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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.
First, America had to grapple with the 'storm Area 51' raid. Now black helicopters are hovering ominously over Washington, D.C.
Bloomberg's Tony Capaccio first reported on Monday that the Army has requested $1.55 million for a classified mission involving 10 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and a “Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility" at Fort Belvoir, Va.
Camesha Walters was a petty officer 3rd class living in Norfolk. Her husband was a foreign national living in Bangladesh.
But to boost her take home pay, Walters told the Navy in 2015 her husband was a U.S. citizen living in Brooklyn, N.Y. She said she needed larger housing and cost of living allowances to support him.
Walters, 37, was sentenced Friday to five months in jail on charges she stole almost $140,000 from the federal government.
Following her release, she will be on house arrest for six months. She also must perform 200 hours of community service and pay full restitution.
Trump says he could win the war in Afghanistan quickly, but he doesn't want to kill millions of people
In a not-so-veiled threat to the Taliban, President Donald Trump argued on Monday the United States has the capacity to bring a swift end to the 17-year-old war in Afghanistan, but he is seeking a different solution to avoid killing "10 million people."
"I have plans on Afghanistan that if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth," Trump said on Monday at the White House. "It would be gone. It would be over in – literally in 10 days. And I don't want to do that. I don't want to go that route."
The seizure of a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is the latest example of how tensions between the U.S. and Iran have spilled into one of the world's most strategic and vital waterways for oil. Since May, Iran has been accused of harassing and attacking oil tankers in the strait.
As the British government continues to investigate Friday's seizure, experts worry that it raises the potential of a military clash. However, they also say it offers a lens into Iran's strategy toward the U.S.
Here is a look at what's been happening and why the Strait of Hormuz matters.