Two Rangers up for valor awards after using new life-saving battlefield blood donor technique

The 75th Ranger Regiment is starting to use a new program to administer life-saving warm, fresh blood to wounded troops in dire moments — an innovative program the regiment says could be replicated with other combat units.

Two Rangers who used the technique in combat for the first time last summer are up for valor awards, regiment spokesperson Tracy A. Bailey told Army Times.

By tracking universal blood donors within the regiment, Ranger medics were able to call on volunteers to provide huge quantities of blood in a pinch. The technique was chronicled by the regiment’s public affairs department in a Jan. 13 news release.

It was first used in combat last summer in Wardak province, Afghanistan during a helicopter-borne night raid. Two Ranger medics, Staff Sgt. Charles Bowen and Sgt. Ty Able, from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, managed to save multiple lives that night, according to the 75th Ranger Regiment.


No imminent threat to US troops after report of planned terror attack in Germany

U.S. Army Europe investigators found no “imminent threat” to personnel after an intelligence report of a potential terror attack led to heightened security at U.S. bases in Germany during the weekend.

“We can confirm a potential threat was identified and investigated last night,” USAREUR spokeswoman Beth Clemons said Sunday. “German and U.S. officials were consulted and no imminent threat was found to exist.”

An internal memo was circulated within some Army units in Germany on Saturday that warned of a possible attack at the Army’s Tower Barracks in Grafenwoehr, or at Tower Barracks in Duelmen.

The document cited an unnamed “third party” report about a possible “imminent attack” against soldiers by a Jordanian extremist.

“The unknown Jordanian … recently advocated killing U.S. soldiers in Germany,” the memo stated.

There was no indication in the memo that the threat had any connection to recent tensions with Iran, which has threatened U.S. forces amid tensions heightened by the killing earlier this month of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.


U.S. Army Hacked By 52 Hackers In Five Weeks

During five weeks between October 9 and November 15, 2019, the U.S. Army was hacked by a total of 52 hackers. This isn’t as bad as it sounds. A spokesperson at the U.S. Department of Defense Defense Digital Service said the hacking strengthens its security posture. That’s because the 52 hackers were of the ethical variety and participating in the second “Hack the Army” event to have taken place since 2016.

A method in the cyber-madness
You might be forgiven for thinking that inviting hackers to attack your online assets would be a bad thing for any organization, let alone the U.S. Army. Threat actors hardly need an open invitation to cause havoc, after all. Only recently, the U.S. Government warned organizations to upgrade a particular VPN or face continued cyber-attacks, and both a New York airport and the City of New Orleans have fallen victim to ransomware attackers. Yet there is a method in this apparent cyber-madness. Hack the Army 2.0 was a joint venture between the U.S. Department of Defense, the Defense Digital Service and the HackerOne bug bounty platform.

The HackerOne hacker-powered bug bounty platform
HackerOne, you might recall, is a hacker-powered penetration testing and vulnerability discovery platform that has made millionaires of some of its best hackers. One even managed to hack the HackerOne platform itself, such is the tenacity and talent of those who are signed up. The point of the platform, and the reasoning behind Hack the Army, is to uncover flaws and bugs that could leave an organization, in this case the U.S. Army, vulnerable to attack from less principled hackers including nation-state adversaries such as Iran.


Army IDs Two Paratroopers Killed by Roadside Bomb in Afghanistan

The two soldiers killed when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan were paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, the defense department announced Sunday.

The IED attack took place Saturday in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, bordering Pakistan to the south. Killed in the blast were Staff Sgt. Ian P. McLaughlin, 29, of Newport News, Virginia; and Pfc. Miguel A. Villalon, 21, of Joliet, Illinois, according to a release.

Both soldiers were attached to 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.


USMA cadet shows resiliency, determination by running IOCT twice in one day

Class of 2021 Cadet Sophia Suri ran the IOCT twice in one day in November in order to get the highest grade possible on the women’s scale at the U.S. Military Academy.
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Class of 2021 Cadet Sophia Suri ran the IOCT twice in one day in November in order to get the highest grade possible on the women’s scale at the U.S. Military Academy.
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Partway up the rope that marks the end of the ground-phase of the Indoor Obstacle Course Test, Class of 2021 Cadet Sophia Suri began to feel lightheaded.

She had slipped on an early apparatus during her run of the course and for the next few stages she felt “spooked,” but kept going. Then, halfway up the rope the dizzy spell hit, so she climbed down and once her feet hit the ground she fainted.

Completing the course in a passing time is a graduation requirement at the U.S. Military Academy and that is difficult to do when you are out cold on the floor before the finish line, so, like it or not, Suri was going to have to return and run the course again.

“I went into it again a month later thinking, I can’t really do any worse than that because I didn’t finish it,” Suri said. “I was like, ‘I’ve got this like. I just need to finish it.'”


Army general denies request by officer pardoned by Trump to have his Special Forces tab reinstated

An Army general has denied a request by an officer pardoned in an open murder case by President Donald Trump to have his Special Forces tab reinstated, setting up a potential flashpoint with the commander in chief.

The decoration for retired Army Maj. Mathew Golsteyn was denied Dec. 3 by Lt. Gen. Francis Beaudette, the commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, the Army disclosed Thursday. Beaudette’s decision is not final, and the service said in a statement that it will next have an administrative panel consider whether it should reinstate the Special Forces Tab and a Distinguished Service Cross — the military’s second-highest valor award — and expunge a letter of reprimand Golsteyn received in connection with his case.


Preventing illness keeps Soldiers on mission

Soldiers must be ready and capable to conduct the full range of military operations to defeat all enemies regardless of the threats they pose. But bad sanitation can keep them from the mission.

According to a 2010 public health report from the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health, “Influenza and pneumonia killed more American Soldiers and Sailors during the war [World War I] than did enemy weapons.” The pandemic traveled with military personnel from camp to camp and across the Atlantic in 1918, infecting up to 40 percent of Soldiers and Sailors. In this instance, the enemy came in the form of a communicable disease.

Preventative measures and risk mitigation work to impede history from repeating itself, keeping the Army both ready and resilient. One such preventative measure implemented in Jordan was a week-long Field Sanitation Team (FST) Certification Course last month at Joint Training Center-Jordan.

U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew A. Kolenski, with 898th Medical Detachment Preventative Medicine, 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support) “Desert Medics,” has been an Army preventative medicine specialist (68S) for more than seven years. He said 68Ss and FSTs help mitigate unnecessary illnesses, allowing Soldiers to focus on their mission.


Army warns of fake military draft texts circulating this week

The United States Army is warning the public of fake texts alerting individuals that they were selected for a military draft.

The U.S. Army Recruiting Command said these texts have been circulating throughout the week amid fears of war with Iran after a U.S. airstrike killed the country’s top general Qasem Soleimani.

“You’ll be fined and sent to jail for minimum of 6 years if no reply,” a screenshot of a fraudulent text message reads.

The Army also said if the United States were to authorize a draft, administration would be handled by the Selective Service System, not the Army’s recruiting branch.


AFRICOM’s East Africa Response Force heads to Manda Bay after deadly jihadi attack in Kenya

U.S. Africa Command’s East Africa Response Force is now in Manda Bay, Kenya to bolster security of U.S. forces there — following an attack at the Kenya Defense Force Military Base that took the lives of one U.S. service member and two Department of Defense contractors on Sunday.

“The EARF provides a critical combat-ready, rapid deployment force,” U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, AFRICOM’s director of operations, said in a news release Monday. “The EARF’s ability to respond to events spanning a vast area of responsibility provides a proven and invaluable on-call reinforcement capability in times of need.”

The EARF falls under the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and is designed to respond to a variety of military operations, including providing humanitarian assistance or safeguarding Americans and diplomatic facilities in AFRICOM’s area of operations.

Al-Shabab, an offshoot of al-Qaida, attacked U.S. and Kenyan troops in Manda Bay on Sunday in what AFRICOM described as an indirect and small arms fire. According to the command, reports suggest that six contractor-operated civilian aircraft suffered damage during the attack.


Ranger contingent deploys to Mideast

A contingent of soldiers from the 75th Ranger Regiment is deploying to the Middle East as part of the buildup of forces in the region, a military official confirmed on background.

The official did not say where the Army Rangers were headed in the region, but they add to an already large deployment of 3,500 paratroopers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. U.S. officials previously said that the paratroopers will act as a response force to regional threats from a base in Kuwait.

Politico first reported the move, noting the deployment involved a Ranger company comprised of 150 to 200 troops.

Rangers are known for airfield seizures and direct action raids. During airfield operations, Rangers assault and secure airports and terminals for follow-on operations, including mass airdrops of paratroopers and equipment, until eventually aircraft can land and unload equipment and supplies on the ground.

The deployment of Rangers isn’t entirely surprising, as they often work hand-in-hand with paratroopers during airfield seizures, which is a core competency of both units. The official did not say what role the Rangers would play in the region. The 75th Ranger Regiment is also known for conducting direct action raids to capture or kill high value targets.


Army Follows Pentagon Guidance, Bans Chinese-Owned TikTok App

The U.S. Army has reversed its policy on TikTok, has learned, banning soldiers from using the popular Chinese social media app, which is now considered a security threat.

“It is considered a cyber threat,” Lt. Col. Robin Ochoa, an Army spokeswoman, told “We do not allow it on government phones.”

Just two months ago, Army recruiters were using TikTok as an effective tool for reaching young people of Generation Z even as lawmakers were calling for a national security review of the music video app, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance.

In late October, Sen. Tom Cotton R-Arkansas, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, asked U.S. intelligence officials to investigate whether TikTok represents a national security risk to the United States.

As of mid-December, the Army began advising soldiers to stop using TikToK on all government-owned phones, Ochoa said. The U.S. Navy recently put out similar guidance, prohibiting the use of TiKTok on government phones, according to reports by Gizmodo and other publications.


Wartime Suicide Rates Rise Among US Army Soldiers

United States army suicide rates have historically decreased during wartime. But a new study of U.S. records suggests that trend appears to have changed direction, with rates rising in recent years.

Researchers examined nearly 200 years of U.S. army records and other information. They found that, in earlier times, there was a decrease in suicide rates among army soldiers during and just after wars. However, the researchers report that the rate has risen considerably since 2004.

Their report appeared in JAMA Network Open, a publication of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers cannot explain the change – or the decrease in earlier periods during wartime. But they believe documenting the trends might lead to a better understanding of the underlying causes of military suicides.