Wednesday, May 22, 2019

TheList 5002

The List 5002 TGB


 
To All
A bit of history and some tidbits.  Thanks to all who sent the kind words on the 5000. Remember that Dutch has done way more than I have with his Windmills group and sends them out all the time. Tom "Cowboy" has kept us going with his server for many years and Admiral Taylor with his Rolling Thunder and Commando Hunt and Admiral Cox with His H-Grams deserve even more credit and accolades for keeping us all informed. They provide a lot of the meat of the List.
 
Regards,
Skip
 
This day in Naval History May 22, 2019
 
1943 During the battle to protect British Royal Convoy (ON 184) in the North Atlantic, TBFs from (VC 9) based on board USS Bogue (ACV 9) sink German submarine (U 569) and damage (U 305).
1967 New York City reaches an agreement to purchase the New York Naval Shipyard, also known as the Brooklyn Navy Yard, after it was closed in 1966.
1968 USS Scorpion (SSN 589) is lost with her crew south-west of the Azores. In late Oct. 1968, her remains are found on the sea floor more than 10,000 feet below the surface by a deep-submergence vehicle towed from USNS Mizar (T-AGOR-11).
1986 Military Sealift Commands USNS Sgt. William R. Button (T-AK 3012) is christened and launched. The ship serves as one of 17 Container and Roll-on/Roll-off vessels for the Navy and is part of the 36 ships in the Prepositioning Program.
 
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
Leading today's national news headlines are reports that President Trump and House Speaker Pelosi are scheduled to meet today, and reports that severe weather and heavy rains battered parts of the Midwest and Great Plains yesterday. The forward-deployed aircraft-carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), along with supporting Commander Task Force 70 units began underway operations in the Indo-Pacific May 22. "Forward presence truly matters. For more than seventy years, our forces have been present and ready to respond immediately on behalf of our friends and allies," said Rear Adm. Karl Thomas. Sailors assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 9 participated in exercise Sea Shield 2019 out of Constanta, Romania, during their first week of deployment under commander, Task Force (CTF) 67. Additionally, Navy Times reports on the Navy's changes to its Tuition Assistance program.
 
Today in History May 22
1246

Henry Raspe is elected anti-king by the Rhenish prelates in France.
1455

King Henry VI is taken prisoner by the Yorkists at the Battle of St. Albans, during the War of the Roses.
1804

The Lewis and Clark Expedition officially begins as the Corps of Discovery departs from St. Charles, Missouri.
1856

U.S. Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina beats Senator Charles Sumner with a cane for Sumner's earlier condemnation of slavery, which included an insult to Brooks' cousin, Senator Andrew Butler.
1863

Union General Ulysses S. Grant's second attack on Vicksburg fails and a siege begins.
1868

The "Great Train Robbery" takes place as seven members of the Reno Gang make off with $98,000 in cash from a train's safe in Indiana.
1872

The Amnesty Act restores civil rights to Southerners.
1882

The United States formally recognizes Korea.
1908

The Wright brothers register their flying machine for a U.S. patent.
1939

Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini sign a "Pact of Steel" forming the Axis powers.
1947

The Truman Doctrine brings aid to Turkey and Greece.
1967

The children's program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood premiers.
1972

Ceylon becomes the Republic of Sri Lanka as its constitution is ratified.
1985

Baseball player Pete Rose passes Hank Aaron as National League run scoring leader with 2,108.
1990

In the Middle East, North and South Yemen merge to become a single state.
1992

Johnny Carson's final appearance on The Tonight Show on NBC, after 30 years as the program's host.
2004

An EF4 tornado with a record-setting width of 2.5 miles wipes out Hallam, Nebraska, killing 1 person.
2004

Fahrenheit 9-11, directed by Michael Moore, becomes the first documentary ever to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
2010

Following a 200-year search for the tomb of Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus his remains are reburied in Frombork Cathedral
2011

An EF5 tornado kills at least 158 people in Joplin, Missouri, the largest death toll from a tornado since record-keeping began in 1950.
2015

The Republic of Ireland, long known as a conservative, predominantly Catholic country, becomes the first nation in the world to legalize gay marriage in a public referendum.
 
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From Pensacola to Shuri Castle
by  W. Thomas Smith Jr.
05/25/2010
 
This Week in American Military History:
May 23, 1862:  Confederate forces under the command of Maj. Gen. Thomas J.
"Stonewall" Jackson strike, outmaneuver, and – with textbook coordination of infantry, cavalry, and artillery – decisively defeat Union Army forces under Col. John R. Kenly at Front Royal, Virginia.
 
May. 24, 1818:  Gen. (future U.S. pres.) Andrew Jackson and his expeditionary army march into Spanish-controlled Florida, easily capturing the Gulf-coastal town of Pensacola.
Col. José Masot, the Spanish governor, retreats to nearby Fort San Carlos de Barrancas (originally built by the British as "the Royal Navy Redoubt") where he briefly puts up a token resistance – to save face – before hoisting the white flag there, too.
 
May. 26, 1917:  U.S. Army Gen. John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing is named commander-in-chief of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), which is destined for European combat the following year.
 
May. 27, 1967:  USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) – the last conventionally powered American aircraft carrier – is launched.
May 28, 1918:  Almost one year to the day after Pershing is named commander- in-chief of the AEF, elements of the soon-to-be-famous 1st Infantry Division, ("the Big Red One") under the command of Lt. Gen. Robert Lee Bullard launch the first major attack by U.S. forces in World War I near the French town of Cantigny. In doing so, the Americans strike and the defeat a far-more experienced German army under the command of General Oskar von Hutier. The attack opens in the wee hours with a two-hour artillery bombardment.
Then at 6:45 a.m., whistles are blown along the American trench lines, and soldiers from the division's 28th Infantry Regiment – destined to become known as the "Lions of Cantigny" – clamber over the top and into the open. Supported by French aircraft, tanks, and mortar and flame-thrower teams – the Americans advance over a distance of 1,600 yards in three waves at marked intervals behind a creeping artillery barrage. By 7:20 a.m., the German lines are reached. Fighting is grim; one American sergeant will write: "About twenty Dutchmen [Germans] came out of the holes, threw down their rifles and stood with their hands up. The doughboys didn't pay any attention to this but started in to butcher and shoot them. One of the doughboys on the run stabbed a Dutchman and his bayonet went clear through him." In the town, the Germans are flushed from hiding places in shops and houses. French soldiers with flamethrowers are called up to assist in clearing the cellars of buildings.
Lt. Clarence Huebner (destined to command the 1st Infantry Division in the next great war, and rise to the rank of Lt. Gen.) watches in horror as one of his badly burned enemies rushes from a flamed-out cellar. It was "just as I had seen rabbits in Kansas come out of burning straw stacks," he will recall.
The Germans – who, like so many others throughout history, had dismissed the Americans as not having the stomach for real fighting – develop a quick respect for their new foe. Bullard's headquarters will issue a statement, a portion of which reads:
"The moral effects to flow from this proof of reliability in battle of the American soldiers, far outweighs the direct military importance of the actions themselves."
 
May. 28, 1980: The first female midshipmen graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis.
 
May 29, 1945:  Elements of the famous 1st Battalion, 5th Marines capture Shuri Castle – the palace of the Ryukyu kings for centuries – during the Battle of Okinawa.
 
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Thanks to a bunch of folks……I think I have knot on my forehead from my reaction from this one.
 
(A perfumed prince reaction!!  UHGTBSM!!)
Miller also ordered that VFA-106 receive training on appropriate use of social media and that the unit bring in a "diversity and inclusion expert" to train the squadron on unconscious bias and stereotype threat. Similar training, he wrote, will also be added to the curriculum for prospective commanding and executive officer courses and commander training symposia.
(A USMC Major's spot on correct call)
"That's the price to pay in this community. You do stupid s--t, you get made fun of. Or you kill self/others," he said, according to the investigation. "His attrition was his small price to pay. Frankly, we did his ass (and the community's) a favor. But his bulls--t makes me professionally embarrassed."

Navy to Change Pilot Call Sign Protocol After Minority Aviators Report Bias

 
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22 May 2019 0623
USNA-at-Large:  
On this date in 1968, the USS Scorpion (SSN-589) was lost at sea with 99 souls onboard, including 12 Officers.
9 were USNA graduates – 3 from the Class of 1963.
May God rest their souls and those of their families.
USNA Graduates:
CDR Francis Atwood Slattery, USN (USNA '54)
LTJohn Patrick Burke, USN (USNA '63)
LT George Patrick Farrin, USN (USNA '63)
LT Charles Lee Lamberth, USN (USN '63)
LTJG Michael Anthony Odening, USN (USNA '66)
LCDR David Bennett Lloyd, USN (USNA '56)
LTJG Laughton Douglas Smith, USN (USNA '65)
LCDR Daniel Peter Stephens, USN (USNA '59)
LT John Charles Sweet, USN (USNA '64)
 
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Hand SALUTE!!
 
Thanks to THE Bear - 
 
Dutch... Among the most fearless, Admiral Tissot was an extraordinary Carrier Air Wing Commander... he led from the front.... Rolling Thunder was his middle name... Bear
 
Begin forwarded message:
Fellow Flag Officers,
It is with deep regret that I inform you that we have lost another one of our heroes.  Rear Admiral Ernest Eugene Tissot, Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired) passed away 3 May 2019 at age 91.  In his 36 year career as a Naval Aviator from 1945 to 1981, Ernest flew 50 combat missions in Korea and 259 combat missions in Vietnam, and was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legion of Merits (one with combat "V") and five Distinguished Flying Crosses.  He also commanded USS ENTERPRISE (CVAN-65) in 1971-74, Carrier Group FIVE in 1977-1979, and finished his distinguished career as the J-5 (Plans) for U.S. Pacific Command.

Ernest hailed from an aviation background; his father was chief mechanic for Grand Canyon Airways in the 1930's and was also mechanic for Amelia Earhart's record-breaking flight from Hawaii to Oakland in a Lockheed Vega in 1935.  Ernest enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on 2 July 1945 under the V-5 Naval Aviation Cadet Program, studying at Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA; California Institute of Technology at Pasadena and the University of Southern California.  From October 1946 to March 1947 he had preflight training at the Naval Air Station, Ottumwa, Iowa.  As an Aviation Midshipman he had follow-on flight training at several naval air facilities including Naval Air Station Pensacola.  He was designated a Naval Aviator HTA (Heavier then Air) on 10 June 1948 and was subsequently commissioned an ensign in December 1948.  He then reported to Fighter Squadron ONE HUNDRED NINETY-TWO (VF-91) embarked on USS BOXER (CV-21) and then USS PRINCETON (CV-37) flying the F-4U-4 Corsair in 50 combat missions over Korea between December 1950 and May 1951. He was awarded three Air Medals, and the ship/wing was awarded a Navy Unit Citation.

In July 1951, Lieutenant junior grade Tissot reported to Advanced Training Unit THREE HUNDRED in Corpus Christi as Advanced Flight Instructor and  then in July 1953 to Fighter Squadron THIRTY-THREE (VF-33) as Maintenance Officer at Oceana, flying the F9F-6 and FJ-3, deploying on USS MIDWAY (CV-41) and USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN (CV-39,) flying swept wing jets off straight deck carriers.  Beginning in April 1956 Lieutenant Tissot attended Stanford University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in March 1958 and then a Masters' Degree from the Naval Post-Graduate School in Aeronautical Engineering in July 1960 (First in his class.)  Lieutenant Commander Tissot then served as Operations Officer with Carrier Air Group EIGHT (CAG-8) with two deployment on USS FORRESTAL (CVA-59) until July 1963 and then Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, as a student.
After refresher flight training, in November 1963 Commander Tissot reported to Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE as Executive Officer and in December 1964 assumed command of the squadron, embarked for two deployments (the second one combat) on USS BON HOMME RICHARD (CVA-31) flying the A-4 Skyhawk on 149 combat missions.  He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for dropping the Dong Phong Thuong Bridge in North Vietnam with a Bullpup B missile on 1 June 1965.  He was awarded a second DFC for leading his squadron on eight major air strikes against heavily defended targets in North Vietnam during the period 26 Mat to 1 December 1965, contributing the destruction of 285 buildings, damage to over 250 buildings, destroying 13 sampans and junks.  He was also awarded 12 more Air Medals.  After a few months on the staff of Commander Naval Air Force, Pacific he entered the Air Wing prospective commanding officer pipeline, assuming command of Attack Carrier Air Wing FOURTEEN in January 1967, embarked on USS CONSTELLATION (CVA-64) for Vietnam combat operations, flying 110 combat missions in the A-4, the F-4 Phantom II and later the A-6 Intruder.  He was awarded a Silver Star for action on 8 July 1967 while leading a major coordinated air wing strike against the North Vietnamese army barracks and missile storage complex as Ban Yen Nhan.  He was awarded a second Silver Star for leading a major air wing strike on 27 October 1967 against the heavily defended Van Dien vehicle storage and repair depot adjacent to Hanoi.  He was also awarded a Legion of Merit with Combat V for personally leading 23 of over 100 Air WING FOURTEEN strikes and for developing highly effective coordinated strike tactics in the extremely heavily defended northeast sector of North Vietnam.  He was also awarded three more Distinguished Flying Crosses and five Navy Commendation Medals with Combat V,  twelve additional Air Medals (27 total,) and a Navy Unit Commendation for the ship and air wing.

In March 1968 he reported to Washington DC on the staff of the Office of Chief of Naval Operations as Assistant for Tactical Aircraft in the Aviation Plans Branch (OP-508.)  He then entered the nuclear power training pipeline at Bainbridge, Maryland and Idaho Falls, during which he was promoted to captain, and then to the Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado before assuming command of USS THOMASTON (LSD-28) in June 1970 (deploying again to Vietnam waters.)  In December 1971, he assumed command of USS ENTERPRISE (CVAN-65) while deployed to the South China Sea before proceeding into the Bay of Bengal in reaction to the India-Pakistan War.  In December 1972 ENTERPRISE was back off Vietnam participating in Operation Linebacker II flying minelaying missions and numerous strike sorties into North Vietnam, and later flying additional strikes into Laos at the request of the Laotian government.  Captain Tissot was selected to Rear Admiral on 38 March 1973.  Frocked to Rear Admiral and then promoted on 1 July 1974, he then served in the Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering as Assistant Director (Strategic and Support Systems Test and Evaluation) from May 1974 to June 1976.  He then assumed command of Fighter Airborne Early Warning Wing Pacific, at NAS Miramar.  In October 1977, he assumed command of Striking Force SEVENTH Fleet (CTF-77)/Commander Carrier Group FIVE based at Cubi Point, Philippines for western Pacific Cold War operations.  In August 1979, he reported to Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command as Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans (J5) until his retirement in May 1981.

In 1967, Ernest was the third Naval Aviator to reach 1,000 carrier traps (1,008 total), and during his accident-free 20 year career flew 11 aircraft types from 15 aircraft carriers, amassing 2,600 prop hours and 2,800 jet hours.  In addition to the awards listed above, he also earned two Defense Superior Service Medals and an additional Legion of Merit, along with numerous campaign medals and ribbons.

After retirement from the Navy he worked for the Northrup Corporation for ten years.  I regret his memorial service has already passed.

From flying combat missions in Korea in WWII-vintage propeller aircraft under threat from Mig-15 jet fighters, to flying numerous bombing missions during the period of greatest U.S. losses over Vietnam, Ernest Tissot answered his country's call and did what he had  to do to his utmost.  Over 60 U.S. Navy squadron commanders/executive officers and air wing commanders were shot down over Vietnam, but earnest never hesitated to lead from the front.  The citation to his Combat V Legion of Merit states, "In personally leading twenty-three of these major strikes, he inspired the wing pilots to achieve devastating results against the enemy with minimum losses to assigned forces."  I can't come up with better words than that.  In numerous "peacetime," Cold War, and combat deployments, Ernest represented the epitome of a naval officer, naval aviator and combat leader.  His impact on subsequent generations of naval aviators and our Navy was profound.  We, and our nation, owe him a debt of great gratitude.

Rest in Peace Admiral Tissot
Very respectfully,

Sam
Samuel J. Cox
RADM, USN (retired)
Director of Naval History
Curator for the Navy
Director, Naval History and Heritage Command
202-433-2210  samuel.cox@navy.mil
 
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75th Anniversary of World War II

USS England Sinks Six Japanese Submarines, May 1944

England (DE-635)
(DE-635: dp. 1,400; l. 306'; b. 37'; dr. 9'5"; s. 24 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 3 21" tt., 8 dcp., 1 dcp.(hh.), 2 dct.; cl. Buckley)
John Charles England, born, in Harris, Mo., 11 December 1920, enlisted in the Naval Reserve 6 September 1940, and was commissioned ensign 6 June 1941. On 3 September 1941, he reported for duty in Oklahoma (BB-37), and was killed in action during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941.
England (DE-635) was launched 26 September 1943 by Bethlehem Steel Co., San Francisco, Calif.; sponsored by Mrs. H. B. England, mother of Ensign England; and commissioned 10 December 1943, Commander W. B. Pendleton in command.
England arrived at Espiritu Santo 12 March 1944 from San Francisco, Pearl Harbor, Funafuti, and Guadalcanal. She took up escort duty between Espiritu Santo and Guadalcanal, occasionally sailing to Noumea, and once to the Marshalls.
On 18 May 1944, with two other destroyers, England cleared Port Purvis on a hunt for Japanese submarines during a passage to Bougainville. During the next 8 days, she was to set an impressive record in antisubmarine warfare, never matched in World War II by any other American ship, as she hunted down and sank 1-16 on 19 May, RO-106 on 22 May, RO-104 on 23 May, RO-116 on 24 May, and RO-108 on 26 May. In three of these cases, the other destroyers were in on the beginning of the actions, but the kill in every case was England's alone. Quickly replenishing depth charges at Manus, England was back in action on 31 May to join with four other ships in sinking RO-105. This superlative performance won for England a Presidential Unit Citation, and the assurance from the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral E. J. King, "There'll always be an England in the United States Navy." His pledge was fulfilled 6 October 1960, when DLG-22 was assigned the name England.
Through the summer of 1944, England sailed throughout the northern Solomons, providing the escort services necessary for the building up of bases, preparations for the renewed assaults on Japanese territories to the north, and provision of supplies to garrison forces on the islands of the southwest Pacific. In August, she underwent repairs at Manus, and between 24 September and 15 October voyaged from the Treasury Islands to Sydney, Australia. From the Treasuries, she sailed guarding a convoy to Hollandia, where she arrived 18 October, and on the 26th got underway on the first of two voyages to escort reinforcement convoys to newly invaded Leyte. She returned to Manus and local escort duty 2 December.
From 2 January 1945, England escorted convoys between Manus and Ulithi, the major base for operations of the carrier task forces, and later to be the staging point for the assaults on Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The escort vessel sailed to Kossol Roads in February, bringing in a convoy later routed on to the Philippines, then resumed her duty on the Manus-Ulithi sealanes. She sailed from Ulithi 23 March for the preinvasion bombardment of Okinawa, returned to Ulithi to join the screen of two cruisers, guarding them back to Okinawa to join the 5th Fleet just after the initial assault on 1 April. Between 6 and 17 April, she voyaged to Saipan screening unladen transports, then took up a screening and patrol station north of the Kerama Retto.
On 9 May 1945, while on station, England was attacked by three Japanese dive bombers. Her antiaircraft fire set the first of these flaming, but the plane crashed England on her starboard side, just below the bridge. The kamikaze pilot had remembered his instructions to knock out the ship's nerve center and kill as many as possible of her officers. With the bomb of the plane exploding just after the crash, England's men began a dangerous race against time, to quench the fires and save their ship, while combat air patrol shot down the two other attackers. She was able to make Kerama Retto under tow, with 37 of her men killed or missing and 25 wounded.
England sailed on to Leyte, where she received temporary repairs to put her in shape for the long voyage home. On 16 July 1945 she arrived at Philadelphia for permanent repairs and conversion to a high-speed transport. The end of the war, however, halted this work, and she was decommissioned 15 October 1945 and sold 26 November 1946.
In addition to the Presidential Unit Citation, England received 10 battle stars for World War II service.
Published: Wed Apr 20 01:58:42 EDT 2016
 
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U-505 Captured by USS Guadalcanal (CVE-60) Hunter-Killer Task Force, 9 June 1944 

I was planning to do an item on the capture of German submarine U-505 on 9 June 1944 by a boarding party from destroyer escort USS Pillsbury (DE-133), for which the boarding team leader, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Albert David, would be awarded the Medal of Honor, the only one awarded for action in the Atlantic Theater in World War II (he would also earn two Navy Crosses in other actions). However, to place the action in proper context is going to take me more time and research. I will produce a more comprehensive Battle of the Atlantic update in a few months. 
Although May 1943 is generally accepted as the point at which the tide of the Battle of the Atlantic turned, the Germans were an extremely resourceful and determined foe, who weren't about to quit. By June 1944 the U-boats were more the hunted than the hunter, but it took an extraordinary combination of Intelligence, code-breaking, operations analysis, new weapons and sensor technology, and just plain increased number of escort ships (especially the use of escort carriers in a hunter-killer role) in order to defeat them, not to mention the courage of the crews of U.S. Navy ships. The Germans had tricks up their sleeve, too, particularly the new acoustic homing torpedoes, which claimed a number of U.S. and Allied warships. The capture of two G7es Zaunkönig T-5 acoustic homing torpedoes aboard U-505 was an even bigger intelligence bonanza than the Enigma machines and codebooks—which were only good for a month—and enabled improvements to the Foxer acoustic countermeasure and aided development of U.S. acoustic torpedoes used against the Japanese at the very end of the war. The Germans referred to the T-5 as the "destroyer-cracker," as it was generally employed against convoy escorts rather than transports and merchant ships. 
On 29 May 1944, the escort carrier USS Block Island (CVE-21) was hit and sunk by two of three torpedoes from U-549 before the submarine then badly damaged destroyer escort USS Barr (DE-576) with a T-5 acoustic torpedo, killing 16 men on the ship. Block Island's escorts then sank U-549 (with all 57 hands lost) and rescued 951 crewmen of the escort carrier. Amazingly, only six of Block Island''s crew were lost, although the pilots of four of the six Wildcat fighters aloft at the time were also lost while trying unsuccessfully to reach land. Block Islandwas the only U.S. aircraft carrier lost in the Atlantic. From 1943 and into 1944 there were several epic close-quarters duels between U.S. ships and German U-boats (involving ramming, small-arms fire, and throwing hand-grenades, hatchets, knives, and even coffee mugs—even the use of fists), in each case demonstrating unbelievable courage on the part of both U.S. and German crews. These actions include USS Borie (DD-215)versus U-405 in November 1943; USS Buckley (DE-51) versus U-66 (one of the all-time most effective U-boats) on 6 May 1944; and the U.S. Coast Guard cutter USS (in wartime) Campbell versus U-606 in February 1943. I will cover these extraordinary acts of valor in a future H-gram. 

Naval Aviation Milestone

NC-4: First Transatlantic Crossing by an Aircraft, May 1919 

On 14–15 June, 1919 British aviators John Alcock and Arthur Brown flew a modified Vickers Vimy bomber from Newfoundland to a crash landing in Ireland, completing (technically) the first non-stop transatlantic crossing by an aircraft. This feat knocked off the front pages the Atlantic crossing by the U.S. Navy flying boat NC-4, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Albert Cushing Read, which had landed at Lisbon, Portugal, on 27 May 1919. Although the first plane to fly across the Atlantic, NC-4 had taken 23 days and multiple stops to do so, overcoming numerous technical problems and hazards along the way. Two other Navy flying boats (NC-1 and NC-3) didn't make it as far as the Azores Islands (in the air), although all crewmen were safely recovered. Among the aviators involved in the flight were Commander John H. Towers (Naval Aviator No. 3 and overall commander of the mission, in NC-3) and Lieutenant Commander Marc "Pete" Mitscher (in NC-1), both of whom would go on to distinguished naval aviation leadership roles in the interwar years and during World War II. In addition, U.S. Coast Guard Aviator No. 1, Lieutenant Elmer Fowler Stone, was one of the pilots of NC-4. Although NC-4's flight quickly sank into relative obscurity, it nevertheless represented a great milestone in aviation history. The Navy donated the original aircraft to the Smithsonian, which couldn't find a place to display it (supposedly due to its large size,) but the Smithsonian loaned it back to the Navy and it is on display at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. Please see attachment H-030-2 for more on NC-4's epic flight.
H-030-2:  NC-4's Transatlantic Crossing, May 1919
U.S. Navy aviators involved in the first aerial transatlantic crossing. First row (left to right): Lieutenant Commander A. C. Read, pilot of NC-4; Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy; Commander John H. Towers (Naval Aviator No. 3) pilot of NC-3; Franklin D. Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy; Lieutenant Commander P. Bellinger, pilot of NC-1. Second row, fourth from the left, Commander Richardson.
H-Gram 030, Attachment 2
Samuel J. Cox, Director NHHC
May 2019
The development of larger and faster flying boats, with increased range, endurance, and load-carrying capability, had accelerated dramatically during World War I. The flying boats were particularly useful in an anti-submarine warfare role. Although few, if any, German U-boats were sunk as a result of air attack, the flying boats were very successful at preventing U-boats from attacking convoys by forcing them to dive. The U-boats' slow submerged speed would facilitate a convoy's escape. By the end of World War I, convoys that were protected by air cover provided by flying boats rarely suffered loss to U-boats.
The Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company "NC" (Navy-Curtiss) flying boats were the product of the evolutionary (or even revolutionary) development of the flying boat during World War I. Known at the time as "Nancy Boats," the NC's were built in response to U.S. Navy requirements for a long-range anti-submarine aircraft capable of crossing the Atlantic without having to be disassembled and put on a ship potentially vulnerable to U-boat attack. (These requirements were devised by a team led by Rear Admiral David W. Taylor, then chief of the Navy Bureau of Construction and Repair.) The NC was the largest U.S.-designed flying boat to that point, equipped with wireless radio and sleeping compartment. Originally powered by three engines, early test flights indicated this was insufficient and young aviator Marc "Pete" Mitscher (Naval Aviator No. 33) recommended the NC be modified with addition of a fourth engine (with the additional engine added on the centerline in a "pusher" configuration). The NC aircraft had a maximum speed of 74 knots, a maximum range of about 1,500 miles, and endurance of about 15 hours. Ultimately ten NC's would be built.
NC-1 made its first test flight on 4 October 1918, just before the end of the war. In an event that would cause today's operational risk management adherents to go white as a sheet, 51 people crammed aboard NC-1 for a test flight on 25 November, which set some sort of world record. NC-2 was damaged during testing and was subsequently cannibalized for parts (some things never change) after a fire damaged NC-1 and NC-4. Actually, the entire transatlantic flight was a highly risky operation. The flight was conceived, planned, and led by Commander John H. Towers, who was designated as Commander of Seaplane Division 1. Towers (Naval Aviator No. 3) was arguably the most vociferous early advocate of naval aviation. The flight had initially been planned during the war, but the war ended before it could be executed. Nevertheless, Towers persisted in gaining approval of the operation as a means to demonstrate capability to skeptical senior leadership of the U.S. Navy. The orders to execute the mission were signed by Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt, future U.S. President, and apparently "Acting" Secretary of the Navy at the time. (Towers had barely survived a flight incident over the Chesapeake in 1913 in which Ensign W. D. Billingsley was thrown from the plane and killed, leading Towers to insist on the inclusion of safety belts in naval aircraft—from which the modern seat belts in autos are derived. Towers would also become the first Naval Aviator to achieve flag rank.)
By May of 1919, the U.S. Navy had three operational NC flying boats, with NC-4 making her first test flight on 30 April 1919 (and her only flight before the transatlantic attempt.) The transatlantic mission was a major affair, with over 50 U.S. Navy ships, mostly destroyers, assigned to take station along the intended flight route to provide beacon services and rescue services if necessary. The minelaying vessel USS Aroostook was converted to a seaplane tender to assist the flight (Aroostook had laid 3,180 mines as part of the North Sea Mine Barrage in 1918).
On 8 May 1919, three NC flying boats (NC-1, NC-3, and NC-4) launched from Naval Air Station Rockaway, New York, under the overall command of Towers, the squadron commander, flying in NC-3. Lieutenant Commander Mitscher was originally in command of NC-2, but after her cannibalization flew as a pilot in NC-1. The three aircraft first flew to Chatham Naval Air Station, Massachusetts. NC-4 suffered mechanical problems (oil leak in the pusher engine and thrown rod in the center tractor engine) and wound up forced to land in the open ocean 80 nautical miles from Chatham, but was located and towed in, and fortunately remained airworthy.
The three aircraft then launched for Trepassy, Newfoundland, but NC-4 again encountered mechanical problems and had to make an intermediate stop at Halifax, Nova Scotia, for repair, before continuing on to Trepassy. Aroostook was waiting at Trepassy and provided fuel, lubrication, maintenance, and repair work. In the meantime, NC-1 and NC-3 had attempted to take off from Trepassy to continue the next leg to the Azores, but were unable to get airborne as they were actually overloaded with too much fuel (the tanks measured differently when ashore at Rockaway than when the planes were sitting in the water at Trepassy, and it was the flight engineer on NC-4 that ultimately diagnosed the problem).
On 16 May 1919, all three NC's attempted to take off from Newfoundland for the Azores, the longest leg of the journey at 1,200 miles, which would take about 15 hours. NC-4 got airborne, but, once again, NC-1 and NC-3 could not, and NC-4 had to return. After more weight and balance shifting, all three aircraft finally got off after 1800. Twenty-two Navy ships were stationed along the route at about 50-nautical-mile intervals, and were lit up at night, with searchlights pointed up and firing pyrotechnics to assist the NC's during the night portion of the transit. The three planes initially flew in formation, but, as night fell, it was discovered that only NC-4's running lights worked, so Towers ordered the formation to disperse to decrease the risk of collision.
The following day, the NC's encountered fog banks that made the flight very dangerous as it became difficult to discern the horizon and maintain level flight. Although the NC's were equipped with the new "bubble" sextant (which provided an artificial horizon and enabled astronomical fixes from aircraft) and the new drift indicator, the NC's were effectively lost due to the fog. As it became too hazardous to fly, NC-1 and NC-3 were both forced to set down in the open ocean, each incurring damage that made further flight impossible. The crew of NC-1 was picked up by the Greek freighter Ionia, which tried to take NC-1 in tow, but the lines parted. The destroyer USS Gridley (Destroyer No. 92) arrived and took NC-1 in tow, but, after three days, NC-1 broke apart and sank. NC-3 drifted for 200 miles over 52 hours with her wireless inoperative until she came in sight of one of the Azores Islands and then taxied until she finally met up with a destroyer and was taken in tow (some reports say NC-3 taxied the whole way without assistance). NC-3 was, however, no longer air worthy.
NC-4, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Albert Cushing Read, actually went into a spin in the fog that was initially unrecognized, and only a brief glimpse of the sun alerted the crew to impending disaster. Pulling the big plane out of the spin with no spatial reference was considered an exceptional feat of flying skill by the NC-4 pilots, Lieutenant Junior Grade Walter Hinton and U.S. Coast Guard pilot Lieutenant Elmer Fowler Stone (Coast Guard Aviator No. 1 and Naval Aviator No. 38). NC-4 reached the Azores on the afternoon of 17 May, although she set down at an alternate landing site (Horta), where she was tended by the cruiser USS Columbia(Cruiser No. 12.)
On 20 May, NC-4 took off for Lisbon, but had to turn back after about 150 nautical miles due to mechanical problems. The efforts of the flight engineers, Lieutenant James L. Breese and Chief Machinist's Mate Eugene S. Rhoads, were critical in getting NC-4 across the Atlantic. (Rhoads had actually been a replacement after the primary lost his hand in a prop accident.) After receiving repairs and spare parts, NC-4 took off again on 27 May, flying over 13 U.S. Navy station ships before landing on the Tagus River at Lisbon at 2001 after a flight of 9 hours and 43 minutes, thus becoming the first aircraft to fly across the Atlantic. Although the flight from Newfoundland to Lisbon took 10 days and 22 hours, actual flight time was 26 hours and 46 minutes. (In the meantime, the first attempt by the British to make a non-stop flight from Newfoundland to Great Britain had crashed a few hundred miles east of Newfoundland, with the two-man crew picked up by a steamer.)
On 31 May, NC-4 flew from Lisbon to Plymouth, England, but again had mechanical problems and had to make two intermediate stops including an overnight at Ferrol, Spain, before finally arriving at Plymouth and becoming the first aircraft to fly from the United States to England. NC-4 was met by a large escort of Royal Air Force aircraft, a 21-gun salute from a British warship, and huge crowds. There was great public and press interest in the flight and the crew, although this would be eclipsed two weeks later when two British aviators (Alcock and Brown) flew non-stop from Newfoundland to Ireland, making the first non-stop transatlantic flight, albeit with a crash landing at the end.
After arriving at Plymouth, the crew of NC-4 met up with the crews of NC-1 and NC-3 for a spectacular royal welcome in London, receiving decorations from the King, and then in Paris, where they met with President Woodrow Wilson, who was negotiating the Versailles Treaty and pushing his League of Nations proposal. NC-4 was dismantled at Plymouth and shipped back to the States on Aroostook. The three crews returned to the U.S. aboard the USS Zeppelin (a German ocean liner being used as a troop transport by the Allies, repatriating 15,800 U.S. troops after the war in two voyages). Upon return to the United States, the crews embarked on a goodwill tour of the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts.
Lieutenant Commander Read (Naval Aviator No. 24), the flight commander of NC-4, was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (at that time, the second- highest award, ahead of the Navy Cross) for the flight. NC-4 pilots Hinton and Stone, flight engineers Breese and Rhoads, and radioman Ensign Herbert C. Rodd were awarded the Navy Cross (LCDR Rodd would die in an air crash in 1932). Towers also was awarded the Navy Cross for leading the mission, and Mitscher was also awarded a Navy Cross, having been at the controls of NC-1 when she ditched. In 1929, the U.S. Congress awarded, and President Herbert Hoover presented, Congressional Gold Medals to the six crewmen of NC-4 and to Towers for "conceiving, organizing, and commanding" the mission.
NC-4 was displayed for a time in New York's Central Park before it was donated by the Navy to the Smithsonian in 1920. Only the hull was displayed by the Smithsonian afterward, as the museum had no place big enough to fit the aircraft. The aircraft went through an extensive restoration in time for the 50th anniversary of the flight and was displayed on the National Mall on 8 May 1969. In 1974, the Smithsonian loaned the NC-4 back to the U.S. Navy. It remains on display at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.
Primary source document is out-of-print monograph "The First Flight Across the Atlantic" by Commander Ted Wilber, published by the NC-4 50th Anniversary Committee in 1969, which can be found on the NHHC website. With the 100th anniversary, there are numerous articles on line, most of which adhere to the Wikipedia account, which is mostly accurate, albeit incomplete. A particularly good and thorough article is USCG Aviation History "1919 NC-4 Transatlantic Flight" found at cgaviationhistory.org, with no specific author I could find
 
 
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Some news from  around the world
 
  Turkey—U.S. Gives Ankara 2 Weeks To Cancel S-400 Deal CNBC | 05/22/2019 The U.S. has given Turkey an ultimatum to cancel its planned acquisition of the Russian S-400 air defense system, reports CNBC.  Turkey has until the first week of June to cancel the deal and buy the U.S.-made Patriot system or face removal from the F-35 stealth fighter program, the television channel reported on Tuesday.  U.S. officials said the State Dept. will offer no more extensions.  If Turkey refuses, it will forfeit its planned purchase of 100 F-35 fighter jets and be removed from the aircraft's supply chain. Ankara may also be hit with U.S. sanctions.  "NATO countries need to procure military equipment that is interoperable with NATO systems. A Russian system would not meet that standard," said an unnamed State Dept. official.  If Turkey moves forward with S-400 deal, Lockheed Martin will need to rework its supply chain to replace Turkish-made components. Raytheon says it will revamp its production schedule to expedite Patriot deliveries to Turkey if Ankara cancels the deal with Russia.  On Wednesday, a Kremlin spokesman criticized the ultimatum, calling the acquisition a done deal, reported Reuters.  Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Wednesday that talks with the U.S. were ongoing for the Patriot system, reported the Tass news agency (Moscow).  Turkey is slated to receive the Russian air defense system by June. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said there are no plans to revise the deal with Russia.  On Wednesday, Turkish troops in Russia began training to use the system.     
 
USA—Trump Selects Space Advocate To Oversee Air Force Washington Post | 05/22/2019 President Donald Trump says he will nominate Barbara Barrett to serve as secretary of the Air Force, reports the Washington Post.  Trump announced the nomination on Tuesday.  Barrett, 68, served as U.S. ambassador to Finland during the George W. Bush administration and previously served as chairwoman of the non-profit Aerospace Corp. The Aerospace Corp. operates a federally funded research and development center that advises on space missions. If confirmed, Barrett would be the third woman in a row to hold the position, succeeding Secretary Heather Wilson.  Barrett would likely join acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to advocate for a separate Space Force under the Air Force.  
 
USA—Electric Boat Wins Major Contract To Strengthen Submarine Industrial Base Dept. Of Defense | 05/22/2019 The Naval Sea Systems Command has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat, Groton, Conn., a contract to enhance and expand the submarine industrial base, reports the Dept. of Defense. The $497 million deal announced on Monday covers industrial development in support of the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines and the nuclear shipbuilding enterprise, which includes Virginia-class attack subs and Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers. The goal is to improve sub-tier vendor stability and gain economic efficiencies based on economies of scale for major components. The nuclear shipbuilding industrial base is ramping up production capability to support the Navy's latest force structure assessment, the Pentagon said. Improved capacity at the sub-tier vendor level will reduce risks to all three shipbuilding programs, the department said. The contract will be funded incrementally, with $177 million obligated at the time of award. Work under the contract is scheduled to be completed by December 2031.    
 
USA—North Dakota Wing To Be Redesignated To Reflect Recon Mission Air Force Times | 05/22/2019 The U.S. Air Force expects to redesignate the 319th Air Base Wing at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., later this year, reports the Air Force Times. Redesignating the unit as the 319th Reconnaissance Wing will align it with the 69th Reconnaissance Group at Grand Forks AFB, which operates RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft, the service announced last week. The 69th is a geographically separated component of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., but has operated as a tenant of the 319th Air Base Wing since 2011. The redesignation will become official on June 28, when a ceremony marking the occasion is planned. Once the mission and personnel of the 69th align under the 319th Reconnaissance Wing, the unit will become the 319th Operations Group and the 69th Reconnaissance Group will be deactivated. The new group will continue to conduct the same Global Hawk missions around the world, the Air Force said.    
 
United Kingdom—British-Led Joint Expeditionary Force Deploys To Baltic Sea Royal Navy Press Release | 05/22/2019 The British-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) is making its first maritime deployment to the Baltic Sea, reports the Royal Navy. The British flagship, the amphibious ship Albion, deployed on Monday with the joint staff that will command the Baltic Protector mission. The staff consists of personnel from the headquarters of 3 Commando Brigade, Royal Marines, and the staff of the commander of the Amphibious Task Group. This is the first deployment of the JEF, which comprises nine countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden and the U.K. A total of 3,850 sailors, marines, soldiers and airmen are scheduled to take part in the deployment along with more than 17 naval vessels. The first phase of the deployment is an exercise in the western Baltic and eastern North Sea before the task group joins the U.S.-led Baltops drills. The final stage will focus on amphibious operations in the eastern Baltic Sea.   
 
United Kingdom—F-35Bs In Cyprus For 1st Overseas Exercise U.K. Ministry Of Defense | 05/22/2019 The British Royal Air Force has deployed several of its new F-35B Lightning stealth fighters to Cyprus for the first time, reports the U.K. Ministry of Defense. The F-35Bs from 617 Squadron flew from their base at RAF Marham in Norfolk to RAF Akrotiri, where they will spend six weeks as part of Exercise Lightning Dawn. The drills are designed to demonstrate that the RAF can operate the F-35 successfully away from its home base as well as gain experience in deployed operations with the fighter. British Lightnings are owned and operated by the RAF, but jointly manned by RAF and Royal Navy personnel. The exercise in Cyprus will allow personnel from both services to gain experience in maintaining and flying the jet in a new environment. The training will also evaluate all aspects of deploying the F-35B abroad, including logistics, maintenance and sustainment, while also preparing the unit for its first operational carrier deployment, the ministry said.    
 
North Macedonia—Greek Fighter Conducts Overflight As Part Of NATO Program Kathimerini | 05/22/2019 For the first time, a Greek fighter jet has flown over North Macedonia is part of NATO plans to begin an air-policing mission over the Balkan country once it obtains membership in the alliance, reports the Kathimerini newspaper (Athens). An F-16 from the Greek air force's 110 Combat Wing based in Larissa made the flight on Tuesday to locate any radar blank sectors and test the compatibility of reconnaissance systems. Additional test flights are planned over the next few months. Last year, the Greek government agreed to provide air surveillance for North Macedonia as part of its drive for NATO membership. Athens already performs similar missions over Montenegro and Albania.    
 
Mongolia—U.S. PACAF Chief Seeks To Bolster Partnership With Air Force Air Force News Service | 05/22/2019 The head of the U.S. Pacific Air Forces visited Mongolia earlier this month to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation, reports the Air Force News Service. Gen. Charles Brown last week met with senior leaders from Mongolia and the U.S. in Ulaanbaatar. The Mongolian Air Force Command was re-established in January 2017, making this the first visit by a PACAF chief since its reactivation. Developing the Mongolian air force has been a long-term priority for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command as part of efforts to increase engagement with the Asian country. The leaders discussed a number of issues, including opportunities to enhance training, exercises and subject matter expert exchanges, the Air Force said.     
 
 
China—Defense Minister To Attend Shangri-La Dialogue Global Times | 05/22/2019 For the first time in eight years, China is sending a senior official to the Shangri-La Dialogue hosted by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore, reports the state-run Global Times.  Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe will attend regardless of whether he meets with a U.S. representative at the forum, the newspaper said on Wednesday.  The general is scheduled to give a speech on June 2, the final day of the conference. He is expected to take questions from the audience immediately following his remarks, reported Defense News. Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is scheduled to speak on June 1.  The move is in part an effort to improve transparency with China's neighbors amid growing tensions with the U.S. in the region, said Chinese analysts. The presence of both defense leaders at the event has fueled speculation that high-level officials from the two countries may meet against the backdrop of an increasingly tense trade war.      
 
Philippines—Frigate Slated To Be Launched At S. Korean Shipyard Philippines News Agency | 05/22/2019 The first of two frigates purchased from South Korea for the Philippine navy is about to be launched, reports the Philippine News Agency. The Jose Rizal (FF-150) is scheduled to be put into the water on Thursday at the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan in southeastern South Korea. The frigate and her sister, Antonio Luna (FF-151), are the first new-build ships acquired for the Philippine navy. The Philippine fleet currently consists primarily of used ships purchased from allies. First steel is slated to be cut for the Antonio Luna this week, noted a navy spokesman. The frigates are scheduled to enter service in 2020 and 2021, respectively.     
 
Sri Lanka—India, Japan To Help Develop Colombo Port Nikkei Asian Review | 05/22/2019 The governments of India and Japan have agreed to work with Sri Lanka to develop the port in Colombo, the island nation's capital, reports the Nikkei Asian Review. The trilateral project is intended to increase the port's container volume and enhance marine transportation in and around South Asia, officials said. A memorandum of understanding is expected to be signed by the summer, with work slated to begin by March 2020. The Port of Colombo connects Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. It had traffic of 6.21 million 20-foot equivalent units in 2017, making it the busiest port in Southwest Asia. The joint project will develop the East container terminal, which has been recently expanded. The work will involve deepening the terminal and developing a facility that can accommodate large container ships. The move comes in response to China's Belt and Road Initiative, which has funded numerous infrastructure projects as part of Beijing's effort to increase its influence in the region. Japan also sees the improved capacity of regional ports strengthening security for tankers and commercial vessels plying Indian Ocean routes.     
 
Afghanistan—Explosive-Laden Humvee Blows Up Under Fire From Security Forces TOLONews | 05/22/2019 At least three people have been killed and four wounded in an explosion in the central Afghan city of Ghazni, reports the Tolo News (Afghanistan).  On Wednesday, an explosive-laden Humvee attempted to ram through a checkpoint in Ghazni, reported the Khaama Press.   Security forces fired a rocket at the vehicle, detonating the device, said the interior ministry.  Two police officers and a child were killed in the explosion. Health officials said that as many as 15 people were wounded.  Four suspected Taliban members in the vehicle were also killed.     
 
Syria—State Dept. Warns Assad Regime Following Reports Of Chemical Attack In Idlib Cable News Network | 05/22/2019 The U.S. State Dept. says it is examining allegations that the Syrian government conducted a chemical weapons attack in northwestern Syria, reports CNN.  Local sources said four Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) fighters were injured by chlorine from munitions dropped near the village of Kabana on May 19, reported the Guardian (U.K.). The department is gathering information, but the spokeswoman warned of quick and appropriate consequences if the government of Bashar Assad was found to be using chemical weapons.  Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry accused rebel groups of faking an attack in Idlib province to provoke an international response. The State Dept. rejected the accusations, calling them part of a disinformation campaign to deflect blame.  The report comes amid a government campaign in Idlib that has displaced at least 200,000 people, reported the Independent (U.K.). On Monday, Russian and Syrian jets resumed airstrikes as part of efforts to retake the province, the last with a significant rebel presence.  Much of the area was declared a de-escalation zone in a Russian-Turkish agreement reached in September 2018.  Damascus and Moscow maintain that their operations in the province only target terrorists. Much of Idlib is under the control of HTS, an extremist umbrella group led by a former Al-Qaida affiliate.      
 
Yemen—Houthis Hit Najran Airport Again Al Masirah | 05/22/2019 Houthi rebels in Yemen say they have again attacked an airport in southern Saudi Arabia, reports the Houthi-run Al Masirah (Yemen) news website.  On Wednesday, an unmanned aerial vehicle piloted by the rebels struck Najran airport, near the Saudi-Yemeni border, the second attack on the facility in as many days, the website said.  A Houthi military source said that the attack targeted fighter jets at the airport that were used to carry out airstrikes in Yemen.  There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.  Saudi officials have not yet commented on the matter.  On Tuesday, the Houthis first attacked Najran airport, reportedly destroying an arms depot.   
 
Somalia—Al-Shabaab Claims Deadly Bombing Near Presidential Palace Agence France-Presse | 05/22/2019 At least two people have been killed in a car bombing near the presidential palace in Mogadishu, reports Agence France-Presse.  On Wednesday, a car bomb exploded at a checkpoint at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, about 400 yards from the presidential palace, a former minister and witnesses told Radio Shabelle (Somalia).  A medical source told AFP that two people were killed and 12 injured. Some witnesses said that three were killed. Garowe Online (Somalia) reported that five people died in the blast. Several vehicles near the blast site were destroyed.  Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack. The group said it had targeted a convoy of officials and lawmakers on their way to the presidential palace.
 
 


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