Posts tagged ‘Marine Corps’

BALTIC to BLACK: From the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, Russia’s Neighbors Are Nervous

Sweden to Resume Draft.

Armored vehicles loaded with troops hit the beach in Sweeden during BALTOPS 2015

(A Swedish amphibious assault vehicle participating in NATO exercise BALTOPS 2015.)

Concerned about Russia’s aggressive actions in the Baltic region, and mounting uncertainty over Europe’s alliance with the United States, Swedish authorities have announced mandatory military service will return for men and women next year.

Sweden, which abolished the draft in 2010, plans to conscript 4,000 men and women in 2018, according to the New York Times. Unlike most of its neighbors in the region (Norway, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) Sweden is neutral and not a member of NATO.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Baltics became a region of stability. But all that changed with Russia’s annexation of Crimea three years ago and the Russian support for the insurgency in Ukraine, the Times said. Swedish military spending last year  was up 11 percent.

“The Russian illegal annexation of Crimea, the conflict in Ukraine and the increased military activity in our neighborhood are some of the reasons,” Marinette Nyh Radebosaid, a Swedish defense ministry spokesperson, told the BBC.

map-baltic-region

(Map courtesy of NATO Review.)

In recent years, Baltic and Nordic nations have been rattled by Russia’s antagonistic behavior. There have been numerous reports of Russia probing Nordic defenses, from an underwater vehicle  entering Swedish waters to Russian bomber flights violating Swedish and Finnish airspace. Estonia was hit by a massive cyber attack, believed to be Russian in origin, in 2007.

*** *** ***

Norway Boosts Defense Budget.

Last year, Norway announced a 1.9 billion krone ($230 million) increase in defense spending for 2017, bringing the country’s total military spending to 50.9 billion krone. More than 12 billion of that amount was to go to procurement, IHS Jane’s reported last October.

The increase, part of Norway’s Long Term Defence Plan, drew criticism from opposition lawmakers who didn’t like where the money would come from — the Government Pension Fund. But according to Defense News, cross-party support for the boost in defense spending was fueled by two concerns: keeping pace with Russia’s military buildup in the High North (above the Arctic Circle) and whether the Trump White House might weaken U.S. spending on maintaining European security.

The Norwegian Defense Ministry wants to buy more F-35 strike fighters, three helicopter-equipped Coast Guard vessels and CV-90 combat armored vehicles, as well as armored reconnaissance systems and artillery equipment. Longer term acquisition plans would seek a new air defense system and multi-role drones.

“Given all that is happening in the region, Norway needs to have the strongest defense that it can afford,” Bård Vegard Solhjell, a Socialist Left Party member of parliament told Defense News last month.

*** *** ***

U.S. Troops in Romania.

Meanwhile, the United States military is training with NATO militaries and partner nations in and around the Black Sea.

Platinum Eagle 17.1: Dismount Range

(A U.S. Marine, center, watches Ukrainian soldiers in action during Exercise Platinum Eagle at Smardan Training Area, Romania, on February 24, 2017. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Sean J. Berry.)

The latest operation: Soldiers, tanks and M88 recovery vehicles from the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment’s “Fighting Eagles” recently arrived in Romania in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The soldiers and equipment traveled more than 1,100 miles from western Poland, where the battalion and the rest of the 3,500 soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division’s 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT), deployed to Europe, initially assembled.

Participating in Atlantic Resolve means the 3rd ABCT will conduct bilateral and multinational training with allies in eight different countries, according to the Army. The emphasis will be increasing interoperability with Romanian and Bulgarian land forces over the next six months.

The 3rd ABCT began arriving in Europe from Fort Carson, Colorado in January. The 3rd ABCT is bringing approximately 3,500 personnel and 87 tanks, 18 Paladin self-propelled guns; 419 humvee  variants; 144 Bradley Fighting Vehicles; (446 tracked vehicles, 907 wheeled vehicles, 650 trailers).

4th ID strengthes ties with Romanian NFIU

Major Royce Baker, chief of fires with the 4th Infantry Division Mission Command Element, meets Colonel Catalin Ticulescu, commander of the Romanian NATO Force Integration Unit, during a Multinational Division-South East Command staff exchange. (Photo by Army Staff Sergeant Diandra J. Harrell)

In February 2017 units began distributing across region with to Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Germany and several Baltic nations.

 

 

 

 

March 9, 2017 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (December 30, 2016)

Wintry Mix.

Now that winter is underway in the Northern Hemisphere, we thought we’d run a series of photos illustrating U.S. forces dealing with cold and snowy weather around the world.

frifo-12-30-2016-no-1-sun-and-snow

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Kirstin Merrimarahajara.)

The first photo (above) comes from Lithuania, where a Marine works his way through sun beams and snow in a field training exercise November 29, 2016 during Iron Sword 16, at the Rukla Training Area.

 

frifo-12-30-2016-no-2-snow-propeller

(U.S. Navy photo.)

As snow streams down, sailors change a propeller on an EP-3E Aries II aircraft during a night check at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Oak Harbor, Washington. The sailors are assigned to Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 1.

 

frifo-12-30-2016-no-3-ice-drilling

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cassandra Whitman.)

Senior Airman Carlos Aleman and Technical Sergeant Craig Slaten drill a hole in the frozen Tanana River in Fairbanks, Alaska on December 5, 2016. The airmen, both assigned to the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron, drilled in the area to build up the ice and create a stable bridge for transporting equipment and supplies.

 

frifo-12-30-2016-no-4-pickax-arm

(U.S. Air Force photo by Justin Connaher.)

Army Specialist Joseph Feola loosens the frozen ground so his fellow soldiers can drive tent stakes while conducting cold weather training in single-digit temperatures at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska on November 29, 2016. Feola is assigned to the 95th Chemical Company, 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.

 

3rd ID teaches suppressive fire to Ukrainian Soldiers

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Elizabeth Tarr.)

Ukrainian and U.S. soldiers exit an armored vehicle during suppressive fire training in Yavoriv, Ukraine, November 18, 2016.

 

U.S. Marine live-fire exercise in Norway

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Michelle Reif.)

Marines and Norwegian soldiers operated a variety of armored vehicles including this tank in Setermoen, Norway, during a live-fire exercise to acclimate troops to mountainous regions and extreme cold weather conditions, November 17, 2016.

 

106th Rescue Wing Honor Guard Trains in the Snow

(Air National Guard photo by Staff Sergeant Christopher S. Muncy.)

Airman 1st Class Avery Friedman performs taps during training at Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach, New York, Dec. 15, 2016. Friedman is a member of the 106th Rescue Wing Honor Guard.

 

 

December 30, 2016 at 12:53 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (September 2, 2016)

Night Raid.

FRIFO 9-2-2016 USMC ASSAULT RAFT

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick Dionne

Marines depart the well deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay in a combat rubber raiding craft in the Pacific Ocean. The Green Bay is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The Marines are assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

September 2, 2016 at 8:19 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (August 12, 2016)

Bird’s Eye View.

Sumos provide aerial refueling during Exercise Pitch Black 2016

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Nicole Zurbrugg

Marine Corporal Chris Lawler, crewmaster on an KC-130J aerial refueling tanker observes a Marine Corps F/A-18C Hornet approach the refueling hose during Exercise Pitch Black 2016 at Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal, Australia.

The jets line up parallel to the wing of the tanker until cleared by the pilot, then maneuver to a position about 10 to 15 feet behind the hose, then to a pre-contact position three feet behind the basket until cleared for contact. At contact, the pilots plug in until refueled.

Lawler is with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, based at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

The Australian air force hosted the three-week, biennial, multinational training exercise.

 

 

August 12, 2016 at 11:59 pm 1 comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 22, 2016)

A Delicate Balance.

FRIFOTO 7-22-2016 CANADIAN HILLSIDE HELO

Canadian forces photo by Sgt Marc-André Gaudreault.

They call this insertion-and-extraction training.

U.S. Marines and Canadian soldiers board a Royal Canadian Air Force CH-147F Chinook helicopter balanced carefully if not precariously, on a hillside at Camp Pendleton, California during Rim of the Pacific 2016.

The biennial multi-national exercise, known as RIMPAC, is being held this year in and around Hawaii as well as in southern California locations like Camp Pendleton. Participants in RIMPAC, which began June 30 and runs through August 4, include 25,000 service members from 27 nations, including–for the first time–the People’s Republic of China. The equipment involved includes 45 ships, five submarines and more than 200 aircraft, according to the Defense Department.

The Canadian soldiers are snipers, pathfinders and reconnaissance members assigned to the 2nd Battalion Royal 22nd Regiment.

To learn more, click here and here.

July 22, 2016 at 1:04 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (June 3, 2016)

Man-Eating  Tank.

Sullivan Cup

U.S. Army photo by Sergeant 1st Class Jon Soucy

Army Private First Class Harlan Troutman scrambles into the driver’s compartment of an M1A1 Abrams tank during the Gen. Gordon Sullivan Cup best tank crew competition at Fort Benning, Georgia in early May. Troutman is assigned to the Tennessee Army National Guard’s H Troop, 2nd Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment.

June 3, 2016 at 1:09 am Leave a comment

SHAKO: Memorial Day 2016

Assessing the Toll.

Memorial Day, a holiday that grew out of efforts to honor the dead of the Civil War — North and South — commemorates the fallen. Veteran’s Day, as the Washington Post points out, was created after World War I to honor all who served their country in war and peace.

They say Freedom has a price. The chart below shows how Americans have been paying that price for more than 200 years.

Military deaths chart

The photos below show that debt has been paid — with interest — by the living as well.

Memorial Day in Arlington National Cemetery 2015

Army photo by Rachel Larue

Brittany, left, and her four-year-old son, Christian, spend time at the grave of husband and father, Marine Corps Sergeant Christopher Jacobs, in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Christian wore his father’s cover (uniform hat) during the Memorial Day visit.

Memorial Day FistBump

Dept. of Defense  photo by Roger Wollenberg

Marine Corps veterans Eric Rodriguez, left, and Anthony McDaniel fist bump during the gold medal wheelchair basketball competition at the 2016 Invictus Games for wounded warriors in Orlando, Florida on May 12.

May 30, 2016 at 9:56 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts


Posts

March 2017
M T W T F S S
« Feb    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Categories


%d bloggers like this: