Thursday, August 24, 2017

Fw: TheList 4528

The List 4528

To All,
I hope your week has started well.
This Day In Naval History - August 22
1912 - Birthday of Dental Corps
1944 - Submarines Haddo (SS 255) and Harder (SS 257) encounter three Japanese escort vessels off the mouth of Manila Bay. Haddo sinks Sado 35 miles west of Manila; Harder sinks Matsuwa and Hiburi about 50 miles west-southwest of Manila.

1945 - First surrender of Japanese garrison at end of World War II; USS Levy receives surrender of Mille Atoll in Marshall Islands
1980 - USS Passumpsic rescues 28 Vietnamese refugees
Today in History August 22
John II, also known as John the Good, succeeds Philip VI as king of France.
Henry Tudor defeats Richard III at Bosworth. This victory establishes the Tudor dynasty in England and ends the War of the Roses.
Civil war in England begins as Charles I declares war on Parliament at Nottingham.
The Austrian army forces the Turkish army out of Belgrade, ending the Turkish revival in the Balkans.
With the approach of General Benedict Arnold's army, British Colonel Barry St. Ledger abandons Fort Stanwix and returns to Canada.
The Portuguese governor of Macao, China, is assassinated because of his anti-Chinese policies.
The Mona Lisa, the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci, is stolen from the Louvre in Paris, where it had hung for more than 100 years. It is recovered in 1913.
Michael Collins, Irish politician, is killed in an ambush.
Brazil declares war on the Axis powers. She is the only South American country to send combat troops into Europe.
Soviet troops land at Port Arthur and Dairen on the Kwantung Peninsula in China.
Conflict in Vietnam begins when a group of Free French parachute into southern Indochina, in response to a successful coup by communist guerilla Ho Chi Minh.
Devil's Island's penal colony is permanently closed.
Incumbent US President Dwight D. Eisenhower & Vice President Richard Nixon renominated by Republican convention in San Francisco.
OAS (Secret Army Organization) gunmen unsuccessfully attempt to assassinate French president Charles de Gaulle; the incident inspires Frederick Forsyth's novel, The Day of the Jackal.
The world's first nuclear-powered passenger-cargo ship, NS Savannah, completes its maiden voyage from Yorktown, Va., to Savannah, Ga.
First papal visit to Latin America; Pope Paul VI arrives in Bogota.
Hurricane Camille hits US Gulf Coast, killing 256 and causing $1.421 billion in damages.
Bolivian military coup: Col. Hugo Banzer Suarez ousts leftist president, Gen. Juan Jose Torres and assumes power.
FBI arrests members of The Camden 28, an anti-war group, as the group is raiding a draft office in Camden, NJ.
International Olympic Committee votes 36–31 with 3 abstentions to ban Rhodesia from the games because of the country's racist policies.
US President Gerald Ford survives second assassination attempt in 17 days, this one by Sarah Jane Moore in San Francisco, Cal.
Benigno Aquino, the only real opposition on Ferdinand Marcos' reign as president of the Philippines, is gunned down at Manila Airport.
First complete ring around Neptune discovered.
During 11-day siege at at Ruby Ridge, Id., FBI HRT sniper Lon Horiuchi kills Vicki Weaver while shooting at another target.
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is suspended for refusing to comply with federal court order to remove the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court building's lobby.
Art heist: a version of The Scream and Madonna, two paintings by Edvard Munch, are stolen at gunpoint from a museum in Oslo, Norway.
Most runs scored by any team in modern MLB history as the Texas Rangers thump the Baltimore Orioles 30-3.
Another great piece of Naval History By RADM Cox and his team. More related to this in the next few days.
Subject: H-Gram 003R - Feb 17 - The Valor of the Asiatic Fleet; Lest We Forget -
From: Director of Naval History
To: Retired Senior Navy Leadership

Even in defeat there is often extraordinary sacrifice and courage that deserves to be remembered.  This H-Gram is dedicated to the hundreds of Sailors of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet, who gave the last full measure of devotion, fighting until the end, even when they knew the odds were hopeless.  They were an inspiration to the rest of the Navy during WWII, but have been largely forgotten since.

(For retired flags, if you have problems opening the attachments, you can also see them on NHHC's website at or if you desire, I can send them point-to-point.)

The Last Ship to Die.

I found the painting "Asheville's Defiance" by the late Tom Freeman (attachment H-003-1) stashed deep in the back room of the USNA museum, which regrettably, is typical of history's treatment of the demise of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet in the opening months of WWII.  Depicted in the painting are the final minutes of the WWI-vintage China coastal patrol boat, USS Asheville (PG-21) under the command of Lieutenant Commander Jacob W. Britt (USNA '29).  One of the last ships to evacuate Java, she has been left behind due to an engine casualty reducing speed to 10kts.  Unbeknownst to Britt, between Asheville and the relative safety of Australia are four Japanese Pearl Harbor-veteran carriers, four battleships, numerous cruisers, destroyers, submarines and hundreds of land-based bombers; and the Japanese know the compromised allied rendezvous point (COMSEC violation).  Sighting the Asheville alone at dawn on 3 Mar 1942, the Japanese destroyers Arashi and Nowaki, backed up by a heavy cruiser, close for the kill with a 20kt speed advantage and combined 12x 5" guns and 16x 24" torpedoes to Asheville's 3x 4" guns.  Asheville does not strike her colors, raise a white flag, jump into the lifeboats or scuttle the ship.  Instead, Asheville opens fire, and she keeps firing as long as she is able to fire.  It takes the two top-of-the-line Japanese destroyers over 30 minutes and 300 rounds to put the archaic China gunboat under; an action viewed by the Japanese as a total fiasco but was typical of the prodigious expenditure of surface ammunition to little effect, by both sides, during the course of the campaign.  The Japanese rescued one Sailor and left the rest to perish as they hurried to massacre an Allied convoy just over the horizon.  Engineman Fred L. Brown died in Japanese captivity in March 1945 from the combined untreated effects of disease and beatings, and the story of the Asheville is known only via another POW from the sunken USS Pope (DD-225) and fragmentary Japanese reports.    Because no witnesses survived the war, there are no Medals of Honor, no Navy Crosses, no unit citations, just the dim memory of a brave crew of 166 men who fought valiantly without hope, lost somewhere about 160 NM SW of Bali.   All RADM Morison's seminal History of U.S. Naval Operations in WWII has to say about Asheville is that she was sunk.

(*Post-script.  The IJN Arashi was the lone destroyer transiting at high speed sighted at the critical moment of the Battle of Midway by LCDR Wade McClusky, leading USS Enterprise (CV-6) dive bombing squadrons and running low on fuel, that led the way to the Japanese carriers, and disaster for the Japanese.)  

The Sacrifice of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet (Summary)

The 26-episode, Emmy-award-winning television documentary from the early 1950's, "Victory at Sea" does not even mention the Battle of the Java Sea, the loss of the USS Houston (CA-30) and the demise of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet, in what ADM Ernest J. King described as "a magnificent display of very bad strategy," that cost over 20 U.S. Navy vessels and over 2,000 Sailors killed.  Even the naval historian Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison in his History of U.S. Naval Operations in WWII, addressed the subject reluctantly, stating that he had to write about it because, "I owe it to the brave men who held this successor of Thermopylae" (300 Spartan stand against Persian Empire) and then proceeded to miss many of the instances of extraordinary valor and duty displayed the Sailors of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet.  It has always been my view that it is when the chips are down, and everything is going to hell, that you take the full measure of those you serve with.  The outcome may have been a disaster, but the Sailors of the Asiatic Fleet did not let the Navy or their shipmates down; in case after case (more than I can recount here) they fought on against overwhelming odds, with extreme valor and ingenuity, refusing to surrender (despite the collapse and defeatism all around them) in some cases to the last man.  They fought in the finest traditions of the U.S. Navy and they deserve to be remembered.  If you are looking for examples of the core attributes listed in the CNO's Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority (integrity, accountability, initiative and toughness) you will find examples aplenty in the U.S. Asiatic Fleet.

In attachment (H-003-2) I provide an overview of the key points of the Japanese offensive in the Far East from December 1941 to March 1942 and the U.S. Navy's response.  I discuss how the U.S. Navy strategy to rely on a potent force of submarines (29) to defend the Philippines failed because of Japanese air superiority and because of defective U.S. torpedoes.  I also discuss how the first U.S. involvement in establishing a coalition headquarters during WWII (ABDA Command - American, British, Dutch, Australian) was an abject failure, and is a case study in almost everything that can go wrong in coalition warfare, especially when the enemy has the initiative (and air superiority.)  The first U.S. surface action since the Spanish American War at Balikpapan, Borneo in Jan 42 was a victory, marred by faulty torpedoes.  The culminating Battle of the Java Sea, the largest surface action since Jutland to that time, was an unmitigated disaster, and exemplifies what can happen to a coalition/allied force that has never trained or operated together; where lack of a common signaling regime proved fatal, along with Japanese air superiority.  The lessons of ABDA Command and the Battle of the Java Sea provide a ringing endorsement of the need for exercises like RIMPAC, or standing alliances like NATO (with standardized SOP) because after the war starts is too late to figure that out.  A major lesson, that all the navies in the Far East learned the hard way (or by happy surprise in the case of the Japanese) was that you command the sea by commanding the air over the sea.

In attachment (H-003-3) I provide a short summary of some of the many truly heroic actions by the U.S. Asiatic Fleet, hopefully just to whet your appetite to want to read more.  A theme that comes through is that it doesn't matter whether a Sailor is on a first-line warship, or the most unglamorous ancient auxiliary; when the war comes, none are spared the requirement for sacrifice and the full measure of duty.  In the case of the Asiatic Fleet, the Sailors repeatedly rose to the occasion.  Some of the greatest heroism in the history of the U.S. Navy was exhibited by the crews of vessels like the armed yacht USS Isabel (PY-10, the "Alternate" Asiatic Fleet Flagship) and her Presidentially ordered reconnaissance of Japanese shipping off Cam Ranh Bay days before the outbreak of war; the submarine rescue ship USS Pigeon (ASR-6) and minesweeper USS Whippoorwill  (AM-35) that pulled a submarine and a destroyer clear of the raging inferno at Cavite at great risk; the submarine tender USS Canopus (AS-9) and her Naval Battalion on Bataan and her "Mickey Mouse Battle Fleet;" the archaic seaplane tender USS Heron (AVP-2) that survived hours of coordinated torpedo and bomb attacks and destroyed an attacking Japanese seaplane; the PT-boats of Motor Torpedo Squadron Three (MTB-3), who rescued General MacArthur, and Philippine President Quezon; Patrol Wing 10, which flew multiple bombing missions (after the B-17s had been withdrawn) at great cost; the seaplane tender USS Langley (AV-3, formerly CV-1), ordered on a suicidal daylight run to deliver US Army Air Force P-40 fighters to a port that didn't have an airfield; and the heroic last battles of the ancient destroyers Pope (DD-225), Pillsbury (DD-227) and Edsall (DD-219), who fought valiantly until the end, in Edsall's case against two Japanese battleships, two heavy cruisers, and aircraft from four Japanese carriers.   Amongst the lost ships and aircraft, come numerous epic stories of survival, including the crew of the sunken minesweeper USS Quail (AM-15) who were the last to escape from Corregidor, sailing a 21ft launch all the way to Australia, complete with an episode with New Guinea headhunters.  Lastly, in an observation that should give hope to every Sailor was a statement by a senior officer on USS Canopus, "it was the biggest troublemakers that truly rose to the occasion in combat," an observation echoed in CAPT Paul Rinn's book, "No Higher Honor" about the USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) mine strike in the Persian Gulf in 1988.

They Sold Themselves Dearly; The Last Stand of the USS Houston

   According to one witness, when the heavy cruiser, USS Houston (CA-30) pulled into Tanjung Priok (port for Batavia (now Jakarta)) Dutch East Indies on 28 Feb 1942, having barely survived the hours-long gunnery duel of the disastrous Battle of the Java Sea the day and night before, the ship's cat deserted.*  The story is possibly apocryphal, although what is more certain is that the Australian light cruiser, HMAS Perth's black cat (named Red Lead) attempted to desert in the same way in the same port at the same time.  Along with the cat, went Houston's luck.  Having survived over 80 days as the largest Allied warship in the Far East, with no air cover and under multiple bombing attacks and the constant threat from the same kind of Japanese aircraft that had made short work of the British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and battlecruiser HMS Repulse on 10 Dec 41, seriously damaged in one air attack, and having survived a major surface action, the Houston, in company with Perth, would go into battle that night near the Sunda Strait against overwhelming odds from which neither ship, nor most of their crews would survive.  Within the next couple days, other remaining ships of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet would meet the same fate, in a number of cases, alone, against insurmountable odds, with no survivors.
    The skipper of the Houston, Captain Albert C. Rooks, was a hero of mine, long before I joined the U.S. Navy, when I first started reading naval history.  A brilliant officer, strategic thinker, and exceptional shiphandler, Rooks was destined for high flag rank, greatly respected by superiors, and most tellingly, revered by his crew for his no-nonsense leadership, and most importantly, his handling of the ship in combat.  In an intense air-raid in the Flores Sea on 4 Feb 1942, Rooks skillfully dodged dozens of accurately aimed bombs from over 50 aircraft; all but the last bomb from the last plane that came off at an errant angle and through sheer luck destroyed Houston's after 8" turret, killing 48 men and reducing her combat power by one third.  Given the option to withdraw his ship from the region for repairs, Rooks declined, because even damaged, Houston was the most capable ship the Allies had.  In a second major air attack, with a new load of 5" anti-aircraft shells to replace the 75% dud rate of her original load, Houston brilliantly defended a troop ship convoy, downing multiple Japanese aircraft with no loss to the convoy.
  On the night of 28 February-1 March 1942, while executing pre-planned orders to withdraw from the Java Sea, the Houston and the Perth attempted to exit through the Sunda Strait.  With Perth in the lead (her skipper, the legendary Captain Hec Waller, was senior) the two unescorted cruisers encountered a Japanese blocking force, and in the initial exchange of gunfire discovered that they were unexpectedly in the midst of the main Japanese invasion force for Java.  Although already critically low on ammunition, low on fuel, previously damaged, and with exhausted crews, both cruiser skippers chose to turn and attack towards the dozens of Japanese troop transports along the shore, which was the reason both ships had gone back into the Java Sea a week earlier.  Although the chance of escape was slim, Captain Rooks placed duty over survival, and decided to sacrifice his ship dearly in an attempt to thwart the landing.
     In the hours-long night close-quarters melee that followed, both ships were surrounded on all sides by two Japanese heavy cruisers and numerous destroyers and smaller patrol craft, which fired 87 torpedoes at Houston and Perth.  The Allied cruisers avoided numerous torpedoes, several of which hit and sank Japanese troop transports, including the one with the Japanese commander of the invasion force embarked (LTG Imamura), who survived his swim ashore.
   Both Allied cruisers were eventually hit by multiple torpedoes and countless shells, yet they still damaged numerous Japanese ships, fighting until they were out of ammunition.  Perth went down first, and Houston fought on alone for over 30 minutes, as Japanese ships closed to within machine gun range.  Both Waller and Rooks were killed by enemy shellfire after finally giving the order to abandon ship.  A Marine in Houston's forward anti-aircraft platform fired his .50 cal machine gun at the enemy until the ship slipped beneath the surface, her national ensign still flying high.  
   Of Houston's crew of 1,168 men, only 368 survived the battle, and until only 291 survivors emerged from Japanese captivity at the end of the war, no one in the U.S. really knew what happened in the Sunda Strait.
   Captain Rooks was awarded a Medal of Honor while in missing-in-action status during the war for his actions in the Battles of the Flores Sea and the Java Sea; the period of action did not cover the Battle of Sunda Strait.  Houston was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation after the war.
  Today, the Naval History and Heritage Command is working with the US Embassy in Jakarta and the Indonesian government to protect the wreck of the Houston from metal salvagers who have illegally removed the wrecks of almost every other Allied ship lost in the Java Sea.  Although Albert Rooks faced a far tougher fight than John Paul Jones, Farragut, or Dewey, the U.S. Navy has no ship named after Rooks, although there is a water fountain at the Naval Academy dedicated in his honor.  (*James Hornfischer, "Ship of Ghosts.") For more on USS Houston see attachment H-003-4

Artifact of the Month - USS Houston (CA-30) Trumpet (attachment H-003-5)

   This trumpet belonged to a crewman who played in the band on the USS Houston (CA-30), flagship of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet; it went down with the ship when she was lost in action in the Battle of Sunda Strait on 1 Mar 1942 under a fusillade of Japanese torpedo and shellfire.  The damage to the trumpet is silent testimony to the ferocity of USS Houston's last hour of weeks of combat.  The trumpet was recovered illegally from the wreck site by an Australian sport diver in 2013, who subsequently voluntarily turned it over to the U.S. Naval Attache in Canberra.  When removed from the ocean environment, metal artifacts undergo a greatly accelerated deterioration process.  Since then, the trumpet has undergone an extensive and lengthy conservation process at NHHC (in a saline and chemical solution) to arrest the deterioration, remove the recent corrosion, and stabilize the artifact so that it can be safely displayed without further degradation.    Although still in conservation, the trumpet has been shown to members of the USS Houston Survivors and Next Generations Association, who have expressed their gratitude for the care that the US Navy has taken in preserving this tangible link to the sacrifice and heroism of the crew of USS Houston.

Very respectfully,

Samuel J. Cox
RADM, USN (Retired)
Director of Naval History
Curator of the Navy
Director, Naval History and Heritage Command

Thanks to Micro
Peyton Manning should have his own comedy TV Show, He is a natural!
Gotta Love it!!!!!!!
Item Number:1 Date: 08/22/2017 AFGHANISTAN - SPECIAL OPS FORCES GETS UPGRADE; CORPS IS LAUNCHED (AUG 22/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- The Afghan military has officially upgraded its special operations forces from a division to a corps, reports the Voice of America News.   The launching of the corps is part of a four-year security plan designed to significantly improve Afghanistan's security forces.   The corps will further strengthen the ability of the nation's forces to take on militants, said U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson, the head of coalition forces in Afghanistan. Nicholson made his comments Sunday at Camp Morehead in Kabul province.   The special operations division is adding two brigades to its current two brigades, according to the NATO Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.   The four-year plan calls for doubling the Afghan special operations forces from 17,000 personnel and upgrading the division to a corps within the Afghan National Army structure.   In addition, air force aviation capabilities are to be increased and security structures reformed, Afghan defense officials at the embassy in Washington, D.C., told VOA.   The special operations forces currently conduct 70 percent of Afghan military operations, say officials.  
 Item Number:2 Date: 08/22/2017 INDONESIA - DEAL FOR RUSSIAN FIGHTER JETS NEAR; ARRANGEMENT CALLS FOR COMMODITIES BARTER (AUG 22/REU)  REUTERS -- Senior Indonesian officials say the government is close to finalizing a deal to purchase 11 Russian-made fighter jets worth US$1.14 billion, reports Reuters.   A memorandum of understanding (MoU) involving aa barter deal was signed earlier in August, as widely noted at the time.   Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita and Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said in a joint statement on Tuesday that part of the deal involves shipping up to US$570 million worth of commodities in addition to cash to pay for the Su-35 fighter jets, said   The type and volume of the commodities were "still being negotiated." Exports could include palm oil, tea and coffee, according to the earlier MoU.   The deal between Russia's Rostec and PT Perusahaan Perdagangan Indonesia is expected to be finalized soon, said the officials
Item Number:3 Date: 08/22/2017 IRAQ - GOVERNMENT FORCES PUSH INTO URBAN AREAS OF ISIS-HELD TAL AFAR (AUG 22/XIN)  XINHUA -- Iraqi forces battling for Islamic State-held Tal Afar say they have fought their way into one of the city's neighborhoods, reports Xinhua, China's state new agency.   U.S.-trained Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) forces entered the western al-Kifah neighborhood and are fighting terrorists there, said a military spokesman on Tuesday.   The Iraqi army's 9th Armored Division and the Popular Mobilization Units, an alliance of pro-government Shi'ite militias, later broke into the eastern side of the city, said the spokesman.   The Tal Afar operation began on Aug. 20. The city is the last ISIS stronghold in Nineveh province.  
Item Number:4 Date: 08/22/2017 LATVIA - STINGER ANTI-AIRCRAFT MISSILES SEEN BOLSTERING DEFENSE (AUG 22/LSM)  LATVIAN PUBLIC MEDIA -- The Latvian government has finalized a deal with Denmark for Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, reports LSM, Latvia's public broadcaster.   The weapon systems will be fielded by the military and the national guard to help protect the entirety of Latvia, Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis told the state-owned LTV television network.   Bergmanis declined to reveal the value of the contract or the number of missiles involved. "It's not too big a sum, but we get a good number of these weapons," he said on Monday.   Denmark has been trimming its army's air defense capabilities as part of a savings program.   Deliveries to Latvia are scheduled for the first half of 2018, said a statement from the Defense Ministry.  
 Item Number:5 Date: 08/22/2017 MALDIVES - MILITARY STOPPING IMPEACHMENT EFFORTS AGAINST HOUSE SPEAKER, SAY OPPOSITION LEADERS (AUG 22/GUARDIAN)  GUARDIAN -- Opposition members in the Maldives say the military is attempting to block a no-confidence vote against the speaker of the house, reports the Guardian (U.K.).   Lawmakers have been trying to impeach Speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed, a close ally of President Abdulla Yameen, for failing to summon officials to answer to accusations of corruption and mismanagement.   Security personnel in plainclothes blocked lawmakers from entering Parliament on Tuesday, alleged opposition legislators.   The lawmakers were eventually allowed inside, where the speaker was surrounded by more military personnel. He reportedly opened and closed the session in five minutes, preventing lawmakers from voting on the no-confidence motion.   Last month, the military locked the gates of Parliament to stop the impeachment effort.  
  Item Number:6 Date: 08/22/2017 PAKISTAN - TOP U.S. GENERAL DISCUSSES COUNTERTERRORISM, NEED FOR SUSTAINED TIES WITH ISLAMABAD (AUG 22/DAWN)  DAWN -- Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command, recently concluded a two-day visit to Pakistan to discuss cooperation between the militaries, reports the Dawn (Pakistan).   Votel said he left Pakistan on Saturday with "increased understanding of the counterterrorism and counter-insurgency efforts of the Pakistani government."   Votel was taken to North Waziristan, which was once the home to violent terrorist groups such as the Haqqani network, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy, as cited by the newspaper.   The general emphasized the need for sustained cooperation with Islamabad and welcomed the government's commitment to bilateral ties.   Votel also emphasized that Pakistan must ensure that its territory is not used to plan or conduct terrorist attacks against its neighbors.   The general's meetings "focused on the need to further strengthen U.S. and Pakistani military-to-military relations .... to ensure greater regional security and stability," said the release from the Embassy.  
  Item Number:7 Date: 08/22/2017 ROMANIA - AS PART OF DEFENSE BUILDUP, HIMARS ROCKET SYSTEMS SOUGHT FROM U.S; STATE DEPT. GIVES NOD TO PURCHASE (AUG 22/DSCA)  U.S. DEFENSE SECURITY COOPERATION AGENCY -- The Romanian government is seeking to buy multiple rocket launch systems from the United States, reports the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency.   The U.S. State Dept. has approved a potential Foreign Military Sale of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) worth about US$1.25 billion.   The proposed sale covers 54 HIMARS launchers; 81 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) M31A1 unitary rockets; 81 GMLRS M30A1 alternative warhead rockets; 54 Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) M57 unitary rockets; 24 Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems (AFATDS); 15 M1151A1 armored utility Humvees; and 15 M1151A1 armor-ready two-man Humvees.   The possible sale also includes 54 M1084A1P2 HIMARS resupply vehicles; 54 M1095 MTV cargo trailers with resupply vehicle kit; and 10 M1089A1P2 FMTV wreckers; 30 low-cost reduced-range (LCRR) practice rockets; and associated technical and logistics support.   The HIMARS systems are intended to modernize the Romanian military and strengthen its homeland defense and deterrence capabilities, the DSCA said in an Aug. 18 release.   Last month, Bucharest announced that it planned to purchase HIMARS and 36 F-16 fighters by 2022, as part of a larger US$11.6 billion procurement plan, noted Defense News.  
  Item Number:8 Date: 08/22/2017 SINGAPORE - NEW AGREEMENT CALLS FOR AIR FORCE TO TRAIN IN AUSTRALIA FOR 25 MORE YEARS (AUG 22/STIMES)  STRAITS TIMES -- The Singapore air force will train at RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia for another 25 years under a new accord, reports the Straits Times.   The agreement was signed Monday in Singapore during a high-level bilateral meeting co-chaired by Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and his Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop. The respective trade and defense ministers also took part.   The treaty extends an existing memorandum of understanding dating to 1993 that was scheduled to expire in 2018.   The document must still be ratified by the Australian Parliament.  
  Item Number:9 Date: 08/22/2017 SOMALIA - AL-SHABAAB RETREATS, LEAVES STRATEGIC TOWN TO AFRICAN UNION, SOMALI FORCES (AUG 22/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- African Union and Somali government forces have captured a strategic town in southern Somalia from the Al-Shabaab terrorist group, reports the Voice of America News.   Bariire was wrested away from the terrorists on Saturday, reported Garowe Online (Somalia).   The militants fled the town, which is 27 miles (45 km) from west of Mogadishu, the capital, following heavy fighting as the joint force approached from three directions, said commanders.   Bariire had been one of Al-Shabaab's strongholds in southern Somalia, said officials.   Seven civilians were reportedly killed and four injured when the minivan they were in struck a mine as they fled. Local officials said they could only confirm the deaths of four civilians and three injuries.   Somali government officials confirmed that non-African personnel were involved in the attack, but provided no further details.   Dozens of U.S. soldiers were deployed to Mogadishu in April to train and equip Somali and African Union troops
Item Number:10 Date: 08/22/2017 SOUTH KOREA - DURING CHANGE-OF-COMMAND FOR NEW JCS CHIEF, PRESIDENT STRESSES REFORM, STRENGTH (AUG 22/YON)  YONHAP -- President Moon Jae In reaffirmed his commitment to reform and stronger defenses against North Korea during Sunday's change-of-command ceremony for South Korea's top military officer, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   Gen. Jeong Kyeong Doo, formerly the air force chief, was inaugurated as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the ceremony in Seoul. He succeeds Gen. Lee Sun Jin, who retired after 42 years of service.   Moon became the first head of state to attend a change-of-command ceremony, reflecting his determination to strengthen the military.   Jeong also warned that North Korea would face "merciless retaliation" if the "enemy provokes." The general said he would focus on efforts to set up a "full range of defense postures" to counter all threats.  
  Item Number:11 Date: 08/22/2017 SOUTH SUDAN - AIRPORT DISPUTE APPARENTLY RESOLVED BETWEEN GOVERNMENT, U.N. OVER AIRPORT CONTROL (AUG 22/ANADOLU)  ANADOLU NEWS AGENCY -- South Sudan temporarily grounded United Nations aircraft in Juba after a dispute over control of the main airport in the nation's capital, reports the Anadolu Agency (Turkey).   In August 2016, he U.N. Security Council approved the deployment of a 4,000-strong East African regional protection force to support the U.N. mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) after fighting broke out between rival forces. The first batch of that force started to arrive in Juba earlier this month.   On Monday, the government grounded planes belonging to the peacekeepers, saying that those forces did not have a mandate to control Juba's airport.   "They cannot come here to control our airport. It is our airport and if they wanted to cooperate with us, they must refrain from [deploying in] places they are not authorized," said a presidential spokesman cited by Reuters.   U.N. officials said later in the day that flights had resumed after government approval. The South Sudanese government said there had been a misunderstanding. The U.N. reportedly agreed to relocated the Rwandan contingent to the rightful Jebel base, not the Thongping camp, reported Radio Tamazuj (South Sudan
Item Number:12 Date: 08/22/2017 SPAIN - POLICE KILL SUSPECTED DRIVER IN BARCELONA ATTACK (AUG 22/CNN)  CABLE NEWS NETWORK -- The suspected driver of a van involved in last week's terror attacks in Barcelona has been shot and killed by Spanish police, reports CNN.   The man, later identified as Younes Abouyaaqoub, drove into pedestrians on Las Ramblas, Barcelona's busiest street on Aug. 17, killing at least 15 people and injuring more than 100 before fleeing. That was one of several terror incidents in Barcelona and a seaside resort.   Abouyaaqoub was killed Monday during an operation in Subirats, west of Barcelona, said police. He wore what at the time appeared to be an explosive belt and was carrying knives. Authorities later said the belt was fake.   Four suspects have been arrested and eight killed in connection to the attacks, said police. More raids were reportedly carried out overnight at homes in the town of Ripoli, north of Barcelona
Item Number:13 Date: 08/22/2017 SYRIA - U.S.-LED COALITION RAMPS UP AIRSTRIKES AGAINST ISIS IN RAQQA (AUG 22/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- The U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State in Syria says it has made at least 250 airstrikes against terrorist fighters in Raqqa province, reports Agence France-Presse.   The air raids targeted the city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS, and the surrounding area, said a coalition spokesman on Tuesday.   The airstrikes have intensified after ISIS was beaten in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in early July, he said.   The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighting groups, has been fighting to gain control of Raqqa.   On Monday, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that airstrikes had killed at least 42 civilians, bringing the civilian death toll for the past eight days to 167.   The allegations would be investigated, said a coalition spokesman
Item Number:14 Date: 08/22/2017 TURKEY - ANOTHER U.S. PREDATOR UAV GOES DOWN IN SOUTHEAST TURKEY (AUG 22/DAILYSABAH)  DAILY SABAH -- Another U.S. drone has crashed in southeastern Turkey, reports the Daily Sabah (Turkey).   The MQ-1 Predator drone went down mid-day Monday in Sanliurfa province, according to a statement on the website of the Incirlik air base.   Photos emerged on social media of the drone's wreckage in a cornfield. Sanliurfa is about 400 km (250 miles) east of Incirlik.   This is the second such incident in four days. A U.S. Predator crashed on Aug. 17 in Ceyhan district of Adana province after taking off from Incirlik
  Item Number:15 Date: 08/22/2017 UKRAINE - PRESIDENT ANTICIPATES BETTER TRAINING WITH CONSTRUCTION OF NEW SPECIAL OPS FACILITIES (AUG 22/UKRINF)  UKRINFORM -- President Petro Poroshenko says new facilities to train special operations forces will be built in central Ukraine, reports Ukrinform.   The new bases are going to be built in Kropyvnytskyi on the Inhul River.   "Today the special forces are a symbol of our state's cooperation with NATO partners," Poroshenko said on Monday during a visit to the Kirovohrad region. "Special bases have already been created, and it has been agreed that special facilities will be built in Kropyvnytskyi that will improve the level of training of our special officers," said the president.   The Ukrainian military's cooperation with international partners in the area of special operations has been extremely effective, he said.   The special operations forces were created by presidential decree as a result of the conflict with Russian-backed militants in eastern Ukraine, noted Interfax-AVN (Russia).  
  Item Number:16 Date: 08/22/2017 USA - CNO ANNOUNCES OPERATIONAL NAVAL PAUSE, INVESTIGATION; BODIES FOUND ON MCCAIN DESTROYER (AUG 22/LAT)  LOS ANGELES TIMES -- The U.S. Navy has ordered an "operational pause" for a fleet-wide safety review following Monday's collision of a destroyer with an oil tanker near Singapore, reports the Los Angeles Times.   Ten sailors are missing and five were injured when the USS John S. McCain collided with a tanker in the South China Sea. The crash was the fourth involving a Navy ship this year.   On Monday, Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, announced an operational pause and ordered a comprehensive review itno the causes of the accidents.   The pause will last one or two days and could begin within a week, said the CNO.   U.S. divers will access the sealed compartments of the John S. McCain and "conduct damage assessments of the hull and flooded areas," said the Navy on Tuesday.   On Tuesday, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet said the remains of some soldiers had been found
Item Number:17 Date: 08/22/2017 USA - COAST GUARD ENDS SEARCH FOR ARMY BLACK HAWK CREW IN HAWAII (AUG 22/HSA)  HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER -- The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for the five crewmembers from an Army Black Hawk helicopter that crashed off the coast of Hawaii last week, reports the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.   The UH-60 Black Hawk went missing during nighttime training on Aug. 15 about two miles off Oahu.   The area of the search was expanded several times, eventually covering 72,000 square nautical miles in 132 searches, said the Coast Guard.   On Monday, Army officials said that "operations have now shifted to recovery and salvage efforts." The Army also formally identified the names of the crew.   The status of the soldiers is now listed as "duty status-whereabouts unknown," meaning they can't be located but are not confirmed as deceased.   Coast Guard and Navy vessels are continuing to assist with the salvage effort
Item Number:18 Date: 08/22/2017 USA - LRASM MAKES 1ST FREE-FALL LAUNCH FROM B-1B BOMBER, HITS MOVING TARGET (AUG 22/NAVAIR)  NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND -- The U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin have conducted the first end-to-end functionality test of the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), reports the Naval Air Systems Command.   During the test on Aug. 16, the missile was launched by an Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber over Point Mugu Sea Range, Calif., said a NAVAIR release on Aug. 18.   The missile navigated through all planned waypoints, made the transition to mid-course guidance and flew toward the moving maritime target using inputs from the onboard multi-mode sensor, according to a Lockheed release.   The LRASM then descended to low altitude for final approach to the target area, positively identified and hit the target, which was in the midst of a group of ships, said the release.   The successful trial "marks a significant step towards providing the operational community with a leap in critical surface warfare capability by next year," said Capt. Todd Huber, the LRASM program director.   Early operational capability for the missile is scheduled for 2018 on the B-1B and 2019 on the Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
  Item Number:19 Date: 08/22/2017 USA - MATTIS INSISTS U.S. TROOP REDUCTION IN DRILLS WITH S. KOREA UNRELATED TO N. KOREA'S CONCERNS (AUG 22/S&S)  STARS AND STRIPES -- This year's bilateral Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise between South Korea and the United States includes fewer American troops than in 2016, reports the Stars and Stripes.   The drills began Monday and run through Aug. 31.   About 17,500 U.S. troops are taking part, with another 3,000 from other countries. Last year, about 25,000 Americans participated in the command-post exercise, according to a Pentagon release on Friday.   Participants are Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the U.K.   Some have been concerned that the drills could lead to a new crisis with North Korea, which considers such exercises to be practice for an invasion. On Sunday, North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper called the drill "reckless behavior."   Seoul and Washington insist that the training is defensive.   U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said this year's exercise needed fewer personnel and the reduction was not due to recent North Korean concerns, noted Reuters.  
  Item Number:20 Date: 08/22/2017 USA - TRUMP STRATEGY FOR AFGHANISTAN: KILL TERRORISTS, NOT 'NATION-BUILDING' (AUG 22/NYT)  NEW YORK TIMES -- President Donald Trump has laid out a new strategy for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, reports the New York Times.   Trump made his remarks Monday evening during a nationally televised speech at the Army's Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va.   He did not specify how many additional troops would be committed, but he did say there would be no "blank check" for the American engagement there.   Trump said the new approach will not amount to "nation-building" but rather "killing terrorists," as cited by the Daily Beast.   The president earlier signed off on sending an additional 4,000 troops, reported Fox News. There are more than 8,500 U.S. personnel currently in the region.   American troops will take part in counterterrorism missions and training Afghan forces, he said.   Trump also announced he would relax U.S. restrictions to target the Taliban and other terrorist groups.   As part of the goal to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, Washington. will no longer announce timelines on the withdrawal of U.S. troops, he said.

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