The MTV Music Video Awards was filled with stars that support the military. Our hosts, Marine Corps veteran Weston Scott and Air Force veteran Skye P. Marshall ran into Tito Ortiz, Kool Mo Dee, Jasmine Villegas and more.
We asked our celebrity supporters to snap to attention and give us their best salute, here’s how they fared:
President Donald Trump is reportedly considering an executive order setting up a review of interrogation practices, including whether to re-open so-called “black sites” run by the CIA under the George W. Bush administration.
According to a report by CBSNews.com on a leaked draft of the order, the initiative would reverse executive orders issued by President Obama regarding Guantanamo Bay and interrogation techniques. Those orders were signed on Jan. 22, 2009.
The draft order raises the specter of the return of enhanced interrogation techniques. One of those who developed the techniques, retired Air Force Lt. Col. James Mitchell, fiercely denied they were torture in a forum at the American Enterprise Institute this past December.
The order also would keep the detention facilities at the U.S. Navy’s base at Guantanamo Bay open, saying, “The detention facilities at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, are legal, safe, and humane, and are consistent with international conventions regarding the laws of war.”
“If it was torture, they wouldn’t have to pass a law in 2015 outlawing it because torture is already illegal, right?” Mitchell asked. “The highest Justice Department in the land wouldn’t have opined five times that it wasn’t torture — one time after I personally waterboarded an assistant attorney general before he made that decision three or four days later, right?”
When contacted for comments on the draft executive order, Mitchell said, “I would hope they just take a look at it.” He admitted he had not been contacted by the Trump administration or the Trump transition team, but pointed to an ACLU lawsuit that made him “damaged goods,” but did wish that they would “talk with someone who has interrogated a terrorist.”
In a statement released after the reports of the draft order emerged, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain said, “The Army Field Manual does not include waterboarding or other forms of enhanced interrogation. The law requires the field manual to be updated to ensure it ‘complies with the legal obligations of the United States and reflects current, evidence-based, best practices for interrogation that are designed to elicit reliable and voluntary statements and do not involve the use or threat of force.’ Furthermore, the law requires any revisions to the field manual be made available to the public 30 days prior to the date the revisions take effect.”
Mitchell was very critical of McCain’s statement, noting that it essentially boils down to relying on terrorists to voluntarily give statements about their pending operations. “It’s nuts,” he said, after pointing out that counter-terrorist units don’t reveal their tactics. He also noted that “beer and cigarettes” or social influence tactics, like those Secretary of Defense James Mattis favored, are not included in the manual.
Retired Army Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis backed up Mitchell’s comments.
“I favor giving the interrogation decisions to those with the need to know. Not all threats are the same and there are situations where tough techniques are justified,” Maginnis told WATM. “I’m not with the camp that says tough interrogation techniques seldom if ever deliver useful outcomes. That’s for the experienced operator to know.”
Maginnis also expressed support for the use of “black sites” to keep suspected terrorists out of the reach of the American judicial system. He also noted, “Some of our allies are pretty effective at getting useful information from deadbeats.”
Senator McCain’s office did not return multiple calls asking follow-up questions regarding the senator’s Jan. 25 statement on the draft executive order.
The boys at “Terminal Boots” published a hilarious YouTube video that was deemed too risky by the higher-ups in their chain of command.
In simple Terminal Boots speak, they went “too gangster.”
In true Marine fashion, they improvised, adapted, and overcame by taking down the original and re-releasing a friendlier safe-for-work version. The end result is a funny video that serves as a navigation guide for Marines confused about the rules of the Corps. You can even say it’s educational.
In a story that should have most certainly been Duffel Blog but is actually real-life, a Russian weather forecaster proclaimed the skies over Syria were perfect “flying weather” for Russian jets bombing rebel positions, The Guardian reported.
“Experts say the timing for [the airstrikes] was chosen very well in terms of weather,” Ekaterina Grigorova said in her report for Rossiya 24 on Sunday, according to The Washington Post.
The Russian military has carried out more than 100 sorties in Syria since its aerial campaign began last week. Moscow has claimed it has been bombing militants affiliated with ISIS, but so far strikes have overwhelmingly targeted anti-Assad and Kurdish forces instead.
“In these meteorological conditions, planes can dive below the clouds and conduct effective strikes on ground targets, and only climb higher if there’s active anti-aircraft fire,” Grigorova said in front of a graphic depicting a Sukhoi Su-24 strike aircraft dropping bombs on an enemy tank from the “optimal height for targeting and bombing” of three to five kilometers off the ground, according to the translation from The Guardian.
Developing and building a high-cost, low-volume product in the 21st century is extremely resource intensive. It’s for this reason that companies and nations across many industries are seeking partnerships to embark on such undertakings. While some joint projects like the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ have found commercial success, others like the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter seem to hit roadblock after roadblock. Although it has hit some snags, the prototype reveal of the joint South Korean/Indonesian KF-21 Boramae stealth fighter is a sign of good progress.
With a total project cost of $7.9 billion, the Boramae (Korean for Hawk) is not a cheap plane. Indonesia’s commitment of 20% of the development costs and a purchase of 50 examples upon completion helped to offset the hefty price tag. Despite late payments earlier in development, Indonesia’s Minister of Defence Prabowo Subianto attended the KF-21’s rollout ceremony on April 9 and confirmed that the partnership was intact. Moreover, the stealth fighter is slated for export which will further offset the costs incurred by Indonesia and South Korea.
The unveiling of the prototype KF-21 took place at the Korean Aerospace Industries facility in Saechon, South Gyeongsang province. South Korean President Moon Jae In addressed the attendees calling the KF-21, “a historic milestone in the development of [South Korea’s] aviation industry.”
Development of the Block 1 variant is scheduled to be complete by 2026 with 40 aircraft delivered to the Republic of Korea Air Force by 2028. ROKAF plans to acquire a full fleet of 120 KF-21s by 2032. They will replace the arsenal of aging F-4E Phantom II and F-5E/F Tiger II fighter planes. The KF-21 is also intended to compliment South Korea’s acquisition of 60 F-35A Lightning IIs and the older F-15K Slam Eagle and F-16C/D Falcon fighters.
The Block 2 air-to-ground variant will require further development than the exclusively air-to-air Block 1. Its scheduled completion date is yet to be announced. However, the Block 2 is expected to carry advanced weapons like the GBU-12 Paveway II, GBU-31/38 JDAM, and GBU-54/56 Laser JDAM. With six under-wing hardpoints, four under-fuselage hardpoints, and an expected payload of up to 16,975 pounds, the KF-21 will be able to deliver a lot of fire from the sky. With a planned top speed of Mach 1.83 and a range of 1,800 miles, it will also have the legs to move around the modern battlefield.
Although the ROKAF already outmatches the Korean People’s Air Force of North Korea, which is equipped primarily with Cold War MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters, China and Russia are on the cutting edge of modern stealth fighter technology. While the ROKAF’s F-35A serves as the tip of the fighter wing’s spear, the KF-21 will provide a domestically-produced augmentation to the Joint Strike Fighter. It will also be more capable than the F-15 and F-16 as a frontline fighter. Moreover, the KF-21 created 12,000 jobs in South Korea between 2016 and 2020. President Moon announced that the project is expected to create another 10,000 once mass production begins. South Korea has the goal of becoming the world’s seventh-biggest aviation industrial power by the 2030s. If the KF-21 lives up to its hype, they just might be.
If you need to cross a danger area, why run when you can just skate?
That seemed to be the reasoning shown in this video, which purportedly shows a Libyan rebel wearing roller blades in the middle of a firefight. The fighter points his AK and fires off a few rounds as he crosses the street, which the opposing side can probably claim as a drive-by shooting.
According to the The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal, American military planners thought the battle would only be a few days. Instead, it dragged on for five weeks, at a cost of more than 6,800 American lives. The Japanese lost more than 18,000.
This Day in Marine Corps History. 19 February 1945: At 08:59, one minute ahead of schedule, the first of an eventual 30,000 Marines of the 3rd Marine Division, the 4th Marine Division, and the new 5th Marine Division, making up the V Amphibious Corps, landed on Iwo Jima The initial wave did not come under Japanese fire for some time, as General Kuribayashi’s plan was to wait until the beach was full of the Marines and their equipment. By the evening, the mountain had been cut off from the rest of the island, and 30,000 Marines had landed. About 40,000 more would follow.
The United States Army was founded on June 14, 1775, making it the oldest branch of the military. Our soldiers have a damn proud heritage of defending our right to freedom and we are lucky to have them. You might not be familiar with the lyrics of their official song, but you definitely know the tune.
Here are a few more things you might not know about it:
1. It was written by a West Point graduate in 1908
How does a massively successful director like Zack Snyder follow up box-office smahes (and future box-office smashes) like 300, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Justice League? If you answered a film retelling the magnificent rise of the first president of the United States in the style of 300, you guessed correctly. Speaking with Bloomberg Business, Snyder explains that George Washington is next on the docket.
He has a picture in his office of the Revolutionary War hero crossing the icy Delaware on his way to decimate the British in the Battle of Trenton. “We were talking about it,” Snyder says. “The first thing we asked was, well, how are we going to make it look? I pointed at this painting. It looks like 300. It’s not that hard.”
He isn’t wrong, but we’re guessing it will look something like a mix between the iconic painting and the epic illustration above.
For decades after Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, doctors, scientists and the Department of Veterans Affairs have all struggled to determine what happened to the roughly 25-30% of Gulf War veterans who suffer from a mysterious mix of symptoms from a seemingly unknown cause. The condition and its host of symptoms became known as Gulf War Syndrome, or Gulf War Illness, and wasn’t immediately recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
A Congressional committee went on to suggest a number of possible underlying causes of the condition that were present in the war zone, including depleted uranium dust and pyridostigmine bromide used to protect against chemical nerve agents. They blamed the VA for its lack of experience in environmental health and toxicology.
In that same committee meeting, the House of Representatives recommended a medical research body other than the VA or DoD look into the condition, and that’s exactly what happened.
A body of research has been conducted that has since shed new light on Gulf War Syndrome. The VA has since recognized a number of conditions that are now “presumptive,” meaning gulf War veterans don’t need to prove they happened as a result of military service. This includes:
Other undiagnosed conditions, such as weight loss, fatigue, unexplainable pain and some heart conditions
Researchers at Georgetown University have also discovered physical evidence of the condition in the brains of Gulf War veterans. Nerve fibers connected to pain receptors in the brains of these veterans fire differently than in other humans. This means Gulf War veterans could feel pain while doing something as simple as changing a shirt.
The same researcher who conducted that study, Dr. James Baraniuk, also found that there may be two distinct subsets of Gulf War Illness. By scanning the brains of more than 30 Gulf War veterans before and after moderate exercise, Baraniuk noted changes in two areas of the brain, each correlating to a different set of symptoms.
One group experienced changes in the area of the brain responsible for processing pain, which was consistent with their symptoms. The other group, who reported cardiovascular symptoms, specifically, increased heart rates while doing something as simple as standing up did not have significant activity in that part of the brain.
Instead, the brain of the cardiac-centric group showed decreased activity in the cerebellum, the part of the brain responsible for fine motor control, cognition, pain, and emotion. Healthy patients showed no changes.
“While these findings present new challenges to treating people with Gulf War illness, they also present new opportunities,” said Stuart Washington, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow and lead author on the study.