Posts filed under ‘HIGH NORTH’

FRIDAY FOTO (June 21/22, 2019)

The “Almost” Midnight Sun.

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Midnight sun over the northern end of Storfjorden (Great Fjord) in Svalbard archipelago. (Photo by John M. Doyle, Copyright 4GWAR)

What’s wrong with this photo?

Taken Friday, June 21, 2019 off the eastern side of Spitsbergen Island, almost 600 miles north/northwest of Norway in the Barents Sea, this photograph shows the sun still up an hour before midnight. But that’s not unusual in the Arctic during summer solstice.

What’s wrong with this image is the nearly ice-free water. Even in summer, the waters around Spitsbergen would normally have presented a seascape thick with pack ice spread across miles of water, like this photo, taken a day later in a different area.

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Arctic sea Ice in northern Storfjorden (Great Fjord). (Photo by John M. Doyle, Copyright 4GWAR Blog)

But warmer weather, due to climate change, has led to a dramatic decline in sea ice, posing both risks and opportunities for the region.  The Arctic is heating up more than twice the rate of the rest of the globe and the northern Barents Sea is becoming much warmer, according to the Barents Observer. Also, new sea ice created over the winter months is thinner and melts in summer, resulting in an overall loss of sea ice.

The increasing climate shift affects the habitat and  food supplies of all types of wildlife from Polar bears and walrus, to birds, fish and other types of sea life. It also poses dire consequences for humans. In Longyearbyen (population 2,200) the largest town on Spitsbergen — and the northernmost permanent community in the world — houses are sagging as the permafrost beneath them melts. 

The reduced sea ice is opening up opportunities for year-round commercial navigation through the Arctic Ocean as well as increased mining, fishing oil drilling (it has been estimated that 1/5 of the world’s undiscovered petroleum reserves lie beneath Arctic waters). But those activities raise concerns about damage to the environment, indigenous communities, maritime safety and rising national security issues.

 

June 22, 2019 at 6:09 am Leave a comment

SHAKO: The King’s Guard

Guarding History, Too

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(Photo by John M. Doyle, copyright 4GWAR Blog)

OSLO, Norway — Members of His Majesty the King’s Guard march to their posts at Oslo’s historic Akershus Fortress Saturday, June 15. Your 4GWAR editor was touring the medieval complex when these troops passed by.

Norway’s King H Håkon V began building Akershus Castle and Fortress in 1299. The medieval castle had a strategic location and withstood a number of sieges throughout the ages. King Christian IV (1588-1648) had the castle modernised and converted into a Renaisssance castle and royal residence.

The complex today contains the castle, the Armed Forces Museum and Norway’s Resistance Museum.  The Resistance Museum chronicles the heroic and harrowing  civilian and military struggle against the five-year Nazi occupation that began when the Germans invaded Norway on on April 9th, 1940.

The King’s Guard dates back to the late 1850s, when the Royal Norwegian Company of Marksmen was established to enhance security around King Oscar I in Stockholm (Sweden). The company was renamed His Majesty The King’s Guard in 1866, and was transferred to Kristiania (now Oslo) toward the end of the union between Sweden and Norway. Since 1888 the King’s Guard has been on duty at the Royal Palace and other Royal residences 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, according to the Royal House of Norway website.

Today the King’s Guard has permanent sentry duty at the Royal Palace, Skaugum Estate, Bygdø Royal Farm when in use, Akershus Fortress and Huseby military camp.

Your 4GWAR Editor is in Norway for the Climate Force Arctic Expedition 2019 to Svalbard, an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean north of Norway — and a hotspot in both military and climate  strategies.  The rapid melting of sea ice in the Arctic and the opening of new sea lanes has raised U.S. Coast Guard concerns about safety, pollution and search and rescue operations. It has also sparked national security, environmental and economic concerns among the nations bordering the Arctic.

Longtime visitors to the blog may recall 4GWAR has been writing about the Arctic for nearly a decade. We’ll be so far north over the next week that internet connection will be weak, if not impossible, so we’ll be out of touch until late June.

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SHAKO-West Point cadetsSHAKO 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.

 

 

June 17, 2019 at 6:15 pm 2 comments

SHAKO: Women’s History Month 2019, Part II

Women in the Marine Corps.

Here is the second installment of 4GWAR’s tribute to Women’s History Month featuring  photos illustrating the contributions of women in the four armed services. With the exception of one historic first or trailblazer for each service, these pictures 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 women Marines.

MCRD Band conduct basic warrior training

(Photo by Warrant Officer Bobby Yarbrough)

Even members of the band stationed at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina — male and female — had to undergo basic warrior training in January 2019. The military musicians  were required to refamiliarize themselves with basic military skills — including crawling through the mud — “to develop the leadership mindset of the unit’s noncommissioned officers.”

WOMEN Marine ID2

(Marine Corps photo Lance Corporal Terry Wong)

Marine Corps Sergeant Marrissa Ladwig puts into practice the rappelling techniques she learned at the Jungle Warfare Training Center at Camp Gonsalves in Okinawa, Japan on January 29, 2019.

14th Marines Participate in Exercise Dynamic Front 19

(Photo by Marine Corps Corporal Niles Lee)

Corporal April Flores serves a hot meal at the Adazi Training Area, Latvia on February 28, 2019, during Dynamic Front, an annual multinational exercise. As a rising Russia grows more aggressive with its western neighbors, the Marines have been training with partner nations in the Baltics, the Balkans and Central Europe to show American support for NATO allies and friendly nations.

November Company becomes first company to graduate in new female dress blues

(Photo by Staff Sergeant Tyler Hlavac)

Sergeant Cristal Abregomedina, a warehouse clerk with Headquarters and Service Battalion, examines the new blue dress uniforms of Marines from November Company of the  4th Recruit Training Battalion last year at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina.

The female Marines of November company became the first company of recruits to graduate wearing the new female dress blues, which resembles the male uniform with a mandarin collar rather than the old style that features a neck tab over a white blouse.

Marine Corps upgrades GCSS-MC, reduces time from data to decision

(Photo by Lance Corporal A. J. Van Fredenberg)

Lance Corporal Sierra Walker, a supply specialist with 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, tests the upgrade to the Global Combat Support System-Marine Corps in October 2018 before its official launch. More than 23,000 logistics and maintenance Marines rely on Global Combat Support System-Marine Corps, or GCSS-MC, to conduct their daily supply and maintenance operations worldwide.  The upgrade, GCSS-MC Release 12,  was needed to strengthen the Corps’ cybersecurity posture, making logistics more efficient while  protecting  Marine Corps supply and maintenance information.

31st MEU ARP sharpen pistol marksmanship skills at sea

(Photo by Lance Corporal Hannah Hall)

1st Lieutenant Samantha Rosales, a logistics planner with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), fires an M1911 .45-caliber pistol during marksmanship training aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) while underway in the East China Sea on September 21, 2018.  The 31st MEU, the Marine Corps’ only continuously forward-deployed expeditionary unit, is a flexible force ready to perform a wide-range of military operations in the Indo-Pacific region.

Minds behind the flight: MAG-13 mechanics support Northern Lightning

(Photo by Sergeant David Bickel)

Lance Corporal Savannah Nickell, an airframes mechanic with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122, performs routine maintenance on an F-35 Lightning II during Exercise Northern Lightning 2018 at Volk Field Counterland Training Center, located at Camp Douglas, Wisconsin. Exercise Northern Lightning 2018 strengthens interoperability between services, particularly aviation capabilities within a joint fighting force.

Alpha and Oscar Co. Grass Week

(Photo by Sergeant Dana Beesley)

Staff Sergeant Estefania Patino corrects the rifle combat optic of a recruit’s weapon in this June 6, 2018 photo at Parris Island, South Carolina. She wears the green jacket of a Primary Marksmanship Instructor, which means her job is making riflemen out of recruits. Before she joined the Marines, Patino had never fired a weapon. Now she is a graduate of the Marines’ Combat Marksmanship Coach course and a former Drill Instructor.

WOMEN Marine ID9

(Still photo captured from a Marine Corps video by Corporal Shannon Doherty)

Trailblazer: Sergeant Tara-Lyn Baker traverses the snowy terrain at the Marines’ Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, California. She is the first female Marine to graduate from the arduous Mountain Leader Course. A heavy equipment mechanic, Baker successfully completed the nearly six-week program, which sharpens Marines’ skills in cold weather survival, skiing, snow mobility and mountain warfare.

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(Photo by  Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandon Parker)

Female Marines don’t just maintain aircraft, they also make up flight crews. Here Captain Brenda Amor helps to prepare an AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter for flight operations on the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock ship, USS Arlington, in the Mediterranean Sea on January 30, 2019.

Our next Women’s History Month 2019 posting, Part III will appear Sunday, March 24.

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West Point cadetsSHAKO 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 18, 2019 at 1:51 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (February, 15, 2019)

That’s No Snowball.

MRF-E 19.1: Exercise Snow Panzer
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Nghia Tran)

A Marine launches an RQ-20B Puma unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in Setermoen, Norway, on February 11, 2019, during Exercise Snow Panzer with Norwegian troops.

Snow Panzer is a force-on-force exercise between Marine Rotational Force-Europe and the Norwegian Panzer Battalion of Brigade Nord.

The Marines have been doing a lot of cold weather training in recent months in NorwaySweden and Iceland.

February 15, 2019 at 2:07 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (December 14, 2018)

Dashing Through the Snow.

Winter Warriors

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Felix Fimbres)

Army Reserve soldiers practice navigating through snowy terrain during winter warfare training at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin on December 8, 2018.

This is the second photo we’ve seen in recent weeks of Army troops in winter warfare training wearing camouflage white on their lower half only. (See photo below).

Does anyone know the logic behind this? Camouflage protection in snowy woods? The white jackets are on back order?

1 Geronimo paratroopers conduct live-fire training at JBER

(U.S. Army photo by Alejandro Pena)

In this photo, Army paratroopers of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) er breached a simulated enemy obstacle during infantry platoon live-fire training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska on November 8, 2018. Were the white uniform tops on back order?

December 13, 2018 at 11:41 pm Leave a comment

LOOKING AHEAD: December defense and homeland security events

Busy December.

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December 3-5

Egypt Defense Expo – At the  Egypt International Exhibition Centre, New Cairo, Egypt

December 5-6

IQPC Border Management Summit in San Antonio, Texas at the Hilton Garden Inn San Antonio-Live Oak Conference Center

December 5-7

IDGA’s Future Ground Combat Vehicles summit in Detroit, Michigan at the Sheraton Detroit Novi hotel.

December 5

9:00 a.m. – 10 a.m. The Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies presents  a discussion on “Air Force Operations: Increasing Readiness and Lethality” featuring Lieutenant General Mark Kelly, Air Force deputy chief of staff for operations, at the Key Bridge Marriott’s Potomac Ballroom, Salon A in Arlington, Virginia.

11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. —  Book launch event for Dr. Max Abrahm’s newly released Rules for Rebels: The Science of Victory in Militant History (Oxford University Press). Presented by the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Transnational Threats Project at 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036.

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(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Benjamin Nocerini)

12:30 p.m. — United States Coast Guard commandant Admiral Karl L. Schultz, discusses America’s presence in the Arctic as a matter of national security at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045.

December 6

9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. — Richard V. Spencer, 76th Secretary of the Navy, discusses the state of the Navy and Marine Corps and innovation in the naval domain at a Maritime Security Dialogue jointly sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the United States Naval Institute (USNI). At CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036.

December 3, 2018 at 11:56 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 2, 2018)

‘neath Arctic Skies.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin Leitner)

The amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), passes under the Northern Lights during exercise Trident Juncture 2018 in the Norwegian Sea, October 26, 2018.

Some 250 aircraft, 65 vessels and up to 10,000 vehicles — as well as an estimated 50,000 troops from 31 countries — are taking part in the biggest NATO exercise since the Cold War.

The massive exercise is taking place through November 7 in central and eastern Norway,  the surrounding areas of the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea — including Iceland and the airspace of Finland and Sweden (two non-NATO members).

NATO officials say the goal of the operation is to ensure that NATO forces are trained, able to operate together, and ready to respond to any threat from any direction. While they deny the exercise is aimed at sending a message to an increasingly belligerent Russia, Moscow sees it differently.

“Even if NATO says otherwise,, Trident Juncture is really preparation for large-scale armed conflict in regions bordering the Russian Federation,” Lieutenant General Valery Zaparenko, former deputy chief of the Russian general staff, told RT, Moscow’s government-funded television station, the New York Times reported.

4GWAR’s Arctic Nation series will focus on Trident Juncture and other arctic news this weekend.

November 2, 2018 at 11:07 pm Leave a comment

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