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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

TheList 4393





The List 4393


To All,

A bit of history and some tidbits
Regards,

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This Day In Naval History - February 22

1865 - RADM Porter's gunboats' bombardment cause surrender of Wilmington, NC .

1870 - After arriving on USS Nipsic, and supported by USS Guard and USS Nyack, the Darien Expedition, commanded by CDR Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr., begins active operations ashore at Caldonia Bay to survey the Isthmus of Darien, Panama, for an interoceanic ship canal.

1909 - Great White Fleet returns from round the world cruise to Hampton Roads, VA

1943 - USS Iowa (BB-61), the lead ship of the last class of American fast battleships, is commissioned.

1974 - LTJG Barbara Ann Allen becomes first Navy designated female aviator

1968 Tet Offensive ends »
February 22

1349

Jews are expelled from Zurich, Switzerland.

1613

Mikhail Romanov is elected czar of Russia.

1797

The last invasion of Britain takes place when some 1,400 Frenchmen land at Fishguard in Wales.

1819

Spain signs a treaty with the United States ceding eastern Florida.

1825

Russia and Britain establish the Alaska/Canada boundary.

1862

Jefferson Davis is inaugurated president of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va. for the second time.

1864

Nathan Bedford Forrest's brother, Jeffrey, is killed at Okolona, Mississippi.

1865

Federal troops capture Wilmington, N.C.

1879

Frank Winfield Woolworth's 'nothing over five cents' shop opens at Utica, New York. It is the first chain store.

1902

A fistfight breaks out in the Senate. Senator Benjamin Tillman suffers a bloody nose for accusing Senator John McLaurin of bias on the Philippine tariff issue.

1909

The Great White Fleet returns to Norfolk, Virginia, from an around-the-world show of naval power.

1911

Canadian Parliament votes to preserve the union with the British Empire.

1920

The American Relief Administration appeals to the public to pressure Congress to aid starving European cities.

1924

Columbia University declares radio education a success.

1926

Pope Pius rejects Mussolini's offer of aid to the Vatican.

1932

Adolf Hitler is the Nazi Party candidate for the presidential elections in Germany.
1935

All plane flights over the White House are barred because they are disturbing President Roosevelt's sleep.

1942

President Franklin Roosevelt orders Gen. Douglas MacArthur to leave the Philippines.

1951

The Atomic Energy Commission discloses information about the first atom-powered airplane.


1952

French forces evacuate Hoa Binh in Indochina.

1954

U.S. is to install 60 Thor nuclear missiles in Britain.

1962

A Soviet bid for new Geneva arms talks is turned down by the U.S.

1963

Moscow warns the U.S. that an attack on Cuba would mean war.

1967

Operation Junction City becomes the largest U.S. operation in Vietnam.

1984

Britain and the U.S. send warships to the Persian Gulf following an Iranian offensive against Iraq.

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Interesting tidbit from a fellow reader...

Saw the timeline piece that mentioned Tsar Alexander II and it made me think about a recent interesting article. I knew that the Imperial Russian Fleet had visited Norfolk in the 1870s, however I did not know this until the local paper had this article in late January about six Russians Sailors from the Imperial Navy had been buried at Portsmouth Naval Cemetery after they had died of typhus during the visit.
http://pilotonline.com/news/military/local/russia-u-s-pay-tribute-in-portsmouth-to-russian-sailors/article_7e5a95f0-7e9b-5f3b-96e9-7b00dce286a1.html

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From the F-8 Net

Thanks to Dick…A few thoughts on what it was like to fly F-8 Crusader.
In September '65, VF-13 was wrapping up a 7-month Mediterranean deployment aboard USS Shangri La in F8-E Crusaders. Our last launch would be off the East Coast with destination NAS Cecil Field. Our Skipper Jim Foster was spotted on the port catapult and Air Wing Commander Tom Heyward was on the starboard. I was number two behind the skipper and my wingy Larry Durbin would be next after me. "Shang" rolled steady into the wind, CAG went to full power, saluted, and was airborne. Seconds later, Skipper Foster attempted to follow suit. Unfortunately, something went really wrong! He fell off the front of the flight deck with far less than the required airspeed. His Crusader hit the water, wings level, in front of the huge steel bow of the Shangri La, barreling down upon him at 30 knots. What followed was an unforgettable demonstration of incredible will to live on the part of the Skipper, and, very clearly, intervention in the form of a God-ordained Miracle!

In the final analysis, Skipper Foster made that "fly-off"; but it was in the ship's C1-A, which was the last aircraft launched, and he was in a dripping wet flight suit after escaping the cockpit of the sinking Crusader, the carrier's huge "screws" passing nearby, and being picked up by the ship's plane-guard helicopter, appropriate call sign Angel. Several of us in the Air Wing fly-off did not know he had survived. We deplaned, greeted our families, and were nervously considering what to say to the Skipper's wife, when the C1-A rolled up and he jumped out. God is good!

Ten months later, in another world known as Yankee Station, I was spotted on the port side of the flight deck of the USS Oriskany, in a VF-111 Sundowner F8-E Crusader, but this time with MK-83 thousand pound bridge-buster bombs on each wing. My wingman, nugget Bill McWilliams was number two behind me. We had a prime target assignment of a bridge southwest of Thanh Hoa, and we were ready! The last of the A4 Skyhawks were fired off and it was our turn. The taxi director lined me up on the port catapult. I rolled smoothly and carefully over the large catapult shuttle, from which a strong cable bridle would be attached to a hook on the belly of my Crusader. I moved gently forward as a brave young sailor positioned under the hot tailpipe of that Crusader inserted a "T" hold-back fitting that attached my Crusader to the flight deck and would hold my aircraft firmly as power was applied, but break free when the catapult fired. Ever hear of "Rube Goldberg?" But that was carrier aviation life in those days. I double-checked ordnance switches safe and put my hands on my helmet so the red-shirted ordnance boys could pull the safety pins from my Mk-82's. The job was done and the Catapult Officer gave me the signal for full power. I checked the engine gauges at normal, and looked up to see the Catapult Officer giving me the signal for afterburner, which would be required for takeoff with that bomb load on a hot July day on Yankee. I positioned my head firmly against the headrest, saluted, saw the Catapult Officer lean forward to touch the flight deck, and felt a very unusual minimal jolt. I looked up to see the catapult bridle flying through the air several hundred feet in front of me. I was in afterburner, accelerating slowly down the deck. Following "cold cat" emergency procedures I'd thought through hundreds of times, during long hours sitting in the cockpit manning the Alert Five aircraft, I immediately came out of afterburner, chopped the throttle to idle, and stepped on the brakes. The ever-alert Air Boss simultaneously broadcast: "Power back, hit the brakes." Later investigation revealed the "T" holdback fitting had broken, and the bridle had fallen free, a nanosecond before the catapult fired. I was sliding down a slick catapult track, in a heavily loaded aircraft, with less than 120 feet in which to stop, and it was a little unnerving to hear the Air Boss call for the rescue helicopter. I suppose I was applying the brakes like I'd learned on icy Nebraska roads as a pre-teen driver, trying not to let those narrow high-speed jet tires skid. However, when I reached the position where I couldn't see the edge of the flight deck over the Crusader's nose, my hands went instinctively to the face curtain to prepare for ejection. Our Crusaders did not have the new Martin-Baker zero-airspeed, zero-altitude capability for safe seat ejection, but I resolved to shoot myself out of that apparently doomed Crusader if its nose wheel dropped over the edge of the flight deck.

I had a firm grip on the face curtain handles, and was looking to the right to watch the edge of the flight deck approaching. The cockpit seat is directly above the Crusader's nose wheel, I was almost looking straight across the front edge, and my adrenalin was absolutely over-dosing, when I saw, and felt, that magnificent aircraft stop. It turned out, I still had three feet of deck space left, which was enough to get the Crusader's nose turned and pointed back down the flight deck. The mission launch was continuing off the starboard catapult as the taxi director and brave young blue-shirt plane pushers got me headed back to safety. The Air Boss was on the radio. His first call was to the Angel helicopter to return to station; then he asked me if I wanted to try it again. Why not? My wingy was lining up on the starboard cat and I didn't want him going "feet dry" over North Vietnam without me. I taxied back down the deck and turned to get in line for the starboard cat. A green-shirted maintenance "final-checker" was banging on the side of the cockpit and the Boss was giving me the news: The outer barrel of the "unbreakable" nose wheel strut on the Crusader had split vertically and it was in danger of exploding. Hydraulic fluid was spraying everywhere. When the unloaded shuttle had been fired under the nose wheel, the tremendous upward impact had almost exploded the strut. As I found out years later, it also "exploded" three of the discs in my lower vertebrae. I'm writing this today because there was absolutely Divine Intervention involved. There was just enough friction on that slippery wet catapult track to allow me to stop. Maybe it wasn't a miracle, but I'm damned sure it wasn't me that stopped that Crusader and full load of bombs! Would I have survived if I had ejected?

Fifteen months later, my roommate Lieutenant Edwin Van Orden of Arlington, Texas, had a similar event on the starboard catapult. Unfortunately, when Ed's F8-C was sliding and skidding down that slippery catapult track, his nose wheel did drop over the front deck edge. I was watching from Pri-Fly as the squadron's observer for that launch, when an erroneous, over-boosted, catapult setting tore the hook out of his Crusader. I saw Ed's hands go up to the face curtain just as mine had earlier. When the Crusader's nose dropped over the deck edge, he shot himself out. Ironically, the nose wheel and strut caught in the safety net strung across the front of the Oriskany's flight deck. The Crusader did not crash into the water and was later hoisted back aboard. Ed's early-model Martin-Baker got him up a couple hundred feet, and his drogue chute actually pulled the main chute out far enough to deploy, before it took one wild swing and slammed him into the side of the forward gun-tub on the Oriskany's port side. That Officer, Gentleman, and courageous Warrior did not survive. I kept him in the fight through my 276th and last mission over North Vietnam. Every time I'd taxi onto the catapult and feel the nose wheel drop over the shuttle, I'd mutter into my oxygen mask: "This one's for you, Ed."

Why did I get at least three "God-ordained Miracles" during that war, when Ed needed one so badly? He was twice the Officer and Gentleman that I was, and probably a better pilot! It's been a burden on my conscious for 50 years. I can only rationalize that our dear Lord had a more important job for him, somewhere, in those high heavens, way above the rest of us.

Very Respectfully, Dick (Brown Bear) Schaffert
20 February 2017

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There are a couple of great books on what these PBY crews did at the start of the war and all the way through. This is just one example….skip

A couple of days late but for this.... no problem!
TODAY IN NAVAL HISTORY
15 FEBRUARY 1944
LTJG NATHAN GORDON

The two engines of the PBY Catalina seaplane nicknamed "Arkansas Traveler" coughed and sputtered to a start. Launching from VP-34's base at Samarai Island at the eastern tip of New Guinea, pilot LTJG Nathan Green Gordon and seven crewmen were to accompany US Army Air Corps A-20 "Havoc" and B-25 "Mitchell" bombers on a raid on Kavieng Bay, New Ireland. Their task to rescue downed Army flyers would be complicated this day by seas running 15-18 foot swells!

Their first call sent them towards a downed A-20 piloted by Pearson G. Schussman from the 3rd Bomber Group. Gordon lined up on the floating wreckage to land directly into the swell. The PBY crashed violently through successive waves, disappearing in the trough and popping rivets in her hull. Water shipped aboard, and nothing was found here but floating oil, a dye marker, and a partially inflated rubber raft.

The next call was for the downed B-25D "Gremlins Holiday." Six men flailed in the water. Again Gordon banged to a hard landing. When the heavy waves raised the swimmers dangerously close to the PBY's spinning prop, Gordon shut down the port engine (a risky maneuver). They had made only 20 miles toward home when the third call came in, the B-25D "Pissonit" was down. Gordon turned back, landed, and cut his engine yet again. Now with ten rescued airmen aboard the PBY struggled to get airborne, banging heavily through the large swells. Gallons of water sloshed in the PBY's bilges, but the "Cat" made it airborne. The ten rescued flyers huddled in their blankets content that they would not spend the rest of the war as POWs. But now a fourth call came in. This time a B-25D of the 345th Bomber Group was down just 600 yards off the beach at Kavieng--well within the range of enemy rifles! Gordon turned the plane back without a second thought.

His approach passed low over the enemy shore. Bullets from small arms "tinked" against the wings and again the heavy swell battered the limping PBY. More water shipped aboard as Gordon skillfully positioned the plane between the six struggling flyers and the shore. B-25s overhead strafed the shore, but the PBY was now grossly overloaded with 24 total souls. Gordon spun up his engines yet again, the Catalina struggled, her hull pounding heavily against each wave. More seams split, water poured in, and crewmen bailed frantically. And almost imperceptibly the laden PBY crept upward, straining her way into the sky. Fifteen of the 16 Army flyers Gordon rescued this day survived their wounds. He received the Medal of Honor for his persistence, skill, and bravery, and his seven crewmen were each awarded the Silver Star.

Watch for more "Today in Naval History"

CAPT James Bloom, Ret.
Rehabilitation Medicine

Hayes, Robert W. Bless 'em All: The Adventures of a Navy Black Cat Squadron in World War II. Eden Prairie, MN: Willow Creek Pub.,1986, pp. 30-33.

Pacific Wrecks.org. "Nathan Gordon - PBY Pilot & Medal of Honor." AT: http://www.pacificwrecks.com/people/veterans/gordon.html, retrieved 2 November 2010.

United States Congress. United States of America's Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients and their Official Citations. Columbia Heights, MN: Highland House II, 1994, p. 324.

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(Lengthy article with several photos! Had to be a very boring RTB—note the comments about the physiological effects and use of "pills"!)
http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/a25070/to-libya-and-back-inside-obamas-last-strike-against-isis/



To Libya and Back: Inside a Stealth Bomber Strike Against ISIS

www.popularmechanics.com

To Libya and Back: Inside a Stealth Bomber Strike Against ISIS.

During the dying days of Obama's administration, U.S. B-2 Spirit bomber crews executed a 32 hour sortie against ISIS. This is how it happened.

"EVERY B-2 PILOT ON THE BASE WANTED TO GO ON THIS MISSION."

EACH OF THE BOMBS CAN BE PROGRAMMED TO HIT A SPECIFIC TARGET, AT A SPECIFIC ALTITUDE, FROM A SPECIFIC ANGLE, AT A SPECIFIC TIME


80 GBU-38 guided ammunitions inside one bay door of a B-2 before Libya mission.


A B-2 Spirit Bomber returns to Whiteman Air Force Base on Jan. 19, 2017, after 30-hour mission in Libya.

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Item Number:1 Date: 02/22/2017 BAHRAIN - SECURITY OFFICIALS MAKE 20 TERROR-RELATED ARRESTS; SUSPECTS INCLUDE THOSE INVOLVED IN JANUARY JAILBREAK (FEB 22/GULF) GULF NEWS -- Security personnel in Bahrain say they have arrested 20 people suspected of terrorist activities, reports Gulf News (Dubai). Nine suspects, including four women, took part in a jailbreak in January or aided the escapees, said the Interior Ministry on Tuesday. Some of the fugitives tried to flee to Iran by sea in February. The ministry said other suspects were wanted for the killing of an off-duty officer in the suburbs of Manama on January 29, setting up secret bomb-making warehouses and other acts of terrorism. At least eight of those arrested had received military training in Iran and Iraq, said the ministry. The timing of the arrests was not specified.

Item Number:2 Date: 02/22/2017 CHINA - ANTI-TERROR TIP POLICY INSTITUTED IN UIGHUR AREA OF XINJIANG PROVINCE (FEB 22/REU) REUTERS -- Authorities in a restive area in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang are offering rewards totaling 100 million yuan (US$14.5 million) for tips on terror activities, reports Reuters, citing state media. Up to 5 million yuan (US$730,000) will be given for verifiable "operational inside information" on plans for attacks in the southwestern region of Hotan, reported the state-run Hotan Daily on Tuesday. Awards for reporting links to violent terrorists or religious extremists, incitements or the swearing of oaths of jihad or information on illegal border crossings will range from 2 to 3 million yuan (US$290,000 to US$440,000). Rewards will also be paid for tips on arms-smuggling and inciting crowds to petition over grievances. Smaller awards of 2,000 yuan (US$290) cover tips on "face coverings and robes, youth with long beards, or other popular religious customs that have been radicalized." Hotan is the heartland of Uighurs. Chinese authorities generally blame unrest in Xinjiang on ethnic Uighur Islamists.

Item Number:3 Date: 02/22/2017 CHINA - BEIJING SUSPENDS COAL IMPORTS FROM N. KOREA FOR REST OF 2017; MOVES IMPACT IS UNCERTAIN (FEB 22/SCMP) SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST -- The Chinese government has decided to ban imports of coal from North Korea, reports the South China Morning Post. The surprise announcement on Feb. 18, indicates that China is joining other regional countries in efforts to block Pyongyang's development of nuclear missiles. The move could be a major financial blow to the regime in Pyongyang and might affect stability in the region, noted the Independent (U.K.). The Chinese Commerce Ministry said it would suspend all imports of coal from North Korea for the rest of 2017 in accordance with existing U.N. sanctions over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs. The announced ban was seen as a response to criticism from the U.S. and South Korea that Beijing was not doing enough to change the behavior of its North Korean ally. Chinese public complaints have not stopped Pyongyang from stepping up its missile and nuclear testing in the last year, including launching an intermediate-range ballistic missile earlier this month. Coal exports are a primary source of foreign revenue in the North. North Korea could engage in further missile tests or other volatile behavior in response to Beijing's ban, said experts. The Diplomat (Tokyo) noted that China has already been trying to cut its coal consumption for environmental reasons and speculated that Beijing might be trying to pre-empt a cap on North Korean coal imposed last year by the U.N

Item Number:4 Date: 02/22/2017 CHINA - NEWLY COMMISSIONED QI JIGUANG BECOMES LARGEST TRAINING SHIP IN NAVY (FEB 22/CMO) CHINA MILITARY ONLINE -- China has officially added a new training vessel to the navy, reports China Military Online. The Qi Jiguang oceangoing training ship was commissioned Tuesday at the naval port in Dalian in Liaoning province. The ship is assigned to the Dalian Naval Academy. The vessel, which has the hull number 83, was independently designed and built by China, say navy officials. Qi Jiguang is now the largest and most advanced training ship in the PLA navy. She displaces 9,000 tons. According to the navy, the ship will accommodate more than 400 sailors for traning. The ship is named after a general who helped defend China's eastern coastal regions from Japanese pirates in the 16th century.

Item Number:5 Date: 02/22/2017 GERMANY - DEFENSE MINISTER, CITING UNPRECEDENTED DEMANDS, ANNOUNCES PLANS TO ADD 5,000 TROOPS TO ARMY BY 2024 (FEB 22/GERMOD) GERMAN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE -- German Defense Minister Ursula Von der Leyen has announced plans to increase the size of the German army by 5,000, according to a statement made Tuesday on the website of the Bundeswehr. The addition will bring the total to 198,000 troops in 2024, said a ministry statement, as reported by Reuters. "The German army faces demands like never before," Defense Minister von der Leyen said in the statement. Another 1,000 civilian posts and about 500 reserves will also be added. If approved, the personnel increase will cost about 955 million euros (US$1.01 billion) per year from 2024.

Item Number:6 Date: 02/22/2017 IRAQ - PUSH TO MOSUL NOW INCLUDES AMERICAN FORCES IN THE FRONT LINES (FEB 22/LAT) LOS ANGELES TIMES -- U.S. military advisers are now fighting alongside Iraqi forces closer to the front lines in the operation against the Islamic State in Mosul in northern Iraq, says a top U.S. commander, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. The Trump administration has given military commanders more leeway on troop deployments, allowing hundreds of American personnel to join the advancing Iraqi forces trying to drive ISIS from the city of Mosul. About 450 U.S. special operations forces and spotters have operated with the Iraqis in recent weeks to direct airstrikes and advise ground commanders on how best to advance, said Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria. He made his comments on Monday in Baghdad, noted the Washington Post, which reported that it was the first such acknowledgment of how involved the Americans are. The authority to put U.S. forces near the front lines, rather than at headquarters, was quietly granted in November by then-President Barack Obama. The Pentagon did not make the announcement public, but the change became clear on Feb. 19, when scores of uniformed U.S. soldiers were seen fighting with Iraqi forces.

Item Number:7 Date: 02/22/2017 NIGERIA - ASSAILANTS ATTACK ARMY PATROL, ABDUCT LIEUTENANT NEAR LAGOS (FEB 22/VANGUARD) VANGUARD -- Suspected militants have kidnapped a Nigerian army lieutenant near Lagos in southern Nigeria, reports the Vanguard (Lagos). The unnamed officer was on a patrol in the Ijedodo area of Abule-Ado in Lagos when he was abducted. As of Monday night, the army had deployed military personnel to the region to crack down on militants in the area, according to local residents cited by the Nigerian Tribune. The military has reportedly launched an operation targeting the suspected kidnappers' hideout. No details have been provided.

Item Number:8 Date: 02/22/2017 PAKISTAN - ARMY CHIEF CHANGES TONE, PROMOTES JOINT FIGHT WITH AFGHANISTAN AGAINST TERRORISM (FEB 22/DAWN) DAWN -- The Pakistani army chief of staff has issued orders for better coordinated counterterrorism operations with Afghanistan, reports the Dawn (Pakistan). The Pakistan army has been boosting its security measures along the border with Afghanistan to fight their "common enemy," terrorism, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Monday during a meeting at the military headquarters in Islamabad. Bajwa "also welcomed proposals from Afghan authorities to take forward the mutual coordination for result oriented efforts against terrorism," according to a press release following the meeting. Pakistan recently sealed its border with Afghanistan after a series of terror attacks that killed more than 100 people. Authorities also issued shoot-on-sight orders for those attempting to cross the frontier. Pakistani forces began shelling the border region on Feb. 17 in response to the terrorist attacks, noted the Washington Post on Tuesday. Afghanistan has protested that the attacks forced civilians to flee their villages in the area. Both nations have also traded accusations of late that nothing was being done against extremists making cross-border attacks, noted the Voice of America News.

Item Number:9 Date: 02/22/2017 PAKISTAN - PUNJAB RANGERS TO REINFORCE OPERATIONS AGAINST TERRORISTS (FEB 22/DAWN) DAWN -- The government in Islamabad has approved a request from Punjab province to deploy paramilitary forces there, reports Dawn (Pakistan). High-ranking officials decided on Wednesday to deploy the troops from Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) after a request by the provincial government. The Rangers have been assigned to assist Punjab police and law enforcement agencies against terrorist groups for a 60-day period. They will focus on Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan, reported Geo News (Pakistan). Punjab asked for more than 2,000 Rangers authorized with police powers to conduct operations against militants. The request came after a spate of terrorist attacks, including one in the provincial capital of Lahore that killed 14 people.

Item Number:10 Date: 02/22/2017 RUSSIA - WORK CONTINUES ON CAMOUFLAGE DESIGNED TO HIDE GEAR FROM PRECISION WEAPONS (FEB 22/TASS) TASS -- Russian holding company Ruselectronics, part of the state-owned Rostec company, says it is developing an advanced camouflage material that will help hide military equipment from precision-guided weapons, reports the Tass news agency (Moscow). The material can change color and imitate complex patterns, such as tree leaves, says the company. Energy-efficient screens display patterns through special polymer materials, which change color under electrical impulses, Tass reported on Tuesday. Prototype materials and system controls have already been developed, according to Ruselectronics. The system will provide visual camouflage against advanced weapons that home in on targets based on recognition and analysis of patterns and target characteristics, company officials said.

Item Number:11 Date: 02/22/2017 SOMALIA - SECURITY CONCERNS PUT MOGADISHU UNDER LOCKDOWN FOR PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION (FEB 22/GAROWE) GAROWE ONLINE -- The Somali capital of Mogadishu is on a security lockdown for Wednesday's inauguration of President Mohamed Abudllahi Mohamed, reports Garowe Online (Somalia). The restrictions were announced Monday, and by Tuesday hundreds of soldiers were reinforcing a 24-hour curfew on the capital. The president is being sworn in at a high-secure zone in Mogadishu's airport, said police. The president, who is widely known by his nickname Farmajo, took office last week in a handover ceremony, noted AFP. All major roads inside the capital were closed by Tuesday night and all commercial flights were cancelled for the day. A similar lockdown was in place when lawmakers elected the president earlier this month. Regional delegations and leaders, including Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh and Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, are expected to attend. Al-Shabaab has vowed to wage a "vicious war" against the new government, noted the Arab News

Item Number:12 Date: 02/22/2017 SYRIA - KURDISH-LED REBELS, BACKED BY U.S., CROSS INTO ISIS-HELD DEIR EZZOR PROVINCE (FEB 22/BBC) BRITISH BROADCASTING CORP. -- U.S.-backed Syrian rebels say they have entered Islamic State territory in Deir Ezzor province for the first time, reports the BBC. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab rebels, took control of about 15 villages in the area, according to Kurdish military sources on Tuesday. The latest move is part of an effort to cut off the de facto ISIS capital of Raqqa from Deir Ezzor, reported Reuters. The SDF previously blocked roads to the north and west of Raqqa, with bridges to the south being destroyed. This has left the road to Deir Ezzor in the east as the only way for ISIS fighters to flee, noted the Kurdish Daily News

Item Number:13 Date: 02/22/2017 TURKEY - ARMY DROPS BAN, ALLOWS FEMALE OFFICERS TO WEAR HIJABS (FEB 22/AFP) AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- Turkey's army has decided to lift its ban on female officers wearing Islamic headscarves, generally called hijabs, reports Agence France-Presse, citing domestic media. The move affects female officers and cadets working the general staff, command headquarters and branches, reported the state-run Turkish Anadolu Agency on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear if the change applied to females on combat missions. The does apply to female cadets. Woman will be allowed to wear the headscarf underneath their caps or berets as long as it is the same color as their uniforms and does not cover their faces, according to the Defense Ministry. The change will take effect when published in the official gazette, noted the news agency. The ruling AKP party has long called for the lifting of such restrictions in state institutions. The ban was lifted in universities in 2010. Critics have accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of eroding Turkey's secular traditions

Item Number:14 Date: 02/22/2017 TURKEY - POLICE RAID 41 LOCATIONS, PICK UP 35 ISIS SUSPECTS IN ISTANBUL (FEB 22/ANADOLU) ANADOLU NEWS AGENCY -- Counterterror police say they have arrested 35 Islamic State in Istanbul, reports the state-run Anadolu Agency. Police raided 41 addresses in the Sultanbeyli and Pendik districts, said a police official on Wednesday. Ammunition, military camoflage and documents linked to the group were recovered, he said. Turkish security forces have stepped up efforts against ISIS after a New Year's Eve shooting at a Istanbul nightclub that left 39 people dead. The suspected gunman was arrested on Jan. 16

Item Number:15 Date: 02/22/2017 UKRAINE - STATE-OWNED FIRM DEBUTS ARMED UNMANNED GROUND VEHICLE AT IDEX (FEB 22/STE) SPETSTECHNOEXPORT -- Ukraine's SpetsTechnoExport, part of the Ukroboronprom defense holding company, has unveiled the latest version of its Fantom unmanned combat vehicle at the IDEX show in Abu Dhabi. The Fantom has been equipped with the Bar'er anti-tank missile system, allowing it to attack light and heavy armored targets at ranges from 109 yards (100 m) to 5,470 yards (5,000 m), said a SpetsTechnoExport release on Monday. The name of the tank-busting system is also rendered as the Barrier. The unmanned vehicle is also fitted with a stabilized turret that can accommodate a variety of weapons, including a 12.7-mm machine gun that has already been successfully tested. The Fantom features a hybrid propulsion system with an independent suspension and all-wheel drive as well as a hydraulic brake system for excellent driving performance, the company said. SpetsTechnoExport first exhibited the Fantom at an exhibition in Kiev in 2016. Depending on the configuration, it can be used for fire support, surveillance and reconnaissance and de-mining operations, said company officials. Defense News noted that it can also be teamed with unmanned aerial systems, possibly to counter Russian "hybrid warfare tactics

Item Number:16 Date: 02/22/2017 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DUBAI'S RULER RAISES FLAG OVER NEWLY COMMISSIONED BAYNUNAH-CLASS CORVETTE (FEB 22/DN) DEFENSE NEWS -- The United Arab Emirates navy has commissioned its sixth and last Baynunah-class corvette, reports Defense News. The Al Hili was officially brought into service during a ceremony on Monday at the IDEX show in Abu Dhabi. Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed presided over the ceremony. The first of the six corvettes was built in France, with the remainder being constructed by Abu Dhabi Shipbuilding in the U.A.E. The ships are 236 feet (72 m) long and displace about 844 tons. They are powered by four MTU diesel engines driving three Kamewa waterjets, providing a top speed of more than 32 knots. Abu Dhabi Shipbuilding was expected to deliver the new offshore patrol ship Arialah to the government on Tuesday and is building a second vessel in that class. The shipyard is also looking for a contract to build a larger 2,400-ton version of the Baynunah-class to meet a navy requirement for frigates

Item Number:17 Date: 02/22/2017 USA - ARMY WANTS TO GROW, SO IT'S OFFERING BONUSES, 2-YEAR ENLISTMENTS (FEB 22/ARMY) ARMY TIMES -- Trying to boost its recruiting efforts, the U.S. Army is now offering bonuses worth up to $40,000 and contracts as short as two years in an attempt to attract an additional 6,000 personnel this year, reports the Army Times. Changing its recent trend, the service says it needs to add 16,000 more soldiers to active duty by Sept. 30. The growth, which is outlined in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Bill, also requires the Army to retain 9,000 more troops than originally planned. Two-year enlistments are being made available for nearly 100 military specialties, and U.S. Army Recruiting Command is prepared to provide $300 million for enlistment bonuses, recruiter incentives and marketing, according to command officials. The plan calls for adding about 600 new recruiters and boosting their pay as well as various bonuses for existing troops to reach an end-strength of 476,000 by the end of the fiscal year. One retention move calls for a $10,000 bonus to extend for a year. The Army needs to grow by 28,000 personnel in the active, reserve and National Guard by Sept. 30, officials said. A decision on the final end-strength plan, including the Guard and reserve, is expected by the end of the month, said an Army spokesman. Congress must also pass an appropriations bill to cover the new end-strength, noted observers.

Item Number:18 Date: 02/22/2017 USA - NEW TRAINING STANDARDS WILL START EARLIER FOR ENLISTED SAILORS, LAST LONGER (FEB 22/NTIMES) NAVY TIMES -- The U.S. Navy is transforming the way it trains its enlisted sailors, reports the Navy Times. Previously, sailors had to complete extensive technical training, known as Class A school, which could last for up to two years. In many cases, this was the only trade-school training available for enlisted sailors. Under the new program, sailors fresh from boot camp will learn what they need to be successful during their first tour. As a result, enlisted personnel will get to the fleet much sooner, though with significantly less preparation. Additional training will be spread over a sailor's career, coming in blocks each time he returns to sea. The new model will be similar to training for officers, who receive professional military education and career-specific courses at various points throughout their careers. The new training system, which begins this year for several ratings, involves less location-specific education and more distance learning, officials said. One goal is to keep enlisted personnel better informed of the advanced technology that affects their career fields

Item Number:19 Date: 02/22/2017 USA - WORLD'S ARMS TRADE REACHED HIGHEST LEVELS IN DECADE; U.S. TOPS LIST (FEB 22/GUARDIAN) GUARDIAN -- The worldwide sales of major weapons systems over the last five years has raised to the highest levels since the end of the Cold War, according to the latest report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), as cited by the Guardian (U.K.). More weapons were delivered between 2012 and 2016 than during any other five-year period since 1990, says the study, which was released on Monday. India was the largest defense equipment importer, taking in 13 percent of global imports, followed by Saudi Arabia, which increased its imports by 212 percent, mainly from the U.K. and the U.S. The U.S. has been by far the world's largest arms exporter, at about 33 percent of the total, noted CNN Money. Russia was at number two, with China in third place. The U.S. and Russia together provide more than half of all military equipment exports. France and Germany filled out the top five exporters, according to SIPRI. China decreased its dependence on imports over the past five years, while boosting its exports by 74 percent, says the report, as cited by the South China Morning Post. Beijing's share of global weapons exports increased from 3.8 percent to 6.2 percent compared to the previous five-year period
Item Number:20 Date: 02/22/2017 YEMEN - SENIOR GENERAL DIES AFTER BEING HIT BY HOUTHI MISSILE NEAR MOKHA (FEB 22/ANADOLU) ANADOLU NEWS AGENCY -- A top Yemeni general has been killed by Houthi missiles in the country's southwest, says a Yemeni military source, as reported by the Anadolu Agency (Turkey). Gen. Ahmed Saif al-Yafei, the deputy chief of general staff of the Yemeni military, was killed Wednesday on the outskirts of the Red Sea port city of Mokha. The general was hit by a ballistic missile and later died of his injuries, said the source. More than 30 soldiers were injured and several others killed in the attack, reported China's Xinhua news agency. Houthi forces launched an assault Tuesday evening on Mokha, according to an army commander. Forces loyal to the President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, seized control of the strategic port last month from the Houthis.


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