Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James announced Dec. 17 that enlisted airmen will be able to fly RQ-4 Global Hawks, unarmed remotely piloted aircraft that fly high-altitude reconnaissance missions.
The Air Force has not allowed enlisted pilots since the service became independent in 1947, though it did allow a few enlisted pilots to serve during World War II, reports Air Force Times.
In an email, Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Karns said, “The Air Force employs enlisted airmen on other aircraft where they are responsible for employing lethal force where necessary.”
The service is hoping it will increase agility and readiness, and has a plan to implement the change over the next six months. However, the Air Force has not considered allowing enlisted airmen to fly other remotely piloted aircraft like the MQ-1 Predator or MQ-9 Reaper. Those responsibility will still remain with Air Force officers.
Karns added, “The range of duties and responsibilities for officers and enlisted pilots may overlap, but the Air Force will continue to rely on officers for mission prioritization, planning and supervision of multiple aircrews during mission execution.”
Maj. Matthew Golsteyn in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of Philip Stackhouse.)
Army Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn – whom President Donald Trump has called "a U.S. Military hero" – will face an Article 32 hearing in March after being charged with murder for allegedly killing a suspected Taliban bomb-maker.
On Dec. 18, the convening authority for Golestyn's case decided to hold the preliminary hearing in connection with the Feb. 28, 2010 incident, Army officials have announced. The proceedings are slated to start on March 14 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
A Middle Georgia man arrested last spring in an online child-sex sting set up by investigators at Robins Air Force Base will spend at least a decade in prison after pleading guilty in federal court here Tuesday.