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The Navy just blew the hell out of an old frigate with its new ship-killer missile in a message to China
The littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords launched a Naval Strike Missile on Tuesday, marking the first time the NSM has been fired in the Indo-Pacific region, the Navy told Insider.
The NSM, along with additional firepower from U.S. and Singaporean forces, sank the decommissioned frigate USS Ford as part of an exercise with Singapore's navy in the Philippine Sea on Tuesday.
The Gabrielle Giffords, along with U.S. Navy helicopters, ships, and submarines, and Singaporean navy ships, conducted the exercise as part of Pacific Griffin, a biennial exercise in the Pacific near Guam.
"LCS packs a punch and gives potential adversaries another reason to stay awake at night," Rear Adm. Joey Tynch said in a statement. "We are stronger when we sail together with our friends and partners, and LCS is an important addition to the lineup."
The NSM, made by Raytheon, is a stealthy long-range missile capable of hitting targets up to 100 nautical miles away. It flies at low altitudes and can rise and fall to follow the terrain, and it can evade missile-defense systems.
Read on to learn more about the Pacific Griffin exercise and the sinking of the USS Ford.
This is the first time an NSM has been deployed to the 7th Fleet area of responsibility, and the Gabrielle Giffords is the first littoral combat ship to deploy with an NSM on board.
Littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords launches a Naval Strike Missile (NSM) during exercise Pacific Griffin. The NSM is a long-range, precision strike weapon that is designed to find and destroy enemy ships. (U.S. Navy /Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon Renfroe)
Eventually, the entire littoral-combat-ship (LCS) fleet will have NSMs aboard, CNN reported. The LCS fleet and NSMs will allow the U.S. Navy to engage with China in the South China Sea.
With the NSM, "You can hit most areas in the South China Sea if you're in the middle" of the sea, Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told Insider.
Compared with China's DF-21 "carrier-killer" missile, the NSM has a shorter range but better precision targeting, enabling it to destroy an enemy vessel rather than just damage it, as the DF-21 is built to do, Clark said.
An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter fired Hellfire missiles at the USS Ford.
An MH-60S Sea Hawk assigned to the "Island Knights" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 fires an AGM-114 Hellfire missile at the former USS Ford, a decommissioned frigate. (U.S. Navy /Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher A. Veloicaza)
The Hellfire missile is a precision-strike weapon and can be fired from airborne systems, like the MH-60S Seahawks used in Tuesday's SINKEX, or from vessels like an LCS.
B-52 bombers from the U.S. Air Forces' Expeditionary 69th Bomb Squadron also dropped ordnance during the exercise, and the Republic of Singapore multirole stealth frigates RSS Formidable and RSS Intrepid fired surface-to-surface Harpoon missiles at the Ford.
The Gabrielle Giffords is the first LCS to perform an integrated NSM mission in the Indo-Pacific region.
USS Gabrielle Giffords launches a Naval Strike Missile during exercise Pacific Griffin. The NSM is a long-range, precision strike weapon that is designed to find and destroy enemy ships. (U.S. Navy/ Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Josiah J. Kunkle)
Littoral combat ships can carry MH-60R/S Seahawk helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aboard, as well as Mark 110 57mm guns and .50-caliber machine guns.
Many littoral combat ships have Harpoon missiles aboard, which don't have the long range of the NSM.
Littoral combat ships are designed for use in the open ocean and closer to shore, in littoral waters. They typically perform mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, and surface warfare, but they are capable of performing a variety of missions, according to the Navy.
The Navy follows very specific protocols when performing a so-called SINKEX.
Former USS Ford , a decommissioned frigate, sustains damage as U.S. Navy ships, aircraft and a submarine and Republic of Singapore ships fire at it during a sinking exercise (SINKEX) (U.S. Navy photo / Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Josiah J. Kunkle)
Decommissioned vessels that are used in these kinds of exercises, like the Ford, are referred to as "hulks."
They must be sunk in at least 6,000 feet of water and at least 50 nautical miles from land.
Before they're sunk, they're cleared of transformers and capacitors, as well as of trash, petroleum, and harmful chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls and mercury, and materials containing fluorocarbons, according to a Navy release.
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A Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with three Guardsmen aboard crashed south of St. Cloud on Thursday, said National Guard spokeswoman Army Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens.
At this time, the National Guard is not releasing any information about the status of the three people aboard the helicopter, Heusdens told Task & Purpose on Thursday.
The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.
Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."
Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.
The Navy could deploy a second carrier to the Middle East if Trump orders an Iran surge, top admiral says
The Navy could send a second aircraft carrier to the Middle East if President Donald Trump orders a surge of forces to the region, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said on Thursday.
Gordon Lubold and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported the United States is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to deter Iran from attacking U.S. forces and regional allies. The surge forces could include several ships.
I didn't think a movie about World War I would, or even could, remind me of Afghanistan.
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An internal investigation spurred by a nude photo scandal shows just how deep sexism runs in the Marine Corps
"I will still have to work harder to get the perception away from peers and seniors that women can't do the job."
Some years ago, a 20-year-old female Marine, a military police officer, was working at a guard shack screening service members and civilians before they entered the base. As a lance corporal, she was new to the job and the duty station, her first in the Marine Corps.
At some point during her shift, a male sergeant on duty drove up. Get in the car, he said, the platoon sergeant needs to see you. She opened the door and got in, believing she was headed to see the enlisted supervisor of her platoon.
Instead, the sergeant drove her to a dark, wooded area on base. It was deserted, no other Marines were around. "Hey, I want a blowjob," the sergeant told her.
"What am I supposed, what do you do as a lance corporal?" she would later recall. "I'm 20 years old ... I'm new at this. You're the only leadership I've ever known, and this is what happens."
She looked at him, then got out of the car and walked away. The sergeant drove up next to her and tried to play it off as a prank. "I'm just fucking with you," he said. "It's not a big deal."
It was one story among hundreds of others shared by Marines for a study initiated in July 2017 by the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL). Finalized in March 2018, the center's report was quietly published to its website in September 2019 with little fanfare.
The culture of the Marine Corps is ripe for analysis. A 2015 Rand Corporation study found that women felt far more isolated among men in the Corps, while the Pentagon's Office of People Analytics noted in 2018 that female Marines rated hostility toward them as "significantly higher" than their male counterparts.
But the center's report, Marines' Perspectives on Various Aspects of Marine Corps Organizational Culture, offers a proverbial wakeup call to leaders, particularly when paired alongside previous studies, since it was commissioned by the Marine Corps itself in the wake of a nude photo sharing scandal that rocked the service in 2017.
The scandal, researchers found, was merely a symptom of a much larger problem.