Posts tagged ‘National Guard’

FRIDAY FOTO (July 7, 2017)

“I’m Batman.”

Camp Dawson Celebrates Kids Kamp 25th Anniversary

(U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Lisa M. Sadler)

No this isn’t trick photography. Look at the instructor on top to see how this photo is oriented. A soldier demonstrates how to rappel down a 40-foot tower at Camp Dawson, West Virginia, during a camp aimed at teaching children of service members about their parents’ experiences while deployed. The soldier is assigned to the West Virginia Army National Guard’s civil support team. The photo was taken June 26, 2017.

July 7, 2017 at 1:29 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (October 14, 2016)

To The Rescue.

Guardsmen provide hurricane relief

U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sergeant Jonathan Shaw

North Carolina Army National Guardsmen and local emergency services personnel assist with evacuation efforts in Fayetteville, North Carolina on October 8, 2016. Heavy rains caused by Hurricane Matthew led to flooding as high as five feet in some areas.

To read a story about one of those rescue efforts, click here. No wonder they’re called guardsmen.

October 14, 2016 at 8:09 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (April 17, 2015)

No Day at the Beach.

(New York Air National Guard Photo by Staff Sergeant Christopher S Muncy

New York Air National Guard Photo by Staff Sergeant Christopher S. Muncy

This is not what your 4GWAR editor imagines when we think of a weekend in the Hamptons. In this photo, members of the New York Air National Guard’s 103rd Rescue Squadron, 106th Rescue Wing conduct a multi-day training course at the Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base firing range, in West Hampton Beach, on New York’s Long Island. The live-fire exercise included training in tactical movement, responding to incoming fire, retrieving and caring for wounded individuals and night-time shooting.

The guardsmen of the 103rd Rescue Squadron are Special Operations para-rescue jumpers (PJs) — meaning they jump out of airplanes and helicopters on combat search and rescue missions to find, treat — if injured — and extract downed airmen and others in trouble on the ground. Six of  the 103rd’s PJs received the Bronze Star medal with “V” for valor device in 2013 for the rescue under fire of American and Afghan soldiers caught in an ambush on December 12, 2012, according to the Air Force Times.

Editor’s Note: For those unfamiliar with Army Air Force history, Colonel “Gabby” Gabreski was the top American fighter ace of the European Theater in World War II, knocking down 28 German planes. In the Air Force over Korea in the 1950s, he became a jet ace, shooting down six Russian-made MiG-16 fighter jets.

April 17, 2015 at 12:32 am Leave a comment

DISASTER RELIEF: Army, National Guard Response to Colorado Floods

Air Evacuation

(Photo by Sgt. Jonathan C. Thibault, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division)

(Photo by Sgt. Jonathan C. Thibault, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division)

As you’ve probably seen, read or heard, northwest Colorado has been deluged with flooding after days of heavy rains. U.S. Army units as well as members of the Colorado National Guard have been deployed to assist local first responders in evacuations, sandbagging operations as well as search and rescue. At least eight people have died as a result of the flooding and thousands  have been evacuated from their homes — according to the Los Angeles Times and other news outlets.

Sometimes those rescues came at the end of a helicopter hoist cable.

In the photo above, Staff Sgt. Jose Pantoja, a flight medic with the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, assists an evacuee onto a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter during rescue and recovery operations in Boulder, Colorado on Monday (September 16). Pantoja is assigned to Company C, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. (Wonder if they call it the “Triple 4”?) The unit is based at Fort Kit Carson in Colorado.

For more photos of aerial evacuations, click here and here.

People and their pets evacuated by high clearance Army truck in Boulder County. (Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. Joseph K. VonNida)

People and their pets evacuated by high clearance Army truck in Boulder County.
(Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. Joseph K. VonNida)

The photo below captures some of the destruction caused by flash floods through mountainous country in and around Boulder where past drought and forest fire damage have weakened top soil and tree roots, causing landslides, mudslides, washed out roads and trapping residents in isolated communities on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains.

Severe flooding shutdown roads leading out of Jamestown, Colorado. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares)

Severe flooding shutdown roads leading out of Jamestown, Colorado.
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares)

We confess a special interest in this story since your 4GWAR editor and spouse were just in this area last month for a little R&R after dropping off the blog’s in-house IT consulant for his sophomore year at University of Colorado-Boulder. (Said consultant has informed his parents he’s all right, although classes at CU-Boulder were cancelled for two days and some areas around campus were evacuated.) Many smaller communities in the mountains of Boulder and Larimer counties have only two-lane roads winding through narrow canyons for access, and when they are flooded, buried in debris or washed away residents have no way of getting out.

In the last photo, U.S. soldiers and airmen from the Colorado National Guard, along with members of civilian emergency response agencies, fill sandbags in Arvada, Colorado. More than 17 inches of rain fell on Boulder in just over a week. The average annual rainfall for Boulder is a little over 19 inches.

 (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares)

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares)

To read more about Defense Department efforts in the disaster (U.S. Northern Command and NORAD are both headquartered in Colorado) click on this DoD webpage.

September 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Today’s Minutemen (and Women) (Update 7-9-2011)

SHAKO: Musings on the Military Past and Present

As we celebrated Independence Day 2011, we got to thinking about the modern day successors to those 18th Century patriots who dropped everything and came running when their country was in need: the National Guard.

Historians say the Guard (or state militia as it was once known) began in 1636 when officials in Massachusetts Bay Colony created three militia regiments to protect that British colony from Indian attacks.

In 1903, Congress passed the Militia Act that organized all the state militias into the National Guard. More than 50,000 guardsman were called up to provide security at home and counter terrorism overseas following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Tens of thousands have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Air National Guard has more than 140 units in the states as well as Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In the last year, the Guard has responded to wildfires, floods and tornadoes, boosted the size of U.S. Forces overseas and conducted training missions with friendly armed forces. Here’s just a small sample of what these citizen soldiers have been up to in 2011.

South Dakota National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Quinton Young)

Airmen from the 114th Fighter Wing, Sioux Falls S.D., finish a section of levee in the Bay Hill area of Dakota Dunes. The levees that soldiers and airmen built with the joint effort of civilian volunteers and several local, state and federal agencies, will require security and patrolling efforts. The 114th Fighter wing has been assigned to round-the-clock patrols of this 3.8 mile stretch of levee along the shores of the Missouri River.

(U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Craig L. Collins)

Missouri National Guard personnel and a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter assisted Atchison County authorities repair levee L550 near Phelps City during severe flooding along the Missouri River. The Blackhawk was used to move over 145 Sandbags weighing two thousand pounds each onto areas of the levee damaged by rising water. The guardsmen were from the 106th Aviation Regiment, 129th Field Artillery and 1107th Aviation Group.

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon)

A Texas National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk drops water over hot spots as helicopters from Austin Army Aviation Support Facility battled wildfires near the Possum Kingdom Lake area in North Texas. The aircraft are equipped with a Bambi Bucket, which carries over 600 gallons of water.

(Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Crane, U.S. Air Force)

Female members of the Air National Guard place sandbags to protect against possible flooding from the Missouri River outside Rosecrans Memorial Airport, St. Joseph, Missouri.  These airmen are assigned to the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard.  Working with local community volunteers they helped pile up 24,000 sandbags.

In addition to emergency response in the United States, and duties in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,  Haiti and Kosovo, the National Guard is also helping to train friendly forces overseas.

(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Miko Booth)

Here Sgt. 1st Class Charles Young of North Carolina National Guard observes as soldiers of the Moldovan army’s 22nd Peace Keeping Battalion during a training exercise in June. The Moldovans showed off their capabilities as a unit before their NATO evaluation, a weeklong exercise called Peace Shield 2011.

July 7, 2011 at 12:45 am 2 comments

FRIDAY FOTO (March 11, 2011)

From Your Friends in Wahoo, Neb.

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Anna Rutherford)

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Herndon hands out wooden toys to village children in Paktika province, Afghanistan, March 9, 2011. Herndon, a Nebraska National Guardsman (Note the ear of corn design on the sergeant’s shoulder patch if you click on the image to enlarge), is assigned to the 623rd Engineer Company, out of Wahoo, Nebraska. You can’t get much more American-sounding than that. The Cornhuskers, along with the 1249th Engineer Battalion of the Oregon National Guard are part of Task Force Gridley, which has been helping Afghan villagers with construction, medical and agricultural projects.

Paktika, which sits along Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan, is a prime infiltration route for fighters coming from Pakistan’s tribal areas. But the violence isn’t limited to insurgents and coalition troops. .

We know we’ve run photos like this in the past, but of all the photos available this week, this one — to our way of thinking — had the best composition, color and human interest. In short, just a good photo. Also, we don’t run nearly enough pix of the citizen soldiers of the National Guard.

By the way, here’s a link to a NATO channel video on YouTube about some of the security problems in Paktika province.

March 11, 2011 at 12:08 pm Leave a comment

HAITI: A Drop in the Bucket (Updated 7/15/10)

Military Mission Shrinking in Haiti (Adds background)

Louisiana National Guard Soldiers with the 1020th Engineer Company, began pouring concrete for the foundation of a school. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Jessica M. Lopez)

Six months after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake shattered Haiti, the U.S. military is still assisting relief efforts in the impoverished Caribbean country.

But U.S. military presence on the island of Hispaniola has shrunk markedly since the initial response. U.S. Southern Command, which oversaw the massive relief effort, officially ended its mission in Haiti’s capital of Port-Au-Prince on June 1.

In the weeks after the Jan. 12 quake, elements of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, the Marine Corps’ 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, Air Force combat air controllers and cargo lifters, Coast Guard cutters, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, and other Navy vessels, Navy Seabees and Army engineers and numerous other units took part in rescue, recovery and humanitarian aid operations.

At its peak, the U.S. military effort included 22,000 personnel — 7,000 based on land and the remainder operating aboard 58 aircraft and 15 nearby vessels, according to Southcom.

Now only about 600 soldiers, sailors and airmen, assigned to Joint Task Force New Horizons, are engaged in engineering and medical missions in Haiti. Most are scheduled to return to the U.S. in September.  The New Horizons program began in the 1980s to conduct joint and combined humanitarian exercises that Southcom holds annually in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In a Defense Department bloggers roundtable this week (July 13), Army Col. Michael Borrel, the task force commander, explained that engineers are constructing or re-building four schools while medical personnel have treated more than 20,000 Haitian patients.

But most of that is going on in the Gonaives area, outside the quake damage zone. Borrel, who is in the Louisiana National Guard, as are most of the Army personnel, said the Haitian government had requested assistance in Gonaives – about 90 miles north of the capital, Port-au-Prince – where thousands of earthquake refugees have strained local government services, including an additional 20,000 school children.

Air Force Col. Thomas Steinbrunner, commander of the most recent medical operation – a 10-day medical readiness and training exercise mission in the northern town of Ennery – says specialists in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics and women’s health, as well as dentists and optometrists are part of the 30-person team, most of them from the 56th Medical Group at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.

Army Maj. Chuck Hudson, in charge of the engineering missions, says reinforced concrete design along with a steel framed-corrugated steel roof should make the school buildings more resistant to hurricanes. Army engineers and Navy Seabees are also making electrical and water supply improvements at the four sites.

While the efforts of U.S. military have been heroic in the aftermath of the quake – reopening the Port-au-Prince airport and port, removing rubble, tending the injured, building refugee camps and supplying food and water – the current mission (as crucial as it is for local residents) seems like a drop in the bucket when the scale of the quake’s devastation is considered: more than 200,000 people were killed, thousands more were injured. More than 1 million Haitians remain homeless, living in tent cities or makeshift shacks. Compounding the problem, all but one of the government buildings in the capital were destroyed and 20 percent of the government’s workers were killed, according to CBS News.

The lack of progress in moving Haiti forward appears to be a combination of Haitian government bureaucracy – most rubble is still being removed by hand – and a lack of transparency and accountability by some relief groups, says NPR. Also most of the nations that promised aid to Haiti have not fully delivered on their commitment, and most charities and aid groups have spent less than half of what they took in for Haitian relief in donations, according to a chart compiled by NPR.

On the plus-side, says Haitian President Rene Preval, there have been no large outbreaks of disease or violence since the quake, but many Haitians remain dissatisfied — and in need.

July 14, 2010 at 2:48 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO EXTRA (May 23, 2010)

And Don’t Call Me Snoopy

(U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Jason Brace, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)

A military working dog wears Doggles (yes, goggles for dogs) to protect his eyes as a Chinook helicopter takes off, kicking up dust and debris, during an air assault operation by U.S. soldiers assigned to Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry Regiment, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Vermont National Guard in Parwan province, Afghanistan, May 11, 2010. The soldiers visited a remote village in Parwan Province to conduct a key leader engagement with village elders.

All military working dogs receive their initial training at the 341st Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. To view a photo essay about the advanced training of U.S. Air Force military working dogs, click here.

May 23, 2010 at 12:03 am Leave a comment


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