Good news! The greatly-expanded SurvivalBlog 2005-2018 Archive Waterproof USB stick is now available for ordering. Since there is so much more bonus material in this year’s edition, we had to switch to offering a 16 GB stick! If sales made last year are any gauge, we can expect the limited production run of this year’s archive to sell out in just a couple of months. Order yours today.
As a former Army SIGINT officer, this article caught my attention: President Trump pays tribute to Americans killed in Syrian suicide bombing as their bodies arrive back in US. I really doubt that the unit attacked was on a “routine patrol” in Syria, as was publicized by the Pentagon. For OPSEC reasons, I will refrain from posting any conjecture on their unit, mission, RSTA mission equipment, or vehicles. Please take a few minutes to read the article.
Down in the depths of this article were these details: “On Friday, three of the four Americans slain were identified. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Florida, Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon M. Kent, 35, of upstate New York and Defense Department civilian Scott A. Wirtz of St. Louis, Missouri were all named as victims of the suicide blast.”
Tactical SIGINT collectors and analysts are not always “In the rear, with the beer, where there is no fear.” In fact they are often out Beyond The Wire, in harm’s way.
My sincere condolences to the families of these fallen.
Please pray for the safety of both the military and civilian contract SIGINTers of the US Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA), US Army INSCOM, US Naval Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM), and the Twenty-Fifth Air Force (25 AF)–aka US Air Force Intelligence Agency–who are forward deployed. Tactical SIGINT/DF troops are often the “first in, and last out”, in overseas counterinsurgency campaigns such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
On this day in 1968, the siege of Khe Sanh began, as NVA regulars surrounded the USMC hilltop airfield near the Laotian border. Fearing a repeat of the French Army’s 1953 Dien Bien Phu debacle, the Pentagon assigned maximum round-the-clock air power to the region, including B-52 bomber strikes, to break the siege. According to the Infogalatic wiki this was “‘the most concentrated application of aerial firepower in the history of warfare’. On an average day 350 tactical fighter-bombers, 60 B-52s, and 30 light observation or reconnaissance aircraft operated in the skies near Khe Sanh.” It was reported that more than 100,000 tons of bombs were dropped in the area during the siege.
American casualties during the siege were 274 killed and 2,541 wounded. ARVN casualties were 229 killed and 436 wounded. The NVA took massive casualties, before withdrawing. MACV’s report estimated 5,550 NVA killed and more 8,000 wounded. (Only 1,602 NVA bodies were counted, but the NVA was famous for recovering the bodies of their KIAs, partially for propaganda reasons, to “deny body count.”) Khe Sanh was finally relieved by American and ARVN ground forces on April 6, 1968.
Today we feature another product review by SurvivalBlog’s staff Field Gear Editor, Pat Cascio.