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Monday, March 19, 2018

Fw: TheList 4680

The List 4680


To All,
I hope that you all had a great weekend.
Regards,
Skip
This Day In Naval History – March 19, 2018
March 19
1898 - USS Oregon departs San Francisco for 14,000 mile trip around South America to join U.S. Squadron off Cuba
1917 - Navy Department authorizes enrollment of women in Naval Reserve with ratings of yeoman, radio electrician, or other essential ratings.
1918Ensign Stephen Potter is the first American to shoot down an enemy seaplane, a German plane off the German coast during World War I.
1924Curtis D. Wilbur takes office as the 43rd Secretary of the Navy, where he gains his greatest achievements in enlarging and modernizing the fleet, and establishing a naval air force that would become an overwhelming force during World War II.
1942Secretary of Navy James V. Forrestal places the newly-established construction battalions, later called Seabees, under the command of officers with the Civil Engineer Corps who are trained in the skills required for the performance of construction work.
1944TBF and FM-2 aircraft from Composite Squadron (VC 6) aboard USS Block Island (CVE 21) sink German submarine U 1059 west-southwest of Dakar.
1945Submarine USS Balao (SS 285) attacks a Japanese convoy and sinks one troopship and three fishing vessels and damages another off the Yangtze estuary about 90 miles north-northwest of Shanghi.
1945As Fast Carrier Task Force 58 planes bomb Kure and Kobe Harbors, Japanese aircraft single out the U.S. Navy carriers for attack. USS Wasp (CV 18), USS Essex (CV 9), and USS Franklin (CV 13) are hit. After struck by a second bomb, Franklin suffers subsequent explosions on the flight and hangar decks. Heroic work by her crew, assisted by nearby ships, bring the fires and flooding under control. For their actions during this occasion, both Lt. Cmdr. Joseph T. O'Callaghan and Lt. j.g. Donald A. Gary receive the Medal of Honor.
1969While serving with Battery D, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines, at Phu Loc 6 in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class David R. Ray is killed in action while providing medical aid to injured Marines during an enemy attack on his unit. Petty Officer Ray is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism in that action.
1994USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) is commissioned at Long Beach, CA, where then-Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton was the keynote speaker. The Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer is currently homeported in Yokosuka, Japan.
 
2003
 
 
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
Top national headlines included Russian election results granting Vladimir Putin a fourth term and the Facebook data breach which involved the sharing of millions of account details with Cambridge Analytica. USNI News reports that the rollback of ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria and changes in how Iran operates in the Persian Gulf are causing an evolution in how carrier strike groups operate in the Middle East. Sorties have shifted in focus from preplanned strikes to supporting allied ground forces and an increased Iranian drone presence in the airspace surrounding carrier strike groups has begun to raise concerns. The Wall Street Journal reports that a North Korean official will hold unofficial talks with in Finland with a delegation from the U.S. in preparation for an expected U.S.-North Korean summit. Additionally, USNI News reports that the USS Colorado was commissioned Saturday morning at the Naval Submarine Base New London.
 
Today in History March 19
1687
The French explorer La Salle is murdered by his own men while searching for the mouth of the Mississippi, along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
1702
On the death of William III of Orange, Anne Stuart, sister of Mary, succeeds to the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland.
1822
Boston is incorporated as a city.
1879
Jim Currie opens fire on the actors Maurice Barrymore and Ben Porter near Marshall, Texas. His shots wound Barrymore and kill Porter.
1903
The U.S. Senate ratifies the Cuban treaty, gaining naval bases in Guantanamo and Bahia Honda.
1916
The First Aero Squadron takes off from Columbus, NM to join Gen. John J. Pershing and his Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa in Mexico.
1917
The Adamson Act, eight hour day for railroad workers, is ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
1918
Congress authorizes Daylight Savings Time.
1920
The U.S. Senate rejects the Versailles Treaty for the second time.
1924
U.S. troops are rushed to Tegucigalpa as rebel forces take the Honduran capital.
1931
The state of Nevada legalizes gambling.
1935
The British fire on 20,000 Muslims in India, killing 23.
1936
The Soviet Union signs a pact of assistance with Mongolia against Japan.
1944
The German 352nd Infantry Division deploys along the coast of France.
1945
Adolf Hitler orders a scorched-earth policy for his retreating German armies in the west and east.
1947
Chiang Kai-Shek's government forces take control of Yenan, the former headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party.
1949
The Soviet People's Council signs the constitution of the German Democratic Republic, and declares that the North Atlantic Treaty is merely a war weapon.
1963
In Costa Rica, President John F. Kennedy and six Latin American presidents pledge to fight Communism.
1981
One technician is killed and two others are injured during a routine test on space shuttle Columbia.
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With our thanks to THE Bear at http://www.rollingthunderremembered.com/
 
ROLLING THUNDER REMEMBERED… 19 MARCH 1968… ENTER ROBERT F. KENNEDY…
March 19, 2018   Bear Taylor  
RIPPLE SALVO… #744… It was Monday, March 18, and Senator Robert F. Kennedy was scheduled to give a speech in Manhattan, Kansas in the Field House at Kansas State University… "…a crowd estimated by police to number 14,500 students and faculty jammed every available corner, with more college kids literally hanging from the steel rafters, their feet dangling over the side. At the outset, it was far from an all-Kennedy gathering. One sign asked: RFK LEADER OF YOUTH OR REBELLIOUS OPPORTUNIST? Another Proclaimed: GENE FOR INTEGRITY. And still others declared: RFK PROLONGS THE WAR and FATHER HO LOVES BOBBY. But there were pro-Kennedy signs as well, if not of the serious ilk that he hoped his candidacy would inspire: BOBBY IS GROOVY; BOBBY IS SEXY; SOCK IT TO 'EM, BOBBY."…. but first…
Good Morning: Day SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY-FOUR of an old sailor's odyssey through a bygone era that included "1968: The Year the Dream Died."(Jules Witcover)…
HEAD LINES from The New York Times on a cool Tuesday, 19 March 1968…
Page 1: "FIGHTING IS HEAVY NEAR BUFFER ZONE–67 ENEMY SOLDIERS AND 12 MARINES KILLED IN 5-HOUR CLASH NORTH OF DONG-HA"..."Heavy fighting broke out yesterday in the tense northernmost province of South Vietnam, Quangtri. Twelve Marines were killed and 24 wounded in a five-hour battle…the marines, supported by artillery, helicopter gun ships and tactical aircraft, killed 67 enemy soldiers in the clash, which took place four miles north of Dongha and about eight miles south of the demilitarized zone. The Third marine Division made contact with an enemy force huddled in what was described as 'well prepared defensive positions.' The enemy fired 40 rounds of 140mm rockets. This apparently caused most of the American casualties…. IN HAUNGHIA PROVINCE near SAIGON, 50 Vietcong were reported killed on Sunday by the South Vietnamese 25th Division and elements of the United States 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. The action took place 17 miles northwest of Saigon...Page 2: "VIETCONG FORCE ROUTED"… "Allied soldiers aided by tanks, armored cars, helicopters and aircraft routed a Vietcong force dug in on the edge of hamlet 17 miles northwest of Saigon yesterday (Monday). Eighty-four enemy soldiers were killed as Operation QUYET THANG–Determined to Win–continued to rout Vietcong and discover caches of enemy weapons and supplies…Elsewhere in South Vietnam an American paratrooper was killed and 13 wounded in a short fight with North Vietnamese regulars northwest of Kontum in the Central Highlands… 50 North Vietnamese were reported killed….There were no further reports of fighting around the outpost of Khesanh, where South Vietnamese beat off an assault of 600 North Vietnamese…"
HUMBLE HOST notes: The New York Times and RTR for Sunday 17 March 1968 carried a report headlined: "G.I.s IN PINCHER MOVE KILL 128 IN DAY LONG BATTLE"... Here is a brief summary of the rest of the story: this was to become known much later as the "MY LAI MASSACRE, the work of first Lieutenant William I. Calley… "After a one-hour artillery barrage on the area, a suspected Vietcong stronghold, the American troops entered the village of My Lai. They dynamited of burned down all the houses, lined up the villagers in three groups about 200 yards apart and about 20 American soldiers executed them with M-16 rifles and other weapons. South Vietnamese and American officials at first insisted that those killed were Vietcong or Vietcong ammunition carriers. But some American soldiers present eventually came forward and denied seeing any men of military age in the village…Eventually Calley, commander of the platoon of the 11th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division, was indicted in the incident."…Humble Host found this footnote of interest: "The division' deputy operation's officer, Major Colin Powell, who had arrived in Vietnam three months after the episode, drafted the Army's official response. Without having interviewed the (witness) soldier, he dismissed the report as rumor." Calley was court martialed and given life. Colin Powell went on to four stars and Secretary of State… History is fun…
 
 
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Thanks to Doctor Rich
 
Thanks to Rob …. some very clever ones, but makes you wonder how many hundreds of takes some took  …
 
 
 
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Thanks to Doctor Rich
 
 
FINALLY!! IRS will now start notifying 1.3 M taxpayers when Social Security number has been stolen and used by illegal aliens !!
For years IRS has known of massive soc sec number fraud, but they have only cared about collecting the taxes.
They never cross-check with Soc Sec admin!!!
 
NOTE: The IRS invented the ITIN in 1996 after strict immigration law was passed, so IRS could collect ALL income taxes, even taxes on income of illegal aliens!!!!
 
The ITIN has been rife with fraudulent applications and misuse.
 
Also - theft and/or misuse of someone else's soc sec number is a FELONY
Making up and using a fictitious soc sec number is a $250,000 fine.
I wonder how many DACA "children" committed a felony or owe a fine!
 
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IRS Documented 1.3M Identity Thefts by Illegal Aliens; Can't Say It Referred Any for Prosecution
March 16, 2018
The Internal Revenue Service in 2011 through 2016 documented more than 1.3 million cases of identity theft perpetrated by illegal aliens whom the IRS had given Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN), which are only given to people who are ineligible to work in the United States or receive Social Security Numbers, according to information published by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
However, in response to inquiries from CNSNews.com, the IRS could not say if it had referred even one of these cases for criminal prosecution.
...
The approximately 1.3 million cases of employment-related identity theft documented and recorded by the IRS in 2011 through 2016, involved foreign nationals whom the IRS had given Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs).
So, too, did the approximately 1.2 million cases of illegal aliens using Social Security Numbers that belonged to someone else or had been fabricated that TIGTA discovered in 2017.
...
 
 
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Thanks to Chuck
I will stick with fixed wing....
 
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Thanks to Carl
 
 
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
While the Navy is grumping a lot over upgrading its force, something has happened over on the USCG side of the house. Digging around for change in the sofa, picking up a few items their neighbors left on the curb, dropping a few things off at the neighborhood mechanic & body shop, and a little good luck - the USCG has some nice new kit, especially in the air.

It is a good time to be a USCG aviator;

Craig Collins has a nice summary.
Much public attention has been paid to the Coast Guard's new generation of surface assets – the Legend-class national security cutters (NSCs), the Sentinel-class fast response cutters (FRCs), and the Heritage-class offshore patrol cutters (OPCs) – but perhaps less so their counterparts in the air.
...
The new generation of the Coast Guard's long-range surveillance and transport aircraft, for example, the HC-130J Super Hercules, is a nose-to-tail overhaul of the previous generation of HC-130Hs, with new Rolls-Royce turboprop engines, composite scimitar propellers, and digital avionics. These upgrades have increased the range of the aircraft by 40 percent and its top speed by 15 percent, while decreasing its takeoff distance by 15 percent. But the aircraft's most important enhancement may be its suite of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) components, which combine radio and digital transmission of voice and data.
...
Over the past decade, the Coast Guard has been phasing out its older HU-25 Guardian, a high-speed medium-range aircraft that was finally retired from service in 2014. Its replacement, the HC-144 Ocean Sentry, was phased in at Coast Guard air stations beginning in 2009. The Ocean Sentry was a marked improvement, offering the Coast Guard the ability to remain on scene and track targets for longer periods of time – up to 10 hours – with improved sensor capability and room for more passengers. ...
The Coast Guard fleet of 102 Dolphin helicopters, meanwhile, is in the final segment of a similar incremental upgrade, a transformation into MH-65E short-range recovery helicopters. The -E series features new radar, EO/IR sensors, and a CAAS cockpit similar to the Jayhawk's.By 2014, the service had acquired 18 Ocean Sentries, and the HC-144 was logging more flight hours annually than any other Coast Guard aircraft.

The Coast Guard's original plan called for a fleet of 36 Ocean Sentries – but this plan was altered when Congress, in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, directed the service to cease its HC-144 program and instead acquire and missionize 14 C-27J Spartan aircraft, to be transferred from the U.S. Air Force. The Ocean Sentry and the Spartan are twin-engine turboprops, similar in configuration – according to Kimball, the Spartan is faster, with greater range, endurance, and lift capability – and will play similar roles in medium-range surveillance.
...
...beginning in 2007, the Coast Guard began an overhaul of its 42 Jayhawk helicopters, converting them from HH-60Js into multimission MH-60Ts. This upgrade, which was completed in 2014, ...
 
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Item Number:1 Date: 03/19/2018 AFGHANISTAN - SUICIDE BOMBING ON COMPOUND FOR FOREIGN SECURITY CONTRACTORS KILLS 3 (MAR 19/TN)  TOLONEWS -- Three people have been killed and four injured in a suicide attack on a compound for foreign security contractors in the Afghan capital, Kabul, reports TOLO News (Afghanistan).   The attacker detonated the suicide car bomb on Saturday morning in the city's Dispichari area, said the Ministry of Interior.   All the casualties were civilians, reported Al Jazeera (Qatar).   Sources said the attack targeted security vehicles parked in the compound.   The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.  
  Item Number:4 Date: 03/19/2018 CAMBODIA - JOINT MILITARY DRILLS WITH CHINA BEGIN (MAR 19/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- Cambodian and Chinese soldiers have begun a 15-day joint military exercise in central Cambodia, reports the Voice of America News.   At least 280 Cambodian and 190 Chinese personnel are participating this year's Golden Dragon drills, which kicked off Saturday in Kompong Speu province, west of the capital, Phnom Pen.   Drilling this year includes live-fire from helicopters, mock tank battles and anti-terrorism training.   As many as 100 armored personnel carriers and tanks were brought from China for the exercise and will be donated to Cambodia at their conclusion, reported The Khmer Times.   China is the primary source of arms to the Cambodian military, through both donations and sales.  
  Item Number:5 Date: 03/19/2018 FINLAND - U.S., NORTH KOREAN AND SOUTH KOREAN OFFICIALS TO MEET IN NEAR FUTURE (MAR 19/YLE)  YLE NEWS -- A meeting between U.S., North Korean and South Korean officials has been agreed to and will occur soon, reported YLE News (Finland).   The meeting will take place somewhere in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, Finland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday.   A top North Korean official for foreign affairs, Choe Kang Il, was spotted ion Beijing on Sunday, reported Agence France-Presse. Choe was reportedly boarding a plane bound for Finland.   Specific topics of discussion and participants have not been made public.   The discussions are expected to focus on pre-conditions for denuclearization talks, according to NKNews.org, and not top-level politics, per the Finnish Foreign Affairs Ministry.  
  Item Number:6 Date: 03/19/2018 GERMANY - RAYTHEON AND RHEINMETALL UNVEIL JOINT PLAN TO DEPRIVE LOCKHEED OF AIR DEFENSE MARKET (MAR 19/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- Raytheon and Rheinmetall have introduced an array of air-defense products to push rival Lockheed Martin out of the German air-defense market, reports Defense News.   Revealed on March 16, the proposal includes equipment and sensors to combat a range of threats, including drones and missiles.   The suite is intended to offer an alternative to Lockheed's Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), which Germany selected in 2015 over Raytheon's Patriot system.   Raytheon believes the price of Lockheed's offering will run over initial estimates, and along with improvements in Raytheon's Patriot system, may be enough to cause German officials to change their minds.    
  Item Number:7 Date: 03/19/2018 INDIA - AIR FORCE WILL BUY 324 TEJAS FIGHTERS IF MARK-II VARIANT CAN MEET REQUIREMENTS (MAR 19/TI)  TIMES OF INDIA -- The Indian Air Force will purchase 201 upgraded variants of the Tejas fighters if the program can deliver on its performance goals, reports the Times of India   This purchase is in addition to the 123 original fighters the air force had already committed to, unnamed officials told the newspaper on Thursday.   Although the proposed Mark-II jets will retain the Tejas name, the air force is seeking a wholly new aircraft with improved avionics, radar, range, engine power and weapons payload capacity.   Envisioned 35 years ago as part of an ambitious project, the original Tejas has yet to achieve combat-ready status. The fighters suffer from inadequate endurance, range, and weapons capacity compared to other comparable fourth- generation, single-engine fighters.   Delays in Tejas development and procurement have led to a fighter shortage in India. New Delhi ordered 36 French Rafale jets in 2016, but tight defense budgets prevent the purchase of expensive foreign fighters in larger quantity.    
  Item Number:8 Date: 03/19/2018 IRAN - HARASSING MANEUVERS IN PERSIAN GULF HAVE DECREASED, SAY U.S. OFFICIALS (MAR 19/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- While Iran continues its malign influence in the region, tensions in the Straits of Hormuz have cooled, says U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, as reported by Agence France-Presse.   Harassing maneuvers that used to be routine in the narrow waterway between Iran and Oman have not occurred since mid-August 2017, a U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet spokesman said on March 15.   In the August 2017 incident, an Iranian drone followed a U.S. aircraft carrier and came within 1,000 feet of F-18 fighter jets, reported Russia's Sputnik news agency.   Members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) seized two U.S. Navy boats that had strayed into Iranian waters in January 2016. The event strained already-relations between the two.   Despite this positive development, Iran has not stopped other "destabilizing" behavior in the region, noted Mattis.   There is evidence that Iran is testing mines and experimental weapons off the coast of Yemen, he said. Much of this weaponry is expected to end up in the hands of Houthi rebels in the country.    
  Item Number:9 Date: 03/19/2018 ISRAEL - TWO HAMAS TUNNELS IN GAZA STRIP DESTROYED BY DEFENSE FORCES (MAR 19/HA)  HAARETZ -- Two tunnels leading from the southern Gaza Strip into Israeli territory have been rendered non-operational by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), reports Haaretz (Israel).   Late Sunday, one tunnel near Rafiah was permanently sealed and another tunnel destroyed, the IDF said in a statement.   The overnight operations were part of Tel Aviv's ongoing response to an explosion on Israel's border on March 16. Israeli jets launched airstrikes and tanks fired against Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip on Saturday.   Israel considers Hamas to be responsible for all attacks launched from within the Gaza Strip.   There were no reports of serious casualties resulting from the engagements
Item Number:10 Date: 03/19/2018 LIBYA - OFFICIALS ARREST 16 SUSPECTED AL-QAIDA MEMBERS IN SOUTHERN CITY (MAR 19/XIN)  XINHUA -- Security officials in eastern Libya say they have arrested 16 foreign fighters linked to a former Al-Qaida affiliate in Syria, reports China's Xinhua news agency.   The fighters were arrested near the southern city of Kufra while trying to infiltrate the country, officials loyal to the eastern government in Tobruk said on Saturday.   The accused fighters are from Syria and Sudan, officials said. All were believed to be members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), formerly known as the Nusra Front.   Preliminary investigations suggest the fighters moved from Syria to Turkey, and then on to Sudan and Libya.   HTS began as Al-Qaida's official arm in Syria. While it has publicly broken links with its former parent organization, many accuse the group of maintaining links with Al-Qaida.   In the statement, officials from the Tobruk government -- which enjoys the backing of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, among others -- accused Turkey of sending the band of fighters to join jihadist groups in Sirte, a hotbed of militant Islamist and terrorist activity.   Turkey and Qatar have backed forces fighting the eastern government
  Item Number:11 Date: 03/19/2018 NIGERIA - DAPCHI KIDNAPPING THE WORK OF SPLINTER GROUP LOYAL TO ISIS (MAR 19/WSJ)  WALL STREET JOURNAL -- A brazen kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls last month was the work of fighters loyal to the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS), not Boko Haram as was previously thought, Nigerian and U.S. officials have told the Wall Street Journal.   The Feb. 19 kidnapping of 110 young women echoed Boko Haram's infamous attack in 2014, when 276 female students were taken from their school in Chibok. The 2014 abduction attracted international attention.   The similarities caused many to assume the perpetrator of the more recent attack was also Boko Haram. But the culprit was in fact Islamic State West African Province, say some officials and analysts.   The ISIS-affiliate, which is better-trained and focuses more on Western targets, is in regular contact with ISIS commanders in Syria and Iraq, according to internal communiques seen by the newspaper.   ISIS-WA, as the group is sometimes called, is believed to be led by Abu Musab al-Barnawi. Al-Barnawi is the son of Boko Haram founder Muhammed Yusuf, killed in 2005.   The kidnapping could result in ransom payments from the government, said analysts. The Nigerian government is believed to have paid ransoms for the release of some of the girls who were kidnapped in 2014.   Backchannel talks between the government and ISIS members are already underway, said Nigerian and Western officials.   The girls are believed to be held in Niger, they added.     
  Item Number:12 Date: 03/19/2018 RUSSIA - PUTIN WINS 4TH TERM AS PRESIDENT (MAR 19/NYT)  NEW YORK TIMES -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has secured an expected fourth term, reports the New York Times.   Putin got more than 76 percent of the popular vote in Sunday's elections, according to Russia's Central Election Commission.   Turnout reached 67 percent this year, two points higher than in 2012, noted the commission. Putin will enjoy a wide electoral mandate with such turnout, said local analysts.   As an incumbent, Putin was widely expected to win another six-year term and the outcome was never in question, said observers.   The seven opposition candidates in the race fared poorly. The Kremlin's most outspoken critic, anti-corruption campaigner Aleksei Navalny, was barred from participation in the race and called for a boycott.   There were scattered reports of voting irregularities, including ballot stuffing.   Local and international media speculated as to whether Putin will seek another term.   Under the current constitution of the Russian Federation, the president is limited to four terms. Putin pushed back on speculation that he would change the constitution to run for another term. By that time, he would be 71 years old, noted Voice of America News.  
  Item Number:13 Date: 03/19/2018 SENEGAL - HELICOPTER CRASH IN SOUTHWEST KILLS 8 (MAR 19/REU)  REUTERS -- A helicopter crash in southwestern Senegal has killed eight people and injured 13, reports Reuters.   The Mi-17 helicopter crashed on March 14 near the village of Missira, said an army spokesman.   The aircraft and its 20 passengers were travelling from southern Casamance to the capital, Dakar, he said.   The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.   The aircraft reportedly issued warning signals and crashed while attempting an emergency landing.     
  Item Number:14 Date: 03/19/2018 SYRIA - TURKISH LED FORCES DRIVE KURDISH FIGHTERS OUT OF AFRIN (MAR 19/BBC)  BRITISH BROADCASTING CORP. -- Turkish forces have taken control of the center of Afrin, pushing out Kurdish armed groups that Turkey says threaten its national security, reports BBC News.   Turkish and Free Syrian Army forces said they encountered little resistance when entering the northwestern city on Sunday.   Kurdish fighters and civilians were forced to evacuate the town due to fears of "massacres" by Turkish forces, Kurdish militia leaders told the Guardian (U.K.).   Turkey will not stay in Afrin once the region is cleared of "terrorists," said Bekir Bozdag, a deputy prime minister, as reported by Reuters.   Operation Olive Branch began on Jan. 20, with the stated goal of clearing members of the primarily-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from positions close to Turkey's southwestern border with Syria.   Turkey does not differentiate between the SDF and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a separatist terrorist group in Turkey. The U.S. considers the SDF a strong partner in the fight against remaining pockets of the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) in Syria.   Activist groups have reported that as many as 280 civilians have been killed during the two-month operation. Ankara has denied these reports.   The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that more than 1,500 Kurdish have been killed in two months of fighting. 46 Turkish soldiers have been killed in the offensive, according to Turkish army figures.    
  Item Number:15 Date: 03/19/2018 USA - NAVY PLANS TO RETIRE ONE OF ITS TWO HOSPITAL SHIPS (MAR 19/NTIMES)  NAVY TIMES -- The U.S. Navy's Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal calls for the elimination of either the one of the nation's two hospital ships, reports the Navy Times.   During a Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) congressional hearing on March 8th, lawmakers pushed back against the proposed cut, citing soft power benefits.   The USNS Mercy or the USNS Comfort also allow the U.S. to respond to mass casualty engagements in separate theaters, said lawmakers.   The Navy proposed the reduction in part to ease the financial strain brought by modernization efforts, as well as the service's goal to add more combat ships to its fleet
Item Number:16 Date: 03/19/2018 USA - USS WASP CERTIFIED FOR F-35B OPERATIONS (MAR 19/NAVY)  U.S. NAVY -- The U.S. Navy has cleared the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp to operate with the Marine Corps' F-35B, according to a Navy press release.   Certification training and trials began in Okinawa on March 5, according to a March 15 release.   The integration of the F-35B, the Marine Corps variant of the Joint Strike Fighter which features Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing (STOVL), onto the Wasp is significant because it allows the U.S. military to project stealth airpower without needing a conventional airstrip or aircraft super-carrier.
 
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