FRIDAY FOTO (December 14, 2018)

Dashing Through the Snow.

Winter Warriors

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Felix Fimbres)

Army Reserve soldiers practice navigating through snowy terrain during winter warfare training at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin on December 8, 2018.

This is the second photo we’ve seen in recent weeks of Army troops in winter warfare training wearing camouflage white on their lower half only. (See photo below).

Does anyone know the logic behind this? Camouflage protection in snowy woods? The white jackets are on back order?

1 Geronimo paratroopers conduct live-fire training at JBER

(U.S. Army photo by Alejandro Pena)

In this photo, Army paratroopers of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) er breached a simulated enemy obstacle during infantry platoon live-fire training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska on November 8, 2018. Were the white uniform tops on back order?

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December 13, 2018 at 11:41 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (December 7, 2018)

Narrow Margin.

FRI FO 12-7-2018 Hornets Elevator

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Grant G. Grady)

If you ever wondered how they get Navy fighter jets to and from an aircraft carrier flight deck, this is how they do it — carefully.  Note the roiled waters below indicate the flat top is in motion during this everyday — but still hazardous — operation.

We assume these two F/A-18E Super Hornets are on their way up to the flight deck from the hangar deck since the accompanying caption supplied by the Navy said the sailors were guiding the 24-ton (when fully-loaded) multi-role fighters onto an aircraft elevator.

To get a sense of how quickly these elevators move, check out this short YouTube video from a carrier (USS Abraham Lincoln) tied up in port. To see the process for loading, securing and raising aircraft — while at sea — click here.

This FRIDAY FOTO was taken December 3, 2018 aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the Indian Ocean.

December 7, 2018 at 12:33 am Leave a comment

LOOKING AHEAD: December defense and homeland security events

Busy December.

calendar1

December 3-5

Egypt Defense Expo – At the  Egypt International Exhibition Centre, New Cairo, Egypt

December 5-6

IQPC Border Management Summit in San Antonio, Texas at the Hilton Garden Inn San Antonio-Live Oak Conference Center

December 5-7

IDGA’s Future Ground Combat Vehicles summit in Detroit, Michigan at the Sheraton Detroit Novi hotel.

December 5

9:00 a.m. – 10 a.m. The Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies presents  a discussion on “Air Force Operations: Increasing Readiness and Lethality” featuring Lieutenant General Mark Kelly, Air Force deputy chief of staff for operations, at the Key Bridge Marriott’s Potomac Ballroom, Salon A in Arlington, Virginia.

11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. —  Book launch event for Dr. Max Abrahm’s newly released Rules for Rebels: The Science of Victory in Militant History (Oxford University Press). Presented by the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Transnational Threats Project at 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036.

frifo-1-20-2012icebreaker

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Benjamin Nocerini)

12:30 p.m. — United States Coast Guard commandant Admiral Karl L. Schultz, discusses America’s presence in the Arctic as a matter of national security at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045.

December 6

9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. — Richard V. Spencer, 76th Secretary of the Navy, discusses the state of the Navy and Marine Corps and innovation in the naval domain at a Maritime Security Dialogue jointly sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the United States Naval Institute (USNI). At CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036.

December 3, 2018 at 11:56 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 30, 2018)

Underwater Promotion.

FRI FO test 11-30-2018

(NASA Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory photo)

Army astronauts Colonel Andrew “Drew” Morgan (left) and Lieutenant Colonel Anne McClain prepare to be promoted to their current ranks while underwater following required training in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at the Sonny Carter Training Facility in Houston, Texas.

This photo was taken in September, but now Lieutenant Colonel McClain is in Star City, Russia, preparing for a December 3 launch on a Russian Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station.

“I am so happy that I’m going to have six months in space,” McClain — who is part of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s small astronaut detachment — said during an early November teleconference press briefing. “We’re not just going to space to visit, we’re going to go there to live.”

A West Point graduate, test pilot and combat helicopter pilot, McClain was selected for NASA’s human spaceflight program in 2013, along with fellow West Pointer, Colonel Morgan, a medical doctor, Special Forces emergency physician and former Army parachutist and skydiver.  His space mission is slated for launch in July.

If her launch goes as planned, McClain will be the first active-duty Army officer in space since 2010. Her three-person crew is expected to launch from Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft and rocket.

“Feeling the thrust of the rocket is going to be something that I am really looking forward to,” she said. “It is going to be a completely new experience.” McClain, 39, of Spokane, Washington, will serve as a flight engineer for Expedition 58/59.

While her crew prepares to lift off on a rocket similar to one that suffered a malfunction October 11 — triggering an automatic abort and emergency landing, McClain says she’s not worried. The Soyuz rocket, she noted, has had an amazing track record. Before last month’s incident, the rocket’s previous aborted mission was in 1983.

“I saw that October 11 incident, not as a failure, but as an absolute success,” she said. “What this really proved was that the Russian launch abort system is a really great design and for that reason we have that backup plan.

McClain’s crew also received a debriefing from both astronauts in the aborted mission — Air Force Colonel Nick Hague and his Russian counterpart, Alexey Ovchinin.

November 30, 2018 at 6:15 pm Leave a comment

AROUND AFRICA: Nigeria’s Boko Haram Troubles

NIGERIA-Boko Haram.

Extremist attacks of military bases between November 2 and 18, killed 39 soldiers and wounded 43 more, Nigerian officials conceded Wednesday (November 28).

The attacks are an embarrassment and political setback for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has maintained the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram has been defeated. On Wednesday Buhari declared that Boko Haram and Islamic State-linked fighters should be wiped “from the surface of the earth.”

MAP-Nigeria

(Nigeria map: CIA World Factbook)

Shocked by the deaths, Buhari backed off past declarations that Boko Haram has been defeated and urged the military to “rise to the challenge.” He addressed security leaders in the turbulent northeast as he faces growing criticism ahead of next year’s election over the failure to end what he called a “must-win war,” the Associated Press reported.

The Islamic State West Africa Province, the largest IS-linked extremist group in Africa and a recent Boko Haram offshoot, claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack, a Nov. 18 assault on a military base in Metele. Concerns are growing that the group, which has killed two abducted health workers in recent months, is becoming more vicious, according to AP.

Mamman Nu, a slightly more moderate leader of the brutal terrorist group was killed three months ago by his more fanatical followers, according to The Economist.

Claims that the Buhari administration and the Nigerian military are inadequately equipping soldiers for the fight against Boko Haram are reminiscent of similar charges made against then-President Goodluck Jonathan at the height of the Boko Haram insurgency between 2014 and 2015, according to the Council on Foreign Relations blog. Then, as now, Nigeria faced upcoming presidential elections, which Buhari would go on to win. He campaigned on a platform of tackling corruption and restoring security, and central to his campaign was the defeat of Boko Haram.

nigerian-refugees-un-photo

A group of Nigerian refugees rest in the Cameroon town of Mora in 2015 after fleeing armed Boko Haram attacks.
(United Nations Photo by Mbaoirem)Enter a caption

“The apparent revival of Boko Haram therefore constitutes for President Buhari an electoral liability as well as added danger now faced by ordinary Nigerians in the northeast. Furthermore, according to officials from Niger, the terrorist group recently kidnapped around eighteen girls from two villages near the border with Nigeria. The episode recalls the Boko Haram kidnapping of school girls from Chibok in 2014, though the large-scale kidnapping of school girls has become a common feature of the Boko Haram insurgency. The failure of the Jonathan administration to provide adequately for the military was widely ascribed to corruption. President Buhari has launched a high-profile initiative against corruption, though many Nigerians see it as ineffective. Hence, the revival of Boko Haram and claims that the military is ill-provisioned may call to mind earlier allegations of the Jonathan government’s fecklessness and corruption that Buhari campaigned against,” writes John Campbell on the CoFR website.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian military says Boko Haram is using drones — unmanned aircraft — to gather intelligence on Nigerian troop movements, according to the BBC.

In a statement by Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman on Wednesday, the Army said “we have noticed daring moves by the terrorists, increased use of drone against our defensive positions and infusion of foreign fighters in their ranks, according the Nigerian news site Vanguard.

 

 

November 30, 2018 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 23, 2018)

Lightning Strike.

Exercise Combat Power

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Cory D. Payne)

We haven’t used an Air Force photo for the Friday Foto in a while so we decided on this visually arresting shot, taken November 19, 2018.

It shows a formation of Air Force F-35 Lightning IIs performing aerial maneuvers during a combat power exercise over the Utah Test and Training Range.

The F-35 program is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all weather, multi-role stealth fighter jets for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force — as well as foreign partners: Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Norway and Denmark.

The fifth (latest) generation radar-evading jet has been called the most expensive weapons system in history, and its development was beset by multiple delays before it was deemed combat ready. That changed last month, when a Marine Corps jet launched from the amphibious warship USS Essex struck targets in Afghanistan.

November 23, 2018 at 6:20 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Thanksgiving, Then and Now

Feeding the Troops Today.

USS Blue Ridge Sailors prepare Thanksgiving Meal

Sailors prepare turkeys for a Thanksgiving celebration aboard the USS Blue Ridge in Yokosuka, Japan, November 21, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo Petty Officer 3rd Class Dylan McKay)

It takes a lot of coordination and attention to detail to make sure service members get the Thanksgiving meal they deserve, according to Rich Faso, deputy director of the Defense Logistics Agency’s Troop Support Subsistence supply chain in Philadelphia. The planning began in May and the work continued until the last deliveries were made.

By Thanksgiving Day, some 300,000 pounds of traditional Thanksgiving food had arrived at military field kitchens and galleys throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe and to troops supporting Customs and Border Protection on the Southwest border, said Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Robert Manning said.

“Intense Attention to Every Detail” Gator Paratroopers Prepare Thanksgiving Feast for Panther Brigade

Army Private First Class Dayana Abril pipes frosting onto a cake to serve during a Thanksgiving feast at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The battalion prepared 640 pounds of turkey, 558 pounds of steamship round, 72 pounds of shrimp, more than 100 pies, 700 servings of sweet potatoes and approximately 800 servings of green bean casserole. (U.S. Army photo by Major Thomas Cieslak)

Overall, according to the Defense Department, deployed troops received.:

Whole turkeys: 9,738
Pounds of roasted turkey: 51,234
Pounds of beef: 74,036
Pounds of ham: 21,758
Pounds of shrimp: 67,860
Pounds of sweet potatoes: 16,284
Pies: 81,360
Cakes: 19,284
Gallons of eggnog: 7,836

 

Giving Thanks in 1863.

 

Here at 4GWAR, we’re mindful that the first official national day of Thanksgiving came in the midst of a terrible Civil War that had cost thousands of lives and was still far from over. It seems remarkable to think President Abraham Lincoln decided the country needed to pause and consider what it did have to be thankful for despite all the carnage.

Here is what Mr. Lincoln had to say about all that 155 years ago.

Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation

Lincoln illustration courtesy of Accessible Archives website.

 

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as aday of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

It’s important to note the call for a day of national thanksgiving was first raised by prominent writer and editor, Sarah Josepha Hale.

Happy Thanksgiving — and safe travels — from 4GWAR!

*** *** ***

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.

November 22, 2018 at 11:58 pm 3 comments

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