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Thunderbirds set to perform at Super Bowl XLIX

 LAS VEGAS -- The Thunderbirds are set to take the friendly skies on Super Bowl Sunday.

The United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, which is their formal name, will thrill more than 70,000 spectators by performing the flyover at the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

The Thunderbirds will open the event with a six-ship Delta

formation flyover following the national anthem, which will be sung by award-winning singer/songwriter Idina Menzel.

A Thunderbird demonstration consists of six Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons that perform aerial maneuvers at more than 400 miles per hour in formation as close as 18-inches apart.

The four-aircraft, diamond formation demonstrates the training and precision of Air Force pilots while the two solo pilots perform maneuvers highlighting the maximum capabilities of the F-16.

Ex-Army prosecutor found guilty of rape at court-martial

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) -- A former U.S. Army prosecutor who handled sexual-assault cases has been found guilty on rape charges following a six-day court-martial at Fort Bragg.

The Army issued a five-sentence statement Monday saying Maj. Erik J. Burris was found guilty on two charges of rape and forcible sodomy, and four charges of assault and disobeying an order. The Army said Burris was sentenced to 20 years in prison, dismissed from the service, and ordered to forfeit all pay.

The statement was the first issued by the Army about the case and provides no details about Burris' crimes.

Calls to Fort Bragg public affairs officials were not returned.

Nellis Air Force receives first of F-35 combat jets

LAS VEGAS -- The first combat-configured F-35 arrived at Nellis Air Force base Thursday morning. It was a big step forward for the Joint Strike Fighter program.

The fighter will be used to develop training procedures for future F-35 pilots and between the Air Force, the Marine Corps and the Navy -- the U.S. military will eventually purchase nearly 2,500 jets. Four of those F-35s will be delivered to the 57th wing, and eventually there will be 24 F-35s on base.

“It has certainly been a long journey to get here. This is a glimpse into the future,” said Major General Jay Silveria, Welfare Center Commander.

It's been eight years since the F-35 did its first test flight. Captain Brent Golden said they would use the jet to develop the weapons system training regimen for the Air Force's F-35 pilots.

CCSD looking to combat teacher shortage by hiring vets

CLARK COUNTY, Nev. -- Veterans with a Bachelor's Degree that are interested in becoming and educator have an opportunity to get on the fast track to becoming a teacher in Clark County.

“After three classes, which could probably be taken in the summer, candidates will be able to teach,” said Linda Quinn, Assoc. Dean of Academic and Professional Programs at UNLV.

'Troops to Teachers' is all a part of the 'Alternate Route to Teacher Licensure Program' at UNLV. Quinn says it's good for retired military personnel who are looking for a new career.  

“There are about 600 vacancies in the school district around this time of the year, and Clark County will lose even more teachers at the end of the year. So, around the fall season, CCSD will need to hire 2,000 more new teachers,” Quinn said.

Since, UNLV's main target is qualified vets, the school held a webinar Wednesday that highlighted some of the benefits.

More military medical specialists to train at UMC

LAS VEGAS --  Soon air force medical specialists from bases all over the country will be headed to University Medical Center to expand their training.

It's part of a program called Air Force Medical Services which helps medical officers stay up-to-date on the latest medical and surgical techniques that could be used later in the battle field.

Currently, 60 medical officers from Nellis Air Force Base work at UMC on a yearly basis. The expanded partnership will allow around 200 more Air Force medical specialists from around the country to get needed medical training in a clinical setting.

"The life-threatening injuries we treat inside our Trauma Center are the closest experience to an actual battle field and it's a privilege to provide training and work side-by-side these fine clinicians," said UMC CEO Mason VanHouweling.

Obama marks end of Afghan combat, pays tribute to military

KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (AP) -- President Barack Obama marked the end of more than a decade of combat in Afghanistan by paying tribute to America's military, telling troops on Christmas Day that their sacrifices have allowed for a more peaceful, prosperous world to emerge out of the ashes of 9/11.

At an oceanfront Marine Corps base in Hawaii, Obama told troops that while tough challenges remain for the U.S. military in hotspots like Iraq and West Africa, the world as a whole is better off because American troops put country first and served with distinction. He said Americans and their president could not be more thankful.

"Because of the extraordinary service of the men and women in the American armed forces, Afghanistan has a chance to rebuild its own country," Obama said to applause from Marines and their families. "We are safer. It's not going to be a source of terrorist attacks again."

Quilt holds memory of Christmas truce during WWI

LAS VEGAS -- A Las Vegas man has kept a blanket of love dating back almost 100 Christmases ago.

Don Irish's is an Air Force veteran who has a connection to his family and a prevalent time in history that would impress many.

“Look at the incredible work she did on this quilt,” Irish said as he looked at his mother's stitch work. “She covered the infantry, the bugler, the ambulance corps and the coastal artillery.”

Irish's mother and father met in Kansas City when artillery men like his father would visit while on leave from Fort Sill. He said when his father was shipped out to France to fight under the command of Harry S. Truman in World War I, his mother started stitching the quilt as a present.

“My mother said she hated seeing her loved one go to war,” Irish said.

All of the men in Irish's family served in the military. But in World War I something happened that has never been repeated in the history of modern warfare.