Late Night Nookie #soldierporn: Damn sexy, picture perfect.

U.S. Marines assigned to Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Maritime Raid Force, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), prepare to conduct parachute operations in UH-60 Black Hawks assigned to Alpha Company, 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB) from the Montana Army National Guard in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. The 26th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force forward-deployed to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility aboard the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group serving as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious operations across the full range of military operations.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Christopher Q. Stone, 26th MEU Combat Camera, 5 SEP 2013.)

Focal point.

Marines of Company E, 2nd Battalion 25th Marine Regiment, Marine Forces Reserve, execute pivot-drills on range 103 during exercise Javelin Thrust 2012. Javelin Thrust 2012 is an annual large scale exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., which allows active and reserve Marines and Sailors from 38 different states to train together as a seamless Marine Air Ground Task Force.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Alvin D. Parson, 3 July 2012 via DVIDS.)

Watch on
Inside the MAGTF (Marine Air-Ground Task Force)

Here’s the full 10-minute documentary of “Inside the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.” The Marine Air-Ground Task Force is an assault element which combines the Marine Corps’ air and ground capabilities.

A McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) AV-8B Harrier II from VMA-211 ”Wake Island Avengers” screams overhead pulling some vapor over the wings during the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Demonstration at the 2011 MCAS Miramar Airshow in San Diego, California. Photo by Britt Dietz.

AFRICOM helps partners stand up to violent extremism.

U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Gordon Adams, Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Africa assistant team leader from Deerfield, Mass., speaks to Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) soldiers at the Peace Support Operations Training Center-Singo in Kakola, Uganda. Marines and Sailors with Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa recently completed a logistics focused engagement with UPDF soldiers who will deploy to Somalia later this year. Since deploying in January, Special-Purpose MAGTF Africa has trained more than 800 African service members, including 310 UPDF soldiers.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by 2nd Lt. Andrew Bolla, 24 JUN 2013. Article by Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service, 23 OCT 2013.)

WASHINGTON - Citing progress in helping African partners countering violent extremist organizations, the commander of U.S. Africa Command said the terrorist attack last month at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, actually shows that U.S. efforts and policies are working.

“We work very hard with all the troop-contributing nations to help best prepare them to support their operational efforts,” and to help make the African Union Mission in Somalia “as effective as it can be,” Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez told reporters today during an online news conference.

Africom, working in support of the State Department initiative, provides mentors and teams with its State Department counterparts to prepare soldiers assigned to the AMISOM mission, he explained. The command also shares intelligence to increase its AMISOM partners’ effectiveness, and is helping the Somali government in improving the Somali national army’s capacity.

“We think some of the successes the AMISOM has had over the last several years has actually led to this response by al-Shabab,” the Somali-based terrorist organization that claimed responsibility for the Kenyan attack, Rodriguez told reporters.

“This really validates the strategy,” he said. “And we are going to continue to work with our partners to strengthen their capability to stop al-Shabab from having an incredibly negative impact on both the people of Somalia as well as the region.”

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who joined Rodriguez during the news conference, said she was “horrified” by the attack left almost 70 people dead. But recognizing that “al-Shabab looks for soft targets, because other targets are being made harder to get after,” she agreed that the attack validated the current path.

“In terms of our policies regarding al-Shabab, we were pursing the right strategies,” she said. “[The attack] just showed us we need to bolster that strategy. … We know we must continue those efforts to go after al-Shabab so that we don’t see those kinds of attacks happen again.”

Rodriguez credited coordinated efforts by Africom, its international and interagency partners and nongovernmental organizations to help African nations stand up to extremist organizations that threaten their security.

The threat runs the gamut, including al-Shabab in the east, al-Qaida and its affiliates in North Africa, Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa, and the Boko Haram organization in Nigeria.

Although these extremist organizations have no formalized organizational structure, they frequently work together to fulfill their common ideology “and the impact they want to have to destabilize the countries,” Rodriguez said.

“[It] all has a negative impact on what the African nations desire and what they deserve and what they are working to end,” he added.

Responding to this threat requires more than just military capability, the general emphasized.

“The solution to terrorism in the region is a long-term, broad, whole-of-government approach by all our partners,” Rodriguez said. “It is not solved just by military operations. … It is about economic development, it is about the improvement in governance, it is about the rule of law and law enforcement.”

Coordinated efforts to promote all of these areas are making Africa less hospitable to extremists, he said.

“Partners in east, north and west Africa have made progress in countering violent extremist organizations such as al-Shabab and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb,” he said. He also noted U.S. support that is helping the African Union’s regional task force make headway against the LRA.

Rodriguez underscored Africom’s commitment to working with its regional partners and the interagency teams to build on this progress.

“Our focus continues to be on strengthening the African defense capabilities so that Africans can solve this problem themselves,” he said.

The impact of that effort will reach far beyond the African continent, the general said.

“The ones who are hurt the most by terrorism are the African people themselves,” he said. “[But] we are supporting [Africa] and all its countries to ensure this scourge does not have a negative impact on the world.”

Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez

Related Sites:
U.S. Africa Command
Special Report: U.S. Africa Command



Work: Guam is Strategic Hub to Asia-Pacific Rebalance

The original plan called for 8,000 Marines to relocate from Okinawa to Guam, plus as many as 9,000 family members, by 2014, for a cost that ranged from $10 billion to $18 billion.
In 2012, what had been called the U.S.-Japan Realignment Roadmap was modified through influence of the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.
According to the senior defense official, the same number of Marines would now come off Okinawa but only 5,000 would go to Guam, with others going to Australia and Hawaii.
“We also reorganized into a more operationally relevant posture, what’s called a Marine Air-Ground Task Force — MAGTF. So we’ll have something like a special MAGTF in Australia, a MAGTF in Guam, a MAGTF in Hawaii, a super MAGTF in Okinawa, meaning a MAGTF plus the [Marine Expeditionary Force] headquarters,” he explained.
Many of the units will be rotational and the operational nature of the deployment will reduce the number of family members that need housing, the official said, adding that the environmental impacts and costs also are significantly reduced.
“Our estimate now is $8.7 billion to do the move … and it will probably take until 2025 to finish, the official said.