Saturday, February 11, 2012

Scout Swimmers....

Swimming fins?  Check.

Full combat gear?  Check.

Arriving ahead of the assault force?  Check.

So you were doubting me when I said that we have elements of Force Recon/Recon scattered throughout the "conventional" Marine Corps?!  ANGLICO does it like Force...by air and sea and they're a call for fire specialist group...pretty darn useful and a Force mission.  Oh and they can operate behind lines.  Scout Swimmers.  Same.  Radio Recon.  Same.  Scout Snipers.  Without a doubt.  But I digress.  Check out these Marines practicing the skillset.  Oh and someone needs to clean that damn beach!
HAT YAO, Kingdom of Thailand-Marines from Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, scout a beach in advance of the initial wave of the Royal Thai, U.S. bilateral boat raid here Feb. 07. The Marines conducted this training during Exercise Cobra Gold 2012, the 31st iteration of an annual multilateral exercise designed to increase interoperability with participating nations in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl Justin R. Wheeler/released), Cpl. Justin R. Wheeler, 2/8/2012 9:28 A
HAT YAO, Kingdom of Thailand-Marines from Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, advance on a beach during the Royal Thai, U.S. bilateral boat raid here Feb. 07. The Marines conducted this training during Exercise Cobra Gold 2012, the 31st iteration of an annual multilateral exercise designed to increase interoperability with participating nations in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl Justin R. Wheeler/released), Cpl Justin R. Wheeler, 2/8/2012 9:30 AM
HAT YAO, Kingdom of Thailand-Marines from Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, charge a beach and provide security during the Royal Thai, U.S. bilateral boat raid here Feb. 07. The Marines conducted this training during Exercise Cobra Gold 2012, the 31st iteration of an annual multilateral exercise designed to increase interoperability with participating nations in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl Justin R. Wheeler/released), Cpl. Justin R. Wheeler, 2/8/2012 9:31 AM

Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Mar Div does MOUT training.

CAB is doing MOUT training out at Cobra Gold.  I hope 3rd MEF is doing some serious planning.  The Pacific will prove to be a much more complex fighting environment than anything the US has faced in the last 50 years.  Only the fighting in Vietnam will compare.

Why do I say that?

Because you'll see some of the most technologically advanced forces (and I'm not talking about China yet) squared off over the sea, in the jungle and inside some highly populated cities.  Add to it the travesty that is the "total war concept" meaning that WE (the actual fighting units) bring into theater State Dept personnel, Justice Dept personnel, the alphabet soup of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies and mix that up with will probably be restrictive, politically correct, liberal/tying the hands of the warfighter rules of engagement and we're looking at trouble in a handbag.

Oh and did I mention that we're going to be doing this fighting with smaller land, air and sea forces?  Did I forget to mention that if you do it right, jungle and urban warfare are extremely manpower intensive?  Did I remember to mention that jungles and cities are nightmares for one of our remaining areas of superiority...helicopters?

Yeah...I'm very happy that CAB is practicing this skill set.  As a matter of fact the more I think about it the more I think even HQ Navy and Marine Corps finally deserves a pat on the back.  The response to the "ss" flag was spot on and the training evolutions are a direct and positive turn to the future.  Good job.  Now let us roll our sleeves again.
BAN CHAM KREM, Kingdom of Thailand -Sgt. Kyle J. Becker, team leader with Force Reconnaissance Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, conducts professional military education alongside Royal Thai Marines here Feb. 8. Cobra Gold is a recurring multinational and multiservice exercise co-hosted by the Kingdom of Thailand and the U.S. designed to advance regional security by exercising a multinational force from nations sharing common goals and security commitments in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Brandon L. Saunders/released), Sgt. Brandon L. Saunders, 2/8/2012 5:28 AM
BAN CHAM KREM, Kingdom of Thailand-Royal Thai Marines practice weapons handling skills before advancing through the Military Operations on Urban Terrain town at the training area here Feb. 8 during Exercise Cobra Gold 2012. Cobra Gold is a recurring multinational and multiservice exercise co-hosted by the Kingdom of Thailand and the U.S. designed to advance regional security by exercising a multinational force from nations sharing common goals and security commitments in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Brandon L. Saunders/released), Brandon L. Saunders, 2/8/2012 5:30 AM
BAN CHAM KREM, Kingdom of Thailand -Marines attached to Training Platoon, Headquarters and Service Company, Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, clear buildings during Military Operations on Urban Terrain training here Feb. 8. during Exercise Cobra Gold 2012. Cobra Gold is a recurring multinational and multiservice exercise co-hosted by the Kingdom of Thailand and the U.S. designed to advance regional security by exercising a multinational force from nations sharing common goals and security commitments in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Brandon L. Saunders/released), Sgt. Brandon L. Saunders, 2/8/2012 5:35 AM
BAN CHAM KREM, Kingdom of Thailand -Marines attached to Training Platoon, Headquarters and Service Company, Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, clear buildings during Military Operations on Urban Terrain training here Feb. 8. during Exercise Cobra Gold 2012. Cobra Gold is a recurring multinational and multiservice exercise co-hosted by the Kingdom of Thailand and the U.S. designed to advance regional security by exercising a multinational force from nations sharing common goals and security commitments in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Brandon L. Saunders/released), Sgt. Brandon L. Saunders, 2/8/2012 5:36 AM
BAN CHAM KREM, Kingdom of Thailand -Royal Thai Marines practice weapons handling skills before advancing through the Military Operations on Urban Terrain town at the training area here Feb. 8 during Exercise Cobra Gold 2012. Cobra Gold is a recurring multinational and multiservice exercise co-hosted by the Kingdom of Thailand and the U.S. designed to advance regional security by exercising a multinational force from nations sharing common goals and security commitments in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Brandon L. Saunders/released), Sgt. Brandon L. Saunders, 2/8/2012 5:49 AM

LM Havoc, BAE Super AV, Piranha III and MPC contest....quiet before the storm.

Photos courtesy of Mattis via Flickr




Man!  I thought the Canadian TAPV program was operating under the radar.  But compared to the Marine Corps Personnel Carrier competition, the Canadian program is as open to public viewing as the sun is on a cloudless day.

A couple of issues...

1.  A little birdy told me that the revised Request For Proposals was out.  To be precise it came out Tues of this week.
2.  The Iveco Super AV 8x8 (built with BAE) remains a mystery.  I found out that its being developed at the BAE facility in Ontario, CA.  Nothing to be found on either the BAE or Iveco website on this vehicle though.  That's really different from the way that BAE has operated in the past.  They were once the 500 pound gorilla in the room and didn't care who knew what about whatever they were developing.  I take this as an indication of how serious these competitions have become.  Paychecks and jobs are on the line and its no laughing matter.
3.  The Lockheed Martin/Patria Havoc has some fans in the Marine Corps.  The AAV crewmen that got a chance to work up the vehicle in Pendleton are extremely pleased with it.  Full disclosure, I'm a fan of the AMV and the Havoc model seems to build on that success.
4.  Another potential competitor that's missing in action is General Dynamics.  I fully expect them to offer a Piranha model (Stryker lite) but information on what they're working on is also embargoed.  This is the dark horse in the competition in my opinion.  But the Piranha III is in service with the Spanish and Brazilian Marine Corps (just to name two of the customers) and is used in much the same way I see the USMC using it.  Amphibious operations second, troop mobility first.
5.  I still wonder what the game plan is with these vehicles.  Its obvious that they'll probably come into service but does this mean that the Marine Corps has given up on the amphibious tractor?  You just can't beat the mobility that comes with tracks and how do you set up your assault battalions with MPCs?  Correction, more importantly how would they slice out to the MEU's????  Instead of say 40 tracks do you now go out with an even split?  Or do you bias it more to wheels in the desert and tracks in the Pacific?

Regardless, I contacted Paul McCleary (well to be honest I posted a question on his blog about the MPC) and he said...


User Image
Solomon wrote:
ok Paul...help me out. i've been sitting on the fact that the RFP for the Marine Personnel Carrier program is out (the revised version) and can find no funding information on it.

everyone is closed mouth about it. i asked your guy in Italy for info on the Iveco Super AV 8x8 but he never got back.

can you give me a little visibility on that program and whether or not the Super AV is just vapor ware or not?
2/11/2012 4:11 PM CST


User Image
Paul McLeary wrote:
Shhhh. I actually had a conversation about this recently. More very soon.

So I guess we wait and see. My contacts are exhausted...although I will make another run at the Marine Personnel Carrier program office.

24th MEU. They're doing an essential task but it still feels like fire watch!

All photos by Sgt. Richard Blumenstein
Pfc. Joseph Swidarski, a rifleman with Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, holds security on the side of the ship during a Defense of the Amphibious Task Force training exercise, Feb 10. While at sea, Marines and Sailors must be prepared to guard the ship whenever it passes a danger area or when there may be an increased threat to the force. The training exercise was a smaller part of the 24th MEU's Certification Exercise (CERTEX) with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, scheduled Jan. 27 to Feb. 17, which includes a series of missions intended to evaluate and certify the unit for their upcoming deployment.
Lance Cpl. Earl Sproul, a rifleman with Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, holds security during a Defense of the Amphibious Task Force training exercise, Feb 10. While at sea, Marines and Sailors must be prepared to guard the ship whenever it passes a danger area or when there may be an increased threat to the force. The training exercise was a smaller part of the 24th MEU's Certification Exercise (CERTEX) with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, scheduled Jan. 27 to Feb. 17, which includes a series of missions intended to evaluate and certify the unit for their upcoming deployment.

Cpl. Stephen Rockwell, a rifleman with Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and Seaman Ricky Donaldson, an information system technologist with the USS Gunston Hall, hold security on the top of the ship during a Defense of the Amphibious Task Force training exercise, Feb 10. While at sea, Marines and Sailors must be prepared to guard the ship whenever it passes a danger area or when there may be an increased threat to the force. The training exercise was a smaller part of the 24th MEU's Certification Exercise (CERTEX) with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, scheduled Jan. 27 to Feb. 17, which includes a series of missions intended to evaluate and certify the unit for their upcoming deployment.
Lance Cpl. Andrew Vaughn, a rifleman with Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, holds security during a Defense of the Amphibious Task Force training exercise, Feb 10. While at sea, Marines and Sailors must be prepared to guard the ship whenever it passes a danger area or when there may be an increased threat to the force. The training exercise was a smaller part of the 24th MEU's Certification Exercise (CERTEX) with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, scheduled Jan. 27 to Feb. 17, which includes a series of missions intended to evaluate and certify the unit for their upcoming deployment.

Lance Cpl. Neil Lipon and Pfc. Kyler Ramsey, machine gunners with Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit hold security on the ship's flight deck during a Defense of the Amphibious Task Force training exercise, Feb 10. While at sea, Marines and Sailors must be prepared to guard the ship whenever it passes a danger area or when there may be an increased threat to the force. The training exercise was a smaller part of the 24th MEU's Certification Exercise (CERTEX) with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, scheduled Jan. 27 to Feb. 17, which includes a series of missions intended to evaluate and certify the unit for their upcoming deployment.
Lance Cpl. Alex Krieger and Pfc. Jason Otero, machine gunners with Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, hold security during a Defense of the Amphibious Task Force training exercise, Feb 10. While at sea, Marines and Sailors must be prepared to guard the ship whenever it passes a danger area or when there may be an increased threat to the force. The training exercise was a smaller part of the 24th MEU's Certification Exercise (CERTEX) with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, scheduled Jan. 27 to Feb. 17, which includes a series of missions intended to evaluate and certify the unit for their upcoming deployment.
Cpl. Ryan Kretschmer, a machine gunner with Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, holds security during a Defense of the Amphibious Task Force training exercise, Feb 10. While at sea, Marines and Sailors must be prepared to guard the ship whenever it passes a danger area or when there may be an increased threat to the force. The training exercise was a smaller part of the 24th MEU's Certification Exercise (CERTEX) with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, scheduled Jan. 27 to Feb. 17, which includes a series of missions intended to evaluate and certify the unit for their upcoming deployment.

Scout Snipers evolving into a Recon element.

Let me be careful in the way I say this.

It appears that Scout Snipers are evolving into a bit more than originally envisioned.  By that I mean that you're seeing them operate more in platoon strength, you're seeing them taking on missions that were once the sole reserve of Recon, and you see commanders embracing that more and more.

I think its nothing but a positive.  In the story below they're attached to the Assault Battalion but if a little further experimentation takes place and they're allowed to helo or motor or swim in ahead of the assault phase then you already have your replacements for Recon.

And we do sort of anyway.

We have scout swimmers with boat company.

We have UAV's that operate off amphibs.

We have scout snipers.

We have ANGLICO.

We have Radio Recon.

We have an assortment of units inside the MEU that dab at the RECON/Force RECON mission already.  Time to make the jump and let RECON/Force RECON go full time to MARSOC and focus on making the MEU as robust and Special Operations Capable as possible.

More often than not our forces will be either at the location of an incident or able to arrive before SOCOM can gather its bags.  Time to put the SOC back into the MEU.

It is that bias for action which makes Guzman and the rest of the SSP (Scout Sniper Platoon) such an invaluable resource.
“They act as our reconnaissance and surveillance asset whenever we are to assault an objective,” said 1st Lt. Scott Whipple, AAV commander with Co. B., BLT 1/4, 31st MEU. “If we’re coming onto an unknown beach area, they’re absolutely vital to our mission success, being the ones to scout out the area and relay valuable info back to us. If not for them, a big portion of an operation would be a guessing game.”

31st MEU raid pics @ Cobra Gold.


F-35. Still even, maybe ahead.

via Reuters.

* Italian defense minister to outline cuts to lawmakers Wednesday
* Italy to cut order to 100 from 131 -newspaper
By Steve Scherer
ROME, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Italy seems certain to scale back its major investment in Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, heightening uncertainty over the troubled stealth jet's future.
Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paola has said repeatedly since January that the country's originally planned order of the 131 supersonic warplanes by 2018 was being "reviewed" because military spending cuts were necessary as part of Prime Minister Mario Monti's austerity plan to shore up public accounts.
General Claudio Debertolis, secretary general of the Defence Ministry and the country's armaments chief, confirmed to lawmakers on Tuesday that cuts were expected.
"There will be a revision of this Joint Strike Fighter programme to align it with disposable resources," he said.
Italy will ask for about 30 fewer planes, Corriere della Sera daily reported on Friday, without citing its source. Panorama magazine gave the same number on Jan. 18.
Government sources and lawmakers told Reuters that it was premature to say how many of the F-35 fighters Italy will order because of uncertainty over the version of the aircraft designed for short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL).
This version is supposed to replace ageing Harrier jets on Italy's new hi-tech Cavour aircraft carrier.
No big deal at all.

First they're gonna buy the full sum of F-35B's to be operated off the Cavour...

Second, between the plus up by Turkey (they're buying 120 total F-35's) and Japan coming onboard, along with S. Korea (probably) and Singapore (almost assuredly) then you have a program that is still ahead.

The USMC is all in, the USAF (maybe at the expense of current fighter squadrons) is all in and I really think the USN is just suffering from undue caution due to a lingering hang over from the A-12 fiasco but will also climb aboard eventually.

Long story short.  31 fewer airplanes from the Italians is no big deal.

Modest proposal. SOCOM acquires retired A-10's.


The USAF is retiring a batch of A-10's.

SOCOM needs robust air support.

My modest proposal?  SOCOM takes on a squadron or two of A-10's!

If SOCOM is going to take back missions it once performed (training foreign troops for example), if they're going to be used in lieu of conventional forces (meaning that they will take on missions once reserved for conventionals) then perhaps they need a squadron of dedicated close air support.

Not the ineffectual support provided by UAVs but the robust support provided by A-10's.  The A-10 can provide air support, escort of the helicopters and can provide eyes on target with the latest upgraded model.

This is really a no brainer.  SOCOM would be better served by the A-10 than with a A-29.

The 31st MEU supports Thai allies in mechanized raid



Seems like they've moved past the civics projects and are getting to the training aspects.  Different subject but I'm curious.  Do Marines rate Humanitarian medals because of those projects?