Archive for the 'Navy' Tag
Many of us do not know how we will react when suddenly called upon to perform the extraordinary in desperate and lethal conditions. We train and plan, but until the bullet flies or the fire burns close at hand, all we can do is speculate.
On the morning of December 7th, 1941 there was no question in VP-14′s Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Finn’s mind:
For extraordinary heroism distinguished service, and devotion above and beyond the call of duty. During the first attack by Japanese airplanes on the Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, on 7 December 1941, Lt. Finn promptly secured and manned a .50-caliber machinegun mounted on an instruction stand in a completely exposed section of the parking ramp, which was under heavy enemy machinegun strafing fire. Although painfully wounded many times, he continued to man this gun and to return the enemy’s fire vigorously and with telling effect throughout the enemy strafing and bombing attacks and with complete disregard for his own personal safety. It was only by specific orders that he was persuaded to leave his post to seek medical attention. Following first aid treatment, although obviously suffering much pain and moving with great difficulty, he returned to the squadron area and actively supervised the rearming of returning planes. His extraordinary heroism and conduct in this action were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
(Note: In June 1942, Finn was temporarily commissioned as an Ensign, rising in rank to Lieutenant two years later. During his service as an officer, he served with Bombing Squadron 102, at several stateside training facilities and on board the aircraft carrier Hancock (CV-19). Following transfer to the Fleet Reserve in March 1947, he reverted to the enlisted rate of Chief Aviation Ordnanceman. In September 1956, he was placed on the Retired List in the rank of Lieutenant. John W. Finn died on 27 May 2010. Navy History & Heritage Command).
Recently passed, LT Finn never played up the hero aspect when asked — he just said “I do know this. I didn’t run away. I stayed there and we fought the Japs until the last one left.”
We as a service — as a nation; have lost our way in naming our ships — deferring to the politically expedient instead of the enduring values and traditions of the Naval services. Perhaps now it is time to turn this ship around and set her on a proper course. One way to that end, I think, would be to name the next Arleigh Burke-class DDG after LT Finn. These modern greyhounds of the sea are among the finest warships in their class and would be a fitting honor. Regardless, however of the eventual ship-type, if you agree that one should be so-named, go sign the petition, and write your Congressman and Senators to underscore the effort.
Japan’s neighbors have never been comfortable with the island nation’s quasi-Navy, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). JMSDF is legally a civilian service, operating under the famous Article 9 of the Japan’s constitution requiring that “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained”. But, JMSDF’s de jure status has done little to calm the fears of several nations in the region who have nervously watched every move by the small organization (officially JMSDF consists of only 46,000 personnel) since the JMSDF’s creation in the 1950s.
Recently, the legal limits on JMSDF have prompted some Japanese defense observers to argue for a turn to soft power. Now it looks like Japan might be doing exactly that. This month the United States sent one of its two hospital ships, USNS Mercy, on Operation Pacific Partnership 2010. This soft power cruise is just the latest instance of a new and growing mission for the Navy: health diplomacy. These humanitarian assistance operations started after the positive response to the Navy’s disaster relief mission after the Asian tsunami and gained an powerful advocate in current NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James Stavridis when he was Commander of SOUTHCOM.
US health diplomacy cruises have always included personnel from ally countries. However, this year Japan has gone a step further, deploying a 13,000 ton Osumi flat-top warship to join the USNS Mercy during ports in Vietnam and Cambodia to support Pacific Partnership. The 584-foot ship, JMSDF LST 4003 Kunisaki, most closely comparable with the US Navy’s Wasp-class amphibious assault ship. Kunisaki’s flat top allows for four helicopters (although some have claimed it was designed as a “pocket carrier”). Below, a well deck contains space for two hovercraft. Kunisaki’s deployment is, as far as I can tell, the one of the largest deployments of Japanese naval power to a foreign port since JMSDF’s creation. JMSDF port visits are uncommon in mainland Asia. In June 2008 a Japanese destroyer made the first port call in China by a Japanese warship since World War II.
Is Kunisaki’s port call the start of Japan’s soft power rising?
“During the inspection, the crew found seven Kalashnikov guns, handguns of various brands, aluminum ladders for ascending aboard, navigation equipment, including the satellite one, reserve tanks with fuel, and a big amount of empty cartridge cases,” a Russian Defense Ministry source told the news agency.”
Now, a video has started circling the internet showing the boarding and destruction of the Somali vessel. Interestingly, the Russian Marines use English to speak to the Somalis, a practice previously seen the video of the Dutch operation.
[Apologies for my inability to embed the video]
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
The Chinese antiship ballistic-missile (ASBM) has garnered immense attention from the media and military thinkers in recent months. Most of this punditry has varied only in the level of sheer terror at the thought of these “carrier killers”. In this month’s Proceedings, fellow USNI contributor Craig Hooper and myself argue for a different perspective:
By focusing on the distant question of supercarrier vulnerability, naval analysts forfeited an ideal opportunity to frame the ASBM threat as a shared regional hazard. In Cold War Europe, farsighted strategists wasted no time in portraying Russia’s medium-range RT-21M Pioneer/SS-20 Saber missile as a European-wide threat. But today, despite the domestic uproar over this Asian “game changer,” the U.S. Navy and State Department might do well to exploit the ASBM threat in a similar fashion.
The best counter to China’s ASBM is diplomacy, not fear mongering.
Somehow I missed this CSIS video on the future of the US Navy’s involvement in humanitarian and disaster relief operations. Participating is Gene Bonventre of CSIS (who I had the pleasure of meeting in September); Captain James Terbush, Commander Fourth Fleet; and Commander Bradley Hartgerink of the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. CSIS has been on the leading edge of policy discussion on health diplomacy for the last few years, as evidenced in this video and more significantly the release a massive report on “Smart Global Health Policy” last week.
USNS Comfort returned to Baltimore on Friday after completing their humanitarian mission in Haiti. The hospital ship made a rushed departure from Baltimore on January 16th only days after an earthquake devastated the island nation. It is the weekend, and rather than discuss the number of patients treated or supplies delivered, I think it is appropriate to just take a look at the good work of her crew through the photos of some MCs.
Cmdr. Sam Critides, from Glen Ridge, N.J., a neurosurgeon embarked aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort, speaks with Carl Shapiro, site director of St. Boniface Hospital, as a local crowd observes. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Shannon Warner.
Sailors assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28, embarked aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort, prepare for the landing of an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter during an underway replenishment off the coast of Haiti. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Shannon Warner.
Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit transport patients discharged from USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) to an intermediate aftercare facility in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Jackson.
The USNS Comfort as seen from the air Feb. 8 in Port-au-Prince. The last Haitian patient was discharged from the vessel Feb. 27. There were 88,646 patient encounters including primary care, pediatrics, dental, OB/GYN, immunizations, lab work and pharmacy scripts. The highest number of patients aboard the ship were 485, Jan. 29. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Jo Bridgwater.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Brittany Saulsberry, from Dallas, Texas, comforts a young boy before he receives medical treatment aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort. The boy was brought aboard for treatment of a cancerous infection in his eye and a variety of other life-threatening conditions. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Jackson.
The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort, left, and the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman conduct an underway replenishment in the Caribbean Sea. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Jackson.
Haitian-American Sailors embarked aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort sing Ayiti Cheri (Haiti My Darling) in Creole during a remembrance ceremony for the people of Haiti. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Edwardo Proano.
The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort arrives at Naval Station Norfolk following a seven-week deployment to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility to provide medical care in Haiti as part of Operation Unified Response. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Steinhour.
Good job USNS Comfort!
In Asia, America has gotta move away from a long-standing habit of engaging in simple, bilateral force measurements. Asia is a multi-polar place, and America’s penchant for strategic over-simplification is going to land the U.S. into serious trouble.
Put bluntly, U.S. Navy-folk need to remember there are a few other countries over on the other side of the Pacific. Some of them are rather formidable. And the U.S. is neglecting them.
So…Let’s take a moment to compare some naval forces in the Pacific Basin. Using the official DOD Annual Report to Congress on the Military Power of the PRC 2005 and 2009, it looks like China’s Navy is growing. But…when China’s rate of growth is compared with other neighbors, that burst of growth over the past five years looks a lot less daunting.
China: Diesel Attack Subs: (2005 vs. 2009): 51 vs. 54 (+3)
USA: Diesel Attack Subs: (2005 vs. 2009): 0 vs. 0 (+0)
Note: Japan commissioned 4 Oyashio-class, 2 Soryu-class SSKs; South Korea commissioned 3 Type 214s from 2005-2010.
China: Nuclear Subs (SSN only, 2005 vs. 2009): 6 vs. 6 (+0)
USA: Nuclear Subs (SSN/SSGN only 2005 vs. 2009): 58 vs. 56/57 (-2/-1)
China: Destroyers (2005 vs. 2009): 21 vs. 27 (+7)
USA: Destroyers (2005 vs. 2009/10): 46 vs. 54/57 (+8/+11)
Note: Japan brought into service 2 Atago-class destroyers, 2 Takanami-class destroyers, and a Hyuga-class “carrier” destroyer; Taiwan put 4 ex-Kidd-class vessels into service; South Korea put 4 KDX-2-class destroyers into service over the past 5 years.
China: Frigates (2005 vs. 2009): 43 vs. 48 (+5)
USA: Frigates (2005 vs. 2009/10): 30 vs. 30/31 (+0/+1)
Note: Regional Frigate-building programs are proceeding apace.
China: Coastal Missile ships: (2005 vs. 2009): 51 vs 70+ (+19 at least)
USA: Nada. Zip.
Interesting. China’s small missile ships are allowing China’s larger vessels to engage in “blue water” activities, so, while these vessels expand China’s “reach”, a dependence on small ships may prove a vulnerability. The region needs to know more about the small ship programs hosted by Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. What, by way of smaller vessels, can these navies offer? How good are the region’s Air Forces in hunting and destroying smaller craft?
In short, does China’s love of small craft contribute to regional stability or not?
Look. China’s Navy is still awfully small. And with China not exactly on friendly terms with it’s neighbors (who, on the part of Japan and South Korea, are building some very modern navies), the PLA(N) has a lot to do to secure China’s maritime borders. It is a little bit of a stretch to think all this new floating hardware is aimed exclusively at the U.S.A.
Not many details yet, but the Navy is now confirming that two F/A-18E collided last night:
One pilot ejected after the 10 p.m. incident and was recovered by a search-and-rescue team near the crash scene about 100 miles east of Fallon in the Mount Callaghan area, according to Fallon Naval Air Station spokesman Zip Upham.
The pilot was treated and released from a Fallon hospital.
The other aircraft safely returned to Fallon NAS.
Both aircraft are assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron One Three Seven (VFA 137) based in Californiat at Lemoore Naval Air Station.
The cause of the collision remains under investigation.
For readers that do not know, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) is the world’s oldest and most influential medical journal. If it matters to doctors, it can be found in the NEJM.
On February 24th, NEJM published a description and evaluation of the US military’s disaster relief mission in Haiti. The article offers a fair assessment of the operation, pointing out a number of failures and lessons learned. However, the punchline is this:
“The support of the U.S. military was unequivocally integral to the success of the medical mission. The military supplied us with critical equipment and supplies, such as tents to establish our emergency room, stretchers, medications, food, and water. The soldiers who assisted us in the hospital compound brought not only skill but also a “can do” attitude and energy to a medical staff that was stretched to its physical and emotional limits. We saw consistent professionalism, competence, and compassion in the American soldiers.”
Overall, the military was a knight-in-shining-armor for beleaguered aid workers. While not perfect, the military did an heroic job supporting civilian relief efforts. It is good to see NGOs accept the military as an important partner in disaster relief operations. Slowly humanitarians are seeing the military as a potential ally rather than an organizational leper. Now, let us hope the military’s old guard can reciprocate by seeing aid workers as more than naive amateurs.
- 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