Posts filed under ‘Special Operations’

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.

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

FRIDAY FOTO (September 30, 2016)

Gotcha.Fish eye view

(U.S. Force photo by Capt. Adan Cazarez)

No, this isn’t how you catch a helicopter. These U.S. Army soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina are holding down ropes attached to a UH-60M Black Hawk while others prepare to rappel from the helicopter. Here’s a video from the Army’s Air Assault School that almost makes it look easy. No, not really. Watch the video and you’ll see.

The helicopter is assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade.

 

September 30, 2016 at 1:19 am 1 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

SPECIAL OPERATIONS: SOCOM Leadership Changes; New Gunships Defense; SEALS and Women

Votel & Thomas.

The head of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), Army General Joseph Votel is likely to be the next chief of Central Command (CENTCOM), according to the Washington Post. And to replace Votel at SOCOM, the Post says Army Lieutenant General Raymond Thomas is the most likely candidate.

Votel, an Army Ranger and former head of the 75th Ranger Regiment, took over Tampa, Florida-based SOCOM as its 10th commander in 2014 from Admiral William McRaven, a Navy SEAL.

Word of Votel’s planned transfer to CENTCOM, was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Army Gen. and U.S> SOCOM commander Joseph Votel. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Cortez)

Army Gen. and U.S. SOCOM commander Joseph Votel.
(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Cortez)

Special Operations Forces include Army Green Berets, Rangers and Special Ops aviators, Navy SEALS and Special Warfare Combatant-craft crews, Air Force Pararescue jumpers and combat air controllers, Marine Corps Corps critical skills operators and special operations combat services specialists.

Thomas, also an Army Ranger, is currently the head of Joint Special Operations Command, the SOCOM unit that oversees terrorist-hunting missions from North Africa to Afghanistan, according to the Post. CENTCOM, based in Tampa, Florida, is responsible for U.S. security interests an area consisting of 20 mostly Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries — Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.

*** *** ***

Radio Countermeasures.

U.S. Special Operations Command has ordered radio countermeasures equipment for its AC-130J and MC-130J gunship  variants.

Under a $32 million contract with Northrop Grumman, the company’s Land and Avionics C4ISR division will supply radio frequency countermeasures (RFCM) for the planes, according to the C4ISR&Networks web site.

Jeff Palombo, Northrop Grumman division vice president and general manager, said N-G’s solution “is designed to detect and defeat not only current radio frequency threats, but also to have the flexibility to protect our warfighters as the threat evolves.” In a Northrop Grumman press release, Palombio said the solution “is built upon our high confidence aircraft protection systems of today, coupled with an open architecture approach that enables our offering to grow to a multi-spectral, multi-function capability for the future.”

*** *** ***

Mabus VS. SEALS

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is urging the Navy’s admirals to press forward with integrating women into the Special Ops Navy SEAL teams, over the concerns of Navy SEAL leaders.

140121-N-KB563-148 CORONADO, Calif. (Jan. 21, 2014) Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUDs) students participate in Surf Passage at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. Surf Passage is one of many physically demanding evolutions that are a part of the first phase of SEAL training. Navy SEALs are the maritime component of U.S. Special Forces and are trained to conduct a variety of operations from the sea, air and land. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Russell/Released)

Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUDs)
students participate in Surf Passage at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st
Class Michael Russell/Released)

As Naval Special Warfare hammers out a plan to start admitting women into their very rugged training, Mabus is urging Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson to forge ahead. Mabus rebutted some of the concerns Navy brass raised about roadblocks to integration, the Navy Times reported.

In the plan it submitted, NSW argued that allowing women to join direct ground combat units would not increase readiness, and could even distract from it, according to the memo obtained by Navy Times.

January 12, 2016 at 1:33 am Leave a comment

SPECIAL OPERATIONS: Ranger School Now Open to Women

Skill, Not Gender.

The U.S. Army announced earlier this month that its elite Ranger School will be open to any female soldiers who meet the criteria.

Army Capt. Kristen Griest was one of he first two women to complete the Army Ranger course and earn the coveted RANGER shoulder tab. (U.S. Army photo)

Army Capt. Kristen Griest was one of the first two women to complete the Army Ranger course and earn the coveted RANGER shoulder tab.
(U.S. Army photo)

That announcement came less than a month after two female West Point graduates passed the grueling 61-day program and became the first women awarded the RANGER shoulder tab.

“We must ensure that this training opportunity is available to all soldiers who are qualified and capable and we continue to look for ways to select, train, and retain the best soldiers to meet our nation’s needs,” Army Secretary John McHugh said September 2.

“Giving every qualified Soldier the opportunity to attend the Ranger course, the Army’s premier small unit leadership school, ensures we are maintaining our combat readiness today, tomorrow and for future generations,” Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley added.

And now, two U.S. senators are pushing for a resolution honoring the first two women to earn the Ranger tab, according to POLITICO’s Morning Defense. The resolution, honors Captain Kristen Griest and First Lieutenant Shaye Haver for “proving that skill, not gender, determines military aptitude and success.” The resolution offered by Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, and Senator Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, is backed by 16 other women senators.

Army 1st Lt. Shaye Haver was one of the first two women to complete the Army Ranger course and earn the coveted RANGER shoulder tab. (U.S. Army photo)

Army 1st Lt. Shaye Haver was one of the first two women to complete the Army Ranger course and earn the coveted RANGER shoulder tab.
(U.S. Army photo)

In a statement to Morning Defense published Thursday (September 10) Mikulski said “Capt. Griest and First Lt. Haver have shown that women can compete on a level-playing field with men to serve in the defense of our nation. The Army’s recent announcement to permanently open Ranger School for women marks another important step in expanding roles for women in the military. Continued gender integration will improve readiness and help our Armed Forces to recruit the best talent we can throughout all of our services.”

In January, the Army announced that as an experiment, it would open Ranger School for the first time to women, as part of a “Ranger Course Assessment.” That assessment kicked off in April, as part of Ranger Course 06-15. Haver and Griest, who were part of that Ranger School class, eventually graduated the school August 21.

That class started at Fort Benning, Georgia with 381 men and 19 women. The students had to train with minimal food and little sleep while learning how to operate in the woods and mountains of Georgia and coastal swamps of Florida.

Students also had to undergo a physical fitness test that included completing 49 pushups, 59 situps, a 5-mile run in 40 minutes; a swim test; a land navigation test; a 12-mile foot march in three hours, several obstacle courses, four days of military mountaineering, three parachute jumps, four air assaults from helicopters and 27 days of mock combat patrols, according to CNN.

September 11, 2015 at 12:01 am Leave a comment

SPECIAL OPERATIONS: Exercise Jade Helm 15 Begins in Seven States — Arousing Conspiracy Theorists

Jaded About Jade Helm.

 

Chilean and U.S.  Army  Special Forces troops train together in bilateral exchange in April at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Osvaldo Equite)

Chilean and U.S. Army Special Forces troops train together in bilateral exchange in April at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.
(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Osvaldo Equite)

Exercise Jade Helm 15 a massive special operations forces (SOF) exercise involving hundreds of troops across seven states in the Deep South and Southwest got underway this week — after months of speculation by conspiracy theorists and right wing talk radio hosts that it was part of some dark plan to overthrow the Constitution and/or seize locals’ guns.

The Army says its just a big exercise in relatively unpopulated areas with challenging terrain and summer weather conditions to prepare as realistically as possible for whatever overseas crisis comes down the road in the future

According to U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), they will be training with other U.S military units from July 15 through Sept. 15 in the multi-state exercise.

“USASOC periodically conducts training exercises such as these to practice core special warfare tasks, which help protect the nation against foreign enemies. It is imperative that Special Operations Soldiers receive the best training, equipment and resources possible,” USASOC said in a March press release to counter rising concerns — especially in Texas, where the governor ordered the National Guard to keep a close eye on the Army exercise

“While multi-state training exercises such as these are not unique to the military, the size and scope of Jade Helm sets this one apart,” the March press release noted. To stay ahead of the environmental challenges faced overseas, Jade Helm will take place across seven states. However, Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) will only train in five states: Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. The diverse terrain in these states replicates areas Special Operations Soldiers regularly find themselves operating in overseas.”

An updated Army press release issued Wednesday (July 15) listed the various military installations where parts of the exercise will take place:
• Arizona: National Guard Training Centers and at an Army Reserve Center
• Florida: Eglin Air Force Base
• Louisiana: Camp Beauregard
• Mississippi: Camp Shelby, Naval Research Laboratory ˗ Stennis Space Center, and U.S. Navy Seabee Base at Gulfport/Biloxi
• New Mexico: Cannon Air Force Base, and tentatively in Otero County
• Texas: Camps Bullis and Swift, and in Bastrop, Burleson, Brazos, Edwards, Howard, Hudspeth, Kimble, Martin, Marion, Real, Schleicher and Tom Green Counties
• Utah: Carbon and Emery Counties

EDITOR’s COMMENT: We find it worth mentioning that the fears of some of the good folks of Texas seem to parallel the plot of the 1964 film, “Seven Days in May.” However, that  scenario described an attempted coup by right wing politicians and military leaders aimed at a liberal president they perceived as weak in dealing with the Soviets. To us that seems a more likely — if far-fetched — movie plot than a military coup to support the “liberal” policies of gun seizure etc.

July 16, 2015 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 10, 2015)

Danger Zone.

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sergeant Brittany E. Jones

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sergeant Brittany E. Jones

We were struck by the otherworldly appearance of this photo. Reminds us of a hostile world in a science fiction movie — like the original Planet of the Apes. But this shows Air Force Technical Sergeant Matthew Bingaman, an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technician, returning from an improvised explosive device (IED) training scenario June 25, somewhere in Southwest Asia. The spaceman-like suit is meant to protect EOD techs from the bombs they are working to defuse and dispose of. Note the warning sign on the left side of the photo. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Bingaman is assigned to the 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, a unit of the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing. A 16-year EOD veteran, Bingaman continually trains to safely handle live explosives.

July 10, 2015 at 12:29 am Leave a comment

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