Posts tagged ‘Marine Corps’
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.
Syria Air Attack.
U.S. and Middle East partner nation forces launched air strikes Monday night and early Tuesday morning (September 22 and 23) against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The United States also launched air strikes into Syria to attack the Khorasan Group, a terrorist organization believed to planning an attack against the West, Defense Department officials said.
“We’ve been watching this group closely for some time,” Army Lieutenant General William Mayville told a Pentagon press briefing Tuesday afternoon (September 23). Mayville said U.S. intelligence officials believe the Kkorasan group “was in the final stages of plans to execute major attacks against Western targets and potentially the U.S. homeland,” he added.
U.S. Navy ships in the Arabian Gulf launched a barrage of Tomahawk cruise missiles at Khorasan compounds and other targets in Syria. Khorasan Group, an offshoot of al Qaeda has attempted to recruit Westerners to serve as operatives or infiltrate back to their homelands.
The three waves of air attack were directed at ISIL and Khorasan Group. The first consisted of Navy cruise missiles. The second wave employed F-15 Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-22 Raptor fighter jets as well as B-1 bombers and numerous unmanned aircraft. The final wave consisted of F-18 Hornet jets off Navy carriers and more F-16 Fighting Falcons. In the third wave, U.S. aircraft were joined by forces and planes from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Mayville the air attacks were part of a sustained campaign that “should be thought of in terms of years” to “dislodge and eventually remove ISIL from Iraq.”
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Australian security personnel have arrested 15 people in the cities of Sydney and Brisbane for an alleged plot to carry out random public beheadings in those two cities.
Officials said a man believed to be the senior Islamic State (IS or ISIL) leader in Australia “is understood to have made the instruction to kidnap people in Brisbane and Sydney and have them executed on camera,” the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. The video was then to be sent back to ISIL’s media unit, where it would be publicly released,” according to the Australian broadcaster.
Earlier in September, the Australian government raised the terrorism threat level to the second-highest warning in response to the domestic threat posed by ISIL/ISIS.
The Australian Security Intelligence Organization, the country’s domestic spy agency said the threat had been rising over the past year, particularly in recent months, mainly due to Australians joining the ISIS/ISIL movement to fight in Syria and Iraq, according to Thompson Reuters.
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Horizontal While Vertical
U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Julio Miranda Jr. rappels down a cliff during Mountain Exercise 2014 at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center (MCMWTC) in Bridgeport, California.
Miranda is a rifleman with the 3rd Platoon of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. Marines with the 3rd Battalion will become the ground combat element of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit in October.
“This isn’t easy for someone doing it their first time,” said Sergeant. Andrew Rector, a unit training instructor with MCMWTC. “Everything in your body is telling you no, don’t walk off that ledge, but you have trust in your equipment and follow the technique.”
The training started with classes on tying basic knots and rappel harnesses, as well as getting a feel for what it’s like to rappel with no gear, according to Sergeant Emmanuel Ramos, who took this photo. After learning the basics, the Marines made their way through the mountainous terrain to a location two kilometers from their camp to begin their rappel assault with day packs and rifles.
The Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center teaches a variety of high altitude survival skills as well as mountain and cold weather operations. The center last year started an advanced horsemanship course to teach Special Operations Forces including Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command the necessary skills to enable them to ride horses and move through terrain that can’t be navigated by motor vehicles — as was the case in the early days of the Afghanistan war.