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Monday, April 16, 2018

TheList 4700

The List 4700


To All
I hope that you all had a great weekend
Regards,
Skip
This Day In Naval History – April 16, 2018
April 16
1863 - Union gunboats pass Confederate batteries at Vicksburg
1924 - Navy commences relief operations in Mississippi Valley floods, lasting until 16 June
1942—USS Tambor (SS 198) sinks the Japanese stores ship Kitami Maru 50 miles southeast of Kavieng, New Ireland.
1944—USS Gandy (DE 764) intentionally rams German submarine U 550 off Nantucket Shoals in Atlantic Ocean. USS Joyce (DE 317) and USS Peterson (DE 152) join Gandy and deploy depth charges and gunfire to sink the submarine.
1944—USS Wisconsin (BB 64) is commissioned and joins the Pacific Fleet, providing gunfire support for the Battle for Iwo Jima and the Okinawa Campaign.
1945—After three days of U.S. naval and aerial bombardment and Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) beach reconnaissance during the Okinawa Campaign, the 77th Army Division lands on Ie Shima. Kamikaze attacks take their toll on Navy ships, sinking USS Pringle (DD 477) and damaging 10 other ships.
1947—Congress passes Army-Navy Nurses Act, giving Navy Nurse Corps members commissioned rank.
1959—Helicopters from USS Edisto (AGB 2) begin rescue operations in Montevideo, Uruguay. By April 26, they carry 277 flood victims to safety.
2011—USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12) is christened and launched at San Diego, CA.
 
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
National headlines continued to focus on the aftermath of Western air strikes against Syrian chemical weapons facilities, as well as former First Lady Barbara Bush's decision not to seek further medical treatment. The Trump administration intends to impose a new round of sanctions on Russia in response to Russia's involvement in the use of chemical weapons in Syria reports the New York Times. The Navy cites pilot error and a failure in leadership as the cause of the Oct. 1 crash of a T-45C Goshawk reports Navy Times. "This mishap resulted from individual pilot error, a culture within VT-7 and Chief of Naval Air Training at large, which fostered [instructor pilots] and [student naval aviators] flying their aircraft beyond the bounds of approved Naval Air Training Command curriculum," said Rear Adm. James Bynum in a report on the incident. Additionally, the Wall Street Journal reports that President Trump elected for a more restrained response to Syria's use of chemical weapons at the urging of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
 
 
April 16
69
Defeated by Vitellius' troops at Bedriacum, Otho commits suicide.
556
Pelagius I begins his reign as Catholic Pope.
1065
The Norman Robert Guiscard takes Bari, ending five centuries of Byzantine rule in southern Italy.
1705
Queen Anne of England knights Isaac Newton.
1746
Prince Charles is defeated at the Battle of Culloden, the last pitched battle fought in Britain.
1818
The U.S. Senate ratifies the Rush-Bagot amendment to form an unarmed U.S.-Canada border.
1854
San Salvador is destroyed by an earthquake.
1862
Confederate President Jefferson Davis approves a conscription act for white males between 18 and 35.
1862
Slavery is abolished in the District of Columbia.
1917
Vladimir Lenin returns to Russia to start the Bolshevik Revolution.
1922
Annie Oakley shoots 100 clay targets in a row, setting a woman's record.
1942
The Island of Malta is awarded the George Cross in recognition for heroism under constant German air attack. It was the first such award given to any part of the British Commonwealth.
1945
The destroyer USS Laffey survives horrific damage from attacks by 22 Japanese aircraft off Okinawa, earning the nickname "The Ship That Would Not Die."
1945
American troops enter Nuremberg, Germany.
1947
A lens which provides zoom effects is demonstrated in New York City.
1968
The Pentagon announces the "Vietnamization" of the war.
1972
Two giants pandas arrive in the U.S. from China.
 
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Hand Salute!!
 
'Full Metal Jacket' actor, Marine icon R. Lee Ermey dies at 74
By: Michelle Tan 11 hours ago
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R. Lee Ermey died April 15 from complications from pneumonia. He was 74.
R. Lee Ermey, legendary Marine and one of the most memorable actors from the movie "Full Metal Jacket," died Sunday.
Ermey passed away from complications of pneumonia, Bill Rogin, Ermey's long-time manager, said in a statement on Twitter.
"It is with deep sadness that I regret to inform you all that R. Lee Ermey ("The Gunny") passed away this morning from complications of pneumonia. He will be greatly missed by all of us," Rogin wrote.
In a statement to Marine Corps Times, Rogin added that nobody was prepared for the "terrible loss" of Ermey.
"He has meant so much to so many people. And it is extremely difficult to truly quantify all of the great things this man has selflessly done for, and on behalf of, our many men and women in uniform," Rogin said. "He has also contributed many iconic and indelible characters on film that will live on forever."
Ermey "was a family man, and a kind and gentle soul. He was generous to everyone around him. And, he especially cared deeply for others in need."
Rogin asked Ermey's fans to honor him with "hope and kindness," and by supporting the men and women in the military.
"That's what he wanted most of all," Rogin said.
Ermey is best known for his pivotal role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in "Full Metal Jacket." He would go on to star in television shows and inspire Marines everywhere.
The role of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman earned Ermey a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actor and led to dozens more on-screen appearances and several off-screen ones, where he provided voices for characters in the "Toy Story" franchise, "The Simpsons" and other properties.
The drill instructor that made "Full Metal Jacket" famous has claimed this year's Battle Bracket crown.
By: Kevin Lilley
He also hosted Outdoor Channel's " GunnyTime with R. Lee Ermey" and " Military Makeover," from the producers of Lifetime's "Designing Spaces."
He also wrote a book and established a million-strong Facebook following.
Ermey, a former drill instructor, served from 1961 to 1972. He left the Marine Corps as a staff sergeant, and later received an honorary promotion to gunnery sergeant from then-Commandant Gen. James Jones in 2002.
 
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Thanks to Dr. Rich
No USN carrier aircraft – 
Dutch
REVEALED: The deadly line-up of jets, bombers and destroyers that unleashed a barrage of more than 100 missiles in revenge for Assad's chemical attack.  US, Britain and France dispatched some of their most advanced weaponry for Syria strikes on Friday night.
·        
         American B-1B bombers and F16 strike fighters joined British typhoons and Mirage jets provided by France.
 
·         Raids hit two chemical weapons facilities and a command post and were described as successful by Trump.
 
 
 
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Thanks to Carl
The Sad, Sad Story of Laika, the Space Dog, and Her One-Way Trip into Orbit | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian
 
 
The Sad, Sad Story of Laika, the Space Dog, and Her One-Way Trip into Orbit
A stray Moscow pup traveled into orbit in 1957 with one meal and only a seven-day oxygen supply
Alice GeorgeApril 11, 2018
Laika Postage artThe story of Laika (above, in a Soviet bloc stamp) lives on today in websites, YouTube videos, poems, and children's books, at least one of which provides a happy ending for the doomed dog. (Vintageprintable1, Flickr)
 
 
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With our thanks to THE Bear at http://www.rollingthunderremembered.com/

ROLLING THUNDER REMEMBERED… 16 APRIL 1968… "THE UNITED STATES NEEDS UNITY, NOW!"…

April 15, 2018   Bear Taylor  
RIPPLE SALVO… #772… IT WAS ONE OF THOSE TIMES, APRIL 1968, WHEN OUR COUNTRY MET THE STATE OF INTERNAL DISCORD THAT LED ABRAHAM LINCOLN TO WARN IN HIS DAY, 1858, "THAT A HOUSE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF, CANNOT STAND". The Editorial Board of the Ogden Standard-Examiner, was one of thousands of American groups that raised a plea for National Unity in the wake of the 100's of demonstrations and riots that swept the nation in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In their plea for "Unity, Now!" they created a clarion call for all generations of Americans…    Including those 21st century Americans standing, or not, for the United States today… but first…
GOOD MORNING: Day SEVEN HUNDRED SEVENTY-TWO of a return to the pages of American history written in blood in Vietnam and Operation Rolling Thunder fifty years ago…
 
 
 
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Can you post this, Skip?  I just found out about Jake's "Last Charlie"….
 
Bob "Jake" Jacobson, a VF-111 "Sundowner" during the 1968 and 1969 deployments to Vietnam, passed away Friday, April 6, 2018.
Jake is a great American, a life-long friend and leaves behind a wonderful family, Diana and Aaron.
 
I  arrived in Pensacola, Florida to commence flight training at "Indoc" the same evening Jake did, Feb 17, 1965..  We went through flight training together, got Crusaders at Miramar and remained life-long friends.  In fact, Jake was "Best Man" at Leslie's and my wedding at the Miramar chapel.  Throw a nickel on the grass, Gents….
 
 
Obituary for Robert " Bob" Alan Jacobson
Robert "Bob" Alan Jacobson, 74, of Troy, Missouri, passed away peacefully at his residence on Friday, April 6, 2018 in Troy, MO. He was born on June 17, 1943 in Chicago, Illinois and the son of Charles and Florence (Ruswick) Jacobson. He was united in marriage to Diana Marie Wukits on October 25, 1989 in Kona, Hawaii and to this union they welcomed one son.

Robert graduated from Christian Brothers College High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and continued his education at California State University in San Diego, California with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. He served his country as a Lieutenant Commander Navy Fighter Pilot in the Vietnam War. Robert worked as a Captain for TWA Airlines later for American Airlines as a Captain where he retired in 2003. He was a member of Experimental Aircraft Association. Robert enjoyed flying his 1929 Fleet Bi-plan around the Lincoln County countryside. He was also an accomplished carpenter, one of his last projects was a wood lapstrake sailboat named: Diana.

He is survived by his loving wife, Diana Jacobson of Troy, Missouri; one son, Aaron Michael Jacobson of Troy, Missouri; one sister, Janice Doehrman of Ft. Wayne, Indiana and one brother, Charles Jacobson of Ft. Wayne, Indiana; numerous nieces, nephews and many friends. He was proceeded in death by his parents.

Services will be held private for the family. In lieu of flowers expressions of sympathy may be made to the Alzheimer's Assocation, in care of KEMPER-MILLARD-KEIM Family Funeral Chapel; P.O. Box 222, Troy, MO 63379. Online condolences may be made at www.kempermillardkeimfamilyfuneralchapel.com Ph.(636) 528-8221

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Robert " Bob" Alan Jacobson please visit our Sympathy Store
 
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Item Number:1 Date: 04/16/2018 CHINA - NEW VETERANS MINISTRY TO OVERSEE BACK PAY AND BENEFITS (APR 16/SCMP)  SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST -- China has opened a new ministry for veterans affairs after a series of protests over wages and benefits, reports South China Morning Post.   The Ministry of Veterans Affairs opened on Monday and will oversee China's estimated 57 million former military personnel.   The new agency was announced at China's annual parliamentary meetings last month. It will be tasked with formulating policy for veterans, including overseeing pensions and retirement benefits.   The ministry will also help veterans find new jobs.   China continues reforms started in 2015 that aim to reduce the armed forces by 300,000, with much of the cuts expected to come from the army.   Hundreds of veterans staged two days of protests in February 2017. Gathering outside of the state anti-corruption body, they demanded unpaid retirement benefits.   In October 2016, thousands of veterans staged a sit-in at the same location. It was the largest veteran protest since the founding of modern China in 1949.  
  Item Number:2 Date: 04/16/2018 EGYPT - NAVY HOSTS U.A.E. FOR 3 DAYS OF DRILLS (APR 16/EGYPTTODAY)  EGYPT TODAY -- The Egyptian and United Arab Emirates navies conducted a three-day exercise last week in the Red Sea, reports Egypt Today.   The biennial Khalifa 3 exercises were designed to improve the defensive and targeting capabilities of the two navies and included minehunting, defeating unconventional threats and protecting maritime traffic operations.   The drills, which ran from April 10-12, included cross-deck flying operations, crew exchanges and refuelings at-sea.  
  Item Number:3 Date: 04/16/2018 MALI - 16 KILLED IN ASSAULT ON U.N. BASE IN TIMBUKTU (APR 16/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- At least 15 militants and a peacekeeper have been killed in an attack on a U.N. base in northern Mali, reports Agence France-Presse.   Gunmen dressed in blue peacekeeping helmets entered the "Super Camp" compound on April 14 in two vehicles packed with explosives, said Mali's security ministry, as reported by Radio France International.   One of the cars was marked with Malian military insignia, another with that of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Malia, MINUSMA.   Only one of the cars successfully detonated, said officials.   The peacekeeper who was killed was from Burkina Faso, noted the U.N. News.   Troops managed to fight off the attackers after French fighter jets were sent from a base in Niger, a French military spokesman said.   The battle lasted over four hours and included rocket and mortar fire.   At least 10 U.N. and seven French troops were injured in the attack. Six civilians were hospitalized with bullet wounds.   There were no immediate claims of responsibility. A JNIM attack on the camp in May 2017 killed a Liberian peacekeeper
  Item Number:4 Date: 04/16/2018 MONTENEGRO - AFTER LEADING NATO MEMBERSHIP CAMPAIGN AS PRIME MINISTER, DJUKANOVIC WINS PRESIDENCY (APR 16/DEWELLE)  DEUTSCHE WELLE -- The candidate who led a successful effort to join NATO and has vowed to pursue E.U. membership has won presidential elections in Montenegro, reports Deutsche Welle.   With 80 percent of ballots counted, Montenegro's electoral body projected Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic as the winner with roughly 53 percent of the vote.   At least 50 percent was needed to avoid a runoff.   Djukanovic's Democratic Party of Socialists declared victory in a speech on Sunday.   Djukanovic is known for his efforts to remove Montenegro from Russia's sphere of influence. This included an effort that culminated in his country's joining NATO in December.   He has been in power, with only brief interruptions, since 1991, noted Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.   The president-elect has also pledged to pursue accession to the European Union. That could happen as soon as 2025, according to experts cited by London's Daily Telegraph.   Djukanovic has recently toned down his anti-Russia stance but has remained committed to closer ties to Brussels
  Item Number:5 Date: 04/16/2018 NETHERLANDS - GERMAN-DUTCH BATTALION GETS MODIFIED LEOPARD 2 TANKS (APR 16/DMOD)  DUTCH MINISTRY OF DEFENSE -- The German-Dutch battalion attached to the German army has taken delivery of an initial batch of modified Leopard 2 tanks, reports the Dutch Ministry of Defense.   Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, the manufacturer, delivered the first three modified Leopard 2A6MA2 tanks on April 11.   The vehicles are equipped with a Dutch communication and information system, enabling them to seamlessly communicate with Dutch military units, the ministry said.   In 2015, Germany and the Netherlands established the joint 414 Tank Battalion under the command of 43 Mechanized Brigade in Havelte in the northeastern Netherlands. The brigade falls under the command of the German 1 Panzer Division.   The new Dutch battlefield management system, enables units assigned to the 414 Tank Battalion to fully participate in operations with the Dutch brigade. A blue-force tracking system was also installed, allowing the crew to distinguish friendly forces.   The battalion is scheduled to receive 17 modified tanks by July. A total of 40 tanks are slated to be modified
Item Number:6 Date: 04/16/2018 NIGER - U.S.-LED FLINTLOCK DRILLS FOCUS ON DAILY OPS (APR 16/S&S)  STARS AND STRIPES -- U.S. special operation forces are leading a major multinational exercise in Niger in western Africa, reports the Stars and Stripes.   The two-week Flintlock drills are focused on the day-to-day threats faced by local militaries, said Maj. Gen. J. Marcus Hicks, the head of Special Operations Command Africa.   "The scenarios will be based on real-world threats of the violent extremist organizations currently threatening our partner nations in the greater Sahel," Hicks said.   The emphasis has changed from the tactical proficiency of small units to the command-and-control of joint forces, he said.   For the exercise, a joint multinational headquarters is being established in Agadez, where military teams will command and control tactical units in Burkina Faso, Senegal and Niger. Those countries, along with Chad, Mali and Mauritania, are involved in a joint regional response force.   Eight African and 12 Western countries are taking part in this year's drills.  
  Item Number:7 Date: 04/16/2018 PERU - SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS TARGETS CORRUPTION, UPCOMING ELECTIONS IN VENEZUELA (APR 16/DEWELLE)  DEUTSCHE WELLE -- The Summit of the Americas has concluded in Peru with a joint statement vowing to tackle corruption and criticizing upcoming elections in Venezuela, reports Deutsche Welle.   The 16th Summit of the Americs wrapped up on April 14 in Lima, the capital of Peru.   The Lima group, which includes 16 Latin American countries and the U.S., issued a joint statement criticizing elections scheduled for May 20 in Venezuela.   The Venezuelan opposition has accused the government of Nicolas Maduro of rigging those polls.   The election will not be seen as legitimate by the region unless democratic standards are restored prior to voting, the statement said.   Venezuela was not represented at the summit.   President Nicolas Maduro criticized the meeting as a "complete failure," reported Reuters.   U.S. President Donald Trump was not in attendance, remaining in the U.S. to coordinate military action in Syria. The U.S. was represented by Vice President Mike Pence.   The theme of this year's summit was fighting corruption.   The summit ended with a 57-point plan to fight corruption. Analysts were skeptical that the plan would produce significant tangible results
Item Number:8 Date: 04/16/2018 RUSSIA - KA-29 HELICOPTER CRASHES DURING AMPHIB TRIALS; 2 CREWMEMBERS DIE (APR 16/INT-AVN)  INTERFAX-MILITARY NEWS AGENCY -- A Russian Ka-29 maritime helicopter crashed in the Baltic Sea while taking part in trials of a new landing ship, reports Interfax-AVN.   The helicopter was conducting takeoffs and landings from the Ivan Gren amphibious ship on Thursday night when it went down during an approach, said an unnamed source.   Both crewmembers on the helicopter were killed in the crash.   The incident is under investigation. Weather was not a cause, noted Russia's Tass news agency.    
  Item Number:9 Date: 04/16/2018 SAUDI ARABIA - ARAB LEAGUE MEMBERS BLAST TURKEY, IRAN FOR INTERFERENCE (APR 16/ASHARQ)  ASHARQ AL-AWSAT -- The Arab League has begun its annual summit with a joint statement condemning Iranian and Turkish influence in the Arab world, reports Asharq Al-Awsat (U.K.).   The 29th Arab League summit began in the eastern Saudi city of Dhahran on Sunday.   A statement agreed to by delegates on April 12 and distributed to journalists the following day condemned Iranian and Turkish activities in Syria, Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries.   The leaders condemned Turkish operations in Iraq and called for an immediate and unconditional withdrawal.   The statement emphasized the importance of Syria's territorial unity and sovereignty. A political solution would be needed to end the conflict, it said, as reported by Reuters.   Arab leaders stressed their support for the Palestinian cause and rejected a December 2017 decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel.   This was the first summit held since Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Egypt and Bahrain launched a blockade in June 2017 to isolate Qatar.   Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir insisted that Qatar was welcome at the event but said that the issue would not be discussed.   A high-level Qatari official did not attend the summit. Qatar was instead represented by its permanent representative to the Arab League, Saif bin Muqaddam al-Buainain.  
  Item Number:10 Date: 04/16/2018 SOUTH KOREA - U.S. POSTPONES DELIVERY OF GLOBAL HAWK DRONES TO STRENGTHEN CYBERSECURITY (APR 16/YON)  YONHAP -- The United States has told South Korea that it is delaying the delivery of two unmanned aircraft in order to install additional cybersecurity capabilities, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   South Korea was scheduled to receive the RQ-4 Global Hawk air vehicles in late 2018 under a 2014 contract.   The U.S. has notified South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) of the plan to push back the delivery in order to strengthen the anti-hacking system and deploy additional cybersecurity measures.   The air vehicles will be delivered in the first half of 2019. Two additional Global Hawks will be handed over in 2019 as scheduled.   
  Item Number:11 Date: 04/16/2018 SYRIA - CHEMICAL WEAPONS FACILITIES DESTROYED IN JOINT BRITISH, FRENCH, U.S. ATTACK (APR 16/WSJ)  WALL STREET JOURNAL -- American, British and French fighter jets have launched air strikes on Syrian government positions and military installations, reports the Wall Street Journal.   On Friday, the combined forces struck the Barzah Research and Development Center near the capital, Damascus, and two storage facilities near the northwest city of Homs.   Two U.S. B-1 bombers launched 19 JASSM-ER weapons and 57 Tomahawk missiles were launched from the sea at the research center, one of the most heavily-defended sites in the world, reported Defense News. The center was destroyed, according to U.S. officials.   The Him Shinshar chemical weapons facility, west of Homs, was also destroyed. The Him Shinshar chemical weapons bunker, about 4 miles (7 km) from the facility, was hit and "took damage," said the officials.   Four British Tornado GR4 fighter jets armed with Storm Shadow cruise missiles and French Mirage and Rafale jets armed with SCALP missiles also participated in the mission, reported CNN.   From the Eastern Mediterranean, the cruiser USS Monterey fired 30 Tomahawk missiles, the destroyer USS Laboon seven, the USS Higgins 23 and the attack submarine, USS John Warner, six.   The USS Donald Cook and French frigate Aquitaine also provide support from the Eastern Mediterranean.   At least 71 of the cruise missiles were intercepted by Syria's Russian-provided air defense system, Lt. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy said from Moscow on Saturday, as reported by Al Jazeera (Qatar).   Syria used S-125, S-200, 2K12 Kub and Buk missiles to repel the attack, said Rudskoy.   French officials said that none of the 12 missiles they fired during the operation were intercepted.   The Pentagon expressed similar skepticism, saying that none of the 105 weapons launched during the operation were intercepted, reported Defense News.   The U.S. did not use a communications line to alert Russia prior to the strike, said Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.   The attack was a response to an alleged chemical attack that killed at least 43 civilians in the opposition-held city of Douma, northeast of Damascus.   The U.S. and its allies accuse the government of Bashar Assad of launching the attack. Syria and its backers, Russia and Iran, deny involvement in the attacks and have blamed opposition factions.    
  Item Number:12 Date: 04/16/2018 TURKEY - AMERICAN MISSIONARY SET TO FACE TRIAL FOR ALLEGED TERROR LINKS (APR 16/NEWEEK)  NEWSWEEK -- The trial of an American missionary accused of terrorism is set to begin in Turkey, reports Newsweek.   The trial of Andrew Brunson is scheduled to begin on Monday in the western city of Izmir.   Brunson, 50, is accused of links with plotters of a failed 2016 military coup and contacts with armed Kurdish groups, including the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).   He was detained in October 2016 in a series of arrests following the failed coup. Brunson was initially held on suspicion of an immigration violation. He was held for 17 months without charge, noted the American Center for Law and Justice, which is representing Brunson in the U.S.   If convicted, he faces 35 years in prison, reported Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey).   The charges against Brunson are based solely on information from his cell phone and testimony from secret witnesses, said his lawyer.   Critics have accused Turkey of manipulating Brunson's arrest to secure the extradition of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey accuses of the plotting the failed coup.    
  Item Number:13 Date: 04/16/2018 USA - FIGHTER PILOT SHORTAGE REACHES 25 PERCENT ACROSS THE MILITARY, REPORT SAYS (APR 16/AFT)  AIR FORCE TIMES -- A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy are each short about 25 percent of their fighter pilot requirements, reports the Air Force Times.   The problem has worsened in recent years. It is exacerbated by the time it takes before a fighter pilot is qualified to lead flights. To train a flight leader takes about five years and anywhere from $3 million to $11 million.   Retaining these pilots is vital to recouping the military's investment and ensuring the services can successfully perform their missions.   The GAO said that the Air Force maintained fighter pilot manning levels at around 92 percent of those authorized from fiscal 2006 to fiscal 2013. However, starting in fiscal 2014, while pilot authorizations began to increase, personnel levels continued to decline.   By fiscal 2017, the active-duty Air Force was short 1,005 pilots, or 27 percent of its authorized strength.   The Navy was short 57 pilots, or 12 percent, in 2013, said the GAO. The shortage grew to 136 pilots, or 26 percent of its authorized strength.   The Marine Corps had filled 76 percent of its fighter pilot billets at the end of 2017, according to the report.   The services told the GAO that while they cannot reach their authorized strength, they are ensuring the deploying squadrons are fully manned.   The high operations tempo is having an effect on training younger pilots, hurting retention and making it harder for squadrons to build readiness, says the report
  Item Number:14 Date: 04/16/2018 USA - INDIANAPOLIS LITTORAL SHIP CHRISTENED IN MARINETTE, WIS. (APR 16/DOD)  DEPT. OF DEFENSE -- The U.S. Navy has christened its newest Freedom-class littoral combat ship, reports the Dept. of Defense.   The Indianapolis (LCS 17), the ninth Freedom-class ship, was christened in a ceremony on April 14 in Marinette, Wis.   The Freedom-class vessels are built by Marinette Marine in Wisconsin, while the Independence class is built in Mobile, Ala., by Austal USA.   The LCS is a modular ship that can be outfitted for missions such as surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasures
  Item Number:15 Date: 04/16/2018 USA - NEW SANCTIONS TARGETING RUSSIA PLANNED, SAYS U.N. AMBASSADOR (APR 16/CBS)  CBS NEWS -- New U.S. sanctions against Russia are coming, says U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, as reported by CBS News.   In an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Haley said the sanctions could be coming as soon as Monday.   The new sanctions are meant to target Russia for its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and his alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians.   "They will go directly to any sort of corporations that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use," Haley said.   The Treasury Dept. is examining a dozen targets for new sanctions, which include banks, equipment suppliers and helicopter manufacturers, reported CNN.   Such sanctions would be the third announced against Russia in the past four weeks, noted the New York Times.  
  Item Number:16 Date: 04/16/2018 USA - TASK FORCE SEEKS TO IMPROVE INFANTRY EFFECTIVENESS (APR 16/DODNEWS)  DOD NEWS -- A Pentagon task force is working to improve the lethality of infantry units to ensure they can overmatch any potential adversary, reports DoD News.   The Close Combat Lethality Task Force is considering how the service's select personnel for infantry jobs and what they need to do to retain them, as well as how the service's judge and provide fitness.   The task force is also reviewing weapons, protective systems, communications gear, unmanned tactical systems, doctrine and other issues.   The goal is to enhance the lethality of Army, Marine Corps and special operations light infantry units.   Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, who serves on the advisory board of the task force, noted that 90 percent of Americans killed in combat are infantry; they consist of 4 percent of uniformed personnel; and receive 1 percent of the Pentagon's training and equipping budget.   The U.S. maintains combat overmatch in every other area of the battlefield except for the small infantry unit, which is the one that comes closest to an even fight with the enemy, Scales said.
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