(Defense Department photo by E.J. Hersom)
The U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard seems to hover above a highly-polished floor (deck) as it stands in formation during Defense Secretary Ashton Carter‘s farewell ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia on January 9, 2016. These sailors are assigned to Naval District Washington, D.C., which includes the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis), Bethesda Naval Hospital, Naval Air Station Patuxent River (Pax River) and Camp David, all in Maryland, as well as Naval Support Facility Dahlgren in Virginia and Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, DC.
Carter, became the 25th Secretary of Defense in February 2015. He previously served as deputy defense secretary from 2011 to 2013, and as undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics (2009-2011). Carter also worked at the Pentagon during the Clinton administration (1993-1996), as assistant secretary of Defense for International Security Policy. He received the Defense Department’s Distinguished Service Medal — its highest civilian award — five times.
Retired Marine Corps General James Mattis will succeed Carter, if confirmed by the Senate, when the Trump administration comes into office.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elizabeth Baker)
This aircrew aboard a C-130 Hercules circling over a remote island in Micronesia last month appear to have the have the best seat in the house. Assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron, the crew was practicing airdrop procedures December 5, 2016 during Operation Christmas Drop. Each year Operation Christmas Drop provides tools, food, clothing and toys to over 30,000 islanders in the Pacific.
In addition to highlighting the complicated cockpit technology — with the heavenly view — we thought this photo and the operation it illustrates was a suitable holiday season subject for today, January 6 — Three Kings Day. Also known as the feast of the Magi or Epiphany, the holiday is also celebrated in many countries as the last day of the Christmas season (the 12th Day of Christmas, as in the song).
Now that winter is underway in the Northern Hemisphere, we thought we’d run a series of photos illustrating U.S. forces dealing with cold and snowy weather around the world.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Kirstin Merrimarahajara.)
The first photo (above) comes from Lithuania, where a Marine works his way through sun beams and snow in a field training exercise November 29, 2016 during Iron Sword 16, at the Rukla Training Area.
As snow streams down, sailors change a propeller on an EP-3E Aries II aircraft during a night check at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Oak Harbor, Washington. The sailors are assigned to Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 1.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cassandra Whitman.)
Senior Airman Carlos Aleman and Technical Sergeant Craig Slaten drill a hole in the frozen Tanana River in Fairbanks, Alaska on December 5, 2016. The airmen, both assigned to the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron, drilled in the area to build up the ice and create a stable bridge for transporting equipment and supplies.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Justin Connaher.)
Army Specialist Joseph Feola loosens the frozen ground so his fellow soldiers can drive tent stakes while conducting cold weather training in single-digit temperatures at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska on November 29, 2016. Feola is assigned to the 95th Chemical Company, 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.
(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Elizabeth Tarr.)
Ukrainian and U.S. soldiers exit an armored vehicle during suppressive fire training in Yavoriv, Ukraine, November 18, 2016.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Michelle Reif.)
Marines and Norwegian soldiers operated a variety of armored vehicles including this tank in Setermoen, Norway, during a live-fire exercise to acclimate troops to mountainous regions and extreme cold weather conditions, November 17, 2016.
(Air National Guard photo by Staff Sergeant Christopher S. Muncy.)
Airman 1st Class Avery Friedman performs taps during training at Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach, New York, Dec. 15, 2016. Friedman is a member of the 106th Rescue Wing Honor Guard.
Purple Smoke for Iron Sword.
Paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade work their way through purple signal smoke during Exercise Iron Sword in Pabrade, Lithuania last month. Iron Sword is an international training exercise featuring 11 NATO countries and about 4,000 troops.
The participating NATO countries included Estonia, Latvia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Poland, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia and Germany.
Military observers from Belarus and Kazakhstan visited the two-week exercise, which ended December 2. NATO partners Sweden and Ukraine also sent military observers.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, is the Army Contingency Response Force in Europe, and is capable of projecting forces to conduct a full range of military operations across the United States European, Central and Africa Command areas of responsibility within 18 hours, according to the U.S. Army.
Kid, Meet the Boys of ’41.
U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Laurie Dexter
Pearl Harbor survivors greet a child during the 75th commemoration of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 2016. This photo reminds us that these old timers were mostly boys of just 17, 18, 19 and 20-years-old when the Japanese aircraft came in low over the island of Oahu on that fateful Sunday morning in 1941. The Defense Department went all out with photos, videos and slideshows to commemorate the Day of Infamy. But to your 4GWAR editor, this Norman Rockwell-like photo best captured the meaning of the commemoration. These ancient warriors seem enchanted to meet someone from one of the future generations they were fighting for back in ’41.
The U.S. military co-hosted the event, which provided veterans, family members, service members and the community a chance to honor the sacrifices made by those who were present during the attacks.
A Pearl Harbor fact sheet notes the Japanese strike force consisted of 353 aircraft launched from four carriers. The attack killed 2,403 U.S. personnel, including 68 civilians, and destroyed or damaged 19 U.S. Navy ships, including 8 battleships. The three aircraft carriers of the U.S. Pacific Fleet were out to sea on maneuvers, however, and the Japanese were unable to locate them.
Trump Picks Retired Marine General.
President-elect Donald Trump has selected retired Marine Corps General John Kelly to be the next head of the Department of Homeland Security, according to several news outlets.
General Kelly, 66, who until recently led United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), had a 40-year career in the Marine Corps, and led troops in intense combat in western Iraq, according to the New York Times. Kelly has not yet formally offered the job to General Kelly, in part because the general is out of the country this week, a person briefed on the decision told the Times. The president-elect plans to roll out the Homeland Security Department appointment next week, along with his remaining national security positions — including secretary of state.
Kelly is not expected to face difficulty winning Senate confirmation. Trump’s team was drawn to him because of his Southwest border expertise, people familiar with the transition told the Washington Post. Like the president-elect, Kelly has sounded the alarm about drugs, terrorism and other cross-border threats that he sees as emanating from Mexico and Central and South America.
Based in Miami, Florida, SOUTHCOM has military responsibilities for Latin America and the Caribbean Basin — 32 countries in all. Those responsibilities include organizing training exercises with local militaries in the region as well as good will/humanitarian aid missions. One of SOUTHCOM’s most demanding missions is counter narcotics.
Before taking over at SOUTHCOM in 2012, Kelly served as senior military adviser to then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta starting in 2011. Trump’s selection of Kelly for DHS was first reported by CBS News.
Kelly, who retired from the SOUTHCOM post earlier this year, publicly clashed with the Obama administration on its plans – which were never executed – to close Guantanamo Bay and dismissed as “foolishness” concerns that the military’s treatment of detainees at the facility had cost the U.S. the moral high ground in the War on Terror, POLITICO reported.
Kelly is the latest in a string of former military figures to be nominated for positions in the incoming Trump administration. Trump has also nominated retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as national security advisor and retired Marine Corps General James Mattis as defense secretary. Retired Army general and former Central Intelligence Agency chief David Petraeus is said to be among those under consideration for secretary of state, the Voice of America website reported.