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Intel

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS
Photo: Youtube.com


The U.S. has conducted more than 4,700 air strikes against ISIS militants since Aug. 2014, and the American pilots carrying out those attacks often have awesome — and sometimes hilarious — callsigns.

In an interesting article for The New York Times, journalist Helene Cooper profiles some of the pilots flying from the USS Theodore Roosevelt, who go by names like “Yip Yip,” “Pope,” and “Pizza.” The pilots talk about some of their missions to strike inside Iraq and Syria and the camaraderie among their squadron.

“Quite honestly, the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marines own the skies,” Maj. Anthony Bourke, a former Air Force fighter pilot, told The Times. “So even though pilots dream of dogfights, the biggest risk now is small-arms fire, and if you stay above 10,000 feet, you’re not going to be hit.”

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS
(Photo: U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anthony N. Hilkowski)

Though the Times article does not explain how they got their new names, it’s well known in the fighter pilot community that callsigns are usually earned during a “naming ceremony,” where fellow pilots bestow a newbie with something of a play on their name, or a name that evokes a past screw-up (cool names like “Iceman” or “Maverick” are usually out of the question).

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS
USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)

So who are the mystery men flying in on F/A-18s to strike terrorist infrastructure? According to the photo spread accompanying the article, they are:

  • “Yard Sale” — Navy fighter pilot
  • “Chaz” — Navy fighter pilot
  • “Xerxes” — Navy weapons officer
  • “Pope” — Marine fighter pilot
  • “Yip Yip” — Navy fighter pilot
  • “Pickle” — Navy fighter pilot
  • “Skull” — Marine fighter pilot
  • “Pope” — Marine fighter pilot
  • “Betty” — Marine fighter pilot (and yes, he’s a guy)
  • “Sweet P” — Navy weapons officer
  • “Smoat” — Navy fighter pilot
  • “Bones” — Navy weapons officer
  • “Pizza” — the commander of the Roosevelt’s air wing

Now after an ISIS truck gets blown to bits, we know it may have all been the work of a guy named Yard Sale.

Now check out the Times article

OR: That time when Americans and Germans fought together during World War II

Intel

An epic Blue Angels beach flyby sends tents and umbrellas flying

Sometimes a military jet providing the overhead “sound of freedom” brings with it a very strong gust of wind.


A video posted to YouTube recently shows the Navy Blue Angels practicing near a Pensacola, Florida beach, with Angel no. 5 getting so close to the shore that tents, toys, and umbrellas go flying in the air with it. No one was hurt at the time, which was on July 11, according to Fox News.

Most of the beachgoers laugh and cheer after the stunt.

Watch:

NOW: Stunning footage shows pilot’s eye view from inside a Blue Angel cockpit

Articles

5 challenges the Trump Pentagon will face in 2017

Let’s face it. As 2016 has shown, we live in a dangerous world.


Furthermore, there are real problems and challenges at the Pentagon, like $125 billion in “administrative waste” over the last five years.

In less than a month, a new team takes charge, which is to be lead by retired Marine Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to serve as Secretary of Defense.

So, what are some of the challenges that “Mad Dog” and his team will face?

1. Getting the nuclear house in order

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS
Photo: US Navy

Most of America’s strategic delivery systems are older than music superstar, sometime actress, and veteran serenader Taylor Swift.

Of the two that are younger than her, only one isn’t “feeling 22” as the hit song puts it. In fact, in some case, very outdated tech is being used. How outdated? Try 8-inch floppy disks in an era when a micro SD card capable of holding 128 gigabytes costs less than $40.

America’s nuclear arsenal needs to be updated, quickly.

2. Streamlining the civilian workforce

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS
(U.S. Navy photo by Mark Burrell)

Don’t get us wrong, most civilian employees at the Department of Defense do a lot of good. But as the active duty military dropped from 1.73 million in Sep. 2005 to just under 1.33 million in Sep. 2016, the civilian workforce increased from 663,866 to 733,992, according to Pentagon reports.

California Republican Rep. Ken Calvert noted in a Washington Examiner op-ed that the ratio of civilian employees to uniformed personnel is at a historical high.

There was $125 billion of “administrative waste” over the last five years. That money could have bought a lot of gear for the troops. This needs to be addressed as soon as possible, with Iran and China, among other countries, getting a little aggressive. The DOD’s business is to fight wars, and a little refocusing on military manpower might be needed.

3. Acquisition Reform

It is taking longer to deliver weapon systems to the troops, and they are getting more expensive.

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS
Do we have to look to the 1970s for acquisition reform? (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

The Air Force announced the B-21 Raider earlier this year. But it might not be in service until the mid-2020s at the very earliest — and the B-52 isn’t getting any younger. The F-35 has taken almost 15 years to reach an initial operational capability after the winner was chosen in 2001.

By comparison, Joe Baugher notes that the F-111 took about five years from the selection of General Dynamics to the first planes reaching operational squadrons — and that drew controversy back then.

4. Cyber warfare

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS
Wikileaks tweeted this photo along with a plea for supporters to stop the cyber-attack

With some of the hacks that have gone on, it’s amazing that so many people find this a snoozer. Keep in mind, this October, a massive cyberattack cost companies over $110 million — enough to buy a F-35B.

And the Pentagon needs to tighten its defenses — this past June, over 130 bugs were found when DOD offered “bug bounties” to so-called “white hat” hackers. While it’s nice a lot of the bugs were found… did the “white hats” miss any?

5. Old Equipment

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS
U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Erin Trower

Age isn’t just striking the nuclear force. Many of the systems used for conventional warfare are old as well. In a commentary for the Washington Examiner, Representative Ken Calvert (R-CA) noted that many F-15 Eagle fighters are over 30 years old. To put this into context, take a look at how old three music superstars are: Taylor Swift is 27, Ariana Grande is 23, and Ke$ha is 29. It’s past time for recapitalization.

Intel

US general says NORAD responded to more Russian military flights near Alaska last year than any year since the Cold War

  • Last year, the US saw more Russian military flights near Alaska than any year since the Cold War.
  • Gen. VanHerck said the flights show “Russia’s military reach and how they rehearse potential strikes.”
  • He characterized Russia as the “most acute challenge to our homeland defense mission.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The military command responsible for defending the the US and Canada from attack responded to more Russian military flights near Alaska last year than any year since the end of the Cold War, the four-star general leading the command said Tuesday.

US Air Force Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), told the Senate Armed Services Committee in written testimony that “Russia continues to conduct frequent military operations in the approaches to North America.”

“Last year,” the general told lawmakers Tuesday, “NORAD responded to more Russian military flights off the coast of Alaska than we’ve seen in any year since the end of the Cold War.” These flights involved heavy bombers, anti-submarine aircraft, and intelligence assets.

VanHerck said that the Russian military flights near Alaska “show both Russia’s military reach and how they rehearse potential strikes on our homeland.”

The Russian military aircraft, which include Tu-160 and Tu-95 long-range bombers, Tu-142 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, Il-38 maritime patrol aircraft, and A-50 early warning and control planes that are regularly accompanied by Su-35 fighters, are typically intercepted by US Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to NORAD whenever they fly into the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone.

No Russian military aircraft has at any point breached US or Canadian airspace, which extends out to 12 nautical miles from the US coastline.

Russian long-range air patrols were fairly common during the Cold War but became less frequent in the aftermath. In recent years, these flights have again become frequent occurrences.

The US military also conducts bomber flights near Russia, which have prompted the Russian military to scramble interceptor aircraft in response.

In addition to frequent military flights near Alaska, the Russian Navy also conducted exercises focused on maritime approaches in the Arctic and Pacific. The drills also involved anti-submarine patrols and anti-ship cruise missile launches in the US exclusive economic zone, an area that extends out 200 miles from a country’s coastline.

In his written testimony, VanHerck asserted that “Russia presents a persistent, proximate threat to the United States and Canada and remains the most acute challenge to our homeland defense mission.”

VanHerck argued that Russian leaders “seek to erode our influence, assert their regional dominance, and reclaim their status as a global power through a whole-of-government strategy that includes information operations, deception, economic coercion, and the threat of military force.”

The general said that should the US wind up in conflict with Russia, “we should expect Russia to employ its broad range of advanced capabilities—nonkinetic, conventional, and nuclear—to threaten our critical infrastructure in an attempt to limit our ability to project forces and to attempt to compel de-escalation.”

He also called attention to Russian newer offensive capabilities such as advanced cyber and counterspace weapons, as well as hypersonic weapons.

VanHerck told the Senate Armed Services Committee in the coming years, “Russia hopes to field a series of even more advanced weapons intended to ensure its ability to deliver nuclear weapons to the United States,” pointing to the Poseidon torpedo, one of several “doomsday” weapons Russian President Vladimir Putin touted a few years ago.

The general’s comments come as the US military focuses intently on China, which Department of Defense leadership has called “the pacing challenge” for the US. The Biden administration has repeatedly made a point of identifying China as the priority challenge.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

Intel

A Russian weather girl gave a forecast for bombing runs in Syria

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS


In a story that should have most certainly been Duffel Blog but is actually real-life, a Russian weather forecaster proclaimed the skies over Syria were perfect “flying weather” for Russian jets bombing rebel positions, The Guardian reported.

“Experts say the timing for [the airstrikes] was chosen very well in terms of weather,” Ekaterina Grigorova said in her report for Rossiya 24 on Sunday, according to The Washington Post.

The Russian military has carried out more than 100 sorties in Syria since its aerial campaign began last week. Moscow has claimed it has been bombing militants affiliated with ISIS, but so far strikes have overwhelmingly targeted anti-Assad and Kurdish forces instead.

“In these meteorological conditions, planes can dive below the clouds and conduct effective strikes on ground targets, and only climb higher if there’s active anti-aircraft fire,” Grigorova said in front of a graphic depicting a Sukhoi Su-24 strike aircraft dropping bombs on an enemy tank from the “optimal height for targeting and bombing” of three to five kilometers off the ground, according to the translation from The Guardian.

Here’s the Russian-language report:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmM7YD8cBS8

Check out the full story at the Washington Post

Intel

The hilarious way to deal with someone pulling rank on liberty

The military is like an organized play. Everyone who assumes a position is supposed to follow the script to their role. However, some take it too far and continue even after the play has ended. These folks are always in character and they expect the same out of everyone around them.


In the field it’s understandable but if one of these “motards” pulls rank on you during liberty, you may be inclined to react the same way this Marine does.

Watch (some profanity):

NOW: This hilarious video shows the ‘hype vs. reality’ of Marine life

OR: Here’s the way-funnier version of what the Marine PFT is really like

Intel

The Marine Corps of the future will focus on small, agile combat

By 2030, the United States Marine Corps might look a little different from the Marine Corps of today. According to a 180-page document released by Breaking Defense, there’s an aggressive strategy in place to redesign the sea service in less than 10 years. 

Called the “Tentative Manual For Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations,” the Corps is going to be overhauled to focus on the challenges posed by an emerging China and a newly-aggressive Russia. 

The Marine Corps newest iteration, according to the unreleased manual, is going to create small units to focus on individual small unit capabilities, specifically air defense, anti-ship warfare, fighting for control of small, temporary bases all in an “island-hopping” campaign in the Pacific.

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS
A fire team of Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 11, 1st Marine Logistics Group, rush toward simulated aggressors during the certification exercise of the Basic Combat Skills Course aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Devan K. Gowans/Released)

If that sounds familiar, that was the strategy used by the United States Marine Corps and Navy during World War II in the Pacific, meant to check the expansion of Imperial Japan. That plan was itself based on Operational Plan 712: Advanced Base Operations in Micronesia, one of the Marine Corps’ foundational doctrines. 

Instead of massive invasions like the ones seen on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, however, the Marines will be called in to capture or construct small bases to launch missiles or use as resupply stations as Marines and Naval forces operate throughout the Pacific Theater. 

“The scale of the problem today cannot be met by merely refining current methods and capabilities,” the manual reads.

The Marine Corps also isn’t limited to the technology of days past, either. The Corps will use precision-guided missiles, unmanned aerial and seaborne vehicles, and any other innovations that would make movement between islands and contesting islands more practical and decisive. 

One of the first signs of developing this newly-oriented, more agile Marine Corps will come in the 2022 defense budget requests from the Marine Corps. The document predicts the Corps will want a hundred Long Range Unmanned Surface Vessels available for use, along with Light Amphibious Warships in Littoral Maneuver Squadrons. 

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS
Candidates assigned to Lima Company, Officer Candidate School, navigate through the combat course at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Ezekiel R. Kitandwe/Released)

It will also list Navy-Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System (NMESIS) batteries, hundreds of anti-ship Naval Strike Missiles with a 115-mile range built on the chassis of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. 

This document is said to outline Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger’s very fast timeline to reconstruct the Marine Corps and its combat roles. Combat teams will be roughly battalion-sized, according to Breaking Defense, and will see at least three Marine Littoral Regiments stood up in the Pacific within the coming years. Each will be responsible for multiple versions of these small bases. 

The bases will be “conducting sustained operations to enable fleet operations via sea denial” and be a supply and refueling point for units “conducting major combat operations,” the article says. 

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Colin Anderson, rifleman, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, practice urban combat during Weapons and Tactics Instructors (WTI) course 2-19  (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ashlee Conover)

Marines operating at these “ad hoc” bases will be protected from advanced aircraft and advanced ballistic weapons by Marine air wings, communications, and ground-based air defenses.

One of the reasons the “Tentative Manual For Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations” is being taken so seriously is that unlike many other so-called “concept papers” from military branch leaders, this document is painstakingly detailed over 200 pages, covering everything from joint force interoperability to command and control oversight, as well as the size and roles of individual Marine Corps units.

Read more about the newer, smaller, and more agile Marine Corps from the original at Breaking Defense.

Intel

Here’s why this 2,000-lb missile is called the ‘terrorist killer’

Lockheed Martin’s JASSM air-to-ground missile is dubbed the “terrorist killer” for its bunker-blasting capability.


The missile is designed to go after high-value, well-defended targets from long range, keeping aircrews well out of danger from enemy air defense systems. The 2,000-pound weapon combines a penetrator/blast fragment warhead with a state-of-the-art anti-jamming precision guidance system wrapped in a stealthy airframe with wings.

Features:

  • Extended distance standoff range
  • Simple mission planning
  • Highly survivable
  • Adverse weather operable
  • GPS/Inertial Measurement Unit inertial guidance
  • Pinpoint accuracy
  • High lethality
  • Fully compatible with B-1B aircraft
  • GPS jam resistant

The JASSM can be launched from the B-1, B-2, B-52, F-16, F-15E, F/A-18, F-35, and other aircrafts.

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS
YouTube: Lockheed Martin

The JASSM can penetrate bunkers and caves before setting off its blast.

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS
YouTube: Lockheed Martin

Here it is doing what it’s designed to do: penetrate and explode.

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS
YouTube: Lockheed Martin

You can run, but you can’t hide, terrorists. It’s devastatingly accurate.

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS
YouTube: Lockheed Martin

Now watch the full blast compilation:

LockheedMartinVideos, Youtube

Intel

This guy on roller blades firing an AK-47 is the best combat footage you’ll see all day

If you need to cross a danger area, why run when you can just skate?


That seemed to be the reasoning shown in this video, which purportedly shows a Libyan rebel wearing roller blades in the middle of a firefight. The fighter points his AK and fires off a few rounds as he crosses the street, which the opposing side can probably claim as a drive-by shooting.

Watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52x9zn79ovE

(h/t Funker 530)

Intel

The Army wants to see inside volunteers’ guts after weeks of an all-MRE diet

The Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine’s military nutrition division is asking volunteers to take part in a six-week study during which they’ll spend 21 days eating only MREs.


The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS
Photo: Cpl. Scott Schmidt

They say the goal is to learn what happens to the human gut on an all MRE diet, even though the veteran and active duty communities have already voiced their opinion through hilarious memes.

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS
via Navymemes.com

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS

They even predicted what would happen on an MRE diet:

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS
via memecaptain.com

But the Army’s study is actually serious business. The engine of the human digestive process is large colonies of bacteria in the gut, and these bacteria populations are affected by what people eat.

Army scientists want to learn how to game that system, crafting new MRE items that will make soldiers more healthy and resilient in the field. An area of particular interest is how to help the naturally occurring bacteria fight off food poisoning.

“We think we can manipulate the bacteria in a way that helps the bacteria fight foreign pathogens — things that could cause food-borne illness, for example,” the head of the study, Dr. J. Philip Karl, told Army Times. “Oftentimes, war fighters are overseas and they eat something off the local economy that can cause [gastrointestinal] distress. Potentially, what we could do by increasing the amount of beneficial gut bacteria is to help prevent some of that.”

Volunteers will have their gut bacteria populations measured on a regular basis as they proceed through the study, allowing researchers to see how the bacteria is affected. Hopefully, the researchers can then tweak the recipes and menus to make them better for troops.

As some vets still idolize the MRE lifestyle, the Army will likely have plenty of volunteers:

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS

But they only want 60 volunteers and only ones who can travel to their facility in Natick, Massachusetts.

To learn more about the study and see how to sign up, see the original Army Times article.

Intel

This guy made a drone that can fire a handgun, and it’s kinda nuts

Civilian drones have been causing problems since the airborne tech has been made available to the public, with several reports of drones interfering with commercial flights and firefighting missions.


Still, no one was crazy enough to attach a handgun to one of these mini-copters — until now.

The following YouTube footage depicts a home-made drone equipped with a semiautomatic pistol, firing a shot every few seconds while remaining stable.

The drone was reportedly created by Connecticut teenager Austin Haughwout, and is completely illegal under FAA regulations.

Watch:

h/t Daily Mail

NOW:These new mini-drones could revolutionize ground warfare

OR: There’s going to be a ‘Top Gun 2′ — with drones

Intel

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before

The Civil War began right as practical photography was coming into its own. For the first time in American history, camera operators could go out and capture the devestation of war.


Now, photographer David Levene has gone back to the battlefields with the 150-year-old pictures and taken photos in the same spot.

The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS
The interactive archive lets you see the exact same scenes, 150 years apart.

The result is a stark juxtaposition between the horrors of the Civil War and the world modern America became because of those soldiers’ sacrifices.

Rounding out the archive are audio clips from historians who have studied the battlefields.

Se the interactive archive, complete with scenes of Fort Sumter, Antietam, and other famous battles, at The Guardian.

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