military

US OKs selling Japan missiles to shoot down North Korean missiles

The Trump administration has approved a $133.3 million missile defense sale to Japan to meet the escalating threat from North Korea — by shooting down the rogue nation’s own ballistic missiles. The State Department says Congress was notified Tuesday of the proposed sale of four missiles for the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor. A State Department official told Fox News that, “Also included are four Mk 29 missile canisters, and other technical, engineering and logistics support services.” The department said the sale would support the U.S. defense industry and underscore Trump’s commitment to improve the defense of allies threatened by North Korea. The system was jointly developed by Japan and the U.S. The missiles could be used at sea with Japan’s current Aegis-equipped destroyers and with the land-based Aegis system its Cabinet approved for purchase last month. That’s intended to bolster Japan’s current missile defense and perhaps curry favor with President Donald Trump who is eager for U.S. allies to buy more American military hardware. “If concluded, this proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States,” the State Department official told Fox News. “It will bolster the security of a major treaty ally that has been, and continues to be, a force for political stability and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region. It will also improve (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s) interoperability with U.S. missile defense systems, and increase the protection for U.S. installations in the region.”

101st Airborne first test Army’s new M17 pistol made by Sig Sauer: ‘An easy, smooth-firing weapon’

Soldiers from the U.S. Army’s iconic 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, were the first to field the new M17 pistol this week. The era of the Beretta-made M9 for Army leaders is over with the introduction of Sig Sauer’s new Modular Handgun System. A select group of soldiers tested M17s on Monday. Roughly 2,000 pistols were inventoried and inspected prior to the demonstration. “This is another 101st first,” Maj. Gen. Andrew P. Poppas, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) commander said Wednesday. “Our 75-year legacy is full of landmark moments like this. […] It is an easy, smooth-firing weapon.” The M17 pistol and the M18 (a compact alternative) are variants of Sig Sauer’s commercially available P320 pistol. The products are the result of the New Hampshire-based company’s $580 million contract with the Army signed in January. “[M9s are] pretty dated technology,” Lt. Col. Steven Power said of Beretta’s pistol, which was an Army standard sidearm since 1986. “The specific performance improvements from MHS over the M9 include better accuracy, tighter dispersion, and better ergonomics, which combined result in a far more lethal pistol.” An official told Stars and Stripes on Thursday that the Modular Handgun System will be issued to 1st Security Forces Assistance Brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia, along with other units, before the end of the year. The decision to issue the sidearm to team leaders is a first for the service, the newspaper reported.

Congrats to Sig Sauer for another big win, and congrats to the Army for finally dumping the M9, which I’ve had the frustration of jamming on me more than once.  Sig Sauer is a HUGE improvement.  That’s why ALL of my personal sidearms are Sig Sauers.  Excellent!!   🙂

Single U.S. airstrike wipes out 100 terrorists in Somalia

A single American military airstrike killed at least 100 fighters allied with the Somali-based terror group al-Shabab, the Pentagon revealed Tuesday, adding to an escalating body count as the Trump administration ramps up its counterterrorism campaign in the West African nation. U.S. forces working with the Somalian government on Tuesday confirmed an American sortie against a suspected al-Shabab camp ended with more than 100 fighters dead. The strike, which took place 125 miles west of the Somali capital of Mogadishu, was the largest casualty count racked up by U.S. warplanes operating in Somalia this month. And the Pentagon said the up-tempo pace will not fade quickly. “U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats” working with the African Union and Somali federal forces, the U.S. Africa Command said in a statement shortly after Tuesday’s strike. Reached by the Reuters news service, al-Shabab spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab denied the attack. “It is just … propaganda,” he said. But Somalia’s state news agency SONNA reported late on Tuesday that “about 100 militants” had indeed been killed when U.S. planes and Somali commandos attacked al-Shabab bases in the Bur Elay area of Bay region. The attack on the al-Shabab compound was the fifth by American fighters against targets associated with the terror group that has been fighting a deadly insurgent war against the weak Somalian government. Several militants were killed during a pair of initial airstrikes on Nov. 3, while several more died during a Nov. 14 U.S. strike on an al-Shabab target 60 miles northwest of Mogadishu, command officials confirmed at the time. There are currently 500 U.S. military personnel stationed in Somalia, supporting and leading counterterrorism operations in the country, Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning said earlier this month. He declined to comment on the exact number of al-Shabab fighters based in the country, or whether other terror groups like Islamic State were gaining a foothold in the Horn of Africa. In one of its first national security actions, the Trump administration in May ordered an escalation of American-led operations against al-Shabab’s network in Somalia. The order came weeks after Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken was killed in a Navy SEALs raid against a known al-Shabab stronghold in the country. His death was the first U.S. casualty in Somalia since 18 American soldiers were killed during the infamous “Black Hawk Down” incident in 1993. Earlier this month the U.S. warned of a threat to American diplomatic personnel in Mogadishu and directed all nonessential staff to leave the capital. Al-Shabab has lost control of most of Somalia’s cities and towns since it was pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011. But it retains a strong presence in parts of the south and center and carries out terror attacks, Reuters reported.

Score one for the good guys!  Excellent!!    🙂

‘Racist’ Incident That Sparked Air Force Viral ‘Bigotry’ Speech Proven a Hoax

Air Force Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria was quick to react in September to allegations of racism at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. But now the incident that sparked the general’s reaction has been proven a hoax. Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria delivered a video on Facebook that quickly went viral after reports of “racism” on campus. In the video the Gen. addressed his cadets, saying, “If you can’t treat someone from another race or different color skin with dignity and respect, then you need to get out”: According to the Washington Post, the message “Go home,” followed by the N-word, was written in black marker on the message boards of five black cadet candidates. The academy pledged to launch a full investigation into the incident. But now, it appears that the incident was a hoax all along. Investigators found that one of the black students himself had written the “racist” message, the Associated Press reported. The cadet who reportedly admitted to writing the obscene message is no longer at the school. Authorities have declined to say whether he was expelled or if he withdrew of his own volition. Officials have also declined to identify the student. Lt. Gen. Silveria defended his widely seen response video by saying the sentiment was still relevant even though the incident has proven to be a hoax. “Regardless of the circumstances under which those words were written, they were written, and that deserved to be addressed,” the general told the Gazette newspaper. “You can never over-emphasize the need for a culture of dignity and respect — and those who don’t understand those concepts, aren’t welcome here.”

Talk about CYA..   Wow…  The whole thing was a hoax, and yet the Superintendent didn’t walk it back one bit upon learning that.  It’s probably the safe, politically correct, thing to do for someone who probably aspires to get his 4th star.   But, it’s poor leadership.  After all, if you’ve seen the video (if not, click on the text above), he reams his people assuming they were part of this “racist” act.  Come to find out, it never happened!  Instead of being stubborn and sticking to the liberal, pc, talking points, the general should have had a team huddle ..and addressed this latest twist, with a little humility.  Maybe say he’s “grateful” to learn that nobody here was part of anything like that, and that the person who was, has left the school.

 

Military Judge: Fines but No Jail for Deserter Bowe Bergdahl

Bowe Bergdahl will not serve more time behind bars, a military judge has decided eight years after he deserted his platoon in Afghanistan. His desertion, to which he pleaded guilty, and the subsequent search for him that led to the deaths of six soldiers did not result in the 14-year sentence prosecutors requested in the case. The judge also ruled that Bergdahl be dishonorably discharged, that his rank be reduced from sergeant to private, and that he be required to pay a $1,000 fine from his salary for the next ten months, CNN reported. “As everyone knows, he was a captive of the Taliban for nearly five years, and three more years have elapsed while the legal process unfolded,” Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s civilian attorney, said at a press conference after the sentence was handed down. “He has lost nearly a decade of his life.” But in emotional testimony about the course of the trial, others continue to suffer as a result of Bergdahl’s decision in 2009. One witness, Capt. John Billings, Bergdahl’s platoon leader, said the platoon searched for the then-private first class for 19 days, going without food or water, according to CNN. Retired Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer James Hatch testified that he and his dog came under fire while looking for Bergdahl. He was shot in the leg, and his K-9 partner, Remco, was shot in the face and killed, CNN reported. “I thought I was dead,” said Hatch, who now walks with a heavy limp after enduring 18 surgeries. Dr. Charles Morgan, a forensic psychiatrist and professor at the University of New Haven and Yale University, testified that Bergdahl suffered from numerous mental illnesses, including schizotypal personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Capt. Nina Banks, a defense attorney, said that “Sgt. Bergdahl has been punished enough.” “Sgt. Bergdahl paid a bitter price for the choices that he made,” she said. President Donald Trump was not pleased with the outcome of the trial. “The decision on Sergeant Bergdahl is a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military,” Trump tweeted on Friday. Bergdahl returned to the United States after President Barack Obama traded five detainees held at Guantánamo Bay in exchange for his release from the Taliban in 2014, Fox reported. By the next year, a House Armed Services Committee report revealed that the “Taliban Five” had returned to “threatening activities” upon their release to Qatar, where the Taliban run a “political office.”

President Trump is exactly right.  This “IS a complete and total disgrace..”  The sentence dishonors those who put their lives on the line to rescue this piece of garbage.  Yes, he should get a dishonorable discharge, and be reduced in rank to Private.  Agreed.  And yes, he should have received a fine, although $1 is no where near enough.  But, he should have served 15-20 years MINIMUM for what he did.  He deserted his post and gave “aid and comfort” to the enemy for what he did.  This ridiculously offensive sentence (if you can even call it that) will give more “aid and comfort” to the Taliban and other Islmo-fascist organizations, as they’ll use it for their propaganda efforts.  It also sends a very bad signal to those members of our military who might contemplate similar actions; that if you get caught…you won’t do jail time.  That’s a very dangerous precedent that this judge set.  Shame on Army COL Jeffery Nance, the military judge, for this outrageous sentence.  Justice was NOT served here…

U.S. ramps up air war against Islamic State in Yemen as fight subsides in Iraq and Syria

As the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria comes to a close, U.S. military and counterterrorism officials are setting their sights on the group’s growing presence in the war-torn country of Yemen. The number of U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State’s Yemeni faction has increased in the past several weeks as the mission for American drones and warplanes against the group’s bastions elsewhere in the Middle East ramp down. A trio of deadly strikes this month against Islamic State training camps in Yemen marks a refocus by American counterterrorism forces back onto the Gulf state that has been a regular target of U.S. forces battling the al Qaeda faction known as al Qaeda in the Arabic Peninsula, or AQAP, for the past two decades. But strikes in the country this month are the first time Washington has gone after the Islamic State inside Yemen. The uptick in U.S. operations against the Yemeni-based Islamic State cells began in mid-October with an airstrike against a suspected camp in the country’s al Bayda governorate. The strike, which the Pentagon said was critical to “disrupting the organization’s attempts to train new fighters,” was the first such strike specifically targeting Islamic State in the country. On Wednesday, American forces launched a pair of airstrikes against another suspected target in al Bayda, reportedly killing nine jihadis tied to Yemen’s Islamic State factions. All told, American warplanes killed roughly 60 insurgents from the group during all three strikes, said Central Command officials, according to reports. “ISIS has used the ungoverned spaces of Yemen to plot, direct, instigate, resource and recruit for attacks against America and its allies around the world,” Pentagon officials said after the initial Oct. 9 strike, using an acronym for the group. “U.S. forces are supporting ongoing counterterrorism operations in Yemen against ISIS and AQAP to degrade the groups’ ability to coordinate external terror attacks and limit their ability to hold territory seized from the legitimate government of Yemen,” Pentagon officials added. U.S. forces have launched over 100 airstrikes against al Qaeda in Yemen this year, according to figures compiled by the Washington-based think tank the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. The high rate of airstrikes this year under the Trump administration dwarfs the previous high of 46 strikes in 2016 ordered by President Obama.

Ralph Peters: Bergdahl sentencing isn’t about him — It’s about setting an example for any future traitors

The sentence the military judge will impose on Tali-Bowe Bergdahl isn’t about one self-centered deserter. It’s about our national defense. The judge’s decision will decide the state of discipline on battlefields for decades to come. Bergdahl has been charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. He has pleaded guilty to both charges. There are no mitigating circumstances. He must be punished, for his crimes and to make an example of him. Yet, the American left, which has had only two military heroes since 9/11 (Bergdahl and Chelsea Manning), continues to embrace Bergdahl’s very tall tale that he only meant to stroll a dozen or so miles through hostile territory to the next military base so he could report on conditions in his unit—which Bergdahl found unsatisfactory. Based upon the evidence available to this writer, Bergdahl intended to go over to the enemy, whom he had expected to welcome him. Bergdahl will never be commemorated for his judgment or analytical skills. The left, exemplified by former President Obama’s White House celebration for the Bergdahls after he gave up five terrorists and, reportedly, cash for their traitor-son, has never grasped why anyone would join our military—a domain of brutes, illiterates, psychopaths and “deplorables.” But leftists do understand why soldiers would desert or betray our country by revealing our secrets. It matters not in the least to those who believe this country is not worth defending that honorable service members were gravely wounded in the stop-everything-else search for Bergdahl that paralyzed our war effort in Afghanistan. And it certainly doesn’t matter that those who were on the ground and involved in that hunt believe that as many as six of their comrades died looking for a man whom our military knew from the start was a deserter (a four-star general confirmed it to me within 48 hours of Bergdahl’s desertion, but would not say so publicly—a moral coward who, ironically, got his own comeuppance a few years later). All that matters now for the left is that Bergdahl “suffered enough” during his five years under Taliban control. Of course, those wounded because of him will suffer all of their lives. The dead will never return to those they love. But none of that matters. For the left, that military judge must let Bergdahl go free on humanitarian grounds—thus redeeming Obama’s festive Rose Garden welcome for Ma and Pa Taliban. Certainly, one can make the case that Bergdahl was a feckless, self-absorbed loser unsuited to the brotherhood of arms (another phenomenon the left can’t grasp). But this case isn’t about punk psychology, but about overt and treacherous behavior. Nor was Bergdahl some hapless draftee of the sort mythologized from Vietnam. He volunteered to serve in uniform. And the crime he committed, deserting his post in a tactical combat zone, is the second-worst a soldier can perpetrate—the worst being turning your weapon on your comrades. Even had no one been wounded or killed in our efforts to retrieve Bergdahl, he betrayed a fundamental trust and endangered those who counted on him to do his part in their mutual defense. We cannot defend our country with a military in which soldiers decide to walk away because they’ve had a mood swing. One need feel no personal animus toward Bergdahl to recognize that the proper punishment for his misdeeds would be the death penalty (his behavior condemned better men to death). But we no longer punish deserters that way. The heaviest sentence that could be imposed upon Bergdahl is life in prison—to make the point to all those contemplating such crimes in the future that there will be grave penalties. And the judge can choose that sentence in easy conscience..

Agreed…  SGT Bergdahl is a piece of garbage, and a disgrace to the uniform of the U.S. Army.  Life in prison is far too lenient a sentence for what he did.  He SHOULD get the death penalty.  Unfortunately, that’s not even on the table anymore.  To read the rest of this spot-on analysis by retired Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters, click on the text above.