Posts filed under ‘Haiti’

FRIDAY FOTO (March 3, 2017)

The Long Tan Line.

1st CEB Hikes During MTX 2-17

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Danny Gonzalez).

 Chosin Reservoir, 1950? Nope. Chilikoot Pass, 1899? Wrong. Retreat from Moscow, 1812? Wrong again.

This FRIDAY FOTO shows U.S. Marines snowshoeing downhill  at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, California on February 22, 2017. The Marines are assigned to the 1st Marine Division’s 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, which conducted training that tested Marines’ mobility and survival skills in a mountainous, snow-covered environment.

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March 3, 2017 at 1:59 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 12, 2016)

Veteran’s Day 2016

SD attends Veterans Day wreath laying ceremony

Defense Department photo by Army Sergeant Amber I. Smith.

President Barack Obama lays a wreath during a Veterans Day ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia Friday, November 11, 2016.

USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7)

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Carla Giglio

The USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) sails past the Statue of Liberty as it enters New York Harbor prior to Veterans Week NYC 2016.

The 1,000 Sailors and more than 100 Marines on board the amphibious assault ship articipated in New York’s Veterans Day parade Friday, November 11. The ship recently returned from the humanitarian assistance mission to Haiti in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

 

November 12, 2016 at 1:07 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO: April 8, 2016

Lonely Vista.

All Secured: U.S. Marines Remain Alert in Iraq

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Rick Hurtado

U.S. Marine Sergeant Josh Greathouse scans the area during a perimeter patrol in Al Taqaddum, Iraq on March 21, 2016.

Greathouse is a member of 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air  (SPMAGTF) Ground Task Force.

 

April 8, 2016 at 1:36 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 16, 2015)

HALO Jumpers.

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Callaway

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Callaway

There’s a cautionary saying from the early days of aviation that “only angels have wings.” But here we have a photo of U.S. Air Force special tactics airmen demonstrating their skill with a HALO — high altitude, low opening parachute jump. The object of such a jump is to free fall from a high altitude then open the chute at a low altitude and descend without being detected from the ground.

These airmen are from the 24th Special Operations Wing, part of U.S. Special Operations Command and one of three Air Force wings dedicated to demanding and dangerous jobs like combat controllers, pararescuemen and special operations weather officers.

Combat controllers are special air traffic controllers operating from the ground in combat zones.They provide expert air support coordination and communications capabilities and often accompany Army Special Forces, Army Rangers and Navy SEALS when they deploy into hostile areas.They call in air strikes and control air traffic on and above landing strips and jump zones in hostile or austere environments. They were among the first U.S. troops on the ground during emergency relief efforts after the 2010 Haitian earthquake. Pararescuemen, known as PJs, parachute over land or water to render medical assistance and rescue downed pilots and other personnel in combat or natural disaster situations. They are also lowered to ground or water level on a cable to rescue people. Among their many tasks, special operations weather officers and airmen deploy into combat and non-permissive environments (the ‘bad guys’ or ‘bad conditions’ on the ground don’t want you there) to collect and interpret meteorological data and provide ground force commanders with accurate intelligence during a special operations mission.

The HALO jump, from MC-130H Talon II special operations aircraft over Hurlburt Field, Florida, is designed to help participants maintain their qualification for special tactics airmen, trained to jump into hostile or austere environments not accessible to aircraft.

To see a photo slideshow of the pre-jump preparations and the jump itself, click here. As ever, to enlarge the image just click on the photo.

January 16, 2015 at 1:32 am Leave a comment

SHAKO: The Art of Flying, Marine Corps-Style

Marine Corps Aviation Centennial

Back in 1985, when I was an Associated Press reporter in New York, my editor asked me to help cover the Vietnam Veterans parade that would march across the Brooklyn Bridge to the city’s brand new Vietnam Memorial in lower Manhattan.

A park on the Brooklyn side of the bridge was the staging area for the parade. As I was interviewing some veterans of the 1st Marine Division, several UH-1 “Huey” helicopters streaked overhead with their rotor blades making a menacing, “Apocalypse Now” whup, whup, whup sound.

But when the Marine and Amy vets around me looked up, they pumped their fists in the air and let loose with a primal roar that drowned out the choppers and city traffic noise.

“That’s the sound of the cavalry coming,” one Marine vet shouted to me over the din. “When you heard that sound, it meant you were O.K. You were going to get out alive.”

The memory of that moment came back to me last week as I toured an exhibit of Marine Corps combat art, marking 100 years of Leatherneck aviation, at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington. More than Navy or Air Force fliers, Marine Corps aviators have always had a close relationship with the grunts on the ground. Close air support was a concept pioneered by the Marines in the Central American “Banana Wars” of the 1920s and 1930s — and has been a key part of Marine Corps air doctrine ever since.

Close Air Suport-Korea by Master Sgt. John DeGrasse USMC. Copyright, National Museum of the Marines Corps

There were lots of paintings and drawings of Marines dashing off Hueys into Vietnam rice paddies among the 91 artworks on exhibit — all of them on loan from the National Museum of the Marines Corps in Virginia. The exhibit also included a painting of Marine infantrymen under fire on a snowy Korean hillside while an F4U Corsair fighter plane provides close air support. Another, painted by Alex Raymond, the creator of the Flash Gordon comic strip in the 1930s — who served with the Marines in World War II – shows Marine fighter pilots describing a dog fight during an after action debriefing.

The exhibit, “Fly Marines! The Centennial of Marine Corps Aviation: 1912-2012,” celebrates the 100 years since 1st Lt. Alfred Cunningham signed up as an aviation trainee in May 1912. A few months later he soloed in a Curtis seaplane — after just two hours and 40 minutes of instruction — becoming the first Marine Corps aviator, less than nine years after the Wright brothers’ first flight.

The exhibit, which opened Jan. 14 and runs through Jan. 6, 2013, includes paintings drawings and sculptures of all types of helicopters, jets and piston-driven aircraft — and the Marines who flew them  – from World War I to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are also a few artifacts like the pilot’s wings of Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, the legendary Black Sheep Squadron leader and top Marine Corps ace of World War II.

Aviators Debriefing by Maj. Alex Raymond USMCR. Photo courtesy of Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. Copyright, National Museum of the Marine Corps

One unique detail of the exhibit: nearly all of the artwork on display was done by artists who either are, or were, serving Marines. Since 1942, the Marine Corps has had a contingent of combat artists to record what war really was like for the Leathernecks. Once numbering as many as 70 trained artists, they sketched and painted what they saw at sea, in the air and on the ground — often in combat zones around the world. Now there is only one full-time artist, Staff Sgt. Kristopher Battles.

He described to 4GWAR and other reporters attending a press preview of the exhibit how he carried a 9 millimeter sidearm and an M-16 rifle as well as a camera, watercolor paints and a sketchpad when he went out on patrol with Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two of Battles’ paintings are on display at the Air & Space exhibit, as well as his artist’s kit.

Fly Marines exhibit. Photo by Eric Long, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

You can just make out Battles’ paintings of a V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter on the wall behind and to the left of the flight suit-wearing mannequin in the photo above (click on the photo to enlarge). You can get a better view of both works at his personal website Sketchpad Warrior.

Battles, who served in the Marines and reserves from 1986 to 1996, has a fine arts degree from Northeast Missouri State University. He re-joined the Corps as a combat artist in 2006 at the urging of the then-last remaining combat artist, Chief Warrant Officer Michael Fay. Battles had e-mailed Fay to say he admired his work and when Fay learned he was both a former Marine sergeant and an artist, he and combat art program officials asked him to consider re-upping. In September of 2006 Battles, who was then 38, reported to Marine Base Quantico for training and a month later he was on his way to Iraq.

In addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, Battles has been deployed to Haiti — where he once was a missionary — to record the Marines’ humanitarian relief efforts after the 2010 earthquake. Battles, who learned Creole French in his missionary days, also helped as a translator.

The staff sergeant said he considered himself lucky to have come under fire infrequently in combat zones. His predecessor, Fay, was wounded in Iraq, he noted. Battles said it can be difficult looking for subject material with a painter’s eye while on a combat patrol. “You still have to be on guard and watching as a Marine. It’s an interesting juggling act,” he said. Occasionally he ran across a gunnery sergeant or 1st sergeant that didn’t know about combat artists or that “we’re trained Marines,” who balked at taking the artist on patrols. “But most of my experience has been quite positive,” Battles said, adding “Once you start sketching a Marine in the field, they kind of perk up a little bit. It’s a morale builder.”

1920 poster by Howard Chandler Christy Copyright, National Museum of the Marine Corps

To see more of the Fly Marines exhibit click here. The National Air and Space Museum museum is located on the National Mall in Washington, DC at Sixth St. and Independence Ave. S.W.

To see more of the 8,000 artworks in the collection of the National Museum of the Marine Corps, click here. That museum is located at 18900 Jefferson Davis Highway, Triangle, Virginia — not far from the Quantico Marine Base.

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.

January 16, 2012 at 10:32 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Today’s Minutemen (and Women) (Update 7-9-2011)

SHAKO: Musings on the Military Past and Present

As we celebrated Independence Day 2011, we got to thinking about the modern day successors to those 18th Century patriots who dropped everything and came running when their country was in need: the National Guard.

Historians say the Guard (or state militia as it was once known) began in 1636 when officials in Massachusetts Bay Colony created three militia regiments to protect that British colony from Indian attacks.

In 1903, Congress passed the Militia Act that organized all the state militias into the National Guard. More than 50,000 guardsman were called up to provide security at home and counter terrorism overseas following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Tens of thousands have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Air National Guard has more than 140 units in the states as well as Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In the last year, the Guard has responded to wildfires, floods and tornadoes, boosted the size of U.S. Forces overseas and conducted training missions with friendly armed forces. Here’s just a small sample of what these citizen soldiers have been up to in 2011.

South Dakota National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Quinton Young)

Airmen from the 114th Fighter Wing, Sioux Falls S.D., finish a section of levee in the Bay Hill area of Dakota Dunes. The levees that soldiers and airmen built with the joint effort of civilian volunteers and several local, state and federal agencies, will require security and patrolling efforts. The 114th Fighter wing has been assigned to round-the-clock patrols of this 3.8 mile stretch of levee along the shores of the Missouri River.

(U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Craig L. Collins)

Missouri National Guard personnel and a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter assisted Atchison County authorities repair levee L550 near Phelps City during severe flooding along the Missouri River. The Blackhawk was used to move over 145 Sandbags weighing two thousand pounds each onto areas of the levee damaged by rising water. The guardsmen were from the 106th Aviation Regiment, 129th Field Artillery and 1107th Aviation Group.

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon)

A Texas National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk drops water over hot spots as helicopters from Austin Army Aviation Support Facility battled wildfires near the Possum Kingdom Lake area in North Texas. The aircraft are equipped with a Bambi Bucket, which carries over 600 gallons of water.

(Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Crane, U.S. Air Force)

Female members of the Air National Guard place sandbags to protect against possible flooding from the Missouri River outside Rosecrans Memorial Airport, St. Joseph, Missouri.  These airmen are assigned to the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard.  Working with local community volunteers they helped pile up 24,000 sandbags.

In addition to emergency response in the United States, and duties in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,  Haiti and Kosovo, the National Guard is also helping to train friendly forces overseas.

(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Miko Booth)

Here Sgt. 1st Class Charles Young of North Carolina National Guard observes as soldiers of the Moldovan army’s 22nd Peace Keeping Battalion during a training exercise in June. The Moldovans showed off their capabilities as a unit before their NATO evaluation, a weeklong exercise called Peace Shield 2011.

July 7, 2011 at 12:45 am 2 comments

FRIDAY FOTO (July 1, 2011)

Di ‘ahh’, tanpri

Defense Dept. photo by Fred W. Baker III

That’s the phrase for “Say ‘Ahh, please,” in Haitian Creole French.

U.S. Army 1st Lt. James Wong, a nurse practitioner assigned to Task Force Bon Voizen, may not have known that, so he resorted to the old fashioned way of encouraging a boy to stick out his tongue during a medical exam in Desdunes, Haiti.

Task Force Bon Voizen, a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored joint humanitarian exercise, was launched in Haiti at the end of April. Under the leadership of  the Louisiana National Guard,  task force personnel treated more than 800 dental patients and nearly 23,000 medical patients. Veterinary technicians also treated almost 1,500 animals, and engineers built a school and two clinics during the mission’s run.

To see a slideshow on the efforts of 1st Lt. Wong and other medicos in the task force, click here. For a photo slide show about the veterinary operation’s efforts to treat chickens, click here. For a full report on Task Force Bon Voizen (which, by the way, translates to ‘Good Neighbor’) click here.

July 1, 2011 at 7:01 pm Leave a comment

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