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Archive for May, 2020

Cannon AFB’s Combat Training Element

Sunday, May 31st, 2020

Part I – Monster Garage


Editor’s Note: (This is the first part of a series documenting Cannon’s elite Combat Training Element team who challenge and push our Airmen to adapt and overcome with their cutting edge prototype technology and weaponry)

Recently, while sitting around the office looking for a story lead, I was looking around and my eyes found their way to our story idea white board, my wandering eyes landed on the words “Monster Garage,” and I wondered what the heck is a monster garage. Do they have monster trucks, my midwest-grown conscious asked myself gleefully. Surely I would have heard of something like that.

A major issue our operators face while running around simulating scenarios on our range is that all of the weapons are gas-powered therefore they have several tubes connecting from the weapons to a bulky bag on their back (how sneaky) that powers the rifles. The CTE guys wanted to change this and make them more mobile.

Luckily for them, they’ve got Lejay Colborn, a retired Navy explosive ordnance disposal technician, with a background in bombs and wiring. I just had to find him.

In a corner of base I hardly visit, behind a few hangars lies a quiet little building. The entrance was hidden by a fleet of civilian and military vehicles alike, but I couldn’t help but notice that one of the trucks was outfitted with a turret mount on the back. I thought surely that couldn’t be what I was seeing. I’d been to our training range several times but never had I seen that out there. After regaining my composure from the ensuing excitement of what lay beyond the hangar doors I found my way in.

I was greeted by a large empty room with a few quads, tools, and not much else at the time. Surely this isn’t it, I thought. Where are all the monster trucks!? I looked around a bit more and eventually remembered I was there to talk to someone and get a tour. I made my way to the first door I could find, knocked, and was greeted by wide smiles and friendly faces.

We stood and talked for a bit after we became acquainted but his eagerness to show off all of their toys, new and old alike, and what they had recently conjured up in the lab, kept us moving along rather swiftly.

This would be the first of several visits where I’d become acquainted with more of the guys from the shop, get my hands on a few pieces of equipment, and get an in-depth look at what they are engineering.

As we walked from room to room for the most part I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking at, except for a few quads, razors, welding tools, makeshift improvised explosive device concepts, some tools, and guns. A lot of guns.

Like a kid in a candy store, I was ecstatic. They had big guns, little guns, guns that go pew, guns that go bang, and some that go pow. From AK-47 assault rifles to light machine guns, a mounted machine gun or two, and even some World War II artillery cannons, they had it.

Through meticulous trial and error, Colborn has been able to route the power into the weapon itself, in places such as the magazine and stock, to increase the mobility and efficiency of our operators so they can get the most realistic training possible.

With the help of a 3D printer, currently Civil Engineering’s, with one of their own on the way, they’re able to build the schematics and print the pieces, big and small, they need to fit things together and increase the functionality of other items.

An awesome thing they’re working on now is getting turret mounts set up on the back of pick up trucks, a very real threat faced overseas. They do this by welding and bolting down custom metal gun stands to the back of the trucks. From here they’re using the 3D printed pieces to connect the turrets to their individual mounts. I don’t know about you, but building a turret mounted truck from scratch is not easy work, but sounds pretty rewarding and quite exciting.

Along with mounted turrets, CTE is also working on remote controlled artillery cannons. This allows them to have full control of the field while remaining in only a few locations, allowing for CTE to be playing their role as opposing forces or the occasional good guy, while simultaneously setting off the sounds and flares from turrets and cannons that further adds to the realism factor of shooting at troops and blowing up when targeted by our guships.

But they know more than screwing in a few bolts, these guys know the ins and outs of what they’re working on. They sandblast, clean, take apart, paint, piece back together and ultimately renew their equipment to perform at the top of the line. 

Do they know how to take apart and put back together a vehicle piece by piece? You betcha. Can they wire bombs to have multiple trigger points? Absolutely. Do they have the knowledge to precisely calculate and construct a drone that can drop grenades and carry packages? Of course they do! There is no limit to what they can and have created.

After checking out the guns, which took quite a chunk of my first visit, I was able to get a closer look at some of the more detailed work in the garage. Improvised explosive devices.

Improvised explosive devices are highly unpredictable, devastating, and unfortunately common tool used against troops overseas.

Good thing for the U.S., our monster garage has a ton of them. Simulated and non-exploding, of course.

Ranging from floor mat pressure-activated explosions or something as simple as opening a door, they’ve probably made it. With real IEDs, sometimes there’s really no telling what will or won’t set them off by normal everyday interaction, so the team at the Monster Garage has put together several designs and iterations of IEDs to continue to test our Airmen and expand their knowledge.

Again, these don’t explode, but when you’re at the range training and you swing open a door only to be greeted by a loud bang or blinding flash, you can almost guarantee you’d be down and out if that was a real life combat situation.

There’s a lot of raw ingenuity and first hand experience going into what goes down at the Monster Garage. They’ve hand-crafted countless designs for countless numbers of gadgets.

While we sit in our homes, go on about our days at work or spending time with our families, the enemy is working day and night to get any and every leg up on us, and this is why the Monster Garage is an absolute necessity for our armed forces. The men and women who work there are constantly pushing the envelope on new technology to allow us to get the upper hand in today’s modern warfare.

Part II – Operational Capabilities

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — Editor’s Note: (This is the second part of a series documenting Cannon’s elite Combat Training Element team who challenge and push our Airmen to adapt and overcome with their cutting edge prototype technology and weaponry)

By now, if you read the first installment, you should know what the Combat Training Element men and women can create, but you might not know what they can do. From an outside perspective, you’d think they generally play the bad guys for our good-guy teams, and though you wouldn’t be wrong, you’d be far from the mark.

The CTE folks do a lot more than meets the eye. To keep it brief, their role is to provide our tactical Airmen with the most realistic training possible, using realistic simulations, of course. Whether it be them playing the role of the opposing forces using adversarial tactics, dragging aircrew through a lake on the back of a boat to simulate a water landing with a parachute, or even playing the good guys, they do it all.

However, you must keep in mind that they are not training these Airmen, they are a tool used in their training to help them practice in a live environment to meet their commander’s standards, intent and expectations. Though you may not need a hammer to pound a nail, it’s more capable than the next piece of metal. CTE, with their collective knowledge, experience and prior service, is here to make the job done more efficient and sturdy, like the hammer does.

A major role CTE fulfills, as the hammer, is that of the opposing forces. They plan, they gear up, and they get mobile. By the end of an operation they can be almost unrecognizable. They’re dirty. Their skin and uniforms, now a combination of sweat, dirt and paint from simulation rounds, resemble that of a freestyle art canvas more than that of an enemy force.

Let me not forget to add that they’re not only doing this for our Airmen, but for special operations forces of other nations. We are one of the only nations with MQ-9 Reaper and the only with AC-130 Whiskey Gunship capabilities. CTE trains them to know how to use and be comfortable utilizing these aircraft in real-life combat situations.

But executing exercises of this magnitude are not done on the fly, it takes weeks of planning for only a few hours of “play time.”

It all begins with preplanning between CTE and the squadron who’s running the operation. From there they move into figuring out what equipment they’ll need, risk assessment, area of effect and overall concept of operations. Once all of this, and most certainly more, is completed, they’re able to move on to gearing up.

Though missions may follow the same concept from time to time, such as Rubik’s cube, no two scenarios will be exactly alike. The ground team switching out, a different plane doing reconnaissance, a new location being selected, or a different set of decisions being made all make a difference in how each and every scenario will play out. And those with CTE are constantly making adjustments in real-time with each and every scenario, decision made, and position called out.

The CTE’s ability to think on the fly added on to their collective knowledge allows them to keep things forever dynamic. They’re able to provide a forever changing environment that shapes how the Airmen think, act and react, while they themselves are doing the same, which only adds to the dynamics of the situation.

Another capability that showcases how well-rounded CTE is, is the augmentation they provide to the Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape community.

They’re able to double as the aggressor, playing targets in the water on boats for gunships, while simultaneously playing the recovery force where they’re certified in providing care to those being airlifted from the water if something were to go wrong during the exercise. Talk about some talented individuals. They also assist in nabbing those going through land navigation before handing them back over to SERE for the rest of their training.

There really is no limit to what they have done, can do, and will do. I could go on and on, like ?, about every little detail for every operation or duty they hold, but words alone can’t describe the tremendous expertise they have or the love they have for what they do. It’s shown in the men and women who go through training with CTE, and are out their using what they’ve learned to fight for our country.

Though CTE receives funding, it’s not the money that keeps them going, it’s their raw passion for what they do that keeps the innovation rolling and their performance at a level that none can match. They’re making a difference in our United States Air Force, and they know it.

Story by By Senior Airman Gage Daniel, 27th Special Operations Wing

SCUBAPRO Sunday – SEALs Birthday

Sunday, May 31st, 2020

On 25 May 1961, President John F. Kennedy, addressing a joint session of Congress, delivered a speech that most people remember as his challenge to the country to put an American on the moon before the end of the decade. The most important part of that speech you seldom hear about. But, it mandated that the military broaden its numbers and the use of Special Operation in all branches of service: “I am directing the secretary of defense to expand rapidly and substantially … the orientation of existing forces for the conduct of … unconventional wars. … In addition, our special forces and unconventional warfare units will be increased and reoriented. …”


The East Coast and West coast teams have always joked about what team is older, Team One, or Team Two. Team Two says they are because of the 3-hour time difference, and the west coast says they are because they supposal received their message to commission first.  But this isn’t really about that. The SEAL Teams use 01 Jan 1962, the day the teams were commissioned as their birthday. But if you look through old messages, you can find about different dates that you could say should or could be the birthday of SEAL Teams. Before Kennedy gave his speech, the Navy and all the other branches had already started to plan for a new kind of warfare and a new group to fight it. The U.S. has just ended significant involvement in Korea and sent advisers to Vietnam around 1955, so we had an idea of what the next generation of warfare might look like.

“To augment present naval capabilities in restricted waters and rivers with particular reference to the conduct and support of paramilitary operations, it is desirable to establish Special Operations teams as a separate component within Underwater Demolition Units One and Two. An appropriate cover name for such units is “SEAL” being a contraction of SEA, AIR, LAND.”

– Vice Adm. Wallace M. Beakley,
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, 05 Jun 1961

I love that the name “SEAL” started as a cover name, I am sure they never thought of what that name would come to mean. I say that in a good way and also a little wrong. I miss the days of being quiet professionals.

The Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Arleigh Burke, in a memo dated 11 Jul 1960, tasked Vice Adm Beakley with studying how the Navy could contribute to unconventional warfare. Beakley responded to that tasking in a memo dated 12 Aug 1960, saying, “Navy Underwater Demolition Teams and Marine reconnaissance units were the logical organizations for an expanded naval capability in unconventional warfare.” Beakley further recommended that a working group be formed to study how the Navy could “assist or participate” in covert operations. Then, on 13 Sept 1960, an Unconventional Activities Working Group was formed. Like the military now, the progress was slow, and on 10 Mar 1961, when the Navy’s Unconventional Activities Committee presented a mission statement for the new special operations unit and officially used for the first time the acronym “SEAL.” 

Beakley sent another memo saying, “If you agree in the foregoing proposals, I will take action to establish a Special Operations Team on each coast.” Burke wasted no time in giving the green light. On 05 Jun 1961, the CNO issued a letter notifying the commanders in chief U.S. Atlantic, U.S. Pacific, and U.S. Naval Forces Europe about the Navy’s intentions regarding SEAL units. So, if you look at all the about dates, you can choose 25 May, 05 Jun, 13 Sept, 10 Mar or 01 Jan.  I do not really care about what date that it happened on; I am just glad that it did, and I think it is good to look back at the process that went from idea to a finished product.

Oh, and Team Two is the Oldest Team.

10th SFG(A) Adapts In Order To Continue Training

Sunday, May 31st, 2020

10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) recently shared these photos.

Adaptation and the ability to thrive in ambiguity are hallmarks of the Green Beret mindset. Training cannot and will not stop. With logical precautions, social firebreaks between teams and any outsiders allows ODAs to continue training uninterrupted.

The Anything Cargo from 686

Sunday, May 31st, 2020

The Anything Cargo Short is a 13-pocket design with stretch nylon fabric which is also Water & Stain Resistant as well as Quick-Drying.

Available in 4 colors.


TacJobs – CEMA With The 75th Ranger Regiment

Saturday, May 30th, 2020

The 75th Ranger Regiment has a dedicated Military Intelligence Battalion and recruits MOS 17C, 35N, and 35P to conduct Cyber and ElectroMagnetic Activities in support of the Regiment and other SOF elements.

MOS 17C: Cyber Operations Specialist integrates full spectrum Cyber capabilities to the 75th Ranger Regiment and the special operations community. Cyber Operators specialize in computer network operations, cyber mission management, technology integration, and offensive cyberspace operations.?

MOSs 35N/35P: Signal Intelligence Analyst and Cryptologic Linguist, serve on an Operational Signals Intelligence Teams (OST) specializing in tactical ground SIGINT analysis. OST provides full spectrum signal intelligence to the 75th Ranger Regiment.

In the Army, send your SRB from a .mil account to [email protected] for your application packet.

In AIT, talk to your instructor and get with a Ranger recruiter to sign a volunteer statement to come to Ranger Assessment and Selection Program 1.

Not in the Army, get with your local Army recruiter and ask about an Option 40 contract.

New 5G Switch Provides 50 Times More Energy Efficiency Than Currently Exists

Saturday, May 30th, 2020

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — As 5G hits the market, new U.S. Army-funded research has developed a radio-frequency switch that is more than 50 times more energy efficient than what is used today.

With funding from the Army Research Office, an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Lille in France, have built a new component that will more efficiently allow access to the highest 5G frequencies, in a way that increases devices’ battery life and speeds up how quickly users can do things like stream HD media.

Smartphones are loaded with switches that perform a number of duties. One major task is jumping back and forth between different networks and spectrum frequencies: 4G, WiFi, LTE, Bluetooth, etc. The current radio-frequency switches that perform this task are always running, consuming precious processing power and battery life.

“Radio-frequency switches are pervasive in military communication, connectivity and radar systems,” said Dr. Pani Varanasi, division chief, materials science program at ARO. “These new switches could provide large performance advantage compared to existing components and can enable longer battery life for mobile communication, and advanced reconfigurable systems.”

The journal Nature Electronics published the research team’s findings.

“It has become clear that the existing switches consume significant amounts of power, and that power consumed is useless power,” said Dr. Deji Akinwande, a professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering who led the research. “The switch we have developed can transmit an HDTV stream at a 100GHz frequency, and that is an achievement in broadband switch technology.”

The new switches stay off, saving battery life for other processes, unless they are actively helping a device jump between networks. They have also shown the ability to transmit data well above the baseline for 5G-level speeds.

Prior researchers have found success on the low end of the 5G spectrum – where speeds are slower but data can travel longer distances. This is the first switch that can function across the spectrum from the low-end gigahertz frequencies to high-end terahertz frequencies that could someday be key to the development of 6G.

The team’s switches use the nanomaterial hexagonal boron nitride, a rapidly emerging nanomaterial from the same family as graphene. The structure of the switch involves a single layer of boron and nitrogen atoms in a honeycomb pattern sandwiched between a pair of gold electrodes. Hexagonal boron nitride is the thinnest known insulator with a thickness of 0.33 nanometers.

The impact of these switches extends beyond smartphones. Satellite systems, smart radios, reconfigurable communications, and Internet of Things, are all examples of potential uses for the switches. In addition, these switches can be realized on flexible substrates making them suitable for Soldier wearable radios and communication systems that can benefit from the improved energy efficiency for longer battery life with faster data speeds as well as other defense technologies.

“This will be very useful for radio and radar technology,” Akinwande said.

This research spun out of a previous project that created the thinnest memory device, also using hBN. Akinwande said sponsors encouraged the researchers to find other uses for the material, and that led them to pivot to RF switches.

In addition to the U.S. Army, support through a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the U.S. Office of Naval Research and The National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Center funded the research. The Texas Nanofabrication Facility partly fabricated the switch and Grolltex, Inc., provided hBN samples.

By U.S. Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs

Kopfjäger Releases the Small Diameter Rifle Adapter for the Reaper Grip

Saturday, May 30th, 2020

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS) – The creators at Kopfjäger are excited to announce the release of the SDR (small diameter rifle) grip! This durable silicone grip can be attached to Kopfjäger’s classic Reaper Grip to accommodate smaller-sized rifles such as youth rifles, air rifles and pellet guns. When the SDR grip is doubled, it can fit stocks down to .25 inches! Now, youth and other small-rifle shooters can enjoy the confidence and stability of a classic Reaper Grip from Kopfjäger.

Ø  Fits stocks down to 0.85 inches
Ø  When doubled, fits stocks down to 0.25 inches
Ø  Hardy Silicone Construction
Ø  Weighs 4.3 ounces

Visit www.kopfjagerindustries.com


Gray Bearded Green Beret – E&E Kit

Friday, May 29th, 2020


-6 piece Titanium Lock Pick Set
-6?, 200lb. break strength kevlar escape cordage
-Covert handcuff key made of plastic
-Micro-clip handcuff key, plastic
-Escape Capsule – Size: 0.76” length x 0.26“ diameter. Weight: 0.01 oz.
-Bypass Knife Tool – Works on most file cabinet locks, many basic padlocks, and even Darby style handcuffs
-Mini Shim Decoder – Works on some padlocks, handcuffs and zip-ties
-Handcuff Shim