Awesome photos of snipers on high-angle shoots - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY TACTICAL

Awesome photos of snipers on high-angle shoots

Military snipers from several NATO countries recently practiced high-angle shooting in the Austrian Alps.

Snipers from Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, the United States, and other NATO countries practiced the shooting from Sept. 9-14 at the International Special Training Centre’s High-Angle/Urban course at the Hochfilzen Training Area.

“High-angle shooting is when you shoot further than 300 meters at angles greater than 15 degrees,” Lt. Alexander Rishovd, a sniper instructor assigned to the Norwegian Army Land Warfare Centre, said.

“Imagine the whole shooting process being a triangle and the sniper is on top, the line of sight to the target at the other end is greater than the distance the bullet travels in a flat line,” Rishovd said. “With the greater the angle the more the deviation between the line of sight and the distance that gravity has to affect the bullet.”

And the pictures are stunning.

Check them out below.


Austrian packhorses haul equipment up to a high-angle range on Sept. 12, 2018.

(US Army photo)

Multinational snipers hike to the high-angle range on Sept. 13, 2018.

(US Army photo)

And the training taught the soldiers how to pack lightly.

“With a sniper rifle and sometimes two rifles, hundreds of rounds of ammo, tripod, spotting scope and night optics, mountaineering gear, sleep system, and water and food, your pack easily gets over 40 kilos,” one Belgian special forces soldier said.

“It is a difficult balance because snipers require a lot of specialized equipment, so you have to decide what is absolutely mission essential.”

A US Army sniper team from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment engages targets uphill of their position on Sept. 12, 2018.

(US Army photo)

After ascending to the range, they started the high-angle shooting.

“Each degree of angle will have an associated number value called its cosine,” Rishovd said.

“For snipers shooting at high-angles they need to measure the range to the target in line of sight and multiply it by the cosine [to] get the actual range the bullet is going to fly. Then the sniper will set his bullet drop compensation from that distance.”

A Norwegian Army Telemark Battalion sniper team takes aim at targets across a valley on Sept. 11, 2018.

(US Army photo)

A Dutch sniper engages targets below in a valley on Sept. 12, 2018.

(US Army photo)

Italian snipers from the 4th Alpini Regiment engage targets uphill of their position on Sept. 11, 2018.

(US Army photo)

A Slovakian special operations sniper engages targets uphill of his position as smoke in the foreground is used to indicate wind speed and direction on Sept. 12, 2018.

(US Army photo)

A Belgian special operations sniper takes aim at targets across a valley on Sept. 11, 2018.

(US Army photo)

“The calculations are not very difficult,” one Belgian Special Forces soldier said. “The challenge is the shooting positions.”

“To aim at targets that are at odd angle requires getting into difficult and sometimes unstable and uncomfortable positions,” he continued. “It is also difficult for the spotter to get a good line of sight. The further out you shoot the more the angle and other factors effects your shot. Operationally it is one of the most commonly used skills, so it is good to refine them here.”

A Norwegian Army Telemark Battalion sniper and a US Army sniper run back to their rifles during a stress shoot competition on Sept. 13, 2018.

(US Army photo)

They even practiced “stress shoots,” which test a soldier’s physical fitness and firearms training together to replicate a combat situation.

You can read more about stress shoots here.

A Norwegian Army Telemark Battalion sniper engages a target using a night vision optics while a US Army sniper from 2nd Cavalry Regiment acts as a spotter Sept. 10, 2018.

(US Army photo)

Snipers from different countries were paired together too.

“Each country has its own tactics, techniques and procedures,” an unnamed US Army Special Forces sniper instructor said. “When we pair snipers from different countries together, or have them compete against each other, they are able to compare and see what works best.”

Multinational snipers begin their descent down from the high-angle range on Sept. 13, 2018.

(US Army photo)

After the training sessions, the snipers hiked back down from the high-angle range.

“It is very difficult to find ranges where you can shoot at high angles,” US Army Staff Sgt. Ryen Funk said. “We don’t get to practice high angle enough, so it is good to come here and get that experience.”

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

popular

Watch the Littoral Combat Ship test its Hellfire missiles

The Freedom variant littoral combat ship USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) conducted a live-fire missile exercise off the coast of Virginia May 11, 2018.

The Milwaukee fired four longbow hellfire missiles that successfully struck fast inshore attack craft targets.

During the evolution, the ship’s crew executed a scenario simulating a complex warfighting environment, utilized radar, and other systems to track small surface targets, simulated engagements and then fired missiles against the surface targets.


“The crew of the USS Milwaukee executed superbly and the test team ran the event seamlessly, both were critical in making this event successful,” said Capt. Ted Zobel, LCS Mission Modules program manager.

This marks the completion of the first phase of the Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM) Developmental Testing (DT) for the LCS Mission Modules (MM) program. This was the first integrated firing of the SSMM from an LCS. Additionally, this was the second at-sea launch of SSMM missiles from an LCS. SSMM leverages the U.S. Army’s Longbow Hellfire Missile in a vertical launch capability to counter small boat threats. Initial operational capability (IOC) and fielding of the SSMM is expected in 2019.

The Milwaukee, homeported at Naval Station Mayport, is a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.

“The east coast littoral combat team continues to grow and mature with two Freedom variant LCS arriving annually in Mayport. We look forward to conducting the next phase of SSMM testing onboard USS Detroit (LCS 7),” said Littoral Combat Ship Squadron Two Capt. Shawn Johnston.

The ship is a modular, reconfigurable ship, designed to meet validated fleet requirements for surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasures missions in the littoral region. An interchangeable mission package is embarked on each LCS and provides the primary mission systems in one of these warfare areas. Using an open architecture design, modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to gain, sustain, and exploit littoral maritime supremacy, LCS provides U.S. joint force access to critical areas in multiple theaters.

This article originally appeared on the United States Navy. Follow @usnavy on Twitter.

MIGHTY CULTURE

How to tell where US veteran served based on their medals

The US military has a host of awards and medals for its service members.

Some awards, like the Medal of Honor and the Silver and Bronze Star awards, are given to service members who display bravery in combat.

Others are given for serving in specific operations or even missions — these are known as campaign awards.

Depending on the medals a service member or veteran wears, it’s typically possible to determine which wars or regions of the world they have served in.

Scroll through to see campaign awards for operations and missions since the Korean War.


The National Defense Service Medal is automatically awarded to anyone who signs up to serve during wartime.

The medal awarded for support of Operation Inherent Resolve was authorized for service starting in 2014.

(Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lyle Wilkie)

The ISIS fight

Service members who have supported Operation Inherent Resolve, the US mission in Syria to combat the Islamic State, are now eligible for a medal.

The medal was approved in 2016 — prior to that, service members who supported OIR were awarded the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary (GWOT-E) medal.

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Global war on terror

There are two different campaign awards for service in the US’s war against terror.

The GWOT Service medal is awarded to service members who serve in either a direct or indirect role in support of operations during the global war on terror, including personnel stateside who process paperwork for deployed troops.

The GWOT Expeditionary Medal, seen on the left, is more specific — service members must deploy for service in an anti-terrorism operation. Ground troops deployed to Somalia for over 30 days, for example, would qualify for this medal.

A service member who qualifies for the GWOT-E typically also qualifies for the service medal.

The Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terror Expeditionary medal are not authorized for the same period or action.

(Photo by Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

Afghanistan

The Afghanistan Campaign award is given to service members who complete at least 30 days in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Iraq Campaign Medal.

(Army Institute of Heraldry)

Iraq

The Iraq Campaign Medal is awarded to service members who deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

For both the Afghanistan and Iraq campaign awards, service members are only eligible for one of each, regardless of how many times they deployed to the country.

Stars may be worn on the ribbons as indicators of participation in specific, designated missions during the operation.

The Antarctica Service Medal and ribbon are awarded to people who spend at least 30 consecutive days in the Antarctic or fly 15 missions into or out of the continent.

(Photo by Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

Antarctica

The Coast Guard and Navy have Arctic equivalents, which differ slightly but both reverse the color scheme of the Antarctic ribbon and medal, with black or dark blue in the center and white on the outer edges.

The Kosovo campaign medal was awarded to service members who served during the Kosovo Defense Campaign, which began in 1999.

(Photo by Staff Sgt. John Valceanu)

Kosovo

The NATO bombing campaign led to the retreat of Yugoslav forces from Kosovo. A peace-keeping force remains there to this day.

The Kuwaiti Liberation Medal, government of Kuwait.

Liberation of Kuwait

Depending on their specific mission and location, service members who participated in the liberation of Kuwait may have qualified for awards presented by the governments of Saudi Arabia or Kuwait.

The Kuwaiti Liberation Medal, government of Kuwait.

Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm

The government of Kuwait authorized US personnel to wear this award if they served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the early 1990s.

Southwest Asia Service Medal.

An arrangement of medals made during a military ceremony honoring Vietnam veterans.

(Photo by Jonathan Steffen)

Vietnam service

The Vietnam service ribbon has a yellow background with three red lines in the center and a green line on each side.

The award was given to service members who served in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, or air or water space in that region between 1965 and 1973.

Other medals depicted here are the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, and Purple Heart.

Republic of Vietnam Campaign medal.

South Vietnam

This medal was awarded to service members who provided direct combat support to South Vietnam’s Armed Forces during the war.

Criteria included those who served for six months or more in South Vietnam or who were injured, captured, or killed in the line of duty.

The Republic of Korea Korean War Service Medal.

(Photo by Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

Korean war

The Republic of Korea Korean War Service Medal was authorized in 1999 to honor the sacrifices of Korean War veterans.

This award specifically designates veterans who served in the country of Korea during the war.

The Korean Defense Service Medal is awarded to any US service member who has served in the Republic of Korea after July 1954.

(Photo by Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

South Korea

Recognizing that the Korean War never ended, the Defense Department authorized the Korean Defense Service Medal for service members who deployed to or served in the Republic of Korea after July 1954.

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

MIGHTY TACTICAL

The Army’s ‘Space Cowboys’ can see anywhere

It can sometimes be hard for commanders to get a full picture of the battlefield, whether that’s on the ground in Syria or in the forests of Colorado. The “Space Cowboys” of the Colorado Army National Guard‘s 117th Space Battalion aim to solve that problem.


Just the Facts

  • The 117th Space Battalion is the only unit of its kind in the National Guard.
  • Its 12 space support teams work with commercial and classified space-based assets to support command requirements.
  • The 117th has the highest concentration of space support teams anywhere in the Army.
  • Army Space Support Teams are made up of six soldiers — two officers and four enlisted — each with unique skills. The teams deploy around the world to enhance intelligence and operations planning abilities.
  • U.S. Army Sgt. Rick D. Peevy, a crew chief from Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment, Colorado Army National Guard, surveys the scene while wildfires burn the training range at Fort Carson, Colo., June 12, 2008.

  • “The [space] support team allows the warfighter to see and overcome enemy forces using the most appropriate amount of lethality available to them,” said Army Sgt. Maj. Fred Korb, the 117th’s senior enlisted leader. “For example, this allows the maximum effectiveness for targeting enemy forces while limiting danger to the coalition warfighter and noncombatants.”
  • More than 55 percent of soldiers in the unit have advanced degrees.
  • “Support can include producing imagery products, deconflicting GPS issues, missile warning, missile defense, satellite communications, and space as well as terrestrial weather effects on operations,” said Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Fauskee, the noncommissioned officer in charge of one of the battalion’s space support teams.
  • The 117th’s soldiers also produce the imagery needed to support wildfire fighting efforts in their home state. This year, some of its soldiers responded to the Spring Creek fire, the third-largest wildfire in Colorado history.
  • This article originally appeared on the United States Department of Defense. Follow @DeptofDefense on Twitter.

    MIGHTY TRENDING

    The President may look at pulling US troops out of Germany

    The US Defense Department is reportedly analyzing whether or not it is feasible to conduct a large-scale withdrawal or transfer of US troops in Germany, according to a Washington Post report published on June 29, 2018.

    President Donald Trump reportedly mulled the option after meeting with military aides in early 2017, US officials said in the report. Trump, who has had a tenuous relationship with the German chancellor Angela Merkel, was said to have been surprised by the number of US troops stationed in the region.

    Some US officials were said to have tried to dissuade Trump from taking action.


    Around 35,000 active-duty troops were stationed in Germany in 2017. US troop levels peaked at 274,119 in 1962, 17 years after World War II.

    In addition to the US presence in Germany, Trump was reportedly vexed by his belief that other NATO countries were not contributing enough to the organization. Trump has frequently vented his frustration and criticized NATO members for failing to abide by the 2%-of-GDP defense-spending level that members agreed to during the alliance’s inception.

    European officials were reportedly alarmed at the possibility of US troop movements — some of whom wondered whether Trump might use it as a negotiation tactic.

    Members of Bull Troop, 1st Squadron, 2nd Cavalry, prepare to engage a multinational force while taking part in a quick-deployment exercise during Allied Spirit VI at Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, March 25, 2017.
    U.S. Army photo by Sgt. William Frye)

    The National Security Council downplayed the significance and said it had not asked for a formal analysis on repositioning troops: “The Pentagon continuously evaluates US troop deployments,” a statement from the NSC said, according to The Post. The statement added that the “analysis exercises” were “not out of the norm.”

    “The Pentagon regularly reviews force posture and performs cost-benefit analyses,” Eric Pahon, a spokesman for the Pentagon, said in a statement to The Post. “This is nothing new. Germany is host to the largest US force presence in Europe — we remain deeply rooted in the common values and strong relationships between our countries. We remain fully committed to our NATO ally and the NATO alliance.”

    But despite repeated denials of a rift between US and NATO countries, Trump has suggested withdrawing from the 29-member alliance on multiple occasions.

    “My statement on NATO being obsolete and disproportionately too expensive (and unfair) for the U.S. are now, finally, receiving plaudits,” Trumps said during his 2016 presidential campaign on Twitter.

    Trump has similarly suggested pulling US troops out of South Korea. Citing several people familiar with the discussions, The New York Times reported in May that he had ordered the Pentagon to prepare options for a drawdown.

    “We lose money on trade, and we lose money on the military,” Trump said in a speech March 2018. “We have right now 32,000 soldiers on the border between North and South Korea,” Trump added. “Let’s see what happens.”

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

    MIGHTY TRENDING

    In blast from the past, the Army just bought the new generation of Higgins boats

    A new generation of beach-storming landing craft will soon be helping GIs land on enemy shores – but unlike those used in the Normandy invasion, this version will be driven by soldiers.


    In what may seem like a blast from the past, the Army just awarded a $1 billion contract to an Oregon company to build the so-called “Maneuver Support Vessel (Light)” for its soldiers of the future.

    According to a report by Defense News, Vigor, a shipbuilding company in Oregon, won the contract to replace the Army’s old force of Landing Craft Mechanized 8 (LCM-8) vessels, also known as “Mike Boats.” According to the 16th Edition of the Naval Institute’s Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, the United States Army had 44 LCM-8s on hand.

    LCM-8s deliver cargo and vehicles to the beach. (US Army photo)

    The Army’s current landing craft are about 73 feet long and can go about 150 miles, and have a crew of four. The vessels are capable of hauling just under 55 tons, according to a United States Navy fact sheet. They can reach a top speed of nine knots when loaded.

    The new Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) will be about 100 feet long, and able to reach speeds of up to 18 knots. Cargo options will include two Strykers, an M1A2 Abrams tank, or four Joint Light Tactical Vehicles with trailers.

    Troops board a LCM-8. (US Army photo)

    An Army release noted that the vessels will be used to support “intra-theater transportation of personnel and materiel.” The vessels will help transport supplies and personnel in areas where ports are either degraded or denied, and to assist in bringing supplies ashore from prepositioned sealift vessels.

    “Watercraft are not something we buy very often, but they are essential to meeting Army-unique maneuver requirements,” Scott Davis the Army’s program executive officer, Combat Support and Combat Service Support said. The Army plans to buy 36 of these new vessels by the end of 2027.

    MIGHTY MOVIES

    A veteran comedian needs your help to be the host of the 2019 Oscars

    Comedian Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting the coming Academy Awards Presentation, leaving the job empty for the time being. Enter Adam Keys: A veteran and triple amputee, Adam lost his limbs after suffering from an IED attack in Afghanistan that left him with a massive infection. 100 surgeries later, Keys has never lost his sense of humor.

    Now, he wants to showcase that humor by stepping up to host this year’s Oscar ceremonies.


    Using the hashtag #Adam4TheOscars, Keys needs the support of the veteran community to get the attention of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences via social media – he’s even created the language and video, all we need to do is help by posting it (check out that information here). He’s also created a website, Adam4TheOscars.com, and an online petition for fans to sign and register their support.

    Keys isn’t aiming for the Oscar job just because he wants to further his comedy career. As the video says, he wants to show that veterans aren’t broken and people with disabilities are as capable as anyone else. He wants to showcase that on Hollywood’s biggest night, with the whole world watching.

    There’s not much Adam Keys can’t do, despite his disabilities. As the video states, he climbed Kilimanjaro and performs stand-up comedy in the DC area. Considering how he came to his injuries, his spirit and good humor are the stuff of legend. The blast broke the combat engineer’s jaw, left shoulder, humerus, and ankles. It killed three of his friends and nearly killed him, too. He wasn’t even able to speak for two months.

    When he came to, he thought he was still in Afghanistan and needed to know where his rifle was. He was in a hospital in Bethesda – and the nurse had no idea what he meant. He was a wounded warrior, but now he’s ready to move past that. He says terms like “disabled veteran”and “wounded warrior” don’t apply to him.

    Yes, I was wounded,” he says. “But now I’m not. I want to get rid of that title and move past it, move forward. Move us all forward.”

    There’s literally nothing he can’t do.

    The idea for hosting the Oscars in place of Hart came to him while watching TMZ, looking for material for his standup act. The thought occurred to him, why not? He’d be nervous, but he’s nervous before any show he does.

    It will be a challenge for me,” Keys says. “I love challenging myself. And I get to help people and try to move us [veterans] all forward. I don’t know where it’ll take me, but anything is a step forward. I will hope I’ve done the right thing and made people proud of me, of us. Helping people is the added benefit.
    MIGHTY TRENDING

    Here’s what the military gets in the $1.3 trillion spending bill

    The Navy gets 14 new ships, including a carrier; the Air Force adds 56 F-35s; the Army gets 17 Apache and 11 Lakota helicopters; the Marine Corps receives 24 vertical landing F-35Bs; and the Coast Guard gets a long-needed icebreaker.


    All the troops get funding for a 2.4 percent pay raise that took effect at the beginning of the year, with the possibility for more next year.

    The Air Force also gets $103 million for the wing replacement program on the A-10 Thunderbolt as a start in what Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said is a plan to keep the “Warthogs” flying at least to 2030.

    Also read: The new Navy budget speeds up construction of new destroyers

    These are some of the highlights from the submissions of the Senate and House Defense Appropriations subcommittees in the overall 2,342-page, $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package for fiscal 2018, including nearly $700 billion for the military and $591 billion for non-defense funding.

    The $700 billion includes $65.2 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations, or “war budget” funding mostly for Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.

    “Overall, this is the biggest year-to-year increase in defense funding in 15 years — a $61 billion increase over FY2017 enacted levels,” the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee said in its overview.

    Yet Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said it isn’t enough to completely reverse the shortfalls in readiness and modernization brought about by the budget restraints under the sequester process.

    “It is not enough to fix our problems, but it’s probably the right amount to be spent this year,” he told Fox News on March 21, 2018.

    The Defense Department has been promised $716 billion for fiscal 2019 under a two-year military spending plan already approved by Congress — $700 billion in 2018 and $716 billion in 2019.

    Related: Everything you need to know about Trump’s 2019 budget

    All of that funding is contingent on Congress approving the $1.3 trillion omnibus package, which is still hung up on debates over health care, immigration, gun control, and the funding of Planned Parenthood.

    Since failing to adopt a fiscal 2018 budget Oct. 1, 2017, the government has gone through two brief shutdowns and five continuing resolutions that kept spending at 2017 levels. The latest continuing resolution runs out at midnight March 23, 2018.

    The proposed fiscal 2018 budget for the DoD includes $137.7 billion overall for personnel and the 2.4 percent pay raise; $89.2 billion for research and development, up $16 billion over 2017; $144.3 billion for procurement, up $25.4 billion over 2017; and $238 billion for operations and maintenance — about $1 billion above the Trump administration’s request.

    President Donald Trump.

    The omnibus package would also fully fund an active-duty end strength of 1,322,500 and a reserve component end strength of 816,900 — an overall increase of 9,500.

    The Missile Defense Agency would get at least a $2 billion increase over its original request to a total of $11.5 billion, mainly to counter the growing threat from North Korea.

    The additional MDA funding includes $568 million to initiate the expansion of Missile Field #4 at Fort Greely, Alaska, with 20 additional Ground-Based Interceptors.

    More: The military and its paychecks get a boost in the new budget

    The proposed agreement calls for $23.8 billion to go to Navy shipbuilding programs, $3.4 billion above the initial budget request.

    In total, the agreement funds the construction of 14 new ships: one aircraft carrier, two Virginia- class submarines, two DDG-51 destroyers, three Littoral Combat Ships, one LX(R) amphibious assault ship, one Expeditionary Fast Transport ship, one Expeditionary Sea Base, one TAO fleet oiler, one Towing, Salvage and Rescue ship (ATS), and one T-AGS oceanographic survey ship.

    The agreement also fully funds advance procurement activities for Ohio-class and Virginia-class submarines. Other critical shipbuilding investments include an additional $225 million for the expansion of the submarine industrial base and $150 million to accelerate procurement of a Heavy Polar Icebreaker, according to the Senate overview.

    Polar Star icebreaker sits outside McMurdo Station, Antarctica. (Photo by US Coast Guard)

    The Army would get $348 million for 116 Stryker Double V-Hull upgrades; $300 million for Stryker lethality upgrades; $1.1 billion for the upgrade of 85 Abrams tanks; and $483 million for the upgrade of 145 Bradley Fighting Vehicles.

    In addition, the Army would get $220 million for National Guard High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle recapitalization, including $120 million specifically for ambulance modernization.

    The proposed bill includes a total of $44 billion for aircraft procurement programs, $9.5 billion above the amount requested by the Trump administration. The bill would provide:

    • $2.9 billion for 10 conventional take-off, six carrier variant, and four vertical take-off F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, as well as additional tooling and spare engines (Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps).

    • $739 million for 10 F-18 Super Hornet aircraft (Navy).

    • $676 million for eight V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft (Marine Corps and Navy).

    • $600 million for five MC-130J aircraft (Special Operations Command).

    • $577 million for 17 AH-64 Apache helicopters (Army).

    • $510 million for three KC-46A tanker aircraft (Air Force).

    • $501 million for three P-8A Poseidon aircraft (Navy).

    • $480 million for six C-130J aircraft (Air National Guard).

    • $400 million for eight MH-60R helicopters (Navy).

    • $387 million for eight CH-47 Chinook helicopters (Army and Special Operations Command).

    Command)

    • $343 million for four KC-130J tanker aircraft (Marine Corps).

    The Harvest Hawk equipped KC-130J rests on the runway at Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan. (Photo by USMC)

    • $250 million for two CH-53K King Stallion helicopters (Marine Corps).

    • $221 million for seven UH-1Y/AH-1Z helicopters (Marine Corps).

    • $207 million for two C-40 aircraft (Marine Corps).

    • $130 million for two C-37B aircraft (Air Force).

    • $110 million for additional RQ-7 Shadow systems (Army).

    • $108 million for eight UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters (Army National Guard).

    • $107 million for nine MQ-1 Grey Eagle vehicles and payloads (Army).

    • $100 million for one HC-130J aircraft (Air Force).

    • $90 million for 11 UH-72 Lakota helicopters (Army).

    • $84 million for six MQ-8 Fire Scout vehicles (Navy).

    • $40 million for two SATURN ARCH aircraft (Army).

    • $29 million for one Dash 8 maritime patrol aircraft (Southern Command).

    MIGHTY MOVIES

    Why we’re pumped about the new ‘Overlord’ film

    There’s a special place in our hearts for zombie films. It’s a fun little escape to the smokepit conversations every troop has while deployed, like, “who would your zombie apocalypse team be?” And, “where would you go looting first?” Obviously, the only correct answers are your squadmates and the nearest gunshop, respectively, but I digress.

    Zombie films have a strange place in the cinematic landscape. The ones that embrace the campiness of the genre tend to be more successful financially and the lower the budget of a zombie film, the more fun (or funny) it’ll probably be. This is part of what made the veteran-made Range 15 so enjoyable to other veterans who enjoy that special, corny magic typical of zombie films.

    It was recently announced that J.J. Abrams is set to produce the upcoming film Overlord. From the looks of things, it’s going to be a zombie film set during the events of the Battle of Normandy — also known as Operation Overlord.


    Kind of like the Norwegian film ‘Dead Snow.’

    (Euforia Films)

    There is a bit of historical precedent for the film. The Nazis never created zombies (obviously), but their fascination with the occult and fringe sciences has been well documented. Hitler, in addition to being a mass-murdering f*ckhead, was obsessed with everything occult in trying to get an edge. This ranged from having officers study Nordic runes to sending troops into Tibet in search of Shangri-la and all sorts of messed-up stuff to create their so-called “übermensch.”

    There is no historical record of the Nazis ever trying to reanimate the dead in any Frankensteinian or Lovecraftian manner, but it isn’t too far of a stretch to play on Hitler’s “thousand year army” dream to include “thousand year soldiers.”

    The biggest homage has got to be given to the 1985 film, ‘Re-Animator.’

    (Empire International Pictures)

    Judging by the trailers, this film seems like it’s going to be an homage to both the war and zombie genres of film. Of course, fans have been quick to point out the similarities between it and Call of Duty‘s Nazi Zombie mode or Return to Castle Wolfenstein, if you want to actually want to get your gaming history right. In the film’s defense, it’s actually making far more references to the mutated Nazi monsters and transformation scenes in An American Werewolf in London.

    It’s also interesting to note that this is the first rated-R film for both Bad Robot and J.J Abrams. It’s been said numerous times by Abrams himself that the film is not going to be a part of the Cloverfield franchise. While he’s known for his misdirection, it seems like he’s telling the truth, you know, since the Cloverfield alien was from space and this film is set in Nazi-occupied France.

    The film also has plenty of great actors attached who have an impressive action-feature resume. Jovan Adepo of The Leftovers, Jacob Anderson of Game of Thrones, Bokeem Woodbine of The Rock and Riddick, and Wyatt Russell from the Black Mirror episode ‘Playtest’ are all co-leads against Pilou Asbæk’s (Euron Greyjoy from Game of Thrones) evil Nazi scientist character.

    Overlord is going to be directed by Julius Avery, the director of the Australian indie film, Son of a Gun. Billy Ray, the writer of Captain Phillips, and Mark L. Smith, screenplay writer for The Revenant, co-wrote the script.

    The film is scheduled for release on November 9th, 2018, but you can watch the trailer below right now.

    MIGHTY TACTICAL

    The US Navy’s most advanced submarines will soon be using Xbox controllers

    The control room of the Navy’s most advanced submarine is filled with sophisticated computers, flat-screen monitors, and sailors who grew up in a digital world.


    At times it can look a bit like a video game arcade, and not just because of the high-resolution graphics.

    The Navy is beginning to use an Xbox 360 controller — like the ones you find at the mall — to operate the periscopes aboard Virginia-class submarines.

    Unlike other types of submarines people are familiar with from Hollywood, Virginia-class submarines don’t have a traditional rotating tube periscope that only one person can look through at a time.

    A wireless Xbox 360 controller. Image under Public Domain.

    It’s been replaced with two photonics masts that rotate 360 degrees. They feature high-resolution cameras whose images are displayed on large monitors that everyone in the control room can see. There’s no barrel to peer through anymore; everything is controlled with a helicopter-style stick. But that stick isn’t so popular.

    “The Navy got together and they asked a bunch of JOs and junior guys, ‘What can we do to make your life better?’ ” said Lt. j.g. Kyle Leonard, the USS John Warner’s assistant weapons officer, referring to junior officers and sailors. “And one of the things that came out is the controls for the scope. It’s kind of clunky in your hand; it’s real heavy.”

    Lockheed Martin and Navy officials have been working to use commercial off-the-shelf technology to reduce costs and take advantage of the technological skills sailors grow up with. The integration of the video-game Xbox controller grew out of that effort.

    Lockheed Martin refers to the classified research lab in Manassas where testing occurred as the submarine version of “Area 51,” the nickname for the Nevada base where some of the Air Force’s most advanced and secretive projects are tested.

    Crew members render salutes as they officially bring the newest Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine USS North Carolina to life during her commissioning ceremony. US Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Lucy M. Quinn.

    The Xbox controller is no different than the ones a lot of crew members grew up playing with. Lockheed Martin says the sailors who tested the controller at its lab were intuitively able to figure out how to use it on their own within minutes, compared to hours of training required for the joystick.

    The Xbox controller also is significantly cheaper. The company says the photonic mast handgrip and imaging control panel that cost about $38,000 can now be replaced with an Xbox controller that typically costs less than $30.

    “That joystick is by no means cheap, and it is only designed to fit on a Virginia-class submarine,” said Senior Chief Mark Eichenlaub, the John Warner’s assistant navigator. “I can go to any video game store and procure an Xbox controller anywhere in the world, so it makes a very easy replacement.”

    The Navy says that the system has gone through extensive testing over the past two years and that the Xbox controller will be included as part of the integrated imaging system for Virginia-class subs beginning with the future USS Colorado, which is supposed to be commissioned by November.

    The the USS Colorado sits in the construction hall at General Dynamics Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton, Conn. Photo courtesy of General Dynamics Electric Boat.

    The Xbox controller will be installed on other Virginia-class submarines, such as the Norfolk-based John Warner, through the normal modernization process, according to Brienne Lang, a spokeswoman for the Navy’s program executive office for submarines. The John Warner had a demonstration model aboard this past week as it transited from Naval Station Norfolk to Groton, Conn.

    Eichenlaub said the Navy doesn’t plan on stopping innovation with the Xbox controller, either. The goal is to develop technology that young people already are comfortable with, such as working with electronic touch screens on iPads and in virtual environments.

    “Ideally, what they want to see in 10 years down the road is, there’s basically a glass panel display with windows, and you can just pull a window of information, review that, push it off, bring in the next window,” he said.

    “They want to bring in sailors with what they have at home on their personal laptop, their personal desktop, what they grew up with in a classroom.”

    MIGHTY TACTICAL

    Paralyzed for 27 years, veteran walks with exoskeleton

    Since being paralyzed almost three decades ago, Dean Juntunen has competed in more than 90 wheelchair marathons, continued snowmobiling and four-wheeling, and taken up kayaking.

    Now, Juntunen is taking another significant step. And then another step. And then another.

    “Just standing talking to you is interesting,” Juntunen said. “I had not gone from a sitting position to a standing position in 27 years. I got injured in ’91, so just standing is fun. I like just standing up and moving around.”


    The medically retired Air Force captain is walking with the aid of a wearable exoskeleton robotic device as part of a study at the Spinal Cord Injury Center at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center.

    About 160 veterans are participating in the program at 15 VA Centers across the country. After completing a series of rigorous training sessions, veterans in this study will take the exoskeleton home for use in everyday life.

    Juntunen executes a challenging 180-pivot with the aid of VA trainers Cheryl Lasselle (left) and Zach Hodgson.

    Participants must meet certain criteria, including bone density. Users should be between about 5-foot-3 and 6-foot-3 and cannot weigh more than 220 pounds.

    “Most paralyzed people, if not all, lose bone density,” Juntunen said. “So, you have to pass a bone density scan to qualify for this program. I happen to have unusually good bone density and I’ve been paralyzed for 27 years.”

    Juntunen was on active duty when he was injured in between assignments from Malmstrom AFB in Great Falls, Montana, to Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio, when his life changed.

    Fell 30 feet, broke spinal cord in two places

    An avid hiker and outdoorsman, Juntunen’s life changed when a tree branch gave way and he fell 30 feet to the ground.

    “I landed on my back in a fetal position,” said Juntunen, who lives near Mass City in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. “Spine folded in half, broke five vertebrae, wrecked my spinal cord in two spots.”

    “Well, I have a hard time saying no and they strongly asked me to do it. So, I decided, that’s probably going to be fun playing with that robot. I guess I’ll make a bunch of trips to Milwaukee.”

    Juntunen, who has an engineering degree, said the hardest part of mastering the robotic device was developing balance.

    “One of the hardest things about getting paralyzed is relearning your sense of balance because you can’t feel anything through your butt,” he said. “I’m paralyzed from the base of the rib cage down, so it’s like I’m sitting on a stump all the time.”

    Turns and pivots presented challenges, as did going up an incline, he said.

    “I liken this to walking on stilts for an able-bodied person because you have to feel the ground through wooden or metal legs. That’s basically what I’m doing in this thing.”

    “I don’t really describe this as walking, more like riding the robot,” he said. “The interesting thing is, my brain feels like it’s walking. I’m a complete injury, so I can’t feel anything. My brain has no idea what my legs are doing, but nonetheless, it feels like I’m walking in my head.”

    Not all participants are able to sufficiently master the nuances of the 51-pound device to meet the requirements of the study.

    Basic training needed to master balance skills

    “Some people don’t get past what we call the basic training,” said Joe Berman, Milwaukee VA project manager. “To be eligible to go into the advanced training, you have to be able to master some balance skills and do five continuous steps with assistance within five training sessions. That’s been shown by previous research to be a good predictor of who is going to succeed in passing the advanced skills that we require to take the device home.”

    The training sessions at Milwaukee last about two to two-and-a-half hours, usually twice a day. With the aid of certified trainers, Juntunen walked up to a quarter mile, starting with the lightly trafficked tunnel between the main hospital and the Spinal Cord Injury Center.

    When Juntunen takes the device home, companions trained to assist will replace the VA trainers.

    He eventually progressed to one of the main public entries to the hospital, which had inclines, carpeted areas, and pedestrian traffic.

    “The inclines are harder,” Juntunen said. “Here, you’ve got short incline, then flat, then incline, so the transitions are harder. You’re in balance going down and when it flattens out, you have to change where your balance is, so the transition is a little trickier. Coming up is the worst, up the ramps is the hardest. You kind of have to reach behind you with the crutches. It’s more exertion and more difficult on the balance because the robot is always perpendicular to the surface.”

    Mastering use of the device in the public space was part of the requirement before Juntunen can take it home.

    “In order to take the device home, they need to be able to navigate up and down Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant ramps and go through doorways,” said Zach Hodgson, a physical therapist at the Milwaukee VA and part of the certified training team. “Right now, we have three trainers, but at home, he’ll need a companion to walk with him at all times. It’s looking at all those skills we need to get to and then making plans based on how he’s progressing.”

    “He’s going to use this device in his home and community so we really get a good idea about how useful these devices are,” Hodgson said.

    At home, companions replace the VA trainers to help with the device. In Juntunen’s case, he’s getting help from his kayaking buddies.

    “They’ve seen me transferring and stuff,” he said. “They know I can sit and balance, sit on the edge of my kayak before I transfer up to the seat. So, that’s all normal for them.”

    After completing training in Milwaukee, Juntunen is scheduled to have another session at a shopping mall in Houghton, Michigan, tentatively followed by another session in the atrium of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.

    This article originally appeared on the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

    MIGHTY TRENDING

    Google billionaire Sergey Brin has a secret charity that sends ex-military staff into disaster zones on a superyacht

    Sergey Brin, Google’s cofounder and the eighth-richest person, has a secret disaster-response team, according to The Daily Beast.

    The Daily Beast’s investigation found Brin was the sole donor to a disaster charity called Global Support and Development (GSD). The Daily Beast identified Brin as the company’s sole donor through a California court filing.


    The company’s staff, almost half of whom are ex-military, arrives at disaster areas on a superyacht called Dragonfly to clear debris and use high-tech solutions to assist victims. GSD is headed up by Grant Dawson, an ex-naval lieutenant who was on Brin’s personal security detail for years.

    The idea for GSD was apparently sparked in 2015 when the yacht’s captain was sailing past Vanuatu, which had just been hit by Cyclone Pam. The captain contacted Brin to ask if anything could be done to help, and Brin then got in touch with Dawson.

    Dawson said in a speech in 2019 about GSD: “So I grabbed a number of Air Force para-rescue guys I’d been affiliated with from the security world, and a couple of corpsmen out of the Seal teams … We raided every Home Depot and pharmacy we could find and on about 18 hours’ notice, we launched.”

    The Daily Beast reported that GSD now has 20 full-time staffers, plus about 100 contractors working for it.

    The Daily Beast said that like at Google, GSD’s employees enjoy perks, including strawberry ice cream and fresh laundry aboard the superyacht while working in disaster areas. In addition to military-trained staff, the charity has access to sophisticated technology including drones and sonar mapping.

    Since 2015, GSD has assisted during several disasters, including hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic activity. Now the company says it is lending a hand during the coronavirus pandemic by helping set up testing in California.

    “GSD provided operational support to stand up the first two drive-through test centers in California and planning and logistic support for other test centers as they opened across the state,” GSD says on its website. “Our paramedics and support staff also partnered with the Hayward, California Fire Department to perform more than 8,000 swab tests at their drive-through test site and local eldercare facilities.”

    Rob Reich, the codirector of Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, told The Daily Beast that disaster relief is good work, but it shouldn’t be secretive.

    “There should be an expectation of transparency to understand how his charity interacts with existing efforts at disaster relief, and so we citizens can examine whether it’s consistent with what democratic institutions want to accomplish,” Reich said.

    GSD did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment, and the news organization was unsuccessful in trying to contact Brin personally. GSD did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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

    MIGHTY HISTORY

    This medieval warrior was the first to use a now-famous insult

    Götz von Berlichingen was known for a lot of things. The most obvious was that he lost an arm to cannon fire in the heat of battle. Unfortunately for him, it was his right arm, the one that swung swords and dealt death. Unfortunately for all of his enemies, he wouldn’t die until age 82 – and he had a mechanical arm built just so he could keep killing them all.

    That’s not even his most enduring legacy.


    He was the first to tell an enemy to kiss his ass.

    The phrase caught on like wildfire.

    When your name is literally pronounced “Guts,” it becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. It took him only three years to get sick of fighting for God and country for the Holy Roman Empire. So, the young von Berlichingen turned to fighting for something more tangible: money. He and his squad of Teutonic mercenaries fought for all levels of feudal lords and barons — anyone who could afford to have a soon-to-be legendary badass on their side.

    It was in 1504, while fighting to take Landshut for the Duke of Bavaria, that a cannonball lopped his arm off at the elbow. He had two prosthetic arms created for himself – and one of them could still hold his sword or shield. So, von Berlichingen continued to make money the best way he knew how.

    This time, he was more machine than man.

    The knight seized merchant shipping, kidnapped nobles for ransom, and raided towns around Germany as a means of making money. This, unfortunately, earned him few powerful friends, and he found himself banned from the Holy Roman Empire on multiple occasions. He was even captured and held for ransom himself.

    After his final ban, he joined the German peasants in exacting revenge on the leadership of the Holy Roman Empire. Despite that failure, he fought on until he was captured again. When finally liberated by Charles V, he was forced into a sort of house arrest, only allowed to come out in case Charles needed his services.

    Of course Charles needed his services. You would, too.

    Berlichingen would assist German knights in fighting the Ottoman under Suleiman the Magnificent and invade France against the famous King Francois I. By then, however, he had already uttered his famous phrase. It was somewhere near Baden-Wurttemburg, while under siege, that the seemingly-immortal knight received a surrender demand. He was not impressed by it at all. He returned it with a famous response, telling the Swabian army (and their leaders) to kiss his ass.

    Though some translations have it as “lick my ass.”

    After he was sick of mercilessly slaughtering Europeans all over the continent, Götz von Berlichingen decided to sit down and write his memoirs, which were apparently the greatest story ever told in German for the longest time. The German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe penned a 1773 drama that is still retold to this very day, based solely on the story of von Berlichingen’s account of his life.