Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Unmanned aircraft makes first patrol base resupply in Nawa district

Regimental Combat Team-5, 1st Marine Division
Story by Cpl. Johnny Merkley / dvidshub
Photos by Lance Cpl. Michael Warren
pictures are available hi-res without watermark, just ask it

An unmanned helicopter known as a Kaman K-1200 or “K-MAX” prepares to take off during the first unmanned aircraft delivery to a patrol base in southern Helmand here, March 15. Unmanned helicopters have the potential to carry larger loads of cargo than those in their conventional counterparts, keeping more Marines off the roads and putting fewer in harm’s way.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE GERONIMO, Afghanistan – The Marine Corps makes improvements to operational capabilities and equipment with one goal in mind – supporting the Marine on the ground.

One of the Corps’ most recent upgrades is an unmanned aircraft known as a Kaman K-1200, or “K-MAX”, which transported cargo to a Marine patrol base for the first time here, March 15.

“That was the first time this aircraft was used to transport cargo out to a Marine combat outpost,” said Sgt. Trevor M. Scarberry, a cargo unmanned aerial system external operator with 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment and native of Choctaw, Okla. “What these aircraft do is keep convoys off the road and out of reach of IED’s (improved explosive device), it also allows us to deliver loads to Marines anywhere at anytime they need them.”

The unmanned helicopter is controlled by a Marine on the ground who manually operates and lands the aircraft using a controller modeled after those from the PlayStation 3 gaming system. This controller was selected by the defense contracting company and aircraft designer, Lockheed Martin.

“I’m not sure why they used a PS3 controller,” said Scarberry. “My guess is because it compliments the generation’s already advanced video gaming abilities.”

Working alongside the 2/6 Marines to oversee and maintain aircraft capability is Lockheed Martin senior engineer James Ledford. The retired Marine lieutenant colonel and former helicopter pilot explained what the future holds for unmanned aircraft in a combat zone.

“This is not a program of record right now, we’re out here as a demonstration of validation of the concept,” said Ledford. “We spent five months in Yuma, Arizona sorting out the airplane and passing all initial tests, this operation proved its capabilities.”

An unmanned helicopter known as a Kaman K-1200 or “K-MAX” picks up a load of fuel during the first unmanned aircraft delivery to a patrol base in southern Helmand here, March 15. Unmanned helicopters have the potential to carry larger loads of cargo than those in their conventional counterparts, keeping more Marines off the roads and putting fewer in harm’s way.
During the operation, the K-Max landed inside the FOB Geronimo landing zone to pick up a load of fuel for delivery to Patrol Base Delmar, one of the smaller position in the 2/6 area of operations. While fuel was the cargo transported during this operation – another first for the K-Max – generators, Meals Ready to Eat boxes and other types of supply used by Marines in the field could moved by the unmanned aircraft.

“It’s used to carry any type of cargo that’s hard to fit inside other aircraft,” said Ledford. “Unmanned aircraft also make the drop and pick up process a lot faster and easier.”

While transporting cargo in an efficient manner is important, there are other reasons why the Marine Corps has become increasingly interested in using unmanned aircraft to transport cargo.

“This program started about three years ago when we started thinking about how we could deliver cargo without exposing people to IED’s and small arms fire,” said Ledford. “Also if you’re flying an unmanned helicopter you don’t have to fly escort helicopters with it, opening up those helicopters to other more important missions.”

It remains to be seen whether or not this project will propel the K-Max into a more prominent role for cargo transportation in the future. For now this unmanned aircraft is helping keep Marines off the roads in southern Helmand, meaning fewer are put in harm’s way.

Editor’s note: Second Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, is currently assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5, 1st Marine Division (Forward), which works in partnership with the Afghan National Security Forces and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces, and enabling the ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Mar.21., 2012. - ISAF Joint Command Evening Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan – A coalition bomber conducted a precision airstrike destroying an improvised explosive device-making facility in Sangin district, Helmand province, Monday, March 19.

The facility was used by insurgents to build bombs and coordinate IED attacks in the area.

Following the strike, a coalition security force conducted a patrol confirming the building and IED-making materials were destroyed. The patrol also confirmed that there were no damages to any neighboring compounds and no civilian casualties were reported.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


An Afghan Provincial Response Company, supported by coalition forces, recovered a narcotics and weapons cache in Lashkar Gar district, Helmand province, March 20. The cache consisted of 44 pounds (20 kilograms) of hashish, some opium harvesting tools, two rifles and a grenade. All of the items were confiscated by the PRC to be destroyed.

In Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered multiple improvised explosive devices during routine operations, Sunday, March 18. The team first discovered a motorcycle packed with explosives and on a subsequent search of the area found four additional IEDs. All of the explosive materials were confiscated to be destroyed.


An Afghan PRC, supported by coalition forces, discovered a large explosives and IED-manufacturing cache during an operation in Deh Yak district, Ghazni province, Sunday. The Afghan force found hidden in a garden four IEDs consisting of 187 pounds (85 kilograms) of explosives, 10 anti-tank mines, 66 pounds (30 kilograms) of homemade explosives and 10 fuses for anti-person mines. All of the materials were confiscated by the PRC for disposal.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Cpl. Kevin Vaughan Welcome Home video

Cpl. Kevin Vaughan was wounded while serving his 2nd tour in Afghanistan ultimately resulting in the loss of his leg. After many months of rehabilitation Kevin is finally coming home for the first time. This is short glimpse of the gratitude and overwhelming support from his local community of North Merrick and surrounding areas.

Songs in order played by:
"Made in America" - Toby Keith
"Coming Home ft. Skylar Grey" - Ditty
"USA" - Lee Greenwood

Filmed and edited by :
Firefighters Joshua Kaye and Jayson Truglio of North Merrick Fire Department

Enhanced by Zemanta

British hostage released in Somalia

Map showing the location of the Gulf of Aden, ...
Map showing the location of the Gulf of Aden, located between Yemen and Somalia. Nearby bodies of water include the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and the Bab-el-Mandeb strait. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
MOGADISHU, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Judith Tebbutt, a British national held hostage in Somalia for almost five months by Somali pirates, was released on Wednesday amid reports of ransom paid in exchange for her freedom.

Judith Tebbutt, 56, was seized in a raid on the Kenyan island of Lamu in September and was taken to Somalia by her captors who killed her husband, David Tebbutt, 58.

"We managed to get the hostage released by her captors after lengthy negotiations with them," Omar Mohamed Diiriye, a senior official in the regional administration, told Xinhua.

The officials said no ransom was paid for the release of the elderly Briton, but reports indicate that money was paid to the pirates to secure her freedom.

Somali pirates operate in the central Somali regions and carry out hijacking of ships plying along the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.

Dozens of ships as well as hundreds of their crew members are still being held hostage in Somalia. Pirates often demand hefty ransom for their release.

The raid by Somali pirates on the Kenyan island of Lamu last September was unprecedented as pirates often carry out hijacking of ships to get their hostages.

A number of countries including China have sent their navy to the waters off Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden to help fight the menace of piracy after the authorization of the UN Security Council.

While pirate activities have decreased in the area, a number of incidents have been reported along the Somali coast.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Missile attack kill and injure 16 people in Ghazni province

According to local authorities in eastern Afghanistan, at least 16 people were killed and injured following a missile attack at eastern Ghazni province.

The officials further added, the incident took place on Wednesday morning around 10:00 am local time.

Provincial National Directorate for Security chief Syed Amirshah Sadat confirming the report said, the incident took place at Moqor district as a result of missile attack by Taliban militants.

He also added, at least 3 Afghan civilians were killed and 13 others were injured folliwng the incident.

According to Syed Amirshah Sadat the main target of the missile attack was the provincial police commandment.

Taliban militants yet to comment regarding the incident.

In a separate military operation Afghan security forces detained at least 3 armed insurgents at Andar district of eastern Ghazni rpovince, Syed Amirshah Sadat said.

He said the militants were detained following a summer operation launched by the Afghan and coalition security forces to clear the area from the militants.

Enhanced by Zemanta

7 killed, 16 wounded in Iraq's violence

BAGHDAD, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Seven people were killed and 16 others injured Wednesday in separate gunfire and bomb attacks in Iraq, the police said.

In Baghdad, gunmen broke into a house at Zaafaraniyah district in southeastern the capital and slaughtered a woman and three of her children, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The victims had their throats cut by the knives of the unidentified attackers, the source said, adding that the Iraqi police launched an investigation into the incident.

In a separate incident, five civilian were injured when a booby- trapped car detonated in Bab al-Sharji area in downtown Baghdad, the source added.

In addition, a roadside bomb went off at al-Mowasalat district in western Baghdad, wounding three civilians, he said.

Separately, the police found the body of a government employee with bullet holes in his chest and head at Baghdad's central district of Karrada, he added.

In west of Baghdad, a civilian was killed and three other injured when a roadside bomb exploded in the town of Saqlawiyah near the city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, a local police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, gunmen stormed the house of a member of a government-backed Awakening Council group in a village located some 110 km northeast of Baghdad, killing his wife and wounding him before they fled the scene, a provincial police source anonymously told Xinhua.

The Awakening Council group, also known as Sons of Iraq movement or Sahwa, consists of mostly anti-U.S. Sunni insurgent militant groups, who turned their rifles to fight al-Qaida network after Sahwa's leaders became dismayed by al-Qaida's brutality and religious zealotry in the country.

In a separate incident, gunmen attacked an Iraq army checkpoint in al-Adheim area, some 100 km north of Baghdad, wounding four soldiers, the source said.

Also in the Diyala, Iraqi security forces arrested 49 suspects, including 18 wanted individuals, in separate operations across the province during the past 24 hours, the source added.

The attacks came a day after a series of deadly attacks that killed 45 people and wounded some 212 wounded. Tuesday's attacks mostly targeted Iraqi security forces across the country, in what appeared to be an attempt by insurgent groups to destabilize the country ahead of the Arab summit scheduled on March 29.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Cpl. gets Silver Star for 3-day defense of post

By Michelle Tan - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Mar 19, 2012 7:48:29 EDT

For three days, the enemy relentlessly attacked Observation Post Shal in Afghanistan’s Kunar province.

And for three days, Cpl. Michael A. Moynihan led his fellow soldiers in a fierce defense of their OP, directing attacks and providing covering fire even though it exposed him to the intense enemy barrage. A mortar hit his position and knocked him unconscious; after he came to, Moynihan continued to lead the fight.

For his actions Oct. 11-13, Moynihan was awarded the Silver Star, the third-highest award for valor.
Sgt. Michael Moynihan is presented the Silver Star Award by Maj. Gen. Daniel Allyn on March 5. - photo by Staff Sgt. Luke Graziani
Moynihan, a team leader assigned to B Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, received the award March 5 from Maj. Gen. Daniel Allyn, commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force-1 and the 1st Cavalry Division.
Moynihan, who is still deployed to Afghanistan, could not be reached by press time.

On Oct. 11, as part of Operation Rugged Sarak in eastern Afghanistan, Moynihan’s team was charged with guarding the northern flank of OP Shal, according to the narrative accompanying his award.
When the team came under fire, Moynihan led his soldiers to identify 12 enemy positions in the mountainous terrain across the valley and deliver two tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided missile strikes.

Afterward, Moynihan took control of an abandoned and exposed machine-gun position so he could suppress the enemy fire. As the enemy tried to zero in on his position, Moynihan continued to fire, performing barrel changes, linking ammunition and sustaining a “deadly accurate” rate of fire on the enemy target, according to the narrative.

The next day, Moynihan identified an armed enemy fighter moving into a fortified position across the valley. He immediately took control of an M249 squad automatic weapon and killed the enemy fighter, according to the narrative.

As the enemy lobbed mortars at the OP, Moynihan stood his ground and marked enemy positions for his soldiers to fire two more TOW missile strikes, killing seven enemy fighters.
He then slowed the progress of the enemy to support his platoon mates by using suppressive fire, fragmentary grenades and Claymore mines.

The same evening, the enemy launched another attack, this time using rocket-propelled grenades and AK47 rifles at close range to try to overrun the northern flank of the OP, according to the narrative.
Moynihan again exposed himself to enemy fire, moving through the danger zone and rallying his men to run a counterattack on the enemy. Moynihan fired his M4 carbine, threw grenades and detonated Claymore mines before taking control of an abandoned SAW position.

However, the “heaviest and most coordinated attack” was yet to come, according to the narrative.
On Oct. 13, as the enemy once again attacked the OP, Moynihan exposed himself to danger again to acquire and pass grid coordinates to the platoon forward observer. A mortar slammed into the ground 10 meters from his fighting position before a second mortar found its mark, severely wounding three Afghan and five American soldiers and knocking Moynihan unconscious.

When he came to, Moynihan ordered a fellow soldier to lay down suppressive fire while he manned an Afghan army SAW, leading the defense of the OP’s northern flank until reinforcements arrived.
Moynihan was “instrumental in helping to destroy a determined enemy force, repelling two near ambushes that threatened to breach the vulnerable perimeter of his platoon’s patrol base,” according to the narrative.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Search this blog