Archive for the 'Alexander Martin' Tag
Claude Berube has accomplished a masterful work with the release today of his most recent novel, THE ADEN EFFECT. Berube’s story is fast-paced, action packed, and full of wonderfully developed characters supporting a believable but creative narrative that keeps the pages turning.
The story follows Connor Stark, a former naval officer who lives anonymously in the rugged Hebrides of Scotland after having been dishonorably discharged until he is called back to service by the American Ambassador to Yemen, C.J. Sumner, to assist with countering the threat of pirates as she is embroiled in negotiations intended to gain access to oil fields off the coast of Socotra. Stark soon discovers a greater threat to the region and the country after uncovering ties with a prominent shipping company and Yemen’s ruling family which leads to a deeper chance discovery that carries the action even further.
From drug trafficking, to Somali pirates to high stakes politics, Berube has knocked this one out of the park. Steven Pressfield was spot on when he commented that the author “has given us the toughest, brainiest, and most interesting new hero since Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. The Aden Effect is the think man’s military thriller.”
Sales of The Aden Effect start today. I highly recommend you pick up a copy to give yourself an entertainment alternative from all of the electoral theater that’s forthcoming. Unlike this year’s politics, this story will not disappoint.
I had the great pleasure of attending the first day of the Navy Development Warfare Command’s Pacific Rim Innovation Symposium at SPAWAR in San Diego yesterday. It was an invigorating afternoon of debate, discussion and lectures. To set the tone, we heard from ADM Haney, PAC FLEET COMMANDER, who challenged us to think, question, debate, read, write and communicate. We also had the great pleasure of hearing from RADM Terry Kraft, the Commander of NWDC, Navrina Singh, who gave a fascinating talk on innovation at Qualcomm, and Dr. Larry Schuette, who offered some incredible insight to his work supporting innovation and science as the Director of Innovation at the Office of Naval Research.
During our breakout sessions I listened as SPAWAR scientists and the Commanding Officer of the Cape St. George discussed surface warfare innovations and white fleet concerns…needless to say I was very much out of my league, but happy to he apart of the debate even as an active listener.
Today I’ll give a talk on Innovation, as it relates to what I’m calling the small unit eco-system…I’ll post my remarks tonight.
If you have time, tune in for today’s session: https://www.nwdc.navy.mil/ncoi/pris
It’s events like this that give me great pride in our naval service and a hearty appreciation for the fact that they are leveraging their greatest strength – their people – to change the navy for the better!
On the day after the 237th birthday of the U.S. Navy, and two days after the 139th birthday of the U.S. Naval Institute, this is a wonderful thing indeed!
It seems that USNS Rappahannock has fired on a small craft that ignored warnings and closed with her in the Persian Gulf. From the NBC News article:
The crew aboard the Navy ship sent out repeated warnings, including radio calls, flashing lights, lasers and ultimately warning shots from a 50-caliber machine gun. When the boat failed to heed the warnings, the crew was ordered to open fire with the 50-caliber gun.
It will be critically important that US civilian and military leadership emphasizes the above, and plasters images and accounts of USS Cole all over the news immediately and persistently for the next several weeks. We should be very proactive in letting the world know that there is a terror threat to US warships and auxiliaries posed by small craft, and any such vessel that ignores the warnings as were summarized above will be fired upon and destroyed.
We mustn’t begin the oh-so familiar course of meekly apologizing for having to kill those who threaten us. If we do, we will see many more actions such as this, likely designed to cause us to fit ourselves for ever-tighter handcuffs and more restrictive rules of engagement in combat on land and sea, which the enemy will use to increasing advantage to exploit his strengths and our weaknesses. On the contrary, we must be firm and aggressive with our reaction to the incident. Actions without strong narrative are subject to interpretation.
If the United States, and in particular the United States Navy, has any sense of true ‘strategic messaging”, we will let the rest of the world know that, should another small craft ignore similar warnings, it, too, will be fired upon. And any death or injury that results from such incidents is the responsibility of those who willfully ignore the warnings, and on those who likely have sent them.
The May 2012 Proceedings reached me while I was on some active duty facilitating some war games at NDU. It is my second-favorite Proceedings issue of the year. It is the Naval Review issue. Contained therein is every Navy Flag Officer currently serving. Three hundred thirty one in total, according to USNI.
There has been discussion aplenty here and elsewhere regarding the absurdity and wastefulness of having 1.17 Admirals for EACH SHIP in the United States Navy. While the profligate growth of stars in the Navy’s senior ranks may have seemed like a good idea at the time, it is unconscionable in the current environment of extreme fiscal constraint, especially as the Sea Service is hemorrhaging highly qualified E-6 Sailors one hitch short of retirement eligibility. It is well past time to cull the Flag herd. And here’s one way forward (Hint: Simply shouting “you CAN’T!” and “we NEED!” does not constitute a counter-argument).
Among Rear Admirals, and Rear Admirals, Lower Half, there are 62 positions that are Deputy, Vice, or Assistant positions. Fill each with a Captain, breveted temporarily one or two ranks while serving in those billets. A successful tour in one of those positions would be a career enhancer for a Captain, increasing chances for permanent promotion.
Among Vice Admirals, there are ten positions that are Deputy or Assistant positions. Reduce those positions to two star rank. Reduce the billet of VCNO from four stars to three. Ditto Fleet Forces Command. Next time NDU is a Navy fill, do so with a Rear Admiral instead of a Vice Admiral. The Naval War College gets a Rear Admiral, Lower Half.
And have a long look at the Joint Billets that swell the Navy’s senior officer structure. Pursuant to meaningfully re-evaluating Goldwater-Nichols, which is now in its 27th year.
Implement this concept, and you have at least a 20% reduction of Navy Flag Officers. Between 65 and 70, depending on which path one takes regarding force structure tied up in Joint assignments. It’s a start. The path we are on gives this nation a Navy of 200 ships and 400 Admirals before the end of the next decade. That ain’t no way to run a railroad. Or win a war at sea.
Yes, I will have a similar look at the Marine Corps in the near future.
Nick Velez is a former Marine. He is opening a sports pub in the LA suburb of Downey, CA. It seems some don’t like the name he chose, nor do they understand why he chose it. The Marine Corps Times has a great article.
Seems Nick was a member of Second Battalion, Fourth Marines. Every Devil Dog knows their nickname. “The Magnificent Bastards”. A nickname bestowed upon them by their Battalion Commander during the fierce fighting around Leatherneck Square in Vietnam in 1966.
At least one City Councilman gets it:
He will be opening it,” said City Councilman Mario Guerra, who supports Bastards.
Guerra, the father of a former Marine, heard that some locals plan to picket Bastards. One woman asked what she should tell her young son the name “Bastards” means.
Guerra said to tell her son the story of 2/4 and the Bastard Marines who have fought, died and served in combat for their country.
Semper Fi, Nick. And best of luck with the new venture. I served alongside 2/4 in those hard, bloody days in Ramadi in 2004, when that Battalion paid a heavy price, but put an ass-whipping on the enemy. Below are the words of then-LtCol Paul Kennedy, CO of 2/4 during those months of sharp combat:
Early in the morning we exchanged gunfire with a group of insurgents without significant loss. As morning progressed, the enemy fed more men into the fight and we responded with stronger force. Unfortunately, this led to injuries as our Marines and sailors started clearing the city block by block. The enemy did not run; they fought us like soldiers. And we destroyed the enemy like only Marines can. By the end of the evening the local hospital was so full of their dead and wounded that they ran out of space to put them. Your husbands were awesome all night they stayed at the job of securing the streets and nobody challenged them as the hours wore on. They did not surrender an inch nor did flinch from the next potential threat. Previous to yesterday the terrorist thought that we were soft enough to challenge. As of tonight the message is loud and clear that the Marines will not be beaten.
Magnificent Bastards, all. The name on the sign of Nick Velez’s establishment is fine tribute to them. If you are in Downey, stop in for a frosty mug and some wings.
h/t Al “Hard Justice”
Lots of traffic over at Salamander’s Place, and at POGO, regarding continued problems with the Littoral Combat Ship program. I have commented on this struggling and costly program several times, and will refrain from doing so here, with the exception of a paraphrase of a comment that Sid made at Sal’s:
The Littoral Combat Ship is not built to survive combat in the littorals.
LCS was constructed to house weapons “modules” that do not exist, and in fact, consist largely of the theoretical.
Speed was going to be the capability which allowed LCS to avoid trouble. And now that single capability is negated by the fragility of the design that was required to reach those speeds.
Summed up thus:
IT (IS A) COMBAT SEAFRAME THAT CANNOT PERFORM ITS MISSION IN COMBAT THAT IT CANNOT BE EMPLOYED IN while RELYING ON SPEED THAT IT CANNOT MAKE, (THAT) WILL COMPRISE THE MAJORITY OF THE SURFACE COMBATANT FLEET OF THE US NAVY…
Someone, ANYONE, with a wide stripe on a sleeve tell us that he is wrong. And WHY he is wrong.
An amazing story. One of which I knew nothing. But I do now.
Reckless. Fifty-one trips. A more appropriate name you’ll never find for this wonderful little mare.
Walk the Prank: Secret Story of Mysterious Portrait at Pentagon
Navy Man, Lost at Sea in 1908, Surfaces at Parties; ‘The Project’
This story about ‘Ensign Chuck Hord, Lost at Sea’ should remind us all of the wonderful spirit and traditions (and sense of humor) carried by the brave men and women of our beloved Sea Service.
I would like to take this opportunity to start a campaign to have this portrait displayed proudly on the walls of the prestigious and hallowed halls of the U.S. Naval Institute…
If you agree, please share this story – pass it along, and do not let one of the greatest pranks in the history of our Navy (and an even better portrait of Ensign Hord and his blow-dried hair) go forgotten and uncelebrated.
Today Captain Carroll “Lex” LeFon’s life was celebrated and honored on the sacred grounds of old Fort Rosecrans in Point Loma, California. The events transcended what is a typical mortal ceremony to honor our fallen; today’s ceremony was a deeply powerful afternoon reflective of such a deeply fine man. And Lex was cut from the sort of life-fabric most of us have only read about in our favorite works of adventure-fiction…he was a man full of passion, gusto, emotion, courage, intellect and love and he lived a life complete. He was a devout father, warrior, naval aviator, countryman, and writer. The tragedy of his passing is not made any easier by these truths. And yet there was, today, a certain majesty of the landscape, a certain power of the moment and crispness of the air and righteousness of ceremony that made that sadness not more powerful in despair but more more powerful in redemption: that this man lived as he did. I was in tears from the moment I had my place on the grass among the hundreds that came today to pay their respects. And so was everyone else there to honor this giant of a man.
As I drove away I thought this: how lucky we were to have had a man such as this in this world, brief though his time on station was. And I thought of a short poem often read to me when I was a child that I had thought was long forgotten but wasn’t and said to myself out-loud as I descended from Point Loma’s hills…
I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.
I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in Heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given.
Rest easy now Lex. We have the watch.
Naval Academy graduate and Marine Officer Brian Stann is one hell of a fighter-leader. In a culture that worships professional athletes that excel at playing children’s games for millions of dollars, here’s a real life hero-professional sportsman we can all look up to…Semper fi Captain Stann. Keep attacking.
- Sequestration killed Tuition Assistance… Perhaps it’s a good thing
- Midrats this Sunday, May 17 2013 – Episode 167: Intellectual Integrity, PME, and NWC
- Remembering our Fallen Coast Guard Shipmates and their Families
- On Midrats 10 Mar 13, Episode 166: “Expeditionary Fleet Balance”
- Guest Post by LTJG Matthew Hipple: From Epipolae to Cyber War