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Japan Is Buying A Sh*tload Of F-35s In A Clear Message To China
Japan is apparently considering tripling its original F-35 order "to respond to China in the Pacific," a senior defense official in the Japanese parliament revealed Wednesday.
Japan plans to purchase as many as 147 F-35s to replace Japan's aging fleet of F-4 and F-15 fighters, as well as significantly enhance the combat capabilities of Japan's maritime forces, Keitaro Ohno, parliamentary vice minister of defense for Japan's ruling party, explained Wednesday, confirming rumors that have been circulating for weeks.
One hundred and seven F-35As will replace Japan's older fighters, while 40 F-35Bs will serve aboard the Izumo, a flat-topped helicopter destroyer that Japan plans to convert into an aircraft carrier. The ship is similar in size to the USS Wasp, a US Navy amphibious assault ship that has been used to launch F-35 stealth fighters, according to the Military Times.
In actuality, the Izumo-class destroyers will not become true aircraft carriers; rather, they will serve as aircraft-carrying "multipurpose escort ships," the Japanese defense ministry revealed, attempting to skirt violations of the country's pacifist constitution as it strengthens its armed forces.
The "Self Defense Forces in the past were [just about] existence. Existence can have a strong deterrent," Ohno told reporters. "Now, we have to meet the real situation. We have to respond to China in the Pacific."
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been adamant about the need for Japan to expand its military capabilities.
"The most important responsibility of the government is to protect the people and their peaceful lives," he told a panel of security experts Tuesday. "Under the drastically changing security environment, in order to duly fulfill this responsibility, we have to fundamentally strengthen our preparedness to protect the people's lives, property, territorial waters and airspace on our own."
Beijing has been critical of Japan's rearmament interests. The state-backed Global Times called Japan's desire to refit its helicopter destroyers to carry stealth fighters "an aggressive move" that "may drive the country to repeat its militaristic history."
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‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.