This hawk got falcon punched (Air Force amn/nco/snco)

Breathe easy, red-blooded Americans: that's no bald eagle.

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Captain Zoe M. Kotnik is the first female Commander and Pilot of the United States Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team, assigned to the 20th Operations Group, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. (U.S. Air Force photo)

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

The first female commander of the U.S. Air Force's Viper demonstration team has been relieved of command after only a couple of weeks on the job.

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An Air Force pilot with the Thunderbirds flight demonstration team was killed in an April 4 crash after he lost consciousness while performing an aerial maneuver, the investigation into the incident determined.

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The Air Force and Marine Corps have identified the five service members killed in separate aircraft crashes on April 3 and April 4.

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Air Force

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

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Photo via DoD

The F-16 Fighting Falcon bears an unusual distinctions: it is one of the only top jet fighters in the world to also be cost efficient. Fast and extremely agile, the light fighter does have some shortcomings in range and payload compared to larger twin-engine fighters like the F-15 Eagle, but that was easy to forgive due to costing less than half as much—around $18 million in 1999 ($27 million in 2017 dollars). This favorable bang-for-buck ratio has not been lost on air forces across the world—the F-16 currently remains the most popular aircraft in modern military service: out of 4,500 produced, nearly 2,700 currently remain in service in around twenty-six countries. Needless to say, the cutting-edge fourth-generation fighter of the 1980s will remain with us for a good while longer.

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