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JBLM explosives live-fire exercise a hands-on forum for military, civilian bomb techs alike

In some lines of work, truly substantial learning requires that you blow things up.

That was the idea behind Ravens Challenge, a three-day live-fire exercise at Leschi Town -- the premier mock village for training on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., -- that brought together military Explosive Ordnance Disposal, or EOD, and civilian bomb technicians from across Washington State and even agencies from as far as Portland, Ore., and British Columbia, Canada, Aug. 24-26.

Air Force celebrates JSF arrival, rolls out nation's airpower future

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- Air Force officials said the unveiling of the F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter was a "historic occasion" during a rollout ceremony here Aug. 26.

The F-35A, on display during the ceremony, was delivered here in July by Lt. Col. Eric Smith, the Air Force's first F-35 pilot.

"This is indeed a new era," said Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., the Air Education and Training Command commander and host of the milestone event.

Sortied Ships to Return to Port

The U.S. Second Fleet surface ships and submarines that sortied in advance of Hurricane Irene began their return Aug. 30th.

Twenty-seven surface ships and submarines sortied from Naval Station Norfolk and Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story joining 11 other Second Fleet assets already at sea Aug. 25 as a precaution against potential damage from Hurricane Irene.

9th ESB Marines become M240B experts

CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan — Marines with 9th Engineer Support Battalion trained with M240B medium machine guns at Gun Point 201, a live-fire range here, Aug. 18.

The 9th ESB Marines with 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, fired the weapons from bipods, tripods and turret mounts atop a Humvee in preparation for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

The training increased junior Marines’ confidence with the weapon systems, explained Gunnery Sgt. Ryan M. Pieraccini, assistant operations chief, 9th ESB.

New capabilities enhance Guard response to Hurricane Irene

About 7,675 National Guard troops from 18 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico responded over the weekend to civil authorities tackling Hurricane Irene and its aftermath.

Three capabilities enhanced the National Guard's contribution: the new National Guard Coordination Center, dual-status commanders and the deployment of strategically placed force packages ahead of the storm.

Pacific Unity concludes in Vietnam

In an effort to foster friendship and improved relationships between the U.S. and Vietnam, more than 60 military civil engineers, construction workers and volunteers from both countries came together Aug. 9-29 to renovate three medical clinics in Ha Tinh Province.

USS Blue Ridge Concludes Summer Patrol

More than 1,200 Sailors and Marines from USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), embarked 7th Fleet staff, and Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team Pacific (FASTPAC) returned to the ship's forward-deployed port of Yokosuka, Japan on Aug. 29, completing a two and a half-month deployment throughout the Pacific Ocean.

Blue Ridge kicked off the patrol with a three-day visit to Noumea, New Caledonia to strengthen ties between the United States and New Caledonia through shipboard tours and community service projects (COMSERV).

Japan-based units end Southern Frontier 2011

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE BASE TOWNSVILLE, Queensland, Australia — Japan-based Marine units brought their portion of Exercise Southern Frontier 2011 to an end here Aug. 15.

Southern Frontier is an annual bilateral exercise designed to test and enhance the Marine aerial units’ ability to provide close-air support to integrated Marine and Australian ground units. Participating Marine units are also given the opportunity to conduct intensive unit-level training during the yearly exercise.

Sailors, Planning Keep Enterprise Safe from Irene

Aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), weathered Hurricane Irene Aug. 28, armed with only a skeleton crew and robust safety information.

While many Navy ships homeported in Norfolk got underway to avoid the storm, Enterprise was moved to Norfolk Naval Shipyard because the location was deemed safer for ships unable to get underway.