Thursday, August 24, 2017

Fw: TheList 4529

The List 4529

To All,
A lot of history and some tidbits.
This Day In Naval History - August 23
1864: During the Civil War, Rear Adm. David G. Farraguts squadron capture Fort Morgan at Mobile Bay, Ala., winning control of Mobile Bay. The fort withstands naval bombardment for more than two weeks.
1958 - Massive concentration of Pacific Fleet in Quemoy-Matsu area prevents invasion of islands by China.
1958 - In Taiwan Straits Crisis, Units of 7th Fleet move into Taiwan area to support Taiwan against Chinese Communists.
1963 - The first satellite communications ship, USNS Kingsport (T-AG-164) in Lagos, Nigeria, connected President John F. Kennedy with Nigerian Prime Minister Balewa who was aboard for the first satellite (Syncom II) relayed telephone conversation between heads of state.
Today in History
August 23
Turks expel the crusaders under Frederick II from Jerusalem.
Scottish patriot William Wallace is hanged, drawn, beheaded, and quartered in London.
Jacques Cartier lands near Quebec on his third voyage to North America.
A British attempt to invade Canada by sea fails.
King George III of England refuses the American colonies' offer of peace and declares them in open rebellion.
After 11 years of war, Spain grants Mexican independence as a constitutional monarchy.
Union batteries cease their first bombardment of Fort Sumter, leaving it a mass of rubble but still unconquered by the Northern besiegers.
Booker T. Washington forms the National Negro Business League in Boston, Massachusetts.
Fanny Farmer, among the first to emphasize the relationship of diet to health, opens her School of Cookery in Boston.
The Emperor of Japan declares war on Germany.
American film star Rudolph Valentino dies, causing world-wide hysteria and a number of suicides.
Immigrant laborers Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are executed for a robbery they did not commit. Fifty years later, in 1977, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis establishes a memorial in the victims' honor.
Joseph Stalin and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop sign a non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Germany, freeing Adolf Hitler to invade Poland and Stalin to invade Finland.
German forces begin an assault on the major Soviet industrial city of Stalingrad.
German SS engineers begin placing explosive charges around the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Up to 77,000 members of the U.S. Army Organized Reserve Corps are called involuntarily to active duty to fight the Korean War.
The Arab League security pact linking seven Arab States in a military, political and economic alliance goes into effect.
The first flight of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft takes place.
The Second Taiwan Strait crisis begins: the People's Liberation Army bombards the island of Quemoy during Chinese Civil War.
Belgium sends troops to Rwanda-Urundi during bloody Tutsi-Hutu conflict.
Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photograph of Earth from the moon.
Pathet Lao communists occupy Vientiane, Laos.
Bryan Allen, piloting the Gossamer Condor, wins the Kremer prize for the first human-powered aircraft to fly a one-mile, figure-eight course.
The Iranian army opens an offensive against the Kurds.
Bolshoi Ballet dancer Alexander Godunov defects in New York City.
Armenia declares independence from the USSR.
East and West Germany announce they will unite on Oct 3.
Osama bin Laden issues a message entitled "A declaration of war against the Americans occupying the land of the two holy places."
Natascha Kampusch,  abducted at the age of 10 in Austria, escapes from her captor, Wolfgang Priklopil, after 8 years of captivity.
Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi is overthrown after National Transitional Council forces take control of the Bab al-Azizia compound during the 2011 Libyan Civil War.
A 5.8 earthquake centered at Mineral, Virginia, damages the Washington Monument, forcing the landmark to close for repairs.
From the King's Proclamation to Richie's MiG by  W. Thomas Smith Jr.
This Week in American Military History:
Aug. 23, 1775:  Less than two months after the Second Continental Congress issues its "Declaration on the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms [against the British]" in which the Congress resolves "to die free men rather than live as slaves," King George III issues his own proclamation declaring the American colonies to be in a state of rebellion.
The king adds, "not only all our Officers, civil and military, are obliged to exert their utmost endeavours to suppress such rebellion, and to bring the traitors to justice, but that all our subjects of this Realm, and the dominions thereunto belonging, are bound by law to be aiding and assisting in the suppression of such rebellion, and to disclose and make known all traitorous conspiracies and attempts against us, our crown and dignity."
Aug. 23, 1864:  Union Naval forces under the command of Adm. David Glasgow Farragut – best known for purportedly uttering the command, "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" – take Fort Morgan, effectively ending the near-month-long battle of Mobile Bay.
Aug. 24, 1814: British forces under the command of Maj. Gen. Robert Ross close-with and defeat a mixed American force of Continental Army regulars, Marines, sailors, and militia under overall command of U.S. Army Brig. Gen.
William Henry Winder in the battle of Bladensburg, Maryland on the road to Washington, D.C. during the war of 1812.
The disastrous defeat of the Continentals at Bladensburg will enable the British to march on, sack, and burn the nation's capitol within a few hours. But according to legend, the British are so impressed by the indomitable stand of the American Marines and sailors – who "broke two British regiments" during the fighting – that the commandant's house and the Marine barracks will be spared the torch when Washington is burned.
Aug. 25, 1944:  U.S. and French Army forces liberate Paris. The Germans fall back.
The BBC reports: "This evening French, American and Senegalese troops marched triumphantly down the Champs Elysee to ecstatic cheers of Parisians, young and old."
Aug. 28, 1862:  The Second battle of Bull Run (known to many Southerners as Second Manassas) opens between Union Army forces under the command of Maj.
Gen. John Pope and Confederate Army forces under Maj. Gen. Thomas J.
"Stonewall" Jackson (Gen. Robert E. Lee in overall command).
Within days, Confederate forces will drive Union forces from the field, not unlike what happened at First Bull Run/Manassas on July 21, 1861.
Aug. 28, 1972:  U.S. Air Force Capt. Richard Stephen Richie, flying an F-4 Phantom, shoots down his fifth MiG over North Vietnam, becoming the Air Force's first ace of the war.
But to hear Richie tell it, it was just a ride. "My fifth MiG kill was an exact duplicate of a syllabus mission, so I had not only flown that as a student, but had taught it probably a dozen times prior to actually doing it in combat," he says.
Thanks to Dutch R.
With thanks to another net

Secrets of a Green Beret unit that operated in Cold War Berlin
Ray Starmann - USDEFENSEWATCH - 19 Aug 17

Dressed in civilian clothes with long hair, the men looked like any other on the streets of East Berlin.
Their German accents didn't give away their true identities as American Special Forces soldiers, part of a clandestine military unit operating during the Cold War.
Berlin, a divided city located 100 miles behind the Iron Curtain, was a focal point in the tensions that developed between NATO forces and the Soviet Union after World War II.
With a literal line drawn between the forces – American troops and their allies in West Berlin and Soviet troops and their supporters in East Berlin – the city became the "Grand Central Station of East-West espionage" and a "playground for all sorts of secret agents," according to Bob Charest, a retired Army master sergeant and former Green Beret.
It was there that, for nearly 30 years, an elite Special Forces unit operated. Today, those veterans are decades removed from their secretive mission, but are only now receiving recognition for their efforts.
Detachment A built on the legacy of its WWII forbearers, the OSS
The Valor of the Asiatic Fleet; Lest We Forget – This continues the article from yesterday's list 4528
20 Feb 17
S.J. Cox
The U.S. Asiatic Fleet – Background and Summary
     Although commanded by a four-star (Admiral Thomas C. Hart) for oriental "face" reasons, the U.S. Asiatic Fleet was deliberately kept very small, in keeping with the Mahanian principle in force at the time to never divide the Battle Fleet.  (Only in early 1941 did the U.S. Navy begin to "violate" this principle by moving some battleships and aircraft carriers to the Atlantic from what has been the Battle Fleet (later renamed Battle Force) concentration area throughout the 1920's and 1930's at San Pedro and Long Beach.)  Consisting of the flagship, the heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA-30), the early 1920's vintage light cruiser USS Marblehead (CL-12), 13 WW-I vintage destroyers, and an assortment of China gunboats and other auxiliaries, the primary offensive punch of the Asiatic Fleet was envisioned to be the potent force of 29 submarines, recently augmented in anticipation of war with Japan during 1941.
     Although U.S. war plans at the time assumed that the Philippines would be lost to the Japanese, and that the U.S. Navy would have to fight our way across the Pacific to the decisive battle between the Battle Fleets in Far Eastern waters, the U.S. did not plan to give up the Philippines without a fight, and the submarines were meant to make the Japanese Navy pay heavily to take the Philippines.  The U.S. plan failed for several reasons, but the most significant was the unanticipated (by the U.S.) immediate loss of air superiority to the Japanese, and the fact that large numbers of U.S. torpedoes were defective.  (I'll cover the "Great Navy Torpedo Scandal" in a future H-gram, but before the war, the U.S. Navy conducted no live-fire tests of torpedo warshots against actual targets because it was deemed too expensive.  As a result, major flaws were not known and corrected until almost two years into the war, at incredible cost in lost target opportunities and American lives.)
    The U.S. Navy Intelligence infrastructure in the Far East, centered around the signals intelligence and code-breaking center known as Station Cast in the Philippines (counterpart to Station Hypo in Hawaii,) worked reasonably well.  Admiral Hart received intelligence from broken Japanese diplomatic codes (that Admiral Kimmel in Hawaii did not get) and had sufficient warning to disperse most of the Asiatic Fleet to safer locations prior to the Japanese attack.  However, U.S. submarines were quickly deprived of key sources of reconnaissance of Japanese invasion force movements, when most of the PBY Catalina flying boats were quickly shot down or destroyed at anchor.  (Of 44 PBY's that were on station or reinforced Patrol Wing Ten, all but five were destroyed or shot down by March 1942, including one flown by LT Thomas H. Moorer, future CNO and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.)
     Without air reconnaissance, or benefit of the ULTRA code-breaking intelligence that became available later in the war, U.S. submarines repeatedly missed intercept opportunities, consistently arriving at Japanese amphibious landing sites after the Japanese invasion ships had left, and were frequently attacked by Japanese aircraft whenever surfaced.  In addition, even with ample warning, the complete lack of effective U.S. air defenses enabled 54 Japanese bombers on 10 Dec 41 to leisurely and accurately plaster Cavite, the only major U.S. Navy base in the region, destroying almost everything at the base, including 230 submarine torpedoes and the submarine USS Sealion (SS-195) (severely damaged and later scuttled.)  Extremely vulnerable to air attack, the submarine tenders were withdrawn further south, except for USS Canopus (AS-9), whose Sailors would serve valiantly as infantry in the defense of Bataan and Corregidor.  In those rare cases where U.S. submarines intercepted the Japanese, such as S-38's (LT Wreford  G. "Moon" Chapple – future RADM - commanding) heroic foray into the treacherous waters of Lingayen Gulf to attack the main Japanese landing force in what was to that point the largest amphibious assault in history, U.S. torpedoes repeatedly failed to explode on target, leading immediately to the pounding of U.S. submarines by Japanese aircraft and depth charges; Despite the target-rich environment, S-38 only sank one large transport and survived, barely, repeated Japanese ASW attacks.  The Japanese landing at Lingayen was actually a major fiasco, with the Japanese loosing half their tanks and many men to sea state/weather conditions, far more than were lost as a result of U.S. action, and even then the U.S. could not effectively oppose it.
     If there is anyone who questions the wisdom of RIMPAC exercises, other regional engagement exercises (or even NATO) the short and chaotic life of the American-British-Dutch-Australian (ABDA) Command, and its Naval Component Command (ABDAFLOAT), and the culminating defeat in the Battle of the Java Sea in February 1942, represents a textbook case of everything that can go wrong in coalition warfare, and the disaster that can befall an Allied/Coalition Force that has never trained together.  Although the stubborn U.S. and Filipino Army defense of the Bataan Peninsula inflicted heavy casualties on the Japanese and greatly slowed Japan's timetable for completing the capture of the Philippines, the Japanese onslaught everywhere else in the Far East continued at an astonishing and unabated pace.
      ABDA Command was conceived as a means by the Allies to defend Singapore and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia.)   As U.S. and British leaders convened in Washington in late Dec 41 and grappled with the unexpected collapsing situation in the Far East, they pushed for a unified command structure.  In a surprise to the British, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, General George C. Marshal, supported even more surprisingly by ADM Ernest J. King (Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet,) pushed to have a British army general put in charge of ABDA, while British Prime Minister Winston Churchill pushed to have an American admiral put in charge (both sides most likely saw the whole thing as a loser, leading to the gracious offers to have the other put in charge.)  Without consulting the Netherlands Government-in-Exile, the job was given to British Field Marshal Sir Archibald Wavell (most recently run out of Libya by German General Erwin Rommel) and the naval component command, termed ABDAFLOAT, to Admiral Hart.
    ABDA almost immediately became dysfunctional, as the Allied interests quickly diverged and the Japanese racked up victory after victory.  Wavell was focused on the defense and supply of India, and the defense of Singapore (whose garrison quickly surrendered on 15 Feb 42  to a Japanese force half its size in what is generally considered the most ignominious defeat in British military history).  The Dutch Naval Forces Commander in the East Indies, VADM Conrad Helfrich was focused exclusively on the defense of Java (to the last Allied ship) and was so incensed that an American admiral had been put in charge of the naval defense of the Dutch East Indies that he actively worked through diplomatic and government channels to undercut ADM Hart and have him relieved.  The Australians were focused on the defense of Timor and Australia (most of the Australian Army was in North Africa fighting the Germans.)  The Americans kind of just hung out losing ships to fulfill political promises of moral support to the Dutch, brokered in Washington.  Dutch political pressure in Washington became so intense, that Admiral King informed Admiral Hart that he should request to be relieved for "health reasons" (in his 60's, the Dutch and British claimed Hart was "too old" for his position – he lived to a vigorous 94.)  Hart acceded to King's "recommendation" and command of U.S. Naval Forces in the region passed to newly-promoted VADM Glassford on 4 Feb, under the overall command of VADM Helfrich.  The relief of Hart marked the official end of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet.  In the end, with the fall of Singapore, Wavell recommended dissolution of ABDA, pulled up chocks and went to India. 
First Victory – Battle of Balikpapan – Pre-dawn 24 Jan 42
   The first surface action by the U.S. Navy since the Spanish-American War was a victory, and was about the only bright spot in the entire effort to counter the Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies (and was played up by U.S. media into a much greater victory than it actually was.)  The great victory was marred by the fact that U.S. surface torpedoes didn't work any better than submarine torpedoes; the older MK10 warshots used at Balikpapan ran 10 or more feet deeper than their setting (the newer Mk14/15 torpedoes had even bigger problems.)
     Four U.S. destroyers, USS John D. Ford (DD-228), USS Pope (DD-225), USS Parrot (DD-218), USS Paul Jones (DD-230), under the command of DESDIV 59 Commander Paul H. Talbot (future RADM), conducted a successful night infiltration of a Japanese invasion force at Balikpapan, on the east coast of Borneo.    The U.S. destroyers withheld gunfire until after launching all their torpedoes (a tactically sound lesson that was not learned or passed on, resulting in many unnecessary U.S. ship losses later in the war, as the Japanese would fire their long-range torpedoes at U.S. gun flashes, with devastating effect.)  The Japanese escorts, not expecting a night attack by the U.S. (they saw themselves as undisputed masters of the night) assumed they were under submarine attack and charged off into the Makassar Strait after a non-existent sub.  This gave the U.S. destroyers almost three unmolested hours to shoot about 48 torpedoes at 12 anchored transports, backlit by a burning Dutch oil refinery, at point blank range, but sinking only 4 transports due to the defective torpedoes, and also sinking one Japanese patrol boat, which turned out to be the largest Japanese surface combatant sunk as a result of U.S. surface action in the entire campaign.  All four U.S. destroyers escaped with only minor damage.  The battle probably delayed the Japanese by a day or two.
Battle of the Java Sea Disaster – 27 Feb 42.
   On the 27 Feb, a combined Dutch, British, Australian and U.S. task force put to sea from Surabaya, Java, with no air cover, in a last-ditch effort to attack a large Japanese invasion force heading for eastern Java in what became the largest surface action since Jutland to that date.  Under the command of Dutch Rear Admiral Karel Doorman (Commander, Combined Striking Force), embarked in the Dutch light cruiser HMNLS De Ruyter, the force consisted of the U.S. heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA-30)(the largest, most capable ship in the Allied force, even with her after 8" turret destroyed by previous bomb damage), the British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (victor over the German "pocket battleship" Graf Spee in the Battle of the River Platte in Dec 39), the Australian light cruiser, HMAS Perth (veteran of extensive action in the Mediterranean,) the Dutch light cruiser Java, and 9 destroyers (4 U.S., 3 British, and 2 Dutch.)  Encountering a Japanese force of two heavy cruisers, two old light cruisers, and 14 destroyers, on paper it should have been at least a close match, with the Allied force having an advantage in light cruiser 6" gunfire, that was never effectively brought to bear as the Japanese repeatedly outmaneuvered the Allied force, courtesy of Japanese cruiser scout planes which constantly dogged the Allied force with impunity.  Because of this air reconnaissance advantage, the Japanese were able to keep the laden troop and supply transports well away from the battle.
     At the time, it was believed by the U.S. Navy and most navies of the world (including Japan) that the state of gunnery fire control had become so advanced that it was expected that surface actions would be decided in minutes.  The Battle of the Java Sea turned into an hours-long late afternoon/twilight long-range gunnery duel in which the Allies and the Japanese both squandered hundreds of rounds per ship with limited result.  (Houston emptied both her forward magazines, and Sailors humped 260 LB shells from the after magazine under the unusable after turret, the length of the ship during combat (no air-conditioning.))  Many accounts say Houston scored the first hit of the battle, on a Japanese heavy cruiser.  Japanese records do not confirm this, although many Japanese records are on the bottom of the ocean.  Eventually, Houston was hit with two dud Japanese 8" shells, before HMS Exeter suffered a critical hit, that threw the entire Allied force into confusion, as all the lack of common training, doctrine, incompatible signals, tactics, and language issues manifested themselves.  (British and U.S. ships could speak English, but their signal codes were incomprehensible to the other, for example.)
    As HMS Exeter fell out of line, and the Allied ships behind her fell into disarray, the Japanese destroyers closed for a torpedo attack.  In the melee that followed, the Dutch destroyer Kortenear and the British destroyer Electra were sunk.  The U.S. destroyers countered with a torpedo attack, with what by then had become the standard result – no hits.  As night fell, the Allied force blundered into a recently laid minefield, and the British destroyer HMS Jupiter, hit one, blew up and sank.  At this point the U.S. destroyers, low on fuel and with torpedoes expended, were detached to return to Surabaya along with the damaged HMS Exeter, and the Dutch destroyer Witte de Witt, which had survivors on board.
    The remaining four Allied cruisers, with no destroyer escort, bravely (some accounts say recklessly) continued through the course of the night to try to get around the Japanese cruisers (low on ammunition themselves) but Japanese superiority in pyrotechnics, night optics, and dogged float plane reconnaissance stymied Doorman's force.  In the end, the Japanese launched a devastating long-range torpedo attack that the Allied ships didn't see coming in the night.  (Allied reports repeatedly state that they came under submarine attack, even though no Japanese subs were involved in the battle, because they did not know about the extended range (12-22NM) Japanese Type 93 "Oxygen" torpedo (later known as "Long Lance" coined after the war by historian RADM Samuel Eliot Morison.)  Actually, the U.S. did receive intelligence about the Type 93 before the war, but refused to believe it, since we had no similar capability.)  The Dutch light cruisers De Ruyter and Java were both hit, exploded and sank, with heavy loss of life; RADM Doorman went down with his ship.  Executing Doorman's standing orders to break off contact in the event of the loss of communications with the flagship and proceed to Tanjung Priok (port for Batavia – now Jakarta), the USS Houston and HMAS Perth disengaged, and the disastrous Battle of the Java Sea was over, to be followed by a Japanese sweep up of most every other Allied ship in the region.
Item Number:1 Date: 08/23/2017 AFGHANISTAN - CASUALTIES MOUNT IN SUICIDE ATTACK IN LASHKAR GAH; TALIBAN CLAIMS BOMBING (AUG 23/TN)  TOLONEWS -- A Taliban suicide bombing has killed at least five people and wounded around 40 others in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, reports Tolo News (Afghanistan).   A car bomb exploded on Wednesday near a police headquarters in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, said provincial police cited by Geo TV (Pakistan).   The dead included two soldiers and three civilians, said a provincial government spokesman. Most of those wounded were students of a nearby Islamic religious school, or madrassa, he added.   A number of military vehicles approaching the police building were damaged. Some accounts suggested the convoy was the target of the blast. The blast also hit police and soldiers gathered to collect their pay, noted the chief of the provincial police.   The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack
Item Number:2 Date: 08/23/2017 FRANCE - TROOPS IN STREETS TO BE MORE MOBILE UNDER NEW PLAN, SAYS INTERIOR MINISTER (AUG 23/F24)  FRANCE 24 -- The French government says it is going to revamp its domestic military presence aimed at protecting public spaces, says Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, as reported by France 24.   About 10,000 French troops have been deployed nationwide as part of Operation Sentinelle since the January 2015 terror attacks in Paris. Soldiers from that operation were targeted in a car attack in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret on Aug. 9.   On Tuesday, Collomb told French television station BFM TV that the mission will be redefined to make troops more mobile.   "That means we might not just have 7,000 soldiers deployed…at fixed positions, but maybe 3,500 at specific posts and 3,500 deployed in a more flexible way," he said.   This change will allow troops to patrol more effectively for city-wide events. A new neighborhood policing plan would be rolled in in January 2018, beginning with high-risk urban areas, said Collomb.   The plans will be discussed at the next Defense Council meeting, scheduled for Aug. 30, said the minister
Item Number:3 Date: 08/23/2017 INDIA - NAVY COMMISSIONS ANOTHER LANDING CRAFT AT PORT BLAIR (AUG 23/INDIAMOD)  INDIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE -- The Indian navy has commissioned a second domestically developed utility landing craft in Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, reports the Indian Ministry of Defense.   The L-52 is the second LCU Mk IV-class vessel to enter service with the Indian navy.   The first of eight planned in the class was commissioned in March 2017 in Port Blair, UPI reported at the time.   The ship is designed to transport and deploy main battle tanks, armored vehicles, troops and equipment. Based in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, these craft can also support search-and-rescue, disaster relief, supply and evacuation operations.   The 830-ton L-52 has a crew of 51, including five officers, and can carry up to 160 troops.   Six more ships in the class are under construction at the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers yard in Calcutta (Kolkata). All are scheduled to enter service over the next two years.  
  Item Number:4 Date: 08/23/2017 ISRAEL - GOVERNMENT BEGINS REVOKING CITIZENSHIP OF ISRAELIS FIGHTING ALONGSIDE ISLAMIC STATE (AUG 23/JP)  JERUSALEM POST -- Interior Minister Aryeh Deri says Israel will strip the citizenship of 19 Israelis who left to fight with the Islamic State, reports the Jerusalem Post.   An amendment to Israel's nationality law went into force this month that allows the ministry to strip the citizenship of those engaged in hostile activity, said Deri on Wednesday.   The Shin Bet security agency reportedly provided a list of 20 such Israelis; one has apparently died in fighting.   The change would prevent ISIS recruits from returning to Israel and deter others from joining the terror group, he said.   Most of those affected were Israeli Arabs, reported Israeli television.   Previous estimates by Shin Bet placed the number of Israeli nationals fighting for ISIS in Iraq and Syria at several dozen, noted AFP
  Item Number:5 Date: 08/23/2017 JAPAN - FACING OPPOSITION FOR USING CIVILIAN AIRPORT, TOKYO LIKELY TO BASE OSPREYS AT GSDF FACILITY (AUG 23/KNA)  KYODO NEWS AGENCY -- The Japanese government has tentatively decided to base its V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft at a Ground Self-Defense Force installation because of problems in basing them as planned at the civilian Saga Airport in southern Japan, reports the Kyodo news agency.   There have been growing concerns in Saga Prefecture about the safety of the aircraft, especially after a fatal Osprey crash off the coast of Australia earlier this month.   The decision is seen as a reversal from earlier plans. In mid-month, the Defense Ministry decided it would not seek funding for the facilities in Saga because of local opposition, noted the Nikkei Asian Review.   The V-22s are likely to be stationed at a base in the Kyushu region, which includes Saga Prefecture, or at Camp Kisarazu in Chiba Prefecture, said an unnamed source.   Tokyo wants to acquire 17 Ospreys for the GSDF and deploy them in southern Japan to strengthen the defense of remote islands.   The local fishing cooperative that owns the land identified to host the support facilities for the aircraft came out against the move in July
Item Number:6 Date: 08/23/2017 MACEDONIA - CITING PLANNED 'OFFENSIVE ACTIONS' AGAINST SERBIA, BELGRADE PULLS DIPLOMATS FROM EMBASSY IN SKOPJE (AUG 23/RFE/RL)  RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY -- The Serbian government has recalled all of its personnel from the Serbian Embassy in Macedonia in response to "offensive intelligence activities" against Serbia, says President Aleksandar Vucic, as cited by Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.   Vucic told Serbian reporters on Monday that the decision was based on "sufficient evidence of highly offensive intelligence activities against certain bodies and institutions of Serbia."   The president said there was "a different and new environment" in Macedonia. Unspecified "foreign powers" were said to be involved, he said, according to Balkan Insight.   Some of the embassy staff will return next week, said Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic.   The decision was thought to be linked to Skopje's alleged decision to propose Kosovo's membership in the U.N.'s cultural body, UNESCO, said Macedonian media.   Belgrade does not recognize Kosovo's independence -- declared unilaterally from Serbia. The Serbian government also opposes its former province's attempts to join international organizations.   Relations between Serbia and Macedonia have been strained since Prime Minister Zoran Zaev's coalition government took power in Skopje in May. Before assuming office, Zaev accused Serbian leaders of promoting nationalism.  
 Item Number:7 Date: 08/23/2017 NORTH KOREA - PYONGYANG CAUGHT SHIPPING TO ASSAD'S CHEMICAL ARMS AGENCY, REVEALS U.N. REPORT (AUG 23/TOI)  TIMES OF ISRAEL -- A confidential report by U.N. experts says two shipments of chemical weapons headed to Syria from North Korea have been intercepted in the past six months, reports the Times of Israel.   The shipments were intended for the Syrian government agency responsible for the government's chemical weapons program, according to the report on North Korean sanctions violations that was submitted to the U.N. Security Council earlier this month, reported Reuters on Monday.   "The panel is investigating reported prohibited chemical, ballistic missile and conventional arms cooperation between Syria and the DPRK (North Korea)," the panel of independent U.N. experts wrote in the 37-page report.   The period in question overlaps with an April chemical attack in Syria, in which sarin was used in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, noted Newsweek.   The chemical weapons were believed to be part of a KOMID arms contract between Syria and North Korea. That corporation was blacklisted by the U.N. in 2008, noted the New York Post.   Other cooperative activities under investigation include Syrian Scud missile programs and maintenance and repair of Syrian surface-to-air missile systems
Item Number:8 Date: 08/23/2017 PAKISTAN - LATEST OPERATION IN KHYBER AGENCY ENDS, HAVING ACHIEVED GROUND OBJECTIVES, SAYS ARMY (AUG 23/DAWN)  DAWN -- The Pakistani army says it has successfully completed Operation Khyber-4, which was aimed at terrorist groups in the Rajgal and Shawal valleys in the Khyber agency, near the border with Afghanistan, reports the Dawn (Pakistan).   Two Pakistani soldiers were killed and 15 injured during the operation, which began on July 15, said an army spokesman on Monday. The ground objectives "in those valleys were achieved," he said.   Responding to a question about the Haqqani Network, the spokesman said that "no organized infrastructure of any terrorist organization exists in Pakistan" as all areas had been cleared by the army.   The official also detailed the progress of the anti-terrorist Operation Raddul Fasaad across Pakistan, noting that 124,000 missions had taken place since that operation began in February 2017. (The name roughly translates to "elimination of discord," Dawn noted in February.)  
  Item Number:9 Date: 08/23/2017 PHILIPPINES - PRO-ISIS MILITANTS BATTLING WITH MILF REBELS IN MINDANAO (AUG 23/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- The largest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines has been involved in clashes recently with pro-Islamic State militants in Mindanao, says one senior leader, as cited by Agence France-Presse.   Clashes between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and militants that have pledged allegiance to ISIS began early this month, said MILF rebel leader Mohagher Iqbul on Wednesday.   On Tuesday, there was fighting near the town of Datu Salibo, according to an AFP journalist.   The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has lost 10 fighters in clashes with around 50 militants, who have also suffered casualties, Iqbal said.   Those militants have ties to gunmen fighting the government in Marawi on Mindanao island, he told AFP.   His group is seeking to prevent the militants from gaining a foothold in areas it control, said the leader.   The MILF signed a peace agreement with the government in 2014 aimed at establishing an autonomous Muslim region in Mindanao
Item Number:10 Date: 08/23/2017 RUSSIA - COUNTERTERROR OP IN INGUSHETIA TAKES OUT 4 GANG MEMBERS (AUG 23/TASS)  TASS -- Russian authorities have killed four gunmen in a counterterrorism operation in the North Caucasus, says a law enforcement source cited by Tass (Russia).   The operation began early Wednesday in the village of Psedakh, in Ingushetia's northern Malgobeksky district, said the source.   The gunmen were surrounded in a house and killed when they resisted arrest, he said.   Those killed were believed to be leaders and memebrs of the Malgobek armed group.   That group is suspected of involvement in killings of police officers and shooting targeting a regional security building, said Russia's National Antiterrorism Committee (NAC).  
  Item Number:11 Date: 08/23/2017 RUSSIA - FOLLOWING USE IN SYRIA, RATNIK GEAR BEING DELIVERED TO RUSSIAN ARMY (AUG 23/TASS)  TASS -- Deliveries have begun of future soldier combat gear to the army, say Russian defense industry officials, as reported by Tass (Russia).   The gear is called Ratnik ("soldier of the future").   The infantry combat system has more than 40 items, including small arms, helmets, body armor and communications and navigation equipment.   The Ratnik gear has entered service and is being delivered to the army, announced Dmitry Semizorov, the director general of Russia's Central Research Institute for Precision Machine Building. He said the gear "proved its worth" during combat operations in Syria.   He made his comments on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Army-2017 International Military-Technical Forum being held in the Moscow region.  
 Item Number:12 Date: 08/23/2017 SOUTH KOREA - SCENARIO IN U.S.-S. KOREAN DRILLS SEEN TRAINING FOR OFFENSIVE OPS AGAINST PYONGYANG (AUG 23/NAR)  NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW -- The ongoing bilateral large-scale military exercise between South Korea and the United States is expected to include operations targeting the government in Pyongyang, reports the Nikkei Asian Review (Japan).   The command-post drill began on Monday and runs through Aug. 31. The training typically focuses on defensive maneuvers in response to an attack by North Korea.   Operations to strike Kim Jong Un's government in Pyongyang are also likely to be part of the exercise, because of the North's growing nuclear threat, according to South Korean media.   The U.S. and South Korean forces have based some of the joint training on Operations Plan 5015 (OPLAN 5015), which includes a pre-emptive strike on nuclear and missile sites in North Korea, noted the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   Planners have reportedly categorized possible signs of a North Korean attack into three threat levels and are developing a unique, pre-emptive response to each.   OPLAN 5015, which was drafted in 2015 and exercised for the first time in the spring of 2016, has not been made public. Nonetheless, it is believed to include strikes against the North's missile and nuclear facilities; taking out leaders in Pyongyang; and preventing North Korean nuclear and biological weapons from being transferred to third countries, noted the Washington Post.  
 Item Number:13 Date: 08/23/2017 TURKEY - ANKARA, TEHRAN MULL JOINT EFFORTS AGAINST KURDISH MILITANTS, SAYS ERDOGAN (AUG 23/DAILYSABAH)  DAILY SABAH -- Turkey's president says his government and the Iranian government have been discussing possible joint operations against Kurdish militant groups, reports the Daily Sabah (Istanbul).   "A joint operation with Iran against terror groups that are posing threat is always on the agenda," President Recep Tayyup Erdogan said in Istanbul on Monday.   "We have discussed the details on what kind of work we can carry out amongst us," the president said. He said that the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its affiliate in Iran, the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), have been damaging Iran.   "The threats can be defeated with the cooperation of both countries in a short time," he said.   The possibility of a joint operation this fall was reportedly discussed during the Iranian military chief of staff's visit to Turkey last week. Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri is said to have presented a proposal for such an operation.   Later Tuesday, the Revolutionary Guards in Iran denied the accounts about the joint operations -- saying "no operations outside Iran's border" are planned, as quoted by Al-Monitor, a news site with Middle East coverage
Item Number:14 Date: 08/23/2017 USA - 2ND EXPEDITIONARY SEA BASE IS FLOATED OUT IN SAN DIEGO (AUG 23/NAVSEA)  NAVAL SEA SYSTEMS COMMAND -- The U.S. Navy has launched its second expeditionary sea base at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego, reports the Naval Sea Systems Command.   The Hershel "Woody" Williams (ESB 4) was floated for the first time on Aug. 19.   The milestone -- flooding the launching dock until the ship floats freely for the first time -- marks the start of final construction and outfitting ahead of sea trials. Delivery to the Navy is scheduled for early 2018.   The ship will primarily support aviation mine countermeasures and special operations missions, said a NAVSEA release on Monday.   The ESB features a flight deck, hangar with two aviation spots capable of handling MH-53E-type helicopters; accommodations, work spaces and ordnance storage for embarked forces; enhanced command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) to support embarked force mission planning; and a reconfigurable mission deck area to store equipment, include mine sleds and rigid-hull inflatable boats.   A third ESB is under construction, with keel-laying planned for early September, said NAVSEA
  Item Number:15 Date: 08/23/2017 USA - DOD TAPS BOEING, NORTHROP GRUMMAN FOR WORK THAT COULD LEAD TO REPLACEMENT OF ICBMS (AUG 23/D1)  DEFENSE ONE -- The U.S. Dept. of Defense has awarded Boeing and Northrop Grumman separate contracts to work on technology for a new intercontinental ballistic missile to replace the aging Minuteman III, reports Defense One.   Boeing was awarded a $349 million contract and Northrop Grumman, $329 million for the project, the DoD announced on Aug. 18.   The contracts cover 36 months of technology maturation and risk reduction activities, noted Defense News.   A single company is expected to be selected in fiscal 2020 to build around 400 missiles under the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program, replacing the Minuteman III missiles that date to the 1970s.   The Air Force solicited bids for the work last summer. Lockheed Martin, the third bidder, was rejected
Item Number:16 Date: 08/23/2017 USA - NAVY HELICOPTER RESCUES CIVILIAN PILOT WHO EJECTED DURING EXERCISE IN S. CALIF. (AUG 23/SDUT)  SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE -- A civilian pilot taking part in U.S. Navy exercises has been rescued after ejecting from his fighter jet off the coast of California, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.   The pilot of the single-seat Hawker Hunter ejected Tuesday about 115 miles off the coast of Point Loma, said Navy officials. The reason for the ejection was not known.   He was rescued by a helicopter crew assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier.   The aircraft was contracted to participate in a pre-deployment training exercise with the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group that began earlier this month, said the Navy.   Hawker Hunter jets often play the role of enemy aircraft in offshore training
Item Number:17 Date: 08/23/2017 USA - NAVY RELIEVES 7TH FLEET COMMANDER IN WAKE OF COLLISIONS IN ASIA (AUG 23/NPR)  NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO -- The U.S. Navy has relieved the commander of the 7th Fleet after several incidents involving American warships in the Pacific, reports NPR.   The fleet has been involved in three collisions since January.   In the latest incident on Monday, the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker off Singapore. Ten sailors are reported missing and several bodies have been found. The accident was the fourth this year involving a U.S. warships in Asian waters.   On Wednesday, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, a three-star, was relieved of command dur to a loss of confidence in his ability to command, said the Navy.   He is being replaced by Rear Adm. Phil Sawyer, who will be promoted to vice admiral.   Aucoin had been expected to retire within weeks, but his superiors pushed up the departure date, noted the New York Times
  Item Number:18 Date: 08/23/2017 USA - UPSET OVER HUMAN-RIGHTS, RESTRICTIVE LAW, WASHINGTON HOLDS OFF SOME MILITARY AID TO EGYPT (AUG 23/WP)  WASHINGTON POST -- The U.S. State Dept. is withholding tens of millions of dollars in military aid from Egypt, citing human-rights concerns, say U.S. officials cited by the Washington Post.   Secretary of State Rex Tillerson notified Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry of the decision in a phone call Tuesday, said one State official.   About US$195 million in military aid will be held in reserve until progress is seen on human-rights abuses and new restrictions on non-governmental organizations, the officials said.   Another US$65.7 million in military aid a US$30 million in economic aid is being denied and will be given to other countries.   U.S. officials said they were displeased that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sissi ratified a law restricting nongovernmental organizations. The law requires all donations of more than US$550 to be preapproved and bans groups from engaging in anything deemed harmful to national security, public order or morals.   On Wednesday, Egypt's Foreign Ministry said the move reflected "poor judgment," reported the BBC.   In recent decades, the U.S. has given about US$80 billion to Egypt, and Washington will continue its anti-terrorism and other aid, said one official, as cited by CNN.  
  Item Number:19 Date: 08/23/2017 USA - WASHINGTON HITS CHINESE, RUSSIAN FIRMS FOR ASSISTING N. KOREA (AUG 23/LAT)  LOS ANGELES TIMES -- The Trump administration has imposed new sanctions on Chinese and Russian companies and persons alleged to be working with North Korea, reports the Los Angeles Times.   The U.S. Dept. of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control has designated 10 entities and six individuals for their support for North Korea's weapons of mass destruction program and attempted evasion of U.S. sanctions.   The announced measures cover third-country companies and individuals that have assisted already-designated persons who support Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs; are involved in the North Korean energy trade; facilitate the export of North Korean workers; and enable sanctioned North Korean entities to access U.S. and international financial systems, said a Treasury release.   The sanctions block any property or interests in property of the designated individuals in the possession or control of U.S. persons or within the U.S. Americans are generally prohibited from dealing with them.   The action primarily targeted Chinese companies that have dealt with North Korea by purchasing and selling coal, oil and mineral resources, or provided banking services that made the transactions possible, noted the Washington Post.   Russian firms and individuals were also hit with sanctions, including three running a firm that exports oil to North Korea.  
  Item Number:20 Date: 08/23/2017 YEMEN - AIRSTRIKES HIT AROUND SANAA, KILLING DOZENS; HOUTHIS BLAME SAUDI-LED COALITION (AUG 23/INDEP)  INDEPENDENT -- At least 60 people have been killed in airstrikes north of Yemen's capital, say local officials and Houthi rebels on Wednesday, as cited by the Independent (U.K.).   The Houthi rebels, who control the capital, have been fighting the internationally recognized government and a Saudi-led coalition.   One strike hit a hotel in the Arhab district, north of Sanaa, early Wednesday, said a security official cited by Xinhua, China's state news agency.   That airstrike was one of several that hit the capital and its outskirts, said one journalist.   Another strike reportedly hit a Houthi checkpoint several miles away.   A Houthi-run local television channel blamed the strikes on the Saudi-led military coalition.


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