Sunday, January 21, 2018

Fw: TheList 4638



The List 4638
To All,
I hope that you all have a great weekend
Regards,
Skip
This Day In Naval History – January 19, 2018
Jan. 19
1813—William Jones takes office as the fourth Secretary of the Navy, serving until Dec. 1, 1814.
1840: During the Exploring Expedition, USS Vincennes, commanded by Lt. Charles Wilkes, becomes the first U.S. Navy ship to reach the Antarctic Continent.
1943—USS Swordfish (SS 193) sinks army cargo ship Myoho Maru, which was part of the Japanese Solomons reinforcement convoy, while USS Greenling (SS 213) damages Japanese cargo ship north of Rabaul.
1951—During the Korean War, landing craft from USS Horace A. Bass (APD 124) investigate the beaches around Kamak Bay (south west coast of Korea) when one of the crafts carrying frogmen comes under fire from North Korean guerillas, killing two and wounding three.
Jan. 20
1903—President Theodore Roosevelt issues an Executive Order placing Midway Islands under the jurisdiction of the Navy Department due to recurring complaints of Japanese squatters and poachers.
1909—Ship Fitter First Class George H. Wheeler and Boatswain's Mate William H. Gowan display bravery and extraordinary heroism while fighting a fire and keeping it from spreading in Coquimbo, Chile. For their actions on this occasion, both men are awarded the Medal of Honor.
1914—The aviation unit from Annapolis, MD, under Lt. John H. Towers, as Officer in Charge, arrives at Pensacola, FL, to set up a flying school.
1943—USS Brennan (DE 13) is commissioned. Originally launched as British destroyer escort Bentinck (BDE 13), it is reallocated to the United States and serves as a training ship in the Miami, FL, area for student officers and prospective crews of destroyer escorts.
1944—USS Batfish (SS 310) and USS Gar (SS 206) attack Japanese convoys and sink transport Hidaka Maru south of Shiono Misaki and army cargo ship Koyo Maru about 50 miles south-southwest of Palau. 
Jan. 21
1862—Navy ship Ethan Allen, commanded by acting-Lt. William B. Eaton, captures the schooner Olive Branch at sea off the Florida coast.
1943—Submarines Pollack (SS 180) and Gato (SS 212) attack and cause the sinking of two Japanese ships.
1945—TF 38 aircraft attacks Japanese shipping and airfields on Formosa and in the Pescadores, sinking approximately 15 vessels.
1954—The world's first nuclear submarine, USS Nautilus (SSN 571), is christened and launched at Groton, CT.
1961—USS George Washington (SSBN 598) completes the first operational voyage as a fleet ballistic missile submarine, staying submerged 66 days.
 
 
This day in History January 19
1523
In Switzerland, Ulrich Zwingli publishes his 67 Articles, the first manifesto of the Zurich Reformation which attacks the authority of the Pope.
1783
William Pitt becomes the youngest Prime Minister of England at age 24.
1847
New Mexico Governor Charles Bent is slain by Pueblo Indians in Taos.
1861
Georgia secedes from the Union.
1902
The magazine "L'Auto" announces the new Tour de France.
1915
The first German air raids on Great Britain inflict minor casualties.
1923
The French announce the invention of a new gun that has a firing range of 56 miles.
1931
The Wickersham Committee issues a report asking for revisions in the dry law, but no repeal.
1937
Howard Hughes flies from Los Angeles to New York in seven hours and 22 minutes.
1937
In the Soviet Union, the People's Commissars Council is formed under Molotov.
1945
The Red Army captures Lodz, Krakow, and Tarnow.
1947
The French open a drive on Hue, Indochina.
1949
The Chiang Government moves the capital of China to Canton.
1950
Communist Chinese leader Mao recognizes the Republic of Vietnam.
1968
Cambodia charges that the United States and South Vietnam have crossed the border and killed three Cambodians.
1981
The United States and Iran sign an accord on a hostage release in Algiers.
1983
The New Catholic code expands women's rights in the Church.
 
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We forget this at our peril.
Mugs
 
kaBOOM!!...perfect!
On January 16, 2018 at 1:30 PM  wrote:
Trey Gowdy just said a few things about the military in response to the ban of transgenders. He nails it:
Nobody has a "right" to serve in the Military. Nobody. What makes people think the Military is an equal opportunity employer? Very far from it.
The Military uses prejudice regularly and consistently to deny citizens from joining for being too old or too young, too fat or too skinny, too tall or too short.
Citizens are denied for having flat feet, or for missing or additional fingers. Poor eyesight will disqualify you, as well as bad teeth. Malnourished? Drug addiction? Bad back? Criminal history? Low IQ? Anxiety? Phobias? Hearing damage? Six arms? Hear voices in your head? Self-identify as a Unicorn? Need a special access ramp for your wheelchair? Can't run the required course in the required time? Can't do the required number of pushups? Not really a "morning person" and refuse to get out of bed before noon? All can be reasons for denial.
The Military has one job. War. Anything else is a distraction and a liability. 
Did someone just scream "That isn't Fair"? War is VERY unfair, there are no exceptions made for being special or challenged or socially wonderful. YOU change yourself to meet Military standards.. Not the other way around. I say again: You don't change the Military... you must change yourself. The Military doesn't need to accommodate anyone with special issues. The Military needs to Win Wars.
If any of your personal issues are a liability that detract from readiness or lethality... Thank you for applying and good luck in future endeavors. Who's next in line?
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With our thanks to THE Bear at http://www.rollingthunderremembered.com/
 
ROLLING THUNDER REMEMBERED… 18/19 JANUARY 1968…LBJ: "WHY, THIS RESTLESSNESS?"…
January 19, 2018   Bear Taylor  
RIPPLE SALVO… #683… "…BECAUSE WHEN A GREAT SHIP CUTS THROUGH THE SEA THE WATERS ARE STIRRED AND TROUBLED. AND OUR SHIP IS MOVING THROUGH TROUBLED NEW WATERS TOWARD NEW AND BETTER SHORES."…
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Thanks to Jerry….These are very entertaining. These guys have large ones.
Hello, I am an Army retiree. My nephew was a Navy aviator. I do enjoy reading of the exploits of some of the guys.   My CO from Desert Storm and I were talking about the C130.  He sent me the following email about a couple of things that happened while he was in VN.    Very interesting and thought you might like to read it also.
Jerry
 
Yessir, many hours in that aircraft.
But the damnest thing I saw one do was from the ground.  When I was with 5SFG in the Central Highlands near the Cambodian border, there was a little red dirt runway hacked into the area outside of our wire.  At night, that runway and surrounding area belonged to anyone who dared use it.
 
Someone up the chain determined that a Mike Force had to be brought in that night.  Ammo cans filled with sand were placed along one edge of the dirt runway then JP-4 was poured into each.  When radio contract with the C-130 was made and they were overhead, the ammo cans were lighted.  It was otherwise pitch dark. 
The plane made one pass overhead at fairly low altitude to look things over, made a go around, and on the second pass he dropped it to the tree tops and put it down on that dirt with the starboard wing aligned with the burning ammo cans.  He then reversed pitch on the props to get stopped before the end of the dirt.  Dropped the ramp, off loaded the troops, turned it around, and with the port wing now over the flaming ammo cans, roared off in a cloud of flying rock and dust back into the night sky. 
 
I have reflected on that several times, and still am in awe of that flight crew, and that wonderful aircraft.
Same place, different time, I witnessed what the boys in blue called a "buddy start".  Fairly early morning, a 130 had brought in cargo and offloaded, but had problems, so was shut down at the end of that dirt runway after turning around.  The crew did what they could, but finally figured out they needed help.  A maintenance crew was flown in by helicopter, and they worked on the 130 for hours.  By then it was getting late and toward dusk, and the USAF guys were told they could leave their aircraft on the dirt and come inside the wire perimeter for the night.  They were not inclined to accept this offer of hospitality.  So, following radio communications, another C-130 flew in and landed, turned around, and backed up to the deadlined aircraft tail to nose (yes, they can back up too under reversed pitch).  Brakes locked, and the most recent arrival cranked the pitch, throwing rock and dirt into clouds, but soon, one of the engines on the dead aircraft began to windmill.  Soon it was spinning fast enough for the crew to feed it some fuel and it roared to life.  They apparently used bleed air from that running engine to start the other 3, and both aircraft cleared the trees at the far end of the runway just as the sun was setting.
 
I understand that the newer models of the 130 carry a high pressure 150 ft or so hose so they can transfer bleed air from one aircraft to another if necessary. 
That sounds like a much better idea than conducting a "buddy start" in the boondocks.
But again, I can think of no other models of aircraft which could have pulled off such a rescue.  If the crew had to leave it on the dirt that night, they might have had difficulty getting their deposit back when they returned to their base.
 
Again, amazing aircraft, gutsy crews.
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Thanks to Chuck
Click the link if you want to see their pictures
 
12 Deadly World War II Pilots You Should Know
Those Are The Guys You Didn't Want To Go Up Against.
World War II saw the largest and most intense air battles of any war before and after. It is not our intention to diminish any other battles but we can all agree that the Battle of Kursk for example involved almost 5,000 planes over half of which were destroyed in under two months. Battle of Britain and the Marianis Turkey Shoot were also extremely intense, with excellent pilots on both sides.
This brings us to our list of 12 pilots you should know. The criteria for this list is not so much related on the amount of kills a single pilot had (although that counts too), but about their attitudes and backgrounds as well. This means that we've included both Allied and Axis pilots who had that 'certain thing' about them, no matter what side they were on.
12.  Gregory "Pappy" Boyington
"Pappy" was a Marine Corps' ace with 24 confirmed kills. Starting out as a Flying Tiger, he was later reassigned to fight in the Pacific Theater where he flew the famous Corsairs. A leader of the "Black Sheep," he and his squadron went through so many exploits, both wartime and personal, that a show was created in the 70s to commemorate them. A known partier and connoisseur of liquor to say the least, his personal life was only matched by his fighting style. He was eventually shot down and held as a POW, but was rescued after surviving an Allied bombing raid on the island he was held at.
11.  Hans-Joachim Marseille
This German pilot might have been actually the most skilled pilot of World War II as his technique was the riskiest of them all. He shot down 158 aircraft during his two year service by infiltrating an enemy formation from within. Once at the center of a formation and surrounded, he would slow down his plane and turn sharply, spraying multiple planes at the same time and causing confusion among the formation.
10.  Gerhard Barkhorn
This German pilot is the second highest scoring ace in the world with 301 air victories. He was shot down by a P-51 Mustang in 1945 but managed to survive and was taken prisoner by the Allied forces. Released at the end of the war, Beurling eventually became the Chief of Staff of the Second Allied Tactical Air Force which was a NATO military formation.
9.  George Beurling
This Canadian fighter nicknamed "Buzz" has 31 kills to his name. Known as a loner, he was somewhat of "nerd" when it came to flying as he studied ballistics as well as flight techniques in order to become as proficient as possible. Aggressive in the air, his marksmanship coupled with superior maneuverability made him impossible to shake off your tail.
8.  Ivan Kozhedub
This Russian-Ukrainian aviator was the highest scoring Allied pilot of World War II, with 64 air victories in 120 air battles. Called "Ivan the Terrible," he was known for his superior marksmanship as he was able to shoot down enemy planes over long distances which to some other pilots seem almost inhuman. With this skill, he was also one of the only pilots to shoot down an Me-262 fighter jet.
7.  Josef Frantisek
This Czech aviator was a "lone pilot" who only flew for a year, but scored an impressive 17 kills during the Battle of Britain alone. Escaping from Romania to join the RAF, we was so determined to hunt the enemy that the RAF loaned him a Hurricane and told him to go "fight his one man war." He was unfortunately killed while performing aerobatics, as he would have continued his crusade for payback had he lived longer.
6.  Hiroyoshi Nishizawa
Nishizawa was possibly the best fighter of World War II with 87 confirmed aerial victories. His daredevil style was highlighted by him performing aerobatics over Allied ships and flying away as an invite for "the rest of the party." During combat, he was known for pulling high Gs and maneuvering in random patters as to confuse his enemies.
5.  Thomas B. McGuire Jr.
McGuire was the second top scoring American ace with 38 confirmed victories. Fighting mostly in the Pacific Theater in P-38 Lightnings, his mission was to become the top scoring ace. Determined to do so, not even being shot down stopped him. In 1943 while trying to help a fellow pilot who was outnumbered 7 to 1, he shot down three enemy planes before being hit himself, bailing out and opening his parachute just 1,000 ft. from the ground. He was in the hospital for over a month with gunshot wounds and broken bones. He got back in the air as soon as he was well enough to do so and fought until 1945 before his plane stalled during a dogfight and he perished.
4.  Kurt Welter
Welter, a German pilot, is known for his endeavors in the Me-262, the worlds first operational jet fighter. With 63 confirmed kills, Welter was known for flying at night (the first jet pilot to do so) and attacking bomber formations. With superior speed, most formations didn't know what was happening until it was too late, as it was pitch black outside.
3.  Johnnie Johnson
Flying in his favorite Spitfire, Johnson was the highest scoring RAF pilot against Luftwaffe pilots. His fighting style included firing first at oncoming formations to intimidate them and make them flee. He'd then follow stragglers and pick them off one by one. By the end of the war, he had 34 kills with many shared victories.
2.  Richard Bong
Richard Bong was an "Ace of Aces," an American pilot who racked up the most air victories with 40 kills. Flying a P-38 Lightning, his dare devil technique of "flyby shootings" consisted of flying at the enemy almost to a point of collision while opening fire as close as possible. At one point he actually did actually collide with one enemy fighter while doing so and managed to survive the crash. Although he survived the war, Bong was tragically killed as a test pilot for the P-80 Shooting Star when the plane malfunctioned.
1.  Erich Hartmann
Hartmann is one of them most recognizable pilots of World War II. The reason is that with 352 aircraft shot down within a period of 2 years, he's actually the top scoring ace of all time. Nicknamed the "Blond Knight" or "Black Devil" by his enemies, he had flight in his blood. A gliding instructor by 14 and a licensed pilot by 17, he developed a fighting style unique to him. He would never fire upon an enemy until he was within 66 yards of them and although that was a risky technique, it worked for him as he was never shot down by his opponents.
Of course, there are literally thousands of pilots that are worth mentioning here, but it's hard to compile a list like this. Through careful research, these are the pilots that stood out in terms of not only victory count but a special uniqueness when it came to fighting style or particular motivation.
We hope you enjoyed this list and even learned about some pilots you've never heard of.
 
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Item Number:1 Date: 01/19/2018 AFGHANISTAN - OFFICIALS IN FARAH SEEK HELP FROM KABUL IN FACE OF TALIBAN ONSLAUGHT (JAN 19/TN)  TOLONEWS -- The capital of Afghanistan's western Farah province is close to falling under Taliban rule, say members of the provincial council cited by TOLO News (Kabul).   Taliban fighters have been fighting all week to take over the provincial capital, also called Farah, the officials told the lower house of the National Assembly on Thursday. The government now only controls parts of the city center and government buildings.   At least 100 members of the security forces have been killed in the fighting. Fighters are just over one mile (2 km) away from the city center, said provincial council member Khair Mohammad Noorzai.   Lawmakers called on the government to do more to support security forces in the region. Officials criticized Kabul's management of the security situation in the country.   "We expect government to take action soon to tackle the current situation in Farah, otherwise the Taliban will take over Farah province," said Humaira Ayoubi, a member of the lower house.  
  Item Number:2 Date: 01/19/2018 AFGHANISTAN - SENIOR TALIBAN COMMANDER KILLED IN BAGHLAN PROVINCE (JAN 19/XIN)  XINHUA -- Provincial police officials say a senior Taliban commander has been killed during operations in the Dand-e-Shahabudin district in Afghanistan's northern Baghlan province, reports Xinhua, China's state news agency.   At least eight Taliban militants, including senior commander Mullah Jalal, were killed over the previous three days, Ikramudin Sari, the provincial police chief, said on Thursday.   In addition, three villages have been liberated from Taliban control in the ongoing operations, he said.   The Alburz 22 operation was launched on Jan. 15 in the Baba Nazar and Khalazi areas of Dand-e-Shahabudin, noted Afghanistan's Tolo News.  
  Item Number:3 Date: 01/19/2018 CHINA - DELIVERY BEGINS FOR S-400 AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM FROM RUSSIA (JAN 19/TASS)  TASS -- Russia has started delivering S-400 Triumf air defense missile systems ordered by China in 2014, reports Russia's Tass news agency.   The initial shipment included a control station, a radar station and energy and support equipment, the news agency said on Thursday.   The 2014 deal mandated that the system be produced in Russia and transferred to China, with no local production or technology transfer.   Russia began training Chinese soldiers to use the system in 2017.   China was the first country to purchase the system, noted Tass. In July 2017, Turkey confirmed a contract with Russia to purchase the system
Item Number:4 Date: 01/19/2018 EGYPT - PROMINENT MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD MEDIA PERSONALITY SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON IN ABSENTIA (JAN 19/ANADOLU)  ANADOLU NEWS AGENCY -- A prominent religious scholar and media personality has been sentenced in absentia to life in prison by an Egyptian court, reports Turkey's Anadolu Agency.   The Egyptian military court issued the sentence against Yusuf al-Qaradawi on Wednesday.   Twenty-five others were sentenced in the trial for alleged involvement in violent acts in 2015. Eight were sentenced to death, four of them in absentia. Seventeen others were sentenced to life in prison, six of them in absentia.   The verdict can be appealed.   Primarily a preacher and media personality with a high-profile program on religion on Al Jazeera, Qaradawi was accused of incitement to murder, spreading false news and vandalizing public property, reported the New Arab (U.K.).   The charges stem from the murder of an unnamed police officer in Cairo, a judicial source told Anadolu Agency.   Born in Egypt, Qaradawi has been based in Qatar for much of his life. He returned to Egypt after the country's 2011 revolution that ousted longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.   Qaradawi is the head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars a prominent member and supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, the party of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, noted a BBC profile in 2004. The Muslim Brotherhood is listed as a terrorist group in Egypt.  
  Item Number:5 Date: 01/19/2018 EGYPT - SISI APPOINTS CHIEF OF STAFF TO LEAD INTELLIGENCE SERVICE (JAN 19/AHRAM)  AHRAM ONLINE -- President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi has appointed his chief of staff as the acting chief of Egypt's General Intelligence Service (GIS), reports Ahram Online (Cairo).   Abbas Kamel, who will hold the post until a new chief is named, is replacing Khaled Fazwy. Fazwy has led the intelligence agency since 2014.   Sisi fired Fazwy after controversial leaks to the New York Times appeared to reveal a government attempt to convince the public to support U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, reported the Middle East Eye.   The appointment of Kamel to the post suggests that there was a lack of candidates, indicating a "deep confidence issue within Egypt's ruling circles," said Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi analyst.  
  Item Number:6 Date: 01/19/2018 GERMANY - POLICE RAIDS TARGET IRANIAN SPY RING; GROUP SAID TO BE SCOUTING JEWISH TARGETS (JAN 19/RFE/RL)  RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY -- German police have conducted raids across the country as part of an investigation into an Iranian spy ring, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.   No arrests were made during the Jan. 16 operations, said prosecutors.   The raids took place in Berlin and the states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria, reported Focus magazine (Berlin).   The 10 suspected members of the ring had been surveilling Jewish centers in Berlin, said intelligence sources cited by Focus on Friday.   Prosecutors declined to comment on allegations that the suspects were members of Iran's Quds Force, a special unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps assigned to clandestine missions abroad.   The cell was scoping potential attack targets, including the American Jewish Committee, said the sources
Item Number:7 Date: 01/19/2018 ITALY - PARLIAMENT APPROVES MILITARY MISSIONS IN AFRICA; SOME TROOPS TO BE SHIFTED FROM MIDDLE EAST (JAN 19/DEWELLE)  DEUTSCHE WELLE -- The Italian Parliament has authorized an increased military presence in Africa and a reduction of military personnel in the Middle East, reports Deutsche Welle.   The bill, approved on Wednesday, covers the deployment of 470 Italian troops to Niger in West Africa, where they will join French and U.S. forces.   The deployment is a training mission requested by Niger and not a combat mission, according to Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti. The goal is to help Nigerien forces fight militants and control the nation's borders, she said.   In addition, some Italian soldiers based in Iraq will be redeployed to Libya and other parts of North Africa as part of efforts to curb migrants leaving Africa for Italy.   The plan also calls for halving the Italian military presence in Afghanistan to about 750 and withdrawing 200 troops from Iraq
  Item Number:8 Date: 01/19/2018 JAPAN - ABE SEEKS TO BOLSTER DEFENSE TIES WITH AUSTRALIA (JAN 19/JT)  JAPAN TIMES -- Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have agreed to strengthen defense ties to support a "free and open Indo-Pacific," reports the Japan Times.   On Thursday, Abe hosted Turnbull in Tokyo. The parties agreed to cooperate on building a "rules-based order" in the Pacific region.   The leaders discussed the growing threat from North Korea, according to a joint statement. Abe said both parties agreed on the necessity of making "North Korea change its policy by maximizing pressure on them with all possible means."   Measures of increased cooperation include increasing the frequency and quality of exercises, operations, capacity building and mutual visits of military units.   Japan and Australia have also been negotiating a new military pact that would specify the legal status of soldiers drilling in and visiting each other's countries, noted the Japan Times. If finalized, the agreement would be the first of its kind for Japan. Tokyo has different agreements with the U.S. covering the stationing of American troops on Japanese soil.   Signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership was also mentioned as a priority.  
  Item Number:9 Date: 01/19/2018 JORDAN - ISRAELI EMBASSY TO REOPEN AFTER SHOOTING (JAN 19/REU)  REUTERS -- The Israeli Embassy in Jordan will resume operations immediately, reports Reuters, citing the Israeli prime minister's office.   The reopening, announced Thursday, comes after an official apology for a July 2017 incident that led to the deaths of two Jordanians at the hands of an Israeli embassy guard.   Israel also apologized for a 2014 incident in which Israeli troops killed a Jordanian judge who was crossing into the West Bank, reported the Jordan Times.   The Israeli Foreign Ministry sent a message apologizing for the incident and pledging to take legal action, said a Jordanian government spokesman. It also offered to pay compensation to the families.   The Jordanian government agreed to accept the return of the Israeli ambassador to Amman, noted Jordan's official Petra news agency.   The embassy was closed after Israel brought the guard home before Jordanian authorities could speak to him. Jerusalem claimed the guard was protected by diplomatic immunity.   The guard in the case opened fire after an unarmed Jordanian worker attacked him on the grounds of the embassy compound, reported Al Jazeera. The attacker and a bystander were killed. The guard was lightly wounded. At the time, Israel said it would not punish the guard.   The case strained relations between Israel and Jordan, one of two Arab countries with formal relations with Israel
Item Number:10 Date: 01/19/2018 NEW ZEALAND - NEW SPECIAL OPS VEHICLES SET TO ENTER SERVICE (JAN 19/SUPA)  SUPACAT -- The New Zealand Ministry of Defense has accepted for service a new fleet of special operations vehicles, reports Supacat, the British manufacturer.   The Special Operations Vehicles-Mobility Heavy (SOV-MH) is based on the company's HMT Extenda Mk II vehicle, providing a high level of commonality with similar vehicles in other special operations forces, said a Supacat release on Jan. 16.   The HMT Extenda platform, available in 4 x 4 and 6 x 6 configurations, has an open architecture to accommodate different protection levels and a variety of mission systems
Item Number:11 Date: 01/19/2018 POLAND - AIR FORCE SEEKS ADDITIONAL M-346 JET TRAINERS (JAN 19/DEF24)  DEFENCE24 -- The Polish Armament Inspectorate is considering a possible acquisition of four more M-346 Master jet trainers, with an option for another four, reports Defence24.com (Poland).   The aircraft would compliment eight of the trainers already delivered under a 2014 order.   Warsaw has delivered a request to the manufacturer, Italian defense firm Leonardo.   Meanwhile, the Polish government is seeking to enforce penalties related to the late delivery of the initial batch of M-346 jets. When delivered, the aircraft lacked full weapon system simulation capability, the website said. Warsaw is seeking to recover up to US$29 million in penalties
Item Number:12 Date: 01/19/2018 SYRIA - ANKARA STEPS UP PREPARATIONS FOR FIGHT AGAINST KURDISH MILITIA; SHELLS AFRIN (JAN 19/BBC)  BRITISH BROADCASTING CORP. -- Turkey has intensified its shelling of Kurdish positions in northern Syria in what the Turkish defense minister has called a "de-facto start" to planned military operations, reports BBC News.   Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said on Friday that the uptick in shelling was the first salvo in a battle to clear Kurdish forces from the Syrian-Turkish border.   About 70 shells were fired overnight, said Kurdish fighters in the area.   Canikli added that no Turkish troops had yet reached Afrin, a town in northern Aleppo province about 14 miles (22 km) from the Turkish border that has become the epicenter of a brewing conflict between Turkey and the People's Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish militia.   Turkish newspapers cited by Reuters said 20 busloads of Free Syrian Army rebels crossed on Friday from Turkey into a Turkish-controlled area east of Afrin.   The U.S. State Dept. called on Turkey to focus on the battle against the Islamic State and refrain from military action in Afrin.   Meanwhile, the pro-government Yeni Shafak (Turkey) newspaper reported that the operation would be conducted by two brigades of Turkish soldiers under the command of Lt. Gen. Metin Temel. The operation will attempt to surround Afrin on all sides simultaneously.   The operation in the mountainous region will likely require significant air support. While much of northern Syria is controlled by Kurdish forces, Afrin is surrounded by Syrian government, Turkish and other Syrian rebel forces.   Turkish officials are in Moscow seeking Russian approval fly military aircraft over the area, reported BBC.   For its part, Syria has reacted angrily to the proposed operation, threatening to fire on Turkish planes in Syrian airspace.   Turkey accuses Kurdish fighters in Syria of links with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PPK), a terrorist group. Ankara reacted angrily to a rumored-U.S. border force on the Turkish-Syrian frontier staffed mainly by Kurds. Washington said on Thursday that the proposal was misrepresented.  
  Item Number:13 Date: 01/19/2018 SYRIA - GERMAN RAPPER TURNED TERRORIST KILLED IN DEIR EZZOR (JAN 19/DEWELLE)  DEUTSCHE WELLE -- A German rapper who enjoyed a promising music career before joining the Islamic State terrorist group has been killed in Syria, reports Deutsche Welle, citing extremist monitoring group SITE.   Pro-ISIS Wafa Media announced the death of Denis Cuspert, also known as "the German," on Thursday.   The statement, which included photos said to be of Cuspert's dead body, said he was killed in an airstrike on Jan. 17 while fighting in Gharanij in Syria's eastern Deir Ezzor province, noted the Voice of America News.   U.S. officials were not able to confirm Cuspert's death but said the coalition had not conducted any airstrikes in the area.   The former musician played the role of recruiter and public outreach for the terrorist organization. He called for numerous attacks in Europe and recruited German-speakers.   Cuspert left music in 2009 after he converted to Islam. He traveled to Egypt and then Syria in 2012, fighting for the Nusra Front before defecting to ISIS.   Pentagon officials claimed to have killed Cuspert in 2015, before revising the assertion, saying he was wounded in an airstrike
Item Number:14 Date: 01/19/2018 UKRAINE - MODERNIZED S-125 AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM PASSES TEST (JAN 19/UKROB)  UKROBORONPROM -- Two Ukrainian defense firms have successfully tested a modernized Soviet-era air defense system, reports Ukroboronprom, Ukraine's state defense holding company.   The S-125M Pechora received a significant upgrade, including integration of a solid-state radar and a new missile. The modernization was developed by the Luch design bureau and Radionics company.   During the trials, the S-125Ms launched new MB27D-M2 missiles with semi-active radar homing, which can detect a fighter-type air target at a range of at least 12 miles (20 km) and provides improved accuracy.   When equipped with the new missiles, the S-125M has an expanded engagement area of 25 miles (40 km) in range and 16 miles (25 km) in altitude, said a Ukroboronprom release on Jan. 17.   The companies are now preparing to launch serial production for the modernized missiles
Item Number:15 Date: 01/19/2018 USA - ARMY LOOKING AT UPDATING ANNUAL RIFLE QUALIFICATION (JAN 19/ARMY)  ARMY TIMES -- The U.S. Army is considering changes to its rifle qualification course to make it more realistic and challenging, reports the Army Times.   The proposed changes will force shooters to fire farther and faster than the current course. The 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, based in Vicenza, Italy, is scheduled to test the updates in February.   Potential changes include increasing the number of hits needed to qualify at the marksman, sharpshooter and expert levels; requiring soldiers to hit three targets beyond 219 yards (200 m) to achieve a sharpshooter qualification; requiring shooters to hit targets at every distance from 55 yards (50 m) to 328 yards (300 m) to qualify as expert; reducing shooting times at each position from 15 minutes to six minutes; eliminating the standing unsupported firing position, making all positions supported; requiring soldiers to move themselves through the course while reloading, dealing with malfunctions and acquiring targets without instructor commands; and cutting the course time from 96 minutes to 40 minutes, according to documents obtained by the newspaper.   The goal is to improve soldier lethality and provide a more realistic shooting environment based on lessons learned over the last 16 years of combat, said Brig. Gen. Christopher Donahue, the commandant of the U.S. Army Infantry School.   The proposals are still in the draft phase, with more work to be completed before any changes are approved, officials said.  
  Item Number:16 Date: 01/19/2018 USA - U.S. ARMY EUROPE GETS NEW CHIEF (JAN 19/S&S)  STARS AND STRIPES -- A new commander has taken the reins of U.S. Army Europe, headquartered in Wiesbaden, Germany, reports the Stars and Stripes.   Lt. Gen. Christopher Cavoli assumed command Thursday during a ceremony at Clay Kaserne. He succeeds Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, who retired in December.   Cavoli most recently served as the commander of the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. He was born in Wuerzburg, Germany to a U.S. Army family and speaks three European languages: Italian, Russian and Spanish.   The new USAREUR chief has also served as a foreign area officer with a focus on Eurasia and been a fellow at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in southern Germany.   Cavoli said his priorities will be readiness and interoperability with allied forces. The U.S. has been strengthening its forces in Europe in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine.
 
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