Saturday, July 25, 2009

Combat Camera Video: Operation Khanjar, Part 2: Mission Launch

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Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2009 -- Embedded above is part two of a NATO video series. This segment follows the launch of Operation Khanjar -- with thousands of U.S Marines being dropped by wave upon wave of helicopters into Helmand Provence, Afghanistan. (NATO TV video. Length: 02:24.)

COMBAT CAMERA More Combat Camera Imagery on THE TENSION

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Wire: Last UK WWI Veteran Dies at 111

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2009 -- Newswire services this morning reported that Harry Patch, Britain's last survivor of the trenches of World War I, died Saturday at 111,

The Associated Press reported that Patch, a reluctant soldier and a symbol of a lost generation, had been wounded in 1917 in the Battle of Passchendaele, which he remembered as "mud, mud and more mud mixed together with blood."

"Anyone who tells you that in the trenches they weren't scared, he's a damned liar: you were scared all the time," Patch was quoted as saying in a book, "The Last Fighting Tommy," written with historian Richard van Emden, AP said.

The Fletcher House care home in Wells, southwest England, said Patch "quietly slipped away" on Saturday morning.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the whole country would mourn "the passing of a great man."

"The noblest of all the generations has left us, but they will never be forgotten. We say today with still greater force, We Will Remember Them," Brown said.

Prince Charles said "nothing could give me greater pride" than paying tribute to Patch.

"The Great War is a chapter in our history we must never forget, so many sacrifices were made, so many young lives lost," the prince said.

Britain's Ministry of Defense called Patch the last British military survivor of the 1914-18 war, although British-born Claude Choules of Australia, 108, is believed to have served in the Royal Navy during the conflict.

Patch was one of the last living links to "the war to end all wars," which killed about 20 million people in years of fighting between the Allied Powers — including Britain, France and the United States — and Germany and its allies. The Ministry of Defense said he was the last soldier of any nationality to have fought in the brutal trench warfare that has become the enduring image of the conflict, AP said.

There are no French or German veterans of the war left alive. The last known U.S. veteran is Frank Buckles of Charles Town, West Virginia, 108, who drove ambulances in France for the U.S. Army.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Read more: Last UK veteran of WWI trench battles dies at 111

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Pentagon Identifies Marine Casualties (OEF)

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2009 -- The following news release made available Saturday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement identifying casualties:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two Marines who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Jeremy S. Lasher, 27, of Oneida, N.Y., and Cpl. Nicholas G. Xiarhos, 21, of Yarmouth Port, Mass., died July 23 of wounds suffered while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

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Pentagon Identifies Marine Casualty (OEF)

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2009 -- The following news release made available Friday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement identifying a casualty:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Sgt. Ryan H. Lane, 25, of Pittsburgh, Pa., died July 23 of wounds suffered while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

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Friday, July 24, 2009

US Airpower Summary, July 24, 2009: F-15s Provide Cover for Coalition Forces

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An F-15E Strike Eagle jet takes off from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, to provide close-air support for International Security Assistance Force ground operations. Coalition aircraft like the F-15E flew 82 close-air-support missions in support of operations in Afghanistan July 23. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Cecilio M. Ricardo Jr.)

Dispatches from the Front:

SOUTHWEST ASIA, July 24, 2009 -- Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations July 23, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.

Near Lashkar Gah, Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II's provided armed overwatch for friendly forces in a convoy. Enemy forces opened fire on the convoy with rocket propelled grenades and small-arms fire. The A-10's strafed enemy positions numerous times, which stopped the enemy engagement on the convoy.

At Tarin Kowt, Navy F/A-18C Hornets provided cover for coalition forces taking small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenade attacks from anti-coalition forces entrenched on a ridgeline. The F/A-18C's made several strafing runs which stopped the enemy action.

Several Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles were in the vicinity of Sheykhabad to provide friendly forces with air cover. The F-15E's provided support through shows of force for friendly forces under imminent threat from enemy forces. These shows of force used flares to deter enemy fire on friendly forces.

Air Force MQ-1B Predators at Gereshk fired a missile on an enemy position, eliminating the threat to friendly forces and local civilians.

Friendly forces requested support from coalition aircraft that were providing armed overwatch at Asadabad after they received small-arms fire. The F-15E's provided a show of force expending flares over the enemy position and then dropped GBU-31s which ended the enemy small-arms fire.

F-15E's provided shows of force at Mazar-E Sharif, when enemy forces engaged coalition forces with small-arms fire. The enemy fire ceased after the aircraft dispensed flares.

Joint terminal attack controllers assigned to coalition units verified the success of these missions.

In total, 82 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Twenty-five Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Afghanistan. In addition, two Navy aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.

In Iraq, coalition aircraft flew 24 close-air-support missions for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions integrated and synchronized with coalition ground forces, protected key infrastructure, provided overwatch for reconstruction activities, and helped to deter and disrupt hostile activities.

Twenty-five Air Force and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Iraq. In addition, two Air Force aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.

Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft and C-17 Globemaster IIIs provided intra-theater heavy airlift, helping to sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa.

Approximately 37 airlift sorties were flown; 962 tons of cargo were delivered; and about 2,593 passengers were transported. This included about 171,560 pounds of aerial resupply cargo dropped over Afghanistan.

Coalition C-130 crews flew as part of operations in Afghanistan or Iraq.

On July 22, Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters and "Guardian Angel" teams transported 15 patients to coalition field hospitals from locations in Afghanistan. Pararescue team members aboard located, rescued and began treatment to stabilize patients in the battlefield. The Pave Hawk transported these patients to field hospitals in less time than it takes for a civilian patient to reach emergency care by ambulance in most major cities.

Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 51 sorties and off-loaded approximately 2.7 million pounds of fuel to 219 receiving aircraft.

(Report from a U.S. Air Force news release.)

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OEF Summary, July 24, 2009: Troops in Afghanistan Kill Militants, Detain Suspects

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2009 -- Afghan and international forces killed several enemy fighters, detained nine suspects and destroyed a weapons stockpile in recent operations in Afghanistan's Ghazni, Khost and Kandahar provinces, military officials reported.

Acting on intelligence that indicated militant activity, a combined force searched a compound last night in the Ghazni village of Jahangir Kalay. The compound was known to be used by a Taliban fighter responsible for supplying weapons and ammunition to local militants for attacks against Afghan and international security forces.

During the search, militants engaged the force, and the force returned fire, killing several enemy fighters. The search continued, and the force found and destroyed a stockpile that included assault rifles, a machine gun and grenades.

Also last night, a combined force conducted an intelligence-driven search of a compound west of the city of Khost in Khost province. The search targeted a key member of the Haqqani terrorist network officials said is responsible for multiple operations, including suicide attacks against Afghan and international forces. The search was conducted without incident, and the force detained six suspected militants, including the wanted man.

Elsewhere, an overnight operation reported yesterday in the village of Khosrow-e Sofia in Kandahar province resulted in detention of three suspected militants.

No combined-force or civilian casualties were reported in the operations.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Afghanistan news releases.)

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Wire: Obama Says "Victory" Not Goal in Afghanistan

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2009 -- Newswire services today reported that President Obama has put securing Afghanistan near the top of his foreign policy agenda, but "victory" in the war-torn country isn't necessarily the United States' goal, he said Thursday in a TV interview.

"I'm always worried about using the word 'victory,' because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur," Obama told ABC News.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Obama is wrong on this historical point. General MacArthur accepted the Japanese surrender from representatives of the the Empire of Japan who signed the 'Japanese Instrument of Surrender' in Tokyo Bay aboard the USS Missouri. Emperor Hirohito was never there.
"We're not dealing with nation states at this point. We're concerned with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, Al Qaeda's allies," he said. "So when you have a non-state actor, a shadowy operation like Al Qaeda, our goal is to make sure they can't attack the United States."

Rising casualties in Afghanistan are raising doubts among U.S. allies about the conduct of the war, forcing some governments to defend publicly their commitments and foreshadowing possible long-term trouble for the U.S. effort to bring in more resources to defeat the Taliban, Fox news said.

Obama's new U.S. strategy in Afghanistan has raised the level of fighting -- and in turn, the number of casualties. July is already the deadliest month of the war for both U.S. and NATO forces with 63 international troops killed, including 35 Americans and 19 Britons.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: Obama: 'Victory' Not Necessarily Goal in Afghanistan

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Wire: 2 US Troops Killed in Afghanistan, July Deadliest Month of War

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2009 -- Newswire services this morning reported that a bomb attack killed two American service members in southern Afghanistan on Friday.

NATO reported the insurgent attack and U.S. military spokesman Navy Lt. Robert Carr confirmed that the troops were American.

No other details were immediately available.

July has been the deadliest month for U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. Friday's deaths raised the American toll to 37, well above the 28 who were killed in two months last summer.

(Report from newswire sources.)

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US Navy: Sailor Charged in Death of Seaman Provost

News in Balance
News from the U.S. Navy.

News in Balance:

SAN DIEGO, July 24, 2009 -- The U.S. Navy preferred charges July 23 in the case of the homicide of Boatswain's Mate Seaman August Provost, III on June 30 at the Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5 compound at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

"This afternoon Gas Turbine Systems Technician Second Class Jonathan C. Campos, of Assault Craft Unit 5, was charged with violation of 16 counts of the Uniform Code of Military Justice under nine separate articles, including the murder of Boatswain's Mate Seaman August Provost, III," said Capt. Matt Brown, a Navy spokesperson for Navy Region Southwest.

According to Brown, Campos has been held in custody by the Navy since July 1 while investigators continued to gather physical evidence and sworn statements.

Charges preferred include alleged violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the military's governing law code, over a period from May 1 to July 1 including: murder of Boatswain's Mate Seaman August Provost III by shooting him with a pistol; use of illegal psilocybin mushrooms; breaking and entering into a private residence and stealing electronic equipment, jewelry and a .45 caliber pistol; driving under the influence of alcohol; attempt to commit arson; wrongful possession of firearms; unlawful entry; unlawful carrying of a concealed weapon; stealing military property; arson; unlawful handling of a deceased individual; solicitation of a civilian to murder another Navy Sailor, a master at arms assigned to ACU 5 and to vandalize the Sailor's house; and unauthorized absence.

"While the full extent of Campos' alleged behavior from early May through June 20 was not known to his superiors, the commanding officer had been notified of a June 20 DUI offense in Imperial Beach. This event was scheduled for a review by Campos' chain of command at ACU Five the week of June 29 and could have resulted in both administrative and punitive actions against Campos. Before the command took any action however, Campos allegedly set out to commit an act of material property damage against the command by setting fire to one of the Landing Craft Air Cushion, or LCAC's, the night of June 29," according to Brown.

"While allegedly attempting to gain access to the ACU Five compound Campos encountered Seaman Provost at the sentry station at which point Campos allegedly shot him multiple times. In an apparent effort to conceal evidence after Seaman Provost was shot, Campos allegedly took the sentry's firearm, and then set fire to the guard shack," continued Brown.

He also noted that the physical evidence collected to date combined with witness statements support this sequent of events.

When asked about possible hate crime allegations or ties to gang activity in the area Brown, noted that no information has been gathered to date to support allegations of a hate crime, nor have there been any ties to special circumstances for either gang or terrorist activity.

The case will be preferred to a military Article 32 investigation hearing here, the military counterpart to a Grand Jury hearing, for consideration of the charges and information collected and to then recommend the next course of action to the military justice system. According to Brown, one possible recommendation would be to refer the case to a General Court Martial, but that it was premature to say that would be the outcome of the Article 32 hearing.

"We must remember that the Navy lost a well-respected Sailor who was standing his assigned watch in his appointed place of duty. We are committed to the integrity of the investigation process and to ensuring that the indiscriminate release of information does not prejudice the military justice system in order that justice can be served. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family and friends of Seaman Provost, and we will continue to provide support and assistance to the family," said Brown.

(Report from a Navy Region Southwest Public Affairs news release.)

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Combat Camera: US Marines Seize Bomb Materials, Narcotics in Afghanistan Bazaar

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Marines with Charlie Company, 2nd Light Armor Reconnaissance Battalion, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, patrol down a street, Tuesday, July 21, in Safaar, Afghanistan. Marines seized bomb-making materials and narcotics during a raid here two days before. (Photo by Cpl. Michael Curvin, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.)

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Incendiary grenades destroy more than 290 tons of poppy seeds, Tuesday, July 21, in Safaar in Helmand province, Afghanistan. After this fire was started, the destruction of the gathered bags of poppy seed was completed by AV-8B Harriers, which dropped high-explosive bombs on the sacks. (Photo by Cpl. Michael Curvin, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.)

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Stacked bags of poppy seeds go up in flames after three 1,000-pound bombs were dropped, July 21, in Safaar in Helmand province, Afghanistan. A rolling cloud of sand glided over onlookers shortly after the blast. (Photo by Cpl. Michael Curvin, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.)

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Lance Cpl. Roderick Moody, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan operations section, kneels in front of a building that housed chemicals and bags of poppy seeds, Tuesday, July 21, in Safaar in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The destruction of the seeds prevented more than 40,000 acres of poppy fields to be grown. (Photo by Cpl. Michael Curvin, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.)

COMBAT CAMERA More Combat Camera Imagery on THE TENSION

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Pentagon Identifies Army Casualties (OEF)

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2009 -- The following news release made available Thursday by the U.S. Department of Defense is the text of a statement identifying casualties:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died July 22 in Zabul Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle. They were assigned to the 4th Engineer Battalion, Fort Carson, Colo.

Killed were:
  • Sgt. Joshua J. Rimer, 24, of Rochester, Pa.; and

  • Spc. Randy L.J. Neff, Jr., 22, of Blackfoot, Idaho

(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pentagon Discusses Increased Importance of Unmanned Aircraft

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2009 -- The U.S. military’s expanded overseas use of unmanned aircraft highlights the increased importance of such aerial platforms to current and future military operations, senior Air Force officers said here today.

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Plan announced today will serve as a template for how the Air Force will look in 2047 – the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force -- Gen. William M. Fraser III, the Air Force’s vice chief of staff, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.

“The future of our systems is really now,” Fraser said. “The Air Force today looks dramatically different than it did 35 years ago when I first came aboard on active duty.”

The flight plan, he explained, lays out the Air Force’s “vision for maximizing our efforts in unmanned aerial systems” today and in the future.

“We’ll continue to push the UAS envelope,” Fraser said, adding that unmanned systems are unmanned in name only.

“While there may be no airmen onboard the actual vehicle, there indeed are airmen involved in every step of the process,” Fraser said, including the pilots who operate the vehicles’ remote controls and sensors and maintenance personnel.

Unmanned aircraft systems “represent an important addition to our comprehensive set of Air Force capabilities that actually define air power,” Fraser said.

Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, told reporters that unmanned aircraft systems have proven effective during aerial strike missions against insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while also performing surveillance and intelligence-gathering missions.

Persistent flight capability, Deptula said, is one of the advantages of employing unmanned aerial vehicles in military missions.

“What UASs bring to the table,” Deptula explained, “is the ability to stay in position or maneuver over large areas for a long period of time – that’s where a person in an aircraft becomes a limitation.”

UAS mission success rates have resulted in high demand for the unmanned aerial platforms, Deptula said, noting that high- and medium-altitude UAS overseas combat missions have increased more than 600 percent during the past six years.

“What the Air Force wants to do,” Deptula said, “is to get the most out of these systems to increase our joint warfighting capability, while promoting service interdependency and the wisest use of our taxpayer dollars.”

Yet, Deptula said, the flight plan isn’t just about how UASs are employed today, but also about how unmanned aerial technology could be applied in different mission realms in order to confront future challenges. For example, he said, UAS technology could one day be used in a modular platform that could perform a variety of tasks, such as cargo transport and aircraft refueling missions.

Deptula equated today’s level of UAS development with the progress made in manned aircraft in the 1920s.

There’s “lots of potential” for expanding UAS technology across the military in the coming years, Deptula said, but he also pointed out that replacing conventional fighter planes and pilots with unmanned aerial vehicles is a long way off.

The flight plan doesn’t provide specific solutions, but it does address “concepts and possibilities that will fill in and morph over time,” said Col. Eric Mathewson, the director of the Air Force’s UAS Task Force.

The plan, Mathewson said, “allows us to reach out and talk to academia and industry, the other services, [Defense Department]-wide, our coalition and allied partners, and work together in a more efficient and synergistic way.”

(Report by Gerry J. Gilmore, American Forces Press Service.)

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Video: Operation Khanjar, Part 1: Send in the Reinforcements

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NOTE: News readers click here to watch the video.

Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2009 -- Embedded above is part one of a NATO video series. This segment follows U.S forces in Helmand Provence as they prep for one of the largest operations ever to take place in Afghanistan. (NATO TV video. Length: 02:38.)

COMBAT CAMERA More Combat Camera Imagery on THE TENSION

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Combat Camera Video: US Marines in Helmand Province, Afghanistan

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NOTE: News readers click here to watch the video.

Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2009 -- Embedded above is a b-roll video of U.S. Marines continuing to push south in Afghanistan under heavy enemy contact as part of Operation River Liberty, partnering with Afghan border patrol searching a local home for possible security threats, engaging the enemy after getting positive identification on enemy shooters, and patrolling late into the day, July 3. (2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade video. Length: 00:02:15.)

COMBAT CAMERA More Combat Camera Imagery on THE TENSION

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Combat Camera: Day and Night at Combat Outpost Zerok, Afghanistan

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Sgt. Edwin McGinity, left, provides information to Spcs. Ivan Vargas, far left, and Gareth Warner on Combat Outpost Zurok, Afghanistan, July 13. The soldiers are infantry mortarmen assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3/509 Infantry (Abn.), 4/25 Brigade Combat Team. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith, Joint Combat Camera Afghanistan.)

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A westward view from an observation tower on Combat Outpost Zurok, Afghanistan, July 13. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith, Joint Combat Camera Afghanistan.)

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Spcs. Ricky Olivo, left, and Vincent Cutler assume a protective posture as a 120 mm mortar round is launched from the tube during a fire mission on Combat Outpost Zurok, Afghanistan, July 13. The soldiers are deployed with 3/509 Infantry (Abn.), 4/25 Brigade Combat Team. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith, Joint Combat Camera Afghanistan.)

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Spc. Vincent Cutler drops a 120 mm mortar round into the tube while Spc. Ricky Olivo keeps the gun on target during a fire mission on Combat Outpost Zurok, Afghanistan, July 13.The soldiers are deployed with 3/509 Infantry (Abn.), 4/25 Brigade Combat Team. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith, Joint Combat Camera Afghanistan.)

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Spcs. Gareth Warner, left, and Ricky Olivo assume a protective posture as a 120 mm mortar round is launched from the tube during a fire mission on Combat Outpost Zurok, Afghanistan, July 13. The soldiers are deployed with 3/509 Infantry (Abn.), 4/25 Brigade Combat Team. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith, Joint Combat Camera Afghanistan.)

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Spc. Gareth Warner drops a 120 mm mortar round into the tube while Spc. Ricky Olivo keeps the gun on target during a fire mission on Combat Outpost Zurok, Afghanistan, July 13. The soldiers are deployed with 3/509 Infantry (Abn.), 4/25 Brigade Combat Team. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith, Joint Combat Camera Afghanistan.)

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A view down "Skid Row" on Combat Outpost Zurok, Afghanistan, July 13. The area known as "Skid Row" is the primary berthing area for soldiers living on the COP, and is heavily fortified with sandbags, Hesco barriers, and large metal boxes that are used for living areas. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith, Joint Combat Camera Afghanistan.)

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U.S. Army Spcs. Ivan Vargas, left, and Gareth Warner of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3/509 Infantry (Abn.), 4/25 Brigade Combat Team, set up a 60 mm mortar system on Combat Outpost Zurok, Afghanistan, July 13. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith, Joint Combat Camera Afghanistan.)

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Spc. Matthew King uses the Lightweight Handheld Mortar Ballistic Computer to obtain information during a fire mission on Combat Outpost Zurok, Afghanistan, July 13. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith, Joint Combat Camera Afghanistan.)

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Spc. Vincent Cutler drops a 120 mm mortar round into the tube while Spc. Ricky Olivo keeps the gun on target during a fire mission on Combat Outpost Zurok, Afghanistan, July 13. The soldiers are deployed with 3/509 Infantry (Abn.), 4/25 Brigade Combat Team. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith, Joint Combat Camera Afghanistan.)

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Spcs. Ricky Olivo, left, and Chris Hall assume a protective posture while a 120 mm mortar round is launched from the gun during a night fire mission on Combat Outpost Zurok, Afghanistan, July 13. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith, Joint Combat Camera Afghanistan.)

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Pfc. Daniel Nededog prepares 120 mm mortar rounds for a fire mission on Combat Outpost Zurok, Afghanistan, July 13. Nededog is deployed with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3/509 Infantry (Abn.), 4/25 Brigade Combat Team. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith, Joint Combat Camera Afghanistan.)

COMBAT CAMERA More Combat Camera Imagery on THE TENSION

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Pentagon Discuses Military Monitoring of North Korea

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2009 -- The U.S. military plays a role in the monitoring of North Korean actions that may violate a U.N. Security Council resolution that prohibits North Korea from weapons proliferation, a senior Pentagon official said here today.

The United Nations has banned North Korea from exporting its weapons technology -- such as its missile expertise -- to other countries. The North Korean government, which also is suspected of developing nuclear weapons, has conducted several ballistic-missile tests in recent weeks.

“The United States is fulfilling its obligations,” spokesman Bryan Whitman told Pentagon reporters, as part of U.N. efforts designed to prevent North Korea from providing its military expertise to other nations.

“We have a role in that [effort],” Whitman continued. “We have certain capabilities and resources.”

Whitman noted that at a Pentagon news conference yesterday, Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, voiced concerns about alleged military ties between North Korea and Burma, especially potential arms shipments that would violate U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718. Keating told reporters his command is capable of closely tracking potential shipments of North Korean-supplied weapons to Burma, which is governed by a military junta.

“We are, obviously, watching North Korea closely from many different aspects: the proliferation aspect, shipping, as well as monitoring missile activities,” Whitman said.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is traveling in the Pacific region, he pointed out. “She is carrying very strong messages this government and many countries around the world have [expressed] for some time about North Korean behavior,” Whitman said.

North Korea had removed itself from multi-party talks that sought to establish a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. Meanwhile, Whitman said, U.S. military assets “continue to watch” and monitor North Korean activities that may violate the U.N. resolution.

(Report by Gerry J. Gilmore, American Forces Press Service.)

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