Archive for April, 2010

Today, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that HMS Ark Royal and HMS Ocean will be used to help get stranded British citizens back to the island nation. No word yet on the name of the operation, personally I like “Operation Gordon’s Ark”.

I demand Obama close this “Sweet-Ride-Gap” and send the USS New Mexico to pick up US citizens.



It’s an all USNI Blogger fest today on Midrats!

Join EagleOne and me as we welcome our guests, fellow USNIBlog contributers Jim Dolbow and UltimaRatioRegis.

When, not if, the next large scale attack on US soil takes place – how are we prepared now compared to 8 1/2 years ago to not only prevent it, but to respond to its aftermath?

From out last line of defense to consequence management at the local level – what is there and what do we need to know about it?

We’re back at our usual time and day – this Sunday, 18 APR at 5pm EST/1700R/2200Z. One full hour focused on Homeland Security.

Join us live by clicking here if you can, but if you miss the show or want to catch up on the shows you missed – you can always reach the archives at blogtalkradio – or set yourself to get the podcast on iTunes.



Sixty-eight years ago . . .

. . . guts, determination, innovation & courage were defined
(and well before Joint was “cool”)

Conceived in the dark aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the raid had its genesis in the idea of CAPT Frank Lowe, USN who predicted that Army twin-engine bombers could be launched form a carrier under the right conditions. Planned by Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, USA and executed by 16 modified B-25B’s of the 34th BS, 17th BG flying from the deck of the USS Hornet (CV-8 ) – 650 nm from Tokyo, history was made and an enemy left shocked. The raid took place after only two months of planning and special training with 16 all volunteer crews. More on the raid itself here, here and here.

North American B-25B Mitchell


The B-25 emerged from an Army Air Corps competition that was won by Martin with their B-26 design. The contest was a novel one in that the Army would order the winning design straight into production, by-passing the prototype phase. Despite having garnered almost double North American’s score, Martin was adamant that they were not going to be able to produce the B-26 in the numbers the Army Air Corps wanted – so they awarded North American with the remainder of the contract. The B-26 was fast, rugged and could carry a significant bomb load – outstripping he B-25 in each category. It’s airframe was designed and constructed such that the ability to take punishment was legendary and second only to the B-17. Yet because of its high wing loading, the B-26 was also notable for its fast landing speeds and long takeoff requirements. The B-25, on the other hand, reached production sooner, also demonstrated a capable bomb carriage capability and, for the purposes of this mission, had take-off requirements that suited it for the carrier.

Still, when all was said and done, these were (relatively speaking) big aircraft on a small flight deck. Carriers wouldn’t see the likes of this until after the war with the advent of the specially modified P2Vs for the nuclear mission – and then those were limited to the much larger decks of the Midway-class carrier.

TECHNICAL NOTES:
Armament: Six .50-cal. machine guns; 3,000 lbs. of bombs
Engine: Two Wright R-2600s of 1,700 hp each
Maximum speed: 328 mph
Cruising speed: 233 mph
Range: 2,500 miles (with auxiliary tanks)
Ceiling: 21,200 ft.
Span: 67 ft. 6 in.
Length: 53 ft.
Height: 16 ft. 9 in.
Weight: 29,300 lbs. maximum
Cost: $109,670 (1943)

Post Script:

Some number of years ago (OK, 27 years) I was standing in line at a bank in the main building of the Naval Postgrad School in Monterey, quite engrossed in some transaction I had to make. Standing in front of me was an elderly, quite dignified gentleman who also was quietly waiting his turn at the busy counter. As he approached, the teller exclaimed with considerable joy and surprise “Why General Doolittle! What a pleasure to see you sir – we see so little of you lately it seems!” Needless to say, I jerked my head up so fast I swear I’d broke my neck. Still, it’s not every day you got to meet a living legend and a very gracious and humble one at that…

- SJS



A Cold War Victory Medal

The idea is not a new one, in fact, and has been debated often in both the House and the Senate. There are pros and cons to the issue. Some, myself included, think we have too many ribbons and medals. Such items as the GWOTSM and various specific duty ribbons don’t seem quite right to me, especially on a Marine uniform. Other awards have far more meaning. Gravitas, if you will. So my natural tendency would lean away from yet another medal/ribbon/award. (Lord knows the teasing that National Guard folks get about the “Good Posture Medal” and “Perfect Attendance Ribbon”.)

Yet, as the end of the Cold War nears two decades distant, like a person stepping away from a massive structure whose grandeur is lost in the visible details, the immense and dangerous efforts and exertions of our service men and women during the Cold War comes more clearly into proper perspective. Those efforts, nearly incomprehensible today, seem appropriate for some form of special recognition. The Cold War involved all of the aspects of a hot one, with the overarching understanding that failure of the efforts of both deterrence and readiness would lead to annihilation on a scale unknown in man’s history.

Beginning in the Summer of 1945, and lasting until the fall of the Soviet Union in December 1991, the Cold War was a constant and exhaustive effort, requiring large amounts of forces, materiel, and deployments, even during times of open war in other places. USAF F-86 Sabre jets were not initially deployed to the Korean peninsula as it was feared that a weakening of US continental air defenses would provide the Soviets with opportunities for a nuclear strike. Despite the demands for US Navy presence off the coast of Vietnam, the US 6th Fleet maintained an extremely powerful presence in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.

The crews of strategic bombers, missile silos, Navy ships and at sea, Marine Corps and Army forces forward deployed or rapid deployment echelons, lived lives of constant vigilance, uncertainty, and seemingly endless drills and preparations to maintain razor-sharp skills.

Those whose jobs were active surveillance of Soviet and Soviet Bloc hostile nations played a very dangerous game with an unremitting enemy. The shooting down of Deep Sea 129 (highlighted by SteelJaw’s excellent post), loss of USS Scorpion (SSN-589), capture of USS Pueblo (AGER-2), and many other hostile incidents, resulted in 382 US casualties formally recognized (according to the VFW). When one counts lives lost during the Berlin Airlift and many other occurrences that remain behind a shroud of secrecy, the number is far higher.

As I said in the opening paragraph, my instinct is almost always to shy away from yet another award for the slightly-better-than-ordinary. We have far too many already.

But for those who served this nation during the prolonged era of tension, readiness, deterrence, loss, sacrifice, courage, and ultimately, victory that encompassed the 46 years of the Cold War, it may be time that recognition is due. Their efforts, whether they fired in anger or not, that secured our freedom during those years, was truly extraordinary. What does the MILBLOG crowd have to say?



15 April 1969 (Korean time) marked the final flight of a Navy VQ-1 EC-121/WV-2 callsign Deep Sea 129. Roughly 100 nm off the North Korean peninsular site where the Hermit Kingdom today defies the world with its ballistic missile tests, lies the watery grave of 31 Americans (2 bodies were later recovered):

The crew of Deep Sea 129:

LCDR James H. Overstreet, LT John N. Dzema, LT Dennis B. Gleason, LT Peter P. Perrottey, LT John H. Singer, LT Robert F. Taylor, * LTJG Joseph R. Ribar, LTJG Robert J. Sykora, LTJG Norman E. Wilkerson, ADRC Marshall H. McNamara, CTC Frederick A. Randall, CTC Richard E. Smith, * AT1 Richard E. Sweeney, AT1 James Leroy Roach, CT1 John H. Potts, ADR1 Ballard F. Conners, AT1 Stephen C. Chartier, AT1 Bernie J. Colgin, ADR2 Louis F. Balderman, ATR2 Dennis J. Horrigan, ATN2 Richard H. Kincaid, ATR2 Timothy H. McNeil, CT2 Stephen J. Tesmer, ATN3 David M. Willis, CT3 Philip D. Sundby, AMS3 Richard T. Prindle, CT3 John A. Miller, AEC LaVerne A. Greiner, ATN3 Gene K. Graham, CT3 Gary R. DuCharme, SSGT Hugh M. Lynch,(US Marine Corps) [* Recovered]

North Korea not only acknowledged the shoot down, they loudly and boastfully celebrated their action. President Nixon suspended PARPRO flights in the Sea of Japan for three days and then allowed them to resume, only with escorts. No reparations were ever paid to the US or the families of the lost airmen.
And Kim Il-Sung celebrated another birthday (April 15th).

Read more here, here and here



Thanks military.com for a great wrap up of the milblog conference, where we took *ahem* top honors for the US Navy Military Blog.

Enter General David HPetraeus (video below)

And by *we*, the Naval Institute doesn’t mean us, we mean the collective community of the bloggers that give us their insight, time and devotion to discussing the Navy in an independent forum. Equally important are those of you who comment and shape the conversation.

Not paid, not influenced (except for the voting part :)).

In similar great news, friend of the Naval Institute, Maj. Norman Hatch, USMC (Ret.) took not only one, but two standing ovations from the crowd. Additionally, the group YouServed captured more great video and chronicles the conference.

Us old media, MSM folks at the Naval Institute are honored to be a part of this group of families, friends and members of the US Armed Forces.

BTW: According to the kind General; he’s a force to be reckoned with on Guitar Hero.



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I agree with Cdr. Salamander about not speaking more of the dead so I will let the Jack Murtha speak for himself about how bribes work in this YouTube video.



Is the organization attempting to “save” the ex-USS Iowa (BB-61) telling the truth?

With the agreement to shed the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet, the ex-USS Iowa is set to be disposed of in about seven years. To save the Iowa, the Navy’s designated partner, “Historic Ships Memorial at Pacific Square”, must raise $15-20 million dollars.

But the President of “Historic Ships Memorial at Pacific Square,” Elaine Merylin Wong, is saying some things that make me question her credibility.

Look at the recent news coverage. As the the Governor of Iowa, Chet Culver, signed on to support fundraising efforts, Wong said, according to the Des Moines Register, her organization has done quite a lot:

Already, $4 million has been raised and spent, and another $18 million to $20 million is needed to prepare the USS Iowa for public visitation, Wong said.

The article also said Wong painted a dire picture of the ship’s condition:

“Today, the ship is somewhat of a bathtub itself. It draws in copious amounts of ocean water, said Merilyn Wong”

But that…well, that horrible news on the ship’s condition totally contradicts what Wong said earlier in the month. A few days ago, the Courthouse News Service reported this:

Wong says the inside of the ship is in “pristine condition,” and says it has “received at least $1.5 million in work in the last four or five years.”

The nonprofit hopes to raise another $18 million on top of the $4 million it already has raised to restore the Iowa.

So what is the deal? Is the Iowa’s interior “pristine” or shipping a “copious” amount of water?

And… more worryingly, if the “Historic Ships Memorial at Pacific Square” has raised and spent $4 million dollars (never mind the $1.5 million supposedly spent on interior work–I’m assuming that’s money the government has spent on things like dehumidifying the vessel), where is it?

Where did $4 million dollars go? There’s no record of this amount of money ever entering the nonprofit’s books.

None of the $4 million dollars that the “Historic Ships Memorial at Pacific Square” has “already raised” shows up on the Form 990s nonprofits are required to file on an annual basis. In fact, the 990s point to an organization starved for funds. They detail an organization that is, quite frankly, a horrible–almost incompetent–fundraiser.

According to the 2006 and 2008 990s, the Historic Ships Memorial at Pacific Square took in $16,595 in 2002, $26,782 in 2003, $11,930 in 2004, $15,147 in 2005, $25,254 in 2006, $41,459 in 2007, and $ 30,905 in 2008.

That’s not anywhere near $4 million dollars.

So…where’s the money? For a nonprofit, the public gets to know these things.

See more at NEXTNAVY.COM



From the photo album of Private Samuel C. Thomas (USMC 1932-36)

See the companion piece, “The Marine” on our Sister Blog



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Very good words to give to the future leaders in the Navy of a Representative Republic. Via Earl Kelly at The Capital,

Speaking at the Naval Academy last night, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates told the midshipmen there would come a time in their careers when bucking authority will be necessary.

“Mark my words, the time will come for each of you when you must stand alone and make an unpopular decision,” said Gates, who as secretary of defense and a career Central Intelligence Agency employee and director has served under eight presidents.

He told the 4,400-member Brigade of Midshipmen that good leaders “create a climate that encourages candor among subordinates.”

In the tradition of Sims, Connolly and others, follow the SECDEF’s advice, and ignore the poor example others may show you.

Nicely put for the folks at USNA – right place at the right time. Very good.



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