No More Drill Sergeant ‘Shark Attack’: Army Moves Toward Kinder Basic Training Start

The U.S. Army has replaced the chaotic reception recruits entering basic training have long received from shouting drill sergeants with a training event designed to create a bond with their teammates and leaders.

Day one of Army Basic Combat Training has always been a rite of passage that involved menacing groups of drill sergeants descending on terrified recruits, yelling commands and ordering trainees to perform push-ups and other exercises with packed duffel bags strapped to their backs.

“Commonly referred to as the shark attack, this non-documented period of instruction was developed during our draft Army years,” Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Fortenberry, the CSM of the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, said in a video presentation at the recent 2020 Maneuver Warfighter Conference.

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Bill Would Clear the Way for Army Legend Alwyn Cashe to Receive Medal of Honor

On Oct. 17, 2005, Cashe, a 35-year-old Army sergeant first class deployed to Iraq, was in a Humvee that ran over an improvised explosive device and burst into flames. The explosion left Cashe drenched in fuel and burning. But he paid little attention to his own pain and risk. He entered the burning vehicle again and again to drag out his teammates still inside, ultimately pulling all six soldiers out of the Humvee.

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Army IDs soldier who died at Fort Jackson, in fourth death at the base in past year

A basic combat training soldier at Fort Jackson was found dead in his barracks Saturday morning, U.S. Army officials said.

On Sunday, the soldier was publicly identified as Pvt. Michael Wise, according to Army officials. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment.

Following the death of the 29-year-old from Wisconsin, officials said they will have a 48-hour training stand down.

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Army leaders share stories of the 9/11 attack at the Pentagon

WASHINGTON — It’s been 19 years since Sept. 11, 2001, when four hijacked passenger jets were turned into makeshift missiles above American soil. But the tragic day is still fresh in the minds of some of the Army’s top leaders who survived the attack at the Pentagon.

Positioned across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital, the Pentagon is the nerve center for all things national defense. It’s also one of the world’s largest office buildings, made up of roughly 23,000 military and civilian employees, including the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The five-sided structure is often seen as a universal symbol of America’s strength and security, which made it a target that September morning.

As the sun rose over the nation’s capital that day, the gridlocked morning traffic crept along the Beltway. Underground, train riders like Brig. Gen. Mark S. Bennett and Maj. Gen. Paul A. Chamberlain, who were younger officers at the time, crowded into railcars to beat the slow-moving jam.

All and all “it was just a morning like any other,” Bennett recalled.

They were young officers navigating the city in 2001, but today Bennett is at the helm of the U.S. Army Financial Command, and Chamberlain is the director of the Army budget.

By the time the Metro train dropped them off, the Soldiers weren’t the first to arrive at the Pentagon. Employees were already buzzing through each ring and corridor of the building.

Pentagon staffers were already immersed in numerous morning routines; briefings were planned, PowerPoints were being finalized, coffee was brewing, and some, like Chamberlain, found time to squeeze in a morning run.

“The sky was crystal clear blue that early fall morning,” Chamberlain said, looking back. “I went for a run, came back, and took a shower.” That’s when he first heard the news at the Pentagon Athletic Center. “Over the radio speakers in the shower, I heard a plane [may have] hit the World Trade Center in New York — which was very odd.”

The news quickly spread around the building. Lt. Gen. Thomas Horlander, deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller, was then a 41-year-old lieutenant colonel on a mission from Fort Rucker, Alabama that morning.

The Pentagon has three times the floor space of the Empire State Building, and can be daunting to navigate for newcomers, like Horlander. The Colorado native was in an unfamiliar place during his work trip to the Defense Department epicenter.

When Horlander and his coworkers walked into the building, the security guards knew they were out-of-towners, he said, during a recent interview. “I said [to the guard] we’re trying to locate a conference room. He gave us assistance and said when you get there to turn on the television — an airplane just hit one of the Twin Towers.”

After that, everything changed. Newscasts started reporting the incident at the World Trade Center in New York City. The news anchor on the confirmed “smoke was billowing out of one of the towers,” Chamberlain said. “I thought, wow, it must have been a significant plane that hit it.”

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Navajo Nation calls for investigation into Fort Hood deaths

DALLAS — The Navajo Nation has joined calls for an accounting of the deaths at Fort Hood after one of its members became the latest soldier from the U.S. Army post to die this year.

Pvt. Corlton L. Chee, a 25-year-old soldier from Pinehill, New Mexico, died Wednesday after he collapsed following a physical fitness training exercise five days earlier, according to officials at the central Texas post. He was the 28th soldier from Fort Hood to die this year, according to data obtained by The Associated Press.

The Navajo Nation Council praised Chee in a statement Friday and urged the Army to thoroughly investigate his and the other soldiers’ deaths.

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Cadet-Only Crowd Awaits Army for Season Opener

The return of college football to West Point on Saturday is a reminder of what’s been normal over a century, and what is peculiar to 2020.

Fans will not be permitted at Michie Stadium for the season opener against Middle Tennessee State and the Sept. 12 game against Louisiana-Monroe, except for nearly 4,000 cadets, due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions. It should make for a strange sight for the teams involved, plus a national television audience on CBS Sports Network (1:30 p.m.).

“It will be an incredible experience, whether there are fans or not,” said senior co-captain Amadeo West. “We are fortunate to be playing. And the cadets … they bring enthusiasm and excitement to the game. … It’s not a negative thing that there are no fans. We’re just happy.”

“We’re really excited, the whole team,” said senior defensive lineman Nick Stokes. “We’ve been looking forward to this since we got back.”

There were moments at the start of summer when talk of canceling the college football season was prevalent, and concern set in about whether there would even be a season.

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Army Ranger to receive Medal of Honor for hostage rescue mission

An Army Ranger who risked his life to save dozens of hostages facing imminent execution by ISIS fighters will be awarded the Medal of Honor, the White House announced Thursday.

Sgt. Maj. Thomas “Patrick” Payne, who is assigned to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, was part of a joint task force that assisted Iraqi security forces Oct. 22, 2015, in raiding an ISIS prison near Hawija in northern Iraq.

Payne and his teammates liberated 70 hostages — many of whom were captured Iraqi security forces personnel — after a request by the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Soldiers had to quickly rescue the hostages amid heavy enemy gunfire and suicide-vest detonations during the contested nighttime operation, which left one U.S. Soldier and at least 20 insurgents dead.

“Time was of the essence,” Payne said in an interview. “There were freshly dug graves. If we didn’t action this raid, then the hostages were likely to be executed.”

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Army Set to Receive First Armored Vehicles to Replace Vietnam-Era M113

Production of the first new armored vehicle that will replace the Army Vietnam Era M113 armored personnel carrier is now complete, manufacturer BAE Systems announced today.

The first Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, or AMPV, rolled off BAE’s production line as part of a 2018 low-rate initial contract to deliver up to 450 of the vehicles to the Army, according to a BAE news release.

“This vehicle is going to replace a vehicle that has been in the Army since 1965,” Bryan McVeigh, the head of Army’s Project Manager for Mounted Armored Vehicles, said in a short video on BAE’s website.

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Army announces new Fort Hood investigation amid leadership change

Authorities also announced a new probe into the chain of command surrounding Spc. Vanessa Guillen’s death

The U.S. Army announced the replacement of Fort Hood’s senior commander Tuesday, following a series of deaths and disappearances connected to the installation.

Maj. Gen. John B. Richardson IV will become deputy commanding general of III Corps operations and acting senior commander of the Texas facility on Wednesday.

The change in leadership was scheduled previously, according to the Army’s public affairs office.

But Fort Hood’s current commanding officer, Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, will remain at the base rather than taking command of the 1st Armored Division as previously planned.

Gen. John Murray will lead a probe into Fort Hood’s chain of command surrounding the death of Spc. Vanessa Guillen. That investigation is in addition to an independent review that started last month. There are around 40,000 soldiers at Fort Hood.

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Fort Hood commander loses post, denied transfer after incidents at Army base

WASHINGTON — The commander of the U.S. Army’s Fort Hood is being removed from his position and will no longer assume command of a division at Fort Bliss, according to a U.S. Army statement released Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt was set to take over the 1st Armored Division soon. Now the Army will announce who will take over the division in the coming days. Division commander is a critical step in an Army general’s career and losing a division can be a career-ending move.

Fort Hood has been plagued by a series of incidents. Two soldiers, including Spc. Vanessa Guillen, have gone missing only to have their bodies discovered later. Soldiers assigned to the base were arrested in a prostitution sting. A number of soldiers have recently died by suicide.

The commanding general of U.S. Forces Command, Gen. Michael Garrett, has directed Maj. Gen. John Richardson IV to assume command at Fort Hood, effective Wednesday. Efflandt will stay on at Fort Hood for the time being, serving as deputy commanding general for support.

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Army removes officer at Fort Stewart from leadership roles after anti-Semitic TikTok post

WASHINGTON — Army officials are investigating an anti-Semitic social media post shared Friday by a second lieutenant based at Fort Stewart, Ga., who said he shared it as a joke.

Army officials said Monday that they had suspended 2nd Lt. Nathan Freihofer from his duties and launched an investigation into a post on the controversial TikTok platform by the 23-year-old field artillery officer. In the short video, Freihofer said he would never become a “verified” user because of the content that he shares before telling his so-called joke, which was about the Holocaust and Jewish people.

“If you get offended, get the f— out, because it’s a joke,” he then said in the video. In text alongside the video, he added: “For legal reasons this is a joke.”

Maj. Gen. Tony Aguto, the commander of Fort Stewart’s 3rd Infantry Division, called the remarks shared in the video “vile.”

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United States Army soldiers can no longer use TikTok on government-owned phones following a decision to ban the app. The move comes amidst ongoing worries that the video app owned by Beijing-based company ByteDance could compromise national security or be used to influence or surveil Americans.

2 soldiers killed, 3 hurt in Army training exercise off San Diego coast

CORONADO (CNS) – Two soldiers were killed and three others were hurt during an Army aircraft training off the coast of San Diego, it was reported Friday.

The incident happened Thursday evening, a U.S. Army public affairs officer confirmed.

FOX 5 news partner San Diego Union-Tribune reports the soldiers were on a Blackhawk helicopter when it crashed on San Clemente Island.

A Defense Department official told the newspaper that the accident involved members of the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.

An Army public affairs officer said in a statement: “An element of U.S. Army Special Operations Command was conducting routine training in the vicinity of Coronado, California, on August 27, when an aircraft incident occurred. Two Soldiers were killed and three were injured. The area has been secured and an investigation into the incident is underway. More information will be released 24-hours following next of kin notification. Our sincere condolences got out to the families and friends of the deceased. We thank you for not contacting them during this difficult time.”

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