Posts tagged ‘Special Operations’

DISASTER RELIEF: U.S. Air Force, Army Special Forces, USAID and Canadian Drone Maker Aid in Nepal Earthquake Relief

Search and Rescue.

Jennifer Massey, Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue K-9 search specialist, Fairfax, Va., and her K-9, Phayu, board a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Dover Air Force Base, Del., April 26, 2015. Massey and Phayu are part of a 69-person search and rescue team deploying to Nepal to assist in rescue operations after the country was struck by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Johnson)

Jennifer Massey, a Fairfax County, Va. Urban Search and Rescue K-9 search specialist, and her dog, Phayu, board an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Dover Air Force Base, in Delaware as part of a 69-person team deploying to Nepal to assist in earthquake rescue operations.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Johnson)

The U.S. Air Force has sent two large military cargo/transport planes, carrying tons of relief supplies and federal and state disaster response experts, to Nepal to assist in relief and recovery efforts following a massive earthquake that killed thousands and injured thousands more and left still more without food, water or shelter. Two Army Green Beret A-Teams, who were training in the mountainous country when the earthquake hit, are aiding in relief efforts.

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck the country, high in the Himalayas, Saturday (April 25) killing more than 4,000 in the capital, Kathmandu, and surrounding areas. At least 7,000 people were reported injured and untold thousands more are homeless. Click here to see map of the devastation.

On Sunday (April 26) an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III left Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, bound for Nepal’s Tribhuvan International Airport, according to a Pentagon spokesman. “The aircraft is transporting nearly 70 personnel, including a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team, the Fairfax County (Virginia) Urban Search and Rescue team and several journalists, along with 45 square tons of cargo,” said the spokesman, Army Colonel Steve Warren.

A second C-17 carrying the Los Angeles County (California) Urban Search and Rescue team left a day later from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, flew to March Air Reserve Base, California, to pick up the team and is expected to land in Nepal on Wednesday (April 29), Air Force Times reported.

Twenty-six members of two Army Special Forces teams, who were training in Nepal at the time of the earthquake, are helping Nepal’s military find and help survivors of the devastating earthquake, according to Military Times. One team was in country for high altitude training, so it is helping find survivors in popular trekking trails, including Mount Everest’s base camp.

The United States is also providing an initial $10 million in emergency assistance for relief organizations in Nepal “to further address urgent humanitarian needs,” according to the White House.

The Fairfax, Virginia team — which includes firefighters, paramedics, physicians, canine handlers, communications experts and engineering and construction specialists — have established their Base of Operations in a Baseball Field in Nepal. The Los Angeles County Search and Rescue team will be based with them once they arrive in-country, according to the Fairfax team’s webpage.

Meanwhile, Canadian unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) manufacturer, Aeryon Labs — along with partners GlobalMedic and Monadrone — is deploying three of its small drones to Nepal to aid disaster relief efforts, according to AUVSI News. The drones being sent to Nepal are outfitted with thermal cameras to help locate survivors, and the Aeryon HDZoom30 camera, which has an extended zoom, to look at targets from over 1,000 feet away.

Small unmanned aircraft provide “the unmatched capability to get onsite and into the air immediately to start determining how and where to provide support to the people.” said Rahul Singh, executive director of GlobalMedic.

Click here to see aerial footage from NBC — shot by a drone — of the devastation in Kathmandu, and the Fairfax Urban Search and Rescue team’s travels to Nepal.

U.S. Air Force personnel load pallets of equipment and supplies for victims of the Nepal earthquake into a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at March Air Force Base, California, April 26. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taylor Queen)

U.S. Air Force personnel load pallets of equipment and supplies for victims of the Nepal earthquake into a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at March Air Force Base, California, April 26.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taylor Queen)

 

 

 

 

 

April 28, 2015 at 11:56 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

LATIN AMERICA: Colombian Insurgency Heats Up — Again

Eleven Soldiers Killed.

Colombia map by CIA World Factbook

Colombia map by CIA World Factbook

Eleven Colombian soldiers were killed in fighting with Marxist guerrillas Tuesday (April 14), prompting Colombia’s president to resume a bombing campaign on rebel camps — jeopardizing peace talks seeking to end a 60-year insurgency that has cost thousands of lives.

The government blamed the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, for an attack with guns and grenades on an army platoon late Tuesday night. The rebels said government troops initiated the skirmish, which occurred in the Andean state of Cauca and injured at least 17 other soldiers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Meanwhile,  FARC rebels blamed the Bogota government on Thursday (April 16) for the renewed violence but they declined to say whether they had broken their own ceasefire. President Juan Manuel Santos called it a deliberate attack and ordered the resumption of bombing raids on FARC targets, the Voice of America reported. Santos halted the aerial bombings after the FARC’s called a unilateral truce on December 20.

Despite the violence, VoA said the two-year-old peace talks resumed on Thursday (April 16) in Havana, where Colombian government officials and FARC commanders are trying to negotiate an end to a war that has killed 220,000 and displaced millions since 1964.

More on this later in LA AM REVIEW.

April 16, 2015 at 11:57 pm Leave a comment

MARITIME DOMAIN: Sea-Air-Space Expo This Week

Three-Day Maritime Conference.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paul Kelly)

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paul Kelly)

Future challenges and current needs for the sea services – the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard – will be the hot topics this week at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Expo at National Harbor, Maryland.

Top officials, including Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Admiral James Winnefeld Jr., the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft, Marine Corps Commandant General Joseph Dunford and naval commandants from Singapore, Australia and Japan will be among the speakers at the three-day event that starts Monday (April 13) across the river from Washington, D.C.

Big names in the defense and maritime industries like Northrop Grumman, Boeing, L-3, General Dynamics, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Austal and BAE Systems will exhibiting their latest products for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

Components of the services like the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) will also ne detailing their plans and equipment requirements in the coming fiscal year.

Your 4GWAR editor will be there too, as part of the small army of reporters covering the goings on for the Navy League’s Seapower magazine and its daily show publication. We’ll be focusing on unmanned aircraft and the Coast Guard’s strategic plan for the Western Hemisphere among other assignments.

If you can’t make it to the Gaylord Convention Center, you can catch the latest news at the Seapower website and on Twitter at @seaairspace and @SeapowerMag

U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Ed Early

(U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Ed Early)

April 13, 2015 at 12:12 am Leave a comment

AFRICA: Africa Command Tackling Violent Extremists and Other Challenges

Making Progress, but …

U.S. Marines from the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa are training Tanzanian park rangers in infantry skills such as patrolling, offensive tactics, land navigation and mounted operations to aid in countering illicit trafficking.  (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Lucas J. Hopkins)

U.S. Marines from the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa are training Tanzanian park rangers in infantry skills such as patrolling, offensive tactics, land navigation and mounted operations to aid in countering illicit trafficking.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Lucas J. Hopkins)

Africa’s security environment remains “dynamic and uncertain” with numerous countries through out the continent plagued by crime, corruption, as well as political and economic unrest, says the head of U.S. Africa Command.

Testifying today (March 26) before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Army General David Rodriguez, AFRICOM’s commander, said the command has expanded collaboration with allies and partners to address the “growing threat in Libya, Mali and Nigeria” including “an increasingly cohesive network of al Qaeda affiliates a growing Islamic State (ISIL) … presence and Boko Haram.”

Rodriguez said al-Shabaab remains the primary security threat to U.S. interests in East Africa “despite progress by regional partners in liberating parts of southern and central Somalia from the group’s control.”  And in North and West Africa, Libyan and Nigerian insecurity “increasingly threaten U.S. interests. In spite of multinational security efforts, terrorist and criminal networks are gaining strength and interoperability,” he said.

Of five immediate priorities, the top two are countering violent extremism and enhancing stability in East Africa and in North and West Africa.

Rodriguez noted that AFRICOM’s engagement with partner nations has increased between Fiscal year 2013 and 2014.  “In Fiscal Year 2014, we conducted 68 operations, 11 major joint exercises, and 595 security cooperation activities,” he told the Senate hearing. By comparison, AFRICOM conducted “55 operations, 10 major joint exercises, and 481 security cooperation activities in Fiscal Year 2013.” But requirements are expanding faster than resources are increasing, he added.

More on this hearing later this weekend.

March 26, 2015 at 11:39 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO Extra (March 20, 2015)

Concentration.

(82nd Airborne Division photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Hull)

82nd Airborne Division photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Hull

Paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team (2nd BCT) and the British 16th Air Assault Brigade conduct airborne training at the Advanced Airborne School, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Since the folks in this photo are already experienced paratroopers, we wonder what the training leader is saying through the loud hailer and what is it these Brits and Yanks are doing with their hands.

We’d appreciate it if any sky soldiers or paras out there could help us out with an explanation of this intriguing image.

Now back to the larger question: Why is such a large number of the United Kingdom’s maroon berets at Bragg?”

They’re training with U.S. troops and U.S. equipment to achieve seamless integration in future operations. The 2nd BCT is slated to lead a Combined Joint Operational Access Exercise with the British battle group in April. That exercise will test the 82nd’s capability to integrate with a U.K. brigade, allowing the two units to operate quickly and effectively if deployed together in a future coalition crisis response force.

More than 850 British Soldiers began arriving at Fort Bragg on March 9 to prepare for the exercise. 

To see more photos, click here.

March 20, 2015 at 11:41 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 13, 2015)

Doorbusters.

 U.S. Army photo by Captain Thomas Cieslak

U.S. Army photo by Captain Thomas Ciesl

A U.S. Army Green Beret (right) watches Honduran commandos kick in the door as the team prepares to enter and breach a room during battle training inside a “shoot house” at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.  The Green Berets are assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group, which operates primarily in Latin America.

The commandos, members of a counter narcotics and anti-trafficking force, trained for the first time with U.S. Special Forces in February. Foreign Internal Defense — teaching skills to partner militaries so they can protect their own countries from foreign troops or homegrown insurgents — is a key mission of Green Berets and other U.S. special operations forces.

To see more photos, click here.

 

March 13, 2015 at 1:22 am Leave a comment

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