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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.

By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. Army is looking for ideas on how to develop a non-lethal weapon capable of knocking out remote weapon stations on enemy vehicles without endangering nearby civilians.

Instead of blowing up hostile armored vehicles and the surrounding city block, the Army wants to have the ability to disable them by using nonlethal force, keeping civilian housing, hospitals, schools, mosques safe, avoiding the strong negative sociopolitical ramifications should they be attacked in the normal manner.

“The sociopolitical ramifications of collateral damage, especially the type of damage that can be inflicted with traditional anti-armor assets, have made it increasingly difficult for the dismounted soldier to engage lightly armored vehicles,” according to an April 20 solicitation.

The April 20th solicitation was posted on a government website for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which is designed to encourage small business to engage in federal research and development.

Remote weapon stations, or RWS, are “often highly instrumented to provide vision, range finding as well as weapon stabilization,” the Army explains. “If the instrumentation can be blinded or the stabilization destroyed, they become far less dangerous to the dismounted soldier and the civilian population as a whole. If the entire electronics of the RWS can be disrupted, even basic traversing and firing functions become disabled.”

The solicitation, which closed to submissions June 20, suggests another soft spot, targeting a vehicle’s mobility, such as its engine. “It is imperative that these mechanisms are not viewed as lethal to bystanders,” the Army says.

The armor disablement weapon also needs to have enough range (more than a hundred yards) to keep dismounted U.S. soldiers far away enough from heavily armed vehicles. Other specifications include less than five pounds in weight, the ability to disable a vehicle in less than five minutes, and capable of targeting buildings.

By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. Army is looking for a new vehicle to quickly transport troops across the battlefield. Qualified applicants must carry nine fully-armed infantry soldiers, work after being pushed out of an airplane, and enjoy a road speed of 55 mph.

The Army recently released a market survey for what it’s calling the Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV). The ISV is meant to be an ultra-light vehicle capable of hauling troops across the battlefield. Unlike other vehicles, the ISV is merely a people hauler and won’t actually do any fighting. The solicitation states that the Army wants to buy new vehicles along with hardware and services, at a total quantity of around 2,065.

The Army has several ways to move infantry soldiers in wartime. At the high end of warfare soldiers are transported in M2A3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs).

At the next level down soldiers in Stryker brigade combat teams ride in Stryker interim armored vehicles. Faster moving but with less protection than a Bradley, Strykers can transport up to nine soldiers meant to dismount before the battle in order to fight.

The next level down is where the new Infantry Squad Vehicle comes in.

The Army and the Marine Corps continue to struggle to find ways to lighten the load of infantry soldiers, a problem that the Defense Department’s newly-formed Close Combat Lethality Task Force has made a priority to address.

“The ISV is all about mobility. Previously, if paratroopers, light infantry or air assault troops wanted to quickly secure their objective they needed to land close by—and become a target for guns and surface-to-air missiles.

The ISV “should be capable of “traversing longitudinal grades up to 60 percent,” but will offer no armor protection for soldiers, according to the solicitation.

“Survivability will be achieved through high mobility, a roll cage and occupant restraints,” the document states.

So if you’ve got a vehicle that could fit the bill, the deadline to respond is October 26, 2018.


Army Has up to $800 Million for New Humvee Ambulances

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By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. Army recently awarded AM General LLC a contract worth up to $800 million to build thousands of High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (Humvee) ambulances to supplement the service’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) fleet.

Based in South Bend, Indiana, AM General is best known for the civilian Hummer and the military Humvee that are assembled in Mishawaka, Indiana.

Both the Army and the Marine Corps plan to replace a large portion of their outdated Humvee fleets with the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, a joint program that could be worth up to $30 billion if they end up buying the proposed 60,000 units.

The contract to build the 2,800 new M997A3 Humvee ambulances was initially worth $562.5 million, but that amount could be worth $800 million if the Army decides to commit to two optional years on top of the three-year base contract, according to Deborah Reyes, a spokesman for AM General.

Both services will continue to use the Humvee, especially the ambulance variant since there is no ambulance version of the JLTV.

The new M997A3 is based on AM General’s M1152 up-armored Humvee chassis and body, Reyes said. The M1152 is enhanced with “integrated armor protection,” AM General’s website states.

“AM General continues to support the warfighter’s needs by delivering high-quality M997A3 ambulances based off our modernized, proven, rugged, all-terrain HMMWV’s,” Chris Vanslager, AM General executive vice president for U.S. Defense, said in a news release. “We understand the importance of being able to reliably and safely transport the wounded within operational areas on the battlefield to medical aid stations and are proud that the M997A3 can fulfill this critical mission.”

According to a company press release, the company will procure all system materials and parts, manufacture the chassis and body structure before shipping the integrated chassis system to Rock Island Arsenal where the ambulance shelter will be manufactured and assembled into the final product.

The Humvee saw widespread use in the Gulf War of 1991, where it negotiated the treacherous desert terrain; this usage helped to inspire civilian Hummer versions. After going through a replacement process, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) was chosen as its successor.

By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. Army has narrowed the field to build prototypes of the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle to five gun makers.

Contracts to build the replacement for the M249 squad automatic weapon were awarded to AAI Corporation/Textron Systems, FN America LLC, General Dynamics-OTS Inc., PCP Tactical LLC and Sig Sauer Inc.

The contract awards are the result of a Prototype Opportunity Notice the Army released in March, and each firm will submit one weapon, a fire-control system and 2,000 rounds of ammunition within 12 months.

The weapon must combine the firepower and range of a machine gun with the precision and ergonomics of a rifle, yielding capability improvements in accuracy, range, and lethality. The weapon can’t weigh more than 12 pounds, including sling, bipod and suppressor, and the fire-control system must weigh less than three pounds. The maximum length of the weapon is 35 inches, two pounds less and five inched shorter than its predecessor.

Textron may have a leg-up on the competition due to its long term work on next-generation light machine guns that fire case-telescoped ammunition in its Lightweight Small Arms Technology program.

“We are leveraging and building upon our lineage of lightweight squad weapon technologies that we have been working on over the last 14 years,” said Wayne Prender, vice president of Applied Technologies & Advanced Programs at Textron Systems.

The Army also wants ammunition to weigh 20 percent less than the current brass-cased ammo. Textron has invested a large amount of research into its case-telescoped ammunition technology. Futuristic cartridges that utilize a plastic case rather than a brass one to hold the propellant and the projectile offer significant weight reductions compared to conventional ammo.

Despite Textron’s expertise, Prender admits it will still be a challenge to deliver what the Army wants.