Sept. 1 in U.S. Military History

Lockheed’s SR-71 “Blackbird”

1925: As Cmdr. John Rodgers attempts a long-distance flight from California to Hawaii, his PN-9 flying boat runs out of fuel several hundred miles short of the goal. Rogers’ four-man crew turns the airplane into a sailboat, and despite not having any food and very limited water, sails the remaining 450 miles to the island of Kauai. Although the plane did not reach its intended target, Rogers’ flight still sets a record for flying a seaplane 1,992 miles non-stop.

1939: Three waves of Luftwaffe Ju 87 B “Stuka” dive bombers cross Germany’s border with Poland at 4:40 a.m., destroying most of the defenseless town of Wieluń. The sneak attack is the first combat action of Germany’s invasion, which was preceded by a series of false flag operations intended to bolster support for a military campaign against its neighbor – launching what will become the deadliest conflict in human history.

That same day, Gen. George Marshall, aide-de-camp to Gen. John J. Pershing during World War I, is promoted to Chief of Staff. Marshall will oversee the greatest military buildup in American military history, labelled by Winston Churchill as the “organizer of victory.”

1942: 357 men and five officers of the 6th Naval Construction Battalion arrives in Guadalcanal, the first combat deployment of the legendary “Seabees.”

1974: A SR-71 “Blackbird” flown by Air Force Maj. James V. Sullivan streaks from New York to London in 1 hour and 55 minutes, setting a record that still stands today. Despite having to slow down to take on fuel from a specially modified KC-135 tanker, the reconnaissance plane still averages a blistering Mach 2.27.

2005: Soldiers with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and the 82nd Airborne Division, together with Iraqi soldiers launch an operation to clear Al Qaeda fighters from the city of Tal Afar. Col. H.R. McMaster’s force kills nearly 200 insurgents and capture hundreds more in the 17-day operation.

Posted on September 1, 2017 at 13:01 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Military History · Tagged with: , ,

Iraqi Insurgents Hacking Drone Video

A fully armed MQ-9 Reaper taxis down a runway in Southwest Asia.  The Reaper's primary mission is as a persistent hunter-killer against emerging targets. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)

A fully armed MQ-9 Reaper taxis down a runway in Southwest Asia. The Reaper's primary mission is as a persistent hunter-killer against emerging targets. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)

Iranian-backed Shiite fighters in Iraq have been hacking the live video feeds from U.S. unmanned drones according to senior defense officials. The Wall Street Journal reports that the insurgents are using a Russian-made, off-the-shelf program called SkyGrabber to view the non-encrypted information coming from the drones.

Officials say that there have been no reports of insurgents interfering with the flights, and also assure that no harm has come to our troops and that no missions have been compromised as a result of the security breach.

“That may be true today, but may not be the case in future conflicts,” remarks Bill Roggio of LongWarJournal.

Roggio speculates:

Don’t be surprised if you read a story in the next few days or weeks saying that elements within Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency have been monitoring US Predator and Reaper feeds, and relaying targeting information to al Qaeda and Taliban leaders. I have heard far too many stories about how senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders miraculously avoided attacks and left the target sites just minutes before the strikes. The officials repeatedly told me that they believed the anti-US elements in the ISI were tipping off the terrorist commanders before the strikes.

Many hours – even days – worth of recorded drone video feeds have been found on captured insurgent computers operating in Iraq, and sources say that feeds have also been intercepted by enemies operating in Afghanistan. According to WSJ‘s sources, the Pentagon has known of the encryption vulnerability since the Bosnia campaign during the 1990’s, but assumed that our enemies would not have the wherewithal to intercept the signals.

If the Pentagon is going to assume anything, they should be assuming that our enemies will compromise our communications, and design systems with that possibility in mind.

Military Milestones from the King of Battle to Second Fallujah

By W. Thomas Smith, Jr.

Originally published at Human Events

This Week in American Military History:

Nov. 16, 1778: In a letter to Frenchman Jacques Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont, an intermediary between King Louis XVI and American emissaries seeking support for the American Revolution (including ships), Continental Navy Capt. John Paul Jones writes, “I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm’s way.”

Readers will recall Jones dramatic refusal-to-surrender — “I have not yet begun to fight!” — the following year during the famous battle of the North Sea between the Continental Navy frigate Bonhomme Richard and the British frigate HMS Serapis.

Nov. 16, 2004: Nine days after launching Operation Phantom Fury — the Second Battle of Fallujah (Iraq) — U.S. Marines and soldiers (as well as a few British and Iraqi troops) begin the mopping-up phase of what has since been described as the most intense urban combat since the bloody battle for the Vietnamese city of Hué in 1968.

It is during the height of the battle for Fallujah, that a radio transmission is intercepted by U.S. forces in which a panicking al-Qaeda insurgent is heard exclaiming to his chief: “We are fighting, but the Marines keep coming! We are shooting, but the Marines won’t stop!”


Former NBA basketball player serving in Iraq

Kent Horner/NBAE — Getty Images

Kent Horner/NBAE — Getty Images

Specialist Tim James can say that he is one of the few soldiers who were actually drafted. In 1999, James was the 25th overall pick in the NBA draft. Following a career in the U.S. and European leagues, James joined the Army, and now serves in Iraq.

But according to The New York Times, he carries an “M-15 rifle.” Hadn’t heard of that one before.

James, who earned more than $2 million playing in the N.B.A., is making less than $2,000 a month. His commander, Capt. Curtis Byron, said he was unaware that the 6-foot-7 soldier in his unit was a former professional basketball player until James sought permission to be interviewed for news articles.

“Spc. James has always been very respectful and professional since being in the unit,” Captain Byron wrote in an e-mail message. “His job is not always the most glamorous, but he completes his missions in a timely manner and gets the job done.” He added, “He seems to be a fairly humble guy and takes it all in stride.”

To the best of my knowledge, James is the first athlete to join the service since brothers Pat and Kevin Tillman fought with the 2nd Raider Battalion.

Posted on September 16, 2009 at 13:29 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Military · Tagged with: , ,

Military Milestones from a Kentucky Raider to ‘a Bulldog of a Fighter’

By W. Thomas Smith, Jr.

Originally published at Human Events

Mar. 15, 1781:  British Army forces under the command of Lt. Gen. Charles Cornwallis march toward a pyrrhic victory over Continental Army and militia forces commanded by Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Greene at Guilford Courthouse (near present-day Greensboro), N.C.

Once engaged, the two armies fight for less than two hours. Tactically, it ends in a victory for Cornwallis, who drives Greene’s forces from the field. But British losses are heavy.

Cornwallis will purportedly say, “I never saw such fighting since God made me. The Americans fought like demons.” When word of Guilford Courthouse reaches London, Parliamentarian Charles James Fox will declare: “Another such victory would ruin the British army!”

Cornwallis’ entire army will surrender to the combined American-French forces of Generals George Washington and Comte de Rochambeau at Yorktown, Virginia, Oct. 19, almost seven months to the day after Guilford Courthouse.