The Week Ahead in Defense: May 21, 2018

A soldier-in-training with Company D, 795th Military Police Battalion, lines up a shot on the LOMAH Range during Basic Combat Training at Fort Leonard Wood. The Army has finalized a plan to ensure new recruits receive more trigger time on their individual weapons. Stephen Standifird/Army
A soldier-in-training with Company D, 795th Military Police Battalion, lines up a shot on the LOMAH Range during Basic Combat Training at Fort Leonard Wood. The Army has finalized a plan to ensure new recruits receive more trigger time on their individual weapons. Stephen Standifird/Army

 

1. MORE TRIGGER TIME IN BASIC

From Military.com's Matthew Cox:

"U.S. Army training officials have finalized a plan to ensure new recruits in Basic Combat Training receive more trigger time on their individual weapons.

In the past, new soldiers would learn to shoot their 5.56mm M4 carbines and qualify with the Army's red-dot close combat optic. Under the new marksmanship training effort, soldiers will qualify on both the backup iron sight and the CCO, as well as firing more rounds in realistic combat scenarios.

The new BCT is designed to instill more discipline and esprit de corps in young soldiers after leaders from around the Army noted trends among soldiers fresh out of training displaying a lack of obedience, poor work ethic and low discipline.

The restructured training program will place increased emphasis on marksmanship training and other combat skills."

 

2. MESSAGES FOR LOVED ONES IN NIGER VIDEO

A new video put together by the Pentagon reveals four soldiers killed in an ambush in Niger last October left messages for loved ones on personal smart devices while pinned down by the enemy.

From Military.com's Richard Sisk:

"The previously missing details about the joint patrol of members of the Army's Third Special Forces Group and Nigerien forces were released May 17 in the form of a nearly 23-minute, mixed animation and video compact disc.

For as yet unspecified reasons, the Pentagon showed only a 10-minute version of the video and animation preceding a briefing May 10 by Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander of U.S. Africa Command.

Waldhauser was accompanied by his chief of staff, Army Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier, who led the Article 15-6 fact-finding investigation on the joint patrol known as Team Ouallam, for their base in Niger.

The shorter version [of the video] ended with the death under a thorn tree of Sgt. La David Johnson, whose body was not recovered until two days after the ambush. It left unclear what happened afterward.

At the outset, the narration of the long version cleared up earlier confusion on the number of troops and vehicles involved, and provided more detailed timelines on the recoveries of the bodies and rescue efforts."

 

3. SURPLUS 1911s FINALLY AVAILABLE

From Matthew Cox:

"The Civilian Marksmanship Program has released the much anticipated instructions for purchasing U.S. Army surplus 1911 .45 automatic pistols.

After reading the instructions on the CMP's 1911 webpage, it quickly becomes clear that it will not be easy to buy one of the 8,000 surplus .45s scheduled to go on sale in September.

The transfer of the Army 1911/1911A1 pistols to the CMP was announced in the fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.

Order form packets will be posted on the CMP website June 4. The CMP makes it quite clear that it does not want to be contacted with questions before June 4, nor will it take any orders before Sept. 4."

 

4. GUARDSMEN SAVE HAWAII RESIDENTS FROM LAVA

From the Canadian Press:

"Fast-moving lava crossed a road and isolated about 40 homes Friday in a rural subdivision below Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, forcing at least four people to be evacuated by county and National Guard helicopters.

Hawaii County Civil Defense said police, firefighters and National Guard troops were securing the area of the Big Island and stopping people from entering.

The homes were isolated in the area east of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens -- two neighborhoods where lava has destroyed 40 structures, including 26 homes, over the past two weeks.

Officials were assessing how many people were still in the newly threatened area. They were advising people to shelter in place and await further instructions.

County officials have been encouraging residents in the district to prepare for potential evacuations."

 

5. BATTALION COMMANDER FIRED DURING DEPLOYMENT

From Military.com:

The commander of a Marine Corps battalion currently deployed with a Marine expeditionary unit in the U.S. 5th Fleet was abruptly released from his duties due to "loss of trust and confidence in his ability to continue to lead the battalion," Marine officials announced today.

Lt. Col. Marcus Mainz, commander of battalion landing team 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, was removed from his post Saturday, according to a release from II Marine Expeditionary Force. He was relieved of command by Brig. Gen. Francis Donovan, commander of Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, a Bahrain-based command.

While 2/6 typically falls under the purview of II MEF, based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the unit has been deployed since February as the ground element of the 26th MEU. A spokesman for II MEF, Lt. Col. Michael Armistead, confirmed to Military.com that Mainz had been deployed with his unit in the 5th Fleet, a region that encompasses the Middle East, when he was relieved.

It wasn't immediately clear if Mainz would be sent home to the states or remain with the unit on deployment.

-- Matthew Cox, Richard Sisk and the Canadian Press contributed to this report.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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