- Hits: 230
Twenty-Nine Palms, California. (November 12, 2023): We have heard a great deal about robotic dogs but the U.S. Marines have gone one better, a tactical “goat”. In this photo by Lance Cpl. Justin J. Marty, an M72 Light Anti-Tank Weapon mounted on a robotic platform fires at a target during an evaluation at the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center. A concept developed by the Marine Tactical Training and Exercise Control Group, scientists with the Office of Naval Research hope to develop a system that carries both weapons and sensors for Marines to operate remotely.
Designed to support Marine ground forces, this robotic quadruped can carry different payloads and is designed to reduce the load of individual Marines. Instead of having a Marine handle the weapon system, the goat can acquire targets, release safety, and fire a missile, all done remotely.
Fielded in 1963, The M72 LAW weighs just 5.5 pounds and is still in use by multiple services. The weapon is light, cheap enough to discard after firing, and simple to use. Mounted on a robotic platform, the operator can use a video game like controller to adjust an on-board camera. The driver can then fire the weapon from a safe distance and, if the unit survives, use its camera eye to view the damage.
- Hits: 198
Travis Air Force Base, California. (November 8, 2023): The Air Force has a new plan when it comes to deploying its forces and it means more predictability for the average Airmen. In this photo by Nicholas Pilch, Senior Airman Osvaldo Rodriguez Matias, 860th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron C-17 Globemaster III crew chief, spends time with a loved one before he and more than four hundred other Airmen become the first to deploy under the new Force Generation model.
Force Generation is designed to end the practice of “crowdsourcing” Airmen for overseas deployments and will add stability while improving readiness. Under the previous “Expeditionary” model, Airmen would be assembled from dozens of locations and were expected to arrive in the combat zone ready to perform as a team. In future conflicts, however, there won’t be time to work out the kinks before units must be operating as a high-performance team.
- Hits: 213
Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Missouri. (November 7, 2023): In this photo by Senior Airman Janae Masoner, Koda, the latest support dog for the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, poses during a photoshoot while beginning her training as a psychiatric service dog. She is a four-month-old goldendoodle who will assist servicemembers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a therapy and comfort animal. Unlike emotional support animals (ESA), which provide comfort through their presence but require no specialized training, PTSD service dogs are granted specific rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. These rights include allowing them access to public places where other dogs may be prohibited, such as restaurants, stores, hotels, and on airplanes.
The specialized training these dogs receive helps troops with flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts tied to the trauma they suffered.
Typical tasks for PTSD service dogs include waking their handler when they are having nightmares or interrupting flashbacks by responding to signs of stress. These dogs offer comfort during panic attacks and often function as a buffer in crowds to reduce anxiety. They are even trained to intervene to stop self-harming behaviors.
Research has shown these animals help give PTSD sufferers a sense of security and constant companion for twenty-four-hour therapy.
- Hits: 223
Washington, D.C. (November 7, 2023): This Veteran’s Day, Support Our Troops would like to recognize the service of Native Americans to our national defense. Many Americans may not know that a Native American helped raise old glory on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima during World War II. In this iconic Associated Press photo by Joe Rosenthal, Marine Corps PFC Ira Hayes, a 22-year-old Pima Indian from Arizona, helps raise the American flag in an act that saved lives and rallied a nation.
PFC Hayes is on the far left with his hands reaching up toward the flagpole, one of six flag raisers that fateful day. Three of the six were killed on Iwo. A member of the 5th Marine Division, Hayes landed on February 19, 1945, and participated in five days of intense fighting to reach the summit.
Native Americans have served in every U.S. military conflict since the battlefields of the Revolutionary War and have a distinguished record of service. In addition to exploits of PFC Hayes, some four hundred native Navajo “Code Talkers” used their unique, Indigenous language to transmit vital messages on the front lines in the Pacific War. Today nearly nineteen percent of Native Americans have served in all branches of the armed forces, carrying on a 200-year tradition.
- Hits: 162
Pacific Ocean. (November 2, 2023): Looking like men from Mars, Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Jalon English, right, and Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Roman Grepo race across the flight deck in hazmat suits to rescue a simulated casualty. This photo by MC2 Madison Cassidy captures the chaos Sailors can expect in a mass casualty event during recent drills on the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln while underway in the Pacific.
Either through combat or by the dangers inherent to fleet operations, mass casualty incidents are an unfortunate reality for Navy planners. Like their civilian counterparts, the Navy has instituted a triage system to offer the “greatest good to the greatest amount of people” as the ship’s resources will be limited. But unlike civilians, every Sailor on board has a role to play in saving lives during a catastrophic event.
With a crew of 5,600 Sailors and carrying up to 90 aircraft, the USS Abraham Lincoln is like a floating American city at sea. In an emergency, the ship’s doctors, nurses, and corpsmen will be busy setting up triage stations while every Sailor will play a role from donating blood to assisting transporting patients. The term “triage” refers to the preliminary assessment of casualties to determine the urgency of their need for treatment and the nature of the help they need.
- Hits: 183
Fort Devens, Massachusetts. (November 1, 2023): In this photo by Sergeant First Class Jeff VanWey, squads from the 3rd Battalion, 304th Regiment compete in the battalion's Wolf Cup Competition, an annual grueling test of their warfighting skills.
The Wolf Cup Competition evaluates a squads’ competencies in basic Army Warrior Tasks including an obstacle course, leader’s reaction course, ruck march, advanced land navigation, and rifle qualification.
The squad is the most basic unit in the infantry and the key to success on the battlefield. Their mission for centuries has been to “locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, or repel the enemy assault by fire and close combat.” A staff sergeant commands a squad of up to 10 Soldiers and will likely have more sergeants under their leadership. Four squads make up a platoon which has between 20 and 50 soldiers and is commanded by a lieutenant. Two or more platoons make up a company, which has 100 to 250 soldiers and is commanded by a captain or a major.
The squad fights as two fire teams referred to as Alpha and Bravo and made up of at least two automatic riflemen, two marksman, and two grenadiers. A rifleman designated as a marksman is chosen based on demonstrated shooting ability, maturity, good judgement, and ability to execute the full range of infantry duties.