DOWNLOADS &Things Of Interest

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fw: TheList 4438

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The List 4438


To All,
I hope you all had a great weekend
Regards,
skip
 
This Day In Naval History - April 24
1778 - Continental Navy sloop Ranger captures HMS Drake
1862 - Battle of New Orleans; Union Navy under David Farragut runs past
forts into Mississippi River
1884 - USS Thetis, Bear, and Alert sailed from New York to search for
Greeley expedition lost in Arctic
1906- Ceremonies at Naval Academy commemorate John Paul Jones; President
Theodore Roosevelt delivers speech
1917 - Destroyer squadron departs Boston for European service
1959 - Organization of American States asks U.S. to establish naval patrols
off east coast of Panama to prevent invasion of Cuban forces
1946: CNO Adm. Chester W. Nimitz ordered the formation of a flight exhibition team that would showcase naval aviation. Officially known as the U.S. Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron, they formally adopted the nickname "Blue Angels" in 1949 when the squadron commander designed the Blue Angels insignia which is nearly identical to the one in use today.
 
1974 - Naval forces begin minesweeping operations in the Suez Canal Zone
1981 - RCA delivers to the Navy, NOVA I, the 1st production unit of the
improved navigational satellite.
 
April 24
858
St. Nicholas I begins his reign as Catholic Pope.
1519
Envoys of Montezuma II attend the first Easter mass in Central America.
1547
Charles V's troops defeat the Protestant League of Schmalkalden at the Battle of Muhlberg.
1558
Mary, Queen of Scotland, marries the French dauphin, Francis.
1792
Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle composes "La Marseillaise". It will become France's national anthem.
1800
The Library of Congress is established in Washington, D.C. with a $5,000 allocation.
1805
U.S. Marines attack and capture the town of Derna in Tripoli from the Barbary pirates.
1833
A patent is granted for the first soda fountain.
1877
Russia declares war on the Ottoman Empire.
1884
Otto von Bismarck cables Cape Town, South Africa that it is now a German colony.
1898
Spain declares war on United States, rejecting an ultimatum to withdraw from Cuba.
1915
Turks of the Ottoman Empire begin massacring the Armenian minority in their country.
1916
Irish nationalists launch the Easter Uprising against British occupation.
1944
The first B-29 arrives in China, over the Hump of the Himalayas.
1948
The Berlin airlift begins to relieve the surrounded city.
1953
Winston Churchill is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
1961
President John Kennedy accepts "sole responsibility" for the failed invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs.
1968
Leftist students take over Columbia University in protest over the Vietnam War.
1980
A rescue attempt of the U.S. hostages held in Iran fails when a plane collides with a helicopter in the Iranian desert.
1981
The IBM Personal Computer is introduced.
1989
Thousands of Chinese students strike in Beijing for more democratic reforms.
 
 
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I still can't figure out when the official Brother's day is but a year ago these words from Dutch, Mark Winton and the Bear are well worth repeating for all of us who served.
 
Thanks to THE Bear -
 
Dutch.... And all you great guys on the Dutchman's circuit-- Windmillers -- thanks for sharing, and thanks for making this old Grumpy Grizzly happier, healthier, smarter and loving than I ever hoped to be... Happy Brother's Day ( Every Day )....  Luvyaguys.... Bear
 
Mark Linton wrote: A real man is the kind of man that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says 'Oh Crap, he's up'! Brother, life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forgive the ones who don't just because you can. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it.  Take a few minutes to think before you act when you're mad . Forgive quickly. God never said life would be easy. He just promised it would be worth it.  Today is Brother's day, send this to all your brothers, fathers, sons and me if I am one. Happy brothers Day! I LOVE YA BROTHER!!! To the cool men that have touched my life. Here's to you!! A real Brother walks with you when the rest of the world walks on you. 
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Monday Morning Humor from Al
I was thinking how nice it would be if Kim Jong-un appears in the sentimental "Those We've Lost…" montage in next year's Oscars.

I know crazy dudes who wear women's sunglasses always die in threes, but did we start counting with Gaddafi or Al Davis?

I asked my friend in North Korea how he was. He said he can't complain.

Have you tried North Korean food?  Neither have they.

Why did the chicken cross the road?  Because North Korea's long-range missiles can't reach that far.

Rumor has it that Hollywood has asked Kim Jong-un to star in the sequel "Failure to Launch 2"

Apparently, Kim Jong-un has read every book ever written.  That's why they call him the Supreme Reader.

What do the USA and North Korea have in common?  They both have famous bratty divas named Kim.


Submitted by Jamie Hapgood:

The following are DOD's evaluation of Kin Jong-un:
His men would follow him anywhere but only out of fear.
This man is depriving a village somewhere of its idiot.
He can be likened to a small puppy—he runs around excitedly, leaving little messes for other people to clean up.
When he opens his mouth it seems only to change whichever foot was previously in there.
He has carried out each and every one of his projects to his entire satisfaction.
He reminds me very much of a gyroscope, always spinning around at a frantic pace but not really going anywhere.
Couldn't organize a woodpecker's picnic in Sherwood Forest.
Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Has two brains; one is lost and the other is out looking for it.
If he were any more stupid he'd have to be watered twice a week.
A room temperature IQ.
Got a full 6-pack but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it all together.
A gross ignoramus, 144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus.
He has a photographic memory but has the lens cover glued on.
This man hasn't got enough grey matter to sole the flip-flop of a one legged parakeet.
If two people are talking and one looks bored, he's the other one.
He's so dense light bends around him.
If brains were taxed he'd get a rebate.
Some drink from the fountain of knowledge; he only gargled.
Takes him 1½ hours to watch 60 Minutes.



David Letterman's Ways Kim Jong-un Celebrates His Birthday:
Enjoyed ice cream made by Kim Jong Ben and Kim Jong Jerry
Laid in bed, depressed, like a typical Capricorn
Hit Vegas with his 'crew:' Putin, Chavez, Ahmadinejad and Zach Galifianakis
Had Marilyn Monroe lookalike sing, 'Happy Birthday, Mr. Supreme Commander of the People's Army, brilliant comrade, and great person born of heaven'
After seeing how good Charles Barkley looks, joined Weight Watchers
Nice quiet dinner with a few close human shields
Caught surprise Patton Oswalt stand-up set at the Pyongyang Comedy Store
Watched funny videos of North Koreans crying on YouTube
Treated himself to a deep-tissue jowl massage
Executed his pastry chef for using those trick birthday candles



Late Night Humor:
"Have you seen Kim Jong-un lately? There are photos of him and he has put on pounds. According to sources, Kim Jong-un has been emotionally eating since Dennis Rodman was spotted on a date with another dictator." –Jimmy Kimmel
"North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made his first public appearance yesterday in over 40 days. But since he saw his shadow, that now means 60 more years of nuclear winter." –Jimmy Fallon
"Last week North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un missed a ceremony marking the 69th anniversary of the country. Experts say it's especially strange because he knew cake would be there." –Seth Meyers
"North Korea is now threatening the United States with all-out war. You can see they're stepping it up. In fact, they released 10 more photos of Kim Jong-un looking through binoculars." –Jay Leno
"I want Kim Jong-un to test a missle because it's always a spectacular disaster.  He's the only Asian in the world that doesn't test well." -Bill Maher
'Do you believe Dennis Rodman is still talking about Kim Jong-un? It's not a good sign when the friend who's trying to explain that you're not crazy is Dennis Rodman. That's not the guy I would send out for my sanity test.' –Conan O'Brien
"Things are still very tense in North Korea. In fact, world leaders are still waiting to see if Kim Jong-un is going to actually fire a missile after this week's deadline came and went. Apparently what happened was he messed up and bought Mentos and regular Coke. " –Jimmy Fallon
"Why do I feel like this whole thing could be solved by sending Kim Jong-un a Disneyland pass?" –Jimmy Kimmel
"To celebrate his birthday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent two pounds of candy to every child in the country. Which explains why Honey Boo Boo has applied for dual citizenship." –Jimmy Fallon
"North Korea is ruled by Kim Jong-un.  Over the weekend, the premier of China told Kim Jong-un to chill out. Now, when the premier of China tells you to chill out, it's like Mel Gibson saying, 'Whoa, easy on the tequila.'" –Craig Ferguson
"North Korea said it will test a rocket that they hope will hit the United States. In other words, watch your back, middle of the Pacific Ocean." –Conan O'Brien
"Japan and South Korea are on high alert after North Korea successfully launched a long-range rocket. Both countries are surprised by North Korea's successful launch, but definitely not as surprised as North Korea." –Jimmy Fallon
"North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been awarded the highest rank in the country's military. The decision was praised by everyone from Parliamentary leader Kim Jong-un to opposition leader Kim Jong-un." –Conan O'Brien


Have a great week,
Al
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Rear Admiral Denny Wisely – APRIL 24th – AND THEN THERE WERE MiGs EVERYWHERE… With our thanks to THE Bear at http://www.rollingthunderremembered.com/
 
Rear Admiral Denny Wisely – APRIL 24th – AND THEN THERE WERE MiGs EVERYWHERE…
April 24, 2017   Mighty Thunder  
Mighty Thunder is honored to post another episode from the prose of one of a limited number of fighter pilots who can write. Rear Admiral Denny Wisely is putting his tales from "the Central Blue" into a book with a working title "Green Ink."
Please recognize Admiral Wisely's copyrights. Mighty Thunder posts with his permission and he alone retains all rights to his copy.
Contact Denny at Denny Wisely. Here then is a sky full of MiGS and a fighter pilot who can write, and fight too…
APRIL 24th – AND THEN THERE WERE MiGs EVERYWHERE…
Gary Anderson, my Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) and I were flying on a routine Barrier Combat Air Patrol (BARCAP) in the North Tonkin Gulf when suddenly a call came from Jehovah.  "This is Jehovah, Apple Pie, I repeat, Apple Pie".
Gary, "What is that?" We both looked at our daily card of code words and saw that it was an immediate recall to the ship. We turned south and hustled back.  Getting back to the Ready Room, I asked what was going on. The duty officer said, "We're going after the MiG base at Kep.  You're late for the brief, get up to IOIC (Integrated Operational Intelligence Center)"!
Hot dog! Today is going to be a great day.  Our Air Wing Commander was briefing when we arrived.  He was talking about the actual target points on Kep Airfield which was 37 miles north east of Hanoi.  Our squadron, led by our CO, was assigned what he called MiGCAP which meant that we were not only going to be fighters rather than dropping bombs, we were going to be right in there where the action would take place.

I couldn't help feel that today was going to be a day we would bag some MiGs.  We returned to the Ready Room for a more detailed brief by the CO to our six aircrews.  I could see he felt the same way and had picked who he thought were the best to take on MiGs.
When I found my assigned airplane on the flight deck it only had one sidewinder.  I asked the ordnance chief why and he told me that in the scramble to get planes turned around that was all they could load and also there were some issues with some of my sidewinder stations.  UGH!
The strike group consisted of A-6s, A-4s and F-4s from our sister squadron.  We flew low up through Ha Long Bay area east of Haiphong.  We passed by the beautiful karst limestone rocks protruding from the sea.  As we crossed the beach, near Cam Pha at around 10,000 feet, they opened up on us with 85 MM guns.  They're easy to tell because they have a slow rate of fire and leave large black puffs of smoke.
Soon after we crossed the coastline the AAA stopped firing.  Up ahead we could hear some of our group talking about SAMs being fired at them.  We were now heading west/northwest, and as we came out of the hills north of Haiphong, they started shooting at us with everything from BB guns to SAMs.  This was probably the most intense ground fire I had seen.  Finally up ahead we could see our target, Kep Airfield.

Our TARCAP started to orbit east of the target over a small mountain because it would be easy to see.  In doing so, we managed to get too close to the main railroad that links Hanoi to China.  There must have been a steady line of guns.  Two SAM's came whistling by. Down below there was a steady line of triple-A guns. Red AAA tracer rounds we dubbed goofballs were so intense that I couldn't believe we were not getting hit.
Then suddenly this huge ball of fire came toward us from Kep.  "What's that?"  "Oh, it's an A-6", came a reply.  Then as it got closer and clearer, we could see what it was and watched the crew eject.  In the A-6 were Irv Williams and Mike Christian.  Immediately after that, Charlie Plumb, our skipper's wingman got hit in the starboard engine and one of his missiles caught fire.  I remember thinking that I was watching a movie.  This couldn't be real.
Since there should have been no real threat from the way we came in, our skipper sent Charlie home without an escort.
It wasn't long before Charlie started yelling he had MiG's on his tail.  With only one engine, he was in no position to take them on by himself.  John Holm, my flight lead and I headed east to help Charlie out.  We had gone about 10 miles when Charlie called that he had eluded the MiGs by flying down near the trees and he was OK.  Out of the fire, we turned around and headed back into it again to protect the departing strike force.
We had just reached the valley where we were before and someone yelled, "MiGs coming up the valley!"  I said, "Who said that?"  There was no reply.  I thought it was from one of the guys who just ejected talking on their survival radio on guard channel.  Guard channel broadcast over all frequencies and is used for those in distress.  (I recently confirmed this when I talked to Irv Williams at a Tailhook Reunion.)
John and I made a 360 degree turn and suddenly there were MiG 17s everywhere.  I saw an A-6 and an A-4 come through with MiGs chasing them. A MiG cut across at an angle left to right in front of me and headed for the deck.  I rolled about 270 degrees left and pulled hard at the same time completing a barrel roll underneath and came out right behind him at tree top level, which was good.  However, I was too close to do anything without guns.  I looked back and saw another MiG at about a mile and a half in a left turn.  I pulled around hard left and another MiG and I passed canopy to canopy.  Since this was such a close in fight, Gary, my radar officer in the backseat, had been almost continually looking behind us.  I had told him our chances of a radar lock were minimal and he should loosen his shoulder straps and spend his time being a tight wingman in the back seat with his head on a swivel.
The MiG's were flying in a wagon wheel staying very horizontal.  The F-4 could not turn in a slow fight with the MiG 17 and they were hoping we would play their game by trying.  The F-4 at that time had a basic weight of 29,000 pounds.  When in use the afterburners created 34,000 pounds of thrust.  Going vertical was the way to fight the MiG.  Each time I would take the aircraft vertical I told Gary that I was unloading and rolling to each side for him the get a good look behind us.
Another MiG appeared in front of me in a left turn.  Either he didn't see me or was a poor pilot because as I mentioned earlier, I should not have been able to out turn him.  I got a good tone on my sidewinder, my only sidewinder, but was too close.  Oh, for a gun!  I rolled to the right, checked my six and also gave the MiG some separation.  Then I plugged in the afterburners and pulled straight up to get more separation.  I had not been using the afterburners much because the F-4 at low altitude performs very well in basic engine.  I was able to stay above 400 knots in basic engine with considerably less fuel consumption.
North Vietnam MiG 17
We were pulling back from the vertical climb and as Andy and I looked down, we saw two missiles in horizontal flights.  We found out later that John Holm and his back-seater Dave Cocker had fired them without success.
I really don't know how many MiGs there were, they were everywhere.  The scenario looked something like an inverted bowl from 0-5,000 feet and about 4 miles at the widest part.
When we pulled left again to go after that last MiG, another MiG came very close over my left shoulder.  He must have been after us and had overshot badly putting himself at my 10 o'clock position.  He was in afterburner, as were most of the other MiGs.  The afterburner on a MiG 17 is not as sophisticated as ours. It reminded me of a Sterno can with flames lapping out in an irregular pattern behind the aircraft.  Here I was again in great position for a gun, but too close for a missile.
I rolled the Phantom over and pulled down to go after the previous MiG again.  I found him about two miles in front of me in a port turn about 120 degrees from my heading.  With him approaching almost head on at that range did not give us time to lock up and get off a sparrow missile.  As this MiG came by canopy to canopy I could see him very clearly in his cockpit and gave him the international signal for I love you very much.
As I looked past him, I saw in the distance a MiG rolling in behind another F-4 at close range. They were well below and to my right.  I looked back at the MiG I had been working all along and he was back at my 4 o'clock with about 40 degrees to go before coming after me.  I rolled in on the MiG behind the F-4 at about a mile and got a great tone from my liquid cooled AIM 9D sidewinder.  I fired!  The F-4 and the MiG were now in a left turn and I was about 20 degrees off to the left. As the missile got out in front of me, it appeared to be heading for the F-4, which put my heart in my throat.  Not knowing who it was in the F-4 I yelled,  "Linfield pull up", which he did about the same time the missile turned.
What was happening was that the sidewinder was giving itself some lead.  The MiG I turned in front of must have seen my missile because the MiG I was shooting at suddenly reversed his turn to the right, the wrong way.  The MiG 17 doesn't roll well at high speeds and it was like watching in slow motion.  He put his tailpipe directly in front of the missile sweetening the shot.  The winder went right up his tailpipe and a large piece of his horizontal tail came off.  He trailed black smoke as he continued in a right turn down to the ground.
We continued east, disengaging because of low fuel.  The MiGs were out of gas too.  I looked back to watch the MiG crash and could see another MiG circling overhead.  At this time the F-4 I was joining on said he only had 500 pounds of fuel because he couldn't transfer his wing fuel.  The urge to turn and get the other MiG left me.  We throttled back and stayed with the damaged F-4.  It was quite a distance to our coast out point and it would take max conserve for him to make it.
LCDR Ev Southwick, who was our squadron Operations Officer (OPS), and Ensign Jim Laing his RIO, were in the troubled F-4.  Jim started calling for a tanker to meet them.  There was one off the coast where we were headed if we could reach it.  I kept my speed up weaving behind Ev and Jim to provide cover.  We coasted out between Cam Pha and Hon Gay, two very hot areas.  Fortunately we didn't draw any fire.
In the meantime another F-4 who was running out of gas latched on to the tanker just as one engine started to quit. About four miles south of the off shore islands OPS ran out of fuel.  Andy and I had already alerted the Search and Rescue (SAR) aircraft to head to the area.  Andy got a photo of Jim Laing ejecting from the backseat.  This photo was on the front page of newspapers around the world.
In this photograph, Ensign Laing has just punched out, soon to be followed by Southwick              Photo by Gary Anderson
We circled until the SAR aircraft arrived and headed home.  What an incredible hop!  This was the wildest one I had flown on from a sheer excitement perspective.
We arrived back at the ship with 1,000 pounds of fuel, no room for a victory roll.  Ev and Jim returned to KITTY HAWK later on and told us they had just shot down a MiG when we bagged the one behind them.  OPS you can be my bait anytime!
Six hours after that, Andy and I, on our way to Saigon flew by COD (Carrier Onboard Delivery plane) to USS Ticonderoga.  After a couple of hours aboard this WW II carrier we flew off by COD and finally arrived at Bien Hoa AB outside of Saigon.  It was now mid-day and we had not been to bed.  We, along with CDR Jim Wilson, Commanding Officer of VF-213 who was the strike leader on Kep, were there for a daily press conference at the Rex Hotel. The event was better known as the "Five O'Clock Follies". We were driven through downtown Saigon.  The streets were lined with sandbags piled six to eight feet high. When the time came we each had our five minutes of fame with the world-wide press corps.
Afterwards we went up to the rooftop bar/restaurant for a drink.  We were exhausted and had not slept in a day and a half.  It was now dark and in the distance we could see flares being dropped and shortly after hear the bombs going off.  When we got back to the BOQ at Bien Hoa, our room was a bunk room in a tent like facility.  I started putting up my mosquito net and the army guy in the next bunk says, "Why bother, if you get malaria they send you home."
We returned to the ship the next morning and I went to check my stateroom for "light leaks".
 
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Item Number:1 Date: 04/24/2017 AFGHANISTAN - AFGHANS HURT IN CAR BOMBING OF U.S. BASE IN KHOST (APR 24/REU)  REUTERS -- Local Afghan officials say a car has hit a U.S.-operated base in eastern Afghanistan, say local officials cited by Reuters.   Monday's blast hit the entrance of Camp Chapman, a facility operated by U.S. forces and private military contractors in Khost province.   "I am aware of a car bomb attack at one of the gates in the U.S. base, but we are not allowed there to get more details," said a spokesman for the provincial governor.   There apparently were some Afghan casualties, but none among U.S. or coalition personnel at the base, said a spokesman for the U.S. military in Afghanistan
Item Number:2 Date: 04/24/2017 AFGHANISTAN - TALIBAN KILLS MORE THAN 160 TROOPS, PROMPTING RESIGNATION OF DEFENSE MINISTER, ARMY CHIEF (APR 24/NYT)  NEW YORK TIMES -- Afghanistan's army chief and defense minister have resigned after a Taliban attack that killed more than 160, reports the New York Times.   On Friday, multiple attackers and suicide bombers wearing army uniforms hit a compound belonging to the 209th Corps of the Afghan National Army in Balkh province, according to multiple reports.   In addition to the deaths, at least 150 were wounded. At least five attackers were killed and one was arrested, said an army spokesman cited by CNN.   Time called the Taliban attack the deadliest the group has ever made on Afghan security forces.   On Monday, President Ashraf Ghani accepted the resignations of Qadam Shah Shahim, the army chief of staff, and Defense Minister Abdullah Habibi, according to a statement from the president's office.   U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived in Kabul on Monday. He was due to meet with government officials, including Ghani and Habibi.  
  Item Number:3 Date: 04/24/2017 COLOMBIA - HOSTAGE, BEING HELD BY REBELS, ESCAPES INTO JUNGLE AFTER WOUNDING 5 ELN FIGHTERS (APR 24/CR)  COLOMBIA REPORTS -- The ELN guerrilla group in Colombia says a hostage they were holding for ransom has escaped his captors, according to Colombia Reports.   Voxkanya Arcen Levoni, a Russian-Armenian wildlife trafficker, was kidnapped about six months ago, reported the BBC.   The 42-year-old Russian citizen escaped on April 19 in Baj Baudo, then seized one of his captor's guns and wounded five, said an ELN statement on Sunday.   The incident took place during negotiations to release him to the Red Cross, said the ELN.   The rebels said Levoni was wounded and fled into the jungle. "The ELN units withdrew their wounded and have no knowledge of the situation of the man they were transferring to be released," said the ELN.  
Item Number:4 Date: 04/24/2017 ESTONIA - NATO BATTLE GROUP KICKS OFF MISSION IN TAPA (APR 24/EPR)  ESTONIAN PUBLIC RADIO -- The U.K.-led NATO battle group stationed in Estonia launched its mission last week with a ceremony at the Estonian army's Tapa Army Base in northern Estonia, reports Estonian Public Radio.   Nearly 1,500 military personnel from Estonia, France and the U.K. took part in a military parade on Thursday afternoon. British, French and Danish soldiers also raised their respective national flags during the ceremony.   The battle group consists of about 1,200 troops. The U.K. has provided more than 800 personnel as well as Challenger 2 main battle tanks, Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, AS90 self-propelled howitzers and other armored vehicles.   France has deployed about 300 troops with Leclerc tanks, VBCI infantry fighting vehicles and VAB armored vehicles.   The French contingent is scheduled to return home from Tapa after eight months, to be replaced by a Danish force of the same size
Item Number:5 Date: 04/24/2017 FRANCE - NEW CONTRACT TO LEAD TO 5 INTERMEDIATE FRIGATES (APR 24/DEFAERO)  DEFENSE-AEROSPACE -- The French defense procurement agency, DGA, has awarded domestic shipbuilder DCNS a contract to begin building five Belharra-class intermediate frigates, reports defense-aerospace.com.   The DCNS Belharra digital ship design forms the basis of the French navy's intermediate frigate program and will displace about 4,000 metric tons.   The contract will allow the navy to operate 15 front-line frigates by 2030, in line with multi-year military planning. This includes eight Aquitaine-class multi-mission frigates and two Forbin-class air defense frigates, said a Friday release from the French Ministry of Defense.   The modular design enables the warship to be optimized for a range of missions, noted the ministry. France also hopes to export the design.   The value of the contract was not disclosed
  Item Number:6 Date: 04/24/2017 GERMANY - MALI'S HEAT TAKES TOLL ON GERMAN VEHICLES, HELICOPTERS SERVING WITH PEACEKEEPING FORCE (APR 24/DEWELLE)  DEUTSCHE WELLE -- Heat in Mali is prevailing over German military vehicles deployed to the peacekeeping mission in that West African country, reports Deutsche Welle.   About half of the German military vehicles assigned to the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA) have been knocked out of service due to dust, stony roads and temperatures of nearly 120 degrees F (50 degrees C), according to the German daily Die Welt last week.   The German military has reportedly struggled to ship the necessary replacement parts in a timely manner. The facilities at the U.N. base at Camp Castor in Gao are also not ideal for maintenance work, according to German military officials.   Meanwhile, German Tiger attack helicopters have also not yet been cleared to operate in temperatures of more than 109 degrees F (43 degrees C), which will probably keep the aircraft grounded for the near future. Temperatures in the region are forecast to reach around 113 degrees F (45 degrees C) for the next several weeks
Item Number:7 Date: 04/24/2017 IRAQ - ISIS KILLS 10 IN AMBUSH OF CONVOY IN ANBAR PROVINCE (APR 24/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- A local Iraqi commander says Islamic State fighters wearing army uniforms ambushed a government convoy on Sunday, killing 10 security personnel, reports Agence France-Presse.   ISIS fighters "armed with assault rifles and rocket launchers" attacked a convoy of civilian and military vehicles Sunday in a remote desert region in western Anbar province, said one army lieutenant colonel.   The convoy included border guards, Anbar police and soldiers, he said.   The attackers, who were driving military vehicles, set up a fake checkpoint near the town of Rutba, said a border guard commander.   In addition to those killed, 20 were reportedly wounded and three are missing, according to the army
Item Number:8 Date: 04/24/2017 IRAQ - NEGOTIATIONS LEAD TO RELEASE OF 26 HOSTAGES, INCLUDING ROYALS, HELD IN IRAQ FOR 16 MONTHS (APR 24/F24)  FRANCE 24 -- Qatar has secured the release of 26 hostages who had been held in Iraq for 16 months, including several members of its ruling party, reports France 24.   The hostages -- 24 Qataris and two Saudis -- were abducted in December 2015 while on a hunting trip in the province of Muthanna, about 230 miles southeast of Baghdad. Shi'ite militias are active in the area.   Eleven of the captives were said to be members of Qatar's ruling Al-Thani family.   They arrived in Doha, Qatar's capital, on Friday on a private jet from Baghdad, reported Reuters.   There has been no claim of responsibility for the abduction. It was widely believed that they were held by militias close to Iran, noted the National, (Abu Dhabi).   The release was brokered after long negotiations between Qatar, Iran and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, said an Arab diplomat in Doha.   According to one Qatar official, the release was linked to an evacuation deal in Syria of towns besieged by government and rebel forces.   One wire-service report suggested millions of dollars may have been paid to an Al-Qaida-linked group
  Item Number:9 Date: 04/24/2017 LEBANON - TROOPS ARREST 10, KILL LOCAL ISIS LEADER, DURING RAID IN ARSAL (APR 24/AL-MASDAR)  AL-MASDAR NEWS -- The Lebanese army says it has killed a leader from an Islamic State cell that had crossed the border from Syria, reports Al-Masdar News (United Arab Emirates).   On Saturday, troops raided the town of Arsal, arresting 10 suspected militants who had infiltrated the area from Syria, said an army statement.   A local ISIS leader, who had ordered attacks and kidnappings of Lebanese soldiers three years ago, was killed in the raid, said the statement.   No soldiers were hurt in the operation, said the military, as reported by Reuters.   Those arrested were charged with smuggling weapons, said one source
Item Number:10 Date: 04/24/2017 MEXICO - MARINES KILL SENIOR LEADERS OF GULF CARTEL, ZETAS (APR 24/REU)  REUTERS -- In an extended shootout over the weekend, Mexican marines killed a drug gang leader in northern Mexico just south of Texas, says the Mexican government, as reported by Reuters.   The clash took place overnight Saturday in the border town of Reynosa in Tamaulipas state.   Juan Manuel Loza, also known as "El Toro," was killed, said a security official. He was identified as the leader of the Gulf Cartel in Reynosa.   Cartel members allegedly set buses, trailers and several buildings on fire in an attempt to hinder the marines. More than 70 fires destroyed at least four buildings, reported local television.   In recent years, turf battles have broken out between the Gulf Cartel and Zetas gangs in Tamaulipas, which is major drug-trafficking transit point.   Also on Saturday, marines killed Francisco Cerreon, a lower-level member of the Zetas gang, in Ciudad Victoria, said an official.  
AYS DIVIDENDS TO SUPPLIERS IN N. KOREA (APR 24/QZ)  QUARTZ -- The regime in North Korea has been taking advantage of the conflict in Syria to sell weapons to Damascus and obtain combat experience, reports Quartz, a New York-based blog owned by Atlantic Media.   The North has sold weapons and equipment to Syria and provided other military assistance since the 1960s. Despite U.N. sanctions, there is evidence that Pyongyang has been providing military gear to Syria, using front companies and complicated logistics arrangements, according to analysts.   North Korea is also believed to have sent troops and advisers, who have gained valuable combat experience from the conflict. Such lessons could be applied to any future war on the Korean peninsula.   "Korean analysts should take note of how chemical weapons were used in the Syrian civil war because this is likely going to be a testbed for future North Korean actions in a conflict with the South," wrote Bruce Bechtol, a political science professor at Angelo State University in Texas, in a 2015 paper.   A U.N. report in 2012 indicated that Pyongyang was still selling materials such as artillery components to Syria, but using "elaborate techniques" to avoid interception, including shipping goods through China and Malaysia.   More recently, a U.N. report in February 2017 said that North Korean intelligence agents were selling battlefield radio equipment to various customers through a Malaysian front company called Glocom.  
  Item Number:12 Date: 04/24/2017 PHILIPPINES - ABU SAYYAF BEHEADS KIDNAPPED SOLDIER (APR 24/ABS)  ABS-CBN -- The Philippine military says one of its soldiers who was kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf last week has been beheaded, reports ABS-CBN (Philippines).   The body of Sgt. Anni Siraji of the Army's 32nd Infantry Battalion was found in Patikul town in Sulu, said a military commander on Sunday.   Siraji was kidnapped on Thursday. He was likely targeted and killed for his involvement in peace initiatives on the island, said the commander.   Also on Sunday, the military said troops the day before killed three Abu Sayyaf militants on the resort island of Bohol, reported Reuters.   About 10 militants reportedly infiltrated the island to kidnap tourists. Six were killed in a clash on April 11 and one was killed last week. Two or three militants are still at large, said the military
  Item Number:13 Date: 04/24/2017 ROMANIA - U.S., ROMANIAN ENGINEERS BEGIN RESOLUTE CASTLE DRILLS AT CINCU TRAINING AREA (APR 24/ANS)  ARMY NEWS SERVICE -- Romanian and American combat engineers are training together at the Cincu training area in central Romania, reports the Army News Service.   The third annual Resolute Castle drills kicked off on April 14 and runs through Sept. 30, noted ACT Media (Romania).   A British contingent is expected to join the exercise in the coming months, the U.S. Army said in a release on April 20.   The exercise covers improvements to the Cincu range, including non-standard firing lanes and breach facilities, the Army said. The training is expected to improve interoperability, said Romanian officials.   The Romanian 10th Engineer Brigade is taking part along with a new American task force formed from the U.S. Army's 926th Engineer Brigade and 391st Engineer Battalion.  
  Item Number:14 Date: 04/24/2017 SOUTH KOREA - CHOE YOUNG DESTROYER JOINS COUNTER-PIRACY DRILLS IN GULF OF ADEN (APR 24/YON)  YONHAP -- A South Korean navy destroyer has completed a multilateral counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   The destroyer Choe Young took part in Thursday's exercise along with the U.S. dock landing ship USS Carter Hall; Japanese destroyer Teruzuki; and British frigate Monmouth, according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.   The South Korean ship was already patrolling the Horn of Africa with an E.U. task force.   The drills focused on vessel search and inspection; naval helicopter operations; and maneuvers required for anti-piracy operations, said officials.   Japanese Rear Adm. Tatsuya Fukuda commanded the four-nation exercise. He is currently the commander of the multinational Combined Task Force 151, which is combating piracy in the region
Item Number:15 Date: 04/24/2017 SYRIA - REBELS PULL OUT, GOVERNMENT FORCES MOVE IN NEAR HAMA CITY (APR 24/ALJAZ)  AL JAZEERA -- Syrian government forces and their allies gained ground in the country's west over the weekend, reports Al Jazeera (Qatar).   On Sunday, the army, backed by Russian air support and Iran-backed militias, took control of the town of Halfaya and nearby villages, said a military source.   The troops began their advance after rebels withdrew, said the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.   Rebels confirmed the pullout came after several days of airstrikes, reported Reuters.   Pro-government forces have pushed into rebel areas north of Hama in recent weeks, expanding control along a western highway that links Damascus and Aleppo
Item Number:16 Date: 04/24/2017 TAIWAN - PLANS CALL FOR 2 INDIGENOUS AMPHIBIOUS SHIPS FOR NAVY (APR 24/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- The Taiwanese military is looking for two new amphibious ships, reports Defense News.   Bids were solicited on April 12 for local shipbuilders to construct a landing platform dock (LPD) for Taiwan's navy, according to domestic media. The military has allocated US$207 million for the project to 2021, including US$42.75 million this year.   Taiwan plans to buy two of the ships to support amphibious operations, transport missions and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and serve as hospital ships.   The winning bidder will build the ship according to a design prepared by the navy, which calls for a length of 502 feet (153 m) and displacement of 10,000 tons. It is to have a top speed of 21 knots and a range of up to 7,000 miles (11,270 km).   Plans call for installation of a 76-mm gun and Phalanx close-in weapon systems. The indigenous TC-2N missile system will provide air defense.   A new three-dimensional radar is to be fitted, most likely based on Taiwan's CS/MPQ-90 Bee Eye. An advanced command, control, communications and intelligence (C4I) system will also be installed. The well dock will support landing craft and AAV-7 amphibious assault vehicles.   A helicopter landing pad is planned, though there will not be a hangar for an organic helicopter capability.   The planned ships will replace the Shui Hai dock landing ship and two Chung Ho-class tank landing ships.  
Item Number:17 Date: 04/24/2017 UNITED KINGDOM - WORK BEGINS ON FUTURE HMS SPEY OFFSHORE PATROL VESSEL (APR 24/UKMOD)  U.K. MINISTRY OF DEFENSE -- BAE Systems has officially cut steel for the fifth offshore patrol vessel being built for the British Royal Navy in Scotland, reports the U.K. Ministry of Defense.   The milestone for the future HMS Spey was reached on Friday at the BAE Systems Govan shipyard on the Clyde River.   Outfitting work will be completed at the Scotstoun yard.   The Forth-class OPVs are being built in part to retain vital shipbuilding skills needed for the navy's planned Type 26 frigates, which will begin construction at the Govan yard this summer, the ministry said.   The Spey is scheduled for delivery in 2019 and commissioning in 2021.   The patrol ship is armed with a 30-mm cannon and has a flight deck capable of supporting Merlin-class helicopters. The vessels are designed for counterterrorism, anti-piracy, anti-smuggling and maritime defense operations
Item Number:18 Date: 04/24/2017 USA - LONG-RANGE DISCRIMINATION RADAR PASSES KEY MILESTONE (APR 24/LM)  LOCKHEED MARTIN -- The new Long-Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) has successfully passed its preliminary design review, reports Lockheed Martin, which is building the system.   The LRDR will support a layered ballistic missile defense strategy to protect the homeland, the company said in release late last week.   The radar was ordered under a $784 million contract in 2015 for the development, construction and testing of the radar, which will be stationed in Clear, Alaska.   The conclusion of the preliminary review allows Lockheed to move forward with detailed design work. During the review, the company demonstrated both technology readiness level 6 (TRL 6) and manufacturing readiness level 6 (MRL 6).   The program is expected to reach TRL 7 later this year, which will set the groundwork for production.   The LRDR is a high-powered S-band radar with solid-state gallium nitride (GaN) components. The radar can discriminate threats at extreme range using the inherent wideband capability of the hardware and advanced software algorithms.   The radar will form a key part of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) and provide acquisition, tracking and discrimination data to permit separate defense systems to engage ballistic missile threats, according to Lockheed.   A full-size LRDR is expected to be installed at Clear Air Force Station in 2020, noted Breaking Defense
Item Number:19 Date: 04/24/2017 USA - MARINE OFFICIALS TESTING REDESIGN AFTER PROBLEMS WITH PACK FRAMES IN ARCTIC CONDITIONS (APR 24/MCT)  MARINE CORPS TIMES -- U.S. Marines training in northern Norway last year have complained that many of their standard-issue FILBE pack frames cracked and broke in the harsh winter environment, reports the Marine Corps Times.   The cold-weather issues could stall plans to issue new ruck frames to all Marines in 2018, say officials.   The failure of the hard plastic frames, which were noted in after-action reports, also raises questions about U.S. preparedness for Arctic missions and whether Marine officials properly evaluated the equipment for cold-weather operations.   Additional failures with the frames were reported in January at the Marine Corps Mountain Training Facility in Bridgeport, Calif.   The FILBE packs were introduced in 2011. There were accounts in 2014 of pack frames cracking during airborne operations and at Marine Corps schools, where the packs are frequently swapped among students and repeatedly used for training.   This initial problem was addressed with a newly designed and reinforced frame, according to an engineer with Marine Corps Systems Command.   The redesigned frames are now undergoing additional cold-weather testing following the reports from Norway, officials said.   Marines in Norway and at the Bridgeport school were carrying heavier loads than most personnel, said one engineer from Marine Corps Systems Command. The packs are rated for 120 pounds (54 kg
Item Number:20 Date: 04/24/2017 USA - TOP ISIS OPERATIVE, INVOLVED IN ISLAMABAD ATTACK, KILLED IN U.S. RAID IN SYRIA IN EARLY APRIL (APR 24/UPI)  UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL -- The Pentagon said on Friday that U.S. special operations forces earlier this month killed an Islamic State militant linked to a deadly attack on a nightclub in Istanbul on New Year's Eve, reports UPI.   Abdurakhmon Uzbeki was killed in a ground operation on April 6 in Mayadin, Syria, said a spokesman for U.S. Central Command. The raid was carried out by a group of commandos from Joint Special Operations Command who target ISIS leaders and fighters, he said, as reported in the New York Times.   Uzbeki was targeted for his role in planning external attacks, including facilitating the movement of foreign fighters and funds. It took about two weeks to confirm the death, said the spokesman.   The militant was described as "a close associate" of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. CENTCOM said he helped Abdulgadir Masharipov, the main suspect in the attack in Istanbul, in which 39 people died.
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