Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
This Air Guard fighter pilot is the first in the world to return to duty after disc replacement surgery
Fighter pilots are awesome because they make gravity look optional, and they do it at supersonic speeds. But flying tight maneuvers at high-Gs takes a toll on the human spine, and fighter pilots often suffer lifelong injuries that forces many of them into an early retirement.
That's why Col. Todd Hofford, an Oregon Air National Guard F-15 pilot, just broke a major barrier by becoming the first pilot in the world to return to the cockpit of a high-G fighter after undergoing disc replacement surgery, which until now, the Air Force has been hesitant to allow.
"I was determined to turn this around," said Hofford in a recent article by Tech Sgt. Steph Sawyer for the 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs. "I knew it was going to take time. I needed to be patient."
The three Americans killed in a C-130 air tanker crash while fighting Australian bushfires on Thursday were all identified as military veterans, according to a statement released by their employer, Coulson Aviation.
The oldest of the three fallen veterans was Ian H. McBeth, a 44-year-old pilot who served with the Wyoming Air National Guard and was an active member of the Montana Air National Guard. McBeth "spent his entire career flying C-130s and was a qualified Instructor and Evaluator pilot," said Coulson Aviation. He's survived by his wife Bowdie and three children Abigail, Calvin and Ella.
This Air Force master sergeant claimed his unit ignored sexual assault for years. He nearly lost his career because of it
When Jay Ellis learned his wing commander had called an all-hands meeting on Jan. 9, 2019, the Air Force master sergeant already knew why.
The day before, the Associated Press had reported that Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin was calling for an investigation into incidents of sexual assault and harassment at the 115th Security Forces Squadron, the Wisconsin National Guard unit where Ellis was assigned. Ellis, a 48-year-old military policeman who reported the issues to Baldwin in November, claiming senior leaders had done little in response, was now being portrayed in news articles as a whistleblower who had exposed an apparent cover-up that had gone on for nearly two decades.
That morning at Truax Field, a small guard base in Madison next to a civilian airport, Air Force Col. Eric Peterson addressed the article and vowed to take the allegations seriously, Ellis recalled. "We don't tolerate this kind of stuff," Peterson said. In the following days, Ellis received messages from other military members, some of whom had seen similar problems in their own units, praising him for doing the right thing.
"There are many people against you," an Army officer wrote Ellis. "By no means are you alone. ... I am immensely proud to know that I serve with individuals such as yourself."
A six-month investigation triggered by Ellis' complaint would later reveal a pattern of wrongdoing throughout the Wisconsin National Guard, leading to the resignation of its top officer in December 2019. But instead of being praised for doing the right thing, Ellis claims, some leaders retaliated against him, methodically built a paper trail, then tried to force him out of the Air Force before he could retire.
"For me, it's right or wrong," Ellis told Task & Purpose. "The only way to change it is to stand up and say something."
At the request of Gov. Tony Evers, the Wisconsin National Guard's Adjutant General Donald Dunbar will resign from his post at the end of the month after an investigation found a litany of failings in how the Guard handled sexual assault and harassment allegations.
The National Guard Bureau's Office of Complex Investigations report, released Monday, said the Guard's policies and procedures for handling allegations of sexual misconduct are out of date, ineffective, understaffed and in violation of federal rules.
We salute the Air National Guard chief master sergeant who pulled passengers from a fiery B-17 crash
A Connecticut Air National Guard chief master sergeant sprang into acton when the World War II-era B-17 Flying Fortress he was a passenger aboard crashed while attempting to land at Bradley International Airport on Wednesday, officials said.