Posts tagged ‘Navy’
Racing Against Time
In the typhoon-ravaged Philippines there is finally a speck of good news. The country’s president says the death toll is expected to be far lower than the early estimates of at least 10,000 dead.
But the region hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan is still largely cut off from humanitarian aid and rescue workers by debris, blocked roads and a near total infrastructure collapse.
The official death toll stood at 1,833 Wednesday (November 13) morning – including nearly 1,300 in the province of Leyte. At least 244 people were killed in Tacloban City, Leyte’s provincial capital, NBC reported.
On Sunday – two days after the storm smashed into the Philippines, packing winds of 195 miles per hour – a regional police official estimated the death toll could hit 10,000. But President Benigno Aquino told CNN that the figure might go above 3,000 dead. But “ten thousand, I think, is too much, Aquino said.
Meanwhile, hungry thirsty survivors are scouring the wreckage hoping to find scraps of food and water.
Rescue operations are being hampered by the devastation, the New York Times reported, with aid supplies piling up but few ways to distribute it. The are plentiful gasoline supplies but no merchants willing to sell it. And there is no place to house the growing number of emergency volunteers, the Times reported.
The Philippine government says it is facing the biggest logistical challenge it has ever encountered. As many as 11 million people have been affected by the monster storm, the BBC reported. Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras said the government had been overwhelmed by the storm’s impact, one of the most powerful storms on record.
U.S. military planes have been arriving at Tacloban’s shattered airport, delivering supplies from the World Food program, which is then transported by helicopter to hard-hit areas. The BBC said a French-Beligian field hospital has been set up in Tacloban.
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said 250 sailors and Marines from the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) are on the ground operating from Philippine air bases. The Marines have four KC-130 transport aircraft and four MV-22 Osprey aircraft to bring in supplies and evacuate the injured and displaced. The key supplies include water, food, shelter, hygiene products and medical supplies. Another four Ospreys were sent from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Japan — bringing the number of MV-22s sent as aide to Japan — as eight.
The Philippine government says it is facing its biggest ever logistical challenge after Typhoon Haiyan, which affected as many as 11 million people. Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras said the government had been overwhelmed by the impact of Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record.
Home is the Sailor
Maybe it’s just us, but it seems like more organizations and individuals are making a bigger fuss about Veterans Day this year.
Is it because after a dozen years of war, most American troops will be out of Afghanistan by about this time next year? December 2014 is the deadline for the U.S. and NATO troops to end their combat role in Afghanistan, turning over responsibility for the war-torn country’s security to the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police.
It could also be that with each passing year, more and more World War II veterans – the Greatest Generation – are passing away.
Whatever the reason, there seems to be more commemorations – including a new Medal of Honor stamp – this year, as well as dedications, reunions, parades, receptions, commercial offerings, flags flying and news stories about the heroism of U.S. troops over the past 238 years and the hardships confronting many vets today.
With all that in mind, we decided to include the above photo – which someone on the Pentagon website cleverly headlined “All Hands on Dad” – in this year’s November 11 Blog.
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In May, on Memorial Day, America remembers the honored dead, those who gave their lives in this country’s wars since 1775.
On Veteran’s Day every November, Americans honor the living who served or continue to serve in uniform. Nov. 11 is the anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I – the “War to End All Wars” in 1918. Unfortunately, history has proven that was an overly optimistic term for what turned out to be the First World War.
After years of bloodshed in the 20th and early 21st centuries, we’d like to pause here – through the above photo – to remember the sacrifice of all those who serve their country in both war and peace. Even far from a combat zone, many of them have risky jobs on aircraft carrier decks, in fast moving Humvees and high flying aircraft. There is hard work, as well as danger, in airplane hangars and ships at sea. Depots and warehouses are stuffed with equipment and supplies that can blow up, burn, sicken or maim the humans working nearby.
It’s also a time to reflect on the sacrifices of veterans’ families who, like the little boys in the photo, suffer the absence of a loved one for months — or longer.
After reading the stories in the links above, we realize that remembering and thanking veterans for their service isn’t enough. We as a nation have to do something to make sure the people who put themselves at risk have a place to live, a job with a decent wage and the healthcare they richly deserve. They did their duty. Now we have to do ours.
More on this in future postings.
Heavy Water and Power
In the last 10 years of war, the U.S. Marine Corps has had to go to a lot of places without water taps or electrical outlets – in fact the nearest tap or plug-in was miles and miles away.
But troops in the field always need water and today’s warriors carry a lot of gear that needs batteries — which in turn need recharging – including radios, global positioning systems (GPS) and night vision goggles.
A unit of the 5th Marine Regiment just completed field testing of a wearable, solar-powered vest that extends the battery life of electronic devices.
But wait, there’s more. It also includes an individual water purifier.
Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and assembled at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division, the double-duty vest is called the Marine Austere Patroling System, or MAPS. The idea is to lighten the load of Marines on patrol far from resupply points.
“MAPS provides two benefits,” says Capt. Frank Furman, logistics program manager for ONR’s Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism Department. “First, we can lessen the risk of batteries running out completely. Second, the weight of spare batteries and extra water is eliminated.” And that, says Furman “affects our endurance and ability to move and stay alert.”
The vest includes a small, wearable solar panel developed by the Naval Research Lab.
On a 96-hour patrol, MAPS has the potential to cut the weight of batteries and water carried by a Marine from more than 60 pounds to 13 pounds. Leathernecks from the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, tested the new gear at the Marines’ Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, California.
An earlier successful test was conducted by the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Marines at Camp Pendleton, California in July.
U.S. Navy Airman Tyler Dufford tightens a bolt on a water break (beneath what appears to be two jet engines, but we’re not sure) aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington deployed in the East China Sea.
Check Engine Light
Staff Sgt. Ryan Brehm, 354th Maintenance Squadron propulsion flight dock chief, inspects an engine while it is tested at the “Hush House” at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.
Airmen from the 354th MXS propulsion flight rebuild the engines from F-16 Fighting Falcons used during RED FLAG-Alaska and training. They rebuild an average of nine General Electric F-110-100 engines in a year. Their record is 13 in a single year.
Red Flag-Alaska is an annual U.S. Air Force-sponsored combat training exercise. In addition to all five U.S. armed services, the militaries from numerous nations — ranging from Australia to Norway have taken part in the multi-national exercises. The aircraft have included attack jets, bombers, fighters, cargo airplanes and helicopters.
The F-16s play the role of enemy “aggressor” aircraft in the aerial wargames. The first Fighting Falcon, the F-16A, became operational in 1981. They have seen action in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of the older aircraft are being converted to autonomous drones, designated QF-16s, to train future jet fighter pilots in air-to-air tactics.
Special Ops in Africa
U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) launched two separate raids on terrorists in Africa over the weekend – with mixed results.
In Libya, Delta Force operators and FBI and CIA agents captured a long sought al Qaeda operative and spirited him without incident onto an amphibious Navy transport ship in the Mediterranean for interrogation and eventual trial in federal court in New York.
The objective of the Saturday (Oct. 5) raid was capture of Nazih Abdul Hamed al Ruqai – known as Anas al Libi – who was wanted in connection with the 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed more than 200 people.
“As a result of the Libya operation, one of the world’s most wanted terrorists was captured and is now in U.S. Custody,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a statement Sunday (Oct. 6). “Abu Anas al Libi was designated as a global terrorist by Executive Order, was a subject of the U.S. Rewards for Justice Program, and is on the UN Al Qaeda sanctions list. He was also indicted for his alleged role in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, and other plots to conduct attacks against U.S. interests,” Hagel added.
The Associated Press reported that members of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force l- which has responsibility for counter terrorism operations in North Africa – led the operation against al Libyi. He was taken without incident on the street in front of his house in Tripoli.
In another commando mission on Saturday Navy Seals stormed a beachside compound in Somalia, reportedly to capture another alleged terrorist leader. This time the target was a Kenyan national of Somalia descent, known as Ikrema, a planner for al Shabab, an al Qaeda affiliate based in Somalia, the Voice of America reported.
After a brief firefight outside the compound where Ikrema was thought to be, the SEALs withdrew without casualties. One or two al Shabab fighters are believed to have been killed, according to the AP, which reported the raiders were from SEAL Team 6 which attacked and killed al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in a helicopter raid into Pakistan in 2011.
According to CBS news, Ikrema was planning attacks on Kenya’s parliament building and the U.N. Headquarters in Nairobi. The raid took place just two weeks after a terror attack on an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi that left at least 67 soldiers and civilians dead. Al Shabab took crfedit for that attack. CBS also said the SEALs called off the mission because there were too many civilians – including children – to call in an airstrike to get Ikrema.
“We will continue to maintain relentless pressure on terrorist groups that threaten our people or our interests, and we will conduct direct action against them, if necessary, that is consistent with our laws and our values,” Hagel said.
HMS Boxer Captured
After a sharp fight between two brigs, the British vessel, HMS Boxer, was captured by the 16-gun USS Enterprise on Sept. 5, 1813.
The 14-gun Boxer, which had only been launched in July 1812, had its mast blown away by a broadside from the Enterprise during the 30-minute battle off the coast of Maine near Portland.
Both the Boxer’s commander, Captain Samuel Blyth, and the skipper of the Enterprise, Lieutenant William Burrows, were both killed in the 30-minute battle and were buried side-by-side in Portland’s Eastern Cemetery.
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Recapture of Detroit
A little over a year after Detroit was surrendered to a smaller force of British, Canadian and Native American (First Nations) forces Fort Detroit and the nearby village were back in U.S. hands.
The naval victory of Oliver Hazard Perry a month earlier on Lake Erie ensured American control of the lake and cut off British and Canadian forces from their supply base in eastern Canada. They evacuated Detroit, which was retaken by U.S. troops under Maj. Gen. William Henry Harrison on Sept. 29, 1813. British-led forces also abandon Fort Amherstburg across the river in Ontario.
Harrison’s forces pursued the retreating British and Canadians and their Indian allies — led by Tecumseh — into Ontario.
SHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.
After the Violence
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus speaks to Washington Navy Yard personnel Thursday (Sept. 19), during their first day back to work after the shooting incident that killed 12 workers and the gunman.
Victims Identified, Review Ordered
The 12 victims of Monday’s mass shooting incident at the Washington Navy Yard have been identified. The three women and nine men ranged in age from 46 to 73.
The alleged shooter, 34-year-old Aaron Alexis of Fort Worth, Texas was also slain Monday during a running gun battle with police. He was identified as a former Navy reservist and a civilian employee of an information technology subcontractor who recently started working at the sprawling Navy facility.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus today (September 17) ordered a “rapid review” of Navy and Marine Corps security procedures. Mabus said he ordered the review of “every Navy and Marine Corps base in the United States to ensure that we live up to our responsibility of taking care of our people.”
The review by a Navy admiral and a Marine Corps general is due back on Mabus’s desk by Oct. 1 — two weeks after the Navy Yard shootings.
Late Monday night Washington police ruled out reports of a second gunman, saying Aaron had acted alone. A motive for the shootings, that also wounded three people, has not been determined.
According to the Washington Metropolitan Police, these are the names of the victims:
- Michael Arnold, 59, Lorton, Virginia
- Sylvia Frasier, 53, Waldorf, Maryland
- Kathy Gaarde, 62, Woodbridge, Virginia
- John Roger Johnson, 73, Derwood, Maryland
- Frank Kohler, 50, Tall Timbers, Maryland
- Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46, Waldorf, Maryland
- Vishnu Shalchendia Pandit, 61, North Potomac, Maryland
- Arthur Daniels, 51, Washington, DC
- Mary Francis Knight, 51, of Reston, Virginia
- Gerald L. Read, 58, Alexandria, Virginia
- Martin Bodrog, 54, Annandale, Virginia
- Richard Michael Ridgell, 52, Westminster, Maryland
The death toll in the mass shooting incident at the Washington Navy Yard has risen to 13, Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said today (September 16).
Gray said a 12th victim had died, increasing the death toll to 13 — including the shooter, who was identified by the FBI as Aaron Alexis, 34, of Fort Worth, Texas. “We are looking to learn everything we can about his recent movements, contacts and associates, said Valerie Parlave, head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. The FBI has been designated lead agency in the shooting investigation.
DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier said the suspect engaged in several gunfights with police before he was shot and killed. “It was one of the worst things we’ve seen in Washington, D.C.,” she added.
“We don’t know what the motive is,” said Gray adding that while there was nothing to indicate the shooting was an act of terrorism “but we haven’t ruled out anything.”
Meanwhile, authorities have ruled out one of two people suspected of being a second shooter.
According to a tweet by the District of Columbia Police Department, a man said to be wearing a khaki or tan military unifrom and carrying a handgun is not a suspect:
The white male in the tan outfit has been identified and is not a suspect or person of interest.
But Gray and Lanier said police were still seeking a black male witnesses said they saw wearing olive drab military style and carrying a long gun. That man was said to be about 50 years old with graying sideburns. There’s been no word on the status of that part of the investigation.
To see earlier stories, click here.