The 403rd Wing's C-130J and WC-130J aircraft fly in formation during a Operation Surge Capacity here April, 5, 2014. Aircraft from the 815th and 345th Airlift Squadrons and 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron participated in Operation Surge Capacity, a large scale training exercise designed to test the 403rd Wing's ability to launch and recover a large formation of aircraft and to execute airdrops. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicholas Monteleone)
2014 was an interesting year for the US Air Force.
From the start of the year, the service found itself moving from one crisis to another, both political and operational. Incoming Secretary Deborah Lee James barely had time to unpack her office before the nuclear cheating scandal exploded. That was followed by the start of the political fight to retire the A-10 Warthog, a fight that may remains a thorn in the service's side for years to come.
June saw a fire that consumed an F-35A model, setting off another round of questions and criticisms for the jet that the service says remains its future. Months late, the service found itself being drawn into a new conflict, as the US began pounding first Iraq and then Syria with regular airstrikes targeting the radical Islamic States group. And as some question the effectiveness of those strikes, others warn it is putting pressure on planned transitions from older platforms.
So, yes, the Air Force had a busy year. It also had a lot of pictures. The service puts together an annual collection of photographs, and we here at Intercepts have decided to cultivate the best ones for our readers. Click on the gallery below to see our 11 eleven favorite shots.
About Aaron Mehta
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.