Tuesday, June 11, 2019

TheList 5020

The List 5020 TGB 

Some extra bits to start the week

The Battle of Midway 1942: Told from the Japanese Perspective - CDR Salamander
Friday, June 07, 2019
With this being the week of the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, the Battle of Midway has taken a back seat, rightfully.

At the end of April, I came across one of the best presentations about the Battle of Midway I have ever seen. What makes it so good is its presentation: from the Japanese perspective. The author has only published Part-1 of a two part series, but you need to see it now.

Not just that, it brings in to the light some of the lesser known stories from the American effort - specifically the heroic attacks from the land-based aircraft from Midway after the discovery of the Japanese fleet by a PBY just in time. They may not have directly done much, but they set the table for the carrier aircraft to catch lightning in a jar - as you'll see below.

I recommend that you watch the whole thing, but if you are running short of time, I ask you go to the 11:50 timestamp of the first video.

What especially hit me were the attacks of the Vindicator squadron. Even more obsolete than the Devastators - and their pilots knew this - they still pressed on.

First there was the defense of Midway by the fighters as the attack aircraft went to attack the approaching Japanese force:
- 13 of 18 Buffalo shot down.
- 2 of 6 Wildcats shot down.

The first Midway based attack: 0710:
- 5 of 6 USN Avenger torpedo bombers shot down.
- 2 of 4 USAAC Marauders shot down.
- No hits.
- 2 Japanese Zeros lost.

2nd at 0753:
- 8 of 16 USMC Dauntless dive bombers shot down.
- No hits.
- 1 Japanese Zero lost.

3rd at 0810:
- 15 USAAC B-17 at high altitude.
- No hits. No losses

4th at 0847:
- 11 USMC Vindicator dive bombers.
- 2 of 11 shot down.
- No hits.
- Avoided Japanese carriers and attacked IJN BB Haruna.

Watch 'em all. Next time people tell you how unrealistic the "Last Charge of the Dothraki" was in Game of Thrones ... think of the land based aircraft at Midway (including my Buffalos) - they did the same with the same foreknowledge of the odds.

You do it because it must be done.

Duty. Mission.
The Battle of Midway 1942: Told from the Japanese Perspective (1/2) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=Bd8_vO5zrjo
Former IIAF Tomcat pilots tell the True Story of why Iran picked the F-14 over the F-15
A couple on the USS Liberty  Thanks  to  Carl
52nd Anniversary of President LBJ's Treasonous Attack on the USS Liberty – LBJ: Master of Deceit
(A pleasant surprise about PC Mullen near the end!  Some good comments.)
A USS Liberty's Hero's Passing
June 8, 2019 • 58 Comments
On the 52nd anniversary of the attack on the USS Liberty, Ray McGovern focuses on Terry Halbardier, who sent the SOS that saved the ship from Israeli destruction. 
This article was written in 2014 on the occasion of Halbardier's death. 
52nd Anniversary of President LBJ's Treasonous Attack on the USS Liberty
THIS VIDEO (CLICK HERE) includes interviews with many of the sailors and officers aboard the Liberty, and contemporaneous navy brass, who knew the attack was no accident.
USS Liberty Cover Up - "The Loss Of Liberty" -   https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=ZluFfyQ7sAI 
As I've detailed in the book Remember the Liberty! there is no other realistic explanation for why Israel would knowingly attack a U.S. warship: That LBJ viewed the ship's destruction, and America's joining Israel in a nuclear attack on Egypt as the key to another "false flag" operation to ensure a second landslide election for him the following year, is the only plausible explanation that checks all the boxes of otherwise unexplained enigmas (merely a few of the many):
The fact that planning for this "spontaneous" war had begun as early as 1965;
That specific documented evidence was discovered to connect the White House (the "303 Committee") to this planning;
That numerous records exist of U.S. military resources (training and monitoring personnel, aircraft and intelligence data) being committed to the operation before and during the operation;
That Israel had jammed the precise radio channels used by the Libertyduring the attack, yet attempted to lay blame on having confused the Liberty with an old Egyptian ship that had not been in service for months;
Further to the previous point, the pretext of blaming the attack on "confusion" was belied by the fact that radio transmissions exist of Israeli orders to the pilots of the fighter jets to attack the ship, acknowledging that it was American;
That the original plan, had the attack succeeded and the Liberty sunk — blaming Egypt for the attack — was absurd, since the Israeli IDF had destroyed their air force the first day of the war (thus possibly explaining why Israel started the war four days early as a way to attempt to scuttle that part of the operation).
Further to the point about indications of Israeli diffidence — their awareness that the original plan was fraught with implausible questions — the fact that the first four torpedoes they fired at a virtual "sitting duck" all missed their target when there was nothing to prevent them from getting as close as necessary to the ship to guarantee their hitting it begs the question: Were they really intending to sink the ship, or merely to assuage a psychotic U.S. president?
For a more complete understanding of Lyndon Johnson's psychotic plan to sink his own ship in order to save his presidency (the only book on this subject which provides this compelling explanation) please read Remember the Liberty!
Tuesday, June 04, 2019

One of the great tragedies of the obses
sion with Joint, Goldwater-Nichols - and to no small measure petty budgetary parochialism - was the loss of the Navy's ability to quickly create inside its own lifelines capabilities to meet the requirements to support combat operations as we encountered them.

We saw it in Iraq, we saw it in Afghanistan, we continue to see it today. Heck, not just USN, but USAF has the same problem. Just look at the bureaucratic slow roll of a capability I heard people screaming for in C5F as we clawed our way up the Kandahar Valley in late 2001 - the Light Attack Aircraft.

Examples are legion of when Navy has needed a capability, but had to wait or get none simply because the other services' "high-demand/low-density" assets simply had more important things to do. That is an arrangement that fits an "efficiency" mindset, but fails the "effectiveness" requirement in war.

Of course, I'm talking today about the capability our Navy grew pre-Goldwater-Nichols out of whole cloth in the body of Helicopter Attack Squadron (Light)-3 and her sisters. A great article over at USNI Proceedings re-introducing their story to a new generation.
One of the principal avenues for resupplying communist Viet Cong fighters was the populous Mekong Delta. The most productive agricultural area in South Vietnam, it featured a web of waterways that were used to infiltrate the region. To stem the flow of supplies, the U.S. Navy initiated Operation Game Warden in late 1965, establishing Task Force 116—a fleet of amphibious vessels and armed river-patrol boats collectively known as the "Brown Water Navy"—that patrolled the delta's inland rivers and search suspicious vessels. The delta soon became a hotly contested and wide-ranging arena of warfare, where Navy small craft, SEALS, and Army ground forces faced danger at nearly every turn along the jungle-lined waterways.

With the commencement of Game Warden, the Navy concurrently adopted a new designation for its rotary-wing community: the helicopter combat support squadron (HC). These units largely operated as part of the blue-water Navy, performing the utility and plane guard duties that were established missions for helicopters operating from carriers and surface ships. With the exception of search-and-rescue missions, day-to-day operations tilted more heavily toward the support part of the squadron designation and less on combat.

This changed in 1966, when Rear Admiral Norvell G. Ward, Commander Naval Forces Vietnam, offered General William C. Westmoreland, Commander, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, much-needed air support for his riverine forces. Army helicopters had been performing those missions on a temporary basis, but Admiral Ward proposed to provide Navy crews if the Army contributed helicopter gunships, which did not exist in the Navy's aircraft inventory.

The resulting agreement brought members of HC-1 in country to fly UH-1B Iroquois helicopters, with the first contingent arriving on Independence Day 1966. Training under Army pilots and crews included familiarization with the aircraft, armament, and the vast area of operations. On 19 September, the first HC-1 detachment arrived on board the USS Tortuga (LSD-26), one of the collection of amphibious vessels, including tank landing ships (LSTs), that served as bases of operation for HC-1 and later HA(L)-3. The Navy men also received a new nickname—the Seawolves.
Yep, this is the Navy I know.
Aviation Structural Mechanic Third Class Joe Crutcher recalls himself and a fellow maintainer borrowing black paint from an Australian unit that they mixed with green paint provided by the Army to give the HA(L)-3 UH-1Bs a different look. Commander Robert Spencer, the squadron skipper, directed them to paint "NAVY" in white letters on the tail booms, saying, "I want the Army to know the Navy is here."

One thing not lacking was personnel willing to serve in the squadron, even knowing what they faced. "If you go to HA(L)-3," retired Captain Brian Buzzell recalled of the squadron's reputation among those coming out of flight school as helicopter pilots, "you are going to get shot at and maybe killed." Those pilots joining stateside trained under the tutelage of the Army (initially at Fort Benning, Georgia, and later at Fort Rucker, Alabama), learned how to fire and clean an array of weapons, and completed the Army's demanding SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, and escape) school.
Read it all.

Of course, in spite of the example they gave, we did not have the same spirit or ability to adjust due to the bureaucratic adhesions from DC and "other priorities" of senior leadership than supporting Sailors under fire. Navy gunships did survive on life support in the USNR, but neglected and never expanded, they finally were allowed to starve to death in 2016. What a disgrace.

There is some good news for history though, there is a documentary;
Jeff and Shannon met with the president of the HA(L)-3 Seawolf Association, Mike Dobson, in 2012 and proposed making a documentary. With Jeff traveling the world filming the World Surfing League, not until 2014 during a squadron reunion in Dallas, Texas, did the couple dedicate themselves to beginning work on the film. 
You can get more details here.
USA—Raytheon, United Technologies Agree To MergerWall Street Journal | 06/10/2019Aerospace firm United Technologies (UTC) has struck a deal to merge with Raytheon, reports the Wall Street Journal. Under the agreement announced on Sunday, UTC will appoint eight of the 15 new directors and hold 57 percent of the new company's stock.
The proposal is unlikely to be struck down by anti-trust authorities, because the two firms do not compete directly with each other in most markets, analysts said. The merger would allow the companies to focus research and development efforts on projects such as hypersonics; directed energy weapons; cyber protection for next-generation aircraft; connected airspace; and advanced analytics and artificial intelligence, according to a company statement cited by Defense News. If successful, the new firm would be dubbed Raytheon Technologies Corp. It would be based in the Boston area, near the homes of its two constituent companies. The merger could be complete by the first half of 2020, according to a statement cited by Agence France-Presse.
USA—Autonomous Black Hawk Helicopter Tech Takes Another StepLockheed Martin | 06/10/2019Sikorsky, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, has conducted an initial test flight of technology that could eventually provide an optionally piloted capability for Black Hawk helicopters, reports Lockheed.On May 29, the first full authority fly-by-wire retrofit kit that completely removed mechanical flight controls from a Black Hawk helicopter flew for the first time.The test flight marked the beginning of a flight-test program for the optionally piloted capability. Future tests will cover envelope expansion. Fully autonomous flight testing is anticipated in 2020, the company said.Sikorsky is working with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's (DARPA) Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System program to develop a "pilot-directed autonomy" system that provides operators with the confidence to fly the aircraft safely and reliability in optionally piloted modes.The project is designed to improve operator decision aids for crewed operations while also enabling uncrewed and reduced crew flight.Sikorsky has previously demonstrated its MATRIX technology on a modified S-76B helicopter, which has racked up more than 300 hours of autonomous flight since 2013, the company said.
USA—Treasury Hits Iran's Largest Petrochemical Holding Group With More SanctionsU.S. Treasury Dept. | 06/10/2019The Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Dept. has implemented new measures against Iran's largest and most profitable petrochemical holding company, reports the department.The sanctions target the Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Co. (PGPIC) and its network of 39 subsidiary firms and foreign-based sales agents for providing financial support to the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters, which is the engineering conglomerate belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).The PGPIC and its subsidiaries hold 40 percent of Iran's total petrochemical production capacity and are responsible for 50 percent of the country's total petrochemical exports, said a Treasury release on Friday.The department emphasized that the IRGC uses its commercial holdings to fund its activities.
Turkey—Ankara Still Waiting On U.S. To Set Up Working Group On S-400 ConcernsReuters | 06/10/2019Turkish officials say the U.S. has not taken adequate steps to discuss Ankara's purchase of a Russian air defense system, reports Reuters. On Monday, the head of the Turkish Defense Industries Directorate, Ismail Demir, told reporters in Ankara that officials were working on a response to a letter by acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. The U.S. has made no move to set up a joint working group to discuss its concerns, he said. Ankara had proposed the joint group. On June 6, Shanahan wrote to his Turkish counterpart outlining the steps that could be taken to remove Turkey from the F-35 fighter program if Turkey goes through with the acquisition of the S-400 surface-to-air missile system from Russia, reported the Hurriyet Daily News (Istanbul). Under the measures, all Turkish pilots training on the jet in the U.S. would leave by July 31 and all future training would be suspended. Washington has expressed concern that the Russian radars used in the system could expose the stealth features of the F-35, endangering the jet for all users. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has emphasized that the procurement will go forward, with deliveries taking place as soon as this month, noted the Anadolu Agency.
Japan—Vertigo Likely Cause Of F-35 Crash, Say OfficialsNHK | 06/10/2019The crash of an F-35 off northern Japan in April was likely caused by pilot disorientation, reports state broadcaster NHK. During the training mission, the pilot was ordered to put distance between his jet and a nearby U.S. military aircraft, according to a military report released on Monday, as reported by Nikkei Asian Review (Tokyo). The pilot descended from a height of 6 miles (9.6 km) to 3 miles (4.7 km) in about 20 seconds, according to the plane's flight path. After 15 more seconds, the F-35 was about 1,000 feet (300 m) above the ocean. The plane disappeared shortly afterwards. The pilot, Maj. Akinori Hosomi, was likely not aware of his situation and was suffering from vertigo or spatial disorientation, said Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya, as quoted by Reuters. There was no evidence that he tried to eject, officials noted.Japanese officials said mechanical or software malfunction was not suspected and that the Air Self-Defense Forces F-35s would soon return to flight.Pilots will receive additional vertigo training and the remaining aircraft will be inspected before flights resume, Iwaya said.
South Korea—Defense Minister Discusses Combat Readiness With USSOCOM ChiefYonhap | 06/10/2019South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong Doo met with the head of the U.S. Special Operations Command last week in Seoul, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).The talks with Gen. Richard Clarke covered the close cooperation between the special operations commands of the two countries, including ways to strengthen combined readiness.Jeong also requested ongoing U.S. support for diplomatic efforts to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.For his part, Clarke pledged to work to enhance bilateral special operations cooperation.
Afghanistan—Khalilzad Meets With Ghani To Try To Revive Talks With TalibanKhaama Press | 06/10/2019U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad is in Afghanistan this week for talks with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, reports the Khaama Press (Afghanistan). In a statement released after their meeting on Sunday, the U.S. diplomat described the meeting as positive and focused on building consensus behind a U.S. initiative to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan. The U.S. envoy briefed Ghani on developments in diplomatic efforts in Europe and Pakistan, reported the Anadolu Agency (Ankara). Both parties agreed that talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban were essential. The U.S. has held at least six rounds of talks with the Taliban since September. The militant group has so far refused to meet with the government in Kabul, calling it a puppet of the West.
Iran—German Foreign Minister Arrives In Tehran In Effort To Save Nuclear DealDeutsche Welle | 06/10/2019German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is in Iran this week to meet with officials in the hopes of saving the foundering Iran nuclear deal, reports Deutsche Welle. On Monday, Maas met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran. Prior to the meeting, the German minister said he hoped both countries could find "constructive" means to save the 2015 agreement. A new payment system that would allow trade in non-dollar currencies for humanitarian goods, known as Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), will soon be ready, Maas said, as cited by Reuters. Maas said he hoped that he could sway Iran to walk back its July 7 deadline to abandon the deal unless European nations provide significant economic incentives. The deal's fate has been in question since President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the accord in May 2018 and the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran. The sanctions have caused significant economic damage, including hurting Iranian oil exports, increasing inflation and a declining rial, the Iranian currency.
Saudi Arabia—Ballistic Missile Program Receives Boost From China, According to U.S. IntelCable News Network | 06/10/2019Saudi Arabia has significantly increased its ballistic missile development program with assistance from China, according to intelligence obtained by the U.S. government.The intelligence indicates that Saudi Arabia has expanded its missile infrastructure and technology through recent procurements from China, said three sources with direct knowledge of the matter, as cited by CNN.The Trump administration did not initially reveal this knowledge to key lawmakers, the sources said. Democrats were angered after discovering it outside of standard government channels and concluding that it had been deliberately left out of a series of briefings where they say it should have been included.The discovery has fed concerns over a potential arms race in the Middle East and whether it signals tacit approval by the Trump administration as it seeks to contain Iran.The Saudi objective has not been fully assessed, but the move could indicate further efforts to support a potential future nuclear weapons program, the sources said.Riyadh is known to have previously purchased Chinese ballistic missiles. The latest efforts appear to support work to establish a domestic production capacity.

 United Arab Emirates—Deal Finalized With Naval Group For Pair Of CorvettesDefense-Aerospace | 06/10/2019The United Arab Emirates has made a deal with French shipbuilder Naval Group for two corvettes, with an option for a third, reports defense-aerospace.com.The 750 million euro (US$844 million) contract for Gowind-class corvettes was signed on March 25, according to French newspaper La Tribune.The deal could be blocked by Germany, however, which has embargoed arms deliveries to Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. over the conflict in Yemen. German firm MTU was expected to supply the diesel engines for the ships.The 2,700-ton warships are to be equipped with Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile surface-to-air missiles and MM 40 Exocet anti-ship missiles.
Israel—Gaza Deal Holds, General SaysTimes of Israel | 06/10/2019An informal agreement with militant groups in the Gaza Strip continues to hold, according to Israel's army chief of staff, as quoted by the Times of Israel.Fewer incendiary devices have been flown into Israel and violence has receded significantly since an agreement was reached with Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups following the last major clashes on May 4-5, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi told local leaders in communities near the Gaza border on Friday.Israel has refused to officially acknowledge the agreement, although it has taken steps to ease conditions in the region.Kohavi also said that Israeli could not permit incendiary balloon attacks to continue.In recent weeks, Israel has reduced the permissible fishing zone off of Gaza for several days at a time in response to such attacks.
Malawi—Forestry Dept. Wants To Continue Partnership With ArmyNyasa Times | 06/10/2019The Malawian Dept. of Forestry says it plans to renew an agreement with the military that enables soldiers to help protect forests from illegal logging, reports the Nyasa Times (Malawi).Since Malawian troops withdrew from forests in Nyika, Dzalanyama, Mulanje and others, illegal logging has significantly increased, said a Forestry Dept. spokesman."We will soon be reviewing our agreement with the MDF [Malawi Defense Force]. The department wants to send the soldiers back to the forests to protect the trees," he said.No timetable for the renewal of the agreement was given.
Mali—95 Die In Assault On Village In Mopti RegionFrance 24 | 06/10/2019At least 95 people have been killed in the latest ethnic violence in central Mali, reports France 24. On Sunday, gunmen attacked the ethnic Dogon village of Sobane, in the central Mopti region, said local officials.The attackers set fire to buildings and shot villagers who attempted to flee. The bodies of at least 95 victims have been recovered, local officials told Agence France-Presse. Another 19 were missing, said the Malian Defense Ministry. The death toll was expected to increaseThere were no immediate claims of responsibility. Similar attacks have been blamed on ethnic militias locked in disputes over land and water. The mayor of the nearby town of Bankass said Fulani were behind the attack, reported Reuters. Many in Mali accuse members of the Fulani community, an ethnic group that often clashes with the Dogon, of jihadist sympathies. In March, the massacre of 150 Fulani villagers led to the collapse of the Malian government.
Sudan—4 Killed As Protesters Launch Civil Disobedience CampaignSudan Tribune | 06/10/2019At least four people were killed on the first day of the Sudanese opposition's general strike, reports the Sudan Tribune (Paris). On Sunday, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) kicked off its general civil disobedience campaign in response to last week's deadly crackdown on demonstrators in Khartoum.  At least four people were killed, two by stabbing and two by shooting, said the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors, which blamed paramilitary groups, as reported by Al Jazeera (Qatar).Makeshift barricades have been erected around the capital to disrupt the movement of security forces. The SPA called for the strike after more than 100 demonstrators were killed when the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) attacked protesters last week in Khartoum.With the latest fatalities, 118 people have been killed by security forces since June 3, the committee said. The strike will end when the Transitional Military Council (TMC) hands over power to a civilian government, said the SPA.

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