Archive for September, 2012

FRIDAY FOTO (September 28, 2012)

Harriers Up Close

Defense Dept. photo by Gunnery Sgt. Chad Kiehl, U.S. Marine Corps

Two U.S. Marine Corps AV-8 Harriers fly in formation after conducting aerial refueling training on Sept. 23, 2012. MV-22B Ospreys and AV-8B Harriers are conducting aerial refueling with the KC-130J Hercules planes to practice the skills needed for long-range flight operations. The aircraft are part of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is deployed with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group.


There will be NO FRIDAY FOTO or THIS WEEK in the WAR of 1812 POSTINGS Next Week. The 4GWAR Blog is going on vacation. Please visit the web sites and blogs listed on the right hand side panel of our OUR HOME PAGE while we’re gone. See you in October!

The 4GWAR Editor

September 28, 2012 at 12:34 pm Leave a comment

SMART POWER: U.S. Military Seeks to Avoid Costly Cultural Misunderstandings

Know Your Enemies — and Your Friends

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Lovelady)

The U.S. military has been trying to improve cultural sensitivity with classes, training programs, video simulations and rules of conduct to help its troops operate in a foreign environment. In an era of asymmetric warfare – where the enemy may be a small guerrilla band or a criminal network – an armed force can no longer ignore where they are fighting and the society occupying the battlespace space.

The alternative could lead to blunders  like the burning of Korans by clueless U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The process of studying not only your enemy and his tactics but the people around him who could give him shelter or turn him in to the authorities is a big part of the discipline known as human geography. It is cultural awareness – how to avoid social gaffes or breaking taboos – raised to a critical level for intelligence gathering and tactical decision making.

To read more of this story, click here.

September 28, 2012 at 11:20 am 2 comments

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (Sept. 23-Sept. 29)

War in the Swamps

After a number of battles and massacres in the Old Northwest (what is now Michigan, Indiana and Illinois) things are quiet in the woods and on the prairies for now.

But far from Canada, in the Deep South, an ugly conflict is brewing between Native Americans, Spain and state and U.S. forces, according to the War of 1812 page at the Navy’s Naval History and Heritage Command website.

Marine Corps uniforms in 1812
History & Museums Division, Headquarters
U.S. Marine Corps

Months before the United States declared war on Great Britain, Americans who wanted to take control of Florida from Spain – a British ally against Napoleon – start a series of incursions across the Georgia-Florida border, called the “Patriot’s War,” by Americans at the time.

One aim is to provoke the British into sending military assistance to Florida’s beleaguered Spanish garrisons, thus creating a legitimate reason to invade Florida. But Washington sends confusing messages about whether it supports the activities of the so-called “Patriot” leaders.

A volunteer assault force is driven out of Florida in April, 1812 by the Spanish and what was then called Free Negroes – blacks who fled to Florida from slaveholding English colonies and later southern U.S. slave states. Part of the panhandle region of modern-day Florida was ceded to the United States in 1795 and more and more Americans were moving further into Spanish Florida.

On Sept. 12 Seminole Indians and Free Negroes attack a detachment U.S. Marines escorting a supply train between an American camp laying siege to St. Augustine and Fort Stallings in East (Spanish) Florida. Capt. John Williams of the Marine Corps is mortally wounded.

Editor’s Note:

There will be no THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 next week. The next posting will be on Monday, Oct. 8.

September 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (September 21, 2012)

Triple Play

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Matthew Perry ( right) and U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Darryl Honick work together to control and coordinate a  Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet — hence the headline “Triple Play” — during Operation Spartan Shield in Southwest Asia.

Perry is a radio operator-maintainer-and-driver (ROMAD) assigned to the 82nd Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron. ROMADs are considered Joint Terminal Attack Controllers in training and help coordinate and control combat helicopter and fixed wing aircraft as well as unmanned aerial vehicles from all U.S. services as well as coalition partners. (See the photo below). Honick, a joint fire observer, is assigned to 3rd Battalion, 159th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion.

Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder

This photo shows the objective of all this inter-service ground-to-air coordination: A Navy Super Hornet uses an inert laser-guided bomb against a target during Operation Spartan Shield.

Joint Terminal Attack Controllers establish and maintain command and control communications, control air traffic, naval gun fire and attack guidance for close air support of friendly troops on the ground. And here’s another cool photo of one, Air Force 1st Lt. Drew Parks of the 82nd Air Support Expeditionary Squadron, in action under a starry desert sky.

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder

To see some more photos of this training exercise, click here.

September 21, 2012 at 11:46 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO Extra September 21, 2012

Pretty as a Picture

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paul Kelly)

The aircraft carrier USS George Washington sails near Guam at sunset while under way in the Pacific Ocean. The George Washington is the centerpiece of Carrier Strike Group 5, the US Navy’s only continuously forward deployed carrier strike group, based out of Yokosuka, Japan. Carrier Strike Group 5 is currently on a routine Western Pacific patrol.


September 21, 2012 at 1:23 am Leave a comment

AFGHANISTAN: Dealing with Insider Attacks and Security Breaches

On Track?

Despite the upsurge in Afghan security forces turning their guns on coalition troops and the erosion of trust it has caused between Afghans and their advisers, a top commander in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Afghanistan says the planned drawdown of western troops from the country is still on schedule.

Brigadier Gen. Roger Noble of the Australian Army told Pentagon reporters in a video-conference press briefing Wednesday (Sept. 19) that “beneath the noise and turbulence of day-to-day operations and events, the campaign remains on track” to achieve the objectives laid down by a 2010 NATO meeting in Lisbon, Portugal specifying that Afghan forces will assume full responsibility for security across the country by the end of 2014.

Noble, deputy chief of staff for operations for the U.N.-mandated, NATO-led ISAF in Afghanistan, said “relentless pressure on the enemy” has increasingly pushed the fighting and insurgency away from major population centers. He noted that 76 percent of Afghanistan’s 30 million inhabitants now live in areas where the Afghan National Army and National Police have taken over security duties or are in the process of doing so.

He was asked several questions about the growing number of so-called “green on blue attacks” or “insider attacks” on ISAF troops by the Afghans they are training. More than 50 ISAF troops have been killed in such attacks this year, which has led the senior combat leader in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, to order all troops to go around armed and suspended small unit joint operations with the Afghans.

Noble acknowledged reports that coalition forces are developing a profile of Afghans Army and police uniforms who ambush ISAF troops but its hard to do when many of the shooters are themselves killed or escape.

However, he said, coalition and Afghan forces will dig deep into the shooter’s background – even if they aren’t around to question in person. Noble said investigators will look into “how long the person has been in the Afghan national security forces, what they’ve been doing immediately prior to the attack, have they been in the unit or [have they] been away, where are they from, what — are they having any personal or administrative problems, what’s their personal demeanor and conduct like?”

He said the Sept. 14 Taliban attack on Camp Bastion which left two coalition troops dead and six Harrier jump jets destroyed was under investigation to determine “whether there was any inside assistance in allowing the [Taliban] assault force to bridge the perimeter and conduct the attack.” Fifteen insurgents attacked the post at three points, breaching the perimeter fence in one spot. All but one were killed in the firefight. The 15th attacker was wounded and taken into custody.

September 21, 2012 at 12:53 am Leave a comment

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (Sept. 16-Sept. 22)

Raid on Canada

American Army Captain Benjamin Forsyth persuades his superior at the U.S. base at Sacket’s Harbor, New York on the southern shore of Lake Ontario to allow him to conduct a raid on the Canadian port of Ganonoque across the lake.

Ganonoque is considered a major transit point for troops and equipment moving up and down the St. Lawrence River between Upper and Lower Canada.

Sackett’s Harbor, N.Y., Kingston Ontario, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
(U.S. Army Office of Military History)

Early on the morning of Sept. 21, 1812, Forsyth sets out across the lake with a company of Army regulars from the 1st U.S. Regiment of Rifles and about 30 New York State militiamen. Using the many islands of the St. Lawrence to screen their approach, they beach their boats on the Canadian side without being seen — at first.

1st Rifle Regiment officers and men.
(U.S. Army Center of Military History)

Two Canadian militiamen on horseback spot the landing party and ride off to Ganonoque and spread the alarm. A hastily gathered group of about 40 men from the 2nd Leeds (County) Militia turn out to repulse the Americans. But they are the ones dispersed after the U.S. riflemen open fire and then charge the poorly trained militia.

The Americans burn a government supply warehouse destroying food and seizing ammunition. They then head back to their boats and escape before a larger militia force can arrive from Kingston, Ontario.

Although the first successful U.S. raid on Canada is small, the British-Canadians get the message and construct a blockhouse to protect the supply depot.

Blockhouse like this one in New Brunswick, dotted the Canadian-U.S. border during the War of 1812.
(Copyright Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada, 1998)

Canadians today have a slightly different take on the raid. VIDEO

September 17, 2012 at 12:15 am Leave a comment

A LOOK AHEAD: Air and Space Conference Outside Washington, DC

Air Power/Missile Defense

Top U.S. Air Force and Pentagon leaders will be speaking this week at the Air Force Association’s 2012 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)

Speakers at the three-day event scheduled to begin Monday (Sept. 17) at National Harbor in Maryland include Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, the new Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.

Topics will range from academics and think tank scholars speaking about China, Russia, Africa, Latin America and the Arab Spring to panel discussions with military and industry leaders about energy, air commandos, the role of intercontinental ballistic missiles in the 21st Century and projecting power and influence in the Pacific.

Expect the recent violent demonstrations across the Muslim world, the threat of drastic defense cuts, the rise of China and the place of Latin America, Africa and the Pacific region in U.S. defense and foreign policy to be discusion topics over the three-day event.

It all starts at 9 a.m. Monday at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor.

September 16, 2012 at 11:29 pm 1 comment

FRIDAY FOTO (Sept. 14, 2012)

9/11 Around the World

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zane Ecklund

Originally, we were going to go with another photo — also taken on a U.S. naval vessel — but the news this week got us thinking it wasn’t the right thing to do in this turbulent time.

Instead we feature this photo of a 9/11 memorial service on the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York on station with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group in the Gulf of Aden. The photo is part of a Defense Department slide show of 9/11 commemorative ceremonies around the world from  Hawaii to Kyrgyzstan and San Diego to Italy. Here’s another one, showing ceremonies in Puerto Rico, Colorado, Maryland and Afghanistan.

Four Americans were killed this week in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Meanwhile, violent demonstrations are spreading across the Muslim world protesting a bizarre film — produced privately in the U.S. — maligning Islam and the prophet Muhammad. At first it appeared the killings in Libya were part of the wave of anti-American protests sparked by outrage over the film The Innocence of Muslims. Now investigators in Libya and the U.S. suspect it was a terrorist attack that either had nothing to do with the demonstrations or took advantage of the chaos.

The attacks have spurred a political dogfight — in the midst of a U.S. presidential election campaign — about whether it was more important to defend the First Amendment right to free speech or to try convincing an already suspicious and turbulent Arab street that despite a spurious internet video, the United States is no enemy of Islam.

4GWAR thought it was important to take a moment to remember the attacks 11 years ago in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania that killed thousands and touched off what became known as the Global War on Terror.

But we also want to contemplate all the deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, London, Madrid, Mumbai and Texas that have occurred since September 11, 2001. Each suicide bombing and missile strike creates new victims and new enemies. Unfortunately, there are also people around the world willing to take personal or political advantage of each new outrage.

There is still a large cultural knowledge gap between Islamic countries and the West. Until leaders and ordinary people on both sides stop demonizing the foreign and the alien, the body count will continue to rise.

September 14, 2012 at 11:28 am Leave a comment

WEAPONS AND EQUIPMENT: Marines Studying Replacement Vehicles

Start Me Up

The Marine Corps is finally making progress on developing replacement vehicles for ageing ground vehicles, personnel carriers and amphibious vehicles.

Last month the Army and Marine Corps settled on three defense contractor teams to develop, design and build the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) to  replace the Humvee (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle), which has been around since 1985.

Lockheed Martin’s entry in JLTV project.
(Photo courtesy Lockheed Martin)

The Army’s TACOM Life Cycle Management Command awarded a $63.3 million contract to Lockheed Martin Corp., $64.5 million contract to AM General LLC (make of the Humvee), and a $56.4 million contract to Oshkosh Corp. for the second phase of development of the JLTV.

AM General’s B-RVO offering
(Photo courtesy AM General)

The JLTV is expected to enter production in 2015. The Army intends to purchase at least 20,000 JLTVs. The Marines want to buy about 5,000.

Oshkosh Corp. L-ATV offering.
(Photo courtesy of Oshkosh)

The development program has been dragging on for about six years thanks to changes in Army and Marine Corps requirements plus protests filed by losing bidders in the first round of development contracts in 2008.

Meanwhile, the Marine Corps has selected four teams to supply prototypes for the Marines’ long-planned Marine Personnel Carrier.

The Corps awarded $3.5 million contracts in August for a demonstration vehicle to teams headed by Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, General Dynamics and SAIC. The year-long contract seeks a wheeled amphibious vehicle for amphibious performance evaluation and survivability testing.

The Marines are also close to announcing requirements for a new amphibious vehicle to replace the 1970s-era Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAVs). Called the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV), the planned over water transport has been under study since 2011 when the $30 billion Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) program was cancelled because of cost overruns and delays.

September 13, 2012 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

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