Friday, May 19, 2017

TheList 4460

The List 4460

To All,

I hope you all have a great weekend



Saudi Aramco Signs 16 Pacts With 11 US Companies Valued at $50 Billion

This Day In Naval History - May 19

1882: Commodore Robert W. Shufeldt, onboard USS Swatara, arrives in Korea to negotiate the first commerce treaty between Korea and a Western power. The treaty is signed on May 22, opening Korea to United States trade.

1912 - Navy establishes North Atlantic Ice Patrol following RMS Titanic disaster

1965 - 30th Naval Construction Regiment activated at Danang, Vietnam

1972 South Vietnamese fight to open road to An Loc »

This Day In Naval History - May 20

1801 - Four warships sent to Mediterranean to protect American commerce

1815 - Commodore Stephen Decatur ( Frigate Guerriere) sails with 10 ships to suppress Mediterranean pirates' raids on U.S. shipping

1844 - USS Constitution sails from New York on round the world cruise

1943 - Establishment of Tenth Fleet in Washington, DC, under command of ADM King to coordinate U.S. antisubmarine operations in Atlantic

This Day In Naval History - May 21

1850 - Washington Navy Yard begins work on first castings for the Dahlgren guns

1917 - USS Ericsson fires first torpedo of war

1944 - During preparations for the invasion of Saipan an accidental ordnance blast on LST 353 sets off cataclysmic ammunition explosions at West Loch, Pearl Harbor, killing 163 and injuring 396. Six tank landing ships (LST-39, LST-43, LST-69, LST-179, LST-353, LST-480), three tank landing craft (LCT-961, LCT-963, LCT-983), and 17 track landing vehicles

(LVTs) are destroyed in explosions and fires.

1964 - The initiation of the standing carrier presence at Yankee Station in the South China Sea.


Today in History
May 19

St. Gregory II begins his reign as Catholic Pope.

French explorer Jacques Cartier sets sail for North America.


Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife, is beheaded on Tower Green.


Defeated by the Protestants, Mary, Queen of Scots, flees to England where Queen Elizabeth imprisons her.


The Spanish Armada sets sail from Lisbon, Portugal.


The Protestant states form the Evangelical Union of Lutherans and Calvinists.


Cardinal Richelieu of France intervenes in the great conflict in Europe by declaring war on the Hapsburgs in Spain.


The French army defeats a Spanish army at Rocroi, France.


Near total darkness descends on New England at noon. No explanation is found.


The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought you have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention. mp3 red on Today in Country Music History...April 7, 2017Mexico ratifies the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ends the Mexican-American War. Under the treaty Mexico agrees to cede California, most of Arizona and New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado, with the Rio Grande River becoming the boundary of Texas. In return the United States agrees to pay Mexico $15 million. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]


Senator Charles Sumner speaks out against slavery.


A pro-slavery band led by Charles Hamilton executes unarmed Free State men near Marais des Cygnes on the Kansas-Missouri border.


Union General Ulysses S. Grant's first attack on Vicksburg is repulsed.


The Union and Confederate armies launch their last attacks against each other at Spotsylvania, Virginia.


Congress sharply curbs immigration, setting a national quota system.


The National Football League adopts an annual college draft to begin in 1936.


U.S. diplomats find at least 40 microphones planted in the American embassy in Moscow.


U.S. planes bomb Hanoi for the first time.


Thanks to Dutch….Much more to come in the List on the Battle of Midway over the next weeks.

From the net, courtesy of JC …

Lessons from the Battle of Midway

Victor Davis Hanson

Posted: May 18, 2017 12:01 AM

Seventy-five years ago (June 4-7, 1942), the astonishing American victory at the Battle of Midway changed the course of the Pacific War.

Just six months after the catastrophic Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. crushed the Imperial Japanese Navy off Midway Island (about 1,300 miles northwest of Honolulu), sinking four of its aircraft carriers.

"Midway" referred to the small atoll roughly halfway between North America and Asia. But to Americans, "Midway" became a barometer of military progress. Just half a year after being surprised at Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy had already destroyed almost half of Japan's existing carrier strength (after achieving a standoff at the Battle of the Coral Sea a month earlier).

The odds at the June 1942 battle favored the Japanese. The imperial fleet had four carriers to the Americans' three, backed up by scores of battleships, cruisers and light carriers as part of the largest armada that had ever steamed from Japan.

No military had ever won more territory in six months than had Japan. Its Pacific Empire ranged from the Indian Ocean to the coast of the Aleutian Islands, and from the Russian-Manchurian border to Wake Island in the Pacific.

Yet the Japanese Navy was roundly defeated by an outnumbered and inexperienced American fleet at Midway. Why and how?

American intelligence officers -- often eccentric and free to follow their intuitions -- had cracked the Japanese naval codes, giving the Americans some idea of the Japanese plan of attack at Midway.

American commanders were far more open to improvising and risk-taking than their Japanese counterparts. In contrast, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto created an elaborate but rigid plan of attack that included an invasion of the Aleutian Islands as well as Midway.

But such impractical agendas dispersed the much larger Japanese fleet all over the central and northern Pacific, ensuring that the Japanese could never focus their overwhelming numerical advantages on the modest three-carrier American fleet.

The U.S. Navy was also far more resilient than its Japanese counterpart.

A month earlier at the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Japanese suffered damage to one of their carriers and serious aircraft losses on another. The American carrier Lexington was sunk, and the Yorktown was severely damaged.

But whereas the Japanese took months repairing the bombed carrier Shokaku and replenishing the lost planes of the Zuikaku, the crippled Yorktown was made seaworthy again at Pearl Harbor just 72 hours after limping into port.

The result of such incredible adaptability was that at Midway the Americans had three carriers (rather than two), against four for the Japanese (instead of a possible six).

Midway was probably the best chance for Japan to destroy U.S. naval power in the Pacific before America's enormous war industry created another new fleet entirely.

Just months after Midway, new American Essex-class carriers -- the most lethal afloat -- would be launched. Before the war ended, 17 of the planned 24 carriers would see action.

In contrast, Japan launched only four more fleet carriers to replace its growing losses. Japanese naval aircraft -- the best in the world in 1941 -- were becoming obsolete by mid-1942.

In contrast, in the months after Midway, tens of thousands of new and superior Hellcat fighters, Avenger torpedo bombers and Helldiver dive bombers rolled off American assembly lines in numbers unmatched by the Japanese.

During the Battle of Midway itself, Japanese Admiral Chuichi Nagumo fatally hesitated in launching his air fleet. He was wedded to rigid doctrine about prepping his planes with the proper munitions.

In contrast, American Admirals Raymond Spruance and Frank Jack Fletcher gambled and sent most of the planes they had at the first inkling of the approaching Japanese fleet.

Japan could not equal American industrial strength, but American aviators and seamen could certainly match the Samurai courage of their Japanese counterparts.

At Midway, 37 of the 41 slow-flying and obsolete American Devastator torpedo bombers lumbered to their deaths, as they were easily picked off by Japanese air cover.

But such heroic sacrificial pawns drew off critical Japanese fighter protection from the fleet. In its absence, scores of high-flying Dauntless dive bombers descended unnoticed to blast the Japanese carriers with near impunity.

Americans took chances to win an incredible victory. The Japanese command chose to play it safe, trying not to lose advantages accrued over the prior six months.

Midway was not the beginning of the end for Japan. Just five months later off the island of Guadalcanal, only one American fleet carrier was left undamaged in the Pacific after a series of brutal sea battles. Instead, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, the victory at Midway was the end of the American beginning.

Before Midway, the Americans had rarely won a Pacific battle; afterwards, they seldom lost. America's culture of spontaneity, flexibility and improvisation helped win the battle; Japanese reliance on rote probably lost it.

We should remember those lessons 75 years later.



With our thanks to THE Bear at


May 19, 2017 Bear Taylor

19 MAY 1967… OPERATION ROLLING THUNDER…Here is how Chris Hobson introduced the tally of aircraft and aviators lost in Southeast Asia this day fifty years ago…"The 19th of May 1967 proved to be one of the blackest days of the war for the US Navy with the loss of six aircraft and 10 aircrew over North Vietnam. The three participating carriers, the Enterprise, Bon Homme Richard, and the Kitty Hawk, each lost two aircraft. The reason for the heavy losses on this day lies in the importance of the targets and the level of air defenses that protected those targets. The strikes on the 19th were the first Navy raids on targets in Hanoi itself. However, the 19th of May was also the birthday of Ho Chi Minh and this may have spurred the defenses to a new level…"

Good Morning: Day FOUR HUNDRED FORTY of remembering all the days of Rolling Thunder, especially the hard days… 19 May 1967 was a very hard day…

19 May 1967…HEADLINES and leads from The New York Times on a sunny Friday in NYC…

Page 1: "Allies In Vietnam Begin an Assault on Buffer Zone"..."United States and South Vietnam troops have launched their first full-scale assault into the demilitarized zone separating North and South Vietnam. The United States has been pounding the southern half of the buffer zone regularly with bombs and artillery on the ground that it is being used by North Vietnam as a jumping off point for attacks on Allied positions in the northern provinces of South Vietnam."… Page 3: "U.S. Unit Overrun"... "An enemy battalion trapped and overran a platoon of 48 United States infantrymen yesterday in the Central Highlands. Americans called artillery on their own position then fell silent. Three killed, 21 wounded and 24 missing. There was no further word on the lost platoon. The total Americans deaths, killed in action in Vietnam is now 9,916. New casualties have pushed this number past the 10,000 KIA total."…

Page 1: "United Arab Republic Deploys its Forces Along Border With Israel and two large pictures of armor positioned on the frontier. Movements included convoys of tanks and trucks."… Page 1: "House Group Backs Curb on Johnson Draft Lottery"… "The House Armed Services Committee approved today new legislation on the draft that would give Congress a potential veto over President Johnson's power to induct eligible 19-year olds."… Page 1: "U.S. May Urge UN to Act on Vietnam"..."Secretary of State Dean Rusk said today that the Johnson Administration provided by Mike Mansfield and Senator Majority Leader was considering a new approach to the United Nations to help resolve the conflict in South Vietnam…The Secretary of State added that while Washington had favored such a move at one time, 'Hanoi and Peking have said that it is none of the United Nation's business.' "... Page 38: Editorial: "Holding the Peace Line"... "The sword rattling, the troop movements, the military alerts and the assorted alarms on the Israeli-Arab borders are part of a war of nerves that, by accident or miscalculation, could set off a major conflict that none of the parties want. None of the adversaries have yet gone beyond the point of no return, however, and vigorous efforts by the United Nations and the major powers in urging restraint on all sides may be enough to help keep the powder from igniting."…

19 May 1967…The President's CIA Daily TS Brief…1. ARAB STATES-ISRAEL: The situation is explosive and the Syrians hold the match. if Syrian terrorists kill any Israelis, Israel is quite likely to strike first and hard. The Syrians are unpredictable. Nasir for his part is undoubtedly anxious to duck a fight. But he has crawled way out on the limb. He has made one of the best publicized troop build-ups in recent years and he has told the United Nations Emergency Force to go home. With his prestige on the line Nasir will find it hard indeed to bk down if the crunch comes. (Major portions of this briefing note remains redacted after 50 years)…

19 MAY 1967…OPERATION ROLLING THUNDER… New York Times (20 May reporting 19 May ops) …Page 1: "TERRIBLE BARRAGE OF HANOI FIRE DOWNED U.S. JETS"… Report by Jaques Moalic, Agence French Presse in Hanoi…" Three or perhaps four United States fighter-bombers were shot down in Hanoi today by one of the most terrible barrages of antiaircraft fire I have ever seen. The planes were downed during the days second American attack against suburbs of Hanoi. A third raid occurred later but a storm rolling into Hanoi prevented me from seeing the attackers and the effects of the anti-aircraft fire. The days air losses promised to be very heavy. The Hanoi radio said four planes had been brought down in the morning raid. according to available information, about an equal number were shot down in the afternoon. The Navy's first action in the capital was violent raid over the southern suburbs after a 4-day pause in the bombing. At least two waves of planes swept over shortly after 10AM dropping their bombs for a quarter of an hour through a barrage of antiaircraft fire and Soviet made missiles. One plane was apparently shot down and its pilot captured in this raid. Several groups of Soviet made MIG jets flew overhead but it was impossible to see whether they were actually engaged in combat. An American rocket–apparently a Bullpup struck the city's diplomatic section during this first raid, at about 10:15. It exploded on the curb of the sidewalk tearing to bits a North Vietnamese who had taken shelter a yard away.

"The explosions occurred opposite the residence of the East German Embassy staff. As the rocket fell it went through the high branches of a tree on the grounds of a neighboring villa…

"Other attacks followed that raid. Early in the afternoon three or four United States fighter-bombers were shot down in a matter of seconds….

"In a sky dotted with exploding missiles I suddenly saw an F-105 blow-up. In a second, it was transformed into a ball of fire that fell twisting downward over the western suburbs.

"An alert sounded at 2:15 and a few seconds later the first wave of planes flew right over the center of the city. Phantom jet fighters were diving to roof top-level as if trying to draw the heavy antiaircraft fire toward them and enable the bombers to reach their targets… "Everywhere around the planes little black clouds scattered in all directions with bursts of anti-aircraft fire and the reddish flash of exploding surface-to-air missiles…"

"Vietnam: Air Losses" (Chris Hobson) There were eight fixed wing aircraft lost in Southeast Asia on 19 May 1967…

(1) MAJOR ROY ABNER KNIGHT was flying an A-1E of the 602nd ACS and the 56th ACW out of Ubon on a mission in northern Laos and went down about 10 miles east of Sam Neua. MAJOR KNIGHT was listed as missing in action for several years before a presumptive finding of death changed this to Killed in Action. He lies where he fell fifty years ago…left behind…

(2) COMMANDER RICHARD RICH and LCDR WILLIAM ROBERT STARK were flying an F-4B of the VF-96 Fighting Falcons embarked in USS Enterprise providing fighter cover for a strike group attacking targets near Hanoi. Their aircraft was taken under fire by SAMs and hit by two SAMs within two minutes of each other. LCDR STARK ejected and was seriously injured. He survived to be captured about 20 miles south of Hanoi and was imprisoned as a POW for six years, returning home in March 1973. The remains of COMMANDER RICH, XO of VF-96 were returned in April 2000 and identified 1o months later... Well done, JTF-FA recovery folks…

(3) LTJG JOSEPH CHARLES PLUMB and LTJG GARETH LAVERNE ANDERSON were flying an F-4B of the VF-114 Aardvarks embarked in USS Kitty Hawk providing fighter cover in the same area near Hanoi an hour later and were met with a volley of SAMs, one of which scored a direct hit on their F-4. Both ejected and were captured to be imprisoned as POWs until released in 1973…

(4) LT EUGENE BAKER McDANIEL and LT JAMES KELLY PATTERSON were flying an A-6A of the VA-35 Black Panthers embarked in USS Enterprise as part of a formation of six Intruders in a strike group headed for the Van Dien complex a few miles south of Hanoi. Their aircraft was taken under fire by SAMs twenty miles southwest of Hanoi and LT McDANIEL was unable to evade one. He was subsequently unable to control the damaged aircraft and the two aviators ejected. LT McDANIEL was captured and imprisoned as a POW. He was released in 1973 and returned to resume his Navy career. His telling of his life and this event on 19 May are included in his books "Before Honour" and the updated reprint, "Scars and Stripes."

LT PATTERSON was injured in the ejection but was able to evade the enemy search teams long enough for an attempt to use the Fuller Extraction system. Unfortunately, he was captured before this effort could be completed. The rest of LT PATTERSON's life is unknown. He was never seen by any of the American POWs and his disappearance has led to many theories including one that has him taken to a Soviet debriefing facility in Kazakhstan. LT PATTERSON was presumed to be dead and was declared Killed in Action… Where he lies at rest, at peace is unknown… left behind…

(5) CAPTAIN HAROLD JAMES HELLBACH, USMC was flying an F-8E of the VMF(AW)-232 Falcons and MAG-11 out of Danang in support of operations near the DMZ and was attacking an ammunition depot when hit by ground fire. CAPTAIN HELLBACH announced he was hit and attempted to turn and fly toward the coast. Unfortunately, the aircraft rolled inverted and flew into the ground. CAPTAIN HELLBACH's remains were recovered in 1997 by JTF-FA, eventually identified, and CAPTAIN HELLBACH was buried in Arlington in 1998…

(6) LCDR KAY RUSSELL was flying an F-8E of the VF-211 Checkmates embarked in USS Bon Homme Richard and leading a flight of six F-8s to provide fighter cover for the all-important initial attack by Walleye on the Hanoi Thermal Power Plant. When the MIGs came up a melee developed. LCDR RUSSELL was hit by ground fire then a SAM in the fight. He was able to eject and complete the war as a POW returning home in 1973. Bon Homme Richard F-8s shot down four MIGs in the melee on 19 May 1967…

(7) LTJG WILLIAM JOHN METZGER was flying an F-8E of the VF-24 Checkertails embarked in USS Bon Homme Richard in a flight of six flak suppressors on the Hanoi TPP strike. In the ensuing melee with the MIGs LTJG METZGER dodged the MIGs and the SAMs but was hit by intense anti-aircraft fire including a round or two in the cockpit. Seriously injured and flying a burning aircraft, he ejected about 10 miles west of Hanoi and was immediately captured. He was released from POW captivity in 1973.

(8) LCDR JAMES LLOYD GRIFFIN and LT JACK WALTERS were flying an RA-5C of the RVAH-13 Bats embarked in USS Kitty Hawk and tasked with post strike BDA on the Hanoi TPP strike four hours earlier. As the aircraft closed Hanoi at 3,500-feet at 700-knots it was hit by ground fire and burst into flame. LCDR GRIFFIN and LT WALTERS were able to eject about ten miles from Hanoi but were captured and taken to prison in Hanoi. Both died a few days later. The remains of both LCDR GRIFFIN and LT WALTERS were returned to the United States and identified in 1974…

RIPPLE SALVO… #440… On 19 May 1967 at 5:00 PM there was a meeting at the White House to discuss "bombing policy." It was a two-hour meeting that included the President, Rusk, McNamara and Rostow with Tom Christian the note taker (no notes ever found)… Humble Host hopes you can find the time to read two important Rolling Thunder documents pertaining to this cross-roads moment in the air war… Read at:

Memorandum from Asst Sec of State to Sec State of May 19, 1967 #175…

Memorandum from Rostow to the President of 19 May 1967, 3PM #176…

CAG's QUOTE for 19 May: MACARTHUR: "The long gray line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses, thundering those magic words: Duty, Honor Country,"

Lest we forget… Bear


Thanks to Mike

Testing your Piloting Skills in Indonesia

One Crazy and Challenging Airstrip and Post-Landing Celebration

A young British pilot flying a small turboprop aircraft in the wild jungles and mountains of Indonesia lands on an airstrip that most pilots would not dare. It took an indigenous tribe 14 years of construction to build this runway. Modern Version of the old porter used by Air America in SEA.


Thanks to Dutch

From the net, courtesy of JC …

What Donald Trump Needs to Know About Bob Mueller and Jim Comey

The two men who could bring down the president have been preparing their entire lives for this moment.

By Garrett M. Graff

May 18, 2017


Thanks to Fred


1. "On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don't like spicy food."

2. "They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach. It was very distracting for my husband who just wanted to relax."

3. "We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish."

4. "We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price."

5. "The beach was too sandy. We had to clean everything when we returned to our room."

6. "We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow."

7. "It's lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallarta to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during 'siesta' time -- this should be banned."

8. "No-one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared."

9. "Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no egg-slicer in the drawers."

10. "I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts."

11. "The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the bus ride to the resort.&nb sp; Because of this, we were unaware of
many things that would have made our holiday more fun."

12. "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair."

13. "I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friends' three-bedroom and ours was significantly smaller."

14. "The brochure stated: 'No hairdressers at the resort.' We're trainee hairdressers and we think they knew and made us wait longer for service."

15. "When we were in Spain, there were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us

that there would be so many foreigners."

16. "We had to line up outside to catch the boat and there was no air-conditioning."

17. "It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel."

18. "I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure did not mention mosquitoes."

19. "My fiancée and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed. We now hold you responsible and want to be re-reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in

the room that we booked."




Item Number:1 Date: 05/19/2017 AFGHANISTAN - 159 BLACK HAWKS FROM U.S. TO REPLACE AIR FORCE'S AGING RUSSIAN AIRCRAFT (MAY 19/MILTIMES) MILITARY TIMES -- As part of a four-year roadmap to improve the capabilities of the Afghan military, the U.S. has decided to supply scores of refurbished UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters, reports the Military Times. A total of 159 Black Hawks will replace Afghanistan's fleet of aging Russian-built Mi-17 transport helicopters, said Afghan and U.S. officials. These helicopters are vital for giving Afghan security forces the edge to end what was called the "stalemate" with Taliban militants, Ahmad Shah Katawazai, a defense liaison at the Afghan Embassy in Washington, D.C., told the newspaper. The addition will nearly double the Afghan air force's fleet of 78 Mi-17s. Whether Kabul has the wherewithal to maintain such a large fleet of helicopters is an open question. As it is, Afghanistan has had numerous problems maintaining its current fleet of aircraft. The UH-60 also lacks the firepower capabilities of the Mi-17, which hurt the air force's close-air support capabilities, said analysts

Item Number:2 Date: 05/19/2017 AFGHANISTAN - 5 POLICE OFFICERS KILLED IN NANGARHAR; INSIDER ATTACK SUSPECTED (MAY 19/XIN) XINHUA -- An Afghan police officer in Nangarhar province apparently killed five of his comrades late on Thursday and then fled, reports Xinhua, China's state news agency. The killing occurred at a checkpoint in Ghanikhel district, said a local official. The attacker killed the officer as they were sleeping and left with a handful of weapons, the official said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Both the Taliban and Islamic State operate in the area.

Item Number:3 Date: 05/19/2017 AFGHANISTAN - TALIBAN MAKES IT CLEAR THAT PEACE TALKS AREN'T WANTED (MAY 19/VOA) VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- The Taliban has announced that it will not participate in peace talks with the current government in Afghanistan, reports the Voice of America News. Seeking a peace deal with Kabul would represent a surrender to the "enemy" and would also be contrary to Islamic faith, the militant group said in a statement to the media. The statement was made in response to published reports that Taliban representatives had told a former insurgent group that it is prepared to negotiate. The latest announcement has increased concerns in some quarters that Afghanistan will see an escalation in fighting this year, the VOA said on May 16. The Taliban rejection also ends the hopes in Kabul that a recently concluded peace deal with the warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar might encourage Taliban leaders to join in political reconciliation efforts. The Taliban has long maintained that it has fought to drive U.S.-led international forces out of the country. Recent territorial gains seem to have altered its aims to include regaining power

Item Number:4 Date: 05/19/2017 ANGOLA - DEFENSE MINISTER SIGNS MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WITH U.S. (MAY 19/APA) ANGOLA PRESS AGENCY -- Angolan Defense Minister Joao Lourenco has signed a defense cooperation agreement with the U.S. government during a visit to Washington, D.C., reports the Angola Press Agency. The memorandum of understanding, which was inked on Wednesday, represents the "first steps toward a strategic partnership that will enhance the security cooperation between our two nations," said U.S. Defense Minister James Mattis, as quoted in a Pentagon release. The document covers information exchanges, officer training exchanges, peacekeeping training and ongoing visits by leaders, Mattis said. The U.S. will also continue to work closely with its African partners on counterterrorism, he said. The defense minister headed to Havana the next day to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro, according to Angolan media

Item Number:5 Date: 05/19/2017 BOTSWANA - REPRESENTATIVES FROM 29 NATIONS GATHER FOR AFRICAN AIR CHIEFS SYMPOSIUM (MAY 19/AFNS) AIR FORCE NEWS SERVICE -- The African Air Chiefs Symposium, an annual forum for air force commanders from across the continent, has just concluded in Kasane, Botswana, reports the Air Force News Service. The meetings on May 16 and May 17 brought together top air force officials and the U.S. to discuss regional and continental issues and ways for African air forces to work together to respond to challenges. Representatives from 29 countries took part in this year's talks, which focused on training as part of force development. The number of attendees was a new record, pointed out the U.S. Africa Command. The symposium included several discussions and workshops to increase mutual understanding of each other's capabilities and discuss specific challenges. The participating countries were: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkino Faso, Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Malawi, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, the U.S. and Zambia. A representative of the African Union also attended.

Item Number:6 Date: 05/19/2017 BURUNDI - GRENADE ATTACK IN BUJUMBURA KILLS 3 YOUTH FROM RULING PARTY (MAY 19/XIN) XINHUA -- A grenade attack on Wednesday night in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, killed three people and injured three others, reports Xinhua, China's state news agency. The deceased were believed to be members of the Imbonerakure, the youth wing of the ruling political party, said a police spokesman. The head of the Imbonerakure in Musaga was among those killed, the spokesman said. Four suspects were arrested immediately following the attack and a fifth, a Rwandan national, on Thursday morning, said police. At least 700 people have been killed in fighting between supporters and opponents of President Pierre Nkurunziza since April 2015, when he said he would run for a third term in office, noted Reuters. He was re-elected in July 2015 in a vote largely boycotted by the opposition.

Item Number:7 Date: 05/19/2017 CHINA - HELICOPTER DETACHMENT HEADING TO SUDAN FOR PEACEKEEPING MISSION (MAY 19/CMO) CHINA MILITARY ONLINE -- China's first helicopter peacekeeping detachment has just had a departure ceremony in Beijing, reports China Military Online. The event took place at an army aviation brigade of the PLA's 81st Group Army. The detachment includes 140 troops and four Mi-171 multi-purpose helicopters. The unit will soon be sent to the Darfur region of Sudan; its duties will include air patroling and transportation missions

Item Number:8 Date: 05/19/2017 CHINA - U.S. COMPLAINS OF 'UNPROFESSIONAL' INTERCEPTION BY CHINESE AIRCRAFT OVER E. CHINA SEA (MAY 19/BBC) BRITISH BROADCASTING CORP. -- The U.S. military says Chinese fighter jets made an "unprofessional" interception of a U.S. aircraft over the East China Sea, reports the BBC. A U.S. WC-135 Constant Phoenix was deployed Wednesday for routine mission to "sniff" the atmosphere for signs of nuclear activity in the region, said U.S. military officials cited by NBC News. Two Chinese Su-30 fighter aircraft intercepted the U.S. aircraft and one of the Chinese jets flew upside down near it, said the officials on Thursday. The intercept was unprofessional because of "the maneuvers by the Chinese pilot, as well as the speeds and proximity of both aircraft," said an Air Force spokesman. The incident is "being addressed with China through appropriate diplomatic and military channels," she said

Item Number:9 Date: 05/19/2017 DENMARK - ARMY TAKES DELIVERY OF 1ST 7 OF 309 PIRANHA V ARMORED VEHICLES (MAY 19/GDELS) GENERAL DYNAMICS EUROPEAN LAND SYSTEMS -- The Danish army has taken delivery of an initial batch of Piranha V wheeled armored vehicles, reports General Dynamics European Land Systems-Mowag. The first seven pre-series vehicles, all in the infantry vehicle configuration, were handed over on Wednesday at the GDELS-Mowag facilities in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland. The vehicles will now undertake comprehensive trials, including climate testing, verification acceptance testing and concluding with user acceptance trials by the end of 2017, noted the release. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in early 2018, once the testing is successfully completed. Denmark ordered 309 Piranha V armored vehicles in 2015.

Item Number:10 Date: 05/19/2017 FRANCE - SYLVIE GOULARD, A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LAWMAKER, GETS NOD AS DEFENSE MINISTER (MAY 19/DN) DEFENSE NEWS -- French President Emmanuel Macron has appointed a new defense minister, reports Defense News. Sylvie Goulard is the second woman to head the French Defense Ministry. The president promised to name women to half of his Cabinet. She replaces Jean-Yves Le Drian, who was shifted to lead the Foreign Ministry. Goulard has served as a member of the European Parliament since 2009. She was also among the first politicians to support Macron when he founded his En Marche political movement. The Financial Review called her a "centrist" known better in Brussels than in Paris.

Item Number:11 Date: 05/19/2017 JAPAN - SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY HAS FIGHTERS SCRAMBLING IN E. CHINA SEA (MAY 19/REU) REUTERS -- Japan has dispatched fighter jets after Chinese coast guard vessels entered disputed territory in the East China Sea, reports Reuters. On Thursday, four Chinese ships entered the waters near the disputed Senkaku Islands (known as the Diaoyu in China,) said Japan's coast guard. A drone-like object flew near one ship, said the coast guard. This was the first such flight seen by Japanese officials. "This is escalating the situation and absolutely unacceptable," said Defense Minister Tomomi Inada. Japan scrambled two F-15 fighter jets, one E-2C early warning aircraft and an AWACS surveillance plane, said the defense minister. China's Foreign Minister said that the drone was used for aerial photography by the media. "This is not a military action as has been hyped up by some media," said a spokesman

Item Number:12 Date: 05/19/2017 LIBYA - MILITIAS CLASH AT SOUTHERN AIR BASE; DOZENS KILLED (MAY 19/BBC) BRITISH BROADCASTING CORP. -- Heavy fighting Thursday between militia groups at a military base in southern Libya has left at least 60 people dead, reports the BBC. Clashes broke out after a brigade from the western city of Misrata launched an attack on the Brak El-Shati airbase, reported Reuters. The Misrata-based Third Force had ceded the base to the 12th Brigade, a faction allied with Gen. Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army that is backed by a rival government in Tobruk. A spokesman for the Third Force said they attacked the base because they had detected "suspicious movement" inside, charging that the base had become a threat under the commander of the 12th Brigade. "We liberated the base and destroyed all the forces inside," said the spokesman. An LNA spokesman gave a different account. He said the attackers thought the 12th Brigade was out of the base to attend a military parade near Benghazi. The unit returned shortly after the attack began and eventually repelled the attack he said. Casualties were reported variously. As many as 86 people were killed, including civilians who appeared to have been summarily executed, said one medical source.

Item Number:13 Date: 05/19/2017 NIGERIA - GRAFT HAMSTRINGS MILITARY'S FIGHT AGAINST BOKO HARAM, SAYS WATCHDOG REPORT (MAY 19/TRINTL) TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL -- Ingrained corruption in the Nigerian military is hindering the nation's fight against the Boko Haram terrorist group, says a new report from watchdog Transparency International (London). The report, titled "Weaponizing Transparency," says corrupt military officials have been able to benefit from the conflict, which began in 2011, by creating fake defense contracts, then laundering the proceeds abroad in the U.K., U.S. and elsewhere. More than US$15 billion has been stolen, leaving the Nigerian military without vital equipment, lacking training, low in morale and under-resourced, says a release from Transparency International on Thursday. While President Muhammadu Buhari has made significant moves to tackle the defense sector, the pace of reform in the Defense Ministry has been slow and the military remains vulnerable to theft and abuse by senior officials, says the report. The report maintains that the international community has not done enough to fight corruption in their engagement with the Nigerian military or to eliminate the financial networks that facilitate the theft of public funds.

Item Number:14 Date: 05/19/2017 PAKISTAN - TIP-OFF FOR POSSIBLE SUICIDE BOMBERS PROMPTS CURFEW (MAY 19/DAWN) DAWN -- Authorities in Pakistan have imposed a curfew in Mohmand province after being warned of potential suicide attacks, reports Dawn (Pakistan). The action was taken as a preventative action after authorities received information that six suicide bombers had entered the province, said an official on Friday. Law enforcement personnel said they had been instructed to shoot if they saw anything suspicious. Schools, offices, hospitals and marketplaces were closed and social activities were banned.

Item Number:15 Date: 05/19/2017 SYRIA - AMERICAN PLANES HIT GOVERNMENT-LINKED FORCES APPROACHING U.S. FORCES IN TANF (MAY 19/WP) WASHINGTON POST -- U.S. aircraft have struck a convoy of troops loyal to the Syrian government in the country's south, reports the Washington Post. On Thursday, American aircraft hit a convoy of several dozen vehicles that were advancing toward a U.S.-occupied garrison in Tanf, close to the border with Iraq and Jordan, said U.S. officials. The base is used by U.S. special operations forces to train Free Syrian Army rebels, noted Reuters. The vehicles had been slowly moving within a 30-mile ground and air exclusion zone around the town, the officials said. The American aircraft reportedly flew by the convoy and fired warning shots. The Syrian fighters "did not choose to turn away," said one official. The strike destroyed four to five vehicles, including construction vehicles and at least one tank. It was unclear whether the unit was from the Syrian army or allied militias. Syria and Russia condemned the actions on Friday, confirming that "a number of people" were killed, reported Al Jazeera.

Item Number:16 Date: 05/19/2017 SYRIA - FSA WITHDRAWS FROM COMMITTEE INVOLVED IN GENEVA TALKS (MAY 19/TASS) TASS -- The Free Syrian Army rebel group says it has pulled out of the group taking part in peace talks in Geneva, reports Tass (Russia). The sixth round of talks began on Tuesday and is scheduled to run until May 19. The FSA is withdrawing from the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), an umbrella group of rebel delegates, because of a "lack of clarity regarding the strategic vision of the negotiation process," said the group on Thursday. Earlier in the day, the leader of the HNC accused the Syrian government of violating a cease-fire agreement. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Friday that the talks brought results on constitutional issues. Both sides supported a proposal to start discussing such issues, he said.

Item Number:17 Date: 05/19/2017 SYRIA - ISIS PUSHED FROM HAMA VILLAGES BY ARMY (MAY 19/AFP) AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- The Syrian army has regained control of two central villages in Hama province after an Islamic State attack, says a monitoring group cited by Agence France-Presse. ISIS attacked the villages of Aqareb and Al-Mabujeh Thursday morning, killing 25 civilians and 27 pro-government fighters, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. On Friday, troops and allied militias regained control after heavy fighting, said the monitoring group. The villages are home to members of the Ismaili sect, a Shi'ite offshoot that has been targeted by ISIS in the past

Item Number:18 Date: 05/19/2017 USA - KEEL LAID FOR FUTURE USS ST. LOUIS LITTORAL COMBAT SHIP (MAY 19/LM) LOCKHEED MARTIN -- A team led by Lockheed Martin has laid the keel for another littoral combat ship for the U.S. Navy, reports the defense firm. The ceremony marking the milestone took place on Wednesday at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin. The St. Louis (LCS-19) will be the 19th littoral combat ship and the 10th built to Lockheed's Freedom-class design. The other LCS units are built by Austal USA to the Independence-class design. To date, Lockheed has delivered four Freedom-class ships to the U.S. Navy, with another seven, including St. Louis, in various stages of construction. Two more are in long-lead production, the company said

Item Number:19 Date: 05/19/2017 USA - MARINES EYE RETIRING HORNETS EARLY TO GET F-35 INTO MCAS MIRAMAR (MAY 19/SDUT) SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE -- Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., will soon begin work on construction projects that are needed to operate new F-35B and F-35C Lightning II fighters, according to the head of Marine aviation, as reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune. Building will commence in 2018 as part of a plan to accelerate the fielding of the F-35B following a decision to retire the service's aging F/A-18 Hornet fleet ahead of schedule, Lt. Gen. Jon Davis told the San Diego Military Advisory Council on Wednesday. More than half of the service's Hornets are unable to deploy for combat, said Davis, the deputy Marine commandant for aviation. Once Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 (VMFA-314) returns from its upcoming deployment, it will start converting to the F-35C, with a new double hangar being built at Miramar to accommodate the jets, the general said. The F-35B is the short takeoff and vertical landing variant, while the F-35C is the carrier variant of the fighter. VMFA-314 will be the Corps' first F-35C unit. At the same time, VMFA-225 will begin making the transition to the F-35B. The first F-35Cs are scheduled to arrive at Miramar in late 2019 or early 2020, with the F-35Bs to follow a few months later. By 2030, all of the Hornets should be retired, according to a spokesman for the airbase

Item Number:20 Date: 05/19/2017 USA - NAVY, IN UNUSUAL MOVE, HAS 2 AIRCRAFT CARRIERS IN WESTERN PACIFIC (MAY 19/YON) YONHAP -- The U.S. Navy has confirmed that it is operating two aircraft carriers in the Western Pacific region, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul). It is rare for the U.S. to deploy two carriers simultaneously in a single theater. USS Ronald Reagan and its carrier air wing began its spring patrol earlier this week, said U.S. Pacific Fleet on Friday. The Reagan is conducting flight deck and carrier qualifications. Meanwhile, the USS Carl Vinson strike group has been operating off the Korean peninsula since last month. Its regional mission is believed to have been extended through the end of June after North Korea launched a new ballistic missile last weekend. Both carriers "are in the Western Pacific, but they are not in close proximity to each other," noted the Navy. The two may hold joint drills with South Korea's navy in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) early next month. The schedule is still being discussed, said a South Korean government source.

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