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AIRWOLF US Coast Guard

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is a branch of the United States armed forces and one of seven uniformed services. In addition to being a military branch at all times, it is unique among the armed forces in that it is also a maritime law enforcement agency (with jurisdiction both domestically and in international waters) and a federal regulatory agency. It is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security during peacetime and of the Department of the Navy at wartime[2].

As one of the five armed forces and the smallest armed service of the United States, its stated mission is to protect the public, the environment, and the United States economic and security interests in any maritime region in which those interests may be at risk, including international waters and America's coasts, ports, and inland waterways.

The Coast Guard has many statutory missions, which are listed below in this article.


[edit] Description

The Coast Guard, in its literature, describes itself as "a military, maritime, multi-mission service within the Department of Homeland Security dedicated to protecting the safety and security of America."

In addition, the Coast Guard has separate legal authority than the other four armed services. The Coast Guard operates under Title 10 of the United States Code and its other organic authorities, e.g., Titles 6, 14, 19, 33, 46, etc., simultaneously. Because of its legal authority, the Coast Guard can conduct military operations under the Department of Defense or directly for the President in accordance with 14 USC 1-3.

[edit] Role

The United States Coast Guard has a broad and important role in maritime homeland security, maritime law enforcement (MLE), search and rescue (SAR), marine environmental protection (MEP), and the maintenance of river, intracoastal and offshore aids to navigation (ATON). Founded by Alexander Hamilton as the Revenue Cutter Service on August 4, 1790, it lays claim to being the United States' oldest continuous seagoing service. As of October 2006, the Coast Guard had approximately 42,000 men and women on active duty, 8,100 reservists, 7,000 full time civilian employees and 30,000 Auxiliarists.[3]

While most military services are either at war or training for war, the Coast Guard is deployed every day. With a decentralized organization and much responsibility placed on even the most junior personnel, the Coast Guard is frequently lauded for its quick responsiveness and adaptability in a broad range of emergencies. In a 2005 article in TIME Magazine following Hurricane Katrina, the author wrote, "the Coast Guard's most valuable contribution to [a military effort when catastrophe hits] may be as a model of flexibility, and most of all, spirit." Wil Milam, a rescue swimmer from Alaska told the magazine, "In the Navy, it was all about the mission. Practicing for war, training for war. In the Coast Guard, it was, take care of our people and the mission will take care of itself."[4]

The Coast Guard's motto is Semper Paratus, meaning "Always Ready". The service has participated in every U.S. conflict from 1790 through to today, including landing US troops on D-Day and on the Pacific Islands in World War II, in extensive patrols and shore bombardment during the Vietnam War, and multiple roles in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Maritime interception operations, coastal security, transportation security, and law enforcement detachments are its major roles in Iraq.

The formal name for a member of the Coast Guard is "Coast Guardsman", irrespective of gender. An informal name is "Coastie." "Team Coast Guard" refers to the three branches of the Coast Guard as a whole: Active Duty, Reservists, Civilians and the Auxiliary.

[edit] Search and Rescue

See National Search and Rescue Committee

Search and Rescue (SAR) is one of the Coast Guard's oldest missions. The National Search and Rescue Plan[5] designates the United States Coast Guard as the federal agency responsible for maritime SAR operations, and the United States Air Force as the federal agency responsible for inland SAR. Both agencies maintain Rescue Coordination Centers to coordinate this effort, and have responsibility for both military and civilian search and rescue.

* USCG Rescue Coordination Centers

[edit] National Response Center

Operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Response Center (NRC) is the sole U.S. Government point of contact for reporting environmental spills, contamination, and pollution

The primary function of the National Response Center (NRC) is to serve as the sole national point of contact for reporting all oil, chemical, radiological, biological, and etiological discharges into the environment anywhere in the United States and its territories. In addition to gathering and distributing spill data for Federal On-Scene Coordinators and serving as the communications and operations center for the National Response Team, the NRC maintains agreements with a variety of federal entities to make additional notifications regarding incidents meeting established trigger criteria. The NRC also takes Terrorist/Suspicious Activity Reports and Maritime Security Breach Reports. Details on the NRC organization and specific responsibilities can be found in the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan.[6]

* U.S. National Response Team

[edit] Authority as an armed service

The five uniformed services that make up the Armed Forces are defined in 10 U.S.C. § 101(a)(4):
“ The term "armed forces" means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. ”

The Coast Guard is further defined by 14 U.S.C. § 1:
“ The Coast Guard as established January 28, 1915, shall be a military service and a branch of the armed forces of the United States at all times. The Coast Guard shall be a service in the Department of Homeland Security, except when operating as a service in the Navy. ”

Coast Guard organization and operation is as set forth in Title 33 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

On February 25, 2003, the Coast Guard was placed under the Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard reports directly to the Secretary of Homeland Security. However, under 14 U.S.C. § 3 as amended by section 211 of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006, upon the declaration of war and when Congress so directs in the declaration, or when the President directs, the Coast Guard operates under the Department of Defense as a service in the Department of the Navy. 14 U.S.C. § 2 authorizes the Coast Guard to enforce federal law. Further, the Coast Guard is exempt from and not subject to the restrictions of the Posse Comitatus Act which restrict the law enforcement activities of the other four military services within United States territory.

On October 17, 2007, the Coast Guard joined with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps to adopt a new maritime strategy called A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower that raised the notion of prevention of war to the same philosophical level as the conduct of war.[7] This new strategy charted a course for the Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps to work collectively with each other and international partners to prevent regional crises, manmade or natural, from occurring or reacting quickly should one occur to avoid negative impacts to the United States. During the launch of the new U.S. maritime strategy at the International Seapower Symposium at the U.S. Naval War College, 2007, Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen said the new maritime strategy reinforced the time-honored missions the service carried out in this U.S. since 1790. "It reinforces the Coast Guard maritime strategy of safety, security and stewardship, and it reflects not only the global reach of our maritime services but the need to integrate and synchronize and act with our coalition and international partners to not only win wars ... but to prevent wars," Allen said.[8]

[edit] Authority as a law enforcement agency

14 U.S.C. § 89 is the principal source of Coast Guard enforcement authority.

14 U.S.C. § 143 and 19 U.S.C. § 1401 empower US Coast Guard Active and Reserves members as customs officers. This places them under 19 U.S.C. § 1589a, which grants customs officers general law enforcement authority, including the authority to:

(1) carry a firearm;
(2) execute and serve any order, warrant, subpoena, summons, or other process issued under the authority of the United States;
(3) make an arrest without a warrant for any offense against the United States committed in the officer's presence or for a felony, cognizable under the laws of the United States committed outside the officer's presence if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing a felony; and
(4) perform any other law enforcement duty that the Secretary of Homeland Security may designate.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office Report to the House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary on its 2006 Survey of Federal Civilian Law Enforcement Functions and Authorities identified the U.S. Coast Guard as one of 104 federal components employed which employed law enforcement officers.[9] The Report also included a summary table of the authorities of the U.S. Coast Guard's 192 special agents and 3,780 maritime law enforcement boarding officers.[10]

Coast Guardsmen have the legal authority to carry their service-issued firearms on and off base, thus giving them greater flexibility when being called to service. This is not always done, however, in practice; at many Coast Guard stations, commanders prefer to have all service-issued weapons in armories. Still, one court has held that Coast Guard boarding officers are qualified law enforcement officers authorized to carry personal firearms off-duty for self-defense.[11]

As members of a military service, Coast Guardsmen on active and reserve service are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and receive the same pay and allowances as members of the same pay grades in the other uniformed services.

[edit] History

Main article: History of the United States Coast Guard

Marines holding a sign thanking the US Coast Guard after the battle of Guam.
Marines holding a sign thanking the US Coast Guard after the battle of Guam.

The roots of the Coast Guard lie in the United States Revenue Cutter Service established by Alexander Hamilton under the Department of the Treasury on August 4, 1790. The first USCG station was in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Until the re-establishment of the United States Navy in 1798, the Revenue Cutter Service was the only naval force of the early U.S. It was established to collect taxes from a brand new nation of patriot smugglers. When the officers were out at sea, they were told to crack down on piracy; while they were at it, they might as well rescue anyone in distress.[12]

"First Fleet" is a term occasionally used as an informal reference to the US Coast Guard, although as far as one can detect the United States has never in fact officially used this designation with reference either to the Coast Guard or any element of the US Navy. The informal appellation honors the fact that between 1790 and 1798, there was no United States Navy and the cutters which were the predecessor of the US Coast Guard were the only warships protecting the coast, trade, and maritime interests of the new republic.[13]

The modern Coast Guard can be said to date to 1915, when the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the United States Life-Saving Service and Congress formalized the existence of the new organization. In 1939, the U.S. Lighthouse Service was brought under its purview. In 1942, the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation was transferred to the Coast Guard. In 1967, the Coast Guard moved from the Department of the Treasury to the newly formed Department of Transportation, an arrangement that lasted until it was placed under the Department of Homeland Security in 2002 as part of legislation designed to more efficiently protect American interests following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

In times of war, the Coast Guard or individual components of it can operate as a service of the Department of the Navy. This arrangement has a broad historical basis, as the Guard has been involved in wars as diverse as the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, and the American Civil War, in which the cutter Harriet Lane fired the first naval shots attempting to relieve besieged Fort Sumter. The last time the Coast Guard operated as a whole under the Navy was in World War II. More often, military and combat units within the Coast Guard will operate under Navy operational control while other Coast Guard units will remain under the Department of Homeland Security.

[edit] Organization

Main article: Organization of the United States Coast Guard

The headquarters of the Coast Guard is at 2100 Second Street, SW, in Washington, D.C. In 2005, the Coast Guard announced tentative plans to relocate to the grounds of the former St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington. That project is currently on hold because of environmental, historical, and congressional concerns. As of July 2006, there are several possible locations being considered, including the current headquarters location.

[edit] Personnel

[edit] Commissioned Officer Corps

There are many routes by which individuals can become commissioned officers in the US Coast Guard. The most common are:

[edit] United States Coast Guard Academy

Main article: United States Coast Guard Academy

The United States Coast Guard Academy is located on the Thames River in New London, Connecticut. It is the only military academy to which no Congressional or presidential appointments are made. All cadets enter by open competition utilizing SAT scores, high school grades, extracurricular activities, and other criteria. About 225 cadets are commissioned ensigns each year. Graduates of the Academy are obligated to serve five years on active duty. Most graduates (about 70%) are assigned to duty aboard a Coast Guard cutter after graduation, either as Deck Watch Officers (DWOs) or as Engineer Officers in Training (EOITs). Smaller numbers are assigned directly to flight training (about 10% of the class) at the Naval Flight Training Center in Pensacola, Florida or to shore duty at Coast Guard Sectors, Districts, or Area headquarters unit.

[edit] Officer Candidate School

In addition to the Academy, prospective officers may enter the Coast Guard through the Officer Candidate School (OCS) at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. OCS is a rigorous 17-week course of instruction which prepares candidates to serve effectively as officers in the United States Coast Guard. In addition to indoctrinating students into a military life-style, OCS also provides a wide range of highly technical information necessary for performing the duties of a Coast Guard officer.

Graduates of the program typically receive a commission in the Coast Guard at the rank of Ensign, but some with advanced graduate degrees can enter as Lieutenant (junior grade) or Lieutenant. Graduating OCS officers entering Active Duty are required to serve a minimum of three years, while graduating Reserve officers are required to serve four years. Graduates may be assigned to a ship, flight training, to a staff job, or to an operations ashore billet. However, first assignments are based on the needs of the Coast Guard. Personal desires and performance at OCS are considered. All graduates must be available for worldwide assignment.

In addition to United States citizens, foreign cadets and candidates also attend Coast Guard officer training. OCS represents the source of the majority of commissions in the Coast Guard, and is the primary channel through which enlisted ranks can ascend to the officer corps.

[edit] Direct Commission Officer Program

The Coast Guard's Direct Commission Officer course is administered by Officer Candidate School. Depending on the specific program and background of the individual, the course is three, four or five weeks long. The first week of the five-week course is an indoctrination week. The DCO program is designed to commission officers with highly specialized professional training or certain kinds of previous military experience. For example, lawyers entering as JAGs, doctors, intelligence officers, and others can earn commissions through the DCO program. (Chaplains are provided to the Coast Guard by the US Navy.)

[edit] College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI)

The College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI) is a scholarship program for college sophomores. This program provides students with valuable leadership, management, law enforcement, navigation and marine science skills and training. It also provides full payment of school tuition, fees, textbooks, a salary, medical insurance and other benefits during a student's junior and senior year of college. The CSPI program guarantees training at Officer Candidate School (OCS) upon successful completion of all program requirements. Each student is expected to complete his/her degree and all Coast Guard training requirements. Following the completion of OCS and commission as a Coast Guard officer, each student will be required to serve on active duty (full time) as an officer for 3 years.

Benefits: Full tuition, books and fees paid for two years, monthly salary of approximately $2,000, medical and life insurance, 30 days paid vacation per year, leadership training.

[edit] ROTC

Unlike the other armed services, the Coast Guard does not sponsor an ROTC program. It does, however, sponsor one Junior ROTC ("JROTC") program at the MAST Academy.

[edit] Chief Warrant Officers

Highly qualified enlisted personnel from E-6 through E-9, and with a minimum of eight years of experience, can compete each year for appointment as a Chief Warrant Officer (or CWO). Successful candidates are chosen by a board and then commissioned as Chief Warrant Officers (CWO-2) in one of sixteen specialties. Over time Chief Warrant Officers may be promoted to CWO-3 and CWO-4. The ranks of Warrant Officer (WO-1) and CWO-5 are not currently used in the Coast Guard. Chief Warrant Officers may also compete for the Chief Warrant Officer to Lieutenant program. If selected, the officer will be promoted to Lieutenant (O-3E). The "E" designates over four years active duty service as a Warrant Officer or Enlisted member and entitles the member to a higher rate of pay than other lieutenants.

[edit] Enlisted

Newly enlisted personnel are sent to 8 weeks of Basic Training at the Coast Guard Training Center Cape May in Cape May, New Jersey.

The current nine Recruit Training Objectives are:

* Self-discipline
* Military skills
* Marksmanship
* Vocational skills and academics
* Military bearing
* Physical fitness and wellness
* Water survival and swim qualifications
* Esprit de corps
* Core values (Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty)

[edit] Service Schools

Following graduation, most members are sent to their first unit while they await orders to attend advanced training in Class "A" Schools, in their chosen rating, the naval term for Navy Enlisted Code (NEC). Members who earned high ASVAB scores or who were otherwise guaranteed an "A" School of choice while enlisting can go directly to their "A" School upon graduation from Boot Camp.

[edit] The Coast Guard Maritime Law Enforcement Academy

The Coast Guard Maritime Law Enforcement Academy is located at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Charleston, South Carolina, following relocation and merger of the former Law Enforcement School at Yorktown, Virginia, and the former Boarding Team Member School at Petaluma, California.

The Academy presents five courses:

* Boarding officer
* Boarding team member, which is a small part of the boarding officer course
* Radiation detection course, which is a level II operator course
* Vessel inspection class for enforcing Captain of the Port orders.

Training ranges from criminal law and the use of force to boarding team member certification to the use of radiation detection equipment. Much of the training is live, using handguns with laser inserts or firing non-lethal rounds.[14]

[edit] Petty Officers

Petty officers follow career development paths very similar to those of US Navy petty officers.

[edit] Chief Petty Officers

Enlisted Coast Guard members who have reached the pay grade of E-7, or Chief Petty Officer, must attend the U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Academy at Training Center Petaluma in Petaluma, California, or an equivalent Department of Defense school, in order to be advanced to pay grade E-8. United States Air Force master sergeants, as well as international students representing their respective maritime services, are also eligible to attend the Academy. The basic themes of this school are:

* Professionalism
* Leadership
* Communications
* Systems thinking and lifelong learning

[edit] Ranks
Officer Grade Structure of the United States Coast Guard

Vice Admiral

Rear Admiral
(upper half)

Rear Admiral
(lower half)





Junior Grade


O-10 O-9 O-8 O-7 O-6 O-5 O-4 O-3 O-2 O-1

Warrant Officer Grade Structure of the United States Coast Guard

Non Commissioned Officer Grade Structure of the United States Coast Guard[2]
Crossed anchors in the graphics indicate a rating of Boatswain's Mate
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard

Area CMC/MCPOCG (Reserve Forces) Command Master Chief Petty Officer

Master Chief Petty Officer

Senior Chief Petty Officer

Chief Petty Officer

Petty Officer First Class

Petty Officer Second Class

Petty Officer Third Class

E-9 E-8 E-7 E-6 E-5 E-4

Enlisted Grade Structure of the United States Coast Guard

Seaman Apprentice

Seaman Recruit

E-3 E-2 E-1

[edit] Equipment

The equipment of the USCG consists of thousands of vehicles (boats, ships, helicopters, fixed-winged aircraft, automobiles), communication systems (radio equipment, radio networks, radar, data networks), weapons, infrastructure such as United States Coast Guard Air Stations and local Small Boat Stations, each in a large variety.

Main article: Equipment of the United States Coast Guard

[edit] Symbols

[edit] Core values

The Coast Guard, like the other armed services of the United States, has a set of core values which serve as basic ethical guidelines to Coast Guard members. As listed in the recruit pamphlet, The Helmsman,[15] they are:

* Honor: Absolute integrity is our standard. A Coast Guardsman demonstrates honor in all things: never lying, cheating, or stealing. We do the right thing because it is the right thing to do—all the time.
* Respect: We value the dignity and worth of people: whether a stranded boater, an immigrant, or a fellow Coast Guard member; we honor, protect, and assist.
* Devotion to Duty: A Coast Guard member is dedicated to five maritime security roles: Maritime Safety, Maritime Law Enforcement, Marine Environmental Protection, Maritime Mobility and National Defense. We are loyal and accountable to the public trust. We welcome responsibility.[16]

[edit] Coast Guard Ensign
Coast Guard Ensign
Coast Guard Ensign

The Coast Guard Ensign (flag) was first flown by the Revenue Cutter Service in 1799 to distinguish revenue cutters from merchant ships. The order stated the Ensign would be "16 perpendicular stripes, alternate red and white, the union of the ensign to be the arms of the United States in a dark blue on a white field." (There were 16 states in the United States at the time).

The purpose of the flag is to allow ship captains to easily recognize those vessels having legal authority to stop and board them. This flag is flown only as a symbol of law enforcement authority and is never carried as a parade standard. See [3]

[edit] Coast Guard Standard
Parade Standard of the U.S. Coast Guard
Parade Standard of the U.S. Coast Guard

The Coast Guard Standard is used in parades and carries the battle honors of the U.S. Coast Guard. It was derived from the jack of the Coast Guard ensign which used to fly from the stern of revenue cutters. The emblem is a blue eagle from the coat of arms of the United States on a white field. Above the eagle are the words "UNITED STATES COAST GUARD;" below the eagle is the motto, "SEMPER PARATUS" and the inscription "1790."

[edit] Racing Stripe
Racing Stripe
Racing Stripe

The Racing Stripe was designed in 1964 by the industrial design office of Raymond Loewy Associates to give the Coast Guard a distinctive, modern image and was first used in 1967. The symbol is a narrow blue bar, a narrow white stripe between, and a broad red[17] bar with the Coast Guard shield centered. The stripes are canted at a 64 degree angle, coincidentally the year the Racing Stripe was designed. The Stripe has been adopted for the use of other coast guards, such as the Canadian Coast Guard, the Italian Guardia Costiera, the Indian Coast Guard, the German Federal Coast Guard, and the Australian Customs Service. Auxiliary vessels maintained by the Coast Guard also carry the Stripe in inverted colors.

[edit] Semper Paratus

The official march of the Coast Guard is "Semper Paratus" (Latin for "Always Ready"). An audio clip can be found at [4].

[edit] Missions

Main article: Missions of the United States Coast Guard

Coast Guard Ensign (Photo U.S. Coast Guard)

USCGC Steadfast

USCG HH-65 Dolphin

USCG HH-60J JayHawk
USCG HC-130H departs Mojave

USCG HC-130H on International Ice Patrol duties

Coast Guard motor lifeboat maritime safety operation

A Coast Guard helicopter crew member looks out over post-Katrina New Orleans

The Coast Guard carries out five basic roles, which are further subdivided into eleven statutory missions. The five roles are:

* Maritime safety (including search and rescue)
* Maritime mobility
* maritime security
* National defense
* Protection of natural resources

The eleven statutory missions, found in section 888 of the Homeland Security Act are:

* Ports, Waterways and Coastal Security (PWCS)
* Counter Drug Law Enforcement
* Migrant Interdiction
* Other Law Enforcement (foreign fisheries)
* Living Marine Resources (domestic fisheries)
* Marine (maritime) Safety
* Marine (maritime) Environmental Protection
* Ice Operations
* Aids to Navigation (ATON)
* Defense Readiness
* Marine (maritime) Environmental Response

The OMEGA navigation system and the LORAN-C transmitters outside the USA were also run by the United States Coast Guard. The U.S. Coast Guard Omega Stations at Lamoure, North Dakota and Kāne'ohe, Hawai'i (Oahu) were both formally decommissioned and shut down on September 30, 1997.

[edit] Uniforms

In 1972, the current Coast Guard dress blue uniform was introduced for wear by both officers and enlisted personnel; the transition was completed during 1974. (Previously, a U.S. Navy-style uniform with Coast Guard insignia was worn.) Relatively similar in appearance to the old-style U.S. Air Force uniforms, the uniform consists of a blue four-pocket single breasted jacket and trousers in a slightly darker shade. A light-blue button-up shirt with a pointed collar, two front button-flap pockets, "enhanced" shoulder boards for officers, and pin-on collar insignia for Chief Petty Officers and enlisted personnel is worn when in shirt-sleeve order (known as "Tropical Blue Long"). It is similar to the World War II-era uniforms worn by Coast Guard Surfmen. Officer rank insignia parallels that of the U.S. Navy but with the gold Navy "line" star being replaced with the gold Coast Guard Shield and with the Navy blue background color replaced by Coast Guard blue. Enlisted rank insignia is also similar to the Navy with the Coast Guard shield replacing the eagle on collar and cap devices. Group Rate marks (stripes) for junior enlisted members (E-3 and below) also follow U. S. Navy convention with white for seaman, red for fireman, and green for airman. In a departure from the U. S. Navy conventions, all Petty Officers E-6 and below wear red chevrons and all Chief Petty Officers wear gold. Unlike the US Navy, officers and CPO's do not wear khaki; all personnel wear the same color uniform. See USCG Uniform Regulations [5] for current regulations.

Coast Guard officers also have a white dress uniform, typically used for formal parade and change-of-command ceremonies. Chief Petty Officers, Petty Officers, and enlisted rates wear the standard Service Dress Blue uniform for all such ceremonies, except with a white shirt (replacing the standard light-blue). A white belt may be worn for honor guards. A mess dress uniform is worn by members for formal (black tie) evening ceremonies.

The current working uniform of a majority of Coast Guard members is the Operational Dress Uniform (ODU). The ODU is similar to the Battle Dress Uniform of other armed services, both in function and style. However, the ODU is in a solid dark blue with no camouflage patterns and does not have lower pockets on the blouse. The ODU is worn with steel-toed boots in most circumstances, but low-cut black or brown boat shoes may be prescribed for certain situations. The former dark blue working uniform has been withdrawn from use by the Coast Guard but may be worn by Auxiliarists until no longer serviceable. There is a second phase of Operational Dress Uniforms currently in the trial phases. This prototype resembles the current Battle Dress blouse, which is worn on the outside, rather than tucked in.

Coast Guard members serving in expeditionary combat units such as Port Security Units, Law Enforcement Detachments, and others, wear working operational uniforms that resemble Battle Dress uniforms, complete with "woodland" or "desert" camouflage colors. These units typically serve under, or with, the other armed services in combat theaters, necessitating similar uniforms.

Enlisted Coast Guardsmen wear the combination covers for full dress, a garrison cover for Class "B," wear, and a baseball-style cover either embroidered with "U.S. Coast Guard" in gold block lettering or the name of their ship, unit or station in gold, for the ODU uniform. Male and female company commanders (the Coast Guard equivalent of Marine Corps drill instructors) at Training Center Cape May wear the traditional "Smokey the Bear" campaign hat.

A 2006 issue of the Reservist magazine was devoted to a detailed and easy to understand graphical description of all the authorized uniforms.

[edit] Issues

The Coast Guard faces several issues in the near future.

Lack of coverage affects many areas with high maritime traffic. For example, local officials in Scituate, Massachusetts, have complained that there is no permanent Coast Guard station, and the presence of the Coast Guard in winter is vital. One reason for this lack of coverage is the relatively high cost of building storm-proof buildings on coastal property; the Cape Hatteras station was abandoned in 2005 after winter storms wiped out the 12-foot (3.7 m) sand dune serving as its protection from the ocean. Faced with these issues the Coast Guard has contracted with General Dynamics C4 System to provide a complete replacement of their 1970's era radio equipment. Rescue 21 is the United States Coast Guard's advanced command, control and communications system. Created to improve the ability to assist mariners in distress and save lives and property at sea, the system is currently being installed in stages across the United States. The nation's existing maritime search and rescue (SAR) communications system has been in operation since the early 1970s. Difficult to maintain, increasingly unreliable and prone to coverage gaps, this antiquated system no longer meets the safety needs of America's growing marine traffic. In addition, it is incapable of supporting the Coast Guard's new mission requirements for homeland security, which require close cooperation with Department of Defense agencies as well as federal, state and local law enforcement authorities. Modernizing this system enhances the safety and protection of America's waterways.

Lack of strength to meet its assigned missions is being met by a legislated increase in authorized strength from 39,000 to 45,000. In addition, the volunteer Auxiliary is being called to take up more non-combatant missions. However, volunteer coverage does have limits.

Aging vessels are another problem, with the Coast Guard still operating some of the oldest naval vessels in the world. In 2005, the Coast Guard terminated contracts to upgrade the 110-foot (33.5 m) Island Class Cutters to 123-foot (37.5 m) cutters because of warping and distortion of the hulls. In late 2006, Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant of the Coast Guard, decommissioned all eight 123-foot (37 m) cutters due to dangerous conditions created by the lengthening of the hull- to include compromised watertight integrity. The Coast Guard has, as a result of the failed 110 ft (34 m) conversion, revised production schedules for the Fast Response Cutter (FRC). Of the navies and coast guards of the world's 40 largest navies, the U.S. Coast Guard's is the 38th oldest.[18]

Live fire exercises by Coast Guard boat and cutter crews in the U.S. waters of the Great Lakes attracted attention in the U.S. and Canada. The Coast Guard had proposed the establishment of 34 locations around the Great Lakes where live fire training using vessel-mounted machine guns were to be conducted periodically throughout the year. The Coast Guard said that these exercises are a critical part of proper crew training in support of the service's multiple missions on the Great Lakes, including law enforcement and anti-terrorism. Those that raised concerns about the firing exercises commented about safety concerns and that the impact on commercial shipping, tourism, recreational boating and the environment may be greater than what the Coast Guard had stated. The Coast Guard took public comment and conducted a series of nine public meetings on this issue. After receiving more than 1,000 comments, mostly opposing the Coast Guard's plan, the Coast Guard announced that they were withdrawing their proposal for target practice on the Great Lakes, although a revised proposal may be made in the future.[19][20][21][22][23]

[edit] Deployable Operations Group (DOG)

The Deployable Operations Group is a recently formed Coast Guard command. The DOG brings numerous existing deployable law enforcement, tactical and response units under a single command headed by a rear admiral. The planning for such a unit began after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and culminated with its formation on July 20th, 2007. The unit will contain several hundred highly trained Coast Guardsmen. Its missions will include maritime law enforcement, anti-terrorism, port security, and pollution response. It will include the world famous National Strike Force. Full operational capability is planned by summer 2008.[24]

[edit] Coast Guard Auxiliary

Main article: United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed volunteer component of the United States Coast Guard, established on June 23, 1939. It works within the Coast Guard in carrying out its noncombatant and non-law enforcement missions. As of November 18, 2007 there were 30,074 active Auxiliarists. The Coast Guard has assigned primary responsibility for most recreational boating safety tasks to the Auxiliary, including public boating safety education and voluntary vessel safety checks. In recent history prior to 1997, Auxiliarists were limited to those tasks and on-water patrols supporting recreational boating safety.

In 1997, however, new legislation authorized the Auxiliary to participate in any and all Coast Guard missions except military combat and law enforcement. 33 CFR 5.31 states that: Members of the Auxiliary, when assigned to specific duties shall, unless otherwise limited by the Commandant, be vested with the same power and authority, in execution of such duties, as members of the regular Coast Guard assigned to similar duties.

Auxiliarists may support the law enforcement mission of the Coast Guard but do not directly participate in it. Auxiliarists and their vessels are not allowed to carry any weapons while serving in any Auxiliary capacity; however, they may serve as scouts, alerting regular Coast Guard units. Auxiliarists use their own vessels (i.e., boats, yachts) and aircraft, in carrying out Coast Guard missions, or apply specialized skills such as Web page design or radio watchstanding to assist the Coast Guard. When appropriately trained and qualified, they may serve upon Coast Guard vessels.

Auxiliarists undergo one of several levels of background check. For most duties, including those related to recreational boating safety, a simple identity check is sufficient. For some duties in which an Auxiliarist provides direct augmentation of Coast Guard forces, such as tasks related to port security, a more in-depth background check is required. Occasionally an Auxiliarist will need to obtain a security clearance through the Coast Guard in order to have access to classified information in the course of assigned tasking.

The basic unit of the Auxiliary is the Flotilla, which has at least 10 members and may have as many as 100. Five Flotillas in a geographical area form a Division. There are several divisions in each Coast Guard District. The Auxiliary has a leadership and management structure of elected officers, including Flotilla Commanders, Division Captains, and District Commodores, Atlantic and Pacific Area Commodores, and a national Commodore. However, legally, each Auxiliarist has the same 'rank', Auxiliarist.

In 2005, the Coast Guard transitioned to a geographical Sector organization. Correspondingly, a position of 'Sector Auxiliary Coordinator' was established. The Sector Auxiliary Coordinator is responsible for service by Auxiliarists directly to a Sector, including augmentation of Coast Guard Active Duty and Reserve forces when requested. Such augmentation is also referred to as force multiplication.

Auxiliarists wear the similar uniforms as Coast Guard officers with modified officers' insignia based on their office: the stripes on uniforms are silver, and metal insignia bear a red or blue "A" in the center. Unlike their counterparts in the Civil Air Patrol, Auxiliarists come under direct orders of the Coast Guard.

[edit] Coast Guard Reserve

Main article: United States Coast Guard Reserve

The United States Coast Guard Reserve is the military reserve force of the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard Reserve was founded on February 19, 1941. Coast Guard reservists normally drill two days a month and an additional 12 days of Active Duty for Training each year. Coast Guard reservists possess the same training and qualifications as their active duty counterparts, and as such, can be found augmenting active duty Coast Guard units every day.

During the Vietnam War and shortly thereafter, the Coast Guard considered abandoning the Reserve program, but the force was instead reoriented into force augmentation, where its principal focus was not just reserve operations, but to add to the readiness and mission execution of every day active duty personnel.

Since September 11, 2001, over 8,500 Reservists have been activated and served on tours of active duty. Coast Guard Port Security Units are entirely staffed with Reservists, except for five to seven active duty personnel. Additionally, most of the staffing the Coast Guard provides to Naval Coastal Warfare units are reservists.

The Reserve is managed by the Director of Reserve and Training, RDML Daniel R. May.

[edit] Medals and honors

See also: Awards and decorations of the United States military

One Coast Guardsman, Douglas Albert Munro, has earned the Medal of Honor, the highest military award of the United States.[25]

Six Coast Guardsmen have earned the Navy Cross and numerous men and women have earned the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The highest peacetime decoration awarded within the Coast Guard is the Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal; prior to the transfer of the Coast Guard to the Department of Homeland Security, the highest peacetime decoration was the Department of Transportation Distinguished Service Medal. The highest unit award available is the Presidential Unit Citation.

In wartime, members of the Coast Guard are eligible to receive the U.S. Navy version of the Medal of Honor. A Coast Guard Medal of Honor is authorized but has not yet been developed or issued.

In May 2006, at the Change of Command ceremony when Admiral Thad Allen took over as Commandant, President George W. Bush awarded the entire Coast Guard, including the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Coast Guard Presidential Unit Citation with hurricane device, for its efforts after Hurricane Katrina.

[edit] Organizations

[edit] Ancient Order of the Pterodactyl

Those who have piloted or flown in U.S. Coast Guard aircraft under official flight orders may join the Ancient Order of the Pterodactyl ("Flying Since the World was Flat").

[edit] USCGA Alumni Association

The United States Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association is devoted to providing service to and promoting fellowship among all U.S. Coast Guard Academy alumni and members of the Association.

Membership Types: Academy graduates and those who have attended the Academy are eligible for Regular membership; all others interested in the Academy and its Corps of Cadets are eligible for Associate membership. (Website)

[edit] Coast Guard CW Operators Association

The Coast Guard CW Operators Association (CGCWOA) is a membership organization comprised primarily of former members of the United States Coast Guard who held the enlisted rating of Radioman (RM) or Telecommunications Specialist (TC), and who employed International Morse Code (CW) in their routine communications duties on Coast Guard cutters and at shore stations. (Website)

[edit] USCG Chief Petty Officers Association

Members of this organization unite to assist members and dependents in need, assist with Coast Guard recruiting efforts, support the aims and goals of the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Academy, keep informed on Coast Guard matters, and assemble for social ammenties; and include Chief, Senior Chief, and Master Chief Petty Officers, active, reserve and retired. Membership is also open to all Chief Warrant Officers and Officers who have served as a Chief Petty Officer.

[edit] Publications

The Coast Guard maintains a library of publications for public use as well as publications for Coast Guard and Auxiliary use.

Coast Guard, COMDTPUB P5720.2, is the regular publication for Coast Guardsmen.

[edit] Notable Coast Guardsmen and others associated with the USCG

Source: U.S. Coast Guard

* Derroll Adams, folk musician
* Nick Adams, actor
* Brandon Alani, singer, songwriter
* Beau Bridges, actor
* Lloyd Bridges, actor
* Sid Caesar, comedian
* Lou Carnesecca, basketball coach, St. John's University
* Howard Coble, U.S. Congressman, North Carolina
* Chris Cooper, actor
* Richard Cromwell, actor
* Walter Cronkite, newscaster
* William D. Delahunt, U.S. Congressman, Massachusetts
* Mel Torme, jazz musician
* Jack Dempsey, professional boxer
* Buddy Ebsen (1908–2003), actor, comedian, dancer
* Blake Edwards, writer, director, producer
* Edwin D. Eshleman (1920-1985), former U.S. Congressman, Pennsylvania
* Arthur Fiedler, conductor
* Arthur A. Fontaine, captain, college sailing national champion, ISCA Hall of Fame
* Charles Gibson, newscaster
* Arthur Godfrey, entertainer
* Otto Graham, professional football player and coach
* Alex Haley, author of Roots and Coast Guard chief journalist
* Alan Hale, Jr., actor
* Weldon Hill, pseudonym of William R. Scott, author of novel Onionhead, based on his World War II Coast Guard service
* William Hopper, actor
* Tab Hunter, actor
* Harvey E. Johnson, Jr., Vice Admiral, Deputy Director FEMA
* Steve Knight, Vocalist for Flipsyde
* Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, athlete, actor
* Jack Kramer, tennis professional
* Jacob Lawrence, artist
* Victor Mature, actor
* Douglas Munro, the only Coast Guardsman to be awarded the Medal of Honor
* Frank Murkowski, former governor and former U.S. Senator, Alaska
* Sam Nunn, former U.S. Senator, Georgia
* Arnold Palmer, professional golfer
* Ed Parker, martial artist
* Claiborne Pell, former U.S. Senator, Rhode Island
* Jon Douglas Rainey, co-host of the Discovery Channel reality series It Takes a Thief
* Cesar Romero, actor
* Sergei I. Sikorsky, son of Igor Sikorsky and former chairman of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. [6]
* Sloan Wilson, writer
* Dorothy C. Stratton first director of the SPARS
* Gene Taylor, U.S. Congressman, Mississippi
* Ted Turner, businessman
* Rudy Vallee, entertainer
* Tom Waits, musician and actor
* Thornton Wilder, writer
* Gig Young, actor
* Popeye, Cartoon character, had tattoos and uniforms signifying he was in the USCG. "Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" shows him under a USCG sign.

[edit] Popular culture

* The Coast Guard has been featured in several television series, such as Baywatch, Miami Vice, CSI: Miami, and Deadliest Catch; and in film.
* A comedy, Onionhead, portrayed Andy Griffith as a Coast Guard recruit.
* The 2000 film The Perfect Storm depicted the rescue operations of the USCGC Tamaroa (WMEC-166) as one of its subplots.
* Special Counter-Drug helicopter units known as Helicopter Interdictions Squadrons (HITRON) are seen in action on Bad Boys II.
* In the 2005 family comedy Yours, Mine, and Ours, Dennis Quaid plays a fictional U.S. Coast Guard Academy superintendent who marries a character played by Rene Russo and together have 18 children.
* The 2006 film The Guardian, starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher, was based on the training and operation of Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers.
* A Coast Guard cutter and its commander and crew figured prominently in Tom Clancy's book Clear and Present Danger.
* The 2008 fourth season of the television series Lost erroneously depicted air crash survivors being transported to Hawaii in a Coast Guard HC-130 aircraft. However, since the survivors had landed on the Indonesian island of Sumba (in the Indian Ocean, thousands of miles from any Coast Guard district), arrangements for their repatriation would have been the business of the US State Department.

[edit] See also
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changed chain gun for ah-64 guns

United States Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance detachments, or FORECON, units are special-purposes units roughly analogous to the U.S. Army Special Forces and are widely recognized as the "special operations forces" of the United States Marine Corps. Marine Force Recon personnel, or "operators", operate in deep reconnaissance, direct action, and the control of supporting arms; to convey military intelligence beyond the means of a commander's area of influence in the battlefield. They are capable of operating independently in combined methods of amphibious and ground operations by utilizing methods of conventional and unconventional warfare.

The FORECON detachments are one of the two Marine Reconnaissance units assigned to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force. The Marine Recon Battalions support the Ground Combat Element, while FORECON supports the Command Element.

After the creation of MARSOC, 1st and 2nd FORECON were converted to Marine Special Operations Battalion (MSOB) units reporting to United States Special Operations Command.


Reconnaissance forces are a valuable asset to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force when the MEF Commander is faced with uncertainty in the battlefield. Reconnaissance provides timely intelligence to Command for battlespace shaping, allowing the MAGTF to act, and react, to changes in the battlefield.[3] As other Special Operations Forces are tasked by and report to USSOCOM, Marine Reconnaissance Units are reserved for supporting the Marine Infantry that are directly involved in battlespace shaping.[4]

However, Force Reconnaissance troops are employed far beyond the battlefield, the 'Area of Interest', while the Division's Recon Marines are tasked within the boundaries of the Commander's 'Area of Influence'. Both 'elite' Marine Reconnaissance units thus differ by the depth of penetration.

Many of the types of reconnaissance missions that are conducted by Marine Recon units are characterized by deep penetrations. This greatly increases the mission time, risk, and support coordination needs. Marine Recon Battalions are in charge of Close and Distant Reconnaissance, whereas Deep Reconnaissance is normally done by Force Reconnaissance. They however both utilize these two separate and distinct missions: 1) reconnaissance and 2) direct action, both in terms of special entry.[5] During the outset of the Vietnam War, they were known as "Key Hole" and "Sting Ray" operations. The versatility of FORECON is demonstrated when missions quickly turn, planned or not, from a deep reconnaissance operation to a direct action operation.

[edit] "Green Side"

Tasks characterized as 'deep reconnaissance' by FORECON are known as "green side" operations. These operations are missions pertaining to deep preassault/postassault reconnaissance. Force Recon Marines collect any intelligence of military importance, observe, identify and report adversaries to MAGTF[6]. They may also be tasked in battle damage assessment (BDA) missions. Green operations may consist of hydrography, beach, routes, and urban area recon. They may initiate terminal guidance in landing and drop zones for heliborne, airborne, or waterborne operations, to include forward operating sites for aircraft. They may collect tactical imagery, as well in placing or recovering remote sensors[7] and beacons. Silence and stealth are vital to reduce chances of mission compromise from contact with the enemy. Secrecy enables uninterrupted ground reconnaissance, amphibious reconnaissance and forward observing.

[edit] "Black Side"

Black Side missions are known as direct action, or DA missions. Black Side operations are the flip side to Green Side missions. Examples are seizures of gas/oil platform (GOPLAT) and the visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) of ships in Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO). Orchestrating Close Air Support is a vital skill exercised in DA missions, where Recon units will observe from static positions and spider holes. They also provide Personal Security Detail (PSD) for critically important personnel, and perform In-Extremis Hostage Rescue.

[edit] History

[edit] The Founding Years

The origins of Force Recon can be considered to be many of Marine Corps' own variants of 'special operations forces', historically known as the Marine Raiders, Paramarines and the Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion during the outset of World War II.

The United States Marine Corps, who been known for theorizing and practicing the United States methods of amphibious tactics, had introduced a new concept in amphibious warfare. They sought a 'specialized' team capable of:

* acting as an advance guard, spearheading a larger landing force; to
* seize and hold strategic installations or terrain features until mobilization of larger forces; and
* operate independently for extended periods of time in hostile territory without the use of a landing force (similar to guerrilla warfare.)
* to confuse and surprise the enemy in raiding parties
* possess exceptional swimmers in rapid infantry involvement including waterborne sabotage

In 1933, the Marine Raiders were the result. Around this time, the practice of combatant diving became the cornerstone of amphibious reconnaissance. During World War II and the Korean War, they developed methods of locking in and out of submarine torpedo bays and using bouyance floats to ascend the surface or use of SCUBA equipment that remains in effect today.

But soon after, the Marine Corps was still in need of a quick reaction force that could be inserted efficiently and without detection by the enemy. Since the Marine Corps has its own aviation, use of paratroopers became an important role later years. In the summer of 1940, a paratrooper unit was envisioned by HQMC, the Paramarines. It did not come unnoticed as the United States Navy adopted the same philosophy and formed it into the training plan of their famed Underwater Demolition Teams.

The Marine Raiders and Paramarines did not survive after World War II as Fleet Marine Force "organizations", a belief held by many senior Marines that the Marine Infantry was capable of carrying out the same missions, as every Marine is trained as a combative fighting force. Finally, by the authority of the Marine Commandant BGen. Vandegrift, it was decided that having a unit within the Corps as an "'Elite' of the elite" was not acceptable to the Marine Corps' demeanor. This led to its disbandment in 1944, before World War II ended.

[edit] Birth of Force Reconnaissance

[edit] Marine Corps Test Unit #1

Two atomic bombs were dropped in Japan ending World War II, it was then at this moment that lessons were learned about nuclear weapons which encouraged Colonel Robert E. Cushman, Jr. to question then-Marine Commandant Alexander A. Vandegrift about a feasible massive amphibious landing over small areas subject to potential threat of tactical nuclear weapons. The major concern was that other countries were in development of producing nuclear weapons, it was decided that the United States were in need of a modern doctrine emphasizing methods in maneuvering troops in a nuclear fallout.

"The tiny island, the single port, the small area...these will no longer be proper objectives. We must think in terms of 200 miles in width and depth."[8] a report by Col. Cushman to Commandant Shepherd, December 1946

Several years later, on July 1, 1954, Commandant Lemuel C. Shepherd activated Marine Corp Test Unit #1, or MCTU#1 under his staff’s recommendation that the Marine Corps is in need of a ‘specialized’ unit performing missions outside the Fleet Marine Force to develop special tactics, techniques and organizational concepts to the nuclear age, under operational control of the Commandant of the Marine Corps.[9]

General Shepherd appointed Colonel Edward N. Rydalch as the Test Unit's Commanding Officer (CO) and Lieutenant Colonel Regan Fuller as the Executive Officer (XO) over command of 104 Marine officers, 1,412 enlisted, 7 naval doctors and chaplain; and 51 Hospital Corpsmen.[10] Table of Organization: one Headquarters and Service Company; one infantry battalion consisted of four companies; one 75mm anti-tank platoon; one 4.2-inch mortar platoon; one 75mm pack howitzer artillery battery.[11] Furthermore, a Marine Air Wing element attached along with administrative and logistic support at the request from nearby MCAS El Toro.

During the Korean War, helicopters were first used by the Marines in combat by the Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion. Commandant Shepherd and his staff was interested in other innovative methods of reconnaissance that could be performed. They recommended planning for a greater mobility and dispersion as well as operating further distances inland from sea. A unit capable of introducing combined supporting arms with heliborne capabilities and make it integral in methods of reconnaissance.[12] Mockups of Sikorsky helicopters made from improvised lumber materials combined with repetitive exercises, by early 1955 the unit became well-organized tasked in heliborne insertions.

In March 1955, MCTU#1 participated in shot 'Bee' in Operation Teapot, a series of tactical nuclear weapons tests with active nuclear warheads conducted at the Atomic Commission Research test.[13] During exercise "Desert Rock IV", they maneuvered near ground area acting an amphibious battalion landing force in a nuclear environment, simulated in trenches and a mock built-up facility to resemble an urbanized city.[14]

April 1955, Captain Bruce F. Meyers reported to the CO of the Test Unit and was assigned to the unit's Battalion as the Assistant Operations and Training Officer working under Maj. Bob Bohn. Meyers spent a year cross-trained in the parachutist and pathfinder courses provide by the Navy and Army. Colonel Rydalch started making critical changes in the organization to establish elements within the unit that "validated reconnaissance theories and techniques of all-helicopter assault, not only they apply to the battalion landing team level but to higher levels as well."[15] Before Meyers was onboard, he had the concept of using jets from aircraft carriers as a plausible mean of insertion of reconnaissance teams, which he consorted with Brigadier General Chesty Puller on his ideas. Chesty Puller then directed his concept to the Commandant who in turn assigned Meyers to MCTU#1 in response to Colonel Rydalch plans.

This led to the establishment of the Plans and Development (P&D) Section and Reconnaissance Platoon,[16] in which Col. Rydalch assigned the newly arrived Capt Joseph Z. Taylor as Commanding Officer in September 1955. Meyers began to assemble and establish training of the Marines of this new platoon which become the nucleus of 1st Force Reconnaissance Company[17] by bringing fresh submarine and rubber raft experiences to the test unit. Taylor recently returned from reconnaissance exercise (RECONEX) 551 on Iwo Jima aboard the USS Perch (ASPP-313) with 3rd Recon Battalion. Prior to duty abroad in 1950, he served as a reconnaissance company commander under, who is currently the test unit's XO, Regan Fuller's 2nd Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion (who was a Major at that time).

Not until April 1956, the quote requirements has sent a handful of Marines from the unit on Temporary Additional Duty (TAD) to the United States Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia.[18] To prevent anyone from not completing the course and lose Marines, the test unit conducted its own "pre-jump school" with the helping of Sergeant Robert Zweiner, a parachute rigger from an Air Delivery Platoon on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Robert Zweiner became the founder and head of the Parachute Loft (or Paraloft) of 1st Force Reconnaissance Company.

Every Marine has passed the school, earning their silver wings, however, Meyers have being the only one in MCTU#1 with free-fall experience, the Marines were then sent to the U.S. Naval Parachute Unit under the instructions of very highly qualified navy jumpmaster Chief Warrant Officer Lewis T "Lew" Vinsen at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station in El Centro, California in July 1, 1956. Due to the free exchange and cross-training cooperation in these efforts, on one jump, Joseph Kittinger, USAF jumped times with the Marines of MCTU#1.[19].

Jump logs during 1956-67 has shown various types of parachutes and different carrier-based aircrafts that they have experimented in finding alternative methods in reconnaissance entry, such as the Douglas F3D Skyknights and A-3 Skywarriors, and the Grumman TF-1 Trader, launching the first HALO/HAHO jumps in Marine Corps history.

In 1957, it was decided that a battalion-size force reconnaissance will be assembled and reorganized from the Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion with a new T/O and T/E that will directly be under Fleet Marine Force yet detachable to the Marine Air-Ground Task Forces and Marine Divisions. On June 18, 1957, The Marines of Test Unit #1 reported to 1st Marine Division, then to Headquarters Battalion to assume command of 1st Amphibious Reconnaissance Company. The next day, on June 19, 1957 orders were received to the disbanded test unit at 1st AmphiRecon Company to designated their new command 1st Force Reconnaissance Company, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific.

[edit] Vietnam Era

[edit] "Key Hole" and "Sting Ray"

When the Vietnam War broke out, 1st Force Reconnaissance arrived in 1965 to conduct "Key Hole" missions when silence and stealth was vital to ensure no contact with the enemy was made. This ensured them to carry out ground reconnaissance and forward observing without interruptions, a single shot heard will fail the mission. Evasive techniques were employed to break contact from the enemy for defensive measures as they were lightly armed. However, "Sting Ray" operations placed an opposite role; this method has been familiar since the Marine Raiders era when Marines would seek out enemy forces. Select Marines from Headquarters Company, Second Battalion, 4th Marine Division [HQ.CO 2/4]conducted Black Ops prior to Operation Starlight. This same Force reconnaissance Team continued Black Ops into forward areas until 1974 after the U.S. withdrawal. These practices became known today as "deep reconnaissance" and "direct action", or Force Recon Marines call "Green" Ops and "Black" Ops. During the course, forty-four Marines of 1st Force were killed or missing-in-action. 1st Force Reconnaissance continued in the engagement until 1974 after the U.S. withdrawal.

[edit] Deactivation(s) and Reactivation(s) of the Force Reconnaissance Companies

1st Force Reconnaissance deactivated in 1974.

All existing Recon Marines were either assigned to reinforce 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company or to the Deep Recon Platoon with 1st and 3rd Recon Battalions.

3rd Force Reconnaissance Company was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve.

1st Force Reconnaissance Company was reactivated in 1986 and was later deployed in the Gulf War.

[edit] Organization

Force Reconnaissance Companies are deployed within a type of larger Marine Corps units called a Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) or MEU(SOC). MEU(SOC)s are deployed onboard Amphibious Ready Groups, a group of United States Navy ships. This group is usually centered around an amphibious assault helicopter carrier (designations for these ships range between LHA, LPH, and LHD). There may be as many as three of these groups, with their attendant MEU(SOC)s, deployed around the world at any given time. The mobility and continual rotation of these formations is integral to current Marine Corps operating procedure, which sets a stated goal of being able to field a MEU(SOC) on any shore around the world within six hours of an order being given.

There are currently seven MEU(SOC)s in the Corps. In Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) I WestPac, there are three MEUs: the 11th, 13th and 15th. They are responsible for the Middle East and Persian Gulf region. In MEF II MedFloat, there are also three MEUs: the 22nd, 24th and 26th. They focus on countries around the Mediterranean Sea. The last MEF, MEF III, has only one MEU(SOC), based in Okinawa, Japan: the 31st MEU.

As of 2004, there are currently four active Marine Force Reconnaissance companies: 1st Force Reconnaissance, based at Camp Pendleton, California; 2nd Force Reconnaissance, based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company, based in Mobile, Alabama and 4th Force Reconnaissance Company, based in Honolulu, Hawaii. 5th Force Reconnaissance was folded into 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion as Bravo Company, which also deploys as the Deep Reconnaissance Company in the 31st MEU(SOC) at Okinawa.

The structure of a Force Reconnaissance Company is more similar to that of an infantry battalion than a standard company. The command element includes the Commanding Officer or CO (normally a Lieutenant Colonel), Executive Officer or XO (normally a Major), a Sergeant Major and the S1 (Administrative), S2 (Intelligence), S3 (Operations), S4 (Logistics) and S6 (Communications) officers. The bulk of the Company is divided into six platoons, under a Platoon Commander (Captain) and a Platoon NCO (Sergeant, Staff Sergeant or higher). One of the six platoons is a scout/sniper unit retained from the MEU's Battalion Landing Team. Force Recon units also include U.S. Navy Corpsmen as integrated combat medical personnel, and, like corpsmen in all Marine Corps units, these corpsmen receive the exact same training as the members of the units they support.

[edit] Training

[edit] Selection

Entrance in to FORECON is an extensive and demanding process in which Marines will attend the selection process known as the Reconnaissance Indoctrination and Screening. Marines from any other Reconnaissance unit still must undergo screening as there are no other exceptions into Force Reconnaissance. As there are Marine Officers in the command element of the Force Recon Companies, it is unlikely for an officer to be inserted with a Force Recon team as they are reserved as the supporting commander; officers within the Maritime Special Purpose Force, accept deployment of commissioned officers on limited scale raids during DA missions.

In order for Marines to be accepted for the 'Indoc', they must require:

* current physical
* GT score of 105
* First-Class Physical Fitness Test of 275 or higher
* CWS-1 swim qualification
* 20/20 vision; with minimum correction allowed. Laser-eye surgery is acceptable as long as 20/20 is achieved.
* normal color vision (color blindness is acceptable, except for those unable contrast between red and green)
* good personal evaluations
* security clearance required

The 48-hour Reconnaissance Indoctrination and Screening is held on the last Thursday of each month at either Camp Pendleton, CA or Camp Lejuene, NC, as each unit uses different selection processes. In general, the screening begins with a standard physical fitness test, a three mile run, stomach crunches and chin-ups. Marine candidates must obtain a First Class score of 285 or higher to continue the Indoc.

Because Marines are amphibious by nature, the candidates will proceed to the pool next where they will perform water aerobics and underwater push ups while wearing boots and uniform. Candidates are required to swim to the bottom of a pool with a depth of twenty-five feet to retrieve a ten pound concrete block, used to simulate a magazine-fed weapon. Then candidates must carry the block to the surface and swim with it to the a designated spot. Next, candidates tread water for thirty minutes with a rubber rifle, called a "rubber duck," held above their head.

The candidates then run the Obstacle Course, or "O" Course, a few times on the next day. The candidates are evaluated on their effort and method of attempt, instead of how fast they finish the course. After the "O" Course, candidates perform a timed eight mile "Ruck Run," which requires candidates to carry a rucksack containing a fifty pound sand bag and a "rubber duck." [20] Candidates must maintain a pace of four to five miles per hour. Failure to maintain this pace results in the candidate being returned to their original unit. Any candidate may voluntarily dropout at any time during the screening process and retake the test later. Multiple screening attempts are common before succeeding.

Candidates who pass the physical tests are given a psychological screening test and an interview. Officers are interviewed by the Company Commander. Enlisted Marines are interviewed by the Company Sergeant Major and other Senior NCOs.

[edit] Mission Training Plan

Each Marine will undergo a non-stop, continuous loop of a two-year cycle in five phases:

* Phase 1 - Individual Training Phase
* Phase 2 - Unit Training Phase
* Phase 3 - MEU(SOC) Training Phase
* Phase 4 - MEU(SOC) Deployment
* Phase 5 - Post Deployment

[edit] Individual Training Phase

Once the Marine is accepted, he is inducted into the first step of the accession "pipeline" where he will undergo extensive training in 'specialized" schools which can last for two years until becoming a full-fledged Force Reconnaissance Operators.

This first step, Marines are placed in Reconnaissance Indoctrination Platoons, or RIP. This is the next step for honing and progressing their skills necessary to function within a Force Reconnaissance Company. Also acts as another selection and screening board to 'weed out' the lesser motivated Marines (aside from the Reconnaissance Indoctrination and Screening).

The candidates are given further training in patrolling, amphibious reconnaissance, communications and land orientation which will warm-up the Marines before attending the rigorous and demanding Basic Reconnaissance Course. While in the RIP, candidates are issued a 12 foot rope; at any time instructors will demand the candidates to tie knots (they've learned during RIP) of his choosing. To the common practice, the candidates are often known as "ropers".

During this phase, the candidates attend the Basic Reconnaissance Course (BRC) at the School of Infantry, East and West coast.[21] Prior to 2007, BRC was previously taught at the Amphibious Reconnaissance School, NAB Coronado, CA or Little Creek, VA, of the Expeditionary Warfare Training Group, Pacific or Atlantic.

The course is 49 days long with the average training day of 13.5 hours. This course introduces the Force Reconnaissance environment. Marines will gain a working knowledge of the reconnaissance doctrine, concepts and techniques that emphasize on-ground and amphibious reconnaissance missions. To attain a spot in the school, the Marine must have at least one year of deployment and have a minimum of two years remaining on their contract, or commit to reenlist. The candidates will receive basic knowledge of coxswain skills in planning, organizing, and execution in operating the Combat Rubber Reconnaissance Craft (CRRC) and necessary skills in operating the on-board motor, launch and recovery procedures, over-the-horizon (OTH), amphibious raids, and operations in the surf zone. Also, maritime navigation is included in the training program, as well as the launch and recovery procedures of the CRRC.[22]

Other training includes beach reconnaissance, underwater and breach demolitions, communications, rough terrain skills, and scout swimming. Also, they will learn the fundamentals of weapons of all types (air, sea, and land) that are employed in supporting arms in interfacing with calling and adjusting naval gunfire, artillery, close air support (CAS). They will practice day and night learning to operate behind enemy lines and learning to conduct immediate action drills when encountered. Photography with a field camera and underwater camera for surveillance are also taught along with field sketching and range estimations. Above all, they learn insertion/extraction techniques in Helicopter Rope Suspension Training, such as fast roping, rappelling, and SPIE rigging.[23]

Even though every Marine has learned to read a map and to patrol, BRC training is more in depth to ensure that the candidates will operate efficiently in a recon team. Upon graduation, Marines and Corpsmen will then receive the MOS 0321 or NEC 8427; Marines who are already qualified as parachutist or as USMC combatant divers, are assigned the MOS "B" 8654.

To remain undetected, Marines use the fundamentals of underwater infiltration to achieve their objectives. The USMC Combatant Diver Course was created for that reason.[24] The course is taught at the Navy Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City, FL. During this eight-week course, trainees are introduced to open and closed-circuit diving (using the LAR-V rebreather), diving physics and medical aid. Most of the training in combatant diving is done at night.

The course provides combat underwater tactical training and the skills needed to successfully conduct an underwater infiltration and exfiltration. The candidates negotiate long distances in open water, infiltrating by surface and sub-surface, learning to deal with the hazards of a "surf zone" tangle and simulated equipment malfunction. Open-circuit involves descending and ascending procedures, searching for lost, submerged equipment, and surface swims with a compass. Closed-circuit emphasizes the sub-surface navigation of infiltration and exfiltration. The combatant divers course combines lecture, demonstration, and practical application in gas mixtures of oxygen and nitrogen, and oxygen charging procedures by using the USMC Oxygen Transfer Pump System, or USMC OTPS. Upon completion of the course, the candidates are honored with the Special "B" MOS 8643.

Next in the pipeline is Jump School. After graduation from the BRC and USMC Combatant Diver Course, candidates are introduced to parachuting at the United States Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia. This course teaches candidates insertion techniques by parachute. The course is separated into three training weeks: Ground, Tower and Jump Week.

Ground Week - Marines are introduced to the MC-5 Ram parachute. This Ram Air parachute is combined for low-level static line (LLSF) and military free-fall (MFF). Ground Week is focused on properly executing a Parachute Landing Fall (PLF). The shock of landing is absorbed and distributed across the balls of the feet, calf, thigh, buttocks, and back muscle. Also taught are procedures for exiting an aircraft via static line and landing safely in a Drop Zone (DZ).

Tower Week - Two towers are used for training: the Swing-Landing Tower, or SLT, and the "Tower". The SLT is a 12-foot high platform used to simulate the downward inertia and oscillation of an actual jump. Instructors control the SLT to determine how hard or soft the Marine will land. The 250-feet high "Tower" is designed for PLFs, to practice landing during the descent.

Jump Week - To earn his "silver wings", a Marine must perform five parachute jumps: an individual jump, and another with tactical assembly, a mass exiting jump with equipment both day and night, and an individual mass exiting jump. To earn the USN/USMC parachutist badge, or "gold wings", he must perform five additional jumps, including a day/night slick jump without equipment, and the fifth jump is a water jump. A Marine that is Parachutist Qualified is assigned the MOS 8652.

This far in the "pipeline", the candidates are now officially Force Recon Marines, yet they still must undergo training in the Individual Training Phase (IPT) The Marines attend Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape or SERE School at either NAS North Island, CA, located north of NAB Coronado, CA or NAS Brunswick, ME. In this 12-day course, the training curriculum is divided into 3 phases. The first phase consists of classroom lessons, lectures and demonstrations. The second phase is six field laboratory days. The last phase includes debriefs and graduation.

While Level A is taught to recruits and candidates in Officer Candidate School, this base provides Level C Code of Conduct that is necessary for Force Recon. As the "eyes" and "ears" of the MEF commander, Force Recon carry knowledge of sensitive battlefield information.

Additional survival training in Level C Code of Conduct may include the five-day Peacetime Detention and Hostage Survival (PDAHS) course. This training provides the skills to survive captivity by a hostile government or terrorist cell during peacetime.

The Force Recon Marines that are qualified and have already obtained the Primary MOS of 0321 and the secondary MOS 8654 will take advantage of this phase to attend other specialized schools. Meanwhile the non-qualifying candidates continue their training before moving onto Phase 2 of the MTP. They attend the Ranger, Pathfinders, Long Range Surveillance Course in Fort Benning, GA, Emergency Medical Technician Course at the Naval Base Kitsap, Low-Level Static Line, Military Free-fall, and Jumpmaster Course, Mountain Leaders Course, Helicopter Rope Suspension Training (HRST) Master, Scout/Sniper Course, and the High Risk Personnel (HRP) Course.

[edit] Unit Training Phase

After the Marines have undergone all the training required to be a qualified FORECON Marine, they regroup together within the Company and train together, purposely formed for team-building which is essential for a recon team to successfully complete their objectives. During this six-month phase, experienced Staff NCOs and Officers from the S3 section in the Company are charged with conducting training packages. They are called the T-Cell, and has proven useful for this portion of the training as it allows the experienced FORECON operators within the T-Cell to elaborate any training on everything Marines will be hardened against.

The Long Range Communications Package is a three-week course covered by the Communication Section. As Force Recon operates in deep reconnaissance, to report observations, call for fire or extraction, they need to understand to use the equipment that they have at bay. It includes training in Long Range High Frequency, multi-band, digital and satellite communications (SATCOM).

The first two week of the Weapons and Tactics Package involves 5000-8000 rounds fired from the M4 Carbine equipped with a Special Operations Peculiar Modification kit and the MEU(SOC) .45 ACP. A live fire and maneuvering exercise is conducted on the third week in immediate action (IA) drills in close range of rotary wing support as well as transportation.

As the Marines become familiar with their weapons, they conduct field exercise, force-on-force, live fire drills using a militarized version of the Simunitions kit called the Special Effects Small Arms Marking Systems, or SESAMS. They are marking cartridge ammunition that contains a small plastic sabot round encasing a colored detergent, or paint; usually red or blue.

The one-week Threat Weapons Familiarization package concludes knowledge of weapons in identification and operation of threat weapons used by adversaries of the United States. Threat Weapons consists of assault, automatic and mobilized weapons.

Force Fires Package will give the Marines a working knowledge of fixed and rotary wing close air support and Naval Gun Surface Fire (NGSF) by utilizing the AN/PEQ-1A Laser Acquisition Marker, or (SOFLAM) to "paint" their targets.

In order to rapidly deploy FORECON on a mission-oriented tasks requires fast mobilization; the Mobile Reconnaissance package covers all aspects in operating and maintaining the M998 HMMWV and the Interim Fast Attack Vehicle. The current IFAV is a replacement of the two earlier FAVs, the M-151A2 and the Chenowth FAV that were employed in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Advanced Airborne package is extremely important for Recon Marines when it comes to inserting behind enemy lines. In this three-week period, Marines will make the changing approach from conventional LLSL insertions into the hallmark of HAHO techniques. Usually it consists of night consecutive night jumps with night combat equipment, but also HAHO training are exhibited in the Paraloft of the S3 Section using a complex virtual reality-based computer system. While wearing a VR headset device, the Marines hang suspended from the Paraloft ceiling that resembles the MC-5 Ram Air parachute. Many simulations are factored in this Virtual Reality Parachute Simulation; it allows the Marine to jump at high altitudes and visually check his main canopy for proper deployment, alleviate malfunctions, to cutaway and deploy a reserve parachute, then employ guidance and control to an unmarked drop zone (DZ).

Many other trainings are listed to mold the Marines into a fully functional recon unit, many training packages include long range patrolling in desert areas to dissemble desert regions such as Kuwait (which is taught either at 29 Palms or Yuma AZ.), mountainous terrain and many other regions and environments that they may face in peacetime or during a conflict. It is vital for each and every Marine to apply all their skills in order for their team to accomplish the missions that are at hand.

Combat Trauma Package is an examination of first aid and medical treatment that can prepares Marines in many realistic scenarios where Marines can become casualties. Since Marines will be either in the swamps, in the water, helocasting, or jumping from aircraft. This package is built for Marines to give them confidence and knowledge to apply medical attention to themselves or others while operating in hazard environments whether they are engaged in combat or not.

Combatant Dive Package is designed for concentrating on the unit's capabilities in the water. They will learn more about the LAR V rebreather as they have been taught at the USMC Combatant Dive Course. The T-Cell will introduce the Diver Propulsion Device (DPD) and the "buddy line", a plastic pipe made from composite plastics that every every marine is attached to. This ensures that the team remain close together as the water may be impossible for visuals contact in subsurface swimming.[25]

While Marines were introduced to amphibious reconnaissance from the BRC, the T-Cell outlines the Amphibious Training package before they are attached to a MEU(SOC), this package refines their ability to conduct amphibious operations, and conventional and selected maritime special operations capabilities incorporating all their skills for Marines to work as a team.

[edit] MEU (SOC) Training Phase

This training phase concentrates more in direct action while the unit training phase was involving more in the "greenside" operations. The next phase in training is conducted by the Special Operations Training Group (SOTG). The mission of the SOTG is to qualify and prepare the Marines attached to the MEU to be 'Special Operations Capable' (required by MEF) for mission-oriented operations through series of courses before they are bound for a six-month deployment.[26] These course involves close quarters combat and applied science in demolition, Gas/Oil Platform (GOPLAT) training, Cordon and Search, Visit, Board, Search, & Seizure, shipboard assaults training and humanitarian operations.[27]

Urban warfare came to be the most dangerous for any Soldier or Marine to be engaged in combat. Since the first time the Marine Corps has fought in a built-up area in Huế City, Vietnam, the U.S military concluded that a new doctrine is to be formed as they face a new era of urban warfare, bringing the battlefront from a sparsely populated area to the city. To hone these skills, Marines are introduced to the "Shooting House", a maze-like structure that is designed to facilitate any combat scenario they may face while conducting a room-to-room search and sweep.

After they are taught the skills to operating in DA missions, they participate in a Training in Urban Environment Exercice (TRUEX). The municipal, state, and federal officials such as the local and state police, fire departments, the Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigations have coordinated to make this training as realistic as possible for Marines. Force Recon Marines will get together with the MEU and conduct the Special Operations Capable Exercise, or SOCEX for preparation for any world conflict to peacekeeping/humanitarian operations.

[edit] MEU(SOC) Deployment Phase & Post-Deployment Phase

Force Reconnaissance will be under a sustainment of training on a daily basis during their six-month deployment. 1st Force Recon Company on the West Coast embarks to the Persian Gulf, 2nd Force Recon of the East Coast deploys to the Mediterranean Sea. Upon returning from deployment, the cycle continues with the first phase in the cycle. The Marines can either choose a career path, leave the company and return to their previous or new command or stay with Force Recon to begin the cycle starting with the Individual Training Phase all over again.

[edit] Equipment

[edit] General equipment

Force Recon units receive similar equipment as comparable Special Operations units. Some unique weapons and equipment include:

[edit] The Full Spectrum Battle Equipment Amphibious Assault Vest, Quick-Release (FSBE AAV QR)

This is a light weight assault vest system that incorporates protection (soft armor coupled with hard ballistic inserts) with cargo retention capabilities (in the form of various pouches and pockets attached via standard PALS webbing). The entire FSBE kit includes the vest body, a throat protector, a groin protector and an assortment of load bearing pouches. A fully loaded vest with armor plates can prove quite heavy, and is only used in high-risk DA (direct action) missions. This vest is unique in its quick release system, where the Marine can ditch the entire vest very quickly in case of emergency. This quick release (ditch) feature (now also used on newer modular plate carriers such as the Paraclete Releasable Assault Vest) was developed in response to a December 9, 1999 CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter crash over the Pacific, where several members of 5th Platoon, 1st Force Reconnaissance Company drowned because they could not eject their heavy armor in time to swim away freely. Only one Marine was able to successfully ditch his equipment and survive. The FSBE vests are manufactured by Point Blank Armor (US), but Recon operators purchase additional modular load bearing pouches from a number of manufacturers.

The CIRAS suite of equipment manufactured by Eagle Industries is currently the new FSBE II system, and has replaced the FSBE AAVs.

Prior to this, the FSBE series replaced the older Close Quarters Battle Equipment Assault Vest (CQBE AV) that had been used by Force Recon since 1996. This kit is available to civilians, with prices for the FSBE vest body starting at $500 USD. This price does not include any ancillary pouches or soft armor or hard ballistic armor inserts.

[edit] The Modular Integrated Communications Helmet (MICH)

A lightweight ballistic helmet that incorporates excellent ballistic protection with the ability to interface with most tactical communications headsets and microphones utilized by high-speed units, replacing the bulky standard issue PASGT "K-pot." This helmet is now in use with most acitve duty US Army units, and is available in three design varieties. This helmet is also available to civilian consumers for around $450 USD per helmet. Two versions of the MICH, the 2000 and 2002 models are preferred, the difference being that the 2002 has earlobes that extend about half the distance than the 2000-series MICH earlobes.

[edit] The MEU(SOC) Pistol

Main article: MEU(SOC) pistol

Marine using a MEU(SOC) .45 in Iraq
Marine using a MEU(SOC) .45 in Iraq

Force Recon uses a modified and improved M1911A1 .45 pistol, originally introduced in 1924, and largely replaced in 1985 by the 9 mm M9 due to logistic concerns (the M1911/M1911A1 used .45 ammunition, whereas the rest of NATO used 9 mm ammunition) and capacity issues (the M9 features a 15-round, double-stack magazine, while the older M1911A1 only holds 7 rounds in a standard single-stack magazine). The pistol is constructed at the Precision Weapons Section at Quantico, Virginia, and are made from original service M1911 frames dating back to the 1940s. MEU(SOC) pistols use a variety of parts from different high-end manufacturers (they are all hand-built and maintained; no two MEU(SOC) .45s are exactly the same) and are some of the most reliable pistols in the world. When a pistol malfunctions due to wear and is irreparable without special equipment or parts, the pistol is sent back to Quantico for repairs. Repairs include changing slides and various parts, but the frames are never changed, as the U.S. government no longer produces them (many of the frames have gone through hundreds of thousands of rounds).

The MEU(SOC) pistol will be replaced by a commercially-produced improved MEU(SOC) pistol. The Interim Close Quarters Battle (ICQB) pistol produced by Kimber for MCSOCOM Detachment One is not a replacement for the MEU(SOC) pistol.

Springfield Armory is currently supplying the new MEU(SOC) pistols.

[edit] Interim Fast Attack Vehicle (IFAV)
Mercedes IFAV
Mercedes IFAV

These are deployed and used by Force Recon. Force Recon used to operate a fleet of Desert Patrol Vehicles (formerly known as Fast Attack Vehicles or FAVs for short), popularized by the Navy SEALs as the "black dune buggy". However, this vehicle lacked cargo capacity and firepower, so Force Recon moved to a militarized Mercedes-Benz G-Class, also known as a G-wagon, 290 GDT diesel 4x4, a much more traditional "Jeep" type truck. The vehicle has only minimal armor, but numerous defensive weapons, including a Mk 19 automatic 40 mm grenade launcher. This vehicle is manufactured by MAGNA STEYR (Austria) for Mercedes-Benz (Germany).
[edit] Other Gear

Along with these unique pieces of equipment, the Marines also use more common weapons, such as the M4A1 Close Quarters Battle Weapon (CQBW), the M203 grenade launcher, individual parts of the SOPMOD M4 kit, the M40 sniper rifle and the Marine-specific M14 Designated Marksmen Rifle (DMR), along with the M82A3 SASR .50 anti-materiel weapon. Machine guns include the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW), the M240 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) and the M2HB .50 heavy machine gun.

[edit] Equipment and Gear

Some common mission gear setups for Force Recon Marines include:

[edit] Greenside-oriented equipement

Force Recon Marines will rely on stealth, evasion and training and not firepower to accomplish their mission. Generally, an operator's kit would include:

* A "boonie hat", more recognizable to the general public as a fishing-style hat in camouflage pattern.

* Camouflage Utility Uniforms; Marines are now issued the new "MARPAT" Marine Pattern utility uniforms with a "digital" or pixelated camouflage pattern.

* A load bearing vest (LBV), a vest with many pouches for carrying ammunition and supplies. This could either be the current standard issue second generation US Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment (MOLLE) Fighting Load Carrier vest (FLC) or the late 1980s to early 1990s US Integrated Individual Fighting System (IIFS) non-modular load bearing vest (LBV-88) (the latter of which is actually more popular, since the current issue MOLLE is considered not durable enough for prolonged use by many Marines), or an operator-bought third-party LBV. Chestrigs are currently very popular amongst the operational units.

* A rucksack, a large backpack for carrying items that need not be often accessed. Many Marines have publicly voiced a preference for the seventies-era All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (ALICE) packs over the unreliable modern MOLLE packs, but individual operators may buy third-party packs which surpass both aforementioned government issue products in durability. The MOLLE packs are currently being replaced by the Arcteryx designed ILBE.

* Rations, toiletries, fuel, water, ammunition, etc.

* Primary weapon depends on the Marine's role in the squad. It can range from carbines (M4) to rifles (M16, M14) to squad automatics (M249 SAW).

* A sidearm may be carried.

[edit] Direct Action-oriented equipment

A common operational kit includes:

* The MICH Helmet and a hands-free communications headset (usually a TELEX Stinger 700) and tactical goggles. A NOMEX balaclava (a hood with a large opening for the eyes). NOMEX is a fire-retardant fabric developed post-Korean War for use by aircraft pilots that has since been found useful for many other applications.

* NOMEX flightsuits and NOMEX aviator's gloves. These are usually sage-green in color, but there is a khaki version as well for desert operations.

* FSBE vest (earlier years) or the now standard Land CIRAS or Maritime CIRAS with attached pouches for magazines, grenades, flashbangs, breaching charges, gas masks, medical supplies and communications equipment. Ballistic insert plates are used in this case.

* High-tensile nylon pistol belt or rigger's belt with suspenders, used to attached more pouches or drop-leg devices. This may be worn like a traditional belt (mostly rigger's belts) to keep their trousers, or as a second belt, specifically for equipment.

* A thigh-mounted tactical holster (usually a Safariland 6004 holster) with the MEU(SOC) .45 sidearm, at times with an underframe flashlight installed. This sidearm is usually attached to the operator's belt via a retention lanyard.

* Another drop-belt thigh setup on the leg opposite the operator's handedness, either with a "dump" pouch, for easily stowing spent magazines, or additional ammunition and munitions pouches.

* Tactical kneepads and elbow pads, for protection and operator comfort as he moves into various firing positions.

* Boots, or specialized hiking shoes (seen in Iraq).

* The primary weapon for Force Recon is the M4A1 Close Quarters Battle Weapon (CQBW), which replaced the Heckler & Koch 9 mm MP5 in 1998. M4s can be found configured with a variety of reflex sights and attachments for quicker target acquisition.

* A back-worn scabbard for a breaching shotgun, either a Remington 870, a Mossberg 500, or a Benelli M1014.
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Just this week I picked up an Apple keyboard for my PC after experiencing problems with the Logitech Illuminated keyboard. The Apple keyboard is extremely sleek and beautiful, and it inspired me to create this concept.

This concept follows an OS X color scheme, and has buttons bearing a similar appearance to the keys on the Apple keyboard. The idbox for example has a "light", similar to that of the caps lock key on the keyboard, that represents the status of the current site, letting you know if it is secure or not.
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Photoshop, 2010.

Buy T-shirt
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We’re working on developing a UI for the latest version of Metro. Josh and I both felt that previous versions of Metro for Firefox represented the UI well, but we also agreed we could do a better job adapting it in future versions.

So far, we’ve enlarged some elements of the UI to help bring focus to areas of high importance. Typography is an essential part of the Metro UI so we are working on bringing some new, bold text styles to the theme as well.

Another important change in this release will be the addition of real Metro icons directly from the brains behind the UI itself. We both think that this helps complete the look we attempted earlier in Metro’s design stage.

We plan on pushing the tabs into the titlebar now that Firefox 4 allows it.

- Adapt the Firefox Button to feel at home with Metro
- Menus and Popups
- Options Window

That’s all for now folks!
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Almost more of a Teaser Poster for the film Iron Man 2. I'm in this recent mood to try things I've never done before with some of my posters. Having just got IRON MAN 2 on Bluray the other day, I was watching the special features when this idea popped into my head.

I love it when titles/text/images aren't centered in the frame and being cut off by the sides. It's almost as if it's saying that the movie is so big that it can't be contained by the boundaries of the poster.

Not perfect, for the picture of Iron Man is actually from the first film and not anywhere near the resolution I would have liked for this project, but I did what I could with what I had.


Tony Stark/Iron Man is (c)Marvel Studios.
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SAM 27000 was the second of two Boeing VC-137C United States Air Force aircraft that were specifically configured and maintained for the use of the President of the United States. It used the call sign Air Force One when the President was on board, and at other times it used the call sign SAM 27000. The VC-137C serial number 72-7000 was a customized version of the Boeing 707 which entered service during the Nixon administration in 1972. It served all US presidents until George W. Bush and was retired in 2001; it is now on display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Operational history

The plane first entered service in 1972 during the administration of Richard Nixon. SAM 27000 replaced the aging SAM 26000 as the primary means of presidential travel, although SAM 26000 remained as a back-up plane. SAM 27000 served seven presidents in its twenty-nine years of service: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. In 1990, it was replaced as the primary presidential plane by two Boeing VC-25 jumbo jets—SAM 28000 and SAM 29000.

[edit] Nixon and Ford
The Fords in the President's forward cabin on SAM 27000

Nixon was the first president to utilize this Air Force One, dubbing it and its sister plane, SAM 26000, the "Spirit of '76," and having that phrase painted on the nose of the two aircraft (the phrase was later removed). Although SAM 27000 replaced SAM 26000 as Nixon's primary way of flying, he chose to ride SAM 26000 when his family flew with him. Nixon garnered much attention for his frequent flying aboard Air Force One, usually flying to his homes in California and Florida, but also made many foreign trips abroad, such as his trip to China in 1972. Top presidential aides and cabinet ministers used the plane as well, including Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. When President Nixon resigned the presidency on August 9, 1974, he flew to his home Orange County, California aboard SAM 27000. While flying over Missouri en route to their destination, Colonel Ralph Albertazzie, the pilot, contacted Kansas City Center and had the aircraft's call sign changed from Air Force One to SAM 27000 due to Gerald Ford being sworn in.

Gerald Ford used SAM 27000 somewhat frequently, especially for his trips abroad, such as his meeting with Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev in Vladivostok in 1974. After experiencing two assassination attempts, Ford returned to the plane to hear his wife Betty quip, "Well how did they treat you in San Francisco?" During the Ford years, there was a growing number of airline hijackings and the threat of terrorism expanded, so both SAM 27000 and 26000 were equipped with defense systems to detect heat-seeking missiles. It was President Ford who first decided that the name of the aircraft itself should be Air Force One, along with the call sign.

[edit] Carter and Reagan
Ronald and Nancy Reagan wave from Air Force One (SAM 27000) as they prepare to descend the stairs upon the plane's landing in Moscow, Russia

Jimmy Carter made some changes to Air Force One that reflected his personal values. Carter preferred a more simplistic style of living, something he made apparent on SAM 27000; he even insisted that he and his family carry their own luggage aboard. Carter made regular use of the plane both for domestic use and for use abroad. Possibly one of Carter's most famous trips was to Three Mile Island in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania during the Three Mile Island accident. In 1980, after the American Hockey Team defeated the Soviet Team, Carter sent SAM 27000 to pick up the team and bring them back to Washington, D.C. for a congratulatory ceremony. Carter's last trip aboard 27000 was actually taken as a former president, when Ronald Reagan sent Carter to Germany on behalf of the American people, to welcome home the 52 American hostages that were held captive in Iran.
Ronald Reagan works aboard SAM 27000 in 1986

Ronald Reagan was SAM 27000's most frequent flyer, flying longer and farther than all the other presidents who flew on it, traveling more than 675,000 miles aboard it. Reagan used Air Force One to travel to all parts of the world to pursue his ambitious diplomatic goals, taking three trips to Asia, six to Europe, and twelve trips to foreign places in the Western Hemisphere. Reagan flew to three of his four summit meetings with Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev aboard SAM 27000: Geneva, Reykjavík, and Moscow (one was held in Washington, D.C.).

While traveling on SAM 27000, Reagan spent most of his time in his forward cabin, but occasionally made visits to senior staff lounge for meetings with his aides. Reagan seldom slept on the plane, even on long journeys. First Lady Nancy Reagan was also enthusiastic about Air Force One, recalling the first time she flew on the plane: "Ronnie read reports and attended to paperwork, while I kept busy writing letters to friends back home on Air Force One letterhead. Look at me, I'm flying on Air Force One!" The Reagans' last flight aboard the plane was on January 20, 1989, when the now-former President and First Lady flew back to California.

[edit] Missions after replacement
George W. Bush and Laura Bush arrive in Waco, Texas after the completion of the last Presidential voyage of SAM 27000
The plane in the Reagan Library

George H.W. Bush was the last president to utilize SAM 27000 as the primary means of presidential travel, for in 1990 the plane was replaced by two Boeing 747-200B jumbo jets, designated VC-25, although SAM 27000 was kept as a backup plane for Bush during the remainder of his presidency, as well as those of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Its last Presidential trip was August 29, 2001, when it delivered George W. Bush and Laura Bush to TSTC Waco Airport en route to their Prairie Chapel Ranch.[1] On September 8, 2001, SAM 27000 was decommissioned and flown to San Bernardino International Airport in California. It was dismantled there and later driven in pieces to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, where it was reassembled and is currently on public display in the museum.
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I saw something with the partially rounded corner thingy somewhere, but forgot.
I was looking for a light VS, and I decided to make one up. This is possible with standard Windows theming techniques.
Sorry for the terrible organization of the PSD, and if you want the caption button states, :note: me.

Here is the VS made by =kiko11: [link]

Like it? Please +fav

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Mega by DJKopet

Check out this awesome Tron/Megaman mashup here:…
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