Military Notebook: Robins unit wins major award

February 16, 2013 

A Robins Air Force Base unit has won an Air Force award for excellence.

The 5th Combat Communications Group won the 2012 Information Dominance Award for large units, according to a news release. The award is given annually to units that “best conduct information dominance and cyberspace operations in support of military operations,” the release stated.

The unit was noted for having the last cyber airman to leave Iraq, for providing support for more than 3,000 International Security Assistance Force personnel and for establishing a command-and-control radio network in Afghanistan.

Also, 56 members of the unit volunteered more than 600 hours to help repair an aqueduct for an Afghan village.

Midstate guardsmen depart

The Georgia Army National Guard’s 214th Field Artillery Battalion, which has six members from Macon and Monroe County, held a departure ceremony Friday for its yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.

According to a Georgia Army National Guard release, the Elberton-based unit is part of the 78th Homeland Response Force headquartered in Marietta. Members of the unit come from all around Georgia, including two from Macon and four from Monroe County.

The unit has a long tradition that dates back to the Civil War. Members have also served previously in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth, Georgia’s adjutant general, spoke at the ceremony along with other dignitaries.

Accident review shifts blame off maintainers

An amendment to an investigative report on an F-16C crash last year shifts blame away from maintainers.

The original report concluded a faulty engine blade brought down the $24 million aircraft, but Air Combat Command’s vice commander questioned the finding that the fault should have been found during installation, which was done at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.

The addendum states a manufacturing fault in the blade was to blame for the crash, and maintainers wouldn’t have been expected to find it because new blades are not typically inspected closely during installation, according to a story in the Air Force Times.

The engine turbine fan blade came apart during a training flight and damaged the engine. The pilot safely ejected after he couldn’t restart the engine.

The accident happened May 4 near Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

The addendum, released Feb. 7, stated the anomaly in the blade could have been found during installation in 2004, but was not likely.

Eight years of use finally exposed the fault, the addendum stated.

“The probability of detection was limited due to the possibility of material transfer or smearing during machining and that feature-by-feature inspections of new blades were deemed not necessary,” stated the report which was issued Feb. 4.

Tinker Air Force Base officials told investigators new blades are closely inspected only if the box appears damaged.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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