House defense leader at Wright Patt, says AF pilot shortage growing

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 3:43 PM
Updated: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 4:45 PM

Making his first trek to Wright-Patterson, House Armed Services Committee chairman and U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said the shortage of Air Force pilots could exceed 1,900 based on what the high-level congressional leader was told last week.

The Air Force has been “hemorrhaging” pilots in a growing shortage that shows the impact sequestration has had on the military, a top congressional defense leader said.

Making his first trek to Wright-Patterson, House Armed Services Committee chairman and U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said the shortage of Air Force pilots could exceed 1,900 based on what the high-level congressional leader was told last week. At the end of fiscal year 2016, the Air Force estimated it was about 1,500 aviators short.

“This is an example of where cutting the defense budget by 20 percent since 2010 has real consequences,” Thornberry said at a press conference Monday at the Miami Valley base with U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, chairman of the House Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee.

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Thornberry and Turner went on a private tour Monday of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, which dedicated a $29.5 million foreign technology exploitation facility last Friday, and met with Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, commander of the Air Force Materiel Command, to discuss defense needs.

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Turner said sequestration, or automatic defense budget cuts, has had a “devastating impact across the board” to the Department of Defense. The spending reductions were enacted under the Budget Control Act of 2011 and meant to last a decade.

“This is all about we need an adequately funded budget with consistency so that the Department of Defense can plan,” he said.

On Friday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order expanding Air Force authority to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots for up to three years, but an Air Force spokesperson said the military branch did not plan currently to pull those pilots back into the cockpit, the Associated Press reported.

The Air Force was limited to recalling 25 retired pilots under current law.

“We are short (aircraft) maintainers in the thousands and even if we are able to pass the ideal defense budget next week, you can’t just flip a switch and have a competent fighter pilot or a competent maintainer appear out of thin air,” Thornberry said. “It takes time to develop the expertise, it takes money to go through the training.

“That’s part of the reason the Air Force is looking at these other authorities to bring people back in because we’ve been hemorrhaging pilots,” the congressman added. “When they can’t fly, they leave.”

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Pentagon spending has been capped at last fiscal year’s levels since Oct. 1 when Congress failed to pass a new defense bill before the start of the 2017 fiscal year. Since then, the military has operated under a continuing resolution, set to expire Dec. 8.

“One of the highest priorities … in the next few weeks in Congress is to have an adequate defense budget passed and signed into law so that these people (at Wright-Patterson) have the resources and the funding stability they need to just focus on their work,” Thornberry said. “They don’t need to worry about Washington politics interfering with what they do because it is so important to the country.”

While the Pentagon has pushed as recently as this month for a Base Realignment and Closure process, citing nearly 20 percent excess capacity, Thornberry said an analysis is needed first before bases close or units relocate.

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“Before you start closing bases or giving up training ranges, you better know what size military you will need because once you give something up, you’re never going to get it back,” he said. “Certainly for me, I don’t rule it out, but I want to see the data and I want to see the assumptions that it’s based upon before me move forward.”

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Neon sign sparks small fire outside Quincy’s in Dayton

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 4:58 AM
Updated: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 5:16 AM

A neon sign caught fire outside of the restaurant at 865 North Main Street around 3:30 a.m., according to our first responder.

A neon sign caught fire early this morning outside Quincy’s restaurant.

Crews were called around 3:30 a.m. to 865 N. Main St. The road was closed at Miami Boulevard for a few hours as Dayton fire crews were on scene.

>>17-year-old arrested in death of Dayton mother shot in front of 2 children

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Flood watch, heavy rain throughout the day

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 5:32 AM
Updated: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 1:00 PM

Heavy rain will increase the flooding threat today. Storms tonight may produce damaging winds.

A Flood Watch is in effect through 10 a.m. Sunday for the entire region.

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Strong to severe storms possible tonight
  • Threat for isolated damaging winds and flooding
  • Additional 1 to 3 inches of rain possible through Sunday morning

>> Weekend brings more rain, threat for strong storms

5 Day Forecast with Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs

Today: Rain may be heavy at times, especially toward the evening. A few thunderstorms are possible in the evening and overnight. Isolated damaging winds and flooding will be the main threat tonight. Rainfall amounts of 1 inch to 3 inches will be possible by Sunday morning. Temperatures will rise into the lower to middle 50s into the evening, then will fall late tonight as a cold front passes.

>> Great Miami River expected to crest this weekend; where will flooding occur?

Sunday: Any rain early will end quickly then clouds linger. Flooding still possible as rivers and streams continue to rise. Highs will be in the lower 50s and it will be windy at times. There will be gradually decreasing clouds through the night and chilly with temperatures falling into the lower 30s. Watch for isolated slick spots late with any leftover standing water. 

Monday: There will be a lot of sunshine and mild with highs in the lower 50s.

Tuesday: There will be mostly sunny skies with mild temperatures in the upper 50s.

Wednesday: Clouds return with the chance for showers. Highs will top out near 60 degrees.

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Red Cross says 21 staffers paid for sexual service in past 3 years

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 9:57 AM

Red Cross: 21 Staffers Paid for Sexual Service in Last 3 Years

A member of the International Committee of the Red Cross said that in the past three years, 21 staff members have resigned or were fired for “paying for sexual services,” CNN reported.

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Two other staff members suspected of sexual misconduct also did not have their contracts renewed, according to Yves Daccord, director general of the ICRC.

"This behavior is a betrayal of the people and the communities we are there to serve. It is against human dignity and we should have been more vigilant in preventing this," Daccord said.

Daccord said staffers are required to adhere to the ICRC’s code of conduct, which bans paying for sexual services. The organization has more than 1,700 staff members worldwide, CNN reported.

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Man found dead on neighbor’s property in Warren County

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 10:33 AM

The death of a 62-year old man found dead Friday morning on his neighbor’s property is not considered suspicious.

Neighbors found the man between 10:30 and 11 a.m. in the 800 block of North Nixon Road in Turtlecreek Twp., Lt. Shaun Embleton of Warren County Sheriff’s Office said. 

>>Flood watch, advisory in effect; heavy rain throughout the day

The name of the deceased man was not released Saturday, pending notification of family.

An autopsy is scheduled to be performed and the death is not considered suspicious at this time, Embleton said.

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