2 Airmen Struck By Lightning While Working On F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

Bullet Points

Two airmen servicing an F-35 Lightning II at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida were indirectly struck by lightning while working on the flight line on Wednesday evening, Air Force officials told Military.com.


  • One of the airmen "was closing an F-35 canopy, and the other airman was winding up a grounding wire" while clearing the flight line ahead of an oncoming storm, 53rd Wing spokeswoman Maj. Ashley Conner told Military.com. "Flight line clearing procedures are conducted when lightning is observed or lighting warnings are issued."
  • Luckily, both of the airmen — assigned to the 34th Fighter Squadron at Utah's Hill Air Force Base and sent to Eglin as part of the 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron's Exercise Combat Hammer —were uninjured in the incident.

  • The Air Force isn't the only branch increasingly concerned about lightning-on-Lightning threats: In early August, the Marine Corps put out a solicitation for portable lightning rods to draw lightning strikes away from F-35B aircraft parked at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan.
  • “Since the F-35 as a composite type aircraft does not provide inherent passive lightning protection, the lightning rods being requested are needed for deploying aircraft to any expeditionary airfield in support of combat operations or training exercises that do not support all lightning protection requirements for the F-35B,” the Marine Corps says in its justification for the purchase.
  •  According to a 2012 Pentagon report, tests of the F-35 fuel tank inserting system a decade ago “identified deficiencies in maintaining the required lower fuel tank oxygen levels to prevent fuel tank explosions,” deficiencies which “required levels of protection from threat and from fuel tank explosions induced by lightning.”
  • Luckily, the Eglin lightning strike was an explosion-free incident: Maj. Conner, the 53rd Wing spokeswoman, told Military.com that none of the aircraft or equipment on the flight line at the time of the strike suffered any damage.

WATCH NEXT:

U.S. Air Force airmen from the 405th Expeditionary Support Squadron work together to clear debris inside the passenger terminal the day after a Taliban-led attack at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 12, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Brandon Cribelar)

Blasts from Taliban car bombs outside of Bagram Airfield on Wednesday caused extensive damage to the base's passenger terminal, new pictures released by the 45th Expeditionary Wing show.

The pictures, which are part of a photo essay called "Bagram stands fast," were posted on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service's website on Thursday.

Read More Show Less
(IMDB)

The Hurt Locker will be getting the high-def treatment on Feb. 4, when Lionsgate releases it on demand in "Digital 4K Ultra HD."

And you know we just can't wait.

Read More Show Less
(Glow Images via Associated Press_

Average pay, housing and subsistence allowances will increase for members of the military in 2020, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

Read More Show Less
Retired Navy Seal Floyd McLendon. (Business Insider)

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

A retired Navy SEAL running for Congress wore a U.S. Navy dress white uniform at a recent campaign event, Business Insider has learned.

Republican candidate Floyd McLendon of Texas spoke to an audience at his campaign kick-off event in November, wearing the Navy uniform adorned with numerous medals — including what appeared to be the Navy SEAL Trident, the insignia reserved for members of the elite community like McLendon.

The inaugural event in Dallas was held in the 30th congressional district, a different district than the one McLendon is running in. Political strategists in Texas described the venue's location as highly unusual for a House candidate.

Read More Show Less
Zachary Johnston (Photo via Doña Ana County Jail)

A former Fort Bliss solider stood bruised and badly injured in court Thursday as he pleaded guilty to cutting the throat of another soldier during a 2017 drug robbery.

Zachary Johnston, who appeared in court in an orange jail jumpsuit and shackles around his ankles, pleaded guilty Thursday to a lesser count of murder as part of a plea agreement with state prosecutors.

He also appeared in court with two black eyes, bruises and cuts all over his face after he was involved in a jailhouse fight.

Johnston was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in connection with the brutal slaying of Tyler Kaden Croke, 23, on May 7, 2017, during a drug robbery at the Cantera Apartments in East El Paso. Croke, 23, was in the U.S. Army and served a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Read More Show Less