Saturday, January 27, 2018

TheList 4642

The List 4642
To All
I hope that your week has been going well.
This Day In Naval History – January 25, 2018
Jan. 25
1941—The keel to USS Wisconsin (BB 64) is laid. Commissioned in April 1944, she serves during the later stages of World War II in the Pacific. She is now a museum battleship stationed in Norfolk, VA.
1943—USS Shad (SS 235) encounters German blockade runners transporting ore in the Bay of Biscay. Shad fires on Nordfels, but the torpedo fails to explode, and Nordfels returns to Bilbao, Spain.
1945—USS McLanahan (DD 615) shells the German command post on the Italian Rivera and silences the shore battery.
1945—USS Silversides (SS 236), despite the presence of auxiliary submarine chasers, sinks the Japanese army cargo ship Malay Maru off Kuro Jima.
1952—High speed transport ship Wantuck (APD 125 ) under CTF 95 OpControl, lands South Korean troops at night for demolition raid on enemy rail line, tunnels and bridges east coast of Korea.
1963—The 1st Seabee Technical Assistance Team arrives in Vietnam. By the end of 1964, 14 teams are operating or have completed their six-month tours. 
1968 - Operation Windsong I in Mekong Delta, Vietnam
1986 - Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine USS Alaska (SSBN 732) is commissioned.
On this day in history (January 25):
1924: The first Winter Olympic Games were inaugurated in Chamonix in the French Alps.
1949: The first Emmys were presented at the Hollywood Athletic Club.
And today is:
National Irish Coffee Day
January 25
Henry VIII marries Anne Boleyn.
Small farmers in Springfield, Massachusetts led by Daniel Shays, revolt against tax laws. Federal troops break up the protesters of what becomes known as Shay's Rebellion.
The dreaded Corn Laws, which taxed imported oats, wheat and barley, are repealed by the British Parliament.
Two-hundred coal miners are trapped in their Pennsylvania mine after an explosion.
Alexander Graham Bell in New York and Thomas Watson in San Francisco make a record telephone transmission.
Austria and Germany reject U.S. peace proposals.
The League of Nations plan is adopted by the Allies.
Members of the New York Stock Exchange ask for an additional 275 seats.
New York police rout a Communist rally at the Town Hall.
The last German airfield in Stalingrad is captured by the Red Army.
Axis Sally, who broadcasted Nazi propaganda to U.S. troops in Europe, stands trial in the United States for war crimes.
The U.S. Eighth Army in Korea launches Operation Thunderbolt, a counter attack to push the Chinese Army north of the Han River.
Columbia University scientists develop an atomic clock that is accurate to within one second in 300 years.
Khrushchev says that he believes that Eisenhower is sincere in his efforts to abolish war.
American Airlines begins its first coast-to-coast flight service on a Boeing 707.
Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to U.S. Congress, announces candidacy for president.
Nixon airs the eight-point peace plan for Vietnam, asking for POW release in return for withdrawal.
President Reagan endorses the development of the first U.S. permanently-manned space station.
Executive Summary:
National news headlines are dominated today with reports that President Trump stated he was willing to be interviewed the special counsel investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, and reports of massive manhunt underway for two suspects in Thornton, Colorado, following that shooting of a police officer late Wednesday. The New York Times reports that President Trump called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over Turkey's recent attacks against U.S. backed Kurdish militias. According to the White House, President Trump "urged Turkey to exercise caution and to avoid any actions that might risk conflict between Turkish and American forces." According to Reuters, Hanoi's defense ministry announced that the United States will send an aircraft carrier to Vietnam. The announcement came during a two-day visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.  A panel of military experts and leaders urged lawmakers Wednesday to revamp an outdated officer promotion system that has plagued recruiting and retention efforts, reports Stars and Stripes.  "We are in a war for talent. The propensity to serve is declining amidst an improving economy and it's adversely impacting both recruiting and retention," said Vice Adm. Robert P. Burke said. "Sailors leaving the Navy continue to express frustration with the industrial-age personnel systems and inflexible and complex personnel processes."
A couple of articles from Team Naval History,
(CNN 20 JAN 18)…James Griffiths

"This is it, they're taking us out here to kill us," Stu Russell thought as he trudged through the snow in the middle of the night into a dark forest.
(POPULAR MECHANICS 22 JAN 18)…John McCain & Mort Schultz

The 1967 fire aboard USS Forrestal killed 134 sailors, and was one of several deadly fires on American aircraft carriers in this era. Sen. John McCain, then a Navy lieutenant commander on the Forrestal, remembers this horrific day at sea.
Sailor's Dying Wish...
Thanks to Hoser -
'No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.'- Ronald Reagan 
Every once in a while we find an email that's worth forwarding.  This is a keeper!  If you can read this without a tear or two you are doing better than I.  Its also gratifying to see a positive story these days about the Navy we loved.
Nice story about a WWII Destroyer Sailor!

A Sailor's Dying Wish.....

After signing my pop, EM2 Bud Cloud (circa Pearl Harbor ) up for hospice care, the consolation prize I'd given him(for agreeing it was OK to die) was a trip to "visit the Navy in San Diego ."
I emailed my friend and former Marine sergeant, Mrs. Mandy McCammon, who's currently serving as a Navy Public Affairs Officer, at midnight on 28 May. I asked Mandy if she had enough pull on any of the bases in San Diego to get me access for the day so I could give Bud, who served on USS Dewey (DD-349), a windshield tour.

The next day she sent me an email from the current USS Dewey (DDG 105)'s XO, CDR Mikael Rockstad, inviting us down to the ship two days later.

We linked up with Mandy outside Naval Base San Diego and carpooled to the pier where we were greeted by CMDCM Joe Grgetich and a squad-sized group of Sailors.
Bud started to cry before the doors of the van opened. He'd been oohing and pointing at the cyclic rate as we approached the pier, but when we slowed down and Mandy said, "They're all here for you, Bud," he was overwhelmed.

After we were all out of the van directly in front of the Dewey, shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries, Petty Officer Simon introduced himself and said as the ship's Sailor of the Year he had the honor of pushing Bud's wheelchair for the day. Unbeknownst to us, they'd decided to host Bud aboard the Dewey, not at the Dewey.
And so they carried him aboard. None of us expected him to go aboard the ship. I'd told him we were going down to the base and would have the chance to meet and greet a few of the Sailors from the new Dewey. He was ecstatic. The day before, he asked every few hours if we were "still going down to visit the boys from the Dewey," and "do they know I was on the Dewey, too?"

Once aboard, we were greeted by the CO, CDR Jake Douglas, the XO and a reinforced platoon-sized group of Sailors. To say it was overwhelming is an understatement. These men and women waited in line to introduce themselves to Bud. They shook his hand, asked for photos with him, and swapped stories. It was simply amazing.

They didn't just talk to him, they listened.

Bud's voice was little more than a weak whisper at this point and he'd tell a story and then GMC Eisman or GSCS Why not would repeat it so all of the Sailors on deck could hear. In the midst of the conversations, Petty Officer Flores broke contact with the group.

Bud was telling a story and CMDCM Grgetich was repeating the details when Flores walked back into view holding a huge photo of the original USS Dewey. That moment was priceless. Bud stopped mid-sentence and yelled, "There she is!" They patiently stood there holding the photo while he told them about her armament, described the way it listed after it was hit, and shared other details about the attacks on Pearl Harbor .

Bud finally admitted how tired he was after more than an hour on deck. While they were finishing up goodbyes and taking last minute photographs, GMC Eisman asked if it'd be OK to bring Sailors up to visit Bud in a few months after a Chief's board. I hadn't said it yet because I didn't want it to dampen the spirit of the day, but I quietly explained to GMC Eisman the reason we'd asked for the visit was simple: Bud was dying.

I told him they were welcome to come up any time they wanted, but I suspected Bud had about a month left to live. Almost without hesitation, he asked if the crew could provide the burial honors when the time came. I assured him that'd be an honor we'd welcome.

Leaving the ship was possibly more emotional than boarding.

They piped him ashore. CMDCM Grgetich leaned in and quietly told me how significant that honor was and who it's usually reserved for as we headed towards the gangplank.

Hearing "Electrician's Mate Second Class William Bud Cloud, Pearl Harbor Survivor, departing" announced over the 1MC was surreal.

Later that night Bud sat in his recliner, hands full of ship's coins and declared, "I don't care what you do with my power tools; you better promise you'll bury me with these."
He died 13 days later. For 12 of those 13 days he talked about the Dewey, her Sailors and his visit to San Diego . Everyone who came to the house had to hear the story, see the photos, hold the coins, read the plaques.

True to his word, GMC Eisman arranged the details for a full honors burial. The ceremony was simple yet magnificent. And a perfect sendoff for an ornery old guy who never, ever stopped being proud to be a Sailor. After the funeral, the Sailors came back to the house for the reception and spent an hour with the family. This may seem like a small detail, but it's another example of them going above and beyond the call of duty, and it meant more to the family than I can explain.

There are more photos, and I'm sure I missed a detail, or a name. What I didn't miss and will never forget, is how unbelievable the men and women of the USS Dewey were. They opened their ship and their hearts and quite literally made a dream come true for a dying Sailor.
They provided the backdrop for "This is the best day of my life, daughter. I never in my whole life dreamed I'd step foot on the Dewey again or shake the hand of a real life Sailor."

Without question, it's the best example of Semper Fidelis I've ever seen.

We can't all be heroes, some of us have to stand on the curb and clap as they go by ....Mark Twain
Item Number:1 Date: 01/25/2018 AFGHANISTAN - U.S. AIR FORCE DEPLOYS ADDITIONAL AIRCRAFT TO KANDAHAR TO BOLSTER FIGHT AGAINST TALIBAN (JAN 25/AFNS)  AIR FORCE NEWS SERVICE -- The U.S. Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT) has sent additional assets to Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan to support increased airpower requirements, reports the Air Force News Service.   The deployment of a U.S. Army Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB), a new strategic air campaign and ongoing Afghan security forces and counterterrorism operations require additional capabilities in the areas of close air support, personnel recovery and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.   The additional assets are being assigned to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, which is stationed at Bagram Airfield.   The 303rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., arrived on Jan. 19 to provide additional close-air support. The unit was previously slated to replace the A-10 strike aircraft operating out of Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.   AFCENT has also realigned MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles and HH-60G combat rescue helicopters to Kandahar, the service said
  Item Number:2 Date: 01/25/2018 BAHRAIN - UPGRADED AL MANAMA MISSILE CRAFT HANDED OVER (JAN 25/LEONARDO)  LEONARDO -- The Bahraini navy has taken delivery of an upgraded missile craft ahead of schedule, reports Italian defense firm Leonardo, which performed the modernization.   The Al Manama was handed over on Jan. 22 during a ceremony in Mina Salman, the company said.   The upgrades included a new weapon control system, training services and logistics.   Bahrain awarded Leonardo a contract to modernize six naval vessels in 2015.  
Item Number:3 Date: 01/25/2018 BURMA - FORMER U.S. DIPLOMAT ADVISING ON ROHINGYA CRISIS QUITS (JAN 25/REU)  REUTERS -- A former U.S. diplomat has resigned from an international panel set up by Burma (Myanmar) to advise on the ongoing Rohingya crisis in the country's west, reports Reuters.   On Wednesday, Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, accused the Burmese government of setting up the panel to "whitewash" atrocities carried out by the armed forces.   Richardson also said Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's civilian leader, lacked "moral leadership" for failing to address allegations of abuse by the Burmese armed forces.   The Advisory Board for the Committee for Implementation of the Recommendations on Rakhine State was set up by Burma last year, on the heels of an earlier commission headed by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.   Richardson alleged that the committee is not seeking to implement suggestions but functions as a "cheerleader" for the government.   A U.S. State Department spokeswoman said Richardson's decision to resign was a "cause for concern," but noted he had been acting as a private citizen when he joined the board.   Burma's armed forces have been accused of massive, systematic abuses in its campaign against armed Muslim militants in the country's western Rakhine state. More than 688,000 Rohingya have fled the crackdown since it began in August.  
  Item Number:4 Date: 01/25/2018 CHINA - BEIJING TOUTS STEALTH-DETECTION CAPABILITIES OF NEW NAVAL AIRBORNE WARNING PLANE (JAN 25/SCMP)  SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST -- Chinese state media have confirmed for the first time that the military is developing a new early warning aircraft designed to be launched from aircraft carriers, reports the South China Morning Post.   The KJ-600 will be equipped with an advanced electronically scanned array radar that can detect stealth aircraft, such as the U.S. F-22 and F-35, said Chinese military experts.   The aircraft may also serve as an airborne command post.   The KJ-600 will fill a major capability gap with the U.S. and enhance the combat effectiveness of Chinese carrier battle groups, analysts said.   The plane is expected to be fielded with China's third aircraft carrier, currently under construction, which will be fitted with an advanced electromagnetic launch system.   China's first two carriers are fitted with ski jump launch systems, limiting the types of aircraft that can be operated from them
  Item Number:5 Date: 01/25/2018 FRANCE - MORE BILATERAL DEFENSE COOPERATION ANTICIPATED WITH ESTONIA (JAN 25/BNS)  BALTIC NEWS SERVICE -- The defense ministers of France and Estonia have been discussing bilateral cooperation in Lille in northern France, reports the Baltic News Service.   French Defense Minister Florence Parly and her Estonian counterpart, Juri Luik, also discussed the upcoming French participation in NATO's Baltic air-policing mission at Amari airbase in Estonia, as well as plans to deploy a French army unit to Estonia in 2019.   The agenda included the potential deployment of an Estonian platoon-sized infantry unit to the French-led Operation Barkhane counterinsurgency mission in the Sahel.   Cyber defense issues were also discussed.  
 Item Number:6 Date: 01/25/2018 INDIA - CONTRACT TALKS FOR S-400 AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS STALL (JAN 25/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- Indian efforts to buy advanced air defense systems from Russia have foundered on cost disputes, reports Defense News.   An official in the Indian Ministry of Defense said negotiations for the purchase of the S-400 Triumf air defense system had stalled over issues of price, training, service support and technology transfer for the missiles.   Russia is demanding US$5.5 billion, along with a high training fee and no promise of technology transfer, the official said. Issues including services and spare parts also remained unaddressed.   India does not anticipate signing a deal soon, said another official, adding that the final price tag must be less than US$4.5 billion.   The deal must abide by the country's "Made in India" economic policy, including the domestic manufacture of spare parts, guided missiles and lifetime service support, ministry officials said.   India and Russia signed an agreement on the sale of the S-400 systems in October 2016, noted the newspaper. India's procurement body approved the purchase of five S-400s in December 2015 at a cost of US$4.5 billion
Item Number:7 Date: 01/25/2018 INDONESIA - MATTIS PLEDGES TO LIFT SANCTIONS ON SPECIAL OPS GROUP DURING VISIT (JAN 25/ANTARANA)  ANTARA NEWS AGENCY -- U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has agreed to try and lift sanctions on Indonesia's special forces group (Kopasus), according to Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu, as cited by Antara News, Indonesia's national news agency.   Ryacudu met with Mattis on Tuesday in Jakarta. The agenda focused on areas where bilateral military and counterterrorism cooperation could be expanded, reported the Voice of America News.   The U.S. initially imposed sanctions on Kopasus following allegations of human-rights abuses by the unit in Aceh, Papua and East Timor in the 1990s. A prohibition on contact with the U.S. military was lifted in 2010.   However, the special operations unit is still forbidden from visiting the United States for training, Ryacudu said.   The U.S. will also help implement trilateral maritime patrols in the Sulu Sea involving Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, he said. Such patrols are necessary to monitor extremist and armed groups operating in the region.  
  Item Number:8 Date: 01/25/2018 IRAN - INTELLIGENCE SERVICES ACCUSE SAUDI ARABIA OF SMUGGLING WEAPONS TO TERRORISTS (JAN 25/TASNIM)  TASNIM NEWS AGENCY -- The Iranian Intelligence Ministry says it has seized two major caches of explosives and ammunition, reports the Tasnim News Agency (Iran).   In a statement Wednesday, the ministry accused Saudi Arabia's intelligence services of smuggling in the weapons, saying they were to be used to launch terrorist attacks inside Iran.   In the nation's east, security forces said they found 23 remote-controlled bombs.   In Marivan, located in the western, mostly Kurdish, province of Kordestan, intelligence officials said they recovered explosives, bomb-making equipment, detonators, grenades, rocket-propelled grenades, small arms and ammunition. Officials said the weaponry belonged to a group operating within Iraq's Kurdistan region.   Riyadh did not immediately comment on the accusations, reported Reuters.  
 Item Number:9 Date: 01/25/2018 LEBANON - U.S. TREASURY OFFICIAL CALLS FOR BEIRUT TO CUT HEZBOLLAH OFF FROM FINANCIAL SYSTEM (JAN 25/HILL)  THE HILL -- A U.S. Treasury official has urged Lebanon to end Hezbollah's access to the country's financial system, reports the Hill (Washington, D.C.).   On Tuesday, Marshall Billingslea, the assistant treasury secretary for terrorist financing, concluded a two-day visit to Lebanon.   Billingslea "urged Lebanon to take every possible measure to ensure Hezbollah is not part of the financial sector," according to a U.S. Embassy statement.   The visit included meetings with President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri in which they discussed "Hezbollah's terrorist and trafficking activities."   Billingslea also discussed fighting all forms of illicit finance with Lebanese authorities and financial institutions. Earlier in January, the U.S. Dept. Of Justice announced it would create a "financing and narcoterrorism team" to investigate Hezbollah's role in drug-trafficking and individuals and organizations that financially support the group.   Hezbollah has denied any role in drug-trafficking operations.   Hariri is considered to be a Saudi ally and Hezbollah opponent. Aoun is closer to the group.   Hezbollah is listed as a terrorist group by Washington. Lebanon has strong ties with the U.S., but Hezbollah's political party is a major force in the country
  Item Number:10 Date: 01/25/2018 PAKISTAN - FOREIGN OFFICE CONDEMNS U.S. AIRSTRIKE IN KURRAM AGENCY (JAN 25/DAWN)  DAWN -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Pakistan has condemned a U.S. drone strike in in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in the northern part of the country that killed a Haqqani Network commander, reports Dawn (Pakistan).   The drone strike on Wednesday allegedly killed Haqqani Network commander Ehsan alias Khawari and two of his companions inside a house in Kurram Agency.   Local officials said the building belonged to Afghan refugees. Unnamed sources disagreed with these official accounts, saying the building was inhabited by Haqqani Network fighters.   The Pakistani Foreign Office issued a statement condemning the strike, saying the Americans had targeted an Afghan refugee camp without informing Islamabad.   "Pakistan has continued to emphasize to the U.S. the importance of sharing actionable intelligence so that appropriate action is taken against terrorists by our forces within our territory," read part of the statement.   This was the first U.S. drone strike inside Pakistan's territory in 19 months, the Foreign Office said. Such unilateral actions are detrimental to bilateral cooperation between the two countries, said the office.   Earlier this year, the U.S. suspended part of a military aid package to Pakistan, saying Islamabad needed to take more concrete steps to address extremism and terror within its borders. Pakistan rejected the characterization, arguing they have been among Washington's most committed partners in the fight against terrorism
Item Number:11 Date: 01/25/2018 QATAR - S-400 AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM DEAL IN THE WORKS WITH RUSSIA (JAN 25/TASS)  TASS -- The Qatari government is seeking to buy advanced air defense systems from Russia, reports Russia's Tass news agency.   Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, the Qatari ambassador to Russia, told Tass that negotiations for S-400 Triumf air defense systems were in an advanced stage.   Qatar was also seeking to buy new equipment for its land forces, he said.   During Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu's visit to Doha in October, the parties signed an agreement on military-technical cooperation, the ambassador noted. The two countries will also have military attaches in their respective embassies, he said.   The move will enable a greater exchange of defense technology, joint training and intelligence cooperation, said Attiyah.   Tensions have been high in the Gulf since June, when Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar and imposed sanctions and border restrictions. All parties have made high-profile weapons purchases since the event.  
Item Number:12 Date: 01/25/2018 SPAIN - AIR FORCE ACCEPTS UPGRADED EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON FIGHTERS (JAN 25/ADAS)  AIRBUS DEFENCE AND SPACE -- The Spanish air force has received its first two Eurofighter Typhoon jets in the latest operational configuration, reports the manufacturer, Airbus Defense and Space.   The jets were manufactured in the Phase 1 Enhanced Further Work (P1Eb FW) configuration, which offers enhanced air-to-surface capabilities, improved targeting and other improvements.   The same configuration is being retrofitted to in-service aircraft by other Typhoon operators, Airbus said.   The last six of the 73 Typhoons ordered by Spain will be delivered in the same configuration in 2018 and 2019.  
Item Number:13 Date: 01/25/2018 TURKEY - ERDOGAN DISPUTES CONTENTS OF PHONE CALL WITH TRUMP AS AFRIN OPERATION CONTINUES (JAN 25/WP)  WASHINGTON POST -- The Turkish government has denied that U.S. President Donald Trump warned President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to de-escalate its operation near Afrin in northern Syria, reports the Washington Post.   The leaders spoke Wednesday evening in a conversation that the White House said relayed concerns that escalating violence in Afrin "risks undercutting our shared goals in Syria."   In a statement to journalists, Turkish officials denied that Trump expressed concerns about escalating violence.   The conversation came shortly after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Erdogan announced that Turkey planned to expand its operation in northern Syria to Manbij, a Kurdish-held region in eastern Aleppo province.   Trump urged Erdogan to restrict the operation near Afrin to a certain time limit and avoid close combat in Manbij, according to unnamed sources cited by the Hurriyet Daily News (Istanbul).   Erdogan emphasized that the Kurdish People's Protection units (YPG) must withdraw to east of the Euphrates River and vowed to protect Manbij with the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army from future ISIS threats.   Unlike Afrin, the current target of Operation Olive Branch, Manbij is home to U.S. special operations forces who are advising Kurdish allies in the country. They were deployed in March to deter fighting between rebel groups backed by the U.S. and Turkey, noted Reuters.   Turkey announced Operation Olive Branch on Saturday. The aim, officials said, is to clear a 30-km (19-mile) buffer zone along the Turkish border of "terrorists" and occupy the area with Syrian rebels friendly to Ankara.   The operation was spurred by a U.S. announcement of an intended border force along the Syrian-Turkish frontier composed mostly of Kurdish fighters loyal to the U.S. Ankara does not distinguish between Syrian Kurdish militants and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a secessionist terrorist group
Item Number:14 Date: 01/25/2018 USA - AIR FORCE SET TO IMPLEMENT JOB-SPECIFIC PT TESTS (JAN 25/AFT)  AIR FORCE TIMES -- The U.S. Air Force is preparing to roll out new job specific physical training tests, reports the Air Force Times.   The service is currently finalizing a new test for tactical air control party (TACP) airmen. The new fitness tests are designed to evaluate how well TACP airmen and air liaison officers can perform the physical tasks demanded by their jobs.   The new test is expected to go into effect starting in 2019. Other physically active career fields are expected to follow with their own specific standards.   The Air Force is in the process of finalizing job-specific standards for combat rescue officers and pararescuemen, said Neil Baumgartner, the head of the service's exercise science unit.   New standards are also being developed for explosive ordinance disposal airmen.   The goal is for those three jobs to have established at least prototypes of the new tests by the end of 2018, said Baumgartner.   Other jobs that are anticipated to have new tests in the future include special tactics officers, combat controllers and special operations weather.   Similar standards are being considered for jobs such as firefighting, security forces, survival, evasion, resistance and escape (SERE), loadmasters, engineers and others
  Item Number:15 Date: 01/25/2018 USA - F-35 STILL STRUGGLES WITH RELIABILITY, SAYS PENTAGON'S TOP TESTER (JAN 25/BLOOMBERG)  BLOOMBERG NEWS -- The head of the Pentagon's operational testing office says efforts to boost the reliability of the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter have stagnated, reports Bloomberg News.   The fighter's availability remains "around 50 percent, a condition that has existed with no significant improvement since October 2014, despite the increasing number of aircraft," Robert Behler, the director of operational testing, said in an annual report delivered on Jan. 23 to senior Pentagon leaders and congressional committees.   The reliability issue has persisted in part because aircraft have been parked over the last year awaiting spare parts from the contractor, the report says.   The F-35 program is scheduled to end its 16-year development phase in 2018. In September, it is slated to proceed to operational testing for about a year. The combat testing, already 12 months behind schedule, is required before a full-rate production decision can be made.   Other issues noted by the report include difficulties with the electro-optical targeting system and problems in launching air-to-air missiles and GPS-guided air-to-ground weapons during testing.   The final version of the F-35's software has gone through 31 iterations and has not yet been deployed due to "key remaining deficiencies," according to the study.  
  Item Number:16 Date: 01/25/2018 VIETNAM - U.S. NAVY SET TO SEND AIRCRAFT CARRIER TO VISIT DANANG (JAN 25/REU)  REUTERS -- For first time since the end of the Vietnam War, the U.S. is ready send an aircraft carrier to a Vietnamese port, reports Reuters.   Nguyen Phu Trong, the general secretary of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam, and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced the decision on Thursday.   The Vietnamese Defense Ministry is currently seeking approval for the event from the nation's political leaders, said a Pentagon spokesman. The announcement is the fruit of months of backroom military diplomacy between Hanoi and the Pentagon, said diplomats cited by Reuters.   The arrival of the carrier in March would represent the largest U.S. military presence in Vietnam since the war ended in 1975, noted the New York Times.   Mattis was in Vietnam as part of a two-day tour to discuss joint concerns over China's role in the region.   The carrier is expected to dock in the central city of Danang.   The presence of a U.S. carrier is intended to ease concerns about China's increasingly assertive behavior in the South China Sea. Vietnam has been particularly vocal in countering Chinese claims.

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