Posts tagged ‘Marine Corps’
No Easy Task.
A U.S. Marine Corps raiding force clambers from a rigid-hulled, inflatable boat up into a gas and oil platform during maritime interoperability training (MIT) off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. Another group of raiders descended by rope (fast-roping) from a hovering MH-60R Seahawk helicopter.
MIT prepares the Marines for their upcoming deployment by enhancing combat skills, and teaching them techniques for boarding vessels. These Leathernecks are with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Maritime Raid Force.
To see a slide show of this exercise, click here.
And here’s another photo from a different angle to show how far up the oil rig deck was. Please click on both photos to enlarge the image.
Where are the British?
All is quiet outside the small American fort at a bend in the Mississippi River 80 miles south of New Orleans. The cannon fire has stopped after nine days of shelling from a small British naval task force anchored downstream.
The siege of Fort St. Philip is over and the five-ship British squadron sails downstream January 18 to rejoin the rest of the British invasion fleet at the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Like Fort McHenry in Baltimore, the garrison of Fort St. Philip has persevered under heavy bombardment and outlasted the British. Unlike Fort McHenry, however, no song like the “Star Spangled Banner” emerges from this little-known engagement – although the U.S. flag over the fort is shot down and replaced under heavy fire by a U.S. sailor who climbed to the top of a new flagstaff to unfurl the Stars and Stripes.
Upstream, Major General Andrew Jackson is worried the British may attack again despite their heavy losses on the morning of January 8. From his headquarters in the battered but still standing Macarty Planation He orders a constant cannonade to harry the British camp at the Villere Plantation nearly two miles away.
Some of Jackson’s subordinates, especially the commanders of his small cavalry and dragoon detachments want to mount a counterattack. But Jackson opts to stand pat, mindful that the enemy still has more than 5,000 experienced troops to his barely 4,000-man force scattered over a wide area around New Orleans.
The British soldiers, sailors and Marines still on U.S. soil are battle-tested veterans of the Napoleonic Wars. Jackson’s army is a pick-up force of regular Army infantry and artillery, sailors from the Navy and local merchant ships, a small contingent of U.S. Marines, Jean Lafitte’s pirates, Choctaw Indians, New Orleans volunteers (black and white) and militiamen from Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee – many of them ill-trained and poorly armed. Jackson wonders if the British are changing tactics and preparing to attack from the north. Or have they found a different way through the swamps to attack him from behind? Jackson orders his cavalry and scouts to learn what the British are planning. Reinforcements are sent to other possible approaches to the city.
Meanwhile, British Major General John Lambert – pretty much the last man standing among the senior British commanders after the disastrous assault on Jan. 8 – meets with his officers that night to assess their situation: more than 2,000 dead, wounded and missing; morale low after weeks of cold rainy nights in the Louisiana swamps with the Tennesseans and Choctaws sneaking out of the dark to kill and capture sentries; no shelter and little food available from a supply line that stretches over a nearly two-day slog through the swamps and bayous back to a fleet blocked by sandbars from getting any closer.
Lambert decides further assaults on New Orleans’ defenders are futile and so he orders the invasion force to withdraw back to the fleet. Like George Washington’s evacuation of Brooklyn Heights in 1776, it’s a masterful withdrawal under difficult conditions without tipping off the Americans.
It takes nine days for the British to prepare a way through swamps infested with alligators, snakes and quicksand. Wide ditches and streams in the cypress swamps have to be bridged with branches and reeds because there aren’t enough trees for lumber. On the night of the 18th, the withdrawal begins, moving the wounded, weapons and remaining supplies to the fleet. Ten heavy guns have to be abandoned. Once through the swamps the troops have to wait on the shore of Lake Borgne for the Navy to row them out to the fleets. Each trip takes hours.
On the morning of January 19, peering through his spyglass on the top floor of the bomb-shattered Macarty mansion, Andrew Jackson notices a strange lack of activity in the British camp. A cavalry patrol reports back that the British have departed.
The Americans discover the British path of retreat late that night and some enterprising Louisiana militiamen begin ambushing the slow moving longboats transferring the British troops. Forming small convoys of rowboats to fend off the Americans slows the evacuation process to a crawl as do high winds and rough seas. By January 24, some British units are still waiting and starving on the lakeshore.
A soldier with a bike (and Christmas lights) tied to his back participates in a Toy Ruck March at Fort Polk, Louisiana, on December 18, 2014. During this holiday march, soldiers are encouraged to decorate their rucksacks and headgear for the holidays … and more than 600 toys were collected for distribution throughout the Fort Polk community. This soldier is assigned to the 94th Brigade Support Battalion.
If you are the photographer who took this photo (or know who did) please contact us in the comment section below or email us at: email@example.com so we can give credit where credit is due.
And, as you can see from the next photo, Toy Ruck Marches are conducted at several military installations across the nation.
A plush toy snowman peeks from a rucksack of as Massachusetts Army National Guard soldiers participate an another toy ruck march sponsored by the 164th Transportation Battalion. The troops trekked from the National Guard armory in Dorchester to Boston Children’s Hospital on December 18, 2014. The soldiers donated over 300 toys to the children’s hospital.
To see some more photos of the good deeds soldiers, Marines and airmen are doing in Alaska, California, Illinois, Japan and Liberia, this holiday season — click here.
U.S. Marines retrieve their fins and weight belts from the bottom of a 13-foot pool during a diver course on Camp Schwab in Japan, Nov. 18, 2014. This training prepares Marines for the Marine Corps Combatant Diver Course. an incredibly demanding program based at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City, Florida.
These Marines are assigned to the 3rd Marine Division’s 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force.
TECHNOLOGY/SPECIAL OPERATIONS: Paralyzed Special Ops Marine Walks to Medal Ceremony with Robotic Exoskeleton [UPDATE]
Special Marine, Special Machine.
UPDATES with links to two videos of ceremony.
In the November 17 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology, we wrote about U.S. Special Operations Command’s quest for a lightweight, ballistic protective suit equipped with sensors that could monitor the wearer’s vital signs, signal for help if they were injured, add support allowing soldiers to carry heavy loads more easily — and maybe even jump higher or run faster. Regular readers will remember we’ve blogged about the Tactical Assault Light Operators Suit (TALOS) several times since February.
In the latest story (subscription required) we noted that SOCOM says it will share these technology developments with the other armed services and that it could also have applications “for the Homeland Security Department, local first responders and even seriously injured veterans.”
When we wrote that, we thought “that will be a great benefit to wounded warriors and civilian paraplegics when it happens someday in the future.” But the news coming out of a small military ceremony in California last Friday (November 21) indicates someday is here already. Captain Derek Herrera of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) walked to the ceremony at Camp Pendleton to receive the Bronze Star medal with “V” for valor device for heroic leadership under fire in Afghanistan. While his combat award was certainly notable, the really remarkable thing about the event was that Herrera — paralyzed from the chest down since he was struck by a sniper’s bullet in June 2012 — was able to walk up and receive his decoration.
The captain walked with the assistance of a robotic exoskeleton that moves his legs. Known as the “ReWalk,” the technology consists of leg braces, a computer and batteries-equipped backpack, a watch-like controller and crutches. The system, manufactured by Israel-based ReWalk Robotics Ltd., is the first powered exoskeleton approved by the Food and Drug Administration for sale in the United States rehabilitate people suffering paraplegia due to spinal cord injury. And Herrera is one of the first people to acquire the system. The MARSOC Foundation, a charitable fund for MARSOC Marines, raised the money for Herrera to buy the $69,500 device, according to the Associated Press.
While ReWalk is not among the companies SOCOM lists as participants in the TALOS development project, its technology shows that powered exoskeletons are here and like computers and robots have a wide array of potential uses.
Herrera also received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal. The ceremony also marked Herrera’s retirement for medical reasons from the Marines, reported Marine Corps Times, noting that Herrera has remained active despite his injuries: participating in 10 kilometer road races and triathlons, working toward a business degree and renovating his house. The 2006 Naval Academy graduate had vowed that he would retire standing on his own — the same as he did when he joined the Marine Corps.
Click here to see a short Defense Department video report of Herrera using the ReWalk robotic braces at his retirement ceremony.
Click here to see a longer Marine Corps video without narration where you can hear the exoskeleton in action.
Light up the Night.
U.S. Marines fire at fixed targets from Light Armored Vehicles (LAV-25s) during training in D’Arta Plage, Djibouti in East Africa. Note that despite the bright light thrown off by tracer bullets, you can still see the stars in the sky if you click on the photo to enlarge it.
They were participating in a combined arms engagement range during sustainment training. The 11th MEU is deployed as a reserve and crisis response force throughout U.S. Central Command and the 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
We created today’s Friday Foto in the wee hours after midnight, but apparently we neglected to click the all important PUBLISH button after editing this post.
We apologize for the error — and the delay in discovering it until a few minutes ago.
Pair of Hunters
Two U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II aircraft prepare to take off from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The Harriers, which can take off and land vertically like a helicopter, were participating in Red Flag-Alaska 15-1.
Red Flag-Alaska is a series of Pacific Air Forces field training exercises for U.S. and partner nation forces. It hones skills in combined offensive counter-air, interdiction and close air support missions as well as practicing large force training in a simulated combat environment.
The pilots are assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 311.
To see more photos of Harriers, F-16 Fighting Falcons and EA-18G Growlers as well as runway operations coping with heavy snows in Alaska, click here.