Marines Allowed To Smoke In Afghanistan

Be it Afghanistan or Saipan, Marines want their smokes.  Now Marines, and other servicemembers, will be allowed to smoke,

The Pentagon reassured troops Wednesday that it won’t ban tobacco products in war zones. Defense officials hadn’t actually planned to eliminate smoking — at least for now. But fear of a ban arose among some troops after the Defense Department received a study recommending the military move toward becoming tobacco-free — perhaps in about 20 years.Battle Weary, Cigarette Smoking Marine on Saipan During Fight to Wrest the Island from Japanese Photographic Print

Press secretary Geoff Morrell pointedly told a Pentagon news conference that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is not planning to prohibit the use of cigarettes, chewing tobacco or other tobacco products by troops in combat.

“He knows that the situation they are confronting is stressful enough as it is,” Morrell said, noting the wars inIraq and Afghanistan. “I don’t think he is interested in adding to the stress levels by taking away one of the few outlets they may have to relieve stress.”

yojoe out

Pentagon Plans To Send 14 Brigades To Iraq In 2009

Despite the dramatic drop in violence, and resulting casualties, in Iraq over the past year, the Pentagon does not anticipate a dramatic drop in U.S. troops deployed to Iraq.

The planned deployments involve about 26,000 troops and would maintain 14 combat brigades in Iraq from about February to early fall. But the decisions do not rule out potential changes as military leaders assess the security there and eye more troop withdrawals.

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Marine Corps Joint Strike Fighter F-35B Makes First Flight

The Marine Corps version of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) – aka the Lightning II – the F-35B , is the version of the JSF intended for vertical takeoff and landings.  According to Aviation Week,

Lockheed Martin has flown the first short-take-off-and- vertical-landing (STOVL) F-35B, in conventional-take-off (CTOL) mode, clearing the way for funding to be released for production of the first six U.S. Marine Corps aircraft.

The 44-minute flight of aircraft BF-1, the first production-representive F-35, from Lockheed’s Fort Worth, Texas, plant also marked the start of a five-year, 5,000-plus test program involving three variants of the Joint Strike Fighter: the CTOL F-35A, STOVL F-35B and aircraft carrier-capable F-35C.

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Video: Test Of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

This video is of the Marine Corps’s version of the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35B.

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Video: Artillery In Action

For all the Cannon Cockers out there, here is a video fix from The Freeholder:

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Air Force: No Blogs For You

The Air Force has determined that airmen will find no useful information on blogs. Thus, from this point forward the Air Force will block all websites with “blog” in the name. A spokesman for the Air Force explained that sites such as the New York Times will be authorized, because it is a reputable media outlet. Reputable? Does anyone remember Jayson Blair?

To suggest that any site with “blog” in its name has no useful information for servicemembers is preposterous. Take for example CAAFlog, a blog administered by a Marine Corps colonel dedicated to news and opinion on military justice and the latest developments in case law from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. No useful information there.

Also there is a bit of irony in the Air Force’s move vis-à-vis CAAFLog. The Marine Corps colonel who administers CAAFlog is employed by the Air Force as a civilian working for the Air Force Appellate Government Division representing servicemembers during their criminal appeals. Just to keep things straight, the Air Force has hired Col Sullivan, precisely for his education, experience, and opinions, yet members of the Air Force are prohibited from accessing a blog he administers, which relates to the subject matter for which he was hired. Is there a disconnect?

Let us hope that this does not spread to the other services.

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