The life of an Air Force pilot is a glamorous one. You fly cool jets. You have great hair and a call sign like “Casanova” or “The Duke.” You get to bomb the shit out of ISIS. The world is your oyster. But until just a few days ago, there was one thing fly boys didn’t have that their earthbound counterparts did: permission to roll up their sleeves.
That, however, is no longer the case. Thanks to a policy change enacted on Jan. 23 by Lt. Gen. Mark Nowland, deputy chief of staff for operations, pilots, navigators, and airmen will be allowed to roll up the sleeves of their flight suits “within 1 inch of the elbow using the Velcro, already incorporated in the suit, to hold them in place” whenever they’re not on in-flight duty.
For some time now, airmen who wear the Airman Battle Uniform, or ABU, coat, have been authorized to roll up their sleeves “within 1 inch of the elbow,” while those who wear a Flight Duty Uniform or Desert Flight Duty Uniform were also authorized to roll up their sleeves, but only as long as they didn’t “end above the natural bend of the wrist when the wearer’s arms are hanging naturally at their side.”
As Military.com notes, the recent policy change amends Air Force Instruction 36-2903, which means, just like their ABU-sporting colleagues, pilots and other airmen who wear flight suits can now unsheathe their beefy forearms all the way up to right below the elbow, just as long as the cuffs remain visible. Hallelujah!
But when it’s time work, it’s also time for those forearms to disappear. According to the new policy, sleeves must be rolled all the way down to the wrists while flying or on the flight line, which may come as bad news for guys and gals who decided to pursue a career in military aviation because they wanted to be like Maverick from Top Gun (he was in the Air Force, right?).
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
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."