Metro-East News

Beale AFB, Calif. dedicates base theater to fallen Scott AFB pilot, three others

Beale Air Force Base, Calif. held a memorial event on April 27 to dedicate its base theater as Independence Hall in memory of the four members of an MC-12 Liberty surveillance plane aircrew that crashed in Afghanistan on April 27, 2013. The plane’s commander was Capt. Brandon L. Cyr, a member of the 906th Air Refueling Squadron, based at Scott.

Cyr, 28, had volunteered for training on the MC-12, a twin-engine turbo-prop plane that the Air Force, with great success, converted into a high-tech spy plane able to spot enemy fighters in all kinds of terrain and weather in Afghanistan. Stationed at Scott and living in Shiloh, Cyr been loaned out to the 306th Intelligence Squadron at Beale, near Sacramento, Calif. Also honored during the dedication were Capt. Reid K. Nishizuka, the pilot; and Staff Sgt. Richard A. Dickson and Staff Sgt. Daniel N. Fannin, the spy plane’s sensor operators.

The Air Force is reporting that a senior airman stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base, the home of the B-2 stealth bomber, was shot over the weekend while off base and has died of his injuries. John J. Bottom, who was assigned to the 509th Security Forces Squadron, was shot at a residence in Warrensburg, Mo, and died later at a Kansas City hospital, according to a statement issued by the base.

The United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. is building a new cadet barracks to honor Benjamin O. Davis Jr., a noted Tuskegee Airman and Air Force general who entered West Point in 1932 as the academy’s only black cadet and spent the next four years being shunned by fellow cadets because of his skin color, according to the Air Force Times.

Despite the racism he encountered, Davis excelled in the military. Davis, who died in 2002 at age 89, commanded the all-black 332nd Fighter Group, known as the Red Tails, during World War II. Davis joined the Air Force in 1947 and retired in 1970s with three stars. President Bill Clinton pinned a fourth star on Davis in 1998.

Another high-profile Pentagon effort to test if women can pass elite military combat training has failed. The first-ever female soldiers allowed to take part in Army Ranger training did not make it through the first round of the course, officials said Friday. Eight women and 101 men who made it through the first tests of the 20-day Crawl Phase will have to try again to pass the last few at one of the toughest soldier training schools. The class began with 19 women and 380 men, but nearly 50 percent of the class washed within four days of training, the Washington Post reported.

Military news media reported in early April that the last two female Marines seeking to complete the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course as part of an experiment to integrate the program washed out on April 2, ending the research phase of the project. A total of 29 women attempted the course, but none could complete it. The IOC includes a series of stressful challenges, including an obstacle course, exhausting hikes through hilly forests near Quantico, Va., and assessments of such skills as weapons assembly and land navigation.

On May 11, 1915, the Chicago Daily Tribune newspaper trumpeted in huge type this headline: “Wilson Speaks: Asks the People to stand United.” Just four days earlier, a German submarine had torpedoed the RMS Lusitania, a luxury ocean liner that had left the British port of Liverpool, bound for New York City. The submarine struck without warning, killing 1,198 passengers and crew off the coast of Ireland, including at least 128 Americans. The submarine’s firing on a non-military ship without warning caused outrage in the United States, playing a key role in President Woodrow Wilson’s later decision to declare war on Germany and enter World War I on the side of Great Britain and France.