Pentagon grounds F-35 fighter jets
The Pentagon on Friday grounded its fleet of F-35 fighter jets after discovering a cracked engine blade in one plane. The problem was discovered during what the Pentagon called a routine inspection at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., of an F-35A, the Air Force version of the sleek new plane. The Navy and the Marine Corps are buying other versions of the F-35, which is intended to replace older fighters like the Air Force F-16 and the Navy F/A-18. All versions — a total of 51 planes — were grounded Friday pending a more in-depth evaluation of the problem discovered at Edwards. None of the planes have been fielded for combat operations; all are undergoing testing. In a written statement, the Pentagon said it is too early to know the full impact of the newly discovered problem. A watchdog group, the Project on Government Oversight, said the grounding is not likely to mean a significant delay in the effort to field the aircraft.
Alamo letter makes way back to Texas
The iconic "Victory or Death" letter from the commander of the Alamo has returned for the first time since it was carried away on horseback at the start of the famous siege in 1836. A police motorcycle escort Friday afternoon led a box truck from Austin to San Antonio, Texas, bringing the historic letter to the front of the Alamo grounds. In the letter, Alamo commander William Barret Travis seeks help for his badly outnumbered rebel Texans at the old Spanish mission. It failed to prevent their deaths. The Alamo fell two weeks later on March 6, 1836. The following month, Gen. Sam Houston defeated elements of the same Mexican army to win Texas' independence. The yellowing, single-page letter will be on display for 13 days in a specially built cabinet. Associated Press