Friday, May 27, 2016

Fullbore Friday

Your leaders can deny you, because they value your mission.

Your press can ignore you, because they are lazy and politically compromised.

Your politicians ignore you because what you need to do embarrasses them, though they order you to do it.

In the end, it does not matter. You do your job, you do it well, and you do it for the guys to the left and right of you. The fact that you might get to work with one of those Kurdish all female battalions? Just a bonus.

To our Shipmates and fellow Americans doing what they do best - Fullbore to you today. If you can get one of those patches to me, I'll trade it for a bottle of the Catoctin Creek product of your choosing.
Ever since U.S. President Barack Obama decided to send 250 more Special Forces to the Syrian battlefield against the so-called Islamic State, they’ve been easy to spot on the front lines in Hasakah, Tisreen Dam, and near Raqqa, the capital of the “caliphate” that’s also called ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh.

In a base close to the town of Ayn al-Issa, U.S. soldiers are not only advising, they are also assisting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) very closely in targeting ISIS positions with mortars and laser guided air strikes.

Now photographs have surfaced of some of the American soldiers wearing the bright red, yellow, and green patches of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) that have proved some of the most committed and effective fighters on the ground against ISIS.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Even Laz Wouldn't do This For LCS

Sorry Laz, just playing ... I think. The news on the Diversity Front is so depressing I think I will take a break. If you knew what NAVAIR was doing for .02% of the population, it would just ruin the entire Memorial Day Weekend vibe.

Oh, and sorry to the front porch for the visual about Laz in context of the below story (he would not look good with a wig) - but this is so perfect; I've got nothing for what Brock Vergakis is feeding us this AM.
The executive assistant at shipbuilder Austal USA planned to meet Navy Capt. Jeff Riedel at a hotel east of Mobile, Ala., the evening of Jan. 24, 2012. From there, she was going to hop into his rental car to go to an out-of-the-way restaurant 45 minutes away in Gulf Shores, where prying eyes wouldn’t spot them together.

Loving said her orders were clear: She needed risque photographs with Riedel so the company president could use them as leverage over the officer who oversaw acquisition for the troubled littoral combat ship program, which Austal had been awarded a $3.5 billion contract to build in 2010.

The ship was under intense scrutiny in Washington because of mounting costs, design and construction problems, concerns over the vessel’s survivability in combat and its ability to perform its missions effectively. The speedy ships, designed to operate in shallow water, are a major component of the Navy’s future, especially in Asia.

Riedel was in Alabama to help review the program.

But instead of resolving the problems, Riedel saw his 26-year military career quickly unravel. Riedel and Loving spent that night in his hotel room, although they said nothing happened. Both lost their jobs within days. Austal USA President Joe Rella resigned a few months later.
Important note besides the obligatory, "This explains a lot." At least this Sailor learned by his sophomore year in college that the, "Really, I spent the night in a hotel room with a young attractive woman who was trying to seduce me and nothing happened ... " didn't work around adults drunk or sober.

Speaking of sophomoric behavior between the sexes;
“If you get me drunk, I am like a wild lady, and I had made sure I was drunk. ...If I’m going to do this I’m not going to do this (expletive) sober,” Loving said.”I tried to sit on his lap. I stood up and leaned between his chair. He’d asked me to sit down. I kept drinking more and more and more and more. I was way drunk, way fun, way hanging off of him. And then we went back and I informed him I couldn’t drive.”

Riedel said he had one beer. Back at the hotel, there were no available rooms for the intoxicated Loving, and neither had cash for a cab. Riedel offered one of his room’s two beds, “a huge error in judgment,” he said later.
I just need to stop. People really need to get out more when they are young.

I'll take Riedel and Loving at their word that they are the only grown man and woman who would get themselves in this mess, but both need to get their life-PQS books confiscated and dropped back a class.

See that guy? Don't be that guy.

That is all.

Hat tip C.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bad Sulu Moves to Pakistan

There may be an asterisk in that "Thousand Ship Navy."

I'm pondering over at USNIBlog. 

Come on by!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

From Those to Whom Much is Given

Wrongs can be put right. In a free society, it can just take time - but more often than not - you get there.

In one of the more shameful events of a shameful time in our nation's history, it a fit of self-serving narcissistic pique, those who were receiving the greatest advantage in life from the greatest nation on our little planet decided that the hard work of ensuring liberty was for the little people;
As a young chemistry professor at Yale University in 1969, Gary Haller voted to boot the U.S. military's Reserve Officers' Training Corps program off the Ivy League school's Connecticut campus.

Like many American schools at the time it was gripped by protests against the Vietnam War. Yale's faculty considered the presence of ROTC, which trains future officers and provides college scholarships, to be tacit support for an unpopular war.

"People were just so outraged," Haller said.
The actual reasons and motivations were a bit more nuanced than that, but we should let the past be the past. Let them comfort themselves with their little fairy tales - they and we know their reasons.

Regardless, that has changed - and for the better for us all;
Four decades on, however, he views the ROTC through a different lens. “We want to produce students who are leaders in every segment of our society," said Haller, now an emeritus professor who led a faculty committee that helped pave the way for the ROTC's return to Yale. "Whether you like the military or not, it is a big segment of our society.”

On Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited his alma mater for the first commissioning since the Vietnam era of cadets and midshipmen who participated in the program for all four years of college.

The ceremony is the latest evidence of a sea change in the attitude of elite universities, which shunned the military for four decades in part because of its controversial "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy for gay personnel. Now they have come to realize that their graduates should have as much influence on a major instrument of American power as they do in the halls of the White House or the trading desks of Wall Street.

The return of ROTC to Ivy League campuses is a return to the norm that prevailed for more than 200 years, when graduates routinely marched, flew and sailed from campus to combat.

"I really do believe deeply that ROTC needs to be back on campuses like ours so that our students can have a truly hands-on, active role in shaping the next military," said Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway, whose father served in the Air Force.

John Lewis Gaddis, a prominent Yale historian who supported ROTC's return, said he was always struck by how few students had ever met anybody in the military.

Carter referenced that in his speech on Monday, noting that the ROTC graduates had "helped bridge a divide that has persisted for too long." "For some of your classmates, you're the first member of the military they've ever gotten to know."
For the record, the DADT excuse was just a holding action from the last holdout red diaper brigade, which we all knew at the time.

A small but correct gesture is to get ROTC back, even in small numbers. For those who wrongly like to badmouth this generation of young men and women, they are showing by their actions how they feel about serving their nation compared to those who came before. Keep that note handy.

Having more people from Yale and other top-tier schools serve will help bring the full perspective to citizenship to the Ivy League that needs to be there. For better or worse, those schools produce a high percentage of our nation's leaders, this will help everyone.

As a Southerner, my worldview towards service was skewed by the Old South and Tidewater sub-cultures I was raised in; military service in the upper-middle and even upper classes was not that unusual. In many families, it is almost mandatory. Once in the Fleet, it became apparent to me that other parts of the nation did not share the same feeling of obligation or interest in serving.

Spend some years in the military and you see that wardrooms are not balanced. Those of us who came from well to do families were almost all from Old South, Tidewater, and a higher than expected percentage of upper-Midwest families. Most were from land grant university type schools, with a few Washington & Lee, VMI, Citadel, William & Mary, Sewanee etc types thrown in for flavor. Part of that is culture, part of that is opportunity. When you included the not insignificant percentage of, "the military is a family business" officers - an upper-class Ivy League Yankee was along the lines of a unicorn sighting. 

We now have one less excuse for the part of society to whom much is given, to do what is expected. This in a small measure will produce a more well-rounded military, and a better perspective of military service among what, sadly, we can call the ruling class.

Back in July 2004 (yes, I have been blogg'n that long), I summarized this issue in a more personal way;
...a big advantage to getting more of the elite to VOLUNTEER to serve their country for a few years so I will have more people at work that understand Lacrosse and field hockey.
A little confession here; sorry Shipmates, I faked interest in NASCAR when the topic came up. One has to do what one must do to survive.

Enough of me. Bravo Zulu to the new Ensigns and Second Lieutenants.  You, your country, and your peers will all be better for your service.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ukraine and the Defenestration of Names

Ukraine is trying so hard to move to the West. There is a lot that needs to be done still to build their civil society and to untangle a habit of corruption, but in so many ways they are doing what they can to make themselves more part of Europe than that of just a vassal of Russia.

That is the hard work, but simple but critical work needs to be done as well. 

As we move through the stone, brass and iron stage of pulling down statues, sandblasting symbols, and ripping off plaques in a de-Sovietization not unlike what German did with Nazi symbols after WWII - though still more de-Sovietization needs to be done - we are now to the town names stage.

This is good. This sends the right message. That, and it torques off the Russians, so extra special bonus.

Keep at it Ukraine ... and keep working on your civil society; that is where the real change will be.

About three hundred Ukrainian cities, towns and villages are officially renamed as part of the country's de-communization drive. This comes after an overwhelming number of MP's in Kyiv supported the initiative.

The main ones include Ukraine's third largest city of Dnipropetrovsk, which is being renamed to Dnipro, Dniprodzerzhynsk which became Kamianske, Artemivsk which has already returned to to its historical name Bakhmut and Illichivsk – a key port in Odesa region now known as Chornomorsk.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Battle of Jutland & the Time of the Battleship with Rob Farley - on Midrats



We are coming up on the 100-year anniversary of the Battle of Jutland. Stop for a moment, close your eyes, and then tell me what image comes to mind.

If your image is of a huge mass of steel coming at you out from the mist at 25-knots belching out sun-blocking clouds of coal-smoke and burned black powder and searing fingers of flame pushing tons of armor-piercing explosives, then this is the show for you.

For the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern we will have as our guest a great friend of the show, Robert Farley. We will not only be discussing the Battle of Jutland, but battleships in general in the context of his most recent book titled for clarity, The Battleship Book.

Rob teaches defense and security courses at the Patterson School of Diplomacy at the University of Kentucky. He blogs at InformationDissemination and LawyersGunsAndMoney. In addition to The Battleship Book, he is also the author of, Grounded: The Case for Abolishing the United States Air Force.

Join us live if you can with the usual suspects in the chat room and offer up your questions for our guest, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.



Friday, May 20, 2016

Fullbore Friday



War is funny sometimes ... many times (the present war does not count) - the person who you are trying to kill, or is trying to kill you can, in the blink of an eye - become a good friend.

You will put your life in his hands. Among civilized armed forces - that is the rule not the exception and has been for a long time.

To prove that often forgotten fact - I give you Constantin Cantacuzino and James Gunn III.

As reported by John L. Frisbee in Air Force Magazine;
On Aug. 23, 1944, King Michael of Romania, whose country had joined Germany in 1940, surrendered to Soviet forces that had advanced into the country. In the next few days, one of the most unusual adventures of World War II took place.
...
As news of the surrender spread, Romanian prison guards vanished, leaving the gates open. Gunn's first task was to keep the POWs from vanishing into the city and surrounding countryside until arrangements for their repatriation could be made. It was some time before he could find anyone with authority. The retreating Germans had begun reprisal bombing of Bucharest, which added to the general terror at the prospect of Soviet occupation.

Colonel Gunn finally located several senior Romanian officials who agreed to move the POWs to a safer location and to fly him to Italy (there were no functioning radio or wire facilities in Romania) so he could contact Fifteenth Air Force about evacuating the POWs. In return, Gunn agreed to arrange for Fifteenth Air Force to attack the fields from which the Germans were bombing the city and to convey a request that Romania be occupied by either the British or the Americans.

True to their word, the Romanians arranged a flight to Italy in an ancient twin-engine aircraft. Twenty minutes out, the Romanian pilot turned back, claiming engine trouble. On landing, Gunn was approached by Capt. Constantine Cantacuzino, who offered to fly him to Italy in the belly of a Bf-109. Captain Cantacuzino was commander of a Romanian fighter group that had been flying for the Luftwaffe. He also was Romania's leading ace and a member of the royal family. The risk of this venture was not slight. If they were downed by German or American fighters or by flak, or had engine failure, it would be curtains for Gunn, locked in the aft fuselage of the Bf-109.

There were no maps of Italy available, so Gunn drew from memory a map of the southeast coast of the country and an approach chart for his home base at San Giovanni Airfield. He wanted Captain Cantacuzino to fly on the deck to avoid German radar, but the Romanian, who did not have complete confidence in his engine, held out for 19,000 feet, which would test Gunn's tolerance to cold and lack of oxygen.

As an added precaution, they had a large American flag painted on both sides of the fuselage. While that was being done, Cantacuzino drew Gunn aside and told him their plan to take off early the next morning had become widely known and might be compromised. As soon as the painting was finished, Cantacuzino produced heavy flying gear for Gunn, stuffed him through an 18-inch-square access door into the fuselage (from which the radio had been removed), locked the door, and took off at 5:20 p.m. on Aug. 27. The two-hour flight was completed without incident, though the Bf-109's engine began to run rough over the Adriatic.

The two men were immediately driven to Fifteenth Air Force headquarters at Bari. Planning began that night for strikes on the German airfield near Bucharest and for evacuation of the POWs in quickly modified B-17s. The plan was designated Operation Gunn. By Sept. 3, 1,161 Allied prisoners of war had been flown out of Romania. Colonel Gunn had gambled his life and won--as had the POWs. Sadly, Romania was to remain under brutal Soviet control for the next 45 years.
Hat tip Front Porch. 
First posted May 2012