Experts from the University of Pittsburgh will soon head to North Carolina to help develop ways for Marine special operators to better prevent job-related injuries.
The university recently announced that its Neuromuscular Research Laboratory/Warrior Human Performance Research Center was awarded funding to conduct research with the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. The project will be built around injury prevention and performance optimization for the MARSOC operator.
The researchers will seek to design a program that is “culturally-specific and dynamically responsive to the unique tactical demands” of MARSOC operators, the release states. They’ll conduct the research aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., home of MARSOC, starting in early 2014.
The university’s Warrior Human Performance Research Center has been involved in a number of research projects on military operators. They’ve teamed with Naval Special Warfare, the Army Special Operations Command and Air Force Special Operations Command.
The group’s objective is to study physiological demands and associated injuries of special operators, according to their website. The site also states that they seek to provide operators with tools to:
Camp Lejeune will be the group’s sixth research center aboard military installations.
A new commander is taking charge of Marine air operations in Afghanistan.
Col. Scott Jensen took command of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (FWD) from Brig. Gen Gary Thomas, Dec. 9 during a ceremony aboard Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Jensen, who was the unit’s assistant wing commander, will run operations through February when 3rd MAW will take over in preparation for the final withdrawal of U.S. forces next year.
As operations are curtailed and Afghan forces assume more responsibility for local security, Marine units like 3rd MAW are adapting their command structures.
“Over the past several months, significant gains have been made in Regional Command (Southwest’s) area of responsibility,’ said Thomas in a Marine news release. “The Afghan National Security Forces continue to take great strides in taking the fight to the enemy and is daily increasing in its capabilities and strength.”
More changes in senior Marine leadership in Afghanistan are expected in the months to come.
A former lance corporal-turned-waitress is out of a job and returning donations she received from strangers following questions about her claim that she received an anti-gay message from a customer in place of a tip in November.
Dayna Morales, a former administrative specialist with Marine Air Group 49, no longer works at the Asian restaurant where she claimed to have received a negative message from a customer about her sexual orientation, according to ABC News. The restaurant owners posted an update to their Facebook page calling the situation unfortunate. The results of their own investigation were inconclusive, they wrote, and that the decision to part ways was a mutual one.
Morales’ story went viral after she posted a copy of a restaurant receipt to Facebook on Nov. 13. The receipt showed that the customer left no tip, and included the following note: ”I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and the way you live your life.”
Weeks later, though, a couple stepped forward claiming the photo of the receipt she posted that day was doctored. They claimed to have left her a 20 percent tip and said they didn’t write any anti-gay messages on the receipt.
Morales had reportedly already received $3,000 in donations from people all over the country following her viral post on Facebook. They were meant to replace the tip she didn’t receive. Morales said she was planning to donate it to the Wounded Warrior Project, but LGBTQ Nation reported on Friday that the organization had no record of any contributions from the waitress.
Some of those donations have been returned via PayPal, ABC reported, while others who gave money in person or by mail are still awaiting refunds.
Top leaders of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit said they were preparing to put boots on the ground in Syria during their eight-month deployment, which wrapped up last month.
Col. Matthew St. Clair, the MEU commander, and Navy Capt. Jim Cody, who led the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group, spoke to a group of reporters at the Potomac Institute in Virginia on Thursday. When President Obama discussed a military strike in September against the Bashar al-Assad regime following an apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians, St. Clair said Marines were preparing for a situation that would require them to make landfall, according to U.S. News and World Report.
“As discussion of the strikes was occurring, we did some of our own prudent planning,” St. Clair said, according to U.S. News and World Report. “If strikes did occur — that means aircraft are potentially flying — there would have to be the capability to conduct a recovery of either the aircraft or the pilots if they were shot down. That’s a capability the [MEU] has.”
Cody said preparations for a mission in Syria began even earlier, the magazine reported. When the ARG deployed in March for the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Aden, they anticipated assisting with a humanitarian crisis there, he said.
“When we left, we thought we’d be involved in Syria in terms of humanitarian assistance,” Cody said, according to the magazine. “The refugee crisis was spilling into all the neighboring countries.”
The Marines and sailors reportedly remained on alert between the civil war there, heightened threat levels in Syria and the anniversary of the 2012 attack in Benghazi, the magazine reported.
The MEU returned to North Carolina in early November.
Seven Marines aboard a KC-130J Hercules rescued two pilots after their helicopter lost power and crashed into Manila Bay while they were assisting with relief efforts following last month’s typhoon in the Philippines.
Maj. Jason Kauffman, a pilot with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, said the Marines were conducting aerial logistics support on Nov. 24, between Tacloban, Manila and former Clark Air Base, the three hubs the Corps set up during Operation Damayan. They were also transporting three members of Congress who traveled to the Philippines to observe the relief efforts: Reps. Trent Franks, R-Ariz.; Chris Smith, R-N.J.; and Al Green, D-Texas.
As they were preparing to land in Manila, they heard a mayday call from two pilots transporting relief supplies. One was American, the other German.
“They were still airborne at the time, but said they were ‘going down’ 16 miles northwest of Manila,” Kauffman said.
But the situation got more complicated when the rest of their transmission was interrupted by another aircraft using the same frequency. Pilots are supposed to stop communications over the frequency when a mayday call is heard, but they either disregarded it or didn’t hear it, Kauffman said. So the pilots’ exact position wasn’t clear.
An Australian C-130 was in the area, Kauffman said, and he began communicating with that pilot who heard the full transmission. The Marines asked to cancel their approach in order to assist with the downed helo, Kauffman said, and one of the stranded pilots responded directly.
“The downed crew heard us make that call, and he actually said, ‘Yes, please, we want the C-130 to assist,’ ” he said. “I could hear desperation in his voice as he transmitted that call.”
Still operating without much information, Kauffman and his crew headed towards their location. They descended to 1,500 feet and got back in touch with the Australian pilot, who was at 300 feet. The Australian pilot helped to guide them to the downed pilots’ location.
Kauffman told the Australian pilot they had a raft they could push out to the pilots in the water. They were also ready to assume “on-scene commander” duties, so the Australian pilot climbed in altitude so the Marines could get lower.
The Marines got down to 300 feet and Kauffman slowed the aircraft speed to search for the crew. The Australian pilot remained overhead to assist with radio calls, and one of the pilots in the water had an emergency radio he was using to communicate, Kauffman said.
“We did not see any wreckage from the helicopter at all,” he said. “No oil slick, no flotsam, nothing. The pilots had no water survival equipment either — no sea dye, no flares, no flotation devices.”
The bay was also a bit choppy that day, making it difficult to see two people treading in the water from 300 feet in the air. Kauffman said it wasn’t for the emergency radio, the Marines might not have ever found the pilots.
The entire crew, including the congressmen began scanning the water for a sign of the pilots, he said. Once they spotted them, they marked their position and refined their orbit pattern, he said. The descended to 200 feet and crew in the back of the aircraft began preparing to kick the raft out.
The downed pilot with the radio was calling for them to immediately “drop, drop, drop,” Kauffman said. But they still couldn’t see them clearly enough.
Kauffman said he didn’t want to drop the large raft on top of them from 200 feet, risking their injury or death. So they asked him to again call out turns for another pass, and that one proved successful.
“I gave the command to our crew in the back to deploy the raft, the raft deployed and inflated in mid-air and fell down to the water as designed,” Kauffman said. “The pilots swam to the raft and climbed in.”
They stayed in the area for about an hour and requested that Manila Ground Control contact the Philippine Coast Guard. They asked repeatedly that the coast guard provide an expected arrival time so they could get the pilots out of the water, but the information never came, Kauffman said. So they flew low over several fishing boats, flashing their lights in hope they would respond.
Eventually a fishing boat headed in the direction of the downed pilots and pulled them aboard. Kauffman and his co-pilot, Capt. Chris Kim, were able to speak to them a few hours later.
“He told me that his engine failed and he had to auto-rotate into the water,” Kauffman said. “He told me that he had about 30 seconds between engine failure and hitting the water. Their helicopter pitched over after hitting the water and sank almost immediately.”
He said the pilot must have executed a textbook auto-rotation emergency landing in order to have touched down onto the water gently enough to prevent injuries.
Kauffman credits his crew’s training for their quick and professional response. Every aviator should be prepared to assist other airmen in distress, he said, and they make a checklist before every mission to make sure they’re ready for that type of emergency. The rescue also reaffirmed his faith, he said.
“As a fellow airman and Marine, I feel like we did nothing more than keep faith with the two pilots in distress and did our duty as Marines,” Kauffman said. “As Christian man, I see a chain of events that led up to us being in vicinity of that helicopter crash at that specific time. I believe that God coordinated that rescue, and that part of the story is even more intriguing than the facts.”
Kick off your Thanksgiving weekend with this kicking video, featuring the Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band, out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
It’s not your typical Marine Corps concert. The band rocks out with some Macklemore hits, featuring “Thrift Shop” (with a lyric rewrite) and finishing off with “Can’t hold us.” It just gets better and better a rapper rolls in on a scooter, then more Marines bounce in with a shopping cart…and what look like thrift store uniforms?
“So this is our 3rd year doing these knock-down/drag-out Birthday Ball concerts… SSgt Justin Lienemann did an awesome job rewriting the lyrics and SSgt Josh Lively did a great job putting the whole thing together,” the video posters wrote. “Here’s to 238 years of the Marine Corps doing things like no one else. Semper Fidelis!”
Turns out the 3rd MAW Band is known for putting on a good show.
Last year, they did a mashup of “Gangnam Style” and “Thunderstruck” featuring a Psy impersonator, below:
And they kicked off their birthday ball show tradition in 2011 with an impressive vocal/instrumental rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” here:
A new report by NBC raises questions about a former Marine’s claims that she was denied a tip while waiting on a family at a restaurant due to her sexual orientation.
Former Lance Cpl. Dayna Morales, an administrative specialist with Marine Air Group 49, who left the service in May, posted a copy of a restaurant receipt to Facebook on Nov. 13. The receipt showed that the customer left no tip, and included the following note: ”I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and the way you live your life.”
The image sparked outrage on social media sites and other websites like BuzzFeed. Morales later told NBC she had received money from supporters who wanted to provide her with the tip the customer didn’t leave. She said she was donating a portion of the money — about $3,000 — to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Her boss told NBC people were traveling to the New Jersey restaurant just to meet Morales. They were requesting to be seated in her section, he said.
Now a couple stepped forward to claim they were her customers at the restaurant that day. They told NBC that they did leave a tip, and provided a copy of their credit card reflecting the charges. They requested to remain anonymous, but said they didn’t leave any anti-gay note on the receipt.
They told NBC they believe their receipts were doctored.
“It’s a disgusting thing to do to write that,” the male customer said. “The restaurant profits from this, obviously Dayna is profiting from this, and it’s fraud — it’s a scam.”
The restaurant later released a statement to NBC, which said they were aware of the allegations and had no comment pending an internal investigation.
Morales told NBC she’s sticking with her story and is certain she wasn’t tipped. She also confirmed that she would donate the money received to wounded warriors.
A Marine Corps band will perform during Thursday’s 87th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the second time in history.
The Marine Corps East Coast Composite Band will be featured on NBC tomorrow during the live broadcast of the holiday parade. More than 3.5 million people are expected to gather in New York City for the event, and another 50 million will watch the parade on TV. The band’s performance is expected to begin at approximately 10:48 a.m. EST.
The composite band will be comprised of 80 musicians from the service’s three largest east coast installations; Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.; Camp Lejeune, N.C.; and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., according to a Marine Corps news release. While bands on the West coast combine to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade on an annual basis, this is one of the rare times an East Coast Marine Corps Composite Band has ever been put together, the release states.
The band will march two-and-a-half miles through downtown Manhattan during the parade. The New York Police Department’s marching band and the Macy’s Great American Marching Band are also expected to perform.
This will be the second time Marines have marched in the parade. The Quantico Marine Corps Band made history when they marched in the parade for the first time in 2002, the release states.
North Carolina-based Marines will make it into the next book of Guinness World Records for achieving the longest push-up chain in history.
Guinness World Records announced the fan favorites for records broken this year on Friday. Included was the longest chain push-up, which involved 138 Marines and sailors. They were linked together while they completing three push-ups, with their legs resting on the shoulders of the person behind them.
The attempt to break the record took place in September aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., according to a Marine Corps news release.
The event was organized by Camp Lejeune’s Single Marine Program. Cpl. Andrew Zheng, a musician with the 2nd Marine Division Band, said he initially wanted to hold the attempt to break the record in his home town, but once he saw the interest from Marines, he decided to enlist the help of the Single Marine Program organizers, according to the release.
They began researching the proposal to set the record. The planning took five months, the release states.
“We hoped to instill high morale and build camaraderie within the Marines aboard base,” Zheng said “We wanted to create a memorable event the Marines could be proud of and bring light to their time stationed here.”
After linking all 138 Marines together, Zheng gave the command to perform the three push-ups over a loud speaker. They submitted evidence to the Guinness World Records headquarters for evaluation.
Other fan-favorites this year included the largest human water-skiing pyramid, the world’s tallest sunflower and the longest conga ever performed on ice.
You can vote for the Lejeune Marines as your fan favorite here.
These are the first four women in Marine Corps history to complete infantry training.
This image, which appeared Nov. 9 on the social networking site Instagram, was first published earlier Tuesday by Business Insider. It was taken by Pfc. Harlee “Rambo” Bradford, who is pictured in the center. The other three women in the photo remain unidentified. Marine officials have kept confidential the identifies of all female students attending infantry training because they are considered test subjects participating in the service’s ongoing study to determine what additional ground combat jobs should open to women.
Marine Corps Times caught up with Bradford Tuesday afternoon. She told us that she sustained a leg injury that will preclude her from graduating with the other three later this week during a ceremony at Camp Geiger, N.C. “I finished all of the 0311 requirements with a stress fracture,” she said, referring to the Corps’ military occupational specialty code for infantry riflemen.
The injury prevented her from completing her last Physical Fitness Test and Combat Fitness Test, final requirements at the School of Infantry – East’s Infantry Training Battalion. ITB molds newly minted Marines into infantrymen during a rigorous 59-day course spent mostly living and training in the field.
Bradford said she will finish the program shortly and expects to participate in a graduation ceremony with ITB’s next class. That is scheduled for Dec. 20, said Capt. Maureen Krebs, a Marine spokeswoman at the Pentagon.
Women who complete ITB will not receive the 0311 MOS or join Marine infantry units. After graduation, they will head to their originally slated MOS schools.