FRIDAY FOTO (April 21, 2017)

Semper Paratus.

Operation Pacific Reach Exercise 2017

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Rob Simpson)

We bet the last thing most 4GWAR visitors thought when they first saw this photo was Coast Guard. But these are some of the people who put the “Guard” in Coast Guard. They are U.S. Coast Guard port security personnel.

They are preparing their weapons and body armor for a training exercise during Operation Pacific Reach 2017 earlier this month (April 3) in Pohang, South Korea.

The exercise — in the latest global hot spot — is designed to ensure readiness and sustain the capabilities strengthening the U.S.-South Korea alliance. Coast Guardsmen were slated to serve as part of a combined task group conducting port, waterway and coastal security operations to protect assets and personnel. (See the photo below.)

Operation Pacific Reach Exercise 2017

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Rob Simpson)

This is more like it. This photo shows Coast Guardsmen conducting an area familiarization patrol aboard a 32-foot transportable port security boat during Operation Pacific Reach.

To see more photos from this exercise, click here.

April 21, 2017 at 12:37 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (April 7, 2017)

Air Power?

FRIFO 4-7-2017 AIRPOWER

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Donald Hudson)

Airmen pull a C-130H Hercules aircraft down the runway during the 374th Maintenance Group Wrenchbender Rodeo at Yokota Air Base, Japan, March 31, 2017.

The airmen are assigned to the 374th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. Teams from various maintenance squadrons competed against each other in nine events, finishing with a C-130 pull.

April 7, 2017 at 2:35 am Leave a comment

SHAKO: U.S. Entered WWI 100 Years Ago Today

Over there.

On this date in 1917, the United States entered what was then known as the Great War.

The_US_Army_in_Britain,_1917-1918_Q30005

A column of American troops passing Buckingham Palace, London, 1917. (Photo: Imperial War Museum collection)

After avoiding entanglement in the European bloodbath that erupted in August 1914, America finally got involved when Germany resumed unconditional submarine warfare — threatening freedom of the seas — and tried to win over Mexico as an ally by promising a return of lands lost in the Mexican-American War of 1846.

Congress declared war on Germany just two months after U.S. troops under General John J. Pershing returned from a punitive expedition into Mexico to catch or kill the rebel general and bandit Pancho Villa. When Congress declared war of April 6, 1917, the U.S. army was still small and hadn’t fought a nation state’s army (Spain) since 1898.

While 4GWAR won’t be following the centennial of World War I as closely as we did the bicentennial of the War of 1812, SHAKO will be checking in from time to time to ponder the implications of America’s involvement in an overseas war that saw the introduction of tank warfare, poison gas and the widespread use of the airplane, submarine and machine gun.

94th_Aero_Squadron_-_Group

Pilots of the 94th Aero Squadron at Foucaucourt Aerodrome, France, November 1918. The top U.S. air ace of WWI, Eddie Rickenbacker (center), leans against a SPAD XIII fighter plane bearing the squadron’s “Hat in the Ring” symbol.

World War I also saw veteran units like the Marine Corps and the 69th New York Infantry Regiment add to their glory while new outfits like the “Harlem Hellfighters” and the “Hat in the Ring Squadron” added their names to the history books.

In the coming months leading up to November 11, 2018, we hope to introduce you to some interesting people and units like the “One Man Army,” the “Lost Battalion,” “Arizona Balloon Buster,” and the “Rock of the Marne.” Meanwhile, to get you started, here are some informative websites about World War One and the American Expeditionary Force. The U.S. Army Center of Military History, The Great War and the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission.

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.

 

April 6, 2017 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 31, 2017)

Passing the Baton.

SOI ITB Company B Graduation

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Laura Mercado)

Marine Corps Private First Class Maria Daume (left), is congratulated by a veteran Marine  after graduating from the basic mortarman course at Marine Corps Base Camp Geiger, North Carolina, on March 23, 2017.

This seemed like a fitting photo to close out Women’s History Month 2017, with one generation of Marines congratulating a member of the newest generation. The older Marine (she is unidentified in the photo caption) has the Korean Service medal, among others, on her jacket.

To see more photos of American servicewoman doing a variety of jobs, click here.

March 31, 2017 at 2:34 am 2 comments

VETERANS: VA Exploring New Ways to Ease Veterans’ Pain, Trauma

Mannequins to Marijuana.

Starting off 2017 with new leadership and a promise of additional funding from the Trump administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is exploring new techniques and new technologies to enhance patient treatment and caregiver training — amid increasing demands from a mushrooming veteran population.

TSIS image-Sim Mannequin

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) National Simulation Center in Florida provides a high-fidelity training environment by replicating actual patient treatment areas with video recording for classroom debriefing and review. (VHA photo).

In addition to meeting the needs of aging 20th century vets, the VA health care system is trying to cope with a surge of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. The number of veteran enrollees in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) grew from 7.9 million in 2006 to nearly 9 million a decade later, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is the most prevalent mental health challenge facing veterans, according to the VA’s National Center for PTSD. VA research indicates between 11 percent and 20 percent of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD in any given year. For Vietnam vets, it estimates 30 percent have had PTSD in their lifetime. More than 330,000 service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury between 2000 and 2015, according to the Defense Department’s Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center.

Dr. David Shulkin, the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs has pledged to improve veterans healthcare services, including providing timely access, especially cutting the first appointment wait time for vets in crisis, and to do more to address the veteran suicide rate of 20 deaths a day. Veterans Affairs was one of only three federal departments to get a funding increase in President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal. The White House is seeking  to increase VA’s funding by 6 percent to $78.9 billion.

Meanwhile, veterans’ groups are calling on Congress to increase funding for complementary and alternative therapies for the “invisible wounds of war,” PSTD and traumatic brain injury (TBI). VA is studying non-mainstream medical practices ranging from natural products like vitamins, minerals and herbs to mind and body practices like yoga, acupuncture, meditation, massage therapy and chiropractic and osteopathic spinal manipulation.

The American Legion has suggested studying medical marijuana as a therapy for chronic pain. Chronic pain is the most common problem afflicting veterans. Almost two-thirds of veterans say they are in pain, and 9.1 percent say their pain is severe.

VHA has turned to advanced medical simulation and other high tech systems to standardize training procedures and education policies across its 1,233 healthcare facilities, including 168 medical centers.

VHA opened its new national simulation training center near Orlando, Florida last fall. Using computerized mannequins and other high tech equipment, students can replicate actual patient treatment situations that can be repeated as often as necessary. The training can be shared with other VA facilities through on-line video and other digital methods.

These and related topics will be discussed by government, medical and industry experts at the VA Healthcare 2017 conference May 15-18 in Arlington, Virginia. To read more, click here.

March 30, 2017 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 24, 2017)

Snow Tracks.

2017 Vermont Best Warrior

(U.S. Army National Guard Photo by 1st Lieutenant Benjamin Haulenbeek)

Soldiers advance through snow to their next firing position during a stress shoot. The exercise was part of the Vermont Best Warrior Competition at Camp Ethan Allen Training Site, Jericho, Vermont., on March 18, 2017.

During the three-day event, elite soldiers take physical fitness tests and written exams, and perform warrior tasks relevant to the current environment

March 24, 2017 at 12:50 am Leave a comment

SHAKO: Bataan Death March Remembered.

No Vet, Like an Old Vet.

SHAKO-Bataan Death March

(Army Reserve photo by Staff Sergeant Ken Scar)

Retired Army Colonel Ben Skardon, 99, a survivor of the Bataan Death March, walks in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March with two Army medics at White Sands Missile Range, in New Mexico on March 19, 2017.

This was the 10th time Skardon walked in the event, which commemorates a brutal episode in the history of World War II in the Pacific.

Seventy-five years ago next month (April 9), U.S. forces fighting the Japanese on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines coping with heavy casualties, lack of food, ammunition and other supplies were forced to surrender in April 1942.

Bataan Death March

The approximately 75,000 Filipino and American troops on Bataan were forced to make an arduous 65-mile march to prison camps. Intense heat, disease, exhaustion and harsh treatment by Japanese guards led to thousands of deaths. A number of atrocities occurred during the march.

Click here to read the accounts of some of the survivors.

— — —

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.

March 23, 2017 at 11:58 pm 2 comments

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