Friday, February 16, 2018

Fw: TheList 4656

The List 4656

To All
A bit of history and some tidbits
This Day In Naval History – February 14, 2018
Feb. 14
1778—Continental ship, Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones, receives the first official salute to a U.S. Stars and Stripes flag by a foreign government (the French fleet) at Quiberon, France.
1813—The frigate Essex, commanded by Capt. David Porter, becomes the first U.S. Navy warship to round Cape Horn and enter the Pacific Ocean.
1814—The frigate Constitution, commanded by Capt. Charles Stewart, captures the British Lovely Ann off Guiana, the first of four during a five-day period.
1840 - Officers from USS Vincennes make first landing in Antarctica on floating ice
1945—USS Gato (SS 212) sinks Japanese Coast Defense Vessel No.9 in the Yellow Sea and USS Hawkbill (SS 366) sinks Japanese auxiliary submarine chasers Cha 4 and Cha 114 in the Java Sea.
1945—Water Tender Second Class Elmer C. Bigelow heroically fights a blaze after USS Fletcher (DD 445) is hit by enemy shelling. Bigelow dies the next day from his injuries. He is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity." USS Bigelow (DD 942) is named in his honor in 1957.
On this day in history (February 14,):
1876: Inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray applied separately
for patents related to the telephone. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually
ruled Bell the rightful inventor.
1929: The "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" took place in Chicago. Seven
gangsters who were rivals of Al Capone were killed.
1946: ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) was unveiled.
The device, built at the University of Pennsylvania, was the world's first
general purpose electronic computer.
And today is:
National Cream Filled Chocolates Day
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
National headlines include a second federal judge blocking the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program Tuesday; the sentencing of a New Jersey man to life in prison for planting bombs in Manhattan in September 2016; and American snowboarder Shaun White winning his third gold medal in the halfpipe.  Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, commander of Allied Joint Force Command and U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa Adm. James Foggo stated that the Eastern Mediterranean is becoming "one of the most kinetic areas in the world" reports USNI News. Foggo argued that the Navy needs a "more forward presence" in the Mediterranean to respond to increased Russian and Chinese activity in the region. highlights that the LCS's first over-the-horizon missiles are included in the FY 2019 budget request. The budget request contains $18 million to buy the launch systems for the missile, which has yet to be chosen, in addition to 8 OTH missiles. Additionally, the Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. and Russian officials confirmed that a U.S. airstrike on pro-regime forces in Syria last week killed Russian contractors.
February 14
Happy Valentine's Day! Today is St. Valentine's Day, the feast day of two Christian martyrs named Valentine: one a priest and physician, the other the Bishop of Terni. Both are purported to have been beheaded on this day. The custom of sending handmade 'valentines' to one's beloved became popular during the 17th century and was first commercialized in the United States in the 1840s. 
2,000 Jews are burned at the stake in Strasbourg, Germany.
The deposed Richard II is murdered in Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire.
Maximilian II, brother of the Emperor Charles V, is recognized as the future king of Bohemia.
American Loyalists are defeated by Patriots at Kettle Creek, Ga.
The Spanish fleet is destroyed by the British under Admiral Jervis (with Nelson in support) at the battle of Cape St. Vincent, off Portugal.
James Polk becomes the first U.S. President to be photographed in office by Matthew Brady.
Oregon is admitted as the thirty-third state.
Esther Morris becomes the world's first female justice of the peace.
Rival inventors Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell both apply for patents for the telephone.
General Roberts invades South Africa's Orange Free State with 20,000 British troops.
The "Missouri Kid" is captured in Kansas.
Arizona becomes the 48th state in the Union.
Kaiser Wilhelm II invites the U.S. Ambassador to Berlin in order to confer on the war.
Warsaw demonstrators protest the transfer of Polish territory to the Ukraine.
The League of Women Voters is formed in Chicago in celebration of the imminent ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.
Thomas Watson founds International Business Machines Corp.
Chicago gang war between Al Capone and George "Bugs" Moran culminates with several Moran confederates being gunned down in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
Germany launches the battleship Bismarck.
Britain announces that all merchant ships will be armed.
Japanese paratroopers attack Sumatra. Aidan MacCarthy's RAF unit flew to Palembang, in eastern Sumatra, where 30 Royal Australian Air Force Lockheed A-28 Hudson bombers were waiting.
800 Allied aircraft firebomb the German city of Dresden. Smaller followup bombing raids last until April with a total death toll of between 35,000 to 130,000 civilians.
The siege of Budapest ends as the Soviets take the city. Only 785 German and Hungarian soldiers managed to escape.
The United States charges the Soviet Union with interning up to 14 million in labor camps.
A Jewish couple loses their fight to adopt Catholic twins as the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to rule on state law.
The Georgia state senate outlaws interracial athletics.
Malcolm X's home is firebombed. No injuries are reported.
Moscow publicizes a new five-year plan geared to expanding consumer production.
The United States and Hanoi set up a group to channel reconstruction aid directly to Hanoi.
Armed guerrillas attack the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
Vietnamese troops surround the main Khmer Rouge base at Phnom Malai.
Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini charges that Salman Rushdie's novel, The Satanic Verses, is blasphemous and issues an edict (fatwa) calling on Muslims to kill Rushdie.
A History of Valentine's Day  ( one of many)
     The lover's holiday has its beginnings in the 4th century B.C. in Rome. The Romans held an annual lottery wherein young men would draw a young woman's name from a box. The couple would be assigned to each other the entire year for entertainment and pleasure. (Now, I can see where this could be real dangerous!) This celebration, traditionally held on February 15, also included banquets, dancing and foot races run in the nude.
      Around A.D. 496, early church fathers sought an end to the pagan practice, but knew better than to upset the citizens by removing the lottery completely. Instead, they had teenagers pull the names of saints from the box. The teen was supposed to spend the year emulating that saint's life as much as possible, which was probably not as much fun as naked marathons. (Right! It's no wonder they fed Christians to the lions!) St. Valentine was chosen as the patron saint of the new event, and young Roman men resorted to courting females by sending handwritten notes delivered on February 14.
Military Milestones from Old Ironsides to Fortress Corregidor by  W. Thomas Smith Jr.
This Week in American Military History:
Feb. 14, 1778:  The Continental sloop-of-war Ranger (the first of 10 so-named American warships) under the command of Capt. John Paul Jones fires a 13-gun salute to French Adm. Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte's fleet anchored in France's Quiberon Bay. The French return the salute with nine guns. It is the first time America's new flag – "the stars and stripes" – is officially recognized by a foreign power.
Feb. 14, 1814:  The American frigate USS Constitution captures Lovely Ann, a British armed merchant vessel, and HMS Pictou, a Royal Navy schooner, within hours of each other.
Constitution (known affectionately as "Old Ironsides") is the oldest ship in the American Navy. Launched in 1797, she serves today as a duly commissioned ship crewed by active-duty U.S. sailors and Naval officers in order to further public awareness of American Naval tradition.
Feb. 14, 1912:  USS E-1 (SS-24), the U.S. Navy's first diesel-powered submarine, is commissioned in Groton, Connecticut. The sub is skippered by an almost 27-year-old Lt. Chester W. Nimitz, destined to become the famous five-star fleet admiral of World War II.
Feb. 14, 1968:  As the bloody Battle of Hue rages (part of the broader Vietnamese TET Offensive), Capt. Myron Harrington and his Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines prepare to assault the city's Citadel with its commanding Dong Ba tower.
Harrington is ordered to attack, to which he responds simply, "aye aye, sir." Harrington's Marines take the tower and other objectives in fierce fighting. Harrington will receive the Navy Cross for "extraordinary heroism" in an action on the 23rd, and ultimately rise to the rank of colonel.
In a PBS documentary Harrington recalls:
"Throughout all of this, you constantly had this fear. Not so much that you were going to die, because I think to a certain degree that was a given.
This was combined with the semi-darkness type of environment that we were fighting in because of the low overcast – the fact that we didn't see the sun – gave it a very eerie, spooky look. You had this utter devastation all around you. You had this horrible smell. I mean you just cannot describe the smell of death especially when you're looking at it a couple of weeks along. It's horrible. It was there when you ate your rations. It was almost like you were eating death. You couldn't escape it."
Feb. 15, 1898:  A terrific explosion rips through the bow of USS Maine anchored in Havana Harbor, Cuba. Almost everyone in the forward third of the vessel is instantly killed. Black smoke and seawater begin pouring into the remaining spaces. The dying ship, its bulkheads groaning under the stress of collapse, is then rocked by a series of jarring secondary explosions. Capt. Charles Sigsbee, the Maine's skipper, orders "Abandon ship!" Within minutes, 260 U.S. sailors and Marines are dead.
Convinced that the explosion (the cause of which is still being debated) is the result of a mine or the work of Spanish saboteurs, American newspapers will demand vengeance. America will soon be at war with Spain.
Maine is the first of three so-named American battleships and one submarine.
Feb 16, 1804: U.S. Navy Lt. (future commodore) Stephen Decatur sails a captured Tripolitan ketch he renames USS Intrepid into the harbor at Tripoli. There, Decatur and a volunteer force of sailors and Marines board the frigate USS Philadelphia (the second of six so-named American warships), which had been previously captured by Tripolitan pirates. After a brief but violent close-quarters struggle – in which several pirates but no Americans are killed – Decatur orders the Philadelphia burned.
In time, Decatur will be referred to as "America's Lord Nelson," an affectionate comparison to Britain's legendary Admiral Horatio Nelson. In fact, when Nelson himself learns of Decatur's action at Tripoli, he says it is "the most bold and daring act of the age." And contemporary British historian John Keegan will describe Decatur as "the most dashing of the frigate captains whom the Corsair and 1812 Wars produced."
Destined to be killed in a duel with fellow Naval officer Commodore James Barron in 1820, Decatur is author of the famous aphorism, "Our country, right or wrong."
Decatur has had five American warships and numerous American towns and counties named in his honor.
Feb 16, 1945:  American paratroopers – members of the U.S. Army's famed 503rd Regimental Combat Team – jump over the Philippines' "fortress Corregidor" (also known as "the Rock") in one of the most difficult airborne operations of the war. Jumping in relatively high winds, the paratroopers hit the ground hard, fighting Japanese soldiers who had been ordered to fight to the death. For the next 11 days, the Americans will root out the enemy (deeply burrowed in a labyrinth of caves and tunnels) and beat back multiple banzai attacks before wiping out almost all of the 6,500-man enemy garrison.
Feb. 17, 1864:  The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley – a pioneering vessel designed to help break the Union Navy's blockade of Southern ports – sinks the Federal sloop-of-war USS Housatonic in Charleston (S.C.) harbor, becoming the first submarine in history to sink an enemy warship in action.
It is a pyrrhic victory however: the submarine also sinking – either with its victim or soon after the attack – with the loss of all hands.
The submarine is named for its designer and builder, Tennessee-born engineer Horace Lawson Hunley, who incidentally was killed during one of the submarine's test dives.
Feb. 17, 1865:  Exactly one year to the day after Hunley's famous attack in South Carolina waters, S.C.'s capital, Columbia – site of the first secession convention – falls to Union Army forces under the command of Maj.
Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman. Columbia is subsequently burned. Both sides blame the other for the destruction of the city, fueling a controversy that continues into the 21st century. Sherman will withdraw from Columbia within three days, and continue his march up through the Palmetto state. He will write in his memoirs, "Having utterly ruined Columbia, the right wing [of the army] began its march northward toward Winnsboro."
Feb. 18, 1944:  U.S. Marines land and quickly capture Engebi island, the first obstacle to seizing Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshalls. The following day, U.S. Army forces strike Eniwetok – a tougher fight – and soldiers and Marines seize the island in three days.
Feb. 19, 1945:  One year after the Eniwetok landings, the first two of three dispatched U.S. Marine divisions begin hitting the beach on day-one of the epic battle for Iwo Jima (one of the great U.S. Marine Corps victories which we will expound on over the coming weeks). Described as "throwing human flesh against reinforced concrete," the battle is best remembered by the dramatic photograph of the flag-raising on Mt. Suribachi and the 27 Medals of Honor awarded. But it will not be without great cost:
Of the 21,000 Japanese diehards defending Iwo, some 20,800 will be killed.
Almost 7,000 Marines will lose their lives. Another 26,000 will be wounded.
Aside from Marine losses, a handful of casualties will be suffered among the ranks of U.S. Army, Navy, and Coast Guard personnel who also were there.
Feb. 20, 1944:  U.S. Army Air Forces and Britain's Royal Air Force begin Operation Argument – also known as "Big Week" – a massive thousand-plus bomber offensive (with all of the bombers' supporting fighter aircraft) aimed at destroying the German Air Force in the air and the Luftwaffe manufacturing facilities on the ground in order to achieve irreversible air superiority before the Normandy landings. Allied losses will be high.
German losses will be staggering.
Feb. 20, 1962:  U.S. Marine Lt. Col. (future colonel) and two-war fighter pilot John H. Glenn Jr. becomes the first American to orbit Earth. Glenn orbits Earth three times in less than five hours in his spacecraft, Friendship 7.
Glenn will become a U.S. senator in 1974. In 1998, at the age of 77, he will return to space (becoming the oldest human in space) aboard Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-95) commanded and piloted respectively by U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonels Curtis L. Brown and Steven W. Lindsey.
With our thanks to THE Bear at
February 14, 2018   Bear Taylor  
RIPPLE SALVO… #711… "… SEVENTH AIR FORCE used a rare day of clear weather–14 February 1968–to attack Hanoi's Canal Bridge, one of the targets President Johnson had again released only a week earlier. Since the bridge raids of December, the Canal Bridge had returned to operation, while the Doumer Bridge over the Red River was still down. Late in the afternoon, strike forces from Takhli and Korat converged on the bridge from opposite directions. Sixteen bomb-laden F-105s from the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhli came down Thud Ridge from the west, with eight F-105 escorts to threaten the SAM sites and eight F-4s to guard against MiGs. A similar force escorted a like number of F-105s from the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat as they penetrated North Vietnam from the Gulf of Tonkin. Although the two wings dropped forty-eight 2,000 pound and 3,000-pound bombs, only one hit hit the bridge, and three days later trains were using it. An escort F-105 from Korat was lost to a SAM and the Pilot ROBERT M. ELLIOTT was never seen again."… (His remains were returned in 1988 and identified for burial in Arlington in 1999 where he rests 50 years after he gave his all for our country.)… ("To Hanoi and Back," Wayne Thompson, page 128) More on this strike from the Red River Rats who flew it in RS below… but first…
Watch: Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Shoots Down Iranian Drone
Interesting video footage of an Israeli attack helicopter shooting down an Iranian drone that entered their airspace. According to the Israeli military, the confrontation began with the drone entering Israeli View More ›
Thanks to Dick
Olympic Drone Show
If you're not already into drones, this display was totally mind-boggling.
I would like to see more about the launch, how the designs are programmed, how do they each know where to go and do they return to their individual launch locations.
Item Number:1 Date: 02/14/2018 BURMA - 2 MORE ARMED GROUPS SIGN CEASE-FIRE WITH GOVERNMENT (FEB 14/DVB)  DEMOCRATIC VOICE OF BURMA -- Two ethnic armed groups have signed a nationwide cease-fire agreement with the government in Burma (Myanmar), reports the Democratic Voice of Burma.   The New Mon State Party (NMSP) and Lahu Democratic Union (LDU) signed the agreement on Tuesday in the capital, Naypyidaw, with Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese state counsellor, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief of the Burmese armed forces, and both vice presidents, Henry Van Thio and Myint Swe.   The agreement by the two groups is one of the largest breakthroughs in the Burmese peace process since Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy came to power in 2016.   There are still 10 other ethnic armed groups that have yet to sign the cease-fire accord. Eight groups had signed on prior to the NLD's election, noted Agence France-Presse.   The NMSP and LDU have not fought with the government for some time, but were part of a bloc of armed ethnic groups that refused to sign the accord with the previous military government.  
  Item Number:2 Date: 02/14/2018 CHINA - TIANYING STEALTH DRONE MAKES 1ST FLIGHT (FEB 14/PDO)  PEOPLES DAILY ONLINE -- The China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. (CASIC) says it has conducted the first flight of a new stealthy, long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle, reports the People's Daily Online.   The Tianying has successfully completed three test flights, four years after the program began, CASIC said on the Chinese WeChat social media site.   The drone features the latest technology, the company said without providing further details.   China has been developing stealthy UAVs since 2013, when it first flew the Sharp Sword drone.  
Item Number:4 Date: 02/14/2018 GREECE - COAST GUARD BOAT RAMMED BY TURKISH PATROL VESSEL OFF DISPUTED IMIA ISLETS (FEB 14/KATH)  KATHIMERINI -- A Turkish patrol boat has reportedly rammed a Greek coast guard vessel that was anchored off the island of Imia in the Aegean Sea, reports the Kathimerini (Athens) newspaper.   There were no injuries in the incident early Monday morning and the Greek boat suffered minor damage to its stern, officials said.   The Greek Foreign Ministry on Tuesday summoned the Turkish ambassador over the tensions in the region, reported the Daily Sabah (Istanbul).   Turkey disputes the sovereignty of the Imia islets, which it calls the Kardaks.   Ankara rejected the Greek diplomatic protest. Turkish officials said the two coast guard vessels collided.   Tensions increased on Feb. 10 when Turkish warships prevented an Italian oil rig from reaching a natural gas exploration zone unilaterally declared by the Greek Cypriot government.   Turkey opposes drilling in the region ahead of a permanent solution to the Cyprus crisis.  
  Item Number:5 Date: 02/14/2018 INDIA - MILITARY GAINS ACCESS TO DUQM PORT IN OMAN (FEB 14/INDEX)  INDIAN EXPRESS -- The Indian military has secured access to the port in Duqm on the southeastern coast of Oman on the Arabian Sea, reports the Indian Express.   The move is part of India's maritime strategy to counter Chinese influence and activities in the region.   Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed an annex to the memorandum of understanding on military cooperation with Oman during a visit to the country earlier this week.   Under the new agreement, port and dry dock services in Duqm will be made available for Indian naval vessels, said unnamed sources.   India has stepped up its activities in Duqm recently, including sending a Shishumar-class submarine, the destroyer Mumbai and two P-8I maritime patrol aircraft to the port in September 2017.   Oman signed a similar agreement with the British Royal Navy in August 2017.  
Item Number:7 Date: 02/14/2018 ISRAEL - EVIDENCE SUFFICIENT TO BRING CHARGES AGAINST P.M. IN CORRUPTION CASE, SAY POLICE (FEB 14/JP)  JERUSALEM POST -- Israeli police have announced that there is sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reports the Jerusalem Post.   Police said on Tuesday that investigations had uncovered sufficient evidence to indict Netanyahu on charges of bribery and breach of trust in two alleged corruption cases.   Netanyahu is accused of receiving lavish gifts from an Israeli Hollywood producer and an Australian casino mogul. In return Netanyahu facilitated visa services, said police.   In another case, Netanyahu conspired with a newspaper owner to take down a rival in return for favorable coverage.   His wife and son have been accused of corruption as well.   The prime minister has denied all the charges and claims he has always acted in the interest of Israel. Members of his political coalition denounced the police recommendations, reported Bloomberg News.   The public prosecutor has yet to announce if charges will be brought against Netanyahu. Education Minister Naftali Bennett, viewed as a potential rival, has said he will remain in Netanyahu's coaltion until such charges are announced, reported Times of Israel.  
  Item Number:9 Date: 02/14/2018 PAKISTAN - EFFORTS UNDERWAY TO PUT PAKISTAN ON TERROR FINANCING LIST (FEB 14/REU)  REUTERS -- The U.S. is trying to place Pakistan on a global terrorist-financing watchlist, say Pakistani officials cited by Reuters.   Pakistan has been working to avoid being added to the list of nations who are non-compliant with terrorist financing regulations with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international watchdog organization based in France.   The organization could adopt the measure in their meeting scheduled for next week.   Pakistan was on the list from 2012 to 2015.   The FATF has previously warned Pakistan that it could be put back on the list if it does not do more to stem the flow of funds to terror-linked groups.   The U.S. has increased pressure on Islamabad, accusing the government of not doing enough to tackle terrorist groups operating within its borders.   About US$2 billion in U.S. aid to Pakistan was suspended in January.  
  Item Number:10 Date: 02/14/2018 PAKISTAN - TTP DEPUTY KILLED IN DRONE STRIKE IN N. WAZIRISTAN (FEB 14/PAKTODAY)  PAKISTAN TODAY -- The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has confirmed the death of their deputy leader in a U.S. drone strike, reports Pakistan Today.   The TTP, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, said Monday that Khalid Mehsud, also known as Khan Said Sajna, was killed in a Feb. 8 drone strike.   The strike occurred in the Gorweck area of Pakistan's North Waziristan region, reported Reuters.   Mehsud was returning to Pakistan from the adjacent Afghan province of Khost when his vehicle was hit by drone-launched missiles, reported the Voice of America News.   In his absence, the Mehsud Halqa faction has appointed Mufti Noor Wali as acting leader.   Also called Ghar Starga, Wali has a reputation as a fighter with experience in Pakistan's urban areas, including the southern city of Karachi
Item Number:11 Date: 02/14/2018 PHILIPPINES - MANILA CANCELS ORDER FOR 16 BELL CHOPPERS AMID SCRUTINY FROM CANADA (FEB 14/MANILA)  MANILA TIMES -- The Philippines has cancelled a contract with Canada to purchase 16 Bell 412EPI medium-lift helicopters, reports the Manila Times.   Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte cancelled the US$233 million deal on Feb. 9 after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ordered a review of the sale.   Canada says it agreed to sell the Hueys if the Philippines only used them in evacuation and emergency situations.   On Feb. 8, the International Criminal Court revealed it had begun an initial inquiry into allegations of crimes against humanity committed by Duterte, noted the National Post (Toronto).   The government is considering China, Russia and South Korea as potential alternative suppliers
Item Number:12 Date: 02/14/2018 SYRIA - MACRON THREATENS AIRSTRIKES IF CHEMICAL WEAPONS USE PROVEN (FEB 14/BBC)  BRITISH BROADCASTING CORP. -- President Emmanuel Macron says France will launch airstrikes in Syria if claims of chemical weapons are proven true, reports the BBC.   French intelligence has yet to find evidence pointing to the use of banned chemical weapons, Macron said on Tuesday.   Until proof is found violating this "red line," the priority remains fighting terrorists, he said.   There have been numerous allegations lodged against the Syrian government in 2018, most recently in the town of Saraqeb, Idlib, on Feb. 5.   There have been several reports of suspected chlorine gas attacks in Syria this year.   Damascus has consistently denied using chemical weapons in the nearly seven-year war.   The country's backers have stymied U.N. investigations into the allegations.   The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons found that the Syrian government used sarin nerve gas in an April 2017 attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun.  
  Item Number:13 Date: 02/14/2018 SYRIA - RUSSIAN MERCENARIES AMONG THOSE KILLED IN FAILED ASSAULT ON SDF (FEB 14/BL)  BLOOMBERG -- Hundreds of mostly Russian mercenaries were among those killed in clashes between U.S.-backed forces and units loyal to the Syrian government, reports Bloomberg News.   More than 200 mercenaries were killed in the failed Deir Ezzor assault, said two Russian officials.   At the time, more than 100 fighters loyal to the Syrian government were reported killed. Statements from U.S. and Russian officials suggest the number was much higher.   A battalion-sized formation loyal to the government of Bashar al-Assad launched an attack on Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) positions in the eastern Deir Ezzor province.   The attack may have been a rogue operation. The Russian military says it had nothing to do with the attack.   U.S. forces, who were stationed with the SDF, responded with airstrikes and artillery fire. One SDF fighter was wounded. No members of the anti-ISIS coalition were killed.   Russia and Syria have called the presence of U.S. forces illegal. The U.S. says it is backing forces fighting the ISIS terrorist group.  
Item Number:14 Date: 02/14/2018 UKRAINE - ARMY MAKES GAINS IN DONBASS IN 2017 (FEB 14/INT-AVN)  INTERFAX-MILITARY NEWS AGENCY -- The Ukrainian army has made significant gains in its fight against Russian-backed separatists in the eastern Donbass region, according to Oleksandr Turchynov, the secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), as cited by Interfax-AVN (Russia).   "I am happy to say that 2016 and 2017 differed from preceding years, as we did not surrender a single meter of our land," Turchynov told the Hromadske internet television station.   In addition, some units have retaken 6 miles (10 km) or more of territory and improved their positions, he said.   Attempts by the militants to change the contact line have failed, said Turchynov
  Item Number:16 Date: 02/14/2018 USA - BAE SYSTEMS TO UPGRADE PHILIPPINE SEA CRUISER (FEB 14/BAE)  BAE SYSTEMS -- The U.S. Navy has awarded BAE Systems a contract to modernize a Ticonderoga-class cruiser, reports the defense firm.   The $9.6 million contract covers the upgrading of USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) at the BAE shipyard in Jacksonville, Fla.   The deal includes options that, if exercised, would bring the total value to about $72 million, said a BAE Systems release on Feb. 12.   Work on the ship is expected to begin in April and conclude in February 2019.

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