Metro-East News

Roger That: Flags to fly at half-staff at Scott Air Force Base to honor airman

Mike Fitzgerald
Mike Fitzgerald

Col. Laura Lenderman, 375th Air Mobility Wing Commander, has authorized all installation flags at Scott Air Force Base to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday in honor of TSgt. Nicholas Kruse-Wright. The celebration of life memorial for Kruse-Wright will be held at 1 p.m. Friday in the Scott Club Ballroom.

Kruse-Wright, 34, was assigned to the 375th Force Support Squadron and was a member of the Chief Master Sergeant Air Force Bud Andrews Airman Leadership School staff. Kruse-Wright passed away Oct. 30. The cause of death has not been released.

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Sacramento Police have charged a man with attempted murder for allegedly stabbing Staff Sgt. Spencer Stone on Oct. 8, wounding Stone so seriously that he had to undergo open heart surgery, according to Air Force Times.

James Tran was arrested Wednesday morning, police announced in a news release. The stabbing came less than two months after Stone and his friends Army Spc. Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Saddler tackled and disarmed a gunman aboard a French train.

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A government oversight report released Wednesday by Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake shows the branches of the U.S. military reported $53 million in spending on marketing and advertising contracts with 50 professional sports teams between 2012 and 2015. More than $10 million of that total was paid to teams in the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Major League Soccer.

NASCAR was the biggest recipient, getting $1,560,000 for fiscal year 2015. Included were personal appearances by Aric Almirola and Richard Petty, as well as 20 Richard Petty Driving Experience ride alongs. The expenditures, according to the DOD, were “integral to its recruiting efforts,” according to the Washington Post.

“What we take issue with,” wrote Flake, who, like McCain, is a Republican from Arizona, “is the average fan thinking teams are doing this on behalf of the military.”

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The House and Senate on Tuesday finalized a plan to squeeze $5 billion from defense spending as part of a broader budget deal that heads off possible pay freezes and furloughs, according to Stars and Stripes.

The savings come from lower-than-expected military fuel costs, starting the Pentagon’s new long-range strategic bomber contract later, cuts in staff and contractors, and smaller increases to Army and Air National Guard operations and maintenance spending, according to the House and Senate armed services committees.

The $5 billion in reductions will be rolled into an amended $607-billion National Defense Authorization Act for 2016, which the House plans to vote on this week. President Barack Obama vetoed an earlier version of the annual policy bill last month in a fight with Republicans over federal spending that had threatened military pay and benefits.

The biggest single cost saving, about $1 billion, will come from falling oil prices. Energy and fuel is a top expense for the Defense Department.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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