The USMC, LandRover, & the V-22 Osprey

Playing Devil’s advocate here with this post; taken from The STARS AND  STRIPES written by By Ray Locker. USA TODAY Published: October 31, 2013.                           Search continues for elusive vehicle to fit aboard Osprey      (click to enlarge)3rd_Battalion_3rd_Marines_Osprey_flights   For 14 years, the military has struggled for an answer to a seemingly simple proposition: Develop a jeep-like vehicle that will fit onboard the tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey and then drive off the plane and into battle. The Marines finally deployed their version of the vehicle in combat two years ago. Special Operations Command, which has a long wish list of capabilities it wants the vehicle to have, is still waiting. But it’s getting closer. Last week SOCOM extended part of General Dynamics Ordnance and Technical Services’ contractor support deal for another year because the command ordered a third vehicle as part of $5.8 million deal to provide 10 of the SOCOM variants of the vehicle. 

That’s because, the SOCOM document says, General Dynamics “is the only company with the expertise and knowledge to fully support the requirement in order to successfully execute the V-22 ITV contract.” Just like the Osprey itself, which was grounded early in the last decade for a series of fatal crashes, the quest for what the Pentagon calls the Internally Transportable Vehicle (ITV) is a long one filled with reports of management failures in the Marine Corps, major cost overruns and allegations of favoritism and corruption. A 2009 Pentagon inspector general report said the Marine Corps System Command mishandled key elements of the contract and allowed development to continue without performing adequate testing.   (This pic, M1161 Light Strike Vehicle. Pic below. M1163 Prime Mover)500_M1161-1The Marines have two different versions of the ITV, the M1161 Light Strike Vehicle and the M1163 Prime Mover, which is built to tow artillery carried on the Osprey. They are the result of a General Dynamics partnership with American Growler, which adapted a 1950s-era M151 jeep to fit on the Osprey. The U.S. government sold versions of that jeep to the Dominican Republic for $30,000, while the Pentagon was paying $100,000 for the Growler vehicle in 2005. Since then, the price has jumped to more than $200,000 a vehicle! images293_M1163_In_UseOne part of the delay is SOCOM’s extensive wish list. It must, among other things, do the following: * Provide a Gentleman with a lighter for his cigars  (I did make this one up)3-1954-Land-Rover-Series-I-86-inch-600x450 A 350-mile range while loaded with a 2,000-pound payload and driving an average of 45 mph. It should travel 450 miles unloaded. (Check: box ticked) Performance and Weights 

* Carry three wounded troops with room inside for medical personnel to work without sticking out from the inside of the vehicle.
images(Check: box ticked. The internal fittings for configuring additional litters/stretchers allows a total of six wounded to be carried, with room for medical personnel) 

* Operate in temperatures ranging from -25 degrees to 125 degrees.  (Check: box ticked)

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3_zpsf3e3e840 * Drive off the Special Operations version of the Osprey, the CV-22, in 60 seconds after landing.      (Check: box ticked? ‘RAF Merlin Agusta-Westland AW101 Helicopter’)EH101_02_2_More than 600 British Royal Marine commandos of 42 CDO RM, are completing an annual six-week exercise, Black Alligator, which is at the U.S. Marine Corps’ Air-Ground Combat Center in Twenty-nine Palms, Calif. Royal Navy Merlin Agusta-Westland AW101 HelicopterCOMMANDOS HONE FIGHTING SKILLS IN US DESERTDrive up a “60 percent slope both in the forward and reverse direction at a constant speed, stop, shut off engine, restart engine, and continue on grade with no loss of stability.”   (Check: box ticked)16-L316-13-EXT-850x425Whether the vehicle ultimately works for special operations missions remains to be seen, but the demand for their version of Osprey is growing. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the CV-22 may be going to bases in Central Africa to help in the fight against messianic warlord Joseph Kony. That mission, USA TODAY reported in September, could last deep into 2015. End 

LandRover has served the British Military admirably since the 1950′s. It is one of the most adaptable military/civvie vehicles in history. The most significant parts of modern day LR’s are interchangeable through every type of make and model. The Military versions can carry light weight clad armour for personnel, for use as and when required. The whole concept of a military light-weight vehicle for the V-22 Osprey is sitting right in front of the nose of General Dynamics Ordnance and Technical Services, who could adapt and make a LandRover vehicle under licence in the U.S. A current standard Defender 90 (short wheel base) costs £19,000. A military version is just over half of the cost. 

The spin-off for General Dynamics is that they would have a vehicle that would be sought after by every one within the U.S. civvie market, as their capability and wizardry when it comes to concept vehicles and machinery is world-renowned..queen-elizabeth-driving.

Even vehicles on the second-hand market produce a viable product for dealerships. This wonderful woman has owned and driven one throughout her life, as has the ‘character’ below. There must be an ounce of credibility somewhere within the LandRover brand, which is marketable for the Military in the U.S. as well as within civvie street.      In My Humble Opinion of course…            Yours Aye.Picture-of-James-Bond-and-the-Land-Rover-car

Once a Marine, Always a Marine

Courtesy of blog commenter Ex Bootneck, today is a special day for the Royal Marines:

This day the Corps of Her Majesty’s ‘Royal Marines’ are celebrating their 347th Birthday (October 28th 1664).

The traditional greeting between Royal Marines (regardless of rank) is  “Happy Birthday Royal.”

At 06:00 hrs I received my first text, which contained the traditional greeting. They have continued to ‘ping’ through from around the globe, from serving & ex serving Royal Marines as well as brothers from the USMC.

Per Mare Per Terram

(“By Sea, By Land”)

Er-rah Shipmates!

Marine to French Foreign Legion

What is going on with the prior Marines running to the French Foreign Legion? Yet again, we have another Rambo thinking about the big move:

Hi i am considering joining the French Foreign Legion. I have been dishonorably discharged from the USMC for fradulent enlistment. . .

Im seriously in top physical shape and can do alot of hard things. Im mentally tough because of the way i grew up for one. Some of my fitness standards as of now are:
25 dead hand pullups
Sets of 100 pushups
50 bar dips strait
130 situps -2mins
5 mile run – 35 mins

The guy is in shape, I’ll give him that. Now he needs to learn how to use his spell-checker.

Yosbel Millares, USMC

Yosbel Millares, USMC

I tire of posting stories about veterans returning home only to die as victims of a crime. Yosbel Millares’ life is especially sad. The Marine made it through Iraq only to get shot in Miami:

Twenty-eight-year-old Yosbel Millares survived a dangerous tour of duty in Iraq. But the former U.S. Marine would not survive a shooting on the streets of Miami when he was closing up a store.

Now, four and a half years after his murder, his loved ones are asking for help in solving this crime.

“We were really close,” said his sister Magnolia Millares. “He was my youngest brother and he was such a great person. He was very humble.”

Do I need to write that if you know anything, or have any hot tips, to contact the Miami PD?

All Shore Duty

An old Sailor and an old Marine were sitting at the VFW arguing about who’d had the tougher career.

“I did 30 years in the Corps,” the Marine declared proudly, “and fought in three of my country’s wars. Fresh out of boot camp I hit the beach at Okinawa, clawed my way up the blood-soaked sand, and eventually took out an entire enemy machine gun nest with a single grenade. “As a sergeant, I fought in Korea alongside General MacArthur. We pushed back the enemy inch by bloody inch all the way up to the Chinese border, always under a barrage of artillery and small arms fire. “Finally, as a gunny sergeant, I did three consecutive combat tours in Vietnam. We humped through the mud and razor grass for 14 hours a day, plagued by rain and mosquitoes, ducking under sniper fire all day and mortar fire all night. In a firefight, we’d fire until our arms ached and our guns were empty, then we’d charge the enemy with bayonets!”

“Ah,” said the Sailor with a dismissive wave of his hand, “lucky bastard, all shore duty, huh?”

The Military Question of the Year

Us Yankees (as in Americans, not just Northerners) sometimes confuse our foreign friends. Clocking in with question of the year is this, from a shy, Australian lass: What Military service DO the Penguins of Madagascar really belong to?

I vote Navy, due to this:

Navy toughie, Commanding Officer USS BirdThe alpha bird is called Skipper. Do a walkabout over to the nice Ozzie’s home and make yourself heard.

As for other characters, Mort’s gotta be the Marine:

Marine: Mort of Madagascar

Facts on Mort here. Observe the fearsome bulging eyes. The itchy trigger finger, definitely Parris Island trained. . .

Mort, USMC Killer

She inquired, America responded.

The Navy, Anthony Weiner, and Mustaches

In the Navy, we have a time-honored tradition known as the cruise ‘stache. You are away from home, on deployment, and suddenly your upper-lip begins to scream. For the warm, gentle blanket of your own ‘stache-li-ness.

Magnum PI’s 3M: Marine Ballcap, Mustache, Mauser

You want to let your inner-Magnum out and rock your Walrus. Undoubtably, you are working hard on deployment. And the lip-catapillar is your reward. Who you gonna impress anyway?

So you do it. You grow a masterpiece. Preferably along with your squadron, your unit, your division.

Some folks even designate a month and add competitive flair to the whole affair. Mustache March, or any month that begins with M. Or not. July is perfectly acceptable. As is September. Why not try: September Stache-o-fur?

Take a peek over at Thomas Selleck. He is displaying what we refer to (in the Navy) as 3M. Mustache, Marine ballcap, and Mauser handgun.

He even wins extra points for wearing a sweater with, get this, no t-shirt underneath! Do not try this at home, work, or anywhere! You are most certainly not Magnum. Behold, but do not try to become. . .

You know who also wins extra points? The Marine Corps. Note Thomas is wearing a Marine unit’s ballcap in Navy colors. I don’t blame Marines for embracing the blue and gold. Scratch any Jarhead and there lurks a Sailor underneath.

True story: I was playing basketball with a Marine friend back when we were both E-3s. And he turns to me and says: I tell you man, I really should have been a squid.

International word of warning for us Yankees, do not try to compete with our mustachioed brethren from across the sea, the Brits. Them boys can grow a ‘stache overnight! Little known fact: 1% of all male United Kingdom’ers can merely think of a ‘stache and one magically sprouts, real-time. Curled like ram-horns. ‘Tis a sight to witness.

So profuse are their skills that their stiff, upper-lip hair twirls both ways and can even cook a three-course meal of haggis, grey peas, and fried fish wrapped in tomorrow’s newspaper. To say nothing of pouring a chilled pint of pale ale, so light it’s not perceptible to the human eye. Invisibly refreshing, it is. 

Yes ‘Muricans, we wield the power of the Magnum. But he may be an outlier. England has glandular superiority with respect to lip-thatching. How do you think they nabbed the name England, anyhow?

Okay, so we have covered two angles of our title, the Navy and ‘staches. What does the third leg, Anthony Weiner, have to do with anything? Anthony Wee-na, is that not the name of that disgraced politician from New Yawk? Who resigned after a ‘wittle blue-ha-ha?

Anthony Weiner, Mets hat, mustache

Yup and yup. Señor Weiner is back in the news. With big-time exposure. Well, different-time exposure. Hmm, I better just avoid that word. Exposure.

So what has Tony el Tigre done? He has gone and grown himself a man-stache! Taste the rainbow. . .

Carefully examine the ‘stache-a-rooski for signs as to his state of shave-a-ment. Observe the ever-so-slight downturn of the lip-music. A handle-bar in the making, no?

Subconsciously, Monsieur Weiner is saying: yes, I am a weensy bad-boy. But not too bad. But definitely a boy. A man-in-training. Notice, he can’t pull off 3M like Magnum. Here, he has to settle for a flaccid 2M, mustache and Mets hat.

Heed the clenched jaw, ala Maverick and Iceman, Navy locker-room, Top Gun, 1986. You’re dangerous, Mav! A little about the Wee-Na’s jaunt around town, with wife Huma Abedin, sporting his new lip-fur:

Disgraced former pol Anthony Weiner stepped out to do some Black Friday shopping in SoHo sporting a moustache reminiscent of the one made infamous by-

Whoah Nelly! Go to the New York Post link above for all the low-down, high-brow details. The Wee-Na really should have hidden in-cog-neato for a couple more years. Myself, I would have moved to the Falkland Islands, far out of texting range.

 Estelle Costanza (George’s mom from Seinfeld) sez: Enough with the Weiner! 

Mike Spann, CIA and USMC Veteran, RIP

Mike Spann, the first American to die in Afghanistan, was a true American hero. If you are not familiar with his story:

Mike Spann, Marine and CIA Hero

Spann was part of a small group of CIA paramilitary officers who went into Afghanistan just 16 days after the al-Qaida attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Less than two months later, the CIA along with U.S. Special Forces Green Berets and a massive aerial bombing campaign helped Afghan militias drive out the ruling Taliban.

Spann was killed when hundreds of Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners, guarded by just a handful of Afghans, tried to escape from a fortress jail in Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan.

The CIA Officers Memorial Foundation supports children of heroes like Mike.

CIA Memorial, General Michael Hayden and a Police Officer

From the Memorial’s history:

In late November 2001, immediately after the CIA acknowledged that one of its officers, Mike Spann, was the first American to die in Afghanistan, there was intense public interest in wanting to know about this American hero. Mike’s personal story and the fact that he was survived by his wife and three small children, resulted in a spontaneous outpouring of support from generous citizens from across the country. In addition to heartfelt expressions of sympathy, donations – large and small – began arriving at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia. The Agency, however, is prohibited from accepting such contributions from the public. CIA Director George J. Tenet contacted Mr. Jeffrey H. Smith, a senior partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Arnold & Porter and former CIA General Counsel, to discuss the challenge of providing support for the families of the Agency’s fallen.

If you are looking for a worthwhile charity this season, please consider this one. . .

The Navy, the Marine Corps, and Celebrities

I ran across pictures of two celebrities, the singer Rihanna and the actress Mila Kunis, tonight. The first one, of Rihanna, I had to doctor somewhat. I think you can tell what is behind the blue rectangle. The original can be found here:

Rihanna Flicking Off the Camera During the Filming of Battleship

The second picture is from (yet another) Marine Corps Ball. The actress Mila Kunis and her date, Marine Corps Sergeant Scott Moore:

Mila Kunis, Marine Corps Ball, Sergeant Scott Moore

Okay, so both ladies were born outside the United States. Rihanna moved here from Saint Michael, Barbados, when she was sixteen. And Mila Kunis moved to Los Angeles when she was seven from Chernivtsi in the Ukrainian SSR.

Rihanna is filming Battleship. Just Jared, a pop website, decribed the movie as:

Rihanna and co-star Taylor Kitsch take on the roles of naval officers as they shoot scenes for their new movie, Battleship, in Oahu, Hawaii.

No details have been spilled about Ri’s character but Alexander Skarsgard will play a straight and narrow naval officer while Taylor will be the wildly spirited naval officer who idolizes his brother. Supermodel Brooklyn Decker also stars!

Rihanna in Battleship as a Petty Officer in the US Navy

First things first, Rihanna is not playing a naval officer, she is a Petty Officer. Look at her cover and collar on the left. Probably a Petty Officer Second Class. Or perhaps a Third Class?

Rihanna needs to understand that her role is bigger than herself. Her behavior in flicking off the camera is reprehensible. I particularly liked what my Shipmate here said:

I do have a more specific issue though, Rihanna and her behavior in a U.S. Navy uniform. I’m sure she couldn’t begin to understand the commitment it takes to earn the right to wear that uniform so I’ll give her a pass. As a black female NAVY veteran honorably discharged it’s disrespectful to see someone taking my uniform as a joke or just regular clothing.

Enough with that nonsense. Mila Kunis, star of That ’70s Show and Black Swan (with the kisser, Natalie Portman), and date to Sergeant Moore at his Marine Corps Ball, was nothing but classy at the event. Much like Justin Timberlake was with Corporal Kelsey De Santis. Smart move on both their parts. Free publicity is priceless. A Marine Corporal and a Captain had the following to say:

Mila Kunis and Sergeant Scott Moore, Marine Corps Ball

“A bunch of us are going to go our separate ways and us as a battalion, we’re going to spend this night together and just celebrate Marine Corps birthday under traditions we do for the Marine Corps everyday,” said Corporal William Steffy.

Mila Kunis, Macaulay Culkin

But the Marines admitted having Ms. Kunis here, was an honor in itself.

“She’s going to get a chance to learn about the Marine Corps and we’re all going to have a great time celebrating the Marine Corps birthday,” said Captain Scott Sasser.

Good job, Mila. You really plastered a smile on that Marine’s face. We can now forgive you for dating Macaulay Culkin for eight (8) years. . .

The Absolute Last Justin Timberlake Post of the. . .

Kelsey De Santis and her Pointer, Justin Timberlake

Mr. T’lake pulled up to the Marine Corps Ball and put on a show of pure class. Per all accounts, he appeared genuine in his response to the bloodthirsty, piratey Marines present.

Of the event, he had this to share. It:

“turned out to be one of the most moving evenings I’ve ever had.”

As for De Santis? “She seemed to be so humble and honest… Very cool.”

Corporal Kelsey De Santis USMC, Pink MMA Killah

Speaking of the battle-hardened Corporal, she tweetered:

The ball was epic! Had a wonderful time.

Apparently she just fought in a MMA fight three weeks ago. Her promo material is here, with the picture to the right.

This remains one of the feel-good stories of the last couple weeks in military-land. Both the Marine Corps and Justin came out of the exchange smelling like highly tactical carnations.

A giant hand, Justin Timberlake, and Corporal Kelsey De Santis, BF@MCB

I mentioned it at work (where no one knows I blog) and folks all seemed to be in grok-mode over its existence.

Now if we can only get everyone to memorize all the ‘Stans. (Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, um, Nightstan. . .)

What is next in the world of Marine Corps Balls social events?

Well, calling out celebrities is apparently all the rage. This guy hollered Will Ferrell. And this rapping Marine Sergeant (named Ray Lewis, although not the Raven) invited very Golden Girl Betty White.

Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, Marine Corps’ Ballers

As a fellow blogger and reader pointed out in this post, the next biggest evolution is, of course, Mila Kunis and Sergeant Scott Moore.

The official blurb on YouRube:

Sgt Scott Moore with 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines in Musa Qala, Afghanistan asks Mila Kunis to the Marine Corps Ball in Greenville, NC on November 18th.

That is on Friday. It should be interesting.

Kelsey De Santis, Ranger Up

One last news-worthy note. Apparently, the good Corporal De Santis is sponsored by Ranger Up. Her story lists her working in France, training with Military Working Dogs, and getting trapped in an elevator as highlights of her five-year Marine Corps career.

All of which probably prepared her for an evening with Mr. Timberlake.

Aw, sorry. The guy came through. Nothing but class and I have to go and run him down like that. Yo JT, forget that I evah gave you a hard time over your dye-job. . .

Corporal Punishment and Your Local Tweeny-Bopper

Rooting around the web, I found the following picture of Cpl De Santis, standing amidst three fire hydrants:

Corporal Kelsey De Santis, USMC

She is the third from left. (But you knew that.) And below is Justin Timberlake, a couple of unfortunate dye jobs ago:

Bye bye: Justin Timberlake and a friend

Justin is the one on the left right.

Let’s review, Corporal De Santis:

Cpl De Santis, mixed martial fighter, USMC killer. (Look at the blood on the other girl!)

Justin Bieber T’lake:

Justin sez: momma!

Corporal punishment versus your local tweeny-bopper. I put my money on the Leatherneck Laceneck.

Update: Looking to support the Marine Corps? America’s 1st Sergeant is accepting, for a limited time, your spare fruit-cake recipes. . .

NCAA Basketball on the USS Carl Vinson: What Are the Sailors Saying?

San Diego is supposed to host the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic aboard the USS Carl Vinson this Friday, the 11th of November, at 4 p.m. PT (11/11/11.) The NCAA basketball game features North Carolina and Michigan State and will be played outside, on the flight deck. President Obama is even rumored to be attending. One tiny problemo: rain.

From the weather experts over at the Military Times:

The first college basketball game to ever be played on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier will happen on Friday.

Well, maybe not.

MSU Camouflage Uniform in Army colors

A storm could hit San Diego on game day, which would force the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic to be played in the Carl Vinson’s hangar deck. Weather.com says there’s a 50 percent chance of rain on Friday, and they’re also saying that the high temperature will be 62 degrees.

Making things even worse for the players, there’s also supposed to be 10mph winds that could gust to significantly higher speeds.

Surely this can’t be a surprise to those who scheduled this game. November weather in San Diego is as unpredictable as a Sailor on liberty in Thailand. (Or perhaps a Sailor on Thai liberty is highly predictable?)

San Diego’s Quicken Loans Carrier Classic, USS Carl Vinson

So the back-up site is the hangar deck. Of course, the’ll have to clear out any flying machines present, those big brids that soar through the sky, flown by Sailors with Wings of Gold. Moving indoors will cut the seating in half. Being the Navy and all, we are planning contingencies and getting the alternative space ready:

Hangar Deck, USS Carl Vinson, Bad Weather Site

One of the seniors playing for the MSU Spartans has a brother in the Marine Corps. And Corps bro is going to watch hoops bro throw down:

A special reunion will take place onboard the USS Carl Vinson at Friday’s NCAA Carrier Classic basketball game when a local Marine will watch his brother play.

After finishing training in North Carolina, Marine 2nd Lt. Thomas Thornton – who was commissioned last summer – has arrived at Camp Pendleton for his assignment and also just in time for a big game.

Michigan State Uniform, Carrier Classic, USS Vinson

As for the uniform, it looks to be a special edition. Nevermind that the Spartans’ camouflage looks like the Army’s. About the baggy threads, the MSU coach has this to say:

”I think the uniforms are pretty cool,” Spartans head coach Tom Izzo said in a Monday release on MSUSpartans.com

“They definitely put the spotlight on our military and that’s what this is for.”

No player names will appear on the back of the jerseys, instead being replaced by “U.S.A.” above uniform numbers.

But the big question remains: what do the local Sailors think? Months prior, it seemed an impossibility. When I raised the issue, people first assumed I was joking. Now that it is happening in mere days, weather is the main concern. And the hangar is a big step-down from the outside option.

Don’t pray for rain. Pray for temperate weather. If it is played on the flight deck, the first half will be in the waning daylight and the second will be in the dark, under the night lights. Go Navy! Beat the weather! (And Army. . .)

My Drill Instructor

Officer Candidate School, Pensacola. I sit in my rack, my bed, listening to the early Florida morning. Soon, the drill instructors will arrive. I know — I heard the gouge from years past. My eyes close, but refuse to let me sleep.

I slip from the lower bunk to the floor. Grabbing my new Bible, I pad out of Squad Bay to the bathroom. It is 0345 (3:45 in the morning) and I expect bedlam in two hours or so. The lights in the head are blindingly loud. I squint through their pinch and nod at a guy shaving over the sink. He is a Naval Flight Officer wanna-be; we had emailed confidently before OCS. Now we have nothing to say. Because we said it all. Nothing left but the hollering and execution. We are both prior enlisted, but he looks already tired. Really, he is just resigned to our fate. Unlike me, who stupidly can’t resign.

I lean on the windowsill and rifle through the pages of the stiff Bible. It seems to know me, this new book. It senses I need a crutch and won’t play easy. The coy sheets flip closed after I press them open. It stares up at me mutely, to ask if there is some mistake. I plow through whole sections. Looking for that piece, peace to hold on to.

Read the rest at the American Thinker.

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