Posts filed under ‘Air Force’

SHAKO: Air Force Birthday 2017

Happy 70th USAF!

Air National Guard aides in the relief effort of Hurricane Harvey

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jordan Castelan)

On this day (September 18) 70 years ago, President Harry Truman signed into law the National Security Act of 1947 which created the U.S. Air Force as a separate branch of the U.S. armed forces. Before that, the Air Force was a part of the U.S. Army.

Rather than commemorate the day with a single photo of fighter jets streaking across the sky, we thought we’d show a range of photos, showing some of the other things the Air Force does.

The photo above shows Senior Airman Austin Hellweg leading a family to an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter in Beaumont, Texas for transport to a safer location during Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in August. Most people think National Guard or Homeland Security when you mention natural disasters like hurricanes. But in this violent hurricane season, the Air Force (as well as the Navy, Coast Guard, Army and Marine Corps) have all provided assistance, following Harvey and Hurricane Irma, in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

U.S. Fifth-Generation Fighters, Strategic Bombers Conduct Show of Force with Allies in Response to North Korea Missile Launch

(U.S Air Force photo by Staff Sergean. Joshua Smoot)

In this next photo, a B-1B Lancer bomber prepares to receive fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker during a mission from Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base into Japanese air space and over the Korean Peninsula. After refueling on August 31, 2017, the Lancers flew with Japanese and South Korean fighter jets as part of a demonstration of America’s  commitment to its allies in the region.

Air Commandos participate in joint force exercise

(U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Jeffrey Curtin)

Air Force personnel not only fly aircraft, sometimes they jump out of them. Special Tactics Airmen with the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron execute a high altitude, low open (HALO) jump from an MC-130H Combat Talon II aircraft, flown by the 15th Special Operations Squadron. The jump came during a total force exercise mission over Terre Haute, Indiana on July 8, 2017.

Hurricane Irma

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Corban Lundborg)

In the photo above, Air Force Reserve Major Nicole Mitchell records weather information while flying into Hurricane Irma September 8, 2017 on a WC-130J Super Hercules. Mitchell is an aerial reconnaissance weather officer assigned to the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. To see more photos of this mission, click here.

To learn more about the Air Force and its history — which really goes back more than 100 years, click here.

488px-Shako-p1000580

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.

Advertisements

September 18, 2017 at 2:50 pm 1 comment

SHAKO: Labor Day 2017

Hard Work.

Oops, we missed our annual Labor Day Tribute to the hard-working folks in the armed services again. However, a quick look at the blog’s archives indicates your 4GWAR editor has had this mental lapse every other year, or so.

51st LRS closes UFG

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Franklin R. Ramos)

As we’ve said in past Labor Day posts, 4GWAR likes to pause and take a look at some of the jobs people do in the military that don’t get a lot of attention. Not everybody in the service hits the beach, fires a missile, flies a plane or jumps out of one. So here is a short look at the less glamorous — but still important — jobs that keep the U.S. military ready and able to meet the next challenge — whatever and wherever it is.

Our first photo (above) shows Airman 1st Class Matthew Martinez tightening cargo chains onto a truck at Osan Air Base in South Korea. The photo was taken Wednesday (September 6, 2017). Martinez is a vehicle operator assigned to the 51st Logistics Readiness Squadron. Even the Air Force needs ground transportation.

ARNG delivers hay to landlocked livestock

(Army National Guard photo by Sergeant 1st Class Malcolm McClendon)

Our next photo shows a Texas National Guardsman helping load hay onto Texas and Ohio National Guard helicopters. The hay was going to livestock stranded near Beaumont, Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. This photo was taken Tuesday (September 5, 2017). From hurricanes and tornadoes to wildfires and overseas deployments, the National Guard has got to be ready for anything these days.

Sailors Perform Catapult Maintenance

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Alexander P. Akre)

Like the airman in our first photo, these two sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis are using a simple tool and elbow grease to get the job done. Seamen Layton Prado and Daniel Ridley tighten bolts with a torque wrench during maintenance on the carrier flight deck. This photo was taken August 28, 2017 when the Stennis was in port at Bremerton, Washington, training for future operations.

LABOR DAY 2017 Marine Corps

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Tyler W. Stewart)

We haven’t forgotten the Marines. Here is Corporal Natasha Williams helping build a structure at Landing Zone Plover at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina on August 11, 2017. The structure will be used by students at the Marine Corps Engineer School to practice breaching procedures (like blowing open a door, when kicking it down doesn’t work). Williams is a combat engineer assigned to the 8th Engineer Support Battalion.

LABOR DAY 2017 Coast Guard (2)

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jordan Akiyama)

We didn’t forget the Coast Guard, either, although they do so many daring things on, above and off the water, it was hard to find a photo of someone doing something “routine.”   Here we see Petty Officer 3rd Class Zachary Hensley, a machinery technician stationed at Galveston, Texas with a Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team. He was repairing a range light channel marker when this photo was taken on Sunday (September 3, 2017). The marker was damaged during Hurricane Harvey on Bolivar Peninsula, Texas. Take a look at the background to get an idea of how high up he and his teammates have climbed.

Well that’s our story. Hope you had a good Labor Day holiday and if you’re traveling near the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, or the southeast Atlantic Coast this weekend — be smart, stay safe.

*** *** ***

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.

West Point cadets

(U.S. Army photo via Wikipedia)

September 7, 2017 at 11:29 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (August 11, 2017)

Blue Lightning.

Thunderstruck

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman J.T. Armstrong)

Lightning strikes behind a B-52H Stratofortress at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota on August 8, 2017. The B-52 can conduct strategic attacks, close-air support, air interdiction, offensive counter-air and maritime operations. It can carry up to 70,000 pounds of bombs and has a range of 8,800 miles. If these planes were humans, some of them would qualify for Social Security. Yes, they’re that old.

This big bird is one of 58 B-52s still on active duty with the Air Force. Eighteen more are with the Air Force Reserve.

August 11, 2017 at 12:30 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 21, 2017)

See Paris and … Fly!

FRIFO 7-21-2017 Thunderbirds Over Paris

(U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Christopher Boitz)

The Thunderbirds, the U.S. Air Force air demonstration squadron, streaks by the Eiffel Tower on July 11, during a practice for the 2017 Bastille Day celebration in Paris. The Thunderbirds’ F-16s were among than 90 aircraft that participated in the July 14 festivities.

We usually pass on photos of the Thunderbirds. While they are some of the world’s best military aviators and their aerial derring do is breathtaking, they, like their Navy counterparts, the Blue Angels, are doing what they do to provide publicity for the Air Force and aid recruitment. Here at 4GWAR we prefer the FRIDAY FOTO to shed some light on the amazing feats performed by all the other service members that don’t routinely draw crowds and flocks of photographers.

But hey, it’s Paris!

Like Henry of Navarre put it: “Paris vaut bien une messe.”

July 21, 2017 at 12:42 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 14, 2017)

Lafayette, We Are Here, Encore.

U.S. Forces Honored During Bastille National Day Parade

(U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael McNabb)

U.S. service members march in the Bastille Day parade in Paris as blue, white and red smoke trails billow overhead from a flyover conducted by French Alpha jets. U.S. troops led the parade in a historic first to commemorate the centennial of America’s entry into World War I, as well as its long-standing partnership with France.

ww1soldiersdock Bastille Day 2017

U.S. soldiers on the dock in France. (Courtesy TeeJaw Blog)

In all, 4.7 million Americas served in uniform in the Great War, more than 116,000 died.

U.S. Forces Honored During Bastille National Day Parade

(U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael McNabb)

Here’s a closer look at the U.S. contingent marching in the 2017 Bastille Day parade. The color guard are dressed in World War I helmets and uniforms. Behind them, in order march the U.S. Army contingent, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force. Interesting to note the U.S. Army now wears berets instead of the Smoky the Bear campaign hats in the archive photo above.

July 14 marks the storming of the Bastille, a notorious prison in Paris, sparking the French Revolution in 1789. Every year on that date, there is an enormous military parade in Paris with Foreign Legionnaires in their white kepis and red and green epaulettes, sabre-brandishing cavalry of the Republican Guard in plumed helmets, sailors in white caps topped by red pompoms, pilots in flight suits and all manner of military cadets, national police and specialty troops.

July 14, 2017 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

Missile Defense: Latest North Korean Missile Launch Increases Threat.

Raising the Stakes.

After more than 20 years spent focusing on global terrorism and counterinsurgency, the United States and its allies are confronting the Cold War threat of nuclear missile attack again.

FRIFO EXTRA-dAKOTA MISSILES 8-21-2015

North Korea launched another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test this week (July 4) and it’s getting a lot of attention, analysts say, because the missile was powerful enough to reach Alaska.

The United States detected the ICBM and tracked it for 37 minutes, the longest time of flight for any ballistic missile North Korea has launched to date, a Pentagon spokesman said.

The ICBM launched from North Korea’s Banghyon Airfield, which is about 62 miles from Pyongyang, said the spokesman, Navy Captain Jeff Davis. The North Korean missile landed in the Sea of Japan.

U.S. Army-ROK launch missiles July 2017

An M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System from U.S. Army’s 18th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Field Artillery Brigade, fires an MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile into the Sea of Japan on July 5, 2017. In the foreground, two mobile carriers prepare to launch South Korean Hyunmoo II missiles.  (Army photo)

The U.S. and South Korean military launched their own missile tests Wednesday (July 5). The exercise utilized the Eighth U.S. Army’s Tactical Missile System and South Korean Hyunmoo II missiles. U.S. and South Korean personnel fired missiles into territorial waters along South Korea’s east coast.

Officials said the missile launches demonstrated the combined deep strike capabilities which allow the South Korean-U.S. alliance to neutralize hostile threats and aggression against South Korea, the United States and other allies.

In Poland on Thursday (July 6), President Donald Trump said the time has arrived to confront North Korea.  “I don’t like to talk about what I have planned, but I have some pretty severe things that we’re thinking about,” Trump said, the Associated Press reported. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to do them,” Trump added.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters in Washington Thursday July 6 that the U.S. military stands ready to provide Trump with options, but that diplomatic and economic efforts remain the tools of choice to convince North Korea to stop its nuclear and missile programs, according to DoD News.

“The president’s been very clear, and secretary of state’s been very clear that we are leading with diplomatic and economic efforts,” Mattis said during an impromptu news conference in the Pentagon. “The military remains ready in accordance with our alliance with Japan, with Korea,” he added. The North Korean launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4 is a very serious escalation and provocation, Mattis said, and also an affront to the United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Just last month, Mattis told the Senate Armed services committee that the “most urgent and dangerous threat” to peace and security is “North Korea’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.”

Your 4GWAR editor addressed North Korea’s belligerence and other threats for an upcoming integrated air and missile defense conference. To read more about missile threats facing the United States and its allies, click here.

 

July 6, 2017 at 11:59 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

Older Posts


Posts

September 2017
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  

Categories


%d bloggers like this: