In the Military
Largest U.S. carrier exercise since Vietnam set for Guam
Three aircraft carrier strike groups -- USS Kitty Hawk, USS Lincoln and the USS Ronald Reagan -- with 22,000 U.S. military personnel, 27 other warships and 280 aircraft will spend a week off Guam later this month in the largest carrier naval exercise since the Vietnam War.
Both the Lincoln and the Reagan will be returning from deployments in the western Pacific and the Persian Gulf while the Kitty Hawk is normally stationed in Japan. The Lincoln will remain in Hawaiian waters after the carrier exercise to participate in the biannual multi-nation RIMPAC naval war games.
A Navy spokesman said the Guam exercises will offer the Navy the opportunity to exercise three jet fighter wings together while at the same time test how the Air Force and the Marine Corps can coordinate their communications as well as detect, locate, track and engage units at sea, air and land.
The Navy hopes to eventually base six -- or half -- of its aircraft carriers in the Pacific.
The Defense News has reported that structural flaws for the Air Force's most expensive fighter -- F22A Raptor -- could cost $1 billion to fix. The weaknesses are in structures that attach the wing and tail to the plane's fuselage, the officials said. A portion of that estimated $1 billion also will be used to fix aircraft panel corrosion.
Air Force officials have identified structural problems in two areas of the plane, the military newsletter said. In the plane's forward boom, the point where the wing attaches to the fuselage, titanium was not properly heat-treated. That issue affects 90 aircraft. In the aft boom, the point where the horizontal tail attaches to the fuselage, officials are planning modifications to strengthen the structure to get the plane through its planned 8,000-hour service life.
Pending completion of an environmental impact study, 18 of the country's most expensive and lethal stealth jet fighters would be assigned to the Hawaii Air National Guard's 199th Fighter Squadron, replacing the F-15s that it has flown since 1987. The environmental impact study could be done in about five years.
The Raptor will make its Pacific-region debut this week when it participates in Exercise Northern Edge 2006. Twelve F-22As from the First Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Va., along with U.S. military units stationed in the continental United States and the Pacific Theater will participate in this joint training exercise. It is hosted by U.S. Alaskan Command and scheduled for June 5-16 on and above central Alaska ranges and the Gulf of Alaska.
Northern Edge is the largest military training exercise scheduled in Alaska this year, with approximately 5,000 U.S. active duty and reserve component military members participating.
The Marine Corps has banned the use of popular underclothing from companies like Under Armour, CoolMax and Nike by Marines who are conducting operations outside forward operating bases and camps in Iraq. The warning comes in the wake of concerns that a substantial burn risk is associated with wearing clothing made with these synthetic materials, a Pentagon news release says. Instead, Marines are advised to wear 100 percent cotton clothing while on missions.
When exposed to extreme heat and flames, clothing containing some synthetic materials like polyester will melt and can fuse to the skin. This essentially creates a second skin and can lead to horrific, disfiguring burns, said Navy Capt. Lynn E. Welling, the 1st Marine Logistics Group head surgeon, in a written statement.
The Pentagon statement notes that on one occasion while on patrol outside of Ramadi a Marine was injured when the armored vehicle he was riding in struck a homemade bomb, causing his polyester shirt to melt to his skin. Even though he was wearing his protective vest, Navy doctors still had to cut the melted undergarment from his torso. His injuries would not have been as severe had he not been wearing a polyester shirt.
"In the Military" was compiled from wire reports and other sources by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako
, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin. He can be reached by phone at 294-4075 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org