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Military News Briefs for the Week of April 13, 2001

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2001 – (This is a summary of the American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending April 13, 2001)

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LANDING PERMISSION IN CHINA REQUESTED, EP-3 PILOT SAYS

Navy Lt. Shane Osborn told Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that he requested permission to land in China after his EP-3 collided with a Chinese jet over the South China Sea March 31.

Osborn told Rumsfeld that he made repeated calls to Chinese authorities requesting permission to land. "We were unable to hear any response that they did give due to holes in my pressure bulkhead causing air noise into the aircraft," Osborn said.

The Navy pilot spoke to Rumsfeld from aboard an Air Force C-17 taking him and the other 23 EP-3 crewmembers to Hawaii.

Osborn, who was also mission commander, was piloting the EP-3 when a Chinese F-8 jet collided with it March 31. He managed to fly the plane to a Chinese military airfield on Hainan Island. Chinese authorities detained the crew until April 11.

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38 U.S. RETIREMENT HOME RESIDENTS GET KOREAN WAR MEDAL

Republic of Korea Korean War Service Medals were presented April 11 to 38 residents of the Soldiers' and Airmen's Home here.

The South Korean medal was bestowed on 18 soldiers, 15 airmen, three sailors and two Marines. Each also received a DoD certificate of appreciation and a lapel pin.

"We remember what you did for Korea, for peace, and for the free world," Col. Choong Soon Kang, air attaché at the South Korean Embassy, said. "To all the veterans, present here or absent, not only the Korean people, but all freedom-loving people around the world are eternally grateful to you.

"It was because of what you did in Korea that the Korean people came to learn how to say 'thank you,'" he said. "Even now, after a half of a century, these are the first words that come to the minds of the Korean people when we think of America."

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EUCOM CHIEF SPOTLIGHTS COMMAND'S ROLE, NEEDS

European Command's 100,000 service members execute new missions every day, while successfully maintaining their warfighting edge, Air Force Gen. Joseph W. Ralston recently told Congress.

Over the last year, the EUCOM commander in chief said, the command supported air operations over northern Iraq and NATO-led peacekeeping missions in the Balkans. EUCOM supported relief operations in Mozambique and trained African troops to support U.N. operations in Sierra Leone.

Ralston testified before the House and Senate armed services committees here in late March. EUCOM's chief noted in his prepared testimony that more than 300,000 troops were assigned to the command during the Cold War. His current force level of 100,000 represents a 65 percent reduction from 1990.

"In my opinion," the chief said, "this must be considered the minimum level needed to execute our current national security strategy, meet NATO requirements and provide support and staging for U.S.-based forces that in time of need would flow into or through the theater."

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