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Some Famous Veterans We Lost in 2018 To Remember

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By Debbie Gregory.

I thought it might be nice to recognize the passing on some famous Veterans that Passed Away in 2018. They served our nation and we need to remember all those who we have lost.

• Anna Mae Hays, who died in January at age 97, was a career officer in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. Her breakthrough ascent to become America’s first female general officer began when Hays served as an Army nurse in malaria-infested jungles during World War II.

• Keith Max Jackson was an American sports commentator, journalist, author and radio personality, known for his career with ABC Sports. He served as a mechanic in the Marine Corps. Using his GI Bill, he attended Washington State University, starting as a political science major but soon moving over to broadcasting and graduating in 1954 with a degree in speech communications. He died in January at the age of 89.

• John Mahoney, a British-born actor who emigrated to the United States and enlisted in the U.S. Army in order to become a U.S. citizen, died in February at the age of 77. Mahoney was best known for his role as Martin Crane in the sitcom Frasier. The show ran for 11 seasons between 1993 and 2004.

• Floyd Carter Sr., one of the last of the Tuskegee Airmen, dedicated his life to service. The decorated veteran of three wars and 27 years with the NYPD died in March at age 95, leaving a long legacy as a groundbreaking hero pilot and a city police detective. In 2007, Carter was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bush for breaking the color barrier in Tuskegee.

• Roy Hawthorne Sr., one of the most recognizable Navajo Code Talkers, died in April at the age of 92. He was one of the most active members the Navajo Code Talkers Association. Like others who served as Code Talkers, Hawthorne took the vow of silence seriously and never told anyone what he did in the war until 1968, when the use of the Navajo language as a code was declassified. “I never even told my family about it until we were told it was all right,” Hawthorne said in a 2010 interview.

• R. Lee Ermey was an American actor, voice actor and Marine Corps drill instructor. He achieved fame when he played Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket, which earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Ermey passed away in April at age 74.

• Art Paul, the man responsible for Playboy’s famous logo, served during World War II with the Army Air Corps. Upon leaving the military, Paul became a freelance illustrator and Playboy magazine’s first employee in the 1950s. He said he crafted the bunny logo in about an hour. Pail died in April at the age of 93.

Marine Corps Looking for a Taser-like Bullet

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By Debbie Gregory.

The Marine Corps is looking for a bullet that can deliver an electric jolt like a Taser.

The service branch wants a wireless human electro-muscular incapacitation (HEMI) round with a range of at least 100 meters (328 feet), a non-lethal weapon designed to temporarily incapacitate individuals for at least thirty seconds,  ideally longer. The goal is a non-lethal weapon that can be used by the joint services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, the Department of Justice, the Secret Service, Customs and Border Protection and law enforcement.

HEMI rounds have undergone extensive human effects testing and analysis. The Air Force Research Laboratory, Human Effects Center of Excellence, Naval Health Research Laboratory and contracted researchers from academia have done extensive work to understand and characterize electro-muscular incapacitation effects at various exposure durations.

The bullet would deliver a jolt of around 50 Coulombs, which is a measure of electrical charge, and would utilize a tiny but powerful battery that can fit inside a bullet-sized munition.

Specifications for the HEMI round include having a minimum safe distance of at least sixteen feet, with a velocity slow enough not to injure the target. The bullet price point should also be less than $1,000 per round. Additionally, the HEMI round must be fired from conventional small arms.

The Marines want the ability to incapacitate for more than three minutes, enough jolt to stun but not enough to kill. It should be noted that a civilian police Taser jolts for just five seconds, yet an independent investigation found that more than 1,000 people have died fully or partly from Tasers.

Additional risks associated with Tasers include seizures, collapsed lungs, skin burns or eye damage, injuries to muscles, joints or tendons and head injuries from uncontrolled falls. And there is new evidence that suggests that Tasers may lead to fatal cardiac events.

By Debbie Gregory.

British defense contractor BAE Systems has been awarded a $198 million contract to deliver an initial 30 Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACV), with options for a total of 204 vehicles. The total contract could be worth up to $1.2 billion.

The vehicles will replace the current fleet, which has been in service since the 1970s.

BAE was chosen over Virginia-based SAIC, which had teamed up with Singapore Technologies Kinetics.

“We are well positioned and ready to build the future of amphibious fighting vehicles for the Marine Corps, having already produced 16 prototypes,” said Dean Medland, vice president and general manager of Combat Vehicles Amphibious and International at BAE Systems. “Through this award, we are proud to continue our partnership with the Marine Corps by providing a best-in-class vehicle to support its mission through mobility, survivability and lethality.”

ACV1.1 provides exceptional mobility in all terrains, and blast mitigation protection for all three crew and 13 embarked Marines, along with other improvements over currently fielded systems.

BAE conducted its own extensive risk mitigation testing and evaluation for land mobility, survivability, and swim capabilities that proved its vehicle’s performance prior to delivering the first 16 prototypes to the Marine Corps in 2017.

The initial production vehicles will be delivered to the Marine Corps by the fall of 2019, with the Marines conducting initial operational test and evaluation in late 2020.

The 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion on the West Coast will be the first unit equipped with the ACV 1.1, Marine Corps officials said.

After purchasing the 204 vehicles in the initial phase, the next phase will see BAE’s development of the ACV 1.2, an upgraded platform that will hopefully be a replacement for the fleet of 870 amphibious assault vehicles.

Work on the program will be performed at the company’s facilities in Aiken, South Carolina; Sterling Heights, Michigan; Minneapolis; Stafford; San Jose, California; and York, Pennsylvania.

Marines Award M27 IAR Contract

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By Debbie Gregory.

The Marine Corps has awarded a five-year, firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity contract with a maximum ceiling of $29.4 million for the procurement of up to 15,000 M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles (IAR) and spare parts. The contract reflects a savings of more than 50 percent compared with what it has paid in the past for the weapon.

The contract was awarded to Heckler & Koch (H&K) in Ashburn, Virginia. For more than 50 years, H&K has been a leading designer and manufacturer of small arms and light weapons for law enforcement and military forces worldwide. In addition to operations in the U.S., H&K has operations in Germany, the United Kingdom and France

The price tag for the first 5,650 units is $7.4 million, which works out to $1,309 each. Given that the service branch previous paid approximately $3,000/unit, these rifles are a substantially better buy.

The additional M27’s will replace the M4 carbine. Unlike the M4, the M27 IAR is fully automatic to provide a higher volume of fire. It also features a free-floating barrel design for better accuracy.

“Since the M27 has been fielded, it has proven to be extremely reliable, durable, and accurate,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Joel Schwendinger, Combat Development and Integration Gunner.

The Marine Corps Operating Concept identifies the need for “increased lethality in Marine rifle platoons and squads,” he said.

“The M27 provides the Corps with the necessary increase in lethality,” Schwendinger said. “Unlike other infantry specialties that primarily fight with crew-served weapons, such as mortars and machine guns, rifle platoons primarily fight with rifles, and the M27 has proven to be the best overall fighting rifle.”

Although the infantry is fully enamored with the IAR, Marine special operators don’t want it because it isn’t compatible with SOCOM’s low receivers. Adopting the rifle would mean Marine operators would lose the flexibility of changing out various rifle barrels and configurations for a multitude of diverse mission sets carried out by the elite commando force.

The Marine Corps will field the additional M27 rifles to active and reserve infantry platoons beginning in early 2019.

USMC to Cease and Desist!

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By Debbie Gregory. abandoned a recently-unveiled online ad campaign after receiving a dressing-down from the Marine Corps.

The advertising campaign mentioned the Marine Corps in selling jerseys to be worn over the Memorial Day weekend by Major League Baseball teams including the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners and Detroit Tigers.

One ad read, “Honor the U.S. Marine Corps brave men and women with this authentic New York Yankees Giancarlo Stanton Majestic MLB Men’s USMC Cool Base Jersey.”

The Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard all have a trademark licensing office in order to control their logos and slogans. Revenues generated from licensing products support morale, welfare and recreation programs worldwide.

The Marine Corps does not currently have a licensing agreement in place with Lids or Major League Baseball.

Nick Francona, son of Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, is a former Marine who doesn’t mince words regarding profiting from those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice.

On the Friday before Memorial Day, Francona tweeted, “How about a Friday scavenger hunt? Who can find the 501c(3) filings showing specific details on MLB’s donations related to the proceeds from the sale of Memorial Day apparel the past few years? It’s a charity after all, right?”

In another tweet, Francona wrote “You have to hand it to @NewEraCap, @lids, and @MLB. It’s not often that you can combine callous exploitation and ignorance of the fundamental tenets of democracy in such an efficient manner.”

Besides these call-outs, Francona’s Twitter page is filled with tributes to the fallen. In his quest to make sure that they are not forgotten, Francona made personalized wristbands with the names of specific U.S. military veterans who died while serving overseas and distributed them to players and coaches with connections to the hometowns or schools where the deceased veteran was from.