Fighter and attack squadrons on two U.S. aircraft carriers — one engaged in operations against ISIS, the other on station in the restive West Pacific — have resorted to extraordinary measures to keep their pilots safe from persistent oxygen-supply problems in the Navy’s go-to carrier aircraft, the F-18 Hornet.
The Bush has already had to use its hyperbaric chamber twice to treat pilots “who experience[d] hypoxia-like symptoms in the cockpit,” reports Seck: once in February, when a two-person Growler crew experienced “an ‘abnormality’ with the aircraft's environmental control system,” and again in April, when a solo F/A-18 pilot became disoriented shortly after takeoff.
Both aircraft trapped safely on the deck, and the pilots recovered fully after pressure treatment in the chamber, according to Capt. James McCall, CO ofthe Bush’s Carrier Air Wing 8.
The chambers were installed on both carriers as the result of “a dialogue from aviators in squadrons right to the three-star level,” McCall said. Navy-wide, that dialogue has proven testy: Aviators in the service’s go-to training aircraft, the T-45 Goshawk, went on strike in April to protest problems with the aircraft’s environmental control systems that can cause disorienting oxygen shortness and even death.
But more remarkable than the presence of hyperbaric chambers are the other DIY fail-safes that squadrons have fashioned to avoid oxygen problems on 10-hour sorties over Iraq and Syria, Hedge-Seck reports:
McCall said the carrier was the first to deploy its fighters equipped with "slam sticks," small devices that measure cockpit air pressure and other factors, and can provide diagnostics following a mission...
Another measure, designed to help pilots detect cockpit problems before they can physically feel them, is a true improvisation: the wearing of commercially available Garmin watches, equipped with altimeters and barometric sensors, that can be set to sound alarms when certain thresholds are reached.
"Some of our aircrew had Garmin watches that they had bought, watches with little altimeters on them," McCall said. "I think somebody was just like, 'Hey, this would make sense.' And so we offered up discussions with one of my [commanding officers] and myself, and we said, 'Let's pitch this up the chain of command.' "
In response, the Navy is currently conducting a monthlong review of all the issues on F-18 and T-45 aircraft and has deployed “an Aero-Medical Crisis Action Team (A-CAT) consisting of flight doctors, physiologists, toxicologists, engineers and specialists” to tackle the problems, according to Aviation International News.
That report added that the Air Force — which experienced similar hypoxia issues in its F-22 Raptor, linked to at least one pilot fatality — “has offered to provide the Navy with an in-line air quality sensor previously approved for use on the F-16 Fighting Falcon.”
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
A Coalition convoy stops to test fire their M2 machine guns and MK19 Grenade Launcher in the Middle Euphrates River Valley in the Deir ez-Zor province, Syria, Nov. 22, 2018 (U.S. Army/Sgt. Matthew Crane)
BEIRUT (Reuters) - A suicide bomber drove his car into a checkpoint in northeastern Syria on Monday, injuring several soldiers of Kurdish-led forces during a joint convoy with U.S. allies, locals said.
Video game company Blizzard Entertainment, which creates blockbuster franchises like World of Warcraft and Overwatch, has stood behind veteran employment for years. On top of hiring veterans, they support many related programs, including Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty Endowment. Blizzard's goal there is to help veterans find careers by supporting organizations that prepare veterans for the job market.
A combat patrol advanced three miles north of Lucca (furthermost point occupied by American troops) to contact an enemy machine gun nest in September 1944 as part of the Italian Campaign (DoD/National Archives and Records Administration)
World War II Army veteran Milton Miller says he has never forgotten an act of cowardice by his platoon leader.
It happened in the Alban Hills south of Rome following the Allied Forces' amphibious invasion on the Italian beaches of Anzio in January 1944.