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¡¡¡¡On June 1, 1990, the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Chemical Weapons Accord, where both nations agreed to begin the destruction of their sizable reserves of chemical weapons.

¡¡¡¡Under the leadership of President George H.W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the historic treaty called for an 80 percent reduction of their chemical weapon stockpiles under the oversight of inspectors from both countries. The agreement was intended to be the first step towards a global ban and by 1993, 150 other nations joined the superpowers to sign a comprehensive treaty banning chemical weapons.

¡¡¡¡¡°The modern use of chemical weapons began with World War I, when both sides to the conflict used poisonous gas to inflict agonizing suffering and to cause significant battlefield casualties. Such weapons basically consisted of well known commercial chemicals put into standard munitions such as grenades and artillery shells. Chlorine, phosgene (a choking agent) and mustard gas (which inflicts painful burns on the skin) were among the chemicals used. The results were indiscriminate and often devastating. Nearly 100,000 deaths resulted. Since World War I, chemical weapons have caused more than one million casualties globally.¡± ¡ª United Nations

¡¡¡¡In response to the devastating casualties, global entities signed the Geneva Protocol, which prohibited the use of chemical weapons in warfare but did not prohibit countries from creating chemical weapons or building their stockpiles of them. The Chemical Weapons Accord of 1990 was meant to begin to change that fact.

¡¡¡¡In 1993, the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) was opened for signature, banning chemical weapons and requiring their destruction within a specified period of time after entering into force on April 29, 1997. The CWC prohibits developing, producing, acquiring, stockpiling, or retaining chemical weapons; the direct or indirect transfer of chemical weapons; chemical weapons use or military preparation for use; assisting, encouraging, or inducing other states to engage in CWC-prohibited activity; and the use of riot control agents ¡°as a method of warfare.¡±

¡¡¡¡The CWC is open to all nations and currently has 193 states-parties. Israel has signed but has yet to ratify the convention. Three states have neither signed nor ratified the convention (Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan).

¡¡¡¡Featured Image: Presidents George H. W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev sign United States/Soviet Union agreements in the East Room of the White House. June 1, 1990. (Photo Credit: George Bush Presidential Library and Museum)

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¡¡¡¡Times Leader

¡¡¡¡Posted On February 05, 2020 18:58:52

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¡¡¡¡Almost 42 years after the Vietnam War officially ended, veterans of that unpopular campaign in Southeast Asia will finally get some official recognition.

¡¡¡¡Thanks to the efforts of Republican Pennsylvania?Sen. Pat Toomey?and his colleague, Indiana Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly, Congress recently passed the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act, and it is expected to be signed into law by President Donald Trump soon.

¡¡¡¡On March 26, Toomey hosted a conference call with reporters to discuss his legislation.

¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

¡¡¡¡Retired Air Force Gen. Charles Horner was awarded a Silver Star for his service?as a combat pilot flying F-105s in Vietnam. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

¡¡¡¡The Toomey-Donnelly bill also designates March 29 as ¡°National Vietnam War Veterans Day.¡± March 29 marks the anniversary of the day that combat and combat support units withdrew from South Vietnam.

¡¡¡¡The Senate approved the bipartisan bill Feb. 8, and it was approved by the House on March 21. It¡¯s now been on President Trump¡¯s desk since March 23 awaiting his signature.

¡¡¡¡¡°In many cases, Vietnam veterans did not receive the warm welcome they deserved when they came home,¡± Toomey said. ¡°It¡¯s time we put a heartfelt thank you to Vietnam veterans into law.¡±

¡¡¡¡He added that all Americans should be grateful to those who served in Vietnam.

¡¡¡¡Toomey was joined on the call with Harold Redding, a Vietnam veteran from York who came up with the idea for the legislation, and John Biedrzycki, a Vietnam veteran of McKees Rocks and past national commander-in-chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

¡¡¡¡Redding said he worked on getting the legislation passed for 27 months. He thanked Toomey for his efforts in seeing it through.

¡¡¡¡¡°I can¡¯t tell you what this means to me and all Vietnam veterans,¡± Redding said.

¡¡¡¡Biedrzycki said the legislation was long overdue.

¡¡¡¡¡°Every day is Veterans Day,¡± he noted.

¡¡¡¡Toomey said he would like to see more public recognition for Vietnam veterans, such as at civic events. Those veterans should be emphasized in our classroom as well, he believes.

¡¡¡¡¡°Teachers should teach about the Vietnam War,¡± the senator explained. ¡°These were difficult times in our history.¡±

¡¡¡¡In a news release issued by Toomey¡¯s office after the Senate approved the measure, Donnelly said, ¡°This bipartisan bill would help our country honor this generation of veterans who taught us about love of country and service and who deserve to be honored for their selflessness and sacrifice.¡±

¡¡¡¡Here¡¯s what other veterans groups had to say about the legislation:

¡¡¡¡¡ª Steven Ryersbach, past state Commander/AMVETS Department of Pennsylvania: ¡°It¡¯s outstanding that Sen. Toomey is working to support and honor our Vietnam vets. Sen. Toomey¡¯s overall work on behalf of veterans is commendable and we thank Sen. Toomey for all his efforts.¡±

¡¡¡¡¡ª Tom Haberkorn, president of Pennsylvania State Council of Vietnam Veterans of America: ¡± The Pennsylvania State Council of Vietnam Veterans of America supports the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act, which recognizes the service and sacrifice of those who answered our country¡¯s call and served, with honor, in Southeast Asia.¡±

¡¡¡¡¡ª Thomas A. Brown., Pennsylvania VFW State Commander: ¡°All Vietnam War veterans deserve high honor and respect that many of them did not get when they returned home from war. Designating March 29 of each year to say ¡®welcome home¡¯ and ¡®thank you¡¯ to our Vietnam War veterans is a strong signal that America appreciates the service of these special patriots of freedom.¡±

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¡¡¡¡Logan Nye

¡¡¡¡Posted On April 02, 2018 09:38:05

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¡¡¡¡Attack helicopters are fierce predators that go after?enemy troop formations and guard friendlies. Here are the 9 that most effectively prowl the battlefield:

¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

¡¡¡¡Photo: Youtube

¡¡¡¡Capable of operating at high altitude and speed, the two-seater Ka-52 snags the top spot from the usual winner, the Apache. The Alligator¡¯s anti-ship missiles have better range than the?Apache and the helicopter boasts similar armor and air-to-air capability. A one-seat version, the Ka-50, is also lethal.

¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

¡¡¡¡Photo: Crown Copyright/Staff Sgt. Mike Harvey

¡¡¡¡The AH-64 is armed with a lot of?weapons including Hellfire missiles, 70mm rockets, and a 30mm automatic cannon. Its tracks and prioritizes 256 contacts?with?advanced radar and targeting systems. Optional Stinger or Sidewinder missiles turn it into an air-to-air platform.?The newest version, AH-64E?Guardian, is more efficient, faster, and can link to drones.

¡¡¡¡https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8T2lqjCYai0

¡¡¡¡The night-capable version of the Mi-28, the ¡°Havoc¡± carries anti-tank missiles that can pierce a meter of armor. It also has pods for 80mm unguided rockets, five 122mm rockets grenade launchers, 23mm guns, 12.7mm or 7.62mm machine guns, or bombs. It also has a 30mm cannon mounted under its nose.

¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

¡¡¡¡Photo: Wikipedia/bidgee

¡¡¡¡The Tiger minimizes its radar, sound, and infrared signatures to avoid enemy munitions and still has thick?armor, just in case. It carries a 30mm turret, 70mm rockets, air-to-air missiles, and a wide variety of anti-tank missiles as well as countermeasures for incoming missiles .

¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

¡¡¡¡Photo: Youtube

¡¡¡¡The Z-10 has an altitude?ceiling of?nearly 20,000 feet?and carries capable anti-tank missiles,?TY-90 air-to-air missiles, and a 30mm cannon. The Z-10 was originally considered a triumph of the Chinese defense industry, but it was actually designed by Russian manufacturer Kamov, the company behind?the Ka-52 and Ka-50.

¡¡¡¡An upgraded version of the Italian A-129, the T-129 is a Turkish helicopter carrying robust UMTAS anti-tank missiles, rockets, and Stinger missiles. Its cannon is relatively small at 20mm, but it can zip around the battlefield at 150 knots, rivaling the newest Apaches.

¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

¡¡¡¡Photo: Youtube

¡¡¡¡The Mi-24 carries understrength?anti-tank missiles by modern standards, but it¡¯s great against infantry.?Multiple machine guns up to 30mm chew up enemy troops while thick armor grants near-immunity from?ground fire up to .50-cal. It also doubles as a transport, carrying?up to eight infantrymen or four litters.

¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

¡¡¡¡Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Rebekah Adler

¡¡¡¡A heavily?upgraded version of the first attack helicopter, the Viper still has a lot of bite. Hellfire missiles destroy enemy tanks and ships while a 20mm cannon picks off dismounts and light vehicles. Sidewinder missiles allow it to engage enemy air from?a respectable distance.

¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

¡¡¡¡Photo: Youtube

¡¡¡¡The AH-2 is a South African helicopter that uses?a stealthy design, electronic countermeasures, and armor to survive threats on the battlefield. While it¡¯s there, it fires a 20mm cannon, TOW or ZT-6 Mokopa anti-tank missiles, or rockets at its enemies. There are plans for it to gain an air-to-air capability.

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¡¡¡¡Warrior Scout

¡¡¡¡Posted On November 01, 2018 21:05:30

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¡¡¡¡Air Force scientists are working to arm the B-52 with defensive laser weapons able to incinerate attacking air-to-air or air-to-ground missile attack.

¡¡¡¡Offensive and defensive laser weapons for Air Force fighter jets and large cargo aircraft have been in development for several years now. However, the Air Force Research Lab has recently embarked upon a special five-year effort, called the SHIELD program, aimed at creating sufficient on-board power, optics and high-energy lasers able to defend large platforms such as a B-52 bomber, C-130 aircraft or fighter jet.

¡¡¡¡¡°You can take out the target if you put the laser on the attacking weapon for a long enough period of time,¡± Air Force Chief Scientist Greg Zacharias told Scout Warrior in an exclusive interview.

¡¡¡¡Possibly using an externally-mounted POD with sufficient transportable electrical power, the AFRL is already working on experimental demonstrator weapons able to bolt-on to an aircraft, Zacharias added.

¡¡¡¡Given that an external POD would add shapes to the fuselage which would make an aircraft likely to be vulnerable to enemy air defense radar systems, the bolt-on defensive laser would not be expected to work on a stealthy platform, he explained.

¡¡¡¡However, a heavily armed B-52, as a large 1960s-era target, would perhaps best benefit from an ability to defend itself from the air; such a technology would indeed be relevant and potentially useful to the Air Force, as the service is now immersed in a series of high-tech upgrades for the B-52 so that it can continue to serve for decades to come.

¡¡¡¡Defending a B-52 could becoming increasing important in years to come if some kind of reconfigured B-52 is used as the Pentagon¡¯s emerging Arsenal Plane or ¡°flying bomb truck.¡±

¡¡¡¡Lasers use intense heat and light energy to incinerate targets without causing a large explosion, and they operate at very high speeds, giving them a near instantaneous ability to destroy fast-moving targets and defend against incoming enemy attacks, senior Air Force leaders explained.

¡¡¡¡Defensive laser weapons could also be used to jam an attacking missile as well, developers explained.

¡¡¡¡¡°You may not want to destroy the incoming missile but rather throw the laser off course ¨C spoof it,¡± Zacharias said.

¡¡¡¡Also, synchronizing laser weapons with optics technology from a telescope could increase the precision needed to track and destroy fast moving enemy attacks, he said.

¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

¡¡¡¡U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman J.T. Armstrong

¡¡¡¡Another method of increasing laser fire power is to bind fiber optic cables together to, for example, turn a 1 Kilowatt laser into a 10-Kilowatt weapon.

¡¡¡¡¡°Much of the issue with fiber optic lasers is stability and an effort to make lasers larger,¡± he explained.

¡¡¡¡Targeting for the laser could also seek to connect phased array radars and lasers on the same wavelength to further synchronize the weapon.

¡¡¡¡Aircraft-launched?laser?weapons from fighter jets could eventually be engineered for a wide range of potential uses, including?air-to-air?combat, close?air?support, counter-UAS(drone), counter-boat, ground attack and even missile defense, officials said.

¡¡¡¡Low cost is another key advantage of laser weapons, as they can prevent the need for high-cost missiles in many combat scenarios.

¡¡¡¡Air Force Research Laboratory officials have said they plan to have a program of record for air-fired laser weapons in place by 2023.

¡¡¡¡Ground testing of a laser weapon called the High Energy Laser, or HEL, has taken place in the last few years at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The High Energy?Laser test is being conducted by the?Air?Force?Directed Energy Directorate, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico.

¡¡¡¡The first airborne tests are slated to take place by 2021, service officials said.

¡¡¡¡Air Force leaders have said that the service?plans to begin firing?laser?weapons from larger platforms such as C-17s and C-130s until the technological miniaturization efforts can configure the weapon to fire from fighter jets such as an F-15, F-16 or F-35.

¡¡¡¡Air Combat Command has commissioned the Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator Advanced Technology Demonstration which will be focused on developing and integrating a more compact, medium-power laser weapon system onto a fighter-compatible pod for self-defense against ground-to-air and air-to-air weapons, a service statement said.

¡¡¡¡Air Force Special Operations Command is working with both the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Naval Support Facility Dahlgren to examine placing a laser on an AC-130U gunship to provide an offensive capability.

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¡¡¡¡Another advantage of lasers is an ability to use a much more extended magazine for weapons. Instead of flying with six or seven missiles on or in an aircraft, a directed energy weapon system could fire thousands of shots using a single gallon of jet fuel, Air Force experts said.

¡¡¡¡Overall, officials throughout the Department of Defense are optimistic about beam weapons and, more generally, directed-energy technologies.

¡¡¡¡Laser weapons could be used for ballistic missile defense as well. Vice Adm. James Syring, Director of the Missile Defense Agency, said during the 2017 fiscal year budget discussion that ¡°Laser technology maturation is critical for us.¡±

¡¡¡¡And the U.S. Navy also has several developmental programs underway to arm their destroyers and cruisers will possess these systems to help ships fend off drones and missiles.

¡¡¡¡As technology progresses, particularly in the realm of autonomous systems, many wonder if a laser-drone weapon will soon have the ability to find, acquire, track and destroy and enemy target using sensors, targeting and weapons delivery systems ¨C without needing any human intervention.

¡¡¡¡While that technology is fast-developing, if not already here, the Pentagon operates under and established autonomous weapons systems doctrine requiring a ¡°man-in-the-loop¡± when it comes to decisions about the use of lethal force, Zacharias explained.

¡¡¡¡¡°There will always be some connection with human operators at one echelon or another. It may be intermittent, but they will always be part of a team. A lot of that builds on years and years of working automation systems, flight management computers, aircraft and so forth,¡± he said.

¡¡¡¡Although some missile systems, such as the Tomahawk and SM-6 missiles, have sensor and seeker technologies enabling them to autonomously, or semi-autonomously guide themselves toward targets ¨C they require some kind of human supervision. In addition, these scenarios are very different that the use of a large airborne platform or mobile ground robot to independently destroy targets.

¡¡¡¡Click here to view original article from Warrior Scout.

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¡¡¡¡U.S. Air Force

¡¡¡¡Posted On April 02, 2018 09:42:45

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¡¡¡¡This week, nearly 10 years after he was killed in combat operations in Iraq, U.S. forces brought home the remains of F-16 pilot Maj. Troy Gilbert, who died saving the lives of U.S. service members and coalition allies.

¡¡¡¡On Nov. 27, 2006, Gilbert and his wingman were flying back to base when they got the call that an AH-6 Little Bird helicopter had been shot down.? Enemy insurgents had the crew, along with the coalition forces called in to support, outnumbered and pinned down.

¡¡¡¡With little fuel left, the two F-16 pilots changed course and headed to the hotly contested warzone just outside of Taji, Iraq. Due to fuel limitations, the pilots were forced to take turns refueling and providing air support to the troops under fire. By the time Gilbert was able to make his first approach, the calls for support had grown more urgent. Insurgents attacked with truck-mounted heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, small arms fire and mortars.

¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

¡¡¡¡Maj. Troy Gilbert stands beside Gen. Robin Rand, the Air Force Global Strike Command commander, in front of the F-16 Fighting Falcon he was flying Nov. 27, 2006, when he was killed 30 miles southwest of Balad Air Base, Iraq. | Photo courtesy of Gilbert family

¡¡¡¡Gilbert, a friendly Texas Tech graduate dubbed ¡°Trojan¡± by his fellow aviators, acted quickly and aggressively. To avoid causing civilian casualties by dropping the bombs he carried under his wings, he opted for low-altitude strafing passes using his 20-milimeter Gatling gun. Gilbert made his first pass, destroying one truck and dispersing the others which were almost upon the friendly forces 20 miles northwest of Baghdad. Keeping his eye on the enemy targets moving at high speed, he conducted a second pass from an even lower altitude.

¡¡¡¡He continued firing on the enemy forces during a dynamic and difficult flight profile, impacting the ground at high speed on the second pass.? Reports say the crash killed him instantly. However, Al Qaeda insurgents took Gilbert¡¯s body before U.S. forces were able to get to the scene, leading to 10 long years of a family waiting for their husband, father, son and brother to come home.

¡¡¡¡He was survived by his wife Ginger Gilbert Ravella, sons Boston and Greyson, and daughters Isabella, Aspen and Annalise.

¡¡¡¡In a letter to Gilbert¡¯s wife from the Army element commander whose troops the F-16 pilot was supporting that day, the commander wrote that Gilbert saved his unit from ¡°almost certain disaster¡± as insurgents prepared to attack their position with mortars.

¡¡¡¡¡°With no ability to protect ourselves on the desert floor, we most certainly would have sustained heavy casualties,¡± he wrote. ¡°Troy, however, stopped that from happening. His amazing display of bravery and tenacity immediately broke up the enemy formation and caused them to flee in panic. My men and I will never forget the ultimate sacrifice your husband made for me and my men on Nov. 27th, and we will always be in his debt.¡±

¡¡¡¡¡°Major Gilbert¡¯s motivation to succeed saved the lives of the helicopter crew and other coalition ground forces,¡± then-president of the accident investigation board and current Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein said in his safety report.Goldfein saluted as Gilbert¡¯s remains were solemnly carried from the C-17 that brought him home this week.

¡¡¡¡Also on hand was Gen. Robin Rand, Air Force Global Strike Command commander. Rand regarded Gilbert as a friend, first meeting him when he was an F-16 pilot at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, and eventually crossing paths again when Gilbert became his executive officer at Luke. The relationship continued when Gilbert served under Rand¡¯s command in the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Balad Air Base, Iraq in 2006.

¡¡¡¡¡°Troy fought like a tiger in battle that day,¡± Rand said. ¡°No doubt, his actions on Nov. 27, 2006 illustrate greatness, but those actions that day aren¡¯t what made him great. What made him great was his commitment to adhere in every facet of his life to our three treasured core values of integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.¡±

¡¡¡¡Rand recalled how Gilbert spent much of his off-duty time at Balad volunteering in the base hospital or supporting the unit chapel. He said base medics were so overcome by Gilbert¡¯s death that they came to see him, asking if they could name a wing of the hospital after him, and enlisted groups petitioned to have the Balad Air Base chapel annex renamed ¡°Troy¡¯s Place.¡±

¡¡¡¡Following the accident, U.S. forces recovered DNA which provided enough information to positively identify Gilbert. His funeral, with full military honors, followed Dec. 11, 2006 at Arlington National Cemetery. In September 2012, some additional, but very limited, remains were recovered and interred during a second service Dec. 11, 2013.

¡¡¡¡Then, on Aug. 28, an Iraqi tribal leader approached a U.S. military advisor near al Taqaddam, Iraq, and produced what he claimed to be evidence of the remains of a U.S. military pilot who had crashed in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Iraqi said he was a representative of his tribe, which had the remains and the flight gear the pilot was wearing when he went down.

¡¡¡¡The tribal leader turned over the evidence to the U.S. advisor who immediately provided it to U.S. experts for testing at the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. AFMES confirmed the evidence Sept. 7 through DNA testing.

¡¡¡¡With this verification, U.S. military advisors in Iraq reengaged the tribal leader who subsequently turned over the remains, including a U.S. flight suit, flight jacket and parachute harness.

¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

¡¡¡¡An Air Force carry team carries the remains of Maj. Troy Gilbert Oct. 3, 2016, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. | U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Aaron J. Jenne

¡¡¡¡Gilbert¡¯s remains, promptly prepared for return to the U.S. for testing, arrived Oct. 3 at Dover AFB. Airmen at Dover conducted a dignified transfer upon arrival at the base, which was attended by Gilbert¡¯s family, base officials and senior Air Force leaders, to include the Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, Goldfein, Rand, and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody.

¡¡¡¡AFMES confirmed Oct. 4 through dental examination and DNA testing that all remains received were those of Maj. Gilbert. His lost remains had been recovered and fully repatriated.

¡¡¡¡¡°First and foremost I want say God is forever faithful,¡± Gilbert Ravella said. ¡°He was good whether this recovery ever happened or not. But we praise Him, in His infinite mercies, for granting us this miracle after almost 10 years of waiting, hoping and praying.

¡¡¡¡¡°Second, I want to thank not only the brave Special Operations Forces that ultimately found Troy¡¯s body but also each and every single Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine who searched or supported the recovery mission during these last 10 years,¡± she said. ¡°As each of them put on the uniform and gave their best efforts, not fully knowing if they made a difference, I can assure them that they laid the stepping stones which led to this final victory. Justice was served.

¡¡¡¡James also praised the unwavering commitment of those who endeavored to bring the fallen fighter pilot back to U.S. soil.

¡¡¡¡¡°We are grateful to all those within the U.S. military, the U.S. government and beyond who never gave up and worked so hard to help return this American hero home to his final resting place,¡± James said. ¡°As an Air Force, we are absolutely committed to leaving no Airman behind and to honoring the memory of warriors like Maj. Gilbert who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.¡±

¡¡¡¡Goldfein echoed James¡¯ sentiments saying Gilbert represented the best ideals of America¡¯s Airmen.

¡¡¡¡¡°As an Air Force officer, husband and father, Troy Gilbert truly represented what being an Airman is all about,¡± Goldfein said. ¡°He was committed to serving his country, his team and his family in everything he did. On the day he died, he characteristically put service before self when he answered the short-notice call to support coalition ground forces who had come under attack. He put his own safety aside and saved many lives that day.¡±

¡¡¡¡Now, finally, a decade later, Gilbert has returned to the country he so valiantly served. At the request of his family, his remains will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery in the coming months along with the remains originally recovered in 2006 and 2012.

¡¡¡¡¡°The memory of my five children watching their father¡¯s flag-draped transfer case being unloaded from the cargo hold and carried by his brothers-in-arms back to American soil renews my hope for all mankind,¡± said Gilbert Ravella. ¡°Attending the dignified transfer at Dover Monday night was the closest we have been to Troy in 10 years. That was bittersweet.

¡¡¡¡¡°However, the memory of his sacrificial selflessness, his passionate love for Jesus Christ, his devotion to his family and to his beloved country echoed in their footsteps long after the transport vehicle drove him away,¡± she said.? ¡°From the bottom of my heart I want everyone to know how grateful the kids and I have been for your years of prayers. There is no doubt they reached the very ears of God.¡±

¡¡¡¡¡°As our military promised, no one was left behind on the field of battle,¡± Gilbert Ravella said. ¡°Troy is home.¡±

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¡¡¡¡Business Insider

¡¡¡¡Posted On April 02, 2018 09:43:06

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¡¡¡¡The United Kingdom is planning to send 800 troops to the Russian border as tensions between Moscow and the west continue to increase.

¡¡¡¡Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced the news after NATO called on member states to contribute to its biggest military presence on Russian borders since the Cold War.?

¡¡¡¡Relations between Vladmir Putin¡¯s Russia and the west have been frosty since Russia¡¯s annexation of Crimea in 2014?but have worsened in recent months over the role Russia has played in the Syrian civil war.

¡¡¡¡Also read:?Here¡¯s who would win if Russia, China, and America went to war right now

¡¡¡¡Putin¡¯s Russia has gone through a significant transformation since the president¡¯s re-election in 2012. It had the world¡¯s fourth-largest defence budget in 2015, at a cost of $66.4 billion (¡ê46 billion).

¡¡¡¡For that, the state boasts 845,000 troops, 22,550 tanks, and 1,399 combat aircraft.

¡¡¡¡The army is being split into smaller, more dynamic brigades. The focus is on new technologies rather than brute manpower. (For instance, this Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft system is basically a tank with a load of extra cannons sticking out of it.)

¡¡¡¡Here¡¯s a review of some of Russia¡¯s more menacing military machines.

¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

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¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

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¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

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¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

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¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

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¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

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¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

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¡¡¡¡Tomas Hirst contributed to this?report.

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¡¡¡¡Daily Caller News Foundation

¡¡¡¡Posted On November 01, 2018 21:05:17

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¡¡¡¡President Donald Trump¡¯s defense budget includes a proposal to fully?reverse plans to retire?the much-beloved A-10 fighter jet, according to documents released Tuesday.

¡¡¡¡While the final budget will by no means be identical with the president¡¯s proposed budget, the new documents Tuesday indicate the president places a strong priority on keeping A-10 fighter jets in the game, which will come as good news to ground troops who often rely on the jet for close-air support.

¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

¡¡¡¡Photo: US Air Force Airman 1st Class Jonathan Snyder

¡¡¡¡The budget overview states that ¡°this budget fully funds the entire fleet of 283 A-10 Thunderbolt IIs. Fleet strategy and viability will be assessed as the Air Force determines a long term strategy.¡±

¡¡¡¡While the A-10 was supposed to slowly be sidelined beginning in fiscal year 2018?on paper, it appears the budget is proposing the exact opposite, though during the close of the Obama administration, then-Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James said in October that the service is thinking about keeping the A-10 around for a longer period of time.

¡¡¡¡The A-10 has seen extensive use in Iraq and Syria to fight against Islamic State militants, and the fighter jet has turned out to be so useful that the Air Force put out a $2 billion contract to replace the fleet¡¯s wings.

¡¡¡¡Today in military history: US and Soviets sign pact to destroy chemical weapons

¡¡¡¡A-10C aircraft from the Maryland Air National Guard stationed at Warfield Air National Guard base in Baltimore, Maryland flying in formation during a training exercise. | U.S. Air Force photo

¡¡¡¡In the past, Air Force leadership has pushed hard to?mothball the A-10, in order to devote those resources to the F-35, which has seen incredible cost overruns and delays as the military¡¯s most expensive weapons system in history.

¡¡¡¡And although Congress has thwarted this attempt multiple times, Air Force officials have still been looking to replace the A-10?with other aircraft like the A-29 Super Tucano, the AT-6 Wolverine and the AirLand Scorpion. The Air Force intends to test these three jets in July.

¡¡¡¡Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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¡¡¡¡Harold C. Hutchison

¡¡¡¡Posted On January 28, 2019 18:41:06

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¡¡¡¡When Isoroku Yamamoto warned that Japan had no chance to win World War II, he famously cited America¡¯s industrial might. One of the biggest areas where that strength?came into play was with the automotive industry.

¡¡¡¡As this video by Fiat Chrysler shows, the automakers did step up big when World War II hit. One notable example not covered in the video is that most of the Avengers were not built by Grumman, they were built by General Motors (and thus, they were called TBMs, as opposed to the TBF for the Grumman-built versions). GM also built a lot of Wildcats as the FM and FM-2.

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¡¡¡¡Bofors 40mm anti-aircraft guns. (Screenshot from Fiat Chrysler video)

¡¡¡¡Chrysler, though, was very good at building tanks. First the M3 Lee (or Grant) was rolling off the assembly lines ¡ª?in some cases before the factory was completely built! The Grant was eventually replaced by the M4 Sherman. They also built lots of trucks ¡ª?including the half-ton and three-quarter-ton trucks that were ubiquitous in the military.

¡¡¡¡This video notes that Chrysler was responsible for about 25 percent of America¡¯s tank production?¡ª more than all the tank production of?Nazi Germany. What is also notable is that many designs that came to Chrysler were improved by its?engineers.

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¡¡¡¡Tank treads produced by Chrysler. (Screenshot from Fiat Chrysler video)

¡¡¡¡Check out the five-minute video from FCA America that explains the U.S. automakers¡¯ amazing role in supplying the troops in World War II.

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¡¡¡¡James Elphick

¡¡¡¡Posted On February 08, 2019 01:35:13

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¡¡¡¡To keep the many men and machines in fighting shape during the World War II invasion of France, logistics technicians sure had their work cut out for them. Bomb, bullets, planes and tanks were top priorities, so there was little room for luxury items that¡¯d keep the troops in good spirits while fighting Nazis.

¡¡¡¡And when a British brewery donated gallons of beer for troops on the front, there was no way to get it to the men by conventional means.

¡¡¡¡Enter Britain¡¯s Royal Air Force.

¡¡¡¡In the early days after the Normandy invasion of June 1944, British and American troops noticed an acute shortage of adult beverages ¡ª namely beer. Many British soldiers complained about watery cider being the only drink available in recently liberated French towns. Luckily for them, the Royal Air Force was on the tap (pun intended) to solve the problem.

¡¡¡¡With no room for cargo on their small fighter planes, RAF pilots arrived at a novel solution ¨C using drop tanks to transport suds instead of fuel.

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¡¡¡¡The drop tanks of a Spitfire each carried 45 gallons of gas, meaning a plane could transport 90 gallons of extra liquid. When carrying fuel, the tanks were used and then discarded.

¡¡¡¡For the purposes of ferrying beer, ground crews set about steam cleaning the tanks for their special deliveries. These flights became known as ¡°flying pubs¡± by the troops they served. A few British breweries, such as Heneger and Constable, donated free beer for the RAF to take to the front. Other units had to pool their funds and buy the beer.

¡¡¡¡As the desire for refreshment increased in Normandy, the RAF began employing the Hawker Typhoon which could carry even more than the Spitfire. Unfortunately, the Typhoon was often mistaken by inexperienced American pilots as the German Focke-Wulf 190.

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¡¡¡¡According to one British captain, the beer deliveries were attacked twice in one day by U.S. P-47 Thunderbolts. The Typhoon had to jettison its tanks into the English Channel to take evasive action, costing the troops on the ground dearly.

¡¡¡¡The drop tanks also had a serious disadvantage. While they could carry large amounts of beer, the initial runs still tasted of fuel. Even after the tanks had been used several times and lost their fuel taste, they still imparted a metallic flavor to the beer.

¡¡¡¡To counter this problem, ground crews developed Modification XXX, a change made to the wing pylons of Spitfire Mk. IXs that allowed them to carry actual kegs of beer.

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¡¡¡¡These kegs, often called ¡®beer bombs,¡¯ were standard wooden kegs with a specially-designed nose cone and attachments for transport under the wing of the Spitfire. Though they carried less beer, it arrived tasting like it just came out of the tap at the pub, chilled by the altitude of the flight over the channel.

¡¡¡¡To ensure their compatriots remained satisfied, pilots would often return to England for rudimentary maintenance issues or other administrative needs in order to grab another round. As the need for beer increased, all replacement Spitfires and Typhoons being shipped to airfields in France carried ¡®beer bombs¡¯ in their bomb racks to the joy of the thirsty crews manning the airfields.

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¡¡¡¡When the Americans learned of what the British were doing they joined in, even bringing over ice cream for the GIs as well.

¡¡¡¡As the practice gained popularity, Britain¡¯s Custom and Excise Ministry caught wind and tried to shut it down. Thankfully by that time, there were more organized official shipments of beer making it to the troops. However, the enterprising pilots kept up their flights with semi-official permission from higher-ups, they just kept it a better secret.

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¡¡¡¡This country music legend made an epic beer run on a riding lawn mower

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¡¡¡¡Military.com

¡¡¡¡Posted On April 02, 2018 09:42:40

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¡¡¡¡Soldiers board their plane for deployment at Libby Army Airfield. | US Army photo by Gabrielle Kuholski

¡¡¡¡The U.S. was preparing to send 600 more troops to Iraq for the long-awaited offensive to drive the Islamic State from the stronghold of northwestern Mosul, where ISIS fighters were expected to use mustard gas to blunt the attack, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

¡¡¡¡The official announcement was expected to come later in the day the additional troops, who were expected to operate as trainers and enablers mostly out of the logistics hub for the offensive at the Qayyarah West airfield?about 40 miles southeast of Mosul.

¡¡¡¡Earlier this week, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman said that ISIS was ¡°dead set¡± on using chemical weapons to defend Mosul. Last week, a shell fired by ISIS near U.S. troops in Qayyarah was initially thought to contain blistering mustard gas but later tests showed that it was not a chemical weapon.

¡¡¡¡Army Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, also said that ISIS was attempting to turn Mosul into a ¡°living hell¡± for the attacking force by setting out extensive fields of improvised explosive devices and even filling trenches with oil.

¡¡¡¡The troops would be in addition to the 4,647 currently authorized for Iraq by President Obama and were requested by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

¡¡¡¡In a statement, Abadi said ¡°American President Barack Obama was consulted on a request from the Iraqi government for a final increase in the number of trainers and advisers under the umbrella of the international coalition in Iraq,¡± Reuters reported.

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¡¡¡¡Otto Kreisher

¡¡¡¡Posted On April 02, 2018 09:45:20

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¡¡¡¡The U.S. military personnel system is badly outdated and must be reformed dramatically to allow the armed services to recruit and retain men and women with the skills needed to deal with today¡¯s vastly different threats and technology, a high-profile panel of defense experts?said March 20.

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¡¡¡¡Experts want to reform a military personnel system that hasn¡¯t been changed significantly since 1947. (Photo: U.S. Army)

¡¡¡¡A?new report developed by 25 former military and civilian defense officials ¡ª including top enlisted leaders, former generals and lawmakers on defense committees ¡ª for the Bipartisan Policy Council emphasized giving the armed services much greater flexibility to manage?their personnel than they¡¯re allowed to do now.

¡¡¡¡The existing personnel system ¡°is outdated. The last time it was changed was in 1947, coming out of World War II,¡± said former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, one of the four co-chairmen of the study.

¡¡¡¡¡°We¡¯re at a time that if we don¡¯t reform our personnel system, we will begin to undermine our defense,¡± Panetta warned.

¡¡¡¡To increase flexibility, the report recommended:

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¡¡¡¡Everyone knows chiefs run the Navy. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

¡¡¡¡The experts recommend replacing the traditional ¡°up-or-out¡± structure and?its rigid timelines for promotion with a ¡°perform to stay¡± model for advancement.

¡¡¡¡Instead of coming in as a buck private or 2nd lieutenant, the report suggests allowing lateral entry at advanced rank for?individuals with critical skills, such as those with cyber and information technology expertise.

¡¡¡¡The experts suggest letting service members more?easily move between active and reserve status?and allowing temporary breaks in military service for education or family reasons.

¡¡¡¡The authors suggest replacing the current military pay table ¡ª which provides increases for longevity and increased rank ¡ª to ¡°ensure compensation is commensurate with increased responsibility and performance.¡±

¡¡¡¡The experts say the services need to institute annual involuntary separate boards to ¡°remove low performers in over-manned specialties.¡±

¡¡¡¡The authors suggest increasing TRICARE enrollment fees for military retirees to cover 20 percent of coverage cost, and waiting?until 2038 to grandfather all current service members.

¡¡¡¡They also suggest offering a new TRICARE option for dependents that would leverage a private employer¡¯s contributions and reduced TRICARE cost.

¡¡¡¡The military experts recommend establishing pilot programs to test use of commercial health insurance benefits for reservists and their family members, military retirees and family members.

¡¡¡¡The report also suggests increasing access to higher?quality of Defense Department-provided child care.

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¡¡¡¡The study authors recognize how important it is for the military to maintain a strong work-life balance. (Photo: U.S. Military)

¡¡¡¡The study authors also want to improve ways?to help?military spouses get?and keep?jobs, including giving service members more say in duty station changes.

¡¡¡¡And to reduce the stress on families from the high operational tempo, the report recommends adding military personnel.

¡¡¡¡The report also calls for greater efforts to expand the military¡¯s outreach to a broader segment of Americans, including:

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¡¡¡¡Army ROTC cadets attempt the Ranger obstacle course. (Photo: U.S. Army)

¡¡¡¡Expand Reserve Officer Training Corps program to all levels of higher education, including post-graduate and community college.

¡¡¡¡Require women, as well as men, to register with the Selective Service and make all registrants take the military entrance examination.

¡¡¡¡To enable the services to increase end strength and provide the training and tools service members need, the report¡¯s authors emphasized the need to repeal the 2011 Budget Control Act, with its arbitrary limits on defense spending, and return to a regular budget process that would enable defense leaders to plan ahead for the forces and equipment they need.

¡¡¡¡The committee that conducted the study and drafted the report included five retired flag or general officers, a retired Marine Corps master sergeant, former high-ranking officials from the Defense Department and other federal agencies, former members of Congress who served on the Armed Services Committees and the chief executive of Blue Star Families, a support organization.

¡¡¡¡The report is titled ¡°Building a FAST Force,¡± with the initials standing for Flexible, able to Adapt and to Sustain the force and to be Technology oriented.

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¡¡¡¡Blake Stilwell

¡¡¡¡Posted On April 02, 2018 09:45:36

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¡¡¡¡In 1985, the Cold War turned 40 years old. Though the Space Race had been over for more than a decade by then, the competition between the Americans and Soviets for the domination of Earth¡¯s orbit was intense.

¡¡¡¡Each side used spy satellites to track the military movements of their rival. The Soviet Union became so proficient at the use of satellites, it could launch many rockets into orbit, sometimes in a matter of hours.

¡¡¡¡The number of satellites the Soviet Union could produce and their ability to place them in orbit so quickly was considered a dangerous threat. Figuring out how to mitigate the?threat of an object in low Earth orbit was the order of the day.

¡¡¡¡Enter the F-15.

¡¡¡¡The F-15 carried an ASM-135 ASAT anti-satellite missile, a 3,000-pound, 18-foot-long projectile?that the pilot?would carry to the edge of space before firing at a target 345 miles?above the surface of the Earth, moving at 23,000 feet per second.

¡¡¡¡They tested the tactic on P78-1, an obsolete American research satellite, in orbit since 1979.

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¡¡¡¡Maj. Wilbert ¡®Doug¡¯ Pearson successfully launched an anti-satellite, or ASAT, missile from a highly modified F-15A on Sept. 13, 1985 in the Pacific Missile Test Range. He scored a direct hit on the Solwind P78-1 satellite orbiting 340 miles above. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul E. Reynolds)

¡¡¡¡On Sept. 13, 1985, then-Maj. Wilbert ¡°Doug¡±?Pearson took off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., bound for the edge of the the atmosphere. Once he reached 30,000 feet, he would have 10?seconds to fire his weapon.

¡¡¡¡The Smithsonian has actual video from the fight of then-Maj. Pearson¡¯s F-15.

¡¡¡¡Flying at just above Mach 1.2, Pearson pulled up into a 3.8 G, 65-degree climb that reduced the speed of his F-15A to just below the speed of sound. He fired the guided missile at 38,100 feet. The 2,700-pound, three-stage missile used an infrared sensor to strike?its target, hitting the one-ton satellite at 15,000 miles per hour.

¡¡¡¡The flight was dubbed the¡±Celestial Eagle Flight¡± and made Pearson ¡°the first and only space ace.¡±

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¡¡¡¡Blake Stilwell

¡¡¡¡Posted On June 01, 2018 15:08:30

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¡¡¡¡If you¡¯ve ever wanted to get an up close and personal view of fighter planes in training, but just never had the math scores to get into the cockpit, don¡¯t lose hope. There is a magical place in Wales where the UK¡¯s Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots conduct low-level flight training ¨C and you can grab your camera and watch them fly on by.

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¡¡¡¡A C-130 in the Mach Loop (photo by Peng Chen)

¡¡¡¡The Machynlleth Loop, more popularly known as the Mach Loop, is a series of valleys in Wales between the towns of Dolgellau to the north and Machynlleth to the south. The area is well known among plane spotters and aviation enthusiasts as the place to so closely watch the RAF and its allies conduct maneuvers.

¡¡¡¡The Mach Loop is part of the British Ministry of Defence¡¯s Tactical Training Low Flying Area and the pilots know there are troves of photographers watching the loop at all hours of the day¡­ and they know exactly what the cameras want to see.

¡¡¡¡The RAF will fly Panavia Tornado fighters, as well as Eurofighter Typhoons and BAE¡¯s Hawk Trainers through the Mach Loop, while the U.S. Air Force will fly F-15E Strike Eagles, F-22 Raptors, and even C-130J Super Hercules turboprop cargo planes.

¡¡¡¡The HD video shot from inside the cockpit of a Typhoon is also an incredible sight, especially for those of us who may never get to ride in a fighter, especially during a low-level flight exercise.

¡¡¡¡The ability to fly so close to the ground is an asset to a pilot¡¯s skill set for many reasons. Non-stealth aircraft can fly low to the ground to penetrate enemy airspace, hit a target, and return to base. Flying so close to ground level can also allow pilots to escape from dangerous situations and surprise enemy aircraft. This is especially important, given how fighters perform against helicopters in combat.

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¡¡¡¡An F-15 Strike Eagle in the Mach Loop in Wales (photo by Peng Chen)

¡¡¡¡Smaller fighters can fly as low as 100 feet off the ground, while larger planes, like cargo aircraft, can bottom out at 150 feet. If there¡¯s an aspiring photographer out there who wants to fill their portfolio with amazing military aviation photos, it¡¯s time to hop a plane to Wales.

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