This will be interesting to see what industry comes up with to develop mortar rounds that are biodegradable after they are fired and impact in the ground:
Marines train with the M203 40mm grenade launcher and the shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon at Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 23, 2015. The U.S. Army recently sought proposals to make biodegradable 40 mm to 120 mm training rounds loaded with specialized indigenous seeds that, when grown, will eliminate ammunition debris and contaminants from ranges around the world.
In a famous photograph from 1967, a Vietnam War protester placed flowers into rifle barrels of National Guardsmen. That role could one day fall to tank commanders and mortarmen.
The U.S. Army recently sought proposals to make biodegradable 40 mm to 120 mm training rounds loaded with specialized indigenous seeds that, when grown, will eliminate ammunition debris and contaminants from ranges around the world.
The three-phase study will test the concept’s viability and look at the potential financial and environmental impact, according to Frank Misurelli, a spokesman for the U.S. Army’s Armament Research Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. If successful, the winning proposal would become a “Program of Record” and the rounds could make their way into America’s military training arsenal. [Stars & Stripes]
You can read more at the link.
This is what happens when you use your government credit card to pay a $1,100 bill at a Hooker Hill club in Seoul:
One of the Army’s most promising generals will be demoted to one star and retired following a scandal that involved sex clubs in Seoul and Rome, high-priced booze and indiscretions with young female troops, the Army announced Thursday.
Ron Lewis, who had been a three-star general and top aide to the then-Defense secretary Ash Carter, will also lose about $10,000 a year in pension payments due to the demotion.
The Pentagon Inspector General “substantiated allegations that Maj. Gen. Lewis misused his government travel charge card for personal expenses, made false official statements regarding his (credit card) misuse, and engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman on multiple occasions,” Cynthia Smith, an Army spokeswoman, said in a statement. (……)
Army investigators found that Lewis spent more than $1,100 in April 2015 during a visit to the “Candy Bar” in Seoul. The bar, in the city’s red-light district known as “Hooker Hill,” had been deemed off limits to troops. When questioned about the charge, Lewis denied it was his, the Pentagon challenged the expense and got him a new card. [Stars & Stripes]
You can read more at the link.
Here is what General Brown, the US Army Pacific commander had to say about North Korea recently:
Gen. Robert Brown, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, speaks during a discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington on Jan. 25. (Yonhap)
The U.S. Pacific Army commander said Wednesday North Korea is his biggest concern as the unpredictable communist nation has aggressively forged ahead with its nuclear and missile programs.
“The thing that keeps me up at night, though, the thing I worry the most about is North Korea. The most likely threat to all of us sitting here, in my opinion,” Gen. Robert Brown, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, said during a discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Brown said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has conducted many more missile launches since taking power following the death of his late father in 2011 than the late leader did in his 17 years of rule. He also said the North’s leader is the only individual in the 21st century to test a nuclear weapon.
“There’s something going on there and there’s this belligerent aggressiveness,” he said.
The general highlighted the North’s unpredictability, calling its actions a “black swan.”
“I do worry about the most likely threat: North Korea, because obviously, every soldier that I lead, every individual that I am in charge of would be involved, would be there — some within hours, some are already there on the peninsula, and some would move in that direction very quickly,” Brown said.
“I have significant responsibilities. Things like: noncombatant evacuation operations on the peninsula and getting several half a million people out of there, minor and little things that are easy. Those types of challenges. I do worry about that. There’s just so many things,” he said. [Yonhap]
This general officer just committed career suicide. I just can’t believe how these general officers getting in trouble like this think they can get away with such behavior?:
The former top military adviser to Defense Secretary Ash Carter used his government credit card for almost $2,900 at two strip clubs and behaved inappropriately with DOD female staff while on official travel, according to a Defense Department inspector general’s report released Thursday.
Maj. Gen. Ron Lewis, once considered a fast-rising star and a long-time trusted aide to Carter, was stripped of his position last fall just days after the delegation returned from an international trip that included stops in Malaysia, South Korea and Hawaii. [Stars & Stripes]
Here is what he did while in South Korea:
The second government charge occurred in spring 2015, in Seoul at the “Candy Bar” club, “an establishment in an area of Itaewon, Seoul, commonly referred to locally as ‘Hooker Hill,’ ” according to the report. Many of the clubs in the area are off limits to U.S. servicemembers due to the illegal activities.
Lewis charged $1,121.25 on his government credit card at the Candy Bar and later told investigators he didn’t know why he had used that card there.
When defense staff processing his expenses noticed the charge, Lewis claimed that it must be fraudulent and had it disputed.
You can read much more on the link.
Here is yet another area in the US Army seeing cuts:
Family members visit the sand art table to make colorful creations during the Month of the Military Child event at Thunder Mountain Activity Centre, Fort Huachuca.
After years of warnings that major cuts to Army family programs are coming, officials with the Army’s Installation Management Command announced that the day has finally arrived.
“The bottom line is in fiscal year ’17, beginning in October, we’re going to have a little less money to put into our family Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs than we have in previous years,” Lt. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, head of Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM), which oversees family programs, said in a video posted on the command’s YouTube channel Aug. 30.
Until now, command officials said, Army budget shortfalls have been covered through non-appropriated fund accounts, which are filled by sales and exchange dividends. But that model isn’t sustainable long term, and anything that isn’t covered by taxpayer dollars must now be cut. Last year saw a $105 million overage.
“I can’t afford to keep borrowing money from our IMCOM bank accounts in order to reprogram into these funds,” Dahl said.
Rather than direct which programs to cut, Dahl has told garrison commanders the programs they must keep — and is leaving the rest up to them. Child care centers and child and youth services programs are safe from cuts, he said in the video, but almost everything else is fair game. [Military.com]
You can read more at the link, but something else to keep in mind is that many military spouses and retirees work in these jobs which now will be lost with the elimination of these MWR programs.
What was this guy thinking if he thought this could be kept under wraps:
Maj. Gen. David Haight, Army Ranger, combat veteran and family man, held a key post in Europe this spring and a future with three, maybe four stars.
He also led a double life: an 11-year affair and a “swinger lifestyle” of swapping sexual partners that put him at risk of blackmail and espionage, according to interviews and documents. Jennifer Armstrong, 49, a government employee, said she and Haight had been involved in the torrid love affair that began more than 10 years ago in Baghdad and ended this spring.
Badly. [Stars & Stripes]
You can read more at the link, but it will be interesting to see what rank this guy is forced to retire at considering how long we was living this lifestyle.
The Army Times has a great article by a certified fitness trainer who points out everything that is wrong about Army fitness with ideas to fix it. I have copy and pasted the whole article below since it is behind the Army Times pay wall. Unfortunately I do not see much changing until the Army does away with maximum Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) scores. As long as leaders are partly judged by APFT scores they will continue to have their troops conduct exercises that promote injury. If troops reach the minimum score on a APFT and pass height and weight why should they be pushed further to do exercises that cause long term injuries? They instead should be taught better all-around fitness which prevents long-term injuries and a healthy lifestyle which is what the author of this article promotes:
Never have I seen so many young adults with musculoskeletal injuries until I joined the United States Army. And I’m not referring to basic training where some injuries are expected; I’m speaking of the active Army. Specifically, the airborne infantry is my point of reference, the part of the Army most of my experience is in. Many of these injuries are preventable.
Some of the blame can be placed on the individual solider from this new “inside” generation; however, much of the blame must be placed on the Army. I was even more surprised at the amount of injuries I saw in basic training considering the moderate (dare I say low) intensity of the training regimen, but that was not so much the fault of the Army.
I enlisted in the Army with a bachelor of science degree, having been a certified personal trainer and martial arts instructor prior to joining. In basic training, I was taught PRT (Physical Readiness Training), the Army’s exercise program. It had many great exercises that are usually only seen from exercise professionals (surprise, it was designed by them). Most soldiers do not think very highly of PRT because it will not take one to a high level of fitness. What it is designed to do is to create proper movement and muscle balance in a soldier’s body. [Army Times
It looks commanders will have another vehicle to choose from to meet mission requirements:
JLTV picture from Oshkosh website.
Now after 25 years in service it is apparent the Humvee can’t do it all. It won’t exactly be the end of the road for the Humvee, but the military may be putting drivers behind the wheel of other, more versatile alternative vehicles.
“Many of these units will start to be phased out by the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) made by Oshkosh,” added Frost & Sullivan’s Curran. “In addition, special operations command operates various small engine and electrical vehicles made by recreational off road makers like Polaris and others.”
The JLTV isn’t the first vehicle to offer an alternative option to the Humvee – as the military already has the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected or MRAP, the special armored vehicles that were designed to counter land mines. From 2007 until 2012 some 12,000 MRAPs were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Just as the MRAP didn’t replace the Humvee the JLTV won’t replace it either.
“This isn’t a complete replacement for the Humvee,” Dan Wasserbly, editor at Jane’s, told FoxNews.com. “The Army is simply looking for a vehicle that has greater tactical mobility. Something that is lighter and faster than a modern Humvee.”
It is instead about finding the right vehicle for the job. What the MRAP provided in armor and protection was offset by a lack of mobility. [Fox News]
You can read much more at the link to include some interesting history about the HMMWV. What I find interesting is that I went to Oshkosh’s website and the JLTV looks like a re-booted MATV which means it would be bigger than a HMMWV not lighter.
I just hope the Army doesn’t buy more JLTVs than what is needed. I would hate to see a bunch of these vehicles collecting dust sitting around on a FOB in Afghanistan like what happened with the MRAP program. There were so many MRAPs sitting around collecting dust that the Army had them recycled into scrap metal.
The Washington Post has an interesting article that looks into an Inspector General investigation on why a US Army Special Forces sergeant was denied the Medal of Honor. In the article it explains the bureaucracy a Medal of Honor packet goes through, but the reason the sergeant was denied the award was quite interesting:
Sgt. 1st Class Earl D. Plumlee, assigned to 1st Special Forces Group, is presented the Silver Star for his actions in Afghanistan on May 1, 2015. (Spec. Codie Mendenhall/ Army).
Joe Kasper, a spokesman for Hunter, said that the comments of members on the decorations board show “enormous amounts of personal prejudice” in how valor awards are approved.
“In essence what he’s saying is, ‘If this was a private, it would rate the Medal of Honor, but because we expect our NCOs to do valorous things, it doesn’t,’” Kasper said. “That person should be looking at the actions alone.” [Washington Post]
You can read the rest at the link.
This is a horrible tragedy for the unit involved in this accident at Ft. Hood. With that said there had to be some serious lack of risk assessment and leadership to allow something like this to happen:
A motorist passes through a low-water crossing near New Braunfels, Texas, on Thursday, June 2, 2016. ERIC GAY/AP
Five soldiers were killed and four were missing after an Army troop carrier was washed from a low-water crossing and overturned Thursday in a rain-swollen creek at Fort Hood, the Texas Army post said.
Three soldiers were found dead shortly after the 2½-ton truck was toppled by the swift current of Owl Creek during a morning training exercise. Two more bodies were found late Thursday night, according to a Fort Hood statement. Three soldiers were rescued and were hospitalized in stable condition.
No further details were provided in the statement, but spokesman Chris Haug said the search continued for the four soldiers who remain missing. Army officials planned a briefing early Friday to provide an update. [Stars & Stripes]
You can read more at the link, but hopefully they can find the four missing soldiers. It is just amazing the amount of bad things that seem to happen at Ft. Hood.