Posts tagged ‘training’

THE FRIDAY FOTO: And Now for Something Completely Different


Sometimes people in the U.S. military  do some things that look — well, a little weird. Sometimes its training. Sometimes it’s tradition.

Here are a few examples. Hope they inform as well as amuse. Please click on the photos to enlarge the image.


 (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Elliott A. Flood-Johnson)

Marine Corps recruits with Delta Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, execute a floating technique during a swim qualificaction at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego (California) on May 15, 2023. In order to continue training toward becoming Marines, recruits must pass a series of aquatic tests such as floating, learning different swim strokes, and jumping into water from platforms of varying heights.


(U.S. Army photo by Markus Rauchenberger)

Soldiers assigned to the 1st Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment run down Monte Kaolino after the unit spur ride ceremony in Hirschau, near Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany on  May 11, 2023. During the event, Troopers must complete a series of warrior tasks and drills in order to obtain the right to wear the cavalry’s coveted spurs.


(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Specialist Michael Schwenk)

Soldiers, with the New Jersey National Guard’s Reconnaissance and Sniper Platoon, 1-114th Infantry Regiment, participate in a ghillie wash at the Fort Dix Ranges on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey on March 25, 2023. The Soldiers use sand, water and mud, all in an effort to perfect their suits’ camouflage.


(U.S. Navy photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tom Tonthat)

Navy Captain Daniel Keeler takes a pie in the face from Petty Officer 2nd Class Roberto Griffin during a Second Class Petty Officer Association fundraiser event aboard the USS Anchorage in the South China Sea on April 23, 2023. The association’s mission is to enhance the social and professional interaction of sailors by building camaraderie and increasing command morale. (Note at least two other pie targets in the background between the two men.)


 (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)

Prior to their upcoming graduation, senior Air Force Academy cadets continue the tradition of jumping into the Terazzo’s Air Garden fountains to celebrate the completion of final exams at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado on May 12, 2023.

May 19, 2023 at 5:37 pm Leave a comment

THE FRIDAY FOTO (May 12, 2023)


(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sergeant John Schoebel)

U.S. Soldiers assigned to the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team,  maneuver an M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle during exercise Arrow 23 in Niinisalo, Finland on May 5, 2023. Regular 4GWAR visitors may remember the Finland became the newest member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ion March 30.

Exercise Arrow is an annual, multinational exercise involving armed forces from the United States, United Kingdom, and the three Baltic nations — Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia — all of them NATO members. They train with the Finnish Defense Forces in high-intensity, force-on-force engagements and live-fire exercises to increase military readiness and promote interoperability among partner nations.

The troops  in this week’s FRIFO are from the 1st Cavalry Division.

We were struck by the sharp detail of this image, while photos of tanks and armored vehicles are a little flat, either because the vehicles were moving or photographed at a distance, but the imagery in this FRIDAY FOTO just pops.

BTW, the U.S. is sending about five dozen Bradleys to help Ukraine in the war against Russian invasion.

May 13, 2023 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

SHAKO: Okinawa Dragon Boat Race Winners


The Army Ladies’ Dragon Boat Team competes in the 49th Naha Hari Festival Dragon Boat Races in Okinawa, Japan, May 5, 2023. The team won the championship trophy for the event. (Photo by Brian Lamar, 10th Support Group)

With a come-from-behind finish, the U.S. Army Ladies’ Dragon Boat Team became the first all-women crew to win the 49th Naha Hari Festival Dragon Boat Races on May 5th, 2023 in Naha City, Okinawa. It was the first time the races were run in three years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Army all-women team dominated the event, placing first out of 21 teams in the trial heats with a time five minutes and five seconds for the 630-meter (688.9-yard) course. Only three teams qualified for the finals — the Army Ladies, the Army Black Knights and the Japanese Airlines team.

The Army women began to fall behind in the first half of the final race, while the Black Knights began to pull ahead. But at the turnaround, the Army Ladies’ team made up all the lost ground. After the turn, all three teams were within a half boat’s length of each other.

The Ladies’ boat crossed the finish line at 5 minutes and 8 seconds. The Black Knights finished second and the Japanese Airlines Team was a distant third.

Finals of the 49th Naha Hari Festival Dragon Boat Races on May 5, 2023 in Naha City, Okinawa. (Photo by Brian Lamar)

The Black Knights needed help achieving a full crew for the dragon boats, which require 32 rowers, two more people to steer the boat and two drummers. The gaps were filled by affiliated Army personnel and members of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.

Haarii (dragon boat races) date back hundreds of years in Okinawa. The festivals are held to pray for a safe voyage and a good catch and to thank the sea for its blessings. Fishermen compete against each other during haarii in sabani (small dragon-shaped fishing boats). Haarii, which have been held by fishermen in Itoman City and Naha City for 600 hundred years, are traditional events celebrated by people who live with the sea, according to the Okinawa Island Guide.

May 9, 2023 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

THE FRIDAY FOTO (May 5, 2023)


(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Samantha Jetzer)  Please click on the photo to enlarge the image.

Hula students perform on the Nohili Dunes at the Pacific Missile Range Facility during a cultural site visit the island of Kauai, Hawaii on April 1, 2023.

The U.S. Navy facility is the world’s largest instrumented, multi-domain missile range capable of supporting surface, subsurface, air and space operations simultaneously.What that means is U.S. Missile Defense Agency, in cooperation with the U.S. Navy, can test things there like the Aegis Weapon System and  demonstrate the capability of a ballistic missile defense (BMD)-configured Aegis ship to detect, track, engage, and intercept a medium range ballistic missile target in the terminal phase of flight.

Barking Sands started out as an Army Air Force Base during World War II. Early in 1942, the single existing runway was paved and lengthened to 6,000 feet with a width of 200 feet. Soon a second, equally sized runway was added. They were built to accommodate heavy bombers like the B17 Flying Fortress and B24 Liberator, as well as C47 and C54 cargo planes.

Traditionally, Hawaiians congregated at these dunes to fish and gather sustenance.

For the record, the Hula haumāna (hula students) with Hālau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leinā‘ala dance group were performing a hula to the mele (song) called “Ike I ke One Kani AʻO Nohili (The Barking Sands of Nohili)” at the wahi pana (legendary place) of Nohili Dunes.

May 5, 2023 at 12:38 am Leave a comment

THE FRIDAY FOTO (April 28, 2023)

“High shall our purpose be.”

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandon Hillard) Click on the photo to enlarge image.

Coast Guard personnel conduct maintenance aloft on the Coast Guard cutter Eagle, a three-masted barque, in the Atlantic Ocean on April 9, 2023.

The Eagle is the only active (operational) commissioned sailing vessel in the U.S. maritime services. A permanent crew of eight officers and 50 enlisted personnel maintain the ship year-round. They also provide the knowledge and seamanship for training  up to 150 cadets at a time.

In early April, Eagle began a four-month summer deployment to teach practical seamanship skills to officer candidates from the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Corps, as well as foreign military personnel.  During this voyage, cadets and crew will meet with U.S. allies in Northern Europe (the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark), the Portuguese archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira — and later, Bermuda.

Eagle will return to its homeport in New London, Connecticut by mid-August.

The German-built Eagle is an actual war prize, taken from the Nazis at the end of World War II.  Launched in 1936 by the Blohm + Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, the sailing ship was commissioned as Horst Wessel, after the Nazi icon and “martyr.” Originally operated by Nazi Germany to train cadets for the German Navy, the ship was taken over by the United States after World War II. In 1946, a U.S. Coast Guard crew – aided by the German crew still on board – sailed the tall ship from Bremerhaven to its New London.

By the way, the words of the headline are taken from the Coast Guard marching song, Semper Paratus, Always Prepared.

April 28, 2023 at 2:26 pm Leave a comment

THE FRIDAY FOTO (April 21, 2023)


(U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Laura Stephens.) Click on photo to enlarge image.

Soldiers assigned to the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment’s Continental Color Guard prepare for a performance — with all but one in PT garb — at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia on April 11, 2023.

The 3d U.S. Infantry, traditionally known as “The Old Guard,” is the oldest active-duty infantry unit in the U.S. Army, serving the nation since 1784 (three years before the first states ratified the Constitution). The Old Guard is the Army’s official ceremonial unit and escort to the president, and it also provides security for Washington, D.C., in time of national emergency or civil disturbance.

The Continental Color Guard is one of  six specialty platoons in The Old Guard, including the Fife and Drum Corps, the Presidential Salute Battery, the Army Drill Team and two units supplying ceremonial duties at Arlington National Cemetery: the Caisson Platoon and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier guards.

The blue uniforms worn by the Color Team are replicas of the 1784-style infantry uniforms worn by The Old Guard’s predecessor, the First American Regiment. The pattern of the uniform for wear by all Continental Army infantry units was approved by General George Washington in 1782. It consisted of a blue coat faced with a red collar, cuffs and lapels, white buttons and lining, long-fitting overalls, and a black cocked hat with cockade.

Some 4GWAR visitors may have seen the 3rd Infantry’s Fife and Drum Corps, in their redcoats trimmed in blue, playing at White House ceremonies and other celebratory events.  In 18th Century warfare, the reversed colors on the fifers and drummers’ uniforms would stand out on a battlefield obscured by musket smoke. The hope was that soldiers on both sides would see, but not shoot, bandsmen since they were unarmed — and during battle they often served as stretcher bearers and provided other medical assistance to the wounded.

April 21, 2023 at 3:42 pm Leave a comment

THE FRIDAY FOTO (April 14, 2023)


(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ryan Ramsammy)

This is not how they deal with traffic scofflaws in the United States Marine Corps.

What this photo does show is a Marine AAV7A1(assault amphibious vehicle) from 2d Marine Division’s 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, crushing a car during Gator Week on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina on April 6, 2023.

Gator Week is an annual field meet with physical team building events that increase unit cohesion and commemorates the history of the 2d Marines 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion.

April 14, 2023 at 6:52 pm Leave a comment

THE FRIDAY FOTO (April 7, 2023)


(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff SERGEANT Nicholas Ross) Click on photo to enlarge image.

U.S. Air Force Captain Lindsay “MAD” Johnson  flies her A-10C Thunderbolt II jet with a heavenly backdrop over Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona on March 26, 2023.

Johnson was certified the new A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team’s pilot and commander, by Air Combat Command chief General Mark Kelly just 13 days earlier on March 3, 2023.

As the Demonstration Team pilot, Johnson is responsible for showcasing the A-10 Thunderbolt II at over 20 airshows annually around the country and internationally. As commander, she is also responsible for leadership of a 10-person team that includes maintenance and public affairs Airmen.

During her performance on March 26, Johnson — a veteran instructor pilot, who has amassed over 1,250 flight hours, including 431 combat flight hours in support of both Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and the Resolute Support Mission — showcased different aerial maneuvers, including simulated gun runs,  highlighting the A-10’s capabilities as the Air Force’s close air support fighter.

April 7, 2023 at 3:45 pm Leave a comment

THE FRIDAY FOTO (March 31, 2023)


(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sergeant Max Archambault) Please click on the photo to enlarge the image.

U.S. Army Sergeant Hunter Johnson conducts a mountain rappel during training for the Edelweiss Raid, on February 26, 2023 at Training Area Lizum, Innsbruck, Austria.

The Edelweiss Raid is an international, military competition sponsored by Austria’s bundesheer [national army] designed to test the alpine skills of mountain soldiers. Competitors must be able to quickly transition from skis to technical mountaineering and back into skis to overcome obstacles on the course.

The Edelweiss Raid covers 40 kilometers with an overall rise in elevation of 4,000 meters. The competition includes up to 12 stations with required military tasks, including high-angle shooting, call for fire, and mountain casualty evacuation. The event intends to challenge soldiers, foster camaraderie, and build relations between mountain warfighters across the world.

Sergeant Hunter is an instructor at the Army Mountain Warfare School, operated by the Vermont Army National Guard at Camp Ethan Allen Training Site, Jericho, Vermont.

For the record, of the 22 participating teams, 18 finished the grueling two-day competition. According to the event’s Facebook page, Germany’s  Mountain Battalion 233 from Mittenwald took the winner’s trophy and a gold medal. A team of the Hochgebirgsjägerbataillon 26 (High Mountain Rifle Battalion 26) from Spittal an der Drau, Austria won the silver medal and a team of the 53rd Mountain Combined Arms Brigade from the People’s Republic of China earned the third place bronze medal. No word on how the U.S. team fared. Other teams came from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Switzerland.

March 31, 2023 at 9:34 pm Leave a comment

THE FRIDAY FOTO (March 23, 2023)


(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Matthew Dickinson) Click on photo to enlarge image.

Navy SEALS can do a lot of  amazing things but walking on water isn’t one of them.

What this February 27, 2023 photo does show is U.S. Naval Special Warfare Operators (SEALs) and NATO special operations forces landing a combatant rubber raiding craft (CRRC) aboard Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Florida somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea.

According to the Defense Department, operations like this demonstrate U.S. European Command’s ability to rapidly deploy Special Operations Forces throughout the region “at a time and place of our choosing,” while also demonstrating U.S. commitment to train with Allies and partners to deploy and fight as multinational forces.

March 24, 2023 at 8:38 pm Leave a comment

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