7 special operations forces the military really needs - We Are The Mighty
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7 special operations forces the military really needs

America’s operators are the best in the world, but they’re focused on kicking down doors, killing terrorists, and training allies.


Special Operations Command could use more flexibility, especially when it comes to future fights. Here are 7 new special operations units America needs:

1. Chairborne Rangers

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sandra M. Palumbo

As drones become more advanced, infantry robots will eventually reach the battlefield. Chairborne Rangers are the best Call of Duty players, honed into living weapons. They controls those bots and exist off energy drinks, potato chips, and enabling parents.

2. Schmuckatelli Recovery Group

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Photo: US Army Spc. Justin Young

This one is pretty simple. When “Schmuckatelli,” “Joe Schmoe,” or other lackluster troops get themselves locked up in jail or a Tijuana dungeon, the SRG swoops in on black helicopters to rescue them, by force if necessary.

3. Nuptial Prevention Service

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Photo: US Air Force Cpt. Angela Webb

The NPS interrupts weddings between troops and anyone they’ve known for less than 72 hours. They’re focused on unions where the potential spouse is a stripper or the service member is deploying within two weeks.

4. Expeditionary PT Belt Deployment Team

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Photo Illustration: Logan Nye, WATM

When troops are under fire, conducting an assault, or just running on a dark street and find themselves without a reflective or glow belt, the Expeditionary PT Belt Deployment Team is there to lend a hand and 6 feet of reflective plastic.

5. Space Team 6

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Screenshot: Youtube/Fi Skirata

Space warfare is coming, and Space Team 6 supports NASA from staging platforms in orbit. They’d train constantly to remove space pirates from interstellar vessels, board asteroid mining rigs, and destroy alien queens.

6. 1st Special POGs Detachment

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Photo: US Marine Corps Sgt. Dustin D. March

The most elite admin soldiers, waterdogs, and geospatial engineers are honed into a filing force that could clear the VA backlog in minutes or create tasty water from the Kandahar Air Field poo pond with just a mosquito net and iodine tablets.

7. Keyboard Rangers Division

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Exactly as bad-ss as most keyboard rangers. Image: memegenerator.net

Honestly, the Keyboard Rangers Division is just a way to corral all those Facebook and reddit commenters who keep talking smack about killing ISIS but can’t find a recruiter’s office to save their lives. Keyboard Rangers would be given access to computers that look completely normal, but don’t broadcast to the outside world.

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John Glenn’s incredible response to a political opponent said he ‘never held a job’

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Wikimedia Commons


John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, a former US senator, and former Marine aviator who saw combat in World War II and Korea, has died at 95.

Glenn is known for a number of accolades throughout his life of service, from the military to the astronaut program and eventually, into politics. So it’s worth looking back on his entry into politics, when he first ran for office against an incumbent named Howard Metzenbaum.

Also read: This is the little-known combat career of John Glenn

In 1974, Glenn’s military record offered an opening for criticism by his opponent, who was mindful of Americans’ anti-war fervor during the Vietnam War. Metzenbaum began calling him “Col. Glenn” to highlight his time in the Marine Corps, and later told him that he “had never met a payroll,” which Glenn perceived as being told that his military record and service with NASA didn’t qualify as “having held a job.”

His response during the debate was remarkable, and at the end of it, he received more than 20 seconds of sustained applause, according to PBS. Here’s what he said:

“I spent 23 years in the United States Marine Corps. I lived through two wars. I flew 149 missions. I was in the space program. It wasn’t my checkbook, it was my life that was on the line.

You go with me as I did out to a veterans’ hospital and look those men with their mangled bodies in the eye and tell them that they didn’t hold a job. You go with me to any Gold Star mother and you look her in the eye and you tell her that her son did not hold a job. You go to Arlington National Cemetery — where I have more friends than I’d like to remember — and you think about this nation, and you tell me that those people didn’t have a job.

I tell you, Howard Metzenbaum, you should be on your knees every day of your life thanking God that there were some men, some men, who held a job. And they required a dedication to purpose, a love of country, and a dedication to duty that was more important than life itself.

And their self-sacrifice is what has made this nation possible.

I have held a job, Howard.”

Glenn went on to defeat Metzenbaum in the primary and win the general election. He served in the Senate from 1974 to 1999. His speech was also used to motivate a group of US Marines before they went into combat in Marjah, Afghanistan in 2010.

Watch the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNyqiHuutkM
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That time a fighter pilot ejected into a thunderstorm and rode the lightning

Marine Corps Lt. Col. William H. Rankin had flown combat flight operations in both World War II and the Korean War, but it wasn’t enemy fire that came closest to killing him during his military flying career. It was a summer thunderstorm over the east coast of the United States.


On July 26, 1959 Rankin and his wingman, 1st Lt. Herbert Nolan, were flying a pair of F-8 Crusaders from South Weymouth, Mass back to their home base at Beaufort, S.C. when they encountered a line of severe thunderstorms over North Carolina. Shortly after the fighters climbed up to 47,000 feet to go over the growing cumulonimbus clouds, Rankin heard a loud grinding noise followed by a loss of power from the jet’s only engine. About that time the jet’s fire warning light illuminated.

Rankin tried pulling the auxiliary power handle but it came off in his hand. He tried to restart the engine several times but had no luck. At that point, with the fighter in an uncontrollable dive and going nearly supersonic, he knew he only had one option left. He keyed the radio and matter-of-factly told his wingman he “had to eject” and then pulled the handle.

7 special operations forces the military really needs
An F-8 Crusader on the deck of the USS Midway.

The senior Marine pilot wasn’t wearing a pressure suit, so as soon as he hit the surrounding atmosphere at that altitude his body was put through the ringer. The sudden decompression caused his stomach to swell, his ears, nose and mouth to bleed. The ejection tore his left glove from his hand, leaving it exposed to the brutally cold air. His skin immediately froze, which resulted in numbness and severe frostbite.

But things were about to get worse. In his memoir, The Man Who Rode the Thunder, Rankin describes his free fall like this:

I became conscious of my body tumbling, spinning, and cartwheeling through space. I spun like a pinwheel, my limbs trying to go in every possible direction at once. I spun on the vertical, diagonal and horizontal axis. I felt the enormous pulling, stretching effects of g forces. I was a huge stiff blob of helplessness! I recognized that my body was literally spreadeagled and the force was so great I could not move my hands or legs. Several times I tried to bring my arms in to my body but it was like pulling on a stone wall. The effect of the g forces on my arms and legs must have been to multiply their weight many times.

During his fall Rankin managed to strap his oxygen mask to his face, which was a crucial element if he was going to survive his ordeal. From his training he knew that it would take about three and a half minutes to fall from just under 50,000 feet to 10,000 feet where his parachute was designed to automatically deploy. He looked at his watch and saw that more than four minutes had gone by. He figured his ejection seat automatic chute mechanism had malfunctioned, so he manually deployed it.

But Rankin’s seat hadn’t malfunctioned. His descent had simply been slowed by massive updrafts created by the thunderstorm next to him, and as soon as his chute opened another powerful updraft filled it and rocketed him several thousand feet vertically a velocity of nearly 100 mph. Lightning flashed all around in what he later described as “blue blades several feet thick” and the thunder boomed so loudly he feared it would burst his eardrums. Rain pelted him from all directions. He felt like he was going to drown.

7 special operations forces the military really needs

When he reached the top of the thunderstorm the updraft turned into a downdraft. It was totally dark as he was pulled into the center of the thunder cloud, and he plummeted downward at a rate he was sure would prevent his chute from opening. But his chute did open once he was under the storm, and as it did he caught another updraft that catapulted him back to the top of the cloud. Once at the top he was dragged back into the center of the storm and thrown as if by Thor himself toward the ground again.

Rankin was repeatedly buffeted through this cycle . . . a living hell he feared might never end. In The Man Who Rode the Thunder he describes what was going through his mind at that time:

There were times when I felt I might die of sheer exhaustion because it seemed as if either the storm might never end, or I was going to be swept along with it on its insane journey up the coast for as long as that journey might take—hours, days. This feeling was most intense when I decided to look at my watch and glimpsed the time during a flash of lightning. At first I thought what a wonderful thing it was not to have lost my watch all through ejection, decompression, blasts of air, and now this; and, then, what a silly thing, looking at the time! But when I saw that it was twenty minutes past six, I thought: My God, you should have been on the ground at least ten minutes ago! You are really trapped. You are really in the pattern of the storm and a part of it, a speck of human dust, up-over-and-down, up-over-and-down and that’s the way it’s going to be. But how long? For how long?

Finally the storm dissipated enough that he wasn’t dragged back up after shooting through it, and he was unceremoniously blown into a thicket of brush in the middle of a field near Ahoskie, N.C. He was wet and beat to hell and had to draw on his survival skills to make it through the dark to a dirt road where — after being passed by a number of vehicles that refused to stop — someone was finally kind enough to take him to the nearest hospital.

Colonel Rankin spent about 3 weeks in the hospital recovering from severe decompression shock, welts, bruising, and other superficial wounds. He eventually returned to flight status.

In 2009 he died of natural causes at the age of 89.

Here’s a video about his harrowing ordeal:

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Why the French Army thought it could win at Dien Bien Phu

More than a decade before the United States’ involvement in Vietnam, the country was controlled as a French colony. Even back then, the Vietnamese were fighting against outside forces in their country. By they Japanese, Chinese, French or Americans, Vietnam would not relent against outsiders. 

Today, it’s easy to look at the French situation at Dien Bien Phu and criticize the French for placing their base at the bottom of a valley, then allowing it to be surrounded by the enemy. Viet Minh Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap would later refer to the battle as a “rice bowl” but the plan was actually based on a previous battle, one Giap lost handily to the French. 

The French Union wanted to cut the Viet Minh off from its Laotian supply lines, so it concocted a plan to airlift soldiers near key points in those lines and then disrupt them from there. The French had won a key victory against Giap and the Vietnamese two years prior at Na San. 

7 special operations forces the military really needs
An aerial view of the Dien Bien Phu valley in 1953. (Wikimedia Commons)

Na San was an outpost that occupied the highest point surrounding a valley and several other armed positions, a system of trenches and artillery batteries.  They called this system of fortifications the “hedgehog.” At Na San, Giap had repeatedly led his troops into a direct frontal assault on the high ground positions held by the French and took heavy losses for his trouble.

At Dien Bien Phu, the French reasoned, they would be able to repeat their victory over Giap on a larger scale. This time they had planes and tanks along with the artillery to inflict some real damage to Viet Minh manpower. 

Giap, however, had learned his lesson about committing such large numbers of men to a frontal assault on a well-defended position. Also Dien Bien Phu didn’t occupy any high ground, it was at the bottom of a valley, surrounded by peaks. The French still believed the hedgehog would be an effective measure against any attack. 

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Viet Minh soldiers launching an assault during the battle. (Wikimedia Commons)

French leadership also believed that the geographic location of Dien Bien Phu would work against the Viet Minh. The locals, they thought, were mostly of Thai descent and believed to be hostile toward the Viet Minh. They also believed that the jungle would be too dense to bring heavy weapons, anti aircraft guns and artillery to an attack on the base. 

The base seemed impregnable and the French posted seasoned combat veterans there who would keep their cool under heavy fire. It was their idea to force the Viet Minh into a pitched battle. 

When the fighting started, the Viet Minh had already mapped out the base and knew the locations of all the French artillery. What’s more, Giap definitely was able to bring heavy guns to bear on the base, firing countless artillery shells into the area from places the French couldn’t even see. Months of preparation even allowed the Viet Minh to dig tunnels to hide the guns from French aircraft.

So when the bullets began to fly, the French didn’t control the ridges above Dien Bien Phu and were subject to taking shots from the hills. They had no idea there were an estimated five battalions of Viet Minh converging on their position with everything they had. 

The French failed to control the base, and soon after, the country of Vietnam itself. The French would leave Vietnam later that same year. 

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How to sham out of work and get promoted while doing it

So, you’re a high-speed, low-drag new trooper who wants to have a successful and rewarding military career. The only problem is that you’re lazy.


Not “I can’t get out of bed without a personal pep talk from Richard Simmons” lazy, but more, “I’m not going to make my bed because I’m just going to ruin it tonight” lazy.

In the civilian world, that’s fine. But in the military, you can actually get demoted for not making your bed. So how do you get ahead in Uncle Sam’s Rifle Club with minimum effort? Easy. You learn to sham (or if you joined the sea services, “skate”).

7 special operations forces the military really needs
It’s a lot like this, but with less work. (Photo: US Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Vallee)

Shamming and skating are the fine arts of doing little to no work while avoiding friction and punishments from command.

The trick is to pace yourself throughout the day, doing work only when necessary but also giving the perception of constant activity.

A top-shelf sham day starts with not doing physical training. The most obvious way to get out of this is a pass from the medics. WATM does not encourage this…but here’s our guide. If you can get a full-day pass to stay in the barracks, your shamming is now in easy mode.

But sick call slips and chits are rationed, and remaining on quarters for too long can get you kicked out for “malingering.” If you want to get promoted, you’ll have to get more creative.

First, always know who is instructing PT in the morning and what the planned activity is. If Spc. McMuffin is leading the platoon on a slow jog down the main strip, just bite the bullet and do PT. But if Sgt. Creatine is leading a ruck-run and circuit-training Crossfit extravaganza, then you need to volunteer for a work detail.

7 special operations forces the military really needs
These aren’t exactly fun. (Photo: U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jorge Intriago)

But wait, wait, wait! I thought you said I wasn’t going to have to actually work?

Sure, volunteering for work may seem counterproductive. But pulling a 12-hour guard shift on some ammo in a field while you’re playing the newest Candy Crush level and taking turns napping with the other guard is way better than playing log throw with Capt. America and then spending all day at a desk.

Speaking of desk work, there are ways to sham through that if you get stuck in it. If you permanently work in an office, the best thing you can do is create the impression that you’re always working way too hard to be interrupted.

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Getting someone to take photos of you from interesting angles can only help your cause. (Photo: U.S Army Staff Sgt. Mike Pryor)

This can be achieved with multiple little green notebooks, legal pads, and an endless number of browser windows. Spread the legal pads and notebooks around the desk and fill the open pages with illegible writing. Draw lots of arrows between areas of text.

If anyone asks what you’re doing, start talking a lot about guidance from headquarters and how it affects 3rd quarter mandatory training. There’s not an NCO in the world that will stick around.

When you’re only working the office for the day, the best thing you can do is offer to shred things and take the trash out. No one is timing these tasks, so there’s plenty of time to joke around with buddies or check your phone. You should take the trash out at least three or four times in a regular duty day.

And, once you volunteer to take the trash out enough times or to run other errands, people will start thinking that you must be doing said errands when they can’t see you.

Now you’re in business. Once they stop checking up on you, start adding a 20-minute nap to each errand and trash run that you do.

Another place you can work constant naps into the day is the motor pool. Avoid emptying and reloading connexes by volunteering to PMCI vehicles. At each vehicle, open the front doors and raise the hood, then rack out in the back seat for a few minutes. Finally, declare the vehicle ready to go, close everything up, and move on to the next one.

7 special operations forces the military really needs
This guy is inspecting the inside of the gas tank. Instead, look inside the gas tank when you refill it and use the time you save during inspection to nap. (Photo: U.S. Army Pfc. James Dutkavich)

At the end of the day, there’s always the risk that a pleased platoon or first sergeant will want to inspect the room of such a squared-away individual.

Fear not — passing room inspections is easy. The trick is to get the barracks super clean one time. We’re talking perfection here. No dust anywhere, scrub the backs of the appliances, secure the bedspread with bungee cords and glue the hospital corners into place. Tie up your roommate and hide him in the woodline.

Place neatly organized study cards next to your computer, which should have exactly one browser window open to whatever your branch’s promotions and accessions guidance is.

The platoon and first sergeant will not believe their eyes. They’ll praise you in front of the formation and talk amongst themselves for days about how polished you are.

Then they’ll become complacent and they won’t inspect you anymore. They might come by for payday inspections and the company change of command, but that’s about it.

The rest of the year you can walk around in your room dripping marinara sauce onto the floor, and no one will know or care.

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Photo: Terminal Lance/Facebook

That barracks will become your palace of filth, and no one will be the wiser. In fact, they’ll be so impressed by that one inspection and all those guard details you volunteered for that they’ll promote you ahead of your peers until you get paid to move out of the barracks — you won’t even have to get a contract marriage to the first person you meet off-base.

Congrats, shammer. You have arrived.

 

(Also, maybe retrieve your roommate from the woodline at some point. He could legitimately die).

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Here are the winners of the 2015 US military photographer awards

Every year, the U.S. military’s photographers, videographers, and graphic artists submit their work to a panel of seasoned photographers in the Visual Information Award Program at Fort Meade, Maryland. There are nine separate categories in which photographers compete, including Military Photographer of the Year.


Here are this year’s winners along with detailed explanations of each photo:

Military Photographer of the Year: Staff Sgt. Kenny Holston, United States Air Force

“Generations of Battle”

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Dan Kelsey, a farmer from Clyde, N.Y. and World War II veteran who served in the Army Air Corps, sits on the rear bumper of his van, crouched over with both hands covering his face due to exhaustion and body ailments brought on by a long day of selling produce at the Central New York Regional Market, Sept. 5, 2015, Syracuse, N.Y. Dan and his son Carl Kelsey raise and harvest their own produce to sell at the market each week. Dan has been selling his crops at the market since 1938, in between his time in the military where he served as an aircraft mechanic on the B-26 Invader. While some years in the farming industry are better than others, 2015 has proven to be a tough one for Dan and his son as the production of their crops has been down due to weather conditions thus resulting in a loss of money. The father and son team normally bring approximately 150 baskets of tomatoes to sale at the market along with other produce which earns them nearly $1,500 on a good day but they have only been able to bring about 40 baskets each time this year knocking their earnings down to about $600, less than half their normal profit. As summer narrows and the weather changes, it could possibly be a long winter for the WWII veteran and his son. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kenny Holston)

“No More”

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Residents of Baltimore, Md. protest, riot, and loot after the funeral of Freddie Gray, April 27, 2015. Gray, died April 19, 2015 from a severe spinal injury that allegedly occurred while in police custody. Looting and riots broke out in Baltimore after the funeral. The Maryland governor declared a state of emergency and enlisted the aid of 2,000 soldiers from the Maryland National Guard to help disseminate the riot. Some of the people participating in the riot/protest explained that their actions were a part of the Black Lives Matter movement which began sweeping across the nation in 2012 after Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman fatally shot Martin who was a 17-year-old African American. Zimmerman, was the neighborhood watch coordinator. He shot Martin, who was unarmed, during an altercation between the two of them. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Kenny Holston)

“The Heroin Highway”

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Allen Sanford, a homeless man with several health issues, a severe drug addiction and an impending divorce says he feels trapped and thinks he will be stuck on the streets and addicted to heroin for the rest of his life. Recently, Syracuse, N.Y. was statistically ranked number one for poverty and several town hall meetings have been held to come up with ideas on how to resolve the increasing heroin problem sweeping across the city. These images depict Sanford’s daily struggle with his addiction and surviving on the streets of Syracuse. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kenny Holston)

“Tucked In”

7 special operations forces the military really needs
A U.S. Air Force crew chief assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron, crawls out of the intake of an F-16 Fighting Falcon as she completes her post flight inspection on the aircraft, Jan. 15, 2015, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. Crews chiefs work around the clock to keep Shaw’s fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons mission ready at all times.(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kenny Holston)

“Remembering a Legend”

7 special operations forces the military really needs

Combat Operations Category

1st place: “Rushing to Save Lives,” by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey D. Anderson, USMC

7 special operations forces the military really needs
A U.S. Air Force pararescueman with Joint Task Force 505 helps evacuate earthquake victims from an area near Cherikot, Nepal, after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the country, May 12. JTF 505 along with other multinational forces and humanitarian relief organizations are currently in Nepal providing aid after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the country, April 25. At Nepal’s request the U.S. government ordered JTF 505 to provide unique capabilities to assist Nepal. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Jeffrey D. Anderson)

2nd place: “Operation Enduring Freedom Combined Joint Task Force- Horn of Africa,” by Staff Sgt. Gregory Brook, USAF

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Soldiers from Alpha Company,1st Armored Battalion, 77th Armored Regiment 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, East Africa Response Force (EARF) bound to cover by section during a live fire training exercise at the Arta training range in Djibouti, May 30, 2015. The EARF is a quick reaction force designed to defend U.S. assets within the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Brook)

3rd place: “Delivering Hope,” by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey D. Anderson, USMC

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Nepalese army soldiers unload aid and relief supplies, delivered by Joint Task Force 505, from a UH-1Y Venom in the Kavrepalanchowk District, Nepal, May, 11, during Operation Sahayogi Haat. The Nepalese Government requested the U.S. Government’s assistance after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the country, April 25. The U.S. government ordered JTF 505 to provide unique capabilities to assist Nepal. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Jeffrey D. Anderson)

News Category:

1st place: ” Dueling Demonstrations, by “Staff Sgt. Kenny Holston, USAF

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Dueling demonstrations clash as the Klu Klux Klan holds a protest rally on the steps of the S.C. State House building at the same time as a New Black Panther Party rally coupled with other black activist groups, July19, 2015, Columbia, S.C. The KKK held the rally to protest against the removal of the Confederate Flag from the State House grounds which was taken down July 10, 2015. The demonstration groups nearly went head-to-head as both rallies concluded and ended up face-to-face in the streets of downtown Columbia. In this photo young African American men push past medal barricades which are the only thing between them and several KKK members as they shout at the Klan members to leave or die. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kenny Holston)

2nd place: “Goodbye,” by Senior Airman Jensen Stidham, USAF

7 special operations forces the military really needs
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brett Baker, assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing, kisses his wife before leaving for a deployment from Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Oct. 6, 2015. Members of the Air Force typically deploy several times throughout their career, often times leaving family members behind. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jensen Stidham)

3rd place: “Chairman In Thought,” by Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp, USA

7 special operations forces the military really needs
38th Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter, Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh, 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, and 39th Chief of Staff of the Army Mark A. Milley stand in line prior to the start of the United States Army Change of Responsibility ceremony held at Summerall Field on Fort Myer, Va., Aug. 14, 2015. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno relinquished command of the U.S. Army to Gen. Mark A. Milley during the ceremony hosted by Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp)

Combat Training Category:

1st place: “Chow time,” by Staff Sgt. Kenny Holston, USAF

7 special operations forces the military really needs
U.S. Air Force Combat Control trainees assigned to Operating Location C, 342nd Training Squadron, laugh with each other while sharing a meal ready to eat during a long day of training Feb. 13, 2015. Working as a team and keeping morale high within the unit is vital to each Airman’s success as they push through training. At the 342nd TRS both CCT and Special Operations Weather Team trainees go through four months of grueling tactical and class room training. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Kenny Holston)

2nd place: “Air Force Basic Military Training,” by Staff Sgt. Christopher Griffin, USAF

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Trainees practice proper security procedures before being sent out to their field training exercise. The week-long event exposes the trainees to conditions similar to what they’d see in a deployed environment and also gives the trainees an opportunity to work together as a team without the guidance of their instructors. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Griffin)

3rd place: “View Behind the Lens,” Senior Airman Damon Kasberg, USAF

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Airman 1st Class Lane Plummer, 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, photographs paratroopers from multiple allied nations as they exit a C-130J Super Hercules during International Jump Week, July 9, 2015 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The five-day event was led by the 435th Contingency Response Group and provided multiple nations the opportunity to work side-by-side, increasing interoperability and strengthening relationships. Paratroopers traveled from throughout Europe and as far away as New Zealand to build stronger partnerships by jumping out of aircraft assigned to the 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein. (U.S. Air Force photo taken by Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

Features Category:

(This category is for storytelling pictures, not news-related; usually situations that have strong human interest or a fresh view of a commonplace occurrences.)

1st place: “Tug Of War,” by Lance Cpl. Ryan P. Kierkegaard, USMC

7 special operations forces the military really needs
U.S. Marines with 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division participate in a tug of war competition during warrior night at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., July 1, 2015. Warrior night is an annual event held to build camaraderie in the battalion. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ryan P. Kierkegaard)

2nd Place: “Warrior CARE Event,” by Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos, USAF

7 special operations forces the military really needs
A U.S. Air Force wounded warrior engages her core in preparation for exercises during an Air Force hosted North East Regional Warrior CARE event at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Nov. 17, 2015. The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program is a federally mandated program that provides personalized care, services and advocacy for wounded, ill and injured service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos)

3rd Place: “Koalafying,” by Master Sgt. Michel A. Sauret, USA

7 special operations forces the military really needs

Illustrative Category:

(This category shows photographs produced to illustrate a pre-conceived theme, concept or idea, and does not include text or graphics.)

1st place: “The Last Patrol,” by Sgt. Matthew Callahan, USMC

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Advanced Recon Commandos rush to cover after being ambushed by separatist forces. The troopers were conducting a security patrol outside their company forward operating base when the droid forces attacked.
This image of 12-inch action figures is part of a larger photo essay telling the stories of the rank-and-file ground troops of the Star Wars universe through the lens of a combat correspondent. Conflict generally has been one of the biggest informants in the way pop culture creates stories. This photo essay, entitled “Galactic Warfighters” tethers the real and fictitious worlds more closely to each other. All elements of this image were captured in-camera. The image was converted to black and white with a contrast adjustment, sharpening and minor burning of the vignetted edges in post. (U.S. Marine Corps illustration by Sgt. Matthew Callahan)

2nd Place: “Smoking Costs,” by Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos, USAF

7 special operations forces the military really needs
The average smoker spends more than 1,500 dollars a year on cigarettes. Most smokers overlook how much they are spending because buying cigarettes come in small, frequent purchases. (U.S. Air Force illustration by Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos)

3rd Place: “Let Them Speak,” by Staff Sergeant Douglas Ellis, USAF

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Three women die each day at the hands of their intimate partner according to the National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The military provides its members and families a variety of programs to reduce occurrences and aid victims. (U.S. Air Force illustration by Staff Sergeant Douglas Ellis)

Portrait Personality Category:

1st Place: “Arvin,” by Senior Airman Jordan A. Castelan, USAF

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Maj. Sherrill Arvin (ret.) has his portrait taken during an interview recapping his time in service during the 1940s 50s, 60s and 70s as an aviator in the Airman Heritage Museum on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, April 16, 2015. Arvin began his military involvement on JBSA-Lackland at the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center and continues by volunteering at the Airman Heritage Museum. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jordan A. Castelan)

2nd Place: “Cowboy Al,” by Staff Sgt. Christopher S. Muncy, New York Air National Guard

7 special operations forces the military really needs
At 95 years old, Al still works as the manager of a small ranch in Norco, California. A veteran of the Second World War, Al fought with the Seventh Armored Division, landing on the beaches of Normandy and fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. Additionally, Al has survived a major propane explosion and open heart surgery (New York Air National Guard photo by Staff Sergeant Christopher S. Muncy)

3rd Place: “Cowgirl,” by Staff Sgt. Marcus Fichtl, USA

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Susan Peterson rests on her horse barn’s door in Norco, Calif., June 18, 2015. Peterson spent the morning playing with her horses and mule. The photo was taken during the 2015 Department of Defense Photography workshop held in Riverside, Calif. The workshop brought photographers and videographers from across the DOD together, while industry and military leaders mentored and developed them for a week. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Marcus Fichtl)

Pictorial Category:

(This category contains photographs that exploit the visual qualities of the subject with primary emphasis on composition and aesthetics.)

1st place: “Dusky Night,” by Cpl. Matthew Howe, USMC

7 special operations forces the military really needs
A U.S. Marine with Bravo Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, stands untop of a Light Armored Vehicle 25 during duck for Steel Knight 16 (SK-16), at National Training Center Fort Irwin, Calif., Dec. 13, 2015. Steel Knight is an annual field training exercise that enables 1st Marine Division to test and refine its command and control capabilities by acting as the command element for a forward-deployed Marine Expeditionary Force. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Matthew Howe)

2nd place: “Gone, but Not Forgotten,” by Master Sgt. John R. Nimmo, Sr., USAF

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Headstones pave the lawns of Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, Calif., June 17, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by by Master Sgt. John R. Nimmo, Sr.)

3rd place: “USNS Mercy Steams Forward,” by Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark El-Rayes, USN

7 special operations forces the military really needs
The hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) steams ahead during Pacific Partnership 2015. Pacific Partnership is in its tenth iteration and is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark El-Rayes)

Sports Photography Category:

1st place: “Catch!,” by Senior Airman Jordan A. Castelan, USAF

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Two soldiers play catch with a football while a fellow soldier watches the perimeter of the training grounds during the Expert Field Medic Badge course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Sept. 24, 2015. The EFMB is the non-combat equivalent of the Combat Medical Badge and is awarded to medical personnel of the U.S. military who successfully complete a set of qualification tests. (U.S. Air Force photo by by Senior Airman Jordan A. Castelan)

2nd place: “Overcomer,” by Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr., USAF

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Staff Sgt. Gideon Connelly leaps over a gutter during training at an adaptive sports camp in Crested Butte, Colorado. In 2011, Connelly was involved in a motorcycle accident where he lost his left leg below the knee. He rehabilitated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC. Connelly was returned to duty and currently serves at the 175th Maintenance Squadron. Connelly takes part in many of the adaptive sports events and his main love is sprinting. He is training to be a part of the Paralympic track and field team for the 2016 Paralympic Games. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr.)

3rd place: “Fight Night,” by Cpl. Elize McKelvey, USMC

7 special operations forces the military really needs
U.S. Marine Cpl. Roman Fernandez, left, and 1st Lt. Paul Hollwedel duke it out in the hangar bay of the USS Essex (LHD 2) at sea in the Pacific Ocean, May 29, 2015. Fernandez is a team leader and Hollwedel is the executive officer with Lima Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The Marines found unique ways to continue to maintain combat readiness during their seven-month deployment through the Pacific and Central Command areas. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Elize McKelvey)

Picture Story Category:

(This category is for photos that reveal a storyline or a single theme.)

1st place: “Air Force Boot Camp,” by Staff Sgt. Christopher Griffin, USAF

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Air Force Basic Military Training is an 8-week life changing program of physical and mental training required in order for an individual to become an airman in the U. S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force picture story by Staff Sgt. Christopher Griffin)

2nd place: “Norco.” by Staff Sgt. Marcus Fichtl, USA

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Citizens of Norco, Calif., share a lifestyle that stands as an oasis of Americana in the middle of Southern California, here, Jun. 18, 2015. (U.S. Army picture story by Staff Sgt. Marcus Fichtl).

3rd place: “Obstacle Course.” by Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos, USAF

7 special operations forces the military really needs
U.S. Marine Corps recruits endure a 54-hour long training called the Crucible, a test that gauges their physical, mental and emotional strength. As recruits use different parts of their bodies to accomplish tasks and challenges along the way, they also have to work together and move as a unit in order to conquer the Crucible and become Marines. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos, USAF)

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US special operators accidentally show off the gear used against ISIS

President Barack Obama announced that 250 more special forces troops would be sent to Syria to bolster U.S. efforts in the fight against ISIS. Their specific mission is not clear, but in neighboring Iraq, ground forces have provided fire support to Iraqi troops fighting to retake Mosul and have acted as advisors to Iraqi and Kurdish forces.


7 special operations forces the military really needs

Meanwhile, the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command has conducted raids against ISIS in Syria, killing or capturing leaders of the terror group. In recent days, U.S. special operators were captured on video by France’s media outlet France24, as U.S. troops directed A-10 Thunderbolt strikes in support of Syrian Democratic Forces fighting to take the village of Shadadi from ISIS.

Shadadi is a border town that once served as the crossing point for ISIS fighter heading into neighboring Iraq. It was captured recently by Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units and Syrian Democratic Forces. The recapture took less than a week.

7 special operations forces the military really needs

The video keep the men’s identities secret, but shows the gear used against ISIS in the battle for the town. The small group of operators are seen carrying Remington’s Modular Sniper Rifle, an M-32 semiautomatic grenade launcher, and equipment that allows for them to call in airstrikes, acording to Twitter’s Abraxas Spa, who describes their feed as an “all-source analyst.”

 

One operator is using the Mk. 4 scope on a tripod while another is marking objects with the LA-16 laser marker. The LA-16 will guide bombs to targets on the ground using the handheld laser.

7 special operations forces the military really needs

The operators are also using a ROVER, Remote Operations Video Enhanced Receiver, which allows for troops on the ground to see a video feed of what aircraft overhead see. The Tactical ROVER-p can provide real-time imagery to a tablet.

7 special operations forces the military really needs

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The Navy’s ruling just came down on the USS Fitzgerald’s top leaders — and it isn’t good

The commander of the destroyer USS Fitzgerald and the executive officer have been permanently detached from the ship and face non-judicial punishment over the deadly collision in June with a container ship, the Navy announced August 17.


Cmdr. Bryce Benson, commander of the Fitzgerald, and Cmdr. Sean Babbitt, the executive officer, are “being detached for cause,” meaning that the Navy “has lost trust and confidence in their ability to lead,” Adm. Bill Moran, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, said during a press conference.

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander of the 7th Fleet, has also decided that the top enlisted sailor aboard the Fitzgerald and several other sailors on the watch crew at the time of the collision on June 17 will also face non-judicial punishment, Moran said.

7 special operations forces the military really needs
YOKOSUKA, Japan (June 17, 2017) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) returns to Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka following a collision with a merchant vessel while operating southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter Burghart

Aucoin ruled that “serious mistakes were made by the crew,” Moran said.

The Fitzgerald was hit nearly broadside by the ACX Crystal cargo ship in the early morning hours of June 17 in Japanese waters. Seven sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Fitzgerald were killed.

The service members, whose bodies were found in flooded berthing compartments, on August 17 were posthumously promoted.

The top enlisted sailor on the Fitzgerald was later identified as Chief Petty Officer Brice Baldwin. He, Benson, and Babbitt were all in their berths when the collision occurred.

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Honoring the seven Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald who were killed in a collision at sea. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Raymond D. Diaz III

However, Aucoin found that all three bore chief responsibility for the watch crew on the bridge losing “situational awareness” as the destroyer was proceeding at about 20 knots on a clear moonlit night in relatively calm seas, Moran said.

When asked if the non-judicial punishment against Benson, Babbitt, and Baldwin would be career-ending, Moran said: “Look at what happened here — it’s going to be pretty hard to recover from this.” Moran said investigations were continuing but he declined to speculate on whether courts martial might be pursued against any of the Fitzgerald’s crew.

Since the accident occurred, naval experts have pondered how a fast and agile destroyer carrying some of the world’s most advanced radars and proceeding on a clear moonlit night in calm seas could have been hit nearly broadside by a slow and plodding cargo ship.

7 special operations forces the military really needs
USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) sits in Dry Dock after sustaining significant damage in the June 17 collision. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Leonard Adams.

The speculation has centered on whether the bridge watch crew was either poorly trained or simply not alert. Moran said only that collisions should not happen in the US Navy — “We got it wrong.”

A “line of duty” investigation released by the Navy earlier August 17 on actions following the collision gave evidence of the enormous damage inflicted on the Fitzgerald and the heroic actions of the crew in saving the ship and their fellow sailors.

Berthing Area 2, two decks below the main deck where 35 sailors were sleeping in three-decker buns, was exposed to the open sea, the investigation said. The bulbous nose of the ACX Crystal had ripped a 13×17 foot hole into the side of the Fitzgerald.

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Repairs to a hole punctured into the side of the USS Fitzgerald after colliding with a merchant vessel on June 17, 2017. Navy photo by Daniel A. Taylor.

“As a result, nothing separated Berthing 2 from the onrushing sea, allowing a great volume of water to enter Berthing 2 very quickly,” the investigation said. The seven sailors killed in the collision were all in Berthing 2. They were “directly in the path of the onrushing water,” the investigation said.

The force of the collision knocked the Fitzgerald into a 14-degree list to port before the ship rocked back violently into a seven-degree list to starboard. “One sailor saw another knocked out of his rack by water,” the investigation said.

“Others began waking up shipmates who had slept through the initial impact. At least one sailor had to be pulled from his rack and into the water before he woke up,” the investigation said.

The sailors were in water up to their necks as they scrambled to reach a ladder to safety. The last rescued sailor had been in the bathroom at the time of the crash. Other sailors “pulled him from the water, red-faced and with bloodshot eyes. He reported he was taking his final breath before being saved,” the investigation said.

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America named four tanks after General George S. Patton

General George S. Patton’s commands during WWII were characterized by fast and aggressive mobilized charges. At the spearhead of these advances were his tanks. Originally trained in horseback cavalry, Patton established the American Expeditionary Force’s Light Tank School during WWI and embraced the new machine’s role on the modern battlefield. Fittingly, his name is featured heavily in the American tank line that would follow WWII.

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Patton with a Renault FT Light Tank in France (U.S. Army)

1. M46 Patton

7 special operations forces the military really needs
A Marine M46 Patton in Korea (U.S. Marine Corps)

America’s primary tank during WWII was the M4 Sherman Medium Tank. However, while the Sherman served well in an infantry support role, it suffered in tank-on-tank battle. The Sherman’s armor and gun were outclassed by the German heavy tanks like the fearsome Tiger. In response, the U.S. Army developed the M26 Pershing Heavy Tank which saw limited action at the end of WWII. After the war, the M26 was redesignated as a medium tank. Though its gun was an improvement over the Sherman’s, the Pershing lacked the mobility required of a medium tank. To fix this, the Army fitted it with an improved engine, transmission, and a new gun. About 800 Pershings were modified in this way and renamed the M46 Patton. The new M46 entered service in 1949 and saw action in Korea where it proved very capable against the North Korean T-34 Medium Tanks. Still, the M46 only made up about 15% of the U.S. tank strength in Korea during the war.

2. M47 Patton

7 special operations forces the military really needs
An M47 Patton on display (First Division Museum)

The M46 Patton was upgraded with a new turret that featured increased protection for the crew and a rangefinder. Classified as a main battle tank (MBT), it entered service as the primary tank of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps in 1951. Moreover, unlike the M46, it was heavily exported to SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organization) and NATO allies. It is the only Patton series tank that did not see combat with the U.S. Interestingly, it is also the last U.S. tank to feature a bow-mounted machine gun in its hull. With the arrival of the new M48, the M47 was eventually declared obsolete and relegated to a target practice role.

3. M48 Patton

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An M48 Patton carries infantry in Vietnam (U.S. Army)

Introduced in 1952, the M48 Patton was designed from the ground up. It improved primarily upon the protection, mobility, and fuel efficiency of the M47. Like the M47, it served as the primary tank for both the Army and Marine Corps and served extensively in Vietnam. Though the conflict saw few tank-on-tank battles, the M48 performed admirably in an infantry support role. When the U.S. withdrew from Vietnam, many M48s were handed over to ARVN Forces. In Vietnamese hands, the M48 managed to defeat PAVN T-34 and T-55 tanks. However, due to fuel and ammo shortages, these victories were short-lived. Like the M47, the M48 was heavily exported and is still in service with Greece, Turkey and Taiwan.

4. M60 Patton

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A Marine M60 Patton conducts a breaching exercise during Operation Desert Storm (U.S. Marine Corps)

The fourth and final tank to bear Patton’s name, the M60 is a second generation main battle tank. Although it was developed from the M48, it was never officially named Patton. Still, the name stuck. The M60 entered service in 1959 and reached operational capability the next year. However, its first action was during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In the hands of Israeli tankers, the M60 performed well against the Soviet-built T-72s. Upgraded with explosive reactive armor, the Israeli M60s again saw combat during the 1982 Lebanon War. The M60’s first American action came the next year during Operation Urgent Fury with the Marines in Grenada. During Operation Desert Storm, the Marines again employed the M60 with great effect. It proved deadly against the Iraqi Army’s Soviet-built armored vehicles and tanks.

Feature image: U.S. Army photo by Tech. Sgt. Boyd Belcher

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What’s going on with Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets this year?

Search and rescue efforts are underway for the pilot of a United States Marine Corps F/A-18C Hornet who was forced to eject from his aircraft 120 miles southeast of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.


According to a Marine Corps news release, the Hornet was assigned to the 1st Marine Air Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force and was on what the Marines described as a regular training mission when it went down.

An investigation into why the pilot was forced to eject is underway.

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Cpl. Chris Lawler, a crewmaster with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 152, observes an F/A-18C Hornet with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 122 approach the refueling hose during Exercise Pitch Black 2016 at Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal, Australia, Aug. 9, 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Nicole Zurbrugg)

This latest mishap marks the fourth crashed or badly damaged Marine Corps Hornet so far this fiscal year, which began Oct. 1.

In October, an F/A-18C crashed on approach at Twentynine Palms, California, and in November, two Hornets collided in mid-air, losing one plane and badly damaging another.

So far the Marine Corps has suffered five major flight mishaps this year, while the service suffered eight in all of fiscal 2016.

The Marine Corps has had serious problems with its Hornet fleet specifically, including the need to pull nearly two dozen from the “boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base this past summer. It was unclear whether this one was of the “boneyard” birds, a Navy hand-me-down or a plane in the Corps’ regular inventory.

Marine Hornets had a rough summer, with a number of crashes prompting a 24-hour stand-down.

However, the August timeout seems to have had little effect, as FoxNews.com reported that there have been four incidents since October, including a mid-air collision between two Hornets in November.

The baseline F/A-18 Hornet has been out of production since Fiscal Year 1997, and the line now only produces the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the EA-18G Growler electronic warfare plane.

The Marines plan to replace both their F/A-18 Hornets and AV-8B+ Harriers with the F-35B Lightning II. The F-35B has seen some delays, but was introduced in July, 2015. Marine Corps Lightnings are expected to operate off HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2021 due to a shortage of airframes in the Fleet Air Arm.

MIGHTY TRENDING

7 hilarious but accurate descriptions of military hardware

When it comes time to write up the technical pamphlets for the next generation of military gear, the manufacturers … probably won’t call us.


Here are seven perfectly accurate descriptions of military hardware that no self-respecting manufacturer would ever publish:

1. The Apache is the world’s most advanced digital camera

7 special operations forces the military really needs
It’s a lot of money for relatively poor image quality, but the zoom is fantastic.

The AH-64 just has so many features that Canon and Nikon would never dream of putting on a camera: multiple rotor blades, a hydraulics systems, missiles, rockets, and a cannon. It’s almost hard to spot the camera sensors in the ball at the front.

2. The M1A2 Abrams tank provides very effective body armor for troops

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Does your armor deploy its own smoke grenades? And depleted uranium shells?

Because the armor is on motorized tracks, you can barely even feel the 60 tons of protection. It even has seats, a feature most body armor lacks.

3. The A-10 is a great way to get a look at the battlefield

7 special operations forces the military really needs

It gets you high enough to see over the terrain while keeping you low enough to see all your enemies. If only there was something we could do about them from up here?

4. Navy aircraft carriers are cruise ships with (slightly) less sex and much more (hidden) booze

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You can move a LOT of people with one of these ships. Over 6,000 with the old Nimitz-class. The newer Ford ships hold less people, normally about 4,000, but have sweet magnets that could hold literally anything to a fridge. In a pinch, there’s even a way to move people from shore directly to the ship without it docking. But be warned that the cruise directors are pretty uptight and the upper decks are noisy.

5. TOW missiles are a much faster delivery method than carrier pigeons

7 special operations forces the military really needs
But, you know, they’re still faster than pigeons.

While carrier pigeons top out at around 90 mph in a sprint, TOW missiles fly at an astounding 715 mph. There’s almost nothing that can get your message across a battlefield faster, and the control cables let the recipient know just where the message came from.

Just a quick note, when sending messages to friends you should be sure to remove the original payload.

6. Rifles can punch holes through hella paper at once

7 special operations forces the military really needs
(via Military Memes)

Don’t use boring three-hole punches that can only handle a few sheets when these rifles can create either 5.56mm or 7.62mm openings in dozens of sheets of paper at once.

7. CS gas is a quick and effective decongestant

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Neti pots are weird and pouring liquids through your sinus cavities can lead to brain parasites. 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile has neither drawback and is extremely effective at helping you breathe free clearing your sinuses.

Articles

This horse racing track used to be a WWII Japanese Internment Camp

Arcadia, California’s beautiful Santa Anita Racetrack had a different name in 1942: The Santa Anita Assembly Center.  It was the largest assembly point for Japanese-Americans on the U.S. West coast as they were forced into internment camps. 19,000 people passed through here on their way to the camps.


7 special operations forces the military really needs
Track Today (Photo: Rennett Stowe, Wikimedia Commons)

In February 1942,then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, ordering Japanese Americans to be interned in camps along the west coast. While these camps were being built, those who would be interned were housed at assembly centers like Santa Anita, living in converted horse stalls and other hastily built structures. Santa Anita was guarded, surrounded with barbed wire and filled with searchlights to light the dark nights. In all 110,000 Japanese-Americans were interned on short-notice, closing farms and businesses and abandoning their homes. Eventually, some even enlisted in the Army.

7 special operations forces the military really needs
Living quarters were made out of abandoned horse stalls (LA Public Library Photo)

Internees at Santa Anita were told to bring blankets and linens, toiletries, clothing, dishes and cookware, and anything else they could carry. They were forbidden from having anything written in Japanese. The people of Santa Anita developed a large internal economy, complete with jobs, businesses, and a local newspaper. They developed a unique culture of music, arts, and softball teams.

7 special operations forces the military really needs
The $2 betting window becomes the circulation desk for the camp library (LA Public Library)

In September 1942, those in Santa Anita were moved to other camps. By November 1942, Santa Anita was completely emptied of internees and then became an Army training camp.

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Lily Okuru, an internee, poses with the Seabiscuit statue at Santa Anita Recetrack in 1942 (US government photo)

In 1944, the Supreme Court struck down the government’s ability to hold Americans indefinitely and the internees were released. The last of all the camps closed in 1946 and the U.S. government has since paid $1.6 billion in reparations. Now, a simple plaque near the track’s entrance is the only reminder of its place in the history of WWII.

In the video below, James Tsutsui of Laguna Woods, California discusses his experiences at Santa Anita Racetrack during World War II.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=257v=RjVcZLNiCKU

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The F-35 may finally be getting its act together

While the F-35 Lightning II continues its turbulent march to combat readiness, the jet’s manufacturer posted better than expected quarterly revenue earnings on Tuesday.


Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon’s top weapons supplier, also lifted its 2016 revenue and profit forecasts for a second time — despite significant snags in developing America’s most expensive arms program.

Considered a bellwether for the US defense sector, Lockheed Martin’s stock also posted  a record high of $261.37 in early trading on Tuesday. What’s more, the world’s largest defense contractor’s shares were already up approximately 18% this year.

And all of this is great news for the troubled fifth-generation stealth fighter jet.

7 special operations forces the military really needs
An F-35B from Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 (VMFAT-501), flies near its base a MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina. | Lockheed Martin

“(The) consensus expectations are finally positive for the F-35 and for improvement in the defense budget, which has led to a higher valuation,” Bernstein analyst Douglas Harned wrote in a note, according to Reuters.

The now nearly $400 billion F-35 weapons program was developed in 2001 to replace the US military’s F-15, F-16, and F-18 aircraft.

Lockheed Martin’s “jack of all trades” F-35s were developed to dogfight, provide close air support, execute long-range bombing attacks, and take off from and land on aircraft carriers — all while using the most advanced available stealth capabilities.

Adding to the complexity, Lockheed Martin agreed to design and manufacture three variant F-35s for different sister service branches.

The Air Force has the agile F-35A; the F-35B can take off and land without a runway, ideal for the amphibious Marine Corps; and the F-35C is meant to serve on the Navy’s aircraft carriers.

As it stands now the Pentagon expects to buy 2,457 of these supersonic warplanes.

7 special operations forces the military really needs
All three F-35 variants at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Left to right: F-35C carrier variant, F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing variant, F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant. | Lockheed Martin

According to Lockheed Martin, sales in its aeronautics business, the company’s largest, rose 6% in the past three months due to delivery of 14 F-35s.

The company has said it plans to deliver 53 F-35 jets in 2016, up from 45 a year earlier.

Highlights from Lockheed Martin’s quarterly earnings report:

  • Net sales rose to $12.91 billion (from $11.64 billion in Q2 2015)
  • Net income rose to $1.02 billion (or $3.32 per share), which is up from $929 million (or $2.94 per share) in Q2 2015
  • Generated $1.5 billion in cash from operations
  • Raised 2016’s profit forecast to $12.15–$12.45 per share (from $11.50-$11.80)
  • Raised 2016’s full-year sales of $50.0 billion-$51.5 billion (from earlier estimate of $49.6 billion-$51.1 billion)

Defense giants Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are expected to report quarterly results next week.

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