China’s Nuclear Triad Complete
China’s new generation strategic bomber is likely to be ready for delivery this year, but Beijing is said to be weighing the impact of its unveiling at a complex time in regional relations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Military sources said the Xian H-20 supersonic stealth bomber – expected to double the country’s strike range – could make its first public appearance at this year’s Zhuhai Airshow in November, if the pandemic was sufficiently under control.
“The Zhuhai Airshow is expected to become a platform to promote China’s image and its success in pandemic control – telling the outside world that the contagion did not have any big impacts on Chinese defense industry enterprises,” a source said.
But the appearance of the bomber at this year’s air show could heighten tensions by directly threatening countries within its strike range, especially Australia, Japan and the Korean peninsula.
“The Beijing leadership is still carefully considering whether its commission will affect regional balance, especially as regional tensions have been escalating over the Covid-19 pandemic,” another source said.
“Like intercontinental ballistic missiles, all strategic bombers can be used for delivering nuclear weapons … if China claimed it had pursued a national defense policy which is purely defensive in nature, why would it need such an offensive weapon?”
Tensions in the region have worsened in the past month with a war of words between Beijing and Washington over the pandemic, and both sides increasing naval patrols of the Taiwan Strait and South and East China seas.
The US defense department has estimated a cruising distance of over 8500km for the H-20, the last in China’s 20 series of new generation warplanes, which includes the J-20 stealth fighter jet, the Y-20 giant transporter and the Z-20 medium-lift utility helicopter.
The arrival of the H-20 would mark the completion of China’s “nuclear triad” of ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched missiles and air-launched weapons.
Read More HERE
Former President Obama reemerged from hibernation to lecture Americans about the threat to rule of law posed by the Trump administration.
After Attorney General Bill Barr announced that the Department of Justice would be dropping its case against President Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who had pled guilty to one count of lying to the FBI, Obama told his former aides, “our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk.”
He explained, “There is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free. … And when you start moving in those directions, it can accelerate pretty quickly as we’ve seen in other places.”
In reality, of course, Flynn was never charged with perjury. He was charged with lying to the FBI in the course of an investigation, a separate and far lesser offense, particularly given the fact that his alleged lie was immaterial to any underlying crime.
In fact, as America found out over the past weeks, Flynn wasn’t supposed to be the subject of any investigation at all: The FBI had decided to close an investigation into Flynn in January 2017, even after supposedly nefarious calls between Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Remember, this month’s film review; I assign a film to watch each month—and give you a link to it; you’re invited to email in your comments—and we’ll review it on the last show of the month. Share the link with your friends or tell them that they can find the link on the Blog section of FrontlinesOfFreedom.com.
The movie for this month is: Air Show
Here’s the link: https://vimeo.com/267180154
It will require the password: newcomer
Please send me your thoughts about the movie: Denny@FrontlinesofFreedom.com
“If successful people have one common trait, it’s an utter lack of cynicism. The world owes them nothing. They go out and find what they need without asking for permission; they’re driven, talented, and work through negatives by focusing on the positives.”
Losing our Fears—in War and Plague
Seventy-five years ago this month, Germany surrendered, ending the European theater of WWII. At the war’s beginning, no one believed Germany would utterly collapse in May 1945.
On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, the day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, German invaders were on the verge of capturing Moscow. Britain was isolated. London had barely survived a terrible German bombing during the Blitz.
A sleeping America was neutral, but it was beginning to realize it was weak and mostly unarmed in a scary world.
But by 1943, a booming US economy was fielding vast military forces from Alaska to the Sahara. Britain and America were bombing the German heartland. The Soviet Red Army had trapped and destroyed a million-man German army at Stalingrad.
How did the Allies — Britain, the Soviet Union and the U.S. — turn around the European war so quickly?
Iran’s Attempted Hack of Israel’s Water System
Iran is being linked to an attempted cyberattack last month that authorities believe was aimed at disrupting water supplies in at least two locations in Israel as that country was seeking to contain a covid-19 outbreak, according to foreign intelligence officials familiar with the matter.
The incident, which occurred on April 24 and 25, was quickly detected and thwarted before it could cause damage. But Israeli officials and analysts fear it could signal a further escalation in hostilities between the two countries and that Iran is getting bolder in its efforts to sabotage key systems.
“Cyberattacks that intentionally damage critical infrastructure shouldn’t be condoned,” said a senior Trump administration official, who declined to discuss any specific incident and who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the topic’s sensitivity. “We think they’re very destabilizing.”
The hackers sought to cripple computers that control water flow and wastewater treatment for a pair of rural districts in Israel, according to two officials of a foreign government that monitored the attack in real time.
Investigators found that the hackers routed their attempted attack through computer servers in the US and Europe – a common tactic used by adversaries of the West.
Space Force’s First Recruiting Commercial
The US Space Force’s first commercial has a message for its new troops and potential recruits: “Maybe your purpose on this planet isn’t on this planet.”
It’s the closing line in the 30-second commercial, which gives viewers a glimpse into what a Space Force job might look like. That could mean protecting US satellites in ground operations centers, overseeing rocket launches to deploy satellites in orbit, or perhaps recovering the super-secret X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, according to the imagery seen in the video.
This Will Be Tough
Army equipment experts want to know whether defense firms can design a new level of technology for identifying friendly troops on the battlefield that can avoid detection from enemy night vision gear.
Avoiding fratricide is still a challenge for US ground forces in particular, despite advances in technology ranging from small, wearable infrared beacons to sophisticated tactical smartphone-based systems that allow leaders to track the location of friendly units.
But responses from recent soldier surveys show a need for an enhanced Individual Friend or Foe (IFF) capability for dismounted soldiers that can be incorporated into uniforms and individual equipment and identified at extended ranges, according to a recent market survey posted on the beta.sam.gov website by officials from the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center at Natick, Massachusetts.
Once a Hero, Always a Hero
Dodging bombs and bullets and surrounded by German enemy soldiers, 19-year-old US Army Pvt. Daniel Zane had one purpose in mind as he bolted 80 yards through an open field on March 2, 1945. A fellow soldier was hurt.
Zane carried the injured man to safety, an act that earned him a Bronze Star.
A long lifetime later, 94-year-old Zane was again unfaltering, never leaving his wife Valerie Zane’s bedside during the past year and a half as she neared the end of her seven-year struggle with Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
In March, as the novel coronavirus pummeled nursing homes in the US, Valerie Zane’s unit in Haverford, Pennsylvania, had not yet had any cases but decided to close its doors to visitors. To continue to see her, he moved out of his independent living apartment and into a unit below her hospice room. And he stayed, even after a nurse there tested positive for the virus, which causes the disease covid-19.
Daniel Zane did not want his wife of 71 years to die alone.
Weeks after he moved in, Daniel Zane became fatigued and had trouble breathing. He was taken to a hospital.
On April 15, a day after his test came back positive for covid-19, Valerie Zane died. Daniel Zane was already unresponsive.
He died two days later.
Marine Gender-Integrated Boot Camp???
A planned independent, in-depth assessment of the Marine Corps’ historically gender-segregated boot camp training model hasn’t started yet — because no one has volunteered to conduct it.
The service didn’t receive any applications following its November request for public universities to study the way it trains recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina, Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for the command, told Military.com.
The service has traditionally separated men and women there, though there have been some recent coed companies that trained together but lived in separate squad bays. The Marine Corps wanted a third-party study to provide “objective, data-driven recommendation for policy change” to improve entry-level training for incoming recruits.
Air Force Cancels Formation Landings
The US Air Force has suspended T-38 Talon formation training landings following a fatal crash that killed two pilots last fall.
The service directed the suspension of the side-by-side landing for its undergraduate pilot training on March 5, a spokesperson for Air Education and Training Command’s 19th Air Force said in an email.
“We are constantly evaluating our training programs to ensure we provide the best possible pilots for our Air Force,” the spokesperson said. “Following an Air-Force wide review, we adjusted our syllabi to reflect the requirements of our fifth generation Air Force and advances in avionics.” Air Force Magazine was first to report the news.
The suspension was directed months after two Air Force T-38 trainer aircraft were involved in an accident at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, on Nov. 21, 2019.
The West Point Alumni Glee Club and VE Day
May 8 marked the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day. Regrettably, this VE Day found many of our remaining WWII Veterans in assisted living and nursing facilities without visitation by friends and families during the pandemic. The West Point Alumni Glee Club wanted them all to know they are not forgotten, and asks you to share this video with families and facilities caring for these WWII Veterans. The video is from the show “Johnny Vet: Freedom Isn’t Free – a Veteran’s Musical Journey through History,” performed by the Club in November of 2017 – and is a tribute to the “Greatest Generation.” The West Point Alumni Glee Club is comprised of over 40 West Point alumni, averaging almost 20 years of active duty service, with over 75% having combat experience.
Army Vet Wins Golf Outing Using Only a Putter
An amateur golfer putted his way to victory at an Arizona event. Anthony Griggs, a 60-year-old Army veteran, is among the newcomers of the Golfweek Amateur Tour. He went on to win the D Flight at Whirlwind Golf Club at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, shooting an 84.
Griggs, remarkably, used only a putter during the entire round, according to Golfweek. The Gary, Ind., native moved to Arizona in 2001 and started using a putter while playing after he lost interest in the sport. It was suggested by a friend that he used the putter to increase the difficulty.
Griggs was set to use a Scotty Cameron putter for the tournament, which runs for about $400 on the traditional golf equipment websites. However, he broke it while practicing.
According to Golfweek, Griggs went to a nearby goodwill store and bought a Wilson Staff putter for $2.99 that he used for the event. He won by six strokes. He also made one birdie during his round. Nobody else listed in the top 11 recorded a birdie.
Read More HERE
Last fall, the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association asked its 3,400 members, all current or former military pilots, to respond to a survey about whether they had been diagnosed with cancer. The response was “astonishing,” a leader of the group said.
A total of 894 association members, known as “River Rats,” responded to the seven-question survey which asked, “Have you ever been diagnosed with cancer?” The results of the survey were shared exclusively with McClatchy.
“500 of them, 56% of them, said ‘Yes, I am disclosing a personal cancer.’ That was astonishing. I was not prepared for that,” said retired Air Force F-15E strike Eagle pilot Col. Vince “Aztec” Alcazar, in an interview with McClatchy. Alcazar, who does not have cancer, serves on the association’s medical issues committee.
Of the 500 respondents who disclosed at least one cancer, “13% of them disclosed multiple cancers,” Alcazar said.
The most commonly reported cancer was melanoma or skin cancer, and the second most common was prostate cancer, Alcazar said.
Read More HERE
The head of US Special Operations Command said that winning the fights of the future may depend less on door-kickers and more on tech-savvy operators trained for the cyber and information battlespace.
“We still need guys who can kick down the door, that can shoot well, that can jump out of airplanes, that can fly our special operators — we need all those men and women,” Army Gen. Richard Clarke told an audience at the National Defense Industrial Association’s 2020 conference.
“But we also need coders. We also need leaders who can apply [artificial intelligence]. It may no longer be that the most important person on the mission is actually the Special Forces operator who is kicking down the door, but it could be the cyber operator that the special operations team actually has to get to the environment and make sure that he or she can work his or her cyber tools into the fight.”
A major part of Special Operations Command’s role in the fight against violent extremism and great power competition is the physical presence of small teams of special operations forces around the world, Clarke said.
But it’s becoming increasingly important for SOF to operate in the non-physical information space, added Clarke, who is convinced that “working in the information space can have the greatest impact in the coming years.”
The Best 20-Minute Workout
Do you want to jump start your New Year with some great fitness ideas that you can incorporate into your fitness routine? If you are like many Americans, getting the time to exercise is challenging. But, this article is proof that you can fit fitness into your schedule on just about any “busy” day in your life.
The other day, I was emailed the following question: I only have about 20-30 minutes a day to exercise. What can I do in that amount of time? Not wanting to limit the answer to – just a few pushups and situps – I set out to prove how much you could do in such a little amount of time. My goal is to prove that you do not need several hours to maintain a fitness program – just minutes a day. Though the transition time may add to the total time invested in your workout, here is a list of 20-30 minute workouts you can do in your home, office, lunch time, or local gym:
The superset is a great way to workout, if you have limited time. Each cycle should take you two minutes. If you can do ten cycles of this, you will total 300 pushups and 400 crunches. Not bad for 20 minutes! No resting in between sets! You basically rest by doing crunches. The two supersets you see below are great to alternate every other day.
Read More HERE
A new “Marine Littoral Regiment” coming to Hawaii–the first of its kind in the Marine Corps–represents a major shift for the service in the “great power ” competition playing out in the Western Pacific and preparation for a high-tech missile war in the region.
Instead of training for low-tech counterinsurgency missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, which defined the Corps for nearly two decades, littoral, or nearshore, Marines will become specialists in ship-to-shore capabilities in austere conditions to, among other things, sink ships at sea using missiles fired from unmanned vehicles that look like bulked-up Humvees.
The unmanned vehicles will operate inside the range of extremely capable enemy missiles fired back at them while trying to move about quickly to avoid being targeted.
Additional Marine Littoral Regiments may be based in Japan and Guam, but the first Hawaii-based unit is expected to have 1,800 to 2,000 Marines carved out mainly from units already here, including one of three infantry battalions at Kaneohe Bay, according to Maj. Joshua Benson, a spokesman for Marine Corps Combat Development Command.
As an exception, most of the companies and firing batteries that will make up a littoral anti-air battalion will come from units not currently stationed in Hawaii.
Military Heatstroke Cases
Heatstroke and heat exhaustion pose a “persistent threat” to the US military, even as cases of heat-related illnesses appeared to decline among troops in 2019, according to a new Defense Health Agency report.
In 2019, 507 cases of heatstroke and 2,174 cases of heat exhaustion were diagnosed in active- duty service members, down from a record 2,792 in 2018, including 578 cases of heatstroke and 2,214 of heat exhaustion.
Given the sharp rise of heat-related illnesses among service members between 2008 and 2018, including at least 17 deaths, the drop in 2019 appears to show that the military services are successfully addressing the threat of heat-related illnesses, with new initiatives designed to ensure the safety of personnel training in locations with high temperatures and humidity.
God Loves Us
Scott McChrystal is a retired Army Colonel, Chaplain. Here are some of his insights that I think you’ll find appropriate.
SUBJECT: Don’t Underestimate What You Can Do
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)
Covid-19 has struck fear into the hearts of millions of people—what will the future look like? Obviously, there are valid reasons to fear this deadly virus and to take the necessary steps to minimize the tragic loss of life brought on by this invisible killer.
With God’s help, along with great efforts by people across America, it appears that the worst may be in our rearview mirror. Our attention now has shifted to how quickly, but safely, our country can return to some sense of normalcy. And what will “normal” even look like?
A common frustration people are voicing goes something like this: “I hate not being in control. I’m sick of hearing about all of the restrictions and the things I can’t do!”
May I suggest a different way of thinking? Ask yourself, “What can I do?”
There is much in this life you can’t control–stuff happens. But you can control your response. You alone control your attitude and mindset.
I remember like it was yesterday. Following a speaking engagement at a church in Alton, Missouri, my family was invited to eat dinner with a vet and his family who had attended the church service. This man served as a Marine in the Viet Nam war and had lost both legs due to a booby trap—both legs were short stubs. At church he rode in a wheelchair. At home he moved around by walking on his hands to include going up and down stairs. As we approached his house, we saw a most amazing thing. The vet was on top of his roof laying shingles. He was roofing his home entirely by himself. I would not have believed except I saw it myself.
God created you in His image. The Master Builder designed you to be tough, resilient, creative and able to withstand the storms of life—not in your own strength, but in the power and abilities only He can provide.
You can control more than you realize. You can do more than you think you can do. It starts by trusting what God says in His Word. He hasn’t given you “a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.”
This is the day that God has made. What will you do with it?
Civil War History
Here are some questions on the Civil War; we’ll post the answers in the next newsletter.
Last issue’s questions:
1.What was the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River to fall and when?
Ans: Port Hudson, MS., July 9, 1863.
2. What is significant about the Blair House with respect to the Civil War and where is it?
Ans: It was the home of Francis P. Blair where Robert E. Lee was offered command of the Union armies and turned it down in the spring of 1861. It is across the street from the White House and is used today for VIP visitors.
Here are the new questions:
1. Approximately 20 – 25% of Union soldiers were foreign born, mostly Germany and Ireland. The Confederacy attempted to obtain Papal (Pope Pius IX) aid to limit immigration into the United States from which country?
2. Can you name more than three nicknames for Confederate LTG T. J. Jackson?
“8th of November” by Big and Rich
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Two quotes to consider.
No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.
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John Quincy Adams
Programming: You’ll want to tune into the show (live or by podcast).
23-29 May: This is our Memorial Day Show. American Legion National Command Bill Oxford will return to the show to discuss the history of Memorial Day. Then retired Marine Capt Dale Dye will discuss his career and his new books. And Army vet John Davis will discuss his book, Combat to College.
30 May – 5 Jun: This is our Traditional Memorial Day Show. The AMVETS National Commander, Jan Brown, will discuss how to celebrate on Memorial Day. And Jesse and Tara Johnson-Brower will join us to discuss how they overcame his severe Post Traumatic Stress. And we’ll review the Movie of the Month.
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FORT HOOD, Texas – In what friends and family are calling an existential crisis, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Chris Vance has been unsure where to disappear to since being ordered to work from home in response to COVID19.
Vance, a Blackhawk helicopter pilot and Unit Safety Officer, typically spends his workday vanishing from either the hangar, the flight line, or his unit’s offices and spending time at home. With home as his designated place of duty, he now finds himself at a loss for where to go next.
“I told my wife I had to go to dental but then the base announced that all non-hospital facilities are closed” said Vance. “And with the restaurants closed too, I couldn’t even go out to lunch so now I need to find a way to fill those three hours.”
On Friday, Vance’s unit attempted to reach him at home, where both of his children reported that they had, “just seen him a second ago,” and that “his stuff is here so he must be around.” Vance’s wife believes he is currently splitting time between the post golf course and “heading to battalion” though there are no reports of him being seen at either place and he hasn’t been answering his phone.
Vance has actually spent the majority of his time since Thursday at his unit’s headquarters performing tasks ranging from complaining about the coffee, running up a tab on the fridge fund, and doing work. In the past 48 hours he has completed AT Level 1 training, the Defensive Drivers Course, and become ordained as a minister.
“It’s been a struggle feeling like I’ve got nowhere to go while not working from home,” said Vance who confirmed he intends to continue coming to the office. “I thought about hitting up this strip club in town offering ‘Corona-Free Handies’ but I don’t feel comfortable being in a place like that while not on TDY.”
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Lt. Col. Denny Gillem (Ret.)