By Felipe Lagos/Diálogo December 04, 2018 Two Chilean marines are in the United States, teaching specialized courses to their U.S. counterparts. The courses, part of a long-term knowledge exchange between both nations’ marine corps, started in early November at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in San Diego, California. The exchange lasts two years, during which time Chilean noncommissioned officers will follow U.S. marines’ routine and participate in courses as both students and instructors. The opportunity seeks to reinforce participants’ capabilities and ensure that they maintain a high level of training. The exchange will also help strengthen bonds of trust and mutual cooperation between Chile and the United States. The Chilean marines, Staff Sergeant Jorge Castro and Sergeant Pablo Andrade, assumed their duties as instructors of the U.S. Marine Corps Expeditionary Operations Training Group’s Helicopter Rope Suspension Techniques Master course. Sgt. Andrade also teaches the Assault Climber course. “We are very proud as Chilean marines to have the opportunity to exchange experiences with an expeditionary force like the U.S. Marine Corps,” Staff Sgt. Castro told Diálogo. “Personally, I feel very motivated to represent my country, the Chilean Navy, and the Marine Corps.” A unique experience Both sergeants were selected for the exchange for their outstanding resumes, performance of duties, and command of English. The candidates must be in excellent physical condition and have reached the rank of sergeant. They must also undergo a series of exams and tests to be selected. Although the exchange is highly regarded due to the unique experience provided to participants, the Chilean Navy’s General Directorate of Personnel only appoints one representative per year. According to the Chilean Navy, a total of 28 marines, including current participants, have traveled to the United States for the biennial exchange since 1992. The Chilean marines carry out various activities including specialized training exercises, such as rope insertion and extraction techniques, urban combat, and combat marksmanship, as well as rescue techniques in hard-to-reach areas, first-aid techniques, and cardiovascular resuscitation. The sergeants also conduct day and night intense exercises at sea, in urban areas, and mountains, simulating troop rescues and putting to the test everything they learn. “From the personal standpoint we had an incredible experience, full of challenges both for our families and as individuals. Living in a country where everything is different and seeing that my children and wife have quickly adapted has been wonderful,” Sgt. Andrade told Diálogo. “Professionally, it has been demanding and exhausting, with long shifts training in activities entailing high risk, great precision, and skill.” In addition to taking part in activities as students, the Chilean sergeants also took on the role of instructors in a class teaching fast rope descent techniques that started from towers to guide students to apply what they learned from helicopters at more than 12 meters. Sgt. Andrade also teaches a course to U.S. students that tests physical fitness, as well as knots techniques and methods to create a hanging bridge with ropes, so as to perform cliff assaults, transport supplies, and cross safely. “Many times in different courses or exercises, [the U.S. Marine Corps] see us as benchmarks for how we do things and the experience our Chilean Navy acquired over the years,” Sgt. Andrade said. “We ask students to do professional and constructive criticism for each course. I was chosen as the best instructor several times. This shows the leadership, professionalism, and high-level training that we have as Chilean marines.” When the courses finish in December, Sgt. Andrade will spend the Christmas and New Year holidays with his U.S. counterparts before returning to Chile in early January 2019, where he works as a member of the Expeditionary Amphibious Brigade in Concón. Staff Sgt. Castro will remain in the United States for one more year, learning and teaching. He will then head back to his country in 2020 to resume his duties as instructor of the Comandante Jaime Charles Marine Corps School in Viña del Mar. “It’s been amazing,” Sgt. Andrade concluded. “There’s been honest, mutual camaraderie. As the days went by we realized that we were more similar than different: our commitment and devotion to our duties, the incomparable love for our flags and fellow citizens, in addition to the unbreakable loyalty engraved in our warrior hearts.”
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By Lonnie WheatleyPEORIA, Ariz. (Feb. 27) – Another Arizona Differential Desert Classic victory put another $5,000 in Ricky Thornton Jr.’s travel account Saturday night.Thornton was first when all 40 laps of the main event for Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modifieds were scored at Canyon Speedway Park.Ryan Ruter was briefly in front following a lap 29 restart but Thornton regained the lead, worked his way through heavy lapped traffic and beat Ruter to the checkers by most of eight car lengths.“I didn’t get a good restart but luckily I was able to drive by him out of (turn) two,” Thornton said. “I knew he wouldn’t be able to keep momentum going down the back straightaway.”Also the winner of Friday’s second Twin Twenty qualifying feature, jumped into the lead at the outset of the Saturday show. The first of just two yellows in that contest came on lap 22 and Thornton answered with his fastest lap time on the following circuit.Tim Ward, Ryan Gaylord and Cody Laney, winner of the first Friday qualifier, rounded out the top five in the 28th annual special. Just three months and 20 days separated Thornton’s Desert Classic victories at Peoria.“Last November I ran the bottom in one and two and the top in three and four,” he noted. “This year it was all around the top.”“This $5,000 will definitely help pay for the trip coming up,” Thornton added.Already a nine-time winner this season, the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational candidate will continue his quest for career win number 100 in the division while racing in the Midwest most of the season. Thornton’s schedule includes all four nights of the upcoming Frostbuster Series.Feature results – 1. Ricky Thornton Jr.; 2. Ryan Ruter; 3. Tim Ward; 4. Ryan Gaylord; 5. Cody Laney; 6. R.C. Whitwell; 7. Mike Jergens; 8. Lance Mari; 9. Hunter Marriott; 10. Chaz Baca Jr.; 11. Alex Stanford; 12. Brian Schultz; 13. Zane DeVilbiss; 14. Jason Noll; 15. Mike Wedelstadt; 16. Zack Madrid; 17. Mike Strobl; 18. Steve Stultz; 19. Garrett Funk; 20. Jeff Stafford; 21. Garth Dushanek; 22. Robert Kettner; 23. Guy Norton; 24. Bubba Stafford.
SANTA MARIA, Calif. (May 24) – A pair of $1,000 to win features for Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modified features are on programs for the May 28 and 29 Nationals at Santa Maria Raceway.Both Saturday and Sunday races are qualifying events for the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot. IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing National, Larry Shaw Race Cars Western Region, Allstar Performance State and local track points will be awarded.Entry fee is $50. Pit passes are $40.Pit gates open at noon both days. The grandstand opens at 4 p.m. and racing starts at 6 p.m. Saturday, when grandstand admission is $20 for adults and $18 for students ages 13-17, seniors 55 and over and military personnel with ID.On Sunday, the grandstand opens at 3 p.m. and racing starts at 5 p.m. Spectator admission is $25 for adults and $23 for students, seniors and military.Kids ages 6-12 are $6 and five and under get in free both days. Pit passes are $40. Entry fee and tow money are $50.Camping, but no hookups, is available for $20 per night of $40 for Thursday through Monday. The number to call for tickets and camping reservations is 805 245-3585.More information is available at the www.santamariaraceway.com website.
Unfortunately, Amir Khan isn’t it.MORE: Watch Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan on FITE.TVOne of only three individuals to unify the four main belts at 140 pounds, the 31-year-old Crawford is closing in on legendary status. With an immaculate 34-0 record and with 25 of those wins coming by way of knockout, he sits either on top or near the top of boxing’s fictional pound-for-pound list.On Saturday, Crawford will look to turn back the challenge of his 35th opponent, Khan, who is certainly the biggest name he has faced thus far. Khan is only big in name, however; his career has been solid, yet unspectacular.Although Khan has proven to be a popular fighter, he has struggled with the upper crust of boxing. His knockout loss to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in 2016 is forgivable due to the drastic size difference between the fighters, but the same can’t be said for his 2012 loss to Danny Garcia or his early KO loss to Breidis Prescott in 2008. Prescott lost to Crawford by decision five years later and hasn’t won a meaningful fight since that first-round upset of Khan 11 years ago. There’s also a disturbing trend with Khan: Opponents have found that an accurate punch on the chin can put Khan on his backside. Although he is exceptional on offense, any opponent who holds their ground and detonates a counter will have success. Ask Samuel Vargas, who sent Khan to the canvas in the second round of their fight last September. He has been staggered in a number of fights against lesser opponents than the one he’ll face at Madison Square Garden. The expectation is that Crawford will be too much for the Brit, as evidenced by oddsmakers setting up Khan as high as an 11-1 underdog.That’s not what Crawford needs to round third base. He needs a fight against an opponent who is not a considerable underdog. Unfortunately, his promotional outfit has little to offer in terms of formidable opposition. That leaves Crawford in a tough spot when the bell rings against Khan. After Vasiliy Lomachenko — the other person considered the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the sport — beat the overmatched Anthony Crolla by a wicked dismantling on April 12, all eyes will be on Crawford to see how spectacular he looks against Khan. That’s really it. Few expect this fight to be competitive. Instead, it is seen as a fight against a name that can thrust Crawford deeper into the spotlight. Khan can offer little more than being a compelling opponent with fast hands, adequate boxing skill and one hell of an Achilles heel — or chin. In order for Crawford to take the next step in his career, he’ll need to cross the proverbial street. Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions hosts the top names at 147 pounds; that group can give Crawford a number of different looks to prove that he’s the best fighter in the world. There’s the aggression of Shawn Porter, the precision counterpunching of Garcia, a former champion in Keith Thurman, the legend that is Manny Pacquiao and perhaps the most complete fighter in Errol Spence Jr.Crawford’s promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank Boxing, has said that he will call Haymon to begin negotiations on a unification bout against Spence should Crawford come out victorious against Khan.Don’t fall for that. It’s not that Arum doesn’t want to make the fight; it’s the complicated nature of getting a deal done and Arum making sure he doesn’t look like the bad guy in negotiations. Aside from Spence and Crawford fighting under different promotional umbrellas, they also fight for different networks. A lot of concessions will need to be made in order for the fight to get done. Also, Crawford needs the fight with Spence far more than Spence needs the fight with Crawford.Although he hasn’t passed Crawford on the pound-for-pound list yet, Spence is in position to sit on top of the mountain by next fall (or earlier) should he compete against Porter, Garcia, Thurman and/or Pacquiao over the next 18 months. With Spence having already proven to be a pay-per-view draw, he can take on quality opposition that will net him respect and notoriety.Crawford isn’t afforded that luxury. Should negotiations fall apart as expected, Arum will have an uphill battle finding noteworthy opponents for Crawford while Spence attempts to clean out the division.Seriously, who could Crawford be paired with that would put him in position to raise his profile? Six of Ring Magazine’s top 10 welterweights fight for PBC and three are with Top Rank. Of the three who are with Top Rank, one is Crawford, the other is Jeff Horn — whom Crawford already defeated — and the third is Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas, who just fought unheralded Ray Robinson to a majority draw a few weeks ago. Other names that have been tossed around include Luis Collazo, who barely got by Samuel Vargas, a fighter Khan beat by unanimous decision, and . . . well . . . that’s it.MORE: Crawford vs. Khan: Odds, expert pick and how to betTo go back to the analogy that opened this conversation, Crawford finds himself in a pickle where he has everything to lose but very little to gain against what Top Rank currently has to offer. Don’t think for one second that PBC isn’t aware of that and will gladly let Arum suffer while it plays matchmaker with its top five welterweights and the likes of Adrien Broner, Yordenis Ugas and Andre Berto, squeezing everything out of those potential matchups before considering concessions with Top Rank to make a fight between Spence and Crawford. It makes perfect business sense, but that’s not what fans care about. If there’s one thing we learned from Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather, however, it is that fans will watch the fight. Obviously, a showdown can be blown up if one of them loses, but Spence and Crawford are so good that few expect them to falter as they head toward an eventual clash. All of that leaves Crawford is in a position where he’ll face opponents he is expected to beat and be graded on how easily he dispatches said opposition. Should an opponent have a decent round, it will be counted against him. Unfortunately, that’s kind of how these things are viewed by the masses. Anything less than a one-sided victory will be held against Crawford. That’s not his fault because he can only fight who is put in front of him, but that’s the nature of the beast. Until he faces Spence, Pacquiao, Thurman, Porter or Garcia, Crawford will be a victim of his own greatness. There are no 50-50 fights on the horizon where he’ll have to deal with adversity against a quality opponent. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait long. But all indications are that Crawford will be stuck between a rock and a hard place for the immediate future. If this were a game of baseball, Terence Crawford would be in a proverbial pickle between second and third base. The Omaha, Neb., product rounded first base in 2014 when he stopped Yuriorkis Gamboa in the ninth round to retain the WBO lightweight title and formally announce himself as a force to be reckoned with. He sprinted past second base when he won the WBO welterweight title by knocking out Jeff Horn last June to become a three-division world champion.With home plate representing superstardom, Crawford needs a marquee victory against a notable opponent, which is what third base is.