Thursday, March 15, 2018

TheList 4678

The List 4678

To All,
I hope that your week has been going well. Beware the Ides of March.
This Day In Naval History – March 15, 2018
March 15
1889A typhoon strikes Apia, Samoa, where American, German and British ships are protecting their national interests. The typhoon drives USS Trenton, USS Vandalia, and USS Nipsic ashore, killing 51 crew members, and sinks all three German ships with the loss of 150 crew.
1943U.S. 7th Fleet is established in Brisbane, Australia during WWII, under the command of Adm. Arthur S. "Chips" Carpender.
1943 - Numbered fleet system established
1944USS Shamrock Bay (CVE 84) is commissioned. During World War II, she serves in the Atlantic and is sent to the Pacific due the loss of escort carriers and participates in the Okinawa Campaign.
1947Ensign John W. Lee, Jr., becomes the first African-American with a commission in the regular Navy and serves aboard USS Kearsarge (CV 33).
1953Marine pilots of VMA 312 destroy eight rail cars, two possible radar towers, a power transformer and numerous other assorted targets in Korea before returning to USS Bataan (CVL 29).
1957A ZPG-2 airship driven by Cmdr. Jack R. Hunt lands at Naval Air Station Key West, FL, after a flight that began Mar. 4 at South Weymouth, MA, then circled over the Atlantic Ocean toward Portugal, the African coast and back for a new world record in distance and endurance, covering 9,448 statute miles and remaining airborne 264 hours 12 minutes without refueling.
1966 - Establishment of River Squadron Five in Vietnam
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
In national news, headlines are dominated with reports that High school students across the nation walked out to protest gun violence Wednesday, more coverage of Stormy Daniels and her alleged affair with President Trump, and reports that Conor Lamb, a Democrat and former Marine, won a special House election in Southwestern Pennsylvania. ABC News reports that two Navy aviators were killed when their F/A-18F Super hornet crashed off the coast of Key West during a routine training flight. CNN states that the ICEX submarine drills give the U.S. Navy a chance to prepare in a harsh environment where Russia is a significant challenge. "We are well aware that we are in a great power competition environment and the Arctic is one piece of that," said Navy Rear Adm. James Pitts, commander of the Undersea Warfighting Development Center. "All the more reason why we the Navy are practicing up here and doing exercises to make sure that we can operate effectively." Additionally, Prime Minister Theresa May has expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the United Kingdom in response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy with a Soviet-era nerve agent, according to the Wall Street Journal. The expulsion is the biggest since 1985, when the U.K. expelled 25 Soviet citizens accused of spying.
This day in History
44 BC
Julius Caesar is assassinated by high-ranking Roman Senators.
Henry the Fowler routs the raiding Magyars at Merseburg, Germany.
Christopher Columbus returns to Spain after his first voyage to the New World.
In command of two frigates, the Frenchman la Perouse sails east from Botany Bay for the last lap of his voyage around the world.
Maine is admitted as the 23rd state.
General John Hunt Morgan begins four days of raids near the city of Gallatin, Tenn.
The Red River Campaign begins as the Union forces reach Alexandria, La.
New York State unveils the new automatic ballot voting machine.
Bone Mizell, the famed cowboy of Florida, appears before a judge for altering cattle brands.
The British complete the conquest of Nigeria.
Three hundred Russians are killed as the Japanese shell Port Arthur in Korea.
Italy proposes a European conference on the Balkans.
General John Pershing and his 15,000 troops chase Pancho Villa into Mexico.
Henry Ford restores the $5-a-day wage.
Joseph Goebbels, German Minister of Propaganda bans four Berlin newspapers.
Germany occupies Bohemia and Moravia, Czechoslovakia.
Cassino, Italy is destroyed by Allied bombing.
Almost four years after the end of World War II, clothes rationing in Great Britain ends.
French General de Lattre demands that Paris send him more troops for the fight in Indochina.
The U.S. Air Force unveils the first self-guided missile.
The first performance of My Fair Lady, starring Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison, takes place on Broadway.
Ten nations meet in Geneva to discuss disarmament.
Gamal Abdel Nasser is re-elected Egyptian President.
President Lyndon Johnson names Ellsworth Bunker as the new ambassador to Saigon. Bunker replaces Lodge.
The U.S. mint halts the practice of buying and selling gold.
Four Los Angeles police are charged in the beating of Rodney King.
With our thanks to THE Bear at
March 15, 2018   Bear Taylor  
RIPPLE SALVO… #740… ON 31 MARCH 1968 PRESIDENT JOHNSON GAVE A SPEECH FROM THE OVAL OFFICE OF ENORMOUS HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE. The Speech was a turning point in the conduct of ROLLING THUNDER. Ripple Salvo will tap several sources for the events that led up to the landmark and unexpected 41-minute speech the President dropped on the world on Sunday, 31 March 1968… A few paragraphs from Wayne Thompson's "To Hanoi and Back"... and a Homework Assignment for one of your breaks from "March Madness" and starting over on your "brackets."… but first…
Good Morning… Day SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY of a remembrance of a period of history a lot of folks would like to forget… especially those who chose not to participate and ducked and dodged their obligation to serve…
HEAD LINES from The New York Times on Friday, 15 March 1968…
GROUND WAR & KHESANH: Page 1: "CASUALTIES OF US IN VIETNAM TOP KOREAN WAR'S–TOTAL REFLECTS FEWER KILLED IN ACTION AND MORE WOUNDED"… "American casualties in the Vietnamese war have exceeded those in the Korean conflict, according to a report today by the United States command. THE REPORT SAID THAT 509 AMERICAN SERVICEMEN WERE KILLED IN ACTION AND 2,766 WOUNDED LAST WEEK pushing the casualty total since January 1, 1961, to139,801, of whom 19,670 were killed in action and 120,131 wounded. American casualties in three years of fighting in Korea were 136,914–33,061 dead and 103,853 wounded. Thus the Vietnam war has become the fourth bloodiest in United States history, exceeded only by World War I with 321,000 casualties, the Civil War with 798,000, and World War II with 1,678,000. The number of Americans killed in action in Vietnam, however, was 13,391 fewer than in Korea, with a corresponding increase in the wounded in Vietnam. Nearly half the wounded in Vietnam do not require hospitalization and are quickly returned to duty. The Vietnam casualty figures rose sharply on the week of January 30 when the enemy launched a Lunar New Year's offensive. Until then, the United States had never lost more than 337 men killed in a week of fighting. Every week since then, however, it has lost more than 400 every week. Last week's toll of 509 was the third highest of the war and the third time in four weeks that deaths had exceeded 500. Enemy deaths during the week were put at 4,335 by the Command…. A command spokesman explained the casualties: 'I can only say that 33 enemy rocket and mortar attacks on military installations over the three day period last week contributed to the total casualty figure.'… The spokesman said that the enemy pounded the Marine encampment at Khesanh with 200 artillery, rocket and mortar rounds but damage was 'light.'…In other action, enemy soldiers attacked a convoy with light weapons along South Vietnam's superhighway nine miles north of Saigon and killed one American soldier and wounded three incurring light damage to vehicles in the convoy."…
Thanks to Marathon


Assembling the Mighty Eighth
I came across this in an old list and thought it would be interesting to send it again
All – a great lessons learned, WWII flying story on a part of the mission that I often wondered about, but had never read anything about,
Subject: FW: GREAT READ....impressive to say the least
It's also hard to believe that a heavy bomber pilot only had to fly 30 missions to return home. 74% didn't make it! They have less total flying hours after 30 missions that we had in pilot training. Absolutely amazing.
From Chuck Boedeker:
I've been asked to offer a tribute to Col. Les Lennox, but when I read of his accomplishments, I struggle to find the words which will reflect accurately the service, sacrifice and lifeblood that he and thousands of other veterans selflessly gave to our country. So, I thought I'd let Col. Lennox speak for himself.
Here is the first of two memoirs from the pen of Leslie A. Lennox - Lt./Col USAF (ret). The second will follow in another note.
Leslie A. Lennox
Lt./Col. USAF(ret)
Of all the stories that have been written, and movies that have been shown, about the 8th Air Force, very little attention has been given to what was involved in assembling 1200 B-17's and B-24's each day, to get them in formation to carry out a strike against Germany. Certainly showing bombers under attack by fighters, or encountering heavy flak, was a reality, and are interesting to watch. Also, stories about some of the rougher missions make interesting reading. But what was going on over England, each morning, could get just as scary to the crews as the time spent over some of the targets. The planning, and coordination, that had to be accomplished during the night, by the operations planners of each Group, so that the crews could be briefed, was unbelievable. If the planners had failed to do their jobs properly, there would have been a free for all among Bomb Groups, in the skies over England. The rendezvous points, altitude, and times had to be precise, and known by all of the crews, before the Eighth Air Force could get in formation. The success of the planners, in accomplishing their mission, enabled the Eighth Air Force to become the most powerful air armada ever assembled. In my view, how this was accomplished is one of the major untold stories of the war.
I was a pilot in the 95th Bomb Group, in late 1944 and early 1945, and what follows is a typical mission, as I remember it, from a crew member's perspective.
Early in the evening, our Squadron Operations would post the names of the crews that were scheduled to fly the following day. There were two ways we could be notified if the Group had been alerted to fly. One was by means of lights on the front of the orderly room, and the other with raising of colored flags. If a green light was on, the Group was alerted, if a red light was on we would fly, and if a white light was on, the Group would stand down. The light was monitored frequently throughout the evening to learn our status and, normally, we would know before going to bed if we would be flying the next day.
On the morning of a mission, the CQ (charge of quarters) would awaken the crews about four or five o'clock, depending on takeoff time. The questions we always asked were, "What is the fuel load?" and, "What is the bomb load?" If his answer was," full Tokyo tanks," we knew we would be going deep into Germany. Shortly after being awakened, "6-by" trucks would start shuttling us to the mess hall. We always had all the fresh eggs we could eat, when flying a mission. After breakfast, the trucks carried us to the briefing room. All of the crew members attended the main briefing, and then the Navigators, Bombardiers and Radio operators went to a specialized briefing. At the main briefing, in addition to the target information--anti-aircraft guns, fighter escort and route in--we received a sheet showing our location in the formation, the call signs for the day and all the information we would need to assemble our Group and get into the bomber stream.
After briefing, we got into our flight gear, drew our parachutes and loaded onto the trucks for a ride to our plane. We were now guided by the time on our daily briefing sheet. We started engines at a given time and watched for the airplane we would be flying in formation with to taxi past, then we would taxi behind him. We were following strict radio silence.
We were now parked, nose to tail around the perimeter, on both sides of the active runway, and extremely vulnerable to a fighter strafing attack. At the designated takeoff time, a green flare would be fired and takeoff would begin. Every thirty seconds an airplane started takeoff roll. We were lined up on the perimeter so that the 12 airplanes of the high squadron would take off first, followed by the lead and then the low squadron.
Each Group had a pattern for the airplanes to fly during climb to assembly altitude. Some would fly a triangle, some a rectangle and our Group flew a circle, using a "Buncher" (a low frequency radio station) which was located on our station. The patterns for each Group fit together like a jig saw puzzle. Unfortunately, strong winds aloft would destroy the integrity of the patterns, and there would be considerable over running of each other's patterns.
Many of our takeoffs were made before daylight, during the winter of '44 and '45, when I was there, so it was not uncommon to climb through several thousand feet of cloud overcast. Also it was not uncommon to experience one or two near misses while climbing through the clouds, although you would never see the other airplane. You knew you had just had a near miss, when suddenly the airplane would shake violently as it hit the prop wash of another plane. It was a wonderful feeling to break out on top, so you could watch for other planes, to keep from running into each other. To add to the congestion we were creating, the Royal Air Force Lancasters, Halifaxes, and Wimpys would be returning from their night missions, and flying through our formations. Needless to say, pilots had to keep their heads on a swivel and their eyes out of the cockpit.
After take off, the squadron lead would fire a flare every 30 seconds, so that we could keep him located and enable us to get into formation quicker. The color of our Group flare was red-green. The first thing you would see, when breaking out of the clouds, was a sky filled with pyrotechnics, so you had to search the sky for the Group flare, which would identify the lead airplane of your Squadron. Once you had it located, you could adjust your pattern to climb more quickly into formation with him. As each airplane pulled into formation, they would also fire a flare, with the lead plane, making it much easier for the following aircraft to keep him in sight. I think most crew members would probably agree that the pyrotechnic show, in the skies over England, in the morning when the Eighth was assembling, was a rare sight to behold.
The order of progression for assembling the Eighth Air Force was to first assemble the Flight elements, the Squadrons, the Groups, the Combat wings, the Divisions and, finally, the Air Force.
As soon as the four Squadron elements were formed, the high, low and second elements would take up their positions on the lead element, to form a Squadron. When the three Squadrons had completed assembly, it was necessary to get into Group formation. This was accomplished by having the three Squadrons arrive over a pre-selected fix at a precise time and heading. The high and low Squadrons were separated from the lead Squadron by 1000 feet and, after getting into Group formation, they would maintain their positions by following the lead Squadron.
Then it was necessary to get into the Combat Wing formation. We were in the 13th Combat Wing, which consisted of three Bomb Groups: the 95th, the 100th and the 390th. Whichever Group was leading the Wing that day, would arrive over a pre-selected point, at a precise time and heading. Thirty seconds later, the second Group would pass that fix, followed by the third Group, thirty seconds later. We were then in Combat Wing formation. The navigators in the lead airplanes had a tremendous responsibility, to ensure that the rendezvous times were strictly adhered to.
There were three Divisions in the Eighth, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd. The 1st and 3rd Divisions consisted of B-17s only, and the 2nd Division was B-24s. The B-24s were faster than the B-17s, but the B-17s could fly higher, therefore, the two were not compatible in formation. As a result the 1st and 3rd Divisions would fly together and the 2nd Division would fly separately.
Now that the Groups were flying in Combat Wing formation, it was necessary to assemble the Divisions. This was usually accomplished at the "coast out"--a city on the coast, selected as the departure point "fix." The Group leader in each Combat Wing knew his assigned position in the Division, and the precise time that he should arrive at the coast out departure point, to assume that position in the Division formation. The lead Group in the Division, which had been selected to lead the Eighth on the mission, would be first over the departure fix. Thirty seconds after the last Group in the first Wing passed that point, the second Wing would fall in trail, and so on, until all Combat Wings were flying in trail and the Division would be formed. One minute later, the lead Group in the other Division would fly over that point, and the Combat Wings in that Division would follow the same procedure to get into formation. When all of its Combat Wings were in trail, the Eighth Air Force B-17 strike force was formed and on its way to the target. At the same time the 2nd Division B-24s were assembling in a similar manner and also departing to their target.
Meanwhile, as the bombers were assembling for their mission, pilots from the Fighter Groups were being briefed on their day's mission. Normally, 600 to 800 P-38's, P-47's, and P-51's would accompany the bombers to provide protection against enemy fighter attacks. Fighter cover was not needed by the bombers until they were penetrating enemy territory, therefore to help conserve fuel. fighter takeoffs were planned to give them enough time to quickly assemble after takeoff, and climb on course up the bomber stream to the groups they would be covering. The combined strength of the fighters and bombers brought the total number of aircraft participating in a mission to approximately two thousand.
A major problem that presented itself, on each mission, was that the bomber stream was getting too stretched out. It was not uncommon for the headlines in stateside newspapers--in trying to show the strength of our Air Force--to state that the first Group of bombers was bombing Berlin, while the last Group was still over the English Channel. It made great headlines but was a very undesirable situation. It meant that the Groups were out of position, and not keeping the proper separation. Furthermore, it was almost impossible for them to catch up and get back into the desired formation. This made the entire bomber stream more vulnerable to fighter attacks.
Finally, our planners figured out what we were doing wrong. When the first Group departed the coast out fix, it started its climb to what would be the bombing altitude. Then, as each succeeding Group departed that fix, it, too, would start climbing. The problem with this procedure was that, as soon as the first Group started its climb, its true airspeed would start to increase, and it would encounter different wind velocities. Now it would start to pull away from the Group in back of it, and the "stretchout" of the bomber stream would begin. By the time the last Group had reached the coast out, to start its climb, the first Group would be leveled off, with a true airspeed approaching 250 miles per hour, and the bomber stream would be really stretching out.
The solution to this problem that had been frustrating the Bomber crews for so long was pretty simple. We would no longer start climbing at the coast out, but instead, at a designated time, all Groups would start climbing, irrespective of position. This meant that we all would have similar true airspeeds and would be influenced by the same winds aloft. That took care of the problem. It was still possible for a Group to be out of position, because of poor timing, but the entire bomber stream wouldn't get all stretched out.
When you consider the way our Air Traffic Control system operates today, and all the facilities at their disposal to guide each individual airplane through the sky to ensure its safety, it's almost unbelievable that we were able to do what we did. To think of launching hundreds of airplanes, in a small airspace, many times in total darkness, loaded with bombs, with complete radio silence, and no control from the ground, and do it successfully day after day, with young air crews, with minimum experience, is absolutely mind boggling.
The accomplishments of the Eighth Air Force have been and will be reviewed by historians from World War II on. There never will be another air armada to compare to it. I feel confident that they will never cease to be amazed by our ability to assemble hundreds of heavy Bombers, under the conditions we were confronting, into the devastating strike force we now fondly refer to as, "The Mighty Eighth."
  Item Number:4 Date: 03/15/2018 MALI - CLASHES BETWEEN ETHNIC GROUPS KILL 25 (MAR 15/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- At least 25 people have died in ethnic clashes in central Mali over the past week, reports Agence France-Presse.   The killings are part of escalating cycle of tit-for-tat killings between then pastoral Fulani people and the agrarian Dogon, said community leaders.   The Dogon accuse the Fulani of cooperating with Amadou Koufa, a Fulani leader who merged his Macina Liberation Army with other Al Qaida affiliates in March 2017 to form the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM).   JNIM has also participated in some of the killings, fighting alongside the Fulani against the Dogon.   Fulani leaders have accused the Dogon of receiving weaponry from the army.   The government could not provide an official death toll from the violence in the area, where the central government has little presence.   The government has denied providing arms to any parties in the conflict
  Item Number:6 Date: 03/15/2018 NIGER - U.S.-NIGERIEN FORCES KILLED 11 ISIS FIGHTERS IN DECEMBER FIREFIGHT, SAYS PENTAGON (MAR 15/NYT)  NEW YORK TIMES -- U.S. Green Berets and Nigerien forces killed 11 Islamic State (ISIS) militants in December 2017, reports the New York Times.   On Wednesday, the U.S. military confirmed the deadly firefight, which occurred on Dec. 6, 2017.   A combined force of Nigerien and American troops "came under fire from a formation of violent extremists," said an African Command spokeswoman. No troops were injured in the battle.   Two of the 11 ISIS fighters killed were wearing suicide vests when they were killed, she said.   The Dec. 6 firefight occurred after a deadly October ambush in the town of Tongo Tongo, in which four Green Berets and five Nigeriens were killed.   Senior commanders imposed stricter limits on military missions after the Tongo Tongo ambush. But recent accounts suggest that U.S. engagement in the country did not end
  Item Number:7 Date: 03/15/2018 PAKISTAN - TTP ATTACK ON POLICE CHECKPOINT KILLS 9 IN LAHORE (MAR 15/DAWN)  DAWN -- Nine people have been killed and 20 injured in a suicide attack on a police checkpoint in Lahore, eastern Pakistan, reports Dawn (Pakistan).   Five police officers were among those killed in the attack on Wednesday.   The teenage suicide bomber targeted police who were providing security to a religious gathering in the city's Raiwand district.   The attack occurred not far from the home of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, said emergency response officials.   The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack, reported the Express Tribune (Pakistan).   This was the first explosion in Lahore, a provincial capital, in 2018, noted the Press Trust of India.  
  Item Number:11 Date: 03/15/2018 SYRIA - ASSAD REGIME HAS WON CIVIL WAR, SAYS VOTEL (MAR 15/MIL)  MILITARY.COM -- The head of the U.S. Central Command has told lawmakers that the Syrian regime, with assistance from Iran and Russia, has emerged victorious from its seven-year civil war, reports   U.S. policy has been that Assad must step down or be thrown out, but it appears now that "the regime is ascendant" Army Gen. Joseph Votel told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.   Russia and Iran have provided key capabilities that have allowed government forces to defeat a range of rebel groups, he said.   Assad's victory will in the long run present greater threats to Israel and Jordan from Iran's support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, he said.   Votel also told lawmakers that the U.S. is trying to improve the ability of Syrian rebels to detain a growing number of foreign fighters, according to wire service accounts.   U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are currently detaining more than 400 foreign fighters. The U.S. has made efforts to provide appropriate food, water, and shelter, but the SDF lacks the capacity to handle greater amounts of detainees, Votel said.   Defense Secretary James Mattis has been pushing U.S. allies to take custody of their citizens who are captured on the battlefield
Item Number:13 Date: 03/15/2018 USA - 2 KILLED AFTER NAVY JET CRASHES DURING TRAINING (MAR 15/WKTR)  CBS 3 (WKTR) -- A Navy fighter jet has crashed during a training flight off the coast of Key West, Florida, killing both crew members, reports WKTR (Norfolk).   The F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed on Wednesday, one mile from the runway on final approach to Boca Chica Field, Naval Air Station, Key West.   The crew members managed to eject from their jet but did not survive, reported NBC News.   The crewmembers were attached to Strike Fighter Squadron 213, also known as the Blacklions, at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia.   The cause of the crash is being investigated, said the Navy
Item Number:14 Date: 03/15/2018 USA - AVALANCHE INJURES 5 SOLDIERS DURING MOUNTAIN TRAINING (MAR 15/WCAX)  WCAX-TV -- Five Army soldiers were injured by an avalanche during a mountain training exercise in northern Vermont, reports WCAX (Burlington, Vt.).   Six soldiers fell about 300 meters down the side of the mountain on Wednesday, said an officer with the Vermont National Guard.   The soldiers were located within about 10 minutes. After two hours, they were safely transported to an ambulance.   Five of the soldiers swept up in the avalanche were taken to a nearby hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.   The soldiers were training as part of the Army Mountain Warfare School at Camp Ethan Allen Training Center in Jericho, Vt., reported My Champlain Valley.   Proper training saved their lives, said the National Guard officer

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