FRIDAY FOTO (May 28, 2016)

Honor Duty.

Flags-In at Arlington National Cemetery

U.S. Army photo by Rachel Larue

Soldiers place American flags in front of headstones during “Flags In” at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia (May 26, 2016).

Every year soldiers assigned to the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard,” place approximately 230,000 flags before each of the cemetery’s headstones in preparation for the Memorial Day holiday.

To see more photos of the simple, somber, beautiful event, click here.

A poem,

Bivouac of the Dead

.

 

May 27, 2016 at 11:44 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 13, 2016)

Woosh!

22nd MEU LAAD Marines fire Stingers

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Ryan G. Coleman

Marines fire stinger simulation rounds aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) in the Atlantic Ocean last month (April 17, 2016). The stinger is part of a group of anti-aircraft weapons known as MANPADS, for Man Portable Air Defense Systems.

The Marines are assigned to Medium Marine Tiltrotor Squadron 264 in the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is underway for an amphibious exercise.

May 13, 2016 at 1:16 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO: May 6, 2016

Eerie Viewing.

459AS sharpens their rescue capabilities

U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe

Night vision goggles cast an eerie green glow on the eye of Air Force Technical Sergeant Christopher Rector peers through them during a training flight over U.S. Army Garrison Yokohama North Dock in Japan last month (April 25, 2016).

The internal lights of his UH-1N Iroquois helicopter — known everywhere as a Huey — paint an equally eerie glow on his fearsomely decorated crash helmet. A lot of helicopter crewmen in the U.S. military decorate the front of their crash helmets to look like skulls or orcs — just like some NHL hockey goalies.

Rector is a special missions aviator evaluator assigned to the 459th Airlift Squadron, which frequently trains to stay prepared for potential real-world contingencies and operations.

May 6, 2016 at 2:43 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO: April 29, 2016

Sapper Haul.

Army engineers compete in 2016 Best Sapper Competition

Army photo by Sgt. Anthony Hewitt

No, defense budget cuts haven’t come to this.

These two Army paratroopers are hauling this Humvee as part of the Best Sapper Competition at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, home of the Army Engineers School.

Sapper is an ancient term for military engineers. In olden days they designed and dug the trenches, built the forts and figured out how to break into castles.

These days, a Sapper is usually a combat engineer who has completed the 28-day Sapper Leader Course, and earned the red Sapper uniform tab. That tab says they are among the best at their complex and dangerous craft, which includes bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields, demolitions, creating field defenses as well as building, road and airfield construction and repair.

To earn the Sapper tab you have to graduate from the Sapper course, but you don’t have to be an engineer, according to the Army.

The paratroopers in this photo, Army 1st Sergeant Jose Casillas and Sergeant 1st Class Tim Shay are assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division’s 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

What’s the difference between a 1st Sergeant and a Sergeant 1st Class? Click here for an explanation.

April 29, 2016 at 12:21 am Leave a comment

ARCTIC NATION: Another Russia-NATO Flashpoint?

Kola Peninsula.

One of the most interesting articles in Thursday’s New York Times was an opinion piece by a German journalist about the Kola Peninsula, Russia’s northwestern-most territory in the Far North.

kola-peninsula-tundra-map

Kola Peninsula tundra ecoregion highlighted along the Barents and White Seas. (Source: WWF via the Encyclopedia of Earth).

Ice-coated barbed wire fences, surveillance cameras and settlements that look more like military installations mark this frigid region, but the coastline is warmed by the waters of the Gulf Stream, according to Jochen Bittner, a political editor for Die Zeit.

That makes the forbidding landscape of the Kola Peninsula “a gigantic marine pier, guaranteeing Russia’s naval fleet access to the Atlantic and offering a hub for operations in an area of the world that might become the next crisis zone between Russia and NATO: the North Pole,” says Bittner.

It’s no secret the Russian military has been building up its facilities in the Arctic, including several new air bases. But Bittner’s piece brings some diplomatic and political perspective to what’s at stake for Russia and the West in this increasingly important region.

To read more, click here.

ARCTIC NATION is an occasional 4GWAR posting on the High North. The U.S. “National Strategy for the Arctic Region” describes the United States as “an Arctic Nation with broad and fundamental interests in the Arctic Region, where we seek to meet our national security needs, protect the environment, responsibly manage resources, account for indigenous communities, support scientific research, and strengthen international cooperation on a wide range of issues.”

 

April 28, 2016 at 11:06 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (April 22, 2016)

Last Run.

Here we go Kiowa Warriors

Defense Dept. photo by Kenneth Kassens.

Thirty-two OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters with the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade  — the last U.S.-based Kiowa squadron–  conduct a flyover during a farewell flight above Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Under the Aviation Restructuring Initiative (ARI)  — a cost-saving program to fund future development and acquisition of helicopters — the Army is divesting its OH-58 Kiowa Scout helicopters. The Army is replacing them with active duty AH-64 Apache attack helos and pairing them with unmanned aircraft.

The 1st Squadron will deploy to Korea this summer. When it returns, it will be switching over to Apaches.

The April 15 flyover served as a final “thank you” and farewell to the residents of the Fort Bragg and the Fayetteville, N. C. community. To learn more about the flyover, the Kiowa Warriors and the people who flew them, click here to read an article co-authored by our friend and colleague, Drew Brooks of the Fayetteville Observer, (via Stars and Stripes).

April 21, 2016 at 11:45 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO: April 15, 2016

Now Boarding.

FRIFO 4-15-2016 pARATROOPERS c-17.

Air Force photo by Alejandro Pena

Paratroopers board and position their gear inside an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft before participating in a night jump at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, March 31, 2016.

To see what a night drop looks like, click here.

April 15, 2016 at 1:07 am Leave a comment

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