Defense Update in Images and in a Few Words

Enduring Freedom

It is the weekend and time again to dedicate a few words, and images, to our troops.

Usually there is a “theme.”

This time, just my favorite images. (“So there…”)

But seriously, I hope you like them and, more important, I hope you’ll spend a few minutes thinking of our troops.

Personal privilege: I love the C-130 Hercules, the “workhorse” of the Air Force, an aircraft that has been faithfully and reliably serving the Air Forces of over 60 nations for almost 60 years.

For the last time

The last C-130E Hercules on Hurlburt Field, Fla. prepares for its final flight before retirement. This Hercules has been in service in the Air Force for more than 40 years and flew during the Vietnam War.

welcome home jig

Two little girls dance with anticipation as they wait for a welcoming home ceremony to begin on Fort Steward, Ga., March 7, 2013. Fifty soldiers, assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, returned home after being deployed for more than six months in Afghanistan.

We have to have at least one photo of those brave, loyal Military Working Dogs:

Joint Readiness Training Center

Army Sgt. Leslie Langford, left, comforts his military working dog, Ted, a Labrador retriever and bomb specialist, as he receives simulated medical care in the veterinary section of the Combat Support Hospital during aeromedical evacuation training on Fort Polk, La. Langford, a canine handler, and Ted are assigned to the 550th Military Working Dog Detachment, Fort Bragg, N.C.

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U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Tarwon Koah challenges patients from the Likas Hospital’s cancer unit to a hula-hoop contest in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, March 1, 2013. The U.S. sailors volunteered while in port to entertain children in the child cancer and blood transfusion wards, reading, playing games, music and dancing. Koah is assigned to the submarine tender USS Frank Cable

They train and fight, snow or shine:

snow patrol

U.S. Marines and Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces move in on an enemy position together during the final comprehensive bilateral force-on-force training evolution during Exercise Forest Light 13-3 at the Hokkaido-Dai Maneuver Area, Hokkaido, Japan, March 3, 2013. The training began with the Marines and JGSDF patrolling separately on foot and by mechanized vehicles to reach a temporary position and setup a hasty defense. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Kasey Peacock

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An F/A-18C Hornet launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Mediterranean Sea, March 13, 2013. The Eisenhower departed Naval Station Norfolk on a scheduled deployment to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th fleets areas of responsibility. The Hornet is assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 131

Our newest Defense Secretary on his first trip to the war zone, having a “light moment” with the troops:

hagel embraces soldier

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel embraces and laughs with a U.S. soldier in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, March 9, 2013. The soldier is assigned to the 101st Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team. Hagel traveled to Afghanistan on his first trip as the 24th defense secretary to visit U.S. troops, NATO leaders and Afghan counterparts. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

Operation Dynamic Partnership Part Three

U.S. Marines provide security in support of Operation Dynamic Partnership in the village of Shurakay in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, Feb. 18, 2013

It is still Women’s History Month:

SWEET EMBRACE

Tech. Sgt. Tanya Evans and her two kids, Marquis and Tierra, share a group hug March 11, 2013, at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England. Evans’ story of overcoming domestic abuse is one of several being featured during Women’s History Month. Evans is the 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron Traffic Management Office NCOIC of receiving and inbound. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stephanie Mancha)

Well, she is not really one of the troops, but she is a beautiful trooper…

Brooke Shields

Actress Brooke Shields rehearses a scene where she performs preflight checks on a C-17 Globemaster III during an on-location filming session Feb. 28, 2013, at Joint Base Charleston, S.C. The television show “Army Wives” tells the story of four women and one man who are brought together by their common bond — they all have military spouses. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman George Goslin)

Sorry, I just cannot get enough of these:

welcome delight

An Army soldier embraces his daughter while being recognized at a welcome home ceremony on Fort Campbell Army Airfield, March 1, 2013, when he returned from a deployment to Afghanistan. He and soldiers in his unit returned after about six months rather than the full nine months due to the progress of Afghan forces, which are conducting operations independently.

Lead Image: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Thomas Foster stands guard as Marines conduct a sweep of a compound near Patrol Base Boldak in Helmand province, Afghanistan, March 3, 2013. Foster is assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.

All Photos and captions: DOD

  

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

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