Air Force to pay $25 million after accidentally killing contractor in F-16 strafing run

An F-16 Viper assigned to the 311th Fighter Squadron, takes off from Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, July 27, 2020

The U.S. government will pay $24.6 million to the widow of an Air Force contractor who was killed after an F-16 accidentally strafed his position with 20mm rounds, court records show.

Retired Master Sgt. Charles “Chuck” Holbrook, a former Tactical Air Control Party airman turned defense contractor, was killed during a nighttime live-fire training exercise at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico on January 31, 2017.

Holbrook was killed “when an F-16 student pilot mistook the line of rental cars for the similarly aligned target and was ordered to fire at the group, blowing up one of the rental cars and striking Holbrook in the head with a 20mm round,” according to court documents. 

Holbrook died several hours later at

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Air Force Settles $25 Million Lawsuit for F-16 Strafing Run That Killed Contractor

Editor’s Note: Randi McGinn, the family’s lawyer, told Military.com on Friday that the family has settled for an undisclosed amount less than $25 million. “$25 million was the initial demand, but the case was never settled for what the demand was,” McGinn said in a phone call, but would not disclose the new amount, citing family privacy. “They have enough to take care of them for the rest of their lives,” she added. The article and headline have been updated to reflect this new reporting.

A district judge ruled this week ruled that the U.S. Air Force was responsible for the death of a U.S. contractor accidentally killed during a live-fire training exercise.

Charles Holbrook, a retired master sergeant and former Tactical Air Control Party airman, died Jan. 31, 2017, at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, after an F-16 Fighting Falcon student pilot incorrectly identified the target location during

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Family of contractor killed in F-16 strafing accident will get payout in settlement with Air Force

The family of a contractor who was killed in a strafing accident during a 2017 Air Force training exercise has reached a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit against the service.

Charles Holbrook, a retired Air Force master sergeant and tactical air control party airman, was fatally shot Jan. 31, 2017, at the White Sands Missile Range near Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. An F-16 Fighting Falcon, flown by a student pilot on a nighttime training mission, mistook a row of rental cars in an observation area for the target and fired on them.

Holbrook was struck in the head with a 20mm round at about 7:18 p.m. and died an hour and a half later at the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

His wife of more than 22 years, Belen, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Air Force and two unidentified F-16

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Middle East wildfires kill 3, force thousands to flee homes

BEIRUT >> Wildfires around the Middle East triggered by a heatwave hitting the region have killed three people, forced thousands of people to leave their homes and detonated landmines along the Lebanon-Israel border, state media and officials said today.

The areas hit by the heatwave are Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories. The fires come amid an intense heatwave that is unusual for this time of the year.

Wildfires spread across different areas of Israel and the West Bank for a second day Saturday, forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes.

Israeli Police said in a statement firefighters and police forces evacuated 5,000 residents from the city of Nof Hagalil in northern Israel.

One of the hardest hit countries is war-torn Syria where fires have killed three people and left dozens suffering from breathing problems over the past two days. The wildfires also burnt wide areas of forests,

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Mideast wildfires kill 3, force thousands to flee homes

BEIRUT (AP) — Wildfires around the Middle East triggered by a heatwave hitting the region have killed three people, forced thousands of people to leave their homes and detonated landmines along the Lebanon-Israel border, state media and officials said Saturday.

The areas hit by the heatwave are Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories. The fires come amid an intense heatwave that is unusual for this time of the year.

Wildfires spread across different areas of Israel and the West Bank for a second day Saturday, forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes.


Israeli Police said in a statement firefighters and police forces evacuated 5,000 residents from the city of Nof Hagalil in northern Israel.

One of the hardest hit countries is war-torn Syria where fires have killed three people and left dozens suffering from breathing problems over the past two days. The wildfires also burnt wide areas of

Read More Read more

Mideast wildfires kill 2, force thousands to flee homes

BEIRUT — Wildfires around the Middle East triggered by a heatwave hitting the region have killed two people, forced thousands of people to leave their homes and detonated landmines along the Lebanon-Israel border, state media and officials said Saturday.

The areas hit by the heatwave are Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories. The fires come amid an intense heatwave that is unusual for this time of the year.

Wildfires spread across different areas of Israel and the West Bank for a second day Saturday, forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes.

Israeli Police said in a statement firefighters and police forces evacuated 5,000 residents from the city of Nof Hagalil in northern Israel.

One of the hardest hit countries is war-torn Syria where fires have killed two people and left dozens suffering from breathing problems over the past two days. The wildfires also burnt wide areas of forests,

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New wildfires in the Napa-Sonoma wine country force nearly 70,000 to flee homes

SAN FRANCISCO — Northern California’s wine country was on fire again Monday as strong winds fanned flames in the already scorched region, destroying homes and prompting overnight evacuation orders involving nearly 70,000 people. Meanwhile, three people died in a separate fire further north in the state.

Residents of the Oakmont Gardens senior living facility in Santa Rosa boarded brightly lit city buses, some wearing bathrobes and using walkers. They wore masks to protect against the coronavirus as orange flames marked the dark sky.

The fire threat forced Adventist Health St. Helena hospital to suspend care and transfer all patients elsewhere.

The fires that began Sunday in the famed Napa-Sonoma wine country about 45 miles north of San Francisco came as the region nears the third anniversary of deadly wildfires that erupted in 2017, including one that killed 22 people. Just a month ago, many of those same residents were evacuated

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Wine Country fires burn homes, force evacuations from Santa Rosa to Napa Valley

The Wine Country awoke in flames Monday as windblown wildfires closed in on the Napa Valley from the east and west and swept into Santa Rosa, forcing thousands of North Bay residents to flee their homes in an ominous flashback to the catastrophic infernos three years ago.

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‘Horrifying’ Glass Fire and Shady Fire burn homes, force evacuations



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California wine country wildfires force evacuation of hundreds of homes and one hospital

Wildfire flames engulfed part of California’s wine country, prompting widescale evacuations of the area.



a sign on the side of a mountain


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Hundreds of homes in Napa and Sonoma counties were evacuated as the Grass Fire continues to spread throughout more than 2,500 acres. As of Monday morning, the blaze was 0% contained.

The fire started north of St. Helena, California, roughly 75 miles north of San Francisco, on Sunday morning and has been growing at a “dangerous rate of spread,” according to officials with Cal Fire. At least 2,268 structures are in the path of the fire, including a hospital, which had to evacuate 55 patients.

“For the safety of our patients and associates, Adventist Health St. Helena is temporarily suspending emergency and hospital care, and all patients will be transferred, due to the Glass Fire. Emergency contacts will be informed about their loved ones’ new hospital location,” the hospital announced on

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