Army commanders: Are you worried about losing lieutenants on land nav courses or privates running away into the Taliban-infested mountains of Afghanistan? At last, you can rest easy. The Army has just purchased a ton of personnel locator devices to keep track of individual soldiers, wherever they may be.
Last month, the totally-not-evil-sounding defense tech company McMurdo Inc. was awarded a $34 million Army contract to manufacture an “indefinite” amount of Personnel Recovery Devices (PRD) for our troops, according to a press release issued by McMurdo’s parent company, Orolia.
As Military Times notes, the PRD fulfills an Army requirement for locator devices capable of functioning in GPS-degraded or denied environments. Military Times also reports that the device is “slightly thinner than a beer can.” (Somebody get that device a cheeseburger!)
In addition to being smaller and lighter than the commercially-made personal beacons often carried by mountain climbers, kayakers, and other free spirits, the PRD also boasts improved accuracy and ruggedness.
“The PRD will be capable of transmitting both open and secure signals (training-combat dual mode) to alert and notify that a soldier has become isolated, missing, detained or captured,” states the release.
The contract puts yet another point on the board for McMurdo, which two years ago was awarded a $3 million contract for 16,000 of its patented FastFind 220 personal locator beacons. Handheld and very yellow, the device “is used to notify emergency personnel during an air, land, or water emergency in remote or high-risk environments,” according to Military.com.
“We are extremely proud and honored to have been selected by the U.S. Army as the provider of this critical positioning device for the safety of U.S. warfighters,” the French chief executive officer of Orolia, Jean-Yves Courtois, said in the press release.
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.
The Pentagon has identified a Green Beret who was killed on Tuesday by enemy small arms fire in southern Afghanistan as Staff Sgt. Joshua Z. Beale.
Beale was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, according to U.S. Army Special Operations Command. He was killed during combat operations in Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan.
Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Charles Kettles was awarded the Medal of Honor July 18, 2016, for his actions while serving as a Flight Commander assigned to the 176th Aviation Company (Airmobile) (Light), 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, Americal Division. Then-Maj. Kettles distinguished himself in combat operations near Duc Pho, Republic of Vietnam, on May 15, 1967. (U.S. Army/Spc. Tammy Nooner)
by Martin Slagter, The Ann Arbor News, Mich.
YPSILANTI, MI - When a brigade of U.S. troops was ambushed by the North Vietnamese Army in the Song Tra Cau riverbed on the morning of May 15, 1967, Lt. Charles Kettles volunteered to lead the rescue, and he refused, again and again, to back down when faced with a barrage of gunfire.
His aircraft badly damaged, left spilling fuel, and his gunner was severely injured during the treacherous operation.
But he helicoptered in and out of the battlefield four times, saving the lives of 44 soldiers in a death-defying emergency operation that would become a legendary tale of bravery in the Vietnam War.
The M160 Robotic Mine Flail at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Photo: Maj. Dan Marchik/U.S. Army
The battlefield of the future could feature robot medics delivering life-saving care to casualties in the line of fire. At least, that's what the Army is aiming for — and it's willing to pay millions for help doing it.
A Chinese tank rolls at the training ground "Tsugol", about 250 kilometers (156 miles ) south-east of the city of Chita during the military exercises Vostok 2018 in Eastern Siberia, Russia, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 (Associated Press/Sergei Grits)
China is developing a lot of new and advanced weaponry, but a recent state media report suggests the Chinese military may not be entirely sure what to do with these new combat systems.