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). Palin embarked as a distinguished visitor aboard John C. Stennis during the ship's participation in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate.)

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GULF OF ALASKA (June 22, 2009) Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, left, listens as Air Boss Capt. Gordon Smith, from Mercer Island, Wash., explains the responsibilities of coordinating aircraft movement on the flight deck from Primary Flight Control aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). Palin embarked as a distinguished visitor aboard John C. Stennis during the ship's participation in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate.)

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GULF OF ALASKA (June 22, 2009) Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, left, and her husband, Todd Palin, address the crew of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis. John C. Stennis and Carrier Air Wing 9 are participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by by Petty Officer 2nd Class Byron C. Linder.)

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