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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Fw: TheList 4660

The List 4660


To All
I hope that your week has started well
Regards,
Skip
This Day In Naval History – February 20, 2018
Feb. 20
1815—During a night engagement off Madeira, Africa, the frigate Constitution, commanded by Capt. Charles Stewart captures HMS Cyane and HMS Levant.
1942—While defending Lexington in a F4F "Wildcat" fighter, Lt. Edward H. "Butch" O'Hare repeatedly attacks nine Japanese bombers, shooting down five and damaging a sixth. O'Hare is meritoriously promoted to lieutenant commander in April 1942 and awarded the Medal of Honor.
1945—USS Pargo (SS 264) sinks Japanese destroyer Kokaze off Cape Varella, French Indochina, and survives counter-attack by destroyer Kamikaze, which had been steaming in company with Nokaze during the attack.
1962— - LCOL John Glenn, USMC becomes first American to orbit Earth. His flight in Friendship 7 (Mercury 6) consisted of 3 orbits of 88 minutes each at a velocity of 17,544 mph with the highest altitude of 162.2 statute miles. (thanks to Nice guy for clearing that up). Recovery was by USS Noa (DD-841).
1962—USS Dixie (AD 14) rescues a lone crewman aboard a sailing yawl adrift for four days.
1974—The S-3A Viking Anti-submarine aircraft is officially introduced and given to Anti-Submarine Squadron Forty-One (VS 41).
 
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
In National news headlines, media are reporting that High-school students are planning marches and school walkouts across the country as protesters on social media grow following the school shooting in Florida that left 17 dead, and that President Donald Trump yesterday endorsed former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's run for the U.S. Senate. CNN reports that a second Arleigh Burke-class destroyer entered the Black Sea on Saturday. USS Carney joined the USS Ross in order to "conduct maritime security operations" according to a statement by the US Navy's 6th Fleet. USNI News reports that the Navy Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke submitted a request to the office of the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness to increase tour lengths for forward-deployed naval forces. Increasing tour lengths is intended to reduce personnel turnover while building continuity and cohesion among units.  Additionally, Navy Times reports that the Navy planning to offer millions of dollars in incentives to add more than 25,000 new sailors to the fleet over the next five years.
 
 
February 20
1513
Pope Julius II dies. He will lay in rest in a huge tomb sculptured by Michelangelo.
1725
New Hampshire militiamen partake in the first recorded scalping of Indians by whites in North America.
1792
The U.S. Postal Service is created.
1809
The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the power of the federal government is greater than any individual state in the Union.
1831
Polish revolutionaries defeat the Russians in the Battle of Grochow.
1864
Confederate troops defeat a Union army sent to bring Florida into the union at the Battle of Olustee, Fla.
1900
J.F. Pickering patents his airship.
1906
Russian troops seize large portions of Mongolia.
1915
President Woodrow Wilson opens the Panama-Pacific Expo in San Francisco to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal.
1918
The Soviet Red Army seizes Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine.
1938
Hitler demands self-determination for Germans in Austria and Czechoslovakia.
1941
The United States sends war planes to the Pacific.
1942
Lt. Edward O'Hare downs five out of nine Japanese bombers that are attacking the carrier Lexington.
1943
German troops of the Afrika Korps break through the Kasserine Pass, defeating U.S. forces.
1954
The Ford Foundation gives a $25 million grant to the Fund for Advancement of Education.
1959
The FCC applies the equal time rule to TV newscasts of political candidates.
1962
Mercury astronaut John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth.
1963
Moscow offers to allow on-site inspection of nuclear testing.
1965
Ranger 8 hits the moon and sends back 7,000 photos to the United States.
1968
North Vietnamese army chief in Hue orders all looters to be shot on sight.
1971
Young people protest having to cut their long hair in Athens, Greece.
1982
Carnegie Hall in New York begins $20 million in renovations.
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Thanks to Mugs
The Mystery of Hanoi Hannah
An interesting read especially the line about her son at the end of the article.
 
 
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Thanks to Denny
NAVY O-5 Retention
-All who might care how things are going.  This is  sorta a summation of the buzz that we've been hearing out here in SD.  Anyone care to tell it as it really is?  As a JO back in the day I really felt like my senior officers really gave a shit about me, even while I was carpet dancing for them!....
 
 
Interesting times indeed.  Apologies in advance for the long reply - but our BoDs just spent considerable time on this & I thought I'd pass some things on to you.
Couple other items of note: 
 
- First female Helo pilot selected for CVN command (African American) this time around, she's not the 1st Helo CVN CO selected however;  Are they saying in the whole Navy there are not enough qualified fixed wing aviators to command 11 CVNs?  
            - Helo guys/ gals/ deckplates tell us she's a highly credible, TERRIFIC leader/ officer who well deserved this selection;
- First female (Flag Officer) Strike Group Commander selected this time around as well;
 
Not official, but deck plate pulses tell us the following:
- 3 Airwing Commanders plus ~3 CVN COs pulsed ->
            - 2 Airwings Commanders advise 6 of their 8 COs retiring post 05 Command,
            - 3rd Airwing Commander advises 5 of his 8 COs retiring post O5 Command.
- ~3 CVN COs advise they have less than ~40% retention rate amongst junior officers who can get out after their initial obligation is up;
            - And ~2 out of ~3 of their O5s (all communities) retire as soon as they can after/ during their tours onboard ship.
 
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
 
Several fathers with JOs in strike fighter squadrons advising their sons/ daughter turning down orders to TOPGUN as students & instructors;
JOs not interested in (1) being a TOPGUN grad &/ or (2) being a TOPGUN instructor - 
They do not want to take on all the "extra work" & most of them plan to/ would rather get out instead.
Also - the exodus is only beginning to break out.  BUPERS & USN leadership expect this to get far worse before it gets better.
 
Postulated reasons?
 
(1) Fun is gone, ready rooms/ ship's company do not 'hang out' together anymore; all are severely risk adverse due to the potential to "read about' any perceived misbehavior.
- Especially true of JOs not wanting to be anywhere near their COs/ XOs, department heads, same reason as above.
Example:
- When we do our annual planning for our Tailhook reunions, we plan for the ~O5s & above + retirees + corporate reps staying at the NUGGET resort/ hotel in Reno where we hold the symposium.  
- We also plan for the JOs (some O4s, all the O3s & junior) to stay at the Grand Sierra Resort (GSR) across town - well away from their leadership & what they call "the white & blue hairs" at the NUGGET.  
- These JOs will do drive-bys at the NUGGET for a few specific events (Bug Roach mixer, Thursday night social) but they spend the majority of their time at the GSR with their fellow-JOs.
- This includes even the Flag panel on Saturday afternoon where JOs used to flock in to the auditorium & ask hard (sometimes not so well thought out..) questions.  
- Now they (some of them, not all of them) stream the Flag panel from afar on their mobile devices while lounging & relaxing at poolside at the GSR.
 
(2) Junior officers do not believe their leadership "has their back".
- They are certain instead any mistakes they make -or are perceived to make- will terminate their career (risk adverse environment again);
- JOs & COs believe all O6s and above are now "company men", consuming & regurgitating the Naval Aviation Enterprise (nonsense to them) too often instead of leading them by example & taking risks on their behalf to say & get what they believe they need.
- Flying hours are pathetic.  Unless you are nearly deploying &/ or deploying often, you can expect less than one hop per week, if that.
- Jets are broken, most awaiting parts (AWP); less than 50% of the flying fleet is FMC, in some places that number is less than 30%.
 
(3) JOs & COs are bone tired of being used as & having to put up with all "social & cultural experiments & new/ alleged norms" jammed down their throats by the 'company men' (civilian & USN); 
            - Tired of the forced diversity requirements, tired of promotion & selection processes prioritizing special-interest groups over superior performance;
            - Tired of being told they must accept things that are - in most cases- directly counter & against their basic moral upbringing (LGBT etc.); 
            - Tired of working their butts off on noise & nonsense other than their warfare specialty;
                        - Opinions vary, but we've heard today's Aviation Officer spends ~80%~85% of his/ her time on administrivia & social training not at all related to flying & warfighting (& leadership) requirements. 
                        - We are also told this percentage increases as one gets more senior;
 
(4) Airlines are hiring anyone (& anything) that can take an aircraft off & land it; minimum flight hours used to be ~1500, now it's ~500. 
 
Interestingly, the USAF is deemed to be in WORSE shape by a wide margin.
 What's the Navy doing about this?
 - More money/ bonuses; 
                        - This will not fix the problem, even Navy leadership knows they cannot buy the dissatisfied officers who are departing;
                        - More bonuses will only give money to those who already plan to stay in - the [sub-standard] officers who in most cases, have nothing else to do -or- can do nothing else well enough to leave.
- Challenge is - most of the O6s & junior FOs selected are viewed by JOs & departing COs as company men/ women & non-warfighters - who do not & will not "have their backs"; 
- And, all of the more senior warfighters are either gone, retiring or being forced out due to political correctness/ "the buck stops here"events/ incidents they inherited & were not really responsible for.
 Sadly, even us old guys talking about this over coffee or beers see no light on the horizon.  
We do not have believable answers to the JOs & departing COs who ask us why they should stay in .. other than "it'll get better, trust us."
 Do I think it will get better - absolutely yes, especially under this current Administration.  
Question is though, will the upward swing in flight hours, decreasing focus on nonsense policies & programs, &, the creation/ injection of some real leaders/ warfighters be in time?
 I learned today that helo pilots are invited to 'volunteer' as Air Boss on CVNs. This apparently occasioned by high resignation rate of post-command F/A 18 COs. This from a post command helo CO now Air Boss on USS Makin  Island. Mini Boss no longer fleets up to Air Boss, and O-4s now being ordered to Mini.
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Thanks to Barrel
 
Propagandists, not historians
By Terry Garlock on January 30, 2018
 
I was only one of many Vietnam veterans who wrote opinion columns criticizing the Vietnam War film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, opining their work seemed more like propaganda than history. In doing so I occasionally used "Burns" as shorthand for the pair, to which Ms. Novick emailed me her objection.
She is correct, I should consistently include her name as co-producer because she is equally culpable in the hit piece they brazenly call a documentary.
So, Ms. Novick and Mr. Burns, this is for you. My back-handed compliment is that your wholly inaccurate film is a slick rationalization for aging Americans who, decades ago, loudly encouraged our enemy while we were killing each other in combat.
For those harboring doubts about actively opposing us in their youth while we served our country in a war, your film may have supplied just the soothing salve they need.
You bent the truth in your film too far, too consistently, too repetitively, and omitted too much to leave any room for me to believe those errors, omissions, distortions, half-truths and complete falsehoods were remotely accidental.
Like a house of distorted mirrors, you portrayed the murderous and avowed Stalinist Ho Chi Minh as a nationalist driven by reunification of North and South Vietnam rather than his real commitment to Communist conquest of free South Vietnam.
Your film repeatedly depicted the war as unwinnable, the North Vietnamese cause as just, war crimes between the two sides as morally equivalent, American troops as victims, South Vietnamese as mere bit players, all that and much more of your content completely opposite of the truth.
You selected for dominant interviews from the tiny percentage of American combat veterans with a grievance who joined the protestors when they returned home.
I cannot know the motivation in your hearts, but I have the stark impression that your plan from the very beginning was to delegitimize America's role in the war and justify the anti-war left by very selectively emphasizing negatives and minimizing positives to shape the film's message to your liking.
There is a tragic irony in protests by the anti-war left and your justification for them. The noble cause of the Vietnam War was trying to stop the spread of Communism in Southeast Asia, especially important given the hegemony of China in the region.
Even so, while we answered our country's call and honorably performed our difficult duty, leadership in the White House and Pentagon created a patchwork of micromanagement and idiotic war-fighting limitations, obstacles that got thousands of us killed while preventing victory.
Those egregious and very real failures alone would have been worthy of protest, but your buddies on the left either didn't notice or felt compelled to manufacture their own demons, like John Kerry's fantastic lie that we were raping, murdering and rampaging in Vietnam like Genghis Khan.
The outrage is our enemy's daily atrocities against their own people, juxtaposed against how we Americans defended and helped those civilians in a hundred ways, both ignored by the news media while American troops were maligned.
Ms. Novick, you were just 11 years old when America withdrew from Vietnam in 1973, so you might have missed personally knowing the effects of false stereotypes about Vietnam and its veterans.
Like so many others, I came away from that experience with my eyes opened, having learned by watching young Americans the true meaning of honor, courage and trust. Those men and women were then and still are the finest people of character I have ever known.
I saw my fellow helicopter pilots fly into enemy fire routinely, taking mortal risks to protect civilians and their brothers, and I saw grunts do the same crazy things for each other. I flew gun cover for Dustoff crews braving enemy fire to pick up wounded, and I flew gun cover for LRPs sneaking in enemy turf, the bravest men I have ever seen; if you have an open mind, read "Six Silent Men" by Gary Linderer to understand how bold our Rangers were.
I saw doctors, nurses and orderlies drive themselves to physical and emotional exhaustion every day as they struggled to send us home alive, and still we found time to send medical help to poor villages where medicine had never been seen. There was much to admire, and when I finally wrote a book, my title tells my sentiments: "Strength and Honor: America's Best in Vietnam."
Anti-war voices were overwhelming, and America never knew what a fine job their youth had done in Vietnam, despite impediments imposed by our own government, despite collaboration with the enemy by our own fellow citizens.
When we came home, the country seemed to us to have turned principles upside down. Wearing the American uniform invited hostility while refusing to serve was somehow a virtue. These remarkable troops, young enough to be called boys but now battle-hardened men, never lost a single significant battle against a very tough enemy, but they didn't know how or want to engage in political argument. And so many like me kept their head down and went on with life. Nobody wanted to hear about our experience anyway, for two reasons.
First, everybody already knew all the answers about Vietnam, they had seen it on TV. Second, in those days the Vietnam War was a shunned topic, something dirty, not discussed in polite company.
Even some family members skirted the subject, wary of the rumors they heard about rampant war crimes, drug addiction and vets prone to snap into violence. During his first visit home, Tony Foster's mother asked him what kind of drugs he was on.
False stereotypes took root from repetition in a media leaning hard against the war. Movies reinforced the lies with absurd stories and unreal characters that indulged Hollywood's ridiculous fantasies of the war. Period fiction followed suit, and TV dramas occasionally created a Vietnam vet when they needed an unbalanced, unpredictable and dangerous character.
Spreading these attitudes has consequences. Not everyone thought the worst of us, but enough did to change the national mood.
Even small slights left lasting impressions. Jay Standish escorted his date to their seats near the front of an off-Broadway theater, proudly wearing his Marine Corps dress blues, prompting boos from many in the audience. A sergeant named Chip went to see a priest for pre-marital counseling wearing his Army dress greens, and the priest told him to come back when he was wearing decent clothing.
Vietnam vets learned to leave the war off their resumé to avoid rejection in the first cull of job applicants. They soon knew to keep quiet in college classes since anti-war professors used their grading pen as a weapon.
ROTC membership plummeted, and some professors wouldn't accept members as students. Military recruiters were ejected from campus. The uniform was not popular, as R.J. DelVecchio learned by hostility to his Marine Corps uniform at the University of Maryland and was advised not to wear it again on campus. Wearing a uniform made some feel invisible waiting to be served in a restaurant.
Drew Johnson, who ferried Navy aircraft to Vietnam over an extended period, returned through California airports at least two dozen times and saw the escalation of vitriol aimed at our returning troops by anti-war protestors who, by my measure, were unfit to shine a veteran's shoes.
Officials and most in the public merely looked the other way while protestors yelled "babykiller" and worse at returning vets, threw nasty splatter packets at them and frequently used their own spit.
In 1971, my commanding officer told me to remind my men not to wear their uniform off-base, for their own personal safety.
Some anti-war tactics were despicable. An F-105 fighter pilot I will leave nameless bet his life every time he flew into North Vietnam through the toughest air defenses in the world. When he was shot down, even before his wife received official notification, anti-war activists called to say her husband was a baby-killing a**hole and deserved what he got.
There were many thousands of these uncouth episodes incited by fabrications from the anti-war left, and they were made worse that they were aimed at Americans who served honorably and sacrificed much. And yet every Vietnam vet I know is proud of their service, fiercely patriotic and doesn't want even a shred of sympathy.
They do want one thing. They want the truth told about them, their enemy, their war.
Now, after 40-something years, Ms. Novick and Mr. Burns, along comes the misrepresentation you call a documentary, very pretty but with only fleeting intersections with the truth and reviving conflict long ago buried.
It seems, to me at least, that you pre-planned your strategy to build up to your conclusion in support of your friends on the left, "The Vietnam War was a tragedy, immeasurable and irredeemable."
Even with 10 episodes over 18 hours, you left out vital pieces of the story. In 1974, in the aftermath of Watergate, Democrats were elected in a landslide and the new Congress violated America's promise by cutting off funding for South Vietnam's self-defense.
Then when the Communists attacked South Vietnam in massive force, Congress refused to honor America's pledge to come to their aid. The left's view seems to be North Vietnam's conquest had the happy result of reunification.
Senator J. William Fulbright, who provided the forum for that spectacular liar John Kerry, said about the fall of Saigon that he was "… no more depressed than I would be about Arkansas losing a football game to Texas."
Trivializing the human cost of Communist victory, you didn't mention tens of thousands of executions, the million or so sent to brutal re-education camps, the panicked populace fleeing in rickety overpacked boats and dying by the tens of thousands.
You neglected North Vietnam's obscene practice of bulldozing South Vietnamese graves, and the influx of North Vietnamese to take over the best farms, businesses, homes and jobs in South Vietnam.
And you swept under the rug America's shame, the betrayal of our ally, never mind the genocide by Communists as they murdered 2 million in Cambodia next door.
All in all, Ms. Novick and Mr. Burns, kudos on the slick appearance mixing photos, film clips, tilted narration and sad music to set the mood for your biased content.
I think you have succeeded in making your semi-factual slop believable to a naive public, and students in schools you send it to will likely lap it up because they don't know better.
That means we will need to redouble our efforts to tell the story true.
As I tell students when I speak to them about the Vietnam War, "Why does this ancient history matter to you? Because you need to know how a false history takes root, and you need to be smart enough to beware propaganda when you turn on TV news."
Or watch a film labeled a "documentary."
[Terry Garlock lives in Peachtree City, Ga. He was a Cobra helicopter gunship pilot in the Vietnam War. He can be reached at tlg.opinion@gmail.com.]

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Item Number:1 Date: 02/20/2018 IRAN - 6 DIE IN CLASHES BETWEEN SUFI PROTESTERS AND POLICE (FEB 20/RFARDA)  RADIO FARDA -- A demonstration by members of Sufi religious orders has deteriorated into violent clashes with the Iranian police, killing at least six, reports Radio Farda.   On Monday, protests began outside of a police precinct in northern Tehran following the arrest of a member of the Gonabadi order.   Police responded to the peaceful protest with force, firing into the crowd that numbered in the hundreds, protesters said.   Police rejected the accusation, saying that three police officers were among the dead.   Two members of the Basij militia and a protester were also killed. At least seven police officers were injured.   At least 300 protesters were arrested, authorities said.   At one point during the clashes, a protester appeared to have commandeered a bus and drove into a crowd of riot police. He was arrested immediately afterwards, said authorities. Protesters denied any links with the attacker.   There have been numerous clashes recently between police and members of the Sufi community.  
  Item Number:2 Date: 02/20/2018 IRAQ - 25 MILITIAMEN KILLED IN ISIS AMBUSH NEAR KIRKUK (FEB 20/IQN)  IRAQI NEWS -- At least 25 Iraqi militiamen have been killed in an ambush southwest of Kirkuk, reports the Iraqi News.   Islamic State militants attacked a convoy of Baghdad-backed militia fighters southwest of Kirkuk in northern Iraq on Sunday, killing at least 25, reported Reuters.   The convoy carried fighters from the Hashd Shaabi militia, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, reported Xinhua, China's state news agency. The convoy fought the militants for two hours before reinforcements arrived, said a statement from the militia.   ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming to have also burned five vehicles.   Iraqi security forces launched an operation earlier this month to consolidate control of a mountainous area near Kirkuk
Item Number:3 Date: 02/20/2018 ISRAEL - ARROW 3 MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM PASSES ANOTHER TEST (FEB 20/JP)  JERUSALEM POST -- Israel Aerospace Industries and the Israeli air force have successfully test-fired the Arrow 3 missile defense system, reports the Jerusalem Post.   Two planned trials in December and January were cancelled after technical issues.   Monday's event involved a "very complex" test, where the interceptor was launched from the atmosphere and flew to its orbit in deep space.   The trial involved a full operational scenario, with the whole weapon system demonstrating its capabilities, said IAI officials.   The Arrow 3 is designed to intercept ballistic missiles outside of the atmosphere.   The successful test paves the way for a series of interception tests in Alaska later this year, according to Israel Missile Defense Organization officials
Item Number:4 Date: 02/20/2018 JAPAN - ENGINE FIRE FORCES U.S. F-16 TO EJECT FUEL TANKS; PILOT LANDS SAFELY (FEB 20/AS)  ASAHI SHIMBUN -- A fire aboard a U.S. F-16 fighter jet forced the pilot to dump two external fuel tanks into a lake on the northern Japanese island of Honshu, reports the Asahi Shimbun.   On Tuesday morning, the jet's engine caught fire soon after taking off from Misawa Air Base. To prevent the fire from spreading, the pilot dumped the jet's two fuel tanks into Lake Ogawarako, located in northern Aomori Prefecture.   The plane landed safely two minutes after takeoff. No injuries were reported as a result of the incident.   Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera visited the lake to survey the damage.   Flights should only be conducted with sufficient safety measures, the minister said.   Onodera said he would request an investigation into the incident by U.S. authorities.  
  Item Number:8 Date: 02/20/2018 PAKISTAN - SECURITY FORCES KILL TWO WOULD-BE SUICIDE BOMBERS (FEB 20/APP)  ASSOCIATED PRESS OF PAKISTAN -- Pakistani security forces have killed two would-be suicide bombers, reports the Associated Press of Pakistan.   On Monday, Pakistani authorities intercepted the pair, who were crossing from Afghanistan into the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, said an Inter-Services Public Relations statement.   The alleged attackers were killed while attempting to flee the security forces.   Pakistani intelligence believes the bombers belonged to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorist group and were planning attacks in the tribal areas and the capital, Islamabad.   Security forces said they recovered suicide jackets, mines, bomb-making material and communications equipment from the militants
Item Number:9 Date: 02/20/2018 SOUTH KOREA - JOINT WAR GAMES WITH U.S. TO RESUME AFTER OLYMPICS AS SCHEDULED (FEB 20/S&S)  STARS AND STRIPES -- The South Korean defense minister has confirmed that Seoul will hold joint military exercises with the U.S. after the Olympics, reports the Stars and Stripes.   Dismissing rumors that the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle drills might be pushed back, South Korean Defense Minister Song Young Moo said on Tuesday that the start date would be announced by the end of March, reported the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   U.S. military officials have repeatedly stated that the drills would take place after the completion of the Paralympics, which are scheduled to end on March 18.   The allies agreed to postpone the annual exercises until the Olympics are over to ease tensions with the North.   Some observers speculated that the drills could be pushed back or reduced further to consolidate gains made recently by South Korea in the peace process.  
  Item Number:11 Date: 02/20/2018 SYRIA - SCORES KILLED IN AIRSTRIKES ON REBEL-HELD E. GHOUTA (FEB 20/GUARDIAN)  GUARDIAN -- Airstrikes against a rebel-held area near the Syrian capital have killed at least 110 people, reports the Guardian (U.K.).   At least 18 children were among the dead on one of the deadliest days for the conflict in recent memory, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based watchdog. Hundreds of people were wounded in the assault.   Backed by Russian air power, Syrian government forces launched rockets and shells on eastern Ghouta on Monday. The area is the last rebel-held area near the capital and one of the last major rebel strongholds in the country.   The air and artillery strikes came as government forces appeared to be preparing for a possible ground assault, reported the New York Times.   At least five hospitals were hit during the attacks. Opposition activists and monitoring groups have alleged that forces loyal to President Bashar Assad target civilian locations.   The Syria Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, said the bombardment continued into Tuesday morning.   Locals said the attacks appeared to focus on civilians and infrastructure in an effort to force a surrender, a tactic that has been used elsewhere in Syria, reported the Times.   Opposition factions launched mortars into nearby Damascus, killing a child and wounding eight others, reported Syrian state media, as cited by Reuters.   Eastern Ghouta has been under siege since 2013. Medical supplies, water and food are scarce.  
 
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