Tagged: corps

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Soldiers from Army's newest armored BCT win 'best tank crew' trophy

Soldiers with the Army’s newest armored brigade became this year’s best tank crew.

The crew from Fort Stewart, Georgia’s 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team[1], 3rd Infantry Division claimed the Sullivan Cup during the biennial competition[2] to determine the Army’s top four-person tank crew, according to an Army news release.

Pvt. Brandon Zacher, from left, Cpl. Justin Harris, Staff Sgt. Johnathan Werner, and Pvt. Dekken Sanders of Bravo Company, 3rd Combined Arms Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division won the the Sullivan Cup. (Spc. Leo Jenkins/Army)

Pvt. Brandon Zacher, from left, Cpl. Justin Harris, Staff Sgt. Johnathan Werner, and Pvt. Dekken Sanders of Bravo Company, 3rd Combined Arms Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division won the the Sullivan Cup. (Spc. Leo Jenkins/Army)

Pvt. Brandon Zacher, from left, Cpl. Justin Harris, Staff Sgt. Johnathan Werner, and Pvt. Dekken Sanders of Bravo Company, 3rd Combined Arms Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division won the the Sullivan Cup. (Spc. Leo Jenkins/Army)

The soldiers competed against 15 other tank crews across the Army, Marine Corps and allied militaries at Fort Benning, Georgia.

In October, the brigade converted from an infantry to armored brigade, becoming the Army’s 15th ABCT, the release said.

Cpl. Justin Harris, gunner of the winning crew, said in the release that their goal was to set the standard for all armored brigades.

“We may be the newest armored brigade combat team in the Army, but we plan to release the ‘Hounds of Hell’ at the competition,” he said before the competition.

Army 1st Lt. John Dupre, with the North Carolina Army National Guard’s C Company, 1st Battalion, 252nd Armored Regiment, directs his tank crew to their next destination. (Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy/Army)

Army 1st Lt. John Dupre, with the North Carolina Army National Guard’s C Company, 1st Battalion, 252nd Armored Regiment, directs his tank crew to their next destination. (Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy/Army)

Army 1st Lt. John Dupre, with the North Carolina Army National Guard’s C Company, 1st Battalion, 252nd Armored Regiment, directs his tank crew to their next destination. (Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy/Army)

References

  1. ^ Brigade Combat Team (www.armytimes.com)
  2. ^ competition (www.armytimes.com)
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Soldiers from Army's newest armored BCT win 'best tank crew' trophy

Soldiers with the Army’s newest armored brigade became this year’s best tank crew.

The crew from Fort Stewart, Georgia’s 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team[1], 3rd Infantry Division claimed the Sullivan Cup during the biennial competition[2] to determine the Army’s top four-person tank crew, according to an Army news release.

Pvt. Brandon Zacher, from left, Cpl. Justin Harris, Staff Sgt. Johnathan Werner, and Pvt. Dekken Sanders of Bravo Company, 3rd Combined Arms Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division won the the Sullivan Cup. (Spc. Leo Jenkins/Army)

Pvt. Brandon Zacher, from left, Cpl. Justin Harris, Staff Sgt. Johnathan Werner, and Pvt. Dekken Sanders of Bravo Company, 3rd Combined Arms Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division won the the Sullivan Cup. (Spc. Leo Jenkins/Army)

Pvt. Brandon Zacher, from left, Cpl. Justin Harris, Staff Sgt. Johnathan Werner, and Pvt. Dekken Sanders of Bravo Company, 3rd Combined Arms Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division won the the Sullivan Cup. (Spc. Leo Jenkins/Army)

The soldiers competed against 15 other tank crews across the Army, Marine Corps and allied militaries at Fort Benning, Georgia.

In October, the brigade converted from an infantry to armored brigade, becoming the Army’s 15th ABCT, the release said.

Cpl. Justin Harris, gunner of the winning crew, said in the release that their goal was to set the standard for all armored brigades.

“We may be the newest armored brigade combat team in the Army, but we plan to release the ‘Hounds of Hell’ at the competition,” he said before the competition.

Army 1st Lt. John Dupre, with the North Carolina Army National Guard’s C Company, 1st Battalion, 252nd Armored Regiment, directs his tank crew to their next destination. (Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy/Army)

Army 1st Lt. John Dupre, with the North Carolina Army National Guard’s C Company, 1st Battalion, 252nd Armored Regiment, directs his tank crew to their next destination. (Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy/Army)

Army 1st Lt. John Dupre, with the North Carolina Army National Guard’s C Company, 1st Battalion, 252nd Armored Regiment, directs his tank crew to their next destination. (Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy/Army)

References

  1. ^ Brigade Combat Team (www.armytimes.com)
  2. ^ competition (www.armytimes.com)
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Reports of Sexual Assault in the Military Rise by 10 Percent, Pentagon Finds

WASHINGTON — More than 6,700 Defense Department employees reported being sexually assaulted in the 2017 fiscal year — the highest number since the United States military began tracking reports more than a decade ago, according to Pentagon data released on Monday.

The new data showed a 10 percent increase of military sexual assault reports from the previous fiscal year. The uptick occurred amid a Marine Corps scandal over sharing nude photos and heightened public discourse about sexual harassment in American culture.

Pentagon officials sought to portray the increase as reflective of more troops and military civilians trusting commanders and the military’s judicial system enough to come forward.

In all, 6,769 people reported assaults for the 2017 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. It was the largest yearly increase since 2014 and the most reports since the Pentagon started tracking the data in 2006.

Roughly two-thirds of the reports resulted in disciplinary action, the data show. The remaining 38 percent were discounted because evidence was lacking, victims declined to participate in hearings or other reasons.

The Army, Navy and Air Force each saw a roughly 10 percent uptick in sexual assault reports. The increase nearly reached 15 percent in the Marine Corps.

Separately, roughly 700 complaints of sexual harassment were reported across the military in the 2017 fiscal year, according to the Pentagon data. Ninety percent of the reports were from enlisted troops.

In March 2017, a social media group made up of active duty and former Marines was accused of sharing explicit photos of female colleagues, prompting a widespread investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. A number of Marines were punished, and the service started a campaign to educate its troops on sexual harassment and assault.

Despite efforts to rid the internet of military-themed groups such as the one found last year, others have continued to pop up.

Gen. Robert B. Neller, the Marine Corps commandant, said the service was in a “better place” after the scandal.

Lawmakers have long hammered the military on its predominantly male culture and have sometimes lobbied for military courts to be civilian run so due process is absent of command influence.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who last week called sexual assault a “cancer” in the military, has demanded that leaders throughout the ranks make sure the problem does not spread.

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2ND BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM: Tactical fitness, countermobility training

Bright and early at 5 a.m. on a cool morning, April 18, Soldiers were called to their company. They were told to arrive promptly in uniform, with their gear fully packed, ready and set to go.

Once they arrived the Soldiers would endure a road march followed by hours of intense training out in the back 40 of Fort Campbell.

The Soldiers of 2nd Platoon, A Company, 39th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, trained to improve their tactical fitness, countermobility and survivability.

Training such as this is conducted weekly to further ensure that 39th BEB’s combat engineers remain efficient in their infantry skills.

“Today we started with a four-mile ruck march with full kit and a 30-pound ruck,” said 2nd Lt. Garrett Bridenbaugh, engineer officer and platoon leader in A Co., 39th BEB, 2nd BCT. “We then proceeded out to the training site to build countermobility obstacles.  Today we focused on the triple-strand concertina wire obstacle and the 11-row obstacle, we also went through survivability positions and fox holes.”

Concertina wire is a type of razor wire that is formed into large coils that can be expanded like a concertina or accordion.

The triple-strand concertina wire obstacle, constructed by combat engineers, consists of two rolls of concertina wire side-by-side on the bottom with one roll of wire on top, like a pyramid, secured with additional wire to prevent crushing. It is designed to slow or stop personnel and small-wheeled vehicles.

The 11-row obstacle consists of 11 rows of concertina wire laid parallel to each other on the ground and are anchored with pickets. This is used to hold back and slow down incoming enemy personnel and even tanks.

“We are enablers of the infantry,” Bridenbaugh said. “We set up the defensive area for them as well as fight alongside them. The training we did today is significantly important because the platoon needs to understand their roles as well as everyone else’s role from the lowest to the highest-ranking Soldier. We also did this training to beat the standard. The engineer planning factors and tools doctrine gives us a time standard on how quickly the obstacles are to be set up, but we aim to be faster and exceed the standard. The faster we can build these obstacles, the better advantage we have for defense.”

A combat engineer is a Soldier who performs a variety of different demolition and constructional tasks while under combat conditions. Their mission is to assist other military personnel when taking on rough terrain in combat. They provide expertise in areas such as mobility, countermobility, survivability and general engineering.

As companies continue to grow in strength with personnel, for some of the newest Soldiers this was their first hands-on training experience with 39th BEB after advanced individual training.

“Today went well,” said Pvt. Tristan Cooper, combat engineer with A Co., 39th BEB, 2nd BCT. “We worked together as a team and it got done faster than I’ve ever seen it competed in [advanced individual training]. I got hands-on learning for the triple-strand, 11 row and foxholes. It was a good day.”

It is important to conduct weekly and monthly hands-on training during which Soldiers execute their skills, which increases information retention while setting the standard.

“The importance of this is to get the Sapper squad to become more efficient in constructing the obstacles and understand the standards,” said Sgt. Jose Acosta, combat engineer and squad leader, A Co., 39th BEB, 2nd BCT. “We only teach the standard, right? Therefore, we expect them to be more effective in their work.”

The Soldiers of 39th BEB learned how to construct some of the most effective countermobility defense obstacles as well as how to work as a cohesive unit.

“The more training we are able to do like this, the closer our platoon becomes,” Bridenbaugh said. “The more esprit de corps we have the more comradery we can build. The Soldiers love to come out and train. We try and get as much training out of it as we possibly can and just try to have fun while doing as much work as possible.”

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Troopers attend 1st Past and Present Garryowen Reunion

KEMPNER — More than 400 past and present troopers of the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment “Garryowen,” gathered Saturday night for a first-of-a-kind Past and Present Garryowen Reunion at the Kempner Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

The unit, which was established July 28, 1866, is part of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and is most well-known for its participation in the Battle of Little Big Horn under the command of Lt. Col. George A. Custer and for its victory against a vastly superior force during the Vietnam War at the IA Drang Valley under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore — a victory later portrayed in the Mel Gibson movie “We Were Soldiers.”

The unit’s history, stretching from the troopers’ bravery during the Indian Wars through countless victories in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm and into actions in Iraq during the War on Terror, prompted current and former members of the unit to bring everyone together to help foster the deep pride shared by the unit’s alumni in the newest generation of “Garryowen” troopers.

“I love this. I think this is great,” said Sgt. Janna M. Trevino, a combat medic with the squadron’s Headquarters and Headquarters Troop. “It’s inspiring. A lot of us are new to a (cavalry) unit and have no idea how the cavalry is run. To see all of these veterans and see everyone get together is great — it makes us want to stay motivated and positive while we do our work.”

Trevino, who sang the national anthem at the start of the ceremonies, said watching the interaction between young soldiers and the alumni troopers who served as far back as the Korean War was amazing.

“This is a very fast-paced unit. … The camaraderie is different. This is the type of stuff we need,” she said, adding that she would love to do something similar and more often in order to help foster a sense of pride for the unit within the newest troops who had never served with “Garryowen” before.

“The new privates who have just gotten here have got to experience this,” Trevino said. “Being able to see people who have so much experience in the military. … This is just so great.”

Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, III Corps and Fort Hood commander and a former “Garryowen” commander, even sent a video to the troopers from the Middle East, where he currently command Operation Inherent Resolve — the international coalition to defeat the Islamic State.

“I am even more proud I can hold my head high and say that I am a Garryowen trooper, just like you,” Funk said in the video. “All Garryowen troopers have one thing in common — tenacity, the single most important trait of a trooper. That fixed resolve not to quit when things get tough.”

Retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, a former command sergeant major for the squadron and the 14th sergeant major of the Army, also offered some words of encouragement for all the troopers at the event, both past and present.

“My time in 1/7 Cav for me was the most pivotal and most memorable part of my military career,” he said. “A lot of people ask me, ‘do you miss the Army?’ Hell no, I do not. What I do miss is you. It’s that blood we shared over in Iraq and unfortunately the lives we lost and those who suffer from the visible wounds of war and those who suffer from invisible wounds.

“I just want to tell each and every one of you, thank you for helping to shape my life and for teaching me one of the most important things — that honor is the most important value,” Chandler added. “It’s what makes Garryowen, the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, the pride of not only the 1st Cavalry Division, but as far as I’m concerned, the rest of the United States Army.”

Plans have already begun for the 2019 reunion, which will occur once the unit returns from an upcoming deployment to Europe with the 1st Brigade.

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Troopers attend 1st Past and Present Garryowen Reunion

KEMPNER — More than 400 past and present troopers of the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment “Garryowen,” gathered Saturday night for a first-of-a-kind Past and Present Garryowen Reunion at the Kempner Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

The unit, which was established July 28, 1866, is part of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and is most well-known for its participation in the Battle of Little Big Horn under the command of Lt. Col. George A. Custer and for its victory against a vastly superior force during the Vietnam War at the IA Drang Valley under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore — a victory later portrayed in the Mel Gibson movie “We Were Soldiers.”

The unit’s history, stretching from the troopers’ bravery during the Indian Wars through countless victories in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm and into actions in Iraq during the War on Terror, prompted current and former members of the unit to bring everyone together to help foster the deep pride shared by the unit’s alumni in the newest generation of “Garryowen” troopers.

“I love this. I think this is great,” said Sgt. Janna M. Trevino, a combat medic with the squadron’s Headquarters and Headquarters Troop. “It’s inspiring. A lot of us are new to a (cavalry) unit and have no idea how the cavalry is run. To see all of these veterans and see everyone get together is great — it makes us want to stay motivated and positive while we do our work.”

Trevino, who sang the national anthem at the start of the ceremonies, said watching the interaction between young soldiers and the alumni troopers who served as far back as the Korean War was amazing.

“This is a very fast-paced unit. … The camaraderie is different. This is the type of stuff we need,” she said, adding that she would love to do something similar and more often in order to help foster a sense of pride for the unit within the newest troops who had never served with “Garryowen” before.

“The new privates who have just gotten here have got to experience this,” Trevino said. “Being able to see people who have so much experience in the military. … This is just so great.”

Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, III Corps and Fort Hood commander and a former “Garryowen” commander, even sent a video to the troopers from the Middle East, where he currently command Operation Inherent Resolve — the international coalition to defeat the Islamic State.

“I am even more proud I can hold my head high and say that I am a Garryowen trooper, just like you,” Funk said in the video. “All Garryowen troopers have one thing in common — tenacity, the single most important trait of a trooper. That fixed resolve not to quit when things get tough.”

Retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, a former command sergeant major for the squadron and the 14th sergeant major of the Army, also offered some words of encouragement for all the troopers at the event, both past and present.

“My time in 1/7 Cav for me was the most pivotal and most memorable part of my military career,” he said. “A lot of people ask me, ‘do you miss the Army?’ Hell no, I do not. What I do miss is you. It’s that blood we shared over in Iraq and unfortunately the lives we lost and those who suffer from the visible wounds of war and those who suffer from invisible wounds.

“I just want to tell each and every one of you, thank you for helping to shape my life and for teaching me one of the most important things — that honor is the most important value,” Chandler added. “It’s what makes Garryowen, the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, the pride of not only the 1st Cavalry Division, but as far as I’m concerned, the rest of the United States Army.”

Plans have already begun for the 2019 reunion, which will occur once the unit returns from an upcoming deployment to Europe with the 1st Brigade.

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In Honor of Women's History Month, Military Women Share Experiences Facing Sexism in the Armed Forces

Major Amanda L. Minikus J.D. ’15 was in Afghanistan when she received her acceptance letter to Cornell.

“I was in this craphole,” she said, referring to where she was stationed in Afghanistan. “I was like ‘[Cornell] looks like a magical kingdom’ — rolling grassy hills and a beautiful clock tower.”

Minikus and five other military women, four of whom are current or former Cornell graduate students, spoke in a panel honoring Women’s History Month on Wednesday.

The six women answered a series of questions about their personal experiences in the military, at Cornell and the process of “overcoming systematic biases to pave the way for future generations of women.”

Fleet Master Chief April D. Beldo, Minikus, Lt. Alicia Jane Flanagan grad, Capt. Molly Heath, recruiting flight commander for Cornell’s Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, Shannon Boyle grad and Natoshia C. Spruill MBA ’14 participated in the panel.

The panel members all gave a range of different reasons for joining the military. Spruill had family members in the service; Beldo desired more “structure and discipline” in her life; Minikus wanted to serve after witnessing the 9/11 attack.

“Sept. 11 was in my senior year at high school,” Minikus recounted. “That directed me. I wanted to do something about it.”

“The United States Naval Academy also had a really nice swimming pool,” Minkus added, who captained the academy’s varsity women’s swim team.

A service member since 1983, Beldo recounted the times she faced sexism while in the navy. One time, her commanding officer told her, “I don’t want an aviator. I don’t want a female.”

“That was a challenge,” she said. “You are making a decision without even knowing what I can bring to the table.”

Beldo said that, while the encounter was discouraging, she did not ask to be reassigned and continued on in her assignment with an “I will show you” attitude.

Spruill and Boyle, who are both mothers, commented on the difficulty of balancing their service, studies and children.

“There are always trade-offs,” Boyle said. “It’s how you choose to prioritize.”

But despite the sexism her fellow colleagues faced, Minikus argued that ultimately “people follow good people,” regardless of “whether you’re female, male, white, black, hispanic.”

The panel members agreed that female service members are becoming more accepted within the military.

“I think the Air Force has done a good job of trying to create a supportive environment for women,” Heath said.

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Using lessons learned, soldiers and Marines are training for urban combat

When retired Marine Lt. Gen. Ron Christmas was a young lieutenant in training, officers received a grand total of a one-hour lecture on urban combat[1].

So, when the company commander found himself leading Marines in Hue City[2] during the first major urban combat[3] the U.S. had seen since the Korean War, he learned in the heat of the fighting.

After the war, it took a while for either the Marines or the Army to pay attention to urban training.

Christmas didn’t see real attention paid until the mid to late 1980s, with the development of Military Operations on Urban Terrain, or MOUT, sites.

One such facility, based in part on Hue, is at Quantico, Virginia, where new Marine officers must complete the Basic School before.

During a recent visit, Military Times spoke with an instructor, who quickly noted the shift officers must make when they enter the urban environment.

“The biggest thing these guys struggle with, they spend four to five months talking through [techniques, tactics and procedures to] ‘locate, close with and destroy the enemy.’ However, when they enter the urban environment, it’s full of people,” said Capt. Jordan Iida, primary MOUT instructor at TBS. “When they see it out here, it really throws them for a loop.”

The civilian factor outweighs almost all other problems in urban terrain, which is filled with structures that present obstacles from above, below and on all sides, creating a need for constant 360-degree security.

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Leathernecks of H Company, 2nd Battalion, Fifth Marines combed the streets and alleys of battle-torn Hue in February 1968. (Sgt. W. F. Dickman/Marine Corps)

Leathernecks of H Company, 2nd Battalion, Fifth Marines combed the streets and alleys of battle-torn Hue in February 1968. (Sgt. W. F. Dickman/Marine Corps)

Leathernecks of H Company, 2nd Battalion, Fifth Marines combed the streets and alleys of battle-torn Hue in February 1968. (Sgt. W. F. Dickman/Marine Corps)

Instructors at the school teach both Hue and the more recent battle of Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004.

Paul Westermeyer, a Marine veteran and historian with the Marine Corps History Division, said the two battles echo each other but differ in important ways.

Hue involved a large allied force, with the South Vietnamese taking heavy casualties and covering a whole sector of the city. It also included conventional, well trained forces that outnumbered U.S. forces initially.

In Fallujah, Marines faced a smaller number of unconventional fighters who were dug in to the city and, in the second wave of fighting, fiercely committed to fighting to the end.

More than 600 American and South Vietnamese fighters died and more than 3,500 were wounded in the month-long battle.

While those numbers dwarf the Fallujah losses of just over 100 allied forces killed and more than 700 wounded, both eroded popular support for their respective wars.

In that, the two battles share aspects of how grinding urban fighting, splashed across television screens almost instantly, can become as much an information war as a physical one.

Battles in the Iraqi cities of Fallujah, Najaf, Ramadi and Bagdad prodded military leaders to revisit how they trained forces for urban combat.

Infantrymen assigned to 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, stand ready to fire their M240L machine gun. The machine gun crew provided support during squad room-clearing procedures at the Military Operations in Urban Terrain site at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. (Staff Sgt. Armando Limon/Army)

Infantrymen assigned to 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, stand ready to fire their M240L machine gun. The machine gun crew provided support during squad room-clearing procedures at the Military Operations in Urban Terrain site at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. (Staff Sgt. Armando Limon/Army)

Infantrymen assigned to 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, stand ready to fire their M240L machine gun. The machine gun crew provided support during squad room-clearing procedures at the Military Operations in Urban Terrain site at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. (Staff Sgt. Armando Limon/Army)

The Army has pushed its Asymmetric Warfare Group to look closely at urban doctrine, while the Marines formed Marine Corps Tactical Operations Group at 29 Palms, California.

Marine Col. Timothy Barrick, commanding officer of MCTOG, said that the group was founded in part as an effort to bring urban fighting up from the small unit tactical level and into the battalion and above planning and execution levels.

Students review Hue alongside Fallujah, Mosul, and the Russian fight in Grozny as key examples of urban combat in different theaters and with different adversaries across time, said Maj. Jeffrey Potter, operations tactics instructor, operations chief at the group.

“We’re hitting a range of challenges. We’re making sure we’re exposing them to the most challenging threats they’re going to have to come across,” Barrick said.

References

  1. ^ urban combat (www.militarytimes.com)
  2. ^ Hue City (www.militarytimes.com)
  3. ^ urban combat (www.militarytimes.com)
  4. ^ The future battlefield: Army, Marines prepare for ‘massive’ fight in megacities (www.militarytimes.com)