Posts filed under ‘Air National Guard’

THE FRIDAY FOTO (February, 10, 2023)

MIND IF I BRING MY DOG, TOO?

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sergeant Clayton Wear) Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

Master Sergeant Rudy Parsons, a pararescueman assigned to the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron, rappels from the Big Four Bridge in Louisville, Kentucky, with Callie, a search and rescue dog last December.

When we first spotted this Air Force photo, we thought it was an amusing out-of-the-ordinary thing to do with a military service dog. But we learned that Callie was the first and — may still be — the only search and rescue dog in the entire U.S. military.

The need for such a military canine capability arose while Master Sergeant Parsons and his unit were assisting disaster relief operations in Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake.

Segments of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) played a big part in the relief effort. AFSOC’s Combat Controllers specialize in securing safe air fields in war- or disaster-wracked zones as well as providing air traffic control to get needed supplies and emergency assistance in and out safely. AFSOC’s Pararescuemen (PJs), like Parsons, are members of the sole U.S. military unit specially trained and equipped for search-and-rescue (SAR).

In 2010, however, Parsons and his teammates were frustrated with how difficult and slow it was to sift through the rubble of a collapsed school, where 40 children were believed trapped.

A few days into the search, the civilian Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was finally able to land at Port-au-Prince’s crippled airport. They brought a dog to the schoolhouse debris and were able to clear it in about 20 minutes. There were no children or anyone else in rubble pile.

“It had been a couple days of wasted labor that could’ve been used to help save other lives,” Parsons said in a 2019 Air Force news story. “It was at that time that we kind of realized the importance and the capability that dogs can bring to search and rescue. Every environment presents different difficulties, but it’s all restricted by our human limitations.”

Parsons spearheaded developing the squadron’s Search and Rescue K-9 program. The effort, launched in 2018, was designed to increase the capabilities of disaster response teams through the use of canines specially trained in mountain rescue (rappelling plus ice, snow and alpine maneuvers), descending in a static line or freefall parachute drop.

The first was Callie, a Dutch Shepherd, who is still on the job. In August, the now 5-year-old 123rd Airlift Wing veteran was searching for missing people in eastern Kentucky floodwaters.

No word yet on whether Callie and her human colleagues are being sent to Turkey assist in search and rescue efforts following massive earthquakes that have killed thousands.

The Pentagon said February 8 it had transported two civilian urban search and rescue teams as part of the rapid U.S. relief effort.

February 10, 2023 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Happy Birthday U.S. National Guard!

From a Colonial Militia Unit …

The First Muster by Don Troiani (Courtesy U.S. National Guard). Click on photo to enlarge image.

On Tuesday, December 13, 2022, the U.S. National Guard celebrates its 386th birthday. Yes, that’s right. The National Guard is older the Army or the Navy — older even than the United States of America.

How is that even possible? Well, according to the Guard, the selection of December 13, 1636 is based upon the Defense Department practice of adopting the dates of initial authorizing legislation for organized units as their birthdates. For a more detailed explanation from a previous  National Guard press release, click here.

So, on December 13, 1636, the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony ordered the organization of the colony’s militia companies into three regiments: the North, South and East Regiments. The colonists had adopted the English militia system which obligated all males, between the ages of 16 and 60, to possess arms and participate in the defense of the community.

The early colonial militia drilled once a week and provided guard details each evening to sound the alarm in case of attack. Growing friction with Native Americans boiled over into brutal warfare in the 1630s, requiring the Massachusetts militia to be in a high state of readiness. The organization of the North, South and East Regiments increased efficiency and responsiveness. Although the exact date is not known, the first muster of the East Regiment took place in Salem, Massachusetts.

Later in the 17th and 18th centuries militias from Massachusetts and most of the other 13 colonies battled the French and their Indian allies in a series of conflicts known as the French and Indian wars. By 1775 they were fighting British redcoats in the war for independence.

The organizational descendants of those first Massachusetts militia regiments – the 181st Infantry, the 182nd Infantry, the 101st Field Artillery, and the 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard – share the distinction of being the oldest units in the United States military.
Of course the Air National Guard isn’t quite that old. The official birth date of the Air National Guard as a reserve component of the U.S. Air Force is September 18, 1947. On that date, the first Secretary of the Air Force was sworn in under provisions of the National Security Act of 1947. Soon afterwards, National Guard Army Air Forces units began to be transferred to the Air National Guard as a reserve component of the Air Force.
National Guard troops have served in nearly every U.S. conflict and war since 1636, and have responded to floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, civil disorders and other emergencies both in their home states and elsewhere.

In Katrina’s Wake By Gil Cohen. (Courtesy National Guard). Click on photo to enlarge image.

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina wrought devastation upon America’s Gulf Coast. Nearly 80,000 Guard members were already federalized to fight in the Iraq and Afghan wars when Katrina hit. Still, more than 51,000 Guardsmen and women from across the country quickly deployed to Louisiana and Mississippi to save lives and assist in recovery efforts.
Click here to see a brief (less than two minutes) video illustrating the duties and responsibilities of the Army National Guard and the Air Guard.
*** *** ***
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.

December 13, 2022 at 1:45 am Leave a comment

WORLD WAR CV: COVID-19 Vaccination Remains a Difficult Issue for the Sea Services

GETTING TO THE JAB.

On August 24th 2021, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin determined that requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all members of the military was necessary to protect the force and maintain readiness to defend the American people.

In the year since Austin made vaccination mandatory with President Joe Biden’s approval, the vast majority of people in uniform — nearly 2 million — have gotten fully vaccinated. As of September 7, the latest Defense Department COVID-19 statistics, 1 million, 996 thousand service members have been fully vaccinated, including 909, 699 in r the Army, 387,535 in the Navy, 200,532 in the Marine Corps and 498,541 for the Air Force and Space Force combined. More than 28,000 are considered partially vaccinated — meaning those who have received at least one dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series.

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Henry Beaty administers a COVID-19 booster shot aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge on March 23, 2022. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jesse Schwab)

However, thousands more either refused to get the jab or sought administrative or religious exemption to the vaccination requirement. While hundreds have been granted administrative exemption from vaccination, but just a few have received religious accommodation. That has led led to several lawsuits.

Almost 5,000 Sailors and Marines have been separated from the sea services since late 2021 for vaccination refusal. The Navy has received 4,251 requests for religious accommodation, the Marines 3,733. Less than 100 have been approved. However, a federal judge in Texas certified a class action by Sailors, mostly Navy SEALS, seeking a religious exemption and issued a preliminary injunction March 30, halting separation for members of the class. A similar injunction was issued against the Marine Corps on August 18 by a federal judge in Florida.

Meanwhile, seven cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy who refused to comply with the military’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate were dis-enrolled and ordered off the school’s New London, Connecticut campus in late August, SEAPOWER reported. Although a part of the Department of Homeland Security, the Coast Guard announced a vaccination mandate for service members on August 26th, 2021. By law, the Coast Guard operates under the Defense Department as part of the Department of the Navy when war is declared and Congress directs the shift, or when the President directs the Coast Guard to switch from Homeland Security to Defense.

Fifteen cadets filed medical exemption or religious accommodation requests in September 2021. They were evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the Coast Guard’s Office of Military Personnel Policy and denied. After a series of appeals and further denials, four cadets chose vaccination. Four others resigned from the Academy and the remaining seven were removed from the school for “violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice” for not obeying orders. For more details click here to see the SEAPOWER report by your 4GWAR editor, who is also a correspondent for the magazine and its website.

On a final note, the Defense Department announced Aug. 29 a new COVID-19 vaccine, Novavax, will be available as an option at military clinics. Officials hope Novavax, which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration under an emergency use authorization (EUA) for individuals 12 years of age and older, may be more acceptable to the thousands of troops who have refused the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for religious or moral reasons.

Novavax uses technology that has been used in other vaccines required by the military, like hepatitis B vaccine. Novavax is not made with, or tested on, cells from fetal tissue. It does not use mRNA or DNA technology and does not enter the nucleus of cells, Pentagon officials said.

September 13, 2022 at 1:03 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 21, 2022)

Optical Illusion.

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Charles Givens)

No, nothing is spinning in this photo. It just seems that way.

And it’s not the insides of a wooden barrel or a huge empty wine cask. It’s actually the inside of a fighter jet engine.

Air Force Technical Sergeant Justin St Thomas inspects the liner of an F-16 Fighting Falcon jet engine for cracks, bulges and blemishes at the Morris Air National Guard base in Tucson, Arizona on January 9, 2022.

Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

January 21, 2022 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Happy Birthday National Guard

Happy 385th Birthday!

If you thought the creation of the U.S. National Guard dates back to the rebels who stood against tyranny at Lexington and Concord, you’d be wrong by more than 130 years.

The Minuteman statute by Daniel Chester French (photo via Wikipedia)

According to the National Guard (and who would know better?) the official birth date of the Army National Guard is December 13, 1636. That’s when the Massachusetts colonial legislature directed the colony’s existing militia companies to be organized into three regiments.

The selection of Dec. 13, 1636 is based upon the Defense Department practice of adopting the dates of initial authorizing legislation for organized units as the birthdates of the active and reserve components of the armed services.
The descendants of those first regiments – the 181st Infantry, the 182nd Infantry, the 101st Field Artillery, and the 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard – share the distinction of being the oldest units in the U.S.
The enemy in colonial days was usually Native Americans fighting to save their lands and way of life. Later in the 17th and 18th centuries colonial militias battled the French and their Indian allies in a series of conflicts known, handily, as the French and Indian wars. By 1775 they were fighting British redcoats in the war for independence.
National Guard troops have served in nearly every U.S. conflict and war since then, and have responded to floods, fires, hurricanes, tornados, civil disorders and other emergencies both in their home states and elsewhere.

National Guardsmen and a Coast Guardsman monitor Hurricane Ida response efforts in the Houma Navigation Canal in Houma, Louisiana, Sept. 13, 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Vincent Moreno)

 

A crew from the California National Guard fights the Dixie Fire in northern California, Aug. 16, 2021. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Sgt. Harley Ramirez)

 

The Puerto Rican National Guard assisted aid-relief efforts in hurricane-battered Haiti since August 2021. Here they help with treatment of a woman from the La Flandre community on Aug.22, 2021. (Puerto Rico National Guard photo by Sgt. Agustin Montanez)

 

Alabama National Guard Soldiers vaccinate Covington County citizens at Jaycee Park in Livingston Alabama on March 23, 2021. (Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. William Frye).

 

A pilot from the 55th Fighter Squadron performs pre-flight procedures inside an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Hulman Field Air National Guard Base, Indiana., Aug. 19, 2021.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Jonathan W. Padish)

The official birth date of the Air National Guard as a reserve component of the Air Force is September 18, 1947. On that date, the first Secretary of the Air Force was sworn in under provisions of the National Security Act of 1947, the authorizing legislation for the United States Air Force and the Air National Guard. Soon afterwards, National Guard Army Air Forces units began to be transferred to the Air National Guard as a reserve component of the Air Force.

The oldest Air National Guard unit is the 102nd Rescue Squadron of the New York Air National Guard. This unit was originally organized in accordance with existing law, and authorized in the New York National Guard as the Aero Company, Signal Corps, on November 22, 1915. The oldest Air National Guard unit in continuous existence since its organization is the 109th Airlift Squadron of the Minnesota Air National Guard, which was organized and federally recognized as the 109th Observation Squadron, on January 17, 1921.
From fighting COVID-19 to flying jet fighters, the Guard has come a long way since the 1630s.

Illustration depicting the first muster of Massachusetts Bay Colony militia in the spring of 1637. (U.S. Army)

December 13, 2021 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 26, 2021)

Native American Heritage Day.

(U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser / Arlington National Cemetery ) released)

November is National American Indian Heritage Month, honoring the hundreds of Native American tribes and peoples of the United States. And the day after Thanksgiving is Native American Heritage Day.

Mindful of that, we thought this would be a good FRIDAY FOTO as we near the end of November. It shows Vincent Goesahead Jr. of the Crow Nation during the opening ceremony commemorating the centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, on November 9, 2021.

The road to a national commemoration of that heritage has taken several twists over the 20th Century. Originally treated as members of sovereign “nations” for treaty-making purposes, Native Americans were not extended U.S. citizenship — and the civil rights that went with it — until 1924.

Nevertheless, a significant number of Native Americans have served in all of the nation’s wars beginning with the Revolutionary War, according to the Defense Department website.

Twenty-nine service members of Native American heritage have been awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest medal for valor: 25 soldiers, three sailors and one Marine. That Marine is the fabled Greg “Pappy” Boyington of the Cactus Air Force in World War II — who a member of the Brule Sioux tribe.

In 1976, as part of the nation’s bicentennial commemoration, President Gerald Ford proclaimed October 10-16, 1976, as “Native American Awareness Week.”

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed November 23-30, American Indian Week.

It wasn’t until November 14, 1990, President George H. W. Bush declared the month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month to honor the hundreds of Native American tribes and people in the United States, including Alaska. Native Hawaiians and those in U.S. territories in the Pacific are honored in Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month each May.

Those who claim to be American Indians in the active duty force as of July 2021, number 14,246, or 1.1 percent of the total force, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center.

In the past, we here at 4GWAR Blog have celebrated the Native American code talkers: Navaho Marines and Comanche, Choctaw and Meswaki Soldiers who thwarted German and Japanese troops listening in on U.S. field telephone and radio communications in World War I and World War II.

On the Pentagon website there are feature stories on Comanche, Lakota and Lumbee Native Americans serving in today’s Army and Navy.

For those who see bitter irony in celebrating the Native Americans who wore the uniform of the national government that frequently warred on them, took their land and tried to obliterate their culture, we offer this photo, of the Apache leader Geronimo, and a caption dripping with irony, that grew out of the response to the 9/11 attacks on the Homeland.

November 27, 2021 at 12:31 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (September 17, 2021)

Happy Birthday U.S. Air Force

(U.S. Air Force Photo by Technical Sergeant Nicolas A. Myers)

An F-16 Fighting Falcon jet fighter — part of the  U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron the “Thunderbirds” — approaches the viewing area during the third and final day of the Cleveland National Air Show, on September 6, 2021 in Ohio.

Tomorrow, September 18, 2021 is the 74th birthday of the United States Air Force. The Department of the Air Force was created when President Harry S Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947. The first Secretary of the Air Force was sworn into office on September 18.

Between 1909 — when that the US military purchased its first aircraft — and 1947, the U.S. Air Force did not exist as a separate and independent military service organization, according to the Military.com website. The service went through a series of designations: Aeronautical Section, Army Signal Corps (1909); Aviation Section, Signal Corps (1914); United States Army Air Service (1918); United States Army Air Corps (1926), and United States Army Air Forces (1941).

After World War II, military and civilian leaders were convinced airpower was now a major element of the nation’s defense and deterrence, leading to the creation of a separate Air Force in the National Security Act of 1947.

September 17, 2021 at 2:11 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 16, 2021)

Not Your Father’s Warthog.

(Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sergeant Vincent De Groot)

Paul Grigsby, a technician at the Air National Guard (ANG) Paint Facility in Sioux City, Iowa, cleans up stenciling on the nose of a U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II on June 29, 2021.

Instead of the standard two-tone gray, this aircraft, from the 122nd Fighter Wing — known as the Blacksnakes –has been painted to look like a threatening snake, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of aviation in the Indiana National Guard.

The paint is a mixture of black and dark gray, with colors breaking along standard A-10 paint lines on the wings, engines and fuselage. The aircraft’s nose features a distinctive 122nd Fighter Wing (FW) green-eyed snake, complete with fangs, surrounding the 30 mm rotary cannon

Although the Air National Guard was not officially established as a separate service until 1946, some ANG units like the 122nd can trace their beginnings to the interwar period.

Following World War I, the War Department recognized the necessity of including aviation in national defense. The Indiana National Guard began its flying mission in 1921 with the establishment of the 137th Observation Squadron, which was initially based at Fagley Field in Kokomo, just north of Indianapolis.

Now based at Fort Wayne, the 122nd FW has been flying single-seat fighter aircraft for most of its history. Today the Blacksnakes are equipped with the U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II, used primarily for close air support.

The 1970s-era tank buster, known affectionately as the Warthog, for its homely – some would say ugly – appearance as well as its sturdy, resilient airframe and fearsome armament. The A-10 packs a 30 mm GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling gun, located in front of, and below, the cockpit, like a cigar clenched in its “teeth.” (Click on this link to see it in action).

Master Sgt. William Hopper, 122nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs superintendent, said the 122nd adopted the Blacksnake moniker from Revolutionary War General “Mad” Anthony Wayne, the namesake of the city of Fort Wayne.

Native Americans who battled U.S. forces in Ohio the 1790s, gave Wayne the title “Black Snake.” Wayne was known for a methodical fighting style where he instructed his soldiers to lie in wait for the right moment to strike, similar to the actions of a North American Black Snake.

July 16, 2021 at 7:51 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 7, 2021)

Eerie.

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Technical Sergeant Jon Alderman)

American and Uzbek Special Operations Forces, wearing night vision glasses, conduct training operations as part of Exercise Southern Strike, on April 25, 2021.

Southern Strike 2021 is a joint annual large scale, joint and international combat exercise, which features counter insurgency, close air support, non-combatant evacuations, and maritime special operations. Hosted by the Mississippi National Guard, Southern Strike aims to increase combat readiness across all branches of the U.S. Military.

May 6, 2021 at 10:54 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: International Women’s Day 2021

Women’s Day.

March is Women’s History Month but today, Monday, March 8, 2021 is International Women’s Day.

We thought we’d mark this special occasion with some news, and four pictures that are worth a thousand words.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, Air Mobility Command chief (right) learns the features of an all-terrain vehicle in 2020 at Travis Air Force Base, California. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sergeant David W. Carbajal)

On March 6, the White House announced a slate of nominees to lead a trio of U.S. combatant commands — including two women whose nominations were previously held up over concerns they would not be approved by then-President Donald Trump.

According to Defense News, Air Force General Jacqueline Van Ovost, who took over Air Mobility Command in August, has been nominated to lead U.S. Transportation Command, which oversees .

Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson, commanding general of U.S. Army North speaks with fire fighters and soldiers during the 2020 wildland fire in California’s Mendocino National Forest.  (U.S. Army photo by Specialist Michael Ybarra)

And Army Lieutenant General Laura Richardson, currently the head of U.S. Army North, has been nominated for a fourth star and to take over U.S. Southern Command.

And below are some photos from the Defense Department website, showing the numerous roles women play in today’s U.S. armed forces. Click on all photos to enlarge the image.

(U.S. National Guard photo by Army Chief Master Sergeant David H. Lipp)

 

Master Sergeant Jennifer Freeman, a member of the first female biathlon team from the North Dakota National Guard, takes aim at range targets during the Chief National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championships at the Camp Ripley Training Center, near Little Falls, Minnesota on February 24, 2021.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Kevin G. Rivas)

U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lieutenant Kylee Daitz, a field artillery officer, with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division, trains as a joint fire observer during exercise Winter Fury 21 at Camp Roy W. Burt, California on January 29, 2021. Joint fire observers are responsible for requesting, controlling, and adjusting close air support fire such as artillery, mortars, and naval surface gunfire.

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Matt Hecht)

Army Sergeant Kendra Hallett, left, receives the Covid-19 vaccine from Air Force Technical Sergeant Deborah Macalalad of the 108th Medical Group, New Jersey Air National Guard, on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, February 21, 2021.

 

(U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Gabrielle Huezo)

Quartermaster 3rd Class Makayla Roney and Quartermaster 2nd Class Stephanie Torres stand quartermaster of the watch aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams ( on February 25 2021. The Williams is deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and eastern Pacific.

March 8, 2021 at 11:52 pm Leave a comment

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