Apr 16

Epic Rap Battle: Marine Corps vs. Army

Who do you think won the battle? Warning: Graphic Language

A funny take on military life. Pssst – Marines killed it.

Apr 16

Marine Helicopter Surprises Beachgoers with Emergency Landing

Marine Helicopter lands on southern california beachSOLANA BEACH, Calif. (AP) —    made an emergency landing on a Southern California beach on Wednesday, bringing no damages or injuries but leaving an unforgettable spectacle for surrounding swimmers and sunbathers.

The CH-53E Super Stallion landed on the shore of this northern San Diego County town shortly after 11:30 a.m. after a low oil-pressure indicator light went on in the cockpit,Marine Corps Air Station Miramar said in a statement.

The 100-foot copter is twice the size of the humpback whales that sometimes wash up on surrounding shores. It crouched on the sand below a bluff and only a few yards from the surf line, dwarfing surfboard-topped lifeguard vehicles parked nearby.

Bing Bush and his wife, Julie, who live in a cliffside complex overlooking the beach, were in for a surprise when they stepped out their front door.

“We were just coming down for a beach walk — we come down here quite a bit — and lo and behold there’s a chopper on the beach,” Bing said, after posing for a photo in front of the chopper with his wife. “We thought maybe it was a movie shot or a movie set or something like that.”

The precautionary landing came during routine training, Gunnery Sgt. Donald Bohanner said. The Marines and a local hazardous materials team removed oil that leaked from the copter to the beach, Bohanner said.

“There was no injuries, no damage to any property, no injuries to any civilians, which was an awesome, awesome thing right there,” Bohanner said.

J.D. Kalt, a 10-year-old who came to the beach with his mother and some friends to check out the helicopter, was amazed by its size. He had his mother take a cellphone photo of him with his two friends in front of the massive aircraft and then bounced around in the sand staring as Marine mechanics wearing flight suits and helmets scrambled atop the chopper.

“It’s huge! I like military and Navy, so I might fly one of those someday,” he said.

Four hours after the landing, gawkers gathered to watch it take off again and head back to the Miramar base amid a storm of sand and a deafening roar.

The helicopter is the largest and heaviest in the U.S. military. It has three engines, can travel at more than 170 mph and can carry a crew of four.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Apr 14

Twin toddlers roll into canal, die as mom swats bee

Screenshot from Twins drowning

Screenshot of canal from news report.

YUMA, Ariz. (AP) — Police say 18-month-old boys drowned in a southwestern Arizona canal after their stroller rolled into the flowing water when their mother stopped after being attacked by a bee.

Yuma police said 26-year-old Alexis Keslar jumped into the steep-sloped canal Friday but couldn’t rescue the boys because the deep water was moving too fast.

After a search that lasted more than an hour, the brothers were pulled from the water. They were flown by a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter to a Yuma hospital, where they were pronounced dead, a spokesperson said.

Police on Tuesday issued a statement detailing how the ended up in the canal and said the Yuma County medical examiner determined that the deaths were accidental drownings.

“We’re not seeing any criminal actions or activity,” police Lt. Don Willits said.

He said Keslar managed to get out of the canal, but she’d lost her cellphone in the water. She yelled for help, and a Yuma city public works employee who was nearby heard her and called 911, Willits said. The area along the canal is used by families for walks and by joggers.

It took authorities more than an hour, however, to find and retrieve the boys.

“When I found out who the little boys were, all I could feel was a knot in my stomach,” Marlene Gleim, a friend of the ‘ grandmother, told KYMA-TV.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Apr 14

Husband fatally shot wife at doctor’s office, police say

Doctors Office Leaj Jarvis PriceJEMISON, Ala. (AP) — A woman fighting with her husband ran into a doctor’s office and begged the staff to call the police before the man shot her dead, ran to their home nearby and holed up there during a lengthy standoff with police, officials said Monday.

The couple lived near the doctor’s office, and 24-year-old Jarvis Price apparently fled there from their home in small-town Jemison because it was the closest place to go, police chief Shane Fulmersaid.

“The first thing she said when she came in was, ‘Call the police,'” Fulmer said. He said six to seven people — all employees, including the doctor — were in the office at the time.

Eric Heath Price, 25, followed her in and shot her in the head, then returned home, Fulmer said.

There, police talked to him over the phone and a loudspeaker. Police didn’t shoot any bullets but fired tear gas into the home, Fulmer said. The man came outside and had a gunshot wound to the head. Fulmer called it self-inflicted but said police didn’t know exactly when it happened.

Price was taken to a hospital and has been charged with murder, Fulmer said.

He said the couple have a 6-year-old son. The boy was away from home at school on Monday.

After the shooting and during the standoff, roads and businesses were closed. At least 10 police cars were on the scene. Ambulances blocked the highway in front of the building, with rescue personnel going in and out. Local schools went on lockdown.

At the standoff scene, there was a series of loud pops near the house. Within moments an ambulance pulled up, and emergency workers could be seen loading a person into the back of the ambulance. The ambulance then left with its siren on.

After the ordeal, the house was surrounded in yellow police tape.

James Russell Curl, who manages a McDonald’s restaurant about 200 yards from the doctor’s office, said he had heard a gunshot and police began arriving within moments.

“It’s a little scary,” Curl said.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Apr 14

U.S. Marine returns to the Middle East to fight ISIS

Mideast Islamic State Iraq Vets Return Jamie Lane

In this Feb. 26, 2015 photo, Jamie Lane, 29, an American veteran originally from Mt. Pleasant Michigan, poses for a picture in front of an Iraqi Army Humvee captured and later abandoned by Islamic State militants in Tel Hamis, Syria. Lane is among growing number of Iraq war veterans returning to the battlefield, this time without the American military, to join in the fight against the Sunni militants who now hold territory in a third of Iraq and Syria. (Courtesy Jamie Lane via AP)

BAGHDAD (AP) — A decade after his first Iraq tour, former U.S. Marine Jamie Lane has returned to the battlefields of the Middle East to fight a still unvanquished enemy and wrestle with the demons of his past.

The 29-year old from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan served as a machine gunner from 2004 to 2008, mainly in the western Anbar province, where he saw fierce fighting against al-Qaida in Iraq. Now, as a private citizen suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, he is back in the region to battle its successor, the Islamic State group.

“In order to aid my recovery from PTSD, I have taken it upon myself to fight on my terms, against an enemy I know is evil,” said Lane, who joined Kurdish militiamen in Syria. “It is redemption, in a sense.”

He is one of a small but growing number of Iraq war veterans who are making their way back to the Middle East, not as uniformed soldiers, but as individuals waging their own personal battles.

Many describe feeling a sense of unfinished business as they watched the Islamic State group rampage across the country last summer, seizing territory they had fought and bled for during the U.S.-led intervention. Some express remorse for taking part in that war, while others say they are driven by the same sense of moral obligation that brought them here in the first place, joining their fate to that of a deeply troubled country.

Scott Curley, another U.S veteran of the Iraq war, returned to join the Kurdish peshmerga fighters after Islamic State militants in Syria beheaded Peter Kassig, a former U.S. Army Ranger who had returned to the region to provide humanitarian aid to Syrian civilians.

“I’m just a man with a gun, but whatever little difference I can do,” he said. ‘There weren’t many Western volunteers (with the peshmerga), so I figured I could help here.”

A U.S.-led air campaign began targeting the Islamic State group in Iraq in August, helping Iraqi and Kurdish forces to halt the extremists’ advance and begin rolling them back. The Pentagon plans to supply some $1.6 billion worth of arms and training to Kurdish and Iraqi forces.  Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 13

The Problem With Dependas and the Social Justice Vigilantism that Follows

The Problem With Dependas and the social justice vigilantism that follows

This hippo meme is widely circulated in military venues. The hippo represents the “greedy military spouse” chasing the service member for benefits.

There are jerks everywhere, especially when you’re looking for them. We’re human, so we are flawed by nature and all of us have said or done things we regret. However, there’s been a disturbing trend where campaigns are started against a specific group of people. I’m talking about the dependa-epidemic.

Dependas, Dependas, Everywhere

So what exactly is a dependa? Most service members use it as a term to describe any military spouse they don’t like, short for ‘dependapotomus’ or a ‘dependasaurus’. But let’s really look at what a ‘dependa’ really is:

  • Overweight
  • Uneducated
  • Lacking goals and aspirations in life
  • Overspends their service members’ money on frivolous purchases to include coach handbags, only to end up begging for funds or gifts to cover basic needs just days after pay day.
  • Has children (breeder) and their offspring are often characterized as ‘feral’
  • Adulterers
  • Only married their service member for the ‘lavish’ military benefits

In our world, all military spouses are dependas until they prove on a case-by-case basis that they’re not. Of course, it’s completely open up for interpretation and all milspouses are guilty until proven innocent.

So today, each and every female military spouse is marked with the Scarlet Letter ‘D’, just waiting to get their picture taken in the commissary to get harassed online, or have her Facebook photo screenshot and submitted on one of the several anti-dependa sites out there (for the most part, male military spouses are not targeted).  Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 13

Two sisters graduated Marine Corps enlisted infantry training

Marine Sisters

Two sisters, both combat engineers, make it through enlisted infantry training. Photo credit: Facebook

Marine recruiter Sgt. Zonell Westfield prides himself on having the ability to spot a future Marine anywhere he goes. It was this insight that set off a chain of events that led to a historic achievement in the Marine Corps.

One fall day in 2013, Sgt. Westfield visited Smoothie King and met Kendra Hazelwood, 18, working behind the counter. “I’ve got the eye for a Marine,” he told her, handing her his business card.

Because of this exchange, Kendra and her older sister, 21-year-old Chelsa Hazelwood, became the first women to successfully complete enlisted infantry training. The two women were part of a small group of volunteers who were given the opportunity to go through the training.

According to Marine Corps Times, Kendra accomplished this in the fall of 2014. Her sister, Chelsa, graduated from Infantry Training Battalion on March 19.

It took three weeks for Kendra to visit Sgt. Westfield at his recruiting office in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

“I’ve been looking at your card every day,” she said, according to Westfield. “I can’t stop thinking about it.”

Westfield said it’s moments like those that made all the pressures and frustrations of recruiting worthwhile.

“I tell [the recruiters I train], ‘You can’t be afraid. You’ve got to go out there, and you’ve got to ask everybody because you never know,'” he said. “When [Kendra] walked in there that day, just all that hard work and getting turned down, it made up for all that.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 13

US Marines train Tanzanians in fight against illicit trafficking

Tanzania forces and Marines working together

Virginia Blazer, center, the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission to Tanzania, poses for a photo with Marines and Sailors assigned to a Security Cooperation Team with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa, and more than 40 Tanzanian park rangers following a graduation ceremony on the Selous Game Reserve in Matambwe, Tanzania, March 27, 2015. The park rangers graduated from counter illicit-trafficking training, which was the first-ever engagement between U.S. Service members and Tanzanian park rangers. The Marines and Sailors taught the park rangers infantry skills in an attempt to help counter illicit-trafficking in the region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Lucas J. Hopkins/Released)

Story by Cpl. Lucas Hopkins

SELOUS GAME RESERVE, Tanzania – More than 40 Tanzanian park rangers graduated from a counter illicit-trafficking course on the Selous Game Reserve in Matambwe, Tanzania, March 27, 2015.

Approximately 15 Marines and Sailors assigned to a Security Cooperation Team with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa attended the ceremony, which marked the end of the first-ever engagement between U.S. Marines and Tanzanian park rangers.

The Marines and Sailors spent the previous four weeks teaching the Tanzanians infantry skills, such as weapons handling, land navigation, and patrolling in an attempt to help combat illicit trafficking.

“Take these skills and adapt them how you see fit, and share them with your fellow park rangers,” said Staff Sgt. Frederick Volz II, the SCT staff-noncommissioned officer-in-charge.

The more than 160 hours of training included classroom instruction, practical application, and performance evaluations.

“I enjoyed being able to show [the rangers] additional skills they can use in the future. Using some of our tactics has the potential to benefit them immensely,” said Lance Cpl. Angel Gonzalez, a rifleman with SPMAGTF-CR-AF.

The Marines are hopeful another group will someday return to Tanzania to teach more park rangers infantry skills to fight illicit trafficking.

“It’s been an honor to train with you all. We hope this is the foundation of future training between the U.S. Military and park rangers both here and elsewhere in Tanzania,” said 1st Lt. Nathaniel Kaine, the SCT officer-in-charge.

“I see this being our first chapter in what I hope will be a very long book in not only the relationship between the park rangers and the Marines, but between the United States and Tanzania,” Volz said.

Apr 12

Inside Marine Aircraft Fire Rescue Training

Marines assigned to Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting, Headquarters & Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, train in austere live-burn conditions, simulating a fuel fire Feb. 21, 2014. The ARFF Marines also trained Marines with Bulk Fuel Company, 9th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force in firefighting basics, instructing them on how to mitigate a fire from a distance using the five-man “rain-down” method before ARFF can arrive on scene.

Apr 11

Daring acts, raw power expected to thrill weekend Air Show crowds

Blue AngelsBy Erin Shaw

April 11–Pilots Rob Holland and Michael Goulian stretched their aerobatic muscles Friday morning above Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, performing barrel rolls and turns at nine times the force of gravity.

The moves look casual from the ground but in reality are anything but.

At one point, Holland flipped his single-seat plane and flew upside down, positioning himself directly over Goulian’s.

The two sped down the length of the runway, a puffy line of white smoke trailing behind them, before they separated and looped gracefully into the clouds.

Their demonstration was just a teaser at the Air Show’s rehearsal day, before crowds fill Merrit Field at MCAS for the real thing Saturday and Sunday.

The free air show features some of the best military and civilian pilots in the world, including the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, also known as the Blue Angels, all narrated by announcer Rob Reider.  Read the rest of this entry »

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