Thursday, March 2, 2017

Fw: TheList 4400

The List 4400

To All,
I hope your week has been going well.
This Day In Naval History - March 2
1859 - Launch of Saginaw at Mare Island, first Navy ship built on West Coast of U.S.
1867 - Birthday of Civil Engineer Corps.
1899 - Act of Congress creates the rank Admiral of the Navy for George Dewey.
1973 - Women begin pilot training to U.S. Navy.
On this day in history (March 2):
1877: Rutherford B. Hayes was declared the winner of the 1876 presidential
election by the U.S. Congress. Samuel J. Tilden, however, had won the
popular vote on November 7, 1876.
1923: TIME appeared on newsstands for the first time.
1949: The B-50 Superfortress Lucky Lady II landed in Fort Worth, TX. The
American plane had completed the first non-stop around-the-world flight.
1952: During the Korean War, USS Endicott (DMS 35) silences enemy guns on the east coast of Chuuronjang, Korea in a counter-battery engagement.
1962: Wilt 'The Stilt' Chamberlain scored 100 points against the New York Knicks 169-147. Chamberlain broke several NBA records in the game.
1973 The USS Midway and Airwing 5 return from a distinguished 11 month
cruise to Vietnam which will earn it the Presidential Unit Citation for
action over north Vietnam.
1991: The lowest flaming limbo bar height achieved: 6".  How low can you go?
1942 Due to rationing, selling dog food in cans is prohibited
March 2
Americans begin shelling British troops in Boston.
Maryland ratifies the Articles of Confederation. She is the last state to sign.
The Directory of Great Britain authorizes vessels of war to board and seize neutral vessels, particularly if the ships are American.
To put an end to robberies by the Barbary pirates, the United States declares war on Algiers.
Texas declares independence from Mexico on Sam Houston's 43rd birthday.
The Territory of Washington is organized.
President Abraham Lincoln rejects Confederate General Robert E. Lee's plea for peace talks, demanding unconditional surrender.
The first Reconstruction Act is passed by Congress.
Rutherford B. Hayes is declared president by one vote the day before the inauguration.
Congress passes the Indian Appropriations Bill, proclaiming unassigned lands in the public domain; the first step toward the famous Oklahoma Land Rush.
Bone Mizell, the famed cowboy of Florida, is sentenced to two years of hard labor in the state pen for cattle rustling. He would only serve a small portion of the sentence.
Congress passes the Platt amendment, which limits Cuban autonomy as a condition for withdrawal of U.S. troops.
An international conference on arms reduction opens in London.
Gabriel Lippman introduces the new three-dimensional color photography at the Academy of Sciences.
Congress passes the Jones Act making Puerto Rico a territory of the United States and makes the inhabitants U.S. citizens.
In Italy, Mussolini admits that women have a right to vote, but declares that the time is not right.
Novelist D.H. Lawrence dies of tuberculosis in a sanitarium in Vence, France, at the age of 45.
The center of Berlin is bombed by the RAF. Some 900 tons of bombs are dropped in a half hour.
MacArthur raises the U.S. flag on Corregidor in the Philippines.
Ho Chi Minh is elected president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
The U.S. Navy launches the K-1, the first modern submarine designed to hunt enemy submarines.
Claudette Colvin refuses to give up her seat in Montgomery, Alabama, nine months before Rosa Parks' famous arrest for the same offense.
France grants independence to Morocco.
More than 150 U.S. and South Vietnamese planes bomb two bases in North Vietnam in the first of the "Rolling Thunder" raids.
The siege of Khe Sanh ends in Vietnam, the U.S. Marines stationed there are still in control of the mountain top.
Federal forces surround Wounded Knee, South Dakota, which is occupied by members of the militant American Indian Movement who are holding at least 10 hostages.
A grand jury in Washington, D.C. concludes that President Nixon was indeed involved in the Watergate cover-up.
Czech pilot Vladimir Remek becomes the first non-Russian, non-American in space.
The United States plans to send 20 more advisors and $25 million in military aid to El Salvador.
Thanks to KenG
UK WW2 female pilot is 100 years young
A heart warming story of Mary Ellis; she served as a ferry pilot during the war.  Hasn't lost her touch.
Fighter Sweep
Watch: F-22 Forward Air Refueling Point (FARP) operation – Cool Stuff!
This is a very interesting video of an operation that many people don't know even exists. The United States relies upon power projection from its military around the world to View More ›
Found it! Missing Army Drone Turns Up After 10 Days and 600+ Mile Trip
Fighter Sweep reported to you back on February 6th that an Army drone had gone missing after taking off from Fort Huachuca in Arizona. Well, guess what? They found the drone View More ›
Thaks to Robert
Live Art
Thanks to Hal -
Just got back home last night after a few days in Zurich and I'll share some observations and some things I learned.  First of all, I'm told the Swiss do not like our President Trump. Why, I'm just not sure.  I would think the Swiss with their baking industry would love a businessman who is now president.  I can only guess that maybe they were hoping for Jeb Bush, who probably would be indebted and manageable. You just can't get a straight answer. Also, the only English speaking TV coverage was CNN, a Trump-Hater.  And the only English newspapers in the hotels and restaurants is the New York Times. Another Trump-Hater.  Even in the airports, the news is CNN.  It is everywhere you turn.  So, I guess it is no wonder that much of Europe seems to dislike us.  I was watching Fox News today and I heard the most offensive tidbit of information they were quoting, and it was an MSNBC Anchor talking, "Our job is to control what people think".  If that is not Orwellian and insulting, nothing is. But we have been realizing that for a long time in that the media doesn't just report the news, they manage the news in their efforts to shape public opinion.
I saw the rioting on the news about Sweden.  Do you know that the media there is forbidden to report information about the criminals, such as they were Muslim. Now their political correctness is coming back to bite them.  But it's already too late.  The camel in inside the tent. Most of Europe is being outbred by Muslim women.  It's just a fact and not my opinion.  When a country's birth rate drops below 2.1 children per woman, the native population is not being replaced. Below 1.5 they cannot catch up.  Most are even below that.  You can Google it.  Among Muslim women it is around 8.0.  Do the math.  In three more generations it will become a Caliphate.
France is in the news there.  And the candidate, the right-wing candidate, Marie LaPen is making headway and she is appealing to the people of France in their hour of desperation and the crime that is being caused by the young, fit, immigrants who are Muslim.. Many came from the former French colonies and never had any intention of assimilating into a French culture. They want their own cities and Islamic culture inside a country and a Christian culture. Pretty much the same in Germany and Belgium.  I don't think the Swiss have admitted many.  And neither has Japan, nor Saudi Arabia, nor the UAE.  Wonder what they know that the Germans and the French didn't. All of these countries have No-Go zones where even the police do not enter.
Flying home from Zurich was daylight all the way.  I have never seen so much ice and snow.  SwissAir takes a very northern route. North from Switzerland across Germany and then the UK 's Ayr and Kirkwall. (I was once a cartographer and have always been fascinated by maps, so I watched the flight plan video most of the way home).  Then the names get strange to me.  Follow along; Torshavn, Faroe Island, then Kevlavik, IceLand, Akyreyri, Hvammstangi, Hellissandur, Akranes, Borganares, Kulusuk, Angmagssalik, Ikerasak, Illorsuit, and Kangersuatsiaq and then across the top of Hudson Bay and across Canada.  Nothing but Ice and Snow all the way.  I have never seen so much ice !!   Who named these places? What do these names mean ?  Who were these hardy people ? I'm thinking Norsmen, Vikings, Ice Land, Green Land, New Found Land, and more. It makes me think of the things I do not know. Scientists say that before we came upon the scene, there were at least five Ice Ages. All of those thousands of lakes up around Minnesota were carved out by moving glaciers.  When will it happen again ?
Anyway, there is no place like home.  And the more you travel, the more you realize what we have inherited.  In my case, from ancestors a lot tougher than me.
Thanks to John
Subject: Fw:: Big Balls in a Phantom
Guys, this one "broke me up"'s worth several belly laughs for sure...........Enjoy,  Don
New post on F-4 Phantom II
by George E. Nolly

July 11, 1972
I turned off my Big Ben alarm clock at 0230, the usual wake-up time for our Linebacker mission. When the scheduling board simply indicated , we knew it would be a 0400 mass briefing at Wing Headquarters for a bombing mission over North Vietnam. We wouldn’t know our target until the mission briefing. The schedule was normally posted at the end of each day’s flying, and the previous day I had seen my name listed for the number four position in Jazz Flight for today’s Special. My Weapon Systems Officer would be Bill Woodworth.

F-4 pilots quickly become creatures of habit mixed with ritual, and I walked the short distance to the Ubon Officers Club to have my standard breakfast: cheese omelet, toast with butter, and coffee. I had successfully flown thirty-one Counters " missions over North Vietnam " and I wasn
't about to change anything without a pretty compelling reason. A few weeks earlier, the Thai waitress had misunderstood me when I had ordered, and brought me a plain Omelet. I politely ate it, and the mission on that day was the closest I had come " up until then " to getting shot down.

After breakfast, I walked to the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing Headquarters building, and performed my usual routine of stopping by the Intel desk and checking the Shoot-down Board The Shoot-down Board was a large Plexiglas-covered board that listed the most recent friendly aircraft losses, written in grease pencil. We could tell, at a glance, if any aircraft had been shot down the previous night, the call sign, aircraft type, and survivor status. There were no friendly aircraft losses over North Vietnam to enemy action in the previous day.

That was not surprising. The Special for the previous day had been canceled when the strike leader, my Squadron Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Brad Sharp, crashed on takeoff when his left tire exploded at 160 knots. He aborted, taking the departure end barrier, and his aircraft caught fire when pieces of the shredded tire pierced his left wing fuel tank. Brad’s emergency egress was delayed when he got hung up by his leg restraint lines. As he sat in his seat, seeing the canopy melting around him, his WSO, Mike Pomphrey, ran back to the burning aircraft and pulled him out, saving his life. As Mike dragged him to a drainage ditch 100 yards away to hunker down, the ejection seats, missiles and, eventually, bombs cooked off. Ubon
's only runway was out of commission, and the entire Linebacker mission, for all bases, was canceled. Overnight, the runway at Ubon was repaired, and our mission was on for this day.

The mission briefing was in a large auditorium. The Wing Commander led the Mission Briefing, followed by an Intel Briefing and Weather Briefing. Slides were projected onto the screen to show the targets on a map of North Vietnam, then reconnaissance photos of the individual targets for the strike flights. Jazz Flight
's target was POL (Petroleum, Oil, Lubricants) storage near Kep Airfield, north of Hanoi. During the briefing, we all received our mission line-up cards, showing our Estimated Times Enroute (ETE), fuel computations, strike frequencies, and flight de-confliction information.

A mass strike over Route Package Six, the area of North Vietnam covering Hanoi, Haiphong and points north, required a massive orchestration effort. The run-in directions, Time Over Target (TOT), and egress plan for each of the sixteen four-ship strike flights, plus all of the same information for support flights, such as MiG-Cap, were designated to exacting specifications.

After the mass briefing, we assembled in our respective squadrons for our individual flight briefings. When I walked into the 25th Tactical Fighter Squadron, my first order of business was to check the Flight Crew Information File Book. The FCIF was a book that had last-minute changes to procedures and other instructions for aircrews. After reading the latest entries in the book, each crewmember would initial his FCIF card and turn the card over in the vertical card file so that the green side of the card was facing out, instead of the red side. That way, the Ops Officer could instantly see if all the crews were flying with the most current information.

The briefing for Jazz Flight lasted about 45 minutes. Our Flight Lead briefed engine start and check-in times, flight join-up, frequencies, tactics, and our munitions load. Today we would each carry two 2,000-pound Mark-84L laser-guided bombs. After the briefing we waited our turns for the most important part of the preflight.

The building that housed our squadron had not been designed for a mass launch of 32 crew members all needing to use the latrine at the same time. It was a three-holer, and everyone always badly needed to use the facility before a mission up north. It was a major bottle-neck to our individual plans.

After that essential stop we went by the Life Support section to leave our personal items, such as wedding rings, wallets and anything else we wouldn
't need for the flight, in our lockers. The only thing I would carry in my pocket was my ID Card and my Geneva Convention Card. And, of course, I had my dog tags around my neck. Then we would pick up our G-suits, helmets, survival vests and parachute harnesses and board the bread truck for transportation to the flight line, with a quick stop at the armory to retrieve our .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolvers. Our Thai driver always had a cooler stocked with plastic flasks of cold water, and we would grab several and put them in leg pockets of our G-suits. I also grabbed several piddle packs.
The F-4 did not have a relief tube, so we carried piddle packs. The piddle pack was a small plastic bag with a 2 inch by 6 inch sponge inside and a spout at one end. When you used this portable urinal, the entire assembly would expand to about the size of a football. This flight was scheduled to be a bit longer than the standard mission, so I grabbed three piddle packs.

There were two ways to get to Pack Six from Ubon: right turns and left turns. With right turns, the missions are about 45 minutes shorter. Head north over Laos, refuel on Green Anchor, make a right turn at Thud Ridge and proceed to the target. Left turns takes us to the east coast of Vietnam, and proceed north feet wet, then make a left turns toward Vinh to strike our targets. Today we would make left turns.

We launched off at dawn and headed into the rising sun. Our route of flight took us east across Laos to DaNang, then north to the Gulf of Tonkin, then northwest to our target in the area of Kep. Our refueling would be along Purple Anchor as we headed north for pre-strike and south for post-strike.

One of my rituals during every refueling, in between hook-ups, was to break out one of the water flasks, finish off an entire pack of Tums, and fill one of the piddle packs. Using the piddle pack in the seat of the Phantom was easier said than done. It required a bit of maneuvering.
I handed the jet over to Bill, my WSO, as I loosened my lap belt, loosened the leg straps on my parachute harness, and unzipped my flight suit from the bottom. Then I did my best to fill the piddle pack without any spillage Our route was already taking us feet wet, and I wasn
't looking forward to becoming feet wet in any other respect.

Bill flew smoothly, and I finished my business with no problem, and took control of the airplane again for our refueling top-offs. We conducted our aerial ballet in total radio silence as our four airplanes cycled on and off the refueling boom, flying at almost 400 knots, as we approached the refueling drop-off point.

When we finished refueling, we switched to strike frequency and headed north-northwest to the target area. Typical for a Linebacker mission, strike frequency was pretty busy. There were Bandit calls from Disco, the Airborne Early Warning bird, an EC-121 orbiting over the Gulf of Tonkin. And SAM breaks. And, of course, the ever-present triple-A (Anti-Aircraft Artillery)that produced fields of instant-blooming dandelions at our altitude. We pressed on. In the entire history of the Air Force, and the Army Air Corps before it, no strike aircraft has ever aborted its mission due to enemy reaction, and we were not about to set a precedent.

Weather in the target area was severe clear, and Flight Lead identified the target with no problem. We closed in to finger tip formation, with three feet of separation between wingtips. Jazz Flight, arm
'em up.

We made a left orbit to make our run-in on the designated attack heading. Then a left roll-in with 135 degrees of bank. My element lead, Jazz Three, was on Lead
's right wing, and I was on the far right position in the formation. Our roll-in and roll-out was in close fingertip position, which put me at negative G-loading during the roll-out.

During negative-G formation flying, the flight controls work differently. I was on the right wing and a little too close to Element Lead, so I needed to put the stick to the left to increase spacing. Totally unnatural. At the same time, I was hanging against my lap belt, which I had forgotten to tighten when I had finished my piddle-pack filling procedure. My head hit the canopy, as dust and other detritus from the cockpit floated up into my eyes. But I maintained my position.

We rolled out on the correct run-in heading, and reached our delivery parameters right on profile. Five hundred knots at 20,000 feet. Lead called our release. Jazz Flight, ready, ready, pickle!

We all pushed our Bomb Release pickle buttons on our stick grips at the same time, and eight 2000-pound bombs guided together to the target that was being illuminated by the laser designator in the Lead's Pave Knife pod, guidance performed by his WSO. Immediately after release, we performed the normal 4-G pullout And I was instantly in excruciating pain. I screamed out in pain on our hot mike interphone.
Are you okay? Bill called. I think I
've been shot in the balls! I screamed.

Then, I realized what had happened. I had carelessly neglected to tighten my lap belt and parachute harness leg straps after relieving myself during the refueling. My body had shifted, and my testicles had gotten trapped between the harness and my body. With a 4-G pull, my 150-pound body was exerting 600 pounds of pressure on the family jewels.

As soon as I knew what the problem was, I unloaded the aircraft to zero Gs, to try to readjust myself. But I was still headed downhill, and Mother Hanoi was rushing up to me at 500 knots. And I was getting further out of position in my formation. So I gritted my teeth and pulled.
When we got onto the post-strike tanker, I adjusted myself, but the damage had been done. I was in agony all the way back to Ubon.

As soon as I landed, I went to see the Flight Surgeon and told him what had happened. He told me to drop my shorts and show him my injury. Wow! I
'd heard you guys had big ones, but these are even larger than I expected.I looked down, and saw that my testicles were swollen to the size of large oranges. The Flight Surgeon put me on total bed-rest orders, telling me I could only get out of bed to use the bathroom until the swelling subsided. While I was flat on my back, waiting for the pain to subside, I couldn't get that stupid old joke out of my head, the one where the kid goes into a malt shop and asks for a sundae with nuts, and the clerk asks, Do you want your nuts crushed? And the kid has a wise-crack answer. All of a sudden, it didn't seem so funny.

After about five days I was feeling much better. The Flight Surgeon had offered to submit my injury for a Purple Heart, but I declined. For starters, my injury was not due to enemy action, it was due to my carelessness. And I wasn't too keen on standing in front of the entire squadron at my next assignment while the Admin Officer read the citation to accompany the award of the Purple Heart.On that day, Captain Nolly managed to crush. No thanks!
 A few months later, the Flight Surgeon showed up at our squadron. You're famous, and made me a famous author, he beamed, as he held up the current issue of Aerospace Medicine magazine. In the article, he recounted how a 27-year-old pilot had experienced a strangulation injury to his testes that came very close to requiring amputation.

Castration! “There was no use in telling you and making you worry, when there was nothing we could do for you other than bed rest, and wait to see if you healed,he commented.

Well, it's been 41 years now, and I
;m at an age where I don't embarrass as easily. More important, I sired three healthy children several years later, so the equipment works just fine, thank you. Lots of guys have great There I was stories of their time in Vietnam. I racked up 100 missions over the north, and had some exciting missions. This mission was not the most exciting, but was certainly the most memorable.
 George Nolly is a retired Air Force pilot and retired from United Airlines as a B777 Captain. He currently instructs in B777s and B787s, and is the author of the Hamfist novel series, available at Amazon in Kindle and printed formats.
Item Number:1 Date: 03/02/2017 CANADA - OTTAWA AWARDS VANCOUVER SHIPYARDS CONTRACT FOR DESIGN WORK ON QUEENSTON-CLASS SUPPORT SHIPS (MAR 02/PSPC)  PUBLIC SERVICES AND PROCUREMENT CANADA -- The Canadian government has awarded a contract to Vancouver Shipyards in British Columbia for design work on the navy's new joint support ships, reports Public Services and Procurement Canada.   The Can$230 million (US$176 million) contract will help develop and finalize the design of the planned Queenston-class support ships, said an agency release on Tuesday.   Construction of the first of two ships is scheduled to begin in 2018.   The Queenston class will provide fuel, ammunition, spare parts, food and water to Canadian and allied naval vessels, noted the agency. The ships can also support deployed forces with medical and dental facilities and helicopter repair capabilities.   Also on Tuesday, Vancouver Shipyards cut the first steel for the third Sir John Franklin-class offshore fisheries science vessel for the Canadian coast guard. The first in the class is expected to be delivered in early 2018
  Item Number:2 Date: 03/02/2017 CHINA - LOCALS TOLD TO KEEP EYE OUT FOR N. KOREAN DESERTERS CROSSING BORDER (MAR 02/YON)  YONHAP -- Several North Korean soldiers deserted their posts earlier this week along the border and crossed into China, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul, South Korea).   Six armed soldiers illegally entered China's Changbai county in northeastern Jilin province on Tuesday, said an unnamed source.   Chinese authorities told local residents to be on alert and report the soldiers' location if they were seen, the source said on Thursday.   Food shortages appear to be motivating more North Korean soldiers to desert their posts in recent years, said another source.   Such troops have previously conducted robberies and murders after entering Chinese territory
Item Number:3 Date: 03/02/2017 ETHIOPIA - ADDIS ABABA BLAMES ERITREAN REBELS FOR PLOT TO ATTACK NILE DAM PROJECT (MAR 02/ANO)  AFRICA NEWS ONLINE -- The Ethiopian government says it has thwarted an attack by Eritrean-backed rebels directed at a key dam project, reports AfricaNews.   The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is scheduled to be complete by 2018 and will provide up to 6,000 megawatts to Ethiopia and neighboring countries. It is being built for about US$6.4 billion on the Blue Nile River near the border with Sudan.   Ethiopian security forces killed 13 members of the Benishagul Gumuz People's Liberation Movement who had traveled from Eritrea to attack the GERD, according to the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corp. on Wednesday.   Seven others fled to Sudan, where they were reportedly caught by Sudanese officials and handed over to the Ethiopian government.   The government in Eritrea, a rival of Ethiopia, denied any knowledge of the attack. "This whole accusation is preposterous and peddled for some sinister reason," Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel said on Twitter, as reported by Bloomberg News. The minister said he had never heard of the group.  
  Item Number:4 Date: 03/02/2017 EUROPEAN UNION - PUSH FOR INTEGRATION LEADS TO MILITARY PLANNING UNIT; MPCC TO RUN TRAINING IN AFRICA (MAR 02/POLITICO)  POLITICO -- The European Union has decided to establish a new military planning unit as part of the body's efforts to strengthen defense cooperation, reports (Brussels).   The Military Planning and Conduct Capabilities (MPCC) unit would be responsible for the E.U. training missions in the Central African Republic, Mali and Somalia, said unnamed diplomats and E.U. officials.   The newspaper noted that care is being made not to call the unit a military headquarters -- which is a bete noire to many in the outgoing U.K.   E.U. leaders endorsed the unit at a summit in December under pressure from France, Germany and Italy, the officials said. The unit is expected to be finalized at a foreign ministers meeting this month.   The MPCC will be based in the same headquarters in Brussels as the existing E.U. Military Staff, which provides military expertise to the European External Action Service (EEAS), the E.U. diplomatic corps. The current unit provides early warning, situational assessment and strategic planning.   The planned unit is expected to be headed by Finnish Lt. Gen. Esa Pulkkinen, the chief of the E.U. Military Staff.   The MPCC will focus on "non-executive" military missions, where E.U. forces have an advisory role and not a mandate to conduct operations instead of the host nation.   Diplomats said the new planning unit will have about 20-30 staff personnel, most from the Military Staff. Additional personnel are expected from the member states.  
 Item Number:5 Date: 03/02/2017 GAMBIA - NEW PRESIDENT DROPS VACILLATING DEFENSE CHIEF, SENIOR GENERALS; PRISON DIRECTOR ALSO ARRESTED (MAR 02/FREENEWS)  FREEDOM NEWSPAPERS -- New Gambian President Adama Barrow has replaced his chief of defense staff and dismissed several senior military officers, reports the Freedom newspaper (Gambia).   Lt. Gen. Masaneh Kinteh, lately the president's security aide, was named as defense chief late last week, succeeding Gen. Ousman Badjie. Badjie was moved to the Foreign Ministry, although it was not clear what post he would hold.   Badjie's leanings were not clear following the presidential elections in December, noted Reuters.   On Feb. 24, the new Barrow government also dismissed four other generals, including the directors of operations and intelligence, said an army spokesman.   Kinteh has also recalled several exiled former military officers to help rebuild the Gambian army.   The new administration also arrested the director of the prison system and nine men suspected of belonging to former President Yahya Jammeh's death squads, paramilitaries known as the Jungulars, reported Reuters.   Barrow was elected in December, beating Jammeh, who ruled the West African country for more than 20 years. Jammeh disputed the results, until he finally fled into exile in January.  
  Item Number:6 Date: 03/02/2017 GERMANY - 2 NUSRA FRONT JIHADIS IN CUSTODY; 1 ALLEGEDLY INVOLVED IN MASSACRE OF DOZENS OF CIVILIANS (MAR 02/DEWELLE)  DEUTSCHE WELLE -- German authorities have arrested two alleged members of Nusra Front, including one terrorist wanted for war crimes in Syria, reports Deutsche Welle.   On Wednesday, police picked up a man identified as Abdalfatah H. A., 35, in Dusseldorf. He joined Nusra Front (now known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham) in 2013, said officials.   In May 2013, he allegedly executed 36 Syrian government employees at the behest of a sentence handed out by a sharia court, said prosecutors cited by the Independent (U.K.).   On Thursday, a second man was arrested in in Giessan accused of founding a Nusra Front unit and managing its logistics.   Both suspects were trained as fighters and fought abroad in Syria, said prosecutors
Item Number:7 Date: 03/02/2017 INDIA - SPECIAL OPS GEAR, WEAPONS ON FAST TRACK (MAR 02/ECON)  ECONOMIC TIMES -- The Indian Defense Ministry has stepped up its plans to modernize the army's special operations forces, reports the Economic Times (India).   Ministry sources said on Tuesday that seven requests for proposals had been issued to Israeli, Swedish, U.S. and other companies for new assault rifles, sniper rifles, general-purpose machine guns, lightweight rocket launchers, tactical shotguns, night-vision equipment and ammunition.   The ministry is also in the process of procuring more than 120 light strike vehicles, which can be transported by helicopters, for special operations units, the source said.   Recent Indian cross-border operations against terrorist groups in Burma and Pakistani Kashmir demonstrated the need for newer, lighter weapons, said another ministry source.  
  Item Number:8 Date: 03/02/2017 IRAQ - LOSING GROUND IS KILLING ISLAMIC STATE'S FINANCIAL BASE, SAYS REPORT (MAR 02/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- A London think tank says the Islamic State terrorist group is likely to collapse financially in the near future because of the failure of its business model, reports the Voice of America News.   ISIS is a quasi-state, meaning it has territory, people and most of its income comes from the land it holds, said Peter Neumann, a co-author of the study published by the London-based International Center for the Study of Radicalization and accounting group Ernst & Young.   The group taxes people, extracts oil and loots and confiscates the property of those who have fled, said Neumann.   The analysis was released in February.   Because ISIS income is linked with the territory it controls, the group is weakening, he said. The U.S.-led coalition says Islamic State has lost 62 percent of the territory it held in Iraq at its peak in mid-2014, and 30 percent in Syria.   If ISIS loses the northern city of Mosul, the group will lose much of its tax base, said Neumann.   Open-source evidence suggests that the terrorist group's annual revenue has fallen from US$1.9 billion in 2014 to a maximum of US$870 million in 2016, says the think-tank report.   There is also no evidence that ISIS has created new revenue streams, said Neumann
Item Number:9 Date: 03/02/2017 IRELAND - KEEL LAID FOR SHAVIAN OFFSHORE PATROL VESSEL (MAR 02/IDOD)  IRELAND DEPT. OF DEFENSE -- The Babcock shipyard in Devon, U.K., has laid the keel for the fourth Samuel Beckett-class offshore patrol vessel for the Irish navy, reports the Irish Dept. of Defense.   Defense Minister Paul Kehoe presided over the ceremony on Tuesday, and announced that the OPV would be named George Bernard Shaw after the Irish playwright.   All of the vessels in the class are named after Irish literary greats, the department noted.   The class is designed for defense and security operations; fisheries patrols; search-and-rescue; and humanitarian aid missions.  
 Item Number:10 Date: 03/02/2017 NIGER - DURING MEETING IN MOSCOW, FOREIGN MINISTER CALLS FOR ASSISTANCE AGAINST BOKO HARAM (MAR 02/INT-AVN)  INTERFAX-MILITARY NEWS AGENCY -- Nigerien Foreign Minister Ibrahim Yacoubou is in Russia this week to discuss strengthening cooperation, including in the area of counterterrorism, reports Interfax-AVN (Russia).   On Wednesday, Yacoubou held talks in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Among other points, Niger's minister sought assistance in fighting the Nigeria-based Boko Haram terrorist group, according to a release from Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.   "Boko Haram is weakened now, but it is still capable of committing acts of terrorism," said Yacoubou.   For his part, Lavrov expressed interest in expanding economic and military-technical ties with Niger, reported the Tass news agency (Moscow
  Item Number:11 Date: 03/02/2017 NIGERIA - WORK STARTS ON IMO STATE'S NEW AIR FORCE RAPID-RESPONSE BASE (MAR 02/NANIGERIA)  NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA -- The Nigerian air force has officially begun work on a new base in Owerri in Nigeria's southeastern Imo state, reports the News Agency of Nigeria.   Air Vice Marshal Abubakar Sadiq, the chief of air staff, presided over the groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday.   The 211 Regiment Group will enhance security in Imo state and help curb crimes such as kidnapping and armed robbery, remarked Sadiq -- who said it will be a rapid-response group -- as noted by the local Vanguard paper.   The unit is among nine new formations being set up across Nigeria to enhance security, the air vice marshal said.  
  Item Number:12 Date: 03/02/2017 PAKISTAN - APPARENT U.S. AIRSTRIKE KILLS 2 MILITANTS IN TRIBAL AREA (MAR 02/EXPTRIB)  EXPRESS TRIBUNE -- A suspected U.S. drone strike has killed two men in Pakistan's tribal regions, says a local government official and a village elder cited by the Express Tribune (Pakistan).   Thursday's airstrike hit two men riding a motorcycle in Kurram agency, near the Afghan border, said a village elder.   The men were identified by a local official by name and as "militants," noted Newsweek Pakistan.   The last known U.S. strike in Pakistan came in May 2016, killing Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in Baluchistan province, noted Reuters.   If confirmed, this would be the first drone strike in Pakistan under President Donald Trump.  
  Item Number:13 Date: 03/02/2017 SWEDEN - KREMLIN'S ACTIVITIES INSTRUMENTAL IN BRINGING BACK CONSCRIPTION; 4,000 TO BE CALLED UP ANNUALLY (MAR 02/BBC)  BRITISH BROADCASTING CORP. -- Facing a growing threat from Russia, the Swedish government has decided to reintroduce military conscription, reports the BBC.   About 4,000 men and women will be called up each year for service beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, said a Defense Ministry spokesman on Thursday.   Conscripts will be selected from about 13,000 people born in 1999. The new military personnel will serve for nine to 12 months. The object is to encourage them to become military professionals or join the reserves, said the spokesman.   "We have had trouble staffing the military units on a voluntary basis and that needs to be addressed somehow," said Defense Ministry Peter Hultqvist, as cited by SR radio.   Military conscription ended in 2010. At the time, only Swedish males were eligible.   "Russian military activity is one of the reasons" for bringing back conscription, said a defense official, as reported by the Financial Times (U.K.).   The decision is expected to be backed by Parliament
Item Number:14 Date: 03/02/2017 SYRIA - FOLLOWING AGREEMENT WITH RUSSIA, U.S.-BACKED SYRIAN DEFENSE FORCE WILL TRANSFER VILLAGES NEAR MANBIJ TO DAMASCUS (MAR 02/REU)  REUTERS -- An alliance of U.S.-backed militia fighters in northern Syria say they have agreed to hand over villages to the Syrian regime. The militias have been fighting in the area with Turkish-backed rebels, reports Reuters.   Washington supports the Syrian Defense Forces (SDF), which includes the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).   Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist group and backs Free Syrian Army (FSA), which opposes the Assad government in Damascus.   Fighting broke out on Wednesday between the Manbij Military Council, which is part of the SDF, and FSA forces in villages west of the city of Manbij. The city was taken by the SDF from the Islamic State last year.   On Thursday, the SDF said it would turn control of the villages to the Syrian government under an agreement with Russia.   The transfer will take place in the coming days, said one rebel official.   Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this week that the Manbij was Ankara's next target as part its operation to clear the border region of ISIS and Kurdish forces.  
  Item Number:15 Date: 03/02/2017 SYRIA - ISIS LEAVES SUICIDE BOMBERS TO COVER RETREAT FROM PALMYRA (MAR 02/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- Islamic State fighters have largely pulled out of the Syrian city of Palmyra, says a monitoring group, as reported by Agence France-Presse.   Syrian soldiers, backed by Russian air support, entered a western neighborhood of the ancient city on Wednesday night, said the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.   Fighters from ISIS withdrew to residential neighborhoods in the east by Thursday morning, after laying mines across the city, said the observatory.   Government forces have not been able to advance into Palmyra's center or east, the group said.   The retreat is being covered by jihadists with explosive belts, reported Al-Masdar News (United Arab Emirates).   ISIS first seized Palmyra in 2015 before losing it in March 2016. ISIS took over the ancient city again in December
Item Number:16 Date: 03/02/2017 TAIWAN - FACING SECURITY THREAT BY BEIJING, NAVY, AIR FORCE WILL PATROL, TRAIN IN S. CHINA SEA (MAR 02/REU)  REUTERS -- Taiwan's Defense Ministry says the navy will increase its patrols in the disputed South China Sea as a response to China's growing military moves in the region, reports Reuters.   "Looking ahead at the transformation of China's strategy and its investment in new weapons equipment, our military will practice new reforms in our training," Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan told a parliamentary session on Thursday.   During the patrols, Taiwan's navy "will conduct joint training with the air force in protecting fishermen and supply transports, and in humanitarian rescue drills to expand the combat readiness of our sea and air patrols," said Feng.   The supply transports refer to deliveries to Itu Iba, a disputed island in the region held by Taiwan.   Beijing's expansion of military exercises into larger areas of the Pacific Ocean east of Taiwan represent an "increase in threat," said Feng
  Item Number:17 Date: 03/02/2017 USA - BUDGETARY WOES BLAMED FOR SLOW UPGRADES OF ARMY COMBAT VEHICLES (MAR 02/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- Top U.S. Army officials say it could take decades for the service to modernize its combat vehicles because of insufficient funding, reports Defense News.   The service has been held to upgrading just one brigade of Stryker wheeled armored vehicles to a new double-V hull structure every three years, and to modernizing only its oldest Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and Abrams tanks, said Maj. Gen. David Bassett, who is responsible for the Army vehicle fleet.   "I can tell you right now the level of investment in my portfolio is unacceptably low," Bassett said on Monday at a forum on Army rapid acquisition at the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va.   "You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that it will take 30 years to touch the entire formation," the general said. "The idea we would keep one configuration steady for 30 years is laughable, that is not what we are going to do."   The Army is prioritizing incremental upgrades to vehicles already in inventory rather than buying replacements. Previous efforts to develop and acquire replacements, such as the Ground Combat Vehicle program, have been canceled due to its price tag.   The service is buying new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles (AMPVs) from BAE Systems to replace its 1960s-era M113 armored personnel carriers. Otherwise, its Abrams tanks, M777 towed howitzers and Strykers are being upgraded, said Bassett
  Item Number:18 Date: 03/02/2017 USA - MARINE REVIEW LAYS OUT NEEDS FOR PERSONNEL (MAR 02/MCT)  MARINE CORPS TIMES -- U.S. Marine Corps officials are fleshing out plans to revamp the service's force structure for future conflicts, reports the Marine Corps Times.   The year-long review, dubbed Marine Corps Force 2025, has identified some of the areas where more personnel are needed, whether or not the Corps grows to at least 194,000 active-duty Marines, said a service spokesman.   The Corps requires more personnel in information operations; indirect fires; anti-tank; counter-unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); air defense, anti-ship and sea-control capability; and logistics, the spokesman said.   The service also needs training and manpower to achieve a 1:3 deployment-to-dwell ratio, he said.   Much of these plans depend on funding from Congress. If a manpower increase is approved, the service believes an increase of up to 3,000 Marines annually, through both retention and accession, would provide a steady growth rate while maintaining standards.   Gen. Glenn Walters, the assistant commandant, has told Congress that the Corps needs to expand from 182,000 to at least 194,000 active-duty personnel.  
  Item Number:19 Date: 03/02/2017 USA - NRO PAYLOAD PUT INTO ORBIT FROM VANDENBERG AFB (MAR 02/CBC)  CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION -- The United States has successfully launched what is likely a classified military satellite, reports Canada's CBC News.   A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket delivered a payload from the National Reconnaissance Office on Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.   The NRO, which manages develops and operates U.S. government satellites, did not disclose the payload, designated NROL-79.   This was the 21st ULA mission for the NRO and the second this year -- following the January launch of a SBIRS missile warning satellite for the USAF, noted Space News.   Observers have speculated that the latest payload is a pair of Naval Ocean Surveillance System satellites that could be used to track military ships at sea
Item Number:20 Date: 03/02/2017 USA - SKIPPER OF CRUISER LOSES JOB; ANTIETAM RAN AGROUND IN TOKYO BAY IN JANUARY (MAR 02/S&S)  STARS AND STRIPES -- The commander of a U.S. guided-missile cruiser that ran aground in Japan earlier this year has been relieved of his command, reports the Stars and Stripes.   The Antietam ran aground on shoals outside of Yokosuka Naval Base on Jan. 31, spilling about 1,100 gallons of hydraulic fluid into the bay.   On Tuesday, Capt. Joseph Carrigan was relieved due to a "loss of confidence" in his ability to command, said a statement from U.S. Pacific Fleet.   "While the investigation is still under review by leadership, sufficient findings of fact emerged during the investigation to warrant the relief of the commanding officer," the March 1 statement said.   Grounding a ship is generally a career killer for the CO involved, as noted by the Navy Times.   Repairs on the Antietam are expected to begin in "the coming weeks," said the statement.


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