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Air Force Deploys ‘Bird Cannon’ In Opening Salvo Of Global War On Geese
But there's one threat that's both difficult to anticipate and near-impossible to thwart: motherf--king birds.
We're deadly serious. Bird strikes on U.S. military aircraft destroyed 27 U.S. Air Force airframes and left 36 airmen dead between 1985 and 2016, according to data compiled by the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base. As recently as 2016, a flock of birds helped contribute to the disastrous aborted takeoff of a B-52H Stratofortress bomber at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.
Alfred Hitchcock was right: those damn, dirty birds are up to no good.
The Air Force however, has engineered a solution to their winged problem in the form of an "automated bird deterrent system." That's right: the Air Force has the bird cannon, and they're not afraid to use it.
The $150,000 system, recently installed at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, consists of a rotating cannon turret and a 20-gallon propane tank. By igniting a small distillation of propane, cannon directs a shot-gun style sound blast that disrupts meddling flocks of birds; newer models feature computer-controlled speakers that cycle between various bird calls.
It may seem like a steep price tag for a relatively simple system: $150,000 is a small price to pay to keep birds away from the flight line.
According to Military Times, the Air Force racked up nearly $182 million in damage to aircraft thanks to more than 400 wildlife-related mishaps between 2011 and 2017.
"Birds are a huge problem for our aircraft operations," 28th Bomb Wing flight safety officer James McCurdy told the Associated Press.
"In the middle of our migration season (October, November, April and May), it's not abnormal for us to hit and kill a bird at least once a week. They cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars a year."
Let this be a warning to the all the adventurous birds out there: Should any fowl ran afoul of base airspace, they'll only end up getting goosed by the Air Force's canary cannon. So back off, you winged a-holes — this ain't just for the birds.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.
A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.
Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.
So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.
R. Lee Ermey was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.
Best known for his iconic role as the Marine Corps drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the war drama Full Metal Jacket, Ermey died April 15, 2018 at age 74 due to complications from pneumonia, Task & Purpose previously reported.
The U.S. Air Force has two of its most elite aircraft — the B-2 Spirit bomber and the F-22 Raptor — training together in the Pacific, reassuring America's allies and sending a warning to strategic competitors and adversaries about the sheer power the U.S. brings to the table.
These stunning photos show the powerful aircraft tearing across the Pacific, where the U.S. has increasingly found itself facing challenges from a rising China.