Posts filed under ‘Air National Guard’

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

ARCTIC NATION: Air Force/Space Force Arctic Strategy; Navy Exercises; New Icebreakers for Coast Guard; Siberian Heat Wave

Defense and Homeland Security News.

U.S. Air Force/Space Force Arctic Strategy.

F-35s arrive at Eielson

Two F-35A Lightning II aircraft fly over the Alaska Highway on April 21, 2020. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Technical Sergent Adam Keele)

The U.S. Air Force and the new U.S. Space Force rolled out their combined Arctic Strategy on July 21.  The Arctic sits at the intersection between the U.S. homeland and two critical theaters, Indo-Pacific and Europe, making it an increasingly vital region for U.S. national security interests.

“The Arctic’s increasing strategic importance, coupled with the Services’ significant regional investment, requires the Department [of the Air Force] to have a unified, deliberate and forward-looking approach, ensuring the Air and Space Forces can compete and defend the nation’s interests in the Arctic region,” the strategy’s 14-page summary noted.

The strategy outlines four coordinated lines of effort that Air and Space Forces will use to enhance vigilance, reach and power to the nation’s whole-of-government approach in the Arctic region:

• Vigilance in all domains
• Projecting power through a combat-credible force
• Cooperation with allies and partners
• Preparation for Arctic operations

In the Arctic, U.S. Air and Space Forces are responsible for the majority of Department of Defense missions in the region, including the regional architecture for detecting, tracking, and engaging air and missile threats. Space Professionals in the region are responsible for critical nodes of the satellite control network that deliver space capabilities to joint and coalition partners, as well as the U.S. national command authority.

***

U.S.  Destroyer in Arctic Exercises.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) completed a passing exercise — also known as a PASSEX — with Norwegian navy ship off the coast of Tromso, Norway on July 15, 2020. Passing exercises are done between the ships of different navies to ensure they are able to communicate and cooperate in emergencies — whether war or humanitarian relief.

norway_pol96

Norway, Sweden (CIA World Factbook via University of Texas Libraries)

The Roosevelt (not to be confused with the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt) and the Norwegian ship HNoMS Gnist (P979) conducted the exercise in the waters of the Norwegian Sea.

Forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, the Roosevelt is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations which includes the waters of Europe and West Africa.

Earlier in July, the Roosevelt participated in an anti-submarine warfare exercise, Dynamic Mongoose 2020, with a number of NATO Allies off the coast of Iceland. Naval forces from Canada, France, Germany, Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom, as well as the United States  participated in the exercise led by NATO Allied Maritime Command. Other U.S. Navy participants included Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Indiana (SSN 789), and two P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft based out of Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy.

***

Polar Security Cutter.

President Donald Trump has ordered a review of the U.S. Coast Guard’s icebreaking polar security cutter (PSC) program, Seapower magazine reports.   The order seeks to focus on exploring options for including nuclear power and heavy armament — and leasing icebreakers in a stopgap measure.

In a June 9 White House memorandum to several federal departments —  “Safeguarding U.S. National Interests in the Arctic and Antarctic Regions” — Trump ordered a review of requirements of the acquisition program for a suitable fleet of polar security icebreakers “capable of ensuring a persistent United States presence in the Arctic and Antarctic regions in support of national interests and in furtherance of the National Security Strategy and the National Defense Strategy, as appropriate.”

*** ***

Environment and Climate News.

Siberian Heatwave.

A heat wave continues in Russia’s Arctic, causing wildfires in Siberia. It’s also causing Arctic sea ice to melt at an alarming rate.

Sea ice loss accelerated in early- to mid-July, bringing sea ice extent — which measures the area of ocean where there’s some ice cover, down to record-low levels for this time of the year, the Washington Post reported. Using data from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, the Post said as of July 18, the Arctic as a region had an ice extent that was about 193,000 square miles below the previous record low for the date,

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado — which tracks ice trends and climate change — the record-low ice extent is in part the result of the Siberian heat streak that has lasted from January through June, and into July.

Arctic Region

Arctic Region (CIA World Fact Book map)

What’s the Cause?

A recent study concluded that the unusual warmth in Siberia could not have happened in the absence of human-caused global warming, the Post reported.

The study found that six straight months of anomalously mild conditions in large parts of northern Siberia so far this year — along with an Arctic temperature record of 100.4 degrees (38 Celsius) that occurred in June — would have been virtually impossible without human-induced global warming.

The study, released July 15 by the World Weather Attribution project, was produced through a collaboration between climate researchers from multiple institutions in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

*** *** ***

USS Toledo Arrives at Ice Camp Seadragon

ARCTIC NATION is an occasional 4GWAR posting on the Far North. The U.S. National Strategy for the Arctic Region describes the United States as “an Arctic Nation with broad and fundamental interests” in the region. “Those interests include national security needs, protecting the environment, responsibly managing resources, considering the needs of indigenous communities, support for scientific research, and strengthening international cooperation on a wide range of issues.”

July 23, 2020 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 3, 2020)

No, Not Batman.

Bomber Task Force Europe 20-2

(U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sergeant Matthew Plew)

A pair of Air Force Northrop Grumman B-2A Spirit bombers conduct aerial operations over the North Sea on March 12, 2020, revealing their unique silhouette. Next to our beloved A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog) tank buster jet, we find the B-2’s shape the second most fascinating military aircraft in the Air Force fleet.

Assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing and the Missouri Air National Guard 131st Bomb Wing, these boomerang-shaped aircraft were conducting aerial operations in support of Bomber Task Force Europe 20-2. The bombers, deployed from their home at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to Europe in early March, according to Air Force magazine.

The photo below gives a side-view of the low observable, stealth bomber accompanied by Air Force F-15C Eagles from the 48th Fighter Wing two days later over Keflavik, Iceland. The B-2s also flew with Dutch and Norwegian F-35 Joint Strike Fighters during the exercise.

Bomber Task Force Europe over Iceland

(U.S. Air Force photo Master Sgt. Matthew Plew)

March 20, 2020 at 9:20 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 13, 2020)

Destination Deadhorse.

CH-47 Chinooks go to Deadhorse for Arctic Eagle

(Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Amy Picard)

Soldiers assigned to the Alaska National Guard travel aboard a CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopter from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson to Deadhorse, Alaska on February 24, 2020.

They were participating in Arctic Eagle, a homeland security and emergency response exercise operating throughout the state of Alaska. The exercise is an exercise designed to increase the National Guard’s ability to operate in extreme cold-weather conditions.

The high that day was minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit. The low was 23 degrees below zero.

March 13, 2020 at 6:45 pm Leave a comment

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