This is the elite special ops team inside the US Secret Service - We Are The Mighty
Intel

This is the elite special ops team inside the US Secret Service

If the Secret Service agents in suits and dark sunglasses protecting the president ever need some extra firepower, they have an elite team with “heavy artillery” on speed dial.


The Secret Service Counter Assault Team — CAT for short — is charged with fighting back if the president ever comes under attack. While the president’s protective detail would be jumping in front of him and quickly getting him to safety, CAT is supposed to turn outward and “lay down an unbelievable amount of suppressive fire,” an agent told The Washington Post.

CAT members are currently outfitted with the Knight’s Armament SR-16 rifle, a variant of the military’s standard issue M-4, according to the book “In The President’s Secret Service.”

Agents who are a members of CAT have to work their way up through the ranks of Secret Service before they ever got a shot in the agency’s equivalent of special ops. There is a grueling training process, which includes many weeks of training that are both physically and mentally demanding.

Read more about CAT at the Washington Post

OR: Check out the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators

Intel

#TBT to 1916 when the press didn’t know what to call a tank

Tanks have certainly cemented their place in the military history books, but back in World War I no one knew quite what to make of them.


A great example of this comes in this newspaper clipping from The Evening Herald (now defunct) in Klamath Falls, Oregon. The headline on Sep. 21, 1916 reads: “U.S. Army to Have Land Dreadnought Tank Cars,” a story which announces the Army’s intention to start building 27 Caterpillar tractors similar to the British D1, the first tank which was used in battle for the first time just one week prior.

The $4,775-a-piece “tractors,” according to The Herald, were to be used primarily to haul guns and maintain a defensive role. With nearly 9,000 tanks in the U.S. arsenal these days, it might be time for The Herald to issue a correction.

Besides getting caught up on an absolute steal of a price-tag — roughly $105,000 in today’s dollars — for a tank, our new favorite phrase is Land Dreadnought. Here’s the clip and the full page below:

This is the elite special ops team inside the US Secret Service

This is the elite special ops team inside the US Secret Service

(h/t to @FOIAsaxa)

Intel

Four US Marines killed in ‘act of terror’ in Tennessee

This is the elite special ops team inside the US Secret Service
In this image made from video and released by WRCB-TV, authorities work an active shooting scene on Amincola Highway near the Naval Reserve Center, in Chattanooga, Tenn. on July 16, 2015. (Photo: WRCB-TV via AP)


A lone gunman opened fire at a Navy recruiting facility and another military building in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Thursday, The Military Times reported.

“Lives have been lost from some faithful people who have been serving our country,” Gov. Bill Haslam told the Military Times. “And I think I join all Tennesseans in being both sickened and saddened by this.”

A total of five people were reported dead, which included the gunmen and four U.S. Marines., according to The Associated Press. A soldier and a police officer were also wounded at the scene. An FBI special agent told The Guardian it was being treated as an “act of terror.”

On Facebook, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus released this statement:

While we expect our Sailors and Marines to go into harm’s way, and they do so without hesitation, an attack at home, in our community, is insidious and unfathomable. As the investigation unfolds, our priority will be to take care of the families of those affected.

I’d like to express my gratitude to the first responders on the scene whose prompt reaction was critical to stopping this individual from inflicting further violence.

Though we can never fully prevent attacks like this, we will continue to investigate, review and guard against future vulnerabilities and do everything in our power to safeguard the security of our service members and their families.

Read the full report here at the Military Times  

Read more: The 5 biggest stories around the military right now (July 16 edition)

Intel

5 bugs you can actually eat to survive

The idea of chowing down on some insects doesn’t sound too appetizing, but when you’re on the brink of starvation, it might be your best option. When you’re stuck out in the middle of nowhere, food sources can get pretty scarce. On top of all that, even if you were to catch a small game animal while enduring the elements, you’d still have to start a fire and cook that sucker to avoid ingesting any nasty parasites.

On the contrary, if you find a source of edible insects, you can just pop them into your mouth and get some lifesaving nutrition. Keep an eye out for these bugs if you find yourself in a bind.


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Ants

These are probably the most popular insects to munch on. In fact, you’ve probably had a few crawl into your mouth while camping without even knowing it — don’t worry, it happens. You can efficiently collect these nutritious little bugs from their hills. Sure, you’re invading their personal space, but you have to eat, too.

Just make sure they’re not the painful kind first.

This is the elite special ops team inside the US Secret Service

That’s good eatin’!

Grasshoppers

No, we’re not referring to young individuals who are learning martial arts. We’re talking about those little ugly things that jump from seemingly nowhere and land on your arm.

Packed with the protein you need to sustain yourself until you can find help, grasshoppers can be easily collected and stored for a quick snack throughout the day.

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Stink bugs

Though their name may have you believe otherwise, you can actually eat these suckers if you’re super desperate. Although they don’t look all that enjoyable, like most insects, they’re packed with the energy-providing protein you need to push yourself out of a desolate area.

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It’s dinner time!

Termites

Another excellent source of protein and energy, termites can be found devouring large pieces of wood. These six-legged pests aren’t know for being filled with parasites, which means they’re good to eat. Once you find a log that’s been hollowed out by these eager eaters, give it a shake and watch them crawl out.

This is the elite special ops team inside the US Secret Service

Bon appetit!

Wood Lice

Also known as the “potato bug,” this little thing isn’t technically an insect — it’s actually a terrestrial isopod crustacean. Sure, maybe it doesn’t belong on list of bugs, but it does tastes similar to shrimp. They can be boiled in hot water just before being enjoyed by a struggling camper that’s to hold on for dear life.

Maybe we’re exaggerating a bit, but they do taste better than they look. Trust me.

Intel

This sniper is credited with over 500 kills

Simo Häyhä, also known as “The White Death,” was a Finnish sniper who is credited with killing more than 500 enemy troops within 100 days during the Winter War against the Soviet Union between 1939 and 1940.


Häyhä accomplished this incredible feat with a Russian-made Mosin-Nagant M91 rifle and iron sights. He preferred the iron sights as opposed to the scope because it allowed him to shoot from a lower, less visible position. The sights also didn’t fog up in the cold or glare in the sun, which could give away his position, according to Special Forces Sniper Skills by Robert Stirling.

His career ended when he was shot in the face, blowing off part of his cheek and lower jaw. He survived the shot, becoming one of Finland’s most legendary heroes. He died in 2002 of natural causes.

This six-minute video tells his incredible story.

Watch: 

NOW: The top 10 deadliest snipers of all time

OR: Allied WWII snipers in 13 extraordinary photographs

Intel

This Oscar nominated film deals with the consequences of bad rules of engagement

The Danish film ‘A War’ is about an officer who had to make a hard decision under fire and the legal charges he faced when he returned home. It’s an unflinching look at military families, the strains of separation during deployment, and the unforgiving nature of commanding troops under fire while wrestling with restrictive rules of engagement.


The film has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and will be released in limited theaters starting February 12.

 

Intel

The Indian navy is a lot more awesome than you’d think

Quick, what countries have the second- and third-largest carrier forces in the world?


Number one, of course, is the United States with ten carriers and one on the way, even as it scraps as many as eight older ones (Forrestal, Saratoga, Ranger, Independence, Kittyhawk, Constellation, Enterprise, and John F. Kennedy).

The second-largest is . . . Japan, which has three carriers (actually called “helicopter destroyers”) in service and a fourth on the way. The third-largest carrier force belongs to India, with two in service and one on the way.

 

This is the elite special ops team inside the US Secret Service
The INS Vikramaditya has the ability to carry over 30 aircraft comprising an assortment of MiG 29K/Sea Harrier, Kamov 31, Kamov 28, Sea King, ALH-Dhruv and Chetak helicopters. The MiG 29K swing role fighter is the main offensive platform and provides a quantum jump for the Indian Navy’s maritime strike capability.

 

Surprised? Don’t be. India’s navy has long been one to reckon with, partially due its heritage under British rule. That Royal Navy DNA makes India a serious naval power, and India has managed to mesh technology from a variety of countries to create their navy.

INS Viraat is the former HMS Hermes, a veteran of the Falklands War. Viraat displaces about 24,000 tons and carries about two dozen aircraft. Viraat is slated to retire soon after the new Vikrant enters service. The Viraat is a V/STOL carrier, along the lines of those in service with Thailand, Spain, and Italy. Viraat is likely to stick around until 2020 —  impressive, given that she was first commissioned in 1959 by the Royal Navy.

The other active carrier, INS Vikramaditya, is the former Russian carrier Admiral Gorshkov. When she entered service with the Soviet Navy as Baku, she was originally designed to operate Yak-38 Forgers and Ka-27 Helix helicopters. After the Cold War, Russia needed cash, and India took the chance to buy the Gorshkov. After a lengthy refit following her 2004 (which was a soap opera in and of itself), the Vikrmaditya entered service in 2013. Vikramaditya displaces 45,000 tons and operates three dozen aircraft.

The carrier on the way, INS Vikrant, is being built in India. Intended to displace about 40,000 tons, she can carry 40 aircraft and will enter service in 2018. She is the second carrier to carrythe name, the previous Vikrant being a British-built light carrier that served with India from 1961-1997. The first Vikrant was a museum from 2001 to 2012 before her deteriorating condition forced the Indian Navy to sell her for scrap.

 

This is the elite special ops team inside the US Secret Service

The INS Viraat is the last British-built ship serving with the Indian Navy, and is one of the oldest aircraft carriers in service in the world.

India’s naval aircraft are quite diverse, as well. India operates British Sea Harriers (the Mk 51 version) from the Viraat, along with Sea King helicopters (an American design customized by the Brits) and Dhruv helicopters designed and built in India. The Vikramaditya operates Russian-designed Ka-28 and Ka-31 Helix helicopters, MiG-29K Fulcrums from Russia, and Indian-built Tejas aircraft, a mix that will also be seen on the new Vikrant when it starts trials later this year and enters service in 2018. From land, India’s maritime patrol inventory features not only the modern P-8, but Russian Il-38 “May” and Tu-142 “Bear F” aircraft as well.

Intel

Hilarious video shows a Navy chief riding with the ‘Blue Angels’ passing out from too much g-force

The Blue Angels don’t just hand out opportunities to fly in the back seat, but when they do, people sometimes pass out.


This video and caption was posted to the Blue Angels Facebook fan page, and it shows what happens when a first-timer experiences seven “G’s” in an F/A-18 Hornet.

We know many of you would do anything for a chance to fly in the back seat of one of our jets; however, unfortunately there are few who actually get the opportunity.

One way to ensure a flight in a practice demonstration is to join our Maintenance and Support Team like this guy did. During a demonstration our pilots experience positive and negative gravitational forces, and have developed methods to overcome them. It’s something that takes practice and is not for the faint of heart. First time passengers will often pass out briefly due to lack of blood flow to the head. People say the seconds spent passed out can feel like minutes or even hours.

With the permission of those involved in this video, we present to you, “The G-Force Strikes Back”!

Must be logged into Facebook to watch:

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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

Biden signs sweeping new law allowing VA to vaccinate all veterans, spouses

President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed into law a sweeping new measure that supercharges the Department of Veterans Affairs‘ ability to vaccinate millions of Americans.

The Save Lives Act will allow the VA to vaccinate all veterans, veteran spouses, caregivers and Civilian Health and Medical Program recipients, regardless of their VA eligibility.

Read Next: Veterans, Military Families Could Lead the Way in Making America Civil Again, Groups Say

However, patients enrolled in VA care will get priority. About half of all 18 million living U.S. veterans are enrolled in VA care, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“This new law expands options for where veterans and their families can receive the COVID-19 vaccine, ensuring that every veteran, spouse, and caregiver will have access to the protection they need from VA,” Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee said in a statement. “This bipartisan bill follows through on our shared goal of getting more shots into the arms of as many veterans as possible.”Advertisement

As of Wednesday, the VA has fully vaccinated more than 1.5 million people, including veterans and employees. Previously, only veterans enrolled in VA could get vaccinated.

The bill’s signing comes during a massive concerted effort from the Biden administration to give vaccine access to as many Americans as possible, with the goal of the country starting to return to relative normalcy by Independence Day.

“COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on all American including veterans and their families,” Veterans of Foreign Wars National Legislative Director Pat Murray said in a statement. “The end may be near, but we will not come out of this until everybody possible has vaccinations.”

This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.

Intel

This video shows 240 years of Army uniforms in under two minutes

The U.S. Army celebrated 240 years of existence last month, and the Independent Journal Review put together a cool video of how its uniforms have evolved over that time.


From the Revolutionary War all the way up to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, soldiers have gone through numerous changes to their uniforms and gear. In fact, just this month the Army began its transition to its new Operational Camouflage Pattern, Army Times reports.

This video shows what soldiers wore into battle since 1775.

Watch:

NOW: 5 differences between Army and Marine Corps infantry

Intel

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed

  • The US military delivered the last of its artillery shells carrying VX for destruction this week.
  • VX is a highly lethal and persistent nerve agent outlawed by the Chemical Weapons Convention.
  • The US hopes to eliminate all of its chemical weapons by the end of 2023 to meet its treaty goals.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US military delivered the last batch of the nation’s stockpiled 155 mm projectiles carrying VX nerve agent for destruction this week, according to the US Army Chemical Materials Activity.

Blue Grass Chemical Activity crews moved the last of the nearly 13,000 projectiles filled with the highly lethal and persistent VX nerve agent and stored at Blue Grass Army Depot to the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant, which has already destroyed 133.2 tons of chemical agent since 2019.

The Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky is one of only two remaining chemical weapons stockpile locations in the US. The other is the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado. Chemical weapons destruction began at the latter in 2015.

The Blue Grass Army Depot originally stored over 500 tons of mustard and nerve agents in 155 mm projectiles, 8-inch projectiles, and M55 rockets. Each 155 mm munition can carry either 6 pounds of VX or 11.7 pounds of a mustard agent.

The facility has already disposed of its 8-inch projectiles containing GB nerve agent, and it began disposing of the 155 mm H mustard rounds in 2019, with more than 64% destroyed by January 2021. Efforts to dispose of the 155 mm VX artillery shells started on January 10, 2021.

This is the elite special ops team inside the US Secret Service
A US Army graphic showing the 155 mm chemical agent projectile. 

A BGCAPP spokesperson explained to Insider that the length of time it takes for the plant to destroy a batch of chemical weapons projectiles varies. The number of weapons the plant can process at a time can range from a handful to several dozen.

To dispose of the VX projectiles, automated equipment first dismantles the munition, and then the chemical agent and weapons components are destroyed separately through chemical and thermal treatments.

The next phase will start this fall, when the plant will start disposing of the M55 rockets, each carrying about 11 pounds of VX, that are still stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot.

The Department of Defense announced last September that the Pueblo Chemical Depot, once home to more than 780,000 chemical weapons munitions, had successfully disposed of all of its nearly 300,000 155 mm mustard agent projectiles.

The US military is working to eliminate its entire chemical weapons stockpile by the end of 2023 in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. This international treaty prohibits the production and use of chemical weaponry and requires the disposal of stockpiled weapons.

US chemical weapons were once stockpiled at nine different facilities. About 90% of the national stockpile of more than 30,000 tons of chemical weapons were destroyed at the majority of those facilities. All that remains are the weapons in Kentucky and Colorado.

“With the VX projectiles delivered for destruction, the US is one step closer to meeting its treaty goal,” Army Chemical Materials Activity said in a statement.

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

Intel

5 surprising facts about naval aviation

Ever since Eugene Ely became the first person to take off from —  and land on — a ship in 1911, naval aviation has forged a unique identity within the American military. They fly, but they’re not the Air Force. They’re sailors, but only some of them never drive ships.


With a record of accomplishment in peace and war, they have a few things to brag about. Some of them might even surprise you.

1. The U.S. Navy is the second largest air force in the world.

Judged on number of airplanes, the U.S. Navy is the second-largest air force, not just in the United States, but in the entire world. It has over 3,700 aircraft — far fewer than the U.S. Air Force’s 5,500 but more than the Russian Air Force’s 3,000 planes. That is, at least until Vladimir Putin buys more.

This is the elite special ops team inside the US Secret Service
Just wait.

2. They were the first Americans in WWI.

The first American military force to arrive in Europe after the United States entered World War I was the 1st Naval Air Unit, commanded by Lt. Kenneth Whiting (Naval Aviator #16, who had been trained by Orville Wright… yes, that Orville Wright).

He led seven officers and 122 sailors to Europe aboard USS Jupiter (which would later become USS Langley, America’s first aircraft carrier) and USS Neptune. For his service in leading the first Yanks “over there,” he was awarded both the Navy Cross and France’s Legion of Honour (Chevalier).

3. They completed the first crossing of the Atlantic by air.

Naval aviators must have decided riding colliers across the ocean wasn’t such a good deal because not long after the war, they started figuring out a better way to make the crossing. In May 1919, the Navy’s flying boat NC-4 made the transatlantic flight. Departing from Long Island with an unscheduled stop in Massachusetts, Lt. Cmdr. Albert C. Read and his crew routed via Halifax and the Azores before arriving in Lisbon eight days later.

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A Curtiss NC-4 Flying Boat.

It was the only plane out of three that started the journey to make it, the other two made forced landings along the way. Commander Read would later call it, “a continuous run of unadulterated luck.”

4. U.S. Presidents are naval aviation alumni.

Naval Aviation came of age in World War II, when — thanks, in part, to the Imperial Japanese Navy — the aircraft carrier replaced the battleship as the Navy’s most important capital ship. Future-President Gerald Ford served with ship’s company on USS Monterey, a light carrier, while George H. W. Bush flew missions from the decks of USS San Jacinto.

This is the elite special ops team inside the US Secret Service
Lt. George H. W. Bush making notes before an air sortie in WWII.

When Bush earned his Wings of Gold, he was the youngest pilot in the Navy. He was shot down in September 1944 and rescued by a submarine. His son would later become the first American president to make an arrested landing, flying in an S-3B Viking and trapping aboard USS Abraham Lincoln.

5. Naval Aviation in the Space Program.

The Navy has been well represented in space, too. Four of the Mercury Seven — America’s first astronauts — wore Wings of Gold. Alan Shepard, who flew F4U Corsairs before becoming a test pilot, was the first American in space. John Glenn, a Marine pilot (hey, they wear the same wings) who flew in WWII and Korea, was the first American to orbit the earth. He’d later be the oldest person — and, so far, only sitting senator — to fly in space.

And how about Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon? You guessed it — he flew in the Navy, too, taking the F9F-2 Panther to war in Korea. Jim Lovell, who commanded the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, flew Banshees and Demons before graduating first in his class at test pilot school. Eugene Cernan, the commander of Apollo 17, was the last man to walk on the moon; he bagged over 5,000 hours and 200 traps flying the FJ-4 Fury and A-4 Skyhawk.

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Eugene Andrew Cernan in Apollo Lunar Module. (NASA)

And when NASA was ready to take their new hotness — the Space Shuttle — out of the atmosphere, who did they trust? Two Naval Aviators. John Young and Robert Crippen both flew from carriers before becoming test pilots.

If you find yourself near the gulf coast of Florida, you can visit the National Museum of Naval Aviation to learn more. Its director, Captain (retired) Sterling Gillam, and historian, Hill Goodspeed, graciously offered their time and expertise in helping with this article.

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