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The Art Of Flanking The Enemy

Vilseck, Germany. (February 15, 2024): Ambushes, flanking maneuvers, double envelopment, suppressive fire, these are the core infantry tactics employed by armies since the earliest days of warfare. In this photo by Specialist William Kuang, Soldiers with the 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment prepare their weapons before heading into the bush. Platoon size units like these use flanking methods to close with and destroy the enemy.

In military strategy, flanking is attacking the opponent from the side rather than head on. This is done because the enemy's strength is usually concentrated at the front and you are more likely to find a “soft spot” or weakness hitting the enemy at the sides. The goal is to gain an advantageous position over an opponent by attacking where the enemy is least able to mount a defense.

Typically, this is done in one of three ways.

The first is the classic ambush where a unit sets up a surprise attack from a concealed position. Ambushes often follow the same flanking principle; one side opens fire while another takes a blocking position to prevent the enemy’s escape. The key to a successful ambush, of course, is to arrange fire teams in such a way to avoid confusion and friendly fire.

Another type of flanking maneuver is employed when a unit encounters an enemy in a  fortified position. In this scenario, the goal is to “pin” the enemy in place using “suppressive” fire to prevent them from returning fire, retreating, or moving to meet a flank attack. Suppressive fire is defined as “inaccurate fires” designed to keep the enemy occupied while the attacking force concentrates on the flanks.

U.S./U.K. Join Forces To Preserve Naval History

Atlantic Ocean. (February 16, 2024): This striking image of the wreck of USS Jacob Jones is one of the highlights of a joint recovery effort between the English Ministry of Defense’s Salvage and Marine Operations and the American Naval History and Heritage Command. In this photo by 2nd Lieutenant Mary Andom and later enhanced by the UK National Oceanography Center, the silhouette of the World War I Destroyer is revealed during a joint salvage survey. Using remotely piloted submersibles, the teams mapped the wreckage, recovered the ship’s bell, and even placed a wreath and an American flag on the wreck in tribute to the Sailors lost 107 years ago.

The Jacob Jones was discovered off the Isles of Scilly, England, in 2022 by technical divers and efforts have been underway to fully document and study the wreck site for its long-term preservation and protection. The destroyer was sunk by a German submarine on Dec. 6, 1917, and was the first U.S. Navy destroyer lost to enemy action. The ship sank eight minutes after being struck, with the U-boat commander radioing the approximate location of the survivors to the nearest American base for rescue.

Marines Training In The Wilds Of Hawaii

Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii. (February 7, 2024): It is the largest U.S. military training area in the Pacific few civilians know about. Situated on 133,000 acres of Hawaii’s “Big Island”, Pohakuloa is the central training facility for all U.S. and multinational forces in the Pacific. In this photo by Lance Corporal Clayton Baker, a Marine with 3d Littoral Combat Team, 3d Marine Littoral Regiment, 3d Marine Division, guides his team through a marked path during a platoon attack during Exercise Bougainville III.  Bougainville III is a live-fire exercise to prepare the battalion to operate and support each other from dispersed locations.

The Pohakuloa site has firing ranges that allow units to conduct small-arms and crew-served weapons familiarization training and qualifications, as well as artillery and mortar live fire. Located 6,000 feet above sea level, the training area is perched between the Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa mountains on a barren landscape created by multiple volcanic eruptions.

The base was established during World War II as a Marine Corps artillery live-fire training area in preparation for the Iwo Jima and Saipan campaigns. Today, the facility has its own fire and police departments, an airfield with a 3,700-foot runway, a medical clinic, and even a post theater.

Special Honors For Montford Point Marine

Arlington, Virginia. (February 9, 2024): America rendered final honors to one of the few remaining Montford Point Marines, the first African Americans to serve in the Corps. In this photo by Lance Corporal Joseph E. DeMarcus, Brigadier General Melvin G. Carter presents the U.S. flag to Mable Bryant following the funeral service for her husband, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Albert Bryant at Arlington National Cemetery.

Bryant was one of over 20,000 African Americans who volunteered for the Marines at the outbreak of World War II. Up until then, the Corps refused to recruit Black people, Native Americans, or other minorities into its ranks. The recruits faced daily discrimination while training in segregated facilities between 1942 and 1949 at Montford Point, North Carolina. Black troops lived in Quonset huts “across the tracks” from Camp Lejeune and were not authorized to use on-post facilities, not even the chapel. The Montford Point Marines went on to serve with great distinction at Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and the Battle of Okinawa with approximately 2,000 seeing action.

It was not until Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Fair Employment Practices Commission in 1941 that forced the Corps, despite objections from its leadership, to begin recruiting African American Marines.

Ice Rescues.. Reach, Throw, Row, Go

F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. (January 26, 2024): In this photo by Airman 1st Class Mattison Cole, Airman 1st Class Victor Glavan and Airman David Dicken of the 90th Civil Engineer Squadron participate in an Ice Rescue Course for military and civilian life savers. The two-day course teaches everything from self-rescue to the medical effects cold temperatures have on victims.

The course begins with classroom instruction on how to retrieve a victim who is submerged in an icy lake without becoming a victim yourself. The first danger facing rescuers is the uncertainty of the thickness and stability of the ice. Students are taught the types of ice formations that may show signs of weakness and to always assume it won’t support you and your equipment. Students also learn how to diagnose and treat hypothermia and other freezing weather injuries.

During the second half of the training, students don exposure suits and practice rescue methods using their equipment in nearby Pearson Lake. The exposure suits not only keep the rescuer warm but also provide plenty of buoyancy depending on the type of suit they wear. As long as rescuers keep their neck above the surface of the water, they also will be kept dry.

Next comes the physical aspect of ice rescues which are summarized in the acronym Reach, Throw, Row, and Go.

First Lt. Micala Bruce, 349th Air Refueling Squadron pilot, and Lt Col. Kristen Smith, 349th ARS director of operations, walk with WWII veteran Katie Conkling at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., Jan. 18, 2024. Conkling celebrated her 103rd birthday with a tour of the base and the inside of KC-46A Pegasus. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Gavin Hameed)

McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. (February 11, 2024): In this photo by Airman 1st Class Gavin Hameed, First Lieutenant Micala Bruce, a 349th Air Refueling Squadron pilot, and Lieutenant Colonel Kristen Smith, the 349th ARS director of operations, give WWII veteran Katie Conkling a tour of the base to celebrate her 103rd birthday.

This remarkable person is a living witness to world events, including the Pearl Harbor attacks, that have shaped our society today. Conkling served as an Army Air Corps Staff Sergeant in the South Pacific during the war and the Air Force wanted to acknowledge her service and her incredible personal milestone.

Born Katherine V. “Katie” (Lawrence) Conkling in Coffeyville, Kansas on Jan. 18, 1921, she was the daughter of a first-generation German American carpenter from Wisconsin and a Texas landowner’s daughter. Her father died when she was a baby and her mother couldn’t care for her and her three brothers so they were placed in a Wichita Children’s Home. After graduating high school in 1939,  Katie held a variety of posts until the Japanese attack on Pear Harbor spurred her to join the armed forces.