Tuesday, April 9, 2019

TheList 4968

The List 4968 TGB

To All,
I hope that your week has started well.
This day in Naval History April 9, 2019
1848 A party of men from the sloop-of-war USS Dale march 12 miles inland from Guaymas, Mexico, to capture and spike a 3-gun Mexican battery that was firing at other ships.
1941 USS North Carolina (BB 55) is commissioned. Some of the notable battles she participates in are the Guadalcanal Campaign, the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, the Battle of Philippine Sea, and gunfire support during the Iwo Jima invasion.
1942 The Bataan Peninsula falls and the Death March begins
1943 Due to World War II, the rank of commodore is reestablished as a temporary rank. During the 1986 Defense Authorization bill, O-7 officers are called rear admiral (lower half).
1944 TBM bombers and FM-2s aircraft (VC 58) from USS Guadalcanal (CVE 60), together with USS Pillsbury (DE 133), USS Pope (DE 134), USS Flaherty (DE 135), and USS Chatelain (DE 149) sink German submarine U 515.
1945.  Sonderkommando Elbe (the elite German ramming unit) destroys 24 USAF bombers in its first and only operation
1959 The first seven Mercury astronauts are selected, including three Navy aviators and one Marine: Lt. Cmdr. Walter M. Schirra, Lt. Malcom S. Carpenter, Marine Lt. Col. John Glenn Jr., and Lt. Cmdr. Alan B. Shepard.
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
In today's national news headlines, federal authorities stated a Chinese woman recently arrested at Mar-a-Lago was carrying computer malware unlike anything a government analyst had ever seen and had more than $8,000 in cash. The Navy has begun the launch of an innovative way to teach operations specialists as a part of its Ready Relevant Learning series of reforms reports Navy Times. "Each of the [Navy warfare] communities, studied it. They're comfortable with the potential that it can bring in terms of faster learning, better retention and therefore better readiness. And that's really what we're after," said Vice Adm. Bob Burke. Lt. Cmdr. Rich Ray joined Good Morning San Diego to discuss the 7th Fleets first completion of the Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training exercise. Additionally, USS Blue Ridge pulled into Pattaya for its first visit in three years.
This day in History April 9

0193 In the Balkans, the distinguished soldier Septimius Severus is proclaimed emperor by the army in Illyricum.

0715 Constantine ends his reign as Catholic Pope.
1241 In the Battle of Liegnitz, Mongol armies defeat Poles and Germans.
1454 The city states of Venice, Milan and Florence sign a peace agreement at Lodi, Italy.
1682 Robert La Salle claims lower Mississippi River and all lands that touch it for France.
1731 British Captain Robert Jenkins loses an ear to a band of Spanish brigands, starting a war between Britain and Spain: The War of Jenkins' Ear.
1770 Captain James Cook discovers Botany Bay on the Australian continent.
1859 Realizing that France has encouraged the Piedmontese forces to mobilize for invading Italy, Austria begins mobilizing its army.
1865 General Robert E. Lee surrenders his rebel forces to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Va.
1900 British forces route Boers at Kroonstadt, South Africa.
1916 The German army launches its third offensive during the Battle of Verdun.
1917 The Battle of Arras begins as Canadian troops begin a massive assault on Vimy Ridge.
1921 Russo-Polish conflict ends with signing of the Riga Treaty.
1940 Germany invades Norway and Denmark.
1942 In the Battle of Bataan, American and Filipino forces are overwhelmed by the Japanese Army.
1945 The Red Army is repulsed at the Seelow Heights on the outskirts of Berlin.
1950 Comedian Bob Hope makes his first television appearance.
1963 Winston Churchill becomes the first honorary U.S. citizen.
1966 The statue of Winston Churchill is dedicated at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.
1968 Murdered civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., is buried.
1970 Paul McCartney announces the official break-up of the Beatles.
Monday Morning Humor from Al---Golf
Who Was:
1.      President of the largest steel company?
2.      President of the largest gas company?
3.      President of the New York  stock Exchange?
4.      Greatest wheat speculator?
5.      President of the Bank of International Settlement?
6.      Great Bear of Wall Street?
These men were considered some of the world's most successful of their days.  Now, 80 years later, the history book asks us, if we know what ultimately became of them..
The Answers:
1.      The president of the largest steel company.  Charles Schwab, died a pauper.  
2.      The president of the largest gas company, Edward Hopson, went insane.
3.      The president of the NYSE, Richard Whitney, was released from prison to die at home.
4.      The greatest wheat speculator, Arthur Cooger, died abroad, penniless.
5.      The president of the Bank of International Settlement, shot himself.
6.      The Great Bear of Wall Street, Cosabee Livermore, also committed suicide
However, in that same year, 1923, the PGA Champion and the winner of the most important golf tournament, the US Open, was Gene Sarazen.  What became of him?
     He played golf until he was 92, died in 1999 at the age of 95. He was financially secure at the time of his death.
The Moral:  Forget work.  Play golf.
Submitted by Bob King:
If you're a golfer, you need to know these new rules....especially if you are a senior golfer!!  The USGA has made some great changes to the rules of golf. I especially like the new rules for seniors
·        Rule 9.k.34(a)--If a tree is between the ball and the hole, and the tree is deemed to be younger than the player, then the ball can be moved without penalty. This is so because this is simply a question of timing; when the player was younger, the tree was not there so the player is being penalized because of his age.
·        Rule 1.a.5--A ball sliced or hooked into the rough shall be lifted and placed on the fairway at a point equal to the distance it carried or rolled into the rough with no penalty. The senior player should not be penalized for tall grass which ground keepers failed to mow.
·        Rule 2.d.6 (B)--A ball hitting a tree shall be deemed NOT to have hit the tree. This is simply bad luck and luck has no place in a scientific game. The senior player must estimate the distance the ball would have traveled if it had not hit the tree, and play the ball from there.
·        Rule 3.B.3--There shall be no such thing as a lost ball. The missing ball is on or near the course and will eventually be found and pocketed by someone else, thereby making it a stolen ball. The senior player is not to compound the felony by charging himself with a penalty.
·        Rule 4.c.7(h)--If a putt passes over a hole without dropping, it is deemed to have dropped. The Law of Gravity supersedes the Rules of Golf.
·        Rule 5.--Putts that stop close enough to the cup that they could be blown in, may be blown in.  This SHALL NOT apply to balls more than twelve inches from the Hole.  No one wants to make a mockery of the game.
·        Rule 6.a.9(k)--There is no penalty for so-called "out of bounds." If penny-pinching golf course owners bought sufficient land, this would not occur. The senior player deserves an apology, not a penalty.
·        Rule 7.G.15(z)--There is no penalty for a ball in a water hazard, as golf balls should float.   Senior players should not be penalized for any shortcomings of the manufacturers.
·        Rule 8.k.9(S)--Advertisements claim that golf scores can be improved by purchasing new golf equipment.  Since this is financially impractical for many senior players, one-half stroke per hole may be subtracted for using old equipment.
Please advise all your senior friends of these important rule changes and keep multiple copies in your golf bag. Those not following the rules need to be provided a copy.  Golf is above all…a game of integrity.
Submitted by Mark Logan:
The Gospel According to St. Titleist
·        Eighteen holes of match play will teach you more about your foe than 18 years of dealing with him across a desk.--Grantland Rice
·        Golf appeals to the idiot in us and the child.  Just how childlike golf players become. This is proven by their  frequent inability to count past five.--John Updike
·        It is almost impossible to remember how tragic a place the world is when one is playing golf.--Robert Lynd
·        If profanity had any influence on the flight of the ball, the game of golf would be played far better than it is.--Horace G. Hutchinson
·        They say golf is like life, but don't believe them.  Golf is more complicated than that.--Gardner Dickinson
·        If a lot of people gripped a knife and fork as poorly as they do a golf club, they'd starve to death.--Sam Snead
·        Golf is a day spent in a round of strenuous idleness.--William Wordsworth
·        If you drink, don't drive.  Don't even putt.--Dean Martin
·        If you are going to throw a club, it is important to throw it ahead of you, down the fairway, so you don't have to waste energy going back to pick it up.--Tommy Bolt
·        Man blames fate for all other accidents, but feels personally responsible when he makes a hole-in-one.--Bishop Sheen
·        I don't say my golf game is bad, but if I grew tomatoes they'd come up sliced.--Arnold Palmer
·        My handicap?  Woods and irons.--Chris Codiroli
·        The ardent golfer would play Mount Everest if somebody would put a flag stick on top.--Pete Dye
·        I'm hitting the woods just great; but having a terrible time getting out of them!--Buddy Hackett
·        The only time my prayers are never answered is playing golf.--Billy Graham
·        If you think it's hard to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball.--Jack Lemmon
·        It's good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling.--Mark Twain
·        Don't play too much golf.  Two rounds a day are plenty.--Harry Vardon
·        Golf and sex are the only things you can enjoy without being good at either of them.--Jimmy DeMaret
·        May thy ball lie in green pastures, and not in still waters.--Ben Hogan
·        If I hit it right, it's a slice.  If I hit it left, it's a hook.  If I hit it straight, it's a miracle.--Anon
·        The difference in golf and government is that in golf you can't improve your lie.--George Deukmejian
·        Golf is a game invented by the same people who think music comes out of a bagpipe.--Lee Trevino
·        Reason they call it golf is cuz all the other four-letter words were taken.--Woody Woodbury
·        The number one golf rule you must follow:  take the car keys out of your golf bag before you throw it into the creek.
Submitted by Holly Vanderpool:
Master Trivia Challenge, for the golf lovers, of course !!
1. Who has won the most Masters? 
a) Jack Nicklaus
b) Arnold Palmer
c) Tiger Woods
2. Name the first player to win the Masters by one shot with birdies on the last two holes.
a) Arnold Palmer
b) Phil Mickelson
c) Mark O'Meara
3. Which Masters champion had the lowest final round?
a) Byron Nelson
b) Gary Player
c) Seve Ballesteros
4. Who is the only player to complete the career Grand Slam at the Masters?
a) Jack Nicklaus
b) Ben Hogan
c) Gene Sarazen
5. Who holds the Masters record with five consecutive rounds in the 60s?
a) Greg Norman
b) Ernie Els
c) Mark Calcavecchia
6. Who was the last player to win the Masters without playing in the final group?
a) Nick Faldo
b) Mike Weir
c) Jose Maria Olazabal
7. Which player made a 13 on the shortest hole at Augusta National?
a) Curtis Strange
b) Tom Weiskopf
c) John Daly
8. Which of the following British Open champions has never broken par at the Masters?
a) Todd Hamilton
b) Ben Curtis
c) Bobby Jones
9. Who is the only Masters champion to start the final round out of the top 10?
a) Fuzzy Zoeller
b) Art Wall
c) Jack Nicklaus
Masters Trivia Answers
Have a great week,
We enter World War I
Believe it or not, to fully understand the reasons Pearl Harbor led us into war, we need to take a look at what was going on twenty-five years earlier that led America into World War One.  The politics, the major banks, the cast of characters, and the alliances set the stage for what would happen in 1941.
In her book, "The Guns of August", Professor Barbara Tuchman talks of the posturing of the European kings and armies after the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sofia of Austria-Hungary by a Serbian. There were strong alliances that would come into play.  Austria-Hungary had an alliance with Germany and Germany wanted them to attack Serbia.  But Serbia had an alliance with Russia, and Russia had one with France.  France had an alliance with Great Britain, and Great Britain had an alliance with Belgium. Attack any one of these countries and you had to fight their big brothers.
Moreover, Kaiser Wilheim of Germany, Czar Nicholas of Russia, and King George of Great Britain were 1st cousins.  Queen Victoria of England was their grandmother and her husband Albert was a German.  Queen Victoria in fact was the grandmother of many of Europe's monarchs.
It seemed that no one really wanted to go to war except Germany.  Germany had the war machine and they had been planning for two years.  They wanted to add land.  Germany wanted Austria-Hungary to attack Serbia which would bring Russia in.  Then Austria-Hungary would be swayed to fight Russia.  With that, the Germany Army could cut through a corner of Belgium and attack France.  But when they did, Great Britain had to honor their alliance with Belgium.  So the first shots were fired by the British against the invading German Army on August 22, 1914.
Now then, with that history behind us, we move on to Germany's war against what we might call our Mother England.  Great Britain is an island nation and everything that comes in is by sea.
In three years, the German submarine fleet sank thousands of ships trying to reach England or to supply the British Army.  And one out of every four ships that left England never returned.  
So Great Britain needed help, and they needed financial help.  John Pierpont Morgan, and the Morgan Bank had loaned $26 Billion dollars to them and what they feared was Great Britain losing the war. An entire generation was wiped out.  The stark realization dawned on the American bankers….If Great Britain were defeated, they would lose $26 Billion dollars, a huge sum even in those days. A default of that magnitude could break the Morgan Bank.  The only thing that could save the bank and Great Britain was for the Americans to enter the war. And that was the last thing Germany wanted to see.
Germany wanted the British to seek early peace thus keeping us out of the war.
So Germany's first action was discovered by British cryptanalysts in what became known as the Zimmerman telegram.  The Foreign Secretary of the German Empire, Arthur Zimmerman sent a telegram to the German ambassador in Mexico that if it appeared likely that America would join the war, he was to approach the Mexican government with a proposal for a military alliance, with funding from Germany.
With an attack by Mexico upon the United States, Mexico was promised Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.  Hoping that would tie up the American army, we would stay out of the war in Europe.  Mexico ignored the proposal, but word got out and inflamed American public opinion against Germany.
However, polls were 10 to 1 against going to war in Europe.  That news was not well received by the Morgan Bank, by Great Britain, or by our President Wilson who wanted to preside over the post-war League of Nations.  Clearly, more must be done to get America ready for war.
The next step to bring us into the war was the sinking of the British  cruise liner Lusitania.  The Lusitania was listed in Jane's Book of Fighting Ships as an armed auxiliary cruiser and crewed by Royal Navy Reservists.  It passed as a cruise ship, but the Germans knew it was carrying guns and ammunition for the British.  The German embassy in New York was watching her being loaded and decided to warn potential passengers not to book passage on her. 
They took out ads in fifty American newspapers saying, and I quote,  "Travelers intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage of the RMS Lusitania are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain or any of her allies are subject to destruction in those waters and that travelers sailing in the war zone on ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk." End quote.  Signed, the Imperial German Embassy, New York, and dated April 22, 1915.  The Lusitania was due to sail on May 1st.
The U.S. Government prevented those ads from appearing in 49 of the 50 newspapers.  It appeared only in the Des Moines Register in Iowa.  Only President Wilson had the power to do that.
The German Navy had 29 Undersea Boats, U-boats, operating in the Atlantic.  The Captain of the Lusitania read his orders and he was to rendezvous with the British cruiser, HMS Juno off the coast of Northern Ireland and continue under her protection.  Further, she was to reduce power and run on only three of four engines reducing her speed to 75%.  Two merchant ships had been sunk days before in the rendezvous area.  But when the Lusitania arrived at the rendezvous point, the HMS Juno was not there.  She had been ordered back to port in Queenstown the day before by the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill.  She was immediately spotted by the German submarine U-20 who put a torpedo into her side.  She sank in eighteen minutes with a loss of everyone aboard.  That was 1,198 people, of which 128 were Americans and included Alfred Vanderbilt.
At the time of the sinking, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the Assistant Secretary of the Navy.  It is not known if he had been in contact with Winston Churchill.  But twenty-five years later, Roosevelt would be our President and Churchill would be the Prime Minister of Great Britain.
With the news of the sinking of the Lusitania and the death of so many Americans, the Morgan Bank bought 25 of the most influential newspapers to inflame the American public in support of going to war.  But the American public still weren't buying it.
It would be two more years, and the incident that brought it about was when the Germans sank three American merchant ships on March 17, 1917.
President Wilson pushed, and we declared war on Germany in April. 
Now then, let's fast forward to August 14, 1941.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt is now our President and Winston Churchill is the Prime Minister of Great Britain and responsible for conducting the war against the Axis Powers; Germany, Italy and Japan.  Great Britain has been at war for two years and the Germans have pushed the British Army into the sea at Dunkirk.  Germany has 65 U-boats operating in the Atlantic, mostly in Wolfpacks.  Very little is getting through to the British.  A sidenote, by the end of World War II, German U-boats had sunk 175 Allied warships and 2, 825 merchant ships.
So on this date, August 14, 1941, a top secret meeting was held between Roosevelt and Churchill in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland.  Roosevelt arrived on the cruiser USS Augusta and Churchill on the battleship HMS Prince of Wales.  They met for three days and nothing of their private meetings is recorded.  But out of their meeting came the Atlantic Charter which outlined how we and the British would co-operate AFTER the war.  A war that we were not in…. yet.
Four months after this meeting, the United States went to war.  Once more, Great Britain and Europe would be rescued.
Thanks to David and Tom
A great tribute to a great friend and special Naval Aviator. Among many other things Jack does in his "retirement'Jack is a Docent on the USS Midway sharing his love of Naval Aviation with visitors from all over the world. I was with Jack on the USS Midway in 1972-73
A POW's Story of Capture and Reunion


Aug. 25, 1972, dawned hot and muggy in Vietnam. The pilots of Fighter Squadron 161, stationed aboard USS Midway, readied their aircraft and went over the day's flight plan. Their mission was an early evening MiG combat air patrol over North Vietnam. Navy Lt. John "Jack" Ensch would serve as a radar intercept officer in an F-4B Phantom.

He wasn't worried. After 284 combat missions, and after shooting down two MiGs in a dogfight a few months earlier, he thought he was "bulletproof. ... It's always the other guy. ... You don't think it's going to happen to you."


But as Ensch and his pilot, Lt. Cmdr. Michael Doyle, soared over the beach south of Haiphong, they were greeted by a series of surface-to-air missiles (SAM). They turned and bobbed and weaved, trying desperately to escape the unescapable.

"All of a sudden," Ensch remembered, "there was this huge explosion. One of the SAMs went off right over the cockpit." There was blood everywhere. Shrapnel had nearly severed his left thumb. "Oh my God," he said aloud.

He frantically tried to talk to Doyle, and then realized the pilot "wasn't flying the airplane anymore."

Ensch ejected them both at about 450 mph, somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 feet. The force dislocated both of his elbows. People on the ground were shooting at him; bullets were hitting the silk of his parachute.

"This is it," he thought.

Later that night, some 7,700 miles and a 15-hour time difference away in Miramar, California, Cathy Ensch was relaxing in front of the television, snacking on chocolate-covered peanuts, a treat she saved for Ensch's frequent absences. A black car pulled up in front of her house. She immediately knew that something had gone horribly, tragically wrong. Her husband was missing in action (MIA). (Doyle was also classified as MIA, and would remain so until 1985.)

"One minute, you're thinking, 'I'll never see him again. What am I going to do with my life? What's the future? What am I going to do with these children?'" Cathy remembered. "And then the next minute, I was thinking, 'Oh, no, he'll make it. I know he's going to make it.' ... I finally said to myself ... 'As far as I'm concerned, Jack is alive until the Navy tells me he's dead.' ... We were used to Dad not being there. So it was easier to handle it that way and that's exactly what I did. I just managed to go on as if he was alive and do what I thought he wanted me to do."

Ensch was indeed alive, as she would learn two days before Christmas. He had landed in a rice paddy, and had been taken prisoner immediately. After a local woman bound his dangling thumb to the palm of his hand with some gauze, Ensch was turned over to uniformed military personnel. They blindfolded him, threw him in the back of a truck, covered him with a tarpaulin and drove all night.

Ensch ended up in Hanoi at the infamous Hoa Lo Prison, better known as the "Hanoi Hilton." He soon found himself in an interrogation room, asked repeatedly for details about his ship and his squadron. It went on for days while he begged for medical care. No, the interrogators said. Not until he cooperated.

"All kinds of things go through your mind," said Ensch. "I know the code of conduct ... but I'm looking at myself and both arms are bad. They started discoloring from lack of circulation. I don't know what's underneath that bloody gauze. ... After that session on the third day or so, I had a little meeting of the minds — my mind against my own mind — and said, 'What are you going to do? Are you just going to go ahead and die?' I thought of Cathy and my three girls at home. I formed a plan. I said, 'OK, next time they come in I'm going to start answering some questions if they're of no value. And if it looks like they might be of value, I'll just lie about it.'"

His plan worked. His captors did indeed take him to a hospital. Doctors then amputated the remains of his thumb and snapped his arms back into place — all without anesthesia.

"Bad bedside manner, I would say," he joked.

Ensch spent about 30 days in solitary confinement, before eventually being placed in a cell with other POWs, who nursed him back to health.

"We called ourselves the 4th Allied POW Wing. ... We figured there were POWs in World War I, World War II, Korea and we were Vietnam. ... Our motto was 'return with honor,' which we think we did," he said.

At this point in the war, prisoners were organized into work details, and allowed to put on church services each Sunday. They also ran "Hanoi University."

"A guy might have some expertise, like one in my group ... spoke fluent French. He would get some guys over in a corner and he taught conversational French," Ensch explained. "Some other guy was a history buff and was very into the Civil War, and guys would sit over and he would maybe talk about the battles of the Civil War, what happened at Bull Run."

At the North Vietnamese's discretion, prisoners sometimes received letters from home. Some were even allowed to have Red Cross care packages. Their captors, Ensch said, hoped the POWs would squabble and fight over the contents.

"It didn't work. ... One of the guys in my group received a package and he got a package of M&Ms. ... He cut them up in halves and distributed them. I think there were 30 in my group, and everybody got an equal portion of a package of M&Ms," he said. The generosity stood in stark contrast to the POW's daily diet of pumpkin or greens soup, rice, and the occasional piece of pig fat or mystery meat. "It was all for one and one for all."

Ensch himself wasn't allowed to write home until after the war ended, and even then his captors didn't send it. A POW who was in one of the first groups to go home saw it lying around, smuggled it out and got it to Cathy.

POWs returned home in three separate groups, in order of shoot down date. Ensch was in the final segment to be repatriated via Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines, Mar. 29, 1973.

"You start thinking about, are we going to be used as pawns in this chess game of diplomatic nonsense, or are we really going to go home?" he remembered. "Thoughts like that go through your mind when you're waiting. ... We just sat around for two months wondering, is this really going to happen? And it finally did."

While the men waited to board an Air Force C-141C at the Hanoi airport, their erstwhile tormenters treated them to bananas and Hanoi beer. "The whole atmosphere changed," Ensch remembered. "They were being very gracious and nice to us. We sat there for a while wondering what the hell was going on. ... We lined up in formation. Then you marched up and you stood and there were big tables with the Vietnamese at one and the Americans at the other and ... they'd check your name off. ... After we all loaded, they closed up the doors, cranked the engines up and off we went."

Ensch flew from Hanoi to Clark to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, to Travis Air Force Base in California, then home to Miramar. He and his fellow prisoners were greeted by cheering crowds everywhere they went. And there, in Miramar, were his wife and daughters right out front, all decked out in new dresses, his baby girl now a toddler.

"The girls just couldn't get enough," Cathy said. "They were crawling all over Daddy's legs. ... I'm sure we were all in tears. It was very emotional."

Her husband worried, Cathy remembered, that his career was over, that with only one thumb he would never fly again. "He was afraid he was going to be considered a cripple, that I wouldn't accept him back as a whole person. I could tell ... he was going to have a rough time when he got home, but it was all positive. We were just happy he was coming home."

Ensch spent about nine months in physical therapy at Balboa Naval Hospital, all the while thinking his career as a pilot really was over. A friend and former wingman was the new commanding officer at Top Gun, however, and he came to the rescue.

Ensch eventually became his executive officer, and later commanded his own squadron of F-14s. He would retire from the Navy as a captain.

Ensch returned to Vietnam several years ago, even meeting one of the pilots he had fought against in a dogfight. No one had any hard feelings.

"The Vietnamese people are a wonderful people," said Ensch. "It was the government and the administration that were the problem. Fighter pilots the world over — we're pretty much the same. We want to fly and fight."
Thanks to Chuck
Remembering CAPT Walter "Wally" A. Schirra, Jr, USN | Navy Times | 08 April 2019
Quite the career ...

Remembering Wally

Joe Essid, University of Richmond
Capt. Walter M. Schirra Jr. was best known to the public as the fun-loving prankster of The Right Stuff, and when he died on May 3, 2007 many began to realize that he was the only astronaut to fly in each of America's first three manned space programs.
But before NASA, before the hot cars, even before the puns and "gotchas," there was Wally Schirra, Weapon System— the self-proclaimed "finest hired killer in the U.S. Navy."
The son of a World War I Army pilot, Wally was a product of the huge Annapolis class of 1946.
Much more when you click the Link above
Some news from around the world
USA—Navy Overly Optimistic On Costs For Columbia-Class SSBNs, Says GAO Government Accountability Office | 04/09/2019 The Navy has underestimated the cost and labor needs for its Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.  Navy estimates of $128 billion for the 12 submarines are optimistic about the number of labor hours to complete the subs and cost increases that typically accompany submarine construction, according to the April 8 report.  The service also overestimated the savings from awarding a multiyear contract, noted USNI News.  GAO does not supply an independent cost estimate in the report. It points to an assessment by the Congressional Budget Office, which estimated that the program could cost up to $145 billion, 13 percent higher than the figures supplied by the Navy.  The service has promised to update the assessments, but that may not be complete in time for the 2021 budget request, the GAO warned.  There are also schedule risks since several key technologies are not yet mature enough to keep up with an aggressive construction schedule, the GAO said.  Construction is slated to begin in October 2020, with service entry anticipated by 2031.  The GAO recommends updating the cost of the lead submarine with more realistic data; preparing a realistic estimate of savings from using authorities to buy materials ahead of congressional approval; and presenting this information as part of its fiscal 2021 request.  
USA—Secret Service Chief Latest Casualty In DHS Shakeup New York Times | 04/09/2019 The Trump administration is shaking up the Dept. of Homeland Security, reports the New York Times.  On Monday, the White House announced the departure of U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph Alles.  Alles was a former Marine general and had no prior experience in the Secret Service. Some speculated he had trouble adapting. His resignation was unrelated to the recent breach at Trump's Mar-a-Lago golf course, officials said.  Some Secret Service Officials said they suspected Alles' departure was accelerated due to the episode, which the agency blamed on the club's staff. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Lee Cissna; Kathy Nuebel Kovarik, one of Cissna's deputies; DHS Undersecretary for Management Claire Grady; and DHS General Counsel John Mitnick are also expected step down as Trump seeks a harder line on immigration.   The move comes after a week of shakeups at DHS, including the resignation of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and the withdrawal of Tom Vitiello's nomination to head the department.  Last week, President Trump signaled his interest in pushing a harder line on immigration amid increasing arrivals and asylum claims.  
USA—Maryland Man Plotted ISIS Attack On Dulles, National Harbor Wtop Radio (Washington, D.C.) | 04/09/2019 Prosecutors say they have charged a man for an alleged plot to attack pedestrians at National Harbor in Maryland, reports WTOP (Washington, D.C.).   Rondell Henry, 28, planned to drive a stolen truck into pedestrians and tourists, prosecutors said on Monday.  The man was inspired by ISIS and wanted to attack "disbelievers," the prosecutors said.  A similar attack in Nice, France, killed 86 people in 2016.  Henry reportedly walked away from his job on March 26 and went to Alexandria, Va., where he stole a U-Haul truck.  He then attempted an attack Dulles International Airport before leaving for National Harbor. He abandoned the plot after he saw the small size of the crowd there.  Police arrested him the next morning.  Henry is charged with transporting a stolen vehicle across state lines. His detention hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Md.  
Poland—Offset Agreement Signed With Leonardo Ahead Of Contract For AW101 Choppers Leonardo | 04/09/2019 Leonardo says its British subsidiary has signed an offset agreement with the Polish Ministry of National Defense for AW101 military helicopters. Under the US$104.5 million (90 million euro) technology transfer deal between Leonardo MW and Warsaw, the British company will establish critical maintenance capabilities for the AW101 helicopters and its dedicated mission equipment at the Military Aviation Works No. 1 facility in Lodz. The offset accord will also benefit the Center for Maritime Military Technology at Gdansk University, said a company release on Monday. The signing of the offset agreement precedes a contract for the supply of AW101 helicopters, which is expected to be signed later this month, reported Defence 24 (Poland).
  United Kingdom—Army Takes Command Of Ground-Based Air Defense Systems U.K. Army Press Release | 04/09/2019 The British army has assumed operational control of the U.K.'s ground-based air defense systems from the air force. The RAF's Joint Ground-Based Air Defense (GBAD) command was renamed the 7th Air Defense Group and placed under the command of the army's Force Troops Command (FTC), said an army release. The ceremonial transfer of command took place at Trenchard Lines army base in Wiltshire on April 5. The 7th Air Defense Group will relocate from the air force headquarters in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire to the home of the Royal Artillery Air Defense, Baker Barracks on Thorney Island near Chichester, the release said. The British ground-based air defense system consists of the Rapier missile; the Starstreak high-velocity missile; and the LEAPP target-identification system. It is scheduled to upgrade to the Sky Sabre anti-aircraft missile system later this year.
   United Kingdom—Army Takes Command Of Ground-Based Air Defense Systems U.K. Army Press Release | 04/09/2019 The British army has assumed operational control of the U.K.'s ground-based air defense systems from the air force. The RAF's Joint Ground-Based Air Defense (GBAD) command was renamed the 7th Air Defense Group and placed under the command of the army's Force Troops Command (FTC), said an army release. The ceremonial transfer of command took place at Trenchard Lines army base in Wiltshire on April 5. The 7th Air Defense Group will relocate from the air force headquarters in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire to the home of the Royal Artillery Air Defense, Baker Barracks on Thorney Island near Chichester, the release said. The British ground-based air defense system consists of the Rapier missile; the Starstreak high-velocity missile; and the LEAPP target-identification system. It is scheduled to upgrade to the Sky Sabre anti-aircraft missile system later this year.  
Ukraine—Military Tests New Mobile Cruise Missile System National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine | 04/09/2019 The Ukrainian armed forces have successfully tested a domestically-developed mobile cruise missile system, reports the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (NSDC). The P-360 cruise missile system completed trials in Ukraine's southern Odessa oblast, said a NSDC release on April 5. The missile flew over 62 miles (100 km) before turning 180 degrees and hitting its target, said NSDC Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov. The P-360 has a reported range of over 186 miles (300 km) and can perform complex, pre-programmed flight paths before hitting its target. The testing demonstrated that the entire system met its projected capabilities and could perform as required, said Turchynov.
Japan—F-35 Disappears From Radar During Training Flight Agence France-Presse | 04/09/2019 A search is underway for a missing Japanese F-35A fighter jet, reports Agence France-Presse.  The jet went missing during a training flight over the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force said in a statement.  It took off from Misawa air base and flew for about 30 minutes before before disappearing from radar about 85 miles (135 km) east of the base, said a spokeswoman.  A search for the jet is underway, she said. The fate of the pilot was not immediately known.  A squadron of 13 F-35As is deployed to base in northeastern Japan, noted Kyodo News (Japan). It is the first Japanese squadron to field the advanced jet.  
South Korea—Pyongyang Lashes Out After Seoul Receives 1st F-35s Korea Herald | 04/09/2019 North Korea has criticized South Korea's recent acquisition of two F-35A fighter jets from the U.S., reports the Korea Herald.  The March 29 delivery of the stealth fighter jets represents a betrayal of trust, the North Korean government propaganda outlet Uriminzokkiri wrote on Monday.  Delivery of those advanced weapons systems violated the Comprehensive Military Agreement signed in September 2018, said the outlet.  The accord calls on both sides to limit tensions and creates buffer zones but does not prevent Seoul from purchasing arms, noted the Herald. Pyongyang often issues criticisms following military developments. The latest verbal attack is likely a reflection of stalled inter-Korean economic projects, which are limited by U.S. sanctions, a South Korea expert told the Arab News (Saudi Arabia).  Seoul purchased 40 F-35As in 2014. Ten more are expected by the end of the year, with deliveries set to wrap up by 2021.  The initial aircraft just delivered last month are expected to be combat deployed within two months.  
Micronesia—Palau Hosts U.S. Army Exercise For 1st Time In Decades Stars And Stripes | 04/09/2019 More than 200 U.S. soldiers are set to take part in a training exercise in Palau next week for the first time in nearly 40 years, reports the Stars and Stripes. An infantry company and a battalion tactical advanced command post from I Corps will conduct a security demonstration and small-arms qualifications between April 14 and 19, U.S. Army Pacific said in a statement. The training in Palau is one of five exercises that make up the Pacific Pathways. The remaining exercises take place in Thailand and the Philippines. This is the first time U.S. soldiers have participated in the Palau exercise since 1982, the Army said. The U.S. has longstanding ties with Palau. The archipelago was under U.S. administration for nearly 50 years following the end of World War II. In 1986, Palau and the U.S. entered a Compact of Free Association, which led to the nation's full independence in 1994. Under the compact, the U.S. is responsible for Palau's military defense for 50 years.   
Afghanistan—4 Killed In Blast Outside Bagram Air Base NATO's Resolute Support Mission | 04/09/2019 Three U.S. troops and a contractor have been killed and three others wounded in an explosion outside Bagram Air Base, reports the NATO Resolute Support Mission.  On Monday, an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near the base's gates, reported the Stars and Stripes. There were no reports of civilian casualties. The attack was the deadliest against U.S. troops since a roadside bombing in November that killed four.  The Taliban took responsibility, claiming that the suicide attack destroyed an armored vehicle and resulted in several casualties.  Seven American troops have been killed in Afghanistan so far in 2019.  
Afghanistan—Dozens Of Troops Die In 5 Days Of Fighting In Badghis Province Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty | 04/09/2019 Dozens of Afghan security personnel have been killed in ongoing fighting with the Taliban in northwestern Afghanistan, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Fighting erupted on April 3 after hundreds of Taliban fighters overran several security checkpoints in the Bala Murghab district of Badghis province At least 12 forces were killed in the past 48 hours, bringing the casualty toll to more than 40, the Afghan Defense Ministry said on Monday.  Another 10 troops and 24 police officers were injured in the fighting and 99 Taliban fighters killed, the ministry said. Afghan and NATO forces conducted airstrikes over the weekend as part of efforts clear the Taliban from the district. The district has seen a spate of violence of late. Last month, 50 Afghan soldiers were killed in a week-long battle with the Taliban.
Pakistan—Foreign Minister Accuses India Of Planning Another Military Attack Dawn | 04/09/2019 Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says that India is likely planning to take military action against Pakistan later this month, reports the Dawn (Pakistan). Islamabad has reliable intelligence that India is planning another attack, which could take place between April 16 and 20, Qureshi said during a press conference in Multan on Sunday. The foreign minister suggested that India could stage an attack on its security forces similar to the one on Feb. 14 to justify military action against Pakistan. Pakistan has already briefed the U.N. Security Council and called on the international community to apply pressure and reprimand India for its irresponsible conduct, the minister said. New Delhi rejected the allegation, saying it was "intended to whip up war hysteria in the region." The Pakistani Foreign Office summoned the Indian deputy high commissioner later in the day to convey Islamabad's objections. A warning was issued "in case of any planned misadventure," said a Foreign Office spokesperson. Tensions have been high between the neighbors since Feb. 14, when a suicide bomber killed at least 40 Indian paramilitaries. India responded on Feb. 26 with an air attack on a suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) training camp in Pakistani territory. The next day, Pakistani and Indian warplanes faced off over the line of control. During the confrontation, an Indian MiG-21 was shot down.   
Yemen—Saudi-Led Airstrike In Sanaa Kills 11 Al Jazeera | 04/09/2019 At least 11 people have been killed in airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, reports Al Jazeera (Qatar). On Sunday, the coalition conducted four airstrikes in a majority Houthi residential area in Sanaa, destroying houses and a school. At least 11 civilians, mostly children, were killed and more than 39 were injured in the attack, said a spokesman from the rebel-controlled health ministry, as quoted by Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Local medical sources told wire services that 13 people were killed and more than 100 injured. The coalition denied the reports, saying the fighter jets struck a military camp in Sawan on the outskirts of Sanaa.  The attacks targeted a warehouse used by the Houthi rebels to store weapons, according to Yemen's state-run Saba news agency.  
Libya—Tripoli Left Without Airport After Strikes Hit Mitiga British Broadcasting Corp. | 04/09/2019 Airstrikes have disabled the only functioning airport in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, reports BBC News.  The air attack hit Mitiga International Airport on Monday, forcing passengers, staff and others to evacuate.  In addition to civilian flights, the airport has also been used as a base for a powerful local militia.  There were no reported casualties.  The attack was conducted by forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, who is allied to a rival government in Tobruk. It may have been made in retaliation for airstrikes against eastern forces and the Witaya airbase, reported the Libya Herald.  A spokesman for Haftar said that the attack targeted MiG jet on the runway, reported Reuters. Civilian planes were not targeted, he said. The U.N. and the internationally-recognized Tripoli-based government led by Fayez Srraj condemned the attack.  Dozens of people have been killed since April 4, when Haftar ordered forces loyal to him to move on Tripoli after a long campaign consolidating his control over the west and south of Libya.   
Nigeria—Government Halts Mining In Zamfara State As Bandit-Related Violence Grows Guardian | 04/09/2019 The Nigerian government has suspended mining activities in the restive northwestern Zamfara state as part of efforts to combat violence in the region, reports the Guardian (Nigeria). Foreign miners have also been ordered to leave the state within 48 hours. Miners violating the order will have their licenses revoked, the Acting Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu said on Sunday. The decision followed bandit attacks over the weekend that killed at least 50 people in Zamfara. There have also been intelligence reports that "clearly established a strong and glaring nexus between the activities of armed bandits and illicit miners," Adamu said, as quoted by Reuters. Zamfara saw a significant increase in violence last year, prompting the deployment of the air force and 1,000 security personnel. Adamu also announced Operation Puff-Adder, in cooperation with the Nigerian military and other security agencies, to counter banditry in the northwestern part of the country. 
Colombia—President Duque Target Of Assassination Plot, Says Attorney General  Deutsche Welle | 04/09/2019 Colombian officials say they have uncovered a plot to assassinate President Ivan Duque, reports Deutsche Welle.  The suspected attack was planned for a meeting Duque had scheduled on Tuesday with members of Colombia's indigenous community, said Attorney General Nestor Martinez. The southwest region has been the site of repeated protests demanding recognition of indigenous land rights. The would-be attackers infiltrated members of the community, said Martinez, citing "electronic evidence" and witness testimony.  The plot involved a "high-precision weapon," said the attorney general. He declined to elaborate.  It was unclear which group or groups was behind the attack. Prosecutors did not announce if any arrests had been made.  Protests have led to shortages of food and water in some cities after demonstrators blocked highways. On Saturday, Bogota promised to invest US$250 million in the region.  The meeting will continue as planned, said Defense Minister Guillermo Botero. The new location will be determined by the president's security staff, he said.                                                                                                       

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