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Bridge Day 2017 Was One For The Books

Bridge Day 2017 Was One For The Books

first_imgLadies and Gentleman, our 20th and final festival of the Live Outside and Play 2017 tour has come to an end. It’s been a long, incredible, and exhausting journey but we wouldn’t have it any other way. In true LOAP fashion, we went out with a bang with one of the largest extreme sports festivals in the World. That, of course, is Bridge Day. For one day every year, the New River Gorge Bridge plays host to six hours of safe, legal, BASE jumping.We’re no strangers to the New River Gorge. The bridge, located in Fayetteville, West Virgina, is surrounded by world-class rock climbing and whitewater. In fact, this was our 3rd time visiting “The New” this fall.The act of BASE jumping is not an illegal activity. In the United States, however, it is almost impossible to find a place where you can legally BASE jump. For those unfamiliar, BASE jumping is jumping with a parachute from a fixed object. It is illegal in virtually all U.S. cities and National Parks. For that reason, every year on the 3rd Saturday of October hundreds of BASE jumpers flock from around the world to the New River Gorge Bridge. Their goal is to huck themselves off the 876′  modern marvel towards the water below.Bridge Day is the only day of the year where the bridge is actually closed to traffic and spectators can legally walk out onto the world’s second largest single arch bridge. This feat doesn’t come easy. The act of closing the bridge, coordinating the hundreds of vendors and 80 thousand attendees requires careful planning. The bridge is a vital artery for traffic in the region so the closure is minimized to a 10-hour window.For that reason, we had to wake up earlier than we have in quite a while to get in line for load-in. The early load-in not only helped everyone get where they needed to be in time for the 9:00 AM start, but it allowed us to catch one of the most beautiful sunrises of the year.Most of the day was spent at the booth talking to folks about the magazine and all of the great gear we brought. With the help of some of our fearless Blue Ridge Outdoors friends, we were able to break away in the afternoon and drive down below the bridge to the landing zone. It’s far more peaceful below the bridge. Traffic was prohibited so aside from the folks who hiked or biked into the gorge the place was empty. A far cry from the hustle and bustle of the massive crowd above. From below it’s much easier to see how far the jumpers fall before pulling their parachutes.Of course, Bridge Day isn’t only about BASE Jumping. If you have the desire and are lucky enough to have your name drawn in the lottery you may also repel down below the bridge. We could see tiny humans dangling from the bridge’s catwalk. It was quite the sight to behold and something that we would really like to try.Our festivals might be done for the year, but we’re not quite finished. We’re headed south to see some friends and help give back! Thursday, October, 26th we’re teaming up with The Hub and Pisgah Tavern in Brevard, North Carolina to help clean up Pisgah National Forest. Then, on Saturday, October 28th we hit Greenville, South Carolina for a little trail maintenance with Greenville County Parks & Rec. If you’re in the area, as always, we’d love to see you!!If you like the gear we’re reppin’, or what we’re wearing, check out some of the sponsors that make this tour possible: La Sportiva, Crazy Creek, National Geographic, RovR Products, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, LifeStraw, and Lowe Alpine.last_img read more

South American Air Forces Focus On Cybersecurity

South American Air Forces Focus On Cybersecurity

first_imgBy Geraldine Cook November 14, 2019 South American air forces’ chiefs seek mutual solutions to current cyber and space security challenges, as well as transnational threats.“Cooperation as a Strategy Towards Progress” was the opening theme of the South American Air Chiefs and Senior Enlisted Leader Conference, held at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, on November 4-8, 2019. For the first time, the conference included a concurrent seminar for senior noncommissioned officers (NCOs).“I look forward to the cooperation and camaraderie that is fostered during your time here, as we not only focus on topics such as space, cyber, and transnational threats, but also hear from each other on our shared capabilities and challenges,” said Major General Andrew Croft, commander of U.S. 12th Air Force, Air Forces Southern (AFSOUTH), which hosted the event.During his opening remarks before more than 50 attendees, including members of the air forces of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Peru; representatives of the U.S. Air National Guard’s State Partnership Program; and different units of the U.S. Air Force, Maj. Gen. Croft said: “Our shared neighborhood is currently experiencing some challenges […] and these challenges compounded with malign states and actors in the region are threatening our democracies and our shared values […].When politics are uncertain is when we as our nations’ militaries must be most certain. Certain in our core values, certain in our capabilities, and certain in our cooperation to maintain security in our hemisphere.”The meeting included presentations about the capabilities of each air force, their advances in space and cyber security, and transnational threats. The air chiefs conducted bilateral meetings, along with a guided visit to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group and to the System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces.AFSOUTH Command Chief Master Sergeant John Storms, speaks with master sergeants about the importance of NCOs for military mission development. (Photo: AFSOUTH Public Affairs)Space and cyber security“Space and cyber security are two factors that can spread different aggressions or threats in the world and end up affecting the interests of a nation; that’s why every state has the right and responsibility to protect its citizens, their property, and their valuables from these potential threats,” said Lieutenant General Juan José Janer, commander of the Aerospace Command of the Argentine Armed Forces’ Joint Chiefs of Staff. “The Argentine Air Force is responsible for protecting the air space to safeguard national interests.”Lieutenant General Raúl Hoyos de Vinatea, head of the Peruvian Air Force’s General Staff, said during his presentation that the Peruvian Air Force had entered the era of cybersecurity. “Most importantly, a cyberdefense law was passed, since there was no legal framework and we were hesitant to execute cyber space operations, for fear of doing something illegal to non-authorized systems,” said Lt. Gen. Hoyos. “The law provides us with the legal framework to support cybersecurity and execute operations in this field.”For his part, General Ramsés Rueda Rueda, commander of the Colombian Air Force (FAC, in Spanish), spoke about transnational threats that arise in his country and stressed that FAC plays a very important role in the fight against narcotrafficking. “We are denying narcotraffickers the use of airspace, but they are flying outside the territory; we want to counter narcotrafficking, even outside national borders.”NCO developmentWhile air force chiefs held bilateral meetings with Maj. Gen. Croft, NCOs and sergeant majors had a parallel agenda to analyze issues relevant to their responsibilities, such as the importance of professionalization of new generations of NCOs, as well as the new challenges in space and cyber security.“We are part of the leadership team, and we are just as committed to the mission as our commanders. We need to come together with our commanders so we can understand the full picture of what they need,” said AFSOUTH Command Chief Master Sergeant John Storms. “It’s important to recognize that the culture of empowering the enlisted force sometimes does not necessarily grant enough authority and autonomy, so it requires a culture change to get there, and we at AFSOUTH are willing to help them in every way we can to speed up that process.”last_img read more