Archive for July, 2019

FRIDAY FOTO (July 26, 2019)

F-22 x Two.

FRIFO 7-26-2019 Two F-22s

(Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant James Richardson)

Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors fly in formation during training over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex in Alaska on July 18, 2019.

Meanwhile, meteorologists say the weather system responsible for a heat wave that cooked Europe from Britain to Germany this past week will stretch all the way across the top of the globe — including the Arctic — starting this weekend.

While cities like Paris and London wilted under record-setting temperatures above 100 degrees (Fahrenheit) some scientists are concerned about what the heat wave will do to the Arctic after it reaches Scandinavia this weekend and then moves west and north.

This weather system, characterized by a strong area of high pressure aloft — often referred to as a heat dome– could increase the melting of already thin sea ice and the Greenland ice sheet, reported the Washington Post.


Frozen canyons and glaciers in Greenland. (NASA photo by Michael Studinger)

So far this year, the extent of Arctic sea ice has hovered at record lows during the melt season. Weather patterns favorable for increased melt have predominated in this region, and an unusually mild summer has also increased melting of the Greenland ice sheet. Unlike sea ice melt, however, runoff from the Greenland ice sheet increases sea levels, since it adds new water to the oceans, according to the Post.

Editor’s Note:

Your 4GWAR editor went on a fact-finding expedition, organized by the 2041 Foundation, ClimateForce and The Explorer’s Passage, to the Arctic in June. We saw first hand, what climate change is doing to the polar region and the implications for the rest of the planet — including new sea lanes and military buildups at the top of the world.  Our three-part article with reporting from Norway, Sweden and Washington, D.C. begins Tuesday, July 30.

July 26, 2019 at 10:21 pm Leave a comment

SPECIAL OPS: Green Beret Killed; Combat Controller Honored; SOCOM Brain Trauma Concerns

Veteran Green Beret Killed.

A highly decorated Army Special Forces sergeant major, on his seventh combat deployment, died July 13 from injuries sustained during combat operations in Afghanistan, according to the website Task & Purpose.

The Pentagon identified the slain Green Beret as 40-year-old Sergeant Major James G. Sartor, a member of 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne).

Green Beret Sgt Maj

Special Forces Sergeant Major James G.  Sartor, was killed July 13, 2019 in Afghanistan. (Army Special Operations Command photo)

Sartor, of Teague, Texas, was killed by enemy small arms fire in Faryab Province, Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon.

“He led his soldiers from the front and his presence will be terribly missed,” Colonel  Brian Rauen, commander of the 10th Special Forces Group (SFG) said in a statement.

Sartor joined the Army in June 2001 and was assigned as an infantryman with the 3rd Infantry Division. He deployed to Iraq in 2002. After passing his Special Forces qualification Sartor joined the 10th SFG in 2005. He deployed to Iraq as a Green Beret in 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2010. He later deployed to Afghanistan in 2017 and 2019, according to U.S. Special Operations Command.

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Silver Star for Combat Controller.

An Air Force combat air traffic controller has been awarded the Silver Star medal for his heroic, quick action during an intense, 2018 green-on-blue insider attack in Afghanistan.

Technical Sergeant Michael Perolio with the 350th Special Warfare Training Squadron, quickly took charge and rallied his teammates after an ambush erupted in a village in Nangarhar province on January 11, 2018.

He swiftly organized fields of fire, called in airstrikes and rendered aid to his wounded comrades — all while repeatedly exposing himself to heavy machine-gun fire — as he hurried his team out of the kill zone and back to their camp, according to Air Force Times.

Perolio was the Joint Terminal Attack Controller for a team of Army Green Berets with Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 0221. The Green berets were partnered with the Afghan 8th Special Operations Kandak Commandos in Mohmand valley in Nangarhar’s Achin district.

“Perolio saved my life and the lives of several of my guys,” said Army Captain William Clark, the ground force commander for the team, who was severely wounded in the ambush, Air Force Times reported. The five-man team — Perolio, Clark and another Green Beret and two Afghans, an interpreter and a militia commander — were leaving a meeting with what they thought was a friendly village elder when heavy machine gun fire raked their unarmored all-terrain vehicle. The Green Beret captain and both Afghans were shot. The militia commander did not survive.

Perolio took command, organized a defense, called in an air strike and radioed back to base to be ready for incoming casualties before roaring out of the kill zone and making the normally 25-minute drive over rough terrain back to base in 15 minutes

Combat controllers are specially trained, FAA-certified air traffic controllers who parachute or helicopter into enemy territory with ground troops to coordinate close air support, establish assault zones or airfields and supply fire control and reconnaissance. They are also among the first on the ground at the scene of natural disasters, like the 2010 Haitian earthquake,  to guide in relief flights when normal air traffic is disrupted.

combat controllers

In addition to being expert divers, rock climbers, snowmobile and motocross riders, Air Force Special Operators are also expert parachutists. (U.S. Air Force photo)

For more information about Air Force Special Operations assignments, click here.

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SOCOM Brain Trauma Study.

Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is studying how brain trauma injuries during the 17-year war on terror is affecting elite U.S. troops like Navy SEALS and Army Rangers.

Joint SF team participate in exercise Emerald Warrior 2018

Special operations forces move out of an Air Force CV-22 Osprey aircraft in 2018, at Melrose Training Range, New Mexico. (Air Force photo by Senior Airman Clayton Cupit)

SOCOM, which oversees the training and equipping of special operations troops in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, is examining whether trauma suffered by special operators — including brain fatigue and abnormalities in the visual cortex — affect the ability of special operations forces to make snap decisions in the field, according to the Middle East news site Al-Monitor.

The program includes an eight-year neurological testing effort by Army Special Operations Command, supported by the National Football League and the University of North Carolina, to establish a baseline for treating mild traumatic brain injuries, according to military officials and documents reviewed by Al-Monitor.

July 25, 2019 at 11:56 pm 2 comments

FRIDAY FOTO (July 19, 2019)


FRIFO 7-19-2019 OLD GUARD Bayonet Charge

(U.S. Army photo by Army Sergeant Jacob Holmes)

Members of the Continental Color Guard and the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard, from the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, advance with fixed bayonets during a performance at Virginia’s Shenandoah River State Park on July 10, 2019.

The 3rd Infantry (The Old Guard), is the Army’s oldest active infantry regiment with direct lineage to George Washington’s original Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. The officer (or sergeant) at the center of the photo is brandishing either a halberd  or espontoon, variants of a once fearsome, two-handed, pike-like weapon that combined an ax, spear and hook used for slashing, stabbing or unhorsing the enemy.  By the late 18th Century, however, halberds and espontoons were largely just a symbol of rank and a tool for keeping advancing troops in straight lines.

The uniforms worn by the Color Guard and C-in-C’s Guard are replicas of the 1784-style infantry uniforms worn by The Old Guard’s predecessor, the First American Regiment. The pattern of the uniform for wear by all Continental Army infantry units was approved by General Washington in 1782. It consisted of a blue coat faced with a red collar, cuffs and lapels, white buttons and lining, long-fitting overalls, and a black cocked hat with cockade.

A uniform similar to the First American Regiment’s can be seen in the foreground of this painting of the the Continental Line during the 1781 Battle of Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina.

With FRIFO 7-19-2019 Guilford Courthouse

Battle of Guilford Courthouse by H. Charles McBarron Jr. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Center of Military History)

The red uniforms in the background of this week’s Friday Foto are not reenactors dressed as British redcoats but the Old Guard’s Fife and Drum Corps. During the Revolutionary War, the fifers and drummers wore the opposite colors of the regiment to which they belonged, according to Kim Holien, the historian at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, an Army-Marine Corps facility — next to Arlington National Cemetery — that is home to the Old Guard’s ceremonial units.

By wearing the reversed colors, the fifers and drummers’ uniforms would stand out on a battlefield obscured by the gunsmoke of 18th Century musketry. Hopefully the musicians wouldn’t be shot deliberately by the opposing side — since they were in effect unarmed — and “during the battle would often act as medical personnel to take care of the wounded,” said Holien.

July 19, 2019 at 3:37 pm Leave a comment

AROUND AFRICA: U.N. Health Agency Declares International Ebola Emergency

Global Health Emergency in DR Congo.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo a “public health emergency of international concern.”

MAP-DR Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo (CIA World Factbook)

The public health emergency provision, announced in Geneva July 17, is the highest level of alarm the WHO can sound and has only been used four times previously. But the organization stopped short of saying borders should be closed, saying the risk of the disease spreading outside the region was not high, the BBC reported.

The outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has killed more than 1,600 people, according to the latest WHO report, which noted a confirmed case of Ebola virus disease was reported in Goma, a city of two million inhabitants close to the Rwandan border.



Ebola is a virus that initially causes sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat. It progresses to vomiting, diarrhea and both internal and external bleeding. Infection is caused by direct contact through broken skin — or the mouth and nose — with the blood, vomit, feces or bodily fluids of someone with Ebola.

Critics have said the emergency declaration was long overdue. A WHO expert committee declined three times previously o advise the United Nations agency to make the declaration for this outbreak, even though other experts say it has long met the required conditions, the Associated Press reported.

While the risk of regional spread remains high, the risk outside the region remains low, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said after the announcement in Geneva.

The international emergency “should not be used to stigmatize or penalize the very people who are most in need of our help,” he said. Tedros insisted that the declaration was not made to raise more money — even though WHO estimated “hundreds of millions” of dollars would be needed to stop the epidemic, according to AP.

The U.S. Agency for International Development applauded the WHO decision and said agency officials would “continue to scale up life-saving support” to end the outbreak.

WHO Ebola vaccination team in Butembo.

Over 160,000 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been vaccinated against Ebola at facilities like this one in Butembo. (WHO photo)

It was the fifth such declaration in history. Previous emergencies were declared for the devastating 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,000 people, the emergence of Zika in the Americas, the swine flu pandemic and polio.

The current outbreak has raged for a year. The virus flared up in spots where it had once been contained and the epidemic hot zone has geographically expanded in northeastern Congo near Rwanda and into Uganda, the New York Times noted.

Violence against health workers has been a constant worry, and intensified after two Congolese workers were killed in their homes last week in Beni, a city in northeast DRC close to the world famous Virunga National Park near the border with Uganda.

July 18, 2019 at 11:18 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 12, 2019)


USAF Women's Rugby team competes in DoD tournament

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Cambria Ferguson)

Bet you never expected to see this: Air Force stopping the Marines on the field of battle. This photo from the July 6, 2019 Armed Forces Women’s Rugby Championship tournament match in Wilmington, North Carolina, shows two Air Force players tackling a Marine Corps player before she can offload the ball to a fellow female Marine.

Don’t get too excited Air Force fans, the Marines went on to win the match 5-0 and take second place in the round robin tournament with a record of three wins and one loss (to Army).

The All-Army team finished undefeated at 4-0. The Air Force (2-2) finished in third place, the Navy (1-3) placed fourth and the winless Coast Guard team came in fifth. It was the first-such all service women’s rugby championships tournament.

For more photos and details, click here, here and here.

Want to know more about women’s rugby, try this wikipedia link.

July 12, 2019 at 2:45 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 5, 2019)

This is How We do it.

The Evening Routine

(Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Dana Beesley)

Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Chewanda Roberts instructs recruits on proper drill movements during their evening routine at what used to be called boot camp — Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina on June 27, 2019.

Staff Sergeant Roberts is a drill instructor, or D.I., one of the most important jobs in the Corps — turning mostly teenage civilians into Marines in just 13 weeks.

Look at the expressions on the recruits’ faces. They say a lot without words.

July 5, 2019 at 7:16 am Leave a comment

Drones and Droids: Iran Drone Threats; Tiny Drone for U.S. Troops

Air Force, Navy join in RPV training

An RQ-4 Global Hawk soars through the sky record intelligence, surveillence and reconnaissance data. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Iran’s naval chief is threatening U.S. unmanned aircraft, saying Tehran is capable of shooting down other American surveillance drones — like the one downed last week by Revolutionary Guard forces.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency carried Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi’s warning on Monday, made during a meeting with a group of Iranian defense officials, the Associated Press reported via USA Today.

“This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace,” a U.S. Central Command spokesman said, CNN reported at the time of the June 20 attack.

Last week President Trump called off military strikes against Iran after the Iranians shot down a U.S. Navy RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone, valued at over $100 million. June 20. Iran alleged that the drone violated its airspace, which the United States denied.

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82nd Airborne Gets Mini Drones.

Black Hornet US Army

An 82nd Airborne Division sergeant shows off the Soldier Borne Sensors system during its initial fielding at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on May 2, 2019. The system contains a base station, hand controller, display, and two air vehicles, all man-portable. (U.S. Army photo by Patrick Ferraris)

An infantry battalion with the 82nd Airborne Division will be the first in the Army to employ pocket-sized drones at the squad level during their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

Troops with the 82nd’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team were issued the Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System this past Spring, when they also received training in how to use the tiny drones, which resemble miniature helicopters, according to  Stars and Stripes.

The 1st Battalion of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, plans to employ the pocket-sized drones in July, while other elements of the brigade wait to see how best to leverage  the system.

4GWAR first wrote about the Black Hornet back on October 11, 2014.

July 4, 2019 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment


July 2019


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