Archive for May, 2020

FRIDAY FOTO (May 29, 2020)

Seaborne Drone Launch.

MRF refines amphibious reconnaissance tactics

(Marine Corps photo by Corporal Gary Jayne III)

U.S. Marines with the Maritime Raid Force, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) launch an RQ-20 Puma unmanned aircraft system (UAS) from a combat rubber raiding craft during training in the Persian Gulf with on May 24, 2020.

The Aerovironment Puma provides land-based/maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. It also allows small units the ability to detect improvised explosive devices. The Marine Corps introduced the Puma to its operating units in 2012.

We didn’t think you could hand launch a drone as large as the Puma from a small boat like this one, while it was moving. But apparently you can.

Puma Training

(Defense Department photo by U.S. Army Sergeant Hillary Rustine)

This 2012 photo of an Army sergeant launching a Puma during training at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, shows the body English usually needed to get the small UAS airborne. Must take some acute balance to do that in a fast moving rubber boat.

May 28, 2020 at 11:44 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Memorial Day 2020

Tradition, Updated.

Flags-In 2020

(U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser)

A soldier assigned to the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard,” places flags at headstones as part of Flags-In at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on May 21, 2020.

For more than 50 years, soldiers assigned to the unit have honored the nation’s fallen military heroes by placing U.S. flags at grave sites of every service member buried at Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., just before Memorial Day weekend.

Things are a little different at Arlington this year, from the face coverings members of the “Old Guard” wear as they plant the flags to the terse message on the National Cemetery’s website:

ANC remains open only to family pass holders during the Memorial Day weekend. You must be in possession of a both a face covering and a valid family pass to enter. Access is for gravesite visitation only, no touring.

As we’ve said in the past, everything’s different in the midst of World War CV.

*** *** ***

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.



May 24, 2020 at 11:57 pm 2 comments

FRIDAY FOTO (May 22, 2020)

Pod Cast.

USS Paul Hamilton

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew F. Jackson)

A pod of dolphins travel with the guided missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton in the Persian Gulf, May 17, 2020. Paul Hamilton, seen here sailing away from the camera, is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the region.

Paul Hamilton, a Revolutio0nary War veteran of the Southern Campaign, was the third Secretary of the Navy, serving in the cabinet of President James Madison from 1809 to 1913.

May 22, 2020 at 1:30 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 15, 2020)

Things Are Different Today.


(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Shane T. Beaubien)

Marines with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division prepare a M252 81mm Medium Weight Mortar at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California on April 17.

The Marines and everybody else  in the services is under orders now, if you can’t maintain a social distance of six feet in the Era of COVID-19 — wear proper face protection.

Marines maintain readiness amid pandemic

(Marine Corps photo by Corporal Kameron Herndon

Different everywhere.

Marine Corps Lance Corporal Faith Rose sights in on a target during training at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan on May 6, 2020 — with face mask.

So those of you out there who think it’s inconvenient, stupid or not cool to wear a protective mask: Tell it to the Marines.


May 15, 2020 at 9:06 pm Leave a comment

SPECIAL OPERATIONS: Annual SOFIC Conference Goes Virtual

Special Operations Forces Industry Conference.


Multi-national commandos participate in a special operations demonstration at 2014 the NDIA Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida. (4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle)

The massive, annual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida — like many large scale conferences and expos this year — turned virtual because of the restrictions placed on travel and large gatherings by the coronavirus pandemic.

Your 4GWAR editor has gone to several of them in recent years (see photo above) but, like every other visitor, speaker, exhibitor this year took to the internet to see live-streamed presentations by top leaders of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

SOCOM commander, Army General Richard Clarke explained, in one session streamed from Tampa — home to SOCOM headquarters —  how special operators who have been battling violent extremist organizations (VEOs) groups for decades now have a role to play in the Great Power Competition with Russia and China, according to Seapower  magazine’s website.

“Going after the VEOs is not mutually exclusive to competing with great powers,” Clarke said, he added that the capabilities required of Special Ops forces fighting terrorists in places like Asia and the Pacific serve a dual purpose. “By being there, we are also countering great nation states,” he added.

This dual role has implications for the defense industry, Clarke said. “No longer can we just build counter-VEO capabilities that serve a single purpose. As we look at the precision, lethality and mobility requirements as examples, we absolutely have to develop them so they can compete and win with Russia and China, but they could also work in a counter VEO fight,” he added.

But Clarke also said countering violent extremist groups was a generational issue and would remain the number one priority for U.S. special operators. He explained that allies, partners and maintaining alliances will be an integral part of addressing near-peer rivals in the future.

“Great power competition is about influence” and American special operators have a “unique role” to play in this through presence, partnerships and training, Clarke explained, according to Military Times.

May 14, 2020 at 11:54 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 8, 2020)

Urgent Night Work.

386th Air Expeditionary Wing Conducts RADR Exercise

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kevin Tanenbaum)

Even in an era of cyber warfare, stealthy aircraft and robots, droids and drones, sometimes the key person in a crisis works with a shovel.

Senior Airman Zaldy Edjan is a water fuel systems maintenance technician with the  386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron.  This strikingly stark photo, taken May 1, shows him shoveling dirt and debris kicked up by a wheel saw used to cut a concrete runway. Edjan was participating in rapid airfield damage recovery, or RADR, training at Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait.

RADR training teaches Airmen how to rebuild a damaged runway after an attack in a short amount of time to get planes back in the air.

May 8, 2020 at 7:21 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 1, 2020)

On a Clear Day …

USAF Thunderbirds & USN Blue Angels Perform America Strong Flyover

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cory W. Bush)

The U.S. Air Force and Navy flight demonstration squadrons, the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels, fly over New York City as part of “America Strong,” a joint effort from the Navy and the Air Force to salute health care workers, first responders, service members and other essential personnel on the front-line in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The contrails of the Thunderbirds‘ F-16 Fighting Falcon jets are on the lower right side of the photo as the Air Force team heads up the East River toward the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.

The Blue Angels and their F-18 Hornet aircraft are visible on the upper left side of the photo, heading up the Hudson River above the west side of Manhattan Island. Off to the left, lies New Jersey, which has also been hit very hard by the coronavirus.

Some critics have said the money it costs to fly these very expensive aircraft could be better spent ON those front-line health warriors — paying for more masks, gloves and other personal protection equipment. But apparently, at least some were thrilled at the sight (see photo below).

Your 4GWAR editor sees merit in both sides of the issue, but we also like seeing a bird’s eye view of our hometown on an incredibly clear day, April 28.

Blue Angels and Thunderbirds joint flyover, New Jersey

(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Specialist Michael Schwenk)

New Jersey National Guardsmen and medical personnel wave and snap photos as the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds fly over University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey on  April 28, 2020.

May 1, 2020 at 10:18 pm Leave a comment

AROUND AFRICA: Egypt, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan, Ghana

NORTH AFRICA. Egypt Attack. Ten soldiers were killed or wounded in a bomb attack on an Egyptian army vehicle in the Northern Sinai region on April 30, according to Reuters. A bomb exploded in an armored vehicle south of Bir al-Abd city in the Northern Sinai region, a military spokesman said in a statement. No […]

Continue Reading May 1, 2020 at 12:00 am


May 2020


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