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The Air Force is pulling a quarter of its C-130s out of service for wing crack inspections
The Air Force has pulled roughly one quarter of its C-130 transport planes out of service after "atypical cracks" were discovered on planes' wings during maintenance, Air Mobility Command has announced.
Air Force Magazine reporter Rachel Cohen first reported on Thursday that 123 out of the service's 450 C-130s required the wing crack inspections.
So far, eight of those planes have been inspected and returned to service, said Air Mobility Command spokesman Maj. Jonathan Simmons.
"Each of the 123 aircraft will undergo inspections, projected to take approximately eight hours per aircraft," Simmons told Task & Purpose on Thursday. "These inspections will occur at the locations the aircraft were at the time of the TCTO [time compliance technical order] and the overall timeline depends upon the capacity to inspect at those locations. Operational requirements will be a consideration in this timeline."
The temporary loss of that many C-130s is not expected to affect operations overseas, according to an Aug. 7 Air Mobility Command news release.
Gen. Maryanne Miller, head of Air Mobility Command, ordered the immediate inspections for the cracks, which were discovered on the lower center wing joint, known as the "rainbow fitting," the AMC news release says.
"Each aircraft that is inspected with no defect found will be immediately returned to service," Simmons said.
The inspections should take place on C-130H and newer J models with more than 15,000 flight hours that have not received the extended service life center wing box, the news release says.
This is the latest body blow to the Air Force, which has been struggling to keep older aircraft flying despite recent increases in defense spending since President Donald Trump took office.
Air Force Times reporter Stephen Losey recently reported that the mission capable rates for all Air Force aircraft dropped from 77.9 percent in fiscal 2012 to 69.97 percent in fiscal 2018.
At the end of July, only seven of the Air Force's 61 B-1B Lancers could fly, Air Force Global Strike Command told Task & Purpose at the time.
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis had ordered the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps to have 80 percent of their fighter aircraft able to fly by Oct. 1, but Breaking Defense Editor Colin Clark reported in July that the F-35 fleet is not expected to meet that threshold due to a lack of parts, such as its specially coated canopy.
While the U.S. military wants to keep roughly 8,600 troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban's deputy leader has just made clear that his group wants all U.S. service members to leave the country as part of any peace agreement.
"The withdrawal of foreign forces has been our first and foremost demand," Sirajuddin Haqqani wrote in a story for the New York Times on Thursday.
In the wee hours of Jan. 8, Tehran retaliated over the U.S. killing of Iran's most powerful general by bombarding the al-Asad air base in Iraq.
Among the 2,000 troops stationed there was U.S. Army Specialist Kimo Keltz, who recalls hearing a missile whistling through the sky as he lay on the deck of a guard tower. The explosion lifted his body - in full armor - an inch or two off the floor.
Keltz says he thought he had escaped with little more than a mild headache. Initial assessments around the base found no serious injuries or deaths from the attack. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, "All is well!"
The next day was different.
"My head kinda felt like I got hit with a truck," Keltz told Reuters in an interview from al-Asad air base in Iraq's western Anbar desert. "My stomach was grinding."
A video has emerged showing a U.S. military vehicle running a Russian armored truck off the road in Syria after it tried to pass an American convoy.
Questions still remain about the incident, to include when it occurred, though it appears to have taken place on a stretch of road near the Turkish border town of Qamishli, according to The War Zone.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.
Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.
Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.
Survival expert and former Special Air Service commando Edward "Bear" Grylls made meme history for drinking his own urine to survive his TV show, Man vs. Wild. But the United States Air Force did Bear one better recently, when an Alaska-based airman peed in an office coffee maker.
While the circumstances of the bladder-based brew remain a mystery, the incident was written up in a newsletter written by the legal office of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on February 13, a base spokesman confirmed to Task & Purpose.