(U.S. Air Force/Yasuo Osakabe)

The Air Force has pulled roughly one quarter of its C-130 transport planes out of service after "atypical cracks" were discovered on planes' wings during maintenance, Air Mobility Command has announced.

Air Force Magazine reporter Rachel Cohen first reported on Thursday that 123 out of the service's 450 C-130s required the wing crack inspections.

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(U.S. Navy photo)

The Navy has identified an F/A-18E Super Hornet pilot killed in a July 31 crash as Lt. Charles Z. Walker, 33, whom his commanding officer described as "an incredible naval aviator, husband and son."

Walker was killed when his Super Hornet crashed about 40 miles north of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, during a training mission.

He was was assigned to the "Vigilantes" of Strike Fighter Squadron 151 based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, a Strike Fighter Wing Pacific news release says.

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(Paramount Pictures)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

The new trailer for Top Gun: Maverick was everything an aviator or wannabe aviator could hope for. I'm a sucker for a good military action movie as much as the next guy, so of course I'll go see it. Even a longtime helicopter and tiltrotor pilot like me can appreciate that a Low Altitude Tactics (LAT) flight at 500 knots is pretty badass — and yes, even acknowledge that an F/A-18E Rhino might be almost as sexy as a V-22.

In 1986, Top Gun (or TOPGUN for purists) changed civilians' whole perception of the military in general, and the Navy and naval aviation in particular. Applications for Annapolis skyrocketed. So did enlistments, along with buyer's remorse when thousands of sailors realized the only need for speed they'd feel would be manning their brooms a little quicker during "sweepers."

Top Gun: Maverick will probably be a very entertaining movie. While the Navy definitely would have shit-canned Mav years ago, Xenu has come through for him big time. Tom Cruise will be at his Cruisiest. But while popcorn sales will be through the roof in 2020, recruitment numbers won't skyrocket like they did in 1986. In fact, I'd bet they won't even budge.

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The Air Force's B-1B Lancer long-range bomber is supposed to be one of three critical strategic bombers in the Pentagon's inventory. At the moment, however, the Air Force's Lancer fleet is an embarrassing mess.

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Editor's Note: The following op-ed is written by an active-duty Marine aviator. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

"Lat[eral] moves for [all aviators] to become a MARSOC [Special Operations Officer] are not being approved" at this time, the email from the Monitor said, adding that "[Inter-Service Transfers] for [any aviator] to any branch, to include the USCG, are not being approved [at this time]."

The email was just the latest restriction on aviators, and the next round of Headquarters Marine Corps' (HQMC) ineffective strategy for dealing with a critical shortage of company grade aviators in the Marine Corps.

The Air Force has garnered most of the attention regarding pilot shortages over the past few years, but it's hardly unique to their service, as the entire military is struggling to keep its aviators in the midst of an airline hiring frenzy and a strong economy. For years, the pilot shortage was attributed to Obama-era sequestration, aging platforms, and a lack of sufficient flight time.

But there is a more significant contributor to this shortage: mismanagement of pilots due to unwritten rules of the aviation promotion system.

Unfortunately for the Corps, company grade aviators catch on to these rules early, and flight school cannot produce enough new pilots to balance the inevitable exodus of captains. If this exodus is not effectively addressed, our ability to fight from the air could be critically compromised in a way that will take decades from which to recover.

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Brace yourselves: the Air Force's newest gunship is officially on the prowl downrange.

The AC-130J Ghostrider gunship flew its first combat mission in Afghanistan in late June, deploying to relieve the AC-130U Spooky aircraft following the latter's final combat sorties, an Air Force Special Operations Command spokesman confirmed to The War Zone on Wednesday.

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