Archive for February, 2020

FRIDAY FOTO (February 28, 2020)

Above the Clouds.

U.S., Spanish service members conduct jump training

(U.S. Navy photo by Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Katie Cox)

U.S. Navy explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians conduct free-fall parachute jumps during flight operations with the Spanish navy over Rota, Spain on February. 13, 2020.

EOD technicians are the folks who dismantle bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). And you thought jumping out of an airplane was dangerous. They do this “inherently dangerous job” on land, at sea and under the sea. Sometimes they have to drop in from the skies to get to work.

February 29, 2020 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (February 21, 2020)

Warrior’s Face.

Iwo Jima veterans mark 75 years since legendary battle at final tribute ceremony at Camp Pendleton

(Marine Corps photo by Staff Sergeant Royce Dorman)

This distinguished old gentleman is retired Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sergeant Len Maffioli, an Iwo Jima veteran. This photo was taken before the start of the 75th commemoration of the Battle of Iwo Jima in a sunset ceremony at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California, Feb. 15, 2020.

The sergeant wasn’t just a participant, he was the master of ceremonies. But wait, there’s more. Not only is he a veteran of one of the most horrendous battles of the Pacific in World War Two — nearly 7,000 Marines and sailors were killed, as were some 19,000 Japanese defenders between February 19 and March 26, 1945 — Master Gunnery Sergeant Maffioli is a veteran of three wars.

If you look at the medals of his left breast, you see a Bronze Star medal with a “V” for valor pin. Next to it is the Purple Heart medal for wounds suffered in battle. Down below is a United Nations Korean Service medal. There’s also a Vietnam Service medal and a  on the left, the medal with the long vertical black stripe, that’s for a Prisoner of War (POW).

During his thirty-three years in the U.S. Marine Corps, Master Gunnery Sergeant Len Maffioli saw combat in World War II, the Korean War and the war in Vietnam, according to the website, Together We Served.

He was also one of 18 Marines who participated in the only successful organized escape from a Chinese Communist POW camp during the Korean War. In his book, “Grown Gray in War,” he offers an eyewitness account of his three wars and how war fighting changes after each war. He was a remarkable man. — Gunnery Sergeant John D. Foster.

We’d say the sergeant still is a remarkable man, and he’s earned every one of those wrinkles.


The west side of the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington County, Virginia. (photo by FaMartin via wikipedia)

February 21, 2020 at 11:42 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (February 14, 2020)

Iron Fist Irony.

CRRC Operations Aboard USS Pearl Harbor

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Natalie Byers)

U.S. sailors pull a combat rubber raiding craft carrying Japanese soldiers aboard the amphibious dock landing ship, USS Pearl Harbor, in the Pacific Ocean on February 6, 2020.

The photo was taken during Iron Fist, an exercise designed to enhance the ability of U.S. and Japanese forces to plan and conduct combined amphibious operations.

Several U.S. Navy amphibious ships, like the Pearl Harbor, are named for a famous Navy and Marine Corps battles — like  Tripoli or Fort McHenry — but there are others named for World War II engagements in the Pacific: Bataan, Iwo Jima and Bougainville. Your 4GWAR editor has often wondered if these reminders of bitter defeats and costly victories more than 70 years ago cause any uncomfortable moments of reflection when the forces of the United States and Japan — now close allies — engage in joint exercises and operations.

Do the soldiers and sailors in the photo above feel any sense of irony that they are all on board a ship, the Pearl Harbor, named for the 1941 Japanese air attack on the eponymous naval base that shattered the U.S. Pacific Fleet and eventually led to the destruction of the Imperial Japanese Navy?

Probably not. And maybe that’s a good thing.

February 14, 2020 at 12:37 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (February 7, 2020)

Coming or Going?

Lightning Academy Air Assault

(U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Sarah Sangster)

An Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flight crew member monitors a soldier during evaluation of air assault instructors at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, on January 31, 2020.

Air assault instructors  teach other soldiers — as well as airmen, sailors and Marines — mastery of rappelling techniques and sling load procedures in preparation for insertion, evacuation, and pathfinder missions with multipurpose and and assault helicopters.

Here’s a short video about air assault instructors. And another video on the zero day obstacle course at Air Assault School.

February 7, 2020 at 12:23 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 31, 2020)

Above Mount Fuji.

Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 102 Flight Operations

( U.S. Navy photo by Lieutenant Alex Grammar )

Sometimes, when the world seems to be going to hell, you just want to see a pretty picture. Well, this is 4GWAR’s effort to distract you from the daily woe with an astonishing view of nature’s beauty — with a dash of human accomplishment, supersonic manned flight.

A Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet soars above the clouds and Mount Fuji while conducting flight operations near Atsugi, Japan on January 29, 2020.

This jet fighter is assigned to the “Diamondbacks” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 102.  VFA-102 is attached to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, which is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet’s enormous area of operations in the Indo-Pacific region.

February 1, 2020 at 12:43 pm Leave a comment


February 2020


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