The all-American team assembled of the military veterans is about to complete the grueling Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. The race across the Atlantic ocean that requires competitors to row across 3,000 miles of open ocean. Now, all-American team Fight Oar Die is just a few days from the finish line.
The base of followers keeping tabs on the journey includes plenty of people in Alabama. One team member, Bryan Knight, has family in Mobile, Alabama and the area was important to their qualifications. For a few weeks in September and October, the team used Mobile’s Buccaneer Yacht Club as the home base for their spaceship-like boat, the Woobie, while they handled some sea trials in Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
Knight and his Fight Oar Die crew —Alex Evans, Beau Maier and Christopher Kuntz — are using their campaign to raise awareness of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and other post-combat difficulties that bother veterans, and to raise funds for treatment and research.
“Each stroke we row increases the momentum toward our ultimate mission of increasing awareness of and support for the cognitive, behavioral, and physical health of U.S. Military/Veteran personnel,” reads part of the mission statement on the team website.
Competition rules require teams to carry all their food and devices to supply drinking water on their journey. As they prepared their gear in Mobile, Alabam team members said they were packing the boat Woobie with 48 days of rations plus 12 days of emergency rations.
According to the race clock running at the official race website, Day 51 on the water started at about noon Friday. At 9:15 a.m. Central time Friday, the live race tracker put Fight Oar Die less than 186 nautical miles from the finish, running 20th out of 27 boats with a projected finish of 55 days and 11 minutes.
That would appear to be a solid performance. This year’s first finisher did it in 34 days 12 hours, and the leaderboard projects an 83-day finish for the boat currently running last.
An update posted Friday morning at the Fight Oar Die page on Facebook projected a late Monday finish for the team. Another update a few hours earlier said “With just over 200 miles left, our spirits are high. Bodies are broken (feeling every bit of my almost 50 years of living-Bryant), but this is a mental game. Just row, right? More whale sightings have kept us pleased.”
That’s a great and noble thing that guys from Fight Oar Die did for veterans and their community. Their story should act as inspiration for all of us.
Back in November, a SU-27 made two close passes near Navy EP-3 Aries Reconnaissance Aircraft
A Russian SU-27 fighter came dangerously close to a Navy EP-3 Aries reconnaissance aircraft over the Black Sea, defense officials said. The incident occurred back in November 2018.
The U.S. Navy aircraft was in international airspace and had its transponder on as the SU-27 made two close passes, said Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon shortly after the incident.
“We classified it as unsafe,” Pahon told reporters. “They didn’t establish radio contact. They came really, really close to our aircraft. I don’t have an estimate of distance – but really, really close to our aircraft – and then they engaged the afterburners and the entire aircraft shook.
“There’s just absolutely no reason for this type of behavior,” he continued. “This type of behavior is unacceptable. We call attention to it when it does occur. It puts our aircraft and air crews in danger.
November’s incident was the second such close encounter since January, 2018 when another Russian SU-27 came within five feet of a Navy EP-3 and then crossed through the Navy aircraft’s flight path, causing the EP-3 to fly through the Russian fighter’s jet wash.
The Russian defense ministry denied that one of its fighters flew too close to a Navy EP-3. The footage can be seen below.
Russian deployment in Venezuela includes special forces
A Russian military contingent that arrived in Venezuela over the weekend, drawing US condemnation, is believed by the US government to be made up of special forces including “cybersecurity personnel”, a US official said.The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States was still assessing the Russian deployment, which Washington has called a “reckless escalation” of the situation in Venezuela.
Two Russian air force planes landed outside Caracas on Saturday carrying nearly 100 Russian troops, according to local media reports, two months after the administration of US President Donald Trump disavowed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.Venezuela’s government has confirmed two planes landed from Russia at the weekend and were authorised by Maduro but has given no more details.
Flight tracking websites said the planes, an Ilyushin IL-62 passenger jet and an Antonov AN-124 military cargo plane, had taken off from Russian military airports.One of them had flown from Moscow via Syria, where Russia supports President Bashar al-Assad.
The Trump administration has recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate president and demands that Maduro step down. Russia has described this as a US-backed coup against the socialist government.The US determination that the Russian contingent includes cybersecurity specialists suggests that part of their mission could be helping Maduro’s loyalists with surveillance as well as protection of the government’s cyber infrastructure.Russia’s main objective in providing the military help, including cyber experts, would likely be to help shield Maduro from “regime change” and ensure a foothold for Moscow in Latin America, according to a source familiar with US government assessments of Venezuela.
Russia also has major energy investments in OPEC member Venezuela. In December, Russia sent two nuclear-capable long range bombers to Venezuela for several days to participate in what it said were joint exercises. Russia’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that the presence of “Russian specialists” in Venezuela was governed by a military-technical cooperation agreement between the two countries.It did not provide further details.
However, Sputnik, a Russian state news outlet, cited unnamed embassy officials in Caracas to report that troops and 35 tonnes of cargo under the command of General Vasily Tonkoshkurov arrived to “exchange consultations”.