US special forces to help combat drug trafficking in Colombia’s war-torn areas

The United States embassy said Wednesday that American special forces will assist Colombia’s security forces in counter-narcotics operations in war-torn areas prioritized in the peace process.

The so-called Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) will carry out joint missions in what President Ivan Duque calls “Future Zones,” regions historically abandoned by the state and controlled by the FARC until their demobilization in 2017.

Four of these five areas are also major coca growing regions where dissident FARC factions and other illegal armed groups maintain control over the drug trade with increased help of Mexican drug cartel emissaries.

The SFAB mission in Colombia is an opportunity to show our mutual commitment against drug trafficking and support for regional peace, respect for sovereignty and the lasting promise to defend shared ideals and values.

US Southern Command chief Admiral Craig Faller

The SFAB mission of “several months” will begin in June as part of a the “Enhanced Counter Narcotics Operations” carried out throughout the hemisphere “to reduce the flow of illicit drugs, degrade transnational criminal organizations, and increase interoperability with our partner nations and interagency partners,” the US Southern Command said in April.

US President Donald Trump announced these operations early last month as part of what Defense Secretary Mark Esper called a “whole-of-government approach to combating the flow of illicit drugs into the United States and protecting the American people from their scourge.”

The production and export of cocaine in Colombia “kills our farmers, destroys forests, wildlife and contaminates the rivers and seas,” the US embassy quoted Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo as saying.

The SFAB’s of more than 500 soldiers did not exist until 2018 and also meant to bolster US allies dubbed “weak states” by American military scholars.

Colombia, whose state has historically been considered weak, has been struggling to lower cocaine production, partially because its National Army has been bogged down by corruption.

29 May

1416 Gallipoli, Thrace;  The Venetians under Pietro Loredan defeat a much larger Ottoman fleet off the coast of Gallipoli.

1453 Constantinople falls to the Turkish moslem forces under Mehmet II after a siege starting on April 6th and 500 or so years later, inspires a song.
Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That’s nobody’s business but the Turks

1780 Waxhaws South Carolina; British forces under the command of Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton continue attacking Continental troops under the command of Colonel Abraham Buford even after they had already surrendered and laid down their arms, killing 113 and critically wounding all but 53.

1903 Belgrade, Serbia;  In the ‘May Coup‘, Alexander I, King of Serbia, and Queen Draga, are assassinated by the Black Hand,  a group of Serbian Army officers bent on forming an independent unified Slavic nation, thus setting the stage for World War 1, as 11 years later,  Young Bosnia, another Slavic unification group, supported by the Black Hand, assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Heroic Soldier Speaks After Stopping Active Shooter Wednesday.


Suspected burglar fatally shot by homeowner in Everett

EVERETT, Wash. — A suspected burglar was shot dead by a homeowner during an apparent break-in in Everett Thursday morning.

The homeowner called 911 just before 5 a.m. to report shooting someone inside his home along 126th Street Southeast, according to Aaron Snell with Everett Police. Officers arrived to find a critically wounded man in his 30s. Officers and medics attempted to revive the man, but he was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators believe the burglar broke into the home and went into a room containing guns. The homeowner, a man in his 70s, awoke to sounds in his home, confronted the intruder and shot him, Snell said.

“That’s probably what I’d do, too,” said Brad Miller, who lives nearby. “‘Cause I’m a firearms owner. If it happens, I’m ready to do the same thing.”………..

Meet The USAF AR Style Survival Gun – the GAU-5A

While in the skies above, pilots in modern military aircraft often have no shortage of weapons literally at their fingertips, but a pilot who finds himself on the ground behind enemy lines is worse than a bird with clipped wings. During the First and Second World Wars, the best a pilot could have in the way of a personal defense weapon or survival gun was a sidearm. Later, during the early stages of the Cold War, the United States Air Force relied on what were some rather odd survival weapons. Let’s take a look at the various survival rifles over the years, leading up to the GAU-5A.

Survival Guns Over the Years

M4 Survival Rifle

These included the M4 Survival Rifle, a .22 caliber bolt-action rifle that was developed by Harrington & Richardson from their commercial M265 sporting rifle. It featured a sheet metal frame with a telescoping wire buttstock. It was, simply put, “better than nothing,” but it was mainly intended as a survival gun to allow a downed aircrew to forage wild game for food rather than to deal with a hostile enemy.

M4 Survival Rifle - WWII.
Developed after World War II for downed aircrews, the M4 Survival Rifle was better than nothing. But it wouldn’t be a pilot’s first choice when facing an enemy soldier! (Photo: Creative Commons/Public Domain)

M6 Air Crew Survival Weapon

The M6 Air Crew Survival Weapon was another weapon that was developed by the Ithaca Gun Company and the Springfield Armory as rifle/shotgun designed for pilots who flew over the Arctic and other uninhabited areas. Again, it was more for foraging than defending, which prompted the Air Force to explore other options.

M6 Survival Rifle - USAF survival kit.
Developed by the Air Material Command after World War II, the M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon was designed to fit into the standard USAF survival kit. It was issued to pilots flying over the Arctic and other uninhabited regions. (Photo: Creative Commons/Public Domain)

AR-5 and AR-7 Explorer

From that came the AR-5, a bolt action takedown rifle that was still chambered for the .22 Hornet cartridge, and that led to the ArmaLite AR-7 Explorer, a semi-automatic firearm in .22 Long Rifle caliber that was developed by Eugene Stoner. Introduced in 1959 it is still in use today as an aircrew as well as civilian survival gun. While a generally reliable firearm – so much so that it has been adopted around the world, including by the Israeli Air Force — the AR-7 was lacking in stopping power.

AR-5A survival rifle
ArmaLite AR-5 is a lightweight bolt-action takedown rifle chambered for the .22 Hornet cartridge. The USAF adopted it as the MA-1 aircrew survival gun. (Photo: USAF)
AR-7 with magazines
The AR-7 was designed by American firearms designer Eugene Stoner, who is most associated with the development of the ArmaLite AR-15 rifle that was adopted by the US military as the M16. The civilian AR-7’s intended markets today are backpackers and other recreational users as a takedown utility rifle. (Photo: Creative Commons/Public Domain)

GAU-5/A

Hence the Air Force turned to another of Stoner’s designs – namely the AR-15 platform that was adopted by the U.S. military as the M-16. The Air Force had been the first branch of the service to adopt the AR-15. They soon decided to adopt a carbine version with a 10.5-inch barrel and 4-inch flash hider. The Air Force, unlike the Army or Marines, had no naming convention for small arms and simply put the weapon in its aircraft gun category. Thus was born the GAU-5/A. It became the standard issue weapon for Security Police dog handlers and other specialized personnel. GA was meant to denote an automatic gun while U was for “unit” hence: “Gun, Automatic, Unit.”

Where it gets confusing is that the U.S. Army adopted a nearly identical version of the weapon, which Colt –then the sole maker of the CAR-15 line of military firearms – called the XM177E1. Both versions select fire with semi- and full-automatic fire modes and each was officially classified by Colt as submachine guns. This was despite the fact that these still were chambered in the .223 Remington cartridge rather than a pistol cartridge that is typically used in submachine guns

USAF GAU-5A
The original Air Force version of the CAR-15 Submachine Gun without the forward assist. (Photo: Springfield Armory/Public Domain)

GUU-5/P

The Air Force’s GAU-5 was updated as the GUU-5/P, which featured a longer 14.5-inch barrel with a 1-in-12 twist. Otherwise, the firearm kept the modular design that had made the CAR-15s popular with the military.

GUU-5P survival gun
The GAU-5 was upgraded as the GUU-5P for use an anti-personnel weapon. (Photo: USAF/Public Domain)

Model 608 CAR-15 Survival Rifle

During the Vietnam War, the Air Force also developed the Model 608 CAR-15 Survival Rifle, which was meant for use by downed aircrews. This model, which resembled the Colt Commando, also featured a 10-inch barrel. Its modular design allowed it to be broken down into two subassemblies and stowed in a seat pack.

"<yoastmark

GAU-5A

In recent years the Air Force has again considered the benefits of a modular takedown weapon. This has included the GAU-5A. The new version is a modified M-4 carbine, the same type that is currently used by the U.S. Army and United States Marine Corps, as well as Air Force security personnel. This version is a modified “takedown”. It can break into two major pieces for storage within an aircraft that includes the ACES II ejection seat.

GAU-5A survival gun

These new versions were designed by the Air Force Gunsmith Shop, which was first formed in 1958 to repair and refurbish small arms for the Air Force. The crafty Airmen at the Gunsmith Shop have made numerous modifications to the M4. One modification was replacing the standard 14.5-inch barrel with a 12.5-inch to reduce the overall length. This was done in part to ensure that it can fit in the aforementioned ejection seat. That is no ordinary barrel but rather the specialized Cry Havoc Tactical Quick Release Barrel (QRB) kit, which allows the gun to neatly break into two pieces.

Survival rifle: The GAU-5A weighs under seven pounds can be put together in 30 seconds.
The GAU-5A weighs just under seven pounds and can be put together in about 30 seconds. (Photo: USAF)

The weapon weighs less than seven pounds and can be put together in just about 30 seconds. That might still be more time than most pilots would like to spend on the ground in hostile territory. Still, it will give those flyers some much-appreciated firepower.

Unlike the original survival weapons that were primarily only good for foraging, the GAU-5A fires the high-velocity 5.56mm round. So it can take down large game. More importantly, it can take down any enemy soldier who finds a pilot with the unfortunate luck of being shot down.
To date, the Air Force’s Gunsmith Shop has built and shipped out some 2,700 of the new weapons. The cost to develop the system was around $2.6 million. So the GAU-5A price tag is less than $1,000 or what a reasonably decent civilian AR-15 would cost.

 

You don’t have to use a gun to slug a thug.
And any car has all kinds of foot pounds of energy.


Fort Leavenworth soldier saves ‘countless lives’ by ending active shooter situation on bridge
Investigators not yet certain what prompted man to open fire

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — An active-duty soldier at Fort Leavenworth intervened in an active-shooter situation Wednesday morning on Centennial Bridge in Leavenworth, Kansas, and “saved countless lives,” according to police.

Leavenworth Police Chief Patrick Kitchens said they initially received a multiple shots fired call around 11 a.m. from the bridge and believed the case to be road rage. But after further investigation, police found it was an active shooter situation with a suspect randomly firing at vehicles passing by with a handgun and a semi-automatic rifle.

“This was an active shooter with multiple weapons on the bridge, firing at cars with no particular association,” Kitchens said.

At least seven bullets flew through the window of a Ford Taurus. Two other cars were shot. Investigators said a Fort Leavenworth soldier, who was in one of those vehicles, was wounded.

“There was an active-duty soldier assigned to Fort Leavenworth waiting in traffic behind the event who saw the event unfold and determined it was an active shooter,” Kitchens said. “The soldier intervened by striking the shooter with his vehicle, causing him to be critically injured, ending the encounter with the active shooter and likely saving countless lives.”

Kitchens said the suspected shooter is a Platte County, Missouri, resident.

“There doesn’t appear to be a target,” Kitchens said. “The person was simply, randomly firing at vehicles as they passed by.”

“Me and another patient just heard some sirens and I was like, ‘Wow. That’s awful close,'” said April Steinke, of Nextcare Urgent Care.

Steinke said she was impressed by the soldier’s quick thinking.

“That’s a hero to me,” she said.

Prior to the shooting, the Kansas Department of Transportation had closed one lane on the bridge for road work. Investigators are not sure yet what motivated the man to target random people. Detectives are looking into the shooter’s history.

Many people are focused on the solider who saved lives.

“I admire him. That was really nice thing that he did. Serves for his country every day,” Steinke said.

At last check, the victim shot was in serious condition. The suspected shooter, who was trapped under a car, was in serious condition. Authorities said both are stable and being treated at Kansas City hospitals.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is tracing the guns to see if they were purchased legally.

27 May

1940 Dunkirk France, British and Allied forces begin Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Dunkirk

1941 North Atlantic Ocean; The German battleship Bismarck is sunk by British naval and air forces.

1942 Doris “Dorie” Miller, the first black man to be so, was awarded the Navy Cross for deeds at Pearl Harbor during the 7 December attacks.
On 19 January, 2020, the Navy announced that CVN-81, a Gerald R. Ford Class aircraft carrier, would be named after him.

1942 Prague Czechoslovakia; Czech resistance fighters nearly botch Operation Anthropoid, the assassination of Nazi Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich, but do manage to mortally wound him. He finally dies on 4 June.

This Historic Colt 1911 Pistol Carried at Iwo Jima Is About to Go Up for Auction

Marine Sgt. Arthur J. Kiely Jr. sits on in a position on Pacific island during World War II, wearing the 1911 Colt .45 automatic pistol.

Rock Island Auction Company will soon be taking bids for the 1911 Colt .45 automatic pistol, and other kit, carried by a decorated Marine combat photographer during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.

Rock Island Auction Company will auction this 1911 Colt .45 automatic pistol, and other kit.

Rock Island Auction Company will auction this pistol belt rig and 1911 Colt .45 automatic pistol.

Rock Island Auction Company will auction “Special Air and Gunnery Target Map” of Iwo Jima.

Following the recent 75th anniversary of Iwo Jima — a brutal battle that stretched from February 19 to March 26, 1945 — the Rock Island, Illinois, auction house will hold its Premier Firearms Auction #79, featuring 2,500 lots of firearms and related items June 5-7.

One of the lots, number 1516, will feature items such as the sidearm, pistol belt rig and rare Iwo Jima battle map that belonged to Marine Sgt. Arthur J. Kiely Jr., who passed away in 2005, according to a recent news release from the auction company.

Kiely joined the Marine Corps in 1943 and served as a combat photographer, taking pictures under heavy enemy fire on island engagements such as Iwo, the release states.

Kiely’s Colt 1911 was originally shipped to the Marine Corps in 1917 and features “85% of its original blue finish showing a mixed brown and gray patina on the grip straps and trigger guard, bright edge wear, and mild spotting and handling marks overall,” according to the auction’s website.

The pistol’s refinished grips have some “dents and tool marks on the screws” and the “modified, refinished replacement trigger sticks a bit,” the website states.

Pictured: Syrian-Born College Student, 20, Who Was Shot Dead as He Carried Out ‘Terrorist-Related’ Attack at Texas Naval Base and Had ‘Previously Voiced Support on Social Media for Hardline Islamic Clerics’

This undated handout photo provided by Del Mar College, Texas, shows Adam Alsahli's image for his student identification card. Alsahli, 20, is the suspect killed in an attack at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas

 

This undated handout photo provided by Del Mar College, Texas, shows Adam Alsahli’s image for his student identification card. Alsahli, 20, is the suspect killed in an attack at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas

The suspect who was shot dead as he carried out Thursday’s ‘terrorism-related’ attack on a Texas naval air base has been identified by the FBI as a 20-year-old Syrian-born college student.

According to investigators, Adam Salim Alsahli opened fire at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi in an attack that wounded one sailor, a member of the base security force, but no one other than the assailant was killed.

A group that monitors online activity of jihadists has since claimed that Alsahli voiced support for hardline Islamic clerics on social media prior to the thwarted attack.

Oppressors Beware

23 May 1994

Medal Of Honor

Citation

Master Sergeant Ivan Gordon, United States Army, distinguished himself by actions above and beyond the call of duty on 3 October 1993, while serving as Sniper Team Leader, United States Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia. Master Sergeant Gordon’s sniper team provided precision fires from the lead helicopter during an assault and at two helicopter crash sites, while subjected to intense automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade fires. When Master Sergeant Gordon learned that ground forces were not immediately available to secure the second crash site, he and another sniper unhesitatingly volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded personnel, despite being well aware of the growing number of enemy personnel closing in on the site. After his third request to be inserted, Master Sergeant Gordon received permission to perform his volunteer mission. When debris and enemy ground fires at the site caused them to abort the first attempt, Master Sergeant Gordon was inserted one hundred meters south of the crash site. Equipped with only his sniper rifle and a pistol, Master Sergeant Gordon and his fellow sniper, while under intense small arms fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. Master Sergeant Gordon immediately pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position. Master Sergeant Gordon used his long range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers until he depleted his ammunition. Master Sergeant Gordon then went back to the wreckage, recovering some of the crew’s weapons and ammunition. Despite the fact that he was critically low on ammunition, he provided some of it to the dazed pilot and then radioed for help. Master Sergeant Gordon continued to travel the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. After his team member was fatally wounded and his own rifle ammunition exhausted, Master Sergeant Gordon returned to the wreckage, recovering a rifle with the last five rounds of ammunition and gave it to the pilot with the words, “good luck.” Then, armed only with his pistol, Master Sergeant Gordon continued to fight until he was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot’s life. Master Sergeant Gordon’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest standards of military service and reflect great credit upon him, his unit and the United States Army.


Citation

Sergeant First Class Randall Shughart, United States Army, distinguished himself by actions above and beyond the call of duty on 3 October 1993, while serving as a Sniper Team Member, United States Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia. Sergeant First Class Shughart provided precision sniper fires from the lead helicopter during an assault on a building and at two helicopter crash sites, while subjected to intense automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade fires. While providing critical suppressive fires at the second crash site, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader learned that ground forces were not immediately available to secure the site. Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader unhesitatingly volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded personnel, despite being well aware of the growing number of enemy personnel closing in on the site. After their third request to be inserted, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader received permission to perform this volunteer mission. When debris and enemy ground fires at the site caused them to abort the first attempt, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader were inserted one hundred meters south of the crash site. Equipped with only his sniper rifle and a pistol, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader, while under intense fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. Sergeant First Class Shughart pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position. Sergeant First Class Shughart used his long range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers while traveling the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. Sergeant First Class Shughart continued his protective fire until he depleted his ammunition and was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot’s life. Sergeant First Class Shughart’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest standards of military service and reflect great credit upon him-self, his unit and the United States Army.

Naval Air Station Corpus Christi says active shooter has been ‘neutralized’; all gates remain closed
A shooter at the base’s North Gate early Thursday caused a lockdown

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi officials confirmed to 3News that the base was placed on lockdown Thursday morning due to an active shooter situation at their North Gate.

The shots broke out at around 6:15 a.m., prompting the lockdown of both entrances to the base. By around 7:30 a.m. officials had reported that the shooter was neutralized.

Officials said one security forces member was injured in the shooting. The extent of their injuries is unclear at this time

In veiled warning to Iran, U.S. tells Gulf mariners to stay clear of its warships

Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) vessels conducted unsafe and unprofessional actions against the guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG-60) in April---U.S. NAVY

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In an alert that appeared aimed squarely at Iran, the U.S. Navy issued a warning on Tuesday to mariners in the Gulf to stay 100 meters (yards) away from U.S. warships or risk being “interpreted as a threat and subject to lawful defensive measures.”
The notice to mariners, which was first reported by Reuters, follows U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat last month to fire on any Iranian ships that harass Navy vessels.

“Armed vessels approaching within 100 meters of a U.S. naval vessel may be interpreted as a threat,” according to the text of the notice:

HYDROPAC 1478/20(62,63).
ARABIAN SEA.
GULF OF OMAN.
PERSIAN GULF.
DNC 03, DNC 10.
U.S. NAVAL FORCES ARE CONDUCTING ROUTINE
OPERATIONS IN THE REGION WITH A COMMITMENT TO
FREEDOM OF NAVIGATION AND THE FREE FLOW OF
MARITIME COMMERCE. DUE TO RECENT EVENTS, IN
ORDER TO ENHANCE SAFETY, MINIMIZE AMBIGUITY, AND
REDUCE OPPORTUNITIES FOR MISCALCULATION, ALL
VESSELS ARE ADVISED TO MAINTAIN A SAFE DISTANCE
OF AT LEAST 100 METERS FROM U.S. NAVAL VESSELS
IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS/STRAITS. ARMED VESSELS
APPROACHING WITHIN 100 METERS OF A U.S. NAVAL
VESSEL MAY BE INTERPRETED AS A THREAT AND
SUBJECT TO LAWFUL DEFENSIVE MEASURES. MARINERS
ARE REMINDED TO OPERATE IN ACCORDANCE WITH
INTERNATIONAL LAW AND WITH DUE REGARD FOR THE
SAFE NAVIGATION OF OTHER VESSELS. ALL VESSELS
OPERATING IN THE VICINITY OF U.S. NAVAL VESSELS
ARE ADVISED TO CLEARLY COMMUNICATE INTENTIONS,
RESPOND TO QUERIES CONCERNING COURSE AND SPEED,
EXERCISE PRINCIPLES OF PRUDENT SEAMANSHIP AS
REQUIRED UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW, AND REMAIN AT
THE MAXIMUM AVAILABLE DISTANCE FROM U.S. NAVAL
FORCES.//

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the new notice to mariners was not a change in the U.S. military’s rules of engagement.

The Pentagon has stated that Trump’s threat was meant to underscore the Navy’s right to self-defense…….

It follows an incident last month in which 11 Iranian vessels came close to U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Gulf, in what the U.S. military called “dangerous and provocative” behavior.

At one point, the Iranian vessels came within 10 yards (9 meters) of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Maui, the U.S. military said.

Trump’s threat followed that incident, which Tehran, in turn, said was the fault of the United States………..

 

8 May

1886 Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia, begins offering a bubbly beverage called Coca-Cola, a patent medicine said to ease ailments such as dyspepsia, headache, impotence, and morphine addiction.

1945 VE DAY. “The German High Command will at once issue orders to all German military, naval and air authorities and to all forces under German control to cease active operations at 23.01 hours Central European time on 8 May 1945…”  German Instrument of Surrender, Article 2

Special Operations Community Embraces ‘Wildcat’ Calibers

One phenomenon that has emerged from the U.S. special operations community over the last 10 to 12 years involves exploration and acquisition of small arms in new ballistic calibers.

Rather than the better known weapon designs in 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm, .50 caliber, and even the U.S. Army’s emerging 6.8 mm Next Generation Squad Weapon, the community has embraced calibers like the .300 AAC (Advanced Armament Corporation) Blackout (.300 BLK), 6.5 Creedmoor, .300 PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge), and both .300 and .338 Norma Magnum.

Often created as so-called “wildcat” rounds, prior to their broader acceptance and expanded production availability, these new caliber cartridges each provide a staggering array of design and performance specifics, experts said.

Recent requests for information released by U.S. Special Operations Command have identified specific command interest in a compact personal defense weapon chambered in .300 BLK.

“We’re dealing in whole different types of mission sets,” explained C.J. Dugan, vice president of business development at Maxim Defense, which has developed its own personal defense weapon designs. “The old way was, if you were doing ‘low vis’ close target reconnaissance or protection, you really only had an MP5 [9×19 mm Parabellum], which is hard to deal with these days because of parts. The only other answers you had were a pistol or a Mk18 [M4A1 (5.56×45 mm NATO) with a Close Quarters Battle Receiver variant with 10.3-inch barrel]. So trying to deal with a weapon system that would give you the right combination of distance and accuracy, and then trying to maneuver in a civilian vehicle with either only a pistol or ‘a 10.3,’ which you then had to keep out of sight, and then deal with and try to react to something, you kind of had limited expectations.”

Crediting the early development work done by Advanced Armament Corp., Dugan offered a general description of the .300 BLK design, which included “taking a 5.56 [mm] case and necking it out to a .30 cal projectile, but utilizing pistol powder inside of that, which gives you a lot of muzzle velocities that you were losing in a short barrel with a rifle round.

“In my opinion, that was the genesis of why the 300 Blackout became popular in the SOF community,” he said. “Because now, with the 300 Blackout — a .30 cal projectile loaded in a 5.56 case and burning pistol powder — you’re now getting 2,000 feet per second out of a five-and-a-half-inch gun.”

“Take a PDW for what it is — a personal defense weapon,” he summarized. “If you are pulling that thing out, things have gone really bad. … And if I am going to make a decision to engage a threat, I want to make sure that I have the best possibility for the terminal ballistics to eliminate that threat. So I combined all of that and we sat down and worked through a product deal with Fort Scott [Munitions], and I took their projectile and we put a bunch of it through our weapons and optimized different calibers for our weapons, both in the five-and-a-half-[inch barrel] and eight-and-a-half variants.”

In addition to its own PDW designs, Maxim Defense has also introduced an ammunition line and is one of more than two dozen U.S. manufacturers that currently produce a .300 BLK option.

Dugan noted that the Maxim .300 BLK is based in part on the “tumble upon impact” designs of Fort Scott Munitions, which continue to “tumble” at ballistic speeds down to 500 feet per second.

Many of Dugan’s observations were echoed by Lanse Padgett, chief executive officer of PCP Tactical LLC and Gorilla Ammunition Co.

“Gorilla Ammunition was established in 2013, and basically was founded on .300 Blackout,” he said. “We started making .300 Blackout right out of the gate, when it was just coming on the scene.”

The company has recently worked with Northrop Grumman, current operators of the government-owned Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, to manufacture “some Blackout loads for military testing.”

Describing the .300 BLK as “a phenomenal cartridge for engagements inside of 200 yards,” Padgett offered, “It is excellent for [close quarters battle]- type operations — room clearing/house clearing/building/clearing — where you can take a short barrel rifle and have almost the same ballistics as a long barrel rifle. But it makes it so much more maneuverable. And you have a much bigger projectile going at the intended target.

“For instance, the 5.56 round was designed for an M16 that had a 20-inch barrel. But now everyone wants to shoot it out of a 10-inch barrel or an eight-inch barrel and you have lost so much velocity by shaving all those inches off your barrels. So you’re now shooting a projectile that was designed to be shot at a certain velocity at much, much less velocity and you don’t have the same terminal effects that you had. … But with .300 Blackout, you’re able to shoot shorter barrels with more lethality. That’s really where I think you gain the advantage.”

Recent SOCOM requests for proposals have also identified interest in weapon designs chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, with one recent announcement identifying a desire for a lightweight assault machine gun in 6.5 Creedmoor as a possible replacement to the current MK48 assault machine gun chambered in 7.62×51 mm NATO.

Introduced by Hornady Manufacturing Co. around 2007, Padgett said that 6.5 Creedmoor is one of five calibers of polymer cased ammunition currently manufactured by PCP Tactical, along with .50 caliber, .338 Norma Magnum, 7.62×51 mm NATO, “and some work with .260 Remington for the SOF guys.”

It was best to compare the 6.5 Creedmoor to the “traditional” 7.62×51 mm NATO round, he said.

“My ballistician would say this much more eloquently, but basically to get a better ‘ballistic coefficient,’ you want a longer, skinnier projectile,” he explained.

“The 6.5 Creedmoor offers just that in a package that is the same overall length as a .308 (7.62×51 mm) cartridge case. But now you’re getting increased velocity and a better ballistic coefficient, which means you’re going to have increased engagement distance. It’s not going to drop as fast. It’s not going to be affected by wind as much as the traditional 7.62. You’re gaining engagement distance and lethality with the extra benefit that it works in existing 7.62 length chambers. So it’s basically a barrel swap to take existing guns and turn them into 6.5 Creedmoor guns.”

Few programs more clearly reflect the embrace of new calibers better than SOCOM’s acquisitions of bolt-action sniper rifles over the past 10 to 12 years.

An example can be found in its 2009 solicitation for the Precision Sniper Rifle. Planners called for a weapon that could be switched between calibers that would include 7.62×51 mm NATO, .300 Winchester Magnum (Win Mag), and .338 Lapua Magnum. By the time that the subsequent Advanced Sniper Rifle solicitation was released in May of 2018, it specified 7.62×51 mm, .300 Norma Magnum and .338 NM — not the same as .338 Lapua.

It is broadly understood that the .338 NM represents the anti-materiel solution, the .300 NM represents the anti-personnel solution, and the 7.62×51 represents a training option that could also be applied to shorter range urban settings.

In March 2019, Barrett Manufacturing announced that its Multi-Role Adaptive Design system had been selected for the Advanced Sniper Rifle, subsequently designated as the MK22 Mod 0.

The MK22 Mod 0 is one of two Barrett sniper rifles currently being provided to special operations customers. A similar weapon, identified as the “DoD” system, is also being provided to a community element chambered in a Hornady-developed caliber identified as .300 PRC.

“Around November 2016 the Department of Defense issued a procurement for a direct and immediate warfighter capability for the .300 PRC,” said Joel Miller, director of global military sales for Barrett. “It was essentially to provide operators some greater capabilities in stand-off distances and to ensure overmatch.”

Asked about ballistic comparisons between the .300 PRC and the .300 Norma Magnum included on the ASR, Miller deferred to Hornady Manufacturing, which developed the .300 PRC.

According to Neal Emery, senior communications manager for Hornady, all of the other “big 30s” have some type of inherent design issues and the development of the .300 PRC reflected an attempt “to have something that will easily handle the long, heavy, high performance style, .30 caliber bullets with the greatest consistency possible for extended long-range shooting.”

Another long-range projectile that has been embraced by SOCOM over the last few years is the .338 Norma Magnum, with the design of both the .300 NM and .338 NM credited to ballistician Jimmie Sloan in the 2006 to 2007 timeframe.

Community acceptance of the rounds not only contributed to the change in evolution in sniper rifle requirements noted above, but has also been reflected in Special Operations Command — and Marine Corps — interest in belt-fed machine gun designs in .338 NM.

In response, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems has been exhibiting its .338 NW Lightweight Medium Machine Gun design for the last few years.

And in January, SIG Sauer announced the safety certification and delivery of a number of its own new “338 MG” systems for special operations combat evaluations.

According to Jason St. John, director of government products in SIG Sauer’s defense strategies group, both the .338 NM and .338 Lapua reflect a sniper community desire for a flatter trajectory, larger bullet, more wind-resistant long-range capability to extend the battlefield for the sniper.

“The .308 [7.62×51 mm] was limited at about 800 meters; 1,000 to 1,200 meters for .300 Win Mag; and they wanted to push it a little bit further,” he said. “That grew into an extended range capability to have standoff with your enemy from an anti-personnel perspective.”

Noting that the .338 NM design results in a 300-grain projectile traveling at 2,900 feet per second, he credited the cartridge with “a tremendous anti-materiel capability” delivered from a 20-pound package.

“The M2A1 [.50 caliber] is an 80-pound machine gun,” he asserted. “We’re looking at a system that’s 60 pounds lighter and actually combines an anti-materiel solution and anti-personnel solution in one trim package.”

He acknowledged “some challenges” in direct comparisons with a .50 cal that has different specialized projectiles, adding, “However, when you’re looking at something like steel penetration with a .338 compared to steel penetration with a .50 cal, they are comparable at 1,200-plus meters, and in some aspects the .338 is superior in mild steel penetration at comparable distances.”

As noted earlier, the representative samples cited here are not intended to serve as complete ballistic profiles. Rather they are intended to highlight the unique characteristics of special operations missions and some of the ballistic overmatch solutions available to Special Operations Forces.

I’ve been there. You walk around in silence, almost like the power to speak has been taken from you. And although you can walk right up to multiple little mass grave plots marked Graves of Thousands Unknown this was ‘merely’ a concentration camp. Not one of the camps in Poland designed for mass slaughter.

April 29 also marks the 72nd anniversary of Israel’s founding as a nation. Israel was formed on April 29, 1948 exactly three years after the Dachau liberation.


US troops liberated Dachau concentration camp 75 years ago

Seventy-five years ago the U.S. Army liberated Dachau, a concentration camp operated by Nazi Germany during World War II.

On April 29, 1945 the U.S. Army’s 42nd Infantry Division (Rainbow), now a part of the New York Army National Guard, uncovered the concentration camp in the town of Dachau, near Munich Germany. According to a press release by the New York National Guard, the frontline soldiers in the Army unit knew there was a prison camp in the area, but knew few details about the camp’s true nature.

“What the Soldiers discovered next at Dachau left an impression of a lifetime,” the division assistant chaplain (Maj.) Eli Bohnen wrote at the time, according to the release. “Nothing you can put in words would adequately describe what I saw there. The human mind refuses to believe what the eyes see. All the stories of Nazi horrors are underestimated rather than exaggerated.”

The U.S. Army unit uncovered thousands of bodies of men, women and children held in the concentration camp.

“There were over 4,000 bodies, men, women and children in a warehouse in the crematorium,” Lt. Col. Walter Fellenz, commander of the 1st Battalion, 222nd Infantry, said in his report. “There were over 1,000 dead bodies in the barracks within the enclosure.”

Trump says US will ‘destroy’ Iranian gunboats that harass American ships

President Donald Trump warned on Wednesday that the United States would destroy Iranian gunboats that harass American ships at sea.

The threat, which contributed to a recovery in oil prices, came days after the Pentagon claimed that ships from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy took “dangerous and provocative” actions near U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Persian Gulf.

“I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” the president wrote in a post on Twitter.

West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, rose more than than 30% on Wednesday after slumping to historic lows this year as the coronavirus pandemic crushed demand. Iran produced 3% of the world’s oil last year.

Six U.S. military vessels were conducting training operations in international waters last week when 11 Iranian ships “crossed the bows and sterns of the U.S. vessels at extremely close range and high speeds,” according to the April 15 U.S. Navy statement.

At one point, the Iranian ships came within 10 yards of the Coast Guard cutter Maui’s bow.

Fair Winds and Following Seas, Chief.


US Navy identifies aircraft carrier sailor who died of coronavirus

See the source image

The U.S. Navy has now identified the sailor who contracted coronavirus aboard aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and passed away on Monday.

Aviation Ordnanceman Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr., 41, died April 13 at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam after four days in the intensive care unit, the Navy said in a statement on Thursday.

Thacker was admitted to the ICU on April 9, after being found unresponsive that morning. CPR was administered by both fellow sailors and a medical team before the transfer to ICU.

He had tested positive for the virus on March 30, and was removed from the ship after the positive diagnosis. He was placed in quarantine on Naval Base Guam with four other sailors from the ship where he received twice-daily medical checks.

At least 655 sailors aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt have now tested positive for coronavirus as of new reports on Thursday. Six of those sailors are hospitalized, and one is in the ICU.

During an interview with the Today Show on Thursday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that approximately 350 of Roosevelt’s coronavirus cases are asymptomatic, which “has revealed a new dynamic of this virus.”

Just because this new bug has lots of attention being paid to it, doesn’t mean that everything else simply stopped in place.


AFRICOM kills senior terrorist leader in Somalia as airstrikes intensify

STUTTGART, Germany — A senior al-Shabab leader who played a key role in plotting deadly attacks throughout East Africa has been killed in an airstrike in Somalia, U.S. Africa Command said Tuesday.

Yusuf Jiis was one of three al-Shabab members killed in the April 2 airstrike, AFRICOM said. The strike was one of a flurry of attacks in Somalia in recent days.

Jiis was “violent, ruthless, and responsible for the loss of many innocent lives,” AFRICOM commander Gen. Stephen Townsend said in a statement. “His removal makes Somalia and neighboring countries safer.”

AFRICOM has launched six airstrikes in Somalia since April 2, including one on Monday in which five terrorists were killed, it said.

AFRICOM said no civilians were killed in Monday’s strike on Jilib, around 230 miles south of the capital, Mogadishu, but it is investigating reports that allege there were civilian casualties.

“As with any allegation of civilian casualties U.S. Africa Command receives and reviews any information it has about the incident, including any relevant information provided by third parties,” it said.

AFRICOM announced last week that it will begin issuing quarterly reports on the outcomes of its investigations into civilian casualty claims as a way to boost transparency.

This is due to the diplomatic policy of using liberal Port Visits & Liberty Calls to ‘show the flag’ as well as provide economic support to foreign nations; Our ships don’t just sit in a port for a few days, a lot of ‘supply’ business is conducted and the sailors on Liberty go out on the town to spend their pay. QED, they pick up the local ‘flavor’.

Now we have the core of a whole Carrier Strike Group –1 of only 8 currently fully operational – out of action. Pretty good military attrition for a bug that more than few say was let loose from a Chinese gubbermint biolab.


Aircraft carrier captain pleads for help after more than 100 crew are infected with coronavirus.

WASHINGTON — The captain of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier that has more than 100 cases of coronavirus wrote a stunning plea for help to senior military officials.

In a four-page letter, first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Capt. Brett Crozier of the USS Theodore Roosevelt described a disastrous situation unfolding aboard the warship, a temporary home to more than 4,000 crew members.

“We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors,” Crozier wrote. “The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating.”

He proposed offloading the majority of the crew, quarantining those infected, testing others for the virus and professionally cleaning the ship. He explained in his letter that by keeping the crew on the vessel the Pentagon was taking “an unnecessary risk” that “breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care.”

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.