Thursday, February 21, 2019





The List 4930     TGB


 
To All,
 
I hope that your week has started well
Regards,
Skip
 
This day in Naval History
 
Feb. 19
§  1900—President William McKinley signs an Executive Order placing Tutuila (Samoa) and nearby islands under the Navy Department.
§  1942—The Japanese attack Darwin, Australia in the largest attack by a foreign power on that country. USS Peary (DD 226), as well as an Army transport and freighter sink in the raid, as well as a number of Australian and British vessels.
§  1942—The overnight Battle of Badoeng Strait begins when the allied naval force (ABDA) commanded by Dutch Rear Adm. W.F.M. Doorman engaged the Japanese in an attempt to stop the invasion force in Bali. USS Stewart (DE 238) is damaged.
§  1945—Following pre-invasion naval gunfire and aerial bombardment, U.S. Marines land on Iwo Jima, securing the island on March 16. Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz describes the invasion, from which 27 Medals of Honor are given, as one "where uncommon valor was a common virtue."
 
 
Thanks to CHINFO
 
Executive Summary:
Leading national new headlines today are reports that a 45-year old man who was taken into custody by border patrol agents in Texas earlier this month has died, and reports that a winter storm will bring a threat for heavy snow and ice from Oklahoma across the Midwest, Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic, and the Northeast today through Wednesday.  Speaking at West 2019, Adm. Christopher Grady discussed Navy's need to leverage artificial intelligence, machining learning and data analytics to revolutionize fleet readiness reports Signal Magazine. "When we in the Navy, or the rest of the military for that matter, talk about digitization, talk about analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, we usually see this through the fleet lens. We talk about how to achieve decision superiority in the fleet fight. That's all good," said Grady. "But fleet readiness will benefit significantly by bringing all of the same tools to bear on all of our readiness processes. Vice Adm. Dewolfe Miller stated that the implementation of the Naval Sustainment System instituted in October has reduced times need to conduct various aviation maintenance activities reports Inside Defense. Additionally, Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 deployed for the first time in mid-February with organic 3-D printing capabilities.
 
 
This day in history
·         February 19
1408

The revolt of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, against King Henry IV, ends with his defeat and death at Bramham Moor.
1701

Philip V of Spain makes his ceremonial entry into Madrid.
1807

Vice President Aaron Burr is arrested in Alabama for treason. He is later found innocent.
1847

Rescuers finally reach the ill-fated Donner Party in the Sierras.
1861

Russian Tsar Alexander II abolishes serfdom.
1902

Smallpox vaccination becomes obligatory in France.
1903

The Austria-Hungary government decrees a mandatory two year military service.
1915

British and French warships begin their attacks on the Turkish forts at the mouth of the Dardenelles, in an abortive expedition to seize the straits of Gallipoli.
1917

American troops are recalled from the Mexican border.
1919

The First Pan African Congress meets in Paris, France.
1925

President Calvin Coolidge proposes the phasing out of inheritance tax.
1926

Dr. Lane of Princeton estimates the earth's age at one billion years.
1942

Port Darwin, on the northern coast of Australia, is bombed by the Japanese.
1944

The U.S. Eighth Air Force and Royal Air Force begin "Big Week," a series of heavy bomber attacks against German aircraft production facilities.
1965

Fourteen Vietnam War protesters are arrested for blocking the United Nations' doors in New York.
1966

Robert F. Kennedy suggests the United States offer the Vietcong a role in governing South Vietnam.
1976

Britain slashes welfare spending.
1981

The U.S. State Department calls El Salvador a "textbook case" of a Communist plot.
1987

New York Governor Mario Cuomo declares that he will not run for president in the next election.
 
 
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The note on the history above did not seem adequate to describe what the
Marines did on Iwo Jima 73 years ago so I got more of the story from
Seamus' "All Hands"
 
Also remember that having that island and airfields saved thousands of air
crew who were flying missions to Japan and used it as an emergency field.
 
The Marine invasion of Iwo Jima (1st US attack on the Japanese Home
Islands) began on February 19, 1945.  It was known as Operation Detachment.
 The Marines were charged with the mission of capturing the airfields on
the island which up until that time had harried U.S. bombing missions to
Tokyo.  Once the bases were secured, they could then be used in the
impending invasion of the Japanese mainland.
 
B-24 Liberators flying from the Marianna's bombed the island for 74 days
prior to the invasion.  Naval ships consisting of 6 battleships, 5 cruisers
and many destroyers of Task Force 54 provided a 3 day pre-landing
bombardment.  Intelligence sources estimated that the island would fall in
a week's time.  Unfortunately, no one knew at the time that island had been
heavily fortified.  There were vast bunkers, hidden artillery and 11 miles
of interconnecting tunnels.
 
The battle produced some of the fiercest fighting in the Pacific Campaign
of WWII.  Besides the fortifications, the inhospitable terrain consisting
of volcanic ash made walking difficult and building foxholes for protection
impossible.  Night raids by the Japanese and hand-to-hand combat were
common occurrences.  The bunkers were connected to the tunnels in such a
way that even after the use of flamethrowers and grenades, the Japanese
soldiers were able to return to the bunkers and resume their fighting.  The
Marines literally won the 8 square mile island, inch by bloody inch.
 
Of the approximate 20,000 Japanese troops on the island, less than 1,000
were taken prisoner.  Most Japanese fought to the death or chose ritual
suicide instead of surrendering.
 
Of the 110,000 Marines and Navy Corpsman who took part in the battle, 6,821
were killed (this included over 300 Navy Corpsman) and 19,217 were wounded.
 The number of American casualties were greater than the total Allied
casualties at the Battle of Normandy on D-Day.
 
On March 26, 1945, the island of Iwo Jima was declared secure ... 37 days
after the battle began.  Henceforth, Iwo Jima would appear on the list in
Marine Corps history alongside such places as Belleau Woods, Chosin
Reservoir and Guadalcanal.
 
Twenty-seven Medal of Honor medals were awarded for actions during the
battle.  Of these, 14 were awarded posthumously.  Marines earned 22 of the
medals, Navy Corpsman earned 4 and a Naval officer from the USS LCI won the
other.  Of the total number of Medal of Honor medals awarded to Marines in
WWII, 27% of those were awarded to the Marines who fought on Iwo Jima.
 
By their victory, the 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine Divisions and other units of
the Fifth Amphibious Corps have made an accounting to their country which
only history will be able to value fully.  Among the Americans who served
on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue.   Admiral Chester W.
Nimitz, U.S. Navy
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Thanks to Chuck…..Worth watching again
The last shot is incredible!
WOW! AMAZING!
Check these wild ones out!
 
 
 
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From the List archives
Thanks to Chuck
IT WAS A FORTRESS COMING HOME
By Allen Ostrom
They could hear it before they could see it! Not all that unusual in those days as the personnel at Station 131 gathered around the tower and scattered hardstands to await the return of the B-17's sent out earlier that morning. First comes the far off rumble and drone of the Cyclones. Then a spec on the East Anglia horizon. Soon a small cluster indicating the lead squadron. Finally, the group. Then the counting. 1-2-3-4-5... But that would have been normal.
Today was different! It was too early for the group to return. "They're 20 minutes early. Can't be the 398th." They could hear it before they could see it! Something was coming home. But what?
All eyes turned toward the northeast, aligning with the main runway, each ground guy and stood-down airman straining to make out this "wail of a Banshee," as one called it. Not like a single B-17 with its characteristic deep roar of the engines blended with four thrashing propellers. This was a howl! Like a powerful wind blowing into a huge whistle. Then it came into view. It WAS a B-17!
Low and pointing her nose at the 6,000 foot runway, it appeared for all the world to be crawling toward the earth, screaming in protest. No need for the red flares. All who saw this Fort knew there was death aboard. "Look at that nose!" they said as all eyes stared in amazement as this single, shattered remnant of a once beautiful airplane glided in for an unrealistic "hot" landing. She took all the runway as the "Banshee" noise finally abated, and came to an inglorious stop in the mud just beyond the concrete runway.
Men and machines raced to the now silent and lonely aircraft. The ambulance and medical staff were there first. The fire truck... ground and air personnel... jeeps, truck, bikes... Out came one of the crew members from the waist door, then another. Strangely quiet. The scene was almost weird. Men stood by as if in shock, not knowing whether to sing or cry. Either would have been acceptable. The medics quietly made their way to the nose by way of the waist door as the remainder of the crew began exiting. And to answer the obvious question, "what happened?"
"What happened?" was easy to see. The nose was a scene of utter destruction. It was as though some giant aerial can opener had peeled the nose like an orange, relocating shreds of metal, plexiglas, wires and tubes on the cockpit windshield and even up to the top turret. The left cheek gun hung limp, like a broken arm. One man pointed to the crease in chin turret. No mistaking that mark! A German 88 anti-aircraft shell had exploded in the lap of the togglier. This would be George Abbott of Mt. Labanon, PA. He had been a waist gunner before training to take over the bombardier's role.
Still in the cockpit, physically and emotionally exhausted, were pilot Larry deLancey and co-pilot Phil Stahlman. Navigator Ray LeDoux finally tapped deLancey on the shoulder and suggested they get out. Engineer turret gunner Ben Ruckel already had made his way to the waist was exiting along with radio operator Wendell Reed, ball turret gunner Al Albro, waist gunner Russell Lachman and tail gunner Herbert Guild. Stahlman was flying his last scheduled mission as a replacement for regular co-pilot, Grady Cumbie. The latter had been hospitalized the day before with an ear problem. Lachman was also a "sub," filling in for Abbott in the waist.
DeLancey made it as far as the end of the runway, where he sat down with knees drawn up, arms crossed and head down. The ordeal was over, and now the drama was beginning a mental re-play. Then a strange scene took place. Group CO Col. Frank P. Hunter had arrived after viewing the landing from the tower and was about to approach DeLancey. He was physically restrained by flight surgeon Dr. Robert Sweet. "Colonel, that young man doesn't want to talk now. When he is ready you can talk to him, but for now leave him alone."
Sweet handed pills out to each crew member and told them to go to their huts and sleep. No dramatics, no cameras, no interviews. The crew would depart the next day for "flak leave" to shake off the stress. And then be expected back early in November. (Just in time to resume "normal" activities on a mission to Merseburg!)
Mission No. 98 from Nuthampstead had begun at 0400 that morning of October 15, 1944. It would be Cologne (again), led by CA pilots Robert Templeman of the 602nd, Frank Schofield of the 601st and Charles Khourie of the 603rd.
Tragedy and death appeared quickly and early that day. Templeman and pilot Bill Scott got the 602nd off at the scheduled 0630 hour, but at approximately 0645 Khouri and pilot Bill Meyran and their entire crew crashed on takeoff in the town of Anstey. All were killed. Schofield and Harold Stallcup followed successfully with the 601st, with DeLancey flying on their left wing in the lead element.
The ride to the target was routine, until the flak started becoming "unroutinely" accurate. "We were going through heavy flak on the bomb run," remembered DeLancey. "I felt the plane begin to lift as the bombs were dropped, then all of a sudden we were rocked by a violent explosion. My first thought - 'a bomb exploded in the bomb bay' - was immediately discarded as the top of the nose section peeled back over the cockpit blocking the forward view."
"It seemed like the whole world exploded in front of us," added Stahlman. "The instrument panel all but disintegrated and layers of quilted batting exploded in a million pieces. It was like a momentary snowstorm in the cockpit." It had been a direct hit in the nose. Killed instantly was the togglier, Abbott. Navigator LeDoux, only three feet behind Abbott, was knocked unconscious for a moment, but was miraculously was alive. Although stunned and bleeding, LeDoux made his way to the cockpit to find the two pilots struggling to maintain control of an airplane that by all rights should have been in its death plunge. LeDoux said there was nothing anyone could do for Abbott, while Ruckel opened the door to the bomb bay and signaled to the four crewman in the radio room that all was OK - for the time being.
The blast had torn away the top and much of the sides of the nose, depositing enough of the metal on the windshield to make it difficult for either of the pilots to see. "The instrument panel was torn loose and all the flight instruments were inoperative with the exception of the magnetic compass mounted in the panel above the windshield. And its accuracy was questionable. The radio and intercom were gone, the oxygen lines broken, and there was a ruptured hydraulic line under my rudder pedals," said DeLancey. All this complicated by the sub-zero temperature at 27,000 feet blasting into the cockpit.
"It was apparent that the damage was severe enough that we could not continue to fly in formation or at high altitude. My first concern was to avoid the other aircraft in the formation, and to get clear of the other planes in case we had to bail out. We eased out of formation, and at the same time removed our oxygen masks as they were collapsing on our faces as the tanks were empty." At this point the formation continued on its prescribed course for home - a long, slow turn southeast of Cologne and finally westward. DeLancey and Stahlman turned left, descending rapidly and hoping, they were heading west. (And also, not into the gun sights of German fighters.) Without maps and navigation aids, they had difficulty getting a fix. By this time they were down to 2,000 feet. "We finally agreed that we were over Belgium and were flying in a southwesterly direction," said the pilot.
"About this time a pair of P-51's showed up and flew a loose formation on us across Belgium. I often wondered what they thought as they looked at the mess up front." "We hit the coast right along the Belgium-Holland border, a bit farther north than we had estimated. Ray said we were just south of Walcheren Island." Still in an area of ground fighting, the plane received some small arms fire. This gesture was returned in kind by Albro, shooting from one of the waist guns. "We might have tried for one of the airfields in France, but having no maps this also was questionable. Besides, the controls and engines seemed to be OK, so I made the decision to try for home."
"Once over England, LeDoux soon picked up landmarks and gave me course corrections taking us directly to Nuthampstead. It was just a great bit of navigation. Ray just stood there on the flight deck and gave us the headings from memory." Nearing the field, Stahlman let the landing gear down. That was an assurance. But a check of the hydraulic pump sent another spray of oil to the cockpit floor. Probably no brakes! Nevertheless, a flare from Ruckel's pistol had to announce the "ready or not" landing. No "downwind leg" and "final approach" this time. Straight in! "The landing was strictly by guess and feel," said DeLancey. "Without instruments, I suspect I came in a little hot. Also, I had to lean to the left to see straight ahead. The landing was satisfactory, and I had sufficient braking to slow the plane down some. However, as I neared the taxiway, I could feel the brakes getting 'soft'.
I felt that losing control and blocking the taxiway would cause more problems than leaving the plane at the end of the runway." That consideration was for the rest of the group. Soon three squadrons of B-17's would be returning, and they didn't need a derelict airplane blocking the way to their respective hardstands.
Stahlman, supremely thankful that his career with the 398th had come to an end, soon returned home and in due course became a captain with Eastern Airlines. Retired in 1984, Stahlman said his final Eastern flight "was a bit more routine" than the one 40 years before.
DeLancey and LeDoux received decorations on December 11, 1944 for their parts in the October 15 drama. DeLancey was awarded the Silver Star for his "miraculous feat of flying skill and ability" on behalf of General Doolittle, CO of the Eighth Air Force. LeDoux for his "extraordinary navigation skill", received the Distinguished Flying Cross.
The photos below show the extensive damage to this crew's B-17

They must have had help from above to make it back to their base.
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Climate IS changing ... look at the history !!
Thanks to Doctor Rich 
 
No politics.  Just interesting:  We are not as important as we think in this overall point of history  
Don't think you are, even though you think you are.  How about over the past 11,000 years?
 
 Here are the facts about climate change! 
 
 
 
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Thanks to Mugs
 
F-22 Raptor Vs. Su-35 Flanker-E
 
For your viewing pleasure...
Mugs
 
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Transiting Star Wars Canyon - recent footage
 
Thanks to Dr.Rich
 
Thanks to Billy … some great video and stills …. 
— Thanks to Truman:  Some great flying over "Death Valley"...just about every military aircraft has their turn at a sortie through the mountains and valleys of Death Valley, CA...really something...about seven minutes long...the sender, an old friend, Hugh Helmick, worked and retired from the China Lake Naval Complex near Ridgecrest, CA, and still flies his own glider often out of the Inyokern, CA airport--see link below...enjoy
Transiting Star Wars Canyon - recent footage Check out the fighter aircraft flying through in afterburner, aggressively maneuvering at low altitudes and close to the canyon walls,  Very nice still shots too.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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USA—Trump Set To Sign Directive Establishing Space Force   Politico | 02/19/2019 President Donald Trump is expected to sign a directive establishing Space Force as a new branch of the military, reports Politico (Washington, D.C.).  Trump is expected to sign the directive on Tuesday.  The directive lays the foundation for a legislative proposal for Congress, which will make the final decision.  The document situates the Space Force within the Air Force, similar to how the Marines operate with a separate command structure under the Dept. of the Navy.  The structure was changed in order to win congressional approval, an administration official told the newspaper.  Initial startup costs are not expected to top $100 million. The newest force will be headed by a four-star general as its chief of staff and will also get its own civilian undersecretary. The general will also join the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The order also instructs the secretary of defense to review the nascent force to assess if a fully separate department is needed.  It is not expected to full stand up until lawmakers have observed how the force operates in practice.  The White House has maintained that the new force is necessary to counter the growing threat posed by China and Russia in space.   
 
USA—Trump Administration Considering Exchanging Liaisons With N. Korea  Wall Street Journal | 02/19/2019 The U.S. government is mulling a liaison office in North Korea, reports the Wall Street Journal.  The plan would allow North Korea to establish a similar office in the U.S., said a Trump administration official.  The offer is one of many proposals that could come up in meetings between North Korean and U.S. negotiators in the run up to a meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un later this month in Hanoi, Vietnam.  North Korean officials are said to be considering the idea and have discussed it with U.S. officials, reported CNN.  The prospects of the proposal are unclear. North Korea torpedoed a similar effort in 1994 after the U.S. sought to use diplomatic pouches to bring in materials and documents without inspection.  Such an office would be useful for U.S. weapons inspectors operating in the country, said Gary Samore, a senior National Security Agency official who worked on weapons of mass destruction during the Obama administration.  The proposal may be beneficial but does not address the economic concessions that North Korea is interested in, said analysts.   
 
USA—Trump Calls On Venezuelan Military To Back Guaido  Cable News Network | 02/19/2019 President Donald Trump has again called on Venezuelan military officers to back the country's self-declared interim president, Juan Guaido, reports CNN.  In a speech in Miami, Fla., on Monday, Trump said that officers who continue to support Maduro "are risking their future." He also accused "a small handful at the top of the Maduro regime" of plundering Venezuela's wealth. Trump referenced aid that has languished along the border between Venezuela and Colombia because the military has closed the crossing.  Washington seeks a peaceful transition of power but all options are on the table, said the president.  Trump also warned the military against harming Guaido, who was briefly arrested in January, reported Reuters.  National Security Adviser John Bolton last week said that many officers have been negotiating with the opposition behind the scenes. Defections are likely in the following weeks, he predicted.  The opposition-controlled legislature has passed a law granting amnesty to military officers who defect.  Guaido, who leads the National Assembly, has received the backing of most European countries and several neighbors.   Maduro retains support from China, Cuba and Russia. 
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Syria—Partnership With Damascus Far Off, Says Top Kurdish Leader  Defense Post | 02/19/2019 A senior Syrian Kurdish politician says any partnership between the predominately-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Syrian government is "very far away," reports the Defense Post.  Such a partnership would depend on a negotiated solution to the entire conflict, Salih Muslim told the website on Monday.  For the moment, conditions do not permit such an alliance he said.  Salih's comments follow a statement by U.S. Lt. Gen. Paul LeCamera, the head of the anti-ISIS coalition in Syria, indicating that American assistance would be cut off if the SDF partnered with the Assad government or Russia, reported Reuters.  Backed by the U.S.-led international coalition, the SDF has driven ISIS into a small area on the border with Iraq. Accordingly, it has begun to shift its efforts toward hunting down ISIS sleeper cells with coalition support.  Kurdish leaders have expressed concern over President Trump's stated intention to withdraw U.S. troops after the terrorist group is defeated.  There are concerns that the withdrawal could lead to a vacuum filled by Turkey, who has promised to wipe out Kurdish militants in the area.   Without coalition forces, the Kurds have looked to the Assad government as an option to defend a buffer zone with Turkey.  
 
China—Researchers Seek To Bolster Military's Comms, Logistics Capabilities   South China Morning Post | 02/19/2019 A Chinese military research institute is increasing its efforts on ways to bolster combat readiness, reports the South China Morning Post.  The Systems Engineering Institute, which is part of the Academy of Military Science, is tasking researchers with determining the urgent requirements of frontline troops, reported the army's official PLA Daily on Monday.  The Academy of Military Science is a high-level research institute within the People's Liberation Army (PLA) that focuses on doctrine, research and development. It has eight constituent institutes.  Researchers will work with civilian bodies to enhance logistics and communications capabilities, said the newspaper.  The majority of the institute's projects this year focus on combat readiness, said the publication.  President Xi Jinping has made enhancing combat readiness a priority this year.    
 
Egypt—Suicide Bomber Kills 3 In Cairo  Egypt Independent | 02/19/2019 Three Egyptian police officers have been killed and two injured in a suicide bombing in Cairo, reports the Egypt Independent.  On Monday, police identified the attacker and pursued him outside Al-Azhar Mosque, said a police spokesman quoted by Ahram Online (Cairo).  After a brief chase, the attacker set off his explosive device, killing two police officers instantly.  A third officer died on Tuesday from injuries sustained during the attack.  A search of the suspected attacker's apartment revealed explosive devices, suggesting he planned further attacks, said the spokesman.  Police also suspect the man was linked to a bombing on Feb. 15 in nearby Giza.  Al-Azhar is one of the oldest and most respected Islamic schools in the world.
 
China—Moscow To Replace Damaged S-400 Missiles  Tass | 02/19/2019 Russia will supply new missiles for China's S-400 air defense systems after some were damaged in transit, reports Russia's Tass news agency.  A regimental set of the S-400 systems was shipped to China aboard three vessels in January 2018. One of the ships was hit by a strong storm in the English Channel, damaging the equipment onboard, including the missiles. The remaining two ships arrived in China in April 2018.  New missiles are being built to replace the damaged weapons, Sergei Chemezov, the head of Rostec, said at the IDEX show in Abu Dhabi on Monday.  China is set to receive two S-400 regiments, or about 128 missiles, reported BBC News. The delivery of the systems will be completed by the end of 2020, according to Russian officials. Beijing was the first international customer for the Russian air defense platform, which has since been sold to Turkey and India. 
United Kingdom—Spanish Patrol Vessel Orders Commercial Ships To Leave Waters Near Gibraltar  Daily Telegraph (London) | 02/19/2019 A Spanish warship ordered several commercial ships to leave British waters off Gibraltar in the latest spat over the region, reports the Daily Telegraph (London). On Sunday, the Tornado ordered the commercial vessels, which were anchored on the eastern side of the Rock, to "leave Spanish territorial waters," the government of Gibraltar said in a statement. At the time, the ships were anchored in British waters and awaiting orders, while under the control of the Gibraltar Port Authority, reported the Gibraltar Chronicle. The port authority told the vessels to remain in place, accusing the Spanish warship of attempting to take executive action in British waters. After being challenged by the Royal Navy, the Spanish warship sailed slowly along the Gibraltar coast with its weapons uncovered and manned, the statement said. The Spanish government said the commercial vessels were in violation of maritime security law in Spanish territorial waters by coming to a halt. The Tornado was on a routine patrol and ordered the ships to depart, which they did, said Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, as quoted by Reuters. The incident is the latest example of tensions over the strategic port as Brexit approaches. Spain has secured a right of veto over whether future Brexit arrangements can apply to Gibraltar. In November, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez held up an agreement on the U.K.'s withdrawal treaty over the issue and said Spain would seek joint sovereignty after Britain leaves the European Union.  
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Syria—Twin Bomb Attack In Idlib Kills At Least 24  Middle East Eye | 02/19/2019 At least 24 people have been killed in a pair of explosions in the Al-Qosor district of the rebel-held city of Idlib in northwestern Syria, reports the Middle East Eye. The initial blast on Monday from a bomb planted under a car was followed by a motorcycle bomb after ambulances arrived on site, reported the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Four Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) fighters and 20 civilians, including four children, were killed. The attack wounded at least 51 people. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. A local office of the "Salvation Government," an administrative body created by HTS, is located on the street hit by Monday's attack, reported Agence France-Presse. A school and relief organization in the area were badly damaged in the blast. HTS took control of Idlib last month after defeating Turkish-backed competitors. The area also reportedly has ISIS sleeper cells.
 
USA—Navy Orders More Trident II D-5 Missile Guidance Systems  U.S. Department Of Defense | 02/19/2019 The U.S. Navy has awarded the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Cambridge, Mass., a contract for additional ballistic missile guidance systems, reports the Dept. of Defense. The $191 million deal covers Mk 6 guidance systems for Trident II D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, said a Pentagon release on Friday. The contract includes options that could increase its total value to $392 million, the release said. The work is part of Navy efforts to extend the service life of Trident II D-5 missiles to 2040 by replacing obsolete components with commercial off-the-shelf hardware, noted Military & Aerospace Electronics.  The Mk 6 guidance system consists of an electronics assembly and an inertial measurement unit (IMU), which sense the motion of the missile and provide information to the mission computer. The system was first tested in 2012 aboard the USS Tennessee (SSBN-734). Work under the contract is scheduled to be completed by July 31, 2022. If the option is exercised, work will continue through July 31, 2023.  
 
Afghanistan—Dozens Of Militants Killed In Weekend Raids, Says Defense Ministry  Afghanistan Times | 02/19/2019 Afghan security forces have killed at least 54 militants and wounded 31 others in a series of raids over the weekend, reports the Afghanistan Times. The Ministry of Defense announced on Sunday that the Afghan national army, national police and directorate of security conducted joint operations in 15 provinces. The operations took place in Nangarhar, Laghman, Kapisa, Ghazni, Paktia, Khost, Paktika, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Badghis, Farah, Sar-e-Pul, Balkh, Takhar and Helmand provinces, the ministry said. Government forces performed 18 planned clearing operations, 82 special operations and 82 aerial operations -- including nine strikes on enemy sanctuaries -- over the previous 24 hours, according to the defense ministry. Among the fatalities were the Taliban shadow district chiefs for the Chenarto district in the central Uruzgan province and the Darqad district in the northern Takhar province. Five Islamic State militants were also killed in the Khodiganai district of the eastern Nangarhar province.  
 
USA—New 30-mm Cannons Seen On USS Zumwalt  The War Zone | 02/19/2019 Photos have emerged of the lead ship in the Zumwalt class equipped with 30-mm cannons instead of the 57-mm guns initially planned, reports the War Zone website. The Zumwalt (DDG-1000), which is currently undergoing trials and combat systems outfitting in San Diego, was recently photographed with two 30-mm Mk 46 gun mounts instead of 57-mm Mk 110 guns above the ship's hangar. The Mk 46 is already installed on Littoral Combat Ships equipped with the surface warfare mission package and San Antonio-class amphibious assault ships. The shift to the smaller weapon system is intended to save money. The move has received criticism since the Mk 46, while cheaper, does not provide the same capability and destructive power as the Mk 110.  The 57-mm guns fire at a rate of 220 rounds per minute and have a range of over 9 miles (14 km), while the 30-mm cannon fires 200 rounds per minute with a range of just over 2 miles (3 km), noted USNI News. In addition, the Mk 110 guns were scheduled to be integrated with the ship's advanced combat system. The Mk 46 will not be integrated. The operator will sit inside the cupola and direct fire using the system's electro-optical and infrared sensors.
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USA—Air Force Continues To Deliver Aid Earmarked For Venezuela  Mercopress | 02/19/2019 The U.S. government has delivered additional humanitarian supplies to Colombia for delivery to Venezuela, reports MercoPress (Uruguay). On Saturday, the first of three U.S. Air Force C-17 cargo aircraft departed from Homestead Air Force Base, Fla., carrying 250 tons of food, hygiene kits and nutritional supplements for 25,000 people, according to an unnamed government source. Additional aid is ready to be shipped from Miami and Houston, said U.S. officials cited by the Miami Herald. The aircraft arrived in Cucuta, Colombia, near the border with Venezuela, later that day. The humanitarian aid joined other shipments donated by dozens of countries that recognize the interim presidency of Juan Guaido. Cucuta will serve as an entry point for an operation that will breach Venezuela's border with humanitarian aid from all sides, with other staging spots in Roraima, Brazil, and the island of Curacao, reported the Independent (U.K.). Opposition leaders called on Venezuelans to join the mission to move the aid over the border. "There will be mobilization in all cities around the country on Feb. 23 and more than 600,000 Venezuelans have already agreed to join the effort," Guaido said on Saturday. The distribution plan includes a National Assembly commission, churches, non-governmental organizations and volunteers who will help move the aid throughout Venezuela, said local officials. Earlier this month, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro blocked the delivery of US$20 million worth of U.S. humanitarian aid that was requested by Guaido. Troops barricaded two border crossings, including the Tienditas International Bridge, which links Urena, Venezuela, to Cucuta.                               
 
 
 



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