Posts filed under ‘Disaster Relief’

SHAKO: Women’s History Month 2019, Part I

Women in the Air Force.

Today and for the next three Sundays in March, 4GWAR will feature photo essays illustrating the contributions of women in the four armed services. For the most part the pictures do not recall historic firsts or heroines of the past. Instead, they focus on women doing their jobs — some difficult or dangerous — but all essential to keeping the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps ready to defend the United States of America. This week we look at the Air Force.

Displaying the Colors

(Photo by Army Specialist Dana Clarke)

There’s more to the U.S. Air Force than airplanes, helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft. It’s also people, missions and traditions. Here’s one example: an airman first class, participating in a multi-service honor guard, carries the Air Force flag during a Presidents’ Day wreath-laying ceremony at Mount Vernon in Virginia on February 19, 2019.

WOMEN AIR FORCE ID

(Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Darnell T. Cannady)

The missions can be big or small. Most Air Force vehicles — whether they fly in the sky or travel on the ground — need wheels to get around when they are earthbound. Here see Airman 1st Class Sarah Derringer (left) and Airman 1st Class Mia Duran work on a vehicle wheel at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates on February 11, 2019.

56th Fighter Wing Quarterly Load Crew Competition

(Air Force photo by Senior Airman Caleb Worpel)

Airman Amanda Knutson prepares an inert bomb for loading onto an F-35A Lightning II the newest, Fifth Generation multi-role jet fighter at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona on January 10, 2019.

Airmen de-arm F-16 during base readiness exercise

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

The original Air Force caption for this photo was all about the pilot, his squadron, the 52nd Fighter Wing and their base at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany during a base-wide readiness exercise in  September 2018. But as one can see in this photo, the ground crew that keeps this F-16 Fighting Falcon flying is made up of female airmen.

WOMEN AIR FORCE ID4

(Air Force photo by Major Ray Geoffroy)

Now here’s another F-16 pilot, Captain Michelle “Mace” Curran, a member of the Thunderbirds, the Air Force flight demonstration team. Only the fourth female pilot in the aerobatic team’s history, she’s seen here preparing for the final training sorties of 2018 at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. Staff Sergeant Bernadette Kroondyk, whose name appears just below the cockpit, is an avionics systems technician whose duties include inspecting, removing, installing and checking out aviation electronic systems on the Thunderbirds’ F-16s.

Enduring Promise

(U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Gregory Brook)

Captain Susan Jennie is a pilot on  much bigger plane, the C-17 Globemaster III.  She was part of a team that delivered humanitarian aid, intended for economically wracked Venezuela to South America. Three C-17s flew from Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida, to Cucuta, Colombia in February. Tons of aid was airlifted to the Colombian town on the Venezuelan border as part of an effort to help the Venezuelan people during their humanitarian and political crisis.

386th ESFS demonstrates K-9 capability at MWD Expo

(U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Robert Cloys)

Air Force Staff Sergeant Samantha Gassner stands with Lloren, a patrol and explosive detector dog, during a military working dog expo at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, on December 27, 2018. Most of the U.S. military dogs used for security patrolling and drug and explosives detection are trained at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

MTIs Molding BMT Flights

(U.S. Air Force photo by Sarayuth Pinthong)

The photo above shows Air Force Staff Sergeant Brooke Held, 324th Training Squadron instructor, and her basic training flight practicing for a graduation parade ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio, December 12, 2018. The Air Force Military Training Instructor plays a role similar to drill instructors in the Army and Marine Corps. Like their male counterparts, female MTIs wear a distinctive wide-brimmed hat. Joint Base San Antonio includes the Army’s Fort Sam Houston and Lackland and Randolph Air Force bases. Lackland is also the basic training base for Air Force recruits.

Celebration of the life and legacy of Maj. Gen. Marcelite Harris

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Rusty Frank)

One trailblazer we’d like to mention in this post is Major General Marcelite J. Harris, who passed away last fall. At her retirement in 1997, General Harris was the highest ranking female officer in the Air Force and the highest-ranking African American woman in the entire Defense Department.

Her other accomplishments included being the first woman aircraft maintenance officer, one of the first two women air officers commanding at the U.S. Air Force Academy and the first woman deputy commander for maintenance. She also served as a White House aide during the Carter administration.

The photo above shows General Harris’ son, Lieutenant Colonel Steven Harris, kneeling at his mother’s gravesite after her funeral with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on February 7, 2019.

BDS strengthens airfield security capabilities

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Erick Requadt)

This last photo shows airmen preparing to exit an HC-130J Combat King II — a specialized transport aircraft — during airfield security training at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia on January 28, 2019. The  HC-130J is the Air Force’s only fixed-wing aircraft dedicated to recovering personnel in difficult circumstances and it’s flown by Air Combat Command. This C-130J variation specializes in avoiding detection in tactical operations and recovery operations in austere environments.

We will be posting similar looks at women in the Army, Navy and Marine Corps. Look for them on the next three Sundays in March, Women’s History Month.

*** *** ***

.west point cadets.pdfSHAKO 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.

 

March 14, 2019 at 8:46 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 1, 2019)

The Night Watch.

190215-N-UP035-0107

(U.S. Navy photo Petty Officer 1st Class Michael DiMestico)

O.K. we admit it, your 4GWar editor’s inner artist was taken with the color and shadows of this Navy photo. Who are these folks and what are they doing and where are they doing it?

The Defense Department caption that came with this picture identifies the subjects as Sailors and Marines stand[ing] watch aboard the USS Kearsarge as it transits the Strait of Hormuz, February 15, 2019.

The Kearsarge (LHD-3) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault shipthe largest amphibious ships in the world. Resembling a small aircraft carrier, the Kearsarge’s main job is taking a 1,600-man Marine Expeditionary Unit to trouble a spot — for either combat or humanitarian relief operations — and then putting the Marines ashore via helicopters, tilt-rotor aircraft and various types of waterborne landing craft.

That said, this photo reminded us of Rembrandt’s massive 1642 painting commonly called “The Night Watch.” The Dutch master was commissioned to paint a group portrait of a militia company (the real title of the work is: Officers and Men of the Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Wilhelm van Ruytenburgh). It was not your typical 17th Century class photo and the Captain and his men were not pleased.

It is not a night scene at all, but actually takes place during the day.  The Night Watch name was first applied at the end of the eighteenth century — long after Rembrandt was dead — when the painting had darkened considerably through the accumulation of many layers of dirt and varnish, according to art history professor Wendy Schaller.

Maybe it’s a stretch, but we think the above photo — titled Blue View — like Rembrandt’s Night Watch, does more than capture some sailors and Marines on duty.

March 1, 2019 at 2:20 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

UNMANNED AIRCRAFT: Light Show, Teaming with Air Force jets; Paris patrol; Assassination Weapon?

A new kind of Fireworks.

Drone Light Show entertains Team Travis

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Conrad)

More than 500 drones illuminated the sky during a light show at California’s Travis Air Force Base on July 5, 2018. Intel’s new lightweight Shooting Star drone — it weighs just 330 grams — is designed to carry only a light that can change colors. Together, the 500 little quadcopters are capable of 4 billion color combinations, reported CBS Bay Area TV station KPIX.

Originally scheduled for the Fourth of July, the drone light show had to be postponed for a day because of high winds. Even so, a glitch required landing the fleet, early in the show, and resetting the drones before they could conduct five minute light show — controlled by one lap top and one operator, according to ABC TV station KGO.

The tiny drones, made of plastic and foam, swooped and swirled in the night sky forming images of the American flag, an airplane, the Golden Gate Bridge and the California Grizzly Bear.

Intel, the silicon chip maker, unveiled its drone light show capabilities in 2015 using just 100 little quadcopters. “The difference between 100 and 500 is mind blowing,” Natalie Cheung, who heads the Intel light show business unit, said in a company video. The drone display integrates computing, communication, sensor and cloud technology.

“All this drone can do is light up the sky, but it is something it can do really, really well,” the light show lead engineer, Daniel Gurdan said in the video.

Teaming Drones with Manned Aircraft

Intel’s flying light show is just one way scientists and engineers are working on ways to operate drones in large numbers. The military, in particular, has been looking at ways large numbers of fast-moving, evasive drones could overwhelm and enemy’s air defense systems.

The Army has looked into pairing its MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with attack helicopters, using the drone as a kind of hunting dog to seek out targets and threats out in front of the manned helicopter. Your 4GWAR editor first wrote about that for Smithsonian’s Air&Space magazine blog in 2011

Now Air Force thinkers are looking at teaming manned aircraft with unmanned drones. In a policy paper released late last month (July 2018), the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies says maximizing the attributes of human operators and aircraft autonomy could boost affordable, effective combat capacity.

The paper notes that as a result of advancements in autonomy, processing power, and collaborative information exchange, the U.S. Air Force may soon be able to fly traditionally manned combat aircraft in partnership with unmanned aircraft.

The paper’s authors urge the Air Force to explore the advantages that could come through collaborative teaming of manned and unmanned combat aircraft. They noted  that the “combination may provide increased numbers of affordable aircraft to complement a limited number of exquisite, expensive, but highly potent fifth-generation aircraft.”

In short, that could mean meeting the requirements of Air Force Combat Command in a sustainable way during a time when there is a shortage of pilots and funds for newer, more expensive aircraft.

In other unmanned aircraft news …

Protecting Paris.

During Bastille Day celebrations in France last month (July 15), two MQ-9 Reaper drones patrolled the skies over Paris and southwestern France.

According to the manufacturer of the unmanned aircraft — San Diego-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems — the French Air Force (Armee De L’Air) operated its drones over Paris and the city of Cognac, providing airborne surveillance over the national celebration.

Equipped with an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance suite of sensors, the Paris MQ-9 flew safely over a populated area of seven million people among numerous other military aircraft participating in the airborne parade.

SONY DSC

(Photo of French MQ-9 Reaper courtesy of Business Wire)

Two French MQ-9s are based in Cognac Châteaubernard Air Base, where they perform daily training or ISR support in French airspace. Another six Reapers are operated by the 1/33 Belfort Squadron, providing intelligence and support to Operation Barkhane, the ongoing French anti-insurgent operation in Africa’s Sahel region along with Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

Assassination Attempt by Drone?

Two drones packed with explosives reportedly flew toward Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Saturday night (August 4) in what his government says was a failed assassination attempt. New York Times site has video here.

MAP-Venezuela_large_locator

Venezuela in South America (Source: CIA World Factbook)

The attack  occurred while Maduro was making a speech at a huge outdoor event in Caracas to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the country’s national guard, according to USA Today, which detailed what happened.

Maduro blamed the “far right”, Colombia’s outgoing president, Juan Manuel Santos, and shadowy forces in Miami for the attack, The Economist reported. He has denounced a score of plots since he took over from the late Hugo Chávez in 2013.

August 17, 2018 at 12:28 am

FRIDAY FOTO (July 13, 2018)

Underwater Raiders.

MRF conducts bi-lateral dive training with Jordanian SOF

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Jon Sosner)

Marine Raiders swim underwater during dive training in Aqaba, Jordan, on July 8, 2018. The Marines are assigned to Maritime Raid Force of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Marine Special Operations officers, specialists and critical skills operators — collectively known as Marine Raiders — are the Marine Corps component of Special Operations Command.

And yes, it’s the same Aqaba captured by T.E. Lawrence in the film, Lawrence of Arabia.

 

July 13, 2018 at 12:42 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (June 1, 2018)

Big

Coast Guard Cutter Waesche completes drydock maintenance

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Ayla Kelley)

Crew members assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Waesche examine a propeller before the ship leaves dry dock following maintenance in Seattle. Photo taken May 22, 2018.

We think this huge metal device looks like something out of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting (video on her work).

June 1, 2018 at 12:22 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 4, 2018)

Eye-eye, sir.

PP18 personnel participate in a cooperative health exchange at Sri Lanka

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jasper Seisa)

Lieutenant Commander Scott Williams, a Navy optometrist, examines a child’s eye in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, at a health clinic event during Pacific Partnership 2018,  an annual  humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission in the Indo-Pacific region.

This year, the multinational mission included military personnel from the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and Australia. In addition to healthcare clinics, like this one, doctors, dentists, engineers, Navy Seabees and musicians made civil engineering assistance stops, training symposiums, information exchanges, search and rescue exercises and band performances in Malaysia as well as Sri Lanka.

May 4, 2018 at 7:15 pm Leave a comment

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