In April 2012, Petty Officer 1st Class Benny Flores, a corpsman assigned to Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, was on a convoy in southwestern Afghanistan when they were attacked.
A suicide bomber struck the convoy, and Flores, riding in the back of an Afghan police pickup truck, was immediately injured.
“I had about five to ten seconds of blurriness because I was right next to the blast and right after that I saw my arm hit me and I knew what was going on and I went to go check on the other Marines that were wounded,” Flores said, according to a military report of the incident.
After the blast, the convoy immediately came under attack from enemy small-arms fire. They had fallen into a complex ambush.
Flores “ran through incoming rounds as the Marines laid down covering fire,” the report said. In all, he risked his life no fewer than four times to try to save his Marines and the Afghan police officer wounded in the attack.
“My first thought after the blast was to go through the basic steps to take care of the Marines,” Flores said. “Check all the massive bleeding and their airways just the basic things they teach us. My main concern was just making sure they were all okay and that nothing too crazy or too serious had happened to them.”
For his actions that fateful day, Flores was awarded the Silver Star medal, the nation’s third-highest award for valor and gallantry in combat.
“I’m very humble and very thankful,” Flores said. “I wasn’t expecting it. It’s one of those things that you don’t expect but I’m very thankful for all the people that did the work and thought I deserved something.”
Islamic state members walk in the last besieged neighborhood in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria February 18, 2019. (Reuters/Rodi Said)
NEAR BAGHOUZ, Syria (Reuters) - The Islamic State appeared closer to defeat in its last enclave in eastern Syria on Wednesday, as a civilian convoy left the besieged area where U.S.-backed forces estimate a few hundred jihadists are still holed up.
U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 317th Airlift Wing walk to waiting family members and friends after stepping off of a C-130J Super Hercules at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 17, 2018 (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Mercedes Porter)
The U.S. Air Force has issued new guidelines for active-duty, reserve and National Guard airmen who are considered non-deployable, and officials will immediately begin flagging those who have been unable to deploy for 12 consecutive months for separation consideration.
A small unmanned aerial vehicle built by service academy cadets is shown here flying above ground. This type of small UAV was used by cadets and midshipmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, during a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-sponsored competition at Camp Roberts, California, April 23-25, 2017. During the competition, cadets and midshipmen controlled small UAVs in "swarm" formations to guard territory on the ground at Camp Roberts. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Drones have been used in conflicts across the globe and will play an even more important role in the future of warfare. But, the future of drones in combat will be different than what we have seen before.
The U.S. military can set itself apart from others by embracing autonomous drone warfare through swarming — attacking an enemy from multiple directions through dispersed and pulsing attacks. There is already work being done in this area: The U.S. military tested its own drone swarm in 2017, and the UK announced this week it would fund research into drone swarms that could potentially overwhelm enemy air defenses.
I propose we look to the amoeba, a single-celled organism, as a model for autonomous drones in swarm warfare. If we were to use the amoeba as this model, then we could mimic how the organism propels itself by changing the structure of its body with the purpose of swarming and destroying an enemy.