The commander of the Vermont Air National Guard was quietly forced out of his job after bogarting an F-16 Fighting Falcon in what amounted to an interstate booty call with an Army officer in Washington, D.C., according to a salacious new investigation by VTDigger.
Just a year after taking command of the Burlington-based 158th Fighter Wing, Col. Thomas Jackman "took an F-16 flight to Washington, D.C., for a work trip that doubled as a romantic rendezvous with a female Army colonel who worked at the Pentagon," VTDigger's Jasper Craven reports.
"Jackman was scheduled to attend a conference at Andrews Air Force Base, located just outside Washington, D.C," Craven reports. "While the Guard says pilots do not typically use their planes to attend conferences, Jackman as wing commander had ultimate authority."
The report was based on emails between Jackman and the unnamed colonel that corroborate their romantic relationship, as well as interviews with several former Guard members "with knowledge of the incident."
When the colonel's superiors found out about his alleged affair, "they were quick to take action, according to a former Guard member with knowledge of the investigation that followed," Craven reports. "Jackman was ordered to fly home on a commercial flight, three former members said. [Lt. Col. Terry Moultroup] then traveled from Burlington to Washington to pick up Jackman’s F-16 and fly it home."
When reached by Task & Purpose, Army 1st Lt. Mikel Arcovitch, a Vermont National Guard spokesman, declined to comment on the incident, noting that regulations prohibit him from discussing investigations or personnel matters.
Still, Arcovitch did tell Task & Purpose that the normal length of a wing commander's tour was between two and four years. "Typically no less than two, and no more than four," he said.
Jackman only spent about one year in command of the 158th Fighter Wing. He was replaced by Col. Patrick Guinee in early 2015, according to Arcovitch.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."
U.S. troops patrol at an Afghan National Army (ANA) Base in Logar province, Afghanistan on August 7, 2018. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani/File Photo)
MUSCAT/KABUL (Reuters) - Even before any peace push-related drawdowns, the U.S. military is expected to trim troop levels in Afghanistan as part of an efficiency drive by the new commander, a U.S. general told Reuters on Friday, estimating the cuts may exceed 1,000 forces.