Monday, March 5, 2018

Fw: TheList 4670

The List 4670

To All,
I hope that you all had a great weekend.
This Day In Naval History – March 5, 2018
March 5
1942The "Seabees" name and insignia are officially authorized. Rear Adm. Ben Moreell personally furnishes them with their official motto: Construimus, Batuimus -- "We Build, We Fight."
1943Auxiliary aircraft carrier USS Bogue (ACV 9) begins the first anti-submarine operations by an escort carrier in the Atlantic as the nucleus of the pioneer American anti-submarine hunter-killer group.
1945USS Sea Robin (SS 407) sinks three Japanese gunboats and USS Bashaw (SS 241) sinks two Japanese tankers.
1960USS Newport News (CA-148) and personnel from Port Lyautey complete emergency relief operations at Agadir, Morocco after Feb. 29 earthquake.
2005USS Nitze (DDG 94) is commissioned at Naval Station Norfolk. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer is named after former Secretary of the Navy Paul Nitze, who was in attendance for the ship's launching and christening in April 2004, but died before the commissioning ceremony.
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
National headlines were dominated by the 90th Academy Awards ceremony, as well as continued coverage of Chinese President Xi Jinping's move to abolish term limits for his position. The New York Times reports that the USS Carl Vinson made a port call in Vietnam on Monday, marking the first time that a U.S. Carrier has visited the country since the Vietnam War. The move is significant, as Vietnam has often declined expanding naval exchanges with the U.S. in order to avoid agitating China. According to Murray Hiebert, senior associate of the Southeast Asia Program at the CSIS, the Carl Vinson's visit "demonstrates Vietnam's anxiety about what China will do next in the South China Sea." Carl Vinson Strike Group commander RDML Fuller told Time Magazine "We know where international law says we can operate, and I know where international law says we can't, and we're gonna do what international law says we can do," to reporters embarked on the aircraft carrier. Additionally, the Washington Post reports that North Korea has been able to effectively defeat sanctions on coal exports through a complex scheme to "launder" its coal through a Russian port.
March 5
Class-based legislation is passed in the colony of Virginia, exempting the upper class from punishment by whipping.
Antonio de Ulloa, the first Spanish governor of Louisiana, arrives in New Orleans.
Austrian troops crush the French and recapture Liege.
James Monroe becomes the first president to be inaugurated on March 5, only because the 4th was a Sunday.
Russians begin to retreat from Mukden in Manchuria, China.
The Italians become the first to use dirigibles for military purposes, using them for reconnaissance flights behind Turkish lines west of Tripoli.
The Soviets move the capital of Russia from Petrograd to Moscow.
Hitler's National Socialists win the majority vote in Bavaria.
Newly inaugurated President Franklin D. Roosevelt halts the trading of gold and declares a bank holiday.
Hitler and Nationalist allies win the Reichstag majority. It will be the last free election in Germany until after World War II.
In desperation due to war losses, fifteen and sixteen year olds are called up for military service in the German army.
In Fulton, Missouri, Winston Churchill tells a crowd that "an iron curtain has descended on the Continent [of Europe]."
The U.S. Supreme Court affirms the ban on segregation in public schools in Brown vs. Board of Education.
Gustav Heinemann is elected West German President.
Britain gives up on the Ulster talks and decides to retain rule in Northern Ireland indefinitely.
The U.S. Supreme Court rules that cities have the right to display the Nativity scene as part of their Christmas display.
With our thanks to THE Bear at
March 5, 2018   Bear Taylor  
RIPPLE SALVO… #730… "IN HIS SEVEN YEARS IN THE PENTAGON, MR. McNAMARA NOT ONLY SERVED LONGER BUT ALSO UNDOUBTEDLY ACCOMPLISHED MORE THAN ANY OF HIS PREDECESSORS IN REVAMPING THE HUGE MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT…. If the praise was accompanied by criticism, it was because there was one area–relations with Congress–that Mr. McNamara never mastered or completely understood."…. but first…
Good Morning: Day SEVEN HUNDRED THIRTY of a remembrance of the events and participants of Operation Rolling Thunder, the bombing of North Vietnam fifty years ago…
HEAD LINES from The New York Times on Tuesday, 5 March 1968…
THE WAR IN VIETNAM Fifty Years Ago Today: Page 3: "PENTAGON IDENTIFIES MEN KILLED IN WAR"…"The Defense Department today (4th) identified 188 American servicemen killed in Vietnam. Included in the list were the following men from New York and New Jersey…. NYT, 6 Mar, Page 5: "U.S. IDENTIFIES MEN KILLED IN VIETNAM"… "The Pentagon today (5th) identified 120 American servicemen who were killed in combat in Vietnam…" Two days of war and 308 young warriors– Gone! –names for a wall… Brave souls to be remembered."
Page 1: "G.I.s AND ENEMY BATTLE 8 HOURS NORTH OF SAIGON–FOE LOSES 10 MEN IN ATTACK IN AREA OF EARLIER AMBUSH–Planes Aid U.S. Troops–Government Forces Kill 42 In Turning Back Another Thrust ;Near Capital"…
Today on Fighter Sweep
Watch: Take 2 Minutes and Remember the Mighty F-14 Tomcat!
Gone but not forgotten! The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is an American supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft. The Tomcat was developed for the United States Navy's Naval Fighter Experimental View More ›
Thanks to Robert
Subject: A delightful collection of Kids say the darnedest things!
1. A kindergarten pupil told his teacher he'd found a cat, but it was dead."How do you know that the cat was dead?" she asked her pupil.
"Because I pissed in its ear and it didn't move," answered the child innocently.
You did WHAT?!? the teacher exclaimed in surprise.
"You know, "explained the boy, "I leaned over and went 'Pssst!' and it didn't move."

2. A small boy is sent to bed by his father.
Five minutes later....."Da-ad...."
"I'm thirsty. Can you bring drink of water?"
"No, You had your chance. Lights out."
Five minutes later: "Da-aaaad....."
"I'm THIRSTY. Can I have a drink of water??"
I told you NO! If you ask again, I'll have to spank you!!"
Five minutes later......"Daaaa-aaaad....."
"WHAT!" "When you come in to spank me, can you bring a drink of water?"

 3. An exasperated mother, whose son was always getting into mischief, finally asked him "How do you expect to get into Heaven?"
The boy thought it over and said, "Well, I'll run in and out and in and out and keep slamming the door until St Peter says, 'For Heaven's sake, Dylan, come in or stay out!'"

 4. One summer evening during a violent thunderstorm a mother was tucking her son into bed. She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, "Mommy, will you sleep with me tonight?"
The mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug.
"I can't dear," she said. "I have to sleep in Daddy's room."
A long silence was broken at last by his shaky little voice: "The big sissy."

5. It was that time, during the Sunday morning service, for the children's sermon. All the children were invited to come forward. One little girl was wearing a particularly pretty dress and, as she sat down, the pastor leaned over and said, "That is a very pretty dress. Is it your Easter Dress?" The little girl replied, directly into the pastor's clip-on microphone, "Yes, and my Mom says it's a bitch to iron."

6 When I was six months pregnant with my third child, my three year old came into the room when I was just getting ready to get into the shower. She said, "Mommy, you are getting fat!" I replied, "Yes, honey, remember Mommy has a baby growing in her tummy." "I know," she replied, but what's growing in your butt?"

7 A little boy was doing his math homework. He said to himself,
"Two plus five, that son of a bitch is seven. Three plus six, that son of a bitch is nine..."
His mother heard what he was saying and gasped, "What are you doing?"
The little boy answered, "I'm doing my math homework, Mom."
"And this is how your teacher taught you to do it?" the mother asked.
"Yes," he answered. Infuriated, the mother asked the teacher the next day, "What are you teaching my son in math?" The teacher replied, "Right now, we are learning addition." The mother asked, "And are you teaching them to say two plus two, that son of a bitch is four?" After the teacher stopped laughing, she answered, "What I taught them was, two plus two, THE SUM OF WHICH, is four."

8. One day the first grade teacher was reading the story of Chicken Little to her class. She came to the part of the story where Chicken Little tried to warn the farmer. She read, ".... and so Chicken Little went up to the farmer and said, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!" The teacher paused then asked the class,"And what do you think that farmer said?" One little girl raised her hand and said,
"I think he said: 'Shit! A talking chicken!'" The teacher was unable to teach for the next 10 minutes.

9. A certain little girl, when asked her name, would reply, "I'm Mr. Sugarbrown's daughter." Her mother told her this was wrong, she must say, "I'm Jane Sugarbrown."
The Vicar spoke to her in Sunday School, and said,
"Aren't you Mr. Sugarbrown's daughter?" She replied, "I thought I was, but mother says I'm not."

 10. A little girl asked her mother, "Can I go outside and play with the boys?"
Her mother replied, "No, you can't play with the boys, they're too rough."
The little girl thought about it for a few moments and asked, "If I can find a smooth one, can I play with him?"

11. A little girl goes to the barber shop with her father.
She stands next to the barber chair, while her dad gets his hair cut, eating a snack cake.
The barber says to her, "Sweetheart, you're gonna get hair on your Twinkie."
She says, "Yes, I know, and I'm gonna get boobs too."
12. The minister started his Children's Sermon with a question, "Who knows what a Resurrection is?" Without missing a beat a young boy says, "If you have one lasting more than 4 hours call your physician. The pastor is still laughing.
Thanks to Carl
F-18 Hornet Cruise Video Teaser - YouTube
Four minutes of magnificent flying scenes!!  Oh, the memories of the good ole days!
Thanks to Carl
9/12/2011 • 
Item Number:1 Date: 03/05/2018 BURKINA FASO - 16 KILLED IN ATTACKS ON ARMY HQ, FRENCH EMBASSY (MAR 05/AFRTIMES)  AFRICA TIMES -- Simultaneous attacks on a military headquarters and the French Embassy have killed 16 people in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, reports the Africa Times.   Witnesses said a suicide bomber detonated a device at the army headquarters in downtown Ouagadougou on March 2, which lit much of the building on fire, reported Agence France-Presse. Victims fled as Burkinabe soldiers took up positions in the area, reported Reuters.   The attack on the headquarters appeared to target a gathering of senior intelligence officials, said Security Minister Clement Sawadogo, as cited by the New York Times. The meeting was moved to a different location at the last minute.   Just over a mile away, a van attempted to breach the security barrier at the French Embassy. French special operations forces deployed to the Embassy fought off the attack. Damage to the building was light, said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.   Gunfire was also reported near the prime minister's office.   The entire attack lasted roughly two hours. Around 80 people were injured.   At least 16 people, including eight of the attackers, were killed. The majority of the remaining casualties came from Burkina Faso's security forces.   The Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) claimed responsibility for the attacks, reported Al Akhbar (Mauritania). They were meant to avenge Mohamed Ould Nouini (Abou Hassan al-Ansari) and other JNIM leaders, who were killed in a French-led raid in eastern Mali two weeks ago, reported France 24.   The attack is the third in the Burkinabe capital in the last year
Item Number:2 Date: 03/05/2018 CHINA - DEFENSE BUDGET IN LINE FOR 8.1 PERCENT BOOST IN 2018 (MAR 05/REU)  REUTERS -- China's newly-announced defense budget features the largest increase in three years, reports Reuters.   Announced on Monday, the 2018 defense budget totals 1.11 trillion yuan (US$175 billion), 8.1 percent higher than 2017.   The figure is expected to include significant funding for military research and development. China does not provide breakdowns for military spending.   Beijing will "advance all aspects of military training and war preparedness, and firmly and resolvedly safeguard national, sovereignty, security and development interests," Premier Li Keqiang told the Chinese Parliament.   The increase is mainly intended to upgrade equipment, improve living conditions for troops and enhance training, said a parliamentary spokesman, as cited by the Washington Post.   The announcement has produced unease in some nearby capitals. Beijing is believed to be moving to a more muscular foreign policy.   Asian diplomatic sources told the news outlet that the real increase was likely double the announced number.   Reforms, announced in 2015, that decreased the size of the armed forces by 300,000 have largely been completed, said Li.  
  Item Number:3 Date: 03/05/2018 INDIA - FRAMEWORK DEFENSE AGREEMENT INKED WITH JORDAN (MAR 05/TI)  TIMES OF INDIA -- The governments of India and Jordan have finalized a framework defense agreement, reports the Times of India.   Representatives of the two countries signed 12 agreements after high-level talks covering areas from health and culture to tourism and media. Defense and security was a key area of interest for both parties, Indian officials said.   The framework defense cooperation accord outlines several areas for cooperation, including defense industry and joint exercises.   India and Jordan also plan to extend a cybersecurity dialogue that was launched in 2017.  
 Item Number:4 Date: 03/05/2018 INDIA - NAG ANTI-TANK MISSILE WRAPS UP DEVELOPMENT TESTING (MAR 05/INDIAMOD)  INDIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE -- The Nag anti-tank guided missile has successfully concluded development trials, reports the Indian Ministry of Defense.   The missile was flight-tested on Feb. 28 in desert conditions against two tank targets at different ranges and timings, the ministry said.   With the successful completion of the trials, the Nag is ready for induction into army service.   The fire-and-forget weapon system was developed by India's Defense Research and Development Organization, noted the Indo-Asian News Service.  
  Item Number:5 Date: 03/05/2018 LEBANON - FORMER CYBERCRIME CHIEF FRAMED ACTOR AS A SPY (MAR 05/DAILYSTAR)  DAILY STAR -- A former Lebanese intelligence head framed a Lebanese actor for espionage, reports the Daily Star (Beirut).   Suzan Hajj Hobeiche framed actor Ziad Itani as an Israeli spy in an act of revenge, according to a judicial source.   Itani is no longer under arrest and will be released on Monday, said prosecutors.   Hobeiche, the former head of the cybercrime division for Lebanon's Internal Security Forces, blamed Itani after she lost her job.   In 2017, Hobeiche resigned under pressure after she shared a controversial social media post. She quickly reversed the move, but Itani had captured a screenshot and shared it online.   After losing her job, Hobeiche hired a hacker to create fake social media accounts and fabricate conversations between the actor and an Israeli woman. Communicating with Israeli citizens outside of official channels is a crime in Lebanon.   The hacker hired by the former cybercrime chief was arrested earlier last week and confessed to the crime. Recordings of conversations between Hobeiche and the hacker confirmed this version of events, reported Al-Akhbar
  Item Number:6 Date: 03/05/2018 MACEDONIA - PROTESTERS RALLY AGAINST POSSIBLE CHANGE TO COUNTRY'S NAME TO PLACATE GREECE (MAR 05/REU)  REUTERS -- Thousands of Macedonians have protested a proposal to change their country's name, reports Reuters.   Gathering on Sunday under a statue of Alexander the Great in the capital, Skopje, demonstrators chanted "We are Macedonians."   Protesters demanded that the country's prime minister halt ongoing negotiations with Greece after Athens demanded that Macedonia change its name.   Demonstrators also want the U.N. to recognize the country by its constitutional name of Macedonia.   Last month, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said his country would be willing to consider a geographic qualifier, such as North Macedonia.   Greece has lodged numerous complaints against the country for using the name Macedonia, which is also the name of a region in northern Greece. Athens has accused Macedonia of using the name to push an irredentist agenda.   The dispute between the two nations has stretched back decades and has frustrated attempts by Macedonia to join NATO and the European Union.  
  Item Number:7 Date: 03/05/2018 NORTH KOREA - TALKS IN PYONGYANG FOCUS ON DENUCLEARIZATION (MAR 05/YON)  YONHAP -- A South Korean high-level delegation has arrived in Pyongyang for direct talks with Kim Jong Un, the North Korean dictator, reports South Korea's official Yonhap news agency.   On Monday, the delegation, led by Chung Eui Yong, the head of the presidential security office, arrived in Pyongyang.   The meeting was the first between Kim and South Korean officials.   Chung said his focus would be on denuclearization and ways to continue bilateral talks, as well as discussions between the U.S. and North Korea, reported the Guardian (U.K.).   The delegation is scheduled to return to South Korea on Tuesday.  
  Item Number:8 Date: 03/05/2018 SOUTH SUDAN - OPPOSITION GROUPS FORM ALLIANCE IN EFFORT TO END CONFLICT (MAR 05/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- Nine opposition groups in South Sudan have formed a coalition with the goal of accelerating efforts to end the conflict there, reports the Voice of America News.   "We in opposition believe that the unity of the opposition is paramount to address the issues that brought the country to the crisis," said Kwaje Lasu, the secretary-general of the South Sudan National Movement for Change.   The South Sudan Opposition Alliance includes the Federal Democratic Party, National Salvation Front, National Democratic Movement, People's Democratic Movement, South Sudan Liberation Movement, South Sudan National Movement for Change, South Sudan Patriotic Movement, South Sudan United Movement and United Democratic Alliance.   The group will cooperate during the third round of talks overseen by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), scheduled for this month.   Rebels belonging to the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) and the SPLM Former Detainees (SPLM-FD) were not mentioned among the groups in the coalition.   "This is a preliminary process of unifying or forming the alliance," Lasu said. "SPLM-IO is still with us and we are working together as opposition. However, they are still making consultation before they join this new group."   The SPLM-IO maintains loyalty to Riek Machar, the former vice president of South Sudan.   "We are not interested in any accommodation," he said. "We are more concerned about what brought the country to this crisis, and we would like to address it in [a] unified voice as the opposition."   Leadership of the alliance will rotate through the leaders of the various coalition members, said Lasu
Item Number:9 Date: 03/05/2018 SWEDEN - STEEL CUT FOR NEW SIGINT SHIP AT POLISH SHIPYARD (MAR 05/SAAB)  SAAB -- The Nauta Shipyard in Gdynia, Poland, has launched construction of a new signals intelligence ship for the Swedish navy, reports Saab, the prime contractor for the program.   The new vessel is being built in Poland and will be fitted out at Saab's shipyard in Karlskrona, Sweden, prior to delivery, the company said. Saab awarded the Nauta Shipyard the construction contract last year.   The milestone followed intense cooperation between Saab, the Nauta Shipyard and the MMC ship design and marine consulting company.  
  Item Number:10 Date: 03/05/2018 SYRIA - AIRSTRIKE IN AFRIN KILLS 40 KURDISH, GOVERNMENT FIGHTERS (MAR 05/SOHR)  SYRIAN OBSERVATORY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS -- A Turkish airstrike in northwestern Syria has killed at least 40 people, reports the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based monitoring group.   Saturday's strike on the Kafr Jina camp in Aleppo province killed mostly fighters loyal to the Syrian government in Damascus, reported the New York Times.   The strike was the third on the camp in 48 hours. Ankara is stepping up the pressure on Kurdish and Syrian forces in the Afrin region.   Turkey is fighting to remove Kurdish members of the People's Protection Units (YPG) from its southern border. Turkey considers the YPG to be an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist group by Ankara and Washington.   The YPG has been an important U.S. ally in the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria.   Syrian government forces have been backing the Kurdish fighters as Turkish forces, supported by Syrian rebels, have advanced in the region
Item Number:11 Date: 03/05/2018 SYRIA - SECURITY FORCES RECAPTURE 25 PERCENT OF REBEL-HELD E. GHOUTA (MAR 05/DEWELLE)  DEUTSCHE WELLE -- Syrian government forces have advanced in the rebel-held area of eastern Ghouta, a suburb of the capital, Damascus, despite an ongoing cease-fire, reports Deutsche Welle.   On Sunday, government forces came within 2 miles of (3 km) of Douma, the area's largest town. The government now controls much of the eastern edge of the enclave, including the districts of al-Nashabiyeh and Otaya.   Regime forces reclaimed as much as 25 percent of the territory, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based monitoring group. Government forces are close to splitting the rebel-held areas in two, said a military commander cited by Reuters.   On Saturday, government forces began a new push to reclaim the area, about 8 miles (13 km) from the capital, Damascus.   At least 34 people, including 12 government fighters, were killed in the fighting with the Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) rebel group. The group said it had abandoned at least two areas of the enclave.   Syrian President Bashar Assad said on Sunday that the government would continue its advance, despite international criticism that he is violating a U.N. cease-fire passed on Feb. 24.   Forty-six trucks carrying aid from the U.N. and International Red Cross reached eastern Ghouta on Monday, reported Voice of America News. It was the first aid to reach the area in three weeks.   In an emergency meeting on March 2, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said that the operation in eastern Ghouta likely included "war crimes and potentially crimes against humanity."   At least 640 people — including over 150 children — have been killed since Feb. 18, when the government stepped up efforts to retake the area, which has been under rebel control since 2013.  
  Item Number:12 Date: 03/05/2018 UKRAINE - 3 FIRMS JOIN TO BUILD NEW AN-132 CARGO AIRCRAFT (MAR 05/ANTONOV)  ANTONOV -- Ukrainian and Saudi defense firms have signed a memorandum of understanding covering the manufacture of the An-132 transport aircraft, reports Antonov, the Ukrainian company that originally designed the aircraft.   Antonov, Taqnia Aeronautics and WAHAJ, a precision engineering company, signed the agreement last week.   The An-132, based on the Antonov An-32, has been jointly developed by Antonov and Taqnia Aeronautics for military transport missions.   The MoU is part of Taqnia's efforts to form an alliance to set up manufacturing, testing and maintenance capabilities for the aircraft.   The companies agreed that initial production will take place at Antonov's facilities in cooperation with Taqnia and WAHAJ, with the Ukrainian firm serving as prime contractor.   In the next stage, the firms will expand their cooperation as part of efforts to establish production facilities in Saudi Arabia, said an Antonov release on March 1.  
Item Number:13 Date: 03/05/2018 USA - COMBAT MEDICS TRAIN FOR SITUATIONS WHERE EVACUATIONS MAY BE DELAYED (MAR 05/ARMY)  ARMY TIMES -- The U.S. Army is implementing a new program to prepare combat medics for environments where it may be harder and take longer for medical evacuation assets to arrive, reports the Army Times.   Over the past two decades, medics have been training to keep injured troops alive during firefights and with the assumption that help can arrive relatively quickly.   This may not be a relevant assumption in a future conflict with peer or near-peer adversaries, officials said.   Accordingly, the Army is trying to prepare its medics to deal with injuries when it could be hours or a day before a medevac can arrive.   The Expeditionary Combat Medic (ECM) course began development in 2009, borrowing from special operations combat care training and Air Force and Navy independent duty programs for enlisted first responders, Sgt. 1st Class Joey Hernandez, the lead instructor for the program, told the newspaper in a Feb. 28 interview.   The Army held its first pilot class with 10 students in the summer of 2017. The class graduated in December.   The course is designed to bridge the gap between a medic's basic knowledge and the care a wounded soldier would receive once they arrived at a battalion aide station.   The service wants to have one ECM-qualified non-commissioned officer at every company-sized unit or above.  
  Item Number:14 Date: 03/05/2018 USA - CYBER MARINES GET NEW CAREER FIELD (MAR 05/MIL)  MILITARY.COM -- The U.S. Marine Corps has created new military occupational specialties (MOS) for cyber personnel, reports   The service announced the creation of the 17XX MOS community on Feb. 26 as part of a larger effort to bolster U.S. cyber capabilities.   There are seven new MOS within the field, including for enlisted Marines, officers and warrant officers, according to a Marine Corps administration message published on March 1.   There are two officer specialties, cyberspace officer and cyberspace warfare development officer; two warrant officer positions, offensive cyberspace weapons officer and defensive cyberspace weapons officer; and three enlisted jobs, cyberspace effects operator; cyberspace defensive operator; and cyberspace operations chief.   The career field supports the maturation of the service's cyber workforce by creating specific career paths, standardized training and mechanisms to retain trained and qualified cyber operators, said a Marine Corps release.  
  Item Number:15 Date: 03/05/2018 USA - PILOTS NEED MORE FLIGHT TIME, SAYS AIR FORCE SECRETARY (MAR 05/AFT)  AIR FORCE TIMES -- Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson says that pilots in the service need more flying hours than they are getting, reports the Air Force Times.   During a panel discussion at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., Wilson refuted reports the Air Force pilots were only flying nine or 10 hours monthly.   During fiscal 2017, pilots flew an average of 17.6 hours per month, she said. Fighter pilots flew about 16.4 hours per month and mobility pilots, 17.3 hours. Bomber pilots, who typically fly longer missions, averaged about 19.7 hours per month.   The Air Force is seeking to increase flight hours further, said Wilson. There are also efforts to ensure that pilots are getting the most out of their flight time, she said.  
  Item Number:16 Date: 03/05/2018 USA - STAFFING REDUCTIONS AT U.S. EMBASSY IN HAVANA MADE PERMANENT (MAR 05/NPR)  NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO -- Previously announced staffing reductions at the U.S. Embassy in Havana will be made permanent, reports NPR News.   In a news release Friday, the State Dept. said that the embassy in Havana will be an unaccompanied post, meaning that embassy staff cannot bring family with them.   This designation is usually reserved for war zones, noted NPR.   Cuban citizens will have to travel to third countries to apply for U.S. visas, except in exceptional circumstances, such as for official diplomatic travel, said State Dept. officials.   Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recalled all non-essential staff from Cuba in September 2017 after at least 24 diplomats and family members complained of unusual medical symptoms, reported CNN.   Personnel blamed the symptoms on unusual sounds or auditory sensations, said a State Dept. doctor in January.   Diplomats began reporting the strange noises in November 2016. Investigations into the cause of the noises and symptoms is ongoing.   Cuba has denied involvement in the incidents. Investigations into the matter have strained already tense relations between Havana and Washington.

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