Korean Immigrant Becomes Commander of US Special Operations in the Pacific

A bad-ass Korean-American has taken over command of all US Special Forces in the Pacific:

Maj. Gen. Daniel Yoo speaks with a well-wisher after taking command of Pacific Special Operations during a ceremony at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, Friday, May 12, 2017. WYATT OLSON/STARS AND STRIPES

Maj. Gen. Daniel Yoo took command of Pacific Special Operations on Friday, becoming the first Marine to head a theater-level special operations command.

Gen. Raymond A. Thomas III, head of U.S. Special Operations Command, described Yoo as “the embodiment of the American dream.”

“Born on the Fourth of July, in Korea, he immigrated to this country at a young age and the rest, as they say, is history,” he said during a ceremony at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii.

Yoo is a career infantry officer who has led units from a rifle platoon to the entire 1st Marine Division. He previously served as director of operations for U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

Report Claims High Altitude Ballistic Missiles Can Defeat US Missile Defenses In South Korea

Once again people are confusing the term missile defense system with THAAD:

North Korea is believed to have designed its series of missile tests in a way that can beat THAAD and other U.S. missile defense systems aimed at protecting South Korea and Japan, according to a congressional report Thursday.

The Congressional Research Service said in a report cited by the Washington Times that the North test-launched missiles last year in flights precisely designed to avoid interception by rocketing them into much higher altitudes.

That was aimed at getting the reentry warhead to descend at a steeper angle and faster speed, “making it potentially more difficult to intercept with a missile defense system,” the CRS report said, according to the newspaper.

The North has also demonstrated an ability to launch a salvo attack with multiple missiles, it said.

“This is consistent with a possible goal of being able to conduct large ballistic missile attacks with large raid sizes, a capability that could make it more challenging for a missile defense system to destroy each incoming warhead,” the CRS report said.  [Yonhap]

First of all of course if North Korea masses enough ballistic missiles at one location and there is not enough Patriot and THAAD interceptors to shoot them down then ballistic missiles will get through.  This is not a missile defense problem it is a math problem.  The other thing people need to realize is if the Kim regime masses missiles in one location to defeat a missile defense battery that means it has less in its inventory to use in other locations.

Secondly there are different types of missile defense systems which THAAD is one part of.  Patriot is a lower tier system that cannot do engagement outside the atmosphere.  THAAD is a system that can do engagement outside the atmosphere to intercept missiles fired at higher altitudes as cited in the article.

When I get time I will have to read the actual CRS report because what the media claims and what is actually in a report are often very different things.

Scientists Claim THAAD Cannot Protect South Korea for North Korean Missile Attack

A group of scientists is claiming THAAD cannot effectively defend South Korea from ballistic missile attack:

Another scientist, David Wright, co-director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Global Security Program, said that a salvo of North Korean short-range missiles could overwhelm THAAD.

The 10 million people living in Seoul will also not be protected by THAAD, since it is being installed 125 miles south of the city. “It cannot engage missiles fired at Seoul, so it offers no additional protection of the city,” David Wright told the Associated Press.

“We have a layered defense systems, which is shared with the Republic of South Korea and Japan,” Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesperson, told Business Insider in response to whether or not Seoul was protected. “But we don’t discuss specific weapons systems.”

As it stands, US Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile defenses provide protection for Seoul, though it has similar limitations to THAAD.

One scientist was even more wary of THAAD’s capabilities. Harris’ statement about THAAD is “technically incorrect,”Theodore Postol, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said.”The THAAD interceptor is very easily defeated by either causing a missile to tumble end over end or by intentionally fragmenting a rocket into pieces.”

In the case of a saturation attack, or a large volume of missiles as Postol described, THAAD’s defense capabilities “can be expected to be very low, probably zero or close to that,” Postol said.  [Business Insider]

You can read more at the link, but of course if North Korea masses enough ballistic missiles at one location and there is not enough Patriot and THAAD interceptors to shoot them down then ballistic missiles will get through.  When it comes to Seoul, North Korea can already destroy Seoul with artillery why waste ballistic missiles by shooting at it?

It seems they would want to use their ballistic missiles to target areas further to the south that their artillery systems cannot reach.  Additionally as mentioned in the article THAAD is not the only missile defense system in South Korea with Patriot batteries deployed across the peninsula.  THAAD has never been sold as being a magic force field to protect all of South Korea, it is part of a layered missile defense system to protect the country.

Navy Special Warfare Unit Faces Investigation for Flying Trump Flag on Military Vehicle

I can’t remember an incident like this happening before, but it is a good reminder to troops to not display partisan political advertisements on military vehicles:

Steve Thompson was on his way to pick up some feed for his goat farm Sunday morning when he noticed an impressive-looking military convoy and started filming. When he neared the lead vehicle in the convoy, the 32-year-old Shepherdsville, Ky., man noticed something else: A large blue and white Trump campaign flag.

“I just thought it was just a bunch of military vehicles,” Thompson, who was driving near Louisville at the time, told the Lexington Herald Leader . “I was surprised because I figured you wouldn’t be able to fly anything on a Humvee other than an American flag.”

The Navy has since confirmed that the convoy was from a Virginia Beach-based special warfare unit.

Thompson’s video is one of two that have been circulating on social media this week, drawing both praise and outrage, and prompting the Navy to open an investigation into the flag-flying display. One of the Facebook videos showing the convoy was viewed close to 80,000 times before it was taken down Thursday afternoon – but not before unleashing a flood of comments.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

SBX Radar Leaves Hawaii to Track Any Possible North Korean ICBM

Here is the latest action the Pentagon has taken in response to any near term launch of a North Korean ICBM:

SBX image via Wikipedia.

The U.S. Pentagon has deployed a giant floating radar in anticipation of an intercontinental missile launch from North Korea, CNN reported Wednesday.

The sea-based X-band radar was deployed in response to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s claim in his New Year’s address on Jan. 1 that preparations for an intercontinental ballistic missile have “reached the final stage.”

It has a range of 4,800 km and is capable of monitoring most of China as well as the Korean Peninsula from Okinawa.  [Chosun Ilbo]

You can read more at the link, but the SBX is used to support the US military’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system that has interceptors in Alaska and California that for defense against a limited attack from North Korea.

President Reportedly Considering Commuting Chelsea Manning’s Sentence

What Manning did was not as bad as Snowden, but still Manning’s sentencing has sent a strong message to all US troops that leaking classified information to the media has strong repercussions:

Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. Army soldier imprisoned for passing government documents to WikiLeaks, is on President Obama’s short list for possible commutation, according to NBC News.

NBC’s report cited a source in the Justice Department.

A decision could come soon for Manning, who tried to commit suicide and went on a hunger strike last year to demand better treatment in prison.

Manning, 28, is serving a 35-year sentence in the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. She pleaded guilty in 2013 to 10 charges related to theft and espionage.

Manning stole over 750,000 pages of classified and unclassified military documents, including videos of airstrikes, war logs and diplomatic cables. She then passed them to WikiLeaks.

Manning, previously known has Bradley, revealed herself as transgender in 2013.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

Was Soldiers’ Use of SHARP Training to Intervene In Bar Incident Justified?

For those that have been through SHARP training the actions of the soldiers involved is a textbook example of what the US Army encourages soldiers to now do:

 Key details of a Fort Drum account of soldiers rescuing a drugged woman at a Watertown bar have been called into question by city police.

The 10th Mountain Division public affairs office, in a news release issued earlier this week, said three soldiers rescued a woman they believed was drugged at the Paddock Club, Public Square, on Oct. 28, and that it led to an arrest.

The trio, Staff Sgt. Anthony Ciccariello Jr., Sgt. James Smith and Spc. Evan Lipp, were presented a commander’s coin by division commander Maj. Gen. Jeffrey L. Bannister on Nov. 16 for their efforts that night.

Detective Lt. Joseph R. Donoghue Sr. said the unnamed woman, whom the post claimed was taken to the hospital, was actually seen and cleared by Guilfoyle Ambulance staff, who let her leave with a friend. No one has been charged in connection with the incident.

The incident, which took place about 10:30 p.m. that night, remains under investigation by city police.  [Watertown Daily Times]

You can read the rest at the link, but I am not sure what caused the soldiers to think she was “drugged” other than to say she was a little “off”.  This is what the 10th Mountain Division news release said:

These Soldiers discovered a female at a local bar had taken an unknown drug from a man in the bar and was acting overly impaired. Their training kicked in and the result was a suspect being questioned by police and a potential victim being checked out by paramedics. [DVIDS]

If they saw someone putting something into her drink you would think they would say that in the video.  It appears the real reason this incident reached the point it did was because the woman was being groped by the two men:

“I noticed that the two males had the female on one of the couches and they were molesting her,” Lipp said. “I noticed that she was barely conscious. It didn’t look right.”

Lipp said he didn’t want to overact so he asked Ciccariello and Smith to assess the situation.

“We agreed with Lipp and my immediate reaction was to go and get the bouncers,” Ciccariello said.

Unfortunately, the bouncers said that the woman and her friend came into the bar with the two men and there was nothing that the bar staff could do, Ciccariello said. But that didn’t stop the three soldiers.  [New York Upstate]

If the soldiers in the video did see a drug secretly put into her drink they definitely did the right thing based off of the training they have received.  However, if this woman was just being obnoxious should it be the responsibility of soldiers to determine which women are too drunk to be with other men at a bar?