Tuesday, December 19, 2017

TheList 4615

The List 4615

To All
I hope that your week has started well. A bit cool here but the wifi works great.
This Day In Naval History - December 19
Dec. 19
1870—Coxswain William Halford, the lone survivor of five, reaches Hawaii after a month at sea in a 22-foot boat and seeks help for the crew of the side-wheel steamer Saginaw, wrecked near Midway Island.
1941—The U.S. Naval Academy class of 1942 graduates six months early due to the nation's entry into WWII.
1943—USS Grayback (SS 208) sinks the Japanese destroyer Numakaze 50 miles east-northeast of Naha, Okinawa.
1944—USS Redfish (SS 395) sinks the Japanese carrier Unryu 200 nautical miles southeast of Shanghai, China. In the course of this engagement, Redfish is damaged and terminates her patrol early.
1944—PB4Y-1s (VPB 104) attack a Japanese convoy in the South China Sea and sink transport Shinfuku Maru.
1972…Thanks to Ed and others, this is how we spent the Christmas of 1972 on the USS Midway.
Worth repeating and remembering

Christmas reflections of an old fighter-attack pilot
Old fast movers only zoom and boom in their minds. Mostly they play golf, drink a lot better Scotch than in younger days, and when winter sets in, sit by the fire, scratch the dog, and remember when they were something else...

Last night, December 18th was the 43rd anniversary of the beginning of the eleven days of Christmas that ended the Vietnam mess... and so some "remembered sky."


In 2010 based on upcoming 100th year anniversary of Naval Aviation, I determined to go back and revisit my time and particularly the 11 months flying off of USS Midway due to the 30 March '72 North Vietnam Easter Offensive. In doing that I not only read, researched and talked to Navy buds but sought out Air Force guys from the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots - the Rats - like Ed Rasimus (RIP) and Bob Hipps to try and understand better the whole period air-war wise. Most know the story of the B-52s and their 15 loses over those 11 nights of Christmas. But Navy A-6 guys had some really tough times around Haiphong and were a much more significant part of the overall plan than most realize. For me an A-7B guy, I never launched, lots of sitting in the cockpit on SAR (rescue) alert. While we did a lot of night attack in those 11 months, the A-7B wasn't considered system wise up to going over the beach at night in that kind of brouhaha so only a few were launched. Echos from other carriers did.  I have provided Dave Snako Kelly's (RIP) A-6 stories previously (and link below).

            I remember that night vividly. That night was one of those times when I was not sure we were coming back.  But thanks to Snake,     the best A6 pilot I have known, we evaded the defenses of Haiphong twice.  Snake, you'll never be forgotten! Bob Koch, VA-115


I won't belabor any further, but my conclusion was that if you were to look at the history of the Vietnam war as if we were responding only to the 30 March invasion, March '72 - March '73 when the POWs came home,  you could conclude that the ARVN with US advisers and US airpower defeated the NVN totally. Gen Giap said that after Oct it would take 3-5 years to reconstitute for another invasion. (Minus post 73 US involvement it took 3)

History can't be re-written, war is politics, policy, politicians, flag officers and finally warfighters.

Many if not all -certainly historians -will never agree with me but IMHO, grouping Rolling Thunder (no criticism meant here to RT guys... they were forced to play by very different rules) with Linebacker I & II in an overall analysis of the use of airpower in VN is a disservice not only to U.S. airpower application but also to those of us who fought a different battle in 1972-73 - much of our survival due to those RT guys who came back and taught us young'ns and therein saved our asses.

On our watch, we won. But young men don't decide wars. NVN's army was beaten and retreated, the POWs came home. Mission accomplished.

Here for your interest are the links to the six stories on RememberedSky about December 1972 - war and remembrance - and always these good men.

A remembered Christmas and a wish to you for a merry one 43 years later

Monthly Archives: December 2012

Christmas '72 Stories: (6) "We had been there too long!"

Posted on December 29, 2012 by Ed
As I write this post, it is fast approaching 0659 30 December 2012 in Hanoi – 40 years exactly from the end to Linebacker II. President Nixon's decision – the Linebacker II campaign – in the face of world wide denunciation and in … Continue reading 
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Christmas '72 Stories: (5) What did we know? When did we know it?

Posted on December 29, 2012 by Ed
Bob 'Hippo' Hipps (334 Tactical Fighter Squadron): The night of Dec 17, 1972 our F-4E squadron (the 334TFS had deployed from Seymour Johnson, AFB, NC — which is the only Air Force base named after a Naval Aviator) stood down … Continue reading 
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Christmas '72 Stories: (4) MiG-CAP & Roman Candles

Posted on December 27, 2012 by Ed
Perspective from John Chesire – VF-151 Switchboxes – flying MiG-CAP around Haiphong. Of my nearly two years combat flying in SEA (Southeast Asia), the most spectacular and memorable sight occurred on December 20, the third and worst night of the of the …Continue reading 
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Christmas '72 Stories: (3) Snako's Two Night LB II Hat Trick

Posted on December 26, 2012 by Ed
One of the motivators for Remembered Sky is that the writing about USS Midway and her airwing/squadrons is piecemeal. Some histories and stories barely mention Midway and some have completely left her out, particularly related to Linebacker II. This despite …Continue reading 
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Christmas '72 Stories: (2) Night time in the Red River Valley

Posted on December 26, 2012 by Ed
Linebacker II from 18-29 December 1972 is commonly understood as the B-52 strikes over Hanoi that brought the NVN back to the negotiating table in Paris, leading to the end of the war, a treaty- The Paris Peace Accords – … Continue reading 
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Christmas '72 Stories: (1) The "Ornaments" from Ghosts of Christmas Past

Posted on December 25, 2012 by Ed
With this post I begin a multi-story process centered on Linebacker II and Christmas 1972 as part of Remembered Sky's overall reflection on the 40th anniversary of the end of that war and USS Midway/Carrier Air Wing Five's war cruise in the … Continue reading 
Today in History December 19
Henry II is crowned king of England.
The French Wars of Religion between the Huguenots and the Catholics begins with the Battle of Dreux.
French troops recapture Toulon from the British.
Confederate General Nathan B. Forrest begins tearing up the railroads in Union generals Grant and Rosecrans rear, causing considerable delays in the movement of Union supplies.
The French Parliament votes amnesty for everyone involved in the Dreyfus Affair.
American socialist women denounce suffrage as a movement of the middle class.
Japanese land on Hong Kong and clash with British troops.
Adolf Hitler assumes the position of commander in chief of the German army.
The British advance 40 miles into Burma in a drive to oust the Japanese from the colony.
During the Battle of the Bulge, American troops begin pulling back from the twin Belgian cities of Krinkelt and Rocherath in front of the advancing German Army.
Congress confirms Eleanor Roosevelt as U.S. delegate to the United Nations.
The North Atlantic Council names General Dwight D. Eisenhower as supreme commander of Western European defense forces.
Reputed to be the last civil war veteran, Walter Williams, dies at 117 in Houston.
Nelson Rockefeller is sworn in as vice president of the United states after a House of Representatives vote.
Four bombs explode at South Africa's only nuclear power station in Johannesburg.
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang sign an agreement that committed Britain to return Hong Kong to China in 1997 in return for terms guaranteeing a 50-year extension of its capitalist system. Hong Kong was leased by China to Great Britain in 1898 for 99 years.
President Bill Clinton is impeached. The House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against President Clinton, charging him with lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice. Clinton was the second president in American history to be impeached.
The highest barometric pressure ever recorded (1085.6 hPa, 32.06 inHg) occurs at Tosontsengel, Khovsgol, Mongolia.
Rioting begins in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during the country's economic crisis.
Park Geun-hye elected President of South Korea, the nation's first female chief executive.
Daniels sided with Christmas during wartime
By John Hood
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
RALEIGH — Josephus Daniels, one of the most prominent North Carolinians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, played a key role in a story that often circulates around Christmastime. He's not exactly its hero, but in the end Daniels makes the right call — and thus helps to save the celebration of Christmas during wartime.
After the election of Democrat Woodrow Wilson as president in 1912, Daniels left his post as publisher of the Raleigh News & Observer to become U.S. Secretary of the Navy. When American entered World War I in 1917, Daniels assumed responsibilities beyond naval administration. One of them was service on the Council of National Defense, a federal panel which, among other things, supervised private industry's contribution to the war effort.
The term "contribution" is a bit of a euphemism. While business leaders were highly patriotic and did many things of their own volition to help America win the war, the Council also compelled industry compliance with government directives on what could be produced and sold in the United States. Arms, ammunition, and other war materiel were to be the priority.
As American troops began arriving in Europe in 1918 and entering combat for the first time, the Council listened to a parade of business executives and trade associations complain about wartime restrictions. Sometimes the Council modified or suspended its regulations. But not often.
During the summer, Council staff drafted a rule to limit the production of gifts for the 1918 Christmas season. Not surprisingly, manufacturers and retailers were outraged. In August, a group of business leaders organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other associations went before Josephus Daniels and the other members of the Council to dissuade them from imposing such a heavy burden.
One of the presenters, A.C. Gilbert, stole the show. This shouldn't have been at all surprising. Gilbert, an Olympic gold medalist and entrepreneur who had invented the Erector Set a few years earlier, had revolutionized his industry in part by skillful marketing of construction toys directly to children.
The first president of the new Toy Manufacturers Association, Gilbert was convinced that toys were more than just trivial playthings. Playing with toys stimulated the imagination, built social relationships, and trained young people in practical skills, he thought.
Gilbert had converted some of his factory capacity to wartime production. He was glad to do so. But he resented the notion that government bureaucrats in Washington could tell him what to do with the private business he founded and managed. He resolved to fight the proposed ban on Christmas gift-giving. And he brought some secret weapons.
During his presentation to the Council, Gilbert argued that his toys were both fun and educational. He suggested that American soldiers were good shots in part because they had played with air rifles as kids. Deprive children of Christmas toys, he said, "and the country will lose a generation of doctors, engineers, and scientists."
An overstatement? Perhaps. But then Gilbert brought out his secret weapons: Erector models. One of them, a toy submarine, seems to have enchanted a certain secretary of the Navy. Daniels "turned it over, noting the torpedo holes, raising the periscope, imagining a German U-boat in his sights," wrote Gilbert's biographer, Bruce Watson. Sitting on the carpet, Daniels looked up at Gilbert sheepishly and admitted that "there's no use trying to deny the toys get every one of us."
The gambit worked. The Council of National Defense decided not to impose a significant burden on Christmas gifts. Gilbert and his colleagues had prevailed. A few weeks later, the Boston Post ran a story about the event that labeled A.C. Gilbert "the man who saved Christmas for the children." Characteristically, Gilbert turned the story into a pitch. "I didn't do it," he insisted, urging the Post to tell America's children "it was their own toys that won the day!"
Josephus Daniels made many decisions during his public life — some praiseworthy, some profoundly misguided. Leaving Christmas alone was among his better ones.
(John Hood is chairman of the John Locke Foundation and appears on the talk show "NC SPIN." You can follow him @JohnHoodNC.)
Here is where our current brothers in arms are going to be serving Over the Christmas holidays. Think about them as you are safe here with your families knowing that they are on watch. We have all done that a few times in our careers.
USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: Dec. 18, 2017
December 18, 2017 12:13 PM
USNI News Image
The USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker is sponsored by CNA.
These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy's deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of Dec. 18, 2017, based on Navy and public data. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the map reflects the location of the capital ship.
Total U.S. Navy Battle Force:
Ships Underway
Deployed Ships Underway
Non-deployed Ships Underway
Total Ships Underway
Ships Deployed by Fleet
Fleet Forces
3rd Fleet
4th Fleet
5th Fleet
6th Fleet
7th Fleet
In the Western Pacific
The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is in port in Yokosuka, Japan.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson visited USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) in Sasebo, Japan on Dec. 16.
"During his time aboard, CNO Richardson was able to interact with deckplate sailors and receive feedback from key leaders on the recently released comprehensive review, as well as thank those serving forward as the holidays approach," according to a statement from the service.
In the Eastern Pacific
USS Wasp (LHD-1) is in the Pacific and has chopped into U.S. 3rd Fleet.
Wasp is transiting to Sasebo, Japan, to conduct a homeport shift with USS Bonhomme Richard as the flagship of amphibious forces in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. When Wasp joins the Forward Deployed Naval Forces in Japan, the big deck will be the first FDNF ship capable of operating the Marine variant of the F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter.
In the Persian Gulf
The Theodore Roosevelt CSG is conducting air strikes in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
"The US airstrikes also intend to maintain pressure on the Taliban throughout the winter period," according to a statement from the service.
CVW-17 squadrons have launched approximately 100 combat sorties in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) since Dec. 1, 2017.
Carrier Strike Group 9
Aircraft carrier:
USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) homeported in San Diego, Calif.
Carrier Air Wing 17
CVW 17 is embarked aboard Theodore Roosevelt and includes nine squadrons and detachments:
The "Stingers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
The "Mighty Shrikes" of VFA-94 from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
The "Redcocks" of VFA-22 from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
The "Checkerboards" of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 312 from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C.
The "Cougars" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 139 from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.
The "Sun Kings" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 116 from Naval Air Station Point Mugu, Calif.
The "Providers" of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
The "Indians" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 6 from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
The "Battlecats" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 73 from Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.
Destroyer Squadron 23
The leadership of DESRON 23 is embarked aboard Theodore Roosevelt and commands the CSG's guided-missile destroyers.
USS Sampson (DDG-102) homeported in Everett, Wash.
USS Preble (DDG-88) homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
USS Halsey (DDG-97) homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Guided-missile Cruiser
USS Bunker Hill (CG-52) homeported in San Diego, Calif.
In the Indian Ocean
The America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), which deployed on July 7 from San Diego, have begun their journey home.
The America ARG departed the U.S. Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) and is now chopped into the U.S. Pacific Command/U.S. 7th Fleet AOR and heading east across the Indian Ocean.
The ARG includes amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6), amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD-52) and amphibious transport dock USS San Diego (LPD-22).
In the Western Atlantic
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) pulled into port in Norfolk, Va. on Sunday. Ford had been steaming independently for a test and evaluation period. Disney flew a copy of the film Star Wars: The Last Jedi to the ship this weekend so the crew could view the latest Star Wars movie on the film's opening weekend.
USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) also pulled in to her homeport of Norfolk. Last week Lincoln "completed Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) Carrier Qualifications for the F-35C Lightning II program, qualifying the first nine fleet aviators in the new aircraft," Navy officials said.
Along with Abraham Lincoln, the "Rough Raiders" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125, the "Grim Reapers" of VFA-101 and the "Vampires" of Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 9 successfully tested the Autonomic Logistic Information System (ALIS) aboard a carrier and used the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) in an operational setting.
"Thanks to the tireless work from the VFA-125, VFA-101, VX-9, CVN 72, and the [Lockheed Martin] Team, this detachment was able to successfully complete numerous milestones that will set the foundation for the future 5th generation employment of the F-35C into the Carrier Air Wing," Cmdr. Scott Hulett, VFA-125's executive officer, said in a report on WTVR.
In addition to these major formations, not shown are thousands of others serving in submarines, individual surface ships, aircraft squadrons, SEALs, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Forces, Coast Guard cutters and more serving throughout the globe.
Thanks to CAP
Great…. After years of living with this problem, call in the USAF to solve it. NAVAIRSITCOM.… sigh.
NASA Team Studying Hypoxia Put USAF Pilot-Physician In F/A-18
U.S. Air Force Col. Jay Flottmann is one of a handful of individuals the service calls "unicorns"—qualified both as a fighter pilot and a physician. As a member of the NASA team charged with studying a troubling surge in hypoxia-like cockpit episodes in the U.S. Navy's F/A-18 fleet, Flottmann provides critical expertise. Flottmann, who has extensive experience flying F-15C/Ds, F-22s and T-38s, recently flew several F/A-18 sorties to help the NASA team better understand the vexing problem of why Navy pilots are experiencing so-called "physiological episodes" (PEs)—reporting symptoms like dizziness, finger tingling and
impaired judgment commonly associated with a lack of oxygen to the brain—in greater and greater numbers. The most significant lesson from Flottmann's report is that the F/A-18 aircraft system, the physical conditions of flight and aircrew flight equipment have a "profound impact" on human physiological systems and human performance, according to the NASA Engineering and Safety Center report, dated Sept. 14 and released Dec. 13. In other words, Flottmann's assessment supports NASA's conclusion that it is the complex interaction of the human and aircraft system, not one or the other, that causes the episodes. Most notably, Flottmann observed troubling tendencies among the pilots themselves, such as not conducting the typical anti-G straining maneuver (AGSM) properly, or at all. These tendencies, coupled with the unforgiving F/A-18 flight environment and certain aspects of the flight equipment, resulted in constricted breathing and a noticeable cough, he concluded. He noted in a follow-up email to Aviation Week that this was a very small sample size, and it is not accurate to apply this conclusion to all Navy pilots. Flottmann flew three sorties in the F/A-18 overall—one in the D-model legacy Hornet, equipped with liquid oxygen (LOX), and two in the F-model Super Hornet equipped with an On Board Oxygen Generation System (Obogs). Flottmann, who is used to Air Force procedures, flew with U.S. Navy flight equipment, including the helmet, mask, combination harness, survival vest, anti-G trousers and gloves in addition to standard flight suit and boots. Flottmann noticed that while the function of the Air Force and Navy masks is similar, the ground "fit test" and custom fit procedures are vastly different. Unlike the Air Force, prior to the flight with the Navy, Flottmann's mask was not tested for air leaks with equipment that simulates altitude exposure and pressure breathing. Flottmann also noticed the Navy's propensity to tighten the chest strap much more than Air Force pilots typically do. In addition, the survival vest equipment (radio, first aid equipment, etc.) is largely located along the lower torso, with much of the weight along the front and side of the abdomen. These two factors contributed to a perception of added weight across the chest that Flottmann described as a "slight 'squeeze' while breathing normally." During his flights in the Obogs-equipped Navy aircraft, Flottmann also noticed a subtle difference in flow and pressure when breathing off the Obogs system. Whereas in most Air Force breathing regulators (with the exception of the F-22 and F-35) the system provides air as the pilot inhales, the F/A-18F Obogs seemed to provide a constant safety pressure, blowing air into the mask. This "positive pressure" can result in subtle changes in the way a pilot is breathing, Flottmann wrote. Indeed, the front seat pilot of Flottmann's first F/A-18F mission admitted that on Obogs-equipped aircraft he routinely coughs after nearly any maneuver, particularly high-G ones. Flottmann noticed the pilot coughing after even minor G-loads during the flight. This cough said to Flottmann that the pilot displayed classic signs of "atelectasis" (both acceleration atelectasis and absorption atelectasis), in which the tiny air sacs called alveoli in the lung bases are partially collapsing due to a combination of high G-loads, 100% oxygen and the restrictive anti-G suit. Flottmann himself experienced familiar sensations following the F/A-18F sorties—a mild chest tightness that reminded him of a sortie he flew in the F-22 during a safety investigation of PEs in the Raptor. Flottmann also found that neither front seat pilots, though experienced aviators, executed the typical AGSM that Air Force pilots typically perform to help their bodies cope with high G loads. "Following both missions, I asked each pilot about his AGSM and both admitted that they really did not 'do that' very well," Flottmann wrote. "When I asked about debriefing the AGSM, it was my impression that he did not understand how to evaluate and instruct to the proper techniques shown to enhance G protection and endurance, namely an appropriate breathing pattern." In addition, unlike in most Air Force fighter regulators, the F/A-18 does not provide a graduated increase in breathing air through the mask over 4gs to aid inhalation, called "positive pressure breathing for G" (PBG). If pilots are indeed not performing a typical AGSM, this would likely result in acceleration atelectasis, Flottmann wrote. "I am convinced that the 'elevated oxygen content' in the breathing gas (both LOX and OBOGS) coupled with the operation of the CRU-103 breathing regulator negatively affects human performance," Flottmann wrote, noting that he spent the rest of the day clearing his ears, felt more fatigued than usual, had a mild headache, and noted subtle breathing changes he described as "a propensity to breathe deeply, as if I was trying to inhale deeply out of necessity." Though much of the Navy's investigation of the F/A-18 PEs has focused on cabin pressurization, Flottmann had no such issues, he wrote.
Overall, Flottmann's observations led him to conclude that the flight equipment, particularly the survival vest and harness, resulted in mild constriction and chest tightness, particularly in the Obogs aircraft. "Although the sensations were subtle and mild, it is apparent to me that they occurred as a result of the man-machine interface," he wrote. Based on his observations, Flottmann recommended the Navy implement PBG in the current CRU-103 regulator, which will improve human performance, especially during high-G flight, and also mitigate what he suspects is absorption compounded by acceleration atelectasis. He also recommended the Navy investigate the potential of allowing the oxygen content of the breathing gas to be scheduled. Finally, he urged the Navy to conduct centrifuge studies to compare and contrast the wear of the flight gear ensemble and how it affects breathing. The Air Force eventually conducted similar studies during the F-22 investigation and found flight gear configurations and fit contributed to how hard the pilot has to work to breathe.
Item Number:1 Date: 12/19/2017 AFGHANISTAN - TALIBAN BLAMED FOR FATAL ATTACKS ON HELMAND CHECKPOINTS (DEC 19/RFE/RL)  RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY -- Authorities in Afghanistan say at least 11 Afghan police officers were killed Sunday in Taliban attacks on two checkpoints in the nation's volatile southern Helmand province, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.   The militants attacked a checkpoint in the early morning in the Qalai Sang area of Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, said Gov. Hayatullah Hayat. Afghan forces eventually repelled the attack.   Two officers were wounded and 15 militants were killed in the clashes, said provincial police officials.   A separate suicide attack in neighboring Kandahar province targeted a convoy of coalition forces, killing an Afghan woman and wounding five other civilians, said police officials in the province. No coalition personnel were casualties, said a spokesman for the Resolute Support mission, as reported by AFP
  Item Number:2 Date: 12/19/2017 ARGENTINA - AFTER SUB'S DISAPPEARANCE, NAVY CHIEF LOSES JOB (DEC 19/TELESUR)  TELESUR -- The Argentinean government has fired the head of the navy following the loss of one of its submarines, reports Telesur (Venezuela).   Adm. Jorge Srur was removed from his post and retired by Defense Minister Oscar Aguad on Dec. 15.   The submarine San Juan disappeared on Nov. 15. The boat, with 44 crewmembers onboard, has not been found and hope of rescuing any survivors was abandoned on Nov. 30 -- when the navy said it had searched for more than twice the time the sub would have had oxygen, noted Reuters.   Some ships are still searching the area where a loud noise was recorded in the hours following the sub's disappearance, noted BBC News.   President Mauricio Macri has established a special independent commission to investigate the accident
  Item Number:3 Date: 12/19/2017 AUSTRALIA - POLICE CHARGE MAN FOR TRYING TO SELL MISSILE PARTS, MILITARY TECHNOLOGY FOR N. KOREA (DEC 19/DAILYTEL)  DAILY TELEGRAPH -- Federal police in Australia have charged a South Korean-born man living in Sydney with brokering sales and discussing the supply of weapons of mass destruction for North Korea, reports the Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia).   The suspect is a naturalized Australian citizen who has lived in the country for about 30 years, noted the Guardian (U.K.).   Chan Han Choi, 59, the first person to be charged under Australia's Weapons of Mass Destruction Act, was arrested at his home on Dec. 16.   He faces six charges of providing services for weapons of mass destruction in North Korea. A police official stressed the accused was not considered a "spy."   Following extensive investigations, federal police said the man was acting "as an economic agent of North Korea through his facilitation of various exports from North Korea," said a statement from the police.   Police say he was involved in brokering the sale of missiles and missile components and expertise from North Korea and other international entities.   Choi is also accused of brokering the sale of North Korean coal to entities in Indonesia and Vietnam in violation of international sanctions.   The alleged offenses took place between Aug. 5 and Dec. 16 of this year, police said.  
  Item Number:4 Date: 12/19/2017 BURMA - AIR FORCE COMMISSIONS 10 TRAINING JETS, TRANSPORT AIRCRAFT (DEC 19/ELEVENMYAN)  ELEVEN MYANMAR -- The Burmese air force has inducted 10 new aircraft into its fleet at the Air Training School at Meiktila air station in the Mandalay region, reports Eleven Myanmar (Burma).   During Friday's ceremony, six Russian-built Yak-130 jet trainers, two Fokker 70s and two ATR-42-320s were brought into service.   Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the Burmese defense chief, presided over the event and called for modernizing the air force.   The domestic service is a technological generation behind regional air forces, he said.  
  Item Number:5 Date: 12/19/2017 CAMEROON - SEPARATISTS KILL 4 POLICE; ANGLOPHONES FLEE TO NIGERIA (DEC 19/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- Militants fighting for independence for Cameroon's English-speaking region have killed four gendarmes, reports the Voice of American News.   Several separatists were also killed in Monday's clashes, said a government spokesman.   The attacks occurred in the town of Kembong, in the Southwest Region's, the spokesman said.   The forested Manyu Division there is the center of an insurgency by Anglophones in the majority French-speaking country. Multiple attacks have been launched on security forces this year.   In turn, the government has ordered thousands in the Anglophones area to leave their homes, noted Reuters.   At least 7,500 people have crossed into Nigeria since secessionists declared an independent state called Ambazonia on Oct. 1, reported Reuters. The U.N. expects as many as 40,000 refugees eventually.  
 Item Number:6 Date: 12/19/2017 CHINA - AIRCRAFT FROM CHINESE AIR FORCE ENTER S. KOREAN, JAPANESE ADIZS, SAY OFFICIALS (DEC 19/DIPLOMAT)  DIPLOMAT -- The Chinese air force has been drilling in a waterway between South Korea and Japan, say Japanese officials, as reported by the Diplomat (Tokyo).   Two Xian H-6K long-range heavy bombers, two Sukhoi Su-30 multirole fighter jets and one Tupolev Tu-154MD electronic intelligence aircraft flew through the Tsushima Strait on Dec. 18, according to the Ministry of Defense in Tokyo.   South Korean and Japanese military officials said the Chinese aircraft breached overlapping air defense identification zones (ADIZs) of their nations. The aircraft did not violate national airspace, said officials from Japan and South Korea.   In response, Japan and Korea scrambled Mitsubishi F-15J all-weather air superiority fighter jets and KF-16C/D fighter jets.   A spokesperson for China's air force said the drill was part of its regular training and not aimed at any country.   This marked the first time that Chinese war planes drilled in international airspace in the Tsushima Strait, noted the spokesperson
Item Number:7 Date: 12/19/2017 EGYPT - SECURITY FORCES KILL 5 SUSPECTED TERRORISTS NEAR CAIRO; RAIDS MADE ELSEWHERE (DEC 19/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- Egyptian security forces have killed five suspected militants in a raid outside the capital, say officials, as reported by Agence France-Presse.   The militants were found hiding in a construction site in Obour City, 18 miles northeast of Cairo, said the Interior Ministry.   When the militants opened fire, the police responded, killing five, said officials.   In following raids, police arrested 10 suspected militants in Alexandria and Qalyubia provinces. The suspects had links to terrorist groups in North Sinai, according to officials.   Security forces also raided a farm in Wadi el-Gedid province in southwest Egypt, arresting one. The farm was used as a weapons training area, said officials.  
  Item Number:8 Date: 12/19/2017 INDONESIA - INITIAL APACHE GUARDIAN ATTACK HELICOPTER ARRIVES FROM U.S. (DEC 19/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- Indonesia has accepted delivery of its first AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter from the U.S., reports Defense News.   The Boeing aircraft arrived on Monday in Semarang, on the north-central part of Indonesia's main island of Java, said sources.   In September 2012, Indonesia requested eight Apache Guardians, along with the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-78 Longbow fire-control radar and 140 Lockheed Martin AGM-114R3 anti-tank missiles, in a deal estimated at $1.42 billion.   The government in Jakarta sought the attack helicopter to "defend its borders, conduct counterterrorism and counter-piracy operations, and control the free flow of shipping through the strategic Straits of Malacca," according to the Foreign Military Sales request at the time.   Some of the Apaches would be stationed at the Natuna Islands bordering the South China Sea, an area disputed by Jakarta and Beijing, according to the former Indonesian army chief of staff
Item Number:9 Date: 12/19/2017 LIBYA - HAFTAR ANNOUNCES END TO U.N.-BACKED POLITICAL AGREEMENT THAT LED TO UNITY GOVERNMENT (DEC 19/ALJAZ)  AL JAZEERA -- The mandate for a U.N.-backed government in Tripoli has expired, says eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar, as cited by Al Jazeera.   Speaking on television Sunday night, Haftar said he would "respect the will of the Libyan people," echoing a statement made by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.   Previous efforts to address the gulfs between Libya's competing governments and militias failed, with resulting agreements merely "ink on paper," said Haftar, as cited by Voice of America News.   The Skhirat agreement, name for city in Morocco in which it was signed, established the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. It was concluded on Dec. 17, 2015 and could only be renewed once. Haftar has consistently opposed the agreement.   With the option of extending the deal seemingly impossible, all agreements created by it should now be considered dissolved, said Haftar.  
Item Number:10 Date: 12/19/2017 NIGERIA - BOKO HARAM COMMANDER IN MAIDUGURI IN CUSTODY; 400 FIGHTERS, FAMILY MEMBERS FOUND IN LAKE CHAD REGION (DEC 19/GUARDIAN)  GUARDIAN -- Local Nigerian police say they have arrested a top commander in the Boko Haram militant group in Maiduguri in the nation's northeastern Borno state, reports the Guardian (Nigeria).   Authorities received a tip from a local resident, which led to the arrest of Ibrahim Diye on Dec. 15, said police officials over the weekend.   Diye threated to assassinate the district head in the village of Pulka on the border with Cameroon and reportedly terrorized communities in the Sambisa Forest, said the officials.   Separately, scores of Boko Haram fighters are among hundreds arrested in a two-week operation on the islands of Lake Chad, reported the Independent (U.K.), citing military authorities.   Some 400 people were apprehended, including 167 Boko Haram fighters. (The balance comprised women and children.) Another 57 insurgents were arrested in a different operation in the region, Nigerian officials said over the weekend
  Item Number:11 Date: 12/19/2017 SOUTH KOREA - AMERICAN TROOPS UTILIZE SPECIAL TECHNOLOGY FOR TUNNEL WARFARE; DRILLS AIMED AT N. KOREAN THREAT (DEC 19/S&S)  STARS AND STRIPES -- U.S. troops employed new technology during last week's Warrior Strike exercise in South Korea, say American officials, as cited by the Stars and Stripes.   The joint exercise, which ran from Dec. 12 to Dec. 15, simulated infiltrating North Korea and removing weapons of mass destruction, noted the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   On Dec. 15, the "Black Knights" from the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, flew from Camp Stanley, north of Seoul, linked up with South Korean troops and entered a bunker simulating a chemical weapons lab at a semi-abandoned base.   The troops used advanced communications equipment and night-vision devices to clear a half-mile long, horseshoe-shaped tunnel with numerous alcoves, according to an officer involved in the exercise.   The Mobile Ad Hoc Networking Unit (MPU5) serves as a WiFi node and creates a peer-to-peer radio relay, allowing personnel to transmit text and imagery among themselves in the tunnel and to a commander on the surface.   The soldiers also used AN/PSQ-20 night-vision goggles that use thermal detection when ambient light wanes.   The Army's Asymmetric Warfare Group evaluated the technology during the exercise.   The South Korean Defense Ministry estimates that there are 6,000 to 8,000 underground facilities in the North being used for everything from shelters to storage sites for artillery and nuclear weapons.  
  Item Number:12 Date: 12/19/2017 TAJIKISTAN - AS PART OF MODERNIZATION FOR TAJIK ARMY, RUSSIAN WEAPONS ON THE WAY (DEC 19/INT-AVN)  INTERFAX-MILITARY NEWS AGENCY -- The Russian Ministry of Defense is about to deliver a variety of weapons and equipment to Tajikistan, reports Interfax-AVN (Russia).   On Dec. 19, a delegation from the Russian Defense Ministry is due to deliver small arms, artillery, BTR-80 armored personnel carriers, BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles, T-72 tanks, Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters, communications, air defense systems and logistics, medical and topographic equipment, said a release from the Kremlin.   The equipment is being supplied as part of the Tajik army's modernization program, which aims to increase its combat capabilities and boost its ability to fight terrorism and strengthen security on the border with Afghanistan
  Item Number:13 Date: 12/19/2017 UNITED KINGDOM - DEFENSE COMMITTEE REPORT SKEPTICAL OF MOD'S ABILITY TO FUND MILITARY EQUIPMENT (DEC 19/FT)  FINANCIAL TIMES -- A new legislative report maintains that it is very unlikely the that U.K.'s Ministry of Defense will find the savings needed to fund all of its new 178 billion pound (US$237 billion) military equipment program, reports the Financial Times (U.K.).   The House of Commons defense committee on Sunday published a report that challenges the Defense Ministry's ability to pay for everything it wants ahead of a major national security and defense review.   The "inconsistent set of [savings] targets" within the MoD has created confusion about how the spending plans, authorized in 2015 by then-Prime Minister David Cameron, will be funded, says the report.   "We seriously doubt the MoD's ability to generate the efficiencies required to deliver the equipment plan," says the study. "Even if all the efficiencies are realized, there will be little room for maneuver, in the absence of sufficient financial 'headroom' and contingency funding."   In 2015, the government pledged to increase spending on defense equipment by 24.4 billion pounds (US$32.5 billion) for new logistics ships, frigates and maritime patrol aircraft.   A review at the time also confirmed that London would build new ballistic-missile submarines, complete both Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and purchase 48 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.   The document said a defense budget increase would be needed, but that savings of 14.4 billion pounds (US$19.2 billion) would also help. The defense committee's new report notes that 9.8 billion pounds (US$13 billion) of that figure remain to be found.   The report comes as National Security Adviser Mark Sedwill is wrapping up a wide-ranging review of the U.K.'s security and defense capability. The document is expected to be completed in early 2018
Item Number:14 Date: 12/19/2017 UNITED KINGDOM - POLICE ARREST 4 IN ANTI-TERROR RAIDS; BOMB TEAM CALLED IN (DEC 19/DAILYMI)  DAILY MIRROR -- British counterterrorism police have arrested four men on suspicion of plotting Islamist terror attacks, reports the Daily Mirror (U.K.).   The men, aged 22, 31, 36 and 41, were taken into custody in raids in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire on Tuesday morning, said police.   The arrests were part of an ongoing investigation, said police.   Police are currently searching properties connected to the raids in Sheffield and Chesterfield, reported the BBC – which noted that an army bomb-disposal team was at the house in Chesterfield.  
  Item Number:15 Date: 12/19/2017 USA - AMERICAN SPECIAL OPS PERSONNEL INVOLVED IN 2,000-PLUS GROUND OPERATIONS IN AFGHANISTAN OVER 6 MONTHS (DEC 19/MILTIMES)  MILITARY TIMES -- A new U.S. congressional report shows the recent high tempo of operations for special operations forces in Afghanistan, reports the Military Times.   The semi-annual report to Congress, entitled "Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan," shows that from June 1 to Nov. 24, troops assigned to Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan enabled or advised 2,175 ground operations and 261 kinetic strikes in support of the Afghan special security forces. The paper reported on the summary early this week.   "These operations included 420 ground operations and 214 air strikes against ISIS-K [the Islamic State's Khorasan branch in Afghanistan], resulting in more than 174 ISIS-K killed-in-action; 1,644 ground operations and 181 air strikes against the Taliban, resulting in 220 Taliban KIA; 68 ground operations and 28 air strikes against members of the Haqqani Network, resulting in 34 Haqqani KIA; and 43 ground operations against other insurgent networks, resulting in 36 enemy KIA," says the report.   The Afghan special security forces conducted a total of 2,628 operations during this period, only 453 independently, including 456 airstrikes, says the report.   This means those forces were only able to conduct 17 percent of their missions without U.S. assistance
Item Number:16 Date: 12/19/2017 USA - ANOTHER ORDER PLACED FOR SEA HUNTER, UNMANNED SUB KILLER (DEC 19/DOD)  DEPT. OF DEFENSE -- The Office of Naval Research, an organization within the U.S. Dept. of the Navy, has awarded a contract to Leidos, Reston, Va., to build a second autonomous surface vessel for anti-submarine warfare missions, reports the U.S. Dept. of Defense.   The $35.5 million contract, dated Dec. 15, covers the second Sea Hunter autonomous continuous trail unmanned vessel (ACTUV). There are options that if exercised would bring the total value to $43.6 million.   Work will take place primarily in Gulfport, Miss., Long Beach, Miss., and Arlington, Va., and is scheduled to be concluded by Dec. 13, 2020
Item Number:17 Date: 12/19/2017 USA - BELL V-280 TILTROTOR PROTOTYPE MAKES MAIDEN FLIGHT (DEC 19/AVIATIONIS)  THE AVIATIONIST -- A prototype of the Bell V-280 Valor tiltrotor aircraft has made its first flight, reports the Aviationist.   The V-280 took off on Monday around 2:00 p.m., local time, at a Bell Helicopter facility in Amarillo, Texas, according to a company release.   Construction on the demonstrator aircraft was finished in September and it has been running tethered ground run testing.   The V-280 Valor is being developed for the U.S. military's Joint Multi-Role/Future Vertical Lift helicopter program. More than 4,000 aircraft could be built to the winning design.   The project will replace the Army's medium helicopter fleet, including UH-60 Black Hawk utility and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters after 2030
Item Number:18 Date: 12/19/2017 USA - DOD'S TECHNOLOGY OFFICES FACE UNCERTAIN FUTURE (DEC 19/FORPOL)  FOREIGN POLICY -- An extended effort to work on state-of-the-art weapons and defense projects has slowed under President Trump, say unnamed defense officials cited by Foreign Policy.   The strategy that dates to 2012, which is known as the "Third Offset," was first publicly announced in 2014.   The goal was focus on innovative technologies and solution in the U.S. military as defense budgets shrank and other nations began to gain strength, said defense officials.   The shift from these technological solutions reflect changing priorities of the new administration, say two unnamed defense officials.   For example, Defense Secretary James Mattis has focused on battling terrorists in the Middle East and Africa, and has spent less time on modernization and budget issues.   A new plan designed to streamline the Pentagon's acquisition process has also subordinated the Strategic Capabilities Office and Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, said an unnamed official.   Under the latyest DoD plan delivered to the Congress in outline fashion in August, those two offices will be placed under the soon-to-be-formed undersecretary of defense for research and engineering. The two research organizations will be placed on the bottom of the organizational chart.   Mattis has said that he expects the office to continue its work and even expand, regardless of organizational changes.   A Pentagon spokesman said their roles are still being finalized under the new plan.  
 Item Number:19 Date: 12/19/2017 USA - TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PUBLICLY CALLS OUT N. KOREA FOR MASSIVE CYBERATTACK (DEC 19/WSJ)  WALL STREET JOURNAL -- North Korea was behind the cyberattack that infected more than 230,000 computers in May, says President Trump's homeland security adviser.   In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Thomas Bossert declared that "the U.S. today publicly attributes the massive 'WannaCry' cyberattack to North Korea."   Both Microsoft and the U.K. government agree with Washington's assessment, he writes.   The president of Microsoft previously told British media that North Korea was behind the attack that crippled the computer systems of the National Health Service, as noted in the Daily Telegraph (U.K.) in October.   North Korea has been widely suspected of creating the virus, noted the Washington Post; this is the first U.S. government acknowledgement of that.   Calling the computer virus that spread like wildfire in May "indiscriminately reckless," Bossert says that stopping aggressive North Korean behavior started with pressuring Pyongyang and other cyber violators diplomatically and criminally.   Cooperation with governments and the private sector will also be necessary to stem further attacks, he writes
  Item Number:20 Date: 12/19/2017 USA - TRUMP RELEASES 'AMERICA FIRST' STRATEGY; CHINA, RUSSIA UNHAPPY (DEC 19/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- President Trump has unveiled his new National Security Strategy, which places a greater focus on economic competition, reports Defense News.   "A nation that does not protect prosperity at home cannot protect its interests abroad. A nation that is not prepared to win a war is a nation not capable of preventing a war," Trump said on Monday, while discussing the strategy.   Included as priorities in the strategy are enhanced border security, promoting American prosperity and innovation, maintaining military readiness and a development model that could include a greater role for the private sector.   Among mentioned are reforms to the rules of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which screens foreign investment in the U.S. and changes to protect intellectual property in the U.S.   Both Russia and China criticized the document, with the Kremlin calling the characterization as a threat "imperial." China's Foreign Ministry accused Washington of maintaining "a Cold War mentality."   The unveiled report on the strategy also charges that China seeks to "displace the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific region, expand the reach of its state-driven economic model and render the region in its favor," as quoted by NPR.

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