FRIDAY FOTO (February, 15, 2019)

That’s No Snowball.

MRF-E 19.1: Exercise Snow Panzer
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Nghia Tran)

A Marine launches an RQ-20B Puma unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in Setermoen, Norway, on February 11, 2019, during Exercise Snow Panzer with Norwegian troops.

Snow Panzer is a force-on-force exercise between Marine Rotational Force-Europe and the Norwegian Panzer Battalion of Brigade Nord.

The Marines have been doing a lot of cold weather training in recent months in NorwaySweden and Iceland.

February 15, 2019 at 2:07 am Leave a comment

LATIN AMERICA: Mexican Border Mess

Border Brouhaha.

The wrangling in Washington over funding President Donald Trump’s planned wall along the U.S. Southwest border is over — for now.

BP SUV watches the border along Mexico. A mobile surveillance to

Border Patrol surveillance along the Mexican border in Arizona. (Customs and Border Protection photo by Josh Denmark)

Congress passed a compromise spending bill Thursday (February 14) that will prevent a second government shutdown — which Trump threatened if he did not get sufficient funding to extend a wall along the border with Mexico. The legislation, passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives, allocates just $1.375 billion to build 55 miles of barrier in the Rio Grande Valley, according to The Hill newspaper. Trump had sought $5.7 billion for hundreds of miles of concrete wall and fencing.

Trump is expected to sign the bill, however, he announced plans to use executive action declare a national state of emergency on the border to finance the wall by-passing congressional restrictions, CNN and other news outlets reported.  

Meanwhile, two Western states’ governors are pulling their National Guard troops out of a military buildup on the border begun last October. Trump’s decision to order forces to the border before the midterm elections was controversial, according to POLITICO. Both Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush sent troops to the border during their presidencies.

However, on February 3, the Pentagon announced that Trump had ordered 3,750 troops to the border to join the estimated 4,350 service men and women already deployed.  In a sign of continuing skepticism of that move, POLITICO noted, California Governor  Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said he would halt the deployment of his state’s National Guard.

Marines string razor wire

Marines string concertina wire at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in California in 2018.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sergeant Rubin J. Tan)

A week earlier, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced she was withdrawing about 100 New Mexico National Guard troops from the border buildup, declaring there isn’t a security crisis at the state’s border.

An online petition to impeach Lujan Grisham for treason has garnered more than 30,000 signatures. But Brian Egolf, the speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives says there is no way he would initiate impeachment proceedings against the governor for withdrawing all but about dozen National Guard soldiers from the border. Egolf, a Democrat like Lujan Grisham, holds the authority to initiate House investigations, CBS News reported.

February 14, 2019 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (February 8, 2019)

Wet, wet, wet.

There are many way to get your feet (or other parts of your body) wet in the sea services (Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) as this series of photos indicate. It can happen on dry land — even indoors, as the photo below shows.

Bravo Company dives into swim qualification training

(U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Three Marine Corps recruits participate in swim qualification training in an indoor pool at the Marines’ Recruit Depot, on Parris Island, South Carolina on February 5, 2019.

You can be on the water but not in it and still get soaked as the next photo shows.

190202-N-HG389-0036

( U.S. Navy photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandon Parker)

Navy Ensign Bronson Chancellor (left) practices handling a charged fire hose (pressurized and ready for use) while receiving training from Petty Officer 3rd Class Aracely Morales aboard the amphibious warship USS Arlington in the Mediterranean Sea on February 2, 2019.

Of course you can be on dry land and still get soaked as these two Marines know.

Marines with 7th ESB Bridge the Gap at Camp Pendleton

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Coporal Juan Bustos)

Marine Corps Master Sergeant Jasper Tapia (left) and 1st Lieutenant Joseph Kelly confer during a bridge-building operation at the Marines’ Camp Pendleton in California on February 4, 2019.

Finally it’s obvious you can get very wet — and cold — moving from boat to ship at sea.

190128-N-KA046-0917

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class James Turner)

A soaking wet Petty Officer 3rd Class Donald Felton climbs a ladder aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter during small boat operations in the Baltic Sea on January 28, 2019.

February 8, 2019 at 11:11 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (February 1, 2019)

Winter Blast.

frifo2-1-2019armyblowtorchft.drum_

 (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant James Avery)

How cold was it a week ago at Fort Drum in upstate New York near the Canadian border? This photo says it all.

It shows Army Private Ryan Trumm using a blowtorch to melt the ice off tie-down chains that secure vehicles to flatbed trucks or railroad flatcars during railhead operations at Fort Drum on January 23, 2019.

Fort Drum — about 38 miles (61 kilometers) from Kingston, Ontario, where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario — is home to the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, a rapidly deployable light infantry unit.

The temperature Thursday night (January 31) at Fort Drum was 2 degrees above zero. Due to inclement weather on Friday (February 1, 2019) the Garrison Commander issued a DO NOT REPORT ORDER for non-emergency/non-essential uniformed military personnel and civilians. Of course emergency and essential personnel will still be on duty at Fort Drum.

10thmountaindivisionpatchfor2-1-2019

Considering the 10th Mountain was created in World War II as an Alpine unit, fighting the Germans in the mountains of Italy during the winter of 1944-1945, and has served often in the mountains of Afghanistan — among other places including Iraq and Somalia — the commandant’s order says a lot about the extreme weather conditions at Fort Drum lately.

Surprising fact: Veterans of the 10th Mountain Division are considered founders of today’s ski industry in the United States by creating ski resorts,  opening ski schools and establishing ski areas when they came home from World War II.

January 31, 2019 at 11:46 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 26, 2019)

Spirit in the Sky.

Bomber Task Force Operations

(U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sergeant Russ Scalf)

Like some alien spacecraft from another world, an Air Force B-2 Spirit bomber (center) approaches an air refueling tanker during in a training mission near Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, on January 15, 2019.

The boomerang-shaped stealth bomber — one of only 20 in the U.S. Air Force inventory — is flanked in this photo by two F-22 Raptor jet fighters assigned to the Hawaii Air National Guard.

January 25, 2019 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO Advisory

Due to technical difficulties, the January 25, 2019 FRIDAY FOTO will be delayed until Saturday, January 26, 2019.

Sullivan Cup

Your 4GWAR Editor

January 25, 2019 at 12:09 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 18, 2019)

Sending a “Stinging” Message.

Stinger Missile Exercise

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Rachel K. Young)

Here we have “before and after” photos of a Stinger anti-aircraft missile launch. In the first, we see Marine Corps Provate First Class Scout Mohrman testing  Stinger during a training exercise at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California on January 14, 2019.

In the photo below, we see the same weapon, same day, same place — same photographer — but a different Marine, Private First Class Joshua English. as the Stinger leaves the launch tube.

Stinger Missile Exercise

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Rachel K. Young)

The Stinger, a Cold War weapon that is making a come-back with the U.S. military, is part of a group of anti-aircraft weapons known as Man Portable Air Defense Systems, or  MANPADS.  After the Soviet Union invadede Afghanistan, the United States supplied anti-Soviet Afghan insurgents with Stingers.  Between 1986 and 1989, Afghan forces used the missiles to down an estimated 269 aircraft and helicopters. (See video clip  from the 2007 motion picture Charlie Wilson’s War) Many Stingers, however, remained unaccounted for after the conflict despite U.S. efforts to have unused missiles returned to U.S. control. Some of the missiles made it into the international black market and the hands of terrorists.

After the 9/11 attacks, the proliferation of Stingers and other shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapons was by the U.S. State Department as a “serious potential threat to global civilian aviation,” 4GWAR reported numerous times. Those concerns sparked both efforts to collect and destroy unsecured stockpiles of portable anti-aircraft missiles as well as industry efforts to equip commercial aircraft with counter MANPADS technologies.

With the rise of unmanned aircraft technology, security concerns have shifted to inadvertent or malicious drone interference with civil aviation.

January 18, 2019 at 1:36 pm Leave a comment

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