July 8, 2024

Restored Pax O’Club Mural Lands at Museum

Conservators pause during the process of removing the large mural “Naval Aviation in Space” from the wall of the former Officers Club at NAS Patuxent River in 2017 prior to the building’s demolition. Dedicated in 1986, the mural was painted by artist George F. McWilliams while he was still employed at Pax River as a draftsman/illustrator. The 12-by-20 mural features astronauts Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, Scott Carpenter, and John Glenn. (Photo by Donna M. Cipolloni)

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A restored mural honoring the role that NAS Pax River played in national space history now hangs in the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum, reports dvidshub.net. The mural that once graced the lobby of the now-demolished Officers Club at Pax River is the work of local artist George F. McWilliams. The mural underwent restoration work due to exposure from years of wear, grime, and various airborne particles.

A Gallup survey released shortly before the July 4th holiday found 41% of Americans polled said they are “extremely proud” of their American identity, reports The Hill. That’s up from 39% last year and 38% in 2022, which was the lowest point since Gallup debuted the question in 2001.

Nicholas Rasmussen, the Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism coordinator, says prominent voices in the political arena have created a “toxic political environment” that has made the US more vulnerable to acts of violence that threaten the country’s social fabric, reports Marine Corps Times. Rasmussen was speaking to counterterrorism experts who had gathered for a National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education Center conference.

The US Marine Corps has reactivated one of two light attack helicopter squadrons it shut down in 2022, reports Marine Corps Times. Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 269, under 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, stood back up at Marine Corps Air Station New River in North Carolina last week.

The United States has banned the maker of spyware used to target US government officials, activists, and journalists, reports The Hill. Sanctions were levied against Greece-based spyware vendor Intellexa last week.

The US Air Force wants more money for its drone wingmen Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) program in fiscal year 2024, reports Breaking Defense. The service is asking lawmakers for special permission to shift an additional $150 million, an increase of nearly 40%, into the effort on top of the $392 million that had been previously appropriated.

BAE Systems has received a United Kingdom Sting Ray torpedo Mid Life Upgrade contract valued at $76 million, reports Breaking Defense. The contract calls for the development of the new Sting Ray Mod 2 lightweight torpedo design. The Sting Ray Mod 1 is currently used by the UK Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, and the Norwegian Armed Forces.

Sailors from the Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group have received awards for their recent actions in the Middle East, reports Navy Times. They have been credited with shooting down a barrage of Iran-backed Houthi drones and missiles on a near-daily basis. The Combat Action Ribbon is awarded to sailors and Marines who participated in ground or surface action, and the Navy has rarely given it to sailors since the 1991 Gulf War.

Navy Times tells the story of how a World War II flying ace became the unlikely honoree of a submarine combat award. After John Roderick Galvin’s plane was badly shot up during a combat sortie in the Pacific region, the wounded pilot bailed out of his aircraft. He swam for hours in rough waters before landing on a beach. Later he was rescued by a submarine crew. Convinced God had a personal hand in his survival against heavy odds, Galvin became highly religious for the rest of his life, which he expressed in a memoir he cowrote with Frank Allnutt, “Salvation for the Doomed Zoomie,” published in 1983.

Navy Undersecretary Erik Raven, the service’s No. 2 civilian, will leave his position in August, reports Breaking Defense. NavSec Carlos Del Toro credited Raven with contributions to the trilateral security pact AUKUS, improving Guam’s infrastructure to support defense operations in the Indo-Pacific, and optimizing the Navy’s business operations.

US forces and equipment are moving from a small base in Niger, and fewer than 500 troops remain, reports Air Force Times. The remaining troops will leave the drone base in the West African country in August, ahead of a Sept. 15 deadline set in an agreement with the new ruling junta. Air Force MAJ GEN Kenneth Ekman said a number of small teams of 10 to 20, including special operations forces, have moved to other countries in West Africa. But the bulk of the forces will go to Europe.

Ten US Army service members will compete on behalf of the US at this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, reports Army Times. Seven active-duty soldiers will head to the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics this month as part of Team USA. Three athletes will also compete in the Paralympic Games later in August.

Contracts:

Culmen International LLC, Alexandria, Virginia, was awarded a $16,788,117 cost-plus-fixed-fee bridge contract (HDTRA1-24-C-0033) for threat reduction logistics services for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) in support of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Directorate. The principal place of performance is Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The work provides logistics services across the cooperative threat reduction portfolio including the Biological Threat Reduction Program, chemical security and elimination, global nuclear security, strategic offensive arms elimination, the Proliferation Prevention Program, and other assessments and administrative costs. This award is the result of a sole source acquisition. DTRA solicited for one proposal and received one proposal. Funds in the amount of $6,581,586 are to be obligated at the time of award. Work is expected to be completed by January 2025. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

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