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UK’s newest carrier ― with Marine Corps F-35s onboard ― joins Islamic State fight, stirs Russian interest

Britain’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth — with 10 Marine Corps F-35s onboard — is helping to take on the “lion’s share” of operations against the Islamic State group in Iraq, U.K. naval commanders said. It has also piqued the interest of Russian warplanes, who try to keep tabs on those cutting-edge F-35 jet…

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UK’s newest carrier ― with Marine Corps F-35s onboard ― joins Islamic State fight, stirs Russian interest

Britain’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth — with 10 Marine Corps F-35s onboard — is helping to take on the “lion’s share” of operations against the Islamic State group in Iraq, U.K. naval commanders said. It has also piqued the interest of Russian warplanes, who try to keep tabs on those cutting-edge F-35 jet in a “cat-and-mouse” game with British and U.S. pilots. Speaking aboard the 65,000-ton carrier on its first-ever deployment, Commodore Steve Moorhouse said the UK is carrying out most of the missions to wipe out the remnants of the Islamic State in Iraq as the U.S. focuses on its withdrawal from Afghanistan. “At the moment, we’re taking on the lion’s share of that operation over Iraq, which is a fantastic, say, feather in our cap. But an achievement that ‘A’, we’re trusted and ‘B’, that we’re able to do that,” Moorhouse told reporters Sunday. It’s the first time that a UK aircraft carrier is supporting live military operations on the ground in more than two decades, projecting British military power on a global scale. Moorhouse said the carrier offers the UK flexibility in how to conduct military operations abroad and “keeps those that wish to cause us harm … on their toes.” He said the eastern Mediterranean has become more “congested and contested” over the past decade in light of the heavier Russian military presence in Syria, which is resulting in regular encounters with Russian ships and warplanes. People line the shore to watch as tug boats maneuver the 65,000-tonne British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth into Portsmouth Harbour in Portsmouth, southern England, in August 2017, as it arrives at for the first time in her home port. (Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images) “We’re rubbing up against Russian activity, not in a you know, in a dangerous or aggressive manner, but you’ve just got other people out here playing in what is a fixed piece of water and airspace,” said Moorhouse, adding that a Russian warship has come within 16 miles of the carrier. The commodore insisted that Russian, British and U.S. pilots have a “healthy respect for one another” and their conduct has been “absolutely professional” since the aircraft carrier started anti-IS operations on June 18. Get the Marine Corps Times Daily News Roundup Don’t miss the top Marine Corps stories, delivered each afternoon (please select a country)United StatesUnited KingdomAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of TheCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’ivoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-bissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNetherlands AntillesNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint HelenaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and The GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and The South Sandwich IslandsSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-lesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaViet NamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe Subscribe × By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Marine Corps Times Daily News Roundup. “But there is a reality when you buy yourself a fifth-generation aircraft carrier and you take it around the world … people are interested in it,” he added. Capt. James Blackmore, who commands the eight British F-35 jets and the 10 helicopters aboard the carrier, said UK and Russian pilots have come within “visual distance” of each other. “It’s that cat-and-mouse posturing, it’s what we expect in this region of world. And as you can imagine, it’s the first time for F-35s into the eastern Mediterranean,” said Blackmore. “So, of course Russia wants to look at what they’re like, they want to look at what our carriers are like.” The state-of-the art F-35, armed with air-to-air missiles and laser-guided bombs, is being used over Iraq to look for other aircraft or unmanned drones, support troops on the ground as well as to carry out surveillance with its sophisticated sensor and radar systems. “It’s a fifth-generation aircraft with a hugely, hugely capable radar and sensor suite, and that’s what it brings. So it’s the eyes and ears that it’s offering out there,” said Moorhouse. The HMS Queen Elizabeth and its support ships, which include the U.S. destroyer The Sullivans, will remain in the eastern Mediterranean for two to three weeks before moving through the Suez Canal to continue with a 7 1/2 -month deployment to India, South Korea and Japan. The carrier also has 10 U.S. F-35 jets from the Marine Corps’ Fighter Attack Squadron 211 aboard that carry out operations under British command.

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Soldier with 10th Special Forces Group drowns while training in Florida

A soldier died in a drowning accident Tuesday at the Army’s combat diving school in Key West, Florida, according to Army officials. The deceased soldier was assigned to 10th Special Forces Group, according to press releases from the Army Combat Readiness Center and the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, commonly known as…

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Soldier with 10th Special Forces Group drowns while training in Florida

A soldier died in a drowning accident Tuesday at the Army’s combat diving school in Key West, Florida, according to Army officials. The deceased soldier was assigned to 10th Special Forces Group, according to press releases from the Army Combat Readiness Center and the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, commonly known as SWCS. The SWCS press release and an Army official confirmed to Army Times that the training death occurred at the Army’s Special Forces Underwater Operations School, which is home to the service’s combat diver qualification courses. The school is located at Naval Air Station Key West and is part of SWCS. The CRC has deployed a safety investigation team to take lead in the death investigation, CRC spokesperson Michael Negard said, also specifying that the death was a drowning. The soldier who died was a staff sergeant, according to the SWCS release. “The Staff Sergeant was a student in the Special Forces Combat Diver Qualification Course, and was participating in a conditioning exercise in the pool, which stresses the students’ cardio, respiratory and muscular endurance,” the release said. “During the training event, the Soldier submerged and did not resurface. The cadre immediately entered the pool and found him unresponsive,” read the release. “The Dive Medical Officer attempted to resuscitate him, and he was transported to the Lower Keys Medical Center Emergency Room where he was pronounced dead following full medical intervention.” In the release, SWCS officials described the course as “one of the most physically demanding courses within the Army” with “stringent safety protocols.” Sign up for the Army Times Daily News Roundup Don’t miss the top Army stories, delivered each afternoon (please select a country)United StatesUnited KingdomAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of TheCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’ivoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-bissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNetherlands AntillesNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint HelenaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and The GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and The South Sandwich IslandsSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-lesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaViet NamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe Subscribe × By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Army Times Daily News Roundup. SWCS will provide support counselors as needed for students and cadre at the dive school. 10th Group is headquartered at Fort Carson, Colorado, and has a battalion permanently forward-deployed in Germany. Officials from 10th Group and 1st Special Forces Command did not immediately respond to inquiries from Army Times related to the accident.

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How Vermont was first to finish integrating women into Guard combat arms units

When then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter formally opened the door for women to join Army combat arms units beginning in 2016, he noted that the transition wouldn’t happen overnight. But the transition has proved more difficult for the National Guard than the active-duty force. Ultimately, it took more than five years before the gender integration process…

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How Vermont was first to finish integrating women into Guard combat arms units

When then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter formally opened the door for women to join Army combat arms units beginning in 2016, he noted that the transition wouldn’t happen overnight. But the transition has proved more difficult for the National Guard than the active-duty force. Ultimately, it took more than five years before the gender integration process was complete for any one of the Guard’s 54 states and territories. In April of this year, Vermont became the first state authorized to directly recruit women into all of its combat arms units, signaling its successful completion of the integration process, according to Wayne Hall, a National Guard Bureau spokesman. As of July, Vermont remains the only state with across-the-board authorization for women; other states and territories have only secured narrower authorizations specific to certain units. Army Times spoke with the state’s personnel directorate chief and two of the state’s first female leaders in combat arms and combat support units to chart how Vermont was the first state across the finish line. The primary challenge that the Guard has faced in fully opening its units to women has been the Army’s “leaders first” approach to the process, explained Col. Dana Tourangeau, the state’s personnel directorate chief. “This requirement mandated that each [company-sized unit] must first have [two] Female leaders” at the rank of sergeant or above assigned and formally qualified in the combat arms job before junior troops or new recruits could join the unit, Tourangeau told Army Times. Soldiers with the 1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry Regiment, of the Vermont National Guard, stand in formation during a deployment ceremony, at Taylor Park, in St. Albans, Vt., May 11, 2021. The Soldiers say goodbye to family and friends as they leave for a deployment to U.S. Europe Command. (Sgt. Denis Nuñez/Army) Sign up for the Army Times Daily News Roundup Don’t miss the top Army stories, delivered each afternoon (please select a country)United StatesUnited KingdomAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of TheCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’ivoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-bissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNetherlands AntillesNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint HelenaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and The GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and The South Sandwich IslandsSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-lesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaViet NamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe Subscribe × By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Army Times Daily News Roundup. The National Guard differs from the active-duty Army in that new soldiers are assigned directly into unit vacancies from the moment they sign their contracts, though they are attached to special holding units while they complete training. The “leader first” mandate was intended to foster healthier unit climates for junior enlisted women who would join later in the integration process, but it proved easier for the active-duty Army than the Guard. Soldiers switching to combat arms jobs — such as infantry and cavalry scout positions in Vermont — must attend weeks or months-long schools to qualify for the positions. For an active-duty soldier, reclassification means a temporary duty assignment to the training location. But for Guard members, reclassification means additional weeks or months away from their civilian employers on top of their existing training requirements, posing a potential barrier to entry for talented female leaders. play_circle_filled Nonetheless, Vermont fully opened a cavalry troop to women in March 2016, Tourangeau said, and the director of the Army National Guard certified that the state’s cavalry squadron and infantry battalion were fully open to women in April. Tourangeau explained that the process required more than just female volunteers. The units underwent gender integration training and tailored command climate surveys, as well as “months” of rigorous staff review by the National Guard Bureau, Tourangeau said. The Guard ultimately sped up the process across the force by relaxing the leaders-first requirement to stipulate that only one female leader be part of the unit, and that the woman could hold any position in the organization — not just a combat arms role. “We were able to methodically meet the requirements for each [unit],” one-by-one, said Tourangeau, who credited state senior leadership for helping pave the way. Soldiers move a Humvee during training with the Vermont Army National Guard at the Camp Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vt., Sept. 6, 2020. (Staff Sgt. Barbara Pendl/Army) “[Maj. Gen. Gregory] Knight, the state’s adjutant general, has always been a strong advocate of this initiative,” Tourangeau said. “His support and constant encouragement was critical to breaking down perceived barriers for women to move into these leader’s first positions.” Before his selection as the state’s commanding general, Knight served as the state G-1 — Tourangeau’s current role — overseeing the design and initial implementation of the state’s gender integration efforts. “This represents a significant milestone in making the Vermont National Guard an organization that provides opportunity for all,” said Knight in January when the state’s cavalry squadron completed the gender integration requirements. “I am incredibly proud of the Soldiers and senior leaders of our squadron.” “Our hope now is that more and more young women will see the National Guard as a viable career option,” Tourangeau said. “My message to young women considering enlisting into the Guard for combat arms is that if you can dream it, you can do it.” The women Two female leaders assigned to traditionally male-dominated career fields said they had appreciated and were motivated by the possibility of leading the way for other women. Sgt. Gloria Kamencik initially joined the Vermont National Guard as an ammunition specialist because she wasn’t allowed to serve as a cavalry scout. “I always knew I wanted to be a 19D, Cav Scout, but that wasn’t on the table at the time,” she explained in an email to Army Times from Kosovo, where she is currently deployed as a member of the state’s 172nd Public Affairs Detachment. Sgt. Gloria Kamencik and Sgt. Gillian McCreedy of the 172nd Public Affairs Detachment, 86th Troop Command, Vermont Army National Guard, pose for a photo while covering crowd and riot control training June 18, 2021, at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center at Camp Albertshof, Hohenfels, Germany. (Capt. Mikel Arcovitch/Army) When Kamencik learned she was eligible to reclassify to be a cavalry scout, she jumped at the opportunity. She joined 1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry Regiment, and later finished her cavalry scout training in November 2018. Kamencik didn’t think about being her troop’s only woman until she arrived — she was just excited to be in her Army dream job. “[At first,] there were no other women…[and] there were individuals that were skeptical of me being there,” she said. “Once the thought of being the first female really sank in, it just added fuel to the fire to succeed. It gave me more reasons to ask about opportunities that would challenge me, request more responsibility and push myself further.” Ultimately, Kamencik said, “They became my family. I was never ‘the female’ in the Troop to them.” Another leader, 2nd Lt. Kathleen Ambrose, described her experience as “the beginning to a bright future for both women and for the National Guard.” Ambrose, who describes herself as “five feet tall and extremely competitive,” is currently deployed to Djibouti, Vermont Guard officials said. Since joining her engineer unit in 2017 as a cadet, Ambrose says the number of women there has doubled. And now she’s there as an officer. “Honestly, it’s about time,” said Ambrose of the state’s gender integration milestone. “I know the hard work is far from over.” Army data shows that more than three years into the integration effort, as of July 2019, only 368 women had been trained and assigned to previously closed National Guard combat arms or combat support units.

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Military-funded research looks for the secret to GPS-free navigation in a bird’s eye

Military-funded scientists have isolated a protein present in the eye of a migratory bird that may explain how our feathered friends travel vast distances without a map — and how future soldiers might use that ability to fight without GPS. The research is in an early stage and it is not likely to be in…

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Military-funded research looks for the secret to GPS-free navigation in a bird’s eye

Military-funded scientists have isolated a protein present in the eye of a migratory bird that may explain how our feathered friends travel vast distances without a map — and how future soldiers might use that ability to fight without GPS. The research is in an early stage and it is not likely to be in the hands of soldiers in the next few years. But it could ultimately lead to direct applications or unforeseen opportunities in other areas of research and military development. Researchers have hypothesized for decades about how birds, fish, sea turtles and insects may be using the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate on long-range patterns across the globe. Combined funding from the Army Research Laboratory, Office of Naval Research Global and Air Force Office of Scientific Research to support isolating exactly what makes that happen recently resulted in a published paper in the scientific journal Nature by researchers at the universities of Oxford, England, and Oldenburg, Germany, according to an Army release. By analyzing the migratory European robin, researchers isolated a protein in the bird’s eye and then tested it to learn that the protein can help a bird detect the Earth’s magnetic field and navigate their migration, according to the release. Army Times spoke with Dr. Stephanie McElhinny, program manager for the biochemistry program at the Army Research Laboratory, about the discovery and its impact. One of the key goals, and challenges, for biochemistry research in a military context, is getting biological materials — in this case, proteins — out of living bodies that are fragile and into more robust systems. Or at least, researchers need to get the characteristics of those materials in the hands of soldiers looking for future combat advantages. Sign up for the Army Times Daily News Roundup Don’t miss the top Army stories, delivered each afternoon (please select a country)United StatesUnited KingdomAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of TheCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’ivoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-bissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNetherlands AntillesNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint HelenaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and The GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and The South Sandwich IslandsSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-lesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaViet NamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe Subscribe × By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Army Times Daily News Roundup. A soldier assigned to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment prepares to hand launch the AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven unmanned aerial vehicle, to scout out the opposing force during Dragoon Ready 21 at the Hohenfels Training Area, April 15, 2021. (Spc. Zachary Bouvier/Army) “Proteins have really cool functions, but they’d be even cooler if we could put them in a system for the Army where they don’t need to be kept wet,” McElhinny said. McElhinny explained that scientists had a hypothesis that this protein — cryptochrome — played a role in magnetic sensing. Cryptochrome isn’t unique to birds. Humans have the same protein and it helps regulate our circadian rhythms, or the natural sunlight/darkness patterns of the Earth’s rotation. The rhythms are a biological clock for humans and cryptochrome helps keep that clock in sync with the light cycles. While researchers studied the robin, they didn’t have to pull out proteins from its eyes or anything as ghastly, McElhinny said. To test the cryptochrome protein, they were able to synthesize the DNA encoding the protein, grow it inside of a bacteria as a host, then harvest it, like cracking a nut’s shell to get the meat. Researchers on a combined Army-Air Force-Navy project discovered a protein in the migratory European robin’s eye that could be the key to navigating Earth’s magnetic fields without using GPS. (Army) They then looked at the protein’s building blocks, which are chains of amino acids. Within that chain are four tryptophan amino acids in a row. Scientists theorized that the row of tryptophans allowed for electrons to “hop” from one to the next, generating so-called radical pairs that are magnetically sensitive. This gives the bird’s brain a type of pattern to follow, syncing it, in a sense, with the magnetic field in the environment. To test this, they synthesized versions of cryptochrome in which each of the four tryptophans were disrupted independently to see if the chain would still allow for the hopping. It didn’t. That meant that the four-tryptophan chain was key in allowing for the “hopping” that they think links the bird’s eye and brain to the invisible magnetic fields all around it. For further verification, the researchers tried the same isolation of cryptochrome proteins from chickens and pigeons, non-migratory birds. It didn’t work. That led researchers to another hypothesis — this function of the cryptochrome protein is unique to migratory animals, or at least migratory birds. Army-Navy-Air Force funded research required new ways of measuring how proteins in a bird’s eye worked. In some cases, the team had to develop their own methods and equipment setup. (Army) “We think these results are very important because they show for the first time that a molecule from the visual apparatus of a migratory bird is sensitive to magnetic fields,” said Professor Henrik Mouritsen with the Institute of Biology and Environmental Sciences at Oldenburg University. Yet despite the successes and discoveries, Mouritsen cautioned that this might not be the definitive answer to bird navigation. That’s because the work was done in a laboratory, not in nature. And the magnetic fields tested were much stronger than those found in the outdoors. “It therefore still needs to be shown that this is happening in the eyes of birds,” Mouritsen said. The work being done at this level is called “basic research.” Essentially, it’s posing fundamental questions in a lab setting that could be matured or advanced to more out-of-the lab applications. “If we can prove that cryptochrome 4 is the magnetic sensor we will have demonstrated a fundamentally quantum mechanism that makes animals sensitive to environmental stimuli a million times weaker than previously thought possible,” said Peter Hore professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford.

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