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Hagel Orders Renewed Focus on Military Ethics

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is ordering military leaders to put a renewed emphasis on moral behavior across the force following a series of ethical lapses that have included cheating scandals among the Navy and Air Force's nuclear missions.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Hagel told the military and civilian leaders of the services in a meeting Wednesday that he wants the issue dealt with more urgently and wants updates on a regular basis.

He said Hagel believes this is a growing problem and wants service chiefs to dig in and find out how deep it goes and whether this is a systemic character breakdown.

Investigations are under way for alleged cheating among Air Force nuclear weapons troops and at a Navy nuclear ship propulsion school. 

Up Close Look at Red Flag Exercises at Nellis AFB

Right now, the Red Flag exercises are going on at Nellis Air Force Base. The exercises are the biggest combat training exercise in North America. It only happens three times a year. Brian Brennan goes to the flight line to see why journalists from all over the world come to cover Red Flag.

Air Force Pilots Face the "Enemy" During Red Flag Exercises

LAS VEGAS -- The Nevada skies are a simulated-war zone as the U.S. Air Force and allied forces battle in Red Flag training exercises.

More than a hundred aircraft are taking off and landing twice a day at Nellis Air Force Base, some staying in the air for up to five hours.

After more than 40 Red Flag missions, Major Ryan Howland knows how to make the fight feel real.

He is a reservist and one of just a few dozen airmen on the red team, which pretend to be the enemy.

His goal is to take his F-16 through more than 100 U.S. and allied aircraft on the blue team and destroy their home base.

"We learn how our adversary countries might think, how their platforms work, and how we expect them to act," Maj. Howland said.

The team of pilots learn the strategy and tactics of the enemy and put the training of allied and U.S. forces to the test.

Suicidal Man at Nellis AFB in Custody

LAS VEGAS -- The SWAT situation at Nellis Air Force Base involving a man threatening to kill himself is over, according to Metro Police.

The man, described by police as a 50-year-old white man, was taken into custody without incident at about 3 p.m., police said.

The incident forced the closure of several streets in the area, including North Las Vegas Boulevard.

According to police, the man was in the parking lot of the Mike O'Callaghan Federal Medical Center on the base and had threatened to hurt himself.

The hospital was locked down for several hours. People were asked to avoid the medical center and medical emergencies had to be diverted.

Police tell 8 News NOW that the man, who is a Air Force veteran, called his pastor at around 9 a.m. Thursday, who then called police.

He is now in the hospital receiving treatment.

 

Air Force Thunderbirds’ Line Chief has Really Cool Roots

A woman, who once lived down the street from Santa Claus, is now part of the world famous Thunderbirds at Nellis Air Force Base.

The Thunderbirds team at Nellis Air Force Base is at the top of the world when it comes to showcasing the Air Force’s flying feats. So it makes sense that the team’s line chief is from North Pole, Alaska. 

Read more in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Court Date Set for Airman in Nellis AFB Killing

Rickey Lee Massey Jr.

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) -- A judge appointed a public defender and scheduled a March 3 preliminary hearing for a Nellis Air Force Base technical sergeant held in the slaying of his wife during what he told police was a domestic argument.

Rickey Lee Massey Jr. appeared Monday on a murder charge in North Las Vegas Justice Court.

He's accused of strangling Theresa Rivera late Jan. 16 and leaving her body in their garage.

Rivera's two children from an earlier marriage were at school when base security officers found the body Jan. 17.

Officers found Massey asleep in the house. He later told police he took sleeping pills after a physical fight with his wife the night before.

Massey deployed four times during his 13-year Air Force career. He's an equipment maintenance supervisor at Nellis.

New DOD Waiver Policy for Religious Observances

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon has approved a new policy that will allow troops to seek waivers to wear religious clothing, seek prayer time or engage in religious practices.

Defense officials say the waivers will be decided on a case-by-case basis and will depend on where the service member is stationed and whether the change would affect military readiness or the mission.

Until now there has been no consistent policy across the military to allow accommodations for religion. Now, for example, Jewish troops can seek a waiver to wear a yarmulke, or Sikhs can seek waivers to wear a turban and grow a beard.

Others can request specific prayer times or ask that they be allowed to carry prayer beads or other items.