Friday, March 22, 2019

TheList 4954

The List 4954 TGB

To All,
I hope that you all have a great weekend.
This Day In Naval History – March 22, 2019
1820 Commodore Stephen Decatur was mortally wounded in a duel with Capt. James Barron at Bladensburg, Md., over criticism Decatur had when Barron lost his ship, USS Chesapeake, to HMS Leopard in 1807.
1915 "Naval Aviator" replaces the title "Navy Air Pilot" for officers who become qualified as aviators.
1929 Destroyers USS Robert Smith (DD 324), USS Moody (DD 277), and USS Selfridge (DD 320) protect Americans and their property during the Mexican Cristero uprising.
1943 USS Gudgeon (SS 211) attacks a Japanese convoy 30 miles north Surabaya, Java, sinking an army cargo ship while surviving the depth charge attack by her escort vessels. Also on this date, USS Tambor (SS 198) damages a Japanese transport in the Sulu Sea, off Negros, Philippines.
1946 USS Missouri (BB 63) departs the U.S. to return the body of deceased Turkish ambassador, Mehmet Munir Ertegun, back to his homeland for burial, arriving in Istanbul on April 5.
1991 USS Macdonough (DDG 39) and USS Nicholas (FFG 47) arrive back at their homeport at Naval Base Charleston, S.C., the first Navy surface combatants to return to CONUS after participating in Desert Storm.
This Day In Naval History – March 23, 2019
1815 The sloop-of-war USS Hornet captures the brig sloop HMS Penguin after a 22 minute battle, with neither ship aware the War of 1812 is over.
1882 Secretary of the Navy William H. Hunt (Jan. 7, 1881 to April 16, 1882), creates the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) with General Order No. 292.
1917 USS New Mexico (BB 40) is launched. She is the first dreadnought with turboelectric drive.
1944 USS Tunny (SS 282) sinks the Japanese submarine I 42 off the Palau Islands.
1945 USS Haggard (DD 555) is damaged when she rams and sinks Japanese submarine RO 41 in the Philippine Sea. Also on this date, USS Spadefish (SS 411) attacks Japanese Sasebo-to-Ishigaki convoy SAI-05 in the East China Sea about 120 miles north-northwest of Amami O Shima and sinks transport Doryu Maru.
1953 During the Korean War, jet aircraft from USS Oriskany (CVA 34) stage a "lights out" program by attacking a water power site below the Fusen Reservoir, resulting in four cuts in the penstocks and damaging two buildings housing generators.
1965 Navy Lt. Cmdr. John W. Young is a pilot on Gemini III, the first 2-manned spacecraft, that completes three orbits in four hours, 53 minutes at an altitude of 224 km. He is joined by Air Force Lt. Col. Virgil Grissom, command pilot.
This Day In Naval History – March 24, 2019
1903 Adm. George Dewey is commissioned Admiral of the Navy, the only person to hold this rank. Upon his death Jan. 16, 1917, Congress deactivates the rank.
1919 The battleship USS Idaho (BB 42) is commissioned. Idaho serves with the Pacific fleet, participating in gunfire support of the Aleutian, Marianas, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa Campaigns, and is in Tokyo Bay Sept. 2, 1945 when Japan formally surrenders.
1936 USS Balch (DD 363), named after Rear Adm. George B. Balch, is launched.
1944 USS Bowfin (SS 287) attacks a Japanese convoy, sinking both a transport and army cargo ship.
1986 The first operational use of a Harpoon missile in combat is used by A-6A aircraft from VA-34 against a Libyan Combatant II G-class fast-attack missile craft. The engagement occurs after Libyan armed forces fire missiles at U.S. Navy forces operating in the Gulf of Sidra. Retaliatory strikes by A-7E Corsair II aircraft put the SA-5 missiles out of action at Surt and VA-85 aircraft then sink the missile craft.
2009 Coastal patrol craft USS Chinook (PC 9) arrives at Umm Qasr, Iraq. During this port visit to Iraq, she is the first U.S. Navy ship to stay overnight.
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
In national headlines today President Trump endorsed Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights on Thursday, marking what would be a sharp U.S. policy shift over the disputed territory, and North Korea is withdrawing from a joint liaison office near the demilitarized zone with South Korea, a key symbol of the ongoing peace process between the two countries. USNI News reported on the release of the Navy's latest 30-year shipbuilding plan which reaches and sustains a 355-ship fleet sooner than last year's plan. USNI News also reported on the Navy's first ever long-range ships maintenance and modernization plan which highlights a shortage of dry docks for surface ship maintenance and the need to improve infrastructure at public and private shipyards. Additionally, the New York Times reports that the Trump administration imposed sanctions on two Chinese shipping companies that have been accused of helping North Korea evade international sanctions.
This day in world history

Indians attack a group of colonists in the James River area of Virginia, killing 350 residents.

The first legislation prohibiting gambling is enacted in Boston.

Charles II gives large tracts of land from west of the Connecticut River to the east of Delaware Bay in North America to his brother James, the Duke of York.

Frederick William abolishes serfdom on crown property in Prussia.

The Stamp Act is passed, the first direct British tax on the American colonists.

British statesman Edmund Burke makes a speech in the House of Commons, urging the government to adopt a policy of reconciliation with America.

Thomas Jefferson becomes the first U.S. Secretary of State.

Congress passes laws prohibiting slave trade with foreign countries although slavery remains legal in the United States.

Horace Greeley publishes New Yorker, a weekly literary and news magazine and forerunner of Harold Ross' more successful The New Yorker.

Japan proclaims that it is determined to keep Russia from encroaching on Korea.

The first color photograph is published in the London Daily Illustrated Mirror.

Russians troops complete the evacuation of Manchuria in the face of advancing Japanese forces.

A German Zepplin makes a night raid on Paris railway stations.

The first international airline service is inaugurated on a weekly schedule between Paris and Brussels.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill legalizing the sale and possession of beer and wine.

Persia is renamed Iran.

First U.S. built rocket to leave the Earth's atmosphere reaches a 50-mile height.

The United States announces a land reform plan for Korea.

The London gold market reopens for the first time since 1939.

President Lyndon Johnson names General William Westmoreland as Army Chief of Staff.

The U.S. Senate passes the Equal Rights Amendment. The amendment fails to achieve ratification.

The Viet Cong propose a new truce with the United States and South Vietnam, which includes general elections.

A jury in Anchorage, Alaska, finds Captain Hazelwood not guilty in the Valdez oil spill.
Thanks to NHHC
Vietnam@50: HM2 David Ray
On March 19, 1969, 50 years ago, Navy Hospital Corpsman David Robert Ray, while serving with Battery D, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines, was killed in action while providing medical aid to injured Marines during a surprise enemy attack at Phu Loc 6 in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. During the early morning attack by the North Vietnamese army, the enemy had infiltrated the camp's perimeter, and casualties began to mount. Despite heavy loss of blood after fighting off two NVA soldiers, Ray managed to crawl through a barrage of enemy fire to assist a fallen Marine. In the act of saving the Marine's life, Ray shielded him from a grenade blast. The selfless deed would ultimately take Ray's life, and he would posthumously receive the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions. To learn more, read the blog A Portrait of HM2 Bobby Ray, Heroic "Doc" of Liberty Bridge at The Sextant.
Medal of Honor Day
On Nov. 15, 1990, Public Law 101-564 was approved by Congress, designating March 25, 1991, as National Medal of Honor Day. The day is significant, as it is the day the first Medals of Honor were presented in 1863 to six of the 22 men known as Andrews' Raiders for their participation in the Great Locomotive Chase during the Civil War. The Navy and Marine Corps Medal of Honor is our country's oldest continuously awarded decoration, even though its appearance and award criteria have changed since it was created for enlisted men by Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles on Dec. 16, 1861. Legislation in 1915 made naval officers eligible for the award. Although originally awarded for both combat and noncombat heroism, the Medal of Honor today is presented for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty during combat operations against an enemy of the United States. Medal of Honor Day was established to honor the recipients of the Medal of Honor and to raise public awareness of the importance of the nation's highest honor.
Thanks to Robert
CVEs of WW II – Pocket Carries that Packed a Whallop
Quick and easy to build, based on the Liberty Ship / Victory Ship hull designs, and built mainly around Portland Oregon, they were very effective submarine hunters and convoy escort carriers.
The World's Biggest Passenger Plane, the A380, No More Production Runs
The Airbus A380, currently the world's largest passenger airplane, whose maker Airbus announced Thursday is being retired after just 12 years in commercial service.
Dresden February 13,14, 15 1945 – Target of the British De-Housing Campaign & US Army Air Force Precision Attacks
While the Americans tried to specifically target the RR yards around it, the British tactic was to fire-bomb of the entire city the nights before make it very difficult to hit specific targets. The backup Aiming Point for the Americans was the city center – none dropped there and instead tried to hit their assigned target – but they were not very accurate.
Thanks to Carl
Most seniors never get enough exercise. In His wisdom God decreed that seniors become forgetful so they would have to search for their glasses, keys and other things, thus doing more walking. And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God saw there was another need. In His wisdom He made seniors lose co-ordination so they would drop things, requiring them to bend, reach, and stretch. And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God considered the function of bladders and decided seniors  would have additional calls of nature, requiring more trips to the  bathroom, thus providing more exercise.  God looked down and saw that  it was good.

So if you find as you age, you are getting up and down more, remember it's God's will. It is all in your best interest even though you mutter under your breath.
Nine Important Facts to Remember as We Grow Older 

#9  Death is the number 1 killer in the world.

#8  Life is sexually transmitted.
#7  Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

#6   Men have 2 motivations: hunger and hanky panky, and they can't tell them apart. If you see a gleam in his eyes, make him a sandwich.

#5  Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks, months, maybe years.

#4  Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospital, dying of nothing.

#3  All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

#2  In the 60's, people took LSD to make the world weird. Now the world is weird, and people take Prozac to make it normal.

#1  Life is like a jar of jalapeno peppers. What you do today may be a burning issue tomorrow.  

Please share this wisdom with others while I go to the bathroom
Thanks to Don
It is like a commercial but has some very interesting capability descriptions
F-22 & F-35 video - Impressive
  Short Video:
Many people have expressed concerns about the cost of the newest fighters.
They are expensive but they have been designed with extraordinary 
capabilities to provide Air Superiority in the next war.  Take a look and see some of the amazing performance of these two newest generations.
Thanks to Carl
The Really Dumb, Stupid, Totally Clueless, Idiot's Guide to Socialism
By Don Feder
March 21, 2018

       1. Why now, with a great economy – and Venezuela as the classic example of how to kill a country with socialism – are so many buying in to Yellow-Brick-Road economics? The unemployment rate, job creation, and price of energy point to a bright future. The last time Americans were turned on by socialism was during the Great Depression, with 25% unemployment and Hoovervilles dotting the landscape. Then there's Venezuela, once one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America, where there are periodic blackouts in what was a major oil-producing state. A March 12th story in The New York Post reported, "Desperate Venezuelans were forced to turn to filthy sewage drains and polluted rivers as the country's nearly weeklong power outage left many without water." And this is when Millennials and most Democrats say they favor socialism over free enterprise. Bottom line: It's about power and plunder, not fairness and compassion.

       2. Socialism is based on a profound ignorance of the laws of economics.Karl Marx, who spent most of his life writing in the library of the British Museum, refused to set foot in a factory – fearing it would shatter his illusions. At the ripe old age of 29, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is like a babe wandering around a grown-ups world – where people work and pay taxes. Her last job was bartending at a Manhattan saloon. If you asked her how a corporation works, she'd begin babbling about the "1%" and the Israeli "occupation." For socialists, ignorance is an impenetrable shield.

       3. Socialism makes a few rich and many very poor. Hugo Chavez, the socialist ruler of Venezuela before the current socialist ruler of Venezuela, used to say it's "bad" to be rich – which is why the policies of he and Maduro have produced so many desperately poor people. Chavez's favorite daughter, Maria Gabriela Chavez, is worth an estimated $4.2 billion – doubtless acquired through canny investments. In the USSR, there was the "new class," which grew fat on the misery of the proletariat. Socialism is a way for non-producers to strike it rich.

       4. Socialism is fueled by envy. In the socialist melodrama, there's always a villain – a role currently assumed by the Democrats favorite scapegoat the proverbial 1%. "Why should they have so much more than you," socialists ask? Well, perhaps they work harder than you, take risks you're unwilling to take. Maybe they're smarter or more creative. Yes, they're ultra-rich SOBs – ultra-rich SOBs who produce wealth and innovations and jobs. When we help the Bernies of the world to pull them down, we pull down ourselves with them.

       5. Where has socialism ever worked? Taiwan versus China (before it adopted market reforms)? East Germany versus West Germany? North versus South Korea? No, no, no, say Bernie and Bitchy. We mean democratic socialism, what they have in the UK and Scandinavia. Britain almost sank under the dead weight of post-World War II socialism, before Margaret Magnus began cutting and privatizing. Scandinavian socialism is more myth than reality. Take Sweden. Guided by conservative governments, by 1970, Sweden had the world's 4th highest per capita income. Then the socialists came in, raising taxes, piling on regulations, and spending like drunken Vikings. By 1990, Sweden's per capita income had plummeted to 14th worldwide. Since 1997, ministries that propose new spending have to offset it with cuts in existing programs. In 2007, the nation reduced unemployment payments. In the preceding decade, power and transportation sectors were deregulated. The highest corporate tax rate was cut from 28% to 22% (scheduled to go to 20.4% by 2021). Today, Sweden is richer than all major EU countries. Some socialism.

       6. Socialism consistently fails, domestically as well as internationally. In America, the failure of socialism extends to almost everything the government touches, except the military, including the U.S. Postal Service, public education, VA hospitals and public housing. U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley III wrote in an opinion last year that public housing in New York City (the People's Republic of de Blasio) was "Somewhat reminiscent of the biblical plagues of Egypt, these conditions include toxic lead paint, asthma-inducing mold, lack of heat, frequent elevator outages, and vermin infestation." The city's housing authority has "whitewashed these deficiencies for years," the judge charged. In the Big Apple, the house that socialism built rests on mold, toxicity and vermin infestation.

       7. Laying the groundwork for socialism. The left is on course to bankrupt the nation, import swarms of mendicants, raise debt from student loans to unsupportable levels, and repeal the Industrial Revolution with the Green New Deal. They intend to build their socialist utopia on the ruins of what's left of a free-market economy. As Tucker Carlson points out on FOX News, student-loan debt stands at $1.5 trillion, more than the GDP of Spain or Sweden. In the past 13 years, the average indebtedness per graduate increased from $20,000 to $37,000. For two million Americans, it's more than $100,000. Academia has gone on a spending spree, encouraged by federal subsidies. (Between 1997 and today, the number of administrators on college campuses has more than doubled.) Now, proponents of socialism threaten to solve the problem government created by nationalizing student loans. Works for them.

       8. Socialism's cheerleaders – the academic/media axis. The media made Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, creating a legend out of a ditz who defeated a 10-term incumbent – a middle-aged white-guy hack who didn't know he was in a race till it was too late – in one of the most heavily Democratic congressional districts in the country. Every time a Democrat presidential hopeful proposes another socialist program, media mutts salivate like Pavlov's dogs. Academia is even worse. In a 2017 survey covered by U.S. News and World Report (based on responses from 8,688 full-time professors at 51 of the 60 top-ranked liberal arts colleges), there were 10 registered Democrats for every one Republican. From lectures, to assigned reading, to speakers, most college campuses resemble the Communist International, except they're to the left of Stalin.

       9. Anti-Semitism isn't an aberration; it's central to socialism. Some on the left professed to be shocked when Sanders and AOC rushed to the defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar, after her anti-Semitic Tweets. But the movement has always been anti-Semitic. Socialists were quick to pick up on anti-Jewish stereotypes – Jews care only for money; Jews are lackies of business interests; There's a Jewish conspiracy to dominate humanity. In his 1844 essay ("On the Jewish Question") Marx wrote: "What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money." This was a meme picked up a century later by Germany's National Socialists. The late Hugo Chavez had a paranoid belief in Jewish conspiracies. In 2005, he referred to Jews as "the descendants of the same ones who crucified Christ," who had "taken possession of all the wealth of the world." From this perspective, the Hitler-Stalin Pact made perfect sense.

       10. Millennials (Generation Dumb) and Socialism. As we're regularly reminded, socialism's greatest appeal is for the young, Millennials (ages 22 to 27) in particular. According to a recent survey, more favor socialism than capitalism (43% to 32%). This stands to reason, given their profound ignorance of U.S. History and economics. In a YouGov survey by the Foundation for Liberty and American Greatness, only 35% of Millennials knew which presidents were shown on Mount Rushmore (compared to 71% of Boomers). Only 11% of the former knew which rights are guaranteed by the First Amendment. And it doesn't get any better for the next generation. The same survey showed that over half of today's high schoolers believe Obama was more important to America than George Washington. They're probably right. How can winning the War for Independence and leading the United States through its first quarter century of existence compare with Obama Care and subsidizing Iran's nuclear program.

       You could call the foregoing socialism simplified, for the really simple. Those who want to avoid the cataclysm need to keep reminding our fellow citizens that socialism isn't just bad economics, it's evil, part of the death march of progress. 
Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains a Facebook page.
Navy Ready to 'Burn the Boats' with 2021 Laser Installation on a Destroyer
This is a repeat but well worth the read
Thanks to David …and Dr. Rich
PS - if you ever get a chance, visit the USMC Museum at Quantico .. there is an amazing diorama of the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, complete w. refrigeration in the auditorium sized space!!
The Tootsie Roll Marines
The 68th Anniversary of the Korean War "Chosin Few" .... The Tootsie Roll Marines - The Forgotten War
On November 26, 1950, 10,000 men of the First Marine Division, along with elements of two Army regimental combat teams, a detachment of British Royal Marine commandos and some South Korean policemen were completely surrounded by over ten divisions of Chinese troops in rugged mountains near the Chosin Reservoir. Chairman Mao himself had ordered the Marines annihilated, and Chinese General Song Shi-Lun gave it his best shot, throwing human waves  of his 120,000 soldiers against the heavily outnumbered allied  forces . A massive cold front blew in from Siberia, and with it, the coldest winter in recorded Korean history for the encircled allies at the Chosin Reservoir, daytime temperatures averaged five degrees below zero, while nights plunged to minus 35 and lower.  
Jeep batteries froze and split. C-rations ran dangerously low and the cans were frozen solid. Fuel could not be spared to thaw them. If truck engines stopped, their fuel lines froze. Automatic weapons wouldn't cycle. Morphine syrettes had to be thawed in a medical corpsman's mouth before they could be injected. Precious bottles of blood plasma were frozen and useless. Resupply could only come by air, and that was spotty and erratic because of the foul weather.  
High Command virtually wrote them off, believing their situation was hopeless. Washington braced for imminent news of slaughter and defeat. Retreat was hardly an option; not through that wall of Chinese troops. If the Marines defended, they would be wiped out. So they formed a 12-mile long column and attacked.
There were 78 miles of narrow, crumbling, steeply-angled road and 100,000 Chinese soldiers between the Marines and the sea at Hungnam. Both sides fought savagely for every inch of it. The march out became one monstrous, moving battle.  
The Chinese used the ravines between ridges, protected from rifle fire, to marshal their forces between attacks. The Marines' 60-millimeter mortars, capable of delivering high, arcing fire over the ridgelines, breaking up those human waves, became perhaps the most valuable weapon the Marines had. But their supply of mortar rounds was quickly depleted. Emergency requests for resupply were sent by radio, using code words for specific items. The code for 60mm mortar ammo was "Tootsie Rolls" but the radio operator receiving that urgent request didn't have the Marines' code sheets All he knew was that the request came from command authority, it was extremely urgent and there were tons of Tootsie Rolls at supply bases in Japan.  
Tootsie Rolls had been issued with other rations to US troops since World War I, earning preferred status because they held up so well to heat, cold and rough handling compared to other candies.  
Tearing through the clouds and fog, parachutes bearing pallet-loads of Tootsie Rolls descended on the Marines. After initial shocked reactions, the freezing, starving troops rejoiced. Frozen Tootsies were thawed in armpits, popped in mouths, and their sugar provided instant energy. For many, Tootsie Rolls were their only nourishment for days. The troops also  learned they could use warmed Tootsie Rolls to plug bullet holes in fuel drums,  gas tanks, cans and radiators, where they would freeze solid again, sealing  the leaks.
Over two weeks of unspeakable misery, movement and murderous fighting, the 15,000-man column suffered 3,000 killed in action, 6,000 wounded and thousands of severe frostbite cases. But they reached the sea, demolishing several Chinese divisions in the process. Hundreds credited their very survival to Tootsie Rolls. Surviving Marines called themselves "The Chosin Few," and among themselves, another name: The Tootsie Roll Marines. Join me in sharing their story and some Tootsie Rolls.  
I will never again see Tootsie Roll the same again.
Afghanistan—2 U.S. Troops, Afghan Soldier Die In Kunduz Op NATO's Resolute Support Mission | 03/22/2019 Two U.S. troops and an Afghan commando have been killed in an operation in northern Afghanistan, reports the NATO Resolute Support mission. Three other Afghan troops were injured and "many" Taliban were killed in the mission in the Gul Tepa district of Kunduz province, reported the New York Times.  The district is completely under Taliban control, said provincial officials. The fatalities were the result of enemy engagement during a partnered U.S.-Afghan operation, a U.S. defense source told CNN.  The coalition said that an investigation into the incident had been launched.  
Israel—Trump Ready To Recognize Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights  Cable News Network | 03/22/2019 President Donald Trump has bucked decades of U.S. policy, declaring that it is time to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, reports CNN.  Recognizing Israeli claims to large portions of the Golan Heights would ensure the security of Israel and stability in the region, Trump said on Thursday.  Israeli forces seized the region from Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967. It was formally annexed in 1981. The annexation has not been recognized internationally. The Golan Heights is formally considered occupied territory and Israeli settlements there are illegal under international law.  Recognizing the territory as a part of Israel violates U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254, said Geir Pedersen, the U.N. special envoy for Syria.  Following Iranian involvement in the Syrian civil war, Israel has accused Iranian forces and their proxies of preparing attacks in the area, which is largely uninhabited on the Syrian side.  The announcement comes weeks before general elections in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been pressing the Trump administration to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel.  Trump may formalize the announcement by signing an executive order next week, according to a Fox News report cited by Reuters.   
USA—Navy Needs More Dry Docks To Keep Up With Maintenance Needs As Fleet Grows USNI News | 03/22/2019 The Navy needs more dry docks to deal with maintenance backlogs and plans to increase the fleet to 355 ships, reports USNI News.  The Report to Congress on the Long-Range Plan for Maintenance and Modernization of Naval Vessels for Fiscal Year 2020, released on Thursday, calls for more dry docks for surface ship maintenance; improved infrastructure at public and private shipyards to keep up with the latest ships entering service; and process improvements to enable private yards and suppliers to increase their capacity as the fleet expands.  The report is a companion to the Report to Congress on the Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for Fiscal Year 2020, which was released the same day.  Necessary changes include refurbishing current sustainment tools and platforms as well as additional dry docks. In 2018, the shipyard equipment was past its service life.  The shortage is particularly acute on the West Coast, where 45 surface ships rely on four dry docks, notes the report.  The Navy's four public yards have a total of 18 dry docks for aircraft carriers and submarines and the service has struggled to get contractors and private firms to fill the gap.  In September, the Navy pitched a 20-year, $21-billion plan to update and optimize the four yards.  In addition to capacity issues, the Navy has also struggled with the timing of its maintenance. In recent years, backlogs have developed as problems beyond the scope of the planned work package are discovered, resulting in delays as approval for the new work is obtained.  The report also notes the need for the Navy to provide predictability in fueling and workload forecasts to industry.  
USA—Boeing Receives Order For Block III Super Hornets U.S. Department Of Defense | 03/22/2019 The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command has awarded Boeing a contract modification for full-rate production of F/A-18E/F Super Hornetfighter jets, reports the Dept. of Defense. The $4 billion deal covers the production and delivery of 61 single-seat F/A-18E and 17 two-seat F/A-18F aircraft between fiscal years 2018 and 2021, said a Pentagon release on Wednesday. The deal covers Block III Super Hornets, said a Boeing release. The latest configuration features improvements such as enhanced network capability, longer range, reduced radar signature, advanced cockpit systems and enhanced communication systems, the company said. Work to convert existing Block II jets to the Block III standard is to begin in the early 2020s, said Boeing. The service life of the Super Hornet will also be extended from 6,000 to 10,000 flight hours. The multi-year procurement model saves an estimated minimum of $395 million in this contract, said a Naval Air Systems Command release. There will also be opportunities to procure six additional aircraft at the same reduced price in fiscal 2020 and 2021, the release said. Work under the contract is expected to be completed in April 2024.
Italy—Government Set To Sign On To China's Belt And Road Initiative Agence France-Presse | 03/22/2019 Italy is set to sign a memorandum of understanding with China to join its Belt and Road initiative, reports Agence France-Presse.  On Friday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is expected to sign the agreement to join the US$1 trillion infrastructure project.  More than 30 agreements worth around 7 billion euros (US$8 billion) are expected to be agreed to during Xi's visit. These include deals to open the ports of Genoa and Trieste to Chinese contractors.  Once signed, Italy will become the first G7 nation to enter the pact, which has become Beijing's main foreign policy project.  The decision has been criticized within the government as well as by Italy's U.S. and European allies.  Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said he would not attend a state dinner on Saturday with Chinese President Xi Jinping and expressed concern about using 5G mobile technology supplied by Chinese firm Huawei.  The U.S. has cautioned countries in Europe and elsewhere from using Chinese-supplied technology and falling into debt due to Chinese infrastructure projects.  Italy has passed a series of rules aimed at maintaining power over foreign technologies, noted Reuters. Under the so-called golden powers proposed on Wednesday, private and public companies would be required to notify the government of any purchases of 5G technology from non-European providers.  Italy is technically in recession and seeking to increase economic ties with China, noted analysts.   
Germany—Decision On New Frigates Postponed Defense-Aerospace | 03/22/2019 The German navy's program to build a new class of blue-water frigates is unlikely to move forward this year, say lawmakers cited by A contract is unlikely to be awarded before the end of the year and is now anticipated for the first quarter of 2020, Daniel Gunther, president of the German senate, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Two teams are competing for the estimated US$4.5 billion (4 billion euro) contract: German Naval Yards in Kiel teamed with Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards in partnership with German firm Blohm & Voss. The navy hopes to select a preferred bidder by spring and receive parliamentary approval for the project by the end of the year. The MKS 180-class is considered the future flagship of the German navy. The ships will be designed for long-duration missions and blue-water operations. The warships will be equipped with air defense, anti-ship and anti-submarine capabilities, as well as the ability to carry and deploy commandos or marine infantry.    
Australia—Arafura-Class OPV Reaches Construction Milestone Australian Dept. Of Defense | 03/22/2019 Australian shipbuilder ASC, in partnership with Luerssen Australia, has finished assembling the keel for the first Arafura-class offshore patrol vessel for the Australian navy, reports the Australian Dept. of Defense. Construction of the keel, which began in November 2018, was completed on time and on budget at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia, Defense Minister Christopher Pyne said on Thursday. A keel-laying ceremony will be held in the near future after the blocks are structurally completed and moved to the fitting-out facility, said a departmental release. In November 2017, the Australian Dept. of Defense awarded German shipbuilder Luerssen a US$2.1 billion (Aus$3 billion) contract for 12 offshore patrol vessels. The first two ships of the class will be built by ASC at the Osborne Naval Shipyard. The remainder will be constructed by CIVMEC, in cooperation with Luerssen Australia, in Henderson in Western Australia beginning in 2020. The Arafura class is powered by two diesel engines, displaces 1,640 tons and has a top speed of 20 knots with a standard range of 4,000 nm (6,400 km) at 12 knots. The vessels will replace the Armidale-class and Cape-class patrol boats, Huon-class coastal minehunters and Leeuwin-class survey ships, noted IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.    
Sweden—Modernized Brimstone Ground Attack Missile Completes 1st Firing MBDA Missile Systems | 03/22/2019 MBDA has announced the first test-firing of the latest variant of the Brimstone air-to-ground missile. The missile was fired from a ground launcher against a pickup truck target at the Vidsel range in Sweden, the company announced on Wednesday. The temperature at the range at the time of the test was -22 degrees F (-30 degrees C). The trial was successful, with the missile demonstrating full closed loop guidance. The seeker performed as expected, successfully progressing through track and target acquisition. The Brimstone 3 variant is the result of the Brimstone Capability Sustainment Program (CSP), which was announced in March 2018. The latest variant includes all of the upgrades incorporated on earlier Brimstone missiles, including the dual mode semi-active laser/millimetric wave seeker; enhanced autopilot; and the new insensitive munition-compliant rocket motor and warhead.    
  Israel—3 Palestinians Killed In Separate Incidents In W. Bank Times of Israel | 03/22/2019 A Palestinian man has been killed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the West Bank, reports the Times of Israel. On Wednesday, a 26-year-old man was fatally shot by troops near a military checkpoint outside of the town of al-Khader, said the IDF. The man, later identified as Ahmed Mansara, was suspected of throwing rocks at passing vehicles "as the result of an internal dispute between Palestinians," said IDF officials. Troops opened fire when attempting to arrest him, the officials said. Local authorities said Mansara was unarmed and shot while attempting to aid another man injured by Israeli gunfire while driving near the checkpoint. Mansara was gunned down when he was returning to his car, reported Al Jazeera (Qatar). Earlier that day, IDF troops killed two Palestinians who reportedly threw explosive devices at soldiers securing the entry to Joseph's tomb in Nablus. The violence comes amid increased tensions following a deadly attack on Sunday in which a Palestinian fatally shot a rabbi and an Israeli soldier in the northern West Bank. The suspected attacker was killed on Tuesday in a gun battle with Israeli security forces.   
Chad—Boko Haram Attacks Troops Near Lake Chad, Killing 23 Reuters | 03/22/2019 At least 23 Chadian soldiers have been killed in an assault by Nigeria-based militants in the country's southeast, reports Reuters.  On Thursday, Boko Haram militants attacked the soldiers in the town of Dangdala, near Lake Chad, said two security sources.  The attackers, were believed to have crossed into Chad from Niger, said one source.  The military declined to comment.  This may be the deadliest attack on Chadian troops by the Nigeria-based insurgent group, noted the news agency.   
Somalia—5 Kenyan Troops Killed During Withdrawal From Base In Gedo Region Dalsan Radio | 03/22/2019 At least five Kenyan troops have been killed in a roadside bombing in southwestern Somalia, reports Radio Dalsan (Mogadishu). On Wednesday, a military vehicle struck an improvised explosive device planted by Al-Shabaab militants in Elwak in the Gedo region.  The troops had withdrawn from their military base in Busaar and were heading to the Kenyan border when the bomb exploded. The base was destroyed before the contingent made its final withdrawal, said local officials. Al-Shabaab reportedly took control of the base after the Kenyan troops left. The Kenyan Defence Forces operated bases Bardera, Busaar and El Adde after deploying to southern Somalia in October 2011. All have since been abandoned. The base in Bardera was back in Al-Shabaab hands within a week of the Kenyan withdrawal. Somali officials have expressed uncertainty as to whether the departure of Kenyan troops would restore peace and stability or allow for Al-Shabaab militants to regain control of the region. Separately, Al-Shabaab attacked a military base in Bulo Marer in Somalia's southwestern Lower Shabelle region, killing at least one Somali soldier and injuring two, reported the Mareeg news site (Somalia). The Somali army, backed by the African Union, counterattacked, causing heavy casualties, according to the Somali military. An unspecified number of militants were reportedly captured in the operation.   
India—Soldier Dies In Pakistani Shelling In Kashmir Press Trust Of India | 03/22/2019 An Indian soldier has been killed in an attack along the line of control in India-administered Kashmir, reports the Press Trust of India. On Thursday, Pakistani forces launched heavy mortar attacks on Indian army positions in the Rajouri district, said officials. The cease-fire violations took place in the Keri belt of the Sunderbani sector, officials said.  Another Indian soldier was killed and four injured in heavy mortar and small-arms fire in Rajouri district on Monday. Border skirmishes have increased in the wake of India's airstrike on an alleged terrorist camp in Pakistan in late February. Pakistan has violated the cease-fire over 110 times since January, said Indian officials. The number hit an all-time high last year, with a total of 2,936 violations.   
Pakistan—Security Forces Free 4 Iranian Troops Held By Militants Dawn | 03/22/2019 Four Iranian soldiers captured by militants have been recovered from a hideout during a military operation in southwestern Pakistan, reports the Dawn (Pakistan). Pakistani forces conducted an intelligence-based operation in Baluchistan's Chagai district, about 2.5 miles (4 km) from the border with Afghanistan, a Pakistani army release said on Wednesday. Terrorists from an unnamed group were reported to have entered Pakistan from Afghanistan with the captured soldiers, the military said. The Iranians were recovered after an exchange of fire and are being handed over to Iranian authorities, the release said. In October 2018, Jaish al-Adl militants captured 12 Iranian border guards from Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan province near the Pakistani border. Details of the incident remain unclear and the number of the abducted troops has been twice revised by Tehran. Pakistani forces rescued five of the border guards in November. It was not clear if the newly recovered troops had been taken in the October incident.   
North Korea—Pyongyang Recalls Staff From Liaison Office Yonhap | 03/22/2019 The North Korea government has withdrawn all of its staff from a joint liaison office with the South, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).  On Friday, about 15 North Korean employees left the inter-Korean liaison office located in the border city of Kaesong, said the South Korean Unification Ministry.  Pyongyang gave prior warning to the move but did not indicate the reason, said the ministry.  Twenty-five South Korean employees will remain at the site, which opened in September. The office was intended to facilitate exchanges and cooperation under an agreement reached last year between President Moon Jae In and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.  All other inter-Korean communications channels continue to function, officials said.  The move comes three weeks after a summit between President Trump and Kim ended without a deal.  The surprise withdrawal is likely an effort to pressure Seoul to work harder to push the U.S. to lower its demands and reduce sanctions against North Korea, said analysts.   
Philippines—Duterte Rules Out Further Talks With Communist Rebels Philippine Star | 03/22/2019 Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ended government talks with communist rebels, reports the Philippine Star.  "I am officially announcing the permanent termination of our talks between the government panel and the Communist Party of the Philippines," Duterte announced on Thursday.  The announcement followed a decision on Monday to dissolve the panel charged with negotiating with the communist groups, reported ABS-CBN News (Philippines). Official talks between the two sides were last held in November 2017, when Duterte previously suspended negotiations. There were plans to resume negotiations in June 2018, but these were cancelled by Manila. Ending talks at the national level will pave the way for localized talks, said a spokesman for Duterte. New panels consisting of sectoral representatives, local government and the military will be established, he said.   Since the late 1960s and early 1970s, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the New People's Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, have fought the Philippine government.    
Burma—6 Civilians Killed As Rebels, Military Clash In Rakhine State Reuters | 03/22/2019 Six civilians have been killed and five injured in fighting between Burmese troops and rebels in the northern part of Rakhine state, reports Reuters.  On Thursday, fighting broke out between the Arakan Army and soldiers in Buthidaung, said witnesses. The Arakan Army initiated the clashes, said an army spokesman. Witnesses said that government troops surrounded the village and began firing heavy weapons.  Five people died while hiding from the bombardment, said an activist.  Six people were injured, with one later succumbing to their injuries, said a lawmaker.  Talks between the government and Rakhine rebels ended on Thursday without an agreement.  The Arakan Army claims to fight for the rights of the ethnic Rakhine people.                                                                                                    

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