Military

Remembering The "Ghost Army" Of World War II

May 25, 2015
FidlerJan / Morguefile

New Hampshire Representative Ann McLane Kuster has introduced a bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the “Ghost Army.” During World War II, the Ghost Army diverted enemy attention by deploying inflatable military vehicles and using radio trickery and other deceptive tactics. 

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In her new book, author Helen Thorpe tells the tales of three female National Guard members, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Thorpe traces their stories: from their expectations joining the Guard before 9/11, to their experiences going off to war, and then troubles on the home front.

GUEST:

  • Helen Thorpe - journalist and author from Denver, CO. Her most recent book is "Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War."

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Getting together for dinner on a regular basis can be tough for any family, but it is especially hard for military families during deployments. On today’s show: how one mother of three dealt with her husband’s deployment, by asking guests to fill his empty seat once a week. Then, the artist M.C. Escher may be best known for his repeating patterns and mind-bending optical illusions, but a new exhibit at the Currier Museum of Art, touted as the most comprehensive retrospective of Escher’s work, is highlighting his lesser known illustrations.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

The body of a Marine killed in Afghanistan has been returned to New Hampshire.  The remains of Lance Cpl. Brandon Garabrant of Greenfield arrived in Manchester Saturday morning.  Police and fire officials escorted the casket to a funeral home in Peterborough while volunteers lined the procession route, holding signs showing their support.  Garabrant is one of three Marines who were killed June 20 in what the military described as a "hostile incident'' in Helmand province.

Most Memorial Day events pay tribute to all those who have died in military service to the nation, but there are some events that honor individuals.

One such event takes place each year in Manchester in honor of Army Staff Sergeant Kyle Warren, a medic who was killed in Afghanistan's Helmand Province in 2010.

UN Photo/ Tim Page / Flickr/CC

The results of this weekend’s elections, many say, will have enormous consequences for the country’s future - from the status of ongoing U.S. military support, to whether recent civil rights gains are maintained.  But the balloting has been marred by violence, and deep-seated concerns about fraud.

GUESTS:

New Hampshire's elected officials joined the state's military leaders to welcome home a medevac unit that recently returned from Afghanistan.   The 169th MEDEVAC unit went to Afghanistan in September 2012. Made up of National Guard units from New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Missouri, the group became known as "Jigsaw'' to reflect the merger of different units.  The medics performed 471 lifesaving missions and carried 427 patients to higher levels of care.    Soldiers in the unit, which returned in August, earned several medals including Bronze Stars.  The ceremony was at 11 a.m.

twaffles via Flickr Creative Commons

A full decade into the drone war in the Middle East, we’re still asking questions: what does an unmanned military mean for the future of warfare?  Who chooses who lives and who dies? What does it mean to pull the trigger on a target half a world away?

And what is like being a veteran of the drone war?

Matthew Power is a freelance print and radio journalist and a contributor to GQ Magazine, where he wrote a profile of former drone operator and Airman First Class Brandon Bryant.

In a new book, Bacevich claims that Americans have failed their soldiers and their country, by entering conflicts he calls “unwinnable”.   A U.S. Army veteran, Bacevich also examines the disconnect between those who fight the wars and the rest of the country.  He says national defense must return to idea of “We the People”.

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The "military-entertainment complex" has been quietly developing for decades.  The Pentagon helped sponsor the first personal computers, a few big-budget hollywood films and funded the M.I.T. graduate students who created the first video game, called Spacewar!, in 1962. And for decades, the military has used video games and digital simulations to train troops.

The U.S. Army-developed video game America’s Army was originally invented as a means of re-branding the military in the eyes of teenagers. It is now the Army’s go-to tool and has even worked its way into public school lesson plans. Corey Mead is Assistant Professor of English at CUNY’s Baruch College, and author of War Play: Video Games and the Future of Armed Conflict.

jonrandel via Flickr Creative Commons

With all great innovations comes the potential for mischief. With so much of our social, commercial, and government infrastructure already online, it’s highly likely that we’ve all been targeted by cyber-attacks, even if we haven’t directly felt their results. Cars, computer cams, ATMs, databases, and power grids can be hacked.  In a recent high profile case, a week before one of the world’s most elite hackers was scheduled to demonstrate how to interrupt pacemakers and implanted defibrillators, he was found dead in his apartment. A team at the University of Texas Austin recently experimented with a technique they call “GPS Spoofing.” While that may sound like a YouTube comedy series, “GPS Spoofing” could be used to deadly serious effect.  Todd Humphreys is an assistant professor with the Aerospace Engineering department at UT Austin.

via Monadnock Lyceum

Drawing on Dietrich Bonhoeffer's concept of "cheap grace," Andrew Bacevich exposes the chronic defects in the current U. S. approach to waging war.  He explains why the world's most powerful military doesn't win and why the nation's reliance on professional soldiers has turned out to be such a bad bargain. When American soldiers deploy to places like Iraq and Afghanistan, what is the cause for which they fight?  The patriotic answer is this:  they fight for freedom.  Challenge that proposition and you’ll likely pick a quarrel.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen came to UNH on Monday to ask University researchers and local law enforcement what the US Armed Forces Committee can learn about sexual assault from the civilian community. She says she’s hoping the information will help inform her colleagues as they shape sexual assault policies in the 2014 Military Defense Authorization Act.

I think we will get a good bill past.

But, Shaheen says, the question is whether the committee will require that sex crimes be investigated by non-military prosecutors. 

kristinmarshall via Flickr Creative Commons

At any given moment invisible information is traveling all around you. There are two obvious examples: radio waves…or if you’re listening online, the wireless signal emitted by your router. Researchers at MIT have been experimenting with these signals and they’ve developed a type of radar that uses Wi-Fi signal that can be seen – and used to detect movement and even see through walls. Dina Katabi, is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, and she spoke with us about her new project, what she’s calling “Wi-Vi.”

Defence Images via flickr Creative Commons

In the US and around the world, researchers working for the armed forces are setting their sights on the human need to recharge, something increasingly perceived as a fatal flaw when missions demand pilots and soldiers stay awake and alert for days at a time. Here to discuss the fight against fatigue is William Saletan, national correspondent at slate.com where he covers science, technology and politics.

Ed Skoudis

On Monday, the Washington Post reported that Chinese hackers had gained access to the designs of more than two dozen US weapons systems, including combat ships, aircraft, and missile defense systems. Although China denied the claims in the Defense Department report cited by the post, that country’s government announced earlier today that they have plans to conduct China’s first “digital military” exercise next week. President Obama and the Pentagon have increasingly addressed concerns about government-backed Chinese hackers in recent months, and next week, the president is scheduled to discuss cyber security with China’s president.

The Crisis Center of Central New Hampshire marks its 35th anniversary with an event tonight at Red River Theatres in Concord. On the program is a screening of The Invisible War, the Oscar-nominated documentary about sexual assault in the military that is now being used to educate members of the Armed Forces.  We spoke on this program to the film’s director about how sexual violence is tolerated – even expected in the military culture – and how rarely such offenses are prosecuted.  But the reality is that those experiences are not unique to the military… in a new study to be released by the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence, the similarities between what happens here and in the military are made evident.  It is a sobering reminder that domestic and sexual violence crimes are an all too common occurrence, even in New Hampshire. joining us today to discuss their roles in educating the public about domestic violence are two women who are on the front lines.

The Invisible War

Mar 20, 2013
The U.S. Army vis Flickr Creative Commons

Testimony by victims and military officials in front of congress this month has shed light on the scope of sexual assault in the military service. Men and women who sign up for military service put their lives on the line for our country. Yet a woman serving in the military is more likely to be sexually assaulted than killed by enemy fire.

SNHU Responds To Military Students Hit By Sequester

Mar 14, 2013
Military Police Practice Medical Evacuations
DVIDSHUB / Flickr Creative Commons

Until about two weeks ago, active duty armed service members could count on $4,500 a year to help pay for college tuition.  But with the military suspending the benefit because of sequestration, Southern New Hampshire University is trying to bridge that gap.

Later this week 110 members of the New Hampshire Army National Guard will mobilize in support of combat operations in Afghanistan. The 237th Military Police Company will train in Texas for several months before departing to Khost Province.

77 of the soldiers are deploying for the first time. But others are on their second and third; one is one his fifth deployment.

It’s those repeated deployments that have been a signature of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – and a researcher at UNH, they could take a toll on servicemembers’ families.

We look into a Tumblr  account that lends perspective to the drone war by using Google Earth. Joining us is blogger and artist James Bridle, creator of Dronestragram.


Victor Kumin: A "Soldier Scientist" At Work On The Atomic Bomb

Aug 29, 2012
Victor Kumin

Victor Kumin, Harvard graduate with a degree in Chemistry, helped create the Atomic Bomb under direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer. He lives in Warner, New Hampshire with his wife, the former U.S. Poet Laureate, Maxine Kumin. The two exchanged 575 letters back and forth during their courtship. These letters will be the subject of an article, written by Maxine, in the September 2012 issue of the American Scholar.

Photo Credit Derable, Via Flickr Creative Commons

For U.S. defense officials, knowledge is power. It’s clear, in-depth and actionable intelligence that makes the difference in keeping the country safe. So officials at the pentagon and in homeland security are gathering huge amounts of raw data. And who, who can help them sort through thousands of hours of video to find and stop these existential threats? Most of us don’t associate the cast of Jersey Shore with U.S.

Mount Washington may bill itself as having the “worst weather in the world,” but on a clear day, you can stand at the summit and see a whole lot - miles and miles into the distance.

The US military apparently agrees. According to a report from Wired Magazine, the Department of Defense has a base for drone aircraft on or near Mount Washington. It's one of 64 such bases across the country.

jdn via flickr creative commons

During this country's early years, military service was considered the price of citizenship in a free society. Over time, veterans gained in prestige, especially after World War II. Our wars since – some unpopular -- have brought about new attitudes. In his new book, Those Who Have Borne the Battle: A History of America's Wars and Those Who Fought Them, former Dartmouth College President James Wright describes the complicated relationship between this country and its military. 

 

Guest: 

Brady Carlson, NHPR

For this Memorial Day we wanted to tell you about a unique art installation at the New Hampshire National Guard headquarters in Concord.

It’s a series of paintings by Elaine Morrison of Laconia, depicting soldiers at war. She tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about the paintings.

(Photo by James Gordon via Flickr Creative Commons)

Produced by Jonathan Lynch

Ever get the feeling that someone is watching you? Well, you may want to get used to it. While the US government has been putting un-manned drones to heavy use in war zones in recent years, the flying robots will soon be soaring American skies.

This week, NATO Cabinet ministers, including U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, will try to tackle the problem of Afghan security. The basic plan for bringing American troops home from Afghanistan is to let Afghan security forces fight for their own country. But there's a hitch — finding a way to pay for the Afghan army.

"Paintballing With Hezbollah Is The Path Straight To Their Hearts," says the headline at the Vice.com newssite.

In a quest to get to better know members of the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon, four Western journalists and a former U.S. Army Ranger last year arranged to play paintball in Beirut with some men who said they were among the group's fighters.

(Photo by Eleventh Earl of Mar via Flickr)

A branch of the military is taking a new tack in intelligence gathering…video games. The US Navy has contracted a private firm to buy up used gaming consoles  - mostly in foreign markets  to extract sensitive data on gamers. Jacob Aron wrote about the new strategy for New Scientist.  

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