Pic Of The Week (47/2012) – Bulgarian National Guard

Sofia, 9 November 2012: Soldiers of the Bulgarian National Guard saluting as the casket with late Patriarch Maxim is put into the funeral car

Bulgarian National Guardsmen saluting
Bulgarian National Guardsmen saluting during Patriarch Maxim’s funeral

(Image Copyright 2012 © by Johann Brandstätter/ JB Photography)

Like most other press photographers I stood wedged in a crowd of mourners outside Alexander Nevski Cathedral for hours, waiting for the memorial service to end. When the pallbearers finally emerged from the cathedral and placed the open casket into the funeral car the honor guard saluted.
It turned out, I had just about the best position to capture everything.

Canon EOS 50D & Canon EF 70-200mm L USM (@200mm); f/4.0; 1/5000; ISO 800

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Military Photos: USS Enterprise – Her Last Voyage

Fifty years after her maiden voyage America’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier completed her final voyage on 31 October.

USS Enterprise
The ‘Big E’ returning home from Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 – U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Douglass M. Pearlman. (RELEASED)

Over the last half century the ‘Big E’ brought her substantial punch to bear during the Cuban Missile Crisis, during the Vietnam War and against Iran during operation Praying Mantis, to name a few. With her return to Naval Station Mayport, Florida, her active days are over.

The inactivation ceremony is scheduled for 1 December 2012. Go to the official Enterprise website for more information and registration. Hopefully she will be preserved and does not have to end as razor blades.

Many more images of first nuclear carrier on the U. S. Navy website,

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Military Photos: The First ‘Lightning’

The original ‘Lightning’ was the U.S. Army Air Force’s first long-range escort fighter

Lockheed P-38 Lightning
Lockheed P-38 Lightning

Although constructed as a long-range escort fighter, the P-38’s that went into service in 1942 were a number of F-4 photo reconnaissance versions. Later, the Lightning was also used as fighter-bomber, night fighter and dive bomber. The ‘Lightning’ was retired from service in the U.S. in 1949 and in most other air forces during the fifties, but the Honduran Air Force kept operating them until 1965.

Designer was Lockheed’s famous Clarence “Kelly” Johnson who in later years was responsible for designing the U-2 and the SR-71, still the fastest plane ever operated by any air force.

You can find some information about the original ‘Lightning’ on the Lockheed website and on Aviation History. It is also worth reading the comprehensive article on Wikipedia.

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Military Photos: Loading The Phalanx

A sailor loading the 20 mm gun of a Phalanx close-in weapons system on the guided missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94).

Loading the Phalanx
Sailor loading a Phalanx close-in weapons system on USS Nitze

The Phalanx close-in weapons system (CIWS) is the U.S. Navy warship’s last line of defense against incoming anti-ship missiles. Phalanx is fully automated and mainly consists of a radar and a 20 mm M61 Vulcan Gatling gun with a firing rate of 4,500 rounds per minute. Yes, that’s forty-five 20 mm rounds each second!

More about Phalanx on the manufacturer’s website  and about U.S. Navy weapons systems on their website.

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Military Photos: A Flight of Ospreys

A sight to behold: four MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft in formation en-route from Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea.

Four MV-22 Ospreys
Four MV-22 Ospreys with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 (Image Copyright U.S. Marine Corps)

The shot was taken from a KC-130J tanker that escorted the Ospreys from Helmand in Afghanistan to meet the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) in the Arabian Sea.

More about the aircraft in service with the U.S. Marine Corps on their website and on the Marine Corps MV-22 fact sheet.

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Military Photos: Amphibious Assault Ship

Marines make their way to the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2):

U.S. Marine Corps AAVs depart for RIMPAC 2012
U.S. Marine Corps AAVs head for then amphibious assault ship USS Wessex to depart for RIMPAC 2012 (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Mike Meares)

A U.S. Marine Corps Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV) makes its way towards the open stern gate of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2). These formidable vessels can carry 2-3 landing craft (LCAC or LCU), a full Marine Expeditionary Unit and up to 36 aircraft.

For more about the USS Essex have a look at their Facebook page, more about the U.S. Marines on their website.

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Military Photos: French Multi-Mission Frigate

French FREMM frigate Aquitaine firing an anti-submarine torpedo:

FREMM multi-mission frigate
French Navy frigate Aquitaine (FREMM multi-mission frigate)

The Aquitaine, the first FREMM (Frégate multi-mission) in the ASW-configuration for the French Navy, successfully firing an anti-submarine torpedo on 22 June.

The anti-submarine warfare version of the French-Italian co-produced FREMM frigates are also equipped with a towed-array sonar, vertical launch tubes for the MBDA Aster 15 air defense system and a 76mm Oto Melara gun.

More about the French and Italian FREMM frigates at Naval Technology.

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