Posts filed under ‘Skills and Training’

FRIDAY FOTO (July 25, 2014)

Belize River Patrol

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew  Schneider

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Schneider

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Galla trains with the Belize Special Boat Unit during Southern Partnership Station 2014 on the Moho River, Belize, July 8, 2014.

Southern Partnership is a U.S. Navy deployment, sponsored by U.S. Southern Command, focusing on exchanging expertise with partner nation militaries and security forces.

Galla is a gunner’s mate assigned to Coastal Riverine Squadron 2.

To see more photos of this riverine training exercise, click here.




July 25, 2014 at 12:42 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 18, 2014)

Wet Work.

U.S. Marine Photo by Corporal Henry Antenor

U.S. Marine Photo by Corporal Henry Antenor

Two Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) soldiers and two U.S. Marines emerge from the water ready for action while practicing small unit techniques as part of the Japan Observer Exchange Program at Kin Blue beach, Okinawa, July 16.

The soldiers, with JGSDF’s Western Army, have been observing the Marine of L Company for approximately six weeks. The Marines are with the Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

The program provides observation and education opportunities on small unit concepts, tactics, and amphibious operations to further enhance interoperability between the two forces as well as security in the region.

July 18, 2014 at 12:23 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 11, 2014)

Stealthy Snipers.

U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Steven K. Young

U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Steven K. Young

Honduran commandos demonstrate their sniper and camouflage skills before a graduation ceremony in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, June 19, 2014. Soldiers from the U.S. Army 7th Special Forces Group and Colombian national policemen trained the commandos to succeed at missions like capturing high value narco-trafficking and criminal targets.

Among the distinguished guests at the ceremony was Brigadier General Sean Mulholland, the head of Special Operations Command Souththe command that oversees Green Berets, Navy SEALS, Army Rangers and other special operations forces attached to U.S. Southern Command, which is responsible for all of Latin America south of Mexico.

With shrinking defense budgets and more and more crises developing around the world, Pentagon planners have said the United States will have to rely more and more on partner nations like Honduras to defend themselves against insurgencies, narco cartels and terrorists.

To see more photos of this awards ceremony and some of the skills the Honduran commandos learned, click here.

July 10, 2014 at 11:55 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (on Saturday: July 7, 2014)


U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Will Gaskill

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Will Gaskill

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Brooks Graham (left) directs a landing craft air cushion (LCAC) into the well deck of the amphibious assault ship  USS Peleliu following a training exercise in the Pacific Ocean, June 25, 2014.

The Peleliu was on its way to Hawaii to participate in the multi-national sea-and-air exercise, Rim of the Pacific 2014. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel participated in what is billed as the world’s largest maritime exercise — commonly known as RIMPAC — in and around the Hawaiian Islands.

To see more photos of RIMPAC 2014, click here.

Video of an LCAC in action


4GWAR’s FRIDAY FOTO feature didn’t take a day off for the Fourth of July holiday. A summer storm in the Washington, DC area Thursday afternoon (July 3) caused a power outage at 4GWAR “World Headquarters” knocking out our cable/internet access until today. We apologize to our visitors for the delay.

July 5, 2014 at 12:59 pm Leave a comment

AROUND AFRICA: Nigeria Violence, Ebola, U.N. Drones

HOT SPOTS: Nigeria.

Nigeria map (CIA World factbook)

Nigeria map
(CIA World factbook)

Another bombing and more deaths in Nigeria where the government is battling radical Islamist militants. This time, the blast was at a market in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram, the anti-Western extremisty group blamed for dozens of bombings, killings and kidnappings across Nigeria in recent weeks.

At least 56 people were killed by the car bombing, according to the Associated Press, which noted that Maiduguri, [see map] a city of more than 1 million people, has suffered several attacks. In March, twin car bombs killed more than 50 people at a late-night market where many were watching a football match on a big television screen.

But the violence has been widespread. On Sunday, suspected extremists sprayed gunfire on worshippers at four churches in a northeastern village and torched the buildings, killing at least 30 people, according to the AP. Last week, at least 42 people were killed in three blasts around the country, including 24 slain at the biggest shopping mall in Nigeria’s central capital Abuja.

President Goodluck Jonathan will be visiting Washington this summer to attend the United States-African Leaders Summit (August 5-6). On July 31 he will be speaking about his country’s turmoil at the National Press Club in Washington. Jonathan’s government has taken sharp criticism at home and abroad for its inability to stop the bombing attacks or rescue more than 200 high school girls kidnapped from a school in northeast Nigeria in April.

*** *** ***

Ebola Meeting

A different kind of “summit” meeting is being held in Accra, Ghana where health ministers from 11 African countries are trying to “get a grip” on the worsening Ebola outbreak, the BBC reports.

So far, 763 people have been infected with the virus – and 468 of these have died. Most of the cases have been in Guinea where the outbreak started. But it has since spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The outbreak is the worst since the disease was identified in the 1970s, Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the Voice of America. Ebola causes fever, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhea. It is spread through contact with the blood or other fluids of infected people.

Meanwhile, Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says anyone caught hiding suspected Ebola patients from authorities will be prosecuted. Sirleaf issued the warning on state radio Monday (July 1), expressing concern that some patients had been kept in homes and churches instead of receiving medical attention, al Jazeera America reported.

Sierra Leone issued a similar warning last week, saying some patients had discharged themselves from the hospital and gone into hiding. Health workers elsewhere in the region have encountered hostility and some have even been attacked.

*** *** ***

Drones Over the Congo

U.N. peacekeepers have deployed Falco Selex ES2 drones along the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of Congo (Photo courtesy of Selex ES)

U.N. peacekeepers have deployed Falco Selex ES2 drones along the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of Congo
(Photo courtesy of Selex ES)

United Nations peacekeepers have begun flying unarmed, unmanned surveillance aircraft over the war-wracked eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Italian-made unmanned aircraft are the first acquired by the U.N. for peacekeeping missions but their presence is already posing  questions about how the intelligence they collect will be used and who will get to see it,  according to the New York Times. Another question is just how useful they will be in a country of distances far great than their 125 mile/200 kilometer flying range from their base in Goma [see map].

More and more, drones are flying over some of the toughest peacekeeping missions in the world, improving the United Nations’ intelligence-gathering capability, but also raising new issues about what to do with so much important data, the Times reported.

CIA World Factbook

CIA World Factbook


July 3, 2014 at 12:37 am Leave a comment

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (June 29-July 7, 1814)

On to Canada (Again).

Battle of Chippawa (U.S. National Archives)

Battle of Chippawa
(U.S. National Archives)

Despite thousands of British troops — newly freed from fighting Napoleon in Europe — massing in Canada and Bermuda in the spring and early summer of 1814, U.S. President James Madison and his war cabinet decide it’s a good time to invade Canada again. Seizing what is then known as Upper Canada (southern Ontario) is seen as a possible bargaining chip at the peace table – and a way to repair national honor bruised by many failed U.S. invasions of Canada since 1812.

Madison orders Major General Jacob Brown, commander of the Northern Army’s Left Division, to cross the Niagara River in force and attack Fort Erie, which overlooks Lake Erie at the head of the Niagara across from Buffalo, New York. Brown, a New York militia general who was born and raised a Quaker, is one of the most successful generals on the Northern Frontier and is made a brigadier general of regular Army troops in 1813. After capturing the fort, Brown is supposed to march north, attack the British near  Chippawa Creek, and move on to capture Fort George at the other end of the Niagara River near Lake Ontario.

While the American Navy controls Lake Erie, it is not master of Lake Ontario where the British and Canadians have a strong naval presence. Brown will have no naval gunfire support in this campaign.

On July 2, 1814, Brown orders a night attack on the lightly defended Fort Erie. The 3,500 Americans surround and overwhelm Fort Erie’s 137 defenders, who surrender after firing just a few canon rounds.

Establishing control at Fort Erie, Brown’s troops march north toward Chippawa Creek. The Anglo-Canadian commander, Major Gen. Phineas Riall opposes the Americans with 1,350 British regulars, 200 Canadian militia and about 350 Native Americans (Indians).

Brig. Gen. Winfield Scott leads his gray-clad brigade at the Battle of Chippawa. (U.S. Army Center of Military History)

Brig. Gen. Winfield Scott leads his gray-clad brigade at the Battle of Chippawa.
(U.S. Army Center of Military History)

On July 5, the British attack Brigadier General Winfield Scott’s brigade of 1,300 regulars from the U.S. Army’s 9th, 11th, 22nd and 25th Infantry Regiments. Largely untested, they are nevertheless considered the best trained troops in the American army due to Scott’s relentless drilling and discipline in camp. Because the American suppliers have run out of blue uniform cloth, Scott ordes up short gray uniform jackets to clothe his men.

Riall mistakes the gray uniforms for militia. He and his men expect the Yankees militia will break and run shortly after coming under fire. Instead the U.S. troops stand and fight. “Those are regulars, by God,” Riall exclaims – according to legend. It is the first time regular American Army troops go toe to toe with European regulars in open battle. They take a beating but inflict a worse one on the British troops.

As Scott’s left and right wings spread out, they curve in to catch the advancing ranks of the British 1st (Royal Scots) Regiment of Foot, the 100th Foot and the 8th (King’s) Foot in a virtual cross fire of muskets and canon.

Riall withdraws across the Chippawa to fight another day. The battle toll is heavy on both sides. The British lose 485 killed, wounded, missing and captured. The U.S. losses in killed, wounded and missing total 319. The bloody Niagara campaign of 1814 is just getting underway, however, as Brown begins to march north.

Another legend has it that the cadets of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York wear gray dress parade uniforms to honor the victory of Scott’s troops at Chippawa. Some historians dispute that story, saying it may have been started by Scott himself.

West Point cadets in dress parade uniform. (U.S. Military Academy)

West Point cadets in dress parade uniform.
(U.S. Military Academy)



July 1, 2014 at 12:59 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (June 27, 2014)

Robo Mule

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Matthew Callahan)

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Matthew Callahan)

A four-legged robot, known as the Legged Squad Support System, follows Lance Corporal Timothy Knaggs (center), a team leader with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment during an exercise at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows in Waimanalo, Hawaii.

The LS3 is designed to carry Marine’s supplies like water, food and ammunition through rough terrain and is undergoing concept-based experimentation. The machine is operated with a Tactical Radio Control (TRC) worn on the operator’s back. The LS3 operates in three modes; Joystick Mode allows for manual operation with a handheld controller; Go-To Mode, in which the operator sets a waypoint for the LS3 to travel to, and Follow Me Mode, where the machine uses sensors on the TRC to follow the operator as in this photo.

The Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, tested the LS3 as part of a wider testing of new equipment for the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory during Rim of the Pacific 2014 (RIMPAC), the world’s largest international maritime exercise in and around Hawaii.

LS3, also known as Robo Mule, was developed by Massachusetts robot manufacturer Boston Dynamics with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). and the Marine Corps. DARPA is the Pentagon’s think-outside-the-box research unit. Over the years it has come up with such breakthroughs as the predecessor to the Internet and radar-evading stealth technology.

To see a fascinating — and somewhat creepy — video of the LS3 in action, click here.

June 27, 2014 at 1:46 am Leave a comment

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