WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael E. Langley was confirmed by the Senate on Monday to be appointed to the rank of General and will be promoted to his next rank in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. this Saturday.
Langley’s promotion will mark the first time a Black Marine had served as a four-star general in the 246-year history of the Marine Corps. At his promoted rank, Langley will serve as the commander of U.S Africa Command (AFRICOM) in Stuttgart, Germany, and will command all U.S. military forces in Africa.
A full-spectrum combatant command, AFRICOM is responsible for all U.S. Department of Defense operations, exercises, and security cooperation on the African continent, its island nations, and surrounding waters. The area of responsibility consists of 53 African states, more than 800 ethnic groups, over 1,000 languages, vast natural resources, a land mass of 11.2 million square miles (three-and-a-half times the size of the U.S.), and nearly 19,000 miles of coastland. AFRICOM began initial operations Oct. 1, 2007, and became fully operational Oct. 1, 2008.
Langley is a native of Shreveport, Louisiana and graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington. He commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in 1985 as an Artillery Officer. Langley has commanded Marines at every level from platoon to regiment, serving in Okinawa, Japan and Afghanistan.
As a General Officer, Langley has held billets including Deputy Commanding General for II Marine Expeditionary Force, Commanding General for 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Commander for Marine Forces Europe and Africa, Deputy Commanding general for Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, and Deputy Commander for Marine Forces Command and Marine Forces Northern Command.
Lt. Gen. Langley’s formal military education includes the U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School and College of Naval Command and Staff. He holds multiple advanced degrees including a Master’s Degree in National Security Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
— Sources and photos: Headquarters Marine Corps and U.S. Africa Command
WASHINGTON—NASA has selected hundreds of small businesses and dozens of research institutions to develop technology to help drive the future of space exploration, ranging from novel sensors and electronics to new types of software and cutting-edge materials. The newly awarded projects under the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program also include a high-power electric rocket and a coating to make solar panels more efficient that could be used both in space and here on Earth.
The awards total nearly $50 million, with investments spread out over 39 states and Washington, D.C. Under the selection, 333 proposals from 257 small businesses and 41 research institutions – including 10 Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) – will be awarded first-round funding for technology development. View the full lists of SBIR awardees and STTR awardees online.
NASA investments in American small businesses and research institutions help provide the innovations needed for the exciting and ambitious missions on the agency’s horizon and foster robust commercial space and technology sectors.
“NASA is working on ambitious, groundbreaking missions that require innovative solutions from a variety of sources – especially our small businesses,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy. “Small businesses have the creative edge and expertise needed to help our agency solve our common and complex challenges, and they are crucial to maintaining NASA’s leadership in space. The SBIR program is one of the key ways we do that as well as creating jobs in a growing, sustainable space economy.”
Each proposal team will receive $150,000 – a 20% increase over previous years’ funding – to establish the merit and feasibility of their innovations. Phase I SBIR contracts are awarded to small businesses and last for six months, while Phase I STTR contracts are awarded to small businesses in partnership with a research institution and last for 13 months.
“The selections span a breadth of areas to empower the agency’s work in human exploration, space technology, science, and aeronautics,” said Jenn Gustetic, director of early-stage innovation and partnerships for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. “We’re excited about the uses for these technologies for Artemis and other missions, as well as their potential use in the commercial space industry and people’s everyday lives.”
About 30% of the awards will go to first-time NASA SBIR/STTR recipients. This includes Ad Astra Rocket Company based in Webster, Texas. With its Phase I award, the company will develop a new way of manufacturing part of its Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, or VASIMR, engine – a high-power electric rocket engine the company has been working on with NASA for 25 years. In the engine, powerful radiofrequency waves are launched by special antennas, called couplers. The waves ionize gas into plasma, which is then accelerated to provide rocket thrust. The Phase I funding will be used to manufacture couplers in a way that increases the engine’s power limit. This innovation will help move the entire engine closer to commercialization, where it could be used for high-maneuverability satellites, lunar settlement cargo delivery, and more.
Nearly 25% of the selected companies are women-owned, veteran-owned, disadvantaged, and/or HUBzone small businesses. For example, D2K Technologies, a women- and minority-owned small business based in Oceanside, California, will create a monitoring and advisory system for health management of solenoid operated valves (SOV) used in industrial applications with its Phase I award. This technology could find use in many of NASA’s research centers, testing centers, and launch sites, since SOVs are basic components of most fluid systems. And, with the widespread use of SOVs in industrial applications, the system could be useful to oil and gas, nuclear, manufacturing, power generation, chemical, food, and pharmaceutical companies. This eight-person company is also a first-time NASA SBIR awardee.
“Finding and building a diverse community of entrepreneurs is a central part of our program’s outreach, and the efforts to reach them can start even before Phase I,” said Gynelle Steele, deputy program executive for NASA’s SBIR/STTR program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “For example, working in partnership with NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project, we started offering M-STTR planning grants last year, which incentivized partnerships between MSIs and small businesses and prepared them to submit a STTR Phase I proposal in 2022.”
M-STTR awardee Oakwood University, a historically Black university (HBCU) based in Huntsville, Alabama, will continue working alongside SSS Optical Technologies, a small business also based in Huntsville, using their Phase I award to develop a new type of coating for photovoltaic (PV) cells embedded in solar sails. The coating could generate extra electricity and improve the overall PV conversion efficiency, which could advance solar sailing and other power and energy conversion needs for space exploration. This technology could improve the efficiency of commercial solar panels.
NASA selected Phase I proposals to receive funding by judging their technical merit and commercial potential. Based on their progress during Phase I, companies may submit proposals for $850,000 in Phase II funding to develop a prototype, as well as subsequent SBIR/STTR Post Phase II opportunities. The NASA SBIR/STTR program is part of the Space Technology Mission Directorate and is managed by NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.
To learn more about NASA’s SBIR/STTR program and apply to future opportunities, visit: https://sbir.nasa.gov/.
The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest Arleigh Burke-class (Flight-IIA) destroyer USS Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (DDG 121), May 14 in Charleston, South Carolina.
CHARLESTON, SC—Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro attended the ceremony. He began by thanking the Petersen family for their lifetime of service to the nation. “All of us join you in honoring Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, Jr.” Del Toro also recognized the plank owners for bringing the ship to life.
The principal speaker was The Honorable Carlos Campbell, Naval aviator and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, who served alongside Petersen and relayed stories exemplifying the general’s strength and dedication. Recalling Petersen’s ethic, Campbell said “He received a frag wound, he was treated in the field, and returned to combat.”
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday also attended the ceremony. General David Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps, also attended the ceremony. “General Petersen was a man of many firsts,” said Berger. “There’s a saying that ships take on the characteristics of their namesakes, and if that’s true, then God help any adversary to ever confronts the Frank E. Petersen, Jr.”
Ms. Gayle Petersen, Lt. Gen. Petersen’s daughter, expressed thanks on behalf of her family and made a special recognition. “We would not be having this ceremony today if not for a gentleman named Robert Adams. When my dad was shot down in Vietnam he was rescued by Robert Adams.” Gayle continued, “I would like to thank all who had a hand in building this ship, from stem to stern.”
Guest speakers for the event included The Honorable Nancy Mace, U.S Rep. from South Carolina’s 1st District; The Honorable John Tecklenberg, Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina; Mr. George Nungesser, Vice President of Program Management, Ingalls Shipbuilding.
The ship’s sponsors are Mrs. D’Arcy Ann Neller, wife of former Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert “Bob” Neller, USMC (Ret.), and the late Dr. Alicia J. Petersen, Lt. Gen. Petersen’s wife at the time of his passing in 2015. Dr. Petersen passed away in September 2021. Both sponsors participated in the keel laying, mast stepping, and christening ceremonies.
Mrs. Neller thanked the families. “Our service members can’t do what they do without you and your love and support. To the officers and crew. A ship without a crew is like a body without blood. You will all make this ship come alive.” She continued. “The namesake of this ship was a warrior. He always went to the sound of the guns; he was always prepared and smart about the risks he took. You all need to be the same. Always be prepared. Work hard and when the time comes, you will be ready to go into the jaw of the tiger.”
During the ceremony, USS Frank E. Petersen’s commanding officer Cmdr. Daniel Hancock, reported the ship ready. Assisted by Lt. Gen. Petersen’s daughters, Gayle Petersen, Dana Petersen Moore, Lindsay Pulliam, and Monique Petersen, Mrs. Neller gave the traditional order to “Man our ship and bring her to life!”
“Our incredible crew takes a great deal of pride in their work. I can find no better warrior namesake than General Frank E. Petersen Jr. None of us who know his story have ever forgotten that we are the heirs of that powerful legacy, and like the General, we have committed ourselves to owning the fight and carrying his torch proudly forward,” said Hancock. “I wish to express gratitude and pride. It is my greatest professional honor to serve with each of my crew. I am proud beyond measure. “
Lt. Gen. Petersen continues a family legacy of service begun by his great grandfather. Private Archibald (Archie) Charles McKinney enlisted in 1863 and served in the Mass 55th Company E during the Civil War. McKinney’s trip home included traveling aboard a steamship, disembarking at the Port of Charleston.
The future USS Frank E. Petersen, Jr. honors Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (USMC Ret.). Petersen was the first black USMC aviator and the first black Marine to become a three-star general. Petersen served two combat tours, Korea in 1953 and Vietnam in 1968. He flew more than 350 combat missions and had over 4,000 hours in various fighter and attack aircraft. Petersen passed away in Aug. 2015 at the age of 83.
Retiring in 1988 after 38 years of service, Petersen’s awards included the Defense Superior Service Medal; Legion of Merit with Combat “V”; Distinguished Flying Cross; Purple Heart; Meritorious Service Medal; Air Medal; Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V;” and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
By Master Sgt. Chance Babin, Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Air Force Chief of Staff General CQ Brown, Jr. delivers a powerful message about air power and diversity in a new Air Force commercial titled “Helmet.”
The dynamic 30-second spot aired for the first time on national TV during the NBA Finals pregame.
“I was a captain when I was asked to do an interview about diversity, and I shared this idea,” Brown said. “I want our adversaries to know that, no matter our respective backgrounds, our Airmen are unstoppable.”
For Air Force Recruiting Service’s top recruiter, the commercial is a slam dunk.
“The message is clear,” said Maj. Gen. Edward Thomas, AFRS commander. “As Airmen, we’re committed to ensuring we have the most capable and lethal air power in the world, and we want America’s best – the best from all of America – to come join us.”
Thomas emphasized that the Air Force is a warfighting organization, and the nation expects nothing less than the highest standards and a selection process that brings in the best Americans to become Airmen.
“When Gen. Brown became the CSAF, he clearly stated that the Air Force was going to focus on what we do best – air power,” said Barry Dickey, AFRS director of strategic marketing. “We wanted to make a commercial that reinforced that priority, but also inspired Americans from all walks of life to serve in the Air Force.
“The power of this spot is in the underlying message and delivery. When I watch the commercial, I’m left with the understanding that the Air Force doesn’t care what you look like or where you come from,” Dickey said. “If you can do the job, we’ve got an opportunity for you. At the same time, I also get the message that the Air Force is about winning with air power, period. All of this is delivered by the leader of the Air Force in 30 seconds.”
AFRS and its advertising agency, GSD&M, originally planned to film two commercials with Brown at Edwards Air Force Base, California, with a focus on both diversity and air power.
The “Helmet” commercial was not in the original plans, but materialized as the day’s shooting progressed.
“While we were recording the voice-over for the commercials, Gen. Brown told a few stories and basically said what you hear in the commercial,” Dickey said. “When he did, I think everyone in the room immediately had the same thought – ‘we’ve got to record that!’ The creatives from GSD&M quickly turned his words into a script while we were filming and General Brown graciously agreed to perform on-camera.”
The commercial also fits squarely into AFRS Detachment 1’s efforts to reach into traditionally underserved communities to let people know about the opportunities to fly in the Air Force through programs designed to meet CSAF’s Rated Diversity Improvement initiative goals. For example, the Aim High Flight Academy gives disadvantaged youth a chance to learn to fly while being mentored by Air Force officers.
“We have a very healthy level of diversity in our enlisted ranks, but our officer and flying specialties look less like America,” Thomas said. “Air Force recruiting efforts have ramped up to better attract a cross-section of highly-qualified Americans into our ranks and specifically to consider flying opportunities.”
— Source and photos: United States Air Force (USAF)
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS)―proclaiming himself “proud, yet humbled,” General Charles Q. Brown, Jr. was officially installed August 6, 2020 as the Air Force’s 22nd Chief of Staff (CSAF), becoming the first African American in history to lead a military service as its highest ranking officer.
In remarks following the formal “Change of Responsibility” ceremony in which he took over from retiring General David L. Goldfein, the 21st Chief of Staff, Brown acknowledged an array of people who influenced his life. Among them were his wife, Sharene, and his parents, as well as a list of Air Force colleagues, including Goldfein and other “extraordinary leaders.”
Yet, cognizant of the moment in history, Brown also noted, “Today is possible due to the perseverance of those who went before me serving as an inspiration to me and many others.
“Those like the Tuskegee Airmen, Benjamin O. Davis Jr., Chappie James, African American leaders across our Air Force and military, past and present, to include today’s special guest, Ed Dwight, America’s first African American astronaut candidate,” he said.
“It is due to their trials and tribulations in breaking barriers that I can address you today as the Air Force Chief of Staff.”
Brown, who previously served as commander of Pacific Air Forces, was elevated to his new assignment during a solemn, socially distanced, 90-minute ceremony that focused on his achievements while also honoring Goldfein’s 37-year service in the Air Force and his four years as chief of staff.
Among those paying tribute were Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Department of the Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley. The ceremony also honored Goldfein as Esper presented him with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.
Esper honored Dawn Goldfein as well, presenting her with the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award.“Gen. Goldfein, Dave, our Airmen thrive in today’s environment because of your strong leadership and your steadfast commitment to upholding the core values of the Air Force – integrity, service, and excellence, each and every day,” Esper said. “The United States of America is safer because of you. Thank you for your lifetime of service to our great nation.”
Moments later in remarks to the new Chief of Staff, Esper said, “In returning to the Pentagon, General Brown brings with him more than 35 years of service distinguished by a depth of expertise and experience that makes him exceptionally qualified to be our nation’s next Air Force Chief of Staff.
“I am confident you will take the Air Force to greater heights and I’m excited to watch you lead.”
In her remarks, Barrett offered similar praise for Goldfein’s service and accomplishments. Like others she expressed confidence that Brown has the correct mix of experience and temperament to lead the Air Force to a bright and dominant future.
Brown, she said, “brings a wealth of joint leadership experiences and global perspectives to his new role as 22nd chief of staff of the Air Force. Embodying the Air Force core values of integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do, General Brown has the right character, experience, and perspective to lead the United States Air Force.”
Like Goldfein and those who came before, Brown as chief of staff is responsible for ensuring the Air Force is trained, ready and equipped to accomplish any mission at any time.
Yet he’s also taking the reins of an Air Force in transition, one moving from a decades-long priority on combating and containing terrorism to a new era of Great Power Competition. As part of that new focus, the Air Force and entire U.S. military must be trained, ready and properly equipped to confront, deter and if necessary, defeat, challenges from Russia and China. It also comes at a time of heightened challenges from North Korea and other geopolitical shifts across Asia.
In his remarks, Brown said he would work to build on Goldfein’s accomplishments while also adding his own imprint to assure that the Air Force remains the most advanced, professional and lethal in the world.
“I am committed to addressing today’s challenges while preparing for the future so we can better compete, deter, and win,” he said, surrounded by an unmistakable lineage of historic aircraft, including a gleaming chrome-plated P-51 Mustang, a fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II and a HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter.
“To do so, we must no longer defer, but must accelerate the needed change and tough choices we’ve often discussed. We must develop and empower leaders and provide the quality service and quality of life where our Airmen and families can reach their full potential,” he said.
Adding a dose of realism, Brown said, “No doubt there are challenges ahead that will be difficult, but not impossible. I look forward to working with the Joint Chiefs, providing our best military advice to address challenges the joint force faces today and will face in the future.”
As he noted in March when he was nominated to be chief of staff, Brown said again that he will continue to be guided by what he described as his “four tenets” of leadership – execute at a high standard; be disciplined in execution; pay attention to the details; and have fun.
In his farewell remarks, Goldfein like Brown listed those who influenced and shaped his career. Among others, he singled out Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright, calling him his “wingman.”
“Of all the decisions I made as chief, the best by far was hiring Chief Wright,” he said.
Goldfein also thanked his wife, Dawn, saying it was a “blessing” to have her “side by side” with him for his entire Air Force journey.
“For the past 37 years, she adjusted her dreams so I could follow mine,” he said.
Then, to Brown, Goldfein said, “As I took the chiefs walk for the final time (on Aug. 5), I could not be prouder that a true warrior, leader and personal friend will be taking his first walk of the chief tomorrow as chief of staff of the Air Force.
“Congratulations to both of you,” Goldfein said. “The future of our Air Force has never looked brighter!”
― U.S. Air Force
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NAS KINGSVILLE, TX — The U.S. Navy’s first Black female fighter pilot has earned her wings, according to the service. The Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA), Rear Admiral Robert D. Westendorff, USN, celebrated LTJG Swegle for her achievement writing:
“BZ to Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle on completing the Tactical Air (Strike) aviator syllabus. Swegle is the U.S. Navy’s first known Black female TACAIR pilot and will receive her Wings of Gold later this month. HOOYAH!” — CNATRA via Twitter
CNATRA trains and qualifies more than 1,000 naval aviators and naval flight officers each year for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, and international partners. CNATRA is also responsible for the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.
Student Naval Aviator LTJG Madeline Swegle, USN, is assigned to the Redhawks of Training Squadron (VT) 21 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville, Texas. In our cover photo, she is shown after exiting her T-45C Goshawk training aircraft following her final flight completing undergraduate Tactical Air (Strike) pilot training syllabus on 07 July 2020.
Upon graduating from the TACAIR training program on 31 July 2020, LTJG Swegle will move on from training aircraft to Navy tactical planes, like the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet or the F-35C Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter ( shown above).
LTJG Swegle, a 2017 graduate of the United States Naval Academy (USNA), follows a path forged by the late pioneering Navy Captain Rosemary Mariner, who became the Navy’s first female tactical pilot in 1974. Mariner went on to become the first woman to command a naval aviation squadron. Earnng her wings in 2001, United States Marine Corps Captain Vernice Armour was the first African-American female naval aviator in the Marine Corps and the first African American female combat pilot in the U.S. Armed Forces with two tours in the Gulf. bt
WASHINGTON―General Charles Q. Brown, Jr. will become the first black service member to lead an American military branch after lawmakers on Tuesday voted to make him the Air Force’s 22nd chief of staff. He currently is serving as the Commander, Pacific Air Forces; Air Component Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command; and Executive Director, Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. PACAF is responsible for Air Force activities spread over half the globe in a command that supports more than 46,000 Airmen serving principally in Japan, Korea, Hawaii, Alaska and Guam.
General Brown was commissioned in 1984 as a distinguished graduate of the ROTC program at Texas Tech University. He has served in a variety of positions at the squadron and wing levels, including an assignment to the U.S. Air Force Weapons School as an F-16 Fighting Falcon Instructor. His notable staff tours include Aide-de-Camp to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force; Director, Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff Executive Action Group; and Deputy Director, Operations Directorate, U.S. Central Command. He also served as a National Defense Fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses, Alexandria, Virginia.
General Brown has commanded a fighter squadron, the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, two fighter wings and U.S. Air Forces Central Command. Prior to his current assignment, he served as the Deputy Commander, U.S. Central Command.
General Brown is a command pilot with more than 2,900 flying hours, including 130 combat hours. He is a distinguished graduate of Air Command and Staff College and a 1984 graduate of Texas Tech University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.
― Source and photo: United States Air Force
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
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