This veteran Air Force pilot made history - and she’s not done yet - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY TRENDING

This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet

Retired Air Force Colonel Merryl Tengesdal was the first and only Black female U-2 pilot. For her, it’s all about finding opportunity and seizing it.

Born in the Bronx and raised by a single mother, Tengesdal was obsessed with Star Trek. “When I was 7 years old I decided I wanted to be an astronaut and be like Kirk exploring space,” she said with a smile. That show would be a pivotal moment for her life, leading her to set what she called her framework. “I knew I needed to do well in math and science, go to college and become a pilot.”

But she didn’t want to become just any kind of pilot, either. “I wanted to go high and fast with weapons, that’s just how I roll,” Tengesdal said with a smile. 

While still in high school, she attended college level programs for science and electrical engineering, which is what she would major in. When Tengesdal graduated, she was only one of three women in the program. “I did ROTC in the Air Force for two years but thought it probably wasn’t the best fit for me. It’s funny how that comes back full circle,” she laughed. 

Instead of the Air Force, Tengesdal started talking to a Navy recruiter. Although she was told there were no pilot slots by them, that didn’t stop her. She’d end up on a five-day bus trip to San Diego where she took the required test to become a pilot. Tengesdal was picked up for Officer Candidate School in 1994. “I got wind in ‘96 and picked up helicopters, H60 Bravos and did that for four years. Deployed to the Mediterranean and Arabyian Gulf, doing missions out there,” she explained. 

Tengesdal did two more years with the fleet before becoming a T-6 instructor. When that was finished, she went back to where it all started. The Air Force. 

She was actually contemplating getting out, her goals still being on getting into space. But then she heard about the U-2. “The mission was beautiful, the aircraft was tough. I wore a pressure suit going above 70,000 feet. All of that was very appealing to me,” Tendesdal shared. 

The Lockheed U-2 is actually nicknamed the “dragon lady” and used to be the aircraft of choice for the Central Intelligence Agency. Pilots are required to breathe in pure oxygen for the hour prior to takeoff and wear partially pressurized space suits before they board for missions over 10 hours long. It is so challenging and difficult that it comes with a suicide needle, should the pilot opt to take it. Tengesdal was only one of ten women in around 1100 pilots in the aircrafts history. She is still the only Black woman to fly it.

“I was driven toward a goal and flying. I didn’t say I wanted to be a first because no one else had done it, I didn’t even think of it that way. I looked at the U-2 community as a brother and sisterhood that I wanted to be a part of,” Tengesdal explained. “The progression of myself as a Black American during my time on this earth has been a very good one…I saw opportunity, my mom made sure there was and then I would take advantage of it.”

Her advice is to take everything as if it’s the only shot you have and make the best of it. “I try to create those opportunities for people regardless of what they look like or who they are, based on their skillset. I think that’s how I went through life. People saw something in me, I had the skill and aptitude and it’s worked out…All you have to do is look at it and not limit yourself,” Tengesdal shared. 

“When I was deployed with the Navy, I saw what poverty could really look like. It gives you that perspective of ‘we don’t want that here,'” she explained. With her time in service, she’s witnessed how bad it can be and although recognizes America is far from perfect – it’s a beacon of hope for so many for a reason. Tengesdal remains hopeful that American resiliency will shine through.

Promoted to Colonel, she eventually retired in 2017. These days she’s wearing the hats of personal trainer, motivational speaker, wife and mom. She’s also fostering to adopt, in an attempt to give a child a starting opportunity, like she had.  

We can also add reality TV star to the mix now, too. 

You’ll find Tengesdal on the CBS reality series, Tough As Nails. It’s a show featuring every day Americans who don’t hesitate to roll up their sleeves and get the job done; a mantra deeply familiar to her. Things like mental toughness, strength, life skills and endurance will be tested. Basically, it was a show made for Tengesdal. 

For a woman who’s accomplished so much already and continues to strive for even more, she has some shockingly normal hobbies and enjoyments. “I am above level 8,000 on candy crush and I play Pokemon go,” she laughed. 

Her message to women or anyone who feels underserved wondering if they should go for something because it’s going to be too hard, Tengesdal says yes. “You may struggle and even struggle really hard. Do it anyway.”

For more amazing Black veterans, check out this post.

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This is what the new VA chief thinks about using medical marijuana to treat PTSD

On May 31, Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said he is open to expanding the use of medical marijuana to treat soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder.


Shulkin said that although federal laws would limit the ability to use marijuana, he said it could be possible to take action in states where medicinal marijuana is legal.

“There may be some evidence that this is beginning to be helpful and we’re interested in looking at that and learning from that,” Shulkin said during a press conference. “Right now, federal law does not prevent us at VA to look at that as an option for veterans … I believe that everything that could help veterans should be debated by Congress and by medical experts and we will implement that law.”

This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet
David Shulkin (right) seeks major VA hospital reform. (DoD Photo by Megan Garcia)

The head of the VA also said the agency he oversees is in a “critical condition,” likening the veterans’ healthcare provider to a patient in bad health.

Shulkin, a doctor appointed by former President Barack Obama, said patients wait too long for services from VA hospitals and government bureaucracy prevents the agency from firing employees who perform poorly. The VA oversees the care for more than 9 million veterans.

“I’m a doctor and I like to diagnose things, assess them, and treat them,” Shulkin said. “Though we are taking immediate and decisive steps stabilizing the organization … we are still in critical condition and require intensive care.”

“As you know, many of these challenges have been decades in building,” Shulkin added.

This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet
Shulkin aims to improve medical services for our nation’s veterans. DoD Photo by Greg Vojtko.

In reference to the VA’s inability to fire employees quickly, Shulkin said “our accountability processes are clearly broken.”

In one example, it took the agency more than a month to fire a psychiatrist who was caught watching pornography on his iPad while seeing a veteran.

Shulkin said now is the time to face the VA’s challenges and address them “head on.”

MIGHTY TRENDING

How this Vietnam vet’s long lost dog tag resurfaced in Hurricane Irma debris

After serving in the US Navy during the Vietnam War, George Platt faithfully wore his identification tag — informally known as a “dog tag.”


Like every other member of the military, he was originally issued two, but at some point one went missing.

The other one, however, was always with him throughout most of his adult life.

“He had it with him when I first met him,” said his wife of 30 years, Sheila Platt. The couple met in 1983.

This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet
Wikimedia Commons photo by Linda Makiej.

Years later, sometime after George Platt was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, the lone tag that he’d worn for so long disappeared.

“I just assumed when I didn’t see it that he put it somewhere in the house, and I would come across it,” said Shelia Platt. “I never did, and I stopped thinking about it.”

Her husband died in 2014 at the age of 67 and she gave his clothing to Goodwill. But she did not find the tag.

Three years passed, and then something happened. Something “amazing.”

This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Chain of events

William “Biff” Trimble served in the US Air Force in Southeast Asia about the same time as George Platt.

Today, he volunteers with Disabled American Veterans Chapter 86, driving veterans to medical appointments. As a result, he sometimes has one of the DAV vans parked outside his home.

That fact provided a critical link in the chain of events that was to follow.

On a recent weekend, Trimble’s regular postal carrier was making Express Mail deliveries in the vicinity of Bing’s Landing. Hurricane Irma had swept through and left behind a lot of street debris there. By chance, the carrier spotted a small metal rectangle in the debris and picked it up.

This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet
Logo for Disabled American Veterans.

It was a military dog tag belonging to George Platt.

The carrier had the tag with her as she drove her regular route when she spotted the DAV van parked in Trimble’s driveway. She approached Trimble and his wife, showed them the dog tag and said, “I found this on the street; is there anything you can do?”

Trimble accepted the tag and took it to the DAV post, where he gave it to chapter treasurer Larry Rekart.

Rekart checked the chapter’s membership records, but did not find George Platt there. So he turned to the telephone directory.

This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet
Photo from Flickr user Jamie.

Home again

At a time when many people rely solely on cell phones and the telephone white pages are shrinking, the Platts’ number was still listed. Sheila Platt had never changed it.

The day the phone rang, she had just returned home after having evacuated because of the storm. It marked the conclusion of an unhappy two weeks for Shelia Platt. She had evacuated just two days after attending her mother’s funeral.

When she answered the phone, the voice at the other end asked to speak with her husband.

She said simply that he wasn’t there, so the caller — it was Rekart — asked if he was speaking with Mrs. Platt.

This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet
A Coast Guard flood punt team assists with search and rescue efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. USCG courtesy photo by Chief Warrant Officer Andrew Matthews.

She admits becoming irritated at first but what Rekart said next surprised her. Someone had found her husband’s dog tag and she could pick it up at the DAV office.

She wanted to tell someone about this incredible development, but her confidant had always been her mother. She wondered: “Who do I call for this? Who do I call to tell this story to?”

She settled on her husband’s niece. Then, by chance, the man who served as best man at the Platts’ wedding texted her to find out if she’d returned from her evacuation, so she called him.

“I said, ‘You will not believe this story,'” she said.

At last, Sheila Platt went to the DAV office to retrieve the missing ID. It was an emotional moment.

“I hadn’t cried over him in a long time,” she said, “and when I came here, I started.”

Tag trek

Bing’s Landing is almost nine-and-a-half miles from the Platt home. And it’s on the opposite side of the Matanzas River. By Sheila Platt’s account, her husband wouldn’t have gone there.

So, how did his dog tag end up so far from home?

This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet
A Marine from 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment slides his hand down a pair of dog tags as he hangs them upon the pedestal on Marine Corps Base Hawaii. USMC photo by Lance Cpl. Matthew Bragg.

It was a source of speculation when she met with members of the DAV. One person asked if her house had ever been robbed, but she said no. Another asked if she had given any of her husband’s clothing away, and she remembered the Goodwill.

Today, she wonders if the tag had been in a pocket she hadn’t checked before donating the clothing. Still, that may be as close as she ever gets to solving the mystery.

Sheila keeps the tag on a fob for now and plans to do something more permanent with it eventually.

George Platt, she said, “was just a great guy; he was a great husband.”

The tag, she added, was “something that was important to him. The fact that he lost it or whatever I attribute to the Alzheimer’s. Because it was something that he always kept with him.”

MIGHTY TRENDING

More riots break out as Iran’s struggles continue

Demonstrators protesting over water scarcity in southwestern Iran have clashed with police for a second night, local media report.

The state-run IRNA news agency said the protesters threw projectiles at police and set trash cans and a car on fire in a protest that began late on July 1, 2018, in the city of Abadan, some 660 kilometers from Tehran.

It did not say how many people were involved in the protest, but said the situation was now “under control.”


Reports and video posted on social media indicated rallies elsewhere in Khuzestan Province, including in the provincial capital, Ahvaz.

In Mahshahr, local media reported that demonstrators took to the streets to express support for the residents of nearby Khorramshahr who have been protesting shortages of drinking water over the past days.

Late on June 30, 2018, clashes broke out between police and the protesters in the port city.

Shots could be heard on phone videos circulated on social media from the protests.

RFE/RL could not verify the authenticity of the videos.

Eleven people were injured in the violence and a number of demonstrators were arrested, officials said.

BBC Persian quoted activists as saying “dozens” were detained.

State television showed banks with broken windows, and reported in the afternoon of July 1, 2018, that “peace had returned” to the city.

“Our effort is to bring these protests to an end as soon as possible with restraint from police and the cooperation of authorities, but if the opposite happens, the judiciary and law enforcement forces will carry out their duties,” Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said.

Rahmani Fazli and other officials have denied reports of deaths in the protests.

“Nobody has died during the unrest in the city of Khorramshahr,’ IRNA quoted him as telling journalists on July 1, 2018.

A number of protests have broken out since the beginning of the year over the lack of drinkable water in Khuzestan Province, which borders Iraq and is home to a large ethnic Arab community that has complained of discrimination.

Critics say mismanagement by the authorities, combined with years of drought, has led to a drop in rivers’ water levels and the groundwater levels in the oil-rich province.

Javad Kazem Nasab, a lawmaker from Khuzestan, suggested that local residents were not benefiting from the province’s resources.

“In Khuzestan we have oil, water, petrochemical [industry], steel, ports, agriculture, date palms, and a common border with Iraq, but people do not benefit from these blessings and all they get is pollution and rivers that have dried,” Kazem Nasab told the semiofficial news agency ISNA on July 2, 2018.

Nasab warned that water scarcity, unemployment, and failure to rebuild the cities that were damaged during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War could create “security” problems.

The latest protests in southwestern Iran came after three days of demonstrations in Tehran starting from June 24, 2018, over the country’s troubled economy.

The rallies included protesters confronting police outside parliament and officers firing tear gas at the demonstrators. https://www.rferl.org/a/protests-in-tehran-after-c…

They also led to the temporary closure of the city’s Grand Bazaar, where shopkeepers denounced a sharp fall in the value of the national currency, the rial.

This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Follow @RFERL on Twitter.

MIGHTY TRENDING

The US Coast Guard is a drug busting monster

On March 22, 2019, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa (WMEC-902) offloaded approximately 27,000 pounds of cocaine at Base Miami Beach worth an estimated $360 million wholesale seized in international waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

The drugs were interdicted off the coasts of Mexico, Central, and South America and represent 12 separate, suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions by the U.S. Coast Guard:

  • The Coast Guard Cutter Dependable (WMEC-626) was responsible for two cases, seizing an estimated 2,926 pounds of cocaine.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Tampa (WMEC-902) was responsible for six cases, seizing an estimated 18,239 pounds of cocaine.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Venturous (WMEC-625) was responsible for four cases, seizing an estimated 7,218 pounds of cocaine.

    Tampa’s crew is extremely proud of the work they accomplished over the past three months. There are few things more frustrating to our sailors than idle deployments, and none more gratifying than accomplishing a very important mission with impacts that resound across our Nation. For many of the crew, this will be their last deployment on Tampa, and it’s one they will always remember.” said Cmdr. Nicholas Simmons, commanding officer of the Tampa.

    The Coast Guard increased U.S. and allied presence in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin, which are known drug transit zones off of Central and South America, as part of its Western Hemisphere Strategy. During at-sea interdictions in international waters, a suspect vessel is initially located and tracked by allied, military or law enforcement personnel. The interdictions, including the actual boarding, are led and conducted by U.S. Coast Guardsmen. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 11th District headquartered in Alameda, California.

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet

    Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Mason R. Cram wraps a palette of cocaine in preparation for a drug offload March 22, 2019, at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach.

    (Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Murray)

    The cutter Tampa is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia. The cutter Venturous is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in St. Petersburg, Florida. The cutter Dependable is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Virginia Beach, Virginia. LEDET 107 is permanently assigned to the Pacific Area Tactical Law Enforcement Team in San Diego, California.

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet

    Coast Guard Vice Adm. Daniel Abel speaks to the press about the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa (WMEC-902) crew’s drug smuggling interdictions and offload, March 22, 2019, at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach.

    (Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Murray)

    Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security are involved in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement along with allied and international partner agencies play a role in counter-drug operations. The cutter Tampa even participated in the first joint boarding in recent memory between the United States and Ecuador. The fight against transnational organized crime networks in the Eastern Pacific and the Caribbean Basin requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring, and interdictions, to prosecutions by U.S. Attorneys in Florida, California, New York, the Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere.

    MIGHTY TRENDING

    Soldier helped police nab suspects – with his baby in tow

    A Minnesota-based Army recruiter recently helped police arrest four suspected shoplifters while shopping at a local mall with his 10-month-old daughter.

    Staff Sgt. Sean Oliva had been pushing his daughter in a stroller Feb. 24, 2019, inside the Southdale Mall in Edina, a Minneapolis suburb, when he saw a group of suspicious men leave an electronics store with several boxes of headphones worth thousands of dollars.

    Store employees, he said, told the four men to stop, but they walked away toward the mall’s exit. Oliva said he pursued the men as the employees remained in the store to presumably call the police.


    “I stayed at a safe enough distance, because I didn’t know if they had weapons,” said Oliva, the operations sergeant for the Minneapolis Army Recruiting Company.

    Since the men were not running, Oliva was able to keep an eye on them the entire time without putting his daughter in harm’s way, the father of two said.

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet

    The suspects’ vehicle is seen here surrounded by police outside Southdale Mall.

    (Photo by Staff Sgt. Sean Oliva)

    But when the men exited the mall, Oliva thought they would get away. A friend of Oliva’s then offered to watch his daughter while he and her husband followed the men out into the parking lot to get a vehicle description for police.

    “I ended up getting my phone out and was able to get pictures of the vehicle’s license plate and of the suspects,” said Oliva, who has previously deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as a field artillery surveyor.

    As the suspects’ vehicle began to flee the scene, Oliva flagged down a nearby police patrol car and a brief chase ensued. Another patrol car quickly intervened, he said, and cut off the escape route for the suspects’ car after it nearly hit two other moving vehicles in the parking lot.

    Officers arrested four men aged 19 to 21 years old and charged them with felony shoplifting of nearly ,300 worth of electronics, according to Edina police records. One of the men was also charged with another felony for fleeing from police in a motor vehicle.

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet

    Staff Sgt. Sean Oliva with his wife, Jamie, at a recruiter training conference.

    Police later told Oliva the electronics store had recently been targeted by shoplifters several times before.

    “It was just like a duty for me,” Oliva said March 4, 2019. “Living the Army values is important to me. To be taught those values and to not intervene would have been going against them.”

    Oliva, who became a recruiter in 2012, also tries to assist local youth in finding their future career path whether it be in the Army or elsewhere.

    “It’s good to help others who either need direction or not sure what they want to do with their lives yet,” the sergeant said. ‘We kind of get to play a big role in helping them achieve their goals.”

    His company commander, Capt. Michael Beck, said he was proud of the sergeant’s actions that day.

    “More than anything, I think the fact that he’s representing the Army values in a public setting really shows the type of character of all the soldiers in the Army today,” he said.

    Many other people, Beck said, may not have done anything to help apprehend the suspects.

    “I think more and more frequently there are people who are just comfortable with being bystanders,” he said. “They don’t necessarily feel comfortable for standing up for what’s right.

    “Sergeant Oliva didn’t really hesitant. He saw the opportunity to do the right thing.”

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    Army may use precision-guided rounds for its legendary Carl Gustaf weapon

    Army and industry weapons developers are working with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency to explore the feasibility of precision-guided rounds for a man-portable, anti-personnel and anti-armor weapon known as the Carl Gustaf, officials said.


    Current innovations involve a cutting-edge technology program, called Massive Overmatch Assault Round or MOAR, aimed at exploring the prospect of precision guided rounds for the weapon.

    While the shoulder-fired infantry and Special Operations weapon currently uses multiple rounds and advanced targeting technologies, using a precision “guided” round would enable the weapon to better destroy enemy targets on the move by having the technology to re-direct with advanced seeker technology.

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet
    These guys are stoked. | US Army photo

    “We are exploring different kinds of seekers to pursue precision engagement capabilities,” Malcolm Arvidsson, Product Director, Carl-Gustaf M4, Saab, told Scout Warrior in an interview.

    The weapon, called the Multi-Role Anti-Armor, Anti-Personnel Weapons System, known as the Carl-Gustaf, was initially used by Special Operations Forces. Several years ago, it was ordered by the Army in response to an Operational Needs Statement from Afghanistan.

    Related: US wants to issue special operators a new personal defense weapon

    These innovations are still in early conceptual, research and testing phases. However, they are being pursued alongside a current Army effort to acquire an upgraded 84mm recoilless shoulder-fired Carl Gustaf weapon able to travel with dismounted infantry and destroy tanks, armored vehicles, groups of enemy fighters and even targets behind walls, Army and industry officials said.

    Acquisition efforts for the weapon began when the Army was seeking to procure a direct fire, man-portable, anti-personnel and light structure weapon able, among other things, to respond to insurgent rocket-propelled grenade, or RPG, fire, service officials said.

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet
    The Carl Gustaf get its name from the Swedish weapons production factory known as Carl Gustafs Stads Gevärsfaktori (“Rifle Factory of Carl Gustaf’s town”). | US Army photo

    Designed to be lighter weight and more infantry-portable that a Javelin anti-tank missile, the Carl Gustaf is built to help maneuvering ground units attack a wide range of targets out to as far as 1,300 meters; its target set includes buildings, armored vehicles and enemy fighters in defilade hiding behind rocks or trees.

    Following the weapon’s performance in Afghanistan with soldiers, Army weapons developers moved the weapon into a formal “program of record” and began to pursue an upgrade to the Carl Gustaf to include lighter weight materials such as titanium, Arvidsson said.

    The upgraded M4 Carl-Gustaf, introduced in 2014, shortens the length and lowers the weight of the weapon to 15 pounds from the 22-pound previous M3 variant, he said. The first M3 variant of the weapon was introduced in the early 1990s.

    “We use a steel that is half the weight and half the density. For the barrel, we have improved the lining pattern and added a more efficient carbon fiber wrapping,” Arvidsson added.

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet
    US Army photo

    The lighter weight weapon is, in many ways, ideal for counterinsurgency forces on the move on foot or in light vehicles in search of small groups of enemy fighters – one possible reason it was urgently requested for the mountainous Afghanistan where dismounted soldiers often traverse high-altitude, rigorous terrain.

    At the same time, the anti-armor function of the weapon would enable infantry brigade combat teams to attack enemy vehicles in a mechanized, force-on-force kind of engagement.

    The Carl-Gustaf is engineered with multipurpose rounds that can be used against armored vehicles and soft targets behind the walls. There are also pure anti-structure rounds to go through thick walls to defeat the targets behind a wall, Army and Saab developers explained.

    The weapon fires High-Explosive air burst rounds, close combat rounds, and then the general support rounds, like the smoke and battlefield elimination, developers said.

    Airburst rounds use programmable fuse to explode in the air at a precise location, thereby maximizing the weapon’s effect against enemy targets hiding, for example, behind a rock, tree or building.

    Also read: This was the world’s longest-serving modern military rifle in active service

    Air burst rounds can detonate in the air or in general proximity to a target. For instance, an airburst round could explode just above an enemy fighter seeking cover behind a rock or wall.

    “I want to penetrate the target.  I want to kill a light armored vehicle.  I want to kill a structure.  I want to kill somebody behind the structure. With the gun, soldiers can decide how to affect the targets.  Really, that’s what the Carl-Gustaf brings to the battlefield is the ability to decide how they want to affect the battlefield — not call in air support and mark targets,” Wes Walters, Executive Vice President of Business Development, Land Domain, Saab North America, told Scout Warrior in an interview.

    The Army is evaluating a wide range of new technologies for its newer M4 variant to include electro-optical sights with a thermal imager, magnification sights of durable-optical sights, Saab officials explained.

    Sensors and sights on the weapon can use advanced computer algorithms to account for a variety of environmental conditions known to impact the trajectory or flight of a round. These factors include the propellant temperature, atmospheric conditions, biometric pressure and terrain inclination,

    “There are a number of parameters that the sight can actually calculate to give you a much harder first round probability of hit,” Walters said.

    Some weapons use a laser rangefinder which calculates the distance of an enemy object by computer algorithms combing the speed of light with the length of travel – to determine distance.

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    This is why the Army selected Sig over Glock for its new handgun

    The dust has finally settled in the battle between firearms giants Sig Sauer and Glock over the Army’s program to replace more than half a million M9 Beretta handguns after government investigators sided with Sig over a protest that claimed the company was selected unfairly.


    In a June 5 report, the Government Accountability Office denied the protest by Glock of the January award of a massive contract to replace nearly 550,000 handguns in the Army and other services with a militarized version of the Sig P320 striker-fired pistol.

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet
    U.S. Marines with Combat Marksmanship Company, Weapons Training Battalion, fire Glock 17 pistols at Altcar Training Camp, Hightown, United Kingdom on May 15, 2017. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Gregory D. Boyd)

    While the GAO said each was very close in performance and other factors that evaluators looked into, Sig came in with a program price nearly $130 million less than Glock.

    “Based upon the technical evaluation and my comparative analysis of the proposals, the Sig Sauer proposal has a slight technical advantage over the Glock proposal,” the GAO said in its final report. “The advantage of the Sig Sauer proposal is increased when the license rights and production manufacturing factors are brought into consideration … making the Sig Sauer proposal overall the best value to the government.”

    The evaluators said the Sig and Glock basically ran neck in neck when it came to reliability, accuracy, and ergonomics. But the Army hit Glock on its safety during the “warfighter evaluation” phase of testing, giving Sig an edge and prompting Glock to factor that into its protest.

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet
    Sig Sauer says its Model P320 is the first modular pistol with interchangeable grip modules that can also be adjusted in frame size and caliber by the operator. (Photo courtesy Sig Sauer)

    The report is unclear on how the Glock safety negatively impacted the Army’s decision, but most commercial versions of both candidate handguns do not have a thumb safety, so each company had to design that into their submissions.

    According to the report, Glock submitted one full-sized handgun (presumably the G17 or G19) and Sig submitted two, a full-sized and compact version of the P320. Sig is the only company of the two that manufactures a fully-modular handgun — one that can convert from a full-sized handgun into a sub-compact for concealed carry by changing out a few parts.

    Reports indicated that soldiers at Fort Campbell will be the first issued the new Sig-made M17 later this year.

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    The day an 11 year-old veteran supporter became a soldier

    Many kids want to be a soldier when they grow up. Michael Kelsey, an 11-year-old from Marshfield, Missouri, is one of them.


    But he’s a little different since he suffers from a brain tumor.

    But recently, Kelsey got to live his dream for one action-packed day.

    According to a release from Fort Leonard Wood, Kelsey has not allowed his health problem to keep him from trying to support who he views as real heroes. Kelsey collected various toiletry items to donate to troops. When his mother contacted the local USO to arrange the donation, the topic turned to the 11-year-old’s health.

    The Fort Leonard Wood USO then moved to make the sick child’s dream come true. Soon, Kelsey was invited to the installation, which not only conducts Basic Combat Training for new soldiers, but which also hosts the United States Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence. He arrived under the notion that he would be dropping off the items he had collected; however, once there, he was surprised.

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet
    Eleven year-old Michael Kelsey becomes a soldier for a day on Fort Leonard Wood. (Photo Credit: Dawn M Arden, Fort Leonard Wood)

    Drill sergeants from C Company, 3rd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, issued Kelsey a uniform in the Operational Camouflage Pattern. Kelsey then got rides in military vehicles, drilled with troops, and, after a meal in the dining facility, met Brig. Gen. James Bonner, commandant of the Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School.

    Kelsey visited a number of units at the installation, receiving goodie bags and learning soldier skills at each visit. Col. Tracy Lanier, the base commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Tyson Gooslby, though, provided the capstone event, naming the 11-year-old to the Honorable Order of “The Rough Riders” to salute his courage. Michael Kelsey is only the 11th individual to receive this honor.

    “Thank you to all of the soldiers who helped make this happen,” Kelsey said. “Today was the best day of my life.”

    While his future is uncertain due to the tumor, it is safe to say that for a day, the Army managed to win a fight against that medical condition.

    MIGHTY CULTURE

    The 13 funniest military memes for the week of September 28th

    It looks like the list for the Army’s senior enlisted promotions got pushed out — which is fantastic news for everyone who got picked up. Congratulations! You worked hard and it’s paying off.

    To the rest of you, my condolences. But let me be clear here: I’m not pitying the NCOs — oh no, they’ll get their time to shine (or get RCPed for staying in at the same rank, whichever comes first). My heart aches for the soldiers beneath the NCOs that didn’t make the list. Get ready for a world of hurt because your platoon sergeant is about to take their frustrations out on you.

    Let these memes help soothe the pain.


    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet

    (Meme via Lock Load)

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet

    (Meme via Coast Guard Memes)

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet

    (Meme via Air Force amn/nco/snco)

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet

    (Meme via Call for Fire)

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet

    (Meme via Shammers United)

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet

    (Meme via Valhalla Wear)

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet

    (Meme via PNN)

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet

    (Meme via WWII Pattonposting)

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet

    (Meme via Army as F*ck)

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet

    (Meme via The Salty Soldier)

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet

    (Meme via Pop Smoke)

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet

    (Meme via Decelerate Your Life)

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet

    (Meme by Ranger Up)

    MIGHTY CULTURE

    The 13 funniest military memes for the week of April 20

    The stimulus checks have started to appear in everyone’s bank accounts and we’re sure they’re on the way if they’re going through mail. On one hand, it’s fantastic news for the folks that have been hit hard financially by the coronavirus. Hell, we all kind of need it after paying rent last week.

    But there’s a little voice in the back of my head telling me that not everyone’s going to spend it on rent, utilities, essential groceries or whathaveyou, and wonder where it all went. Maybe it’s because I saw way too many young troops look at their clothing allowance as beer money…

    Don’t worry if you’re like 99% of lower enlisted seeing a comma in their bank account. At least these memes won’t cost you a cent!


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    (Meme via SFC Majestic)

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    lh5.googleusercontent.com

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    (Meme via US Army WTF Moments Memes)

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    (Meme via Call for Fire)

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    (Comic by Claw of Knowledge)

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    (Meme via The Army’s Fckups)

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    (Meme via Hooah My Ass Off)

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    (Meme via Valhalla Wear)

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    (Meme via ASMDSS)

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    (Meme via Private News Network)

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    (Meme via Decelerate Your Life)

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    (Meme via fuSNCO)

    MIGHTY TRENDING

    The F-35 could shoot down ballistic missiles — with one catch

    As the US military begins deploying the F-35, which brings with it the promise of revolutionizing aerial combat, it may also be deploying a ballistic-missile defense asset.


    US jet fighters have spent decades trying to master the air-to-air kill. In the days of “Top Gun” and the F-14 Tomcat, that meant turning dogfights, with a mix of guns and missiles to outfox the other pilot.

    But today a new threat has taken aim at the US, and it’s more dangerous than any fighter jet.

    As North Korea works toward building out its missile technology to put the US mainland in range of its nuclear arsenal, the F-35’s new air target may be a missile, not a fighter.

    According to Justin Bronk, an expert on aerial combat at the Royal United Services Institute, the missiles already aboard the F-35 just need a slight tweak to start taking on missiles.

    “By changing the firmware a bit, tweaking it a bit, you could gain a theoretical” capability to engage ballistic missiles, Bronk told Business Insider.

    A source involved in ballistic-missile defense at the Pentagon confirmed Bronk’s statement. Basically, the F-35 and its AIM-120 air-to-air missile stand a few wires away from potentially being able to disrupt North Korea’s next missile test, but there’s a catch.

    Burnout

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet
    An F-35 Lightning II assigned to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, flies alongside a 100th Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker during a flight to Estonia on April 25, 2017. The F-35s are participating in their first-ever flying training deployment to Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo /Senior Airman Christine Groening)

    Perhaps the reason the F-35 doesn’t already come equipped to shoot down ballistic missiles is that doing so still presents a logistical nightmare.

    North Korea often launches from unexpected locations, at strange times, and from mobile launchers. This all adds up to a very unpredictable launch, which an F-35 would have limited time to position itself against.

    “You’d have to be impractically close to their launch area,” Bronk said. The problem then comes down to the missile itself.

    “Given that an AIM-120 burns for seven to nine seconds and then coasts, and a ballistic missile does the opposite, all while climbing,” Bronk explained, the F-35 would have to engage the missile from very close.

    As a ballistic missile blasts upward, quickly gaining speed, the AIM-120’s short burn time means the missile has only precious few seconds to catch its target before slowing down. During those seconds, the ballistic missile only gets higher and faster.

    F-35 as the quarterback, not a tackle

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet
    An AIM-120 AMRAAM being loaded onto an F-16CJ. | US Air Force

    A more likely ballistic-missile defense situation spearheaded by the F-35 could capitalize on what the US military does best: networking complicated systems and getting support from linked assets.

    The F-35’s AIM-120 is just 12 feet long, undersize for this role. But the US Navy’s Arleigh-Burke guided-missile destroyers carry several 21-foot-long interceptor missiles.

    The F-35’s designers built it to integrate easily with the Navy’s targeting system, so the F-35 can find, track, and provide targeting info to missiles fired from ships or even other jets.

    “If you had F-35 loitering as close as possible but not in the airspace, with its sensor package is tuned to pick up a ballistic missile’s infrared signature,” Bronk said, it could function as a “forward part of the warning chain.”

    This approach would allow the F-35 to stay out of North Korean airspace, which could be seen as an act of war. Instead, the F-35 simply tracks the ballistic missile, and a US Navy destroyer shoots it down.

    Perhaps sooner rather than later

    This veteran Air Force pilot made history – and she’s not done yet
    Weapons dropped from U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers and U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II practicing attack capabilities impact the Pilsung Range, Republic of Korea. The F-35Bs, assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, conducted a sequenced bilateral mission with South Korean F-15K and Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) F-2 fighters. This mission is in direct response to North Korea’s intermediate range ballistic missile launch and emphasizes the combined ironclad commitment to regional allies and partners. (Republic of Korea Air Force photo)

    The F-35’s deployment to Japan and its involvement in the ballistic-missile-defense discussion comes at a time of extreme tensions between the US and North Korea, with both sides reportedly announcing intentions to escalate further.

    Last week, sources from President Donald Trump’s administration reportedly said they were planning a “bloody nose” attack to damage North Korea’s missile program and humiliate the country.

    South Korean media reported on Thursday that North Korea may be planning a satellite launch, which looks very much like a missile launch but instead deposits a satellite in space.

    In North Korea, missile launches are key propaganda events and vital to the military’s research and development. For the US, the F-35 is the most expensive weapons system ever made and one that has yet to deliver on its promise of changing the game in aerial warfare.

    MIGHTY FIT

    Here’s how working out every day can save you money

    It’s no secret that service members don’t make a whole lot of money compared to the intense workload they face every single day. Since this lack of funds can limit things we like to do during our days off, we have to find little ways to compensate our cash to make sure we pay our bills.

    Every few weeks, veterans should sit down and create a budget plan and adequately manage their incoming cash flow. These charges typically account for rent, groceries, and entertainment. The costs add up quickly, and it doesn’t feel like there’s much left over to put in savings.

    But what if we told you that you can save some real coin if you just decided to it start hitting the gym on a daily basis?

    Would that potentially blow your mind?


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    Working out regularly has been proven to amplify your immune system — which means you won’t get as sick throughout the year. This also means you’ll save money from going to the doctor and paying that crappy co-pay. According to Tech Insider, people who exercise at least 30 minutes a day five days a week save an average of $2,500 a year.

    That’s a sh*t load!

    Researchers tracked heart health and annual medical expenses of 26,239 men and women for two whole years. Those who had all around poor health shelled out the cash for all those doctor visits. However, those who stuck to an exercise regiment saved $3,000 more a year than those in poor health.

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    Keep in mind this study includes hospitalization, prescription medication, emergency room visits, and outpatient visits. All because they spent time doing some sort of aerobic activity. Being able to save $3,000 a year may not seem like a whole lot, but divide that by 12, and you’re looking around keeping an extra $250 in your pocket a month.

    Now, this study only focused on those with heart problems, but daily exercise can reduce the can of developing cancer, losing bone density, and type 2 diabetes. Acquiring these ailments isn’t as fun as looking jacked down at the beach.

    Check out the Tech Insider video below if you want all this information repeated all over again.

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