Friday, December 28, 2018

TheList 4890

The List 4890     TGB

To All,
I hope that you all had a great Christmas with family and friends.
This day in Naval History
Dec. 27
1862—During the Civil War, the ironclad river gunboat Baron De Kalb returns after a five-day Yazoo River mission, where the gunboat burns trapped steamers, captures and destroys large quantities of enemy equipment while also taking several prisoners. For "distinguished actions during this mission," five men receive the Navy Medal of Honor.
1942—The minelayers, USS Keokuk (CM 8), USS Salem (CM 11), and USS Weehawken (CM 12) begin mining approaches to Casablanca, French Morocco, which lasts two days.
1943—USS Flying Fish (SS 229) sinks the Japanese fleet tanker Kyuei Maru in the South China Sea west of Luzon Strait. Also on this date, USS Ray (SS 271) sinks the Japanese fleet tanker Kyoko Maru (ex-Dutch Semiramis) west of the Celebes.
1944—Task Group 94.9, commanded by Rear Adm. Allan E. Smith, bombards Japanese installations on Iwo Jima. USS Dunlap (DD 384), USS Fanning (DD 385), and USS Cummings (DD 365) sink Japanese fast transport T.7 and landing ship T.132.
1990—Lt. Cmdr. Darlene Iskra, the first female commanding officer of a U.S. Navy warship, reports for duty on board USS Opportune (ARS 41), then at Naples, Italy, serving until 1993. 
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
Leading national news headlines today, President Trump and the first lady made a surprise visit to Iraq yesterday to pay a holiday visit to US troops; talks to reopen parts of the government appeared at a standstill Wednesday night with negotiators making little progress to end the partial government shutdown; and a major storm system is moving out of the West and will redevelop in the Plains, bringing severe storms to the south and heavy snow to the north. The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group crossed over to 6th Fleet area of operations on Christmas reports USNI News. "The Kearsarge ARG is prepared to conduct a variety of missions, including maritime security operations, crisis response, and theater security cooperation," said Capt. Daniel Blackburn. "This deployment will deepen operational relationships with other services, agencies, allies and partners who operate with the Navy to support our shared interests." Additionally, USS Gravely will deploy on Friday and serve as the flagship of NATO's Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 reports WTKR Norfolk.

Today in History December 27
The laws of Burgos give New World natives legal protection against abuse and authorize Negro slavery.
HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin on board, departs from Plymouth. It will eventually visit the Galapagos Islands where Darwin will form his theories on evolution.
Union General William Rosecrans' army begins moving slowly toward Murfreesboro, Tennessee, from Nashville.
Charles Moyer, president of the Miners Union, is shot in the back and dragged through the streets of Chicago.
In Ohio, iron and steel workers go on strike for an eight-hour day and higher wages.
Radio City Music Hall opens.
Josef Stalin calls tensions with Japan a grave danger.
A series of vicious earthquakes take 11,000 lives in Turkey.
Japanese bombers attack Manila, despite its claim as an open city.
General George S. Patton's Third Army, spearheaded by the 4th Armored Division, relieves the surrounded city of Bastogne in Belgium.
The International Monetary Fund and the Bank for Reconstruction and Development are created.
The new Italian constitution is promulgated in Rome.
The United States and Spain resume relations for the first time since the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s.
Segregation on buses in Tallahassee, Florida, is outlawed.
The United States agrees to sell F-4 Phantom jets to Israel.
President Hafizullah Amin of Afghanistan is ousted and murdered in a coup backed by the Soviet Union, beginning a war that will last more than 10 years.
President Reagan takes all responsibility for the lack of security in Beirut that allowed a terrorist on a suicide mission to kill 241 Marines.
Four Polish officers are tried for the slaying of Reverend Jerzy Popieluszko.
Palestinian guerrillas kill 18 people at airports in Rome and Vienna.
Taliban forces retake strategic Bagram Airfield during Afghan civil war.
China receives permanent normal trade relations with the US.
 Radiation reaches Earth from the brightest extrasolar event ever witnessed, an explosion of magnetar SGR 1806-20.
Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto assassinated.
After Mwai Kibaki is declared the winner of Kenya's presidential elections, rioting begins in Mombasa, precipitating an economic, humanitarian and political crisis.
For those of you that know me I am addicted to reading.  Fredrick Forsyth is one of my favorite authors. He started the non-stop action thriller novel with The Day of the Jackal and followed it up the Odessa file and The dogs of War. All were made into movies and were very popular. What most people don't know is that he was involved with MI-6 for many years, Speaks 5 languages fluently, and was youngest qualified Spitfire pilot in the Royal Air Force. He wrote a book that reads like one of his novels but is an autobiography. The name of the book is The Outsider. All of his books have a grain of truth in them and was an action that he was involved in. Stories of him diving out a window just ahead of the East German secret  police in the cold was to being part of the planning for the successful takeover of an African country by mercenaries in the 60s.
If you are a pilot you will enjoy The Shephard. I had the same experience in an F-8 once at night off the coast of Okinawa and once in the daytime. No instruments or radio and only wet compass, needle/ball, and altimeter with vertical speed indicator. I identified with this pilot when I first read it many years ago.
Thanks to Roy
. just sit back and listen to the story
Frederick Forsyth usually writes thrillers but years ago wrote this Little gem of an aviation story. It is well worth the time it will take. The title is "The Shepard"
The story is at:
Today in Aviation History: 1956 – First Flight of the Convair F-106 Delta Dart
The F-106 Delta Dart is an iconic aircraft if only for the name and its delta wing shape. It first flew on December 26, 1956 and was retired in 1988. View More ›
The story of the F-106 that landed in the cornfield (with the pilot gone) is entertaining. A friend of mine who did an exchange tour with the Air Force in the F-106 actually flew that bird after it was brought home and repaired.
A Repeat but worth it
A bit of history on the Blue Angeles.   As an aside I met and dated John Magda's daughter (he was killed in Korea see the story below) Marne when I was at USC. They lived on Magda lane in Whittier California. A story about flying out to pick her up and bring her back to my graduation from USC almost resulted in missing my graduation and one slightly bent Cessna but that is another story.

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: "Novak, Michael J SES OPNAV, N99B" <>
Subject: Seventy Years of Flying

Seventy Years of Flying
Amid conflict or peace, Navy's Blue Angels always inspire awe
(PENSACOLA NEWS JOURNAL 05 NOV 16) ... Melissa Nelson Gabriel

Struggling to keep its air-fighting role in the aftermath of World War II, the Navy created a flight demonstration team to showcase naval aviation. Seventy years later, the elite Blue Angels squadron has thrilled millions of air show fans worldwide and helped recruit generations of sailors and Marines.

From the World War II fighter pilots who founded the team, to the team's current pilots who have flown combat missions over Iraq and Afghanistan, the seven-decade history of the Blue Angels parallels the history of naval aviation and the history of modern American war fighting.

"The maneuvers have evolved, the aircraft have evolved, but the show has remained a demonstration of what naval air power is all about," said Hill Goodspeed, the longtime historian for the National Naval Aviation Museum.

Early Years

The Blue Angels began in 1946 when Adm. Chester Nimitz, chief of Naval Operations, directed World War II flying ace Roy M. "Butch" Voris to create a flight demonstration team.

"After World War II there was a military draw down and there were battles between the service branches for their shares of the shrinking defense budget," said Goodspeed, who has helped the museum chronicle the team's history.

Navy leaders feared military aviation might fall under the control of the Army or the soon-to-be created Air Force, said Goodspeed, who has met many of the Blue Angels pioneers including Voris.

"The Navy was fighting to preserve its aviation mission," he said.

Voris, who died in 2005, recruited other World War II Navy fighter pilots to perform loops, rolls, spirals, climbs and other combat maneuvers in demonstrations. The Blue Angels performed at exhibitions nationwide from 1946 through 1950, when the team disbanded at the start of the Korean War.

The Blue Angels joined a fighter squadron known as Satan's Kittens and deployed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Princeton.

"They were among the first military pilots to fly jets and, when the war broke out, they were some of the most highly trained pilots in the Navy," Goodspeed said.

During the war, Navy fighter pilots flying off aircraft carriers and dropping bombs from jets were a crucial part of the military strategy.

"It probably was the Korean War that solidified the role of naval aviation more than anything else," Goodspeed said.

Lt. Cmdr. John Magda, the Blue Angels commander before the war, was shot down and killed during a Korean War mission.

When the Blue Angels returned to the air show circuit in 1951, Voris came back to lead the team.


Despite widespread protests and backlash against the Vietnam War, the Blue Angels continued to draw thousands of fans, said Bill Wheat, who led the team from 1967 to 1969.

Goodspeed and Wheat agreed the Blue Angels seemed to transcend politics.

Wheat was with the team when the Blue Angels transitioned from flying the F-11 Gruman Tiger to the F-4 McDonald Douglas Phantom. The change in aircraft was a challenge.

The team had to learn new air speeds, power settings and altitudes to perform the standard show maneuvers.

Wheat, who answered questions via email, said his team found a particular crossing maneuver challenging.

"The (maneuver) we seemed to have the most trouble with was the four-plane crossing maneuver that came together at the center point from four different directions," he said.

In 1967, Wheat led the team in a flight across the Atlantic for a performance at the Paris International Air Show. The Blue Angels also performed in Italy, Tunisia and Turkey during the trip.

Wheat made Blue Angels history when he appointed the team's first female officer. The officer, who worked in a non-flying support role, helped change the Navy's image and furthered the military's effort to recruit females, he said.

After his time with the Blue Angels, Wheat returned to combat duty and flew bombing missions over Vietnam.


In 1973, former Blue Angels commander Harley Hall became the last American shot down and killed during the Vietnam War. Like Wheat, Hall had returned to flying combat missions in the fleet after his tenure with the Blue Angels.

The 1970s were the deadliest era for the team. From 1972 through 1978, the Blue Angels lost six members, both pilots and support crew, in a string of accidents attributed to various causes.

Goodspeed said the period was among the most challenging eras for the Blue Angels.

"They had a number of accidents and it was during the fuel crisis," he said. The accidents and the fuel costs hurt public support for the team.

Jim Ross served with the team from 1979 to 1980.

"There were a lot of deaths," said Ross, who returned to the team for a third year after a pilot died.

Ross said he loved every minute of his time flying with the Blues, despite the circumstances that led to his extended time with the team.

"I never wanted to come back and take someone's place, but I absolutely had such a passion for flying with the Blues," he said. "It was the only job I ever had that I still dream about all of these years later."

Ross later commanded an F-18 fighter squadron during the first Iraq War.

After leaving the military, he flew for FedEx.

Now retired, Ross recently took a job driving a school bus in Canyon Lake, Texas. Ross said he took the job out of curiosity.

"My wife thinks I'm nuts," he said.

The dozens of kids on his bus route have no idea their bus driver is a former Blue Angel and elite fighter pilot.

"All of that was so long ago to them," he said. "I'm just the old guy driving the bus."

1980s and 1990s

Navy pilots became rock stars in 1986 when the Tom Cruise movie "Top Gun" hit theaters.

Gil Rud, who was with the team from 1986 to 1988, said record crowds showed up at the team's shows.

"People were enthralled with the movie," said Rud, who recalled watching the movie for the first time during a screening at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Rud and his teammates were seated on the front row.

"As far as the flying, it was very realistic," he said.

Curt Watson, who flew with the team from 1983 to 1986, gave Tom Cruise a back-seat ride with the team.

"He did really well. He got a little sick when he touched down but that happens when you take people up in an environment they aren't used to," said Watson, who said he never shared the story about Cruise getting sick until he saw an interview in which Cruise mentioned it himself.

"I didn't want to say anything, but then he admitted it," Watson said.

The year that "Top Gun" came out, recruiting soared.

"Just in naval aviation, they saw a 500 percent increase in applications," Watson said.

Watson joined the Navy in 1975 after a brief stint with the NFL as a running back for the Green Bay Packers. The former University of Tennessee standout was drafted by the New Orleans Saints and moved to the Green Bay Packers before he was cut in training camp.

Watson said his football experience helped him adapt to the Blue Angels.

"Mentally, the football skills do translate," he said. "You have to devote a lot of time and training, and it is a team effort."

Watson, who served a third year with the team after another pilot was killed, said Navy pilots know that job involves risk.

"You try to mitigate the risk. If you never took any risks, you wouldn't make it out the front door," said Watson, who spent 28 years as a pilot for FedEx after his time in the Navy.

Rud oversaw the team's transition from the A-4 Skyhawk to F-18 Hornet. The team has flown versions of the Hornet since.

After the 1986 season, the team went to Jacksonville Naval Air Station and revamped their show using the new aircraft.

"We put away our blue suits and put on regular flight suits," Rud said. "We had to change the show to utilize the strength of the F-18."

Among his favorite memories of his time with the Blues, was an interview he did with Blue Angels founder Butch Voris.

"He and I did an interview together in San Francisco. I don't think I said more than 10 words because he was so intriguing. It was wonderful listening to him. It was one of the greatest experiences I've had," he said.

Rud went on to serve as captain of the USS Wabash and the USS Constellation. He said he has continued to fly small planes in his retirement. His daughter, Capt. Valerie Overstreet, is a Navy pilot and flies the E2-Hawkeye aircraft.


Keith Hoskins was in the air with the Blue Angels on Sept. 11, 2001.

The team was practicing over Pensacola and had just entered the diamond formation when they got a "knock off" call over the radios.

"I asked what was going on and they said the FAA had ordered every aircraft in the U.S. to land. It was a very, very sobering day," said Hoskins, who spent the remainder of the day watching news coverage with his teammates.

Hoskins said he thought the team might have to disband and rejoin the Navy fleet.

"That's what happened in Korea and we thought it could be a possibility for us," he said.

The Blue Angels didn't fly for six weeks.

When the team flew again for the first time at an air show in Texas, the patriotism was overwhelming, said Hoskins, who flew combat missions in support of the Iraq war after his time with the Blue Angels.

Hoskins was on board the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003 when George Bush made his famous "Mission Accomplished" speech. He went on to serve as the commanding officer of Pensacola Naval Air Station. Hoskins retired this year and now works for Gulf Power.

Andy Hall flew the C-130 Fat Albert aircraft with the Blues from 1999 to 2001.

Marines always fly the C-130 and Hall said it was important to him to represent the Marine Corps during that period.

Hall was with Hoskins and the other team members on Sept. 11.

"It was a wake-up call and realization that terrorism was here and would command our time and attention," he said.

After his time with the Blues, Hall went on to fly for FedEx.


Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi is the current commander of the Blue Angels.

"The Blue Angels are very much about inspiration. People connect emotionally with the Blues. We really look to inspire people to go do something great with their lives, while at the same time showcasing what their Navy and Marine Corps can do through teamwork, trust, and really hard work," Bernacchi wrote in an answer to emailed questions.

Bernacchi said the biggest challenge he has faced during his tenure with the team has been the death of Blue Angel solo pilot and Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss in June at a Tennessee air show.

"We strive every single day to perform in a way that honors 'Kooch,'" he said.

And Bernacchi said his team strives to meet the high standards of all the previous teams.

Mastering Blue Angels flying was an intense process.

"The level of precision that we fly throughout the demonstration is unmatched. Learning to fly with a 40-pound spring on the stick, and using voice cadences in a way that enable the wingmen to smoothly follow in the diamond and delta formations was very challenging," he said. "The studying required was on par with the TOPGUN course day in and day out, and took hundreds of practice sorties to meet the standards required by each maneuver."

The Future

"As long as there are sailors and Marines maintaining combat aircraft, and naval aviators flying aircraft from ships and runways around the world, the Blue Angels will remain not only relevant, but very important," Bernacchi wrote.

The historian Goodspeed agreed.

Goodspeed said the biggest challenge for the future will likely be money and whether defense budgets can support the team.

"As long as people are fascinated by flight, as long as aviation captures the public's imagination, I think there will be a role for the Blue Angels," he said.
Blue Angels facts

.    The pilots fly with a 40-pound spring attached to their flight stick to give them more precise control of the plane's movements and allow them to fly in tight formations that are sometimes just inches apart. Pilots say maneuvering the spring-loaded stick is like doing a 40-pound curl throughout the demonstration.

.    The pilots fly without the traditional G-suits worn by other jet pilots. The suits, which contain inflatable bladders in the legs, help to keep blood in the upper extremities and keep pilots from passing out. Because the inflatable bladders would interfere with their ability to control the flight stick, the Blue Angels instead use their abdominal muscles and breathing maneuvers to keep from passing out.

.    The Blue Angels name came from a nightclub in New York City.

Q&A with the elite pilots

Do you remember the first time you saw the Blue Angels?

Wheat: I was a newly commissioned naval aviator when I first saw the Blues fly at NAS Jacksonville. I was impressed by the precision flying by those pilots, never thinking I could ever fly that skillfully. Flying with the Blue Angels is every naval aviator's dream.

Ross: I was in aviation officer candidate school in Pensacola. I saw them flying F-4 Phantoms in formation. They were just screaming past. It was so exhilarating. It was awesome.

Watson: I was in aviation officer candidate school in Pensacola and I saw their end-of-season show in 1975. I thought that it was cool and that I wanted to do it. I had never seen an air show before.

Rud: I am from North Dakota and I didn't have an opportunity to see the Blue Angels until I was in officer candidate school in Pensacola. I never would have dreamed then that I would be able to do that.

Hoskins: I was 5 years old and saw them at an air show in Kansas City. I told my dad on the way home that I was going to do that.

Hall: In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, I was 16. I was already a pilot and I knew aviation was my future. I thought of the Blue Angels like they were astronauts. They were amazing.

Bernacchi: My dad took me to see the Blue Angels at the Moffett Field, California, show every summer. I still vividly remember the A-4s with their chrome wings, intakes and exhausts. I especially remember riding my bike to Moffett with a buddy to watch a practice. The team had just started flying FA-18s then, and one of them flew right over the overpass that my pal, Chip, and I were pedaling over. The pilot was in a sharp turn, and looked down at us with that gold visor. Time stood still. I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life.

What is more challenging - flying with the Blues or landing on an aircraft carrier at night?

Wheat: Looking back, I would say I was more nervous flying my first full air show in front of a large crowd than I was flying my first night landing aboard ship.

Ross: Nothing compares to landing on a carrier at night. You are in the middle of the ocean, there is no light, there might be cloud layers. Walking up there at midnight and manning up an airplane, anyone who says they are not terrified is lying. I really think it is a death-defying event. It is very scary and so brutal, you are going very fast and see a little bit of light but you cannot visualize that huge ship down there.

Watson: Landing on carriers at night is why I have white hair now. If you have the skill set to land a jet at night on an aircraft carrier with a pitching deck, you already have demonstrated the skill set to fly with the Blue Angels.

Rud: Hands down, landing on an aircraft carrier. That is the hardest thing to do in aviation period. Neil Armstrong once said that landing on the moon was easier than landing on a carrier at night.

Hoskins: Both require specific skills and both are challenging in different ways. There is an unpredictability to landing on a ship that causes your heart rate to go up and your blood pressure to go up. Flying with the Blue Angels, it is very scripted and precise and you have to work as a team.

Bernacchi: I would say the first night carrier landing was harder when I think back on it. Yet the feeling was very similar. I knew I was ready and I knew I could do it. I had great trust in my airplane, the landing signals officers and the ship's crew, just as I have unwavering trust in my teammates in the air and on the ground at the Blue Angels. Both begin feeling like a leap of faith and it's a 'OK, here we go' feeling. It is immensely rewarding to complete each one.

Communication Team, PMA265
Phone: 301-342-1946

Disclaimer: articles shared to this network are for situational awareness only and aren't endorsed by this office.
Thanks to Clint
Subject: Incredible Photos
Incredible Indeed!   Never had seen any of them.
Thanks to Chuck
Trump makes surprise trip to Iraq to visit with troops

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