In his 38 years of service before becoming the Supreme Commander of the Allied forces during World War II, Dwight D. Eisenhower had never been in combat.
It was never his plan to avoid combat; in fact, he was considering giving up his commission because he thought he’d hit the glass ceiling of his military career. He felt like he was being held back, but in actuality, he was being groomed. In 1941, he was unproven, but he had the recommendation of great men such as Pershing, Conner, MacArthur, and Krueger, who believed he would make a good commander.
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.
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:
Universal pictures has the option for former Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia’s memoir of the Second Battle of Fallujah, “House to House.” They’ve selected their writer to adapt the book into a screenplay and it’s another Army infantry veteran, Max Adams.
Staff Sergeant David Bellavia captures the brutal action and raw intensity of leading his Third Platoon, Alpha Company, into a lethally choreographed kill zone: the booby-trapped, explosive-laden houses of Fallujah’s militant insurgents. Bringing to searing life the terrifying intimacy of hand-to-hand infantry combat, this stunning war memoir features an indelibly drawn cast of characters, not all of whom would make it out of the city alive, as well as chilling accounts of Bellavia’s singular courage: Entering one house alone, he used every weapon at his disposal in the fight of his life against America’s most implacable enemy.
Bellavia was nominated for the Medal of Honor for his part in clearing a building of insurgents after he and his men were ambushed. He ultimately received the Silver Star. Adams served with the Rangers during 11 years of service from 1995-2006. He recently produced two movies, “Bus 657” starring Robert De Niro and “Precious Cargo” starring Bruce Willis.
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.
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.
“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.
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.”
The fighting that followed caused significant devastation inside the Gaza strip.
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.
Among Israel’s casualties, the Israeli military also saw losses in the fighting.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Air Force‘s Airman Battle Uniform is getting its official send-off. On Thursday, airmen will be required to retire their old “Tiger Stripe” camouflage for good and switch to the Operational Camouflage Uniform, or OCP. The service has spent three years phasing in the Army‘s service duty uniform.
The Air Force approved the OCP to be worn full-time beginning Oct. 1, 2018, with the expectation that all airmen and Space Force guardians would make the complete changeover by April 1, 2021, after wearing the Airman Battle Uniform, or ABU, for more than a decade.
The OCP already has a history with the service.
Since 2012, nearly 100,000 airmen have worn the uniform when deployed overseas to places like Afghanistan or while operating outside the wire, Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, then-Air Force director of Military Force Management Policy and deputy chief of staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services, said in 2018. LaBrutta retired in 2019.
Air Force Special Operations Command members were some of the first to don the OCP, along with some Security Forces units, LaBrutta said at the time.
Service member feedback played a big role in the decision to switch to the OCP, top officials have said. Airmen have expressed on social media that moving to a single combat uniform for the service couldn’t come soon enough.
In 2013, The Washington Post reported that there were 10 different types of military camouflage uniforms in use, depending on service and where troops were stationed.
The ABU’s “tiger stripe” pattern was supposed to pay homage to camouflage used during the Vietnam War, according to the Post.
But early iterations “looked slightly off” from one uniform to the next, with multiple shades making up the pattern, according to Master Sgt. Mike Smith, who wrote a farewell tribute to the ABU earlier this year. Smith serves at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Tennessee.
“Not since leisure suit wearers were cool has an outfit been so disliked and oppositely loved,” he said in a release. “One opponent compared its camouflage design to an over-patterned couch; another advocate hailed its unique ability to channel the wind down her sleeves, from one arm to the other while driving down the road — she will miss that.”
Airmen at the Tennessee base got together to say goodbye to the ABU one last time March 29, taking selfies in the tiger stripe.
“We’ve come a long way in this uniform, here and deployed,” said Chief Master Sgt. Steven Durrance, the enlisted professional military education center commandant at McGhee Tyson.
“It’s important to capture this moment and take time for our heritage, who we are, and where we come from,” he said in a separate release.
The service will donate leftover uniform gear associated with the ABU to junior ROTC programs across the country, service officials have previously said.
Designed by a former toy maker, the Black Hornet UAV fits in a human palm and weighs the same as three pieces of paper. But don’t be fooled by its size. It has impressive capabilities as a reconnaissance drone, which is why Special Forces and U.S. infantry have begun testing it.
The tiny drone feeds surprisingly clear video to the pilot from as far as kilometer away and can bear different sensors including thermal cameras for night assaults. The video is stored on the small user station on the operator’s belt, so enemies lucky enough to catch the Hornet will not be able to see what video the pilot has captured.
See this amazing little drone in action in this video:
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.
Bergdahl’s attorneys claim he was trying to reach a nearby base to report troubling conditions in his unit, while many soldiers he served with believe him to be a deserter responsible for lives that were lost while they searched for him.
All of this is ripe material for Serial host Sarah Koenig’s Rashomon approach to investigative journalism, which she deftly applied to the case of Adnan Syed, a man currently serving a life sentence for the 1999 murder of his high school ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.
Koenig went to great lengths to examine the case from every possible angle—interviewing witnesses whose testimonies were never heard in court, and pursuing other leads abandoned during the investigation that led to Syed’s conviction.
First debuted in 2014, the “Serial” podcast quickly rocketed to the top spot as the most popular podcast of all time. According to Maxim’s reporting, reporters from “Serial” have been seen inside the courtroom at Bergdahl’s trial.
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.
At selection, they are tested in physical fitness, shooting, making arrests, teamwork, and how they react during stressful situations.
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.
Those who make the cut are then assigned to New Operator Training School, which is also at Quantico.
HRT training is similar to military special operations units, with the caveat that agents also train to arrest suspects whenever possible.
Over the six month training course at NOTS, agents learn skills such as fast-roping out of helicopters and SCUBA diving.
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.
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.
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.
Some go on to get even more specialized training, like HRT snipers.
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.
“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.”
Recently, the Navy announced that the expeditionary fast transport USNS Brunswick (T EPF 6) completed Pacific Partnership 2018 in Thailand. If you’re out of the know, you may be asking yourself why this operation is such a big deal. Well, believe it or not, this annual exercise has been going on for a dozen years now and it’s an essential part of being ready for the worst.
After the 2004 tsunami ravaged Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and several other neighboring countries in one of history’s worst-ever natural disasters, the United States deployed relief ships to provide humanitarian aid. This generated generated a lot of good will among affected nations and their allies. This matters a great deal — when you have a reservoir of good will among a population, you’re much less likely to find yourself embroiled in war.
USNS Mercy (T AH 19) taking part in Pacific Partnership 2018.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kelsey L. Adams)
At the time, the United States had a pair of hospital ships, USNS Mercy (T AH 19) and USNS Comfort (T AH 20), that hadn’t seen much use. Although these ships are slated for replacement, they still house much more advanced medical facilities than most countries can offer. Those aboard USNS Mercy rendered care for 108,000 patients between 2004 and 2005.
After supplying aid in the wake of a terrible disaster, the Navy began to make annual deployments. The Navy has also used the big-deck amphibious assault ships of the Tarawa and Wasp classes in these deployments.
A Navy corpsman gives a tour of the medical facilities on board USNS Mercy (T AH 19) during Pacific Partnership 2015.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mayra A. Conde)
During Pacific Partnership, not only does the Navy provide a lot of medical aid, they host disaster relief training exercises with partner nations, like Thailand. As the old saying goes, “you fight like you train.” The same can be said of providing disaster relief.
This exercise is not entirely a one-way street, however. During Pacific Partnership, in exchange for advanced training, the Navy gets a lot of knowledge about the terrain and personnel are given the opportunity to build relationships with their local counterparts.
Big-deck amphibious ships, like USS Essex (LHD 2), have also been used in Pacific Partnership deployments.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adam Brock)
The operation isn’t exclusively for governments. Representatives from various non-governmental organizations also take part. These aren’t the normal passengers on Navy vessels, and having them aboard allows the Navy to practice operating as part of grand-scale, disaster-relief efforts.
At the end of the day, Pacific Partnership is one of the U.S. Military’s greatest chances to practice responding to a disaster. The fact that it generates good will and gets some nice press is just a bonus.
FILE PHOTO -- The Bird of Prey served as a highly classified project from 1992 to 1999 before Boeing Co. officials unveiled it Oct. 18. It will become part of the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, on July 16. (Photo courtesy of Boeing Co.).
In the early 1990s, stealth aircraft technology was still coming into its own. The United States had developed the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, but there was still more work to do. So Boeing, one of the United States’ most capable defense aircraft developers, went to work.
The company’s Phantom Works division created the Boeing Bird of Prey, a single-seater black project stealth aircraft that looks like the most futuristic plane ever developed. It’s not — but it sure looks like it.
Boeing’s Bird of Prey looks part F-22 Raptor and part science fiction-inspired deep space fighter. Not much is known about the experimental fighter aircraft’s true purpose. Even less is known about the specific technologies it might have been testing. Its association with Phantom Works and being developed and constructed at Area 51 means the skies are the limit for UFO junkies and big tech enthusiasts.
Despite its cool, futuristic appearance and the technologies it might have been testing, the program was a relatively cheap one for the aircraft manufacturer. At just $67 million dollars, the Bird of Prey is considered a “low-cost” program for a defense contractor.
What is known about the Bird of Prey is that it was a stepping stone in the development of low-observable technologies and aircraft design. Some of its “revolutionary” design elements were later incorporated into the X-45 unmanned combat aerial vehicle, one of the earliest tested drones developed by the Air Force.
The X-45 program was the first test the technology needed to, “conduct suppression of enemy air defense missions with unmanned combat air vehicles.”
Developing the Bird of Prey and its associated technology first began in 1992. The aircraft took its first flight in 1996. It never received an x-plane designation because it was never a true military test aircraft, but the tech it tested might later have been integrated into the F-22 and the F-35 fighters.
It’s also believed the Bird of Prey tested active camouflage technology for planes, which would allow it to change colors, luminosity or appearance mid-flight to blend into its environment.
Although the Bird of Prey was potentially packing a wide array of unknown and probably still-classified technologies, keeping costs down meant using commercially-available engines and manual controls, as opposed to computerized controls.
Aside from classified future technologies, the Air Force also says its tested tech that is now considered “industry standards.” This includes the lack of a horizontal tailplane and a conventional vertical rudder, which is used in later experimental stealth drone aircraft.
Boeing Phantom Works is an advanced prototyping arm of the aircraft manufacturer that has worked on a number of advanced vehicles and technologies, including the Boeing X-51 Waverider hypersonic vehicle and concepts for an as-yet unnamed sixth-generation joint strike fighter.
The Bird of Prey was officially ended before the turn of the 21st Century, even though it looks the part of an aircraft from this era. After (presumably) being stripped of all the nifty tech that would allow it to evade ground sensors (and maybe the naked eye), it officially ended its career in the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
Visitors to the massive aircraft and air power museum can see the Bird of Prey in the Modern Flight Gallery – near its successor aircraft, the X-36 flight demonstrator and the museum’s F-22 Raptor.
A photo taken of the stands at a Texas AM home football game in October captured what the “Aggie Spirit” is all about, according to the school’s Commandant of the Corps of Cadets.
The photo, taken of the stands on Oct. 3 while the Aggies played against Mississippi State, shows a group of cadets cheering and watching the game. One cadet stands silently, holding his young son as he sleeps in his arms.
That cadet is 28-year-old Kevin Ivey, a student at the university who previously served for eight years in the Marine Corps. With a tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Ivey left the Marine Corps a single dad of a six-year-old boy, according to KAGS-TV. His commanding officer was an Aggie, and he decided he wanted to be one himself.
So Ivey and his son Calvin loaded up their pickup truck and headed to College Station, where Ivey had been accepted into Delta Company, a group of 25 veterans in the 2,500 member Corps of Cadets. But when he arrived, he couldn’t immediately find an apartment. A Marine on a limited budget, and with his schooling paid for by the GI Bill, couldn’t dig up the deposits each apartment complex was demanding for him and his son to move in.
“We had money for our bare necessities and that’s it,” Ivey said. “Hotel money just wasn’t in the budget.”