Posts tagged ‘FRIDAY FOTO 2019’

FRIDAY FOTO (December 20, 2019)

Bright Lights, Big City.

CRS 3 Conducts Maritime Infrastructure Protection Exercises

(U.S. Navy photo Chief Petty Officer Nelson Doromal Jr.)

Navy Petty 2nd Class Officer Vincent Dahl mans an M240 machine gun aboard a Mark VI patrol boat as it transits San Diego Bay on December 11, 2019.

To see the MarkVI in action, click here.

San Diego, California is home to the Navy’s premier Pacific Fleet surface force installation — Naval Base San Diego (NBSD) — and 54 ships, as well as Expeditionary Strike Group 3, the Navy Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center and Naval Medical Center San Diego.

December 20, 2019 at 4:50 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (December 13, 2019)

Stick in the Mud.

Truck Company Field Exercise

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Dylan Hess)

Even in an era of satellite communications, radar evading stealth fighter jets and artificial intelligence, some times the most effective tool is a man with a shovel.

Marines clear mud from a stuck High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV)  — probably better known as a Humvee — during a field exercise at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan on December 11, 2019. (See photo below)

Starting in 1983, the AM General Humvee family of light, four-wheel drive, military trucks and utility vehicles began replacing the Vietnam-era jeep, the latest version of an off-road vehicle first manufactured in World War II.

Although they were designed without armor for traveling back and forth at the rear in a combat zone, Humvees first saw combat in Operation Just Cause, the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989. They saw even more action in Somalia, the Balkans and the Gulf War in the 1990s. However, without armor, both vehicles and crews suffered considerable damage and losses during the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993.  Subsequent versions of the HMMWV were built with armor and bullet proof windows that could withstand small arms fire.

But the still lightly armored, Cold War-era Humvee could not protect troops from powerful, homemade bombs – known as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) – the enemy used in Iraq and Afghanistan. The military replaced many Humvees with heavy-duty vehicles called MRAPs (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) designed with specialized undersides to withstand IEDs. But the MRAPS were slow, top-heavy and had limited capability off-road and on narrow urban streets.

After an 11-year search and development program headed by the Army, both services picked Oshkosh Trucks to build the Humvee and MRAP replacement, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV).  It is bigger, better armored and more comfortable than the Humvee.

The Marine Corps declared the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle officially ready in August to deploy and support the naval expeditionary forces worldwide. The Army did so a few months earlier. However, due to shifting budget priorities and other factors, the full replacement of all HMMWVs is expected to take years.

Truck Company Field Exercise

This is how it’s supposed to look when Marines drive a Humvee through the mud at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, on December 11, 2019.

December 13, 2019 at 11:27 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (December 6, 2019)

A Cloud of Mushrooms

Airborne Operation Dec. 3, 2019

(U.S. Army photo by Paolo Bovo)

U.S. Army, British and Italian paratroopers descend after jumping from an Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft during airborne operations in Pordenone, Italy on December  3, 2019. On the right side of the photo, you can see the C-130 just above the ridge line.

The Hercules is from the U.S. Air Force 86th Airlift Wing. The U.S. paratroops are from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, the U.S. Army Contingency Response Force in Europe, capable of projecting ready forces anywhere in the U.S. European, Africa or Central Commands areas of responsibility.

Click here to see more photos from this operation.

December 6, 2019 at 5:05 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 29, 2019)

Surreal Sunset.

MQ-9 Reaper and aircrew underneath Nevada sunset

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Rio Rosado)

An MQ-9 Reaper drone, or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), sits on the flight line as the sun sets at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada on November 20, 2019. A larger and more heavily-armed version of the MQ-1 Predator, the Reaper  is the first attack drone also designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance. Both UAVs — called remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) by the Air Force — are manufactured by California-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. Earlier this month, General Atomics announced that its Predator-series of drones, which includes the Predator, Predator B, Gray Eagle, Avenger and MQ-9B SkyGuardian lines, has surpassed six million flight hours.

November 29, 2019 at 6:58 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 22, 2019)

Seems Like Old Times.

Tiger TRIUMPH Beach Landing

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Christian Ayers)

While military planners and strategists say the era of massive amphibious landings like Omaha Beach or Iwo Jima are over, the Marines aren’t getting rid of their landing craft just yet.

This November 19, 2019 photo shows U.S. Marines and Indian forces wading to shore at Kakinada Beach on the Bay of Bengal. The amphibious landing was part of a disaster response training scenario during Tiger Triumph, a humanitarian exercise that aims to improve partnership, readiness and cooperation between the U.S. and Indian militaries.

Organizers said the nine-day exercise on India’s eastern coast, was the first drill of its kind to include the U.S. military and all three of India’s armed services, according to Stars and Stripes, the American military newspaper.

India has held similar exercises — involving all three branches of its armed forces — with only one other country: Russia. During the Cold War, India was closer to the Soviet Union than to the United States, and much of the Indian arsenal still dates back to that era, according to the New York Times.

Tiger Triumph brought together 500 U.S. Marines and sailors, and about 1,200 Indian soldiers, sailors and air force personnel for side-by-side training. While the official focus was to prepare for rescue operations and disaster response, it also included search-and-seizure training and live-fire drills, the Times noted.

The exercise represents “a tangible and necessary implementation of a series of U.S. strategic pronouncements regarding the importance of U.S. international partnerships in general and India in particular,” according to an opinion piece by the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, appearing in Defense News.

November 22, 2019 at 6:28 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 15, 2019)

Air Force Tackles Infinity.

210th EIS connects PSAB

(U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant John Wilkes)

The nature of infinity has been the subject of philosophical discussion since the time of the Ancient Greeks. By the late 19th Century, infinity — as a mathematical concept — refined and extended the old philosophical concept, in particular by introducing infinitely many different sizes of infinite sets. Infinity is also a concept in physics and cosmology. The ancient sideways figure-eight symbol has been around as a mathematical symbol of infinity since the mid-17th Century.

But the only mathematical issue these U.S. airmen are tussling with (in a November 5, 2019 photo)  is how many hands it takes to wrestle a fiber optic cable into place at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia — a hot, dusty area which only seems infinite.

November 15, 2019 at 10:40 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 8, 2019)

Big Bird, Big Sky, Baltic Sea.

Bomber Task Force operates over the Baltic Sea

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Trevor T. McBride)

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress flies at high altitude during a mission over the Baltic Sea on October 23, 2019. The Cold War-era long-range, heavy bomber is part of a deployment aimed at improving bomber interoperability with joint partners and allied nations NATO and non-NATO — but friendly — nations.

Both NATO, and the United States in particular, have stepped up their presence in the Baltic region since Russia began throwing its weight around after annexing Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula — without asking — in 2014.

Since then, some Scandinavian countries have been boosting defense budgets even restoring a military draft as Russian aircraft and naval vessels have acted more aggressively in the region. As an example of rising concerns, Sweden and Finland, two non-aligned nations during the Cold War, have been joining NATO exercises in the region.


(Map courtesy of NATO Review.)



November 8, 2019 at 11:58 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 1, 2019)

Threading a Needle.


(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Anderson)

Two sailors help guide the pilot of an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter during a vertical replenishment (VERTREP) as part of a COMPTUEX training exercise in the Atlantic Ocean, on October 23, 2019.

We’ve seen plenty of photos and videos over the years showing Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard helos picking up or dropping off cargo as viewed from the ground or the deck of a ship. But this photo captures what it looks like inside the helicopter, with these sailors acting, in effect, like the backing-up camera on the rear of an SUV.

COMPTUEX is a large-scale rehearsal that U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Groups perform before departing for deployment. The exercise assesses a strike group’s ability to conduct military operations at sea and project power ashore through joint planning and execution of challenging, realistic training scenarios.

November 1, 2019 at 1:04 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (October 25, 2019)

America’s Team.

2019 CISM Military World Games Opening Ceremonies

(U.S. Defense Department photo by EJ Hersom)

The U.S. Armed Forces team marches during opening ceremonies on October 18, 2019 for the 2019 Military World Games in Wuhan, China. Teams from more than 100 countries are competing in dozens of sporting events through October 28.

Soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, paratroopers (red berets) and one lone Coast Guardsman march behind Old Glory as they enter the opening ceremonies at this global competition. Can you spot the Coastie? Hint: He’s wearing a white hat (or cover, as they call it).

For more photos and videos on the U.S. team, click here and here.

October 25, 2019 at 3:08 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (October 18, 2019)

Arctic Puma.

Eye in the sky

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Justin Toledo)

A Marine launches an RQ-20 Puma unmanned aerial system (UAS), a tactical drone, in Setermoen, Norway, on October 10, 2019. Manufactured by California-based  AeroVironment, the Puma is a battery-powered, hand launched, small reconnaissance and surveillance drone. It weighs a little over 13 pounds and can stay aloft for two-and-a- half hours.

The Marine is part of a rotating contingent of Leathernecks based in Norway.

With a long history of service in the Asia-Pacific region from the mid-20th Century until now, the Marine Corps is looking to the future and gearing up for operations in Arctic conditions. Since 2017, a small force of 330 U.S. Marines, based near the town of Vaernes on Norway’s midwest coast, have been rotating in and out of the country every six months. Now with the agreement of the Norwegian government, that rotational deployment has more than doubled in size. “In times of crisis and war Norway will rely on U.S. and other allied military reinforcements. This is at the core of Norwegian security policy and is further emphasized by our NATO-membership,” Norwegian Minister of Defence Frank Bakke-Jensen said in June.

Melting Arctic sea ice, caused by climate change, has touched off a race to establish commercial sea lanes across the top of the world as well as accessing untapped fishing stocks and vast underwater petroleum and mineral stores.  Territorial disputes have also touched off a mini arms race in the polar region, with Russia, Norway, Canada and the United States all boosting their military presence at a rate not seen since the Cold War.

About 700 Marines took over the Corps’ mission in Norway on September 27, marking the latest troop rotation into a country where American forces have been focused on cold weather warfare tactics, according to the Stars and Stripes newspaper’s website.

Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment are now operating out of Setermoen — which is much farther North, above the Arctic Circle — as well as Vaernes,   where they will be training with NATO allies and other partners in the Nordic region. The unit replaced the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, which had been deployed to Norway for the previous  six months.

The 6th Marines are the sixth rotation to Norway. Known as the Marine Rotational Force-Europe, the unit’s headquarters is at Norway’s mountainous Setermoen Army base in the Troms region, which is closer to Russia’s Arctic territory on the Barents Sea.

That move hasn’t set well with Moscow, which has been beefing up its own Cold War-era bases and building new ones in the region — including a large base at Alexandra Island in the Franz Josef Land archipelago (see map below) about 160 miles east of Norway’s Svalbard island group.

In June the Russian Embassy in Norway warned of consequences.  Russia argues Oslo’s decision is in violation of agreements Norway made when it joined NATO in 1949. Norway agreed not to base permanent foreign forces in the country unless threatened or attacked, according to Defense News. But rising Russian belligerence from the Baltics to the Black Sea — especially its 2014 annexation of Crimea and incursion into eastern Ukraine — has unsettled all the militaries in Scandanavia.

Arctic Region

October 18, 2019 at 5:03 pm Leave a comment

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