Posts tagged ‘Homeland Security’

ABOUT THAT BIG BALLOON …

… AND THE JETS THAT SHOT IT DOWN.

By now, you’ve probably heard about the enormous Chinese high-altitude “weather” balloon that an Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter jet shot down off the South Carolina coast February 4, after U.S. authorities determined: 1. It was a surveillance craft, 2. scoping out U.S. defense facilities in Montana and elsewhere across the heartland, 3. in violation of international law, 4. and shooting it down over land would endanger American lives and property.

F-22 Raptor over Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia on December 9, 2022. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergean. Marcus M. Bullock)

However, we noted in a February 6 briefing about the event — which roiled already difficult U.S-Chinese relations — Air Force General Glen VanHerck, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, disclosed that the flight of two F-22s sent to bring down the balloon, had the call sign Frank 01. And the second, backup flight of Raptors, used call sign Luke 01.

The call sign name choice wasn’t random. Lieutenant Frank Luke was a World War pilot awarded the Medal of Honor for his relentless attacks against observation balloons ringed by anti-aircraft guns and guarded by German aircraft.

2nd Lieutenant Frank Luke, Jr. with his SPAD S.XIII on September 19, 1918 near Rattentout Farm, France. 

 

A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Luke was the Number 2 U.S. air ace in World War I (after the better known Captain Eddie Rickenbacker). In just a few short weeks in 1918, Luke shot down eight German planes and 14 enemy observation balloons. His head-on attacks on the hydrogen-filled, heavily guarded balloons earned him the nickname the “Arizona Balloon Buster,” as we noted in an October 4, 2018 posting on 4GWAR blog.

Luke was killed in his final attack on a line of balloons on September 29, 1918 — destroying three — before being mortally wounded by ground fire. He landed his plane but refused to surrender to surrounding German troops, firing his handgun at them until he succumbed to his wound.

“So how fitting is it that Frank 01 took down this balloon in sovereign air space of the United States of America within our territorial waters, General VanHerck noted.

February 7, 2023 at 1:38 pm Leave a comment

THE FRIDAY FOTO (December 23, 2022)

A SPLASH OF COLOR.

(Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Aidan Cooney) Click on the photo to enlarge image.

Coast Guardsmen on U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star enjoy a swim call near the equator in the Pacific Ocean on December 8, 2022.

The swim call (recreational swim) came shortly after the Coast Guard’s largest ice breaker crossed the equator enroute to Antarctica for Operation Deep Freeze 2023. Each year, POLAR STAR travels from its homeport (base) in Seattle, Washington to McMurdo Station in Antarctica to lead Operation Deep Freeze and break miles of ice up to 21 feet thick.

Operation Deep Freeze is an annual joint military service mission to resupply the United States Antarctic stations in support of the National Science Foundation, lead agency for the United States Antarctic Program. See a brief video here from a Seattle TV station on the Polar Star’s departure in November.

More than 1,000 scientists, support staff and military personnel live and work at McMurdo Station during the southern hemisphere summer, when the frozen continent sees perpetual daylight, according to the Stars and Stripes website.

December 22, 2022 at 11:53 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Happy Birthday U.S. National Guard!

From a Colonial Militia Unit …

The First Muster by Don Troiani (Courtesy U.S. National Guard). Click on photo to enlarge image.

On Tuesday, December 13, 2022, the U.S. National Guard celebrates its 386th birthday. Yes, that’s right. The National Guard is older the Army or the Navy — older even than the United States of America.

How is that even possible? Well, according to the Guard, the selection of December 13, 1636 is based upon the Defense Department practice of adopting the dates of initial authorizing legislation for organized units as their birthdates. For a more detailed explanation from a previous  National Guard press release, click here.

So, on December 13, 1636, the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony ordered the organization of the colony’s militia companies into three regiments: the North, South and East Regiments. The colonists had adopted the English militia system which obligated all males, between the ages of 16 and 60, to possess arms and participate in the defense of the community.

The early colonial militia drilled once a week and provided guard details each evening to sound the alarm in case of attack. Growing friction with Native Americans boiled over into brutal warfare in the 1630s, requiring the Massachusetts militia to be in a high state of readiness. The organization of the North, South and East Regiments increased efficiency and responsiveness. Although the exact date is not known, the first muster of the East Regiment took place in Salem, Massachusetts.

Later in the 17th and 18th centuries militias from Massachusetts and most of the other 13 colonies battled the French and their Indian allies in a series of conflicts known as the French and Indian wars. By 1775 they were fighting British redcoats in the war for independence.

The organizational descendants of those first Massachusetts militia regiments – the 181st Infantry, the 182nd Infantry, the 101st Field Artillery, and the 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard – share the distinction of being the oldest units in the United States military.
Of course the Air National Guard isn’t quite that old. The official birth date of the Air National Guard as a reserve component of the U.S. Air Force is September 18, 1947. On that date, the first Secretary of the Air Force was sworn in under provisions of the National Security Act of 1947. Soon afterwards, National Guard Army Air Forces units began to be transferred to the Air National Guard as a reserve component of the Air Force.
National Guard troops have served in nearly every U.S. conflict and war since 1636, and have responded to floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, civil disorders and other emergencies both in their home states and elsewhere.

In Katrina’s Wake By Gil Cohen. (Courtesy National Guard). Click on photo to enlarge image.

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina wrought devastation upon America’s Gulf Coast. Nearly 80,000 Guard members were already federalized to fight in the Iraq and Afghan wars when Katrina hit. Still, more than 51,000 Guardsmen and women from across the country quickly deployed to Louisiana and Mississippi to save lives and assist in recovery efforts.
Click here to see a brief (less than two minutes) video illustrating the duties and responsibilities of the Army National Guard and the Air Guard.
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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.

December 13, 2022 at 1:45 am Leave a comment

HOMELAND SECURITY: Arizona’s Shipping Container Border Wall; Officials Concerned By Attacks of Power Stations in Four States

BORDER BARRIER BATTLE.

Shipping containers are put in place along the U.S.-Mexico border in Cochise County.

Arizona’s Republican governor, whose term ends in a few weeks, has continued to order cargo shipping containers, stacked along a remote part of the state’s border with Mexico as a deterrent to undocumented migrants.

Governor Doug Ducey ordered the double-stacked shipping containers topped by razor wire unloaded in late summer near Yuma in western Arizona — a popular crossing point for migrants and asylum seekers entering the country illegally. He has continued the project over the objections of the U.S. government, environmentalists and the incoming incoming governor who has called it a poor use of resources,  the Associated Press reported December 11. The latest container pile up is in Arizona’s remote San Rafael Valley, in Cochise County, which is not typically used by migrants, according to the AP.

Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs said she was “looking at all the options” and hasn’t decided what to do about the containers after her inauguration on January 5, 2023. “I don’t know how much it will cost to remove the containers and what the cost will be,” Hobbs told Phoenix PBS TV station KAET in an interview December 7.

Ducey’s action comes as record number of migrants have been crossing the border. U.S. border officials have stopped migrants 2.38 million times in the fiscal year that ended September 30,. That’s up 37 percent from the year before. The annual total surpassed two million for the first time in August and is more than twice the highest level during the Trump administration.

Federal agencies have told Arizona officials the construction on U.S. land is unlawful and ordered it to halt. In response, Ducey sued federal officials October 21, sending the dispute to court. While the Justice Department of Justice has filed a motion to dismiss Ducey’s lawsuit, the Biden administration has taken no steps on the ground to stop the governor’s project, according to The Intercept website.

Meanwhile, the sheriff in another Arizona county, bordering Cochise County on the West, says Federal agents should begin seizing vehicles associated with the project.  With federal authorities doing nothing yet, Santa Cruz County Sheriff David Hathaway has vowed to arrest the governor’s contractors if they cross the county line into his turf.

But the contract for the latest container wall has it stopping just shy of Hathaway’s jurisdiction. However, convoys of contractors have been racing through communities in Santa Cruz County for weeks now, hauling 40-foot shipping containers behind multi-ton pickup trucks at dangerous speeds, according to The Intercept. Hathaway said residents in the town of Elgin have complained about Ducey’s drivers “barreling through town,” ignoring stop signs, and “flying past children.”

The U.S. Forest Service says the shipping containers are a safety hazard and the federal government issued a statement warning people to stay away from the Copper Canyon area in the Sierra Vista District of the Coronado National Forest for safety reasons, according to Arizona Public Media.

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VANDALISM OR TERRORISM? UPDATED with new information, photo

All electric power has been restored in central North Carolina, where gunfire December 3 led to massive power outages lasting for four days.

Authorities are now concerned about the vulnerability of the nation’s electric grid with news of other attacks on six substations in Oregon and Washington earlier in the Fall. Another sub station in South Carolina was attacked just days after the North Carolina incident.

Grid security experts said it’s too early to tell whether the incidents were related or unusual in number, but said they showcase a need for the energy industry to be vigilant and prepared.

“It remains troubling and highlights how vulnerable is our critical infrastructure,” Richard Mroz, a senior adviser at the grid security advocacy group Protect Our Power, told the E&E News Energy Wire said in an email about the string of incidents.

Duke Energy Corporation electric substation at Carthage, North Carolina was one of two in the state damaged by gunfire. (Photo via FBI website)

No arrests have been announced and no suspect or suspects have been identified in the shooting at two Duke Energy substations around five miles apart on December 3.  North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper called the shootings about 50 miles southwest of Raleigh, a “criminal attack.” Cooper announced the state, Moore County and Duke Energy were offering a combined $75,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the attack, The Associated Press reported.

When power started going out in Moore County shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday, December 3, investigators found the equipment had been struck by gunfire. The person or people responsible drove to the substations, breached a gate in one case, and opened fire, NBC News reported. The FBI is among the law enforcement agencies assisting in the investigation.

Not the First Attack, nor the Last

In late November, two electric substations near the Portland, Oregon suburb of Clackamas were targeted in what utility officials described as deliberate attacks. The substations are operated separately by the Bonneville Power Administration and Portland General Electric, and it’s unclear if they were attacked on the same day or if the events were connected. At least four substations in Washington state have also been vandalized or targeted, EnergyWire reported.

Several days after the North Carolina shootings, Duke Energy Corporation reported gunfire near its Wateree Hydro station in Ridgeway, South Carolina. The December 7 incident at the South Carolina hydroelectric plant did not cause any reported outages or known property damage, the company said.

Investigators are zeroing in on two threads of possible motives centered on extremist behavior for the North Carolina attacks, CNN reported, citing law-enforcement sources briefed on the investigation. One thread involves the writings by extremists on online forums encouraging attacks on critical infrastructure. The second thread looks at a series of recent disruptions of LGBTQ+ events across the nation by domestic extremists, CNN said.

Investigators have no evidence connecting the North Carolina attacks to a drag event at a theater in the same county, but the timing of two events are being considered in context with the growing tensions and armed confrontations around similar LBGTQ+ events across the country, the sources told CNN.

Attacks on the United States’ power grid have been the subject of extremist chatter for some time, notably ticking up in 2020, the same year a 14-page how-to on low tech attacks, including assaulting power grids with guns, circulated among extremist communication channels, according to CNN and other news outlets.

A Department of Homeland Security bulletin — reported by CNN just days before the North Carolina attack — indicated there was a heightened threat posed by domestic violent extremists in the United States against critical infrastructure and other targets. In the past two years, anti-government groups began using online forums to urge followers to attack critical infrastructure, including the power grid. They have posted documents and even instructions outlining vulnerabilities and suggesting the use of high-powered rifles, CNN reported. Nearly two dozen shell casings from a high-powered rifle were reported found at the scene in North Carolina.

December 12, 2022 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (December 9, 2022)

WINTER STILL LIFE WITH SOLDIERS.

(Army National Guard photo by Sergeant Seth LaCount, 134th Public Affairs Detachment) Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

Alaska Army National Guardsmen — assigned to the appropriately named Avalanche Company — patrol at sunset on December 3, 2022  during an Air Assault training exercise at Alaska’s Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The exercise, part of the drill weekend for these members of the 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment, sought to enhance the unit’s combat readiness while evaluating their proficiency in an arctic environment.

We note only a couple of the soldiers are wearing winter white garb.

December 8, 2022 at 11:54 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (September 23, 2022)

ON A (ROTARY) WING AND A PRAYER.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Jonathan L. Gonzalez)

A Bell UH-1Y Venom utility helicopter (left) and a Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 773, conduct flight operations near the Christ the Redeemer statue at Corcovado Mountain overlooking Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during exercise UNITAS LXIII, on September 12, 2022.

We haven’t focused much on U.S. Southern Command in a while here at 4GWAR, so this photo presents an opportunity to spotlight the work of this regional combatant command based at Doral, Florida near Miami. SOUTHCOM is responsible for defending U.S. security and interests of Latin America south of Mexico, including the waters adjacent to Central and South America and the Caribbean Sea.

Conducted every year since 1960, UNITAS (Latin for “unity’), is the world’s longest-running annual multinational maritime exercise. 4GWAR has been writing about UNITAS since 2015.

HMLA 773, headquartered at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, is part of the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve in support of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force UNITAS LXIII.

This year Brazil celebrated its bicentennial, a historical milestone commemorating 200 years of the country’s independence.

September 22, 2022 at 11:56 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: U.S. Coast Guard Turns 232; First Black Marine Corps 4-Star General Confirmed

Semper Paratus

Happy Birthday to the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle is berthed alongside USS Constitution (Old Iron Sides), the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat, in Boston Harbor on July 29, 2022.  The Eagle is a three-masted sailing barque and the only active (operational) commissioned sailing vessel in the U.S. maritime services. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Samoluk)

The history of the Coast Guard goes back to the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, which was founded on August 4, 1790, as part of the Department of the Treasury, under then-Secretary Alexander Hamilton. The Revenue Cutter Service and the Life-Saving Service, created in 1848 to save the lives of shipwrecked mariners and passengers, were merged to form the Coast Guard on January 28, 1915. In 1939 the Lighthouse Service, created in 1910, was also merged into the Coast Guard.

Since then, the Coast Guard has been handed many assignments including: Intercepting intruder aircraft over the National Capital Region, preserving marine wildlife, maritime search and rescue, enforcing maritime law in U.S. waters and intercepting smugglers of drugs and people.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Caitlyn Mason, assigned to the medium endurance cutter USCGC Mohawk, rescues a sea turtle caught in a fishing net in the Atlantic Ocean, on July 14, 2022.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jessica Fontenette)

In all the Coast Guard has eleven separate missions a lot of them are included in this brief video, which includes the Coast Guard’s marching tune, Semper Paratus, Always Prepared.

U.S. Coast Guardsmen seize a self-propelled, semi submersible craft (left) carrying narcotics off Central America’s Pacific Coast in 2009. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

At the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, the cadets, staff and family members marked the day with speeches, a proclamation from the governor of Connecticut, music and a birthday cake set up in front of Alexander Hamilton’s statue.

Rear Admiral William G. Kelly cuts the cake celebrating the Coast Guard’s 232nd birthday. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Auxiliarist David Lau.)

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First Black Marine Corps 4-Star General.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Marine Corps Lieutenant General Michael E. Langley be appointed to the rank of general and will be promoted in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.  on Saturday (August 6).

Langley will be the first Black Marine appointed to the rank of four-star general. While the Marine Corps and several news outlets have said he will be the first black full general in the 246-year history of the Marines, it’s worth noting the rank did not exist in the Marine Corps, which is a part of the Navy Department, until Alexander Vandergrift was appointed a four star general in 1945. There have been more than 70 four-star generals in the Marine Corps since then, but all have been white men.

Langley was promoted to serve as the head of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) in Stuttgart, Germany, and will command all U.S. military forces in Africa.  The continent is experiencing a rash of economic and security interests by Russia and China. Russia controls the private military company, Wagner Group, whose mercenaries operate in Libya and the Central African Republic.

Lt. General Michael E. Langley. (U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Langley was nominated for the post by President Joe Biden in June. The Senate unanimously confirmed the appointment on Monday (August 1). “It is a great honor to be the president’s nominee to lead U.S. AFRICOM,” Langley said at his July 21 nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I am grateful for the trust and confidence extended by him, the secretary of defense, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the commandant of the Marine Corps,” SEAPOWER reported.

Langley currently serves as the commander, Marine Forces Command; Marine Forces Northern Command; and commander for Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, according to the Marine Corps.  His previous general officer posts included commander for Marine Forces Europe and Africa; deputy commanding general for the Second Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF) and commanding general for the 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

A native of Shreveport, Louisiana and graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in 1985 as an artillery officer. Langley has commanded Marines at every level from platoon to regiment, serving in Okinawa, Japan and Afghanistan, the Marine Corps said.

Langley will replace the outgoing commander AFRICOM, Army Gen. Stephen J. Townsend. In late July, Townsend said the threat of violent extremism and strategic competition from China and Russia remain the greatest challenges to the combatant command, according to a Defense Department news release, Marine Corps Times reported.

“Some of the most lethal terrorists on the planet are now in Africa,” said Townsend, according to the release.

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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 in the photo.

 

 

August 4, 2022 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: First Female Coast Guard Commandant Takes Over

GLASS CEILING SHATTERS

Admiral Linda Fagan took command June 1 as the first female commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. (Dept. of Homeland Security photo via Twitter.) Click on photos to enlarge image.

History was made June 1, 2022 as Admiral Linda Fagan became the first female commandant of the United States Coast Guard in a change of command ceremony with her predecessor Admiral Karl Schultz.

President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas attended the historic ceremony.

In his remarks, Biden noted Fagan had first served aboard the Polar Star, heavy icebreaker, been captain of the Port of New York, served on all seven continents and commanded Coast Guard operations in the Pacific before becoming Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard.

“Throughout her decades of service, she has demonstrated an exceptional skill, integrity, and commitment to our country. She upholds the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.,” Biden said.

“This moment of acceleration of global challenges and hybrid threats that don’t stop at any border, there’s no one more qualified to lead the proud women and men of the Coast Guard, and she will also be the first woman to serve as Commandant of the Coast Guard — the first woman to lead any branch of the United States Armed Forces. And it’s about time,” Biden added.

“With her trailblazing career,” the President said, “Admiral Fagan shows that young people — young people entering service that we mean it when we say there are no doors — no doors closed to women.”

Fagan became the 32nd vice commandant of the Coast Guard on June 18, 2021, and the first female four-star admiral in the service’s history. Biden nominated her for the top job in early April and confirmation from the Senate came swiftly.

Keeping with the tradition of wearing shoulder boards passed down from a senior officer, Adm. Fagan wore the shoulder boards of the Admiral Owen Siler. As the service’s 15th Commandant, he opened the Coast Guard Academy’s doors to women in 1975. Despite having met Silor only once, Fagan acknowledged “the outsized impact of that decision.”

“If it were not for Owen Siler’s courage, I would not be here today,” Fagan said. “I’m wearing his shoulder boards that he wore as commandant, just to acknowledge the long blue line.”

DHS Secretary Mayorkas (3rd from left) and President Biden attended the change of command ceremony where Adm. Linda Fagan  relieved Adm. Karl Schultz (2nd from right) as the 27th commandant at Coast Guard headquarters June 1, 2022. Fagan is the first woman service chief of any U.S. military service. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Travis Magee)

In addition to praising Fagan’s service and accomplishments, Mayorkas, who heads the department that includes the Coast Guard, praised her predecessor, the 26th Commandant, Admiral Schultz, “who led the Coast Guard through a unique and unprecedented period,” Mayorkas noted.

“Throughout the global pandemic, the Coast Guard did not have the option of working from home. At the outset of the pandemic, Admiral Schultz led Coasties as they brought cruise ship passengers and crew to safety. From that time forward, he has helped keep the Marine Transportation System going, which facilitates more than a quarter of our country’s gross domestic product and maintains 31 million jobs in American ports, harbors, and waterways,” the DHS Secretary said.

“Through the most intense and active Atlantic hurricane season on record, historic levels of migration, the urgent need to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, and the Afghan resettlement effort of Operation Allies Welcome, the Coast Guard has been there, always ready and always delivering,” Mayorkas said.

June 2, 2022 at 12:02 am Leave a comment

SHAKO: Coast Guard Admiral Nominated to be First Woman Commandant

Another First for the Coast Guard.

Another glass ceiling in the military may be broken soon.

On April 5, word leaked out that President Joe Biden intends to nominate Admiral Linda Fagan to serve as the 27th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. If confirmed by the Senate, not only will Admiral Fagan be the first woman commandant of the Coast Guard, she would be the first woman in uniform to head one the military services.

Admiral Linda Fagan, vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard since 2021, has been nominated to be the Coast Guard’s first woman commandant by President Biden. (Official U.S. Coast Guard portrait)

While the Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security, it operates under the Navy during times of war and by law is considered one of the six military services along with the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Space Force.

Fagan became the 32nd vice commandant of the Coast Guard on June 18, 2021, and the first female four-star admiral in the service’s history.

The vice commandant is the No. 2 commander in the Coast Guard and its chief operating officer, responsible for executing the Commandant’s Strategic Intent, managing internal organizational governance, and serving as the Component Acquisition Executive.

Pending confirmation, Fagan is expected to relieve the current commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Karl L. Schultz, during a change of command ceremony planned for June 1, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

“Admiral Fagan is an exceptional senior Coast Guard officer and nominee, possessing the keen intellect, the depth of operational experience, and the well-honed leadership and managerial acumen to serve with distinction as our Service’s 27th commandant,” said Schultz, SEAPOWER reported.

The potential gap in leadership between Schultz’s departure and his replacement’s confirmation raised concerns among lawmakers in recent weeks, On Monday (April 4) Senate Democrats Tammy Baldwin of  Wisconsin and Maria Cantwell of Washington, sent a letter to the White House urging the president to nominate a new Coast Guard leader as soon as possible, Military Times reported.

“Ensuring continuity of leadership is of the utmost importance to our national and economic security,” the pair wrote. “The Coast Guard is at the forefront of a number of strategic priorities for the United States, from the growing importance of security in the Arctic, to drug interdiction, environmental protection, and leading emergency response on the frontlines of the climate crisis.”

Congress is scheduled to break for two weeks starting April 8, but could schedule confirmation hearings for Fagan in late April or early May, Military Times noted.

Previously, Fagan served as commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area and and Commander, Coast Guard Defense Force West. She has served on all seven continents, from Ross Island, Antarctica to the heart of Africa, and in many ports along the way. Her operational tours include: Commander of the New York sector;ore than 15 years as a Marine Inspector; and sea duty on the heavy ice breaker POLAR STAR — her first at-sea assignment.

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, seen here on Jan. 2, 2020, was Adm. Linda Fagan’s first sea duty assignment as an officer. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer NyxoLyno Cangemi)

Fagan is also the Coast Guard officer with the longest service record in the Marine Safety field, earning the service’s first-ever Gold Ancient Trident award.

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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 7, 2022 at 9:36 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 25, 2022)

Not All Drones Fly

(U.S. Army photo by Cpl. DeAndre Dawkins)

The U.S. Coast Guard Sentinel-class cutter Glen Harris sails near a U.S Saildrone Explorer in the Gulf of Aqaba of February 13, 2022 during the international maritime exercise Cutlass Express 2022.

A saildrone is a wind and solar-powered unmanned surface vehicle (USV) (a sea-going drone) capable of collecting ocean data for up to 12 months on the open water. In October 2013, a saildrone completed the first autonomous Pacific crossing, sailing 2,248 nautical miles in 34 days from San Francisco to Hawaii, according to the manufacturer, Alameda, California-based Saildrone Inc.

The Saildrone Explorer is 23 feet long, 16 feet tal. It’s reliant on wind power for propulsion and carries a package of solar-powered sensors.

Last December (2021) U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) began testing the new USV in the Gulf of Aqaba — a narrow body of water that separates’ Egypt’s Sinai peninsula from Saudi Arabia — as part of an initiative to integrate new unmanned systems and artificial intelligence into U.S. 5th Fleet operations.

On December 13, NAVCENT launched a Saildrone Explorer USV for the first time from the Royal Jordanian naval base at Aqaba, Jordan. A month earlier, U.S. and Jordanian naval leaders announced the base would become a joint hub for Saildrone operations in the Red Sea.

The Glen Harris, homeported in Manama, Bahrain, is the third of six fast response cutters (FRCs) that are relieving the 110-foot Island-class patrol boats assigned to the Fifth Fleet’s area since 2003. Stationing FRCs in Bahrain supports U.S. Patrol Forces Southwest Asia, the Coast Guard’s largest unit outside of the United States.

The Sentinel-class is a key component of the Coast Guard’s offshore fleet, capable of deploying independently to conduct missions, including port, waterways and coastal security, fishery patrols, search and rescue, and national defense. The FRCs are 154 feet long weighing 353 long tons in displacement. They have a top speed of more than 28 knots, a range of 2,500 nautical miles, an endurance of up to 5 days at sea. The FRCs carry a crew of up to 24.

Cutlass Express is the largest multinational training event in the Middle East, involving more than 60 nations and international organizations committed to strengthening maritime security and stability by building partnerships and interoperability.

Participating nations in Cutlass Express 2022 include Comoros, Djibouti, Georgia, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, the Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The international police agency, Interpol, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime are also participating in the exercise.

March 25, 2022 at 8:37 pm Leave a comment

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