Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The Marine Corps’ F-35 Combat Debut Was Flown In Honor Of A Fallen Hero
In the dead of night in September 2012, a U.S. Marine Corps outpost in Afghanistan awoke to the sound of gunfire and explosions. Taliban fighters had infiltrated Camp Bastion and were destroying high-value AV-8B Harrier Jump Jets sitting on the tarmac. The squadron commander of Marine Attack Squadron 211, deployed to Bastion in support of ground operations in Afghanistan, ran towards the sounds of chaos with only a pistol, organizing Marines to repel the attack before he was fatally wounded.
Six years later, that commander’s legacy was honored when a Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II from VMAF-211 carried out the first U.S. F-35 combat strike ever against a fixed Taliban target in Afghanistan with his name inscribed on the fuselage.
While the stealth fighter was loaded up with some unusual armaments in newly released photos of the Sept. 27 F-35 strike against Taliban targets — namely GBU-32 JDAMs, GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs, and a GAU-22 gun pod — the most important addition is visible just underneath the canopy: the name ‘Lt. Col. C.K. 'Otis' Raible’.
U.S. Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), ensure a panel is secure on an F-35B Lightning II in preparation for the F-35B's first combat strike, Sept. 27, 2018. The Essex is the flagship for the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 13th MEU, is deployed to the U.S. Fifth Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke pointsU.S. Marine Corps/ Cpl. Francisco J. Diaz Jr.
Traditionally the name of the pilot flying the aircraft is printed below or directly on the canopy. But this time, it appears to be an act of remembrance; Lt. Col. Raible was the commander of VMA-211 on that fateful day when the Taliban launched a complex attack that allowed fighters to infiltrate the isolated outpost.
The U.S. Navy confirmed to Task & Purpose that an F-35B with Lt. Col. Raible’s name did fly in today’s combat mission in the AOR, but could not confirm at this time that it was the aircraft that carried out today’s strike.
Coalition Forces attend a memorial service in honor of Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible at Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan Sept. 19, 2012. Raible, commanding officer of Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 211, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3D Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), was killed in action while repealing an enemy attack on Camp Bastion Sept. 14, 2012.Dept. Of Defense
As Lt. Col. Raible was making his way back from a chow run, explosions and gunfire rocked the base. Raible quickly took command of the situation and organized Marines on the flight-line to repel the attackers while armed with only his side-arm. The cadre of Taliban fighters swept through the base, destroying six Harriers on the ground and badly damaging two more before they were subdued by U.S. service members and armed contractors.
Raible and Sgt. Bradley Atwell were killed while organizing the flight-line defenders, but their efforts helped stop what could have escalated into a devastating and demoralizing attack. For his heroic actions, Raible was nominated for the Silver Star.
Lt. Col Raible sits in the Harrier bearing his name.Facebook
Six years later, VMFA-211 has clearly not forgotten Raible’s actions on that September night in Afghanistan. And while the Marines may have lost Raible to the Taliban that day, the Corps’ F-35Bs are flying into combat to not just remember one of their own, but avenge him on the field of battle.
13 Marines at Camp Pendleton charged with crimes related to smuggling of undocumented immigrants from Mexico
Thirteen Marines have been formally charged for their alleged roles in a human smuggling ring, according to a press release from 1st Marine Division released on Friday.
The Marines face military court proceedings on various charges, from "alleged transporting and/or conspiring to transport undocumented immigrants" to larceny, perjury, distribution of drugs, and failure to obey an order. "They remain innocent until proven guilty," said spokeswoman Maj. Kendra Motz.
The recruiting commercials for the Army Reserve proclaim "one weekend each month," but the real-life Army Reserve might as well say "hold my beer."
That's because the weekend "recruiting hook" — as it's called in a leaked document compiled by Army personnel for the new chief of staff — reveal that it's, well, kinda bullshit.
When they're not activated or deployed, most reservists and guardsmen spend one weekend a month on duty and two weeks a year training, according to the Army recruiting website. But that claim doesn't seem to square with reality.
"The Army Reserve is cashing in on uncompensated sacrifices of its Soldiers on a scale that must be in the tens of millions of dollars, and that is a violation of trust, stewardship, and the Army Values," one Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, who also complained that his battalion commander "demanded" that he be available at all times, told members of an Army Transition Team earlier this year.
According to an internal Army document, soldiers feel that the service's overwhelming focus on readiness is wearing down the force, and leading some unit leaders to fudge the truth on their unit's readiness.
"Soldiers in all three Army Components assess themselves and their unit as less ready to perform their wartime mission, despite an increased focus on readiness," reads the document, which was put together by the Army Transition Team for new Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and obtained by Task & Purpose. "The drive to attain the highest levels of readiness has led some unit leaders to inaccurately report readiness."
Lt. Gen. Eric J. Wesley, who served as the director of the transition team, said in the document's opening that though the surveys conducted are not scientific, the feedback "is honest and emblematic of the force as a whole taken from seven installations and over 400 respondents."
Those surveyed were asked to weigh in on four questions — one of which being what the Army isn't doing right. One of the themes that emerged from the answers is that "[r]eadiness demands are breaking the force."
The Army thinks China will surpass Russia by 2028. Here is how the service is planning to take them on.
If you've paid even the slightest bit of attention in the last few years, you know that the Pentagon has been zeroing in on the threat that China and Russia pose, and the future battles it anticipates.
The Army has followed suit, pushing to modernize its force to be ready for whatever comes its way. As part of its modernization, the Army adopted the Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) concept, which serves as the Army's main war-fighting doctrine and lays the groundwork for how the force will fight near-peer threats like Russia and China across land, air, sea, cyber, and space.
But in an internal document obtained by Task & Purpose, the Army Transition Team for the new Chief of Staff, Gen. James McConville, argues that China poses a more immediate threat than Russia, so the Army needs make the Asia-Pacific region its priority while deploying "minimal current conventional forces" in Europe to deter Russia.
In leaked documents, Army family reports waiting weeks to have gas line and roof leaks fixed in on-base housing
As the saying goes, you recruit the soldier, but you retain the family.
And according to internal documents obtained by Task & Purpose, the Army still has substantial work to do in addressing families' concerns.