[Guazu: The Rescue]These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos
2021-07-08 14:27:45

  MIGHTY TRENDING

  Business Insider

  By Ryan Pickrell

  Posted On April 29, 2020 15:46:59

  

  Mainland China made a video of its fighter jets flying around Taiwan, so Taiwan returned fire with a video of its forces preparing to a repel a Chinese invasion.

  The People’s Liberation Army Air Force released a music video titled “My War Eagles Are Flying Around The Treasured Island” on Feb. 3, 2019. The upbeat video released ahead of the Chinese New Year calls for reunification with Taiwan, a priority for the Chinese military.

  Taiwan has formally protested. “This approach aims at reunifying Taiwan with force and will only have counterproductive results as Taiwanese will find it repulsive and distasteful,” Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council argued in a statement on the matter.

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zyFpYRyOY0

  《我的战鹰绕着宝岛飞》

  www.youtube.com

  In addition to the sharp rebuke, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense released its own video, a 90-second video named “Freedom Isn’t Free” that features clips from 2018’s military exercises.

  “Many men and women serving in the armed forces will miss New Year’s Eve dinners with their families, but they will not be absent from standing on guards to protect the country,” the ministry said in its statement on Facebook.

  “Our resolve to protect every inch of the nation’s territory has never wavered, our constant efforts to strengthen the military’s combat ability has never changed.”

  onstandby24/7

  www.facebook.com

  In an earlier address, Chinese President Xi Jinping refused to rule out the use of force to secure the reunification of Taiwan. Shortly thereafter, a Chinese general warned a top US admiral that “if anyone wants to separate Taiwan from China, the Chinese military will safeguard the national unity at all costs so as to protect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

  The Chinese military regularly conducts so-called “encirclement drills” around Taiwan, a self-ruled democratic territory that Beijing perceives as a renegade province.

  This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

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  MIGHTY HISTORY

  Blake Stilwell

  By Ryan Pickrell

  Posted On July 15, 2020 19:49:12

  

  It’s usually awesome when life imitates art – especially when that art form is an action movie. The good guys usually overcome big odds and the bad guys usually get put away. But cop life doesn’t work out like that sometimes. In the movies, when a cop is just days away from retirement, the audience knows he may not make it. But real life isn’t supposed to be like that.

  Unfortunately for NYPD officer John William Perry, the morning he turned in his retirement papers was Sept. 11, 2001. And he wasn’t about to miss his calling that day.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  John Perry was not your average New York cop. A graduate of NYU Law School, he had an immigration law practice before he ever went to the police academy. He was a linguist who spoke Spanish, Swedish, Russian, and Portuguese, among others. Not bad for anyone, let alone a kid who grew up in Brooklyn with a learning disability. He even joined the New York State Guard and worked as a social worker for troubled kids.

  He was a jack of all trades, beloved by all. He even took a few roles as an extra in NY-based television and film.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  He was appointed to the NYPD in 1993 and was assigned to the 40th Precinct, in the Bronx borough of New York. The morning of September 11, he was off-duty, filing his retirement papers at 1 Police Plaza. In his next career, he wanted to be a medical malpractice lawyer. That’s when someone told him about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. Instead of leaving his badge, he picked it back up.

  He dashed the few blocks to the scene and immediately began assisting other first responders with the rescue operation. Perry was last seen helping a woman out of the South Tower when it fell just before 10 a.m. that day.

  “Apparently John was too slow carrying this woman,” said Arnold Wachtel, Perry’s close friend. “But knowing John, he would never leave that lady unattended. That was just like him to help people.”

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  Some 72 law enforcement officers and 343 FDNY firemen were killed in the 9/11 attacks that morning. John William Perry was the only off-duty NYPD officer who died in the attack. An estimated 25,000 people were saved by those who rushed to their aid, leaving only 2,800 civilians to die at the World Trade Center site. President George W. Bush awarded those killed in the attack the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor. Perry was also posthumously awarded the New York City Police Department’s Medal of Honor.

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  MIGHTY MONEY

  Shannon Corbeil

  By Ryan Pickrell

  Posted On April 29, 2020 15:52:51

  

  Veterans in the cannabis industry have been denied home loans from the Department of Veterans Affairs, prompting a response from Congress.

  When one veteran was denied his home loan benefit, he reached out to Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Massachusetts), who joined with 20 members of Congress in writing to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.

  The lawmakers wanted to know why their constituents were denied loans after citing their income sources as state-legalized cannabis activities.

  “Denying veterans the benefits they’ve earned…is contrary to the intent Congress separately demonstrated in its creation of VA benefit programs,” Clark wrote in her May 23, 2019 letter.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  In the letter, shared with Roll Call, Clark stated, “A substantial number of veterans earn their livelihoods in this industry and, in coming years, that number is likely to further rise. The VA must acknowledge this reality and ensure veterans who work in this sector are able to clearly understand and can equitably access the benefits they’ve earned.”

  She also acknowledged that “the ambiguity under which the cannabis industry operates is unique, and we fully understand the VA’s resulting aversion to legal and financial risk. [However]…in recent years, the Department of Justice has substantially narrowed its prosecutorial priorities in this area, and Congress has taken action to prevent federal interference with the implementation of state cannabis laws.”

  Though Marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug, illegal under federal law, Military.com points out that “thirty-four states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands now have some variation of medical marijuana programs, while a dozen other states allow cannabidiol that is low in tetrahydrocannabinol — or THC, the psychoactive component of pot that makes a user high — for medicinal purposes.”

  U.S. Marine Corps veteran Dan Anglin, CEO of CannAmerica, was also denied a VA home loan due to his work in the cannabis industry — and he’s not afraid to speak out about it.

  Veteran Dan Anglin Denied Home Loans Due to Owning a Cannabis Company

  www.facebook.com

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  MIGHTY CULTURE

  Logan Nye

  By Ryan Pickrell

  Posted On April 29, 2020 15:41:26

  

  For combat medics, success is all about keeping up with formations and providing expert and timely medical care at the point of injury. So it makes sense that their competitions for top bragging rights include everything from administering medical aid and triage to land navigation and calling for fire.

  In fact, an Army-wide Best Medic competition is held annually and has evolved out of the Best Ranger competition. This contest pits 34 two-person teams against one another in a 72-hour competition. During this three-day event, docs are challenged by events like rifle ranges, stress shoots, obstacle courses, a 12-mile ruck march, an urban assault lane, and combat medic lanes.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  U.S. Army Spc. Charles Hines from Charlie Company, 725th Brigade Support Battalion (Airborne), fires an M4 during a stress shoot at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, July 25, 2018.

  (U.S. Air Force photo by Jamal Wilson)

  The medics in the competition are always tested on some sort of basic soldiering skills — rifle marksmanship usually makes the list. In this photo from a competition in Alaska, we get a look at medics competing in stress shoots.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  U.S. Army Pfc. Joshua Rowe from Charlie Company, 725th Brigade Support Battalion (Airborne), jumps up from pushups during a stress shoot July 25, 2018, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

  (U.S. Air Force photo by Jamal Wilson)

  Stress shoots are events wherein a shooter’s body is put under duress by physical exercise — in this case, push-ups — before having to fire their weapons as accurately as possible. The event tests a competitor’s ability to perform as they would in combat where moving around in armor causes accuracy-reducing fatigue.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  Spc. Aaron Tolson of 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, administers an IV to a simulated casualty during a best medic competition in Fort Bragg, N.C., July 26, 2018.

  (U.S. Army photo by Spc. John Lytle)

  Of course, Best Medic competitions still center around medical knowledge and the ability to assess, treat, and transport casualties.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  Pvt. Joshua Rowe from Charlie Company, 725th Brigade Support Battalion (Airborne), administers a nasopharyngeal airway intervention on a dummy patient July 24, 2018 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

  (U.S. Air Force photo by Jamal Wilson)

  The simulated patients are presented with injuries and illnesses common on battlefields as well as injuries that are challenging to diagnose and treat, pushing medics’ skills to the limit.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  Spc. Steven Gildersleeve from Charlie Company, 725th Brigade Support Battalion (Airborne), pulls the quick-release cord from body armor on a simulated casualty July 24, 2018 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

  (U.S. Air Force photo by Jamal Wilson)

  Casualties are often covered in protective gear as they would be in a real fight. This can include everything from MOPP gear, used in chemical, biological, and nuclear environments, to body armors and helmets used nearly everywhere, both in training and combat.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  An Army medic from Charlie Company, 725th Brigade Support Battalion (Airborne), decontaminates himself during a best medic competition July 26, 2018 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

  (U.S. Air Force photo by Jamal Wilson)

  Of course, if you’re testing medics on how to treat patients in a chemical environment, you also have to test their ability to operate in a chemical environment. This means medics must not just ensuring the medic takes the right steps to protect their patient, but they must also make sure to protect themselves properly.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  An Army medic from Charlie Company, 725th Brigade Support Battalion (Airborne), configures a radio during a best medic competition July 26, 2018 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

  (U.S. Air Force photo by Jamal Wilson)

  Other tasks that medics are tested on include radio communications. After all, their patients can’t make it off of the battlefield in a timely manner, let alone within the “Golden Hour” that’s critical to saving lives in combat, if the medics and battlefield leaders can’t get the radios up and call for medevac and fire support.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  Staff Sgt. Miguel Matias assigned to 5th Squadron, 73rd Calvary Regiment, completes the monkey bars during a best medic competition at Fort Bragg, N.C., July 25, 2018.

  (U.S. Army photo by Spc. John Lytle)

  Similarly, the medics have to prove that they can get to the fight and move around on the battlefield like the soldiers they support. To test this, medics are put through a number of obstacles.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  Cpt. Brian Calandra, physical therapist with 15th Brigade Support Battalion, does the low crawl during the obstacle course portion of the 8th Army Best Medic Competition 27-29 September at Camp Casey, South Korea.

  (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Patrick Eakin)

  These obstacle courses can include everything commonly tested during basic training, airborne, and air assault schools, as well hazards from other military competitions, like Best Ranger.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  Staff Sgt. Miguel Matias assigned to 5th Squadron, 73rd Calvary Regiment, climbs over an obstacle during a best medic competition at Fort Bragg, N.C., July 25, 2018.

  (U.S. Army photo by Spc. John Lytle)

  Even better, obstacle courses can be combined with medical training to create the medical equivalent of a stress shoot. Medics capable of serving patients while under fire on the battlefield should be able to treat patients immediately after completing obstacles.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  Spc. Juan Villegas, a combat medic with 1st Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, goes through the log jump portion of the obstacle course during the 8th Army Best Medic Competition 27-29 September at Camp Casey, South Korea.

  (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Patrick Eakin)

  And, of course, the photos look cool. It’s way easier to recruit prospective soldiers into the medical fields when they think they’ll look like a computer wallpaper every once in a while as they do their jobs.

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  MIGHTY TACTICAL

  United States Army

  By Ryan Pickrell

  Posted On April 29, 2020 15:56:23

  

  Less than a week after receiving his new Integrated Head Protective System, or IHPS, the neck mandible saved the soldier’s life in Afghanistan.

  The armor crewman was in the turret manning his weapon when a raucous broke out on the street below. Amidst the shouting, a brick came hurdling toward his turret. It struck the soldier’s neck, but luckily he had his maxillofacial protection connected to his helmet.

  The first issue of this mandible with the IHPS helmet went to an armored unit in Afghanistan a couple months ago, said Lt. Col. Ginger Whitehead, product manager for soldier protective equipment at Program Executive Office Soldier.

  The neck protection was designed specifically for turret gunners to protect them from objects thrown at them, she said. She added most soldiers don’t need and are not issued the mandible that connects to the IHPS Generation I helmet.

  A new Gen II helmet is also now being testing by soldiers, said Col. Stephen Thomas, program manager for soldier protection and individual equipment at PEO Soldier.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  A new generation of Soldier Protection System equipment is displayed during a media roundtable by Program Executive Office Soldier during the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., Oct. 15, 2019.

  (Photo by Gary Sheftick)

  About 150 of the Gen II IHPS helmets were recently issued to soldiers of the 2-1 Infantry for testing at Fort Riley, Kansas. The new helmet is lighter while providing a greater level of protection, Whitehead said. The universal helmet mount eliminates the need for drilling holes for straps and thus better preserves the integrity of the carbon fiber.

  The new helmet is part of an upgraded Soldier Protection System that provides more agility and maneuver capability, is lighter weight, while still providing a higher level of ballistic protection, Thomas said.

  The lighter equipment will “reduce the burden on soldiers” and be a “game-changer” downrange, Thomas said at a PEO Soldier media roundtable Tuesday during the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition.

  It will allow soldiers flexibility to scale up or scale down their personal armor protection depending on the threat and the mission, he said.

  The new soldier Protection System, or SPS, is “an integrated suite of equipment,” Thomas said, that includes different-sized torso plates for a modular scalable vest that comes in eight sizes and a new ballistic combat shirt that has 12 sizes.

  The idea is for the equipment to better fit all sizes of soldiers, he said.

  The ballistic combat shirt for women has a V-notch in the back to accommodate a hair bun, Whitehead said, which will make it more comfortable for many female soldiers.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (center) holds the Ballistic Combat Shirt.

  (US Army)

  The modular scalable vest can be broken down to a sleeveless version with a shortened plate to give an increased range of motion to vehicle drivers and others, she said.

  The new SPS also moves away from protective underwear that “soldiers didn’t like at all” because of the heat and chafe, Whitehead said. Instead the new unisex design of outer armor protects the femoral arteries with less discomfort, she said.

  PEO Soldier has also come out with a new integrated hot-weather clothing uniform, or IHWCU, made of advanced fibers, Thomas said. It’s quick-drying with a mix of 57% nylon and 43% cotton.

  In hot temperatures, the uniform is “no melt, no drip,” he said.

  Two sets of the IHWCU are now being issued to infantry and armor soldiers during initial-entry training, he said, along with two sets of the regular combat uniform.

  The new hot-weather uniform is also now available at clothing sales stores in Hawaii, along with those on Forts Benning, Hood and Bliss, he said. All clothing sales stores should have the new uniform available by February, he added.

  This article originally appeared on United States Army. Follow @USArmy on Twitter.

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  Business Insider

  By Ryan Pickrell

  Posted On April 02, 2018 09:48:01

  

  At a parade touting?Beijing’s massive military might?on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the?People’s Liberation Army, China rolled out it’s newest intercontinental ballistic missile, the DF-31AG.

  Unlike the DF-31 before it, the DF-31AG boasts a range extended to above?6,800 miles, which means that most of the continental US is in range,?according to the Center for International and Strategic Studies.

  Additionally, the DF-31AG can carry multiple nuclear warheads, or even a conventional warhead.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  DF-31AG intercontinental ballistic missile. Screengrab via CCTV.

  As?Zhou Chenming, a military observer based in Beijing,?told the South China Morning Post: “We’re not in the cold war anymore, extremely powerful weapons like nuclear missiles are no longer the mainstream. We’ll still keep our nuclear strength, but when we face some regular threats we don’t need to use nuclear warheads to attack, but will resort to some conventional warheads instead.”

  Another upgrade to the survivability and lethality of the missile comes from the truck that carries it. Like the DF-31, it’s mobile and therefore can evade attacking forces, hide, and fire from surprising locations. But unlike the previous model, the DF-31AG can actually go off road, further complicating any plans to neutralize China’s nuclear might.

  ?

  ?

  ?

  China’s new DF-31AG intercontinental missiles make public debut at military parade in Zhurihe base in Inner Mongolia pic.twitter.com/PaTeQp4TPN

  — People’s Daily,China (@PDChina) July 30, 2017

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  MIGHTY CULTURE

  VAntage Point

  By Ryan Pickrell

  Posted On April 29, 2020 15:56:42

  

  The United States military is a brotherhood and sisterhood like no other. Those who serve together form a common sense of purpose and devotion to duty. It’s a level of trust not commonly found in civilian life. Those military friendships last forever. But as life moves, and when people leave the military, they often lose touch with those friends, some of whom they would have given their life for.

  Tracking down old friends, particularly if you have been out of the service many years, is not always easy. But there is one company that can help. Together We Served (TWS) is a veteran-only website, launched in 2003. It provides veterans a highly-effective means to reconnect with old service-friends by simply entering their service history on their TWS Military Service Page.

  TWS built an individual website for each branch of service and, with over 1.9 million veteran members, the chances of finding people you served with is high.

  The secret behind TWS’s ability to connect more veterans is the depth of its databases. Over the past 16 years, TWS has built one of the most comprehensive databases of U.S. Military training and operating units in existence. Its databases span from WW2 to present day.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  Military Service Page.

  By creating your Military Service Page on Together We Served, you can not only find veterans who went to the same basic training as you, or served in the same units or duty stations, but also those who participated in the same combat or non-combat operations. TWS’s search engine automatically matches the service information you enter on your Military Service Page with the service information on the Military Service Pages of all other TWS members. Those members, whose entries could match yours, get listed on your Service Page. That is what enables you to make contact with those you may know. This powerful feature helps veterans remember forgotten names.

  Finding key people on TWS can be very helpful, especially if you need or can provide witness account to support a potential VA claim.

  Take this opportunity to reconnect with the servicemen and women you shared some of the most important times of your life with. In recognition of your service, Together We Served provides all VA veterans with a FREE one year premium membership, providing unlimited people searches, when you join TWS via the following link:

  Free one-year premium Together We Served membership

  This article originally appeared on VAntage Point. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

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  MIGHTY CULTURE

  Shannon Corbeil

  By Ryan Pickrell

  Posted On September 10, 2019 15:29:49

  

  You’d be hard-pressed to find a combat Marine or Soldier who doesn’t have wear-and-tear injuries from their deployments and training. U.S. Marine veteran Scot Knutson is no different, but it was during his tenure in Explosive Ordinance Disposal where he received his most significant injuries.

  In 2012, blast exposure from IEDs gave Knutson a concussion and traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal stenosis (compression in the spine), and pulmonary edema caused by trauma to the lungs. When he returned home from his deployment in 2013, he was placed on a non-deployment status to heal — and he was given Oxycodone for the pain.

  Like many veterans, Knutson developed an opioid addiction until he was finally hospitalized in 2017 after an overdose.

  He received a 30-day in-patient treatment program followed by a 60-day out-patient program to help detox, but he credits THC and CBD products for helping him remain off narcotics ever since.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  “Start low. Start slow.” That’s the advice Knutson has for anyone looking into medicinal cannabis to help treat pain and PTSD. As a Federal Schedule 1 controlled substance, many doctors are prohibited from recommending CBD or THC to patients.

  As states begin to decriminalize marijuana, more and more people are gaining access to medicinal strains, but anyone who has jumped right in to an edible knows they can be potent.

  When Knutson began his CBD program, he’d been prescribed Ambien for sleep and Prazosin for PTSD-related nightmares. With proper timing and dosage of CBD, along with occasional microdosing of THC, Knutson no longer needed the Ambien for sleep (though the Prazosin, which is non habit-forming and a non-narcotic, continues to help with nightmares, a common side-effect of PTSD).

  There really is a difference between the marijuana trips of 70s and the use of medicinal cannabis today. For Knutson, THC in the form of a liquid deliverable (for example, in a sparkling water) will begin to treat pain in 10 minutes. The same dose (5-10mg) in an edible might take 1-2 hours to provide relief.

  As for vaping or smoking, Knutson avoids them altogether to protect his lungs.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  Knutson Brothers – (Left) Scot, retired Marine and Keef VP of Operations, (Middle) Kelly, co-founder, (Right) Erik, co-founder and CEO.

  Knutson’s transition into a career in the cannabis industry was a slow one. His brother started a cannabis company in 2010 (ironically around the time Knutson was getting his Top Secret clearance background check…) but it wasn’t until after he separated from the Marine Corps in 2014 that he decided to join the industry professionally.

  He now helps lead a thriving and award-winning cannabis company, Keef Brands, which is designed with the health-conscious consumer in mind. Through his company, he’s been able to help place other veterans into jobs and security positions within the industry.

  When I asked how the Department of Veterans Affairs can better accommodate the needs of veterans, Knutson was pretty straight-forward: “Cannabis needs to come out of the shadows and be talked about so there can be education about how to properly use it. It’d be helpful if the VA would be able to talk about it with veterans so they could receive the treatment they need — and also so they can prevent abuse.”

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  MIGHTY TACTICAL

  Military.com

  By Ryan Pickrell

  Posted On February 05, 2020 18:50:38

  

  Retired Gen. James Thurman recently told Army aviation officials they’ve got to “quit apologizing” to the Pentagon and ask for what they need to win the next war.

  “The Air Force doesn’t apologize, the Navy doesn’t apologize, so don’t apologize. You’ve got to go forward and put the bill on the table, and you’ve got to have the analytical data to back it up. That’s what happens in the Pentagon,” he said during a panel discussion last week at the Association of the United States Army’s Hot Topic event on aviation.

  Thurman, who commanded U.S. Forces Korea from 2011 to 2013, made his comments during a discussion on the Army’s effort to track training and readiness against the backdrop of the service’s six-priority modernization effort.

  Future vertical lift is the Army’s third of six modernization priorities. Aviation officials must compete for the same resources advocates of the other priorities — long-range precision fires, the next generation combat vehicle, a mobile network, air and missile defense, and soldier lethality — are vying for if the service is going to field a new armed reconnaissance aircraft and a new long-range assault aircraft by 2028.

  “You’ve got to fight for it … if we don’t modernize this force, we are going to lose the next fight. It’s as simple as that,” Thurman said, warning of the progress potential adversaries are making in battlefield technology. “If you look at what the Russians are doing and what the Chinese are doing, in my mind, the Chinese are number one right now.”

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  The Lockheed-Boeing SB-1 Defiant.

  In addition to modernizing, Army aviation officials say the branch needs to use training resources more effectively to ensure units are at the appropriate readiness levels.

  “I think we do ourselves a disservice anytime we are funded to a certain level and under-execute for multiple reasons,” said Maj. Gen. William Gayler, commander of the Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, Alabama. “If we fly less and we still call ourselves trained, that is doing a disservice to us … because the Army will resource us at a lesser level.”

  Army aviation accounts for 25 percent of the service’s budget for training and sustainment, said retired Lt. Gen. Kevin Mangum, vice president for Army Aviation Programs, Rotary and Mission Systems at Lockheed Martin. But, he said, “aviation is the only branch where the number of [Training and Doctrine Command] seats is limited by budget.”

  “For every other branch, we determine how many seats are required and fund it,” he said. “For aviation, seats are based on funding available.”

  Mangum said he agrees with Thurman’s advice. “Don’t apologize, but we’ve got to use that 25 percent of the Army budget as effectively and efficiently as we can.”

  This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.

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  MIGHTY TRENDING

  Business Insider

  By Ryan Pickrell

  Posted On April 29, 2020 15:42:28

  

  Russia and the Syrian regime warned the US in early September 2018 that they planned to carry out counterterrorism operations near a key US garrison in southeastern Syria known as al-Tanf, where several hundred Marines have been stationed since at least 2016.

  But the US responded with a live-fire exercise, and the Russians backed down.

  In fact, the al-Tanf garrison has long drawn the ire of Moscow, Tehran and the Syrian regime — but all they’ve been able to do is complain about it.

  The US is “gathering the remnants of the Islamic State at this base in order to later send them wage war on the Syrian army,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said in late September 2018, according to Sputnik, a Russian state-owned media outlet.

  “According to satellite and other surveillance data, terrorist squads are stationed [at al-Tanf],” Russian General Valery Gerasimov told Russia’s Pravda in late 2017. “[Terrorists] are effectively training there.”

  Iran’s Press TV also cited Gerasimov’s quote a June 2018 article titled, “US forces training terrorists at 19 camps inside Syria: Russian expert.”

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem

  Without any real evidence, US adversaries have lobbed many rhetorical attacks against the US forces for supposedly harboring or training terrorists at al-Tanf.

  Damascus and Russian state-owned media even claimed in June 2018 that the US was preparing a “false flag” chemical attack “identical to the kind that took place in Douma” at al-Tanf.

  “The U.S. led Coalition is here to defeat ISIS, first and foremost, and that is the objective of the presence in at al-Tanf,” US Army Colonel Sean Ryan, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, told Business Insider in an email.

  “No U.S. troops have trained ISIS and that is just incorrect and misinformation, it is truly amazing some people think that,” Ryan said.

  The US has trained Syrian rebels at al-Tanf, namely a group called Maghawir al Thawra, which “is fairly secular by regional standards and has been at the forefront of the fight against ISIS,” Omar Lamrani, a senior military analyst at Stratfor, told Business Insider.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  Members of Maghawir al Thawra and a US Army soldier repair a water well in an-Tanf.

  But the “claim that the US is training ISIS and like-minded groups at al Tanf is certainly absurd,” Lamrani said.

  “To the Russians and Iranians, almost any group fighting against the Syrian government can be labeled a terrorist group,” Lamrani said.

  So why do Russia, Iran and the Syrian regime care so much about this garrison?

  “I’d say that the primary reasons why Iran cares about it so much is, again, it blocks the Bagdhad-Damascus highway,” Lamrani said, which Tehran uses to transport weapons to Damascus, where the Syrian regime is based.

  “The reason they want the land route is that it’s easier to bring [weapons] across land in greater quantities, and the shipping route is very vulnerable to Israeli interception, and the air route is expensive and often gets hit by Israeli airstrikes,” Lamrani added.

  Moscow, on the other hand, is upset about al-Tanf because “it’s the last area in Syria where the United States is involved with rebels on the ground that are not Syrian Democratic Forces,” Lamrani said.

  The Russians and Syrian regime have “open channels” with the SDF, and want to negotiate — not fight — with them, Lamrani added.

  But Moscow, Tehran and the Syrian regime’s ire might go beyond just styming the flow of weapons to Damascus and training rebels.

  “There’s a history at that garrison at al-Tanf,” Max Markusen, associate director and an associate fellow of the Transnational Threats Project at CSIS, told Business Insider.

  “I think that the Syrian regime, the Russians and Iranians, would see it as a [symbolic] victory if the United States pulled out of there than just sort of tactical level objectives,” Markusen said, adding that there’s much resentment for the US having trained rebels at al-Tanf too.

  But they’re not foolish enough to kinetically force US troops out because “the costs of escalation are too high,” Markusen said.

  So they’re relegated to discrediting the al-Tanf garrison.

  Going forward, “we will continue to see an escalation of rhetoric,” Markusen said, but “I don’t there’s going to be a major outbreak of conflict.”

  This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

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  MIGHTY HISTORY

  Business Insider

  By Ryan Pickrell

  Posted On April 29, 2020 15:53:53

  

  There are all kinds of strange ways to light up a cigarette, from blowtorches to magnifying glasses. But few people on Earth have ever used as bizarre or overkill a method as devised by a Cold War physicist: the explosion of a nuclear bomb.

  On Aug. 18, 2019, a thread from Reddit’s popular “r/TodayILearned” community mentioned the story of how the theoretical physicist Ted Taylor used the blinding flash of an atomic explosion to light a cigarette in 1952.

  Records of “atomic cigarette lighter” events aren’t exactly robust, but it appears Taylor was the first to come up with the idea. That’s according to the author Richard L. Miller, whose 1986 book “Under the Cloud: The Decades of Nuclear Testing” chronicled the event in detail.

  Taylor apparently lit his cigarette during Operation Tumbler-Snapper, which was a series of test blasts orchestrated by the US military at the Nevada Test Site. The operation happened in the throes of the Korean War — a conflict in which President Harry S. Truman considered dropping the bomb (again).

  Operation Tumbler Snapper (1952)

  www.youtube.com

  Government officials code-named the test explosion or shot in question “George” because it was the seventh in a series (and “G” is the seventh letter of the alphabet). Its purpose wasn’t to light up a smoke, of course: Military researchers placed a roughly 3,000-pound nuclear-bomb design, known as the Mark 5, atop a 300-foot-tall tower in part to try out a new blast-triggering technology, according to the Nuclear Weapons Archive.

  The day before the test shot, Taylor apparently found a spare parabolic (cup-shaped) mirror, according to Miller’s book, and set it up in a control building ahead of time. Taylor knew exactly where to place the mirror so that it’d gather light from the test explosion, which would release gobs of thermal energy, and focus it on a particular spot.

  Next, Taylor hung a Pall Mall cigarette on a wire so that its tip would float directly in front of the focused light beam. The arrangement wasn’t too different in principle from holding out a magnifying glass to concentrate sunlight on a piece of paper and light it on fire.

  On June 1, 1952, Taylor and other weapons experts huddled into the bunkerlike control building near Area 3 of the Yucca Flats weapons test basin in Nevada. Then they set off the bomb.

  “In a second or so the concentrated, focused light from the weapon ignited the tip of the cigarette. He had made the world’s first atomic cigarette lighter,” Miller wrote of Taylor’s setup.

  Taylor’s nuclear-age antics likely did not stop with him.

  Martin Pfeiffer, an anthropologist who researches humanity’s relationship with nuclear weapons (and who frequently forces the release of documents related to the bomb), tweeted that a 1955 Department of Defense film appears to show the concept in action.

  About 19 minutes into the half-hour movie, titled “Operation Teapot Military Effects Studies,” a narrator describes how parabolic mirrors were used to concentrate the light-based energy from nuclear explosions on samples of ceramics.

  In the clip, a person’s hand holds the tip of a cigarette in a beam of focused light, causing it to smoke and ignite:

  gfycat.com

  Although this looks like another cigarette being lit by a nuclear weapon, that’s unlikely.

  There’s no blinding flash — a telltale effect of a nuclear explosion — and the length of time the light beam stays on-screen is far too long as well. The person being filmed probably just held out his cigarette for the videographer so as to demonstrate the concept of a parabolic mirror focusing would-be bomb energy.

  Still, it’s not hard to imagine the story of Taylor’s feat spreading among his colleagues over many years and hundreds of above-ground US nuclear test shots. A few others probably tried it themselves.

  In any case, Pfeiffer isn’t enamored by such stunts.

  “Lighting a cigarette with a nuclear weapon … is at least in part an effort of domestication of nuclear weapons through a performance articulating it to a most quotidian act of cigarette lighting,” he tweeted. “It is a form of patting the bomb.”

  That is to say: The act risks trivializing nuclear weapons, which can and have inflicted mass death and destruction. The 1945 US nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, for example, led to approximately 150,000 casualties, and decades of suffering for many who survived the attacks.

  Today, above-ground nuclear testing is mostly banned worldwide, since it can spread radioactive fallout, mess with electronics, be mistaken for an act of war, and more. But US-Russia relations have deteriorated to the point that each nation is racing to develop and test new nuclear armaments.

  The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, or CTBT, endeavors to ban nuclear explosions “by everyone, everywhere: on the Earth’s surface, in the atmosphere, underwater, and underground.” Russia has signed and ratified the treaty, but eight other nations have yet to complete both steps and bring it into effect.

  The US signed on to the CTBT in 1996, but Congress has yet to ratify the nation’s participation in the agreement. There are also nearly15,000 nuclear weapons in existence today, which means the atomic-cigarette-lighter trick could, almost certainly for worse, be tried again.

  This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

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  MIGHTY CULTURE

  VAntage Point

  By Ryan Pickrell

  Posted On June 03, 2020 05:25:18

  

  Graduating with a degree or certification is an important milestone and a huge accomplishment. Right now, though, you may be facing some economic challenges as you look for a job during a time of fierce competition and high unemployment rates.

  Good news: VA is still hiring. New, open positions are posted daily on our career site, www.vacareers.va.gov.

  “VA is always looking for motivated, highly qualified candidates in direct patient care and support positions to help us achieve our mission of providing the very best health care to our nation’s Veterans,” said Darren Sherrard, associate director of recruitment marketing at VA.

  At VA, we support new graduates through tuition reimbursement and loan forgiveness programs, and provide pathways to continue your education if you choose.

  At VA, you don’t have to let student loan debt hold you back. We provide many programs to help you pay off your debt faster, from several types of tuition reimbursement to federal loan forgiveness for those working in the public sector.

  Through the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP), some employees may be eligible for up to ,000 in debt repayment assistance. Be sure to ask about eligibility for SLRP when submitting your application.

  Medical professionals in hard-to-fill direct patient care positions might be able to receive up to 0,000 in student loan repayment through the Education Debt Repayment Program. Check job descriptions to see if positions are eligible.

  Federal jobs, like those at VA, are also eligible for loan forgiveness. After making 120 payments on your loans while employed full time in public service, you could have your remaining debt balance waived.

  Gain marketable skills, valuable training and hands-on work experience through the Pathways Recent Graduates Program. You’ll receive a mentor and a supervisor for dedicated guidance and support, and once you successfully complete the program, you may be eligible to convert to a full-time position.

  We also provide scholarships to some full- and part-time employees who pursue degrees in health care. As a VA employee, you can sign up for general or specialized courses from nearby colleges and universities or broaden your work experience through temporary assignments to other agencies.

  In addition to education support, you’ll receive competitive pay and performance-based salary increases.

  Want to explore another part of the country? We have facilities across the United States and its territories.

  Other perks include:

  Up to 49 days of paid time off each year.

  Paid vacation that accrues right away, unlimited accumulated paid sick leave and 10 paid federal holidays.

  Premium group health insurance effective on the first full pay period after start date.

  A robust federal retirement package.

  Consider making a VA career your first career. Help care for those who have bravely served their nation.

  EXPLORE education support programs at VA.

  LEARN about other benefits of a VA career.

  READ about the hiring process.

  CHOOSE VA careers at www.VAcareers.va.gov.

  This article originally appeared on VAntage Point. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

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  MIGHTY HISTORY

  Blake Stilwell

  By Ryan Pickrell

  Posted On April 29, 2020 16:00:08

  

  If you’re anything like me and had a subscription to Civil War Times Illustrated when you were ten years old, the first time you saw Colonel Sanders (of KFC fame), you probably thought to yourself: “That’s not a colonel! I’ve seen colonels before in Civil War Times Illustrated and they definitely don’t dress like that. What gives?”

  Ten-year-old me wasn’t wrong, but Colonel Harland Sanders was a colonel – a Kentucky Colonel – and the distinction is less about military service and more about service. Specifically to the State of Kentucky.

  These are the China and Taiwan dueling propaganda videos

  Get this man some bourbon.

  The Kentucky Colonels are a voluntary but exclusive philanthropic organization, and the only way to receive a commission as a Kentucky Colonel is to be nominated by the Governor of Kentucky. The Colonels offer grants, scholarships, and more in the form of charitable donations from its membership. The goal is to give back for the betterment of the people of the state while doing the most good with the money they have.

  They enjoy the occasional party now and then too.

  In order to become a Colonel of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, you’ll need first to be nominated to the Governor or the Secretary of State. The Colonels are, after all, designated representatives of the governor of Kentucky and the “aides-de-camp” of the commonwealth’s chief executive. That’s all due to the history of the organization.

  The title of Kentucky Colonel began as a way to bestow respect on elder generations who fought the British in the American Revolution and the War of 1812, as the Kentucky Militias were particularly feared and/or respected by British troops. The governor, Isaac Shelby, personally led Kentucky troops in the War of 1812. When there was no war left to fight, the militias were disbanded – but the governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky still required an aide-de-camp, so he hired one. That was Col. Charles Stewart Todd. After a while, the role of the governor’s aide-de-camp became more ceremonial and, eventually, honorary.

  Nowadays, being designated a Kentucky Colonel still means assisting the governor, but the Colonels exist as envoys of the governor and state, those who preserve Kentucky heritage and history, while improving the lives and living conditions for those who live there. Previous Colonels include boxer Muhammad Ali, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, actress Betty White, Pope Benedict XVI, and the past seven U.S. Presidents, just to name a few.

  So while the uniform and rank may be ceremonial, the duties and expectations of the Kentucky Colonels are very real.

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