1. ENLISTED PILOTS? DECISION LOOMS
"It has been decades since enlisted airmen had the chance to sit in the cockpit. But as the Air Force faces the greatest pilot shortages since its inception, service leaders are contemplating a return to a model that includes enlisted pilots.
A Rand Corp. study, set to be completed this month, is exploring the feasibility of bringing back a warrant officer corps for that purpose. And another, separate Air Force study is examining, in part, whether enlisted pilots could benefit from new high-tech training that leverages artificial intelligence and simulation.
With these moves, the Air Force is inching just a few steps closer to someday getting enlisted airmen back in the cockpit, on a formal basis, for the first time since World War II."
2. SOLDIER KILLED IN SYRIA ID'D
Via the Associated Press:
"The American service member killed this week by a roadside bomb in northern Syria was a 36-year-old Army soldier from Texas, the Defense Department said Saturday.
Master Sgt. Jonathan J. Dunbar, of Austin, died Friday as a result of injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his patrol in Manbij -- not far from the border with Turkey -- during an operation against the Islamic State group, officials said.
A British armed forces member also was killed and five other people were wounded in Thursday's bombing-- a rare attack since the U.S.-led coalition sent troops into the country.
3. A-10 GETS NEW WINGS
Last week, Wilson told the House Armed Services Committee that funding for the re-winging of the A-10s in the fiscal year 2018 budget would keep the 'Warthogs' flying at least to 2030.
At an Air Force Association breakfast Friday, Wilson extended the potential retirement date for the A-10, whose first production model was delivered in 1975. She said the A-10s would remain in the fleet to 2030 'and possibly beyond.'"
4. MHS FEVER CONTINUES
The Army awarded Sig Sauer an MHS contract worth up to $580 million in January 2017. The 10-year MHS agreement calls for Sig Sauer to supply the service with full-size XM17 and compact XM18 versions of its 9mm pistol.
The Navy plans to field 60,000 XM18s, and the Corps budgeted money in its proposed fiscal 2019 budget to purchase 35,000 MHS pistols. Marine Corps Systems Command officials declined to comment on the budget submission."
5. MEDAL OF HONOR FOR HERO GRUNT
"President Donald Trump will soon award the Medal of Honor posthumously to an Army lieutenant who directed artillery fire from an exposed position for three hours while fending off 'fanatical German infantrymen' during a 1945 battle near Houssen, France.
Garlin Murl Conner, then a first lieutenant, will be the third service member to be awarded the military's highest combat award since Trump took office. According to a White House statement released Thursday, Conner's widow, Pauline Lyda Wells Conner, and other families will be present at the medal ceremony. The date for the ceremony has yet to be announced.
In January 1945, Conner was serving as an intelligence officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, according to information released by the White House.
'Then-First Lieutenant Conner voluntarily left his position of relative safety to place himself in a better position to direct artillery fire onto the assaulting enemy infantry and armor,' the White House announcement said. 'He remained in an exposed position, which was 30 yards ahead of the defending force, for a period of three hours.'"