Posts filed under ‘Air National Guard’

FRIDAY FOTO (June 14, 2019)

Enter the Dragon.

Global Dragon EMs play in Level-A Olympics

(Photo by Air National Guard Staff Sergeant Matthew Matlock) 

U.S. Air Force personnel wear Level A protective suits during Global Dragon, a biannual exercise for Air Force emergency management personnel at Perry, Georgia on June 3.

Hazardous Materials Level-A and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear suits used by first responders to enter immediate-danger-to-life and health-contaminated or toxic environment.

June 14, 2019 at 2:34 pm Leave a comment

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 (March 29, 2019)

Ready to Rock.

FRIFO 3-28-2019 SPECIAL FORCES vehicles

((U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sergeant Christopher S. Muncy)

U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers in Ground Mobility Vehicles were preparing to launch a mock-nighttime assault on the Grenada Dam in northern Mississippi in this January 20, 2019 photo. The exercise involved a simultaneous assault from multiple points, to gain control over an “insurgent-held” dam. It was all part of Southern Strike 2019, a large-scale, joint multinational combat exercise aimed at  tactical level training for the full spectrum of conflict.

These special operators from the 3rd Special Forces Group and their equipment were transported on a C-17 Globemaster III heavy lift aircraft from the Hawaiian Air National Guard’s 204th Airlift Squadron.

Southern Strike, which ran from January 15-30, emphasized air-to-air, air-to-ground and special operations forces training opportunities including maritime operations and air support.

The annual multi-service training exercise was hosted by the Mississippi Air National Guard’s Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport, and Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center near Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

March 29, 2019 at 1:59 am Leave a comment

LATIN AMERICA: Mexican Border Mess

Border Brouhaha.

The wrangling in Washington over funding President Donald Trump’s planned wall along the U.S. Southwest border is over — for now.

BP SUV watches the border along Mexico. A mobile surveillance to

Border Patrol surveillance along the Mexican border in Arizona. (Customs and Border Protection photo by Josh Denmark)

Congress passed a compromise spending bill Thursday (February 14) that will prevent a second government shutdown — which Trump threatened if he did not get sufficient funding to extend a wall along the border with Mexico. The legislation, passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives, allocates just $1.375 billion to build 55 miles of barrier in the Rio Grande Valley, according to The Hill newspaper. Trump had sought $5.7 billion for hundreds of miles of concrete wall and fencing.

Trump is expected to sign the bill, however, he announced plans to use executive action declare a national state of emergency on the border to finance the wall by-passing congressional restrictions, CNN and other news outlets reported.  

Meanwhile, two Western states’ governors are pulling their National Guard troops out of a military buildup on the border begun last October. Trump’s decision to order forces to the border before the midterm elections was controversial, according to POLITICO. Both Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush sent troops to the border during their presidencies.

However, on February 3, the Pentagon announced that Trump had ordered 3,750 troops to the border to join the estimated 4,350 service men and women already deployed.  In a sign of continuing skepticism of that move, POLITICO noted, California Governor  Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said he would halt the deployment of his state’s National Guard.

Marines string razor wire

Marines string concertina wire at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in California in 2018.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sergeant Rubin J. Tan)

A week earlier, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced she was withdrawing about 100 New Mexico National Guard troops from the border buildup, declaring there isn’t a security crisis at the state’s border.

An online petition to impeach Lujan Grisham for treason has garnered more than 30,000 signatures. But Brian Egolf, the speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives says there is no way he would initiate impeachment proceedings against the governor for withdrawing all but about dozen National Guard soldiers from the border. Egolf, a Democrat like Lujan Grisham, holds the authority to initiate House investigations, CBS News reported.

February 14, 2019 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

UNMANNED AIRCRAFT: Gatwick Drone Shutdown and other drone news

UK Drone Incursions.

Airport security continues to be a concern after rogue drone incursions shut down Britain’s second-busiest airport during the busy Christmas holiday season.

Gatwick control-tower-with-aircraft-11111(1).jpg

A passenger jet departs Gatwick Airport. (Photo copyright Gatwick Airport Limited)

Drone sightings caused chaos last month at London’s Gatwick Airport, disrupting the travel plans for tens of thousands of people. The incident led to about 1,000 flight cancellations and affected the travel of 140,000 passengers. It also revealed a vulnerability that is being scrutinized by security forces and airport operators worldwide, according to Reuters.

Both Gatwick and Heathrow airports have ordered military-grade anti-drone defenses,  worth “several million pounds,” Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, another drone sighting just after 5pm on January 8 caused managers at Heathrow Airport to order an emergency one-hour halt of take-off flights.

The unmanned aircraft was larger than that seen at Gatwick just before Christmas. After the drone disappeared, airport officials activated measures and equipment stationed at Heathrow aimed at neutralizing any threat to passenger planes, according to The Guardian.

The British government said all major UK airports now have or will soon have military grade anti-drone equipment, the BBC reported. That announcement came after the military were called in to help when drone sightings caused delays for around at Heathrow on Tuesday.

There were concerns after the Gatwick incident — when two drones were spotted inside the runway perimeter fence — that it terrorism might be involved, although a final determination has not been made. So far, the operators of the rogue drones have not been identified.

Like the United States, Britain has strict rules for the operation of small drones in the vicinity of an airport. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) bars private drone flight within five miles of an airport. The UK limit — at least until now — has only been one kilometer of an airport. Both countries require hobbyist drone operators to keep their unmanned aircraft within their line of sight, fly no higher than 400 feet above the ground and away from people and buildings.

*** *** ***

Marines Track Base Wildlife.

Marines at Camp Pendleton, California are working with the California Air National Guard to develop tactics, techniques and procedures for using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) during emergency operations at the installation.

Operation Wild Buck

Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Echevarria, an intelligence analyst with the 4th Marines’ 2nd Battalion launches an RQ-20B Puma drone during Operation Wild Buck (OWB) at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, December 18, 2018. ((U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Emmanuel Necoechea)

The project, named Operation Wild Buck (OWB), used two types of drones to monitor  deer populations in and around the Marine Corps base.  The first was a low-flying, hand launched and battery operated RQ-20B Puma, which was controlled on the ground at Camp Pendleton. The second UAS was a high-flying, RQ-9 Reaper, launched from Las Vegas and controlled via satellite link from March Joint Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California. Both drones sent back video feeds to Camp Pendleton’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

During the operation, scouts on the ground from the 2nd Battalion of the 11th Marine Regiment passed information on wildlife back to Camp Pendleton’s EOC, where it was relayed to Puma operators from 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment and Reaper operators from the 196th Reconnaissance Squadron, California Air National Guard. (Read more here). (Video here).

January 10, 2019 at 11:56 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (September 21, 2018)

Worth a thousand words.

Florence Flooding in Bladen County

(Nebraska National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Herschel Talley)

Nebraska Army National Guard Spc. Matthew Reidy surveys the flooding from the air on September 19 (Wednesday) in Bladen County, North Carolina.

Two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and 13 Soldiers assigned to a Lincoln-based Nebraska National Guard aviation unit supported the ongoing Hurricane Florence relief operations from the Army Aviation Support Facility at the Raleigh International Airport in North Carolina. The Company G, 2-104th General Aviation Battalion Soldiers are equipped and trained to conduct search and rescue operations, as well as air movement missions.

For days, the storm dumped relentless rain — in some places about 3 feet — and rivers keep on rising. The storm’s death toll ticked up to 41 people in the Mid-Atlantic region on Thursday (September 20); 31 of them in North Carolina alone, according to NPR.

The disaster sparked a widespread government response from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard units — as well as the Department of Homeland Security and local emergency workers.

September 21, 2018 at 8:10 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (December 15, 2017)

Flying Fire Fighter.

146th Airlift Wing continues fighting Thomas Fire.

(Air National Guard photo by Staff Sergeant Nieko Carzis)

A California Air National Guard C-130J Hercules drops fire retardant over the hills above Santa Barbara, California on December 13, 2017. The aircraft, helping fight the fatal Thomas Fire, is assigned to the 146th Airlift Wing.

A 32-year-old firefighter, Cory Iverson, lost his life Thursday (December 14) battling the Thomas Fire, the largest of the blazes plaguing southern California. Iverson, who had been a firefighter with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection — also known as Cal Fire — since 2009, was a fire apparatus engineer from San Diego, according to a Cal Fire spokeswoman, CNN reported.

December 16, 2017 at 12:04 am Leave a comment

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