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Top Air Force leaders gather at Wright-Patt

Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 @ 9:53 AM


            Wright-Patterson Air Force Base employs more than 27,000 employees and is the largest single-site employer in Ohio. The base has a $4.1 billion economic impact in Ohio. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base employs more than 27,000 employees and is the largest single-site employer in Ohio. The base has a $4.1 billion economic impact in Ohio. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

The Air Force’s top leadership brass was at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base this week in an annual closed-door gathering known as Corona Top.

Air Force officials were tight lipped on the meeting this year,set to end Thursday, but the event focused on strategy, acquisition, science and technology and innovation, according to Air Force spokesman Michael Martin.

Wright-Patterson is a key hub for the Air Force as headquarters for the Air Force Materiel Command and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

“Wright Patterson Air Force Base is a logical venue because so much of the needed expertise is resident there,” said Loren B. Thompson, a Virginia-based defense industry consultant. “Some insiders consider Wright-Patt the best base that the Air Force owns.

Thompson said the issues debated behind closed doors likely included “plans for ‘multi-domain’ warfare that require coordinated Air Force operations in the air, in space, and on the electromagnetic spectrum; concern about growing threats to U.S. space systems; and the status of major developmental programs such as a new tanker and bomber.”

Maurice McDonald, Dayton Development Coalition executive vice president of aerospace and defense, said having the future of the Air Force strategized at Wright-Patterson makes sense.

“Many of the missions of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are about the future of the Air Force and that truly corresponds to the activities at Corona,” he said.

The event draws, which draws heavily on support from the base, was at Wright-Patterson in 1999, 2003 and every year since 2006.

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This Wright-Patt office helps broker our military sales to foreign countries. Here’s how it’s changing.

Published: Saturday, June 16, 2018 @ 10:12 AM


            A Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II performs at the Vectren Dayton Air Show in June, 2017. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
            Ty Greenlees
A Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II performs at the Vectren Dayton Air Show in June, 2017. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Ty Greenlees)

Foreign military sales at a Wright-Patterson agency are likely trending to a “new norm” of about half of last year, according to the leader of the Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate.

Brig. Gen. Greg Gutterman, outgoing leader of AFSAC at Wright-Patterson who retires next month after three years in the top spot, projected sales of about $13 billion to $14 billion – although figures won’t be final until later this year.

In 2017, sales nearly tripled compared to the prior year, reaching $27.5 billion, driven by the $13.4 billion sale of 36 F-15 jets to Qatar.

Overall, the United States expects to deliver $61.4 billion in foreign military sales by the end of the fiscal year, according to the State Department, compared to $41.9 billion last year.

Some of the big ticket pending sales included 34 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Belgium for $6.5 billion, 14 F-16s to Slovakia at a cost of $2.9 billion and six C-130 aircraft to Germany at a cost of $1.4 billion, according to the Defense Security and Cooperation Agency.

Rival adversaries

As China has aggressively expanded its military presence in the South China Sea, and North Korea has — until the most recent Singapore summit-brokered deal — threatened war with the United States, Japan and South Korea, arm sales have spread throughout Asia, Gutterman said.

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In the Middle East, the threat of the Islamic State has fueled sales, also, he said.

“The global environment is certainly creating a little bit of demand,” he said.

Now and in the future, sales to foreign countries of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the KC-46 Pegasus aerial refueling tanker were expected to be big boosters, he said. So, too, are demands for drone and munitions.

One defense analyst said the United States weapons export process is “slow and bureaucratic” compared to foreign competitors.

“It’s a global market and we have competitors in that global market who are willing to move very quickly,” said Andrew Hunter, director of the Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group and a senior fellow of the International Security Program at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Security.

The commercial market is often a faster alternative for some weapons buyers for items such as small drones, he said.

A leading defense industry organization has called for a speed up in the export “review, approval and advocacy” process to grow the U.S. defense industrial base.

“Our industry is competing against our adversaries in a global defense marketplace where every export opportunity is a zero-sum, time sensitive competition with an enduring impact on American influence, security and our defense industrial base,” a May 29 letter from Aerospace Industries Association officials said to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The State Department recently announced a push to speed up conventional arms transfers as part of a push to tie economic security to national security needs.

Speeding up wait times

AFSAC has been under an Air Force directive to shorten wait times for customers.

“The foreign military sales process is not broken, but it is certainly burdened,” Gutterman said.

The agency’s workforce made significant gains in cutting down wait times in recent years, he said.

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Gutterman, 52, the second longest-serving AFSAC director who’s next assignment in civilian life will be writing books at his Beavercreek home, focused on improving communication and accountability among different agencies with oversight of foreign sales and reducing customer wait times.

“The way that we communicate has been formalized and in the past it was really the power of the personalities,” he said.

In the most recent statistics released, AFSAC reported the time from when a foreign request is received to acceptance has dropped from nearly 151 days in 2016 to 88.5 days in fiscal year 2017.

In more complex cases, such as the sale of a fighter jet, the time between when an offer is received and acceptance has dropped from 228 days in fiscal year 2016 to less than 203 days in 2017, AFSAC has said.

Delivery of a major weapons system, such as an F-16 fighter jet, may take four or five years.

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Memphis Belle star to appear at Air Force museum

Published: Friday, June 15, 2018 @ 12:12 PM
Updated: Friday, June 15, 2018 @ 4:59 PM


            The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force opened the Memphis Belle exhibit to the public on Thursday after a 13-year restoration. Staff and volunteers worked 55,000 hours to restore the iconic World War II bomber. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
            Ty Greenlees
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force opened the Memphis Belle exhibit to the public on Thursday after a 13-year restoration. Staff and volunteers worked 55,000 hours to restore the iconic World War II bomber. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Ty Greenlees)

An actor in the Hollywood film Memphis Belle will be at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force to see the real Memphis Belle on Saturday.

Matthew Modine, who played a pilot in the film and whose uncle, Wylder Modine, was a World WarII B-17 bomber pilot, will sign autographs between 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

He’ll also speak at 4 p.m. the Air Force Museum Theater before a showing of the 1944 film “Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress.”

After 13 years of restoration, the iconic B-17 Memphis Belle was rolled out in a new exhibit at the museum May 17, 2018, the 75th anniversary of the completion of its 25th and final combat mission over Europe. The four-engine Boeing-built bomber was the first to finish 25 missions and return to the United States on a celebrated war bonds tour.

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AFRL’s top scientist takes job at Ohio State

Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 @ 2:35 PM


            Morley Stone former chief technology officer at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, will become a senior vice president for research at Ohio State University. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
            Ty Greenlees
Morley Stone former chief technology officer at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, will become a senior vice president for research at Ohio State University. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Ty Greenlees)

A former high-ranking scientist at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson will become senior vice president for research at Ohio State University.

Morley O. Stone will earn a base salary of $420,000 to oversee an $864 million research program throughout the university when he takes the job in August, according to Ohio State.

Stone, who recently retired, helped open a downtown Dayton satellite office to collaborate with innovators and technology start-ups and pursued commercialization of technology out of AFRL’s labs.

He has more than 25 years experience in research and development and helped oversee a $2.3 billion internal Air Force budget and $2.5 billion budget funded by government agencies and industry at AFRL.

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He was involved in a wide-range of research, spanning molecular systems biotechnology to human performance. He started as a material research engineer at the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate at Wright-Patterson in 1992 and rose to chief technology officer of AFRL.

“Throughout his career, Dr. Stone has built strong, strategic collaboration with academia, industry and government organizations, including Ohio State,” university President Michael Drake sad in a statement.

A former chief scientist at the 711th Human Performance Wing and a manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Stone led AFRL partnerships with DARPA, the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Defense Health Agency.

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Stone has more than a dozen patents and invention disclosures and has more than 90 published papers and book chapters, OSU said.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Wright State University in 1991 and a doctorate in biochemistry from Carnegie Melon University.

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Today’s veterans include more women, minorities

Published: Monday, June 11, 2018 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Monday, June 11, 2018 @ 5:14 PM


            Amber Meyer, Army veteran BARRIE BARBER/STAFF
Amber Meyer, Army veteran BARRIE BARBER/STAFF

New Census Bureau figures show the post 9/11 generation of veterans is the most diverse in history, helping to erase some of the stereotypes of the past.

“I still get a lot of people that look at me in shock, like, ‘you were a veteran?’” said Ericka Carter, 36, of Dayton, an African American woman and an Army veteran.

Nearly half of those who served after 9/11 are under the age of 35. Of that group, 17 percent are women, 15.3 percent are African-American and 12.1 are Hispanic, according to the Census.

At 3.3 million, they number nearly half the size of the population of Vietnam veterans.

Many had multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, another distinction set apart from previous generations who may have had to ship off once to war.

Some 46 percent have some college education, while 32 percent have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, the Census data shows.

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“There were moms who joined right after 9/11 happened because of their call to duty,” said Amber Meyer, 34, of Huber Heights, who enlisted in the Army and became a logistics specialist and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

They joined for different reasons: To find a job, get money for college, to serve in uniform, or all three, veterans say.

“For me, it was doing something different,” said Danielle Cardin, 27, a nursing student at Wright State University and a former Air Force medic from the Chicago area. “It was getting out of my hometown doing something with a better purpose.”

Long history

The military has overcome many barriers since President Harry S. Truman desegregated the armed services in 1948. A ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly was dropped in 2011 and more recently, the Pentagon announced in 2015 it would open all combat jobs to women, including infantry and Special Forces.

“The military has always been at the forefront of creating diverse environments of desegregation, and it’s not always been a smooth process,” said Seth Gordon, director of the Veteran and Military Center at Wright State University. “There’s a long history of units of color being denied the opportunity to do certain things and being granted the opportunity and then excelling beyond most persons’ expectations.”

Even with more diversity in the ranks, some service members faced discrimination in uniform.

At her first duty station out of training at Fort Hood in Texas to be an Army mechanic, Carter said she encountered gender and racial prejudice when a supervisor refused to issue a tool box.

“Being an African-American woman mechanic was definitely difficult and great all at the same time because I got to expand boundaries and, I like to say, prove everybody wrong,” she said. “I wasn’t shy, I wasn’t timid.”

Even so, many obstacles stayed in place.

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“I went up the chain of command, like I was supposed to, and (the supervisor) was retiring so they just let him do what he wanted to do,” said the California native, eventually transferring to an ID card station. “For a while, I cried, I was scared, but after a while I got over that and I continued on a mission to be a really good soldier and I figured out how to do that.

“It was eye opening and real,” she added. “However, I do think that I most definitely changed, or I hope that I changed, some people’s views going through that because they definitely started to warm up and be nicer.”

For others, serving meant seeing everyone in uniform the same way, Morse said.

“From my perspective, I was a bit color blind in the sense that the military offered me a unique point of view of everybody was the same,” said Morse, who was stationed at Hill Air Force Base in Utah after boot camp. “We all wore the same uniform. We were all addressed by rank. Your status wasn’t determined by your ethnicity or your race. Your status was determined by your rank.”

‘It was very painful’

Deploying overseas has always led to challenges at home, but the number of deployments and number of service members with families being deployed meant more separations from loved ones.

Meyer, a Dayton native, deployed as an Army logistics specialist to Iraq, came home to start a family, and then deployed to Afghanistan.

Leaving a young child behind the second time she deployed “was probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to do,” she said. “It was very painful. But luckily for me, my family was able to help me take care of my child and keep the contact between us.”

Service members who are married to another service member often have additional family separation issues.

Loghan Young, 29, and Joseph P. Young, 34, both Army veterans who live in Dayton, have four children between them and know the rigors of family demands while deployed.

“I think it’s difficult,” said Loghan Young, who was a lead convoy driver in Afghanistan. “You see more people that have a lot of child care issues and communication issues with their family because it’s not necessarily the military’s fault because we have a job to do, but I think the military is hard on families.”

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The couple, who met at a recruiting station, deployed together for six months in Afghanistan.

“It made it easier and it made it harder in some ways,” said Joseph Young, a former security forces soldier.

“Everyone in our unit was pretty understanding, pretty open, but at the same time you can feel some tension some days,” he said. “It was a little different seeing my wife roll out into possible danger.”

‘I think everybody has been impacted’

With the U.S. engaged in so many conflicts around the world — one U.S. service member was killed in Somalia Friday, while four others were injured — the post 9/11 generation stands out for another reason: 36.1 percent have service-connected disabilities, the highest among all veteran groups, according to the Census.

In 2016, over a third of post 9/11 veterans were enrolled in VA health care and 6 percent were without health insurance.

“I think everybody has been impacted a little bit,” Meyer said. “How do you go to war and not be impacted in some way? I know not all wounds are visible and a lot of the Census is probably reflecting the invisible wound as well.”

Veterans are more knowledgeable about services available to them, which may push more to seek health treatments, Loghan Young said.

“The big key there is awareness,” she said.

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By the Numbers

Total number: 3.3 million, half the size of Vietnam veterans

Percentage of women: 17 percent

Percentage of African Americans: 15.3 percent

Percentage of Hispanic origin: 12.1 percent

Under age 35: 47.6 percent

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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