Archive for September 18, 2013

SHAKO: Happy Birthday U.S. Air Force

USAF, Est. 1947

(U.S. Air Force photo/Jim Varhegyi)

(U.S. Air Force photo/Jim Varhegyi)

On this day (September 18) 66 years ago, President Harry Truman signed into law the National Security Act of 1947 which created the U.S. Air Force as a separate branch of the U.S. armed forces. Before that, the Air Force was a part of the U.S. Army. The photo above shows the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.

Today is also the final day of the Air Force Association’s 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition across the Potomac River at National Harbor, Maryland. Click here to see numerous features from the conference website including speeches by USAF leaders on the state of the Air Force, its triumphs and the future challenges it faces in an era of budget constraints and a strategic shift by the Defense Department to the Asia-Pacific region.

Wright 1909 Military Flyer in the Early Years Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.  This was the first U.S. military aircraft before there even was an Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Wright 1909 Military Flyer in the Early Years Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
This was the first U.S. military aircraft before there even was an Air Force.
(U.S. Air Force photo)

488px-Shako-p1000580

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.

September 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm Leave a comment

DISASTER RELIEF: Army, National Guard Response to Colorado Floods

Air Evacuation

(Photo by Sgt. Jonathan C. Thibault, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division)

(Photo by Sgt. Jonathan C. Thibault, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division)

As you’ve probably seen, read or heard, northwest Colorado has been deluged with flooding after days of heavy rains. U.S. Army units as well as members of the Colorado National Guard have been deployed to assist local first responders in evacuations, sandbagging operations as well as search and rescue. At least eight people have died as a result of the flooding and thousands¬† have been evacuated from their homes — according to the Los Angeles Times and other news outlets.

Sometimes those rescues came at the end of a helicopter hoist cable.

In the photo above, Staff Sgt. Jose Pantoja, a flight medic with the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, assists an evacuee onto a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter during rescue and recovery operations in Boulder, Colorado on Monday (September 16). Pantoja is assigned to Company C, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. (Wonder if they call it the “Triple 4”?) The unit is based at Fort Kit Carson in Colorado.

For more photos of aerial evacuations, click here and here.

People and their pets evacuated by high clearance Army truck in Boulder County. (Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. Joseph K. VonNida)

People and their pets evacuated by high clearance Army truck in Boulder County.
(Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. Joseph K. VonNida)

The photo below captures some of the destruction caused by flash floods through mountainous country in and around Boulder where past drought and forest fire damage have weakened top soil and tree roots, causing landslides, mudslides, washed out roads and trapping residents in isolated communities on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains.

Severe flooding shutdown roads leading out of Jamestown, Colorado. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares)

Severe flooding shutdown roads leading out of Jamestown, Colorado.
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares)

We confess a special interest in this story since your 4GWAR editor and spouse were just in this area last month for a little R&R after dropping off the blog’s in-house IT consulant for his sophomore year at University of Colorado-Boulder. (Said consultant has informed his parents he’s all right, although classes at CU-Boulder were cancelled for two days and some areas around campus were evacuated.) Many smaller communities in the mountains of Boulder and Larimer counties have only two-lane roads winding through narrow canyons for access, and when they are flooded, buried in debris or washed away residents have no way of getting out.

In the last photo, U.S. soldiers and airmen from the Colorado National Guard, along with members of civilian emergency response agencies, fill sandbags in Arvada, Colorado. More than 17 inches of rain fell on Boulder in just over a week. The average annual rainfall for Boulder is a little over 19 inches.

 (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares)

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares)

To read more about Defense Department efforts in the disaster (U.S. Northern Command and NORAD are both headquartered in Colorado) click on this DoD webpage.

September 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm Leave a comment


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