Posts filed under ‘Skills and Training’

FRIDAY FOTO (March 20, 2015)

Foreground, Background.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean P. Gallagher/Released)

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean P. Gallagher

While Marines doing PT jog in the background, Sailors perform maintenance on an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) in the Pacific Ocean.

The sailors are assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21. The Marines are with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The Marines and sailors are training to coordinate, integrate and work together within the confines of the 844-foot-long,  40,000-ton ship before deployment.

According to the Navy, LHDs provide transportation, command and support for all elements of a Marine landing force of over 2,000 troops during an assault by air and amphibious craft.

Editor’s Note:

The one time we took a vacation on a cruise ship, we jogged on the top deck (dodging waiters, other joggers and small children). We can’t imagine what it must be like jogging on the flight deck of what’s essentially a busy, mini aircraft carrier.

March 20, 2015 at 1:11 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 13, 2015)


 U.S. Army photo by Captain Thomas Cieslak

U.S. Army photo by Captain Thomas Ciesl

A U.S. Army Green Beret (right) watches Honduran commandos kick in the door as the team prepares to enter and breach a room during battle training inside a “shoot house” at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.  The Green Berets are assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group, which operates primarily in Latin America.

The commandos, members of a counter narcotics and anti-trafficking force, trained for the first time with U.S. Special Forces in February. Foreign Internal Defense — teaching skills to partner militaries so they can protect their own countries from foreign troops or homegrown insurgents — is a key mission of Green Berets and other U.S. special operations forces.

To see more photos, click here.


March 13, 2015 at 1:22 am Leave a comment

SPECIAL OPERATIONS: Seven MARSOC Marines Among 11 Aboard Missing Blackhawk

Lost in the Fog.

A UH-60 Black Hawk from the 1st Battalion 244th Assault elicopter Battalion, Louisiana National Guard,  flies over a mosque in Baghdad in February 2009. (U.S. Army photo)

A UH-60 Black Hawk from the 1st Battalion 244th Assault Helicopter Battalion, Louisiana National Guard, flies over a mosque in Baghdad in February 2009.
(U.S. Army photo)

A U.S. Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crashed in the water during a routine exercise along the Florida coast near Eglin Air Force Base, according to the Pentagon and new outlets.

The wreckage of the chopper, which disappeared in heavy fog Tuesday (March 10), was discovered in the waters off Florida’s Panhandle on Wednesday (March 11). There were apparently no survivors on the Blackhawk, which carried a flight crew of four Army National Guardsmen and seven Marine commandos from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

All 11 service members aboard the aircraft are believed dead, and the operation has transitioned from search and rescue to recovery, an Air Force official said Thursday (March 12), CNN reported.

The helicopter was attached to the 1-244th Assault Helicopter Battalion based at Hammond, Louisiana. They were participating in a routine night training mission involving the Marine Special Operations Regiment from Camp Lejeune, officials said. A second Louisiana Guard Blackhawk participating in the same training exercise returned to base safely, the Guard said.

At a March 11 news conference, Major  General Glenn H. Curtis, the Adjutant General for the Louisiana National Guard, said the Black Hawk pilots had thousands of hours of flight experience and were “instructor pilots,” indicating they were experienced and qualified enough to train other pilots, the Washington Post reported. According to Curtis, it is one of the highest designations pilots in the Army can receive.

The Marines on board the downed helicopter were members of the Marine Special Operations Regiment, a unit of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command and U.S. Special Operations Command.

March 12, 2015 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 6, 2015)

And This is Just Practice.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Justin T. Updegraff

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Justin T. Updegraff

You’ve seen it dozens of times in the movies and on TV. A SWAT team or commando group blows up a door and then rushes in to save hostages or take down the bad guys. Well, here is what it really looks like.

U.S. Marines seek shelter behind a blast blanket as detonation cord ignites, blowing the door in and giving them a clear passage to make their way into the building during an urban breaching course, at Camp Lejeune, N.C. on (Tuesday) March 3, 2015. For each breach, the Marines would stack up behind a blast blanket, which allows them to stand closer to the blast by protecting them from shrapnel and debris.

The Marines in the photo are assigned to the Mobility Assault Company, of the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division.

March 6, 2015 at 12:22 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (February 27, 2015)

Boots on the … Air.

Information Specialist Jason Johnston/Released)

Photo by U.S. Army Specialist Jason Johnston

A U.S. Green Beret with the 1st Battalion,  10th Special Forces Group salutes his fellow soldiers while jumping from a C-130 Hercules aircraft over a drop zone in Germany, Feb. 24, 2015. 

February 27, 2015 at 1:15 am Leave a comment

HOMELAND SECURITY: Customs and Border Protection Exploring Small Drone Use

Wearable Drones.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is exploring the use of wearable sensors -- including a wrist-mounted drone -- to keep agents safe and efficient. (CBP  photo)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is exploring the use of wearable sensors — including a wrist-mounted drone — to keep agents safe and efficient.
(CBP photo)

WASHINGTON — Wolf Tombe has been the chief technology officer of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since 2003.

He says his mission is to find or develop new gizmos that will enhance the safety of CBP’s 46,657 officers and agents and increase mission effectiveness – all while reducing costs.

“Everything is about ‘How do we train and equip our officers to do their job better?,” he told attendees at a Border Management industry conference this week.

And toward that end, he is looking at wearable technology like heart rate monitors and wearable cameras he told the conference sponsored by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement. Among the technologies CBP, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, is considering are small unmanned aircraft, including a drone mounted on the wrist.

Such technology would meet CBP new technology requirements: enhancing officer safety, increasing mission effectiveness — and reducing costs, he said. If it does any or all of those things, “bring it in and we’ll look at it,” he told conference attendees Wednesday (February 25).

Threats to the homeland, whether a disease outbreak like Ebola or lone wolf terrorists, are evolving and “we need to evolve with them, to stay ahead of it,” Tombe said.

CBP Chief Technology Officer Wolf Tombe

CBP Chief Technology Officer Wolf Tombe

In addition to the wrist drone, Tombe said CBP was considering the benefits of small hand-launched drones that Border Patrol agents and other CBP law enforcement officers could carry in their vehicles to get a better situational picture in remote and rugged areas like the deserts of the Southwest or the big woods along the U.S-Canadian border.

“All this technology is consumer grade,” Tombe said, meaning it is generally less expensive than equipment designed for the Defense or Homeland Security departments. He said manufacturers of wearable heart rate monitors and football and batting helmets helmets equipped with impact sensors that can text a high school coach or parent need to consider their law enforcement applications.

While the wrist drone is just in the “late prototype stages” and only stays aloft for 3 to 5 minutes, Tombe said “we’ll bring it in and take a look at it.” Meanwhile, his office plans to test the efficacy of slightly larger handheld drones with DHS operational units as well as local law enforcement departments like the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.

February 26, 2015 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (February 20, 2015)

Desert Lights.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal William Hester

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal William Hester

A U.S. Marine Corps assault amphibious vehicle (AAV) pauses during the Integrated Training Exercise 2-15 Tank Mechanized Assault Course (TMAC) at Marine Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms. AAVs are used to get infantry in the fight fast. But they are an aging technology that has been part of the Corps since the early 1970s. The AAVs used during the TMAC are with Company D, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. 

(Click on the photo to see enlarged image.)

February 20, 2015 at 1:53 am Leave a comment

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