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We have the DOD FY18 budget briefs

In brief (pardon the pun) no 600 ship Navy or million-man Army any under these budgets, which, of course, still have to run the gauntlet. On the bright side, the A-10 gets to stay.

Army Budget Director Maj. Gen. Thomas Horlander briefs Pentagon reporters on the president’s fiscal year 2018 defense budget proposal, May 23, 2017.

Air Force Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget Maj. Gen. James Martin Jr. briefs Pentagon reporters on the president’s fiscal year 2018 defense budget proposal, May 23, 2017.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget Rear Adm. Brian Luther briefs Pentagon reporters on the president’s fiscal year 2018 proposal May 23, 2017.

The ‘Pineapple’ is no more

A source close to the family of Manuel Noriega says the former Panamanian dictator has died at age 83. The onetime U.S. ally was ousted as Panama’s dictator by an American invasion in 1989 and spent years in prison in several countries.

Operation Just Cause resulted in the death of 26 U.S. troops and more than 325 wounded. PDF casualties were estimated at about 235 military and wildly divergent (200-3,000) figured when it comes to civilian casualties.

A Panama Defence Force patch for the 7th Infantry Co. the “Macho de monte” mountain man unit which, along with Battallion 2000 were considered the elite of Noriega’s forces. Currently on display at the USAF Armament Museum (Photo by Chris Eger)

“Jump Into Night, Torrijos Airport by Al Sprague Panama, 1989” The operation used 27,000 U.S. active, reserve and National Guard troops and included combat parachute jumps, Delta operations to rescue high-value personnel, and extensive use of Naval Special Operations to hobble the PDF.

Troops on the ground in Just Cause, note the extra M203 rounds

U.S. Army M-113 near the destroyed Panamanian Defense Force Headquarters Operation Just Cause, 21 December 1989

mRAC and cheese for mines anyone?

Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock is using what they term a Mine Warfare Rapid Assessment Capability (mRAC) demonstrator which “is a man-portable threat detection and localization system that utilizes an ultra-sensitive magnetometer sensor package to afford operators the ability to conduct an exploratory wide area search more efficiently.”

Or, put in a more basic description: a quadcopter with a magnetometer array linked to an iPad, which is pretty cool. They bill it as working the 0-40 foot surf/littoral area.

Above video shows it in use at the Ship-to-Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation (S2ME2) Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) 2017 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.

2dMARDIV’s Gunner goes show and tell on suppressors

The 2nd Marine Division’s Gunner explains what’s up when it comes to the effectiveness of suppressors in an effort to dispell some myths.

The Marines have been spending a lot more quiet time with their suppressors lately and CW5 Christian P. Wade in the above video tackles some misconceptions about how they operate as part of the 2nd Marine Division’s “Ask the Gunner” segment on the unit’s social media page.

Wade uses a 10.5-inch barreled Mk18 just to rub it in that he is the Division Gunner and fires it unsuppressed through a chronograph, then adds a can and repeats the process with the same ammo.

“So, as you can see, you don’t suffer a defective range or lethality, or accuracy penalty by having a suppressor on your weapon,” says Wade after the results are in. “What we covered today was the principle question of putting a suppressor on your weapon and what that does to your capability. It increases your capability. And if nothing else, I want you to walk away with that. It doesn’t slow your bullets down, you literally have to use subsonic ammunition to lose that range and lethality capability. And we’re not doing that to it.”

End the end, he closes out with a forecast that could be good news to those in the Marines who would like to keep their new cans.

“Suppressors are a good thing, it increases your lethality, it makes you harder to kill, and you’re gonna get one here pretty soon,” says Wade.

Bonus for the cantaloupe takedown cutaway with the Magpul D60, btw.

King Kong and Khe Sanh, 50 years ago

A U.S. Marine shows a message written on the back of his flak vest at the Khe Sanh combat base in Vietnam on Feb. 21, 1968 during the Vietnam War. The quote reads, “Caution: Being a Marine in Khe Sanh may be hazardous to your health.” Khe Sanh had been subject to increased rocket and artillery attacks from the North Vietnamese troops in the area. (AP Photo/Rick Merron)

Michael B. Taft, an ironworker and dairy farmer, was an infantryman in A Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines from 1966 to 1967. He spent some time in a place called Khe Sanh. He tells his story in a gripping account at the NY Times entitled “A Patrol Called King Kong”

Astride the old French colonial Route 9 and just six miles east of Laos, the Khe Sanh Special Forces base sat on a plateau in a valley, deep within the Annamite Mountains. Immediately north of the plateau and hundreds of feet below, the spectacular, fast-moving Quang Tri River had cut a deep gorge on its way to the South China Sea at Dong Ha. To the west sat a mass of 3,000-foot hills, both an extraordinary spectacular beauty and a forbidding terrain of dense, triple-canopy forest growing in laterite soil. It would also soon be the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting of the war.

More here


Two unidentified Marines pose for a portrait in Manila, circa 1901. From the James B. Manion Collection (COLL/86) in the Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections.

Note the Krag-Jorgensen rifles in .30-40 Springfield and the 45-round Mills-style cartridge belts. While the Navy and Marines of the time predominantly used 6mm Lee rifles (until the 1903 Springfield was adopted) there was also widespread use by the sea services of the Army’s Krags and images of Devils and Bluejackets with Krags in Cuba in 1898, the PI in the 1900s and the relief of Peking in the Boxer rebellion all exist as do Krags with Navy acceptance marks.

According to a post over at the Krag collector’s forum, the Navy was still buying Krags from the Army as late as 1911, using them for training in WWI, and still had ammo on the shelf for them as late as the 1960s.

40+ years of GI M16 mags detailed in about 17 minutes

Black rifle expert Chris Bartocci convenes class on the evolutionary process of GI 30-round M16 magazines from Vietnam to today.

Going back to the old black-follower mags and moving through the new blue-follower EP mag, touching on everything in between, Bartocci breaks down the reason for changes to the feed lip angles and the body itself, and points at the ammunition-based reasons for each.

It’s a scholarly look and you don’t get any wackiness or Tannerite explosions in the 17-minute clip, but if you are curious about the what, when and why there are so many GI mags and followers out there, this is worth your time.


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