Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY CULTURE

Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur

School. Streets. Military. In 1996, Curtez Riggs graduated high school and those were his options in Flint, Michigan. By that time, the auto industry that built “Buick City” had moved away. As a kid, Curtez picked up bottles, turned in cans and always had a side gig to bring in extra money. When it came time to make the decision, Curtez figured the Army was the best way to start his future.


His entrepreneurship did not stop when he joined the Army. Curtez continuously started businesses outside of his day job as a career recruiter. In this episode, you will hear how Curtez prepared for his military transition – years before he ended his active service.

Flint MI Then and Now

www.youtube.com

Currently, Curtez is the CEO of the Military Influencer Conference (MIC). Started in 2016, the conference is a community of entrepreneurs, influencers, creatives, executives, and leaders who are connected to the military community. Curtez said he sees the conference as a mentorship and connection hub for future and current military veterans looking to make the military transition with an entrepreneurial mindset. This year’s conference is in Washington, D.C., Sept. 8-10, 2019. Starting in 2020, the conference will be placed in a different region each year.

The conference has certain tracks attendees can follow:

  • “Going Live” – Podcasters and Video
  • Real Estate
  • Founders and Innovators
  • Social Impact
  • Content Creators
  • Empower – Milspouse Track
  • Workshops
  • Mighty Talks

#BtBattle Veteran of the Week: Air Force and Army veteran Erin McLyman.

    Enjoy the episode.

    This article originally appeared on VAntage Point. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

    MIGHTY TRENDING

    Hurricane Lane being penetrated by Air Force crews

    The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters are continuing to monitor Hurricane Lane which is projected to hit the main Hawaiian Islands the afternoon of Aug. 23, 2018.

    The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, based out of Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, began flying into Hurricane Lane out of the Kalaeloa Airport Aug. 20, to collect weather data for the Central Pacific Hurricane Center to assist with their forecasts.


    When the Hurricane Hunters began flying into Lane it was a category 4 storm that was predicted to weaken to a category 3 with the possibility of the storm changing course and moving south of the islands.

    Due to information provided by the Hurricane Hunters, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center adjusted the forecast finding that the intensity had increased and the path moved to a northern route with a direct landfall to Hawaii possible in the coming days.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur

    The center of circulation of a tropical storm can be seen as the WC-130J aircraft flies over the eye. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron “Hurricane Hunters,” were heading back to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss, after penetrating the storm.

    (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Valerie Smock)

    The Pacific and Atlantic Oceans are data sparse environments due to the lack of radar and weather balloons in those areas, and satellite data can be incomplete. The data the Hurricane Hunters provide assists with the forecast accuracy as the 53rd WRS flies into the storm and directly measures the surface winds and pressure which assists with forecast movement and intensity models.

    The Hurricane Hunters fly the storms to “fix” missions, which is where they determine the center of the storm, by using dropsondes, and the Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer, which is used to measure the wind speeds on the water surface, and then send the data collected to the National Hurricane Center to assist the forecasters in providing the projected paths of the storms.

    While flying the storm on the evening of Aug. 20, 2018, Maj. Kimberly Spusta, 53rd WRS aerial reconnaissance weather officer, said the wind speeds had increased between the first pass through the eye of the storm to the second pass.

    Hurricane Lane had strengthened to a category 5 storm the evening of Aug. 21, during a final fix by the Hurricane Hunters. This is the second time this year the 53rd WRS has deployed to Hawaii. They flew missions into Hurricane Hector at the beginning of August 2018.

    Featured image: Tech. Sgt. Zachary Ziemann, 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron loadmaster, checks the data from a dropsonde after it was released near the eye wall of Hurricane Lane Aug. 20, 2018. The 53rd WRS provides data vital to the National Hurricane Center to assist the forecasters in providing an updated model of the projected path of the storm.

    This article originally appeared on the United States Air Force. Follow @usairforce on Twitter.

    MIGHTY TRENDING

    The Russian military is fighting a blizzard in Moscow

    Moscow authorities have struggled to clear the streets and told children they could skip school after the Russian capital was hit by massive snowfall.


    The national meteorological service said on Feb. 5 2018 that more than the monthly average of snow fell on Moscow over the weekend, with the height of snow reaching up to 55 centimeters in some parts of the capital.

    “That’s an anomaly of course,” Nadezhda Tochenova, the deputy head of the Hydrometeorological Center, told AFP news agency.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur
    Blizzard hits Moscow. (YouTube)

    However, she denied claims that the snowfall was an all-time record.

    Calling the event “the snowfall of the century,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin hailed utility workers and other municipal employees he said had kept the city “functioning normally.”

    “There is no collapse, no catastrophe,” Sobyanin told journalists.

    The mayor said on Feb. 4 2018 that one person had been killed when a tree brought down electricity lines, and that 2,000 trees collapsed due to the massive snowfall.

    Also read: The Russian military is flexing its missile muscles in massive war exercise

    The city authorities said more than 100 of those trees fell on vehicles.

    Thousands of city workers have been working to keep Moscow’s roads and the subway system open, while the Russian military said it had sent soldiers to help clear snowdrifts on the streets.

    Deputy Mayor Pyotr Biryukov said snowplows had cleared 1.2 million cubic meters of snow from the streets.

    Meanwhile, the emergency services urged drivers to use public transport unless there was “extreme need,” and Moscow authorities announced that children need not come to school, although they would remain open.

    Related: 17 beautiful photos of troops training in the snow

    The heavy snowfall triggered the cancellation or delay of dozens of flights at Moscow’s airports, as well as power failures in hundreds of smaller towns around the city.

    Officials at the Emergency Situations Ministry said that heavy snowfall also affected the regions of Leningrad, Tatarstan, Saratov, Penza, Ulyanovsk, Kaluga, and Vladimir, where power cuts affected tens of thousands of people.

    Humor

    5 veteran comedians you should look out for

    Service members have some of the best humor around; it comes with the job. Our comedy is pretty freakin’ dark when comparing it to the civilian sectors.


    They say laughter is the best medicine. In that case, these hilarious veteran comedians should all be damn doctors by now.

    Related: 5 military movies you should look out for in 2018

    Check out these five military veteran comedians you should look out for in 2018.

    5. Mitch Burrow

    This Marine veteran served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Afterward, he started a career in manufacturing, but quickly realized that it sucked. He began his stand-up comedy career after driving down to the Comedy Store in La Jolla, drinking three shots of tequila and a couple of Budweisers, and getting on stage. Later, Mitch was told it went pretty well.

    To follow Mitch or check out one of his shows visit his website: MitchBurrow.com.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur
    Mitch Burrow sporting his serious face while doing his monthly workout. (Source: Mitch Burrow)

    4. Thom Tran

    After enlisting in the Army at 18, Thom spent most of his career as a Communications Sergeant and Civil Affairs Sergeant. Thom decided to become a comedian after sustaining an injury during combat operations.

    In 2008, he moved to Los Angeles and soon created The GIs of Comedy tour — a show that travels the world performing for both military and civilian audiences.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur
    The always-hilarious Thom Tran (Source: Thom Tran / IMDB)

    3. Isaura Ramirez

    After serving 13 years in the Army, this former captain deployed to Iraq for 15 months. When she returned home, Isaura enrolled herself in a comedy class as a form of expression.

    Now, this funny girl performs for various venues and has been featured on her very own TED Talk.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur
    Former Army captain and funny girl, Isaura Ramirez.

    2. Rocco Stowe

    This Philadelphia native joined the Marine Corps at 18, serving as an infantry rifleman (0311) with 3rd Battalion 6th Marines. After leaving the Corps in the mid-90s, Rocco moved to Los Angeles where he’s had luck landing gigs, including headlining his act at several comedy stores throughout the U.S.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur
    This comedian and Marine veteran also serves the community as a knowledgeable yoga instructor

    Also Read: 6 reasons why you need a sense of humor in the infantry

    1. James P. Connolly

    Before James was cracking up audiences with his flawless stand-up routine, he was giving orders while stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. This former captain served in both Operation Desert Shield and Storm before exiting from the Corps.

    Now, he performs wherever he can find work, but you follow him on his website JamesPConnolly.com.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur
    The evolution of James P. Connolly, from boy to man. (Banner art by Michelle Connolly Photography)

    They will be here all week and don’t forget to tip your waiter.

    Got any vets you think will make us laugh? Leave a comment.

    MIGHTY TRENDING

    Army recruits from southern states ‘are significantly less fit’

    Army recruits from 10 Southern states are the most unfit and prone to injury in training compared to other regions of the country, according to a new study.


    The study finds that recruits from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas “are significantly less fit, and consequently are more likely to encounter training-related injuries [TRI] than recruits from other U.S. states.”

    Although the South is the top recruiting region, the study, based on U.S. Army data, shows that “male and female soldiers coming from these states are 22 to 28 percent more likely to be injured” in training.

    The study was released by the Citadel, the military school in Charleston, South Carolina, in collaboration with the U.S. Army Public Health Center and the American Heart Association.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur
    Soldiers assigned to Schofield barracks are doing THIS for PT.  (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

    “Our results suggest that the [Southern] states identified here pose a greater threat to military readiness than do other states,” the study says.

    “Each recruit lost to injury has been estimated to cost the Department of Defense approximately $31,000,” says the study, published Jan. 10 by the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.

    A Citadel release said the study is the result of a four-year effort led by Citadel Health, Exercise, and Sports Science professor Daniel Bornstein, Ph.D.

    Other participants in the study include Laurie Whitsel, Ph.D., of the American Heart Association and Keith Hauret and Bruce Jones, M.D., of the U.S. Army Public Health Center. Participants from the University of South Carolina include George Grieve, Morgan Clennin, Alexander McLain, Ph.D., Michael Beets, Ph.D., and Mark Sarzynski, Ph.D.

    Read Now: Army goes dark with new PT uniform

    “It is our hope that the states identified through this analysis, along with federal entities, work to establish policies and environments proven to support physically active lifestyles,” Bornstein said in a statement.

    “If such actions were taken, physical fitness levels among residents of these states would rise and each state’s disproportionate burden on military readiness and public health could be minimized,” he said.

    The report says, “Many states in the southern region of the United States are recognized for higher rates of obesity, physical inactivity, and chronic disease. These states are therefore recognized for their disproportionate public health burden.”

    In addition, the 10 Southern states “are also disproportionately burdensome for military readiness and national security,” the report states.

    The study notes the presence of “high physical inactivity and obesity prevalence” in the South, and says “physical inactivity and obesity are well recognized among the most critical public health challenges of the 21st century.”

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur
    US soldiers lift a heavy log over their heads 20 times while competing in the Ivy Heptathlon during Iron Horse Week, January 28, 2015. Photo courtesy of the US Army

    The study warns that the overall recruiting pool for the military is dwindling and cites estimates that 27 percent of Americans aged 17-24 are too overweight to qualify for military service, “with obesity being the second-highest disqualifying medical condition between 2010 and 2014.”

    In comments to the Citadel on the study, retired Army Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling said the findings provide “critical insight into the real national security issues posed by recruits who are less physically fit and less prepared for military service than they have ever been in our history.”

    “I know firsthand the challenges faced in addressing the fitness levels of our youth after having served as commander of all U.S. Army basic training units,” said Hertling, now a CNN analyst.

    “While commanding in combat, I saw the effect training-related injuries had on mission accomplishment,” and “in basic training, the number of unfit recruits forced changes to our physical training procedures and dining menus,” he said.

    MIGHTY HISTORY

    After 75 years, members of 101st Airborne share ties to Battle of the Bulge

    Seventy-five years ago in Bastogne, Belgium, German soldiers captured American Pfc. Marold Peterson of the 422nd Infantry Regiment, 106th Infantry Division. Peterson escaped from the work camp where we was held prisoner, only to be captured again and killed by Hitler Youth.

    Sgt. Travis Paice, the great-grandson of Peterson, said it is surreal to be in Bastogne where Peterson lived his last moments.

    “Maybe he was standing right where I stood,” Paice, a soldier with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, said.


    Paice is one soldier with family ties to the World War II Battle of the Bulge who participated in the 75th anniversary commemoration ceremonies and parade. Sgt. Coleton Jones of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101 Airborne Division, is another.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur

    US infantrymen crouch in a snow-filled ditch, taking shelter from a German artillery barrage during the Battle of Heartbreak Crossroads in the Krinkelter woods, December 14, 1944.

    (Pfc. James F. Clancy, US Army Signal Corps)

    Jones’ great-uncle Ed Jones was a Sherman tanker with the 10th Armored Division during World War II. While Jones is unsure of his great-uncle’s rank, he heard stories growing up about his service from his father and uncle. During the Battle of the Bulge, three of Ed Jones’ tanks took extreme damage.

    On his last time evacuating a Sherman tank, he took shrapnel from a German stick grenade in his leg and was captured as a prisoner of war. He was missing for about four months until a Canadian HAM radio operator intercepted a message from the Germans including the locations of POWs from both American and Allied forces.

    “It’s amazing to feel like I am walking in his footsteps,” said Jones of walking through the streets where his great uncle served. “To see Bastogne and where he was is a sobering feeling.”

    On December 14, 2019, American and Belgian soldiers, along with members of the Bastogne community and World War II veterans, marched in a parade through the town center. Guests of honor, including Prime Minister of Belgium Sophie Wilmes, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and the US Ambassador to Belgium Ronald Gidwitz threw walnuts from the balcony of the Bastogne City Center into the crowd.

    The nut throwing, or “Jet de Noix,” commemorates Gen. Anthony McAuliffe’s famous response of “Nuts” when petitioned by the Germans to surrender.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur

    Anthony C. McAuliffe, left, and then-Col. Harry W.O. Kinnard II at Bastogne.

    (US War Department)

    Both Jones and Paice said they felt a great sense of pride knowing their unit has lineage to World War II and the Battle of the Bulge.

    Paice had the opportunity to fly his great grandfather’s flag at the 101st Airborne Museum in Bastogne. He plans on gifting the flag to his grandfather, who is also a veteran.

    Before arriving in Bastogne, Paice was given documents by the Army which provided an account of his great grandfather’s capture. He brought these documents with him as a reminder of what his family had endured. While Paice said the documents do not go into much detail, it is just enough to be harrowing.

    “I never knew him, and my grandfather never knew him, but to get, somewhat, a little bit of closure was a little surreal,” Paice said.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur

    Sgt. Coleton Jones of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101 Airborne Division, center, meets reenactors at a community event at the Bastogne Barracks in Bastogne, Belgium, December 14, 2019.

    (US Army photo by Sgt. Erica Earl)

    Paice said the most emotional part of his great grandfather’s history is knowing that American soldiers liberated the prisoner camp Stalag IX-B, also known as Bad Orb, the day after he was killed in his effort to escape.

    According to Army documents, soldiers in that prison were starved, with many men weighing only between 70 and 80 pounds when they were rescued.

    As soldiers lined up to prepare for the parade, there was a mixture of snow, rain and harsh winds as temperatures dropped, but participants acknowledged that was nothing compared to what Soldiers who had gone before them endured.

    Jones said if he could say something to his great uncle, it would be “thank you.”

    “Thank you for paving the way for us and giving everything for our values, our freedoms and our allies’ freedoms,” Jones said in heartfelt appreciation to both is late great uncle and veterans of World War II.

    This article originally appeared on United States Army. Follow @USArmy on Twitter.

    Articles

    Marine Corps receives first of its new, more lethal amphibious combat vehicles

    The Marine Corps is accepting delivery of its first new Amphibious Combat Vehicle that can fire stabilized weapons, maneuver in littoral areas and launch faster, more survivable ship-to-shore amphibious attacks from beyond-the-horizon.


    Referred to by Corps developers as ACV 1.1, the new vehicle is engineered to replace the services’ current inventory of Amphibious Assault Vehicles, or AAVs – in service for decades.  There is an existing effort to upgrade a portion of its fleet of AAVs to a more survivable variant with spall liner and other protection-improving adjustments such as added armor.

    Also read: Meet the Army’s new stealthy hydrogen fuel cell vehicle

    Nevertheless, despite the enhancements of the AAV Survivability Upgrade, or AAV SU, the Corps is clear that it needs a new vehicle to address emerging threats, Kurt Mullins, ACV 1.1 Product Manager, told Scout Warrior in an interview.

    “ACV 1.1 gives us the ability to operate throughout the range of operations. The current AAV is limited because of its survivability. The new vehicle will be significantly more survivable than a standard AAV,” Mullins said.

    The Corps is now in the process of acquiring a number of Engineering, Manufacturing Development vehicles for further testing and evaluation from two vendors – SAIC and BAE Systems. Mullins said the Marine Corps plans to down-select to one manufacturer by 2018 and have an operational new ACV 1.1 by 2020.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur
    The Marine Corps’ current AAV in Iraq. | Wikimedia Commons

    Marine Corps fleet plans call for more than 200 of the new vehicles to support attacking infantry battalions. They are building both personnel and recovery variants, he explained.

    The ACV 1.1 will serve alongside and improve upon the upgraded portion of the existing AAV fleet. The Marines have operated a fleet of more than 1,000 AAVs over the years ; some will “sunset” and others will receive the survivability upgrade.

    Stabilized .50-cal machine guns and Mk 19 grenade launchers will make the new ACV for lethal and accurate in attacks against enemies; engineers are building in an up-gunned weapons station operating with Common Remotely Operated Weapons Systems, or CROWS, able to allow attackers to fire weapons from beneath the protection of the vehicle’s armor.

    Unlike the tracked AAVs, the new ACV 1.1 is a wheeled vehicle designed for better traction on land and operations involving enter and egress from Amphib ships.

    “Wheeled vehicles are more reliable, when operating across the range of military operations.”

    Given that the new vehicle is being built for both maritime and land combat operations, requirements for the emerging platform specify that the platform needs to be better equipped to defend against more recent threats such as IEDs and roadside bombs. This, at least according to BAEs offering, includes the construction of a “V” shaped hull in order to increase the vehicle’s ground clearance and deflect blast debris away from the crew compartment.

    “It needs to be able to provide significant armor and stand-off distance from the ground to the bottom of the hull,” Mullins added.

    An ability to better withstand emerging threats and new weapons likely to be used by enemies is said to be of crucial importance in today’s evolving global environment; enemies now have longer-range, more precise weapons and high-tech sensors able to find and target vehicles from much further distances.

    Accordingly, emerging Marine Corps amphibious warfare strategy calls for an ability to “disaggregate” and spread approaching amphibious vehicles apart as necessary to make the much more difficult for enemies to target. They are also being engineered operate more successfully in ground combat environments wherein approach vehicles need to advance much further in from the shoreline.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur
    Assault amphibious vehicles (AAVs) with the AAV platoon, Echo Company, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), leave the well deck of the dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45) | US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Melissa Wenger

    The new ACVs are also being designed to work seamlessly with longer-range, more high-tech US Navy and Army weapons as well. As US Navy weapons and sensors operate with a vastly improved ability to detect and destroy enemy targets – on land and in maritime scenarios – amphibious assault strategy will adjust accordingly.

    BAE Systems ACV 1.1

    The first BAE Systems ACV 1.1 vehicle has been delivered to the Marine Corps for additional assessment and testing, company officials said.

    In a special interview with Scout Warrior, BAE weapons and platform developers explained that their offering includes a number of innovations designed to best position the vehicle for future combat.

    BAE’s emerging vehicle uses no axl but rather integrates a gear box for each wheel station, designed for better traction and mission such as driving up onto an amphibious vehicle or rigorous terrain on land.

    “It has positive drive to each of the wheel stations so you don’t have gear slippage and have positive traction at all times. All eight wheels are driven at the same time,” Swift said.

    The absence of an axl means engineers can create greater depth for the vehicle’s “V-shaped” hull, he added.

    Their vehicle is built with a 690-horsepower engine, composite armor materials and can travel up to 12 nautical miles with a crew of 13; also, the BAE ACV 1.1 can travel 55mph on land, and six mph in the water, BAE developers said.

    Blast attenuated seats where seat frames are suspended from the ceiling are another design feature aimed at further protecting Marines from attacks involving explosions underneath the vehicle.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur
    Marines with Combat Assault Battalion, Ground Combat Element, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade Forward, III Marine Expeditionary Force, in amphibious assault vehicles train with smoke grenades. | III Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs photo by Pfc. Mark Stroud

    Fuel tanks on the new ACV 1.1 are stored on the outside of the vehicle as part of a method of reducing damage to the crew and vehicle interior in the event of an attack.Finally, like many emerging platforms these days, BAE’s offering is being engineered with an often-used term called “open architecture” – meaning it is built for growth such that it can embrace and better integrate new technologies as they emerge.

    The Marine Corps awarded BAE a $103 million deal in November of last year; the company has delivered its first of 16 prototypes planned to additional testing.

     The Marine Corps’ Future of Amphibious Attack

    The Marine Corps future plan for amphibious assault craft consists of a nuanced and multi-faceted plan involving the production of several more vehicles. Following the ACV 1.1, the Corps plans to engineer and produce a new ACV 1.2 variant with increased combat and technical mission abilities.

    “We are working on requirements for ACV 1.2, which will be informed by our ACV 1.1 experience,” Mullins said.

    However, this next ACV 1.2 will merely serve as an interim solution until much faster water-speed technology comes to fruition, a development expected in coming years.

    Meanwhile, Corps weapons developers from the advanced Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory are already in the early phases of preparation for when that much faster water speed exists. A future mission ability or vehicle of this kind, to be operational by 2023, could involve a number of different possible platform solutions, Mullins explained.

    “Some sort of high-water speed capability that may not be a single vehicle solution. It could be a high-water speed connector that gets that vehicle to shore,” he said.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur
    Marines posts security at the rear of an Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) during a mechanized assault as part of a live fire range in Djibouti, Africa. | US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Alex C. Sauceda

    Amphibious Assault Vehicle “Survivability Upgrade”

    The Marine Corps is revving up its fleet of 1970s-era Amphibious Assault Vehicles to integrate the latest technology and make them better able to stop roadside-bombs and other kinds of enemy attacks, service officials said.

    The existing fleet, which is designed to execute a wide range of amphibious attack missions from ship-to-shore, is now receiving new side armor (called spall liner), suspension, power trains, engine upgrades, water jets, underbelly ballistic protections and blast-mitigating seats to slow down or thwart the damage from IEDs and roadside bombs, Maj. Paul Rivera, AAV SU Project Team Lead, told Scout Warrior.

    “The purpose of this variant is to bring back survivability and force protection back to the AAV P-variant (existing vehicle),” he said.

    The classic AAV, armed with a .50-cal machine gun and 40mm grenade launcher, is being given new technology so that it can serve in the Corps fleet for several more decades.

    “The AAV was originally expected to serve for only 20-years when it fielded in 1972. Here we are in 2016. In effect we want to keep these around until 2035,” John Garner, Program Manager for Advanced Amphibious Assault,” said in an interview with Scout Warrior last year.

    The new AAV, called AAV “SU” for survivability upgrade, will be more than 10,000 pounds heavier than its predecessor and include a new suspension able to lift the hull of the vehicle higher off the ground to better safeguard Marines inside from being hit by blast debris. With greater ground clearance, debris from an explosion has farther to travel, therefore lessening the impact upon those hit by the attack.

    The AAV SU will be about 70,000 pounds when fully combat loaded, compared to the 58,000-pound weight of the current AAV.

    “By increasing the weight you have a secondary and tertiary effects which better protect Marines.  We are also bringing in a new power train, new suspension and new water jets for water mobility,” Rivera said.

    A new, stronger transmission for the AAV SU will integrate with a more powerful 625 HP Cummins engine, he added.

    The original AAV is engineered to travel five-to-six knots in the water, reach distances up to 12 nautical miles and hit speeds of 45mph on land – a speed designed to allow the vehicle to keep up with an Abrams tank, Corps officials said.

    In addition, the new AAV SU will reach an acquisition benchmark called “Milestone C” in the Spring of next year. This will begin paving the way toward full-rate production by 2023, Rivera explained.

    The new waterjet will bring more speed to the platform, Rivera added.

    “The old legacy water jet comes from a sewage pump. That sewage pump was designed to do sewage and not necessarily project a vehicle through the water. The new waterjet uses an axial flow,” Rivera said.

    The new, more flexible blast-mitigating seats are deigned to prevent Marines’ feet from resting directly on the floor in order to prevent them from being injured from an underbelly IED blast.

    “It is not just surviving the blast and making sure Marines aren’t killed, we are really focusing on those lower extremities and making sure they are walking away from the actual event,” Rivera said.

    The seat is engineered with a measure of elasticity such that it can respond differently, depending on the severity of a blast.

    “If it’s a high-intensity blast, the seat will activate in accordance with the blast. Each blast is different. As the blast gets bigger the blast is able to adjust,” Rivera said.

    In total, the Marines plan to upgrade roughly one-third of their fleet of more than 900 AAVs.

    The idea with Amphibious Assault Vehicles, known for famous historical attacks such as Iwo Jima in WWII (using earlier versions), is to project power from the sea by moving deadly combat forces through the water and up onto land where they can launch attacks, secure a beachhead or reinforce existing land forces.

    Often deploying from an Amphibious Assault Ship, AAVs swim alongside Landing Craft Air Cushions which can transport larger numbers of Marines and land war equipment — such as artillery and battle tanks.

    AAVs can also be used for humanitarian missions in places where, for example, ports might be damaged an unable to accommodate larger ships.

    MIGHTY TRENDING

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers name General H Norman Schwarzkopf Army Family of the Year

    On Monday December 14, 2020, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers surprised an unsuspecting Army family.

    Staff Sergeant Ulisses Bautista and his wife, Marla, were having a quiet afternoon when their doorbell rang and they heard loud banging. Ulisses went to the door first to see what was going on, naturally concerned. But there was no need – he was met with a smiling team member from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who asked him to get his entire family outside as quickly as possible for a surprise.

    “There were about 10 people including two Tampa baby Buccaneers Cheerleaders in our driveway, cheering, clapping and congratulating us,” Marla said. It was then that they realized they had been selected as the General H Norman Schwarzkopf Army Family of the Year. “I was speechless! I think I said ‘Oh my gosh’ 50 times while they were outside my home. We were blown away!”

    The Central Florida USO along with the Buccaneers were proud to recognize and honor this Army family. Each year, one family from every branch of service is recognized for their contribution to the military community. They are chosen based on their integrity, courage, commitment and service before self. The awardees selected for 2020 were extraordinary. Stories of life-saving missions, launching non-profit organizations to support the homeless and military family mentorship were just a few of the reasons this year’s families were chosen.

    Normally the celebration is held as a large event but with COVID-19, adjustments had to be made. This year it was coordinated through socially-distanced home visits with the Buccaneers Street Team RV, cheerleaders and the mascot to make the presentation. While outside the family received a special message from the co-owner of the Buccaneers and the wife and daughter of the late General H Norman Schwarzkopf.

    The family runs The Bautista Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving homeless veterans and displaced youth. The work they do is personal for both of them. “I’m a soldier and servicing my country is something I’ve done for 17 years,” Ulisses explained. “Traveling around the world, I’ve been exposed to different ways of life and unfortunately, different views of poverty. First and foremost, I do what I do because I enjoy doing it but also, I believe what we do will give people in need a sense of self-worth.”

    ‘When I heard we were selected as the General H Norman Schwarzkopf Army Family of the year I was in shock. I mean there are so many amazing Army families doing great things. However, my family is truly honored to receive this distinguished recognition,” Ulisses said. The award also includes a fun two-night stay for each military family at Tradewinds Island Grand Resort and gift cards courtesy of Lowe’s and PDQ. 

    Marla herself was homeless as a teenager and it’s an experience that’s never left her. “I promised myself If I were to ever overcome homelessness, I too would give just as those who came before me. I have kept my promise and will continue to work toward ending homelessness in America.  It is an achievable goal,” she said. 

    On their family receiving this award, Marla shared, “This award means we are doing something right. It means we are inspiring communities to do great work and to us, that’s the goal. Each one of us plays a part in making the world a better place and together we can do just that.”

    Articles

    3 jokes that could get you sent to a firing squad in North Korea

    We’re all well aware that Kim Jong Un isn’t known for his sense of humor. Remember when that James Franco/Seth Rogen movie, “The Interview,” was released despite threats from the North Korean regime?


    As you may recall, when “Team America: World Police” was released, Kim Jong Il hadn’t over-reacted so badly. Perhaps that was due to his being a movie buff. I mean, the dictator once kidnapped a South Korean director to improve his country’s film industry, for goodness sakes.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur
    This undated picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 28, 2014, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspecting a flight drill of pursuit airwomen of the KPA Air and Anti-Air Force at an undisclosed location in North Korea. (REPUBLIC OF KOREA OUT AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS)

    Kim Jong Un also has a track record of executing those who have displeased him, using anti-aircraft guns for executions. Among those who have faced this form of firing squad in the past are a Defense Minister who fell asleep at a meeting and the vice premier, who fell asleep during a speech.

    According to a report from The Daily Mail, the next group to face the AA guns could be some North Korean soldiers who were having some fun at the dictator’s expense. Now, troops often grouse about the brass, and even will poke fun at them. And our brass will tolerate it to some degree – at least until it undermines their authority, as this scene from Black Hawk Down shows:

    Note that Captain Steele kept it to a brief moment of informal counseling. Using an anti-aircraft gun never entered his mind.

    Here are some of the jokes that the North Korean grunts who now may be headed for their date with a DShK gun supposedly told:

    1. Compare him to a mental patient

    Kim Jong Un may have some problems. There was that time he got Hangover-level drunk and demanded senior military officials write letters of apology for not launching a “military satellite.” The next morning, he came down, and expressed concern for the elderly generals’ health.

    In some ways, this was played on in “The Interview.”

    2. Compare him to a kindergartener

    Kim Jong Un got this as well, albeit the best examples may be from this Russia Today video showing him watching some missile launches. Barron Trump arguably showed more maturity at President Trump’s inauguration – and he was 10 years old at the time.

    3. Mocking Kim’s ancestors

    The Daily Mail particularly noted that some of the troops called Kim Jong Un “Kim Squared” – implying Kim Jong Un’s level of crazy was more than the combined crazy from his grandfather Kim Il-Sung and his father Kim Jong Il.

    We can’t speak to the former, but “Team America: World Police” mocked the hell out of Kim Jong Il. Here is one of Kim’s first moments in the film — when he fires his translator in very dramatic fashion.

    Now, we at We Are The Mighty would like to suggest that maybe Kim Jong Un should take a page from his dad and try to sing it out, like in this clip:
    Then again, it might not work.
    MIGHTY CULTURE

    These are the 7 uniformed services of the United States

    The seeds of America’s sixth branch of the military were sown yesterday, for better or for worse, as President Trump’s creation of the Space Force elicited many different responses. Those responses ranged anywhere between confusion and surprise. The Russians understandably expressed alarm at the idea of a U.S. military presence in space, whereas civilians in the United States were slightly confused – isn’t there an agency that already does what a Space Force would do?

    The answer is yes and no – but that’s a post for another time.

    Many currently serving in the military or part of the veteran community felt equal parts excitement and curiosity about the Space Force’s way forward. After all, it’s something that was kicked around for months before any official announcement, which prompted ideas from current servicemembers about uniforms, rank names, and whether there would be a Space Shuttle Door Gunner.

    Mulling over the organizational culture of a service that doesn’t exist yet is a good time to remind everyone the U.S. has a number of uniformed services that are oft-overlooked.


    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur

    The U.S. Military has a great reputation among veterans.

    1-5. The military branches

    Since the Space Force exists only in our hearts and minds and not yet in uniforms, the existing five branches of the military make up the first five notches on this list. If you’re reading We Are The Mighty (or… if you’ve heard of things like “history”), you’ve probably heard of the Armed Forces of the United States: U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force.

    With the exception of the Coast Guard, which is directed by the Department of Homeland Security during times of peace, the big four are directed by the U.S. Department of Defense. For more information about the history, culture, and people in these branches, check out literally any page on this website.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur

    Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, Surgeon General of the United States.

    6. United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps

    This uniformed division of the Public Health Service creates the beautiful utopia of a branch that doesn’t have enlisted people. Because it doesn’t. It consists only of commissioned officers and has zero enlisted ranks – but they do have warrant officers. While the PHS are labeled noncombatants, they can be lent to the Armed Services and they wear Navy or Coast Guard uniforms and hold Navy or Coast Guard ranks.

    The Public Health Service has its own set of awards and decorations, a marching song, ready reserve, and probably deploys more than most of the Air Force. Its mission is to deliver public health and disease prevention expertise at home and abroad as well as to disaster areas and areas affected by U.S. military operations. Members of the Commissioned Corps enjoy (for the most part) the same veterans benefits as those who served in the Armed Forces.

    The U.S. PHS falls under the Department of Health and Human Services and its top officer is the Surgeon General, which is why they’re always wearing a uniform.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur

    NOAA Corps pilots. Considering risk vs. reward, you 100 percent joined the wrong branch.

    7. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps

    Or simply called the “NOAA Corps,” as it falls under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NOAA Corps also has no enlisted or warrant ranks and is comprised entirely of commissioned officers. It is also the smallest of all the uniformed services, with just 321 officers, 16 ships, and 10 aircraft, compared to the PHSCC’s 6,000 officers.

    They serve alongside DoD, Merchant Marine, NASA, State Department, and other official agencies to support defense requirements and offer expertise on anything from meteorology to geology to oceanography and much, much more. The Corps is a rapid response force, shuttling experts where they need to be in quick succession while supporting peacetime research. They can be incorporated into the Armed Forces during times of war, and so wear Navy and Coast Guard uniforms and rank, by order of the President of the United States.

    The NOAA Corps also gets VA benefits similar to those of the Armed Forces of the United States, including access to the Blended Retirement System, health and dental benefits, and access to the Exchange and Commissary system.

    MIGHTY TACTICAL

    The President intervened in the case of a Navy SEAL on trial for murder

    The U.S. military alleges Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher, a Navy SEAL from California-based SEAL Team 7, murdered a teenage ISIS detainee and then posed with the corpse during a re-enlistment ceremony. NCIS investigators are also looking into allegations the SEAL killed civilians with a sniper rifle and threatened to intimidate other SEALs who would testify against him.


    Gallagher proclaimed his innocence immediately after his 2017 arrest, one made while he was receiving treatment for traumatic brain injury at Camp Pendleton. Ever since, it is alleged that the SEAL has been held in inhumane conditions at the Navy’s Consolidated Brig Miramar.

    Not anymore, by order of the Commander-In-Chief.

    Gallagher’s platoon leader, Lt. Jacob X. “Jake” Portier, is also being prosecuted for his role in trying to cover up the alleged incidents. Unlike Gallagher, Portier is not under arrest or otherwise confined. California and federal legislators want Gallagher to also be released while awaiting trial, not languishing in Miramar with “sex offenders, rapists, and pedophiles.” The Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar is located some 10 miles north of San Diego and houses the Navy’s Sex Offender Treatment Program.

    “(Gallagher) risked his life serving abroad to protect the rights of all of us here at home,” North Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman, said at a rally. “He had not one deployment, not two deployments, but eight deployments … We urge this be fixed In light of his bravery, his patriotism and his rights as an American citizen.”

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur

    Chief Gallagher after his 2017 arrest.

    Some 40 members of Congress asked the Navy to “analyze whether a less severe form of restraint would be appropriate” for Gallagher instead of the usual pre-trial confinement. Those members of Congress included former Navy SEALs, Marine Corps veterans, and others from both sides of the political aisle. Representative Norman spoke to President Trump personally about the matter.

    “To confine any service member for that duration of time, regardless of the authority to do so, sends a chilling message to those who fight for our freedoms,” the lawmakers said. Gallagher’s family has already publicly thanked President Trump for his intervention.

    MIGHTY MONEY

    They started at the bottom, now they are billionaire veterans

    These are the guys who have lived the American dream. Five former enlisted warriors from various services who raised their right hand when it was time to serve, then got out and hustled to earn what they knew could be theirs.


    These veterans went from E-1 to billionaire.

    Related: 9 incredibly successful companies founded by military veterans

    1. John Orin Edson, Army – Net worth: 1.6 Billion

    Mr. Edson’s service began during the Korean War when he enlisted in the Army, where he spent three years in the signal corps.

    Once out, Edson began selling his own racing boats from a parking lot in Seattle, Washington. He eventually bought the rights to Bayliner Marine for a reported $100.00 and developed the company. Edson sold it to Brunswick for $425 million.

    He joined the billionaire’s club through sound investing and now reportedly spends his days flying helicopters and cruising yachts.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur
    Stays calm and makes billions (Image from Forbes)

    2. Daniel Abraham, Army – Net worth: 1.8 Billion

    When Abraham finished his service with the infantry in 1947 Europe, he returned stateside where he bought the Thompson Medical Company. At the time, the company had revenue of $5,000.00 annually. Today, the company is still around and is doing quite well.

    He joined the billionaire’s club through his interest in the weight-loss industry, which led to his development of Slim-Fast Foods. You may have heard of it.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur
    Slim-Fast money! (Image from Gossipextra.com)

    3. David Murdock, Army – Net worth: 4 Billion

    Mr. Murdock dropped out of school in the 9th grade and was drafted into the Army during WWII. Once out, Murdock moved to Detroit and was homeless for a time, but he managed to get a $1,200 loan to buy a failing diner.

    He flipped it for a small profit that he used to move to Arizona. There, Murdock began a career in real estate, acquiring many businesses, including the pineapple and banana producer Dole Food Company, which he developed into the giant it is today.

    Murdock joined the billionaire’s club by selling his 98-percent share of the sixth largest Island of Hawaii. He believes in health and has vocal plans to live to see his 125th birthday.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur
    (Image via Kim Brattain Media YouTube)

    4. Charles Dolan, Air Force – Net worth: 5 Billion

    Charles Dolan served in the Air Force before beginning his endeavors in telecommunications. Dolan got his start producing sports clips that he sold for syndication.

    In the 60s, he established Teleguide, a platform that provided information services through cable television to hotels in New York. Dolan created the predecessor to what would become HBO.

    He served as executive chairman of AMC Networks, which includes AMC, WETv, IFC, and the Sundance Channel, as well as the independent film business, IFC Entertainment.

    Dolan serves as chairman to Cablevision now and, after stepping down as CEO, he bought the Red Sox… No big deal.

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur
    Go Sox! (Image from NetWorthHQ.com)

    Also Read: 5 essential business values from a veteran-owned company

    5. John Paul DeJoria, Navy – Net worth: 4 Billion

    Born in Echo Park, California to immigrant parents, John Paul served two years in the Navy before getting out. He went from homeless to living in his car to Billionaire through pure hustle.

    He went salon to salon, selling hair products wherever he could, developing his company Paul Mitchell Systems with partner Paul Mitchell.

    His true rags-to-riches, American-dream story continues as DeJoria is still part of several businesses, including the Patron Spirits company.

    He’s also a former member of the Hells Angels. How’s that for keeping it real?

    Borne the Battle: Curtez Riggs – Army veteran, entrepreneur
    Started at the bottom now he’s here! (Image from Forbes)

    MIGHTY CULTURE

    How to support the military community without leaving home

    COVID-19 has left people facing new levels of stress and feelings of isolation. This may be especially true for members of the military, veterans, and their families. But as the need for support has grown so has a desire to pitch in, particularly among those finding themselves with more time available as get-togethers and social outings are curtailed. 

    Enter virtual volunteering: a way to give back to the military community while following social distancing and other healthy practices.

    Amy Palmer is president and CEO of Soldiers’ Angels , a national nonprofit organization that has been providing aid, comfort and resources to service members, wounded heroes, veterans of all generations, and military families since 2003. In 2019 alone, some 50,000 volunteers, or “angels,” devoted more than 170,000 hours to the cause, offering support to almost half a million members of the military community. 

    “When the COVID-19 crisis began,” Palmer says, “we quickly pivoted, highlighting activities that volunteers could do in their pj’s at home.” 

    Here are some of the virtual volunteering opportunities available to angel team members or on your own:

    Write letters. Tired of communicating by email or tweet? Writing letters to service members deployed overseas is a low-commitment way to brighten mail call. 

    Send a care package of homemade goodies. Pandemic baking, as many of us have learned, may be creatively satisfying, but it’s not all that kind to our waistline. As part of an Angel Bakers Team, you can enjoy the pleasure of whipping up a batch of your celebrated cookies, brownies or scones and then ship the sugary treats to service members who are eager for a taste of home. 

    Put your sewing machine to use. There’s an ongoing need for masks at VA hospitals across the country. With just basic sewing skills you can help front-line healthcare workers protect themselves, their co-workers and their patients against the spread of COVID-19.  This video shows how to sew the preferred type of mask that has a pocket for the insertion of a filter.

    Make a no-sew blanket. You don’t need a sewing machine, a needle or even thread to make a cozy blanket for injured service members, a military mom who’s snuggling with a newborn, or deployed troops who will welcome warmth from home. The video on this website demonstrates how to make the blanket with only two large pieces of fleece fabric, scissors and tape, and, ideally, a helper. 

    Weave paracord bracelets. Tucked into a care package, a paracord bracelet may seem like a small token but it can be a valuable survival tool. Unraveled, the nylon line of cord can be put to use as a fishing line, boot laces, floss or even emergency sutures. Most likely, this won’t be necessary, and the homemade paracord bracelet will remain a treasured item that service members carry on them at all times. Crafting these bracelets can be a fun at-home activity for the whole family or a company-wide volunteer action. 

    “The bracelets take about 15 minutes to make,” Palmer said. “Companies like Lockheed Martin have sent us thousands.” (Paracord bracelets for military service members must be made from MIL-SPEC cording in the colors black, olive green, tan, or camo only.) 

    Help pamper a deployed female warrior as part of a Ladies of Liberty team. The all-female volunteers send a monthly care package to an “adopted lady” that includes personal care items, treats like body scrubs and facial masks, haircare products and leisure materials like books, magazines and adult coloring books and colored pencils. 

    For the holidays

    Gather Treats for Troops. Want to put all those packets of candy corn and fun-sized chocolate-peanut bars to better use than keeping your kids up at night from a sugar rush? Donate excess Halloween candy, or if you’re a small-business owner, become a candy collection site, so our heroes can enjoy a sweet reprieve.

    Join the Holiday Stockings for Heroes program. Stuff holiday stockings with small gifts like beef jerky, playing cards, puzzle bucks, holiday candy, caps, travel-sized games and a handwritten note and drawings from the kids. 

    Adopt a military family for the holidays. Military and veteran families often balance tight budgets, and those budgets might be stretched even more than usual with the pandemic leading to furloughs, job losses or reductions in hours. The Adopt-a-Family program is a way to spread some cheer during the winter holidays. For each family adopted, you’ll be expected to provide a minimum $50 – $100 grocery gift card for a holiday meal and gifts for each child in the family. Can’t adopt a military family on your own? Consider teaming up with another family, or with members of your church, workplace or community group.

    This article originally appeared on Military Families Magazine. Follow @MilFamiliesMag on Twitter.

    Do Not Sell My Personal Information