Archive for June, 2017

FRIDAY FOTO (June 29, 2017)

Tilt-rotor mission.

FRIFO 6-30-2017 Ospreys

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Amy Phan)

Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft fly in formation off the coast of Sydney, Australia on June 29, 2017. The aircraft are assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265.

To see a video of the Osprey in action, day or night, land or sea, click here.

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June 30, 2017 at 12:19 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (June 23, 2017)

Coming through!

Polish US tanks in Latvia Exercise.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by 1st Lieutenant Kristine Racicot)

Main battle tanks driven by Polish soldiers and U.S. Marines plow through the sandy Latvian soil during a combined arms, live-fire training event at the Adazi training grounds. The tank in front appears to be a Polish PT-91 Twardy main battle tank. (Armor aficianados: please set us straight if we’re wrong.)   Don’t let that name fool you, Twardy means “hard, tough or resilient,” in Polish.

The tank in the background is a U.S. M1A2 Abrams tank fielded by the Marine Corps. This photo was taken June 9, 2017, as part of Saber Strike, an annual military exercise in the Baltic region and Poland.

June 23, 2017 at 1:20 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (June 16, 2017)

AquaMarine.

Into the Blue

(U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Sergeant Rodion Zabolotniy)

This photo puts new meaning into the phrase “sea soldier.” A Marine with the 1st Marine Logistics group participates in the water survival advanced course at Camp Pendleton, California. The purpose of the water survival course is to strengthen the individual Marine’s self-preservation and rescue skills in water.

June 16, 2017 at 11:57 pm Leave a comment

TECHNOLOGY: Using Lasers on Drones and Against Them.

Directed Energy Weapons.

Each branch of the U.S. military is developing directed energy technology — largely for defense against small, weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones.  But the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) wants to mount a laser on a drone to attack enemy ballistic missiles.

DIRECTED ENERGY-DARPA-MobileForce

An artist’s rendering of a vehicle-mounted small laser defense against attacking drones being studied by DARPA. (DARPA photo).

Since the Air Force manned Airborne Laser system was cancelled as too expensive and impractical in 2012, the MDA has looked for a way of combining a compact, high-power laser with a high-flying aircraft that can stay aloft for extended periods. Such an aircraft, ideally a drone, would be able to destroy an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in the boost stage — shortly after launch — when it is most vulnerable.

“Our goal eventually is to integrate a high-powered, solid-state laser on a long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle operating in the stratosphere where the atmospheric disturbance of the aircraft and the laser is significantly reduced,” Richard Matlock, MDA’s program executive for advanced technology told a missile defense conference last December.

Meanwhile, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)  is working on a counter drone laser system to protect moving ground vehicles. The agency’s Mobile Force Protection Program is seeking industry solutions for protecting high value ground assets from the growing threat of small weaponized drones.

C-130 Gunship.JPG

The Air Force wants to supplement the Gatling gun on the AC-130 gunship with a silent laser weapon. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter)

The Navy, which is the farthest along in weaponized laser development, is also helping Special Operations forces mount a directed energy weapon on Air Force AC-130 gunships. In addition to the big plane’s flying Gatling gun with a finite load of ammunition, directed energy would bring a silent, invisible capability that will be a game changer, according to Air Force Lieutenant General Bradley Heithold. Heithold, the principal deputy director for cost assessment and program evaluation at the Pentagon, is expected to outline the Defense Department’s roadmap for offensive and defensive directed energy weapons capabilities when he and Matlock speak at IDGA’s Directed Energy and Next Generation and Munitions conference later this month in Washington.

June 15, 2017 at 9:50 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Flag Day; U.S. Army Birthday

Happy 242nd!

Washington takes command

On this day (June 14) in 1775, the Continental Congress, urged by future U.S. President John Adams, created the U.S. Army by voting $2 million to fund the colonial militias around Boston and New York City. Congress also ordered the raising of ten companies of expert riflemen from Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Together with the ragtag militias in New England and New York they would form the first Continental Army. George Washington of Virginia, one of the few colonials with military command experience (from the French and Indian War) would take command in Cambridge, Massachusetts on July 3, 1775.

Army installations around the world are celebrating the Big 242. The festivities ranged from a band concert in Georgia to a fun run in Hawaii. Many Army bases featured a birthday cake-cutting ceremony, in which the longest serving soldier on post shares cake cutting duty with the newest soldier, according to the Army website.

To read more about the infancy of the U.S. Army, click here.

Flag Day turns 101.

nation-makers

“The Nation Makers” by Howard Pyle (1908) depicts the Battle of Brandywine in 1777, one of the first appearances of the Stars and Stripes flag.

June 14 is also Flag Day in the United States, to commemorate the day in 1777 when Congress adopted the 13-star, 13-red-and-white-striped flag as the year-old republic’s national flag. Flag day was celebrated on various days in various ways around the United States until the 20th century.

As war wracked Europe and the Middle East in 1916, it looked more and more like the United States would be drawn into the Great War. To inspire unity and patriotism, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day. In August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress — but it’s not an official federal holiday.

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.

June 14, 2017 at 9:44 pm 2 comments

FRIDAY FOTO (June 9, 2017)

The Boys Are Back.

Charles Shay Memorial

(Defense Department photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis C. Schultz)

Two old soldiers share a laugh while attending ceremonies marking the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of Normandy in World War II. These two vets, who participated in the liberation of France, were photographed at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, France on June 5, 2017.

While memorial services for bloody battles are usually somber affairs, we thought this photo illustrated one of the things these veterans fought for besides liberty and democracy. It’s written right in the Declaration of Independence: “the pursuit of happiness.

It’s worth noting that both of these American vets are wearing the Legion of Honor, France’s highest military honor. The former Army Ranger on the right is also wearing the Croix de guerre, France’s war cross.

Here’s a 2006 interview with two 2nd Ranger Battalion D-Day vets.

Here’s a photo essay on the D-Day honors ceremony in France this week. While you view it or read the interview, you might want to listen to this 1940s hit tune, or this more recent, but evocative one.

June 9, 2017 at 2:12 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (June 2, 2017)

CITIZEN SOLDIER.

FRIFO 6-2-2017

(Army National Guard photo by Staff Sergeant Shane Hamann)

We just love the composition of this photo. It looks like a recruiting poster painted by Norman Rockwell. We could imagine the word “LEADERSHIP,” in yellow block letters running across the top. (We sure hope it wasn’t staged).

What this photo does show is Army Captain Andrew Wolfe issuing orders to his unit during a combined arms assault exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California on May 30, 2017. Wolfe is assigned to the Kansas National Guard’s Company C, 2nd Battalion, 137th Infantry Regiment. Oddly enough, this Kansas unit is part of the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team of the Mississippi National Guard.

June 2, 2017 at 2:56 am Leave a comment

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