Category Archives: ARMY TRAINING

Marine helicopter crashes in Gulf of Aden | WAVY-TV

A Marine Corps helicopter carrying 25 people crashed Monday in the Gulf of Aden, and all aboard were rescued, the Navy said.

The 17 Marines and eight Navy sailors were recovered and were on board the USS Mesa Verde, and some who sustained minor injuries were treated on the ship.

The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crashed as it attempted to land on the ship, which has a big landing deck on the back. The Navy said the crash was not the result of hostile activity, but the aircraft was transferring troops back to the ship from training in nearby Djibouti.

via Marine helicopter crashes in Gulf of Aden | WAVY-TV.

That all 25 survived is a testament to the training everyone who will ride aboard a seagoing helicopter must undergo.

Not to mention a bit of good luck.

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Air Force to begin rotating launch officers | Air Force Times |

The latest change in the nuclear missile career field will let airmen trade places with each other, opening up opportunities for officers to work on a different base for three months.

The program, announced Wednesday, will transfer small groups of airmen to give them first-hand experience with operations in another squadron. Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, has received four officers from Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, and three from F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. Seven officers from Minot were sent to fill the places of the airmen from Malmstrom and F.E. Warren.

“The idea is that the folks embedding with us for 90 days would be able to experience at the ground level some of the changes and initiatives we’re implementing as part of the Force Improvement Program,” Lt. Col. David Rickards, deputy group commander of the 91st Operations Group at Minot, said in a release announcing the program.

via Air Force to begin rotating launch officers | Air Force Times |

Eh. ICBM launch officer is a career field in the Air Force. Imagine that. A career of 20 to 25 years consisting of sitting in a hole in the ground. It was one thing during the height of the Cold War to provide incentives to keep at least some high quality officers in the career field. But in the last 20 years, it has  apparently been quite the challenge. The scandals that have rocked the community are evidence of this.

The really interesting part of the article is the part I didn’t excerpt. The Air Force has started to send some missileers on exchange tours to the Navy’s Trident sub community.  The thing is, there’s not really a “missile” community in the Navy for submarine officers. Oh, sure, some officers will spend more time in missile boats than in fast attack boats, but there isn’t a dedicated career path that an officer follows to the exclusion of serving on another type of sub platform.

And the Navy draws its missile officers from the ranks of its qualified nuclear submarine officers. That is, a tour as a missile officer is just that, a tour, as a part of a successful career as a submarine officer.

Given that, we have to wonder if the Air Force should look to that model, where serving as an ICBM launch officer is a tour as  a part of a career dedicated primarily to another platform, say space systems management, or service in the B-52 and B-2 communities.



The Joy of Field Rations: The French P-38 Can Opener

The French P-38 Can Opener.

Can opener, scraper, screwdriver, chisel, pick, the tool of a hundred thousand uses, “The Greatest Army Invention”, “invented in just 30 days in the summer of 1942 by Maj. Thomas Dennehy at the Subsistence Research Laboratory in Chicago”*, was actually invented 30 years earlier by a Frenchman.

via The Joy of Field Rations: The French P-38 Can Opener.

My entire world has been upended. That magnificent piece of American technology is French?

The blog I borrowed this from is interesting in its own right, with posts about the hardware, and the recipes related to field feeding of troops. The 1944 Army biscuit recipe looks pretty promising.



Army in the Pacific adopts new style of deployment – Pacific – Stripes

The Army in the Pacific is starting a new deployment concept this week that sends soldiers out into the region for multiple exercises and longer stays in foreign countries that are intended to reassure partner nations and develop closer relationships as the United States continues its “rebalance” to the Pacific.

Developed out of Fort Shafter, “Pacific Pathways” also is a new Army strategy to stay relevant as large occupational land forces that are costly and slow to mobilize become less viable.

About 550 soldiers with the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team out of Washington state and supporting units are heading to Indonesia for the exercise Garuda Shield in the first iteration of Pacific Pathways, the Army said.

The soldiers will utilize nine Stryker armored vehicles and eight helicopters.

About 500 other 2nd Stryker and supporting soldiers will head to Malaysia with 11 Stryker vehicles and three helicopters for the exercise Keris Strike, which overlaps with the Indonesia training.

The first group of 550 soldiers and others will then leapfrog over to Japan for Orient Shield, the Army said.

via Army in the Pacific adopts new style of deployment – Pacific – Stripes.

My tour in the 25th ID meant I was part of US Army Pacific. And at that time, there was a fairly regular schedule of international training exercises with a wide variety of nations throughout the Pacific. Team Spirit was the biggest, partnering the US Army with the Republic of Korea. Generally, in addition to the 2nd Infantry Division stationed in Korea, at least a brigade from the 25th ID would deploy for the exercise, in addition to various Air Force, Navy and Marine units. Other major exercises included Cobra Gold with Thailand, and various smaller, usually battalion sized deployments to Japan, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Given that there were 9 Infantry battalions in the division, a soldier could expect to only participate in one or two major deployments of about one month in a year. That reduced the burden of a high operational tempo and spread the benefits of training exercises across all the units of the division.

That didn’t count the availability of the 7th and 9th Infantry Divisions to send troops on their own training deployments.

During the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army had a crushing operational tempo, with some soldiers spending half their enlistments deployed overseas to a war zone. The risks of battle are bad enough, but the disruption to any chance at a semblance of a family life drive many of the best and brightest out the door. And somewhat obviously, the longer a soldier stayed in, the longer they could anticipate being deployed.

So I’m not entirely sure the 550 or so troops are going to be thrilled to deploy on a series of back to back training missions overseas, away from their homes and families, when they might reasonably point out that other troops might be available to take of month of training of their own.






by | August 30, 2014 · 10:25 am

Convicted Cold War spy John Walker dies in prison –

John Walker, a former U.S. Navy officer convicted of spying decades ago for the Soviet Union, has died in federal prison, according to the U.S. government.

Walker, 77, passed away Thursday at a federal correctional facility in Butner, North Carolina, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said. The agency’s website indicated Walker was scheduled to be released on parole within the year.

via Convicted Cold War spy John Walker dies in prison –

It’s hard to overstate the horrific damage Walker did to US security. Some speculate that the North Koreans seized the USS Pueblo as a proxy for the Soviets in order to secure the crypto hardware that Walker was providing the keys for.

Don’t forget that when Walker compromised our communications, the US Navy was relying on that commo to provide operational orders to the fleet for conducting airstrikes over North Vietnam. Who knows how many aviators were killed because their targets were known to the North Vietnamese beforehand.




Graham: Americans fighting with ISIS are enemy combatants | TheHill

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Wednesday all U.S. citizens who join Islamist militant organizations in the Middle East should be defined as enemy combatants and subject to capture or death.

Graham said he is preparing a letter asking President Obama if he agrees with that categorization of U.S. citizens who join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“All of these American citizens who are going to jihad for ISIS or any other organization should be considered as enemy combatants under the American law of war, subject to being killed or captured,” he said on Fox News’ “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.”

At least 140 U.S. fighters have traveled to Syria or Iraq to fight, according to intelligence officials cited in an NPR report Wednesday. One U.S. fighter linked with ISIS was confirmed dead over the weekend, with reports of a second.

“I don’t know if it’s 140. One is too many,” Graham said. “But if this war continues and ISIS continues to win and is seen as a conquering jihadist hero in the eyes of these disturbed people throughout the world, there’s going to be 1,400.”

via Graham: Americans fighting with ISIS are enemy combatants | TheHill.

URR and I tend to disagree on the approach to be taken when a US citizen fights for ISIS or other extremist organizations.

He posits that targeting them is an extrajudicial killing by the state.

I argue that they are legitimate military targets not protected by the need for due process.

One way or another, in this age of non-state actors gaining greater and greater influence, we as a nation will have to address this issue.

What are your thoughts?