Archive for April, 2017

FRIDAY FOTO (April 28, 2017)

Tradition meets Tradition.

FRIFO 4-28-2017

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Devan K. Gowans)

Folk dancers in Papua New Guinea line up with U.S. Marines and sailors during a  closing ceremony banquet for a military tactics training exchange at Taurama Barracks, Papua New Guinea.

Marines and sailors assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit conducted the training with Papua New Guinea Defense Force service members.

 

 

April 28, 2017 at 12:44 am Leave a comment

AIRCRAFT: The Close Air Support Debate

Supersonic Swiss Army Knife Vs. Flying Tank.

Here is a photo of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, America’s newest fighter/bomber and the most expensive military acquisition program in U.S. history.

f-35a-lightning-ii_008-ts600

A Fifth Generation Fighter with a host of targeting and surveillance sensors, the Lockheed Martin F-35 was develop[ed with the ability – depending on the variant – to fly off an aircraft carrier or take off and land vertically on an amphibious ship or tiny airstrip. Some have called this multi-role aircraft a flying Swiss Army knife because of its advanced integrated avionics and next generation radar-evading stealth technology. It is also a flying intelligence platform with enormous processing power and sophisticated sensors.

The F-35, officially known as the Lightning II, has a range of capabilities including: air-to-air combat; close air support; ground attack and intelligence gathering for joint and coalition irregular warfare operations, as well as major combat ops.

The next photo is the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II. Sporting the latest 1970s technology, it was built to blow up Soviet tanks in Cold War battles that never happened.  Better known as the “Warthog,” for its homely appearance, punishment-absorbing air frame and ferocious attack capabilities, the hog has won the respect of pilots and the love of ground troops in deployments from Bosnia to Iraq and Afghanistan and currently against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

A-10 Warthog

The single seat, twin engine jet’s sturdy airframe and fearsome armament, including a 30-milimeter, seven-barrel GAU-8/A Gatling gun, have led some to call it a flying tank. But those features made it ideal for delivering close air support to troops on the ground.

Because of congressionally-mandated budget constraints, the U.S. Air Force has been trying, since 2014, to retire the approximately 300 remaining A-10s. The cost of maintaining and upgrading the 40-year-old Warthogs threatened funding for the F-35 and two other top priority Air Force programs: the long range strike bomber and a new aerial refueling tanker. The Pentagon said the Air Force could save $3.5 billion over five years by retiring the A-10 fleet rather than upgrading it. Instead, said then- Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh — himself a former A-10 pilot — the  F-35 could handle the A-10’s single mission of close air support.

But the A-10’s very vocal supporters in Congress, like Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.), disputed that claim. They maintained the F-35, flying at Mach 1.6 (approximately 1,200 mph), moved too fast to loiter over a battlefield, while its lighter 25-milimeter canon only carried 182 rounds in the Air Force variant ( 220 rounds in the Navy and Marine Corps versions), compared to the Warthog’s 1,100-round capacity.

General Electric GAU-8/A

A size comparison of the GE GAU-8 Gatling gun, used on A-10 Thunderbolt II, and a Volkswagen Beetle. (U.S. Air Force photo via wikipedia)

Other advocates argued the A-10 could also fly combat search and rescue and surveillance missions. McCain noted in a white paper that funding constraints led the Air Force to slow procurement to a maximum 48 aircraft a year between Fiscal years 2018 and 2022. He has called for buying 300 “low-cost, light-attack fighters” to bridge the gap. The Air Force plans to test light attack aircraft at the OA-X demonstration this summer at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

The Air Force also says it will not begin retiring the A-10 fleet before 2021, but Congress put language in the latest defense authorization bill barring the Air Force from parking the A-10s until it proves the F-35 can take over the close air support role.

To learn more, visit the Close Air Support Summit 2017 page on the IDGA website.

April 27, 2017 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: ANZAC Day 2017

Australian, New Zealand War Dead Remembered.

Thousands turned out in Australia, New Zealand, Britain and elsewhere Tuesday (April 25) for Anzac Day, a national day of remembrance that commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.” It also marks “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”

Named for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) — the day is celebrated every year on April 25. It is the anniversary of the 1915 Gallipoli landings in Turkey during the First World War.

1024px-2013-04-25_AWM_Anzac_Dawn_-_Ben_Roberts-Smith_VC

A crowd of nearly 35,000 people attend the 2013 Anzac Day dawn service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia’s capital. (Photo by Peter Ellis via wikipedia)

An estimated 8,709 troops from Australia and 2,721 from New Zealand were among the thousands of Allied troops killed during the failed attempt to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula between the Med and the Black Sea to open the way for the capture of Constantinople (Istanbul), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of the German and Austro-Hungarian empires.

Aussie troops Gallipoli

Men of the Australian 1st Divisional Signal Company being towed towards Anzac Cove at 6 am on the day of the Gallipoli landings. (Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial)

By the 1920s, Anzac Day became established as a National Day of Commemoration for all the Australians and New Zealanders who died during the Great War. In ensuing years, the holiday honors the dead from all the wars and conflicts the two countries’ troops served in.

To see how Anzac Day 2017 was marked in Australia, New Zealand, Britain and Turkey, click here, here and here.

*** *** ***

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 26, 2017 at 12:27 am Leave a comment

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


Posts

April 2017
M T W T F S S
« Mar   May »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Categories


%d bloggers like this: