Here's what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza - We Are The Mighty
Intel

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza

  • Israel and Hamas have exchanged a lot of fire in a severe escalation of violence in recent days.
  • The fighting is some of the worst since a 2014 conflict in which thousands were killed.
  • The 2014 conflict involved a major ground offensive, and it’s possible there will be another now.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The deadly exchange of fire between Israel and Hamas that has already killed almost 100 people in recent days is some of the most intense fighting since the 2014 Gaza War.

Simmering tensions boiled over this week as Hamas unleashed hundreds of rockets on Israeli cities and Israel launched hundreds of airstrikes on Hamas positions in response.

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza
Israeli tanks on the Israel-Gaza border, April 24, 2021. 

Israel has started moving troops toward the border of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, according to an Israel Defense Force spokesperson, raising the possibility of an invasion.

“There are troops that are being moved towards the borders,” Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus explained to the BBC, calling it a “preparatory move” so that Israeli forces will be ready for “all eventualities and an escalation.”NEWSLETTERStart your day with the biggest stories in politics and the economy. Sign up for 10 Things in Politics.Email addressBy clicking ‘Sign up’, you agree to receive marketing emails from Insider as well as other partner offers and accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Israel responded to a barrage of rockets Thursday with more airstrikes and artillery shells as it called up thousands of reservists for a possible invasion, The Associated Press reports.

The last major Israeli ground offensive into Gaza began on July 17, 2014 — 10 days into a serious conflict with Hamas that would last 50. The ground invasion was the expansion of Operation Protective Edge, which began on July 7 in response to Hamas rocket fire following smaller clashes and elevated tensions.

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza
An Israeli armored convoy outside the central Gaza Strip, July 19, 2014. 

The invasion that summer was the first significant armed incursion into Gaza since 2009, when Israel and Hamas fought a horrible three-week fight that took over 1,400 Palestinian and 13 Israeli lives.

When the Israeli invasion began, casualties from the fighting, which had been limited primarily to rocket fire and airstrikes, were already in the hundreds, The Washington Post reported at the time.

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza
Israeli mobile artillery fires at the Gaza Strip, July 18, 2014. 

“We have hit Hamas hard and we will continue to hit Hamas hard,” the Israeli military said on social media as the invasion began. Hamas said the Israelis had “taken a dangerous step,” warning that “the occupation forces will pay a high price.”

Numerous Israeli infantry and artillery units, supported by air and naval assets, entered the Gaza Strip focused on crippling Hamas ability to fire rockets at Israel and destroying the dozens of tunnels used to infiltrate Israel and launch assaults.

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza
Israeli tanks on the Israel-Gaza Strip border, July 20, 2014. 

Dozens of Palestinians were killed on the first day of the ground offensive, both combatants and civilians, Reuters reported at the time, citing Palestinian and Israeli officials.

Similar to the Biden administration’s official statements on the latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas, President Barack Obama acknowledged Israel’s right to self-defense but said “we are hopeful that Israel will continue to approach this process in a way that minimizes civilian casualties.”

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza
Smoke rises from buildings after Israeli strikes in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza City, July 20, 2014 

The fighting that followed caused significant devastation inside the Gaza strip.

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza
Palestinian medics in Gaza City’s Shijaiyah neighborhood that came under fire amid Israel’s ground offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, July 20, 2014. 

Almost two weeks into the conflict, the number of fatalities had risen to nearly 400, almost double what it was a few days prior, with Palestinians making up the overwhelming majority of the deaths, The Associated Press reported.

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza
Palestinian medics carry a man killed in Gaza City’s Shijaiyah neighborhood during Israel’s offensive against Hamas, July 20, 2014. 

Among Israel’s casualties, the Israeli military also saw losses in the fighting.

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza
Israeli soldiers carry a wounded comrade on a stretcher during the offensive in Gaza, July 20, 2014. 

Israeli troops remained in Gaza until early August, roughly four weeks after the conflict started.

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza
Israeli soldiers walk outside the Gaza Strip as they proceed towards Gaza August 2, 2014 

The official end of hostilities, however, did not come for almost another month. Israel and the Palestinian militant forces agreed to an unconditional ceasefire on August 26, 2014.

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza
Israeli soldiers look toward Gaza from Israel, August 3, 2014. 

“Palestinians and Israelis were profoundly shaken by the events of the summer of 2014,” a UN report on the bloody conflict said. “In Gaza, in particular, the scale of the devastation was unprecedented.”

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza
Palestinian women walk past a mosque and water tower damaged by Israeli strikes in Khuzaa, in the southern Gaza Strip, August 3, 2014. 

UN investigators said that Israel conducted more than 6,000 airstrikes during the conflict while Palestinian militants fired over 6,600 rockets and mortars at Israel.

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza
Palestinians on the remains of their home in the Shejaia neighborhood, hit by Israeli strikes, in the east of Gaza City, August 5, 2014. 

The report said that 2,251 Palestinians died during the fighting.

Among the dead were 1,462 Palestinian civilians, including 299 women and 551 children. Another 11,231 Palestinians were wounded, with at least 10% suffering some form of permanent disability. Israel was critical of some of the report’s findings.

In Israel, six civilians and 67 soldiers were killed, and 1,600 people, including 270 children, suffered injuries as a “tragic result of the hostilities,” the report said.

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza
Palestinians on the wreckage of a home destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, August 2, 2014 

The UN team acknowledged that the casualty figures collected by the UN, Israel, the Palestinians, and non-governmental organizations vary.

“Regardless of the exact proportion of civilians to combatants,” the UN report argued, “the high incidence of loss of human life and injury in Gaza is heartbreaking.”

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza
A Palestinian woman walks past buildings destroyed by Israeli strikes in the town of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, August 3, 2014 

There are concerns that another ground offensive could also have devastating results.

Speaking to Insider about past and present conflicts, Israel Defense Force spokeswoman Capt. Libby Weiss told Insider Thursday that “after every operation that the IDF has, there is an extensive process of learning, understanding what took place, and applying those lessons to training and to better preparedness for the future.”

She said that the challenge is that Hamas operates in and around civilian infrastructure in a densely populated area, making it difficult for Israeli forces to target Hamas and ensure its own defense without sometimes affecting civilians.

That said, Weiss stressed that “when it comes to our practices in the Strip, we are obviously very concerned about the impact on the civilian population within Gaza.”

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

Intel

These are the designations for the Navy’s marine mammals

If you know a thing or two about military life, then you’ve probably heard of military working dogs. These faithful animals bring a lot to the table for American troops. That being said, they aren’t the only members of the animal kingdom who chip in to help. In fact, the Navy has used a number of marine mammals to assist in essential missions.

The United States Navy’s marine mammal program has been around for almost six decades now. These dolphins and sea lions serve under the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 1. Here’s a rundown of these Marine Mammal Systems, listed by designation.


Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza

Dolphins that specialize in deep-water mine countermeasures are designated the Mk 4 Marine Mammal System. The dolphins pictured here are being deployed for the de-mining of New Caledonia, an allied base in World War II.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Cohen A. Young)

Mk 4 Dolphins

These dolphins specialize in locating and neutralizing mines moored in deep water. When you think about it, it makes sense for dolphins to assist in this mission. Their echolocation is a form of sonar, which is the primary means of locating mines.

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza

A Mk 5 is photographed during a retrieval exercise. Unlike a salvage company, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg – just some fish.

(U.S. Navy)

Mk 5 Sea Lions

These sea lions are used for the retrieval of submerged objects. Unlike human divers, sea lions can dive deep without suiting up for the mission. What’s more is that these highly-trained mammals will happily hand over whatever they find in exchange for a fishy treat.

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza

This Mk 6 Marine Mammal System looks friendly and playful… unless you’re an enemy swimmer. Then he’ll take you down without remorse, thinking only of the extra fish he’ll get as a reward.

(U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class Wes Eplen)

Mk 6 Dolphins and Sea Lions

We all do our best to keep intruders out of our yards. Well, the Navy does the same for their harbors. And for good reason: Enemy swimmers can do damage — just ask the crew of USNS Card (T-AKV 40). The dolphins and sea lions in this system are intended to find and help detain enemy divers. The water is their natural element; intruders stand little chance of escaping.

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza

Mk 7 Marine Mammal Systems handle the shallow-water mine countermeasures mission.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mr. John F. Williams)

Mk 7 Dolphins

There are some places laden with mines that drones or ships simply can’t reach. In order to best protect troops and technology, these dolphins use their sonar and agility to clear the way. After all, their natural ability is arguably superior to current mine-detecting technologies.

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza

These dolphins find safe lanes for landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles to use for delivering Marines ashore.

(U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Elena Pence)

Mk 8 Dolphins

When storming a beach, you first need to find a safe lane for your landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles to travel within. These dolphins are specially trained to use their echo-location techniques to find a safe canal.

Now, before you get up in arms, know that these dolphins and sea lions tend to live longer than their wild counterparts. They also get excellent care from veterinarians and experienced trainers throughout. While the Navy is working on underwater drones, the fact is, these Marine Mammal Systems have served well for almost six decades and will likely continue to serve alongside sailors and Marines for a long time yet.

Intel

The Air Force made a lightsaber for breaching buildings

The Air Force and Energetic Materials and Products, Inc (EMPI) made a breaching tool that resembles a Star Wars lightsaber.


Called the “TEC Torch,” the compact, handheld thermal breaching tool is made up of a handle and cartridge which weigh less than a pound each. The incredibly powerful flame produced by the torch reaches temperatures around 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, a heat which can rip through steel in less than a second.

The TEC Torch was developed after Special Operations Forces (SOF) operating in war-zone environments requested a compact, lightweight, and hand-held tool which would allow them to cut through locks, bars, and other barriers, according to Air Force.

Unlike the lightsabers used by Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, this blade flame burns out after two seconds.

Watch:

Intel

Here’s how you can buy a nuke on the black market

You can buy anything on the Bulgarian black market, including drugs, women, guns and even fully functional nuclear warheads.


Also read: We’re freaked out about Iran, but what other countries already have nukes?

Fascinated by a French reporter’s ability to purchase a nuclear warhead on the black market, American journalists from Vice travelled to Bulgaria to meet the man who sold it, according to the video below.

They met with Ivanoff, a former military intelligence colonel turned entrepreneur, whose business led him into the Saudi Arabian building industry. Through his business dealings, Ivanoff met with terror mastermind Osama Bin Laden, who was interested in making a “dirty bomb” out of radioactive waste. Ivanoff suggested why not get the real thing, a nuclear warhead.

Watch:

NOW: The US nuclear launch code during the Cold War was weaker than your granny’s AOL password

OR: 32 times when the U.S. military screwed up with nukes

popular

Tom Cruise ‘Deepfake’ videos fortell the future of warfare

The Greek tragedian Aeschylus famously wrote: “In war, truth is the first casualty.”

Well, in this new era of so-called “hybrid” or “gray zone” warfare, truth is not only a casualty of war — it has also become the weapon of choice for some of America’s contemporary adversaries.

Recent “deepfake” videos of the actor Tom Cruise illustrate the power of the new technological tools now available to foreign adversaries who wish to manipulate the American people with online disinformation. The three videos, which appear on the social media platform TikTok under the handle @deeptomcruise, are striking in their realism. To the naked eye of the casual observer, it’s difficult to discern the videos as fakes.

Equally as stunning is an artificial intelligence tool called Deep Nostalgia, which animates static, vintage images — including those of deceased relatives. Together, these technological leaps harken back to the famous line by the writer George Orwell: “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.”

The technology now exists for America’s foreign adversaries, or other malign actors, to challenge citizens’ understanding of their present reality, as well as the past. Coupled with the historic loss in confidence among Americans for their country’s journalistic institutions, as well as our addiction to social media, the conditions are certainly ripe for deepfake disinformation to become a serious national security threat — or a catalyst for nihilistic chaos.

“The internet is a machine, but cyberspace is in our minds. As both expand and evolve faster than we can defend them, the ultimate target — our brains — is closer every day,” Kenneth Geers, a Cyber Statecraft Initiative senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told Coffee or Die Magazine.

According to a September Gallup Poll, only 9% of Americans said they have “a great deal” of trust in the media to report the news “fully, accurately, and fairly.” On the other hand, when it comes to trusting the media, six out of 10 Americans, on average, responded that they had “not very much” trust or “none at all.” Those findings marked a significant decline in Americans’ trust for the media since polling on the topic began in 1972, Gallup reported.

“Americans’ confidence in the media to report the news fairly, accurately and fully has been persistently low for over a decade and shows no signs of improving,” Gallup reported.

That pervasive distrust in the media leads to increased political polarization and is bad for America’s democratic health, many experts say. Americans’ loss of trust in the media could also portend a national security crisis — especially as contemporary adversaries such as Russia and China increasingly turn to online disinformation campaigns to exacerbate America’s societal divisions.

In fact, Russia already used deepfake technology in its disinformation campaign to influence the 2020 US election, said Scott Jasper, author of the book, Russian Cyber Operations: Coding the Boundaries of Conflict. In advance of the election, Russian cybercriminals working for the Internet Research Agency created a fake news website called “Peace Data,” which featured an entirely fictitious staff of editors and writers, multiple news agencies reported.

“Their profile pictures were deepfakes generated by artificial intelligence,” Jasper told Coffee or Die Magazine. “The fake personas contacted real journalists to write contentious stories that might divide Democratic voters.”

A Soviet doctrine called “deep battle” supported front-line military operations with clandestine actions meant to spread chaos and confusion within the enemy’s territory. Similarly, modern Russia has turned to cyberattacks, social media, and weaponized propaganda to weaken its adversaries from within. According to an August State Department report, Russia uses its “disinformation and propaganda ecosystem” to exploit “information as a weapon.”

“[Russia] invests massively in its propaganda channels, its intelligence services and its proxies to conduct malicious cyber activity to support their disinformation efforts, and it leverages outlets that masquerade as news sites or research institutions to spread these false and misleading narratives,” wrote the authors of the State Department report, Pillars of Russia’s Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem.

Some experts contend that the cyber domain has become the proverbial “soft underbelly” of America’s democracy. In the past, America’s journalistic institutions served as gatekeepers, shielding the American people from foreign disinformation or propaganda. However, due to the advent of social media and the internet, America’s adversaries now enjoy direct access into American citizens’ minds. Consequently, the ability to manufacture video content indistinguishable from reality is an exponential force multiplier for adversaries intent on manipulating the American people.

The emerging deepfake threat spurred the Senate in 2019 to pass a bill mandating that the Department of Homeland Security provide lawmakers an annual report on advancements in “digital content forgery technology,” which might pose a threat to national security.

According to the Deepfake Report Act of 2019: “Digital content forgery is the use of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, to fabricate or manipulate audio, visual, or text content with the intent to mislead.”

However, the bill died in the House and has not become law.

The advancement of deepfake technology has been meteoric. Just a couple of years ago, the casual observer would have been able to rather easily tell the difference between genuine humans and their computer-generated, deepfake doppelgangers. Not anymore. Much like the advent of nuclear weapons, the Pandora’s box of deepfake technology has officially been opened and is now impossible to un-invent.

The potential dangers of this technological leap are practically boundless.

Criminals could conceivably concoct videos that offer an alibi at the time of their alleged crimes. Countries could fabricate videos of false flag military aggressions as a means to justify starting a war. Foreign adversaries could generate fake videos of police brutality, or of racially charged acts of violence, as a means to further divide American society.

“I think it’s a safe assumption that video manipulation is a key short-term weapon in the arsenal of less reputable political-military organizations needing to shape some opinions before the contents can be disputed,” Gregory Ness, a Silicon Valley cybersecurity expert, told Coffee or Die Magazine.

There are certain commercially available artificial intelligence, or AI, tools already available to detect deepfake videos with a fidelity surpassing that of the human observer. Microsoft, for example, has already developed an AI algorithm for detecting deepfakes.

Some cybersecurity experts are calling on social media platforms to integrate these deepfake detection algorithms on their sites to alert users to phony videos. For his part, Geers, the Atlantic Council senior fellow, was skeptical that social media companies would step up on their own initiative and police for deepfake content.

“Social media profits from our negativity, vulnerability, and stupidity,” Geers said. “Why would they stop?”

https://twitter.com/laurenmwhite/status/1364813376644403200?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1364813376644403200%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fcoffeeordie.com%2Fcruise-deepfake-national-security%2F

The overarching intent of disinformation campaigns — particularly those prosecuted by Moscow — is not always to dupe Americans into believing a false reality. Rather, the real goal may be to challenge their belief in the existence of any objective truths. In short: The more distrustful Americans become of the media, the more likely they are to believe information based on its emotional resonance with their preconceived biases. The end goal is chaos, not brainwashing.

“If we are unable to detect fake videos, we may soon be forced to distrust everything we see and hear, critics warn,” the cybersecurity news site CSO reported. “The internet now mediates every aspect of our lives, and an inability to trust anything we see could lead to an ‘end of truth.’ This threatens not only faith in our political system, but, over the longer term, our faith in what is shared objective reality.”

Some experts say the US government should get involved, perhaps by leveraging the power of the Department of Defense, to patrol the cyber domain for deepfake videos being spread by foreign adversaries. The Pentagon, for its part, has already been called in to defend America’s elections against online disinformation.

In the wake of Russia’s attack on the 2016 presidential election, the Department of Defense partially shouldered the responsibility of defending against foreign attacks on America’s elections. By that measure, it’s certainly within the bounds of national security priorities for Washington to leverage the US military’s resources to root out and take down deepfake videos.

“Governments will inevitably step in, but what we really need is for democracies to step up and create innovative policies based on freedom of expression and the rule of law,” Geers said.

This article originally appeared on Coffee or Die. Follow @CoffeeOrDieMag on Twitter.

Intel

Will the US military continue to fly the Confederate flag?

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza
Photo: Flickr


The Confederate flag’s dark and nuanced history has long made the rebel banner an uncomfortable topic of conversation. In the minds of many Americans, it is a symbol of slavery and institutionalized racism – an emblem on par with the Nazi swastika. For others, it’s simply an expression of regional pride.

However, after the racially-motivated church slayings in South Carolina last week – committed by a man who was a proud flyer of the stars and bars – state governments have begun to remove the Confederate flag from their federal buildings. The United States military, on the other hand, has yet to address the issue officially.

South Carolina’s Army Guard still flies 16 streamers that were created under the Confederacy, and servicemen and women are allowed to sport the Confederate flag on clothing and tattoos — something the Defense Department does not consider offensive material. Still, some military officials have decided to retire the flag after the shootings, including The Citadel, South Carolina’s famous military academy, which removed the Confederate Naval Jack from its chapel.

Gen. Daniel Allyn, vice chief of the U.S. Army, spoke to the The Military Times about the rebel flag’s importance within the American military:

“I think that, when you are a student of military history, let’s face it: One of our greatest military generals in the history of our nation was Robert E. Lee,” Allyn said, referring to the legendary Confederate commander.

At Army posts throughout the country, there are “thousands of battle pictorials of Grant and Lee going up against each other with their requisite flags,” he added, noting Lee’s Union counterpart, Gen. Ulysses Grant, who later became America’s 18th president. “So yes, you will find those resident. And if those are offensive to people, I’m sure that our commanders will deal with that.”

“We swear our allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,” Allyn said, “… and we will protect and defend that flag.”

For more on the topic, check out The Military Times

NOW: Air Force policy change may give transgender airmen the chance to serve openly

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Intel

Taliban interrupts soldiers’ cookout, soldiers care less and keep grilling

Nothing comes between a man and a perfectly-grilled steak. Not even enemy fire.


Though this video is a few years old, it’s been making the rounds once again on various military blogs and Facebook pages (we found this one via Brian Jones at Task Purpose).

The video shows a group of soldiers grilling some steaks at OP Vegas in the Korengal Valley, according to the description. But while they are cooking up their delightful meal, the bad guys decide to start shooting.

While many of the soldiers begin to fire back, at least a couple stick around for the more important task of not overcooking the steaks. “The steaks are fine, that’s all that matters,” one soldier says in the video.

Watch (language warning):

SEE ALSO: The 6 types of people you meet outside of every military base

Intel

Photo of soldiers breastfeeding in uniform goes viral

What was intended as a photo for the wall of a nursing room at Fort Bliss’ headquarters has exploded across social media after the Air Force vet who took the shot posted it to her Facebook page.


“Support for breastfeeding moms wasn’t even an option to consider,” photographer Tara Ruby wrote on Facebook. “To my knowledge a group photo to show support of active duty military mommies nursing their little’s has never been done. It is so nice to see support for this here at Fort Bliss.”

It’s doubtful Army officials will be as enthusiastic. In June 2012, photos of two Air National Guardsman breastfeeding their children went viral and stirred up a national debate over breastfeeding in uniform. Though military officials said the airmen violated a policy against “using the uniform to further a cause,” they were not disciplined.

However, Crystal Scott, the civilian organizer of the 2012 photo shoot, was fired from her job.

Now: Suck it, monster! Here’s how the Air Force would defend against Godzilla

Intel

Here’s what it looks like when paratroopers jump out of a helicopter

Army paratroopers are trained in the art of jumping out a perfectly-good airplane.


After they jump — most of the time with the use of static-line parachutes — they’ll often land behind enemy lines to seize an objective, such as an airfield. They are constantly training and maintaining their jump status, and that means going out of traditional aircraft, helicopters, and jumping alongside NATO allies.

A video posted by the 82nd Airborne shows an example of those last two items. 1st Brigade Combat Division writes:

Join your1st Brigade Paratroopers on a beautiful Day!! airborne as they conducted a joint airborne operation with German paratroopers on Fort Bragg, N.C., July 15, 2015. Operation Federal Eagle is an annual event led by the German paratroopers to promote friendship and military partnership.

Now watch:

// ![CDATA[/pp(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1#038;version=v2.3”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));/pp// ]]

Join your1st Brigade Paratroopers on a beautiful Day!! airborne as they conducted a joint airborne operationwith German paratroopers on Fort Bragg, N.C., July 15, 2015. Operation Federal Eagle is an annual event led by the German paratroopers to promote friendship and military partnership. #paratrooper #alltheway #devils #82ndAirborneDivision #fit #awesome #StrikeHold #US Army Airborne School, Fort Benning #bragg

Posted by 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

NOW: 12 awesome photos of troops jumping out of perfectly good airplanes

Intel

The Air Force just cut the time it needs to train pilots almost in half

Seven Air Force officers made history by becoming the first to graduate from a new pilot program earlier this month.

The “Accelerated Path to Wings” (nicknamed XPW) program promises to significantly shorten the time it takes for pilot candidates to finish their basic education.

Normally, the Air Force can create new pilots in about 12 months. The new pilot program slices five months out of that and produces pilots in just seven.

During the XPW program, pilot candidates completed their undergraduate training curriculum in the T-1 Jayhawk, making it simpler than if they were using more airframes for their basic education. The XPW program is part of the Air Education and Training Command’s (AETC) attempt to transform, improve, and shorten the current pilot program.

“We had students from various backgrounds, including five who had completed their initial flight training and two who had earned their private pilot’s license,” Lieutenant Colonel Eric Peterson, the commander of the 99th Flying Training Squadron, said in a press release.

“This is a great program for students who want to go fly heavy aircraft in Air Mobility Command, or who want to go fly certain aircraft in special operations or in Air Combat Command.”

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza
Graduates from the first-ever “Accelerated Path to Wings” class gather in front of a T-1 Jayhawk aircraft after receiving their pilot wings March 12, 2021 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Accelerated Path to Wings is part of Air Education and Training Command’s pilot training transformation program, a two phase T-1 only pilot training tract. The 99th Flying Training Squadron is responsible for executing the seven month training mission that culminates with students earning their pilot wings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Sean Worrell).

Traditional pilot training is divided into three phases where pilot candidates first fly the T-6 Texan II before going over to the T-1 Jayhawk. The XPW program, which has two phases, does without the T-6 Texan II phase and puts students straight in the cockpits of the T-1 Jayhawk. After the standard preflight academics and aviation terminology phase, students go on the simulator where they develop extensive training profiles.

“It feels amazing to have endured the last seven months of pilot training to reach this point. It’s all been worth it. I’m extremely proud. I can’t wait to begin flying around the world,”  2nd Lt. Kassandra Fochtman, who is slated to fly the KC-135 Stratotanker out of McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, said.

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza
An air-to-air view of a T-1 Jayhawk during a training mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Terry Wasson).

“Graduating from the first XPW class is pretty special,” said 2nd Lt. Andrew Button. “I volunteered for this not knowing if it would work out or not, but I just put my trust in the Air Force. I want to give credit to my family and the world-class instructor pilots at the 99th FTS.” Button is slated to fly the C-17 Globemaster III transport out of Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina.

The Air Force is suffering from a shortage of qualified pilots, a shortage so big that now the service is offering close to half-a-million bonuses for pilots to stay. If implemented fully, the XPW program might help address the issue.

Feature photo: U.S Air Force Col. Jeannie Leavitt, 4th Fighter Wing commander, signals her crew chief before taking flight at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., July 17, 2013. After being stood down for more than three months, the 336th Fighter Squadron was finally given the green light to resume flying hours and return to combat mission ready status. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brittain Crolley/Released)

This article originally appeared on Sandboxx. Follow Sandboxx on Facebook.

Intel

Here’s a video of a soldier jumping out of an airplane and solving a Rubik’s Cube

Jumping out of an airplane can get kind of boring, so sometimes you need to bring along something to keep your mind occupied during the parachute ride down.


That’s what happened in a video posted to YouTube last month, which appears to show an airborne soldier solving a Rubik’s cube while under canopy. It’s strangely mesmerizing to watch as the ground nears, and the soldier manages to figure it out seconds before touching down.

The video description has very little detail however, so it’s hard to say where this came from or whether it’s even legit.

In the Washington Post, Dan Lamothe writes:

The video has generated a lot of questions. On the Facebook page “Do You Even Jump?” users questioned whether it actually could have been a jump by an active-duty U.S. soldier, considering he stays airborne for about 2 1/2 minutes. A traditional static-line jump carried out from a C-130 military transport plane from a height of about 2,100 or 2,200 feet would have been over much faster, they said. The jumper also appears to jump from a civilian plane using a European parachute, raising the prospect he isn’t American, others added.

The video also appeared on Reddit and YouTube, where one person questioned whether the video is fake.

Over in this Reddit thread, the poster says it was a British paratrooper. Whether that’s true or not, we’re not sure.

Either way, it’s a cool video. Watch (and learn):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.bev=Yojm0kzKKkAapp=desktop

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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

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