VAGO’S NOTEBOOK

VAGO'S NOTEBOOK
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The naming of any new aircraft is a big deal, and the stakes are particularly high given it happens so infrequently.

Striking the right balance among history, symbolism and menace without veering into the corny is always tough. The names of the last two bombers, the B-1 Lancer and the B-2 Spirit, weren’t exactly resounding hits.

So all eyes were on what the Air Force would name the B-21 that is under development by Northrop Grumman. Air Force Secretary Deborah James and Gen. David Golfdein, the chief of staff, picked the winner from names submitted by airman service wide.

In front of a packed auditorium at the Air Force Association’s flagship annual conference last week, the new bomber was named the Raider, in honor of Jimmy Doolittle’s daring raid on Tokyo by the last survivor of the mission and one the Air Force’s greatest living heroes, retired Lt. Col. Dick Cole.

The 101-year-old Cole, Doolittle’s copilot, said he as honored and humbled by the gesture, wishing his comrades were alive to share in the moment.

VAGO'S NOTEBOOK
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Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have little in common but their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Both presidential candidates have incessantly bashed the largest trade deal in history. To hear them tell it, 12 nations led by Washington spent years negotiating a deal to kill as many US jobs as possible.

On the contrary, TPP will help the US economy and advance Washington’s strategic relationships in Asia at the very time China is working hard to push America from the region.

VAGO'S NOTEBOOK
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Fifteen years after the deadliest terror attacks on US soil, Americans are remembering 9/11 and still grappling with its implications.
As with any mass tragedy, scars for some remain fresh as others have worked hard to move beyond the searing events of that sunny September day. Many – particularly those who experienced the chaos of that day first hand – still struggle with anxiety sparked by memories or images of buildings falling, scenes far more gruesome, or wonder why they survived when others didn’t.

Sept. 11, 2016, will be a day of public remembrance and personal reflection for a tragedy that killed 3,000 and injured some 6,000 more. A thousand first responders and others have died since of illnesses linked to the attacks, along with nearly 6,000 American troops who fought in the wars to avenge that attacks and prevent others.
In an election year, there will also be vulgar political grandstanding that shouldn’t distract us from thoughtfully taking stock.

VAGO'S NOTEBOOK
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The Pentagon has tried to keep F-35 funding stable, but there is mounting pressure to slow the program to pay for other priorities. It must do all it can to get as many JSFs into service as quickly as possible to cut its own costs and field capabilities so potent they will serve a key conventional deterrent.