Imagine an unmanned balloon carrying explosives that could be dropped after a time-delay fuse triggered the basket to overturn its contents. That isn’t science fiction: in 1863, during the Civil War, an inventor attempted to deploy this unmanned weapon to the battlefield. Although never successfully deployed, this amazing idea would change combat as we know it.
Now, of course, aerial, unmanned combat is commonplace. But how did it all begin?
People often ask me what it was like to be a soldier, but I don’t know that I’ve ever given a straight answer.
I don’t talk about what it was like to go to war, nor do I talk about the mundane details of rifle cleaning “parties.” I tell them stories that will make them smile, like getting lost in Germany (which somehow turned into France), or how too much alcohol led to a new tattoo.
Female soldiers won’t have to wear the same body armor that fits men for much longer. Finally, women in the military are getting armor of their own that is specifically designed to fit women better.
200,000 of the 1.4 million service members in the U.S. military, or about 14 percent, are women according to this Time.com article. So it’s fitting that they should be able to carry out their military duties in comfort and efficiency.
Let me preface this story by saying that I have a great job. I get to participate in an amazing nonprofit called the Veterans United Foundation. I have the opportunity to travel to fun locations (where people aren’t shooting at me) and I have the privilege to interview some really outstanding service members and veterans. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m grateful for what I do.
Still, there are times that I miss the Army. I don’t know if that will ever go away.
Today’s technological advances may have changed the face of warfare, but veterans are still suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder — all while they’re sitting miles away from ground combat.
Unmanned aircraft have taken on key roles in the success of America’s wartime missions. Reconnaissance, air-to-ground combat and other functions the drones offer have helped keep troops off of the battlefield, but service members are still the ones pulling the trigger.
It is with a heavy heart that we honor those lost on Sept. 11, 2001.
It is a day that forever changed our nation. Friends and families were left weakened by missing loved ones, yet the spirit and resolve of America grew strong. Now is the time to remember those that were taken from us, and to thank those whose memory kept us from falling down. It’s been a long, hard road since 9/11, and it will continue for many years, but, as one nation, we will continue to prevail.
Getting together to watch football on a Sunday afternoon has been one of America’s favorite pastimes for decades. This year likely won’t be any different.
The National Football League kicks off tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET. We should do well to remember that it is because of veterans that we have the freedom to enjoy this great game, and that over a thousand NFL players have served in the military — 26 of which paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Those who served in World War II and Vietnam include some of the biggest names in football history — George Halas, Otto Graham, Chuck Bednarik, and Dick “Night Train” Lane — but this story isn’t just about those that were successful on the football field. It’s about those that chose to make a difference for America. Those that have served both in the military and in the NFL know the difference between a fun pastime and a profession that truly exemplifies America.
I deployed to Afghanistan in 2006. I was among the first of many Air Force support teams to aid the Army National Guard in training the Afghan National Army. In Jalalabad, I oversaw construction projects on the Afghan base and in the northeastern part of the country.
During my work on the Afghan base I met with many Afghan soldiers, contractors and day laborers. They spoke very little or no English. I only had enough Dari to say “Hello” or “Stop that.” In order to bridge the language gap, I needed an Afghan interpreter. I became close friends with one interpreter in particular. His name is Feroz.
The Department of Defense is officially scrapping the Army Combat Uniform (ACU).
It’s only been eight years since the release of the new uniform and camouflage known as the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP). Unfortunately, the grey-green pixelated design stood out in practically every environment in which it was used. Now, the Pentagon is working to develop a series of uniforms, each specially suited to a different environment.
In the meantime, the Army is replacing the UCP with a pattern called MultiCam, a seven-color, multi-environment camouflage that has proven to be much more effective at helping troops blend into their surroundings. British troops have been using a variant of the MultiCam for years called the Multi-Terrain Pattern. The new uniforms are currently being issued to American soldiers in Afghanistan until the UCP can be replaced altogether. See More
The world becomes more technologically advanced by the minute. You can watch movies or play games on your smartphone. You can get internet access in Antarctica if you have access to a satellite. You might even be able to purchase a car that drives itself around town.
It’s intuitive technology like this that requires our military to stay one step ahead of people who can do harm from a keyboard. And to accomplish that, the armed forces may be hiring people they once considered “digital criminals.” To you and I, they’re simply known as computer hackers.