2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Green Beret motorcyclists organize ride for charity

    Wed, July 16, 2014 by Tom Roeder with no comments

    gbfWant to ride like a Green Beret?
    The Special Forces Motorcycle ​ Club in Colorado Springs is organizing a “Eagle Down” charity ride that will let you rumble along side current and retired soldiers of the 10th Special Forces Group.
    The ride starts at with registration 8:30 a.m. on July 26th at the veteran’s memorial in Memorial Park off Union Boulevard and ends at Red Leg Brewing Co. off Garden of The Gods Road. In between those stops, the ride will offer a tour of the Pikes Peak region.
    It’s a “poker run” and riders who pay a $20 fee will pick up cards along the way.
    At the last stop, riders can dance to live music and join in raffles and other fundraising fun.​
    ​For information on the ride, surf to http://on.fb.me/1yrRI49 on the Internet.
    Cash from the event will benefit the Green Beret Foundation, The Special Forces Charitable Trust and the Wounded Warrior Foundation.
  • VA seeks software fix for scheduling snafus

    Wed, July 16, 2014 by Tom Roeder with no comments

    va_logoUnder fire for massive delays in delivering care to veterans, the federal Department of Veterans Affairs is developing a new software system to manage health appointments.
    VA officials met with representatives of veterans groups Wednesday to gather opinions on how the new scheduling system should work.

    “This meeting provided VA leaders a valuable opportunity to hear veteran opinions and insights about critical aspects of the new system, which will provide VA the ability to seamlessly coordinate care across facilities and enable more accurate scheduling of facilities, clinicians, and administrative support,” the agency said in a news release.

    VA is examining options, including buying software now used by civilian hospitals.
    There’s still now word on an investigation examining allegations of scheduling fraud at VA’s Colorado Springs clinics and other facilities.
    VA’s inspector general is probing claims by Colorado Springs workers that were ordered to falsify wait times for veteran appointments.
  • F-35 flight restrictions hamstring newest fighter

    Wed, July 16, 2014 by Tom Roeder with no comments

    Standing ready for flightThe Air Force’s vaunted 5th Generation fighter has a lot in common with the jets sent in the early 1950s to fight the Korean war thanks to speed restrictions put in place after an engine fire grounded the stealthy jets.
    The single-engine F-35 is planned to replace aircraft now used by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, including the A-10, F-16 and AV-8. But more than a decade of development has yet to work the bugs out of the fighter.
    The June 23 engine fire on an F-35 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., led to a grounding of the fleet, engine inspections and new flight rules that leave the newest fighter with lower performance than the oldest fighters in service.
    “Under the rules of the flight resumption, the F-35s are limited to a maximum speed of Mach 0.9 and 18 degrees of angle of attack. They can go from minus 1 G to a 3 G’s,” a Pentagon spokesman said in a news release. “After three hours of flight time, each front fan section of each engine has to be inspected with a borescope.”
    The aging F-16, introduced in the 1970s, can pull more than 9 times the force of gravity and approach Mach 2.
    It remains unclear of when the F-35 will be allowed to show its full performance, which includes a top speed of 1.6 and the ability to pull 9 times the force of gravity in turns.

  • Academy space telescope idea closer to reality

    Tue, May 20, 2014 by Tom Roeder with no comments

    PrintExperiments started at the Air Force Academy a decade ago have grown into a Ball Aerospace project that could change how scientists look at the universe.

    The Air Force Academy for years has been working on a plastic telescope lens called a photon sieve that parses light rays into a magnified image through a think plastic membrane. And a contract from the Defense Advance Research Project Agency drove development of a similar lens that’s nearly ready for use in space.

    The plastic telescopes, built from nearly the same material as the plastic wrap in countless kitchens, are several times light than their glass cousins. That means relatively giant telescopes can be launched for less money than smaller the Hubble and Webb space telescopes now in use.

    “Larger and larger aperture telescopes are needed to push the boundaries of astronomy,” explained Ball’s Makenzie Lystrup, who manages business development for space sciences at the Broomfield satellite builder.

    Ball held a news conference on the technology Tuesday at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.

    The plastic lenses could be large enough to replicate a glass lens with a diameter of 120 feet.

    That’s big enough to stare at planets circling neighboring stars, and possibly large enough to determine the composition of their atmospheres.

    The plastic lenses aren’t perfect. While glass lenses can see light through the spectrum, plastic versions can see part of the light spectrum and require electronic correction to see in real colors.

    Ball has made the concept work with a 1-meter test version on Earth. Under the DARPA contract, the firm also built hinged sections of a plastic telescope that could be launched.

    The DARPA grant, though, paid for technology development but not a space vehicle to carry the concept to orbit.

    For now, Ball is waiting for NASA or another space agency to buy the technology.

    The company is also developing other ways the plastic membranes can be used.

    Ideas include using the telescope as a receiver for laser imaging of Earth and using it to permit long-distance laser communications in space — like fiber optics without a cable.

    Meanwhile, a small version of a membrane telescope is part of the academy”s cadet-built FalconSat-7, a miniature satellite which is being readied for a future launch.

  • Life-saving move nets Spririt of Springs award for AFA cadet

    Wed, May 7, 2014 by Tom Roeder with no comments

    PrintColorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach on April 29 honored an Air Force Academy cadet for saving a life.
    The Spirit of the Springs award went to sophomore cadet Madeleine Girardot who used the Heimlich maneuver Jan. 18 to save the life of a fellow restaurant patron.
    The academy said Giradot, a member of the school’s fencing team “performed the lifesaving Heimlich maneuver on a young fencer, Helen Landwehr, while both fencers were competing at the North American Cup in Virginia Beach.” Landwher, a student at Air Academy High School, survived the incident.

  • Cadet headed to France after winning fellowship

    Wed, May 7, 2014 by Tom Roeder with no comments

    USAFAsealA Black Forest native and Air Force Academy senior has earned the Gen. John K. Gerhart Fellowship to study in France after her May 28 graduation.
    Cadet Liana Gaudreault, a biology major, said she plans to study anthropology at New Sorbonne University in Paris, the academy said in a news release.
    “I’m looking at ideas and topics,” Gaudreault said. “My initial thought is studying how cultures have evolved with respect to food and health from a nutritionist’s point of view. I want to look at cultural influences and genetics, which plays into my biology background, and how diet fits into fitness and body types.”
    The academy said Gaudreault came to the school to follow in the footsteps of her older sister, Marie, who graduated in 2011.
    In addition to her studies, Gaudreault plans to travel through Europe and soak up culture.
    The Gerhart Fellowship is named for Gen. John K. Gerhart, who flew with 8th Air Force during World War II, receiving Croix de Guerre medals with palm devices from the French and Belgian governments for his service, the academy said.

  • Peterson space wing gets Moorman award

    Wed, May 7, 2014 by Tom Roeder with no comments

    21st space wingPeterson Air Force Base’s 21st Space Wing was recently honored with the Gen. Thomas S. Moorman, Jr. Award for Air Force Space Command’s Best Operational Wing.
    To win the honor, the wing had to beat out units at Schriever and Buckley Air Force bases as well as wings in Florida and California.
    “This award is a testament to our entire incredible team — active duty, Reserve, Guard, civilian and contractor — all working tirelessly day in and day out to achieve excellence,” Col. John Shaw, 21st Space Wing commander, said in a statement.
    Space Command boss Gen. William Shelton cited the Peterson unit’s “superb professionalism and dedication to (Space Command’s) highest standard of excellence.”
    “This award signifies the dedication and hard work of the men and women of the 21st Space Wing across all mission areas,” Lt. Col. Robert Hutt, 21st Operations Support Squadron commander said in a statement.

  • Buckley sergeant earns chief’s stripes

    Wed, May 7, 2014 by Tom Roeder with no comments

    aflogoBuckley Air Force Base’s Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Santos, a 26-year veteran, has earned the rank of chief master sergeant, which will make him one of just 25 chief master sergeants  in the Air Force to wear the first sergeant’s diamonds.
    “I am still to this day shocked that I was selected,” Santos said in a statement on Buckley’s website. “Once I began to really focus on the commander’s intent instead of generic campaigns, it no longer mattered if I got promoted or not.
    “I enjoyed what I was doing and who I was doing it for.”
    Santos began his Air Force career at the now-closed Lowry Air Force Base in Denver.
    “About 26 years ago I put on my first stripe while at Lowry, this means I have pinned on my first and last stripe about
    7 miles apart,” Santos said.

  • Space Command debuts GPS signals

    Wed, May 7, 2014 by Tom Roeder with no comments

    space commandAir Force Space Command’s Global Positioning System satellites will phase in two new navigation and timing signals for civilian users this year, the Pentagon announced.
    The long awaited signals — dubbed L2C and L5 — will eventually allow civilian users to get GPS information that uploads more quickly and with greater accuracy.
    The civilian signals are part of a modernization program that began in 1999. The first signals were broadcast April 28, and a full roll-out is expected in December, the Pentagon said.
    Military use of GPS started in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and has expanded since then. But the biggest growth has been in the civilian world, where GPS navigation has proliferated along with other uses.
    The timing signal from space regulates the operation of the Internet and cellular phones and is critical to banking, where the timing signal is used for electronic transactions including the use of check cards.

  • Guard holds wildfire readiness training

    Wed, May 7, 2014 by Tom Roeder with no comments

    CO_NAT_GRD_CAP_33XXThe Colorado National Guard trained to deal with wildfires May 3 during an exercise in Douglas County.
    The drill saw Guard troops coordinating their efforts with civilian authorities and setting up road blocks to control an area. Those are the same skills the guard has employed during massive wildfires that swept through El Paso County in 2012 and 2013.
    The troops involved are part of a reaction force that’s equipped to respond to disasters quickly. “The development of this ready reaction force provides state-supported agencies an asset that is prepared to quickly assist as an all-hazard response force,” the Guard said in a news release.
    The Guard said its has learned lessons on the need for quick reaction in recent disasters.
    “Recent fires in Colorado demonstrate the importance of being able to bring emergency personnel from many different agencies together to work seamlessly in the field,” the Guard said. “This exercise will provide an opportunity for county agencies to practice working and integrating together with the Colorado National Guard.”