This is the FBI's dream team of elite counterterrorism operators - We Are The Mighty
Intel

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI, has its own “dream team” of special operators trained to save the lives of hostages and respond to terror attacks.


It’s called the Hostage Rescue Team. With the memory of a terrorist attack at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, and Los Angeles selected to host the games in 1984, U.S. officials realized they had no dedicated counterterrorism force that could respond to such an event.

Out of this planning, HRT was born. While initially trained to respond to hostage situations, the team has evolved to support high-risk arrests, protect dignitaries, and assist the military in foreign war zones.

But before agents can join the team which — not surprisingly — often attracts ex-Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces, they need two years of experience as a field agent. After this, they can volunteer for HRT, but it’s not easy.

First, agents need to go through a two-week selection process at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. They are evaluated by senior HRT personnel on whether they would be able to mesh with the team — not on how good they are as operators.

 

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators
Photo: FBI

At selection, they are tested in physical fitness, shooting, making arrests, teamwork, and how they react during stressful situations.

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators

On average, less than 33 percent of candidates make it through selection, according to the book “To Be An FBI Special Agent” by Henry Holden.

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators

Those who make the cut are then assigned to New Operator Training School, which is also at Quantico.

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators

HRT training is similar to military special operations units, with the caveat that agents also train to arrest suspects whenever possible.

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators

Over the six month training course at NOTS, agents learn skills such as fast-roping out of helicopters and SCUBA diving.

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators

But according to the FBI, the skill they focus on that is most critical is close-quarters battle, or CQB. “How quickly we can secure a house with a credible threat inside might mean the difference between a hostage living or dying,” said Special Agent John Piser, in a story on the FBI’s website.

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators

The HRT has special “shoot houses” where operators can train in the art of clearing rooms, as instructors watch and critique them on catwalks above.

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators

If they graduate NOTS, operators join their individual teams at HRT. But they still have another year of training in basic assault skills, along with specialty training in communications, emergency medicine, or breaching.

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators

Some go on to get even more specialized training, like HRT snipers.

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators

 

Members earn their HRT patch, which bears the Latin motto “Servare Vitas,” which means “to save lives.”

HRT’s numbers are low: Less than 300, according to Business Insider. But that doesn’t make them any less capable. The team can respond to any number of threats within the U.S. in just four hours.

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators

“As an elite counterterrorism tactical team for law enforcement, the HRT is one of the best — if not the best — in the United States,” said Sean Joyce, deputy director of the FBI and former HRT operator. “They are elite because of their training.”

NOW CHECK OUT: The elite history of the U.S. Navy SEALs

Articles

5 Times When Jon Stewart Made A Difference For America’s Veterans

Jon Stewart is leaving “The Daily Show” after 16 years.


A cursory look at the show archives yields an impressive listing of military-related segments over the years, from an absolutely hilarious segment from Rob Riggle at the protests of Marine recruiters in Berkeley, California to Stewart’s fascinating interview with a soldier on what it takes to get through Ranger school.

But you may not know that Stewart has been an advocate for troops throughout his tenure, and has used his show on occasion to advocate for veterans and veteran-related causes. Here are five times in recent years he tried to make a difference:

When he brought on Eric Greitens, CEO and Founder of The Mission Continues, to discuss how returning veterans could transition into service and leadership roles in the civilian world.

When he sent out Samantha Bee to investigate an Iraq war veteran’s benefit claim — stuck in the 900,000 case backlog at the VA — in a segment called Zero Dark 900,000.

When he spoke with war correspondent Sebastian Junger about his film “Korengal,” and how soldiers could positively impact society after they return from war.

When Jason Jones was sent out to speak with Vietnam veterans who were dishonorably discharged due to PTSD who can’t get treatment because they were dishonorably discharged due to PTSD.

The time he blasted President Obama over the VA backlog scandal in an ongoing series called “The Red Tape Diaries.”

Intel

Military experience helped this Marine Corps veteran become a model and entrepreneur

Destiny Monique is a Marine Corps veteran who used her military experience to break into modeling and acting. She has appeared in tons of magazines domestically and abroad and now owns her own modeling company.


In this Spotlight episode, Marine Corps veteran turned professional photographer Cedric Terrell tells Destiny Monique’s unusual transition story.

Destiny spent four years in the Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton, with her service also taking her to Iraq and Kuwait. When she entered the acting and modeling industry, she knew that there was plenty of competition. So she used her military resume to her advantage, and booked plenty of magazine spreads, taking her as far as Spain, over the following years.

She took her experience with her career to start a company called Models for America. With her modeling network, she photographs models for trading cards and posters and sells the works online, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity.

NOW: This veteran’s Army and Air Force experience made him the perfect host for a military TV show

OR: For years ‘The Daily Show’ host Jon Stewart has given veterans their big showbiz breaks

Intel

This forgotten Cold War-era technology is actually alive and well

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators
Image: YouTube


During the Cold War, the Soviets exploited the ground effect phenomenon by creating some of the largest and fastest vehicles of the time called “Ekranoplans.” They were not quite airplanes or hovercraft but something else in between known as Ground Effect Vehicles (GEVs).

Related: These Soviet airplanes were built to fly fast right over the surface of water

Although the technology already existed, they took it to the next level by scaling these vehicles to three-quarters of a football field, weighing more than 350 tons and traveling at speeds beyond 400 miles per hour.

The technology was reportedly used from 1987 to the late 1990s. There was a transport version, a battle version, and even a hospital version of the Ekranoplan. The last of its kind was 90 percent complete when funding ran out. It now sits unused at a naval station in Kaspiysk off the Caspian Sea.

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators
Image: Google Maps, Orvelin Valle

Today, the ground effect technology is making a come back in small hobby vehicles and glorified water taxis. GEVs are fuel and power efficient and become even more economical as they get bigger, according to the video below. “In theory, wing in ground effect works better as the craft gets bigger, so a really big craft would be very, very efficient. That’s where the economics starts to make sense and you can start to build a business out of it.”

This video shows how ground effect technology is making a comeback decades since the Cold War.

Watch:

YouTube, Science Channel

Intel

This Army veteran and NASCAR fan got the surprise of a lifetime

When Army cavalry veteran Rick Groesbeck was invited to the Hendrick Motorsports race shop, he probably suspected he would get a bit of a thrill. He couldn’t have expected everything that was about to happen.


From USA Today:

Groesbeck, 46, had shown up to the Hendrick shop at the request of Charlotte Bridge Home, which helps area veterans transition back to civilian life after their military service has concluded. Groesbeck was told a camera crew wanted to talk to a veteran who was also a NASCAR fan, but he had no clue what was about to happen.

First, the 11-year Army veteran and his six-year-old son were given a personal tour of the shop and Rick Hendrick’s car collection by Rick Hendrick himself.. Then, he met Xfinity Series Champion Chase Elliott and was able to ride with Elliott in a race car on Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Finally, he learned he would be waving the green flag to start Saturday’s Bank of America 500.

“What they did that day and what I get to do this weekend, you see that happening to other people,” Groesbeck told USA Today. “You never think what I did was anything compared to what other people did, and you think there’s other people out there who deserve it more than you. So to have all that happen, I’m truly humbled by that appreciation and gratitude.”

To learn more, check out the original article at USA Today or watch the video below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEENvCBXLQQ

Articles

The AC-130 ‘Ultimate Battle Plane’ Is Getting Even More Firepower

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Air Force Special Operations Command is taking the mantra of “you can never have too much firepower” to heart.

The AC-130 — a modified cargo plane-turned-close air support platform outfitted with a deadly array of weaponry — is about to get a big weapons upgrade, to include another 105mm cannon added to the rear of the plane.

Also Read: V-22 Osprey Rockin’ Rockets Now 

“I want to have two guns,” AFSOC Commander Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold said at a recent Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla, while also calling it “the ultimate battle plane,” according to the Air Force Times.

The Air Force Times has more:

AFSOC plans to add a 105mm cannon to the rear of the plane. That is in addition to the weapons the aircraft is already slated to carry — dual electro-optical infrared sensors, a 30mm cannon, AGM-176A Griffin missiles, all-weather synthetic aperture radar and GBU-30 small diameter bombs. The package was developed to let the gunship identify friendlies and targets at night and in adverse weather.

The upgraded AC-130J “Ghostrider” is currently in the test phase and is slated to replace the AC-130H “Spectre,” AC-130U “Spooky,” and the AC-130W “Stinger II.”

With sophisticated sensors and electronics, the plane is a favorite among ground troops in need of close air support. The AC-130 was used extensively over the skies of Fallujah in 2004, where a reporter embedded with the Marines there remarked: “It’s the air power that really [tipped] the balance towards the Marines.”

NOW: This Powerful Film Tells How Marines Fought ‘One Day Of Hell’ In Fallujah 

OR: This Remarkable Video Shows What It’s Like For Medevac Crews To Rescue Troops Under Fire

Intel

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity

It’s well known that cats will always land on their feet when dropped. According to this clip, those cat-like reflexes are completely lost in a weightless environment.


Along with cats the Airmen also fly pigeons in a weightless state, and some of them wound up flying upside down.

The 1947 video was part of the U.S.  Air Force’s aerospace medical research lab’s bioastronautics research in Dayton, Ohio.

Watch the full 13-minute video here, which includes pretty nifty slow-motion ejection seat footage (not using cats).

 

NOW: This Air Force unit caught satellites as they fell from space

OR: This Navy veteran found confidence and community in the world of Cosplay

Intel

The Nazis had insane ‘superweapon’ ideas that were way ahead of their time

The Nazi propaganda ministry assigned the term Wunderwaffe – German for “wonder-weapon” – to some of their most evil creations.


From sonic cannons that can rip a person apart from the inside out, to a gun that harnesses the power of the sun from space, these weapons were so outlandish in their design that most believe they could never exist beyond the realm of fantasy.

The following video by Strange Mysteries put it best: “The Nazis were a band of f–king insane evil geniuses developing s–t so crazy it’s like they had literally traveled in time 75 years into the future where they discovered games like Call Of Duty and Halo, which is where they got most of their ideas from.”

Check out the video:

Intel

Donald Trump: ‘I always felt that I was in the military’ by attending a military school

Donald Trump never served a day in the military, but he tells a biographer that he “always felt that I was in the military” with his attendance at a military school in his teenage years, according to excerpts from the forthcoming book obtained by The New York Times.


The book, “Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success” by Michael D’Antonio, will be published on Sep. 22. In interviews with the author, Trump reflects on his five years spent at the New York Military Academy as something akin to actually serving in uniform.

“My [Vietnam draft] number was so incredible and it was a very high draft number,” Trump told D’Antonio. “Anyway so I never had to do that, but I felt that I was in the military in the true sense because I dealt with those people.”

Of the academy, which notes on its website that most graduates do not pursue a military career, Trump said he received “more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military.”

This isn’t the first time Trump has spoken on military service. In July, he attacked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his record in Vietnam, saying “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Check out the full report at the Times

Intel

This is Canada’s version of SEAL Team 6

Canada has its own version of the elite U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 that is just as capable at counterterrorism, hostage rescue, and other sensitive missions.


Also Read: Here’s How US Navy SEALs Take Down A House

Known as Joint Task Force 2 and based near Ottawa, the unit keeps tight-lipped about its operations. That’s the case with most special ops of course, but JTF2 has seemingly dodged infamy and insider books. That stands in sharp contrast to the SEAL Team that has become well-known in the U.S. thanks to leaked details of high profile missions such as the Bin Laden raid.

Established in 1993, the unit has around 250 members. According to its official website, the unit was deployed to Afghanistan in 2001 — the first time it had been in major combat operations outside of Canada. It has also been rumored to be involved in combat against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The activities of the unit are so secretive that a query about why no one ever hears about it — unlike other nations’ special operations forces — appears as one the frequently asked questions on the Canadian Armed Forces website.

This video originally posted by Funker 530 gives an idea of some of their capabilities. Check it out:

Intel

Meet the 34-year-old Green Beret who just joined the Seattle Seahawks

One of our favorite stories from this year’s NFL Draft is Nate Boyer.


Boyer is a 34-year-old Army Special Forces veteran who was offered a contract as an undrafted free agent with the Seattle Seahawks. He served six years in the Army and five years with the University of Texas Longhorns football team. He was considered one of the best college long snappers for the past three seasons, according to Texas Sports. Even while he was playing for the team, Boyer served in the Texas National Guard during summers.

Here is Boyer’s remarkable story, leading up to his selection by the Seattle Seahawks:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7N5dY8_K0s

NOW: 5 sports stars who saw heavy combat in the US military

OR: Watch J.R. Martinez and Noah Galloway talk ‘Dancing with the Stars’

Intel

5 reasons Canada might be the most powerful country on Earth

The stereotypical Canadian is nice, polite to a fault, and humble.


But those who have seen Canadians in combat have another point of view. This is where the Viking streak in Canadian history comes out in full force.

Also: 5 unbelievable missions of Canada’s most legendary native soldier

 

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators

 

Yes, Canada enjoys a lot of protections the United States offers, but let’s be honest: If Canada weren’t right next to us, it wouldn’t need those protections. The only country who was ever a threat to Canada was the United States.

Saudi Arabia depends on the U.S. for its stability and military protection too, but you don’t see Canada out there exporting terrorism to its neighbors. Canada enjoys a (deserved) reputation for being peaceful.

But don’t make Canada angry. You wouldn’t like them when they’re angry.

 

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators
Canadians on Canada Day. Probably. (photo by Imgur user TheMechanicalEngineer)

5. Their military history

Canada is small country, when you consider their population against how geographically big Canada really is. Theirs is a population akin to California, with surface area akin to the entire United States.

But when they mobilize for war, they really mobilize. In WWI, Canada contributed 620,000 troops from a population of 8 million – 8 percent of the population. At Vimy Ridge, an all-Canadian force overcame a heavily defended German position that had previously wiped the floor with British and French. Vimy Ridge is to Canadians as Derne is to the Marines.

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators
Canadians after winning at Vimy Ridge.

Also Read: This is Canada’s version of SEAL Team 6

For WWII, Canada formed a force of 1.6 million from a population of 11 million – more than 14 percent of Canadians. All this without a real draft. Pivotal moments in the Second World War were handed to Canada, and they didn’t disappoint. For example, Juno Beach was one of the most heavily defended places in Europe when Canadian Forces landed there on D-Day, and within 12 hours, it belonged to Canada.

That’s just the 20th Century. More on that later.

4. A country full of people who give a shit

One of the things I heard (and saw written on walls) while deployed as a combat cameraman was “the Marines are at war, America is at the mall.” And yeah, you might never know the United States has been fighting a series of wars for the past 16 years just by walking the streets.

Canadian war dead are flown into Canadian Forces Base Trenton, in Ontario. From there, they are driven to Toronto on Highway 401, a 100-mile stretch of road that has come to be called “The Highway of Heroes.” And when one of their own comes home in flag-draped casket, Canadians line this freeway waving flags and bearing salutes as the fallen troops’ procession drives by unimpeded.

Related: Canadians honor their fallen troops by lining the ‘Highway of Heroes’

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators
They just know to be there.

For every single fallen soldier.

3. Canadian snipers

I doubt anyone will argue with me on this one. Canadian snipers are incredible.

Americans can poke fun at the Canadian Forces all they want, but their military is a potent one, especially when it comes to snipers. Recently, a Canadian scored a kill and a distance record by hitting an ISIS militant from over two miles away.

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators
No joke here. That guy had to account for the rotation of the earth to make that shot.

Read: Canadian sniper sets new world record for a long-distance kill

That topped the previous record, held by a British sniper, who took it from – a Canadian. In fact, in the top five distance records, three are Canadian. It’s been a long time since a Western country has fought in large-unit combat. So the effectiveness of small units means a lot more.

And Canada’s got it where it counts.

2. Oil reserves

Power is not just about numbers of tanks, planes, and men. We still live in an age where militaries need oil to be successful. The future isn’t here yet. A whole lotta great hardware runs on fossil fuels and Canada has the third largest reserve in the world, dwarfing the United States.

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators

Oil aside, Canada is full of natural resources that could be exploited in case of an existential threat to the country or a need to mobilize for an all-out war. Add on a stable, growing economy and an industry that operates at 82.2 percent capacity and you have a pretty good home front for any conflict.

1. Being the only country to hand the U.S. its ass in a war

While technically, Canada was part of the British Empire at this point, the people living in Canada during the War of 1812 couldn’t rely on Crown to provide them with the backup troops needed to put a beat down on the Americans. Britain was busy with a guy named Napoleon in Europe at the time.

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators
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Related: Here’s how the U.S. planned to invade Canada

The Canadian subjects of the British Empire did a pretty good job of not being annexed by the United States, even though they took significant losses. This is a gross oversimplification, but they were able to mount some significant offenses of their own.

And when we burned York – modern-day Toronto – they responded by doing something dictators, terrorists, and Communists can only ever dream about today: They marched on and burned Washington, D.C.

This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators

Despite fighting with one hand tied behind their backs, they managed to fight us to a draw.

Intel

These Incredibly Brave Activists Expose The Terror Of Living Under ISIL Control

The so-called Islamic State has people exposing its daily atrocities from the inside.


While the band of terrorists of The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attempt to masquerade as a legitimate government in their de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria, a brave group of activists living inside the city have been documenting life under the brutal regime.

Also Read: The King Of Jordan Sent Out This Badass Photo In Response To ISIL

Known as Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, the group posts photo, video, and social media updates from the city.

From The Daily Beast:

[The group] follows developments in ISIS very closely and appear to be well-sourced inside the city of Raqqa, which is the so-called Islamic State’s capital. The group reported on a failed Jordanian attempt to rescue Muadh al Kasasbeh, a downed pilot from the Jordan Air Force, and his subsequent execution, burned alive, weeks before the hideous video of his murder was made public by ISIS.

Now, in an exclusive video interview from The Wall Street Journal, one of the activists has given his first in-person interview.

“Young guys they just think about going to the bars, meeting girls, and having girlfriends,” the activist says in the video. “But I think about how I will expose ISIS. How I will make the world notice my city.”

It’s a must-watch:

NOW: This Retired Navy Jet Is Finding New Life In The Fight Against ISIL

OR: Meet The Dutch Biker Gang Fighting Against ISIL

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