Photo via Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives
In honor of its 90th anniversary, The New Yorker has removed the paywall for a 1944 article in which A.J. Liebling reports from a crowded LCIL, short for Landing Craft, Infantry, Large, waiting to shove off toward the Normandy coast for the D-Day invasion. The author observes and interacts with sailors and soldiers of varying rank and backgrounds as they prepare for the invasion and fight boredom with paper-cover, armed-services editions of books, canned food, and poker.
Liebling preserves the regional accents of his subjects when transcribing their colorful quotes, so readers can hear their distinctive voices as they gripe about steep gangplanks, crack jokes, and trade rumors. Among the assortment of uniformed personalities Liebling speaks with is a Coast Guard coxswain, charged with being the first man off the landing craft to stretch a guideline for disembarking infantry. “I asked the boy what he was going to wear when he went into the water with the line and he said just swimming trunks and a tin hat,” Liebling wrote. “He said he was a fair swimmer.”
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."