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Happy Turkey Day from Da Nang to Bagram

Official caption: TURKEY TIME—Lance Corporal Walter R. Billetdeoux (Johnstown, PA) takes a healthy bite from a turkey leg on Thanksgiving Day in Vietnam. Sitting in a foxhole on the front lines, just outside of Da Nang, the combat-clad Marine is enjoying his first hot meal in more than two weeks. LCpl Billetdeoux is a member of L Company, 3d Battalion, 9th Marines.

3m-1-142-65, III MAF, Da Nang, Vietnam, 26 Nov 1965, Photo By: Sgt W. Weih. Defense Dept Photo (Marine Corps) A186195

The more things change:

 

The 8mm Mauser AK

Apparently along the Afghan/Paki frontier, among the cottage industry of local gunsmiths who craft anything the market could want, AK variants chambered in 8mm Mauser are a thing.

Boom:

(Photo: Silah Report)

Via The Silah Report:

The AK can be had in various calibers from gun manufacturers and gun shops but this large caliber round is a mystery, why did the gunsmiths choose this round? The simple answer as with most questions is this; the 7.92 × 57 mm Mauser cartridge isn’t regulated like its 7.62 × 51 mm NATO counterpart, which is in use by the Pakistani military, and there were large stockpiles of the ammunition available when this rechambering was conceptualized.

Just wait till Century finds out about this…

More after the jump 

The Shok Valley sounds like a nice place to never go

U.S. Army Master Sgt. Matthew Williams was presented with the Medal of Honor at the White House on Wednesday. Williams earned the award for his actions in Shok Valley, Afghanistan, on April 6, 2008, while a weapons guy on an SF A-team, Operational Detachment Alpha 3336.

“It was kind of quiet, then all of a sudden everything exploded all at once – machine gun fire, some RPGs started going off. [The insurgents] had some pretty good shooters and a lot of people up there waiting for us.”

Originally recognized with the Silver Star, which was ugraded in September, he is still on active duty.

I’ve got work to do but…

…I just blew 30 minutes watching Cat Shit One, based on the comic written by Motofumi Kobayashi, although they updated the original’s Vietnam LRRP team to a more Sandboxy setting.

It’s actually pretty entertaining, in a Peter Rabbit, Tank Killer kinda way.

Retiring the Colours

“The Royal Fusiliers marching through the City of London in 1916” At the time, the Regimental Colour carried honours for “Namur, 1695,” “Martinique, 1809,” “Talavera,” “Busaco,” “Albuhera,” “Badajoz,” “Salamanca,” “Vittoria,” “Pyrenees,” “Orthes,” “Toulouse,” “Peninsula,” “Alma,” “Inkerman,” “Sevastopol,” “Kandahar, 1880,” “Afghanistan, 1879-80,” “Relief of Ladysmith,” “South Africa, 1899-1902.” Plate by Ernest Eggersun, via Regimental Nicknames and Traditions of the British Army 5th ed. London Gale & Polden. 1916

Today’s Royal Regiment of Fusiliers is a fairly new unit, only formed in 1968. However, it was amalgamated from at least four previous regiments (20th Foot/The Lancashire Fusiliers, 5th Foot/Northumberland Fusiliers, 7th Foot/The Royal Fusiliers/City of London Regiment, and 6th Foot/Royal Warwickshire Regiment) which dated back to as far as 1674.

The current colours Royal Regiment Of Fusiliers carry more than 40 honors from past campaigns, presented to the units in the Regiment’s lineage. (All photos: British Army)

Recently, the long-retired colours of the 2nd Battalion (carried in the Second Anglo-Afghan War 1880) and later 10th Battalion of the old Royal Fusiliers, having deteriorated to a point where dignified preservation was apparently no longer an option, were honorably burned and buried in the Royal Fusiliers Garden of Remembrance.

Moving forward, 3 October will be known in the Regiment as “Afghanistan Day” honoring the chain from 1880 to today, when the modern unit has been active in the same region, although with a different mission.

“The vibrant colours of the current Standards and Colours laid on the high altar in the church with the Royal Fusilier Victoria Crosses contrast sharply with the burnt remains of the Colours buried today. In the moving ceremony, enacted for the first time by the Regiment of Fusiliers, there is time to reflect on the bravery and service of the officers and men who have served through the Regiment’s history. The final, formal burial of old Colours which have decayed over the decades is still a rare event in modern-day soldiering.” noted the Army on Thursday.

Prowlin’ no more

Before they merged with Northrop in 1994, the old-school Grumman Corporation fielded some of the most iconic military– and specifically carrier– aircraft ever made in the 20th Century.

We are talking the F4F Wildcat (which the Brits used as the Martlet, their most common naval fighter of WWII), the Zero-busting F6F Hellcat, the briefly-loved F7F Tigercat, the F8F Bearcat (which the French continued to fly in Indochina and Algeria well into the jet age), the F9F Panther, F11 Tiger, and, of course, the F-14 Tomcat– last of the “cats.”

They just didn’t make fighters. They also produced the Cold War ASW king S-2 Tracker and the Yankee Station bomb truck that was the A-6 Intruder.

Sadly, all of the above have long since faded from the fleet. Other than a few ragtag IRIAF F-14s and some Taiwanese and Latin American S-2s, they aren’t even in the service of Third World countries.

And last week, the last armed Grumman combat aircraft used by the U.S. was put to bed.

First flown in 1968, the EA-6 Prowler was an A-6 that had been converted to be an “Electric Intruder” developed for the Marine Corps to replace its 1950s-era EF-10B Skyknights in electronic warfare missions. By 1971, they were flying over Vietnam with VAQ-129 flying from USS America (CV-66). Over the next 48 years, the plane matured and no carrier air boss would leave home without it. Not just an EW jam spreader, it could also target enemy radar sites and surface-to-air missile launchers in SEAD missions with high-speed anti-radiation missiles– more than 200 AGM-78 Standard ARM/AGM-88 HARMs were fired by Prowlers in combat over the years, with the first “Magnum” HARM warshot being against a Libyan SA-5 battery in Operation El Dorado Canyon in 1986.

Later, in Iraq and Afghanistan, they even jammed the cell phone and garage door signals used to trigger IEDs.

No Prowler was ever lost in combat, although they have been in the thick of it over Vietnam, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Serbia, Afghanistan, Grenada and other points of conflict for a five-decade run.

In all, more than 20 Navy and Marine VAQ squadrons took to the sky in the flying jambox although just 170 of the aircraft were produced.

Now, replaced by the EA-18G Growler, the last Prowlers of Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VMAQ) 2, Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, have been put to pasture.

U.S. Marine Corps EA-6B Prowlers assigned to Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VMAQ) 2, fly off the coast of North Carolina, Feb 28, 2019. VMAQ-2 is conducting its last flights prior to their deactivation on March 8, 2019. VMAQ-2 is a subordinate unit to Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Liam D. Higgins)

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Liam D. Higgins)

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Liam D. Higgins)

But Grummans are not totally out of the fleet. The E-2C Hawkeye lingers on.

Further, EA-6B BuNo. 162230/CY-02, part of the Sundown Flight, will be put on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

30 years ago today, the end of Gorbachev’s nightmare and the beginning of everyone else’s

“Goodbye Afghanistan” in Cyrillic, written with AK74 rounds

15 February 1989- The last Soviet combat soldier in Afghanistan, Col.-Gen.Boris Vsevolodovich Gromov of the 40th Guards Army, walked across the Friendship Bridge spanning the Amu-Daria river between that country and what is now Uzbekistan.

The nine-year conflict, which began with the Soviet takeover of the country on Christmas Eve 1979, cost the Motherland 14,453 killed and 264 missing (some of which have later been found alive) of the more than 600,000 that cycled through Afghanistan during the war.

It is estimated that as many as 2 million Afghans on both sides and caught in the crossfire, also perished.

Without Moscow’s support, the Pakistani-Saudi-U.S.-backed Mujahedin quickly swept away the Communist government in Kabul, replacing it after the resulting civil war with the Taliban.

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