Posts tagged ‘Air Force’

FRIDAY FOTO (April 29, 2022)

Desert Water Hazard.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Blake Wiles)

OK, hold on tight. This one will make your head spin.

This week’s photo shows U.S. troops with the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) performing a swimming obstacle course during a French Desert Commando Course (FDCC) pre-assessment  — that’s right a Desert Commando Course — in the East African nation of Djibouti on April 19, 2022.

During the FDCC, participants are evaluated on mountain confidence, knot tying, night obstacle courses, aquatic obstacle courses, and battle maneuver tactics as well as physical challenges like timed pushups.  Since 2015, the French Forces stationed in Djibouti, a former French colony, have invited U.S. service members at Camp Lemonnier (the only U.S. base on the African continent) to participate in the course at the 5th Overseas Interarms Regiment base in Dijbouti.

The 5th OIR is a troupes de marine regiment, and has been the Djibouti garrison since November 1969. Despite its name, the Marine troops are part of the French Army, not the Navy.

April 28, 2022 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: 80 Years Ago, Doolittle Raiders Bombed Japan

Target Japan.

An Army Air Force B-25B bomber takes off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) at the start of the raid, April 18, 1942 . (Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.)

At 1:15 p.m. (local time) Saturday, April 18, 1942 — about 600 miles east of  Japan — 16 U.S. Army Air Force twin-engine, B-25 Mitchell medium bombers began taking off from the wet, windy, rolling deck of America’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Hornet. Their destination: The industrial cities of Yokohama, Nagoya, Kobe, Osaka and Japan’s capital, Tokyo. Their mission, a largely symbolic act of revenge for the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii four months earlier, and to shake Japanese confidence in their military invincibility and the security of their islands from attack by a distant foe.

The “joint Army-Navy bombing project” was to bomb Japanese industrial centers, to inflict both “material and psychological” damage upon the enemy. Planners hoped that the former would include the destruction of specific targets “with ensuing confusion and retardation of production.” Those who planned the attacks on the Japanese homeland hoped to induce the enemy to recall “combat equipment from other theaters for home defense,” and incite a “fear complex in Japan.” Additionally, it was hoped that the prosecution of the raid would improve the United States’ relationships with its allies and receive a “favorable reaction [on the part] of the American people,” according to documents held by U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command.

U.S. Army Air Force bombers crowd the flight deck of the USS Hornet. The B-25 was picked for the Doolittle Raid because it was the only aircraft available with the required range, bomb capacity and short takeoff distance. The B-25Bs and volunteer crews came from the 17th Bombardment Group, Pendleton Field, Oregon. (National Museum of the U.S. Air Force)

The odds seemed to be against the daring operation. It was the first combat mission for the both the B-25 bombers and the carrier that transported them. The pilots had been intensely training for a little more than a month — mostly on how to take off from an aircraft carrier with a large land-based plane never designed for that kind of performance.The Navy Task Force escorting the Hornet, was spotted by Japanese surveillance boats more than 600 miles from Japan. The decision was made to launch the Army bombers even though they were 200 miles farther from Japan than planned. Extra gasoline was loaded on the planes which were stripped of excess equipment — including their machine guns. While the B-25s would make it to Japan, whether they would have enough fuel to land safely at airfields in China was unknown.

Doolittle on his Curtiss R3C-2 Racer, the plane in which he won the 1925 Schneider Trophy Race (NASA photo)

Lieutenant Colonel James “Jimmy” Doolittle, 45, — who planned the operation, trained the crews to take off from an aircraft carrier, and then flew the lead bomber in the risky all-volunteer mission — had no combat experience. He was, however, one of the best pilots in the world. In the 1920s and ’30s, he made early coast-to-coast flights, record-breaking speed flights, won many flying races and pioneered the use of “blind flying”, relying  on flight instruments alone. That gutsy experiment won him the Harmon Trophy and made all-weather airline operations practical. Doolittle also earned the first doctorate in aeronautics issued in the United States from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1925.

The planes did make it to Japan and mostly hit their targets (one bomber dumped its load of explosives in the sea to evade pursuing Japanese fighters). All the bombers made it out of Japanese airspace. One, very low on fuel landed in the Soviet Union, which was not at war with Japan, and the crew was interned for 13 months before the Soviets let them “escape” to Iran/Persia. The other 15 planes all crashed in China or into offshore waters when they ran out of fuel. Three of the U.S. airmen died in crashes. Eight were captured by the Japanese. All were tried as war criminals by a military court because civilians were killed in the raid including some children in an elementary school that was mistakenly strafed. Three of the POWs were executed. Another died of starvation and abuse in prison. The remaining four managed to survive harsh conditions and were liberated in 1945.

Furious about being caught off guard by the Americans, the Japanese Army unleashed its rage on the region where Doolittle and his men evaded capture with the aid of local Chinese. The Nationalist Chinese government said the Japanese killed more than 250,000 men, women and children, leveled villages leaving thousands destitute and burned crops leaving thousands more to starve.

Lieutenant Colonel Doolittle (left front) and Captain Marc Mitscher, commanding officer of USS Hornet, pose with a 500-pound bomb and Army aircrew members during ceremonies on Hornet’s flight deck prior to the raid. (U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command)

The remaining 64 airmen were able to make it to unoccupied China, with the help of local villagers and missionaries. Doolittle, who thought he was going to be court-martialed for losing all of his planes, was instead awarded the Medal of Honor by President Roosevelt and promoted to brigadier general. The raid was a major morale booster for the United States and prompted Japanese leaders to move up their planned attack on Midway to June, which ended in disaster for the Imperial Japanese Navy and became the turning point of the Pacific War. All the raiders became national heroes, forever known as the Doolittle Raiders.

*** *** ***

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.

 

April 18, 2022 at 11:55 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO Early (March 17, 2022)

Happy St. Paddy’s Day to You, Too

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jayden Ford)

This week’s FRIDAY FOTO is posted a day early to capture the St. Patrick’s Day spirit. We couldn’t let the feast of St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint (who was not, himself, Irish) go by without a little wearin’ of the green.

This eerie photo shows an Air Force loadmaster from the 41st Airlift Squadron using night vision goggles during night operations at Pope Army Airfield in North Carolina. The February 11, 2022 training event offered Airmen a venue to hone their skills prior to deploying.

41st Airlift Squadron is assigned to Air Mobility Command‘s 19th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. The 41st operates Lockheed C-130J Super Hercules cargo aircraft.

March 17, 2022 at 10:55 pm 1 comment

FRIDAY FOTO (MARCH 12, 2022)

A Flash of Green.

The northern lights glow behind a Patriot M903 launcher station during Exercise ARCTIC EDGE 2022 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, March 5, 2022. The Patriot system allows Soldiers to detect, analyze and defend against incoming air and missile threats.

U.S.Northern Command is hosting exercise Arctic Edge 2022, which is held every two years.

Participants include 1,000 U.S. military personnel, including units from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Special Operations Command.

Additionally, elements from the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the Canadian Army are also participating.

The exercise aims is to provide realistic and effective training using training locations that are available throughout Alaska.

Arctic Edge 22 is linked to other service specific exercises, including the National Guard’s Arctic Eagle Patriot, the Army’s Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Capability Exercise and the Navy’s ICEX. They will take place concurrently or consecutively during the month of February and March.

March 13, 2022 at 12:04 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 4, 2022)

Wavy Navy.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Lawrence Davis)

Don’t rub your eyes. It won’t make the photo seem less blurry.

After watching, hearing and reading the news from Ukraine all week, we figured nobody wants to see another plane, tank, ship, rifle or helmet — at least not for a little while.

Sooooo, this photo both baffled and amused us when we saw it in a smaller size on the Defense Department website. We thought might give you a chuckle.

Here’s what it really shows. Navy Reserve Yeoman 1st Class Andre Polk,is testing the fit of an M-50 gas mask at Navy Reserve Region Readiness and Mobilization Command in Fort Worth, Texas, also known as REDCOM FW.

Assigned to Navy Reserve Center New York City, Polk was preparing for his scheduled mobilization to Qatar.

Selected Reserve mobilization processing for Polk and other Sailors took place during an adaptive mobilization-enabling event at the Fort Worth command between February 14 and 18. The event was assessed by folks from the Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center, who certified REDCOM FW as a Navy mobilization processing site with delegated Local Area Coordinator for Mobilization authority.

We have absolutely no idea what that last sentence means. Now that’s funny.

March 4, 2022 at 7:25 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (February 18, 2022)

Muscling a Missile.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Samuel King Jr.)

Despite the latest in high tech aircraft parked behind them, these airmen from the 43rd Fighter Generation Squadron have to lift an AIM-9 Sidewinder air intercept missile during a weapons load competition at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida on February 11, 2022.

Two teams competed to see who could load an AIM-120, an AIM-9 and chaff and flares onto their F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighter the fastest and with the fewest errors. The winner will be announced at the unit’s annual awards ceremony.

To learn a little more about the Raptor, and its troubled history, click here.

 

February 17, 2022 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 21, 2022)

Optical Illusion.

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Charles Givens)

No, nothing is spinning in this photo. It just seems that way.

And it’s not the insides of a wooden barrel or a huge empty wine cask. It’s actually the inside of a fighter jet engine.

Air Force Technical Sergeant Justin St Thomas inspects the liner of an F-16 Fighting Falcon jet engine for cracks, bulges and blemishes at the Morris Air National Guard base in Tucson, Arizona on January 9, 2022.

Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

January 21, 2022 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 26, 2021)

Native American Heritage Day.

(U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser / Arlington National Cemetery ) released)

November is National American Indian Heritage Month, honoring the hundreds of Native American tribes and peoples of the United States. And the day after Thanksgiving is Native American Heritage Day.

Mindful of that, we thought this would be a good FRIDAY FOTO as we near the end of November. It shows Vincent Goesahead Jr. of the Crow Nation during the opening ceremony commemorating the centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, on November 9, 2021.

The road to a national commemoration of that heritage has taken several twists over the 20th Century. Originally treated as members of sovereign “nations” for treaty-making purposes, Native Americans were not extended U.S. citizenship — and the civil rights that went with it — until 1924.

Nevertheless, a significant number of Native Americans have served in all of the nation’s wars beginning with the Revolutionary War, according to the Defense Department website.

Twenty-nine service members of Native American heritage have been awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest medal for valor: 25 soldiers, three sailors and one Marine. That Marine is the fabled Greg “Pappy” Boyington of the Cactus Air Force in World War II — who a member of the Brule Sioux tribe.

In 1976, as part of the nation’s bicentennial commemoration, President Gerald Ford proclaimed October 10-16, 1976, as “Native American Awareness Week.”

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed November 23-30, American Indian Week.

It wasn’t until November 14, 1990, President George H. W. Bush declared the month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month to honor the hundreds of Native American tribes and people in the United States, including Alaska. Native Hawaiians and those in U.S. territories in the Pacific are honored in Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month each May.

Those who claim to be American Indians in the active duty force as of July 2021, number 14,246, or 1.1 percent of the total force, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center.

In the past, we here at 4GWAR Blog have celebrated the Native American code talkers: Navaho Marines and Comanche, Choctaw and Meswaki Soldiers who thwarted German and Japanese troops listening in on U.S. field telephone and radio communications in World War I and World War II.

On the Pentagon website there are feature stories on Comanche, Lakota and Lumbee Native Americans serving in today’s Army and Navy.

For those who see bitter irony in celebrating the Native Americans who wore the uniform of the national government that frequently warred on them, took their land and tried to obliterate their culture, we offer this photo, of the Apache leader Geronimo, and a caption dripping with irony, that grew out of the response to the 9/11 attacks on the Homeland.

November 27, 2021 at 12:31 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 12, 2021)

Making Some History.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sergeant Vernon Young Jr.)

When we first saw a smaller version of this photo, we thought there’s something different about these pilots. When we clicked on the image to enlarge it (which we hope you will do), we saw why it was so unique.

These female fighter pilots assigned to the 36th and 25th Fighter Squadrons were about to fly a historic all-female flight at Osan Air Base, South Korea on October 25, 2021. The benchmark flight was the first time at Osan AB that 10 female Airmen planned, led and flew in a formation together.

Eight of the pilots were A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots and two were F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots.

It’s rare for a squadron to launch a formation of pilots who all happen to be female. Not only were there women flying the A-10s and F-16s, but an all-female weather team briefed the pilots prior to stepping to the aircraft. Female Airmen planned and executed the entire process from radio communication inside the air traffic control tower to the crew chief marshaling the aircraft on the ground. The team effort showcased the ability that women have to lead in every facet from planning to mission execution, according to the Air Force.

On April 28, 1993, when former Secretary of Defense Les Aspin ordered military services to allow women to fly in combat, there was no timetable of how soon the world would see the percentages of female fighter pilots increase.

Today, almost 30 years later, there are only 103 female fighter pilots across the U.S. Air Force 11F (fighter pilot) career field. That means the pilots who flew jointly in that all-female formation sortie at the 51st Fighter Wing, constituted 10 percent of the service’s female fighter jocks. Click here to see the full story.

For more photos of this event, click here.

November 12, 2021 at 1:47 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (October 8, 2021)

Loaded Up and Truckin’

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Antwain Hanks)

An F-16 Fighting Falcon from the U.S. Air Force 35th Fighter Wing is positioned on the flight line waiting to take off during Exercise Beverly Sunrise 21-08 at Misawa Air Base, Japan on September 22, 2021.

The exercise allowed airmen to test their Agile Combat Employment (ACE) and Multi-Capable Airmen (MCA) skills by expanding the scope of tasks pilots, ground crews, safety, security, medical and other personnel can complete to recover and relaunch aircraft rapidly from a simulated austere location.

October 8, 2021 at 1:09 pm Leave a comment

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