Archive for the ‘Military’ Category

Pentagon Tests Mass Surveillance Balloons in US

September 13, 2019

Pentagon Tests Mass Surveillance Balloons in US

“The US military is conducting wide-area surveillance tests across six midwest states using experimental high-altitude balloons, documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reveal.

Up to 25 unmanned solar-powered balloons are being launched from rural South Dakota and drifting 250 miles through an area spanning portions of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri, before concluding in central Illinois.”

“The balloons are carrying hi-tech radars designed to simultaneously track many individual vehicles day or night, through any kind of weather. The tests, which have not previously been reported, received an FCC license to operate from mid-July until September, following similar flights licensed last year.”

— “Pentagon testing mass surveillance balloons across the US,” Mark Harris, The Guardian

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Image by Mike Licht (in tribute to Otto Messmer). Download copies here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.

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Space Force: Countdown to Blast Off!

August 16, 2019
Space Force: Countdown to Blast Off!

U.S. Space Operations Force. Enlist now!

“‘I said maybe we need a new force, we’ll call it the Space Force,’ Trump said at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in March 2018. ‘And I was not really serious. Then I said,’What a great idea, maybe we’ll have to do that.'”

“Now, key lawmakers leading the charge have the support they need to make a new U.S. space service a reality. The House and the Senate have both proposed plans for Space Force in their versions of the annual defense bill.

And next month, a congressional conference committee could hammer out a final blueprint in its approval of the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.”

— “With Congressional Blessing, Space Force Is Closer To Launch,” Claudia Grisales, NPR News

Update:

“US Launches Space Command Today,” Carla Babb, VOA

Related:

“Why the Space Force Is Just Like Trump University,” Erin Durkin, The Atlantic

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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D-Day’s ‘Matchbox Fleet’

June 6, 2019

D-Day’s ‘Matchbox Fleet’

Sixty wood-hulled boats made in Brooklyn were carried across the North Atlantic to England on the decks of Liberty Ships seventy years ago. The patrol boats, each 83 feet long, were designed for anti-submarine patrol and coastal search and escort, but had been modified as rescue craft. Most had radar; some had sonar.

The group of small, wooden, gasoline-powered cutters, vulnerable to incendiary shells, was understandably nicknamed the ”Matchbox Fleet.”  On June 6, 1944, these boats crossed the English Channel as U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Flotilla One (ResFlo1), part of Operation Neptune/Overlord.

Inscription on the Rescue Flotilla 1 (The “Matchbox Fleet”) Memorial, harborside at Poole, Dorset, UK:

“From this Quay, 60 cutters of the United States Coast Guard Rescue Flotilla 1 departed for the Normandy Invasion, 6 June 1944.  These 83 foot boats, built entirely of wood, and the 840 crewmembers were credited with saving the lives of 1437 men and 1 woman.  In remembrance of the service of Rescue Flotilla 1, and with appreciation of the kindnesses of the people of Poole to the crews, this Plaque is given by the men and women of the United States Coast Guard.”

Above: 83-footer off the Normandy coast on June 8, 1944.

More:

U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Flotilla One at Normandy

The Iron Sailors of the Last Wooden Patrol Boat (WPB)

The Cutters,” E. Bishop, Naval History May/June 1994 (PDF courtesy of uscg83footers.org)

Rescue Flotilla 1WW2Talk (good selection of photos)

The U. S. Coast Guard at Normandy, Scott T. Price (overview of D-Day operations by USCG)

“How Rescue Flotilla One saved more than 400 men on D-Day,” The History Guy (video)

 

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Top image adapted from a Wheeler Shipyard graphic by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

The Army’s Flying Jeep

November 28, 2018

The U.S. military tested a “flying jeep” in 1959 on the theory that a low-flying vehicle following the contour of the landscape would be invisible to radar. And it wouldn’t get stuck in the mud. Things were going pretty well until the brass thought about having to ask Congress to fund something called a “flying Jeep.”

More:

“Yes, The U.S. Army Actually Developed a Flying Jeep with Guns,” Elizabeth Werth, Jalopnik

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Space Force!

August 10, 2018
Space Force!

U.S. Space Operations Force. Enlist now!

President Trump’s promised Space Force is in development, said Vice President Mike Pence at the Pentagon on Thursday. “You can be confident,” he assured military leaders, citing Psalm 139, “that you will go with the prayers of millions of Americans who will claim on your behalf, … ‘even if you go up to the heavens, even there His hand will guide [you], His right hand will hold [you] fast.’ And He will hold fast this great nation in the great beyond.”

What can account for the religious fervor of Mr. Pence’s belief in the need for a Space Force? It’s not his fear of gay space aliens, it’s something else….

(more…)

Christmas in Vietnam

December 21, 2015

“Christmas in Vietnam,” written by John Wilson and John Wessler, recorded by them as “Johnny &  Jon,” and released on Stan Lewis’s Jewel Records in 1966, during the Vietnam Conflict.

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Rogue Blimp Attacks Pennsylvania!

November 2, 2015

Rogue Blimp Attacks Pennsylvania!
A 243-foot-long helium-filled blimp broke its tether and escaped from Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland last Wednesday and, chased by F-16 fighters, snapped some power lines before it went to ground 160 miles away in a ravine in Montour County, Pennsylvania. The $175 million surveillance “aerostat” was finally subdued by Pennsylvania state troopers with shotguns, and it’s being dismantled with chainsaws.

The pricey gasbag was part of the $2.7 billion Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System or JLENS, produced by Ratheon for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Two of these tethered aerostat platforms floated 10,000 in the air, protecting the airspace over Washington, DC from hostile aircraft, but they missed that Florida gyrocopter that landed on the Capitol lawn in April.

(more…)

Tropical Island Resort Property Available Soon

July 23, 2015

Tropical Island Resort Property Available Soon

A long-anticipated real estate deal is about to put eight prime parcels of tropical paradise on the market. White House press secretary Josh Earnest blabbed that the Obama Administration is finally ready to close down the Guantánamo Bay concentration camps detention centers on the sunny island of Cuba.

The canny Mr. Obama teased the deal back in 2009, but waited for the Cuban real estate market to take off, and it’s muy caliente after US normalization of relations with the island nation. There are already deals in the works for a dozen new luxury golf courses, and tourists from as far away as China are waiting for tee times.

The “Gitmo” detention centers now hold 116 inmates guests at a cost of more than $100 million (possibly $454 million) a year, so it’s plainly time to cash out and recoup costs during Cuba’s current resort development boom. The deal would look better without sitting tenants and since 106 of those 116 guests have never been charged or convicted of anything, it’s time to find them other accommodations. And why host the remaining 10 guests at an annual cost of at least $10 million each when the Government Accountability Office has found many alternatives?

(more…)

D-Day’s ‘Matchbox Fleet’

June 6, 2015

D-Day’s ‘Matchbox Fleet’

Sixty wood-hulled boats made in Brooklyn were carried across the North Atlantic to England on the decks of Liberty Ships seventy years ago. The patrol boats, each 83 feet long, were designed for anti-submarine patrol and coastal search and escort, but had been modified as rescue craft. Most had radar; some had sonar.

The group of small, wooden, gasoline-powered cutters, vulnerable to incendiary shells, was understandably nicknamed the ”Matchbox Fleet.”  On June 6, 1944, these boats crossed the English Channel as U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Flotilla One (ResFlo1), part of Operation Neptune/Overlord.

Inscription on the Rescue Flotilla 1 (The “Matchbox Fleet”) Memorial, harborside at Poole, Dorset, UK:

“From this Quay, 60 cutters of the United States Coast Guard Rescue Flotilla 1 departed for the Normandy Invasion, 6 June 1944.  These 83 foot boats, built entirely of wood, and the 840 crewmembers were credited with saving the lives of 1437 men and 1 woman.  In remembrance of the service of Rescue Flotilla 1, and with appreciation of the kindnesses of the people of Poole to the crews, this Plaque is given by the men and women of the United States Coast Guard.”

(more…)

Social Media Skirmishers

February 5, 2015

Social Media Skirmishers

The British army is creating a special force of social media soldiers to wage digital warfare. The 77th Brigade will be based at Denison Barracks near Hermitage, Berkshire and will begin operations in April. 1,500 keyboard commandos, half of them reservists, will battle on many fronts, from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and YouTube.

 More:

“British army creates team of Facebook warriors,” Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian

“Wanted: Brit Facebook and Twitter trolls for counter-jihad psyops,” John Leyden, The Register

“The British Army Is Going to Start Fighting in the Social Media Trenches,” Lily Hay Newman, Slate

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-kQl

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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