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A Finnish Brewery Wants To Deliver Special Beer Aid To A Handful Of Lucky NATO Troops
Training for the next big war is thirsty work, especially if you're taking part in the largest NATO military exercise since the Cold War. So when word spread that a contingent of some 7,000 U.S. Marines and sailors consumed every last drop of beer in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavík, at least one brewery sprung into action.
Tornion Panimo, a Finnish brewery in the country's northern region of Lapland, whipped up a 1,000-bottle batch of specialty 'Peacemaker Arctic Pilsner' just for NATO troops roughing it as part of Trident Juncture 2018, NewsNowFinland reports, with "an extra 12,000 more liters" (roughly 33,000 bottles) ready to ship out "in case of emergencies."
“I said we need to get this beer as quickly as we can to Norway, and it has to carry a peaceful message. If these people run out of beer, they’ll get really angry and nobody knows what could happen," Tornion Panimo chief Kaj Kostiander told NewsNowFinland. "We really care about our Norwegian neighbours!”
On its face, this clearly seems like a PR stunt, but Tornion Panimo's location actually makes the offer more than just an empty gesture.
While only 600 Finnish military personnel are among the 50,000 troops participating in Trident Juncture, the Finnish Air Force announced in October that the exercise's air operations "take place mainly in the airspace of Norway and Sweden," with air forces deployed in support of the 150 aircraft participating in the exercise operating out of four air bases in Norway, Kallax Air Base in Sweden — and the strategically critical Rovaniemi Air Base just outside the capital of Lapland.
"People in Lapland have very positive views about the military cooperation involving Finland, Sweden, Norway — and also the rest of the NATO countries," Capt. Ilkka Pönkänen, a Finnish Defense Forces reservist who works in marketing and advertising, explained to Task & Purpose
A label from the new 'Peacemaker Arctic Pilsner' by Tornion PanimoTornion Panimo
But while the brewery's close proximity to the Rovaniemi Air Base an actual boon for thirsty air forces from around the world, delivering "thirst aid" to personnel based elsewhere may prove tricky.
Norway may be the host country for Trident Juncture, but it is not a European Union member state, which will pose a "small logistical problem with the Norwegian customs authorities concerning the fast delivery of the beer to the exercise troops," Pönkänen said.
"I actually had one beer export contact in Norway before, and I have a wide network of friends," Kostiander told NewsNowFinland of delivery plans. "I messaged to them immediately, and I got more contacts, and trying to find out how to quickly get the beer to Norway."
If the brewery can't expedite shipping to Norway, there's another option: sending the brew to the Swedish Air Force wing at Kallax Air Base in the northern town of Luleå.
"We have a cooperation with a brewery in Luleå who already imports our beer, and we agreed we could send some to them immediately," Kostiander told NewsNowFinland.
Perhaps Tornion Panimo won't end up quenching the thirst of hard-working NATO forces in the way the bars of Reykjavík did, but who knows: perhaps a handful of lucky airmen stationed at far-flung northern bases will end up with an unusual souvenir from their time abroad.
Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) will announce legislation Wednesday aiming to "fix" a new Trump administration citizenship policy that affects some children of U.S. service members stationed abroad.
The inside story of how The Village People shot the Navy's most controversial recruiting video onboard an active warship
The video opens innocently enough. A bell sounds as we gaze onto a U.S. Navy frigate, safely docked at port at Naval Base San Diego. A cadre of sailors, dressed in "crackerjack" style enlisted dress uniforms and hauling duffel bags over their shoulders, stride up a gangplank aboard the vessel. The officer on deck greets them with a blast of a boatswain's call. It could be the opening scene of a recruitment video for the greatest naval force on the planet.
Then the rhythmic clapping begins.
This is no recruitment video. It's 'In The Navy,' the legendary 1979 hit from disco queens The Village People, shot aboard the very real Knox-class USS Reasoner (FF-1063) frigate. And one of those five Navy sailors who strode up that gangplank during filming was Ronald Beck, at the time a legal yeoman and witness to one of the strangest collisions between the U.S. military and pop culture of the 20th century.
"They picked the ship and they picked us, I don't know why," Beck, who left the Navy in 1982, told Task & Purpose in a phone interview from his Texas home in October. "I was just lucky to be one of 'em picked."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday casually brushed aside the disturbing news that, holy shit, MORE THAN 100 ISIS FIGHTERS HAVE ESCAPED FROM JAIL.
In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Esper essentially turned this fact into a positive, no doubt impressing public relations and political talking heads everywhere with some truly masterful spin.
"Of the 11,000 or so detainees that were imprisoned in northeast Syria, we've only had reports that a little more than a hundred have escaped," Esper said, adding that the Syrian Democratic Forces were continuing to guard prisons, and the Pentagon had not "seen this big prison break that we all expected."
Well, I feel better. How about you?
On Wednesday, the top U.S. envoy in charge of the global coalition to defeat ISIS said much the same, while adding another cherry on top: The United States has no idea where those 100+ fighters went.
A senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday the White House's understanding is that the SDF continues to keep the "vast majority" of ISIS fighters under "lock and key."
"It's obviously a fluid situation on the ground that we're monitoring closely," the official said, adding that released fighters will be "hunted down and recaptured." The official said it was Turkey's responsibility to do so.
President Trump expressed optimism on Wednesday about what was happening on the ground in northeast Syria, when he announced that a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds was expected to be made permanent.
"Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries," Trump said. "We have done them a great service and we've done a great job for all of them — and now we're getting out."
The president boasted that the U.S.-brokered ceasefire had saved the lives of tens of thousands of Kurds "without spilling one drop of American blood."
Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.
"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.
The U.S. Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon effort looked a lot more possible this week as the three competing weapons firms displayed their prototype 6.8mm rifles and automatic rifles at the 2019 Association of the United States Army's annual meeting.
Just two months ago, the Army selected General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems inc., Textron Systems and Sig Sauer Inc. for the final phase of the NGSW effort — one of the service's top modernization priorities to replace the 5.56mm M4A1 carbine and the M249 squad automatic weapon in infantry and other close-combat units.
Army officials, as well as the companies in competition, have been guarded about specific details, but the end result will equip combat squads with weapons that fire a specially designed 6.8mm projectile, capable of penetrating enemy body armor at ranges well beyond the current M855A1 5.56mm round.
There have previously been glimpses of weapons from two firms, but this year's AUSA was the first time all three competitors displayed their prototype weapons, which are distinctly different from one another.