This week we’ve got some great topics on tap for you guys.
The USMC’s JLTV: Almost Light, Very Tactical
We introduce a new writer, Daniel Kapavic, who reviews the procurement process for the new JLTV.
In June, the Department of Defense (DoD) held demonstrations in Quantico, VA, for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). The DoD has long been working to acquire a vehicle that is both light and tactical, but with the protection the American people have come to expect for their troops.
During the nearly twelve years since 9/11, we have been endlessly bombarded with embedded war coverage and TV reports on Iraq and Afghanistan, in which even a handful of American deaths is big news. That, combined with new technologies such as unmanned vehicles (or drones), has resulted, not surprisingly, in a public that is increasingly risk-averse.
It is easy to understand why the DoD is so eager to obtain a vehicles that meets the “iron triangle” of requirements: protection, performance, and payload needed for our joint forces to remain expeditionary and face global threats.
North Korean Ground Forces: We Can March Better Than You
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have one of the largest ground forces in the world, and were once referred to as the “Million Man Army.” Although their ground forces are estimated somewhere in the region of 950,000 soldiers, the large majority are under-trained and malnourished.
In standing with other past communist and oppressed countries, North Korea’s main strength lies in their ability to put on one hell of a parade. These show of force maneuvers are thought raise the morale of the people by their high-stepping, in-cadence marching. Unfortunately, I don’t foresee them showcasing their strengths in the Olympics any time in the near future. I’m thinking doubles synchronized marching.
If You Don’t Have a Tab, Hit the Slab
Man, did I hate those words when I was a private in Ranger Battalion. Early mornings in formation waiting for the First Sergeant to come out and call the company to attention. Sometimes it was once, but more often than not, those words were shouted by some newly crowned tab spec-four–three, four, five times. That might not sound so bad if you knew you weren’t going to have your ass smoked for at least a couple of hours at some point during the day.
The good mornings were when you would only have to complete 50 or fewer push-ups. The standard was 25 push-ups for anyone who didn’t have a Ranger Tab and those infamous words were shouted during a humid Georgia morning. It was better to hear those words out in formation, away from the building or any vertical surface, than indoors when your feet would surely be elevated.
“Elevate those feet, you haven’t been to fucking mountains!”
No Shit There I Was… Welcome to Iraq
The day after we arrived, we split teams and sent a forward party to our team house in Samarra, while the rest of us, myself included, stayed behind at Forward Operating Base Balad. I’ll tell stories about that hell hole some other time. Our forward party was welcomed promptly by incoming Katyusha rockets. Fortunately, none of them were accurate enough to cause any damage… except the one that landed right between where our vehicles were parked and the entrance to the compound as our guys were offloading equipment from the vehicles.
Thanks only to what must have been a miracle, the rocket did not detonate. Instead, it stuck in the asphalt like a damned lawn dart. Someone has pictures somewhere, I promise. One of my teammates was even feeling froggy enough to throw rocks at it from behind a t-barrier while they waited for Explosive Ordnance Disposal to arrive. Being trained in unexploded ordnance, I would have advised strongly against that, but I wasn’t there yet. But the thought probably would have passed my mind. Hell, I would have been throwing rocks too. Anyway, bottom line: Samarra was a hot spot when we arrived. Prime hunting territory.
Playing Chess with a Radioactive Pawn
Imagine you’re playing chess and one of your pawns is infected with some form of radiation. Each piece in its vicinity and any piece that defeats it becomes infected as well. What options do you have? What would you do? How can you limit its damage while still maintaining an overall defensive or offensive strategy? How would your initial strategy change with the introduction of this radioactive pawn?
This is the game of chess that is being played between the United States and Russia. Edward Snowden is that radioactive pawn (henceforth, he will be known as the superhero/villain RadioPawn).
On the Team Room side, we updated the Shoutbox chat app tonight, so you ‘ll see some differences there. Play around with it and let us know what you think. We also determined that we need to clear the chat history on a regular basis to keep it usable, so we’ll do that probably Sunday and Thursday nights.
Regarding membership and the payment process – a few months ago I let you all know about a problem we have with PayPal, where, if there’s any kind of little hiccup with your monthly payment, your membership gets cancelled by our system. No warning at all, it’s kinda like a sniper in its stealthy finality. And we don’t like that one bit! So I do have some improvements coming and will let you know about them within a week or two. For now, just know that there will be alternatives to PayPal, and they are much more forgiving about payment ‘issues.’
Our updated PX should have most of the bugs worked out. All items listed should receive the Team Room discount. Patches will be shipping soon. If you have any problems at all please use the Comms Check to let us know.
Finally, I know we’ve been pretty quiet in Team Room lately. When we’re quiet it usually means we’re hard at work heads-down on something special, and that would be the case here. Stand by for more from Brandon in the coming weeks.
As you were.
(Featured Image Courtesy: DVIDS. Marines with 3rd Platoon, Delta Company, 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Forward), provide security during a combat logistics patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb 2. Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 8, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), escorted the tank platoon to northern Helmand province where the tanks will assist coalition forces in securing the area.)