Thursday, June 6, 2019

TheList 5013

The List 5013 TGB

Some more history on the Battle of Midway and some other tidbits


The USS Missouri: Tokyo Bay. Interesting facts
Last Friday the list had this article about The USS Missouri: Tokyo Bay. Interesting facts
Micro asked if we had any real facts behind it so I turned to Admiral Cox and his great team at the Naval History and Heritage Command. His team reacted quickly to the request and provided the following:
Skip, this is what we were able to find.  I added a few extra comments embedded in the original note.  All the best, Sam
I have looked at several sources that we hold here at the Naval History and Heritage Command, but I could not find anything that could verify the intentional symbolism listed in Mr. Lovelady's e-mail aside from the location of USS MISSOURI within Tokyo Bay and Commodore Perry's flag that had been flown from the Naval Academy Museum for the occasion.  I have included a link to a article by Richard Frank ( that provides a nice overview of some of the background behind the planning of the surrender ceremony which he characterizes as combining "…meaning and symbolism --- some of it intended, but most not --- to create historical and political theater of the highest quality."
General MacArthur delegated planning of the ceremony to his Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Richard K. Sutherland and Col. Hervey B. Whipple, so I looked at the portions of "The Bitter Years, MacArthur and Sutherland" by Paul Rogers in the Navy Department Library that related to the surrender ceremony but could find anything that pertained to symbolism behind the ceremony.  Memoirs by Sutherland and Whipple would be the most likely source to confirm the information about the intentions behind many of the ceremony details, but these publications are held by the Library of Congress and not NHHC.  NARA also hold a significant manuscript and personal papers collection for Sutherland.
The commanding officer of USS MISSOURI at the time of the surrender was Stuart Murray and he was trusted with the execution of the ceremony plans.  I have linked to the USS MISSOURI website that includes excerpts from interviews with ADM Murray about the surrender ceremony (  The Navy Department Library holds the 2-volume oral history from which that account was excerpted and I read all of the surrender ceremony related portions of that oral history but did not see anything that addressed intentions.
As would be expected, issues such as force protection, seating arrangements, protocol, reacting to unexpected obstacles, etc. were at the forefront of the ceremony planner's minds and those are the issues that are primarily discussed in the available records by those involved.  I think it is axiomatic that the Allies wished to impress upon the Japanese the decisive nature of their military defeat in order to discourage any possible resistance and all of the speculation as to the motive behind individual ceremony details seem plausible.  However, unless there is something in the personal papers or memoirs of the participants, I think it unlikely we will find something that will allow us to make a definitive determination as to the specific motivations of those involved.
C. Kevin Hurst
June Rites of Passage
by  W. Thomas Smith Jr.
Every June, we Marines are reminded of a fateful day in 1918 wherein our reputation in the modern era was enhanced by some unbelievable shooting, a bit of tooth-to-eyeball combat, and a few Marine-friendly reporters on the Western Front in France. For on June 6 of that year, Marines attacked and destroyed Imperial German Army positions during the Battle of Belleau Wood, an old French hunting preserve near Chateau-Thierry, in a grisly close-quarters slugfest, after which the Germans – convinced the Marines were special American "shock troops" – nicknamed their foes, teufelhunden, devil dogs.
What happened that day became the stuff of legend, or rather lore since the heroics of June 6, 1918 were confirmed by several sources, not the least of which was the enemy.
At one point during the fighting, Gunnery Sgt. Dan Daly – a two-time Medal of Honor recipient – dashed out in front of his Marines and shouted to them: "Come on you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?!" 
A German after-action report, read: "The Marines are considered a sort of elite Corps designed to go into action outside the United States. The high percentage of marksmen, sharpshooters, and expert riflemen, as perceived among our prisoners, allows a conclusion to be drawn as to the quality of the training in rifle marksmanship that the Marines receive. The prisoners are mostly members of the better class, and they consider their membership in the Marine Corps to be something of an honor. They proudly resent any attempts to place their regiments on a par with other infantry regiments." 
Twenty-six years – to the day – later, just after 2 a.m., Army paratroopers, members of the soon-to-be famous 82nd and 101st airborne divisions, as well as British airborne forces, began jumping behind German lines in the opening hours of the great Allied invasion of Normandy, also in France.
The paratroopers were described by German propagandists as being nothing more than gangsters and cutthroats who had learned to handle a parachute. In reality, they were young men fresh off the farm – and not far removed from their high school football fields – who had volunteered for something that not even their commanders were convinced would work on a large scale. 
Following the paratroopers were waves of glider borne forces. 
Offshore, thousands of warships, freighters, and supporting vessels were crossing the English Channel and moving into position off the French coast.
In less than five hours, the first sea borne assault waves of the initial 175,000-man Allied amphibious force began storming the beaches along a 50 to 60-mile front in the Bay of Seine between Caen and the Cherbourg peninsula. Supporting the invasion force were thousands of Allied warplanes.
Like Belleau Wood for the Marines, the invasion of Normandy made famous – for the Army – the pioneering U.S. Airborne divisions, not to mention the tens-of-thousands of sea borne soldiers, including Rangers, who kicked in the door of Hitler's Fortress Europe.
June is also a special military month for us here in South Carolina. 
For on June 28, 1776, the "first decisive victory of American forces over the British Navy" was achieved by S.C. artillerists during the American Revolution. 
That day, the garrison at Fort Sullivan – today Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island in Charleston harbor, under the command of militia Col. William Moultrie – repulsed Royal Navy forces under the command of Admiral Sir Peter Parker.
The 12-plus hour battle began around 9 a.m. when Parker's ships opened fire on the fort: many of the British shells sinking harmlessly into the soft palmetto logs of which the fort is constructed. The ships, on the other hand, some of which run aground on the harbor's shoals were constructed of oak, which Moultrie's artillerists quickly shatter sending deadly splinters into the unfortunate British crews.
Moultrie was destined to become a major general in the Continental Army and a South Carolina governor, and afterwards, S.C. would forever be known as the "Palmetto State."
Incidentally, this author's five-times great grandfather, Capt. Thomas Woodward – commanding a company of S.C. Rangers on Moultrie's extreme left – helped thwart an attempt by Royal Marines to land on Sullivan's Island. Woodward survived the battle, but was killed a few years later while in pursuit of a band of Loyalist horsemen. According to reports, he was literally blown out of his saddle by a blast of enemy buckshot. An obelisk to Woodward can be seen from the highway between Simpson and Winnsboro, S.C.
Thanks to Jon. This part of the battle is not very well known.
Marine Aviators at the Battle of Midway
By Mike Johnson
Early June, 1942
The Japanese Empire was at the height of its expansion. One last, insignificant possession of the United States remained to be cleared from the western Pacific Ocean. A mighty Japanese fleet was steaming to do battle and capture Midway. If things went truly well, the Japanese would lure the American fleet into a decisive naval engagement. There was little doubt, at least in Tokyo, that the numerically superior, better-equipped, and much more experienced Japanese fleet would be triumphant.
The Japanese fleet included four of the aircraft carriers that had performed so ably at Pearl Harbor: the Akagi, the Hiryu, the Kaga, and the Soryu. These were accompanied by two huge battleships: the Haruna and the Kirishima. They proceeded as an integrated battle group, their speed constrained by the top speed of the battleships. The time advantage conceded to the Americans would prove costly.
The Japanese had planned on all six carriers from the Pearl Harbor raid, but Shokaku had been badly damaged at the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May. Zuikaku, while not damaged herself, had lost most of her planes and pilots and been forced to return to Japan for refitting. The United States lost the carrier USS Lexington. The Japanese were forced to turn back from their planned invasion of Port Moresby, so the Battle of the Coral Sea was a strategic victory for the Americans. Material loses on both sides, while certainly not trivial, were not decisive.
The Japanese were seeking a decisive victory at Midway.
So were the Americans.
The U.S. forces were deployed in two Task Forces. TF16, under Rear Admiral Spruance, had two carriers, the USS Hornet and the USS Enterprise. TF17, under Rear Admiral Fletcher, had the carrier USS Yorktown.
The fleets were on converging courses to history.
Midway Defenses
The defenses at Midway were meager, cobbled together quickly at the outbreak of hostilities -- the perfect metaphor for the American lack of preparedness prior to WWII.
The defenses included:
•           Ground Assets - Sixth Marine Defense Battalion (reinforced).
•           Naval Assets - Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 1 (MTBRon 1) with eight PT
•           Air Assets - Army Air Force - Seventh Army Air Force Detachment with four
B-26 Martin Marauders and 19 B-17 Flying Fortresses.
•           Air Assets - Marine - Marine Fighting Squadron 221 (VMF-221 with 20 F2A-3
Brewster Buffalos and seven F4F-3 Grumman Wildcats) and Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241 (VMSB-241 with 11 SB2U-3 Vought Vindicators and 16
SBD-2 Douglas Dauntlesses).
The Marine aviators would carry the brunt of the early fighting. VMF-221 would attack the incoming Japanese aircraft, estimated at 108 planes, 36 level bombers, 36 dive bombers, and 36 fighters. VMSB-241 would attack the Japanese surface fleet.
Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241 VMSB-241 was equipped with dive bombers,
11 SB2U-3 Vought Vindicators, and 16 SBD-2 Douglas Dauntlesses. The SBD-2s and ten of the squadron's pilots arrived on Midway on 26 May 1942. Many of the pilots were untrained in dive-bombing, some had never flown their new aircraft, and gasoline was in short supply. Pilot training was a key concern going into the action.
The Vought SB2U-3 Vindicator
The Douglas SBD-2 Dauntless
Maj. Lofton R. Henderson, the commanding officer of the VMSB-241 attack, divided his planes into two groups. He led the first group, comprising 16 SBD-2s. The second group, comprising 11 SB2U-3s, was led by Maj. Benjamin Norris. The planes would attack by glide-bombing because of the lack of training in dive-bombing. They took off at approximately 0630 hours on 4 June 1942. The SBD-2s attacked a Kaga-class carrier. The after-action report indicates that the carrier was hit three times and badly damaged.
Later damage assessment would show that the attack had resulted in near misses but no direct hits. The SB2U-3s attacked the battleship Haruna. As in the case of the carrier, there were near misses but no direct hits.
All of the personnel of VMSB-241 performed in the best tradition of the Marines. They flew against overwhelming odds and aggressively attacked.
Half of the aviators were killed, including Maj. Henderson and Maj. Norris.
Total casualties were approximately 70%.
Those of you who have read of the battles and sacrifices on Guadalcanal know of the central role played by the airfield Henderson Field, named after Maj. Lofton R. Henderson.
Marine Fighting Squadron 221
VMF-221 consisted of 20 F2A-3 Brewster Buffalos and seven F4F-3 Grumman Wildcats. The Brewster Buffalo was no match for the Japanese Zero and was being phased out in favor of the Grumman Wildcat. At the time of the battle, most of the squadron's planes were Buffalos. The squadron's pilots were experienced in peacetime, but they had no combat experience.
The Brewster F2A Buffalo
The Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat
Maj. Floyd B. Parks divided VMF-221 into two flights. He led the first flight, comprising 12 Buffalos, directly to the incoming Japanese. One of the 12 developed mechanical problems and had to return to base. Only one of the remaining 11 Buffalos survived. Maj. Parks and eight other pilots died.
Capt. Kirk Armistead led the second flight, comprising eight Buffalos and seven Wildcats. The second flight lost an additional four pilots and planes.
The after-action report filed by Capt. Armistead shows that VMF-221 inflicted serious losses on the enemy. Capt. Armistead included the following tribute:
The F2A-3 is sadly out-classed in all respects by the Japanese 00 Fighters.
Although all pilots of this squadron were aware of this fact, they drove their attack home with daring and skill.
The Japanese air attack did not achieve its goals because of VMF-221 and the ground defenses, and a second attack had to be mounted. In the confusion, with fuel and ammunition on the flight decks, the Japanese carriers were extremely vulnerable to air attack. Enter the American carrier planes.
The Naval Battle
In any short treatment of a consequential and complex event, much detail must be omitted. This essay concentrates on the Marine aviators from the ground bases at Midway. The Navy aviators from the three American carriers were faced with similar difficulties to what the Marines endured. They were vastly outnumbered, with less experience and lesser performance aircraft.
They, like the Marines, attacked without question and with great courage.
It was the Navy aviators who got through and destroyed all four Japanese carriers.
The following is from remarks given by former Secretary of Defense James R.
Schlesinger at a Battle of Midway commemorative dinner on 5 June 2003Through an extraordinary combination of the skill and courage of our pilots, splendid intelligence, prudent risk-taking by our commanders that paid off, and sheer good luck, the apparently inferior American forces were victorious. This victory occurred despite the inferiority of our aircraft, the ineffectiveness of our torpedoes, the substantial absence of backup surface ships, and our overall numerical inferiority. You know the rest!
Four Japanese carriers had been sunk. It all confirmed the dictum of Otto von Bismarck: "the Lord God has special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America." The Japanese offensive had now been blunted. The Japanese fleet turned back toward the Home Islands and the opportunity for victory had been lost forever.
The cost was high. Each of the three American carriers lost about 50% of its aircraft. Hornet lost 32 planes and 37 aviators. Enterprise lost 32 planes and 51 aviators. Yorktown lost 31 planes and 23 aviators. Yorktown was badly damaged by enemy aircraft and later sunk by a submarine, with a significant loss of life.
In Memoriam
The Old Burying Yard at Kittery Point is idyllically situated on the rugged coast of Maine. It is a small cemetery, maybe two hundred graves, on a granite outcropping overlooking the entrance to the Piscataqua River, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and Portsmouth Harbor. Many of the monuments are set off with American flags, signifying veterans, such as the gravestone shown below:
The simple stone is the marker for the Alvord family: Henry, Margaret, and their son John. The ever-encroaching lichen partially covers the inscription "IN LOVING MEMORY."
John Robert Alvord was a United States Marine, a captain, an aviator, and a warrior. He flew Brewster Buffalo MF3 of VMF-221 and fought and died at the Battle of Midway.
Captain Alvord posthumously received the Navy Cross "for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession." The Navy Cross is the second-highest medal of valor, the highest being the Congressional Medal of Honor. Twenty-two other pilots of Captain Alvord's squadron also received the Navy Cross, mostly posthumously.
Each year between Memorial Day and 4 June, I take the short drive up the coast to Kittery Point and visit the Alvord memorial. It is a time of reflection, patriotism, and pride in honor of those brave men and women who have served and continue to serve. Thank you.
Mike Johnson is a concerned citizen, a small-government conservative, and a live-free-or-die resident of New Hampshire. E-mail
Some happenings from around the world
Kenya—Security Forces, Al-Shabaab Fighters Clash In Mandera Daily Nation | 06/04/2019 Kenyan security forces fought with suspected Al-Shabaab militants on Monday night in the northeastern part of the country, reports the Daily Nation (Nairobi). Police reservists were responding to reports of Al-Shabaab fighters in Fino in Mandera county when they encountered the militants, setting off a gun battle. The militants reportedly arrived in the village about two days ago with the intent to conduct terrorist attacks, officials said. A police reservist and a militant were killed in the fighting, according to local police officials cited by Xinhua, China's state news agency. Operations were continuing against the remaining militants.   
Nigeria—Boko Haram Seizes District HQ In Borno State Daily Trust | 06/04/2019 The Boko Haram militant group has captured the capital of the Marte district in the northeastern Borno state, reports the Daily Trust (Abuja). The militants attacked the base of the 153 Task Force Battalion in the town of Marte on Sunday, driving off the troops after an hour-long gun battle, according to unnamed sources from the base. The fighters appeared to be focused on capturing the town, the sources said. No casualty figures were immediately available. The Nigerian Defense Ministry did not respond to requests for comment, the newspaper said.    
Japan—Government Ends Search For Missing F-35 Jet Kyodo News Agency | 06/04/2019 The Japanese government has officially stopped its search for the Air Self-Defense Force F-35A stealth fighter that crashed in the Pacific two months ago, reports the Kyodo news agency. The service's remaining 12 F-35As, which have been grounded since the crash, will return to flight soon, said an unnamed government source on Tuesday. Several parts of the jet have been found during the search, but the pilot and main body remain missing. The cause of the crash is still uncertain. The ASDF was making progress in analyzing the available data to determine the cause of the crash, Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said.     
Iraq—In Symbolic Move, Green Zone In Baghdad Opens To Public Agence France-Presse | 06/04/2019 In a move to demonstrate improvements in security in Baghdad, the Iraqi government has fully opened the "Green Zone" in the capital, reports Agence France-Presse. The area was the seat of Saddam Hussein's government as well as the heavily guarded home to the U.S. occupation leadership and then the Iraqi government. The high-security zone in the center of Baghdad has been inaccessible to most Iraqis since the U.S. invasion in 2003. Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi has been working to open it since coming to power last year. Beginning on Tuesday, a holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, all main roads in the enclave will be opened.
Syria—Soldiers Raze Crops In Campaign Against Rebels In Northwest Reuters | 06/04/2019 The Syrian army has set fire to thousands of acres of wheat and other crops in northwestern Syria as part of its operations against rebels in the region, reports Reuters. Satellite images released last week showed fields, orchards and olive groves burning. Both sides have blamed the other for the fires, according to the U.N.'s World Food Program (WFP). "The latest outbreak in violence in Idlib and north Hama has left dozens of casualties, burned several thousand acres of vital crops and farmland and forced at least 300,000 people to flee their homes," a WFP spokesman said on Tuesday. Farmers have not been able to access their fields during the harvest season due to fighting, he said.      
Lebanon—4 Security Personnel Die In Attack In Tripoli British Broadcasting Corp. | 06/04/2019 Four Lebanese security personnel have been killed by a lone gunman in the northern city of Tripoli, reports BBC News. Two police officers and two soldiers died after the man fired on a bank, a police station and an army vehicle. The suspect later detonated a suicide vest after being surrounded in an apartment by troops. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The gunman was reportedly a member of the Islamic State. The man reportedly fought in Syria and was detained on his return in 2016. He was freed the following year, according to LBC television.    
France—Arms Sales To Riyadh Grew By 50 Percent In 2018 Reuters | 06/04/2019 The sale of French weapons systems to Saudi Arabia increased by 50 percent in 2018, according to government statistics cited by Reuters. France sold about 1 billion euros (US$1.1 billion) worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, primarily in the form of patrol boats. The increase in sales to Riyadh come despite the French government's criticism of the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen. Paris emphasized that its weapon sales are strictly regulated in line with international treaties. Sales to the Middle East increased slightly from 3.9 billion euros (US$4.3 billion) to 4 billion euros (US$4.5 billion), driven largely by fighter jet and helicopter sales to Qatar, says the annual government report.    
Sudan—Military Council Announces Elections After Deadly Crackdown On Protesters Al Jazeera | 06/04/2019 The Transitional Military Council (TMC) in Sudan has decided to end its agreements with the opposition and move forward with elections within nine months, reports Al Jazeera (Qatar). Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the council, made the announcement early Tuesday after security forces fired on demonstrators at the main protest site outside of the military headquarters in Khartoum. At least 35 people were killed and hundreds wounded in the crackdown, according to protest groups. The TMC will now move to establish an interim government to prepare for the elections, which will be internationally supervised, said Burhan. The opposition rejected the council's move, with leaders declaring that they would continue a civil disobedience campaign. The sides had previously agreed to a three-year transition to civilian rule and were negotiating the makeup of a council to oversee it.   
India—Turkish Shipyard Coalition Selected For Naval Tanker Program Daily Sabah | 06/04/2019 The Indian navy has selected a consortium of Turkish shipyards to supply new fleet support tankers, reports the Daily Sabah (Istanbul). The US$2.3 billion tender covers five tankers, each displacing 45,000 tons, according to release from the TAIS consortium. TAIS will be responsible for modernizing the shipyards; the design of the ships; engineering services; planning and management of construction; preparation of shipbuilding material specifications; and primary materials, the newspaper said. Hindustan Shipyard anticipates signing a contract by the end of June, reported Jane's Defence Weekly. All of the ships will be built at its yard in Visakhapatnam on India's east coast. Steel-cutting is expected to begin by the end of 2020, with the first tanker to be handed over by 2024, the magazine said.    
USA—Insitu Wins Deal To Supply ScanEagle Drones To Southeast Asian Countries Dept. Of Defense | 06/04/2019 The Naval Air Systems Command has awarded a Foreign Military Sales contract to Insitu, Bingen, Wash., for ScanEagle uncrewed air vehicles, reports the Dept. of Defense. The US$47.9 million deal covers 34 ScanEagle aircraft for Indonesia (eight); Malaysia (12); the Philippines (eight); and Vietnam (six). The award also includes spare payloads; spare and repair parts; support equipment; and associated support, said a Pentagon release on May 31. The order combines purchases for Malaysia (US$19.3 million, 40 percent); Philippines (US$9.6 million, 20 percent); Vietnam (US$9.8 million, 20 percent); and Indonesia (US$9.2 million, 20 percent). Work under the contract is scheduled to be completed in March 2022.     
Malaysia—Air Force Eyes Used Kuwaiti Hornet Jets Free Malaysia Today | 06/04/2019 The Royal Malaysian Air Force plans to procure ex-Kuwaiti fighter jets to fill a gap while it awaits approval to buy new aircraft in the next decade, reports the Free Malaysia Today news portal. Kuwait is planning to phase out its existing F/A-18C/D Hornet fighters, which are being replaced by F/A-18E/F Super Hornets beginning in 2021. "I think we will grab some of the aircraft to add on to our current fleet, at least while waiting for the new multirole combat aircraft (MRCA) program, so we have a slightly bigger fleet than what we have today," said Gen. Affendi Buang, the Malaysian air force chief. Talks on such an acquisition had not yet begun, the general said last week. The service is also seeking government approval for plans to buy light combat aircraft to replace aging Hawk 200 jets. The latter are expected to serve for at least another decade. In June 2018, Affendi reported that 40 percent of Malaysian air assets had been in service for more than 20 years.     
Somalia—Security Council Approves Cuts To AMISOM Troop Strength Dalsan Radio | 06/04/2019 The U.N. Security Council has decided to reduce the size of the peacekeeping force in Somalia by 1,000 troops, reports Dalsan Radio (Mogadishu). On Friday, the council voted to reduce the size of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), while leaving room for the council to revisit the decision if violence increases. The move will cut the size of AMISOM to a ceiling of 19,626 by Feb. 28, while maintaining the police component at 1,040. The force's mandate has been extended by a year, reported Agence France-Presse. Under a transition plan agreed in 2017, AMISOM is to gradually turn over security responsibilities to Somali forces. The African Union has raised concerns about the potential for additional violence ahead of national elections slated for 2020.     
Afghanistan—More Than 2,000 Casualties Recorded In Wave Of Attacks In May Pajhwok Afghan News | 06/04/2019 There were more than 2,000 casualties in attacks across Afghanistan in May, reports the Pajhwok Afghan News. According to reports collected by the news agency, 1,317 people were killed and 930 injured in attacks in 30 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces. Attacks increased by 37 percent over April, while casualties increased by 24 percent. There were 210 recorded attacks in May, including 60 by security forces; 57 by the Taliban; 24 by foreign forces; two by illegal armed groups; and one by Pakistan. The remaining attacks were not claimed, the news agency said. The increasing violence come as each side attempts to gain leverage in ongoing peace talks, analysts said.   
USA—B-52s Train With Naval Jets In Middle East Air Force News Service | 06/04/2019 A U.S. Air Force bomber deployed in the Middle East took part in a joint exercise with naval aircraft assigned to the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group over the weekend, reports the Air Force News Service. During the training, a B-52H Stratofortress from the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron and assigned to the U.S. Central Command Bomber Task Force, and aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 7 (CVW-7) performed several evolutions designed to improve operational tactics. The drills covered air-to-air operations, flying in formation and simulated strike operations in defense of a national asset. F/A-18E Super Hornet fighters and EA-18G Growlers from CVW-7 conducted a self-escorted strike mission with the bomber, with aircraft from USS Abraham Lincoln simulating opposing and friendly forces. Naval MH-60R Seahawk helicopters also practiced strike coordination and reconnaissance with the B-52H, the Air Force said.     
South Korea—Korean General To Lead Joint Command With U.S. Yonhap | 06/04/2019 The defense ministers of South Korea and the United States have agreed to name a separate Korean four-star general to lead a planned future joint command and relocate the command's headquarters to a U.S. base south of Seoul, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul). South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong Doo and acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan made the agreement during talks on Monday in Seoul. The meeting focused on North Korea's denuclearization and alliance issues. The announcement ended speculation that South Korea might have the chairman of its Joint Chiefs of Staff or chief of the Ground Operations Command also serve as the head of the Combined Forces Command (CFC). A U.S. Army four-star currently leads the command. Once South Korea retakes wartime operational control of its forces from Washington, a Korean general is to take command. The leaders also agreed to relocate the CFC headquarters from the capital to Camp Humphreys, a U.S. military complex in Pyeongtaek, about 44 miles (70 km) south of Seoul.      Syria—
Troops Capture Another Rebel-Held Town In Hama Al-Masdar News | 06/04/2019 The Syrian army says it has captured a town held by rebels in the northwestern Hama province, reports the Al Masdar News (Beirut), which is sympathetic to the Syrian government. On Monday, the army's elite Tiger Force led an attack on the town of Al Qasabiyah, along the border of Idlib and Hama provinces, from their positions in nearby Kafr Baboudeh.  Following a fierce battle, the rebels withdrew. The Syrian army is attempting to secure the area around Kafr Naboudeh, the news service said. The Syrian army also made advances against Al-Qaida-affiliated Hayat Tahrir al-Sham fighters in southern Idlib province, reported Xinhua, China's state news agency, citing the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Nine rebels and four soldiers were killed in the fighting, the observatory said.   

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