WICHITA FALLS, Texas — The Air Force grounded all T-38C training jets on Thursday, following the second fatal crash involving the aircraft in eight days, the military said.

Two pilots died when their high-altitude, supersonic plane went down during a routine training mission, according a statement from Sheppard Air Force Base.

The two-seat plane was assigned to the 80th Flying Training Wing.

Official: Troop buildup in Pacific will continueMichael Pillsbury, a Pentagon consultant on China, said recently that the U.S. strategy of “hedging” against an emerging military threat from Beijing by building up U.S. forces in the Pacific likely will continue with whoever is elected president in November, The Washington Times reported Friday.

Pillsbury made the comments during a panel discussion at a Jane’s U.S. Defense Conference, the paper wrote.

The hedge strategy, the Times quotes Pillsbury as saying, remains below the public radar, however, with Bush administration officials saying it is not directed at China.

However, so far none of the current presidential candidates has sought to repudiate the strategy, he said.

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