Posts filed under ‘Special Operations’

FRIDAY FOTO (May 31, 2019)

Dead Serious.

military dive operations

(U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Jayme Pastoric)

Their swim fins hooked over their wrists and their weapons ready, Navy SEALs, assigned to Naval Special Warfare Group 2, emerge from the shallows during military dive operations training in the Atlantic Ocean on May 29, 2019.

SEALs, it stands for Sea, Air, Land forces, “are expertly trained to deliver highly specialized, intensely challenging warfare capabilities that are beyond the means of standard military forces,” according to the Navy. SEAL teams are the maritime component of U.S. Special Operations Command, however, they are trained to conduct missions from sea, air and land.

Before one gets to wear the distinctive gold SEAL insignia — an eagle clutching a Navy anchor, trident and flintlock style pistol — one must endure a lot of this:

110411-N-JR159-138

First Phase Basic Underwater Demolition/SEALs (BUD/S) candidates participate in hours of crushing, physical training, in wet, sandy uniforms with little sleep at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. ( U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kyle D. Gahlau)

To get an idea of how difficult their training is, click here.

May 31, 2019 at 12:10 am 1 comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 24, 2019)

Monuments Men.

10th SFG(A) conduct airborne operation near island of Mont Saint Michel

(U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Alexis Washburn-Jasinski)

 

Paratroopers from the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) land within sight of the world famous Mont Saint-Michel abbey in Normandy, France, during a May 18, 2019 airborne operation to commemorate the Allied liberation of France during World War II.

The abbey, one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites, started as a small church in 709 C.E., dedicated to the Archangel Michael — who just happens to be the patron saint of paratroopers.

Three U.S. Air Force aircraft from 352nd Special Operations Wing and the 86th Airlift Wing, delivered more than 130 Green Berets to the drop zone, a little over a mile from Mont Saint-Michel, near Avranches, which was liberated by U.S. forces in 1944. A large crowd of residents from the commune of Avranches — which sponsored the event — attended the airdrop. The demonstration included both military free-fall and static-line parachute drops.

The jump celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the drop of “Jedburgh” teams into France ahead of the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Just a year earlier, the Allies created 100 three-man special operations teams with personnel from the British Special Operations Executive, American Office of Strategic Services (the precursor of the CIA) and General Charles de Gaulle’s Free French organization. Known as Jedburghs, the teams also included individuals from Belgium, Canada, South Africa and the Netherlands. Instrumental to the allied liberation of France and occupied Europe, the Jedburgh teams trained, armed, and directed local resistance fighters from behind enemy lines.

Today’s Green Berets trace their history directly to the Jedburgh teams as well as the First Special Service Force, a combined Canadian-American unit, known as the “Devil’s Brigade.” The 10th Special Forces Group, the first such unit, was established in 1952 and immediately deployed to Europe during the Cold War. It’s worth noting the Army Special Forces motto “DE OPPRESSO LIBER” is Latin for “To Free the Oppressed.”

For more details of the air drop event and photos, click here.

May 24, 2019 at 1:08 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Women’s History Month 2019, Part IV

Women in the Army.

This is the fourth and last 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 dirty, 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 Soldiers.

WOMEN ARMY NO ID2

(Army photo by Timothy Hale)

Army officers and non-coms — male and female — participated in a combat fitness test at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on March 15, 2019, to familiarize themselves with the new age- and gender-neutral  Combat Fitness Test.  Army senior leaders approved the new six-event fitness test to better prepare soldiers for combat tasks and reduce injuries across the three Army components (active, Reserve and National Guard) beginning in October 2020.

Joint training strengthens Air Force, Army collaboration

(Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Christopher Hubenthal)

Army Private First Class Diamond Her leads the way in a ground survey during a decontamination training exercise at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on February 22, 2019. Her is a unit supply specialist with the 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery (ADA) regiment of the Army’s 11th ADA Brigade. Air Force and Army participants from the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron and the 1-43rd ADA, shared Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high yield explosives (CBRNE) best practices, and tested their response proficiency during the training.

Airborne Operation 21 Feb. 2019

(Army photo by Paolo Bovo)

Army 1st Lieutenant Ashley Rae Selfridge, a paratrooper assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade, puts the finishing touches on face paint camouflage before airborne operations onto Juliet drop zone in Pordenone, Italy, Feb. 21, 2019.

The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the U.S. Army Contingency Response Force in Europe, capable of projecting ready forces anywhere in the U.S. Europe, Africa or Central Commands’ areas of responsibility.

 

Washington National Guard participates in Exercise Bersama Warrior

(Army photo by Sergeant 1st Class Jason Kriess)

U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Angela Gentry of the Washington Army National Guard, discusses battle drills with her Malaysian army counterpart, Major Nurkhairunisa, during Exercise Bersama Warrior in Malaysia. Bersama Warrior is a joint bilateral exercise between the Malaysian Armed Forces and the United States military. The exercise focuses on planning and conducting joint and coalition peace enforcement operations and was held in Kuala Lumpur from March 7-15, 2019.

Ready to deploy whenever, wherever required

(U.S. Army Reserve photo by Master Sergeant Michel Sauret)

Standing at the front of formation, Army Private First Class Keylin Perez bears the unit guidon during a field training exercise at Fort Meade, Maryland on January 13, 2019. Perez is a reservist assigned to the 200th Military Police Command’s Headquarters Company.

WOMEN ARMY ID12

(Army photo by T. Anthony Bell)

Culinary arts Specialist Adriana Elliot, a member of the Fort Bragg, North Carolina culinary team, plates her main dish in Chef of the Year event March 8 during the Joint Culinary Training Exercise (JCTE) at Fort Lee, Virginia. With teams from every branch of the Armed Forces, the JCTE is the largest military culinary competition in the United States.

Roger Ma’am

(Army photo by Captain Justin Wright)

Army 1st Lieutenant Victoria Oliver,  a platoon leader assigned to Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division‘s 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team addresses her soldiers during a training exercise at Fort Polk, Louisiana on March 21, 2019. Her unit in the Air Assault division was going through a rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Louisiana.

WOMEN ARMY ID10

(Courtesy photo)

TRAIL BLAZER: Captain Delana Small is the only woman (so far) to serve as an Army Special Forces chaplain. Between May 2015 and December 2017, Captain Small — a Protestant minister — was deployed with the 5th Special Forces Group to Turkey and Jordan.  That’s not the only milestone the captain achieved. Earlier in March, she was inducted into the Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame for being the first female chaplain to serve in a combat-arms battalion with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). That historic first occurred in June 2012, when she reported to the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 101st at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, as chaplain for the 4th Battalion, 320th Field Artillery. She graduated from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri just about six months before she reported for duty as an Army chaplain. She was the first of some 10 female chaplains sent to combat units. She deployed with the 4-320th Field Artillery to Afghanistan and later went to Airborne School, which led to her assignment with the Green Berets.

WOMEN ARMY BETTER SAPPER PIC

(Photo by Stephen Standifird, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs)

TRAIL BLAZER: Sergeant Hailey Falk, a combat engineer with 39th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, is the Army’s first female enlisted Soldier to graduate the school and earn the Sapper shoulder tab. Sapper is an ancient term for military engineers. In olden days they designed and dug the trenches, built the forts and figured out how to break into castles. The photo shows her receiving the coveted Sapper tab from Captain Timothy Smith, Sapper Training company commander at the U.S. Army Engineering School in December 2018, where Falk completed the demanding 28-day Sapper Leader Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Brazilian Minister of Defense Fernando Azevedo e Silva Visits Arlington National Cemetery

(Defense Department photo)

A member of the U.S. Army Band takes part in an Armed Forces Full Honors wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, in Virginia on March 26, 2019. In addition to the U.S. Army Band, there are 29 active duty Army bands around the country and overseas, as well as 18 bands in the Reserves and more than 50 National Guard bands. The U.S. Army School of Music is located at Joint Base Little Creek-Fort Story, in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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SHAKO-West Point cadets

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.

 

 

 

 

March 31, 2019 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 29, 2019)

Ready to Rock.

FRIFO 3-28-2019 SPECIAL FORCES vehicles

((U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sergeant Christopher S. Muncy)

U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers in Ground Mobility Vehicles were preparing to launch a mock-nighttime assault on the Grenada Dam in northern Mississippi in this January 20, 2019 photo. The exercise involved a simultaneous assault from multiple points, to gain control over an “insurgent-held” dam. It was all part of Southern Strike 2019, a large-scale, joint multinational combat exercise aimed at  tactical level training for the full spectrum of conflict.

These special operators from the 3rd Special Forces Group and their equipment were transported on a C-17 Globemaster III heavy lift aircraft from the Hawaiian Air National Guard’s 204th Airlift Squadron.

Southern Strike, which ran from January 15-30, emphasized air-to-air, air-to-ground and special operations forces training opportunities including maritime operations and air support.

The annual multi-service training exercise was hosted by the Mississippi Air National Guard’s Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport, and Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center near Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

March 29, 2019 at 1:59 am Leave a comment

DRONES AND and ‘DROIDS: NATO UAVs; Indian-U.S. drone development; DARPA smart drones

Finally, a NATO UAV.

NorthGrum NATO drone

Northrop Grumman officials and NATO leaders unveiled the first NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) aircraft in  2015. (Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman)

After years of delays, NATO will be getting its own surveillance drones for the first time, according to the German government. NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) drone — a variant of Northrop Grumman’s high altitude — is slated for delivery to an air base in Sigonella, Italy, sometime in the third quarter of 2019. Four additional systems, including drones and ground stations built by Airbus, will be delivered later in the year.

The trans-Atlantic alliance plans to use the aircraft  for a variety of missions from protecting ground troops to border control and counter-terrorism. The NATO drones will be able to fly for up to 30 hours at a time in all weather, providing near real-time surveillance data, writes Reuters’ Anderea Shalal.

U.S.-Indian Drone Cooperation.

The United States and India are working together on developing a small unmanned aerial system that could be launched from a cargo aircraft.

It’s all part of a broader technology effort known as the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), which looks for opportunities between the two countries  for co-production and development of military technologies, according to Defense News. The Pentagon’s acquisition chief, Ellen Lord, discussed the drone project with reporters on March 15 — the day after she hosted a delegation from India to discuss DTTI programs.

Lord said the system would have three targeted uses: humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, “cross-border operations,” and cave and tunnel inspection.

DARPA AI-Drone Program.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Pentagon’s think-outside-the-box scientific research unit, is studying how to equip reconnaissance drones with artificial intelligence (AI) to rapidly distinguish friend from foe in complex urban environments. Most military leaders believe conflicts in the near future will take place in large cities teeming with innocent, and not-so-innocent civilians. The congested urban landscape could pose a nightmare scenario of friendly fire incidents or civilian casualties.

DARPA’s Urban Reconnaissance through Supervised Autonomy (URSA) aims to develop technology to enable autonomous systems — supervised and operated by humans — to detect hostile forces and establish positive identification before any U.S. troops come in contact with them.

To overcome the complexity of the urban environment, URSA seeks to combine new knowledge about human behaviors, autonomy algorithms, integrated sensors and measurable human responses, to pick up the subtle differences between hostile and innocent people.

However, URSA’s program manager, Lieutenant Colonel Philip Root, says developing  such technology is “fraught with legal, moral, and ethical implications,” so  DARPA brought in ethics advisors from the project’s start, Defense One reports.

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Calendar.

April 24-25 — National Defense Industry Association (NDIA) Robotics Capabilities Conference, Columbus Georgia Convention & Trade Center, Columbus, Georgia, http://www.ndia.org/events/2019/4/24/2019-ndia-robotics-conference-and-exhibition.

April 29-May 2 — Association of Unmanned Vehicle System International (AUVSI) Exponential trade show, McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois, https://www.xponential.org/xponential2019/public/enter.aspx.

March 20, 2019 at 12:40 am Leave a comment

AROUND AFRICA: AFRICOM Logistics Hub; West African Violence;

AFRICOM-Ghana .

U.S. Africa Command plans to begin routing cargo flights through Accra, Ghana, as the hub of a new logistics network to ferry supplies and weapons to U.S. troops operating across the continent’s increasingly turbulent western region, reports Defense One.

Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn

Air Force C-17s may soon be making weekly supply hops to Ghana for U.S. troops in West Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ethan Morgan)

As part of a defense-cooperation agreement with Ghana reached in May, a weekly flight from AFRICOM’s home base in Germany to Accra will deliver cargo to be sent out on smaller planes and trucks to the approximately 1,800 American dispersed across nearly 20 locations in West Africa, according Defense One.

Brigadier General Leonard Kosinski, head of logistics at AFRICOM, says the operation will be like a bus route carrying arms, ammunition, food, and other supplies to special  forces troops. At first, the flights will be U.S. military cargo planes supporting American personnel. But after the first year, AFRICOM hopes that African contractors, European allies, and partner nations will plug into the network.

However, the launch of this West Africa Logistics Network suggests that at least for now, AFRICOM is planning a consistent presence in the western reaches of the continent, writes Defense One senior national security correspondent Katie Bo Williams.

West Africa Attacks.

Attacks by violent extremist groups have been on the rise in West Africa. Ten U.N. peacekeepers from Chad were killed in a January 20 attack in northern Mali. An al-Qaeda-linked group —   Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb — claimed responsibility for the attack which also wounded 25 Chadian troops when gunmen stormed the U.N. camp in Aguelhok.

Chad funeral MINUSMA

Tribute ceremony in N’Djamena for the 10 Chadian peacekeepers who were killed on 20 January in a terrorist attack in northern Mali. (United Nations mission in Mali photo)

The death toll from a February attack by gunmen in northwestern Nigeria has doubled to more than 130, Al Jazeera reported. The attack appeared to have been a deliberate plan to “wipe out certain communities,” Kaduna state Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai said,  without elaborating.

Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow, reporting from Abuja, said the increase in death toll was “expected from the beginning” as 130 people had been marked as missing in the aftermath of the attack.

The attack took place the day before Nigeria was supposed to hold a presidential but electoral authorities delayed the vote by one week citing logistical challenges.

February 22, 2019 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

LOOKING AHEAD: Upcoming Defense and Homeland Security events

JANUARY 2019

calendar1

CYBER

Dawn of the Code War

John P. Carlin, Former Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division; and John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division discuss responses to national security threats in cyberspace.

January 15, 2019, 5:30 – 7:00 PM

Center for Strategic & International Studies, 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington

LATIN AMERICA

How to Deal with Venezuela’s Mafia State-post January 10

An armchair discussion about the international community’s policy options in responding to Venezuela’s mafia state. Nicolas Maduro is set to be sworn in as president although the 2018 elections were widely considered to be unfree and unfair. Speakers – including former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela, Nicholas Brownfield and former National Security Council director for South America, Fernando Kutz — will discuss the political, diplomatic and legal implications post-January 10th and how the international community should respond.

January 11, 2019, 10:30 am to noon

Center for Strategic & International Studies, 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington

FEBRUARY 2019

SPECIAL OPERATIONS

NDIA SO/LIC Symposium

Information warfare, weapons of mass destruction, artificial intelligence, robotics and rapid acquisition will be among the tactics at the National Defense Industry Association’s  (NDIA) 30th annual Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict Symposium.

February 5-7, 2019

Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport, Arlington, Va.

MILITARY AVIATION

International Military Helicopter

IQPC’s conference will bring government and private sector interests  together to define future threats, including the need to develop capabilities to counter the growing electronic warfare threat, increasing survivability and assessing the operational requirements of platforms.

February 5-7, 2019

Park Plaza London Victoria, London, United Kingdom

prime-air_high-resolution02

UNMANNED AIRCRAFT

FAA UAS Symposium 2019

The FAA is bringing stakeholders together from all sectors to help define the rules and concepts — including safety issues — that will govern the future of drone (unmanned aircraft systems) operations.

February 12-14, 2019

Baltimore Convention Center

January 6, 2019 at 10:11 pm Leave a comment

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