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Hurricane Damage Won’t Stop Most F-22s From Flying, Air Force Secretary Says
The damage caused to F-22 Raptors that rode out Hurricane Michael at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, will not prevent 80 percent of all Raptors from being flyable by fiscal 2019, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said on Friday.
“We expect to meet that goal,” Wilson told reporters. “Most of the F-22s have already flown out of Tyndall and the last ones will fly out by Nov. 6.”
Defense Secretary James Mattis has ordered that 80 percent of F-22s and other fighter aircraft fleets be mission capable by Oct. 1, 2019.
Seventeen F-22s were at Tyndall when Hurricane Michael destroyed the base on Oct. 10, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., revealed in an Oct. 22 letter to Wilson.
“The damage was far less than feared and we won’t go into details,” Wilson said on Friday, noting that the Raptors were able to fly shortly after the storm.
The Air Force does not yet know how much the damage to Tyndall will cost to repair, she said. It will take “several years” to fully restore the base.
For the meantime, the F-22s and personnel with the 95th Fighter Squadron will move to Langley Air Force Base, Virginia; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Wilson said.
The Air Force has not yet decided whether the squadron will return to Tyndall.
F-22s from training units will also move from Tyndall to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, an Air Force news release says. The Non-Commissioned Officer Academy will be dispersed among four bases: McGhee-Tyson Air National Guard Bas, Tennessee; Maxwell Air Force Base-Gunter Annex, Alabama; Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi; and Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.
“We believe that all but about 500 military members will be returning to the Panhandle within the next one to three months – either at Eglin or at Tyndall,” Wilson said. “There are only two missions that can’t be supported at Tyndall at this time.”
Retired Army Master Sgt. Mark Allen has died 10 years after he was shot in the head while searching for deserter Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.
Allen died on Saturday at the age of 46, according to funeral information posted online.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday he and the Pentagon will comply with House Democrats' impeachment inquiry subpoena, but it'll be on their own schedule.
"We will do everything we can to cooperate with the Congress," Esper said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "Just in the last week or two, my general counsel sent out a note — as we typically do in these situations — to ensure documents are retained."
Most of the U.S. troops in Syria are being moved out of the country as Turkish forces and their Arab allies push further into Kurdish territory than originally expected, Task & Purpose has learned.
Roughly 1,000 U.S. troops are withdrawing from Syria, leaving a residual force of between 100 and 150 service members at the Al Tanf garrison, a U.S. official said.
"I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday's edition of CBS News' "Face the Nation."'
More than 700 women and children affiliated with ISIS escape Kurdish prison camp after Turkish shelling
BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Women affiliated with Islamic State and their children fled en masse from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria on Sunday after shelling by Turkish forces in a five-day-old offensive, the region's Kurdish-led administration said.
Turkey's cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara's Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.
Turkey is facing threats of possible sanctions from the United States unless it calls off the incursion. Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.