Sunday, March 17, 2019

TheList 4949

The List 4949 TGB

To All,
I hope that you all have a great weekend.  Beware the Ides of March
This day in Naval History
March 15 
§  1889—A typhoon strikes Apia, Samoa, where American, German and British ships are protecting their national interests. The typhoon drives USS Trenton, USS Vandalia, and USS Nipsic ashore, killing 51 crew members, and sinks all three German ships with the loss of 150 crew.
§  1943—U.S. 7th Fleet is established in Brisbane, Australia during WWII, under the command of Adm. Arthur S. "Chips" Carpender.
§  1944—USS Shamrock Bay (CVE 84) is commissioned. During World War II, she serves in the Atlantic and is sent to the Pacific due the loss of escort carriers and participates in the Okinawa Campaign.
§  1947—Ensign John W. Lee, Jr., becomes the first African-American with a commission in the regular Navy and serves aboard USS Kearsarge (CV 33).
§  1953—Marine pilots of VMA 312 destroy eight rail cars, two possible radar towers, a power transformer and numerous other assorted targets in Korea before returning to USS Bataan (CVL 29).
§  1957—A ZPG-2 airship driven by Cmdr. Jack R. Hunt lands at Naval Air Station Key West, FL, after a flight that began Mar. 4 at South Weymouth, MA, then circled over the Atlantic Ocean toward Portugal, the African coast and back for a new world record in distance and endurance, covering 9,448 statute miles and remaining airborne 264 hours 12 minutes without refueling.

March 16
§  1944PBY-5A (VP 63) seaplanes, employing magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) gear, detect German submarine U 392 while attempting to transit the Straits of Gibraltar. The sub is attacked and sunk by nearby allied ships.
§  1945During the Iwo Jima Campaign, Pharmacist's Mate 1st Class Francis J. Pierce provides aid to a wounded Marine while disregarding his own injuries and directs treatment of the injured man and fires on the enemy to provide cover for his fellow troops. For his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life," he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
§  1952During the Korean War, USS Wisconsin (BB 64) and USS Duncan (DDR 874) engage in counter-battery fire at Dojo-ri, Korea, making two direct hits on enemy guns.
§  1963The Iwo Jima-class amphibious assault ship USS Guadalcanal (LPH 7) is launched at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.
§  1966Gemini 8 launches. Former naval aviator Neil Armstrong and Air Force Maj. David R. Scott are on this mission that completes seven orbits in 10 hours and 41 minutes at an altitude of 161.3 nautical miles. 
March 17
§  1898John Holland's submarine, Holland IV, performs the first successful diving and surfacing tests off Staten Island, NY.
§  1944USS Block Island (CVE 21) torpedo bomber aircraft from Composite Squadron (VC 6), along with USS Corry (DD 463) and USS Bronstein (DE 189), sink German submarine U 801 west of Cape Verdes.
§  1945USS Sealion (SS 315) sinks Bangkok-bound Thai oiler Samui off Trengganu coast, while USS Spot (SS 413) attacks a Japanese convoy and sinks army cargo vessel Nanking Maru off Yushiyama Island and damages cargo Ikomasan Maru, beached off Matsu Island.
§  1958The Naval Research Laboratory satellite Vanguard 1 is launched into orbit to test the capabilities of a three-stage launch vehicle and effects of the environment on a satellite and its systems in Earth's orbit.
§  1959USS Skate (SSN 578) becomes the first submarine to surface at the North Pole, traveling 3,000 miles in and under Arctic ice for more than a month.
§  1962USS Raleigh (LPD 1), the Navy's first amphibious transport dock, is launched at New York Naval shipyard.
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
National headlines include reports of a terror attack in New Zealand that has left at least 49 people dead, lawmakers in the Senate have rejected President Trump's border emergency declaration, and North Korea has threatened to suspend negotiations with the Trump administration over their nuclear arms program and will soon decide whether to resume nuclear and missile tests. The Navy will procure two additional unmanned surface vessels configured by the Strategic Capabilities office in 2020 and experimentation with those ships will inform the top-level requirements of eight Large USVs to be purchased in the future reports Inside Defense. The Navy announced yesterday it will begin distributing a request for information to contractors over their ability to build an LUSV. Additionally, Diplomat reports that the first new low-yield submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead was produced on February 22.
This day in History
44 BC

Julius Caesar is assassinated by high-ranking Roman Senators.

Henry the Fowler routs the raiding Magyars at Merseburg, Germany.

Christopher Columbus returns to Spain after his first voyage to the New World.

In command of two frigates, the Frenchman la Perouse sails east from Botany Bay for the last lap of his voyage around the world.

Maine is admitted as the 23rd state.

General John Hunt Morgan begins four days of raids near the city of Gallatin, Tenn.

The Red River Campaign begins as the Union forces reach Alexandria, La.

New York State unveils the new automatic ballot voting machine.

Bone Mizell, the famed cowboy of Florida, appears before a judge for altering cattle brands.

The British complete the conquest of Nigeria.

Three hundred Russians are killed as the Japanese shell Port Arthur in Korea.

Italy proposes a European conference on the Balkans.

General John Pershing and his 15,000 troops chase Pancho Villa into Mexico.

Henry Ford restores the $5-a-day wage.

Joseph Goebbels, German Minister of Propaganda bans four Berlin newspapers.

Germany occupies Bohemia and Moravia, Czechoslovakia.

Cassino, Italy is destroyed by Allied bombing.

Almost four years after the end of World War II, clothes rationing in Great Britain ends.

French General de Lattre demands that Paris send him more troops for the fight in Indochina.

The U.S. Air Force unveils the first self-guided missile.

The first performance of My Fair Lady, starring Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison, takes place on Broadway.

Ten nations meet in Geneva to discuss disarmament.

Gamal Abdel Nasser is re-elected Egyptian President.

President Lyndon Johnson names Ellsworth Bunker as the new ambassador to Saigon. Bunker replaces Lodge.

The U.S. mint halts the practice of buying and selling gold.

Four Los Angeles police are charged in the beating of Rodney King.
Assembling the Mighty Eighth
I came across this in an old list and thought it would be interesting to send it again
All – a great lessons learned, WWII flying story on a part of the mission that I often wondered about, but had never read anything about,
Subject: FW: GREAT READ....impressive to say the least
It's also hard to believe that a heavy bomber pilot only had to fly 30 missions to return home. 74% didn't make it! They have less total flying hours after 30 missions that we had in pilot training. Absolutely amazing.
From Chuck Boedeker:
I've been asked to offer a tribute to Col. Les Lennox, but when I read of his accomplishments, I struggle to find the words which will reflect accurately the service, sacrifice and lifeblood that he and thousands of other veterans selflessly gave to our country. So, I thought I'd let Col. Lennox speak for himself.
Here is the first of two memoirs from the pen of Leslie A. Lennox - Lt./Col USAF (ret). The second will follow in another note.
Leslie A. Lennox
Lt./Col. USAF(ret)
Of all the stories that have been written, and movies that have been shown, about the 8th Air Force, very little attention has been given to what was involved in assembling 1200 B-17's and B-24's each day, to get them in formation to carry out a strike against Germany. Certainly showing bombers under attack by fighters, or encountering heavy flak, was a reality, and are interesting to watch. Also, stories about some of the rougher missions make interesting reading. But what was going on over England, each morning, could get just as scary to the crews as the time spent over some of the targets. The planning, and coordination, that had to be accomplished during the night, by the operations planners of each Group, so that the crews could be briefed, was unbelievable. If the planners had failed to do their jobs properly, there would have been a free for all among Bomb Groups, in the skies over England. The rendezvous points, altitude, and times had to be precise, and known by all of the crews, before the Eighth Air Force could get in formation. The success of the planners, in accomplishing their mission, enabled the Eighth Air Force to become the most powerful air armada ever assembled. In my view, how this was accomplished is one of the major untold stories of the war.
I was a pilot in the 95th Bomb Group, in late 1944 and early 1945, and what follows is a typical mission, as I remember it, from a crew member's perspective.
Early in the evening, our Squadron Operations would post the names of the crews that were scheduled to fly the following day. There were two ways we could be notified if the Group had been alerted to fly. One was by means of lights on the front of the orderly room, and the other with raising of colored flags. If a green light was on, the Group was alerted, if a red light was on we would fly, and if a white light was on, the Group would stand down. The light was monitored frequently throughout the evening to learn our status and, normally, we would know before going to bed if we would be flying the next day.
On the morning of a mission, the CQ (charge of quarters) would awaken the crews about four or five o'clock, depending on takeoff time. The questions we always asked were, "What is the fuel load?" and, "What is the bomb load?" If his answer was," full Tokyo tanks," we knew we would be going deep into Germany. Shortly after being awakened, "6-by" trucks would start shuttling us to the mess hall. We always had all the fresh eggs we could eat, when flying a mission. After breakfast, the trucks carried us to the briefing room. All of the crew members attended the main briefing, and then the Navigators, Bombardiers and Radio operators went to a specialized briefing. At the main briefing, in addition to the target information--anti-aircraft guns, fighter escort and route in--we received a sheet showing our location in the formation, the call signs for the day and all the information we would need to assemble our Group and get into the bomber stream.
After briefing, we got into our flight gear, drew our parachutes and loaded onto the trucks for a ride to our plane. We were now guided by the time on our daily briefing sheet. We started engines at a given time and watched for the airplane we would be flying in formation with to taxi past, then we would taxi behind him. We were following strict radio silence.
We were now parked, nose to tail around the perimeter, on both sides of the active runway, and extremely vulnerable to a fighter strafing attack. At the designated takeoff time, a green flare would be fired and takeoff would begin. Every thirty seconds an airplane started takeoff roll. We were lined up on the perimeter so that the 12 airplanes of the high squadron would take off first, followed by the lead and then the low squadron.
Each Group had a pattern for the airplanes to fly during climb to assembly altitude. Some would fly a triangle, some a rectangle and our Group flew a circle, using a "Buncher" (a low frequency radio station) which was located on our station. The patterns for each Group fit together like a jig saw puzzle. Unfortunately, strong winds aloft would destroy the integrity of the patterns, and there would be considerable over running of each other's patterns.
Many of our takeoffs were made before daylight, during the winter of '44 and '45, when I was there, so it was not uncommon to climb through several thousand feet of cloud overcast. Also it was not uncommon to experience one or two near misses while climbing through the clouds, although you would never see the other airplane. You knew you had just had a near miss, when suddenly the airplane would shake violently as it hit the prop wash of another plane. It was a wonderful feeling to break out on top, so you could watch for other planes, to keep from running into each other. To add to the congestion we were creating, the Royal Air Force Lancasters, Halifaxes, and Wimpys would be returning from their night missions, and flying through our formations. Needless to say, pilots had to keep their heads on a swivel and their eyes out of the cockpit.
After take off, the squadron lead would fire a flare every 30 seconds, so that we could keep him located and enable us to get into formation quicker. The color of our Group flare was red-green. The first thing you would see, when breaking out of the clouds, was a sky filled with pyrotechnics, so you had to search the sky for the Group flare, which would identify the lead airplane of your Squadron. Once you had it located, you could adjust your pattern to climb more quickly into formation with him. As each airplane pulled into formation, they would also fire a flare, with the lead plane, making it much easier for the following aircraft to keep him in sight. I think most crew members would probably agree that the pyrotechnic show, in the skies over England, in the morning when the Eighth was assembling, was a rare sight to behold.
The order of progression for assembling the Eighth Air Force was to first assemble the Flight elements, the Squadrons, the Groups, the Combat wings, the Divisions and, finally, the Air Force.
As soon as the four Squadron elements were formed, the high, low and second elements would take up their positions on the lead element, to form a Squadron. When the three Squadrons had completed assembly, it was necessary to get into Group formation. This was accomplished by having the three Squadrons arrive over a pre-selected fix at a precise time and heading. The high and low Squadrons were separated from the lead Squadron by 1000 feet and, after getting into Group formation, they would maintain their positions by following the lead Squadron.
Then it was necessary to get into the Combat Wing formation. We were in the 13th Combat Wing, which consisted of three Bomb Groups: the 95th, the 100th and the 390th. Whichever Group was leading the Wing that day, would arrive over a pre-selected point, at a precise time and heading. Thirty seconds later, the second Group would pass that fix, followed by the third Group, thirty seconds later. We were then in Combat Wing formation. The navigators in the lead airplanes had a tremendous responsibility, to ensure that the rendezvous times were strictly adhered to.
There were three Divisions in the Eighth, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd. The 1st and 3rd Divisions consisted of B-17s only, and the 2nd Division was B-24s. The B-24s were faster than the B-17s, but the B-17s could fly higher, therefore, the two were not compatible in formation. As a result the 1st and 3rd Divisions would fly together and the 2nd Division would fly separately.
Now that the Groups were flying in Combat Wing formation, it was necessary to assemble the Divisions. This was usually accomplished at the "coast out"--a city on the coast, selected as the departure point "fix." The Group leader in each Combat Wing knew his assigned position in the Division, and the precise time that he should arrive at the coast out departure point, to assume that position in the Division formation. The lead Group in the Division, which had been selected to lead the Eighth on the mission, would be first over the departure fix. Thirty seconds after the last Group in the first Wing passed that point, the second Wing would fall in trail, and so on, until all Combat Wings were flying in trail and the Division would be formed. One minute later, the lead Group in the other Division would fly over that point, and the Combat Wings in that Division would follow the same procedure to get into formation. When all of its Combat Wings were in trail, the Eighth Air Force B-17 strike force was formed and on its way to the target. At the same time the 2nd Division B-24s were assembling in a similar manner and also departing to their target.
Meanwhile, as the bombers were assembling for their mission, pilots from the Fighter Groups were being briefed on their day's mission. Normally, 600 to 800 P-38's, P-47's, and P-51's would accompany the bombers to provide protection against enemy fighter attacks. Fighter cover was not needed by the bombers until they were penetrating enemy territory, therefore to help conserve fuel. fighter takeoffs were planned to give them enough time to quickly assemble after takeoff, and climb on course up the bomber stream to the groups they would be covering. The combined strength of the fighters and bombers brought the total number of aircraft participating in a mission to approximately two thousand.
A major problem that presented itself, on each mission, was that the bomber stream was getting too stretched out. It was not uncommon for the headlines in stateside newspapers--in trying to show the strength of our Air Force--to state that the first Group of bombers was bombing Berlin, while the last Group was still over the English Channel. It made great headlines but was a very undesirable situation. It meant that the Groups were out of position, and not keeping the proper separation. Furthermore, it was almost impossible for them to catch up and get back into the desired formation. This made the entire bomber stream more vulnerable to fighter attacks.
Finally, our planners figured out what we were doing wrong. When the first Group departed the coast out fix, it started its climb to what would be the bombing altitude. Then, as each succeeding Group departed that fix, it, too, would start climbing. The problem with this procedure was that, as soon as the first Group started its climb, its true airspeed would start to increase, and it would encounter different wind velocities. Now it would start to pull away from the Group in back of it, and the "stretchout" of the bomber stream would begin. By the time the last Group had reached the coast out, to start its climb, the first Group would be leveled off, with a true airspeed approaching 250 miles per hour, and the bomber stream would be really stretching out.
The solution to this problem that had been frustrating the Bomber crews for so long was pretty simple. We would no longer start climbing at the coast out, but instead, at a designated time, all Groups would start climbing, irrespective of position. This meant that we all would have similar true airspeeds and would be influenced by the same winds aloft. That took care of the problem. It was still possible for a Group to be out of position, because of poor timing, but the entire bomber stream wouldn't get all stretched out.
When you consider the way our Air Traffic Control system operates today, and all the facilities at their disposal to guide each individual airplane through the sky to ensure its safety, it's almost unbelievable that we were able to do what we did. To think of launching hundreds of airplanes, in a small airspace, many times in total darkness, loaded with bombs, with complete radio silence, and no control from the ground, and do it successfully day after day, with young air crews, with minimum experience, is absolutely mind boggling.
The accomplishments of the Eighth Air Force have been and will be reviewed by historians from World War II on. There never will be another air armada to compare to it. I feel confident that they will never cease to be amazed by our ability to assemble hundreds of heavy Bombers, under the conditions we were confronting, into the devastating strike force we now fondly refer to as, "The Mighty Eighth."
Old story on the China Clippers
Comments not mine.
I have seen other videos about the China Clipper, but this has more detail and I enjoyed it more.
I didn't know of all the losses and thought they were all Boeing airplanes.
Thought you might enjoy this.  Turn up the sound and enjoy some aviation history.
China Clipper
the epilogue, a good reminder that early aviation wasn't for the faint of heart.
The days of Iron Men and Wooden Airplanes.  These were some true pioneers!
Take a while to come up but is interesting
Thanks to ted -

Received from a Marine friend.   I do not see Yankee Station on here.    Great link for in-country Vietnam vets, or those curious about the Vietnam War...
Thanks to Col Wayne Morris USMC (Ret) and LT Don Tyson USN (Ret) for sharing.
Subject: Naval Base WW II. Ulithi Naval Base WWII
Date: March 17, 2015 11:43:26 AM PDT
AKA MacKenzie Island-- Wikipedia has a good article with more pictures and info.
Naval base in WWII - Ulithi Atoll 70 years ago…
US Naval Armada Deployed for Invasion:
Staging area for the invasion of Japan.
Click here: Warbird Information Exchange • View topic - ULITHI ...

To All
This is really worth a look, and I'd suggest viewing the 4 videos in order as described below........A great recounting of that flight and the preparation leading up to it..........BTW, that airfield is now a shopping center.
      Lindbergh's Flight
    Win Perkins, a real estate appraiser who specializes in airport properties,
has posted on his Website, a video he created of Charles Lindbergh's famous and
risky takeoff in the "Spirit of St. Louis" (20 May 1927).
According to Perkins,
this is unlike any other presentation of the takeoff footage.
Perkins said he
"painstakingly assembled news footage from five cameras that
filmed Lindbergh's takeoff from Roosevelt Field, Long Island "and "mixed it with
enhanced audio from the same newsreel sources."
This is one of the most interesting videos I've seen over the Internet.
INSTRUCTIONS:  Below When you click on the address, episode #3 comes up ready to
I suggest you first click on "CONTACT" to the left and select #1, then watch
them in order, #1 through #4 ...
  (each time going back
  to " Contact" and selecting the next one).
I was glued to the screen through all 4.  What guts it took for Lindbergh to overcome the odds against him, and
accomplish this amazing feat!
How he survived the fatigue from lack of sleep is hard to believe.
Thanks to Billy ...
From Don Gray (USAF Museum).  A fascinating look back to the surviving XB-70s trip to USAF Museum at Wright Patterson AFB ...
Click on "View in OneDrive" to see the stills, or:
Here's link to a video on this:
Here's And for some more info on the XB-70: 

A bit of news from  around the world
New Zealand—49 Killed In Mosque Shootings In Christchurch  Stuff Website | 03/15/2019 At least 49 people have been killed and 48 wounded in shootings that government officials described as a terrorist attack, reports Stuff, the New Zealand news website.  On Friday, a gunman entered Al Noor mosque in Christchurch and opened fire.  The attacker then moved to the nearby Linwood mosque.  Forty-one people were killed at the Al Noor Mosque, seven at Linwood and one died at Christchurch hospital. Two improvised explosive devices were also attached to a vehicle as part of the attack. Authorities disabled one bomb and were working on the second, reported CNN. Police arrested a 28-year-old man in the area who was in possession of explosives and weapons. He has since been charged with murder in connection with the attacks.  The man, who identified himself as Brenton Tarrant, is an Australian who recently published a document online denouncing immigrants as "invaders."  Two others have also been arrested. None of the suspects had been on any watchlist prior to the attack.  "It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.  Police said the attack, the deadliest mass shooting on record in the country, appeared to have been well planned.   
Israel—Jets Strike Gaza After Rockets Launched Toward Tel Aviv  i24news | 03/15/2019 Israeli military aircraft have hit militant positions in the Gaza Strip after rockets were fired at Tel Aviv, reports i24 News (Israel).  On Thursday, two rockets were fired from Gaza towards Tel Aviv, the first time the city has been threatened  since 2014.  The Iron Dome air defense system did not intercept the rockets, which landed in an open area, said Israeli officials.  In response, Israeli warplanes struck about 100 military targets in the small enclave, said an IDF statement.  The targets included the Hamas headquarters for operations in the West Bank, a rocket manufacturing site and a weapons depot, reported Reuters.  Four Palestinians were wounded in the airstrikes, reported the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency.  Additional rockets were fired after the raids. No injuries were reported.  Two M-75 Fajr rockets were accidentally launched during maintenance work, according to a preliminary assessment cited by Haaretz (Israel). Israel holds Hamas accountable for any attacks coming from Gaza. Following the exchange, Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire, reported the Times of Israel. The Israeli government has not confirmed the reports.  
NATO—7 Member States Hit 2 Percent Defense Spending Goal  Nato Press Release | 03/15/2019 Seven NATO member states are meeting the alliance's defense spending objective of 2 percent of gross domestic product, according to an annual report presented by Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday.  Defense expenditures among European NATO countries and Canada increased by 3.8 percent in 2018, according to the report.  Seven countries meet the 2 percent of GDP spending goal agreed to at the 2014 Wales summit: the U.S., Greece, the U.K., Estonia, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.  The latter three countries hit the target for the first time this year, noted CNN.  Romania, which spends 1.92 percent of GDP on defense, will soon hit the mark as well.  Over half of the alliance's members spent at least 20 percent of defense expenditures on major equipment. Twenty-four allies are on track to meet that mark by 2024. Economic growth has made it more difficult for some countries to reach the 2 percent goal, noted Reuters. For example, Germany spent an additional 1.5 billion euros (US$1.7 billion) on defense in 2018, but its spending as a percentage of GDP remained unchanged at 1.23.  
North Korea—Pyongyang Threatens To Leave Nuclear Talks  Tass | 03/15/2019 North Korea may suspend denuclearization talks with the U.S., reports Russia's Tass news agency.  Pyongyang has no interest in yielding to U.S. demands and will not engage in such negotiations, North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said on Friday.  Washington pursued its own political interests in the talks, she said. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton also created an "atmosphere of hostility and mistrust" during an extended session. Pyongyang may also reconsider a ban on missile and nuclear tests unless the U.S. makes concessions, reported Reuters. North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is expected to soon make an official statement regarding the country's next steps. The statement was the first by a senior North Korean official since the February talks, which ended without a deal. 
USA—White House Set To Declare Brazil Major Non-NATO Ally Reuters | 03/15/2019 The U.S. is expected to substantially upgrade military ties with Brazil during a meeting next week between President Donald Trump and his Brazilian counterpart, Jair Bolsonaro, reports Reuters.  Negotiations to grant Brazil the status of major non-NATO ally have been ongoing since January, two Brazilian officials said on Thursday.   An announcement is expected during Bolsonaro's March 19 visit to Washington.  The White House declined to comment.  The designation would grant Brasilia preferential access to U.S. military equipment and technology, greater cooperation in military training and free surplus material. If successful, Brazil would be the second Latin American country to gain the status. Argentina received the designation in 1998.   
USA—Shanahan Shoots Down Reports Of Plans For Allies To Pay More For U.S. Bases  Defense One | 03/15/2019 Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan has denied that the White House is mulling asking allies to pay all of the costs plus 50 percent for U.S. forces based on their soil, reports Defense One.  Reports that the Trump administration plans to ask allies to pay up to 150 percent of the cost of U.S. foreign deployments are "erroneous," Shanahan told the Senate Armed Forces Committee on Thursday.  "We don't do cost-plus-50," said Shanahan, referring to a proposal that surfaced last week calling for countries hosting U.S. troops to pay for all costs associated with the deployment, plus 50 percent.  The measure was first reported by Bloomberg News last week and seems to have begun in the National Security Council.  Shanahan's comments were the first public statement from the Trump administration on the proposal.  U.S. military and diplomatic officials have criticized the idea, questioning its feasibility and impact on allied relations and overseas bases.  Shanahan's comments did not appear to rule out some form of new cost-sharing demands from the administration for countries that host U.S. forces, noted Defense News.
USA—Navy Eyes Fleet Of Large Unmanned Surface Ships  USNI News | 03/15/2019 The U.S. Navy's fiscal 2020 budget request calls for funding two unmanned surface vehicles (USV) per year until fiscal 2024, reports USNI News. The fiscal 2020 request budgets $400 million for the initial two vessels, with a total cost of $2.7 billion anticipated for the entire fleet. Rear Adm. Randy Crites, the deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budget, said on Tuesday that the vessels will be 200-300 feet (60-90 m) long and displace about 2,000 tons. It was not immediately clear what hull form the Navy plans to use for the ships. In unclassified presentations, the service has used images of commercial offshore support vessels. The corvette-sized USVs are intended to carry a variety of sensors and vertical launch system (VLS) cells for various missiles. It is not yet known how the USVs will fit within the larger Navy force structure. On Wednesday, Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, said that the service decided to accelerate the development and fielding of large USVs after experimenting with smaller vessels, such as the Sea Hunter autonomous anti-submarine warfare vessel. The Navy is also developing a USV between 49 feet (15 m) to 160 feet (50 m) in length.  
USA—Boeing To Integrate LRSO Cruise Missile On B-52H Bomber  U.S. Department Of Defense | 03/15/2019 The U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing a contract for the integration of the Long-Range Standoff Cruise Missile (LRSO) weapon system on the B-52H Stratofortress bomber, reports the Dept. of Defense. The $250 million deal covers aircraft and missile carriage equipment development and modification; engineering; software development; training; facilities; and integration support, said a Pentagon release on Wednesday. The cruise missile system is expected to be ready for service around 2030, noted Military & Aerospace Electronics. It will be also integrated with B-2 and B-21 Raider bombers. The LRSO will replace the AGM-86 nuclear cruise missile, noted Defence Blog. Work is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2024.  
United Kingdom—Navy Takes Delivery Of Medway Patrol Ship  Royal Navy Press Release | 03/15/2019 The British Royal Navy says it has accepted delivery of its newest Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel. The Medway was formally handed over by BAE Systems on Wednesday, said a navy release. The ship is in the midst of the installation of military systems after initial sea trials late last year. The Medway will next complete final testing and training before sailing to Portsmouth in July. The vessel is scheduled to be commissioned on the river Medway in September and embark on her maiden deployment overseas at the end of 2019, the release said. The second batch of River-class OPVs are larger, faster and have a greater range than their predecessors. The ships can accommodate up to 51 troops and are equipped with a flight deck for a Wildcat or Merlin helicopter; an air-search radar with a range of more than 90 miles (145 km); and a 16-ton crane for disaster-relief missions. Meanwhile, HMS Forth, the lead ship of Batch 2, is set to begin its second deployment in March, replacing the Clyde in the Falklands, the release said.  
Poland—Talks Underway In Warsaw For Permanent U.S. Presence  Defense One | 03/15/2019 U.S. defense officials are in Warsaw this week to discuss the establishment of a permanent U.S. military presence in Poland, reports Defense One. On Wednesday, U.S. Defense Undersecretary for Policy John Rood met with Polish defense officials to discuss Warsaw's proposal to build a division-sized base. Warsaw has presented a "very serious, robust offer and [officials] are working out some of the technicalities this very week," Katie Wheelbarger, Rood's deputy for international affairs, told the House Armed Services Committee later that day. If Poland accepts the framework offer, the State Dept. would negotiate an "actual technical agreement," which could take six months to a year to finalize, Wheelbarger said. She did not provide further details on the U.S. offer. "This is more of a longer-term commitment to the type of presence that's already in Poland, this is not a new U.S. base as some people think," an unnamed source familiar with the negotiations told the news site. The proposal has been around for decades, but was first seriously discussed after Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine in 2014. Proponents argue that a permanent U.S. presence would boost deterrence against Russia; signal a U.S. commitment to NATO's northern flank; and pre-position U.S. combat power in the region. Critics claim that the move will be costly and unnecessarily escalate tensions with Moscow. In September, Poland offered to pay US$2 billion for the proposed base. Analysts said the offer would likely fall short of the total cost. A Polish Defense Ministry proposal that leaked last year proposed the Bydgoszcz and Torun regions as possible locations for the facility, reported the Military Times.  
Syria—Only A Few Hundred ISIS Fighters Remain In Baghouz; Sleeper Cells Still A Threat  Reuters | 03/15/2019 The top U.S. official says a few hundred ISIS fighters remain in the last town held by the terror group, reports Reuters.  "We are just about finished with the campaign along the Euphrates to defeat the last territorial holdings" of ISIS, James Jeffrey, the U.S. special representative for Syria engagement and special envoy to the global coalition to defeat ISIS, said on Friday.  Some U.S. troops will remain in northeastern Syria and the al-Tanf base in southern Syria after ISIS is defeated, said Jeffrey.  No timeline exists for a complete withdrawal.  While the group has largely been wiped out in the town of Baghouz, thousands of fighters remain elsewhere in the region.  The U.S. believes that about 15,000 to 20,000 armed members of the terror group remain active, many in sleeper cells, in Syria and Iraq, said Jeffrey.   
Turkey—Interpol Issues Red Notices For Suspects In Khashoggi Murder  Anadolu News Agency | 03/15/2019 The Turkish Justice Ministry says Interpol has issued red notices for 20 suspects in the killing of a dissident Saudi journalist last year, reports the Anadolu Agency (Turkey).  Ankara made the requests for red notices for 20 suspects in November and December in connection with the October killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the ministry said on Thursday.  The General Secretariat of Interpol published the red notices on March 1.  Red notices identify individuals wanted for serious international crimes. Member states are expected to comply with the request.  Bandar bin Mohammed al-Aiban, who heads a state-run human rights commission in Saudi Arabia, described the move as foreign interference, reported Reuters.  Riyadh maintains that it is trying suspects in the killing domestically and has rejected the assessment of intelligence organizations, including the CIA, that the government was involved in orchestrating the murder.   
Oman—Army Kicks Off Joint Exercise With India  Indian Ministry Of Defense | 03/15/2019 The Indian and Omani armies have just launched a joint training exercise as part of efforts to strengthen interoperability, reports the Indian Ministry of Defense. The two-week Al Nagah exercise began on Wednesday in Nizwa in Oman's northern Ad Dakhiliyah governorate. The Omani contingent includes the Jabel Regiment, while India sent the 10th Battalion, The Garhwal Rifles. Both contingents were specifically selected for the exercise based on expertise and professional competence, the ministry said. The exercise scenario covers joint insurgency and counterterrorism operations in semi-urban environments in mountainous terrain under a U.N. mandate, reported the Financial Express (India).  
Pakistan—Motorcycle Bomb Kills 2 In Baluchistan  Urdu Point | 03/15/2019 At least two people have been killed and eight injured in a bombing in southwestern Pakistan, reports UrduPoint (Pakistan). On Thursday, a bomb exploded near a market in the Panjgur district in western Baluchistan state, said officials. The bomb was fitted on a motorcycle and detonated remotely, said police cited by Xinhua, China's state news agency. The explosion caused damage to several buildings and at least two vehicles, the officials said. Two of the injured were reportedly in critical condition. No group immediately claimed responsibility. The Islamic State and separatist groups are active in the region.  
Nigeria—Military Targets Boko Haram, Cattle Rustlers In Separate Ops  This Day | 03/15/2019 The Nigerian military says that a pair of operations in the northern part of the country has killed 88 militants and bandits, reports This Day (Nigeria). Aircraft from the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) supported ground troops battling Boko Haram in the Tumbun Rego area in the northern part of the northeastern Borno state. Close air support operations by Nigerian Alpha Jets and Nigerien air force aircraft killed 33 militants and destroyed terrorist equipment, said the Nigerian air force. Meanwhile, Operation Sharan Daji in the northwestern Zamfara state killed 55 criminals involved in cattle rustling. The air force conducted airstrikes in the Kagara, Gando, Fankama, Fete and Dumburun forests, the service said. The Zamfara operation also resulted in the rescue of 760 kidnap victims and the arrest of 24 suspects. One army officer and two soldiers were killed, the newspaper said on Thursday. Troops recovered weapons, ammunition and stolen cows, officials said. Separately, four police officers were killed in Nigeria's southern Edo state when gunmen attacked a police headquarters on Wednesday, reported the Nigerian Tribune (Ibadan).
Somalia—19 Al-Shabaab Militants Killed In Military Operations In South  Shabelle Media Network | 03/15/2019 At least 19 Al-Shabaab militants have been killed in military operations in southern Somalia, reports the Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu). On Wednesday, the Somali National Army backed by international forces attacked an Al-Shabaab position in the Lower Juba region, killing 16, said regional security officials. Security forces from the autonomous Jubaland region also took part in the operation between Bar Sanguni and Jamame in Lower Juba, Jubaland officials said. Separately, the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) said it killed three Al-Shabaab militants and captured one on Wednesday in Bura Hache near the Somali border with Kenya, reported the Daily Nation (Kenya). The KDF was patrolling the area as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).                                                                          

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