Metro-East News

Roger That: Senators ask Pentagon to review University of Phoenix probation

Three Republican senators on Thursday asked the Pentagon to review its recent decision to place the University of Phoenix on probation, stating the for-profit higher education giant had been suspended for “vague, technical violations,” according to Stars and Stripes.

In a letter addressed to Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; accused the Defense Department of “unfairly singling out” the University of Phoenix in its decision to temporarily bar it from the DOD’s tuition assistance program for active duty personnel and from recruiting on military installations.

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Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh has sent an email to commanders describing when airmen’s personal computers and cell phones can be searched. The email was in response to an Oct. 19 Air Force Times story about three pilots who received letters of reprimand for text messages deemed to be unprofessional, the Air Force Times is reporting.

The three instructor pilots at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, lost their wings after investigators searched their phones on suspicion that they were using drugs.

The pilots maintained that their texts were referencing pop songs by Miley Cyrus and other artists. Investigators found no evidence the pilots had actually used drugs.

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The U.S. Defense Department has identified the first American service member to be killed in action in fighting during the liberation of an Islamic Sate prison. The operation led to the resuce of 70 Kurdish hostages who were imminent threat of execution, according to Military.com.

The Pentagon idenfied the soldier as Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler, 39, of Roland, Oklahoma, who died Oct. 22, in Kirkuk Province, Iraq, from wounds received by enemy small-arms fire during an mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Wheeler was assigned Headquarters U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, according to a Pentagon statement released Friday morning. He completed at least 11 tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a separate Army press release.

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About 80 people on a secretive U.S. Air Force team are overseeing the service’s most sensitive aircraft project in decades: the development of a new stealth bomber whose prime contractor could be announced as soon as Friday, according to DefenseOne.

The bomber team works inside the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office, a unit that specializes in “delivering eye-watering capabilities,” William LaPlante, the service’s acquisition chief, told reporters Wednesday at the Pentagon.

The team is made up of experienced officers working the project’s requirements, maintainers who have worked on these types of planes, and acquisition professionals.

“It’s got our best people there,” LaPlante said. “They love their jobs.”

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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