FRIDAY FOTO (February 3, 2023)

BRADLEYS ON THE WAY.

Ukraine-bound U.S. Bradley Fighting Vehicles (U.S. Transportation Command photo by Oz Suguitan) Click on the photo to enlarge image.

After weeks of discussions and negotiations with Germany and other NATO allies, the United States has agreed to send its top ground war machine, the Abrams M1A main battle tank, to Ukraine.

But its going to take several months to get the world’s most capable — but also one of the most complicated — armored vehicle systems to the front. The Pentagon says it’s going to take months to train Ukrainian troops on the Abrams and ready to face an expected Russian offensive late this year.

In the meantime, the U.S. is sending about five dozen M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles to help Ukraine in the war against Vladimir Putin’s ruthless attacks. The Bradley is tracked like a tank, but smaller and in certain circumstances more maneuverable. Unlike the Abrams, the Bradley is considered a mechanized infantry vehicle that can carry a squad of seven soldiers into the combat zone as well as its three-person crew.

Bradleys have both offensive and defensive capabilities and provide “a level of firepower and armor that will bring advantages on the battlefield as the Ukrainian military continues to defend their homeland,” Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder told a January 5 news conference.

The Bradley’s primary weapon is the M242 25 mm Automatic Cannon. Other weapons include a 7.62 Coaxial Machine Gun and a Tube-Launched, Optically Tracked, Wireless-Guided (TOW) Anti-Tank Missile Launcher. The M2A4 also has a commander’s independent viewer that allows the commander to scan for targets and maintain situational awareness while remaining under protective armor and without interfering with the gunner’s acquisition and engagement of targets.

In the photo above, stevedore drivers work through the night of January 25 to load Bradleys onto the transport ship ARC Integrity at the Transportation Core Dock in North Charleston, South Carolina. More than 60 Bradleys were shipped by U.S. Transportation Command as part of the U.S. military aid package to Ukraine. USTRANSCOM is a combatant command focused on projecting and sustaining U.S. military power around the globe when needed.

(U.S. Transportation Command photo by Oz Suguitan) Click on photo to enlarge image.

Operations hatch foreman Sergeant Ryan Townsend, of the Army’s 841st Transportation Battalion, inspects Bradley Fighting Vehicles as they are parked within the ARC Integrity. Integrity is an American Roll-on, Roll-off Carrier equipped with ramp access and a system of fixed and liftable cargo decks which constitute the main cargo section. This system enables the vessel to be reconfigured quickly to accommodate different cargoes and maximize lift capacity. The ramp systems make the vessels able to load and discharge cargo vehicles without cranes or other port loading facilities. ARC is the American-flagged ship operator moves tanks, helicopters and other equipment for the U.S. government and its various agencies.

February 3, 2023 at 4:49 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Headgear That Bears Watching

NOT JUST FOR THE GRENADIER GUARDS.

A drum major wearing a bearskin cap leads bandsmen of the Army’s official ceremonial unit, known as “The Old Guard,” to a ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia on January 25, 2023. (U.S. Army photo). Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

Most of us have seen at sometime one of Britain’s five regiments of Foot Guards in their bright red coats and tall black bearskin hats at ceremonies like the Trooping of the Colours or changing of the guard outside Buckingham Palace, but did you know that there are units in all the U.S. armed services where at least one person wears a bearskin cap — the drum majors of ceremonial bands like the “The President’s Own” Marine Band or “The Old Guard” shown above.

The bearskin hat, or cap, first appeared in the 17th Century but became popular in the late 18th and 19th centuries among guard and grenadier units like Napoleon’s Imperial Guard. The tall headgear was supposed to make soldiers look bigger and intimidate the enemy.

 

“The Thin Red Line,” 1881 by Robert Gibb, depicts the 93rd (Sutherland Highlanders) Regiment of Foot at the Battle of Balaclava on October 25, 1854, during the Crimean War. (National War Museum, Edinburgh , Scotland via wikipedia). Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

While militia units in the Civil War, mostly in the Union army, wore bearskin hats with their parade uniforms, the tall headgear eventually was used only by the drum major of military marching bands.

The earliest known photographs of an American military band displayed with the Drum Major in full military regalia, including the busby, is the United States Military Academy at West Point -1864 and the United States Marine band in the same year, according to the website Military Music.com.

While the Air Force, Army, Navy and Coast Guard all have official ceremonial bands led by a drum major wearing a bearskin hat, perhaps the most ornately attired is the Marine Corps Band’s drum major. The ornate sash worn across his chest is called a baldric. Embroidered with the Marine Band’s crest and the Marine Corps’ battle colors, it signifies his position as Drum Major of the Marine Corps. He wears a bearskin headpiece and carries a mace, embossed with the battles and campaigns of the Marine Corps, which he uses to signal commands to the musicians.

“The President’s Own” United States Marine Band stands at attention during the Pentagon arrival ceremony for Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on April 21, 2022. (Marine Corps photo by Staff Sergeant) Chase Baran) Click on photo to enlarge image.

 

February 2, 2023 at 11:50 pm Leave a comment

THE FRIDAY FOTO (January 27, 2023)

THE COLOR OF THE WIND.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sergeant Jesus Sepulveda Torres) Click  on the photo to enlarge the image.

MV-22 Osprey aircraft assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162  prepare to take-off for a simulated raid during Marine Expeditionary Unit Exercise I at Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue, North Carolina on December 20, 2022. The raid was the culminating Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) mission for the exercise.

The colorful circles are made by two LED tip lights on the end of each rotor blade as they rotate. The colorful display has a practical safety purpose, it makes the Osprey more visible to other squadron aircraft in night flight formations (in a non-combat situation). On the ground, in the dark, the lights also alert other aircraft well as ground personnel nearby where the spinning blades are.

The Osprey can take off and land vertically like a helicopter but also fly horizontally (and faster) like and airplane when the rotors are tilted forward. These Ospreys are with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26 MEU). An MEU, with about 2,000 Marines, a composite helicopter/tiltrotor squadron and a combat logistics battalion, is the smallest type of MAGTAF (pronounced MAG-TAFF) unit.

January 27, 2023 at 5:35 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Some Marine Corps Hairstory

TALE OF THE PONYTAIL.

For the first time in the more than 100 years since the first women were sworn in as U.S. Marines, the Corps is letting female Marines wear their hair in a ponytail … well, sort of.

In late November, the Marines’ Training and Education Command announced updates to approved female hair styles via Marine Administrative Message 615/22.

The changes include: twists for short hair, an increase in maximum length for medium hair, half-ponytails or up to two half-braids for medium hair, and overall increase in styled length for long hair.

Consistent with current rules, long hair must be secured up (defined as no portion of the hair should be left to fall naturally / unsecured or with exposed ends), except when authorized during non-combat physical training. Medium and long length hair may be worn in an unsecured full ponytail or unsecured braid during non-combat physical training only, according to a Marine Corps press release.

Until the new hair policies were announced, the Marine Corps was the last U.S. armed service to allow women to wear ponytails whilein uniform. The Navy has permitted them since 2018. The Army, Air Force, Space Force and Coast Guard changed policies for women’s hair in 2021.

Previously, most women Marines with long hair, had to wind it into a very tight bun (photo below), often with the aid of a lot of hairspray. The onerous process also  put a lot of tension on the hair which can lead to damage and hair loss.

The updates to the hair regulation also clarify that tightly pulled or slicked back hair is not a requirement, and Marines are encouraged to avoid potentially damaging or harmful products.

Male and female drill instructors with the 1st Recruit Training Battalion of the Recruit Training Regiment, at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, render a salute during a ceremony on December 21, 2022.  (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Grace J. Kindred) Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

*** *** ***

.BEARDS AND BOOT CAMP.

In another Marine tonsorial issue, a federal court in Washington recently ruled in favor of three Sikh men and overruled the Corps’ requirement that all male recruits in boot camp must receive the traditional extreme haircut and be clean shaven.

Marine Corps recruits practice how to fall during martial arts training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego on January 23, 2023. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal  Jacob Hutchinson) Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

The federal appeals court in the District of Columbia ruled that the Marine Corps cannot deny entry to Sikhs because of their unshorn beards and hair.

The three men, Jaskirat Singh, Milaap Singh Chahal and Aekash Singh, all wanted to serve their country and were qualified to enlist but the Marine Corps told them they could serve only if they shaved before going into basic training. Most Sikh men don’t cut their hair as a sign of their religious commitment, but serving in the military is another aspect of their faith, the lawyer representing the three told NPR.

“They believe, as part of their religious duty, in defending the rights of others,” said attorney Eric Baxter, Sikhs, he noted, “have served for a long time in militaries around the world, including in the United States, with all of their articles of faith in place.”

As part of the British Indian Army, from the late 19th Century, Sikh regiments fought in numerous wars all over the world, including the Second and Third Anglo-Afghan Wars, many campaigns on British India’s North-West Frontier, in World War I on the Western Front, Gallipoli and Mesopotamia and the North African, Italian and Burma campaigns of World War II, earning many gallantry awards and battle honors.

The Indian Army’s Sikh Regiment is said to be its most highly decorated.

The Sikh Regiment marching contingent passes in review at India’s 66th Republic Day Parade in January 2015. (Ministry of Defence, Government of India photo). Click on the photo to enlarge image.

In her December 2022 opinion, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Patrica Millett wrote the men’s Sikh faith requirement to maintain unshorn hair and beards conflicted with the Marines’ standard grooming policy for the 13 weeks of boot camp. The Corps argued that allowing the men to keep their beards would interfere with troop uniformity. The Marine Corps had agreed to accommodate the trio’s religious commitments after basic training was completed.

However, Millet said the Marines had not provided compelling arguments for any safety reasons supporting the policy or that unshorn hair would interfere physically with boot camp training. She also noted recruits were allowed to grow beards for medical reasons, like the skin condition known as shaving bumps, and that the Corps had eased restrictions on tattoos and women’s hairstyles.

The judge granted Jaskirit Singh and Chahal a preliminary injunction allowing them to begin basic training immediately. The ruling also found that Aekash Singh, who plans to enter officer candidate school, should have his related case reconsidered by a federal District Court, The New York Times reported.

*** *** ***

SHAKOSHAKO 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.

January 26, 2023 at 11:57 pm Leave a comment

THE FRIDAY FOTO (January 20, 2023)

NATURE’S SPECIAL FX.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Diana M. Cossaboom). Click on photo to enlarge the image.

U.S. Air Force pilots flying a KC-135 Stratotanker, get a first hand look at the phenomenon of St. Elmo’s Fire while flying through weather in the Middle East on January 6, 2023.

St. Elmo’s Fire occurs through electric friction caused by specific weather conditions. St. Elmo’s fire, or corona discharge, is commonly observed on the periphery of propellers and along the wing tips, windshield, and nose of aircraft flying in dry snow, ice crystals,or near thunderstorms, according to the Britannica website, where you can see a more thorough explanation of the phenomenon, also known as Witchfire or Witch’s Fire.

Thsee aerial refueling tanker pilots are assigned to the 91st Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, part of the 6th Air Mobility Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

January 20, 2023 at 1:59 am Leave a comment

WORLD WAR CV: Congress Makes Pentagon Drop Mandatory COVID Vaccination Order

VACCINATION MANDATE ENDS.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jackson Adkins)

Sixteen months after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a mandate, with White House approval, that all members of the armed forces had to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Congress has passed legislation forcing the Pentagon to end the requirement.

The $857.9 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2023 fiscal year (from October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023) was passed by Congress in late 2022 and signed into law by President Joe Biden December 23, 2022. The act includes language that requires the defense secretary to rescind the mandate, which had sparked complaints from lawmakers and lawsuits from service members.

Austin and the heads of all the services said the vaccination mandate was necessary to protect the force and maintain readiness to defend the American people. While the vast majority armed service members — more  than 2 million — have gotten fully vaccinated, thousands more either refused to get the jab or sought administrative or religious exemption to the vaccination requirement. Just a few received religious accommodation, and thousands were separated from the services when their appeals ran out.

That led to several lawsuits. A federal judge in Texas certified a class action by Sailors, mostly Navy SEALS, seeking a religious exemption and issued a preliminary injunction March 30, 2022 halting separation for members of the class. A similar injunction was issued against the Marine Corps on August 18, 2022 by a federal judge in Florida.  A coalition of more than 20 state attorneys general filed an amicus brief before the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals, supporting the religious liberty claims of Navy SEALs seeking exemptions from the mandatory vaccination requirement in the Texas case. Lower courts also blocked the services from separating vaccine refusers.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing April 7, 2022. (Defense Department photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

A protracted legal fight was derailed under pressure to get the annual defense bill passed, and an amendment pushed by a group of Senate Republicans requiring  a halt to the mandate was approved.

“The department will fully comply with the law,” Defense department officials said, adding the Pentagon “remains committed to the health and safety of the force and to ensuring we are ready to execute our mission at all times.”

The legislation stopped short of requiring the Pentagon to reinstate troops who were dismissed for refusing the shot. It also did not mention giving them back pay, POLITICO noted, but “Austin’s memo opened the door to reinstating troops who believe they were wrongfully let go, stipulating that service members and veterans may apply to correct their records.”

Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder told reporters Tuesday (January 17, 2023) “right now, we are not currently pursuing back-pay to service members who were dismissed for refusing to take the COVID vaccination.”

The Navy’s Take

Following a speech last week (January 11) at the Surface Navy Association annual symposium in Virginia, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro was asked about the impact the end of mandatory vaccination, the Navy League’s SEAPOWER website reported.

Before the 2023 legislation passed, Del Toro expressed concerns that a repeal of the vaccine mandate might lead to potential movement restrictions. “It will create almost two classes of citizens in our services – those that can’t deploy and those that can deploy,” he said on December 6.

Del Toro told reporters the Navy Department had followed Austin’s directive, but he expected additional guidance from the Pentagon.

Asked if he anticipated any short-term problems absent specific guidance, Del Toro said, “No, I think the majority of service members, across all services, quite frankly, get the COVID vaccination whether they’re told to, or not.”

“I suspect that a lot of people who wanted to leave the military, perhaps, did not go down that path [vaccination], so they could leave the military, perhaps before their contract expired,” Del Toro said.

January 17, 2023 at 11:58 pm 1 comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 13, 2023) DOUBLE FEATURE

LOOKS EASY …

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Class Patrick Sullivan) Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

U.S. Air Force fire protection specialists assigned to the 673d Civil Engineer Squadron conduct ice rescue training at Six Mile Lake, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Alaska on January 8, 2023.

According to the Air Force, Fire Protection specialists deal with everything from brush fires to burning rocket fuel and hazardous material fires. “Upholding our mission to ensure the safety of others, these specialists don’t just act on Air Force bases, but assist civilian fire departments when needed as well.”

After completing a classroom course, the JBER firefighters in the photo above took to the ice to test their skills in a series of scenarios designed to simulate real-world rescues. The firefighters received certifications as ice rescue technicians after qualifying in the skills needed to conduct ice rescue and recovery efforts in extreme cold-weather environments.

… BUT IT REALLY ISN’T

Especially in Alaska, in January.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Class Patrick Sullivan) Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Joseph Jenkins, a fire protection specialist assigned to the 673d Civil Engineer Squadron, pulls a fellow firefighter out of the water during ice rescue training at Six Mile Lake. Brrrrr.

January 13, 2023 at 5:05 pm Leave a comment

THE FRIDAY FOTO (January 6, 2023)

DELIVERY AT SEA.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Negron) Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

We wonder if Amazon ever delivers this way. Sailors aboard the Navy’s guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur receive supplies on pallets from the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Guadalupe during  a seaborne resupply on December 28, 2022 in the Philippine Sea.

Replenishment at sea is a method of transferring fuel, ammunition, food and other supplies from one ship to another while under way. It’s a tricky, inherently dangerous procedure. Both ships have to maintain the same speed as they send and receive fuel hoses and other lines and cables to pump fuel and swing cargo over the water separating the two ships. Click here to see a video explaining the procedure and what the risks are.

A shot line is fired from the receiving vessel to the supply vessel. That line is used to pull across a messenger line. The messenger is used to pull across other lines and equipment.

Civilian-manned ships of the Military Sealift Command like the Guadalupe are not commissioned ships; their status is “in service,” rather than “in commission.” They are, nonetheless, Navy ships in active national service, according to the Navy, and the prefix “USNS” (United States Naval Ship) was adopted to identify them.

USS Decatur is an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer. Part of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, Decatur is currently underway with the U.S. 7th Fleet conducting routine operations. The 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed, numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with 35 maritime nations in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

January 6, 2023 at 3:41 pm Leave a comment

THE FRIDAY FOTO (December 30, 2022)

HE’S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD … ON HIS SIX.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Zachary Rufus) Please click on the photo to enlarge the image.

Air Force Colonel Cameron “GLOVER” Dadgar, commander of the Nevada Test and Training Range flies over the range during an Exercise Red Flag 22-3 mission at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, on July 12, 2022.

For THE FRIDAY FOTO’s last posting of 2022, we thought we’d feature one of the many spectacular photos included in the Defense Department’s DOD in Photos 2022 collection. To see some more photos, click here. You’ll notice several of the pictures taken by service members over the past year have apeared in THE FRIDAY FOTO.

The Nevada Test and Training Range is the U.S. Air Force’s premier military training area with more that 12,000 square miles of air space and 2.9 million acres of land.

The “SIX” in this week’s headline refers to the military term “Check Your Six,” which means “Check Behind You” to avoid a sneak attack from the rear. For a more detailed explanation, click here.

Almost forgot, thanks for visiting 4GWAR Blog and our weekly FRIDAY FOTO featuring the wonderful, informative and sometimes quirky photographs taken by members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard and Space Force. Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR. See you in 2023!

December 30, 2022 at 11:21 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Amphibious Assault Ship, USS Fallujah and Other Name Controversies UPDATE

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

“What’s in a name,” the poet and playwright William Shakespeare asked in Romeo and Juliet. Quite a lot, apparently, for many people in the United States — especially in Congress and the Defense Department.

In the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody, and the ensuing societal reckoning on racial injustice and the enduring legacy of slavery, public opinion turned against honoring the men who rebelled against the United States and fought to defend slavery.

More than 100 monuments and statues of Confederate leaders were removed by local officials in cities like Richmond, Virginia, New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama. Others in Birmingham, Alabama; Raleigh, North Carolina and Washington, D.C. were toppled by protestors.

Confederate War Memorial of Dallas, Texas was removed in 2020 and put in storage. (Photo by MarK Arthur, via Wikipedia/Creative Commons)

And in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (Public Law No: 116-283), Congress directed the establishment of “a commission relating to assigning, modifying, or removing of names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia to assets of the Department of Defense that commemorate the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America.”

In its final report, the commission recommended new names for nine military bases all named after Confederate officers (Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Rucker, Alabama; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Benning and Fort Gordon in Georgia; and Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Lee and Fort Pickett — all in Virginia).

The commission also made recommendations for renaming buildings, streets and other facilities, and removing monuments honoring Confederate leaders at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York and the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis Maryland.

During the same period the commission looked at Navy ships and facilities, leading Navy Secretary Carlos Del Torro to announce in September that the cruiser USS Chancellorsville, named for an 1863 Civil War battle the Confederacy won, and the oceanographic survey ship USNS Maury, named for Confederate Navy officer Matthew Fontaine Maury, would be renamed.

Needless to say, many groups and individuals pushed back against changing the names of storied buildings at their academy, or the base where they trained before going off to war. Associations and societies of the descendants of Confederate warriors and some local politicians also took a dim view of name changes and statue removals, which they saw as an assault on their heritage and culture — and their ancestors.

Dallas Confederate War Memorial site after removal (Photo by Pete Unseth via Wikipedia)

But a controversy from an unexpected source developed recently with plans to name a new ship after a battle that had nothing to do with the Civil War or slavery.  Del Torro announced on December 13 that the Navy’s newest large amphibious assault ship would be named the USS Fallujah, to commemorate two fierce battles the Marines fought in the Iraq War.

However, a Muslim civil rights group is protesting the selection of the name of the Iraqi city because the battle resulted in hundreds of civilian casualties and the locals are still suffering health issues they suspect are caused by the remains of weapons used in the fighting.

“The name selection follows the tradition of naming amphibious ships after U.S. Marine Corps battles [like Makin Island or Tripoli],  U.S. sailing ships [like USS Boxer and USS Kearsarge] or earlier carriers from World War II [like USS Essex], Del Torro said.

The First Battle of Fallujah occurred in April 2004 in an effort to capture or kill insurgents responsible for the killing of four U.S. contractors. The Second Battle of Fallujah, fought between November 7 and December 23, 2004, was a major U.S- led offensive to retake control of the city from insurgents and foreign fighters. With over 100 coalition forces killed and over 600 wounded, Operation Phantom Fury is considered the bloodiest engagement of the Iraq War and the fiercest urban combat involving U.S. Marines since the Vietnam War’s Battle of Hue City, according to the Navy.

“Under extraordinary odds, the Marines prevailed against a determined enemy who enjoyed all the advantages of defending in an urban area,” the Commandant of the Marine Corps,  General David H. Berger, said in the Navy press release announcing the new ship’s name. “The Battle of Fallujah is, and will remain, imprinted in the minds of all Marines and serves as a reminder to our Nation, and its foes, why our Marines call themselves the world’s finest,” Berger added.

Two America-class amphibious assault ships, USS Tripoli (LHA 7) and USS America (LHA 6) sail side-by-side during a photo exercise in the Philippine Sea, September 17, 2022. The future USS Fallujah (LHA 9) will be similar to these ships but equipped with a well deck. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Christopher Lape)

But the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), self-described as the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, “called on the U.S. Navy to change the name of the future America-class amphibious assault ship ‘USS Fallujah,’” the SEAPOWER magazine website reported December 15.

The battles in Fallujah were the bloodiest fighting of the Iraq War and a painful memory for the people still living there. “Hundreds of civilians – including women and children – were killed during the battles. To this day, the civilian population is reportedly being negatively impacted by the weapons used in those battles,” CAIR said in a press statement, urging the Navy to pick another name.

“Just as our nation would never name a ship the ‘USS Abu Ghraib,’ the Navy should not name a vessel after notorious battles in Fallujah that left hundreds of civilians dead, and countless children suffering from birth defects for years afterward,” said CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell. “There must be a better name for this ship,” Mitchell added, saying “one that does not evoke horrific scenes” from what he called “an illegal and unjust war.”

When we first heard about the naming of the Fallujah, your 4GWAR editor wondered if it was too soon, in a region where U.S. troops are still fighting terrorists, to bring up a painful memory — not just for the Iraqis but for Americans and allies who fought there or lost loved ones.

Similarly, in 2020, your 4GWAR editor was struck by a FRIDAY FOTO we ran of U.S. sailors pulling a combat rubber raiding craft carrying Japanese soldiers aboard the amphibious dock landing ship, USS Pearl Harbor, in the Pacific Ocean. The photo was taken during Iron Fist, an exercise designed to enhance the ability of U.S. and Japanese forces to plan and conduct combined amphibious operations.

As mentioned, several U.S. Navy amphibious ships, like the Pearl Harbor, are named for famous Navy and Marine Corps battles — like  Belleau Wood or Fort McHenry — but others have been named for World War II engagements in the Pacific: Bataan, Iwo Jima and Bougainville. Your 4GWAR editor has often wondered if these reminders of bitter defeats and costly victories more than 70 years ago cause any uncomfortable moments of reflection when the forces of the United States and Japan — now close allies — engage in joint exercises and operations.

For that matter, we wonder if the ships named USS Alamo (signature battle of the Texas Revolution) or the USS Normandy (World War II) or USS Hue City (Vietnam War) cause any irritation or ill will in Mexico, Germany or Vietnam, countries with which we now have friendly relations.

UPDATES with photos and correction, substituting USS Alamo for USS Monterey

*** *** ***

SHAKOSHAKO 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.

December 28, 2022 at 11:57 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts


Posts

February 2023
M T W T F S S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728  

Categories


%d bloggers like this: