Posts filed under ‘Skills and Training’

FRIDAY FOTO (December 18, 2015)

Bending Light.

U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Eric C. Burgett

U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Eric C. Burgett

Light, motion and camera speed combine to create a weird imagery effect as a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey launches from the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LDD-4) during an exercise in the Pacific Ocean. The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group is underway off the coast of Southern California completing a certification exercise.

December 18, 2015 at 12:27 am Leave a comment

AFRICA/COUNTER TERRORISM: U.S. Troops Helping African Forces in Fight with Boko Haram

New Drone base.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Headline rewritten to clarify U.S. forces not engaged in combat, just aiding ISR effort.

Cameroon (CIA World Factbook)

Cameroon
(CIA World Factbook)

The United States has quietly sent hundreds of troops to West Africa, to help Cameroon’s army hunt the terrorists along the Nigerian border, according to a CBS News report Wednesday (December 16).

They’re searching for Boko Haram, the extremist group that has aligned itself with the so-called Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIl and Daesh). Boko Harma has killed more than 20,000 people in the region, mostly in Nigeria, over the past six years.

Cameroon is getting help from the U.S. military, which is setting up another drone base in Africa. Cameroon soldiers are learning how to use their own unarmed drones for surveillance. The U.S. base won’t be fully operational until next month, CBS says.

“The U.S. is providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to the Cameroonian forces,” Army Captain Victor Guzman told CBS News. He said the plan is for the Cameroonian troops to take the lead and fight the local threat.

The United States started unarmed drone surveillance flights out of Niger, to the north of Cameroon, in early 2013 to support French forces fighting Islamist militants in northern Mali.

December 17, 2015 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (December 11, 2015

Crossed Lasers.

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class J.R. Pacheco

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class J.R. Pacheco

U.S. sailors train with the LA9/P laser hail and warning system on the fantail (rear deck) of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in the Atlantic Ocean. The LA 9/P is a non-lethal, non-blinding way to get the attention of  intruders, warn them off and confuse them optically if they persist.

They have been used to hail, warn and deter people until their intent is determined at vehicle checkpoints.

December 11, 2015 at 12:03 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (December 4, 2015)

One Minute.

U.S. Army photo by Sergeant 1st Class Sean A. Foley

U.S. Army photo by Sergeant 1st Class Sean A. Foley

An Army jumpmaster gives a one-minute time warning from the troop door of a C-27 Spartan tactical transport aircraft during airborne operations over the St. Mere-Eglise drop zone, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The soldiers are assigned to the 112th Signal Battalion, 528th Special Operations Sustainment Brigade, Airborne.

To see more photos of this exercise, click here.

December 4, 2015 at 1:22 am Leave a comment

WASHINGTON: Pentagon Opens All Combat Roles to Women in All Services

Historic Decision.

Capt. Kristen Griest, a military police officer and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, an Apache helicopter pilot at their Army Ranger course graduation. (U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright)

Capt. Kristen Griest, a military police officer and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, an Apache helicopter pilot at their Army Ranger course graduation.
(U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright)

Back in August we wrote about two female soldiers who were the first women to graduate from the Army’s grueling Ranger course. At the same time, we noted that Army Captain Kristen Griest and 1st Lieutenant Shaye Haver could not apply for a job with the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment. The elite unit has a separate selection process, which wasn’t open to women.

Well, on Thursday (December 3) that all changed.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that he is opening all jobs in U.S. combat units from the infantry to Special Operations Forces to all “who can meet operationally relevant and gender neutral standards.” That policy change will open all jobs to female soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen — including positions in elite units like the Army Rangers and Navy SEALS — if they meet physical and other standards.

Carter’s decision caps of trend that began in 2013 when then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced he was dropping a longtime ban on women serving directly in ground combat units. Since then the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps launched studies of the potential impact of gender integrated combat units. “Both the Army and Marine Corps studies found that women participating in ground combat training sustained injuries in higher  rates than men, particularly in occupational fields requiring load-bearing,” said Carter’s guidance memorandum on implementing the change.

The Marine Corps was the only service to seek exemptions from the rule change, asking to continue excluding women from certain combat jobs. But that idea was strongly criticized by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who has authority over the Marine Corps. And Carter’s decision negated the Marines request for exemptions. The top Marine officer who sought the exemptions was General Joseph Dunford, who is now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to the Washington Post. Dunford did not attend the Pentagon press conference where Carter revealed and explained the new policy. But in a statement issued by his office, the Post reported, Dunford said. “In the wake of the Secretary’s decision, my responsibility is to ensure his decision is properly implemented. Moving forward my focus is to lead the full integration of women in a manner that maintains our joint warfighting capability, ensures the health and welfare of our people, and optimizes how we leverage talent across the Joint Force.”

Members of the female engagement team assigned to 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment teach a hygiene class to children at a village medical outreach in Boldak, Afghanistan, Nov. 22, 2010.   (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Marionne T. Mangrum)

Members of the female engagement team assigned to 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, teach a hygiene class to children at a village medical outreach in Boldak, Afghanistan, Nov. 22, 2010.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Marionne T. Mangrum)

The services and Special Operations Command have until January 1 to submit their final, detailed implementation plans to Pentagon officials. They are all required to begin executing their individual plans no later than April 1, 2016.

December 3, 2015 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

SPECIAL OPERATIONS: U.S. to Deploy More Special Ops in Fight Against ISIS

Expeditionary Targeting Force.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, foreground, and Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testify before the House Armed Services Committee about U.S. strategy for Syria and Iraq. (Defense Dept. photo by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz)

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, foreground, and Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testify before the House Armed Services Committee about U.S. strategy for Syria and Iraq.
(Defense Dept. photo by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz)

The Obama administration is sending more Special Operations Forces (SOF) to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Defense Secretary Ash Carter told a congressional hearing Tuesday (December 1) that the Pentagon was deploying “a specialized expeditionary targeting force to assist” Iraqi and Kurdish forces and put “even more pressure” on the leadership of the so-called Islamic State — also known as ISIS and ISIL (for Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant).

Eventually, Carter said, special operators will be able to “conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence and capture ISIL leaders.”

Carter did not detail how many SOF troops would be sent to the region or where they would be deployed. But Pentagon officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to several news organizations, said this new force was expected to be based in Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish-controlled region of Iraq. The number of SOF operators could be between 150 and 200, it was reported by USA Today, the Washington Post and Reuters.

President Obama has already sent 3,500 troops to Iraq and the surrounding region to advise and support — but not fight alongside —  Iraqis, Kurds and moderate Syrian rebels fighting the Assad regime. In October Obama authorized the deployment of  50 special ops troops to advise and train Arab and Kurdish anti-ISIS fighters in Syria.

Before that, Obama was — and remains — reluctant to commit U.S. ground forces to fight ISIS, preferring to rely on U.S. led airstrikes on ISIS targets in support of Kurds, Iraqis and Syrians fighting the Islamist terror organization, which has captured chunks of Iraq and Syria.

Map and data courtesy of the Institute for the Study of War.

Map and data courtesy of the Institute for the Study of War. (Click to enlarge)

Carter told the House Armed Services Committee the the air campaign has intensified against ISIS’s main revenue stream: oil exports. Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,  also at the hearing, said the air attacks had disrupted 43 percent of ISIS oil production. But under sometimes testy questioning, Dunford conceded that “we have not contained” ISIS.

“We are at war,” Carter told the hearing, adding that he meant “this is a serious business … it has that kind of gravity.” ISIS has claimed responsibility for the downing of a Russian jetliner over Egypt, killing all 224 people on board, and a string of attacks in Paris last month that left 130 dead.

Carter said  the new SOF presence in Iraq will raise uncertainty among ISIS leaders. “It puts everybody on notice in Syria. You don’t know at night who’s coming through the window,” he added.

December 1, 2015 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 27, 2015)

Up Close and Very Personal.

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Thornton

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Thornton

A KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-15E Strike Eagle over the northern Mediterranean Sea.

As you might suspect from the logo on the refueling drogue, this Stratotanker is assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, the U.S. military’s only permanently assigned air refueling operation in the European theater. The Strike Eagle is assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing.

Both air wings while deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, will be supporting Operation Inherent Resolve , the U.S. led air campaign over Iraq and Syria to degrade and defeat the self-proclaimed Islamic State — also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Daesh.

November 27, 2015 at 2:10 am Leave a comment

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