Al-Qaida pamphlet urges attack on Air Force Academy

Air Force Academy photo.

Air Force Academy photo.

An al-Qaida propaganda pamphlet has listed the Air Force Academy and the company that makes Predator drones as potential targets for terrorist attacks.

Fox affiliate KXRM-TV in Colorado Springs first reported on Thursday that the publication from Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula listed the Air Force Academy as a target as part of an article explaining how to make car bombs.

The story, “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom,” lists which materials are needed to build an “Iraqi style car bomb.” The author – listed only as “The AQ Chief” – urges would-be terrorists to select their targets wisely to inflict a “crushing defeat on the enemies of Islam.”

In addition to the Air Force Academy, the suggested targets in the U.S. are the San Diego headquarters of General Atomics and Affiliated Companies; Georgia Military College in Warner Robins, Ga.; Times Square in New York; and oil tankers and trains.

The Air Force Academy released a statement saying it is aware that it was among targets recommended in the al-Qaida publication.

“We remain vigilant and maintain all the appropriate protocols of a military installation to include force protection and being cognizant of existing and emerging threats,” the statement says. “Our primary concern is always the security and the safety of the cadets, our personnel and the thousands of visitors who come to USAFA every year.”

QF-16 takes first flight as a target

Boeing this week posted this video showing the QF-16 targeting drone in action for the first time as an aerial target at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

The Air Force is in the process of converting older F-16s into optionally manned aircraft for target practice. Currently, the service mostly uses QF-4 Phantoms. The service plans to fly 210 of the aircraft, made up of the Block 15, 25 and 30 variants.

This mission was the first time the aircraft was used as an aerial target for a test missile. The QF-4 made its first unmanned flight last fall in Florida. 

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‘Geography can be tough’: Canadian Twitter account pokes fun at Russian soldiers’ claims

Canada this week adopted a great sense of humor along with its Burger King takeover.

@CanadaNATO tweeted this photo for the Russian soldiers stationed at the Russia-Ukraine border:

Canada wins

Reuters reported Wednesday that Russian soldiers have been traveling into Ukraine “by mistake.”

But who among us hasn’t accidentally refused to stop and ask for directions and ended up in a war zone…wearing a uniform of an enemy combatant? Right? No?

The Kiev government said they had been on a ‘special mission’ “linked to the pro-Russian separatist rebellions in the east,” the report said.

The flow of weapons and armored vehicles into eastern Ukraine has been consistent these past few weeks, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters Monday, which reflects Russia’s intent to cement its mission in Ukraine regardless of backlash.

And now the artillery – and more soldiers – are zeroing in on new territory in southeast Ukraine down to the Azov Sea, Reuters said.

While the @CanadaNATO Twitter account is not verified, it is linked to official government pages. The tweet has been retweeted over 20,000 times.

Either way…well played, Canada.

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Real life emergency teaches airman ‘training is not a waste of time’

Airman 1st Class Ashli Harris, 47th Medical Group flight medicine technician at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, came to the aid of a woman who was struck by a vehicle in San Antonio July 14. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ariel D. Delgado)

Airman 1st Class Ashli Harris, 47th Medical Group flight medicine technician at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, came to the aid of a woman who was struck by a vehicle in San Antonio July 14. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ariel D. Delgado)

Her gut told her to turn around.

Airman 1st Class Ashli Harris was returning to Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, from visiting family in San Antonio the morning of July 14 when a glimpse in the rear-view mirror told her something wasn’t quite right.

“I knew I had a choice, to keep going or turn around,” she said in an Air Force news release. 

Harris took the next exit off I-410 and made a U-turn. Back on the freeway, she saw a car stopped on the side of the road. Harris pulled over and got out. That’s when she saw it: A man holding a woman who’d been struck by a vehicle.

“It was bad. I was in shock and I froze for an instant but I knew what I had to do,” she was quoted as saying.

Harris, a 47th Medical Group flight medicine technician, was trained to respond to emergencies. But, she said, “it is nothing like the real thing.”

Harris instructed the man on how to stabilized the unconscious woman’s spinal column as she checked the victim’s pulse and tried to rouse her. She remained there until the ambulance arrived about 10 minutes later.

Tragically, the woman died at the hospital later that morning. But Harris said she carried away an important lesson: Training is not a waste of time.

“An exercise is not just for fun. There is a reason for it all,” she said. “I’m just grateful for my training and I am glad I turned around.”

Fighter Wing estimate of iPhone costs: $687 per phone

Air Force photo

Air Force photo

An Air Force unit is willing to pay more for iPhones than they cost in stores and online, but the story is more complicated than a simple case of the military buying the most expensive hammer in the world.

The 48th Fighter Wing in Lakenheath, England, has asked vendors how much it would cost to order 120 iPhone 5s for the wing’s commanders and other essential personnel to replace their BlackBerrys as government-issued phones, said wing spokesman 1st Lt. Keenan Kunst. The wing estimates that the phones will cost $82,518.34 in total, or about $687 per phone.

An unscientific online search showed that the new iPhone5s can be purchased for between $450 and $500 at Walmart or Amazon.com. However, vendors often offer iPhones at a chepaer price in exchange for a service contract, negating most of the savings.

The actual price for each phone has not yet been set because the unit’s contracting squadron has not received any quotes from companies, Kunst said. The contracting squadron was required to estimate how much the phones would cost in order to justify buying a name brand, but the phones may end up costing less.

“If a vendor were to quote $500 per device, for example, as a way of remaining competitive for the bid, this could be the price per unit that is accepted,” Kunst said in an email. “A final price will not be known until all quotes are received and evaluated by 48 [Contracting Squadron]. The contracting officer will not award a contract unless the demonstrated price has been determined to be fair and reasonable.” 

Monday lulz with Kadena

OK, some of these guys at Kadena Air Base in Japan are having a lot more fun than they probably should be. Back in May, Kadena airmen weighed in on whether the Air Force would be able to take down Godzilla in a head-to-head matchup.

And on July 31, Kadena posted its latest episode of “The Show,” a goofy video series from the 18th Wing’s public affairs shop that tries to inform airmen there about what’s going on. It seems a few airmen there aren’t getting the picture that when a typhoon warning sounds, you DON’T GO OUTSIDE. In an attempt to drive that message home, they engaged in activities that would cause PETA to break out in hives.

Later, an attempt to underscore the need to watch one’s driving speed around school zones takes a darkly comic turn when a child’s CPR dummy makes a surprise appearance. (Game of Thrones fans will get a chuckle out of the lengthy, lengthy credit for the dummy.)

It’s … something, all right. I’m not sure what. But it’s worth a gander.

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First airman to receive Air Force-designed Medal of Honor dies


Colonel Bernard F. Fisher, USAF, Col. Fisher was awarded the Medal of Honor for personal action above and beyond the call of duty by risking his life to save a fellow pilot, who was shot down during action in the A Shau Valley of Vietnam in 1966. (Air Force photo)

Colonel Bernard Fisher, awarded the Medal of Honor in 1967, died over the weekend in Idaho, KBOI 2News reports. He was 87.

Fisher was first to receive the Air Force designed Medal of Honor, which was established on April 14, 1965 (The first Medal of Honor received by an airman was awarded to Capt. Edward V. Rickenbacker for aerial combat in 1918).

President Lyndon B. Johnson presented the award to then-Maj. Fisher for risking his life to save a fellow pilot shot down during action in the A Shau Valley of Vietnam in 1966.

Fisher, who volunteered to go to Vietnam, “landed his Douglas A-1E Skyraider on an airfield controlled by the enemy under the most intense ground fire, pulled the downed pilot aboard his aircraft, and successfully escaped despite several bullets striking the plane,” according to his Air Force factsheet.

“The[ir] airplane had seven men onboard, and they carried the mini-guns and high-powered guns, and they fired 6,000 thousand rounds a minute,” Fisher, speaking about the enemy attack on his plane,  told KBOI 2News in 2008. “That’s a lot of rounds. That’s 120 rounds a second.”

Today, the aircraft is on display at the USAF Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Fisher commissioned into the Air Force in 1951 after serving in the Air National Guard for three years. He served briefly in the Navy at the end of World War II prior to becoming an airman.

Fisher had extensive experience, the factsheet says, in fighters such as the F-80, F-86, and F-101, along with hundreds of close air support missions in the A-1E.

Born in San Bernadino, California, Fisher was raised and educated in Utah before he retired as a colonel to his hometown of Kuna, Idaho.

Read Col. Fisher’s full Medal of Honor citation here.

Related: Medal of Honor recipient remembered for small acts of kindness

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Airman heads world bike polo championship in France

Staff Sgt. Jonathan MacPherson jockeys for the ball with Zachari Tate during a cycle polo game July 31 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Staff Sgt. Wes Wright/Air Force)

A staff sergeant at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, is traveling to France for an international competition of a different sort.

Staff Sgt. Jonathan MacPherson, a fuels service center controller with the 673rd Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels Management Flight, has qualified to compete the world championship of cycle polo. A combination of polo, hockey and cycling that dates back to the early 20th Century.

“The best way to describe it is three-on-three hockey,” MacPherson said in an Air Force release. “You put the ball in the middle, somebody counts down, and one person from each team sprints [to the ball] in what’s called a joust, and after that, you try to put the ball in the goal.”

MacPherson recently competed in the North American Hardcourt regional qualifier in July, with his team placing in the top 16 to advance to the World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships later this month in Montpellier, France.

MacPherson began playing the sport in 2011, with a background in cycling, soccer and hockey.

“This isn’t a sport that’s natural to your body,” the Hoboken, New Jersey, native said in the release. “Trying to hit a ball with a stick while riding a bike sounds like something you would do in a circus. It’s really awkward at first.”