US Air Force/photo illustration

Two U.S. Air Force pilots have been awarded the National Aeronautic Association's Mackay Trophy for "most meritorious flight" of 2017, in recognition of their providing close air support to more than 50 American and Syrian Democratic Forces troops who were pinned down by enemy fire.

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Editor’s Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

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Welcome to Confessions Of, a weekly series where Task & Purpose’s James Clark solicits hilarious, embarrassing, and revealing stories from troops and vets about their job, billet, or a tour overseas. Are you in an interesting assignment and think you might have something to share? Email james@taskandpurpose.com with your story.

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On July 4th, a photograph of jets flying in formation appeared on the social media accounts of the San Diego Air and Space museum in honor of Independence Day. But here’s the thing: the aircraft featured in the photo don’t belong to the United States military. In fact, it’s a picture of the Russian SU-25 Frogfoot demonstration team. And while the red, white, and blue smoke coming off the jets screams ‘Merica, that also happens to be the color scheme for the Russian Federation. Here’s a quick breakdown of this hilariously ill-timed Russia gaffe:

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U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolts are back in the Baltics this month, practicing for rough landings on improvised runways as a part of Saber Strike 18, the annual exercise where NATO and partner forces work to improve their ability to operate across Europe and with NATO's forward-deployed battle groups.

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As the Taliban surges in its spring offensive, it is facing relentless strikes by hovering MQ-9 Reaper drones.

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