Posts filed under ‘Afghanistan’

FRIDAY FOTO (May 3, 2019)

That fought with us upon St. Florian’s Day.

423rd ABG Leadership Puts Out the Fire

(Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Brian Kimball)

Fear not, we’re not misquoting the St. Crispin’s Day speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V. For one thing, it’s neither October 25 — Crispin’s Day — nor the anniversary of Henry’s 1415 battle against the French at Agincourt.

However, tomorrow (Saturday May 4) is St. Florian’s Day. The feast honors Florian, a Roman soldier and Christian martyr, who also happens to be the patron saint of firefighters.

Florian was born around 250 C.E., in what is now present-day Austria. He joined the Roman Army and advanced quickly to become commander of the Imperial Army in the Roman province of Noricum (most of modern day Poland). One of his many duties was being responsible for organizing fire brigades. Florian organized and trained this elite group of soldiers in their sole duty of fighting fires.

May 4 is also International Fire Fighters Day, so we thought we’d feature some of the “smoke eaters” in the U.S. military.  The April 23, 2018 photo above shows Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Eugene Elking extinguishing a fire while training with firefighters at the Royal Air Force facility at Molesworth, England.

If we may continue the Shakespearean conceit just a bit longer, the next photo proves  that firefighters are not only a “band of brothers. ” Here we see Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Kelley Johnson putting a firefighting helmet during a drill in the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in San Diego on April 9, 2019.

frifo 5-3-2019 FIREFIGHTER3.JPG

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Hogan)

In the Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, firefighters are called Damage Controlmen. Not only do they fight, and prevent, fires, they perform the tasks of damage control and maintaining ship stability. They also prepare defenses against chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) warfare attacks. And they instruct personnel in damage control and CBR defense and repair damage-control equipment and systems. (Incidentally, Navy Fire Controlmen maintain the control mechanism used in weapons systems on combat ships.)


(Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Marc Cuenca)

Navy firefighters may also have to deal with aircraft fires — at sea or on land — like these Navy Region Northwest Fire and Emergency Services personnel. This March 20, 2019 photo shows them observing a live-fire simulation of an FA-18F Super Hornet mock-up at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Oak Harbor, Washington.


(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Madeleine E. Remillard)

Air Force firefighters, like their naval brethren, also have to deal with fiery jet fuel and bombs, missiles and machine gun bullets that may be in danger or already alight. The Air Force also shares with civilian fire departments the skills needed to battle aircraft fires — as they did during this training exercise at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas on April 17, 2019. Departments from Wichita Falls, Texas, and Lawton, Oklahoma, trained with the base’s firefighters at the Sheppard AFB fire pit.

NATO Advising in Faryab Province

(NATO Photo by Captain Tyler Mitchell)

National Guard units also have firefighters, and like active duty soldiers and airmen, they may be called upon to practice their specialty in a warzone. In this May 9, 2018 photo we see Missouri Air National Guard Technical Sergeant Dustin Hensley bracing an Afghan Soldier to assist with the pressure of a water hose from a P-19 Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Truck at Camp Maimanah Afghanistan. Hensley was part of the NATO-led  train, advise and assist mission.

May 3, 2019 at 4:18 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (February 1, 2019)

Winter Blast.


 (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant James Avery)

How cold was it a week ago at Fort Drum in upstate New York near the Canadian border? This photo says it all.

It shows Army Private Ryan Trumm using a blowtorch to melt the ice off tie-down chains that secure vehicles to flatbed trucks or railroad flatcars during railhead operations at Fort Drum on January 23, 2019.

Fort Drum — about 38 miles (61 kilometers) from Kingston, Ontario, where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario — is home to the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, a rapidly deployable light infantry unit.

The temperature Thursday night (January 31) at Fort Drum was 2 degrees above zero. Due to inclement weather on Friday (February 1, 2019) the Garrison Commander issued a DO NOT REPORT ORDER for non-emergency/non-essential uniformed military personnel and civilians. Of course emergency and essential personnel will still be on duty at Fort Drum.


Considering the 10th Mountain was created in World War II as an Alpine unit, fighting the Germans in the mountains of Italy during the winter of 1944-1945, and has served often in the mountains of Afghanistan — among other places including Iraq and Somalia — the commandant’s order says a lot about the extreme weather conditions at Fort Drum lately.

Surprising fact: Veterans of the 10th Mountain Division are considered founders of today’s ski industry in the United States by creating ski resorts,  opening ski schools and establishing ski areas when they came home from World War II.

January 31, 2019 at 11:46 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 18, 2019)

Sending a “Stinging” Message.

Stinger Missile Exercise

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Rachel K. Young)

Here we have “before and after” photos of a Stinger anti-aircraft missile launch. In the first, we see Marine Corps Provate First Class Scout Mohrman testing  Stinger during a training exercise at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California on January 14, 2019.

In the photo below, we see the same weapon, same day, same place — same photographer — but a different Marine, Private First Class Joshua English. as the Stinger leaves the launch tube.

Stinger Missile Exercise

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Rachel K. Young)

The Stinger, a Cold War weapon that is making a come-back with the U.S. military, is part of a group of anti-aircraft weapons known as Man Portable Air Defense Systems, or  MANPADS.  After the Soviet Union invadede Afghanistan, the United States supplied anti-Soviet Afghan insurgents with Stingers.  Between 1986 and 1989, Afghan forces used the missiles to down an estimated 269 aircraft and helicopters. (See video clip  from the 2007 motion picture Charlie Wilson’s War) Many Stingers, however, remained unaccounted for after the conflict despite U.S. efforts to have unused missiles returned to U.S. control. Some of the missiles made it into the international black market and the hands of terrorists.

After the 9/11 attacks, the proliferation of Stingers and other shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapons was by the U.S. State Department as a “serious potential threat to global civilian aviation,” 4GWAR reported numerous times. Those concerns sparked both efforts to collect and destroy unsecured stockpiles of portable anti-aircraft missiles as well as industry efforts to equip commercial aircraft with counter MANPADS technologies.

With the rise of unmanned aircraft technology, security concerns have shifted to inadvertent or malicious drone interference with civil aviation.

January 18, 2019 at 1:36 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 4, 2019)

Combat Light Show.

Night Fire

(U.S. Army photo by Army Captain Johnathan Leigh)

Like some modernistic painting, this December 20, 2018 photo shows soldiers conducting a night fire mission while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan.

As Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman reportedly said: “A battery of field artillery is worth a thousand muskets.”

January 4, 2019 at 10:57 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 23, 2018)

Lightning Strike.

Exercise Combat Power

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Cory D. Payne)

We haven’t used an Air Force photo for the Friday Foto in a while so we decided on this visually arresting shot, taken November 19, 2018.

It shows a formation of Air Force F-35 Lightning IIs performing aerial maneuvers during a combat power exercise over the Utah Test and Training Range.

The F-35 program is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all weather, multi-role stealth fighter jets for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force — as well as foreign partners: Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Norway and Denmark.

The fifth (latest) generation radar-evading jet has been called the most expensive weapons system in history, and its development was beset by multiple delays before it was deemed combat ready. That changed last month, when a Marine Corps jet launched from the amphibious warship USS Essex struck targets in Afghanistan.

November 23, 2018 at 6:20 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (September 28, 2018)

Dress Rehearsal.

Papa Company Receives New Female Blue Dress Coat

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Vivien Alstad)

Marine Corps recruits try on their blue dress coats for the first time at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina on August 21, 2018.
This photo presents 4GWAR with the opportunity to note that 2018 marks the centennial of women serving in the United States Marine Corps.
Opha May Johnson was the first of more than 300 women who enlisted into the Marine Corps on August 13, 1918, the day after then-Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels allowed women to enlist for clerical duty in the Marine Corps Reserve.
FRIFO 9-28-2018 Add women Parines centennial
In 1918, American women had not yet been granted the right to vote, but Johnson, who was 39 years old at the time, joined the Marine Corps anyway. She served as a clerk at Marine Corps Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, according to ABC News.
Since 2001, more than 15,000 female Marines have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ten women have lost their lives in combat, ABC noted in an August 10 piece on the first female Marine officer to command an infantry combat platoon —  1st Lieutenant Marina A. Hierl.

September 28, 2018 at 11:31 pm 2 comments

FRIDAY FOTO (June 15, 2018)

Found Ya’ Staff Sergeant.

Many Happy Returns

(U.S. Army photo by John Pennell)

This little girl couldn’t wait for ceremonial proceedings to end before greeting a loved one at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. This photo was taken June 2, 2018, as nearly 400 paratroopers assigned to the 25th Infantry Division’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne)  returned from a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.

Note all these soldiers are wearing the paratroopers’ maroon beret. Displayed on their left sleeve is the 25th ID’s Tropic Lighting patch (a lightning bolt superimposed over a taro leaf, commemorating the division’s Hawaiian origins) with the AIRBORNE tab above it.

June 15, 2018 at 12:13 pm Leave a comment

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