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Archive for the ‘Army’ Category

This Is The Most Army Thing I’ve Seen All Week

Wednesday, November 15th, 2023

These photos were posted to Instagram by the 3rd Infantry Division. As a former Marne Man (yes, there two genders in the Army I served in) I can say that this sounds like some crap we’d have been doing after repainting bumper numbers (in the rain).

Nothing like turning in junk to get new junk.

“The U.S. Army is moving into a new era, and by getting rid of the excess equipment during the Rapid Removal of Excess Pilot– creating space for more modernized weapons,” said Randy George, Army Chief of Staff General. Soldiers assigned to 3rd Infantry Division have begun to identify and part with excess equipment within their companies. This is an ongoing process and will continue into December. Getting rid of excess equipment allows the units to better care for the vehicles they use more often and stay on top of the maintenance required for all equipment.

For those of you who are either socially awkward, slow on the uptake, or both, this is one of those posts where you can be yourself.

These photos were taken by PFC Rebeca Soria. Be kind to her, she’s just a PFC.

PEO Soldier Gets to Ground Truth on Soldier Equipment

Tuesday, November 14th, 2023

FORT BELVOIR, Va. – The Army is continuing its efforts to modernize the force and build towards the Army of 2030 and beyond. To support that effort, Program Executive Officer (PEO) Soldier is engaging with Soldiers at the ground level to get to the fundamental truth of how Soldiers are equipped in the operational environment and what gear they have modified or purchased for mission, environment, comfort and personal effect.

PEO Soldier’s Assistant Program Executive Officer (APEO) Soldier has been conducting Operational Kit (O.K.) Analysis with the operational force to collect this data.

O.K. Analysis seeks to address a multitude of objectives to help shape the Army of 2030 and the future Soldier. The effort looks to proactively identify opportunities utilizing the Soldier Enhancement Program (SEP), influence materiel change proposals, identify equipment training challenges and address installation Soldier equipment logistics challenges.

“The idea behind O.K. Analysis was hatched by APEO Soldier’s Senior Enlisted Advisor, MSG Josh Kaplan,” said COL Douglas Copeland, Assistant Program Executive Officer, PEO Soldier. “He identified the need to bridge the gap between what we think Soldiers and Squads carry as materiel developers and what is actually used out in the field.”

In launching the initiative, MSG Kaplan took a couple of key steps: First, he created a community of interest across various stakeholders. Second, he worked with SGM Daniel Rose, PEO Soldier Sergeant Major, to combine the O.K. Analysis event with the PEO Soldier Capabilities Demonstration, which informs the force of our current and emerging capabilities in the PEO Soldier portfolio. This strategy allows PEO Soldier to gain Soldier feedback about on operational needs and determine exactly how PEO capabilities are impacting the Force.

The goal is to provide operational context to the acquisition force, said SGM Rose. “We’re trying to explain to the acquisition professionals here at PEO Soldier and stakeholders in the Army enterprise how Soldiers are using the equipment that they are designing, procuring and fielding in the operational environment. What we found is that sometimes they won’t be using the equipment the way it was designed to be used. We try to bring that kind of context back to the acquisition force to help them as they’re designing and procuring new pieces of equipment.”

The O.K. Analysis team kicked off the program at USARCENT in Kuwait in March 2023 and has since engaged with the 11th Airborne and 25th Infantry Divisions. As a result, PEO Soldier has, to date, collected data from eight Squads and worked with senior leadership to establish an equipment baseline across the Army’s operational units.

The effort goes beyond simply questioning Soldiers about their thoughts and experience with PEO Soldier capabilities. MSG Kaplan explained, “We deploy a team of senior NCOs with extensive operational experience and extremely smart government contractors who carry out an array of responsibilities, such as data collection, statistics, logistics and photography. We collect several thousand lines of data, hundreds of photos and several hours of interviews that are analyzed as a part of an out-brief to communities of interest, then added to our holistic database for further analysis.”

After taking part in PEO Soldier’s O.K. Analysis engagement, SGM Brian Disque, G-3, 5 and 7 Sergeant Major, USARCENT, stated that he was very impressed with its effectiveness and potential benefits. He explained, “It is a very ambitious effort to answer an important question: What gear are Soldiers actually using and why? PEO Soldier took the idea of unit outreach and feedback to the next level with a meticulous approach to data collection to better understand the perspectives of Soldiers across the Army. The wealth of data collected will be very useful when informing future efforts to outfit our Soldiers. All of the Army should be grateful that this team was willing to roll up their sleeves and get out to all corners of our Army to answer these questions.”

This effort has already returned positive outcomes. Through the O.K. Analysis initiative, PEO Soldier has been able to strengthen critical partnerships with the Maneuver Center of Excellence, DEVCOM and several Army Corps. PEO Soldier has also been able to facilitate the establishment of Environmental Working Groups with these communities of interest, which include items discovered through the O.K. Analysis effort.

“The most important benefit of O.K. Analysis is to ensure that the Soldier’s voice is heard, including senior leaders in operational units who have important Soldier equipment insights,” Kaplan said. “We do this in the form of detailed equipment inventories, pictures and candid interviews that are shared with the enterprise. If someone asks, ‘Why is Soldier equipment getting heavier?’, our team can say, ‘Let me show you.’ There is a lot of power in that.”

Disque agreed, noting, “For USARCENT and our deployed force, the opportunity to provide our candid feedback to the professional data collection team is of immediate benefit. Innovation is one of our top priorities, and we are always searching for ways to bring innovative concepts to our Area of Responsibility (AOR). Soldier kit is one of those topics for which there is no shortage of great ideas out there, often based on real-world feedback from operating environments across the CENTCOM AOR – you just have to ask the right questions, which I am confident the PEO Soldier team executed to perfection.”

Through this effort, PEO Soldier began an Army-wide innovation synchronization effort that encompasses 18th Airborne Corps’ Eagle Works, I Corps’ Lightning Lab, USARCENT and PEO Soldier’s Soldier Integration Facility. This will allow stakeholders to collaborate and share data and integration solutions across the Close Combat Integration Enterprise (CCIE).

“Any opportunity to connect our modernization efforts to deployed Soldiers on a mission is valuable,” said Disque. “Some of the most innovative ideas come from operating in a deployed environment, and for the PEO team to have access to Soldiers that served recently in Syria and other areas is tremendous.”

Kaplan and his team have proactively submitted proposals for the Soldier Enhancement Program (SEP) on behalf of Soldiers through the O.K. Analysis. The SEP is a process designed to help the Army enhance Soldiers’ ability to execute their combat mission by evaluating prototypes and commercially available items submitted by Soldiers and industry. Since its inception six months ago, PEO Soldier has identified 23 potential SEP opportunities, which is an exponential increase relative to recent years. Soldiers, senior leaders and industry are also able to submit their own proposals utilizing PEO Soldier’s website.

“Soldiers are very innovative,” said Kaplan. “There is always that one Soldier in the Squad who can create ways for his unit to become more lethal. This initiative highlights innovative solutions so communities of interest can stay on pace with the operational force.”

CSM Joseph Gaskin, Command Sergeant Major, 1/11 Airborne Division, added to that assessment by stating, “Any effort the Army uses to better inform equipment requirements from the Soldier on the ground is value added to our formation. The O.K Analysis comprehensive program captured data that will assist leaders to better understand what risk the Soldier’s load presents as we operate in the extreme cold of our operational environment.”

PEO Soldier will continue its O.K. Analysis effort by visiting Soldiers with the 3rd Infantry Division in October and engaging with U.S. Army Europe in the second quarter of 2024. This ongoing effort will collect and share data amongst the CCIE to help shape the Army’s modernization efforts moving into 2030 and beyond.

PEO Soldier is now encouraging other interested U.S. Army operational divisions to reach out and schedule an O.K. Analysis of their area of responsibility.

“We look forward to expanding our O.K. Analysis across the Army’s operational units to further collaboration, leverage creative innovation and enable proactive capability development for Soldier equipment,” said Copeland.

By David Jordan

Army Bugler Sounds Taps for Almost Two Decades

Saturday, November 11th, 2023

ARLINGTON, Va. — During wreath laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Master Sgt. Matthew Byrne marches out to the Tomb, brings his bugle to his lips and slowly sounds out the 24 notes of the bugle call, “taps.” When finished, he tucks the bugle under his arm, salutes and marches away.

As one of the Army Band’s trumpeters, Byrne plays the bugle at events around the cemetery and Military District of Washington events in the nation’s capital and throughout the country. He has sounded taps at funeral services for dignitaries such as Gen. Colin Powell and Sen. Bob Dole, as well as ceremonial wreath layings by various world leaders.

Byrne, from Long Island, New York, began playing the trumpet in elementary school after hearing the theme to the movie “Rocky,” called “Gonna Fly Now.” After graduating from Ithaca College, he spent six years teaching music at elementary and middle schools in New York and Connecticut before returning to the University of Louisville to pursue a master’s degree in trumpeter performance.

In 2004, at the age of 29, Byrne learned of an opening for a ceremonial trumpeter in the Army Band, known as “Pershing’s Own.” He auditioned for the job and got it. After completing basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, he joined the band at Fort Myer, Virginia.

Even though Byrne has sounded, “taps,” thousands of times, he still strives to meet the Army Band’s high standards. “There are times that a note got chipped or “taps” was not up to my standards,” he said. “In Pershing’s Own, it’s done right.” Having sounded “taps” at funerals around the country, he knows that ANC is different. “Few places match the level of professionalism at Arlington,” he explained. “The amount of dedication to detail here is something special.”

Byrne has played “taps” in temperatures as low as 8 degrees and as high as 104 degrees, in all kinds of weather. The hottest was a change of command ceremony at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, where he had to stand on an unshaded field. “It was like standing in a convection oven that was blowing hot air through my wool uniform and high collar,” he said. The pain was most intense on his feet. “Those black shoes make it feel like your feet are cooking.”

Byrne tries to ignore the people around him while he plays, but he has noticed people’s reactions when he’s finished. “I’ve caught tough-looking biker dudes breaking down at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,” he said. “It’s a moving experience for a lot of people, especially if it’s their first time at the cemetery.”

Byrne tries not to let cameras or crowds distract him. Instead, he focuses the on the person being honored. Some of the hardest funeral services, he explains, are the ones with low attendance. “That struck me,” he said recalling a funeral attended by only a chaplain and an Arlington Lady. “It was difficult sounding ‘taps’ because it was too personal.”

The absolute hardest funeral services for Byrne, of course, are those for his fellow soldiers. “Those hit closer to home,” he explained, because of the emotional connections he experiences while sounding “taps.” “It’s odd to sit next to a person at work one day and they’re not there the next.”

In early 2021, the Army Band made Byrne its official Special Bugler. His first assignment was President Joseph Biden’s inaugural wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In attendance were the Bush, Obama and Clinton families. For Byrne, it was a true trial by fire. “There were a whole handful of people that I didn’t look at,” he remembered. When it was over, he received hundreds of texts and emails from worldwide admirers. “I received nice comments from the ‘who’s who’ of the trumpet world,” he said. “It was mind-numbing how many people viewed my performance.”

Byrne also enjoyed sounding “taps” when South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol joined Biden in laying a wreath at the Korean War Veterans Memorial on April 25, 2023. The event was private, with no media or audience. Only the presidents and their spouses attended. “Opportunities like that are special and unique,” he said. “I have a front seat to history as it happens.”

Byrne loves what he does. “I can’t think of any other career that could be so emotionally and professionally satisfying,” he said. He enjoys his job so much that his car’s license plates read “24 Notes.” “It’s such a big part of what I do,” he explained. “Those who know, know.”

By Kevin M. Hymel, ANC Historian

“You Have Arrived”: 1st Special Operations Command and the Birth of Modern ARSOF

Friday, November 10th, 2023

1st SOCOM distinctive unit insignia (Photo Credit: U.S Army)

On August 7, 1984, Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Lutz stood beside his wife Joyce in the shadow of the Special Forces Soldier statue, known to most as “Bronze Bruce,” and fought back tears while the 24th Infantry Division band played “Auld Lang Syne.” Fifteen minutes earlier, Lutz had passed the colors of the U.S. Army 1st Special Operations Command (1st SOCOM), which he had commanded since its founding two years earlier, to Maj. Gen. Leroy N. Suddath, Jr.

1st SOCOM shoulder sleeve insignia (Photo Credit: U.S Army)

Opposite the incoming and outgoing commanders stood a formation representing the Army Special Forces (SF), Rangers, Psychological Operations (PSYOP), and Civil Affairs (CA) units that came under the command of 1st SOCOM upon its provisional establishment on October 1, 1982, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina (known as Fort Liberty since 2023). Prior to that, no single command and control headquarters existed for all Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) units. Since then, the Army has not lacked one, with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) filling that role since December 1989.

“A Rocky Road”

General Robert W. Sennewald presided over the change of command ceremony, as the commander of 1st SOCOM’s higher headquarters, the U.S. Army Forces Command. In his remarks, he noted the rocky road that 1st SOCOM had travelled to get to where it was in August 1984. Without elaborating on the specific obstacles overcome by 1st SOCOM, Sennewald’s comments likely resonated with the Vietnam-era ARSOF leaders in attendance, including Lutz. After great sacrifice and exceptional valor in Vietnam, many ARSOF units endured force reductions and resourcing shortages in the aftermath of that war. By the late 1970s, ARSOF was reeling from years of neglect.

After leaving 1st SOCOM in August 1984, Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Lutz served as Chief of the Joint United States Military Aid Group to Greece. Here his pictured (second from right) briefing U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz (far right) at Hellenikon Air Base, Greece. (Photo Credit: NARA)

From his position as the Commander, U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Center for Military Assistance, Lutz had played a significant role in revitalizing ARSOF, and Army Special Forces, in particular. Under his leadership, the Center produced an Army-directed Special Operations Forces Mission Area Analysis that prescribed some of the most impactful changes to ARSOF in the 1980s, including the establishment of 1st SOCOM. Sennewald testified to Lutz’s impact, saying, “Our national leadership made a commitment to develop your capabilities, and General Lutz has been instrumental in bringing this commitment to reality.”

With a mission to prepare, provide, and sustain active-duty Army SF, PSYOP, CA, and Ranger units, 1st SOCOM was the first headquarters to exercise both administrative and operational control of the full spectrum of ARSOF. On Lutz’s watch, the command had fought a brief war on the Caribbean Island of Grenada (Operation URGENT FURY) and deployed mobile training teams to sixty-five countries, including such hotspots as El Salvador, Honduras, and Lebanon.

Maj. Gen. Leroy N. Suddath, Jr. (left) and Col. John N. Dailey (right) are pictured here at the October 1986 activation ceremony for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Group at Fort Campbell Kentucky (Image Credit: U.S. Army). (Photo Credit: U.S Army)

Under the leadership of Lutz and his successor, Maj. Gen. Suddath, 1st SOCOM continued to revitalize and expand ARSOF, reversing some of the post-Vietnam cuts and adding new capabilities. In 1984 alone, the command oversaw the reactivation of 1st Special Forces Group (SFG) and the addition of a Ranger Regimental headquarters and the 3rd Ranger Battalion. Early the following year, the Army transferred Task Force-160, a dedicated ARSOF Aviation unit, from the 101st Airborne Division to 1st SOCOM. This unit was reorganized into the 160th Special Operations Aviation Group (SOAG) in October 1986. 1st SOCOM also added two dedicated ARSOF Support units that year.

By 1987, when 1st SOCOM became the Army component of the newly established U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), its major subordinate units were the 75th Ranger Regiment; the 1st, 5th, 7th, and 10th Special Forces Groups; the 4th PSYOP Group; the 96th CA Battalion; the 528th Support Battalion; the 112th Signal Battalion; and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Group.

Toward a MACOM

In 1988, Suddath passed command to Maj. Gen. James A. Guest, an SF veteran of the Vietnam War who had previously commanded the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School and 5th SFG. Under Guest’s leadership, 1st SOCOM successfully advocated for the establishment of a Major Command (MACOM) for ARSOF. On December 1, 1989, the Army activated USASOC, under the command of Lt. Gen. Gary E. Luck, as the Army’s sixteenth MACOM.

Concurrently, 1st SOCOM became a major subordinate command of USASOC, responsible for all active-duty ARSOF, alongside the short-lived U.S. Army Reserve Special Operations Command taking command of all U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) and Army National Guard (ARNG) SOF units. Guest continued serving as 1st SOCOM commander through this transition period, during which the command rapidly deployed large contingents in support of Operation JUST CAUSE in Panama and Operation DESERT SHIELD in Saudi Arabia.

On November 27, 1990, 1st SOCOM was redesignated as the U.S. Army Special Forces Command (USASFC) and assigned the mission of equipping, training, and validating all Army Special Forces, including two ARNG and two USAR SF Groups. This arrangement persisted until 2014, when USASFC merged with active-duty PSYOP, CA, and ARSOF Support units to form the 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), a division-level ARSOF headquarters under USASOC that commands and controls five active-duty and two ARNG SF groups, two PSYOP groups, a CA brigade, and a Sustainment brigade.

“You have arrived.”

It is difficult to see how organizations such as USASOC and 1st Special Forces Command would exist, had it not been for forward-thinking leaders like Joseph Lutz, Leroy Suddath, and James Guest. These three were the only commanders of 1st SOCOM, the first modern ARSOF headquarters.

Despite the long and sometimes rocky road back from the post-Vietnam doldrums, General Sennewald saw only positives in August 1984. “Today,” he said, “I am firmly convinced that road is part of history. If the words ‘you have arrived’ have meaning to anyone, they should have special meaning to the soldiers of 1st SOCOM.”

In the intervening four decades, ARSOF has continued to prove its value to the nation in myriad ways and innumerable places, in conflicts big and small, always striving to live up to the motto first adopted by 1st SOCOM in 1982: Sine Pari, meaning “Without Equal.” In his parting comments, Lutz expressed a sentiment shared by ARSOF leaders ever since when he said, “I want to thank General Sennewald and our Army for allowing me the privilege to command the greatest soldiers in the world.”

By Christopher E. Howard

Human-Factors Engineering Modernizes Army Aviation Platforms

Tuesday, November 7th, 2023

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — If a technology isn’t intuitive, chances are, it won’t be used.

True in everyday life and especially true in aviation when creating technology to support Army aviators. Partnering with Program Executive Office – Aviation’s project offices, the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center conducts government-executed Crew Station Working Groups to assess the avionics requirements through human-factors engineering, utilizing early Soldier evaluations.

The key mission of the DEVCOM AvMC Aviation Crew Stations Branch is conducting CSWGs comprising Army and industry partner stakeholders, all with a vested interest in ensuring that Army aviators have the best solution at their fingertips.

“We support the end user,” said Jena Salvetti, lead human factors engineer for the Crew Stations branch. “We evaluate prototype interfaces, with users-in-the-loop, while addressing human factors principles, aviation mission tasks, and sub-system conventions to ensure that final designs are intuitive. The CSWG process was designed to ensure aviators have a say in their interfaces rather than pushing an interface to the field and saying, ‘You’ll figure it out.’ One of the things we hear from the field is that systems are not being used because they’re too hard to use. The CSWG was created to mitigate this issue.”

For more than 25 years, AvMC has partnered with the Utility and Cargo Helicopter Project Offices leading the working group activities. With the demonstrated success of more than 115 CSWG activities across 13 project offices and seven airframes, the Apache Helicopter Project Office joined the partnership with the fielding of the AH-64E.

One of the ways that the Aviation Crew Stations Branch ensures that they are designing with the user — or pilot — in mind is utilizing former Army pilots to lead the process. They have seven.

“This is a really unique branch in the number of users we have in the group,” said Kevin Bieri, aerospace engineer. The Aviation Crew Stations Branch, totaling 10 civilians with contracting support, is divided into three teams: platform leads, human factors and engineering.

“There’s a lot of experience in the room,” Ross Lewallen, AH-64E Crew Station Working Group lead, said.

Of course, anyone familiar with Army aviation knows that pilots won’t hold back when it comes to talking shop — or how to make the aircraft better.

“You have two pilots in a room and get three opinions,” Bieri said with a laugh.

The team agreed the reason why the CSWG works so well is due to the rapid prototyping that takes place during those Soldier evaluations. When the pilots give their evaluation, often the engineers will immediately make the adjustments to the technology. In the world of engineering, to have that instant impact is immensely rewarding, they said.

The challenge is that sometimes they work too fast, Lewallen said, evaluating technology for the CSWG that is not yet mature. It’s a unique challenge but one that they accept, to continue to bring the best capabilities to the Soldiers.

“We are three to five years ahead of the product line,” said Lewallen. “Which is good because some of the things that we’re working on, we’re given a blank slate. They ask, ‘How do you think this will work?’ And that’s when we use the experience we have in the lab — former pilots, engineers, aerospace guys, all of our talents — to come up with something. Then we fly and make some modifications to it to fit with the users want. We know a long time ahead of the airframe what it’s going to look like. I think that is that is a unique part of our job. I love it. It’s one of my favorite parts — getting out ahead of the conception line.”

By Katie Davis Skelley, DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center Public Affairs

Army Researchers Receive Patent for Pocket-Sized Chemical and Biological Assessment Kit

Monday, November 6th, 2023

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Army researchers have developed an innovative design for immediate on-the-ground chemical and biological assessment, giving traditional everyday laboratory equipment a new purpose for Soldiers in the field.

The invention, known as the pocket detection pouch, or PDP, was granted a patent on July 26, 2023, for its unique design that enables a one-way flow of a chemical or biological liquid sample that can be assessed and preserved in a lightweight, pocket-sized pouch.

The invention itself was deliberately designed to be “low-tech,” with the purpose to provide simple, immediate, and easily readable test results in the field while reducing the size, weight, and burden that traditional detection equipment imposes on the warfighter.

The idea for the PDP began at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center and was brought forward through the collaboration of two researchers at the organization — Ms. Kelley Betts and Dr. Jennifer Sekowski.

Betts, a research scientist and an Army wife, understood that every ounce carried by a Soldier during deployments matters, and wondered if there was a way to combine both a chemical and biological detection capability into a single, easy-to-use platform using something readily accessible — like an inexpensive plastic bag.

She decided to use her knowledge and expertise to develop a customizable chemical and biological assessment tool that was small, lightweight and could fit easily in the pocket of every warfighter. Betts developed the initial prototype in her kitchen using everyday resealable sandwich bags and a heat-sealer. “I found a way to come up with multiple individual chambers within the bag, and that’s how the one-way flow for liquids was born,” said Betts.

In this episode of CB Defense Today, public affairs specialist, Jack Bunja, interviews Doctor Jennifer Sekowski, a molecular toxicologist at the Center and inventor of the Pocket Detection Pouch (PDP), and Yusuf Henriques, founder and CEO of IndyGeneUS AI.

DEVCOM CBC Video by Ellie White

Betts then introduced the idea to Sekowski, who further helped to develop the prototype and proposed the technology to the Innovative Development of Employee Advanced Solutions program at DEVCOM CBC where she was awarded $50,000 over the span of six months to further develop the technology.

Gathering information and garnering feedback from other scientists, researchers, and warfighters within the Center allowed Sekowski and Betts to further refine their invention by increasing the size of the flap opening, reducing the size of the pouch and including a self-loading feature that allows the end user to tailor the PDP for different scenarios.

During refinement, the pair maintained the idea to reduce the burden to the warfighter by making the asset easy to use, lightweight, inexpensive, power-free with little debris footprint, and enabling the ability of containment. “It is one of the least expensive projects I’ve ever done, and one of the most successful,” said Sekowski.

The final design allows for a pouch that collects a sample into a main chamber which then flows into individual testing channels that are perforated at the bottom and housed in an external chamber. It is essentially a bag within a bag. “Other people have developed other, small form factor platforms, but in the end, we were able to demonstrate that our device is worthy of a patent because of the design,” said Sekowski.

The design has been able to gain further support and funding for production on a larger scale. The team has been able to partner with IndyGeneUS AI, a veteran- and minority-owned business dedicated to the field of medical technology, to further the development of the PDP. “We’re very fortunate that we were able to patent it and that allowed us to work with IndyGeneUS AI. They are going to help us find funding to do that engineering work to make it a commercial product,” said Sekowski.

With both the patent and partnership in place, Betts and Sekowski plan to continue developing the product further, working with IndyGeneUS AI to make the PDP commercially available. “I would like to see it in the hands of Soldiers, in the hands of people, where it can make a big difference in the world,” said Betts.

By Aeriel Storey

No, Lake City Army Ammunition Plant Isn’t Cancelling Commercial Contracts

Wednesday, November 1st, 2023

There have been some bad actors spreading rumors that LCAAP is cancelling commercial production contracts for ammunition.

Yesterday, they posted a very simple and to the point clarification to Facebook; the rumors are false.

Green Berets Partner with Spanish Special Operations Forces for Training

Wednesday, November 1st, 2023

ALICANTE, Spain — Green Berets with the U.S. Army’s 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) concluded a nearly two-month joint combined exchange training — known as JCET — with members of the Spanish Army’s Grupo Especial de Operaciones near Alicante.

The U.S. and Spanish special operations forces practiced a wide variety of skills during this exercise, including training in long-range marksmanship, crew-served weapons familiarization, mission planning, close-quarter battle, breaching operations, military operations in urban terrain, rappelling and other critical combat and unconventional warfare skills.

U.S. Special Forces conduct JCETs with foreign militaries and partner agencies in their home countries. “JCETs facilitate shared understanding and awareness of capabilities and readiness,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Bowman, U.S. Special Operations Command Europe’s special operations liaison officer to Spain. “More importantly, they allow for both country’s units to build bonds and relationships, which are invaluable, particularly in times of crisis.”

Conducting JCETs with traditional U.S. allies like Spain is important to U.S. Special Operations Forces. “Spain is a very capable NATO ally with diverse, yet shared interests around the globe. It is critical that both countries collaborate wherever possible, given the high probability that we’ll be asked to work together in a future scenario,” Bowman said.

This JCET built upon past training and exercises for the Green Berets of 10th SFG (A). “This two-month JCET was extremely successful – not only did we increase our own tactical capabilities, but we also improved our interoperability and integration with our Spanish Army SOF peers,” said a U.S. Army special forces detachment commander directly involved in the training. “My Spanish counterpart and I integrated our teams to the maximum extent possible… this afforded both detachments the opportunity to develop our mission planning skills, mobility capabilities, and combined special reconnaissance and direct action tactics, techniques, and procedures.”

Both the Green Berets and the GOE gained valuable experience and increased their interoperability according to the detachment commander. JCETs continue to provide unique training opportunities for both U.S. forces and their multinational counterparts.

By CPT Jonathan Leigh

Photos by SSG Jacob Dunlap