Archive for October, 2009


OOH RAH WOOF! Sergeant Major Jiggs, virtually a symbol of the Marine Corps, is ready for a 1924 training flight at Quantico, Virginia. Of decidedly blue-blood background, Jiggs née King Bulwark, was whelped in Philadelphia on 22 May 1922. Upon his enlistment in the Corps on 14 October 1922, he outranked the Commandant. Brigadier General Smedley Butler, who signed the enlistment papers “for life,” sensibly demoted the King to private and preserved the chain of command. Jiggs moved rapidly up the ranks. He was a corporal two and a half weeks after induction and a sergeant by New Year’s Day 1924. That June he was promoted to sergeant major. Jiggs died before his time on 9 January 1927. He lay in state in a Quantico hangar, flanked by two Marine guards and banks of flowers. His passing was mourned throughout the Corps.

From the 2009 November Issue of Proceedings

Read HG’s Worlds most excellent take on the above image and Valour IT: The Navy’s Essential Role in Our History

News comes from Fairplay that the long saga of the ARCTIC ROSE is nearing endgame:

Arctic Sea docked in Malta

ARCTIC Sea is docked today in Valletta Grand Harbour, where repairs are expected to be carried out at Malta Shipyards.

Maltese tug Mari towed the Maltese-registered cargo ship into port yesterday because its steering mechanism needs fixing. The ship was involved in an international crisis when it was apparently hijacked in European waters this summer.

It is alongside at Boiler Wharf, after Malta’s Civil Protection Department found the ship to be free of any radioactive residues or dangerous chemicals.

Earlier yesterday the vessel was handed over by Russian authorities to its owners just outside Maltese territorial waters, the Malta Maritime Authority told reporters.

When asked whether they believed a hijacking of Arctic Sea had ever taken place, the MMA officials said they had no evidence to show otherwise and confirmed that hijacking suspects would be prosecuted in Russia under international law.

The vessel was seized by the Russian navy off Cape Verde on 16 August – by which time international rumours about illicit cargo were commonplace. The Malta officials yesterday denied any contact with Israeli authorities. – Fairplay

OK, so not too interesting. However, strategists normally concern themselves with how to take things. The problem in this case turned out to be how to get rid of the ship once the Russians decided that they no longer wanted it.

Posted by FFry in Navy | No Comments
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Valour IT: Giving in Action

October 2009


You CAN make a difference! Go Team Navy!

From our friends at Soldiers Angels:

Soldiers’ Angels put Valour-IT to work this week at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in Texas! Thanks to a grant that must be used in Texas, SA was also able to give printers along with the laptops.


The military caseworkers who work closely with us at BAMC to identify patients in need of the laptops or other technology.


Angels, a caseworker (Opal Riera, on the right), and SA Board of Trustees member Jim Riley (2nd-from-the-right). Notice the printers that came from a grant specifically for Texas, and the laptop bags.

in use

You can see that he already has a Valour-IT laptop; notice the attached headset hanging on the laptop screen and the just-delivered Blanket of Hope still rolled up on his right.

“I have become more mobile in my rehabilitation, and the laptop is absolutely one of the tools that I have in my recovery toolbox.” – Valour-IT Recipient

Delivering over 4100 laptops so far, Valour-IT assists the wounded in reclaiming a bit of wholeness and independence in the face of life-altering injuries, repeated surgery, painful physical therapy, and the isolation of the hospital room. A high-quality laptop can help reestablish personal dignity and reconnect them with the world.

Every bit helps, and all funds will go directly to Project Valour-IT to purchase the laptop that helps provide independence and freedom to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines as they recover.

And if this isn’t enough already to inspire you…check out the great videos over at SteelJaw’s Place.

And Help US Win…we’re getting pounded by the other service branches!

Posted by admin in Army, Navy | 1 Comment

HeinlIn May of 1956 then LTCOL Robert Debs Heinl, Jr. USMC, penned a scathing article in PROCEEDINGS magazine about the decline of the officer corps and the loss of “special trust and confidence.” He cited the Roots of the problem, offered 8 points as fixes and challenged all officers and those in DOD authority to reverse the trend.

Heinl was no ordinary complaining officer. He was, in fact, one of the finest writers of military literature ever to emerge from the profession of arms in the United States. A 27 year veteran of the Corps, he saw combat action at Pearl Harbor, the South Pacific, Iwo Jima, and Korea. A contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, The National Geographic, other professional journals, and author of a history of the Marine Corps, Soldiers of the Sea (U.S. Naval Institute, Annapolis, Maryland) and Victory at High Tide.

He wrote the 1956 essay well before the dawn of the all-volunteer force. Yet today young officers still refer to the Heinl piece as a classic (Captain Brian Donlon, USMC, Proceedings, November 2009).

Our question is what might COL Heinl write today about “special trust and confidence” -the words which still appear in every officer’s commissioning paper? Do you agree with Captain Donlon? Are things better; what has changed and, most importantly, what is the same or worse than when he citing the declining role of officers in the military services of 1956?

Vol. No. 82, No.5 May 1956 Whole No. 639

Special Trust and Confidence

By Lieutenant Colonel R.D. Heinl, Jr., U.S. Marine Corps

In a lower-deck poker game aboard ship, runs an old Navy story, which probably antedates the Tuscarora with her five decks and a glass bottom, a sailor had his hand called, announced that he had a winning hand, and threw in his cards, faces down. One of his mates remonstrated, “Let me see those cards.”

Replied the first sailor, “In the wardroom the officers don’t look at each other’s hands.”

“Sure,” came the answer, “but them sonsabitches is gentlemen!”

* * *

The opening words in your commission as an officer in the Armed Forces avow that the President of the United States, no less, reposes “special trust and confidence” in you.

Today, however, that special trust and confidence in you as a commissioned officer is seemingly confined to the President alone.

In the 18th Century, pontificated Samuel Johnson, “An officer is much more respected than any other man who makes as little money.” Today, if we are to believe a public opinion survey conducted by the Gallup organization for the Department of Defense, an officer may well be less respected than other men who make as little money.

While the Gallup poll certainly documents the point, the fact of diminishing prestige and waning trust and confidence has not gone unnoticed among the general body of commissioned officers. Furthermore, as seen through the eyes of the individual officer, a great deal of the tangible evidence of this derogation comes from within the Department of Defense—from policies and attitudes at least partially of our own making.

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Help Team Navy sink the online competition

Helping The Lives of Those That Defend Our Freedom

Why give to Valour It? For the obvious reason that they can support some of our our troops presently in ways that we could not have in the past through some very important endeavours:

Voice-controlled Laptops – Operated by speaking into a microphone or using other adaptive technologies, they allow the wounded to maintain connections with the rest of the world during recovery.  

Wii Video Game Systems – Whole-body game systems increase motivation and speed recovery when used under the guidance of physical therapists in therapy sessions (donated only to medical facilities).Personal GPS – Handheld GPS devices build self-confidence and independence by compensating for short-term memory loss and organizational challenges related to severe TBI and severe PTSD.

AND: Our past will become our future!

Help support Team Navy…see and click the thermometer on the right

And to honor our heroes:

WWI: Frank Buckles USA, 106 years old

Another story: Marine hero Ben Carson…seriously, listen to his story…listen to where he fought…it’s incredible…we are lucky:

Posted by admin in Army, Navy | 3 Comments

To beat the drum harder; in this profession a sound knowledge of history is absolutely critical. A love of books is essential. A long and clear perspective, understanding the paths and lessons of those who came before is a professional foundation stone.

Without that foundation, mistakes will be repeated. Debunked theories will be born anew …. with the same results at the terminal end. In our line of work, a terminal end usually results in dead Sailors, sunk ships, and a nation in extreme Strategic risk.

Every now and then a quote comes up from someone that just sets me back. Makes me take a deep breath and read again. Makes me go back to the beginning to look for some contextual clue that I missed. Makes me try to find some mistake in the reporter’s note taking or the editor’s red pen that truncated a quote to mean something the speaker did not intend.

Sadly, often times I find myself looking at another transformationalist – someone who thinks that war is new – a huge paradigm has occurred – “old” things will “never” happen again – a new kind of war that only the select few see will make all other things unneeded.

When you combine a transformatinalist with someone looking at the future Fleet with a more bureaucratic than strategic POV – then you often have this.

From Dan Taylor at InsideDefense;

The fiscal year 2010 defense authorization bill allocates $15 million for the Navy to look into a “mobile maritime sensor” that would essentially be a dedicated radar ship for use in sea-based ballistic missile defense, according to Senate Armed Services Committee staff.

An Oct. 7 committee press release following the passage of the conference report on the bill announces that the funding would be added “for a mobile maritime sensor development program to provide options for the Navy in meeting its sea-based missile defense requirements.”

Dave Baker, a naval author and analyst, said a dedicated radar ship “is not a bad idea.” The option would be “infinitely cheaper” than doing it on a CG(X), and the service could use cruiser hulls or even merchant designs instead of developing a whole new platform.

“There’s no sense in going out and building something specialized for that role,” he told ITN Oct. 21. “A bulk cargo ship could do it.”

Baker said such ships might preclude the need for some CG(X) hulls in the future. It would also be important for the surface warfare community to get a new mission, he said.

They’re not going to be shooting at other ships at sea,” he said. “Getting a new mission for the surface community is important to the surface community.”


We have been here before. Remember when the depth charge, ASDIC, aircraft, and the homing torpedo would make the submarine no longer a threat? Remember when the B-36 and nuclear weapons made the Aircraft Carrier obsolete? Remember when the jet and guided missiles made a gun on a fighter a romantic anachronism? Remember when MIW was a problem for just the European navies to take seriously?

This is the same thought process that told the Royal Navy in the late ’70s early 80s that they would never need a gun on their ships again and that there was no use for Aircraft Carriers in the “new navy.” They got kicked in the teeth by the Argentines to prove otherwise.

I don’t know who this dude is – but I am sure he is a great, fun, and exceptionally smart guy – but someone get him a subscription to USNI’s Classics of Naval Literature series and Naval History magazine – please.

To steal a phrase:

Only the dead have seen the end of “…shooting at other ships at sea.”

If you plan the core of your Fleet with the assumption that you will not have to face another – you will cause Sailors to be killed – you will cause ships to be sunk – and you will cause your nation to be put in extreme Strategic risk.

“Phibian Salamander, a naval author and analyst, said that Dave Baker needs to read some more.”

Do we ever learn?


And so it begins…Go Navy! Beat Army!

Do you have a blog or website? You can join our team here: Team Navy. Team Navy is also grateful to have the support of all you Coast Guard Bloggers out there who don’t have an official team this year!

Don’t have a blog or website? No problem, you can still help us spread the word and get donations through Facebook, Twitter, email and plain old word-of-mouth.

Why help us? Every cent raised goes toward the same cause, Valour-IT from Soldier’s Angels, helping those wounded warriors by providing laptops with voice activated software, Nintendo Wiis for therapy and GPS units for those suffering short term memory loss issues from TBI. Reach me at [email protected] if you have questions. We’ll be updating with stories and Team progress and you can make a donation here!

Read this superb post at HG’s World on Why I Joined the Navy. Which he didn’t but he’s supporting Team Navy as a tribute to his father and brother. Well done HG!

Update: The Admonition also joins Team Navy, “In honor of my dad who passed away this year, he was a sailor.” Nice!

adakIt was 31 years ago today that AF 586 (a P-3 Orion flying a sensitive mission in the north Pacific) was forced to ditch into the empty, mountainous seas off the Aleutian Islands. What follows is an amazing rescue that could only be written by a P-3 pilot like Andrew Jampoler.

Could you provide a short synopsis of Adak: The Rescue of Alfa Foxtrot 586?

AF 586, a nearly-new Navy P-3 “Orion” from Patrol Squadron 9’s detachment at Naval Station Adak, Alaska, took off the morning of October 26, 1978, for a nine hour special mission flight off Soviet Kamchatka. Some six hours later the aircraft was down in the North Pacific, midway between the Soviet Union and Attu (the last American outpost in the Aleutian Islands) with fourteen of its fifteen men afloat in two rafts and their plane commander lost at sea.

“Adak” is the story of that mission, the crew, and their ordeal, and the astonishing and successful effort that brought ten men home alive.

Who are some of the heroes of Adak?

LCDR Jerry Grigsby’s superb airmanship put the big aircraft into stormy waters intact on three engines. LT(JG) Matt Gibbon’s cool preparations for the ditching while AF 586 limped toward Shemya with recurrent fires in the No. 1 nacelle made the crew’s escape from the aircraft possible. The ditching triggered a determined SAR operation which, at one time, had planes from the Air Force, the Navy, and the Coast Guard in the air at the same time–together with some Soviet Air Force observers.

Soon after midnight three men of the crew were dead from exposure. The others in the rafts were in extremis, too.

Can you tell us a little bit about the inter-agency cooperation that was involved in the rescue?

Fast and close overnight cooperation between the Departments of Defense and State, and Washington and Moscow, remarkable at the height of the Cold War, diverted a Soviet fishing trawler to the scene early on October 27th, and it was this ship–the only vessel near enough to help in time–that saved the living. The survivors were returned to US custody a week later.

What are some of the lessons learned that are applicable to today’s aviators?

AF 586 proved to maritime patrol aircrews flying over northern waters that survival was possible under almost unimaginably harsh conditions.

Who should read Adak: The Rescue of Alfa Foxtrot 586?

Anyone who flies (or has flow) over open water would enjoy this adventure story, described by “The Wall Street Journal” as “an adventure story to rival the best you’ve ever read.”

Posted by Jim Dolbow in Books | 3 Comments

F-35C_calendar_2008DoDBuzz is reporting new cost estimates for the JSF program are going to jump by over $17.1B. Apparently the concurrent nature of the program lies at the heart of the massive revision upwards of program costs. So much so that Nunn-McCurdy is starting to be invoked:

“Unfortunately, DoD has put all its eggs in the JSF basket and it is now too big to fail, just like Wall Street. The JSF program has shown no signs of getting back on schedule, and I think a Nunn-McCurdy is fairly likely. Gates should get out in front and restructure the program,” said one congressional aide.J-UCAS-Sunset

While the scope of the program may dissuade a Nunn-McCurdy cancellation action, it is possible that certain parts – second engine source & naval version (F-35C) could get the axe as both are still in the very early stages of development. Color me not surprised, especially if the above comes true. Boeing, not to long ago, was green-lighted on a limited multi-year production run of F/A-18E/F for Navy and if it wins the MRCA competition in India, that will extend the production run possibly making available aircraft to replace the legacy Hornets – which was to be the role of the F-35C. In the meantime, if the UCAV-N pans out and demonstrates effectiveness at penetrating triple-digit SAM defended airspace, then the original rationale for the one-trick pony F-35C will have been met.


crossposted at:

Posted by SteelJaw in Aviation | 16 Comments

Commander Dudley W. KnoxIn March of 1915 then LCDR Dudley W. Knox, USN, wrote a most challenging essay in PROCEEDINGS magazine about “The Role of Doctrine in Naval Warfare.” His thesis was that “a fleet is something more than a mere collection of ships” and that “bare ship to ship superiority is not a guarantee of victory.” Then, in 31 pages he exhaustively examines the dual roles of command and doctrine in prosecuting successful combat operations. Ironically, almost 100 years ago, his essay becomes subject of comments from other naval officers in the next 10 pages – and we thought blogs were a modern invention! Most importantly, Knox is a poster child for one of our most important missions – providing an independent forum wherein all members, without reference to grade or resume, can share their thoughts on the state of the profession.

Knox is himself an amazing naval officer. The son of a career Soldier and an 1896 graduate of the Naval Academy, Knox served 50 years retiring as a Commodore in 1946. In that long and distinguished career he commanded at sea and ashore, taught at the Naval War College, earned the Navy Cross, the Legion of Merit and a slew of foreign honors, was twice a Gold Medal essayist with the Naval Institute, wrote the classic A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES NAVY, and was the guiding spirit in the founding of the Naval Historical Foundation (USNI provided the first contribution of $1000 to the Foundation).

Our question is:

What might Knox say in only 3000 words about the state of naval strategy and doctrine today? Are things better; what has changed and, most importantly, what is the same or worse than when he closed his text with this clarion call, “both ashore and afloat we, therefore, imperatively need first of all a conception of war”?

United States Naval Institute Proceedings

Vol. 41, No.2 March-April 1915, Whole No. 156

The Role of Doctrine in Naval Warfare

Prize Essay, 1915

By Lieutenant Commander Dudley W. Knox, U.S. Navy

Motto: “Let us learn to think in the same way about fundamental truths.”—Darrieus

The American Navy acknowledges no superior in its ability to steam and to shoot. If nothing else was required of a fleet of ships in naval warfare we might rest securely in the belief that we are as well prepared for war as any possible antagonist. Strange to say, not many years ago this fallacious belief did permeate the service and was based upon the above narrow, unsound and short-sighted assumption.

Within the last few years, however, a fortunate awakening has come about. The navy is comprehending with greater clearness every day, that a fleet is something more than a mere collection of ships; that a bare “ship for ship” superiority over a possible enemy is not a guarantee of victory; that before ships are ready to go into action, no matter how efficient individually, they must be welded into a body, whose various members can be well controlled from a single source and can act collectively as a unit free from embarrassing internal friction; and that the problem of the proper utilization of the abilities to steam and to shoot—that is, the problem of command—is not only less elementary but also much more difficult of solution than any yet undertaken by us.

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