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Aboard the U.S.S. Tripoli, Pacific Ocean. May 10, 2022: One of the biggest hazards our nation’s sailors face at sea, a sudden is an uncontrollable fire. Unlike on land, there is no place to run from a fire aboard a ship, especially a warship full of explosives.
Imagine yourself on a modern aircraft carrier with fighter jets taking off, helicopters landing on a deck with tons of high explosives below. Any accident could cause an explosion threatening thousands of lives in mere minutes. The fate of the crew lies in the hands of its highly trained Damage Controlmen. Yes, they fight fires, but are capable of so much more.
Danger is ever present in naval operations, on ships as well as submarines.
All American sailors receive training on damage control and basic emergency medical skills in such an emergency, Damage Controlmen are the Navy version of “first responders,” trained in firefighting, chemical, radiological, and biographical warfare, and the steps necessary to stabilize a ship on fire.
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Poor Vladmir. The Russian dictator had such big legacy plans. First, he would charge into defenseless Ukraine, sweeping aside its puny army, and capture the Capital in a matter of days. Second, he thought he could divide NATO and intimidate other nations into not joining the alliance. Then he would move on to absorb other east European countries into his resurrected old Soviet-style block, all part of his recent compact of territorial expansion with China.
It isn’t working out that way. It turns out the world’s pesky individuals do so dearly love their freedom and sovereignty.
Instead, it is the Russian Army that appears puny, losing over ONE-THIRD of its soldiers since the invasion began according to British Intelligence. It appears the Russians are retreating after suffering grievous casualties, losing hundreds of tanks, and dozens of aircraft.
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KENTUKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD, 123rd SPECIAL TACTICS SQUADRON, LOUISVILLE, KY. - MAY 2, 2022 - One of the Air Force’s most specialized warriors is the Combat Controller (CCT) Specialist, a one-person attachment to other Special Forces Units, whose job is to establish air traffic control in remote, often hostile environments.
Part of the Air Force’s Special Warfare Program, these CCT’s are FAA certified Air Traffic Controllers who accompany special operators on dangerous missions to establish control of the skies in a battle zone. Each CCT must be a jack of all trades, able to parachute, scuba dive and even snowmobile their way to desolate locations to quickly establishing air traffic control to support highly dangerous special operations missions.
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MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING CENTER (MUTC), Butlerville, Indiana - MAY 3, 2022 - A building has collapsed. Smoke from burning debris adds to the chaotic scene as rescuers race to find survivors.
This was no earthquake or terrorist attack, but a simulated disaster in a replicated urban environment where no one lives. Welcome to Muscatatuck Urban Training Center (MUTC), Indiana, a fabricated city with over 1,000 acres containing 190 brick and mortar buildings, 1.8 miles of subterranean tunnels and more than nine miles of roads.
In this photo by Sergeant 1st Class Brent C. Powell, a soldier from the 409th Engineer Company, based in Aurora, Colorado, stands on a pile of rubble while directing fellow soldiers where to look for “survivors” in a simulated building collapse.
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SITKA, ALASKA - APRIL 29, 2022 - Is there anything more terrifying than being caught in a violent storm at sea, tossed by angry waves as your vessel is slowly sinking? Fortunately for American mariners, there is always someone to turn to in such a predicament, the United States Coast Guard.
Officially designated “Aviation Survival Technicians or AST’s,” these “Rescue Swimmers” undergo the most grueling training imaginable, and their graduation rate hovers around 50 percent. The most elite unit in the Coast Guard, AST’s must pass a rigorous 18 weeks of relentless conditioning and psychological training to accomplish daring sea extractions under horrendous weather conditions.
A typical day for recruits starts on land with endurance training, push-ups, rope climbing, kettle bell workouts and long runs to increase stamina followed by water-based drills including 2000-yard laps, swimming with weights and treading water exercises.
Next comes “water confidence” drills ranging from practice saving downed pilots to instructors playing victims thrashing madly against their rescuers. Only the calmest, most focused AST’s are capable of saving frightened, drowning people in the maelstrom of a violent storm.
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SOUTH CHINA SEA - MAY 2, 2022 - Deep in the heart of the South China Sea lies a series of tiny atoll, dubbed the “Spratly Islands”, that are claimed by China, and to a lesser extent, Vietnam and Taiwan who are mostly concerned about fishing rights in the area. It is China, however, that has decided to militarize these islets by constructing naval bases and airfields and demanding their exclusive use in violation of international law.
Under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, the Spratly Islands and their vicinity are “International Waters”, open to all nations, including their warships, and they enjoy the right to “innocent” passage through these territorial waters unmolested. Unfortunately, some nations assert bogus maritime claims to these waters, even attempting to impose “restrictions” on navigators such as requiring “permission” to pass through the straits.
While these tactics may be intimidating to local anglers, not so to the United States Navy.