Freedom Rock Countdown
Wed, 06/20/2018 - 1:07pm admin
—9th Gun Salute . . . War on Terrorism
CRESCO - Meet Marshall Rogne. He is the Howard County Veterans Affairs Director and member of the Freedom Rock.
This week’s final gun salute is to the War on Terrorism. On Sept. 20, 2001, George W. Bush declared “War on Terror” during the reactionary speech in which he sent America to war with Al-Qaeda following the Sept. 11 attacks in New York.
The phrase “War on Terror” has now become synonymous with American foreign policy in the Middle East, alongside the foreign policy of many of America’s allies.
Rogne is a strong leader at Howard County Veterans Affairs, but a big old softy when it comes to puppies. And, he’s not afraid to admit it. He will talk your ear off about one of the most unheralded members of the fighting force: its estimated 2,300 working dogs. These dogs, along with their handlers from every military service, are deployed worldwide to support the war on terror, helping to safeguard military bases to detect bombs and other explosives before they inflict harm. The vast majority of U.S. military working dogs are German and Dutch shepherds and Belgian Malinois breeds. They are said to be very aggressive, very smart, very loyal and very athletic.
There is another “working dog” you may not know about. Man’s best friend was recruited by Uncle Sam as part of the BigDog program. These new warriors are not flesh and blood though; they are part of the Legged Squad Support System (LS3). The robots are meant to serve supporting roles with troops, such as hauling more than 300 pounds of extra ammunition, food and water to lighten soldiers’ loads, scout ahead of their human masters and respond to their commands. They operate using computer vision, or travel to prearranged sites using GPS. Due to their noisy nature, the LS3 has led to a quieter version called Spot; Synchronized Predeployment & Operational Tracker, and the SpotMini.
Dogs are not the only antiterrorism weapon. These are some of Marshall’s favorites:
• Honeybees — Bees are used to sniff out and identify a wide variety of dangerous substances such as explosives and illicit drugs. Bees can sense some odors that are present in parts-per-trillion, similar to detecting a grain of salt in an Olympic sized swimming pool.
• Crows — A curious avenue of experimental research into identifying known terrorists has been the use of crows to pick out a suspicious face from a crowd. The reasoning behind the research lies in the fact that in addition to high intelligence and an exceptional long-term memory, crows also happen to possess extremely acute discriminatory abilities. Simply put, crows have an astonishing talent for remembering and picking out individual faces, even those of human beings.
• Dolphins and Sea Lions — Since the 1960s, the U.S. military has been engaged in training dolphins and sea lions for a wide variety of applications, such as detecting underwater mines and swimmers, recovering inert torpedoes and other instrumentation lost at sea and testing naval equipment.
• Rats — One of humanity’s most potent weapons of terror is the land mine. Rats have a remarkably keen sense of smell, on par with dogs, allowing them to sniff out explosives, even when buried. The biggest advantage of using rats to detect mines lies in their size and speed. Unlike human, robot or canine mine detection units, the rats used in the program are too small and light to set off land mines.
Marshall Rogne invites you to learn more about the War of Terror and Featherlite’s contribution at the dedication of the Howard County Memorial Park featuring the Freedom Rock on June 23, 2018.
[This weekly countdown has featured members of the Freedom Rock Committee and information about military history. The Howard County Memorial Park, with the Freedom Rock as a focal point, is located at the crossroads of Hwy. 9 and 3rd St. West in Cresco.]