U.S. Army

82nd Airborne Division’s Immediate Response Force Headed to D.C. amid Riots

The Pentagon has ordered the 82nd Airborne Division’s Immediate Response Force to deploy to the D.C.-area amid rioting across the nation, according to multiple sources on background. The force is the same one that deployed earlier this year to quell violent Iran-backed protests in Iraq. Sources told Breitbart News earlier on Monday that the forces were preparing their gear to deploy, but Pentagon officials would not confirm. A source also told Breitbart News that the 16th Military Police Brigade from Fort Bragg was also headed to D.C. The deployments to D.C. comes after rioters looted stores, defaced national monuments, and burned a historic church a block from the White House. Trump during a press conference on Monday announced he was dispatching military units in response to the riots. “My first and highest duty as president is to defend our great country and the American people. I swore an oath to uphold the laws of our nation, and that is exactly what I will do,” he said. “As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily-armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults and the wanton destruction of property,” he added. Trump also spoke to governors earlier during a conference call in which he urged them to show strength and take back the streets from rioters. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), an Army veteran who is close to the Trump administration, said Monday morning that “anarchy, rioting, and looting needs to end tonight,” and suggested sending active duty forces. He added: “And, if necessary, the 10th Mountain, 82nd Airborne, 1st Cav, 3rd Infantry — whatever it takes to restore order. No quarter for insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters, and looters.” Trump had responded with: “100% Correct. Thank you Tom!”

Sounds like help is on the way!  Stay tuned…

Army to test prototype COVID-19 vaccine on humans in September, after mice trials

Army scientists plan to start testing new COVID-19 vaccines on humans as soon as this coming September if small animals — such as mice now being tested — succeed in developing antibodies after receiving a new prototype vaccine. “The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research has now produced three vaccine types, with the Army planning to select one to move forward to initial clinical testing in humans,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told reporters April 16, according to a Pentagon transcript. Candidates for human testing are slated to arrive as soon as June of this year, once a vaccine prototype is determined to be safe for human experimentation, Terry Welch, strategic communications director, Walter Reed Institute of Research, told Warrior. With safety and effectiveness as defining requirements for use of new vaccine prototypes in humans, Army developers seeking to fast-track the project explain that formal approval for a new vaccine is still likely as far as a year away. However, Welch did say that there are some instances where preliminary FDA approval can be expedited for “emergency use,” depending upon need and established safety parameters. One reason it can take many months to solidify or formally approve an effective vaccine is due to the complexity associated with what scientists call the “adaptive immune system.” Developing antibody defenses against specific pathogens can be a complex and challenging medical process, according to a 2011 essay in the “Journal of Infectious Global Diseases” called the “Fundamentals of Vaccine Immunology.” As opposed to the body’s more general resistance, called the “innate immune system,” an adaptive immune response is “specific to the particular pathogenic agent.” Therefore, an innate system, the article explains, consists of protective measures described as a “first-line defense” such as intact skin and mucous membranes that “prevent the entrance of many microorganisms,” the essay states. Other elements of an innate system include things like inflammation or elevated body temperatures caused by a fever able to further stop or fight off pathogens and toxins. However, these biological methods used by the so-described “innate immune system” do not enable an immune response to “improve its reaction with each repeated exposure to the same pathogenic agent,” the essay explains. This is where the adaptive immune system comes in, as it consists of blood proteins called antibodies and T-cells able to fight-off, target or defend against a specific pathogen. While an adaptive immune response takes longer to develop, it “has a memory which means that the adaptive immune system will respond more rapidly to a particular pathogen with each successive exposure,” the essay states. These biological phenomena described in the essay explain why there is so much discussion now about “antibodies” specific to COVID-19; a vaccine exposes the body to low levels of a pathogen to help the body develop the “antibodies” needed to destroy it, as referred to by Welch. COVID-19 immunity is, not surprisingly, capturing the attention of many experts at the moment who are vigorously working to better understand the virus. Interestingly, one ICU doctor now treating COVID-19 in Northern Virginia said one treatment being explored involves taking blood plasma from recovered coronavirus patients and injecting them into sick or infected patients — to give them the antibodies and, in effect, pass on an immunity.

Army researchers at Fort Detrick who helped discover Ebola treatment seek coronavirus vaccine

Army researchers at Fort Detrick are fast at work growing batches of COVID-19 to help test treatment options and eventually find a coronavirus vaccine. “They take some of the virus and put it onto cells,” Dr. Kathleen Gibson, a core laboratory services division chief at the U.S. Army’s Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases [USAMRIID], explained through a triple-glass window as Army researchers wearing protective gear worked with the deadly virus. “They look for the virus that will actually kill portions of the cells and they’ll count those killed portions.” These are the same army scientists who helped develop vaccines for anthrax, the plague and Ebola. Now, they have been working double shifts growing large amounts of the COVID-19 virus at this sprawling lab complex. “We have more capacity to run more studies at the same time,” Col. E. Darrin Cox, the commander of USAMRIID, explained. “We can be running things in parallel rather than having to do things sequentially, and that’s helped speed up the process of the science.” Fort Detrick has one of the country’s few labs with biosafety level 4-specialized equipment, allowing researchers to work on the most deadly viruses. It’s taken two weeks to grow a lot of COVID-19. Fort Detrick received its first vial of the virus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] a month ago. Its scientists have started the genetic sequencing of the virus, using machines capable of fast, large-scale drug testing as well. “We have a large capacity to be able to test a very large number of products. Most other places don’t have that infrastructure to be able to develop or test as many products at a time,” according to Dr. John Dye, the USAMRIID viral immunology chief. “There are at least eight different companies that are developing vaccines that all can be assessed looking for safety in humans… Having multiple shots on goal is our best chance of being able to basically battle this virus.” Army researchers have shot compounds such as chloroquine into vials of COVID-19 to see how it’s reacted. “We can test about 300 drugs or compounds in each plate,” Dr. Sheli Radoshitzky said. “We add the compounds using this robotic system and then we transfer the plates into bio-containment where we add the virus.” Since 1969, this warren of Army research labs known as USAMRIID has served as the Defense Department’s lead laboratory for medical biological defense research. It has worked with biotech firms such as Gilead to discover drugs including Remdesivir — an antiviral to fight Ebola — which may work on COVID-19. USAMRIID has worked with the CDC, National Institutes of Health [NIH] and private drug companies to bring these drugs to market. This past December, a vaccine for Ebola produced in conjunction with Merck received its license, a key step in Food and Drug Administration [FDA] approval. It was several years in the making, but these Army labs found the key particle that led to the discovery Men and women in these hallways were some of the first boots on the ground during the first Ebola outbreak. The Army scientists working with COVID-19 have used level 3 gear because the virus is less lethal than Ebola, but still highly contagious.

Major kudos to the men and women at Fort Detrick, MD for literally putting their lives on the line every day searching for a vaccine for this Wuhan virus.  We can all take comfort in knowing these folks are the best in the world at what they do, and they WILL find a cure.  It’s just a matter of when.  For more on this story, click on the text above.

Army Corps of Engineers Working with 18 States to Surge Hospital Space

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is helping New York turn existing facilities into hospital space to help the state address an expected influx of patients seeking treatment for coronavirus. “We’re talking about over 10,000 [hospital rooms] that we are looking at right now,” Chief of the Army Corps of Engineers Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite told reporters on Friday at the Pentagon. While the Army Corps of Engineers does not actually build projects itself, its engineers make assessments on projects that are needed and work with private contractors to build them. “We got money from FEMA to go into buildings on Tuesday night. We did the Javits Center yesterday, and we were into some of the SUNY schools yesterday,” he said. “Today, my engineers were walking through 10 other buildings — five of those are hotel-like capabilities, and five of those are open spaces,” he said. The agency is currently working with at least 18 states to expand available hospital bed space to address potential shortages. A recent USA Today study said that in the worst case scenario — if everyone who gets ill requires hospitalization — the civilian hospital system would have 5.7 patients for every bed. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday the state predicts that as many as 110,000 people will need beds in 45 days, when the state currently has 53,000 beds. Semonite said his agency is looking at turning hotels, college dormitories, and large spaces into temporary healthcare facilities. “We cut a contract to be able to have the state set up a lease with that particular facility…and we would go in and turn this into an ICU-like facility,” he said. He said there are four phases to converting an existing space to a medical facility: First, a state has to nominate facilities in prioritized order. Second, the Army Corps of Engineers, working with private contractors, has to come in and modify those facilities. Third, supplies need to be placed there. Fourth, the state needs to staff it. “Think of the second floor of a standard hotel. The rooms would be like a hotel room, and then we would build nurses’ stations in the halls, we would have all of the equipment, wireless going into the nurses’ stations,” he said. Every room would have to have negative air pressure, and doors outfitted with plastic with zippers on them. “It’s a relatively simple process,” Semonite said. He acknowledged time is of the essence, with most governors predicting a peak somewhere around the middle of April. He said the agency is dealing with the states with the biggest demand first. “We’re looking very hard at California, the state of Washington, we’ve already been in New Jersey,” he said. “We’re really looking at where’s the biggest demand, so we go to those states first.” He said the Army Corps of Engineers is designing a standard contract so that states can work with private industry directly. He continued: ” If states want to do this on their own and contract by themselves, we’re giving you something that is an [Health and Human Services]-validated concept and you don’t have to wait on the Corps of Engineers. You can do this independently, even to the point where you can go back and be able to try to secure that money through FEMA. So this goes back to where we need everybody going full-bore to be able to figure out: Where is that bed space capacity delta there and then how can everybody pull together to make this happen?” “President Trump said yesterday on TV, you know, when things get going tough in America, everybody rallies,” he said. “We need our engineering contractors to be able to step up, the hotel industry to be able to step up.”

Yes we do.  Kudos to LTG Semonite and the rest of his very capable team at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for stepping up like this.  Normally, they handle things like building our nation’s bridges, damns, and so on.  And, while this isn’t typically within their wheelhouse, it’s something they’re definitely able to tackle and we have every confidence they’ll do a great job.

Army struggles to reach Generation Z, tries recruiting at e-Sports events

Generation Z is proving to be a tough nut to crack for the U.S. Army. Recruiters are racking their minds for ways to convince Americans born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s to sign on the dotted line. The situation is so challenging that they are turning to e-Sports video game tournaments. “It is incredible, the amount of coverage that you get and the amount of the Z Gens that are watching these games,” Gen. Frank Muth, the head of Army Recruiting Command, recently told NPR. The move (coming after the Army fell short of its 76,500 recruitment goal by 6,500 people last fiscal year) is part of a broader strategy requiring recruiters to leverage social media platforms such as Instagram to reach potential troops. “Calling the Z generation on the phone doesn’t work anymore,” Gen. Muth told NPR’s Leila Fadel. “We’re really giving the power back to our recruiters to go on Twitter, to go on Twitch, to go on Instagram, and use that as a venue to start a dialogue with the Z generation.” The media organization noted that a recent e-Sports event featuring an Army recruiter as an announcer netted 2 million views. “Half [the views] were from people aged 17 to 24,” NPR reported. “Here’s what we’re finding different as we’ve shifted from the millennials to the Z Generation. Z Generation, they do want to be part of something bigger,” the officer added. “They do want to give back. They do want to serve, and they want to get out there and be part of something other than just being about themselves.”

A sign of the times…  Gone are the days where Army recruiters met you at fairs and campuses.  That’s how I was approached back in the day.

US Army by the numbers

The U.S. Army will celebrate its 243rd birthday on June 14, the same day as Flag Day. Here are some important figures and dates for the military branch. 1775: The year the Second Continental Congress established a Continental Army. “George Washington was unanimously elected Commander-In-Chief of the fledgling Army, and he would lead the colonies to victory and independence,” the Army says online. 468,579: The total number of “active duty military personnel” in the Army, according to the Defense Manpower Defense Center (DMDC). Of these, there are ten generals, 50 lieutenant generals, 121 major generals, and 133 brigadier generals. 336,619: The size of the Army National Guard. 190,350: The number of people in the Army Reserve. 69,872: The amount of active duty women (including commissioned officers, enlisted ranks and cadets) in the Army. June 14, 1956: The date the U.S. Army flag “was dedicated and unfurled to the general public,” the Army says on its website. November 11, 1956: The date “The Army Goes Rolling Along” was made the Army’s official song. 7: The number of core Army values. They are loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. 1: The Secretary of the Army, Dr. Mark T. Esper.

Happy Birthday, and a big Army HOOAH to all my brothers and sisters who currently serve, and have served in any of the Army components (i.e. active, Guard, and Reserve)!!  I was honored to have served in all three components.   🙂

 

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!!   🙂