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August 6, 2013 at 11:36am

“Starting Strong”: Episode 10 - Vehicle Mechanic

"Starting Strong" Episode 10 host Staff Sgt. Kristen King. Photo courtesy of


Episode 10 concludes the 10 part Army reality show "Starting Strong" - which allows civilians to have a one-week tryout in a specific Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) before deciding whether or not to enlist. Joshua Johnson has a strong passion for becoming a mechanic but will a try out week in the U.S. Army on Fort Carson be enough for Joshua to overcome the distance away from home and join the U.S. Army?

This week, Starting Strong takes a look at U.S. Army Vehicle Mechanics. Joshua, a potential recruit from Campbell, MN was sent to Fort Carson, CO to see if he has what it takes to be an U.S. Army Vehicle Mechanic or "Light Wheel Mechanic". After one week of training will he become U.S. Army Strong?

"It only requires that you're mechanically curious and not afraid to get your hands a little dirty," show's host SSG Kristen King introduces the audience to this week's episode. "An army may move on its stomach, but its mission success depends on its equipment, and we've got the coolest toys in the world."

Joshua, an 18-year-old high school student from Campbell, Minnesota, had to grow up fast.

That's because he has seven brothers and sisters that were all raised by his grandmother due to his mother's alcoholism.

Joshua has always had an affinity for the mechanic profession but fears the Army because he doesn't want to move away from his family.

"I got into cars at a really young age helping my uncle with his race car, "Joshua tells the camera.  "I started working on my first car when I was 13."

Joshua's Army training experience takes place under the mentorship of Sergeant First Class Andrew Puls. Sergeant First Class Puls has 19 years of service.

His first challenge starts with a physical and mental test; climbing a massive training rock wall.

He very easily conquers his first test.

Next up, Joshua visits Fort Carson's Closed Combat Tactical Training Facility, which looks like a virtual reality playground.

"This is the world's greatest arcade with the biggest and baddest video games you'll ever see," says show's host SSG King.

Joshua trains atop a simulated tank as the gunner with literally video screens surrounding him on all sides.

"This is the best video game I've ever played," Joshua says. "Nothing compares to that."

After his virtual reality simulation, Joshua heads to the motor pool where military vehicle repairs take place.

Army Vehicle Mechanics can rebuild a geared hub and replace a half shaft in just 30 minutes.

Joshua quickly catches on and appears to seamlessly blend in with the rest of his battle buddies.

The next mission for Joshua is attempting to retrieve a damaged vehicle from a possible hot zone in a simulated Afghan village.

His mentor, SFC Puls stresses the importance of there being nothing in a vehicle worth a loss of life.

His last stop takes him to the NHRA Top Fuel Nationals at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to meet a former National Guardsmen and Army 63B, Shane Boyington.

Shane works for the FRAM Air Filter Top Fuel Dragster team.

"It has been my childhood dreams to work on this stuff and I wouldn't be doing it today if it wasn't for the army.

Joshua gets hands on experience taking apart and putting together the engine block of an 8,000 horsepower dragster that actually reaches 306 mph in just 3.98 seconds.

After his full hands on experience and a brief message of support from his grandma, who raised him, it becomes the time for the decision of Starting Strong's last military-reality show participant.

Joshua does decide to join the U.S. Army and is even sworn in to service in front of thousands of fans at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

What a memorable way to end one show's tenure and to start the tenure of Joshua's military career.

FOLLOW UP: Spc Joshua Johnson is currently a 91B Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic currently serving with the 3rd Infantry Division at Ft. Stewart, GA.

BONUS: Warrior Forge ROTC 2013 at JBLM coverage

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 1

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 2

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 3

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 4

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 5

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 6

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 7

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 8

Filed under: Army News, Training, Video,

July 26, 2013 at 7:49am

Morning Report: Bradley Manning court-martial, 2nd Cavalry Regiment takes lead, Pearl Jam app and more ...

Col. D.A. Sims (left), commander of Combined Task Force Dragoon (2nd Cavalry Regiment), and Command Sgt. Maj. Wilbert E. Engram uncase the task force's colors during a transfer-of-authority ceremony, July 25 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Photo Credit

CLEANING UP A MESS: In coordination with the Australian Defense Force, the U.S. 7th Fleet will take the lead in the safe retrieval and disposal of four bombs which were jettisoned off the coast of Queensland, Australia, by two AV-8B Harrier aircraft in an emergency situation on July 16.

AFGHANISTAN: 2nd Cavalry Regiment takes lead.

TODAY: The defense gets the chance to sum up its case in the court-martial of Bradley Manning, the Army private who sent hundreds of thousands of U.S. government documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

HUG A BLOGGER: The Defense Department is facing a once-in-a-generation change, and its public affairs practitioners around the world need to communicate that change clearly, the Pentagon's chief spokesman said today.

LEGAL MOTION: Commandant Gen. Jim Amos removed Lt. Gen. Thomas Walhauser as the consolidated disposition authority for prosecuting the cases against Marines involved in videotaping themselves urinating on dead Taliban fighters.

SEXUAL ASSAULT MEASURE: Opponents scramble to keep Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand from getting a majority on legislation removing sexual assault cases from the chain of command.

NINE INCH NAILS: The band is back onstage, with a vengeance.

HERE'S A STORY: Did you hear the one about the guy who spent all of his Kickstarter money and then canceled the project?

PEARL JAM: There's an app for that.

MEET THE NEWEST SUPERHERO IN TOWN: She kicks ass wearing a burka.

Keep It Together Today

July 25, 2013 at 8:12am

Morning Report: I Corps in Australia, military budget, female soldiers in combat, "Twilly" and more ...

Paratroopers move out after jumping into the Shoalwater Bay Training Area of Queensland, Australia, during Exercise Talisman Saber 2013. Photo Credit: Cpl. Max Bree

I CORPS IN AUSTRALIA: I Corps is playing a key role in Exercise Talisman Saber in Australia, demonstrating the Army's increasing influence in the Pacific, said one of the exercise planners.

MILITARY BUDGET: The U.S. House last night overwhelmingly approved a spending bill that would give the Pentagon about $600 billion next year, while narrowly killing a measure that targeted controversial NSA surveillance programs.

FEMALE SOLDIERS: How female soldiers mentally cope with the rigors of combat is creating more concern among Pentagon leaders than whether those troops can withstand the physical rigors of the battlefield.

PRISON PRICE: The cost to run the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay in 2013 is $454 million - a figure significantly higher than previous estimates.

ASH IN AFRICA: Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter met with senior government and military leaders here to discuss the U.S.-Ethiopia security partnership and shared interests in East African security challenges.

ROCKET SCEINCE: Natick develops holster for M320 grenade launcher.

TODAY'S LIST: The 25 essential American indie films, 1988-2013.

WOULD YOU EAT THIS?: "Twilly" - a hot dog in a Twinkie bun!

COMIC-CON: The cool stuff you'd want to steal.

MAKING SCIENCE MATTER: Why Cosmos is more important than ever.

July 23, 2013 at 10:17am

“Starting Strong”: Episode 8 - Civil Affairs Specialist

"Starting Strong" Episode 8 host Staff Sgt. Kristen King. Photo courtesy of


Episode 8 of the Army reality show "Starting Strong" - which allows civilians to have a one-week tryout in a specific Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) before deciding whether or not to enlist - examines what it takes to make it as a Civil Affairs Specialist. Alana Mingay has strong ties to disaster relief with the Peace Corps, but will that and a tryout week in the U.S. Army on Fort Bragg be enough for her to decide to join the U.S. Army?

This week, Starting Strong takes a look at U.S. Army Civil Affairs Specialists. Mingay, a potential recruit from Marquette, Mich., is sent to Fort Bragg, N.C. to see if she has what it takes to be a U.S. Army Civil Affairs Specialist, or "Warrior Diplomat."

After one week of training, will she become U.S. Army Strong?

"Around the world, these highly trained soldiers are the link between the Army and local civilians," said the show's host, Staff Sgt. Kristen King, when introducing the audience to this week's episode. "They assess political conditions, coordinate aid and win hearts and minds for the Army mission."

Mingay, a 33-year-old grad student who has worked with the Peace Corps and the Crisis Corps, has a passion for disaster relief but worries about the combat aspect of the military.


Filed under: Army News, Training, Video,

July 23, 2013 at 7:53am

Morning Report: I Corps Down Under, Syria action preview, summer beers and more ...

Secretary of the Army John McHugh and Lt. Gen. Brown, I Corps commanding general, speak with personnel participating in the 2013 Talisman Saber exercise, July 20, 2013, Brisbane, Australia. Photo Credit: Spc. John G. Martinez

TALISMAN SABER 2013: Secretary of the Army John McHugh sees I Corps in action Down Under.

LESSON LEARNED: Building on the lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. Special Operations Command is refocusing on helping partner militaries across the geographic commands build special operations capacity.

AFGHANISTAN: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff came away from a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai yesterday convinced that the United States and Afghanistan can sign a bilateral security agreement between now and October.

SYRIA PREVIEW?: A drill involving about 4,000 paratroopers and 95 tons of air-dropped gear offered a dramatic preview of one possible U.S. action to seize control of chemical warfare stocks in Syria.

CUTBACKS: The Navy has 10 fewer ships worldwide compared to just a few months ago.

TODAY'S LIST: Tasty summer beers.

TO EACH THEIR OWN: Wedding photo of newlyweds preparing to battle Star Wars AT-AT Walkers and the Death Star.

GOOD NEWS: Neil deGrasse Tyson says long-awaited Cosmos sequel tells "Greatest Story Ever Told."

Someone Has Too Much Free Time

July 22, 2013 at 4:58pm

August is Army Anti-Terrorism Awareness Month

Illustration courtesy of U.S. Army

Have you heard? August is Army Anti-Terrorism Awareness Month.

Since August 2010, the Army has pushed information to installations, stand-alone facilities, and units, so that these communities are able to prepare, prevent and protect themselves from terrorist acts.

In a recent Army statement, Maj. Gen. David Quantock, provost marshal general of the Army, said civilians and soldiers must remain in a constant state of vigilance year-round.

"Terrorists, at the end of the day, are looking for soft targets," Quantock said. "If we create vigilance and have people who take part in this and report it, we're going to take soft targets and make them all hard targets."


July 19, 2013 at 7:43am

Morning Report: Drill Sergeants of the Year, McCain is hella mad, China gets aggressive, do you care about Spock? and more ...

Sgt. 1st Class Ryan McCaffrey gives instruction on how to properly inspect the ejection port of an M-16 rifle during the rifle drill manual stage of the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant of the Year selection process. Photo Credit: Andrew R. McIntyre, Fort Jackson

WINNER ANNOUNCED: 2013 Drill Sergeants of the Year.

DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY ASH CARTER: DOD manages major strategic transition as budget shrinks.

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Asia-Pacific rebalance promotes prosperity, security.

OH CRAP: A U.S. intelligence-gathering ship was harassed by a Chinese security ship last month in an incident that analysts say indicates Beijing is stepping up aggressive maritime encounters toward the U.S. Navy in the Asia-Pacific.

AFGHANISTAN'S THANKS FOR U.S. GENEROSITY: Karzai's regime issues harsh exit levies.

NOT SATISFIED: Sen. John McCain says he will block U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey's nomination to a second term in the post.

MISSILE DEFENSE: Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. James Syring told a congressional panel that the agency plans to get back to flight testing "as soon as possible" after a failed test earlier this month.

DO YOU CARE?: What if Ned Stark and Tony stark were brothers?

COMIC-CON: Yes, there is a 400-pound robot there.

It's Spock. Do You Care?

July 17, 2013 at 7:58am

Morning Report: Military logistics' future, Quadrennial Defense Review, "Ghost Shark" and more ...

New M2A2 and M3A3 Bradleys are loaded onto railcars at Pier 8 in Busan, South Korea. Equipment and troops will be redistributed through a complex logistics chain as the US 'pivots' to the Asia-Pacific. (US Army)

MILITARY LOGISTICS: A year and a half after the Obama administration released its latest National Security Strategy calling for a "rebalancing" of U.S. strategic focus from the Middle East to the Pacific, the broad outlines of what that shift may look like are coming into view.

THEY KEEP ON COMING: Hagel announces cuts to headquarters staffs.

DOWN UNDER WONDER: A new logistics tracking system between the United States and Australia will help to ensure faster, more coordinated responses to humanitarian crises and other contingencies while laying the foundation for closer cooperation across the Asia-Pacific region.

YIKES: Low levels of alpha and beta radiological particles were detected in a weapons storage bunker near Biggs Army Airfield at Fort Bliss, Texas, in an area called the "Snake Pit."

QUADRENNIAL DEFENSE REVIEW: A concerted effort by DoD to look 20 to 50 years ahead and make recommendations that are not financially driven will provide Congress with the clear-eyed perspective and advice it needs to address US budgeting needs and to understand risks inherent in anything it decides to leave unfunded.

QUIZ: Name that tune, TV theme song edition.

DAVID BOWIE: He's released a new video.

ANOTHER VIDEO: Adam Ant performs Vince Taylor, Goody Two Shoes on Jimmy Fallon.



What Are You Going To Do Today

July 16, 2013 at 11:02am

Reviewing "Starting Strong": Episode 7 - U.S. Army Infantryman

"Starting Strong" episode 7 host Staff Sgt. Kristen King. Photo courtesy of


Episode 7 of the Army reality show "Starting Strong" - which allows civilians to have a one-week tryout in a specific Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) before deciding whether or not to enlist - examines what it takes to make it as an U.S. Army infantryman. Jeremy Navarette has strong ties within a military family, but will that - and a tryout week with an Army unit on Joint Base Lewis-McChord - be enough to convince him to enlist?

This week, Starting Strong takes a look at the U.S. Army infantry. Navarette, a potential recruit from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is sent to JBLM to see if he has what it takes to be a Soldier in the infantry. After one week of training, will he become U.S. Army Strong?

"It's been said the most powerful weapon in the U.S. Army is the Infantry; he's the backbone of the Army," the show's host, Staff Sgt. Kristen King says when introducing the audience to this week's episode. "He has to defend our country during peace time and defeat the enemy during war time."

Navarette, a 22-year-old outdoorsman who works at a sporting goods retail store, wants an opportunity to see if he should leave the comfort of his parents' home.


July 16, 2013 at 8:05am

Morning Report: Army slashed the most, hanging with Hagel, NCO promotions change, "Cap'N Crunch Show" and more ...

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks to soldiers, families and civilians during a town hall meeting at Pope Army Airfield on Fort Bragg, N.C. U.S. Army photo by Timothy Hale

ARMY NOT SO STRONG: Money for military construction will be cut $600 million in the coming year, but Army cuts will run far deeper. While the Navy gets a $200 million boost and the Air Force will see a $700 million bump, the total force Army will see a cut of more than $1.2 billion.

HANGING WITH HAGEL: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is traveling to U.S. military bases to talk with service members and their families, as well as Defense Department civilian employees, about the impact of budget reductions and to listen to their concerns. 

PENTAGON PAPERS: A data-driven review of big-ticket Pentagon programs going back 20 years shows that, no matter the platform or type of contract, the majority of developmental programs exceeded their planned budgets by 30 percent.

NCO PROMOTIONS: The Army will soon require noncommissioned officers to complete online training prior to promotion eligibility. Additionally, NCO schools will no longer be waived.

YEA, NO: The United States' top naval commander in Asia described military relations with China as "collegial" and rejected Cold War comparisons.

THA BOMB: The U.S. Air Force is in the early phases of a massive, fleet-wide technological upgrade of its B-52 bombers, giving the war-tested platform new electronics and an increased ability to carry weapons.


TODAY'S LIST: 10 lost endings to blockbuster movies.

THE CAP'N CRUNCH SHOW: Yes, it exists, and Burt Reynolds was on it.

AMAZING PIXAR THEORY: It will blow your mind.

Is it better to try, and fail? Or to never try at all?

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