Posts tagged ‘Marine Corps’
Vets Getting More Attention.
Is it your 4GWAR editor’s imagination or are veterans getting more attention from the media, industry and the public this year?
There were stories about veterans’ health and employment needs on radio, television and in almost every newspaper across the country. Businesses from local restaurants to national chains like J.C. Penny, Home Depot and Meineke were offering special deals for veterans and their families. And there seemed to be a healthy turnouts at local Veterans Day parades and other outdoor events.
But there are some who think parades and solemn memorial services aren’t enough to help those who have served their country, like the author of this op ed article, that first appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
In May, on Memorial Day, the United States of America remembers the honored dead, those who gave their lives in this country’s wars since 1775.
Every November on Veterans Day (no apostrophe, we’ve been informed — despite what the calendars and holiday sale ads say), Americans honor all who served or continue to serve in uniform — in war and peace. November 11 is the anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I – the “War to End All Wars” — in 1918. Unfortunately, history has proven that was an overly optimistic term for what turned out to be the First World War.
After years of bloodshed in the 20th and early 21st centuries, we’d like to pause here to remember the sacrifice of all those who serve their country. Even far from a combat zone, many of them have risky jobs on aircraft carrier decks, in fast moving Humvees and high flying aircraft. There is hard work, as well as danger, in airplane hangars and ships at sea. Depots and warehouses are stuffed with equipment and supplies that can blow up, burn, sicken or maim the humans working nearby.
Those risks are illustrated in some pretty amazing images in an insurance company’s television commercial thanking “those who dared to take the oath.”
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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.
U.S. Marines participate in Exercise Trident Juncture 2015 at sunset in Almeria, Spain.
Trident Juncture 2015 is being held through October and November — predominantly in, over and on the seas around Portugal, Spain and Italy.
One of a series of long-planned exercises to ensure that NATO Allies are ready to deal with any emerging crisis, Trident Juncture also seeks to ensure that personnel from 30nations are able to work effectively with partners in tackling any crisis.
Over 36,000 personnel are taking part,. They include forces from NATO Allies as well as seven partner nations (Australia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Sweden and Ukraine).
The Marines in this photo are assigned to Delta Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division.
Devil Dogs’ Dog.
The story goes that after the hard-fought battle of Belleau Wood in World War I, the Germans — shocked by the tenacity and marksmanship of the U.S. Marines — said the Marines fought like “Teufel hunde,” devil dogs. The story may be apocryphal but the Marines had a new nickname: Devil Dogs.
Well here is one of their military working dogs all kitted up with protective goggles, muzzle and safety harness before the start of special patrol insertion and extraction training at the Marines’ Camp Lejeune, North Carolina late last month.
During this kind of exercise the Marines fast rope down from a hovering helicopter. That begs the question: How do you get a dog down from a helicopter that can’t land in hostile territory?
Here’s the answer:
This Marine and his canine colleague, both with Marine Raider Regiment, hang from a UH-1Y Huey chopper assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 167, during special patrol insertion/extraction training at Stone Bay, Camp Lejeune, N.C., Sept. 23, 2015. HMLA-167 Marines flew from Marine Corps Air Station New River to assist Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) with the training.
The Raider Regiment and MARSOC are part of U.S. Special Operations Command, which oversees all the services’ elite specialty units like Army Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Air Force combat air controllers and Marine Raiders
To see more photos of this doggy and his Marine Raider companions, click here.
By Land, Sea or Air.
The military is exploring ways that unmanned systems, from helicopters to submarines, can be used to transport supplies in hostile or dangerous areas.
Last year, Lockheed Martin and Kaman’s unmanned K-MAX helicopter returned from nearly three years of transporting cargo for the Marine Corps in Afghanistan — the first unmanned helicopter to do so.
With their supply truck convoys frequent targets of roadside bombs and insurgent attacks, the Marines were looking for a safer alternative. K-MAX’s cargo transportation was able to take an estimated 900 trucks off the road and their drivers and escorts out of harm’s way.
But transporting supplies isn’t limited to unmanned aircraft. Manned ground vehicles–from small, rugged all-terrain vehicles to heavy cargo trucks are being converted into autonomously operating vehicles.
The same is true of the optionally manned Proteus, a dual mode underwater vehicle that can deliver special operations forces swimmers or their equipment and supplies to shore from a submerged submarine.
Originally developed by as a swimmer delivery vehicle (SDV) for up to six Navy SEALS, Proteus, a massive 8,000-pound submersible, is now being leased by the Navy for testing as a dual mode vehicle that can operate as manned SDV or a cargo-carrying unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). “The idea of using it as an unmanned mule is very feasible,” says George Geoghegan, maritime systems manager for Battelle — which together with shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries — owns and operates Proteus.
The almost 26-foot-long Proteus has 170 cubic feet of space in its cargo area and exterior side rails that can carry bulkier cargo, although the maximum total payload is limited to 1,100 pounds. Cargo will either have to be sealed in watertight packaging or be water resistant because the cabin is flooded when underway as part of its original mission: to allowing divers to enter and exit the vehicle while submerged. But that also means there’s more room for payload.
Powered by 20 lithium polymer batteries that weigh about 100 pounds each when underway, Proteus has a range of about 350 nautical miles at an energy-saving low speed of 3 knots, and a maximum speed of 9 knots fully-loaded, according to Geoghegan. Like an SDV, Proteus can be transported to a denied area in the dry deck shelter of a submarine. It can work at depths of 150 feet when manned, 200 feet unmanned.
Unmanned, the vessel can be pre-programmed to run underwater from point to point but it does not have obstacle avoidance capability. However, Geoghegan says that’s just another payload that can be added.
Polaris Defense offers their entire line of rugged ground vehicles as capable of manned or unmanned operation. “We build our vehicles with the ability to be optionally unmanned. And it’s everything from tele-operated to fully unmanned,” said General Manager Rich Haddad, adding “we’re not an autonomy company. We’re agnostic about whose autonomy package goes on the vehicle.”
But the company has acquired a ground guidance software package called Primordial “that could easily morph into a mission planning type of capability. We are integrating that into our vehicle but it is not in itself an autonomy package,” Haddad said.
Polaris supplies a range of all terrain vehicles for elements of U.S. Special Operations Command.
Polaris supplied the ground vehicles that contestants were required to drive in DARPA’s Robotic Challenge to identify robots that could perform human tasks in disasters. And a Polaris 6×6 vehicle was converted by TORC Robotics into the autonomous and semi-autonomous Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate (GUSS) that is being studied by the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab.
To read more on this topic, click here to see our story in Military Logistics Forum magazine’s September issue (pages 8-9).
Blue Water Raiders.
Marines and sailors slice through the waters off southern California in rigid hull inflatable boats (RIB) from the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans to conduct an exercise known as visit, board, search and seizure. They were heading for a simulated enemy vessel on September 23 near San Clemente Island.
The Marines and sailors are with the Maritime Raid Force of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. This was the first at-sea exercise for these troops preparing for deployment to the Pacific and Central Command areas of responsibility in early 2016.
To see more photos of this exercise, click here.
We inadvertently failed to post this week’s Friday Foto on Friday and did not notice the error until just after midnight Friday/Saturday.
Our apologies to loyal readers who’ve been kept waiting.
Staying Ahead of the Threat 2015.
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, VIRGINIA — In the 21st Century, the U.S. Marine Corps will confront a number of challenges, like the hybrid warfare seen in eastern Ukraine and the rise of teeming coastal mega cities around the world, according to a panel of generals and colonels speaking at this year’s Modern Day Marine expo.
In opening the panel discussion on building the future Marine Corps by harnessing innovation, Lieutenant General Robert Walsh noted hybrid warfare was on the rise around the globe in Syria, Iraq and “going on in Ukraine right now.” The hybrid battlefield contains a mix of non-state actors (guerrillas or foreign volunteers) combined with regular military and “state capabilities” like precision weaponry and high tech communications and propaganda methods. “We’ve got to be able to stay ahead of the threat” through innovation, said Walsh, deputy Marine commandant for Combat Development and Integration.
“The new normal was Benghazi,” said Lieutenant General Ron Bailey, deputy commandant for Plans Policies and Operations. As Libya slid into chaos the Marines had to mobilize a special purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force to handle a rapidly disintegrating situation on the ground, in the air and at sea. In the future, Marines will have to be prepared to fight in five battlespaces: air, land, sea, space and cyberspace, Bailey said.
The hybrid warfare in Ukraine “is the reality of the fight we will have to fight” against soldiers in uniforms mixed in with local citizens and volunteers (the so-called Little Green Men, who were believed to be Russian soldiers in mufti). “We need non-lethal weapons that will enable us to fight among the people” and still be able to take out enemy threats, Bailey added.
The future battlefield will probably look nothing like Afghanistan and Iraq, where Marines have been fighting for the last 14 years. Instead, urban areas near the sea and river deltas will be the most likely environment, said another panelist, Brigadier General Dale Alford, commander of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab. And that environment will be “complex, congested, cluttered, contested, connected (with the cyber world), constrained and coastal,” he said. The world population is moving towards the cities and 75 percent of the world’s largest cities are in the developing world – many of them in the littoral areas close to the sea.”That’s where our Marines are going to fight. That’s where we’re going to have to operate,” he added.
Pointing at a slide showing images of recent conflicts in Ukraine, the Middle East and Africa, Alford noted the Marines will have to deal with challenges like iPADs and Google Earth being used to direct mortar attacks, off-the-shelf unmanned quad copters being used by terrorists and insurgents for surveillance and reconnaissance, MANPADs (shoulder-fired ground- to-air missiles) “in the hands of teenagers.”
Like other panel members, Alford said innovation and new techniques bubble up from below, from junior officers and sergeants and corporals who are in the fight. “We need our young pups out there to innovate and figure out how we’re going to do this,” he added. Panel members also called on industry to provide technical solutions for these new challenges.
A video on the topic, a hot one in NATO circles, is here.
[UPDATES to restore dropped word ‘Corps’ in dateline, expand definition of hybrid war, add detail to “cluttered, coastal environment” explanation and recast headlines to reflect changes.]
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, VIRGINIA — We went south of Washington this week for a first-time visit to the Modern Day Marine (MDM) expo and confrence.
Unlike massive military and industry conferences like the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space in April and the Association of the U.S. Army gathering next month in Washington, Modern Day Marine is held outdoors (in large air conditioned tents) instead of in a huge convention center. Even the panel discussions conducted by Marine Corps brass are held in a very big tent with folding chairs on temporary flooring.
At the first panel discussion, several generals and a couple of colonels talked about the importance of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF), pronounced MAGTAF. It’s the Corps’ basic expeditionary force that can put Marines ashore via landing craft, helicopters — or both — as part of a rapid response to a crisis. We’ll discuss this more over the weekend.
But we want to get to the four monster amphibious vehicles on display facing each other in one of the expo’s big tents.
For years the Marine Corps has been looking for a replacement for its aging Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV), a tracked landing craft that has been around since the 1970s. Five companies are competing for the contract to build the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) to replace the AAV.
The original planned replacement vehicle, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), was cancelled in 2011 by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates for being too expensive and behind schedule.
Now the Marines are looking for a big vehicle that can carry at least 10 Marines (beside an operating crew of three), get them to the beach from a ship as much as 12 nautical miles off shore, at a speed of at least 6 knots. The ACV will have to be as rugged and protective as a tank but be able to carry troops far inland quickly, if necessary.
Lockheed Martin unveiled its offering for the first time on Tuesday (September 22). Like all of the others on display, it is an 8×8 behemoth. The desert tan vehicle can carry as many as 13 Marines as well as a three-person crew.
BAE Systems, which makes the current AAV, is hoping to replace it with its entry displayed in forest camouflage colors.
Science Applications International Corporation, better known as SAIC, had its gray Terrex 2 vehicle on display. The Terrex can carry 11 passengers plus a crew of three.
Last but not least was a solid green 8X8 from General Dynamics.
Also in the hunt for the ACV program — but not at MDM — is a team consisting of of Advanced Defense Vehicle Systems and St Kinetics, a Singapore company.
The Marines are expected to select two vehicles from the five offerings in November. Each company will then provide 16 vehicles to be tested in all types of climes and conditions.
[More on Modern Day Marine this weekend. Stay tuned.]