Posts filed under ‘Special Operations’

FRIDAY FOTO (March 2, 2018)

Women in the Military.

Cope North 2018

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Juan Torres Chardon)

Airman 1st Class Janine Lieder defends a position while a helicopter expedient refueling system (HERS) was being set up during exercise Cope North 2018 at Tinian, in the Northern Mariana Islands on February 26, 2018.

A HERS — containing transportable pumps, multi-gallon bladders and collapsible fuel tanks — is used to facilitate helicopter refueling in forward  areas and remote sites.

Airman Lieder is assigned to the 736th Security Forces Squadron’s Fly-Away Security Team which provides perimeter security for air crews, ground crews and aircraft at high risk air strips, according to a 2016 article in Stars and Stripes.

By the way, March is Women’s History Month in the Defense Department. For more details, photos and stories, click here.


March 2, 2018 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (February 9, 2018)

Marines in the Mangrove.

Charlie Company 2d Reconnaissance Battalion Dive Insertion Training Key West

(U.S. Marines Corps photo by Lance Corporal Brennon A. Taylor)

The first stanza of the Marine Corps hymn speaks of the Marines fighting “in the air, on land, and sea” — or, in this case, in the sea.

This photo was taken January 24, 2018 when these Marines — assigned to the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion — conducted a simulated mission in Key West, Florida.

The sub-marine Marines, Charlie Company, 2nd Recon, were preparing for an upcoming deployment.

February 9, 2018 at 2:39 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 26, 2018)

And Awaaaaay.

Free Fall

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Private First Class William Chockey)

A Marine jumps from an MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California. The January 18, 2018 jump by the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion came during Integrated Training Exercise 2-18.

January 26, 2018 at 12:33 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (October 27, 2017)

I Talk to the Trees.

1st LAR prepares for Southern Katipo 17

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Allison M. DeVries)

Marine Corps Sgt. Jonathan Streit (center), briefs Marines during a ghillie suit and sniper exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California on October 13, 2017. Streit is a squad leader assigned to 1st Marine Division’s 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.

The ghillie suit, worn by civilian hunters and military snipers, is designed to look like heavy foliage in a forest or field. It was originally developed by Scottish gamekeepers as a portable hunting blind and first adopted for war in 1916. The name derives from a Scottish word for “lad” or “servant.”

To see more photos of this exercise (it was really hard to pick just one photo this week) click here.

And if you don’t get the Hollywood/Broadway reference in today’s headline, click here to see a scene from Paint Your Wagon, a Big Budget musical western from 1969 — and yes, that is who you think it is singing amid the trees.

October 27, 2017 at 4:27 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Air Force Birthday 2017

Happy 70th USAF!

Air National Guard aides in the relief effort of Hurricane Harvey

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jordan Castelan)

On this day (September 18) 70 years ago, President Harry Truman signed into law the National Security Act of 1947 which created the U.S. Air Force as a separate branch of the U.S. armed forces. Before that, the Air Force was a part of the U.S. Army.

Rather than commemorate the day with a single photo of fighter jets streaking across the sky, we thought we’d show a range of photos, showing some of the other things the Air Force does.

The photo above shows Senior Airman Austin Hellweg leading a family to an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter in Beaumont, Texas for transport to a safer location during Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in August. Most people think National Guard or Homeland Security when you mention natural disasters like hurricanes. But in this violent hurricane season, the Air Force (as well as the Navy, Coast Guard, Army and Marine Corps) have all provided assistance, following Harvey and Hurricane Irma, in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

U.S. Fifth-Generation Fighters, Strategic Bombers Conduct Show of Force with Allies in Response to North Korea Missile Launch

(U.S Air Force photo by Staff Sergean. Joshua Smoot)

In this next photo, a B-1B Lancer bomber prepares to receive fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker during a mission from Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base into Japanese air space and over the Korean Peninsula. After refueling on August 31, 2017, the Lancers flew with Japanese and South Korean fighter jets as part of a demonstration of America’s  commitment to its allies in the region.

Air Commandos participate in joint force exercise

(U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Jeffrey Curtin)

Air Force personnel not only fly aircraft, sometimes they jump out of them. Special Tactics Airmen with the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron execute a high altitude, low open (HALO) jump from an MC-130H Combat Talon II aircraft, flown by the 15th Special Operations Squadron. The jump came during a total force exercise mission over Terre Haute, Indiana on July 8, 2017.

Hurricane Irma

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Corban Lundborg)

In the photo above, Air Force Reserve Major Nicole Mitchell records weather information while flying into Hurricane Irma September 8, 2017 on a WC-130J Super Hercules. Mitchell is an aerial reconnaissance weather officer assigned to the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. To see more photos of this mission, click here.

To learn more about the Air Force and its history — which really goes back more than 100 years, click here.


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.

September 18, 2017 at 2:50 pm 1 comment

FRIDAY FOTO (August 4, 2017)

Night of the Drone.

Panther Storm

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Andrew Lee)

By now regular visitors to 4GWAR have seen many photos shot through a night vision device, but this one reminds us of a poster for a horror or science fiction movie.

Here we see Army Specialist Derek Opthof preparing to launch an RQ-11 Raven drone (unmanned aerial vehicle or UAV, is the military term). This photo was shot July 27 during exercise Panther Storm at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The deployment readiness exercise tests the 82nd Airborne Division‘s ability to rapidly deploy its Global Response Force anywhere in the world within a few hours.

About the Raven: Yes, even in this high tech, digital age, some smaller drones have to be launched by hand. Here’s a three-minute video on YouTube that shows how it works in daylight. Click on the RQ-11 Raven link above to learn more at the manufacturer, AeroVironment’s website.

August 4, 2017 at 1:37 am Leave a comment

ASIA/PACIFIC: U.S. Marines at Australian Exercise.

The Marines Have Landed …

USS Green Bay conducts Talisman Saber 17

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sarah Myers)

U.S. Marines maneuver combat rubber raiding craft toward Cowley Beach in Australia on July 8, 2017, during an amphibious raid rehearsal as a part of exercise Talisman Saber 17. These Marines are assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

… and Landed.

Marines Helo Australia Talisman Sabre 17.JPG

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sarah Myers)

Here Marines are disembarking from a CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter for a ground assault training exercise as part of Talisman Saber 17 in Australia on July 12, 2017. More than 33,000 U.S. and Australian personnel are participating in the biennial joint exercise, which runs through July 25.

Talisman Saber, jointly sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Command and Australian Defence Force Headquarters Joint Operations Command, incorporates U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force and the Australian Defence Force, as well as other government agencies from both countries, according to Pacific Command.

Featuring 21 ships, including the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, and more than 200 joint aircraft, this is the seventh iteration of the exercise. For 2017 it is focusing on training a Combined Task Force of U.S. and Australian forces in a mid-intensity, high-end warfighting scenario.

July 20, 2017 at 11:43 pm Leave a comment

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