Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Did you hear about this incident at Camp Pendleton?

via 10News.com
One of the nation's largest military bases is reportedly under tighter security after three Middle Eastern men tried to enter without proper authorization.10News learned the three men -- 40-year-old Afghani Ahmad Rahmani Naeem, 41-year-old Iranian Vahik Petrossian and 27-year-old Iranian Sengekdi Norvik Avanosian -- attempted to get into Camp Pendleton last weekend under what was considered suspicious circumstances.On Wednesday, base officials said there was no threat, but others on the base told 10News security has been stepped up.According to a Be On the Lookout (BOLO) alert issued to high-ranking Camp Pendleton officials, someone reported hearing hateful comments and terrorist threats from three men at a gas station in Oceanside Saturday.Investigators at Camp Pendleton said the men asked the attendant for directions on how to get to Camp Pendleton before they left the gas station. According to the alert, shortly after midnight Sunday, a rented silver Toyota Corolla driven by Naeem attempted to enter Camp Pendleton through the main gate. As it was being searched, Petrossian and Avanosian drove up in a black Mercedes, but were told to wait. Instead, they continued past the gate and onto the base. Following a short pursuit, the Mercedes was stopped and searched.No weapons or contraband were found in the Mercedes, but base security noticed the air bag in the steering wheel of the Mercedes had been pulled out and re-attached with duct tape and had wires hanging free, the alert said.According to the alert, Naaem told base security he was lost and was trying to go to Glendale. When interviewed, Petrossian and Avanosian said they were lost and trying to go to Glendale. The three men claimed not to know each other, the alert said.Naaem, Petrossian and Avanosian were photographed and released after questioning, and a warning about the trio was posted to law enforcement.However, later that morning about 8:30 a.m., Naeem returned in the Toyota and tried to get on the base again, saying he made a mistake and was trying to enter Interstate 5, the alert said. After his vehicle was searched, Naeem was issued a letter of debarment from the base and escorted to the freeway.Since the incident, 10News learned high-ranking Camp Pendleton officials have notified other military bases and law enforcement of a potential threat.
This happened last month and I'm just hearing about it now.  Talk about a story being swept under the rug!  This is beyond interesting.  If you can add anything to this story, please let me know.  I'm beyond curious.

Winning! NAVAIR seeks multi-year V-22 buy.

via DoDBuzz...

The Navy hopes to hear back from Bell-Boeing on a proposal for a second multi-year contract for 122 V-22 Ospreys on May 26, such a  deal would round out the Air Force and Marine Corps buy of 50 and 360 aircraft, respectively.
If the five-year deal is approved, it means that the Pentagon will save a minimum of ten-percent over a one year buy of the tiltrotors, according to Col. Greg Masiello, NAVAIR’s V-22 program manager. The flyaway cost for each bird is roughly $65 million.
“At this point we’re confident of ten-percent savings over a single year price,” is all John Rader, Bell Boeing’s executive in charge of the V-22 program, would say when asked if the deal will save more than ten-percent.
Congress must approve the deal before it can go forward.
Meanwhile, the Air Force variant of the tiltrotor is seeing readiness rates pushing 80-percent for deployed units while Marine MV-22 squadrons operating in the field are up to around 70 percent, according to Masiello. Stateside units are still a little lower than that.
And in a very interesting piece of Osprey news, HMX-1, the Marine chopper squadron that flies Marine One presidential helicopters will receive 14 MV-22 Ospreys to haul the president’s gear starting in 2013, said Masiello. The tiltrotors will replace the VH-53D Sea Stallions used to carry the president’s gear (not the president) that are being pulled out of VIP duty and back into regular cargo hauling squadrons. Last year, Boeing announced that it was offering up the V-22 in response to a NAVAIR request for information on a new Marine One replacement chopper.

The only thing left is for the AAV replacement..the Amphibious Combat Vehicle, to get going.

Europe fights Europe. Are we hearing NATO's death rattle?

A death rattle is a medical term that describes the sound produced by someone who is near death when saliva accumulates in the throat.

British and French officials are calling out their NATO (read that to be European partners) allies for not pulling their weight when it comes to the conflict in Libya. 

via Defense News.com

"NATO is not able, at this point, to oblige our partners to take part in this action," Longuet told the French parliament.
"I regret, for example, that France and Britain are carrying the bulk of the effort," he said.
"That is why the United Kingdom has in the last week supplied additional aircraft capable of striking ground targets threatening the civilian population of Libya," Hague said.
"Of course it would be welcome if other countries also do the same," he said. "There is always more to do."
This is a stunning development.  For all the complaints of "USA World Police" it seems that NATO is failing in this conflict.  Two of the Three traditional NATO powers are complaining of the contributions of other member states.  Replace NATO with EU and you have a failed European enterprise.

NATO is the walking dead.  The only people that don't realize it are the politicians.

Winning! USMC to start receiving F-35B's this year.

Yep, you heard right.  F-35B's will be received by the USMC this year.

via DODBuzz.

First off, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program manager Vice Adm. David Venlet let everyone know that it looks like the Marines will indeed receive B-model JSFs before the years end, noting that there are about 30 of the short takeoff and vertical landing planes in production under the LRIP 2 and 3 batches. While this doesn’t mean the Marine’s IOC date will swing back to 2012, it is a glimmer of hope for the B model which has been placed on a two year probation. So, far this year, the Bravo has demolished its flight test goals and just last week it performed its first ever automated short takeoff, according to Venlet.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Terry Robling, the Marine Corps top aviation official made a rather sour prediction, saying the Pentagon should get ready for a ten year or “dual FYDP” budget crunch. This makes delivering aircraft on time and on budget all the more important lest they go away, said the three-star. This type environment adds to the importance of keeping legacy jets such as the F/A-18 Hornet in service until they are slowly replace by F-35s and the possibility that a sixth generation naval fighter may be a modified or upgraded variant of the F-35, added Robling.

Great Choice for SGTMAJ of the Marine Corps.

WASHINGTON-Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos announced Sgt. Maj. Micheal Barrett as his selection for the next sergeant major of the Marine Corps. Barrett recently returned from Afghanistan where he served as the sergeant major of Regional Command Southwest and I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). He currently serves as the sergeant major of 1st Marine Division at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. Barrett will replace Sgt. Maj. Carlton W. Kent, who has served as the sergeant major of the Marine Corps since April 25, 2007. The relief and appointment ceremony and retirement of Kent is scheduled for June 9 at Marine Barracks Washington., Sgt. Ben J. Flores, 4/5/2011 3:00 AM

Commandant announces next Sergeant Major of Marines 

WASHINGTON  — Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos announced the next sergeant major of the Marine Corps April 11. Sgt. Maj. Micheal Barrett, 1st Marine Division’s sergeant major, is set to take charge as the senior enlisted Marine in the Marine Corps. He’s scheduled to succeed Sgt. Maj. Carlton Kent, the current sergeant major of the Marine Corps, during an appointment and relief ceremony, and Kent’s retirement ceremony held at Marine Barracks Washington June 9.
Barrett recently returned from a deployment to Helmand province, Afghanistan, where he served as Regional Command Southwest’s sergeant major.
Amos said Barrett is “the best of the best,” and will continue to serve the Corps as Amos’ senior enlisted advisor.
“Sgt. Maj. Barrett, through his long and distinguished service to our nation, has demonstrated that he is particularly well-suited to serve as my senior enlisted advisor through the challenges ahead,” said Amos.
Barrett enlisted as an infantryman in March 1981. In addition to Afghanistan, his combat deployments include serving in the Persian Gulf War as a sniper with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, and two tours in Iraq as battalion sergeant major of 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.
Kent has served as the sergeant major of the Marine Corps since April 25, 2007. He graduated recruit training March 1976 at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. In his 35 years of service, Kent has led Marines in various billets to include senior drill instructor and battalion drill master at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, chief drill instructor and first sergeant at Naval Aviation Officers Candidate School in Pensacola, Fla., and sergeant major of I Marine Expeditionary Force at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.

K-MAX. No roads? No problem!

UAV friendly fire incident.

A chaotic battlefield.

Unknowns approaching your positions. 

Comm down or spotty.

A tragedy waiting to happen.  I'm not sure of the details but I can imagine the issues leading up to this.  Sadness all the way around. 

Rest in peace guys.

Via ASDNews.

Drone 'friendly fire' kills two US troops: officials

WASHINGTON - A drone missile strike killed a US Marine and a Navy corpsman last week by mistake, in what appeared to be the first instance US troops had been killed in a "friendly fire" incident involving an unmanned aircraft, defense officials said Monday.

The military has launched a probe into the incident, which appeared to stem from confusion on the battlefield in the southern province of Helmand, US officials told AFP.

Fighter jets and combat helicopters are usually called in to provide close air support for coalition troops pinned down by insurgent fire, while drones tend to be used for manhunts targeting Taliban figures.

The strike claimed the lives of Navy Seaman Benjamin Rast, 23, of Niles, Michigan, and Staff Sergeant Jeremy Smith, 26, of Arlington, Texas, officials said.

NBC News, which first reported the incident, said that the two service members were part of a unit ordered in to reinforce Marines coming under heavy fire from insurgents outside Sangin, the scene of fierce fighting for years.

The Marines near Sangin, watching a video feed from the armed Predator drone overhead, saw infrared images moving towards them and may have concluded those "hot spots" were insurgents instead of fellow Marines, NBC reported.

The investigation into last week's incident follows a detailed account in the Los Angeles Times of a February drone strike that went terribly wrong.

In the February strike, US operators of a robotic plane and special operations forces mistakenly thought a convoy of Afghan civilians in vehicles was a Taliban unit moving in.

The strike near a village in Oruzgan province killed 15-16 men, one woman and three children, the US military says, while Afghans believe 23 people died, including two children.

by Stuart Williams
(c) 2011 AFP