hughesyardie - Sat 17 Mar 2012 21:19 GMT
Taff Minton - Tue 28 Feb 2012 23:27 GMT
hughesyardie - Mon 27 Feb 2012 17:52 GMT
june - Wed 08 Feb 2012 08:22 GMT
jenna55us - Mon 06 Feb 2012 00:51 GMT
vanessa - Mon 30 Jan 2012 20:57 GMT
shef64 - Mon 23 Jan 2012 17:42 GMT
Tenerife Marine - Sat 21 Jan 2012 11:00 GMT
jim - Thu 29 Dec 2011 18:25 GMT
FoxnWolf - Thu 29 Dec 2011 00:18 GMT
Wednesday, September 14
by FoxnWolf on Wed 14 Sep 2011 09:56 BST
FORCES PENSIONS (update)
You may be interested in reading this petition and supporting it.
Forces Pension Society newsletter tells of an RPI/CPI e-petition which
has been established hoping to reverse the Government's decision to link
pension increases to CPI instead of RPI. The Government will debate
e-petitions that achieve 100,000 signatures, so please can you pass on
the following link to ex-servicemen that you know in the hope that
they'll sign it, as it affects all of us. The link is:
Monday, November 29
Friday, September 24
by FoxnWolf on Fri 24 Sep 2010 10:01 BST
Soldiers' Pensions - Killed in Action
Hi all. PLEASE can you all sign this petition for soldiers pensions on the link below and pass on to all of your friends and families. For those of you who don't know Sgt Matty Telford was killed 3rd Nov 2009 by a rogue Afghan Policeman. Now you will all remember him from the news as 'Sergeant' Matty Telford but the army give his children his pension at corporal rate because he was sergeant for less than a year. The unfairness of this is that he was promoted so he could do this job in Afghan and had he not been promoted he would have been doing a different job and may have been with us today. After this petition was started it came to light that this is happening to a lot of our brave heroes families.
Wednesday, September 8
by Gongdonkey on Wed 08 Sep 2010 17:43 BST
Please, give this a few minutes of your time - I think that it is important if not for you, then for your children and grandchildren
Have a look at it then, if you agree with it, give some thought to signing up.
Of course, there is always the possibility that you would prefer to speak "Napoleon" rather than "Wellington" !
Sunday, August 22
by FoxnWolf on Sun 22 Aug 2010 13:48 BST
Forever Young A song for Wootton Bassett
Asking friends to watch Forever Young A song for Wootton Bassett is an important way to raise awareness and recruit more people to National Airplay for Forever Young: A song for Wootton Bassett so keep up the great work and invite more friends to watch!
Originally Performed by: Peter, Paul & Mary.
May God bless and keep you always
Thursday, August 19
by FoxnWolf on Thu 19 Aug 2010 18:46 BST
Shrinking The USMCAugust 15, 2010: The U.S. Marine Corps is again threatened, this time with a sharp reduction in its size. In response, marine commanders say they would prefer to be a smaller force, one that concentrates on its main mission; amphibious operations. The marines were unhappy with the way they have been used as an army auxiliary over the past decade. The marines consider themselves specialists, while the army are generalists (and, for example, carried out more amphibious operations than the marines did during World War II). But by law (which specifies the minimum size of the Corps, a law that could be changed) and determination (of generations of marines), the marines have come to comprise a quarter of America's ground combat forces. That's active duty, when you could the much larger army reserve force, the marines are 18 percent of ground combat forces. The marines never wanted to be just another part of American ground combat forces.
The marines are also concerned with their relationship with the U.S. Navy, which has now formed another ground combat force. To understand how this came about, you have to understand the relationship between the navy and the marines. The marines are not part of the navy, as they are often described. Both the navy and marines are part of the Department of the Navy. The Department of the Army and Department of the Air Force each have only one component.
Over the years, the marines have acquired more and more autonomy from the navy. When the U.S. Marine Corps was created, over two centuries ago, marines were sailors trained and equipped to fight as infantry, and they were very much part of the navy, and part of ship crews. This changed radically in the late 19th century, when all-metal steam ships replaced wooden sailing ships. The new "iron ships" really didn't need marines, and there were proposals to eliminate them. In response, the American marines got organized and made themselves useful in other ways. For example, the marines performed very well as "State Department Troops" in Latin America for half a century (late 19th century to just before World War II), where American troops were frequently used to deal with civil disorder abroad, and nation building. During World War I (1914-18), they provided a brigade for ground combat in Europe, where they demonstrated exceptional combat skills.
During the 1930s, as World War II approached, the U.S. Marine Corps really ran with the ball when the navy realized they would have to use amphibious assaults to take heavily fortified Japanese islands in any future war. Thus, once the U.S. entered World War II, the marines formed their first division size units, and ended the war with six divisions, organized into two corps.
The Marine Corps was no longer just a minor part of the navy, but on its way to being a fourth service. Over the next half century, it basically achieved that goal. But in doing that, the navy lost control of its ground troops. Navy amphibious ships still went to sea, with battalions of marines on board. But because the marines are mainly an infantry force, and the war on terror is basically an infantry scale battle, the marines spent a lot more time working alongside the U.S. Army.
Thus, over the last five years, the new U.S. Navy has built a new ground combat force, staffed by 40,000 sailors. This is NECC (Navy Expeditionary Combat Command), which is capable of operating along the coast and up rivers, as well as further inland. NECC units have served in Iraq, and are ready to deploy anywhere else they are needed. The 1,200 sailors in the EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) teams are particularly sought after, because of increased use of roadside bombs and booby traps by the enemy. NECC has also organized three Riverine Squadrons, and these served in Iraq. NECC basically consists of most of the combat support units the navy has traditionally put ashore, plus some coastal and river patrol units that have usually only been organized in wartime.
This new navy organization, and the strategy goes with it, still comes as a surprise to many people, especially many of those in Congress who were asked to pay for it. It came as a surprise to many NECC sailors as well. The navy even called on the marines to provide infantry instructors for the few thousand sailors assigned to riverine (armed patrol boat) units. The navy already had infantry training courses for Seabees (naval construction personnel) and members of EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) teams. Now it's combining all that in the new Expeditionary Combat Skills (ECS) course, which will be conducted at a base in Mississippi.
With the marines appropriated by the army for land combat, the navy still wanted and needed land forces. So the navy has created NECC. The navy still considers the marines its primary "infantry force", but the NECC will contain sailors trained and equipped for land operations the navy believes it should be involved in. Some of these are still on the water, like "riverine operations" (small gunboats and troop carriers to control rivers and coastal waters against irregulars), and "naval infantry" to defend navy land bases in hostile territory.
The U.S. Marine Corps has mixed feelings about NECC, for the marines have long been the navy's ground combat troops. The navy says that the USMC mission will remain. Thus the marines want to shrink so they become small enough to handle anticipated navy amphibious operations, and not large enough to have troops available for large scale support of army operations.
In effect, the American marines want to be more like the British marines. That's interesting, because British marines are called Royal Marine Commandos, and are quite different. Britain, which invented the modern concept of the commando, disbanded it's ten army commando's (as the battalion size commando units were called) at the end of World War II. The Royal Marines, however, saw the commando concepts as a welcome addition to their own amphibious doctrine and retained three of their nine Royal Marine Commandos. Since World War II, the Royal Marines have maintained at least three commando battalions (called commandos, instead of battalions.) Artillery and engineer units are supplied by the army.
Like the U.S. Marines, the Royal Marines realized that assault from the sea was always a commando like operation, requiring special training, bold leadership and an aggressive spirit. The Royal Marines, like their American counterparts, continued to innovate. In 1956, it was a Royal Marine Commando that launched the first helicopter assault from ships against a land target (during the invasion of Egypt). The Royal Marine Commandos were used extensively to keep the peace in Ireland during the 1970s and 80s. In 1982, it was two Royal Marine Commandos and one parachute battalion that did most of the fighting to retake the Falkland Islands from Argentina. The Royal Marines have performed peacekeeping duty in the Balkans and Africa, and served as an amphibious fast reaction force.
While the U.S. Marines made a name for themselves with multi-division amphibious operations in the Pacific during World War II, the Royal Marines stuck with the commando type operations that characterize what marines spend most of the time doing between major wars. Remember, the last large scale amphibious operation took place sixty years ago (Inchon, Korea in 1950). Since then, the typical marine mission has been a quick assault using a small (usually battalion size) force.
In anticipation of this, the U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) was created over the last few years. In that time, it has sent some of its 2,400 personnel on over thirty deployments (in South America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Southeast Asia). MARSOC is organized into a headquarters, a two battalion Special Operations Regiment, a Foreign Military Training Unit, and a Marine Special Operations Support Group. There are 3-4 Special Operations companies in each battalion. The marines basically lost two of their four Force Recon companies (one of them a reserve unit) in order to build MARSOC. Meanwhile, more troops have been added to division level reconnaissance units, to take up some of that slack. The Special Operations companies (with about 120 personnel each) can provide Force Recon capabilities to marine units they are attached to. The two Special Operations Battalions provide a combination of services roughly equal to what the U.S. Army Special Forces and Rangers do, as well as some of the functions of the Force Recon units. Eventually, there are to be nine companies in the two Special Operations Battalion.
All the other services, except the marines, contributed to the formation of SOCOM (Special Operations Command) in the late 1980s. The marines finally got around to working with SOCOM in 2005, when it was agreed that they would create a marine special operations command (MARSOC). The Marine Corps had long resisted such a step, largely because of its belief that marines are inherently superior warriors, capable of highly specialized missions. This attitude began to change during the fighting in Afghanistan, when marines were assigned to support SOCOM troops there.
As a result of that experience, marines were attached to SOCOM for liaison and observation purposes. In 2004, the marines organized a company sized unit of commandos, "Detachment One", using volunteers from their Force Recon troops, the closest thing the marines had to commandos. Detachment One was sent to Iraq, where it's performance convinced SOCOM that marines could operate at the SOCOM level.
The marines see their future as a smaller (by a up to a third, or more), even more elite, force, and better equipped force. The marines want to get back to sea, and the reduction in force (RIF) can be done without losing a lot of the valuable combat experience the marines have gained in the last nine years. Recruiting will be reduced for a few years, and some marines can transfer to the navy (in jobs that both sailors and marines handle), especially the NECC force. Marines have long moved over to the army, and the army would be glad to get an infusion of combat experienced marines, especially NCOs and officers. The marines may also expand their reserve force, and marines who decide to get out, can simply move over to the reserves.
The marines who remain with the Corps will probably continue the more
extensive training marines have been getting for several decades now. This
makes the marines an even more elite force, which is what many marines are
Why does the UK & US governments want to "shaft" their Marine Corp ???
Thursday, August 12
by FoxnWolf on Thu 12 Aug 2010 14:27 BST
Royal Marines future
You may have either seen or heard of the discussions in the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) and UK press concerning a likely UK Army initiated suggestion for UK defence budget cuts, which would involve disbanding the Royal Marines in its current and 300+ year old traditional form as part of the Royal Navy, and making the Royal Marines be made part of the UK Army; as part of a special warfare element comprising the UK parachute Regiment and the Royal Marines.
When this sort of loose and very dangerous talk is going around MOD things tend to stick unless more informed opinion and facts are brought into play. In that regard, I thought the Commandant General Royal Marines recent speech to the Royal United Services Institute in London should get wide distribution as it so eloquently and succinctly expresses the extreme value UK defence gets from the Royal Marines, and has done throughout the ages. Most grateful if you could pass this on widely through USMC circles as a cry for help from one Marine to another.
Letter from CGRM; 7th July 2010
“WHAT LESSONS FROM TODAY'S OPERATIONS ARE
SHAPING CAPABILITY IN THE FUTURE?"
Mark Twain described history as ‘a huge
Yesterday marked the 22nd anniversary (6th july 1088) of the Piper Alpha oil rig explosion, to which the Royal Navy was amongst the first to respond, in the guise of HMS PHOEBE and BLACKWATER
Today, in 1932, marked the nadir of the Dow Jones Index – during the maelstrom of the Great Depression
We currently grapple with the consequences of the sinking of the DEEP WATER HORIZON - together with a global recession whose full implications are yet to be realised - not least for an island nation state so dependent on international trade
All of which suggests that there perhaps really is ‘nothing new under the sun, only history you didn’t know about’ – something to reflect upon when envisaging radical change to time proven capabilities in James Bergeron’s ‘Transitional Age’, where the new rules are poorly understood
Today also happens to be the anniversary of a maritime culinary revolution – in 1862, the ‘sea trials’ began of dried potatoes - brackets sliced - and dried meat - brackets – ground – so eat your heart out Jamie Oliver - the spirit of innovation in the Fleet leaves you astern by a century and a half. It’s not just the Army which marches on its stomach!
[Slide – Significance of Littoral]
Analysis presented in the Future Character of Conflict work coincident with the Defence Green Paper as well as the Foreign Secretary’s remarks, dissected yesterday by Christopher Meyer, indicates that an effective player in the complex; congested, contested cluttered, constrained and connected security environment of the future - must be able to influence through global reach; create time and space for political engagement, and offer scalable capability – from diplomatic to kinetic, to enable and to preserve the maximum range of strategic choices, for as long as possible.
The Secretary of State reaffirmed, here, on the 14th June, that the primary mission of the Armed Forces is the application of lethal force.
But Littoral Manoeuvre – a concept which
encompasses Amphibious and Maritime Strike Operations - is distinguished by its rheostatic
nature. It is scaleable, flexible and
agile – even chameleon in character – it can be employed as a precise and
responsive instrument to support our Foreign and Security policy.
Fundamentally it is about manoeuvre not
attrition nimbleness not mass adaptability not fixity discrimination not
prescription It offers presence.
The ability to poise; to influence; to apply ‘force on mind’ through a judiciously
calibrated posture – without occupation; to deter and coerce without
commitment. It can PREVENT in the widest
sense, whether by direct involvement; by facilitating the business of Other Government
Departments, or as a visible, powerful symbol of
And, if needs be, it can, as a brigade Theatre Entry Force … smash down the door…albeit elegantly, and mindful of the implications of Feng Shui!
The utility of this instrument is writ large through the 29 deployments involving either specialist amphibious shipping and/or the Landing Force, over the past 10 years, applying a carefully calibrated blend of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ power across the globe.
72.5% of the Royal Marines is deployable and 64% will deploy or be at high readiness to deploy over the next 24 months; others are committed to protecting the nuclear deterrent, SFSG and the Band Service. 70 % of the RMR has deployed for 6 months on Operations since 2003.
Acknowledging the current gaps arising from the HERRICK Main Effort, we retain the fundamental capabilities to deliver a Theatre Entry effect independent of Access, Basing and Overflight limitations.
That’s the ‘How’ – now the ‘What’
We have an Amphibious Fleet in being comprising of 1 x
LPH, 2 x LPDs and 4 x LSDAs. These
assets have a mean age of only 7 years. They cost £1.3Bn to procure and they are
projected to remain in service beyond 2032.
They can manoeuvre to outflank and strike, with strategic agility, over 300 nautical miles, in 24 hours.
The Landing Force - 3 Commando Brigade - has the capacity to land 2 Commando Groups ashore in one cycle of darkness, from over the horizon, up to sea state 4, with a first assault wave of 500 men hitting the target simultaneously in a four Company Group lift, two by surface and two by air.
I thought I might now use a couple of vignettes from last year, and the present, to demonstrate the utility of this construct - this joint amphibious team:
Starting with my deployable 2* Headquarters, which has been committed on operations for 51% of its 8 year life.
Based on staff of about 50, this HQ has now deployed as a Maritime, Land, National and Amphibious Component Command.
year it deployed to
3 Commando Brigade was engaged at the outset of the TELIC campaign – conducting an opposed amphibious helicopter assault onto the Al Faw peninsula ahead of the main attack. So first in - and last out …
40 Commando deployed for 6 months, as an Amphibious Ready Group on Exercise TAURUS, developing contingent capability toward BSSFI .
It trained, exercised,
and engaged with
Partnering is maritime core business – it is braided throughout the Royal Navy’s 500 year history.
The ARG’s activities
ranged from the largest scale UK/Saudi Arabia exercise since Operation GRANBY,
in 1991, through to individual small boat training in
Throughout the entire period of TAURUS 40 Commando
remained poised as the
Meanwhile the bulk of the Brigade was engaged in
These have been ‘hard yards’, the butcher’s bill makes grim reading - pro rata, Lovat warriors have sustained over 2.5 times both the fatal casualties and the grievously wounded of our Khaki comrades.
But the ability to cope and flourish amidst complexity and uncertainty – together with familiarity with a joint and inter-agency approach, bred through training in the amphibious environment, has equipped us well for the demands of such messy wars amongst the people. This willingness to adjust, to endure and to seek understanding is a hallmark of our people, and a theme to which I will return.
year, my 2* Staff, having re-roled as a Maritime Component
Command through Ex COLD RESPONSE, now forms the core of the EUNAVFOR
Operational Headquarters, running the Counter Piracy Operation off the coast of
Somalia. 27 Nations collaborating with
NATO and Coalition Maritime Forces to safeguard the Global Commons. Twenty percent of the world’s trade passes
through the Babel Mendeb …one LPG tanker every two days en route to Milford
Haven – without which the lights of the
I have already touched upon 40 Commando and HERRICK
12 – they have been much in the press of late, holding the ring in Sangin. I will not labour this except to say that they
are seamlessly integrated into the
Meanwhile, as Peter [RAdm Peter Hudson RN, COMUKMARFOR] has said, a sizeable chunk of
the Brigade Landing Force is embarked and participating in an Amphibious and
Carrier Strike exercise – AURIGA – integrated again with US forces – building
on Exercises TAURUS, COL
One Maritime Force, consisting of two Task Groups, separable but not separate, providing: Contingent, Expeditionary, Scaleable, Independent, Organic, Flexible, Balanced and potentially Forward Deployed forces.
So what of the future?
For this maritime force to integrate fully, our surface assault capabilities must have speed and reach, enhancing further our ability to manoeuvre and negate an adversary’s access denial (A2D2) capabilities. The acquisition of the triad of genuine, fast Over the Horizon assault craft between 2016-19, is a priority.
30 Commando IX Group is unique, and is the modem for
the 3 Commando Brigade’s precision effect.
It is key to its UNDERSTAND and DISCRIMINATE functions. It comprises 20% of the
I have neglected so far to mention several of the Defence Lines of Development which underpin the future of the LitM capability. Training is one: Lympstone – the centre which provides all of this: training the airmen, sailors, marines and soldiers – the many, many soldiers, who lean into this Commando challenge. Lympstone, of the 12 training organisations scrutinised by OFSTED last year, was cited as the very clear exemplar in terms of effectiveness and efficiency.
In conclusion though and tying the past, present and future together, I would focus briefly on the people engaged in this activity. The moral component – the why we fight: the single most important factor.
The FCOC Paper states
that ‘the future agile force favours the capability of people (physical and mental robustness, flexibility
and a premium on training) over platform numbers.’
The activities I have described are undertaken by extraordinarily high-calibre people.
The Boys and girls are Bright:
Forty percent of Royal Marine recruits are educationally qualified to be officers. Over 10% have university degrees. Two currently in training have Masters Degrees and when I was running the Commando Wing fifteen years ago, two fully qualified vets joined up – we only discovered this when none of their respective troops visited the Sickbay because they were being ‘physicked’ with Horse Drench and Saddle Liniment.
I visited 539 Assault
Fifty percent of my
officers finish in the top ten percent at the
No, the Boys are Resilient, indeed I can reassure Julian [Professor
Julian Lindley French, Eisenhower Professor of
Three weeks ago Captain
John White, OC Recce Troop, 40 Commando was blown up on patrol. Barely conscious, having lost both his legs
and one of his arms, he sought to reassure his anxious Marines as they loaded
his stretcher onto the MEDEVAC flight. “Don’t
worry Boys, ‘gold’ in the
The Corps numbers 3% of the manpower of Defence, but constitutes 37% of the badged manpower of UK Special Forces.
And Finally – my Boys are Imaginative and Innovative - One example:
The week I became
Commandant General, Recruit Phillip Cain, 6 weeks into training contracted
Meningitis, despite repeated multiple amputations to stem the spread of the
disease, he very quickly died. His young
and still inexperienced Troop were adamant that they would carry his coffin at
his military funeral and were issued with Regimental Blues four months early to
do so with exemplary precision and self-control. At the 7 month point, they
duly completed their four Commando Tests and were, in time honoured tradition,
given their green berets at the end of the 30 Mile March on
I would suggest that whatever the future may hold, precious DNA such as this, will be of value to Her Majesty’s Government.
In 1803, Napoleon remarked of the Corps: ‘How much might be done with a hundred thousand soldiers such as these’
Sunday, June 13
by FoxnWolf on Sun 13 Jun 2010 10:57 BST
From... John Doe............................................
Has heard that the government, alarmed at the cost of police pensions, wants to depart from existing arrangements.
They propose that new entrants have to work for 40 years and will be on different pension programmes to that of existing officers. I suppose you can argue that it's up to individuals if they want to sign up to that.
More worrying for my friend is a proposal to freeze existing contributions. I'm not sure how this works but he says that the last two or three years of service is when your pension value starts to rise. If this is 'frozen', and his '30' is up in 2012, he stands to lose quite a bit of his promised commutation.
He is very worried. I would imagine that these proposals would be appealed for years and that John Doe would likely be out before conclusion. There's nothing about any changes to existing pensioners.
Years back, John Doe proposed that they offer 'final lump sums' to folks like us. It would buy us off forever and, from my point of view, would provide a useful sum to invest. I bet they now wish they had listened!