Saturday, February 24, 2018

Deputy Secretary, Australian Prime Minister Meet at Pentagon

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2018 — Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan hosted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the Pentagon yesterday for a bilateral meeting to discuss the robust defense relationship between the U.S. and Australia as well as the common strategic challenges the two nations face, Defense Department spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff A. Davis said in a readout of the meeting today.

“The leaders discussed our shared objectives and the strong alignment between the United States and Australia in addressing strategic challenges,” Davis said. Shanahan highlighted the National Defense Strategy and DoD’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, and to the nation’s allies and partners, he said.

Shanahan and Turnbull also reaffirmed their continued commitment and support to address the threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and other extremist groups, particularly in Southeast Asia, the captain said.

The leaders reflected on the strong U.S.-Australian alliance and 100 years of standing shoulder to shoulder during every major conflict since World War I, Davis said.

Cobra Gold 18: Allied Marines Learn Jungle Survival Skills

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony III Marine Expeditionary Force

SATTAHIP, Thailand, Feb. 23, 2018 — Sunlight peeks though the tree tops as the Marines make their way through a dense and humid jungle.

Rations and water have been consumed -- there is no opportunity for resupply for several days. The Marines are hungry and thirsty.

Yet, the Marines will continue on with their mission because they’ve had jungle survival training.

American and South Korean Marines were taught jungle survival skills by members of Thailand’s Marines here Feb. 19.

Learning Survival Skills

“Today we're teaching jungle survival to U.S. and [South] Korea's reconnaissance Marines,” said Royal Thai Marine Corps Master Sgt. Pairoj Prasansai, a jungle survival training instructor. “Survival is an important skill for all troops to learn, especially troops who may only have experience in urban combat but not in jungle survival.”

The class taught Marines basic skills to help them survive and thrive in a hot, dangerous environment.

“The course curriculum teaches troops how to find water sources, start fires, the differences in edible and nonedible vegetation and finding vines suitable for consumption and hydrating.” Prasansai said. “They also learn about dangerous animals and insects -- both venomous and nonvenomous -- that are native to Thailand and are suitable to eat.”

Reconnaissance Marines gather vital intelligence and relay information up to command-and-control centers, enabling leaders to act and react to changes in the battlefield. Recon troops operate deep into enemy territory with limited back up.
Marines get ready to eat a scorpion.
South Korea Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Choelryoong Wyang holds a scorpion while U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Alan Bounyasith, left, a 3rd Marine Division, reconnaissance Marine from Marietta, Ga., and Marine Corps Sgt. Leo Briseno, a 3rd Marine Division reconnaissance Marine from Corpus Christi, Texas, prepare to eat a scorpion during jungle survival training in Sattahip, Thailand, Feb. 19, 2018. The training was conducted as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2018. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony

“We fight at any time and place,” said Marine Corps Sgt. Stephen South, who hails from Goodyear, Arizona, and is assigned to the  3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division. “This training can be used during recon if we find ourselves far away from support options. Knowing what we can and can’t eat is very beneficial.”

Marines were given the opportunity to try some of the fruits, vegetables, herbs, insects and animals that can be found in the jungle, and were shown how to safely capture, handle and consume both venomous and nonvenomous snakes.

Drinking Cobra Blood

“In the wilderness you can drink the blood of a snake to stay hydrated,” Prasansai told the Marines as he picked up a cobra. “Snakes can provide you with both the food and water you need to survive.”

After preparing the snake, students were given the opportunity to drink the cobra’s blood.

“It tastes like blood with a hint of fish,” Marine Corps Sgt. Christopher Fiffie, a 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, said.

Many students enjoyed the new experience and gained valuable knowledge to help them in the field.

“I’ve never done anything like this before, and I didn’t know you could eat most of those plants,” said Marine Corps Sgt. William Singleton, who hails from Franklin, Georgia, and is assigned to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division.

“Seeing the different animals that you can eat is pretty mind-blowing. It will help us recognize [edible food sources] easier in the wilderness,” Singleton added.

Air Force Trials for Wounded Warriors Begins in Nevada

By Richard Salomon Air Force Personnel Center

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas, Feb. 23, 2018 — More than 125 wounded, ill and injured servicemen and women have trained and practiced for months in their chosen sports in preparation for the Air Force Trials held at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

The Air Force Trials start today and conclude March 2.

Promoting Mental, Physical Well-Being

The Air Force Trials is an adaptive and resiliency sports event designed to promote the mental and physical well-being of the participants. The sports events include wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, air pistol and rifle shooting, rowing, archery, cycling and powerlifting.

More than 40 wounded warriors from the U.S. Army, Great Britain and Australia will also be among the competitors at Nellis. The Air Force athletes will be vying for a spot on the Air Force team that will compete at the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games in June at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“Many of these courageous men and women have overcome significant hardships to take part in these trials, so we are committed to honoring and supporting them as they strive to achieve their personal best,” said Marsha Gonzales, Air Force’s Personnel Center Warrior Care Support Branch chief. “These adaptive sports events serve as a powerful recovery tool and help the participants build confidence, camaraderie and resiliency as they continue on the road to recovery.”


In addition to the sporting events, the athletes will also have access to music and comedy workshops and will be provided massage, chiropractic and physical therapy as well as other holistic healing services.

The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program hosts six CARE events a year in six different U.S. regions. CARE events provide recovering service members, veterans and their caregivers personalized service through caregiver support training, adaptive sports and resiliency programs, a mentorship workshop and employment readiness skills training.

The program is administered by the Air Force’s Personnel Center, and includes recovery care coordinators, nonmedical care managers and other professionals who work with wounded warriors, their families and caregivers to help guide them through various day-to-day challenges.