Posts tagged ‘Marine Corps’

FRIDAY FOTO –Extra– (August 28, 2015)

Waiting for Fuel.

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Taylor Queen

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Taylor Queen

A U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier jet  waits to receive fuel from an Air Force KC-135 Stratotankerwhile flying over Al Udeid Base in Qatar. Coalition forces fly daily missions in support of Operation Inherent Resolve,the air war against the self-styled Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Please click on the photo to enlarge the image and see details.

August 28, 2015 at 10:52 pm Leave a comment

WEAPONRY AND EQUIPMENT: Army Picks Oshkosh Corp.’s JLTV Offering

$6.75 Billion Contract.

Oshkosh Corp. L-ATV offering. (Photo courtesy of Oshkosh Corp.)

Oshkosh Corp. L-ATV offering.
(Photo courtesy of Oshkosh Corp.)

The U.S. Army has selected Oshkosh Corp. to build the new combat vehicle to replace the military’s aging Humvee troop carier.

In a statement released late Tuesday (August 25), the Army said was awarding the Wisconsin heavy truck maker a contract, valued at $6.7 billion, to the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) for both the Army and Marine Corps.

Initial production, first at a low rate, 17,000 vehicles for the Army and Marines, is slated to begin in the first three months of Fiscal Year 2016, which begins October 1.  The Pentagon is expected to make a decision on full-rate production in Fiscal Year 2018. Overall the Marines will acquire 5,500 JLTVs, while the Army take nearly 50,000 by 2040. The contract could swell to $30 billion if all 55,000 vehicles are built.

The U.S. military has been looking to replace the lightly armored Humvee (High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle) since 2006. In the first years of the Iraq war, thousands of troops were injured or killed when even up-armored Humvees were blasted by mines and roadside bombs. The JLTV program sought a combat vehicle more heavily armored than the Humvee but more maneuverable vehicle than the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles shipped to Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. Army soldiers in a Humvee in Iraq 2006. (U.S. Navy photo by Photographers Mate 3rd Class Shawn Hussong)

U.S. Army soldiers in a Humvee in Iraq 2006.
(U.S. Navy photo by Photographers Mate 3rd Class Shawn Hussong)

The JLTV will be built in Oshkosh, Wisconsin with deliveries beginning 10 months after contract award. The Army anticipates having its first unit equipped with JLTVs in FY 2018.

The Army, which led the JLTV joint acquisition program with the Marines, selected Oshkosh over Humvee manufacturer AM General and giant defense contractor Lockheed Martin. At a Pentagon briefing late Tuesday, Army officials declined to specify what characteristics led them to pick Oshkosh’s offering, known as the L-ATV. That may be because one or both of the also-rans could file a protest, challenging the decision.

Lockheed and AM General have 10 days to file formal protests over the contract award, the Associated Press noted. Both companies issued statements saying they are considering their options.

All three companies participated in the program’s engineering and manufacturing development phase, which began in 2012. Each competitor send a total of 22 prototypes for field tests at Aberdeen, Maryland and Yuma, Arizona, and other government proving grounds.

August 26, 2015 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

COUNTER TERRORISM: Three Americans, Briton Honored for Thwarting Train Attack [UPDATE]

Gunman Foiled.

Two Thalys trains in 2013. (Photo by Ale Sasso via wikipedia)

Two Thalys trains in 2013.
(Photo by Ale Sasso via wikipedia)

UPDATES with identities of the train passengers who subdued the gunman and the alleged gunman’s identity.

It turns out there were three Americans involved in the tackling and subduing a heavily armed gunman last week on a Paris-bound high-speed train.

They are Air Force Airman First Class Spencer Stone, 23; Oregon National Guard Specialist Alek Skarlatos, 22, and a 23-year-old California college student Anthony Sadler. The three boyhood friends were on a two-week vacation touring Europe when they stepped up and took out the alleged gunmen, who has been idenified as Ayoub El Khazzini, .

On Monday (August 24) French President Francois Hollande bestowed the Legion of Honor, France’s highest decoration, on the three Americans and Chris Norman, 62, a British consultant, who subdued Khazzani.

At a ceremony in Paris, Hollande said their actions last week in the face of terror provided “a message of courage, solidarity and hope,,” according to the Voice of America website.

A French citizen, who was the first to tackle the gunman, but who declined to be identified, and Mark Moogalian, 51, who has dual U.S. and French citizenship , who was wounded in his struggle with the attacker, will receive the French honor at a later date, the New York Times reported.  

Stone, the airman, suffered a serious cut, which nearly cost him his thumb, and an eye injury in the struggle on the packed train. 

There are conflicting reports on whether the alleged gunman, said by French news media to be a 26-year-old man of Moroccan origin, was able to fire an automatic weapon before being subdued. He was placed under arrest by French police when the train stopped in the northern French city of Arras. Also unresolved: how many people were wounded and what their medical status is. The Associated Press reported that the attacker did not fire his automatic weapon but wounded one man with a handgun and another with some sort of blade.

At the Pentagon,  a spokesman confirmed that a member of the American military was on the train and had been injured, the New York Times reported. Quoting a Pentagon statement, the Associated Press said “The injury is not life threatening.”

A European counter terrorism official told CNN said the two Americans were Marines in civilian dress. That turned out to be incorrect. The White House called them U.S. Service members, CNN reported, adding that a member of the Oregon National Guard on personal leave was involved in the incident.

French officials praised the Americans for preventing a tragedy on the crowded Thalys  train, which is owned by the French and Belgian railways and operates high speed trains to several European cities.

While the French government has not yet classified the incident — which occurred on Belgian soil — as a terrorist attack, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel tweeted @CharlesMichel “I condemn this terrorist attack.” Both countries are cooperating on the investigation.

*** *** ***

Air Strike Kills a Top Terrorist.

The White House confirmed today (August 21) that the second-in-command of the violent extremist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was killed in a U.S. attack earlier this this week.

In a statement, Ned Price, spokesman for the National Security Council said Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, also known as Hajji Mutazz, the second in command of ISIS (which the U.S. government calls ISIL) was killed in a U.S. military air strike on August 18 while traveling in a vehicle near Mosul, Iraq.

Iraq map by CIA World Factbook

Iraq map by CIA World Factbook

“Al-Hayali was an ISIL Shura Council member and, as the senior deputy to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was a primary coordinator for moving large amounts of weapons, explosives, vehicles, and people between Iraq and Syria,” the statement said, adding: “Al-Hayali’s death will adversely impact ISIL’s operations given that his influence spanned ISIL’s finance, media, operations, and logistics.”

According to Rudaw, a Kurdish news agency, Mutazz was an ethnic Turk born in Tal Afar, northern Iraq. He was an army commander under late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and joined the anti-U.S. insurgency after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Reuters reported. After being charged with terrorism, Mutazz spent time in Camp Bucca, the notorious U.S. prison in Iraq, Rudaw reported. He changed his name and joined ISIS after being released.

Al-Hayali has been declared dead before, including as recently as last December, the New York Times reported.  “This time we are 100 percent certain,”a senior official with the American-led coalition that is fighting the Islamic State told the Times. “We have multiple confirmations he was in the car at the moment of the strike.”

August 21, 2015 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (August 21, 2015)

The Starting Lineup.

Marine Corps photo by Corporal Preston  McDonald

Marine Corps photo by Corporal Preston McDonald

Marines  wait for the final check of their amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) to begin their training exercise on Onslow Beach at Camp Lejeune North Carolina Monday (August 17).

These Marines are with the 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion.

August 21, 2015 at 1:24 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (August 7, 2015)

Brown Water Patrol.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Scott

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Scott

U.S. sailors and Indonesian Kopaska naval special forces practice patrol formations during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training Indonesia (CARAT) 2015 in Surabaya, Indonesia, August 5, 2015.(Click on the photo to enlarge image).

In its 21st year, this annual exercise includes the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps as well as the armed forces of nine partner nations, including Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

The U.S. sailors are assigned to Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 3. Part of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, the Navy’s three Riverine Squadrons focus on conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation in coastal areas, rivers and deltas.

August 7, 2015 at 12:51 am Leave a comment

TERRORISM ROUNDUP: Chattanooga Toll Rises; Turkey Gets Tough After Bombing; Italian Plot; Cameroon and Nigeria Suicide Attacks

Chattanooga Attack Update.

U.S. flag flies at half-staff on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. President Obama ordered all government flags to remain half-staff through July 25th to honor the life of each service member killed by a gunman in Chattanooga, Tenn.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Meranda Keller)

U.S. flag flies at half-staff on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. President Obama ordered all government flags to remain half-staff through July 25th to honor the life of each service member killed by a gunman in Chattanooga, Tenn.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Meranda Keller)

A fifth service member wounded in the July 16 shooting attack at the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) in Chattanooga, Tennessee has died, according to Navy officials.

Navy Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Randall Smith, 26,succumbed to his wounds in the early morning hours Saturday (July 18). Four U.S. Marines were killed in the incident. They were identified as Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Sullivan, 40; Staff Sergeant David Wyatt, 35; Sergeant Carson Holmquist, 25; and Lance Corporal Squire Wells, 21.

The F.B.I. confirmed that at least one service member shot at the attacker, but did not say whether he had managed to wound the lone gunman, Mohammod Abdulazeez, 24. The gunman, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Kuwait, was killed minutes later in a shootout with the Chattanooga police. One officer was wounded in the gun battle. Edward Reinhold, the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s Knoxville office said two guns belonging to service members were recovered from the scene. And “at least one of those weapons had been discharged,” he said, the New York Times reported.

In the wake of the shootings, according to the Washington Post, armed civilians are stepping in to stand watch outside military recruiting centers from Arizona to Virginia to protect the service members inside. Several members of Congress have called for legislation allowing servicemen to go armed in various situations and postings stateside. Army General Mark Milley, President Obama’s nominee to become the next Army chief of staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday (July 21) that he is open to recruiters being armed in some cases. But he added that it’s a legally complicated issue. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has called for recommendations to improve protection.

But today (July 23) a Pentagon spokesman said the Defense Department opposes giving weapons to every service member on a domestic military installation. “We do not support arming all military personnel for a variety of reasons,” Vavy Captain Jeff Davis told reporters at the Pentagon. “(There are) safety concerns, the prohibitive cost for use-of-force and weapons training, qualification costs as well as compliance with multiple weapons-training laws,” McClatchy newspapers reported (via Defense News and Military Times’ Early Bird Brief)

The FBI said Abdulazeez was a “homegrown violent extremist” who acted alone during his rampage, USA Today reported. U.S. officials told ABC News that in 2013 Abdulazeez did online research for militant Islamist “guidance” on committing violence. The Internet searches were discovered on electronic devices such as his smartphone analyzed over the weekend by the FBI Lab in Quantico, Virginia, several counter-terrorism officials confirmed to ABC News. His family said Abdulazeez suffered depression. They released a statement Saturday (July 18) saying that there are “no words to describe our shock, horror, and grief.”

*** *** ***

Turkey Ups Security After Bombing.

The Turkish government is erecting a wall along part of its border with Syria, reinforcing wire fencing and digging extra ditches after a suspected Islamic State group suicide bombing killed 32 mostly young students in a border town this week. Reuters reports Turkish officials say they believe that the bomber in the attack at Suruc in southeastern Turkey was a 20-year old Turkish man who had traveled to Syria last year with the help of a group linked to the so-called Islamic State, which has taken control of larges areas in Syria and Iraq.

Thousands of foreign fighters are thought to have traveled through Turkey to join Islamic State in Syria and Iraq in the past few years, some of them with assistance from Turkish smuggling networks sympathetic to the militants. The Suruc bombing, whose victims included Kurds, enraged Turkey’s Kurdish minority, many of whom suspect the government of tacitly backing Islamic State in Syria against Kurdish forces, something Ankara strongly denies, according to Reuters.

Turkey  (Map from CIA World Factbook)

Turkey (Map from CIA World Factbook)

Officials said flood-lighting would be installed along a 118 kilometer stretch of the Syrian border, while border patrol roads would be repaired. The armed forces were also digging a 365 kilometer-long ditch along the border and have deployed some 90 percent of their drones and reconnaissance aircraft to the Syrian border.

Meanwhile, Turkey is granting permission for American warplanes to use two Turkish air bases for bombarding the Islamic State. Turkey is also rushing troops to the border to fight militants for the first time, the New York Times reported. U.S. officials said using the Turkish airbases will allow U.S. and coalition aircraft to make more numerous bombings of Islamic State targets.

*** *** ***

Attack on Italian Base Foiled.

Italian prosecutors say two suspects arrested Wednesday (July 22), who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group, planned to target an Italian military base near the northern city of Brescia that has a U.S. military presence, the Associated Press reported.

But Prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli told a press conference in Milan that the two suspects did not have the capabilities to carry out an attack against the Ghedi air base or any other of the targets they had identified with a Twitter account, including Milan’s Duomo cathedral or Rome’s Colosseum.

Officials said the two men, a Tunisian and a Pakistani, were making plans to travel to Islamic State territory for military training while at the same time gathering information from the Internet.

*** *** ***

Bombings in Cameroon, Nigeria.

Cameroon (CIA World Factbook)

Cameroon
(CIA World Factbook)

Security has been increased in northern Cameroon following Wednesday’s (July 22) double suicide bombing attack, carried out by two females, that left dozens dead.

The attack in the city of Maroua is the fourth in two weeks, the Voice of America website reported. The governor of the country’s Far North region said he has asked the military to be more vigilant and vigorous while checking travelers and their goods, adding that all suspected markets, shops, bars and popular spots have been sealed.

Al Jazeera reported the two suicide bombers killed at least 22 people at a marketplace near the border with Nigeria. The toll is likely to rise among the 50 injured, officials said.

Meanwhile, bomb blasts suspected to have been carried out by radical Islamists have killed at least 29 people in Nigeria. The attacks came after Nigeria’s new president warned that the U.S. refusal to sell his country strategic weapons is “aiding and abetting” Boko Haram, which wants to create an Islamic state in Nigeria and has allied itself with the Islamic State. The Nigerian bombings were at two busy bus stations in Gombe.

July 23, 2015 at 11:39 pm Leave a comment

HOMELAND SECURITY: Four Marines Killed in Tennessee Shootings

Attack in the Homeland.

Four U.S. Marines were killed and another service member was wounded in two separate shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee, today (July 16).

Click on photo to enlarge. (Courtesy National Atlas via wikipedia)

Click on photo to enlarge.
(Courtesy National Atlas via wikipedia)

The shootings took place at the Navy Operational Support Support Center, and at an armed forces recruiting center, officials said.

The gunman, believed to be acting alone, was also killed and a local police officer was wounded in the shooting spree. The FBI is leading the investigation. A motive for the attacks has not been determined but officials are treating it as a domestic terrorist attack.

The alleged gunman was identified as Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Kuwait.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stepped up protective measures at “certain federal facilities, out of an abundance of caution,” said DHS Secretary Jeh [Pronounced Jay] Johnson. For more than a year, Johnson has been saying that his biggest concerns are homegrown or self-radicalized lone wolf terrorists and citizens of Western countries returning home imbued with violent extremist Islamist ideology after fighting in war torn Syria and the territories controlled by the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.

The Navy Operational Support Center is used by Navy and Marine Corps personnel, and is often referred to as a “reserve center,” Navy officials said. It provides training and readiness support for reserve-component personnel to enable them to support the needs of the Navy and Marine Corps.

July 16, 2015 at 10:40 pm Leave a comment

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