Posts tagged ‘Marine Corps’

SHAKO: Some Marine Corps Hairstory

TALE OF THE PONYTAIL.

For the first time in the more than 100 years since the first women were sworn in as U.S. Marines, the Corps is letting female Marines wear their hair in a ponytail … well, sort of.

In late November, the Marines’ Training and Education Command announced updates to approved female hair styles via Marine Administrative Message 615/22.

The changes include: twists for short hair, an increase in maximum length for medium hair, half-ponytails or up to two half-braids for medium hair, and overall increase in styled length for long hair.

Consistent with current rules, long hair must be secured up (defined as no portion of the hair should be left to fall naturally / unsecured or with exposed ends), except when authorized during non-combat physical training. Medium and long length hair may be worn in an unsecured full ponytail or unsecured braid during non-combat physical training only, according to a Marine Corps press release.

Until the new hair policies were announced, the Marine Corps was the last U.S. armed service to allow women to wear ponytails whilein uniform. The Navy has permitted them since 2018. The Army, Air Force, Space Force and Coast Guard changed policies for women’s hair in 2021.

Previously, most women Marines with long hair, had to wind it into a very tight bun (photo below), often with the aid of a lot of hairspray. The onerous process also  put a lot of tension on the hair which can lead to damage and hair loss.

The updates to the hair regulation also clarify that tightly pulled or slicked back hair is not a requirement, and Marines are encouraged to avoid potentially damaging or harmful products.

Male and female drill instructors with the 1st Recruit Training Battalion of the Recruit Training Regiment, at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, render a salute during a ceremony on December 21, 2022.  (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Grace J. Kindred) Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

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.BEARDS AND BOOT CAMP.

In another Marine tonsorial issue, a federal court in Washington recently ruled in favor of three Sikh men and overruled the Corps’ requirement that all male recruits in boot camp must receive the traditional extreme haircut and be clean shaven.

Marine Corps recruits practice how to fall during martial arts training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego on January 23, 2023. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal  Jacob Hutchinson) Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

The federal appeals court in the District of Columbia ruled that the Marine Corps cannot deny entry to Sikhs because of their unshorn beards and hair.

The three men, Jaskirat Singh, Milaap Singh Chahal and Aekash Singh, all wanted to serve their country and were qualified to enlist but the Marine Corps told them they could serve only if they shaved before going into basic training. Most Sikh men don’t cut their hair as a sign of their religious commitment, but serving in the military is another aspect of their faith, the lawyer representing the three told NPR.

“They believe, as part of their religious duty, in defending the rights of others,” said attorney Eric Baxter, Sikhs, he noted, “have served for a long time in militaries around the world, including in the United States, with all of their articles of faith in place.”

As part of the British Indian Army, from the late 19th Century, Sikh regiments fought in numerous wars all over the world, including the Second and Third Anglo-Afghan Wars, many campaigns on British India’s North-West Frontier, in World War I on the Western Front, Gallipoli and Mesopotamia and the North African, Italian and Burma campaigns of World War II, earning many gallantry awards and battle honors.

The Indian Army’s Sikh Regiment is said to be its most highly decorated.

The Sikh Regiment marching contingent passes in review at India’s 66th Republic Day Parade in January 2015. (Ministry of Defence, Government of India photo). Click on the photo to enlarge image.

In her December 2022 opinion, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Patrica Millett wrote the men’s Sikh faith requirement to maintain unshorn hair and beards conflicted with the Marines’ standard grooming policy for the 13 weeks of boot camp. The Corps argued that allowing the men to keep their beards would interfere with troop uniformity. The Marine Corps had agreed to accommodate the trio’s religious commitments after basic training was completed.

However, Millet said the Marines had not provided compelling arguments for any safety reasons supporting the policy or that unshorn hair would interfere physically with boot camp training. She also noted recruits were allowed to grow beards for medical reasons, like the skin condition known as shaving bumps, and that the Corps had eased restrictions on tattoos and women’s hairstyles.

The judge granted Jaskirit Singh and Chahal a preliminary injunction allowing them to begin basic training immediately. The ruling also found that Aekash Singh, who plans to enter officer candidate school, should have his related case reconsidered by a federal District Court, The New York Times reported.

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SHAKOSHAKO 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.

January 26, 2023 at 11:57 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Marines Have Their First Black Female Two-Star General

ANOTHER FIRST FOR THE MARINES.

The U.S. Marine Corps now has its first black female (two star) major general.

Brig. Gen. Lorna Mahlock, director of Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4), on August 31, 2018. (Department of Defense photo)

The Senate confirmed Major Gen. Lorna Mahlock for promotion on December 15, nine days after President Joe Biden nominated her for promotion along with seven other Marine Corps brigadier generals, according to the Pentagon.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Mahlock, 54, immigrated to Brooklyn, New York at the age of 17 in 1985. She enlisted in the Marine Corps three months later and became an air traffic controller. She became an officer through the Marines’ Enlisted Commissioning Education Program in 1991 after graduating from Marquette University.

Since then she has amassed multiple higher degrees including two masters degrees in Strategic Studies from the Army War College and the Naval Postgraduate School, according to Marine Corps Times.

Mahlock is currently serving as deputy director of Cybersecurity for Combat Support, at the National Security Agency, in Fort Meade, Maryland. Previous posts have included U.S. European Command in German, the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Japan and Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron 38 in Southern California, Stars and Stripes reported.

Then Brigadier Gen. Lorna Mahlock, Chief Information Officer of the Marine Corps, networks after addressing Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s (TMCF) 18th Annual Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C. on October 29, 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Corporal Naomi May). Click on photo to enlarge image.

It has been a remarkable year of firsts for women and minorities in the armed services:

Master Chief Information Systems Technician (Submarine) Angela Koogler was named the first female top enlisted sailor on a U.S. Navy submarine, reporting for her new post in late August. Koogler’s appointment as chief of boat on the ballistic missile submarine USS Louisiana is a historic first for the Navy, which only began assigning female officers to submarines in 2011 and female enlisted sailors in 2016.

Also in August, the U.S. Senate confirmed Marine Corps Lieutenant General Michael E. Langley for promotion to the rank of general, becoming the first Black Marine appointed to the rank of four-star general in Marine Corps history. He was also confirmed as head of U.S. Africa Command.

Additional similar achievements this year were identified by Military.com website, noting other firsts for women in the Navy and Marine Corps.

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SHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, cylindrical headgear with a bill or visor worn by soldiers in 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 20, 2022 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (December 16, 2022)

MARINE CORPS CHIAROSCURO.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Averi Rowton) Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

Members of the U.S. 2d Marine Division light a Small Unit Expeditionary stove at their campsite during the NATO Cold Weather Instructor Course (NCWIC) in Setermoen, Norway on November 24, 2022.

Here at 4GWAR Blog we were struck by this photo,  which reminds us of the 17th Century Italian painter Caravaggio, one of the early masters of chiaroscuro, the art of using light and dark to create the illusion of three-dimensional volume on a flat surface. The term translates to “light-dark” — chiaro meaning bright or clear and scuro meaning dark or obscure, in Italian.

NCWIC is designed to develop Marines and other service members to be instructors of cold weather survival training in preparation for future deployments in the harsh environment of the High North regions. NATO is increasing its attention to the region, in response to the Russian war with Ukraine, Moscow’s military buildup in the Arctic and China’s expanding reach, declaring itself a “near Arctic state”  and planning a “Polar Silk Road” linking China to Europe via the Arctic, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

December 16, 2022 at 12:43 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (December 2, 2022)

TASK FORCE RED CLOUD.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Jackson Kirkiewicz) Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

U.S. Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 6 (CLB-6), a unit of Combat Logistics Regiment 2 in the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, drive a Finnish G-Class landing craft while operating the Amy, an unmanned surface vehicle on the Baltic Sea, off the coast of Finland November 25, 2022.

CLB-6 trains organizes and deploys to provide logistical combat support to Regimental Combat Teams (RCT) in the field with supplies beyond their organic capabilities, so there’s no interruption to operations.

CLB-6 also supplies headquarters elements for Task Force Red Cloud,  which is deployed to Finland in support of exercises like Freezing Winds 2022, which ran from November 22 to December 2.  The exercise, in the Gulf of Finland and the constricted maritime terrain of the Finnish archipelago involved a total of 23 combat vessels, service and support vessels, transport vessels, as well as coastal and land troops, totaling about 5,000 personnel. The annual maritime defense exercise provided a unique opportunity to rehearse demanding combat tasks in the harsh November weather conditions of the Baltic Sea, according to Finland’s Chief of Staff of the Navy Command, Commodore Jukka Anteroinen.

The United States and NATO have stepped up military, air and naval exercises in the Baltic region with Sweden and Finland — which have both applied to join NATO — since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, leading to much destruction and loss of life.

December 1, 2022 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: U.S. Marine Corps Turns 247

HAPPY BIRTHDAY USMC

On this day, November 10, 247 years ago the Congress of Britain’s 13 American colonies decided it was time to start looking for a “a few good men” who could fight on land and sea.

The United States Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington County, Virginia. The memorial was dedicated in 1954 to all Marines who have given their lives in defense of the United States since 1775.  (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Master Sergeant Adrian Cadiz) Click on photo to enlarge image

The Marine Corps was created by the Second Continental Congress on November 10, 1775 and since 1921, Marines around the world have celebrated the Corps’ founding under Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921, issued by then-Commandant Major General John LeJeune. His order summarized the history, tradition and mission of the Marine Corps and directed that the order be read to every command on every subsequent November 10, the Marine Corps Birthday.

Since the 1950s, the Marines have marked the occasion with a birthday celebration and a cake cutting ceremony, where a senior Marine Corps officer slices the cake — usually with the traditional Mameluke officer’s sword, commemorating the Marines’ first overseas action near the shores of Tripoli in 1805. The first slice of cake is handed to the oldest Marine present. That senior Leatherneck then hands the slice to the youngest Marine on site.

In the photo below, retired Marine Colonel  Frank Harris III, representing the oldest Marine during the ceremony at Marine Corps Base Quantico (MCBQ), receives a piece of cake from the base commander, Colonel Michael Brooks, at at MCBQ’s Butler Stadium on November 9, 2022.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Eric Huynh) Click on photo to enlarge.

After Congress ordered the establishment of two battalions of Marines in late 1775, Captain (later Major) Samuel Nichols — considered the Corps’ first commandant — advertised in and around Philadelphia for “a few good men” and signed them up at Tun Tavern in that city. Those early Marines first saw action in the Bahamas in a March 3, 1776 raid on New Providence in the Bahama Islands, to capture naval supplies from the British.

Three days before this year’s birthday celebration, General David Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps, advised his troops to “prepare for uncertainty.”

“When called, we will fight and we will win — today, tomorrow, and in the future,” Berger said in a video message released on YouTube and elsewhere. “These victories are not won by our technology or our equipment, but because of all of you, because of everything you do every day to remain the best trained, the most professional, most ready force in the world. That has not changed.”

The Marine Corps has made drastic changes in force size, composition and weapons to meet emerging threats in the coming decade, primarily from China. With his Force Design 2030 plan, Berger seeks to reshape the Corps so it can operate and survive inside the area of operations of a peer competitor equipped with advanced manned and unmanned aerial systems and cruise missiles.

Critics have questioned Berger’s decision to eliminate all of the Marines’ battle tanks and most of their towed artillery in favor of highly mobile rocket and missile launchers to control maritime choke points. He and other Marine Corps leaders have noted Ukraine’s success against Russian tanks, armored vehicles and distant command and supply centers, using kamikaze drones and the truck-mounted High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HiMARS) shows the vulnerability of tanks and the importance of logistics and reconnaissance, which are a key focus of Marine Corps planning.

Marines with 2nd battalion, 14th Marines regiment, 4th Marine division load rockets into a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System in California in 2017. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal AaronJames B. Vinculado)

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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.

November 10, 2022 at 8:32 pm 1 comment

FRIDAY FOTO (October 21, 2022)

ALL FALL DOWN.

  (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Tyler W. Abbott) Click on photo to enlarge image.

No, they’re not practicing the gentle art of Tai Chi. These Marine Corps recruits of the 1st Recruit Training Battalion, are executing a left break fall during the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) at the Marines’ Recruit Depot San Diego on October 3, 2022.

According to the Marines, MCMAP is “an integrated, weapons-based system that incorporates the full spectrum of the force continuum on the battlefield, and contributes to the mental, character and physical development of Marines.” We think that means Marines are trained to handle themselves from gun to thumb — and everything lethal in between.

“The mental, moral, and physical resiliency of the Marine Corps’ warfighters will be of utmost importance towinning battles in future conflicts,” according to the 54-page document from Marine Corps headquarters explaining MCMAP, which aims to strengthen the individual Marine’s resiliency “through realistic combative training, warrior ethos studies, and physical hardening.”

So, learning how to fall is important. When your 4GWAR editor visited an U.S. Army basic training base in the Midwest 10 years ago, we were shocked to see how many recruits were using crutches, or wearing casts or support boots as they limped behind the rest of their unit on the way to PT at 0-dark-30.

Notice the recruits in the photo above are all wearing mouth guards and knuckle protectors on their hands.  In these days of fewer recruits, military leaders don’t want to damage them before they begin their active service.

“While each of the services has been facing recruitment challenges ― which service leaders attribute among other things to the COVID-19 pandemic ― a low interest in military service and a declining eligible population, the Marine Corps managed to overcome its enlistment obstacles,” this year, according to Marine Corps Times.   The Corps met its recruitment goals for fiscal year 2022, making it one of the only branches to fully reach its target numbers this year, the paper added.

October 20, 2022 at 11:42 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

FRIDAY FOTO (July 22, 2022)

STEADY MEN.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal. Sydney Smith) CLICK on photo to enlarge.

U.S. Marines assigned to Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion of the Okinawa-based, 4th Marine Regiment, Marine Air-Ground Task Force 7  and a Marine assigned to the Mexican Naval Infantry practice small boat flipping techniques at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on July 6, 2022, during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), the world’s largest international maritime exercise.

U.S. and Mexican Marines conducted small boat training with marines from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Australian soldiers in just one of the training exercises at RIMPAC from June 29 to August 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.

Twenty-six nations, 38 ships, four submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC 2022, the 28th exercise in the series first begun in 1971.

The photo below illustrates where these three soggy Marines started. So, you can see turning over an upside down rubber raft while both you and it are in the ocean isn’t easy — but a handy thing to know how to do.

The 4th Marine Regiment is slated to be transformed into one of the new Marine Littoral Regiments as part of the Marine Corps’ larger force design (Force Design 2030), intended to redesign the Corps for naval expeditionary warfare and to better align itself with the National Defense Strategy, in particular, its focus on strategically competing with China and Russia.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Sydney Smith) CLICK on photo to enlarge the image.

July 21, 2022 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 6, 2022)

STINGER STUDY.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tyler Thompson)

Marine Corps Lance Corporal Dylan Pennington, right, explains the functions of the FIM-92 Stinger missile system to Norwegian Army Sergeant Silje Skarsbakk during a bilateral training event in Setermoen, Norway on April 25, 2022.

The FIM-92 Stinger missile is a shoulder-fired MANPAD (man-portable air-defense system) that specializes in taking out helicopters. Stingers have been around since the 1980s. They were originally developed by General Dynamics and are now made by Raytheon Missile Systems. The Stinger can also target low-flying airplanes and drones.

Pennington is assigned to the the Aviation Combat Element of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). MEUs are expeditionary quick reaction forces, deployed and ready for  immediate response to a crisis.

The 22nd MEU, embarked aboard the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group,  participated in a bilateral training event with the Norway’s Armed Forces in April.

The United States has sent more than 1,400 Stingers to Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24. . The Ukrainian military says it has shot down nearly 160 Russian aircraft, including 90 helicopters in that time. Unfortunately, the Defense Department, which is developing an updated anti-aircraft missile, hasn’t purchased a Stinger in about 18 years, say Raytheon officials. Some of components are no longer commercially available, and the company will have to redesign some of the missile’s electronics, Breaking Defense reported April 26.

May 5, 2022 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (April 8, 2022)

The Marines Are Looking for a Few Good — Cooks

 

Marines from the 12th Marines, 3rd Marine Division use foraging techniques to cook a meal during Spartan Fury 22.1, a battalion-level exercise, at Hawaii’s Pohakuloa Training Area on March 8, 2022. Instead of meals prepared by professionals at a dining facility or mess tent, the Marines of the individual artillery batteries procured local food and experimented with field cooking methods using lightweight, expeditionary equipment capable of functioning over long periods of time in austere environments.

Spartan Fury is designed to refine long-range communications, mission processing from battalion to firing sections and 21st Century Foraging techniques.

To see one of these batteries in action, check out this short music video with an off-beat but amusing soundtrack.

April 8, 2022 at 6:53 pm Leave a comment

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