Posts tagged ‘Marine Corps’
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Marines of the 5th Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment fire an M777 A2 howitzer during a series of exercises at Twentynine Palms, Calif., April 26, 2013.
Navy League’s Expo
Your intrepid 4GWAR editor is at the Navy League’s 2013 Sea-Air-Space Expo at the Gaylord National Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland (it’s across the Potomac from Alexandria, Virginia).
The annual gathering brings together Navy and Coast Guard officials from all over — including many foreign countries — as well as defense contractors — large and small — and scribes like your editor to find out what’s the Navy’s up to and where it thinks it’s going in the future.
We’re helping the folks at Seapower, the Navy League’s magazine, cover the scores of briefings by Navy and Coast Guard commanders, government officials, big defense contractors and organizations dedicated to the sea services.
On Monday we wrote about the Navy’s plans for unmanned aircraft on nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, the successes of the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and what Naval Air Systems Command is doing to integrate new systems into the fleet while making them interoperable with existing systems and platforms.
You can see all three stories among lots of others written by the staff of Seapower by clicking here.
An Afghan National Army soldier observes his sector during a clearing operation near Camp Shorabak in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. Behind the soldier on the right is a four-wheel MRAP (mine resistant ambush protected) vehicle.
U.S. and coalition troops are letting Afghans take the lead in operations like this in preparation for when the Afghan National Army takes over security responsibilities in 2014.
To see more photos of this operation, click here.
Fellow Marines tow Sgt. Ian Anderson as part of a rescue drill during a water survival course for instructors at Marine Corps Base Camp Johnson, North Carolina. Anderson is assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment.
For some more very interesting photos of how Marines train to rescue fellow Leathernecks when they go in the drink — with and without their battle gear, click here. You will also see some very interesting tatoos.
Something Different: Readers Choice
Over the last few weeks we’ve been bedeviled by the number of great photos taken by photographers of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. That has made it very difficult at times to pick just one for the FRIDAY FOTO. Longtime 4GWAR visitors have probably noticed we sometimes cheat and run two related photos of the same event or a FRIDAY FOTO Extra (usually a pretty picture without much back story).
This week we’ve decided to try something different. We’re going to let you, the readers, pick this week’s Friday Foto. This isn’t a contest. There are no prizes. Our budget doesn’t allow a cash prize and we have no 4GWAR ballcaps or coffee mugs to award. We just want to see if our taste is in synch with our readership’s.
Below you’ll find three recent photos from the Defense Department website with their original captions. You can pick the one you like by commenting at the bottom of the page or emailing us at 4GWARblog@wordpress.com.
We’ll announce the winner next Friday and post some of the comments we get on the photos and whether you think this was a good idea.
Photo No. 1
The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) approaches the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) in Sattahip Bay, Thailand, on March 10, 2013. Frank Cable conducts maintenance and support of submarines and surface vessels deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
Photo No. 2
U.S. Marines and Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces move in on an enemy position together during the final comprehensive bilateral force-on-force training evolution during Exercise Forest Light 13-3 at the Hokkaido-Dai Maneuver Area, Hokkaido, Japan, March 3, 2013. The training began with the Marines and JGSDF patrolling separately on foot and by mechanized vehicles to reach a temporary position and set up a hasty defense
Photo No. 3
A soldier keeps watch from the hatch atop a M2 Bradley fighting vehicle as it maneuvers during a training mission at the National Urban Warfare Center in the Mojave Desert on Fort Irwin, Calif., Feb. 24, 2013.
O.K., so there are our three candidates. Don’t forget to click on each photo to enlarge the image (it often makes a difference in one’s appreciation).
Please comment at the bottom of this post (click on where it says comment or click on the blue headline at the top of this post to get the comment box to appear at the bottom of the post) or send us an email at 4GWARblog@gmail.com and give us your pick for next week’s Friday Foto.
Hitting the Beach
U.S. Marines and sailors speed ashore on combat rubber raiding crafts (Try saying that three times fast!) as part of exercise Cobra Gold 2013 in Hat Yao, None, Thailand, on Feb. 15.
Cobra Gold is an annual exercise that includes multilateral events ranging from amphibious assaults to non-combatant evacuation operations. The training aims to improve interoperability between the United States, Thailand and other participating countries, like South Korea. For more Cobra Gold photos click here.
For still more photos of jungle survival instruction conducted by Thai Marines, click here. Be forewarned, some of the things they have to eat are pretty gross. So don’t view this slideshow over breakfast. We warned you.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world …
Sailors on a ship boarding team race across the Atlantic Ocean on a rigid hull inflatable boat during a training exercise with the support vessel USS Prevail (TSV 1). The sailors are attached to the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50). Carter Hall is participating in Composite Training Unit Exercise off the east coast of the U.S. in preparation for a deployment this spring.
Defense Department officials have warned that training will be among the activities that will be severely curtailed if Congress fails to reach a compromise on reducing the deficit and massive budget cuts kick in under sequestration starting March 1.
A flight of Israeli warplanes swoop in over northern Syria and destroy a suspected nuclear weapon manufacturing site without being noticed until their bombs are dropping on the facility. How? The Israelis have never admitted it, but news accounts revealed that Israeli technicians jammed Syrian anti-aircraft radar and brought down the computer system that operated it.
A U.S. Marine Corps sergeant on patrol in Afghanistan carries a backpack with an odd-shaped antenna, that looks like an old umbrella that’s had its canopy stripped away. The weird looking device is actually a radio signal jammer that keeps would-be roadside bombers from detonating their booby traps by pushing a button on a mobile phone.
A U.S. unmanned aircraft flies near Iranian airspace and then disappears. Iran says it brought down the top secret drone using electronic warfare technology that overrode the commands issued by the drone’s controllers. The Pentagon says the UAV crashed.
What do these disparate technologies have in common? They’re all forms of electronic warfare, the growing defense sector that uses the electromagnetic spectrum – or directed energy – as a weapon to jam an enemy’s systems, confuse defenders or maybe even take over control of an enemy’s technology.
You can read more of my story at the website of the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement, which will conduct an Electronic Warfare Summit March 18-20 in the Washington area. For details click here.
An MV-22 Osprey prepares for take off for a night low-altitude training mission at Antonio Bautista Air Base in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines.
The crew of the hybrid rotor and fixed wing aircraft, which is conducting day and night low-altitude training, is assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
Building a Better Dog
ARLINGTON, Virginia — If you want better performance out of bomb detecting dogs, make sure they’re suited for the mission, realistically trained – and not too tired or stressed.
That’s the advice a military working dog expert at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) proposes for increasing the effectiveness of dogs used to detect improvised explosive devices (IEDs) – such as homemade explosives, roadside bombs and booby traps.
As manager of ONR’s Naval Expeditionary Dog Program, Lisa Albuquerque said her goal “is to figure out how to optimize the use of dogs – both as sensor and sensor platform.” At the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Marines had more than 600 detector dogs. Now there are about 200 in Afghanistan with Marines on foot patrols.
Speaking Tuesday (Jan. 29) at a counter IED conference sponsored by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA), Albuquerque said the best detector dogs have hunting instincts and training. That’s why the Marine Corps uses only “hunt bloodline, field trial trained Labrador Retrievers,” that are selected for their sturdiness as well as the sniffing ability, she added.
“A dog hunting for birds is actually very similar to a dog hunting for an IED,” she said. But she cautioned that that detector dogs are only a single tool in the explosive ordnance disposal toolbox: “You will never be able to unilaterally depend on a dog.”
Problems can arise if you’ve got the wrong dog for the job, or the wrong handler. “Most of the time, if there’s a mistake, it ain’t the dog,” she said. Dogs that are fatigued or over-heated will have trouble paying attention and will perform poorly.
Another issue tackled by the ONR program is whether the handler is a distraction to the dog. “Maybe the dog was the strong part of the team,” said Albuquerque, who herself is a dog handler trained at the Defense Department’s military working dog program at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Before taking on the ONR program, she was dog program manager for the Navy’s Pacific Fleet and head of training all dogs for the Defense Department for four years.
The dogs in Albuquerque’s program are trained to move – off the leash – 50 to 100 meters ahead of their handlers, letting Marines on patrol focus on situational awareness and security while the dog does his or her job looking for IEDs..
Albuquerque said it was also important to train dogs to operate in a real world environment – not just the same location day after day – looking for explosives instead of training aids.
ONR has cooperated with several universities like Oklahoma State and Duke University on studies of how dogs process information and how flexible they can be.
The challenges of counter insurgency and unconventional warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan have sparked several innovations in armor development for both individuals and vehicles over the past decade.
From mine resistant, ambush protected vehicles to better ballistic protection in helmets and outer tactical vests, the services’ research labs, university and corporate research divisions have been working to keep the troops safer.
One development that might come as a surprise to some was the Army’s development of female-specific body armor. For years, more and more women soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen have been going in harm’s way to do their jobs as drivers, pilots, mechanics and Female Engagement Team members.
But until 2009, little or no study was given to making generic body armor fit a woman’s body. As one female soldier said “a woman in not a small man” but the ballistics vests that female soldiers and Marines were required to wear “outside the wire” were still too big, or too long or too constricting.
Now, the Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center at Natick, Massachusetts has come up with eight different sizes of female body armor in two different lengths and the women who have tested them give the new vests high marks.
To read more of my story, click here to go to the Institute for Defense and Government Improvement (IDGA), which is holding a conference on body and vehicle armor next month outside of Washington, D.C.