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The latest news on Defense from Business Insider

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    paratroopers operation dragon spear

    What happens when all hell breaks loose and the US military needs to act within hours?

    Enter the 5,000 specialists of Global Response Force, from the Army's 82nd Airborne Brigade, Joint Special Operations Command, and the US Air Force capable of deploying to any location on earth within 18 hours. 

    "We need to have demonstrated legitimacy in this capability. It's our muscle. It's us flexing our muscle. Nobody wants to get in the ring with the undefeated heavyweight champion," Staff Sgt. Dillon Heyliger said of the GRF.

    In the slides below see how the GRF trains to take enemy airfields with overwhelming force.

    SEE ALSO: The world's largest maritime exercise just got bigger

    The first wave is an airborne assault with the goal of taking control of an enemy airfield.



    Within minutes, paratroopers are on the ground putting heavy lead downrange.



    As with any good military exercise, casualties and injuries are simulated to help train field medics.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    aircraft carrier f-18 harry truman uss

    On Jun. 3, the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Truman launched air strikes against ISIL position from the Mediterranean sea, marking the first time a carrier conducted combat operations from the 6th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) since 2003.

    The Truman CSG (Carrier Strike Group) tour of duty, that has also included operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, in the Persian Gulf within the 5th Fleet AOR, has been recently extended by 1 month to fill the gap until the replacement carrier (USS Eisenhower) arrives. The extended tour of duty enables Truman to support US-led coalition’s air campaign against Daesh from the Med.

    Until yesterday and for the last 13 years, the air strikes against targets in Iraq or Syria have always been launched by aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf or Indian Ocean with the Med used only as a transit “corridor” to Suez.

    The raids from the Mediterranean Sea have opened a new direction of attack against the terrorist target in what many analysts consider an answer to Russia’s military presence in the region. In November 2015, two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bombers departed from a base in northwest Russia for a 13,000km journey around Europe, and launched cruise missiles against ground targets in Syria from over the Mediterranean Sea (while being escorted, approaching Syria, by at least three Su-30SM Flankers launched Latakia): a true air power demonstration.

    The video below shows VFA-103 F/A-18F Super Hornets and VFA-25 F/A-18E Hornets launch (with 2x JDAM – Joint Direct Attack Munitions under the right wing and an ATFLIR pod and a laser-guided GBU under the left one) to carry out the first US Navy air strikes from the Mediterranean Sea. The tactical warplanes were supported by VAW-117 E-2C Hawkeye.

    SEE ALSO: The Air Force might penalize Boeing for missing yet another deadline

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The Big Bang is not the beginning of our universe — it’s actually the end of something else entirely


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    tu-142 syria russian

    The following video, allegedly filmed on Jun. 5, 2016, at Aleppo, Syria clearly shows a Russian Bear flying overhead.

    Based on the barely visible search radar underneath the fuselage and the characteristic tail with a MAD (Magnetic Anomaly Detector) boom, the aircraft seems to be a Tu-142M “Bear F”, a reconnaissance and ASW variant derived from the iconic Tu-95 Bear bomber.

    Whilst the “standard” Tu-95s have already been used to carry out air strikes against Syrian ground targets beginning in November last year, the one spotted over Aleppo would be (if confirmed) the first Tu-142 to take part in the air war over Syria.

    As said the Tu-142 was developed as a maritime patrol and anti-submarine aircraft. However, it is believed to be able to carry different sensor packages and some believe the Bear F could be used as an ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) platform, to pinpoint targets for tactical strike aircraft.

    However, as long-range naval reconnaissance plane, the Tu-142 could also have been tasked to keep an eye on the USS Truman CSG (Carrier Strike Group): a “response” of Moscow to the first air strikes launched by an aircraft carrier from the eastern Mediterranean Sea since 2003.

    SEE ALSO: Watch the first US aircraft-carrier-launched strikes on ISIS from the Mediterranean

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The US Army is sending Apache attack helicopters to fight ISIS in Iraq


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    Fbrain electrodes technology wiredighter pilots already have a close connection to the planes they are flying. Now that connection may get even deeper due to the work of a group of Australian researchers and doctors.

    For the past four years, a team of neurologists and engineers from the University of Melbourne, along with surgeons at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, have been developing an advanced brain/machine interface that is long lasting and easy to implant.

    Eventually, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which funded the project, hopes to bring this mind-control technology to the cockpit, allowing pilots to fly by the thoughts in their minds as well as by the seat of their pants.

    The centerpiece of the Australian mind control system is a small biocompatible electrode called a stenode. The stenode is flexible enough to pass through the blood vessels and is operable once it reaches its destination. The electrode can measure electrical activity from the motor cortex, the part of the brain responsible for controlling movements.

    This electrical activity is recorded and shared with a computer system that interprets the movements. These interpretations are then used to control external machinery. In early trials, the team has successfully implanted the device into free-roaming sheep and have collected up to 190 days’ worth of brain activity.

    RelatedDARPA is developing an underwater GPS alternative that relies on sound waves

    F-35 helmet

    Looking beyond ruminants, Lead researcher Dr. Tom Oxley envisions a future where this brain control interface could be used to interact with smartphones, robots, and more in the next 30 years. Recognizing the benefits of this technology, DARPA wants to use the brain control system to increase the efficiency of fighter pilots.

    “The military appear interested in the potential for jet fighters to control their planes with direct thought control, rather than using their arms. The reaction time you’d shave off would be milliseconds,” said Oxley to Ibtimes.

    DARPA also plans to use the stenode to rehabilitate injured soldiers by allowing them to control a bionic exoskeleton.

    SEE ALSO: Watch the first US aircraft-carrier-launched strikes on ISIS from the Mediterranean

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: These are America's 2 most hated fast-food restaurants


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    d-day before after

    The D-Day invasion, code named Operation Overlord, was the largest seaborne invasion in history.

    Almost 5,000 landing and assault craft, accompanied by 289 escort vessels and 277 minesweepers, from Canada, the US, Britain, and Australia took part in the operation. The Allies suffered a total of 226,386 casualties, but it proved a decisive moment in the war. 

    Suddenly, the Nazis were fighting a two-front war in Europe, leading to a division in their forces across multiple flanks. But the cost of D-Day, in both human lives and devastation of the surrounding regions of France, was immense. 

    The following photos from Getty photographer Peter Macdiarmid show an amazing juxtaposition of images from the affected areas of modern France with photos of the invasion from 72 years ago overlaid on top.

    SEE ALSO: Here's a Nazi propaganda video saying the D-Day invasion failed

    A view of Juno Beach on May 8, 2014 in Bernieres sur Mer, France. A Canadian soldier stands at the head of a group of German prisoners of war, including two officers, on Juno Beach at Bernières-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, June 6, 1944.



    A view of the old village fountain on May 7, 2014 in Sainte Marie du Mont, France. A group of American soldiers stand at the village fountain, June 12, 1944.



    A view of the roadway on May 7, 2014 in Saint Lo, France. United States Army trucks and jeeps are driving through the ruins of Saint-Lo.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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  • 06/06/16--08:44: 8 iconic photos from D-Day
  • d-day before after

    The invasion of Normandy, which was named Operation Overlord, launched on June 6, 1944, and was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history.

    Saturday, June 6, marks the 72nd anniversary of Operation Overlord, commonly referred to as D-Day. A major operation during World War II, and the largest seaborne invasion in history, it marked the turning point in the fight against Axis powers in Europe.

    Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe, gave this speech just prior to giving the order to begin the operation.

    You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

    156,000 allied troops landed on five beaches, code named Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah and Omaha. British and Canadian troops overcame light opposition at Gold, Juno and Sword, as did U.S. troops at Utah. American forces landing on Omaha beach faced the fiercest resistance, suffering 2,400 casualties. In total, the beach landings claimed the lives of 4,313 Allied troops, 2,499 Americans, and 1,914 others from Allied nations.

    In conjunction with the beach landings, 13,000 paratroopers landed behind German lines and secured key towns, bridges, and crossroads in order to break German supply lines and limit reinforcements.

    Today, Eisenhower’s words still ring true for the men who fought and died on the beaches, fields, and among the hedgerows of Normandy: “The eyes of the world are upon you.”

    Below are eight historic photos from the days leading up to, during, and after one of the most brutal battles in contemporary history.

    SEE ALSO: These haunting photo overlays capture the horrors of D-Day

    Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower speaks with paratroopers who jumped behind enemy lines, June 5, 1944.



    US soldiers assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, apply war paint to each other’s face in England in preparation for the invasion of Normandy, France, June 5, 1944.



    American assault troops in a landing craft huddle behind the protective front of the craft as it nears a beachhead on the northern coast of France, June 6, 1944.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    d-day

    Several hours into the D-Day invasion, General Eisenhower sent a cable about the apparent success of the operation back to the War Department in Washington. 

    At the time, Eisenhower had scant details of how well the beach head invasions had actually went. But based on reports he was receiving, the legendary general and future president was fairly certain that the invasion was proceeding well and would result in an Allied victory. 

    Eisenhower's message begins: 

    Local time is now eight in the morning. I have as yet no information concerning the actual landing nor our progress through beach obstacles ... All preliminary reports are satisfactory. Airborne formations apparently landed in good order with losses out of approximately 1250 airplanes participating about 30.

    The last paragraph from the classified message reveals that June 5 was actually Eisenhower’s original planned date for D-Day. However, stormy weather moving over the Channel from England made a landing on the target beaches 'impossible.'

    The weather considerably improved by the morning of June 6th. Allied infantry began landing on the coast of France at 06:30. By the end of the day, the Allies had gained a foothold in German-occupied Western Europe that was critical to winning the war.

    Eisenhower wrote that the preliminary reports of the invasion were satisfactory: "The enthusiasm, toughness, and obvious fitness of every single man were high and the light of battle was in their eyes." 

    Here is the full classified message from Eisenhower on D-Day, made available from the FDR Presidential Library

    Eisenhower D-Day Cable

    Eisenhower D-Day Cable

    SEE ALSO: D-DAY: Here's how the Allies began to win the Second World War 70 years ago [PHOTOS]

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    A-10 thunderbolt warthog cannon

    No matter how advanced smart bombs get, and no matter how stealthy and quick an aircraft can become, the A-10 has one factor that guarantees it can never truly be replaced: its gun.

    These days, pretty much any warplane can drop guided munitions with pinpoint accuracy, but what makes the A-10 so special is one of the only weapons used by the US Air Force that isn't precision-guided: the 30 mm GAU-8/A Avenger gun with 1,150 incendiary rounds.

    In a recent press release, Air Force Col. Sean McCarthy, the 447th Air Expeditionary Group's commander, explained in a US Department of Defense release exactly why the A-10 can do missions no other plane can.

    McCarthy, who commands 550 airmen operating out of Turkey's Incirlik Air Base, revealed that deliberate targeting of ISIS assets in Syria accounts for only about 10% of airstrikes carried out from the base.

    The other 90% are dynamic strikes, or strikes where troops on the ground call in for airstrikes. This is where the Warthog shines.

    "A troops-in-contact [report] pops up or a target pops up at short notice, and we respond. It generally doesn't involve an integrated effort with the coalition. It's just usually a two-ship of A-10s that show up overhead and we conduct our mission," McCarthy said of the A-10's operation out of Incirlik.

    The A-10 actually operates in the field as an even more precise weapon than even the most advanced smart bombs.

    "The No. 1 thing when it comes to strikes is making sure we do as little damage as possible, especially killing civilians. We try very hard to keep that from happening," McCarthy said.

    a10 damage a 10 gau-8 avenger rotary cannon

    So when there is any reason to believe that civilians may be in the area, the A-10 is the best tool for the job. In a murky situation, where "there's no way to know whether they're civilian noncombatants or not, we don't take the chance" of using a bomb, McCarthy said.

    "That's a type of target we'll go after with the gun," he added. "It's a low-collateral-damage weapon, pinpoint accurate, and we employ high-explosive incendiary rounds so nothing's walking away from that if they get hit."

    Watch the A-10 rip its 30mm gun with pinpoint accuracy, and hear the legendary 'BRRRT' in the video below:

    SEE ALSO: How the US military trains to take any airbase, anywhere in the world, in just 18 hours

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: SEBASTIAN JUNGER: The scariest thing I've experienced in a war zone


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    Churchill Crocodile_01

    The Allied invasion of Normandy was a challenge on a grand scale. Every single aspect of the plan drew new challenges for commanders. Luckily, the greatest military minds of the day were leading the Allied forces.

    They came up with some ingenious solutions. For example, in the absence of securing a usable harbor, they created the Mulberry, a harbor that could be shipped and built on site to keep the flow of supplies going.

    To confuse the Germans as to where the D-Day attacks would come, Operation Fortitude created an entire fake army aimed at the Pas-de-Calais. The soldiers on the invasion beaches still faced the many natural and man-made obstacles that would hinder their ability to effectively storm the beaches. One man was tasked to create overcome these obstacles and protect the assault forces.

    Major General Percy Hobart, an unconventional yet very successful armored and engineering officer, created specialized vehicles designed to help amphibious forces overcome the natural and man-made obstacles common during a landing. These vehicles helped the British and Canadians during their assaults on Gold, Juneau, and Sword beaches. Collectively these vehicles were known as “Hobart’s Funnies.”

    SEE ALSO: These haunting photo overlays capture the horrors of D-Day

    Sherman DD Tank

    The most well-known of Hobart’s Funnies was the Duplex Drive Sherman Tank — or Sherman DD. This tank had a large canvas floatation screen that was erected to make the tank seaworthy and included a secondary drive mechanism that powered a propeller to drive the tank through the water.

    The idea was to launch these tanks a few miles from shore and have them come ashore with the infantry without the need to bring a large landing craft too close to shore. Their use on D-Day saw mixed results.



    Churchill Crocodile

    The Crocodile was a British Churchill tank that replaced the hull mounted machine gun with a flamethrower. An armored trailer behind the Croc carried fuel for the weapon. This weapon was adept at clearing German fortifications and later inspired American versions used in the Pacific.



    Crab Tank

    The Crab was a Sherman tank fitted with a cylindrical flail with weighted chains. When activated, the flail cleared a tank-width path by detonating any mines in its way with the weighted chains.

    This tank was an improvement over previous versions as the Sherman’s engine drove the flail, rather than needing to fit a separate engine on the tank. It was also equipped with numerous ways to mark the cleared path for the following infantry or tanks.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Sebastian Junger, author of "Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging", has been to multiple combat zones throughout the world, covering numerous conflicts as a war correspondent. But one particular experience stands out as the scariest moment of his entire career. 

    Produced by Eames Yates

    Follow BI Video: On Twitter

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    China Nuclear Attack LA

    China has entertained the threat of nuclear strikes against west coast cities such as Los Angeles and Seattle, a 2014 annual congressional report from the US China Economic and Security Review Commission states

    According to the report, a Chinese newspaper sponsored by the Communist Party ran an article in November 2013 about the possibilities of nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) strikes against much of the US's Pacific coast. In the scenario imagined by the newspaper, China's new JIN ballistic missile submarine could act as an ultimate deterrent to any hostile US foreign policy. 

    [T]he 12 JL-2 nuclear missiles carried by one JIN nuclear submarine could cause the destruction of five million to 12 million people, forming a very clear deterrent effect. There is not a dense population in the United States' Midwest region, so to increase the destructive effect, the main soft targets for nuclear destruction in the United States will be the main cities on the west coast, such as Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.

    China has made similar veiled threats against US involvement in their backyard issues before. During the Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1995 to 1996, Chinese Lieutenant General Xiong Guangkai told the US assistant secretary of defense that "Americans care more about Los Angeles than they do about Taiwan." 

    However, threats from China today carry more weight than they did during the 1990s. According to an executive summary of the report, China's nuclear ICBM stockpile capable of reaching the US will likely expand to over 100 missiles within the next 15 years. 

    Simultaneously, China is putting finishing touches on a fleet of road-mobile ICBMs, the DF-41. The DF-41 will be capable of carrying up to 10 missiles that would each have a maximum range of 7,456 miles. This range would allow China to target the entirety of the continental US and it is expected to be ready within the year. 

    According to the executive summary, these capabilities are being produced to deter any unwanted US military action as Washington pivots its forces towards the Pacific. In practice, these new nuclear capabilities are providing "Beijing with a more extensive range of military and foreign policy options and potentially weakening U.S. extended deterrence, particularly with respect to Japan." 

    China's Navy is already expected to outpace the US's in sheer size by 2020. And Beijing's recently unveiled missile, the DF-26, has enough range to hit US assets in Guam from the US mainland.

    These developments do not mean that China and the US are destined for conflict. However, China's ballistic capabilities point to the possibility of a Cold War-style nuclear standoff between Beijing and the US that would minimize the US's ability to militarily pressure China.

    SEE ALSO: These Chinese military advancements are shifting the balance of power in Asia

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    NOW WATCH: A global intelligence analyst explains why the ‘real’ China is not the China we think of


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    Few people get to experience the amazing rush, and have the incredible view, that pilots with the US Air Force are able to experience. 

    The following pictures take us inside the cockpits of the US Air Force.

    SEE ALSO: These are all the planes in the US Air Force

    US Air Force Maj. James Silva, left, and Lt. Col. Steven Myers, both B-1B Lancer pilots, complete a flight in the first newly upgraded operational B1-B Lancer, January 21, 2014, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.



    First Lt. Greg Johnston and Capt. RJ Bergman fly their UH-1N Iroquois over a mountain range, January 27, 2015, near Malmstrom Air Force Base.



    Capt. Jonathan Bonilla and 1st Lt. Vicente Vasquez, 459th Airlift Squadron UH-1N Huey pilots, fly over Tokyo after completing night training, April 25, 2016.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    north sea

    The Royal Navy's HMS Kent intercepted the Stary Oskol, a Russian Kilo-class submarine capable of carrying torpedoes and antiship cruise missiles, on Tuesday evening, The Guardian reports.

    The publication reports that HMS Kent's commanding officer, Cmdr. Daniel Thomas, said, "Locating this submarine was a combined effort with NATO allies and shadowing such units is routine activity for the Royal Navy."

    The Stary Oskol, a diesel-electric submarine, can go nearly silent when submerged and operating on stored electric power, making it difficult to detect.

    This incident represents just one in a long line of Russian military planes and ships encroaching on UK and NATO territory. The trend has become prominent enough that Vice Admiral James Foggo III of the US Navy characterized the uptick in Russian submarine activity as the beginning of a "fourth battle of the Atlantic."

    According to Foggo, Russian submarine activity is at its highest level since the Cold War, and that should be cause for concern.

    Foggo wrote in the June issue of Proceedings, the US Naval Institute's monthly publication:

    Once again, an effective, skilled, and technologically advanced Russian submarine force is challenging us. Russian submarines are prowling the Atlantic, testing our defenses, confronting our command of the seas, and preparing the complex underwater battle space to give them an edge in any future conflict.

    Not only have Russia's actions and capabilities increased in alarming and confrontational ways, its national-security policy is aimed at challenging the United States and its NATO allies and partners.

    russian submarine

    In his piece, Foggo specifically mentioned the Kilo-class of Russian subs: "Russia rapidly is building and deploying more advanced and significantly quieter attack submarines and frigates armed with the long-range Kalibr cruise missile (including six new Kilo-class diesel-electric attack submarines destined for the Black Sea)."

    "As demonstrated last December by Kalibr launches into Syria from the Eastern Mediterranean, Russian leaders will use such weapons at will, without the same qualms we have about collateral damage," said Foggo.

    Russian kalibr cruise missiles

    Though the Royal Air Force and NATO forces spotted and intercepted this submarine in particular, the threat remains that there are more unidentified Russian subs patrolling valuable underwater infrastructure, such as oil rigs and telecommunication lines, that the US and NATO forces desperately rely on.

    SEE ALSO: NATO is sending troops to Poland to stare down Russia

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    NOW WATCH: The Pentagon plans to hunt enemy submarines using this drone warship


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    National Guard air f-16 crash

    Two South Carolina Air National Guard F-16 fighter pilots ejected safely after an apparent midair collision in eastern Georgia, the Guard said.

    The collision happened about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday during night training operations over a remote military operating area in Jefferson County, Georgia, a National Guard spokeswoman said.

    The jets were assigned to the South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Fighter Wing, which operates out of McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Eastover, South Carolina.

    The base commander, Col. Nicholas Gentile, said the two pilots are among the most experienced in the unit.

    Gentile said he could not yet release their names, but said they are back in South Carolina being debriefed as part of the investigation.

    He said the two jets were part of a group of six that was conducting night training operations in preparation for an upcoming deployment that he could not discuss.

    The pilots were wearing night-vision goggles when the collision occurred, Gentile said.

    "We had planes spread out across the Southeast last night," Gentile said, adding that the bombing range is only about a 15-minute flight from the South Carolina base.

    The F-16C models practice maneuvering against opponents and were involved in some of the earliest deployments in the Persian Gulf War in the 1990s.

    F-16C Falcon

    It has been decades since South Carolina F-16s have been involved in a collision, he said, though he did not know the date of the last time it occurred. The 169th Fighter Wing has 28 of the aircraft.

    US F/A 18 jet fighters from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort also were flying nighttime operations and contacted officials to help locate the pilots, Gentile said.

    The National Guard, Marines and Air Force all use the area, called the Bulldog Military Operations Area, said Lt. Col. Cindi King.

    There were no injuries on the ground, Jefferson County Fire Chief Jim Anderson said Wednesday.

    "We have located the debris from the first aircraft, which was located in a wooded area," Anderson said.

    Crews were still searching for the second aircraft but expected to find it nearby, he said.

    f-16

    The pilots were talking normally and did not appear to be hurt when they were found, Anderson said.

    "We transported them to the hospital for precautionary measures until the military could pick them up," Anderson said.

    One pilot was found in a pasture and the other at the edge of some woods.

    The pilots did not discuss details of the crash with him, Anderson said.

    Gentile was heading to the crash scene Wednesday, King said. The South Carolina Army National Guard was flying Gentile to Georgia aboard a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, King said.

    King said South Carolina National Guard commander Maj. Gen. Robert Livingston Jr. was in Washington on Tuesday night when he got news of the crashes and was returning to Columbia to be updated.

    The South Carolina Air National Guard and the US Air Force are dispatching teams to investigate the collision.

    The collision comes after both of the military's precision flying teams suffered crashes last week.

    Blue Angels

    A Blue Angels F/A-18 crashed last Thursday near Nashville, Tennessee, while taking off for a practice session. The pilot, Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, was killed.

    Also Thursday, a Thunderbirds F-16 crashed outside Colorado Springs, Colorado, but that pilot, Maj. Alex Turner, ejected safely. The Thunderbirds had just performed over the open-air graduation ceremony at the nearby Air Force Academy, where President Barack Obama spoke.

    In May, two Navy jet fighters collided off the North Carolina coast. The four people on board the jets were pulled from the Atlantic Ocean by a commercial fishing ship.

    SEE ALSO: The UK intercepted a Russian submarine on its way to the English Channel

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The US Navy is putting the finishing touches on a 32-foot barrel gun with 4,500 mph firepower​


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    RAF Voyager KC-30 refueling F-35

    During a seven week detachment to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, a Royal Air Force (RAF) A330 Voyager tankerconducted 18 air-to-air refueling (AAR) test trials with an F-35B Lightning II Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing (STOVL)aircraft from the F-35 Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF).

    According to the ITF, the testing campaign carried out by joint RAF – Pax River ITF test team was completed one week early, demonstrating the team’s efficiency by accomplishing its test plan in 18 flights rather than the scheduled 20 flights.

    The trials included day, twilight, and evening plugs between the F-35’s IFR (In-Flight Refueling) probe and the tanker’s hose (indeed RAF’s A330 Voyager tankers are only equipped with the U.S. Navy’s standard “hose and drogue” system).

    The test trials generated data for the assessment of the wing pods and the fuselage refueling unit in anticipation of a flight clearance that will support the U.K.’s F-35B Lightning II Initial Operating Capability (IOC) in 2018.

    RAF Voyager KC-30 refueling F-35

    The U.K. has 19 RAF and Royal Navy personnel embedded within the F-35 Pax River ITF. Many of these British military participate in the shipboard developmental test (DT) phases for both the F-35B and F-35C.

    RAF Voyager KC-30 refueling F-35

    U.K. personnel supported the first two phases of F-35B testing aboard USS Wasp (LHD 1) and the first two phases of F-35C testing aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), respectively. They are set to embark on the third and final phases of testing at sea for the two F-35 variants, ahead of the U.K.’s own F-35B Ship Integration trials scheduled to take place aboard UK’s new Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in 2018.

    RAF Voyager KC-30 refueling F-35

    HMS Queen Elizabeth will use a ski-jump ramp to help the launching plane take off with an upward flight path and a BAE Systems Test Pilot launched the F-35B from a land-based ski-jump for the very first time at Pax River in June last year.

    RAF Voyager KC-30 refueling F-35

    SEE ALSO: The UK intercepted a Russian submarine on its way to the English Channel

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    NOW WATCH: The US Navy is set to take over this $4.4 billion futuristic-missile destroyer


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    uss liberty

    It's understandable if you've never heard of the USS Liberty and the more than 200 sailors who were wounded and lost their lives the day she was attacked in the summer of 1967.

    That was the Summer of Love, when nearly 100,000 American youth descended on Haight Ashbury in San Francisco, and the Vietnam War was really getting into the ugly abyss it would become.

    Nearly 13,000 American's died in the jungle in 1967, less than half the number who would fall in 1968.

    So, it's understandable if amid all that carnage, loss, and revolution the lives of a couple hundred Liberty sailors fell to the heap of history and were forgotten.

    What's still not understandable is why the Liberty was ambushed by Israeli gunships, that efforts to rescue dying sailors were called off, and a massive cover-up trailed the incident's wake.

    Elizabeth Flock at US News reminds us of the incident in a piece honoring this Friday's Liberty memorial service to be held at Arlington National Cemetery in D.C.

    Flock points to lingering outrage and concern of a cover up that has prompted a Facebook page asking people to sign a petition calling for a renewed investigation of the incident, which apparently went down something like this:

    uss liberty bombingThree days into Israel's Six-Day War, the Liberty was parked off the coast of Egypt collecting communication signals in international waters.

    While initially some concern was given to the ship's getting too close to shore, or mistaken for an enemy vessel, those misgivings seem to have vanished when Israeli planes flew in for a visual inspection at about 6:00 a.m. local time — as the mist was still burning off the surface of the Mediterranean.

    American sailors say the Israeli aircraft flew so close to the Liberty that they rattled the its steel plating while the ship's crew waved to the planes pilots, who did the same in return.

    All morning and into the afternoon, the Liberty went about her mission unmolested when at 1:40 p.m., unknown to the Liberty crew, an Israel torpedo boat reported an "unknown vessel" traveling at speeds only attributable to warships.

    Twenty minutes later a pair of Mirage II fighters rattled down over the Liberty and made two visual inspection passes at 3,000 feet. The Mirage pilots radioed command that the ship looked like a non-Israeli destroyer, and orders came back over the airwaves to attack.

    The Liberty's command knew the planes were Israeli so the ship's crew were all on "stand down" mode, non-defensive, with no helmets or even life jackets at the ready. 

    The twin Mirage's pounded the Liberty with all the cannons, rockets, and bombs at their disposal during three separate runs. When they depleted their ammunition they were replaced by two Dassault Mysteres filled with napalm bombs that tore into the Liberty, engulfing it in a raging inferno from the bridge to the deck.

    When it was all over 34 sailors were dead, 174 were injured and Israel claimed they'd mistaken America's most distinctive ship for an Egyptian horse-cavalry transport half the Liberty's size with a completely different profile.

    Israel apologized, made reparations to the US and the sailor's families, and then according to many— the incident was swept under the rug and a whitewashing of the facts came in to preserve Israel's reputation

    USS Liberty

    A letter to Congress from USS Liberty veterans, asking for the renewed investigation, also says that rescue efforts to save the Liberty's crew were somehow called off, and that makes even less sense to them than anything else about the whole, tragic, and nearly forgotten fiasco.

    The most detailed version of the incident and all that followed may be found here in the NSA's de-classified documents.

    SEE ALSO: The UK intercepted a Russian submarine on its way to the English Channel

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    An F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter takes off on a training sortie at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida in this March 6, 2012 file photo.  REUTERS/U.S. Air Force photo/Randy Gon/Handout

    COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - The Danish government on Thursday reached agreement with coalition parties to proceed with the purchase of 27 F-35A stealth fighters from U.S. defense giant Lockheed Martin Corp , the defence ministry said.

    Following a recommendation from an expert group appointed by the government, Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, leading a minority government, announced on May 12 his support for the acquisition of 27 fighter jets to the value of 20 billion Danish Crowns ($3.05 billion).

    The agreement is a blow to rival Boeing Co which mounted an expensive last-ditch marketing effort for its older F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

    Denmark would be the 11th country to buy the radar-evading F-35A jets, joining the United States, Britain, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Israel, South Korea and Japan.

    "The fighter jets are central to our participation in international missions in the Balkans, in Afghanistan, in Libya and recently in Iraq in the fight against ISIL (Islamic State)," Rasmussen told a news conference in May.

    SEE ALSO: The British navy intercepted a Russian submarine on its way to the English Channel

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    Enterprise Burning Hellcat

    On November 10, 1943, when Lt. Walter L. Chewning Jr., the catapult officer of the USS Enterprise, saw a 9,000-pound F6F Hellcat crash-land on the flight deck and erupt in a ball of flames as it barreled toward the gun gallery, he did not run away.

    Instead, Chewning deliberately ran toward the wreck, stepped on the burning external fuel tank, which was hemorrhaging and fueling the flames, forced the plane's jammed canopy open, and saved the stunned young pilot's life.

    The USS Enterprise would go down in history as an exemplary ship and crew in the Pacific theater of World War II, and the first carrier to respond after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

    Selfless acts of bravery, like the one captured in this image, typify the kind of spirit that helped the Allied powers win the war when things looked most bleak. Chewning would receive the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his actions on that day.

    SEE ALSO: The 5 greatest warships of all time

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    czech crown

    From country to country, monetary units vary nearly as much as the cultures and languages that use them. But have you ever wondered why a dollar is called a "dollar"?

    A recent post on the Oxford Dictionary's OxfordWords blog explained the origins of the names of the world's most common currencies. In the slides below, find out where these everyday words come from.

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    Dollar

    The dollar is the world's most common currency, used in the US, Australia, Canada, Fiji, New Zealand, and Singapore and elsewhere.

    According to OxfordWords, the Flemish or Low German word "joachimsthal" referred to Joachim's Valley, where silver was once mined. Coins minted from this mine became "joachimsthaler," which was later shortened to "thaler" and which eventually morphed into "dollar."



    Peso

    "Peso" literally means "weight" in Spanish.



    Lira

    The Italian and Turkish "lira" come from the Latin word "libra," meaning "pound."

    Source: OxfordWords



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    George S. Patton

    Few generals have had the lasting impact that Gen. George S. Patton has had. 

    Patton, who commanded the US's 7th Army in Europe and the Mediterranean during World War II, is perhaps just as well known for his amazing insight into what makes for excellent and successful leadership.

    Showcasing Patton's most memorable and poignant quotes is author Charles M. Province in "Patton's One-Minute Messages."

    Here's a few of our favorites quotes from America's "Ol' Blood and Guts."

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    "Do everything you ask of those you command."

    Source: Patton's One Minute Messages



    "No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair."

    Source: Patton's One Minute Messages



    "Any man who thinks he's indispensable, ain't."

    Source: Patton's One Minute Messages



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