Monday, November 13, 2017

TheList 4588

To All
I hope you all had a great Veteran's Day Weekend and that our USMC brothers had a great Birthday.
This Day In Naval History - November 13
1776 - The Continental Navy ship Alfred, commanded by John Paul Jones, along with Continental sloop Providence, commanded by Hoysted Hacker, capture the British transport Mellish, carrying winter uniforms later used by Gen. George Washingtons troops. Three days later, Alfred captures the British brig Hetty off the New England coast.
1942 - Loss of USS Juneau (CL-52) during Battle of Guadalcanal results in loss of Five Sullivan Brothers.
1943 - Fifth Fleet carriers begin long range night bombing attacks on Japanese positions in Gilberts and Marshalls in preparation for landings.
1957 - First firing of Regulus II bombardment missile.
2016 Today in History November 13
In the Swiss-Burgundian Wars, Swiss infantry shatters the army of Charles the Bold at Hericourt near Belfort, countering his march to Lorraine.
Texans officially proclaim independence from Mexico, and calls itself the Lone Star Republic, after its flag, until its admission to the Union in 1845.
The London-to-Paris telegraph begins operation.
South Carolina's legislature calls a special convention to discuss secession from the Union.
Lewis Carroll writes in his diary, "Began writing the fairy-tale of Alice--I hope to finish it by Christmas."
New Mexico Governor Lew Wallace offers amnesty to many participants of the Lincoln County War, but not to gunfighter Billy the Kid.
The first metal dirigible is flown from Tempelhof Field in Berlin.
Paul Corno achieves the first helicopter flight.
The brassiere, invented by Caresse Crosby, is patented.
New York's Holland Tunnel officially opens for traffic.
U.S. Supreme Court rules in Hansberry v. Lee that African Americans cannot be barred from white neighborhoods.
A German U-boat, the U-81 torpedoes Great Britain's premier aircraft carrier, the HMS Ark Royal. The ship sinks the next day.
Lt. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower flies to Algeria to conclude an agreement with French Admiral Jean Darlan..
Charles de Gaulle is elected president of France.
Harvard's Paul Zoll becomes the first man to use electric shock to treat cardiac arrest.
The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously strikes down two Alabama laws requiring racial segregation on public buses.
Anti-war protesters stage a symbolic "March Against Death" in Washington, DC.
A powerful tropical cyclone strikes the Ganges Delta region of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), causing an estimated half-million deaths in a single night; the Bhola cyclone is regarded as the worst natural disaster of the 20th century.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial dedicated in Washington, DC.
Some 23,000 people die when the Nevado del Ruiz erupts, melting a glacier and causing a massive mudslide that buries Armero, Columbia.
Compact of Free Association: the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau—places US troops wrested from Japanese control in WWII—become sovereign nations, associated states of the United States.
Hans-Adam II becomes Prince of Liechtenstein (1989– ) upon the death of his father, Franz Joseph II.
Articles of impeachment passed against Philippine President Joseph Estrada.
US President George W. Bush signs an executive order allowing military tribunals against foreigners suspected of connections to planned or actual terrorist acts against the US.
Thanks to Donna -
A pretty amazing feat!  Fun to watch.
Thanks to Harry ...And Dr. Rich
Someone must have a LOT of spare time to put something like this together … not just the average toppling dominoes!!
Pass along to your kids and grandkids … once you've been thoroughly amused …
Her is another bit of history from Admiral Cox. More from this one tomorrow
From: Cox, Samuel J SES NHHC, DNS-H
Subject: FW: H-gram 011R All Hell's Eve, Santa Cruz
H011 All Hell's Eve - Santa Cruz
From: Director of Naval History
To: Senior Navy Leadership
Subj:  H-gram 011 All Hell's Eve Oct 17
Correction: In some versions of H-gram 010 I inadvertently transposed the awards for Lieutenant William C. Fitzgerald and Lieutenant Vincent R. Capodanno.  Capodanno was awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor (the second to a Navy Chaplain,) while LT Fitzgerald was awarded a posthumous Navy Cross for their valor in the Vietnam War.
75th Anniversary of World War II
Guadalcanal: Victory at Cape Esperance (sort of) - 11/12 Oct 1942
    "Bakayaro!" (dumb ass) were the last words uttered by Rear Admiral Aritomo Goto as he was mortally wounded by American shells crashing into the bridge of his flagship, the heavy cruiser Aoba, just before midnight on 11-12 Oct 42.  Goto believed to the end that he was being fired upon by another group of Japanese ships.  So convinced was he that no American force would dare to challenge the Japanese at night after the Debacle of Savo Island (9 Aug 42) that he refused to believe his own lookouts that it was American cruisers that were crossing his "T," and that his ship kept flashing her recognition lights and the signal "I am Aoba," guns trained fore and aft, loaded with shore bombardment ammunition, until it was too late.  Goto had some reason for confidence.  At the moment that Rear Admiral Norman Scott's cruiser-destroyer force (TF 64) opened fire, ten Allied cruisers had engaged the Japanese Navy in surface combat since the start of the war and nine of them were on the bottom of the ocean, with no loss to the Japanese.  In the Battle of Cape Esperance, off the northwest coast of Guadalcanal, TF 64 would put one Japanese heavy cruiser (Furutaka) and a destroyer (Fubuki) on the bottom of Ironbottom Sound, for the loss of one destroyer (USS Duncan DD-485,) lost to both enemy and friendly fire during a heroic solo torpedo attack, and only through the discipline and heroism of the crew (107 of whom died) of the light cruiser USS Boise (CL-47,) and a lot of luck, did the Boise not suffer a catastrophic magazine explosion.
    The battle went wrong for the U.S. from the moment of Scott's first command, but it went worse for the Japanese.  Scott's battle plan was a model of the KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle; nine ships in a single column, and his first order was a column turn to port to reverse course.  Every ship in the formation received and understood the order except his own flagship, the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco (CA-38,) fourth in line, which executed a simultaneous turn, throwing the rest of the formation into confusion.  Fortunately, the ships behind San Francisco followed the lead of the flagship instead of the admiral's order.  As a result, the four U.S. cruisers and two trailing destroyers crossed the Japanese "T."  Had the formation executed the order correctly, the inadvertent result would have been that the Japanese could have crossed the American "T," which probably wouldn't have done the Japanese much good given RADM Goto's mindset.  Unfortunately, the three U.S. destroyers in the lead steamed off into the darkness, and RADM Scott spent most of the rest of the battle trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to get his ships to cease-fire because he was not certain they were not firing on their own destroyers (and sometimes they were, both USS Farenholt (DD-491) and USS Duncan were hit by friendly fire, Duncan seriously.)  Because of uncertainty regarding the location of his own lead destroyers, Scott withheld giving the order to open fire until the opposing forces were within such close range that the junior officer radar officer on the USS Helena (CL-50) commented, "what are we going to do, board them?"
    The Japanese, however, were pummeled by numerous U.S. shells, many from what the Japanese subsequently would call the "machine-gun cruisers," USS Boise and USS Helena, each with 15 6"/47 guns in five triple turrets, which could put out a prodigious rate of fire (and the near-continuous gun flashes also made for a good target.)  Goto's flagship, the Aoba, was severely mauled and nearly sunk.  The second heavy cruiser in the Japanese line, the Furutaka, seeing the flagship in severe distress, valiantly maneuvered to interpose herself between Aoba and the American cruisers, and for her valor was hit over 90 times and sunk.  The third (and last) Japanese heavy cruiser, the Kinugasa, took a less gallant course and turned opposite to the American course and disappeared into the darkness, whereupon she succeeded in scoring several effective hits on several U.S. ships, including the one that nearly sank the Boise, before she beat a retreat with one destroyer and the mangled Aoba.
    At a cost of 163 lives and one destroyer (Duncan, 48 crewmen lost) RADM Scott had inflicted some degree of revenge for the defeat at Savo Island (Aoba, Furutaka and Kinugasa had comprised three of the five Japanese heavy cruisers at Savo.)  The results of the battle came as an enormous shock to the Japanese, which was followed by much recrimination; Goto was probably lucky he was dead.  The fact that the Japanese were so uncharacteristically taken completely by surprise caused the U.S. to learn some bad lessons about Japanese night fighting capability, as well as the proper use of radar and tactical formations (particularly torpedo tactics,) which would cost the U.S. in later battles.  As one U.S. officer at the battle would later comment, Cape Esperance was a three-way battle in which chance was the major victor.  Nevertheless, the victory was a huge morale booster for U.S. naval forces in the vicinity of Guadalcanal, and for the Marines ashore, which however would be short-lived.  (For more on the Battle of Cape Esperance, please see attachment H001.1)
Guadalcanal: All Hell's Eve - 13/14 Oct 1942
    The good news from the Battle of Cape Esperance on 11/12 Oct 1942 was that, although he didn't know it, RADM Scott had prevented the Japanese "bombardment group" from bombarding Henderson Field on Guadalcanal.  The bad news was that the "reinforcement group," which was Scott's real intended target, had already gone past Cape Esperance and during the night successfully offloaded hundreds of troops and the first Japanese heavy artillery to reach the island, and then successfully escaped.  The even worse news was the Japanese didn't know how to quit, and on the night of 13-14 October, two Japanese battleships (Kongo and Haruna) arrived off Guadalcanal, completely by surprise, and fired almost 1,000 14" shells into Henderson Field in the most devastating battleship bombardment experienced by any ground troops to that point in history.  Opposed by only four U.S. PT-boats (ineffectively) and concentrating their fire on the airfield, the battleships killed 41 Marines (many aviation and aircraft maintenance personnel,) and at one point even blew Major General Alexander Vandegrift, USMC, to the ground inside the command bunker.  More than half the aircraft at Henderson field were destroyed and many of the rest were damaged to various degrees, and most stores of aviation fuel were destroyed.  Although 24 of 42 Wildcats were flyable, only 7 of 39 SBD dive-bombers and none of the six TBF torpedo bombers were airworthy
     The psychological shock of "The Bombardment" was profound, and is the real origin of the "Navy abandoning the Marines at Guadalcanal" narrative.  The next day, as Brigadier General Roy Geiger, USMC, commander of U.S. aviation forces at Guadalcanal, was noted to exclaim, "I don't think we have a g**damn navy!" the destroyer USS Meredith (DD-432) and fleet tug Vireo (AT-144) were caught alone by 38 aircraft from the Japanese carrier Zuikaku while attempting to tow a barge with critical aviation fuel to Guadalcanal, an action in which Meredith knocked down three Japanese aircraft but was hit by 14 bombs and at least three torpedoes, sinking in less than ten minutes; 237 U.S. Sailors from Meredith and Vireo lost their lives as they drifted three days in shark-infested waters before the approximately 100 survivors were rescued.
    Although there is little Vice Admiral Robert Ghormley, Commander of U.S. Forces in the South Pacific Area, could have done to stop the battleship bombardment, it effectively served as the last straw for both U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander, Admiral Chester Nimitz, and CNO Admiral Ernest J. King, both of whom were profoundly dissatisfied by the overall lack of aggressive U.S. Navy action in challenging the frequent runs by the Japanese "Tokyo Express" which were getting ever more troops and supplies (although not nearly enough of both) onto Guadalcanal, representing a growing threat to the U.S. Marines on the Island.  So concerned was Nimitz with the tenuous situation on the island that he had personally visited Ghormley at South Pacific headquarters aboard the flagship USS Argonne (AG-31) in Noumea, French New Caledonia on 28 Sep 42.  Nimitz then flew to Guadalcanal (where Ghormley had yet to go) met with Major General Vandegrift, saw the appalling conditions on the island, and then went back to see Ghormley with a long list of deficiencies that needed to be corrected.  (Nimitz' aircraft got lost on its way to Guadalcanal and then nearly crashed on takeoff from Henderson Field (with Nimitz aboard for both events.)  It was in response to pressure from Nimitz that caused Ghormley to issue the order on 5 Oct for RADM Norman Scott's cruiser-destroyer task group to engage the next Tokyo Express run, which resulted in the Battle of Cape Esperance on 11-12 Oct.
     Nimitz was increasingly concerned with Ghormley's pessimistic view of the situation (which was not necessarily unwarranted,) his erratic "bi-polar" leadership, and apparent fatigue (which wasn't helped by abscessed teeth.)  Nimitz agonized over what to do because Ghormley was a highly regarded flag officer (and had been Nimitz' choice for the job) and was a close friend.  On 16 Oct, Nimitz sent a message to CNO King that he was considering relieving Ghormley and asked King's advice.  King's one word reply, "affirmative."  As a result, Vice Admiral William F. "Bill" Halsey ("bull" was a press invention that he never liked,) recovered from his bought of debilitating skin rash, arrived at Noumea on 18 Oct expecting to take over command of the carrier task force (TF-61,) was instead handed a sealed envelope that ordered him to relieve VADM Ghormely (also a close friend of Halsey) as Commander of the South Pacific Area.  "Jesus Christ and General Jackson!  This is the hottest potato they ever handed me," was Halsey's reaction.  Halsey's arrival was electrifying, and his aggressive fighting spirit was exactly what was needed at that time, although the cost of one of his first orders to the fleet, "Strike.  Repeat. Strike," would prove extremely high.  (For more on the sacrifice of USS Meredith, please see attachment H011.2)
Guadalcanal: Santa Cruz (Japanese Pyrrhic Victory) - 26 Oct 1942
   The Battle of Santa Cruz on 26 Oct 42, northeast of Guadalcanal, was the fourth carrier vs. carrier battle of the war, and was a victory for the Japanese, at an extremely high cost in planes and aviators.  In exchange for sinking the carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) and seriously damaging the USS Enterprise (CV-6,) the Japanese lost more aircrew than at Coral Sea, Midway and Eastern Solomons combined, many to the new Bofors 40mm anti-aircraft guns on the repaired/refitted Enterprise and the new battleship USS South Dakota (BB-57,) which finally gave U.S. surface ships a reliable weapon that could knock down Japanese planes before weapons' release, along with dual-purpose 5"/38's appearing on more and more U.S. ships.  By the time that the Battle of Santa Cruz ended, over half the Japanese carrier pilots who had participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor were dead; more would follow in the next months in the skies over Guadalcanal and the central Solomon Islands.  As at the Coral Sea, the Japanese fleet carrier Shokaku was seriously damaged and Zuikaku was not, although about half of each carrier's air group was lost.  The losses were so severe, particularly amongst senior squadron commanders and flight leaders, that with the exception of the medium carrier Junyo, the Japanese carrier force did not choose to engage again for almost two more years, until June of 1944.
      Despite the great victory at Midway, the U.S. carriers and carrier aircraft were outnumbered by the Japanese at Santa Cruz, thanks to Japanese submarines sinking the USS Wasp (CV-7) on 15 Sep, and putting the USS Saratoga (CV-3) out of action on 31 Aug.  U.S. naval intelligence and code-breakers provided good warning that a major Japanese push to re-take Guadalcanal was coming, with a pretty accurate assessment of Japanese forces committed, but were having difficulty pinning down the date (because the Japanese naval offensive was planned to be timed with a major Japanese Army attack to capture Henderson Field on Guadalcanal, which kept getting delayed by the Japanese Army.)  Vice Admiral Halsey, the new Commander of U.S. Forces in the South Pacific Area, solved this ambiguous intelligence warning timeline by ordering his carriers not to wait for the Japanese to show up, but to go forth, find the Japanese and attack them first.
    Enterprise (with her damage from the Battle of Eastern Solomons repaired in the nick of time) and Hornet, with 136 operational aircraft embarked, under the command of Rear Admiral Thomas Kinkaid, faced off against four Japanese carriers, with 199 operational aircraft embarked, still under the command of Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, flying his flag on Shokaku.  The four Japanese carriers were the fleet carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku, the medium carrier Junyo (44 operational aircraft,) and the light carrier Zuiho (26 operational aircraft.)  It would have been five carriers, but Junyo's sister, the Hiyo, suffered an engine room fire before the battle and had to withdraw.
    Both sides recognized Santa Cruz as a "must win" battle, and there were numerous acts of extreme valor on both sides.  Wave after wave of Japanese aircraft threw themselves into greatly improved U.S. shipboard anti-aircraft defenses yet never wavered despite high losses while executing probably the most effective coordinated dive and torpedo bomber attack of the entire war, with the victim being the Hornet.  Several damaged Japanese planes chose to crash into U.S. ships, including Hornet.  Both sides internalized the primary lesson of Midway, which was to strike first.  As at Eastern Solomons, several pairs of U.S. scout aircraft attempted to immediately attack the Japanese carrier force upon first sighting, and two such U.S. scout planes scored a bomb hit on the light carrier Zuiho, which put her out of action at the very start of the battle.  Nevertheless, the Japanese got a slight jump, launching their major strike first, with an impressively executed integrated multi-carrier 62-plane strike package, right out of their doctrinal playbook.
    The first Japanese and American strikes crossed paths enroute each other's carriers, and multiple U.S. TBF Avenger torpedo bombers were downed by Zeros escorting the Japanese strike, but which then left the Japanese strike aircraft more vulnerable to U.S. CAP fighters.  But once again, as at Eastern Solomons, problems executing radar-directed CAP resulted in U.S. fighters being too low to engage many of the Japanese dive bombers.  As the Hornet was being hit by three bombs, two damaged planes and two torpedoes, U.S. dive bombers hit the Shokaku at least four times, but improvements in Japanese damage control prevented the same kind of catastrophe as at Midway, and Shokaku made good her escape under her own power.
    During the attack on Hornet, extreme valor was displayed by the destroyer USS Smith (DD-378,) which was hit forward by a damaged Japanese Kate torpedo bomber that deliberately crashed into the Smith.  As Smith's crew fought the fire, the Kate's torpedo detonated, and the fire went out of control, forcing the bridge to be abandoned.  Despite 57 dead and 13 wounded and a raging fire, Smith continued to put up an anti-aircraft barrage from her aft weapons.  From the aft control station, Smith's skipper LCDR Hunter Wood, Jr., ordered the Smith into the wake of the battleship South Dakota, which doused the flames, and Smith continued to fight, an inspiration to all who observed it.  LCDR Wood would be awarded a Navy Cross.  On the low side, a damaged U.S. TBF Avenger ditched alongside the destroyer USS Porter (DD-356,) jarring the TBF's torpedo loose, which then ran circular and hit the Porter with such serious damage that Porter had to be scuttled, making her the third ship of the war to be lost as a result of a U.S. aerial torpedo.
      Multiple attempts to take the damaged Hornet under tow were thwarted by successive waves of Japanese aircraft which hit Hornet with yet more bombs and a torpedo.  A Japanese bomb hit the number one turret on the battleship South Dakota, with minimal damage, although it nearly killed the CO, Captain Thomas Gatch, when a fragment nicked his jugular (the popular skipper felt it was "undignified" for a battleship CO to "duck" during an attack.)  Another Japanese bomb hit the anti-aircraft cruiser USS San Juan (CL-54) with damage to her stern.   As night and Japanese surface forces approached, Kinkaid gave the order to scuttle the Hornet.  Yet, after suffering three Japanese torpedo hits, seven bomb hits, two crashed Japanese aircraft, nine U.S. torpedo hits, and over 300 rounds from U.S. destroyer 5" guns, Hornet refused to sink, and the abandoned carrier was left behind.  After nightfall, Japanese destroyers approached, close enough to read the "8" on her hull, and after briefly considering trying to tow her themselves, the Japanese put four Type 93 Long Lance torpedoes into the valiant ship, which did the job.
    The U.S. lost 263 crewmen and airmen at Santa Cruz, including 118 (including 15 Marines) on Hornet, 44 on Enterprise and 57 on Smith; 314 were wounded.   This price would pale in comparison to the surface battles to follow.  With the loss of Hornet and damage to the Enterprise, the U.S. had no operational fleet carriers left in the Pacific, giving the Japanese a window of opportunity for yet another attempt to reinforce their ground forces on Guadalcanal and drive the Marines off, setting the stage for a series of the most brutal and costly surface actions in U.S. naval history. (For more on the Battle of Santa Cruz, please see attachment H011.3)
H011.4 USS Hornet CV-8 Under Attack at Santa Cruz
    This photo shows USS Hornet (CV-8) at the peak of the Japanese air attack on the morning of 26 Oct 1942.  She has already been hit by three bombs (one is exploding forward of the island,) she is about to be hit by two torpedoes (a Kate torpedo bomber can be seen crossing over her) and the damaged Val dive bomber that can be seen above the ship is about to deliberately crash into the island, bounce off and crash through the flight deck, all within the space of a few minutes.
50th Anniversary of Vietnam War
Operation Rolling Thunder: LCDR John S. McCain III Shot Down - 26 Oct 1967
   Having barely survived the devastating fire aboard the USS Forrestal (CVA-59) on 29 Jul 67 off Vietnam (see H-gram 008 H008.6,) and recovering from wounds inflicted by fragments of a Zuni rocket that hit his aircraft (or the one next to him) on the flight deck, Lieutenant Commander John S. McCain III voluntarily sought return to combat status.  Reassigned to an A-4 squadron embarked on USS Oriskany (CVA-34,)  McCain flew 22 strike missions over North Vietnam (from Oriskany) before he was shot down by a surface-to-air missile on 26 Oct 67 on his 23rd mission.  The ejection broke both his arms and a leg, and he parachuted into a lake and almost drowned.  When pulled from the lake, he was beaten and bayonetted, before being transported to Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi (later known as the "Hanoi Hilton") where he was denied adequate medical care, tortured and interrogated.  McCain was transported to another prison in Dec 67, before being put in solitary confinement, for two years, beginning in March 1968.  When McCain's father, Admiral John S. McCain, Jr. became Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command, in April 1968, the North Vietnamese offered to release McCain as a "humanitarian" (propaganda) gesture due to his status as an admiral's son.  However the Code of Conduct (developed after the Korean War) prohibits U.S. prisoners of war from accepting parole or special favors from the enemy.  McCain remained true to the Code and refused release.  He was then subject to months of extreme torture, before treatment became more tolerable in late 1969.  McCain was released with the rest of the surviving 591 POWs in the spring of 1973, after five and a half years in brutal captivity.
    McCain's experience was hardly unique.  During the Vietnam War, the U.S. Navy lost 530 aircraft in combat and 329 additional to accident; 377 Naval Aviators were killed, 179 captured, and 64 missing.  195 A-4 Skyhawks, like McCain's were lost in combat.  A number of other Navy pilots preceded McCain into captivity, including;
- Navy pilot Lieutenant Junior Grade Everett Alvarez, Jr. was the first American airman shot down over North Vietnam, when his A-4 Skyhawk was shot down on 5 Aug 64, shortly after the Gulf of Tonkin Incident.  For many months he was the only U.S. POW in North Vietnamese hands.  Alvarez endured repeated beatings and torture during his eight and a half years of captivity, the second-longest of any U.S. POW in history.
- Flying from USS Coral Sea (CVA-43,) Lieutenant Commander Robert Shumaker's F-8D Crusader was shot down by North Vietnamese AAA on 11 Feb 65 and was the second naval aviator to be captured.  Shumaker invented the "tap code," that enabled U.S. POWs to secretly communicate with each other, even when in solitary confinement.

Commander Jeremiah Denton was shot down on 18 July, 1965 by North Vietnamese anti-aircraft artillery, while flying an A-6A Intruder, leading a 28-plane strike from USS Independence (CVA-62.)  Denton and his BN, LTJG Bill Tschudy, both ejected and were captured; and both spent the first four years in solitary confinement, subject to repeated torture.  In 1966, Denton was forced to participate in a televised propaganda press conference, where the North Vietnamese claimed prisoners were being treated humanely.  Instead, Denton blinked his eyes in morse code, spelling T-O-R-T-U-R-E.  He was tortured some more when the Vietnamese figured it out.  Denton was placed in a group known as the "Alcatraz Gang," whom the Vietnamese deemed most resistant and most troublesome, and as a result were subject to long periods of solitary confinement, when they weren't being tortured.  Denton would receive a Navy Cross, become a Rear Admiral after release, and eventually Senator from Alabama.
- Another member of the Alcatraz Gang was Commander James Bond Stockdale, who was the senior U.S. Navy Officer captured by the North Vietnamese.  Flying from Oriskany, Stockdales' A-4 Skyhawk was shot down over North Vietnam on 9 Sep 65.  Stockdale was a primary organizer of prisoner resistance, and created a code that governed prisoner behavior, which resulted in extra torture for him.  In several instances, Stockdale deliberately disfigured his face, with sharp objects or beating his face against the bars, so that the Vietnamese could not use him in propaganda broadcasts.  Stockdale would be awarded a Medal of Honor when he was released after over seven years in captivity.
More on Rolling Thunder in future H-grams.
(Sources and good reading for this H-gram include:  "Guadalcanal" by Richard B. Frank.  "Neptune's Inferno" by James Hornfischer.  "Conquering Tide" by Ian Toll.  "Combined Fleet Decoded" by John Prados.  "Information at Sea" by Timothy Wolters.  And of course, "The Struggle for Guadalcanal" volume V. of the "History of U.S. Naval Operations in World War II" by Samuel Eliot Morison.)
Very respectfully,
Samuel J. Cox
RADM, USN (Retired)
Director of Naval History
Curator of the Navy
Director, Naval History and Heritage Command
Item Number:1 Date: 11/13/2017 AFGHANISTAN - U.S. MARINES TRAINING IN N.C. WILL SOON ARRIVE IN HELMAND PROVINCE; TASK FORCE HAS REVITALIZED AFGHANS THERE (NOV 13/MCT)  MARINE CORPS TIMES -- The Marine Corps plans to deploy a second rotation of Marines to Afghanistan's southern Helmand province next year, reports the Marine Corps Times.   An official confirmed to the paper last week that the next rotation will continue to advise and assist Afghan troops and police as part of Task Force Southwest.   The task force works with Afghan National Army's 215th Corps and the 505th Zone National Police.   The Marines headed to Helmand began pre-deployment training in September at Camp Lejeune, N.C., said a spokesperson.   The first deployment is due to end in January. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that the task force's return to Helmand - which the Marines left in 2014 – has become a "bright spot" in the conflict. As one Marine said of the revitalized Afghans in the area, the re-engagement seemed to "turn the lights back on
  Item Number:2 Date: 11/13/2017 IRAN - HUNDREDS OF CASUALTIES IN POWERFUL QUAKE NEAR BORDER WITH IRAQ; MILITARY, IRGC ASSISTING (NOV 13/WP)  WASHINGTON POST -- Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has ordered the nation's agencies, including the military and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, to assist in rescue and humanitarian efforts after a powerful earthquake on Sunday night, reports the Washington Post.   State media in Iran said more than 300 were killed and nearly 6,000 injured after the quake struck the areas of northern Iraq and Iran.   The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of the 7.3 magnitude quake was located about 150 miles northeast of Baghdad and 450 miles west of Tehran, noted NPR.   It is the strongest earthquake to hit the region in years. Most of the deaths were reportedly in Iran, with casualties concentrated in the Kurdish town of Sarpol-e Zahab in the western Kermanshah province.   Engineers have begun checking for damage to the Darbandikhan dam in Sulaymaniyah province and have informed people living nearby to leave.  
  Item Number:3 Date: 11/13/2017 IRAQ - HELICOPTER CRASHES DURING TRAINING MISSION; 3 MILITARY PERSONNEL KILLED (NOV 13/IQN)  IRAQI NEWS -- The Iraqi Defense Ministry says all three crew members have been killed in a helicopter crash, reports by Iraqi News.   The Mi-17 crashed shortly after taking off Sunday near Kut air base in Wasit province, said the ministry. The death toll was originally put at seven but adjusted upon review.   The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.   The aircraft was on a training mission, reported Kurdistan 24
  Item Number:4 Date: 11/13/2017 LEBANON - TILLERSON WARNS AGAINST USING LEBANON AS PROXY IRANIAN-SAUDI WAR (NOV 13/WP)  WASHINGTON POST -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has warned other nations and groups against using Lebanon as a vehicle for a larger proxy war in the Middle East, reports the Washington Post.   "The United States cautions against any party . . . using Lebanon as a venue for proxy conflicts or in any manner contributing to instability in that country," Tillerson said in a Friday statement.   Tensions in the region have been rising after Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned from his post on Nov. 4, citing perceived threats to his life and expanding Iranian influence in the region. He made the statement from Saudi Arabia.   Iran and its Hezbollah ally in Lebanon claimed the Saudi's detained him and forced the resignation. They have called for Hariri to return to Lebanon, noted the BBC.  
  Item Number:5 Date: 11/13/2017 LIBYA - ACTIVISTS FIND BODIES OF TORTURED FIGHTERS (NOV 13/REU)  REUTERS -- A local human-rights group says it has found at least 28 bodies were discovered near the Libyan capital with bullet wounds and signs of torture, reports Reuters.   Local Libyans made the discovery Saturday in Alhira, about 37 miles southwest of Tripoli.   A member of Libya's National Commission for Human Rights said the victims were fighters opposed to government-aligned forces.   Fighting broke out in the area last week after coalition forces aligned with the Tripoli government launched a campaign against rival groups, which included some loyalists of deposed leader Muammar Qaddafi.   The statement said the personnel had been captured by forces of the Government of National Accord, noted China's Xinhua news agency.  
  Item Number:6 Date: 11/13/2017 MOROCCO - GOVERNMENT EYES RUSSIAN S-400 AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM (NOV 13/MOROCCO WN)  MOROCCO WORLD NEWS -- Morocco wants acquire a Russian S-400 air defense system, reports Morocco World News, citing Russian media.   The two countries signed 11 agreements in early October. At the time, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Russia's decision to "deliver military equipment" to Morocco, without any details.   The cost of a potential deal have not been disclosed. An S-400 deal with Turkey in September cost roughly US$2.5 billion
Item Number:7 Date: 11/13/2017 RUSSIA - DEFENSE MINISTER ACCUSES NATO OF STEPPING UP ACTIONS ON RUSSIAN BORDER (NOV 13/SPUTNIK)  SPUTNIK -- The Kremlin has again berated what it sees as a NATO buildup in Eastern Europe, reports Russia state-run Sputnik.   On Friday, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that NATO members were using their criticisms of Russia and Belarus' Zapad-2017 exercises this fall to "cover for the increased activity of NATO forces near Russian and Belarusian borders."   The joint Russian-Belarusian Zapad-2017 military drills were held in September.   Poland and the Baltic states were particularly concerned about the Zapad exercises near their territory.  
 Item Number:8 Date: 11/13/2017 RUSSIA - INVESTIGATIONS UNDERWAY OVER FATAL EXPLOSION ON PRACTICE RANGE (NOV 13/TASS)  TASS -- An investigation has begun over last week's explosion on a military range in Siberia.   Two Russian servicemen were killed and five injured in a munitions blast on Friday, reports state-run Tass (Russia).   The Defense Ministry said one officer and one contract soldier were killed while cleaning "unexploded munitions at the Tsugol practice range in the Trans-Baikal territory."   The five injured did not have life-threatening injuries, said the ministry
  Item Number:9 Date: 11/13/2017 SAUDI ARABIA - MISSILE AIMED AT SAUDI CAPITAL HAD IRANIAN MARKINGS; U.S. GENERAL SAYS THAT 'CONNECTS THE DOTS' TO TEHRAN (NOV 13/INDEP)  INDEPENDENT -- The top U.S. Air Force official in the Middle East has confirmed that a missile shot down Nov. 4 over the Saudi capital was of Iranian origin, reports the Independent (U.K.).   In a news conference in Dubai on Friday, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, who oversees the Air Forces Central Command in Qatar, said the ballistic missile bore "Iranian markings."   "To me, that connects the dots to Iran in terms of who's providing those missiles and that capability," Harrigan told reporters.   An investigation is ongoing about how the missile arrived in Yemen, said Harrigan. He declined to provide details on the missile's design.  
  Item Number:10 Date: 11/13/2017 SOMALIA - ANOTHER DRONE STRIKE TARGETS AL-SHABAAB FIGHTER (NOV 13/FN)  FOX NEWS -- A U.S. air strike in Somalia has killed an Al-Shabaab fighter, reports Fox News.   The drone strike on Saturday was the fourth in as many days, said the U.S. military.   The strike took place near Gaduud, about 250 miles southeast of the capital, Mogadishu.   A statement from U.S. Africa Command said the fighter was observed taking part in attacks on U.S. forces and partners.   Al-Shabaab has allied itself with Al-Qaida.  
Item Number:11 Date: 11/13/2017 SOUTH KOREA - SOLDIER FROM N. KOREA MAKES IT ACROSS BOARDER DESPITE BEING SHOT BY HIS OWN TROOPS (NOV 13/YON)  YONHAP -- North Korean troops have shot and wounded one of its soldiers who was defecting to the South, reports South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.   The soldier left his post Monday on the north side of the village of Panmunjom, which straddles the border between North and South Korea. After hearing gunfire, South Korean soldiers investigated and found the soldier bleeding, said the South Korean military.   The soldier was airlifted to a hospital by a U.N. helicopter, reported Reuter, citing officials from the South.   Since the 1990s, more than 30,00 have defected from the North; most defect through China, noted the New York Times
Item Number:12 Date: 11/13/2017 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - WASHINGTON APPARENTLY OPEN TO SELLING F-35S TO UAE; DISCUSSIONS ONGOING (NOV 13/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- A senior U.S. military official has confirmed the United Arab Emirates has been discussing a potential purchase of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters from the U.S., reports Defense News.   Stephen Wilson, the Air Force's vice chief of staff, told reporters in Dubai on Friday that the Trump administration was considering briefing Emirati officials on the jet's capabilities.   "Discussions are ongoing now with the administration on partner nations that may require [the F-35]," Wilson said, adding that the United Arab Emirates are among the countries discussing the issue with Washington.   If such a deal were consummated, the UAE would become the first Gulf nation to acquire the Lockheed-made jet, the paper noted
Item Number:13 Date: 11/13/2017 USA - 1ST OPERATIONAL MQ-4C TRITON UAV REACHES POINT MUGU; NEXT STOP WILL BE GUAM (NOV 13/NORGRU)  NORTHROP GRUMMAN -- Northrop Grumman has delivered the first operational MQ-4C Triton UAV to the Point Mugu Naval Air Station, Calif., according to a company statement.   The UAV will be deployed to Guam next year, the company said in statement released Friday.   The Navy has announced plans to deploy Triton to bases in Florida, Italy and the Middle East in the future.   The long-range, high-endurance drone can provide continuous surveillance of large swathes of maritime territory, minimizing the need for other manned asset, noted company officials.   The company is expected to deliver a second operational aircraft later this year.   The two will undergo training at Point Mugu before being deployed to Guam, reported the Los Angeles Times in late October
Item Number:14 Date: 11/13/2017 USA - 3 U.S. CARRIER STRIKE GROUPS DRILL WITH S. KOREA, JAPAN IN W. PACIFIC (NOV 13/DIPLOMAT)  DIPLOMAT -- Ships from the U.S., South Korean and Japanese navies continue their four-day training exercises in the Western Pacific Ocean, reports the Diplomat (Tokyo).   The drills began on Saturday and run through Tuesday.   The U.S. and Japanese navies trained in the Sea of Japan on Sunday. Joining the Nimitz-class Ronald Reagan, Nimitz and Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike groups were the Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer Ise, the Takanami-class guided-missile antisubmarine warfare destroyer Makinami, and the lead ship of the Murasame-class of general-purpose destroyers, Murasame.   The U.S. ships then met up with seven South Korean warships, including two Aegis guided-missile destroyers. Yonhap news agency quoted a South Korean official as saying the "combined drills are to present our resolve and will to deter North Korea's provocations and retaliate if provoked."   The last time three U.S. carrier strike groups trained together was during exercise Valiant Shield off the coast of Guam in 2006 and 2007, noted a statement from the commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet.   The drills were originally intended to be trilateral but those plans were scratched after South Korean officials opposed the participation of Japan, reports Nikkei Asian Review
Item Number:15 Date: 11/13/2017 USA - GE'S LATEST DEAL COVERS FIGHTER ENGINES FOR QATAR, SAUDI, BAHRAIN (NOV 13/DOD)  DEPT. OF DEFENSE -- The Pentagon has awarded a contract to General Electric to provide aircraft engines and related equipment and services to military aircraft to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, according to the Pentagon.   The deal, estimated at $643 million, was announced by the DoD on Nov. 9. The contract is made under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program   GE will provide F110-GE-129 aircraft engines to the three Gulf states.   Such engines power the F-15 and F-16 fighter aircraft, noted   The work, to be performed in Cincinnati, Ohio, is expected to be completed by November 2018.  
  Item Number:16 Date: 11/13/2017 USA - GREEN BERET KILLED AFTER CONFRONTING SEALS ABOUT ILLICIT SCHEME, SAYS REPORT (NOV 13/DB)  DAILY BEAST -- A Green Beret killed in Mali in June had reportedly found incriminating evidence about two Navy SEALs with whom he was serving, says a source cited by the Daily Beast.   Staff Sgt. Logan J. Melgar, 34, was found dead on June 4 in his quarters in the American Embassy in Bamako, the capital of Mali. He shared housing with other special operations personnel assigned to training and counterterrorism missions in the country. His death was ruled a homicide by asphyxiation.   The SEALs initially said that Melgar was drunk while performing hand-to-hand combat exercises. However, a toxicology screen showed that there was no alcohol in his system at the time of this death, according to sources.   Sources told the Daily Beast that Melgar had evidence suggesting that the SEALs were pocketing money from a fund used to pay informants and was killed after he confronted the two with his suspicions.   The SEALs are now under investigation for the death.  
  Item Number:17 Date: 11/13/2017 USA - INFANTRY SHOULDER-LAUNCHED WEAPONS TO GET UPGRADE IN COLLABORATION BETWEEN RAYTHEON, SAAB (NOV 13/UPI)  UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL -- U.S. defense firm Raytheon and Sweden's Saab have decided to partner to develop new weapons for infantry forces, reports UPI.   Raytheon said last week that the team will focus on upgrading Saab's Carl Gustaf reloadable shoulder-launched weapon system and AT4 disposable weapon system.   The companies will update the systems to better match the needs of the U.S. and its allies, said a joint statement.  
 Item Number:18 Date: 11/13/2017 USA - MOSCOW CONSIDERS RETALIATORY ACTION AFTER JUSTICE DEPT. REQUIRES RT TO REGISTER AS FOREIGN AGENT (NOV 13/WSJ)  WALL STREET JOURNAL -- The Kremlin's RT new agency has agreed to register as a foreign agent under U.S. law, the Wall Street Journal.   The government-funded cable-news network and websites said on Nov. 9 that it would comply with a Justice Dept. request and register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.   Chief editor Margarita Simonyan said the outlet would continue to fight the move in court, reported the Los Angeles Times.  Justice gave RT until Monday to register.   Russian legislators are considering similar measures against American outlets, according to top Duma officials. Likely targets are CNN, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, reported the BBC.  
  Item Number:19 Date: 11/13/2017 USA - NAVY IN LINE FOR 2 MORE VIPER HELICOPTERS (NOV 13/DOD)  DEPT. OF DEFENSE -- Bell Helicopter Textron (Forth Worth, Texas) has been awarded a $38.3 millioncontract for the manufacture and delivery of two Bell AH-1Z Viper twin-engine attack helicopter for the U.S. Navy, reports the Dept. of Defense.   The deal, announced on Nov. 8, modifies a contract announced in February.   Because it is a fixed-price-incentive-firm contract, the company and the U.S. government will renegotiate the final cost of the deal when the deal is complete, noted UPI.   Work is expected to be completed in November 2019
Item Number:20 Date: 11/13/2017 USA - TRUMP, PUTIN AGREE TO DEFEAT ISIS IN SYRIA (NOV 13/FN)  FOX NEWS -- U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have issued a joint statement that vows to continue efforts to fight against Islamic State in Syria until the terrorist group is completely destroyed, reports Fox News.   The statement was issued after a joint meeting Saturday at the APEC summit in Vietnam. It stressed the importance of de-escalation zones, cease-fire agreements and humanitarian access, noted the Voice of America News.   The statement, released by the Kremlin Sunday, said there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria. It highlighted the importance of maintaining open channels of communication between Moscow and Washington.   The leaders called on the international community to increase humanitarian assistance to Syria as it begins to rebuild from a six-year war.

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