Sunday, May 01, 2016

Terrorists on the Ocean with CAPT Bob Hein, USN - on Midrats



When does the Long War go feet wet?

Given the track record of the preceding couple of decades, it was expected shortly after the start of this phase of the war after 911, that terrorists would take the war to sea. There was an incident now and then, but the threat never really played out to the extent we thought early on.

Recent events point to the possibility that this may be changing, in perhaps ways not originally thought.

What is the threat? Where is it coming from, and how do you deter and defeat it?

Our guest for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern to discuss this and more will be CAPT Bob Hein, USN. We will use his latest article with CIMSEC, Terrorists on the Ocean: Sea Monsters in the 21st Century, as a starting out point for discussion.

Captain Hein is a career surface warfare officer. Over the last 28 years, he has served on seven ships around the globe and has had the privilege of commanding two of them: the USS Gettysburg (CG 64), and the USS Nitze (DDG 94),

He completed two tours as a requirements officer on the Navy staff for combatant modernization and for future logistics capabilities. He also served as the current operations officer for U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Additional tours include as an action officer on the Joint Staff, Joint Operations Directorate, and as Chief of Staff to the NATO Mediterranean Fleet.

He is currently the Branch Head for Strategy on the OPNAV Staff (N513) Captain Hein graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a bachelor's in physical science. He also holds a master's in national security affairs and strategic studies from the Naval War College, is a graduate of the Joint Forces Staff College, and a former Navy Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is also the proud father of two Surface Warfare Officers; it's a family business.

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, April 29, 2016

Fullbore Friday

Earlier this week, I had one of my evergreen arguments over the use of, "kids" to describe those who serve.

I'm sorry, 18, 19, and even 25 year old men and women are just that, men and women. We all put our lives in their hands every day, I find the paternalistic "kid" a bit insulting and can cause some to expect less of them. 

Perhaps it is just me being pedantic, it probably is.

"Kids" is better than "boy" and "girl," I suspect - but maybe it isn't just me, maybe it is just "us." We don't expect much from our young men and women as a society compared to what was expected just a few generations ago.

Adult college graduates, especially the young men, still living at home. They have the car, clothes and the external trappings of an adult, but they live as small children. Waiting for the roast-duck of life to fly in their mouth, making excuses for their own timidity and poor decisions.

Don't even get me started with the men and women in their early-20s, smart and well educated, who can't even deal with different opinions or little words that seem to send them in to a spiral.

Do they behave as such because we let them, or do we encourage them to never rise to adulthood? Either way, it is mostly the fault of poor leadership from their elders.

Back to boys and girls - but in this case let's look at the term "boy" as it was used just 100 years ago. A first class boy, or as it were, a Boy First Class;
At the outbreak of war, Jack's father Eli, an ex-soldier, re-enlisted as a Private in the 57th Coy. Royal Defence Corps. It was The Royal Navy that appealed to Jack and at the age of 15 he took references from his Headmaster and his employer along to a local recruitment office and enlisted.

He was sent to Keyham Naval Barracks in Plymouth for his basic training where he earned sixpence a week as a "Boy Second Class". He passed out as Boy First Class J. T. Cornwell J/42563 and when he left Keyham, (referred to in naval terms as H.M.S. Vivid) he was posted to H.M.S. Lancaster which was moored at Chatham. Jack was later ordered to join the fleet at Rosyth in Scotland and on the 2nd of May 1916 he joined the newly commissioned H.M.S. Chester.

The Battle of Jutland began on the 31st of May 1916, the first shots being fired at 14.28. H.M.S. Chester was stationed ahead of the fleet in The North Sea. Lookouts reported distant gunfire and her Captain ordered "Action Stations" before setting off at full speed to investigate. Close ahead they encountered four German cruisers. Jack took orders via headphones from his Officer on the bridge. He was fully responsible for setting the gun's sights and his speed and precision would determine whether they were to hit or miss their target. The German cruisers opened fire and Jack's gun was one of the first to be hit before it could be brought into action and he suffered a serious wound to his chest. H.M.S. Chester simply could not match the firepower of the four enemy cruisers. 

A report from the Commanding Officer of H.M.S. Chester: "Boy (1st Class) John Travers Cornwell of the "Chester", was mortally wounded early in the action. He nevertheless remained standing alone at a most exposed post, quietly awaiting orders till the end of the action, with the gun's crew dead and wounded all round him".

H.M.S. Chester sustained severe punishment, being hit seventeen times. She was ordered back to the port of Immingham on the Humber.

Jack was taken to hospital in Grimsby and attended by Dr. C. S. Stephenson, but he could not be saved and died of his wounds on June 2nd, 1916. His body was brought back to East Ham in a naval coffin and his family buried him in a private ceremony at Manor Park Cemetery, in a communal grave numbered 323.

When the story of Jack's heroism and somewhat humble burial was publicised, it was decided, due to strong public opinion that Jack should have a burial fit for a hero.

On the 29th of July 1916, Jack Cornwell's body was exhumed and carried by gun carriage from East Ham Town Hall to Manor Park Cemetery where he was reburied with full naval honours.

In the procession, along with members of the family were: Mr. R. Banks Martin the Mayor of East Ham, Sir John Bethell M.P.,The Bishop of Barking, boys from Walton Road School, local cadets and scouts and boy sailors from H.M.S. Chester. The Admiralty was represented by Dr. Macnamara M.P.

On the 15th of September 1916, the official citation appeared in The London Gazette stating that John Travers Cornwell had been posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross by King George V.
What about his mother?
On the 25th of October 1916 Jack's father Eli died whilst on active service. The following month, on the 16th of November 1916, Jack's mother received her son's V.C. from The King at Buckingham Palace.

By 1919, Jack's mother Lily, was living in reduced circumstances and working in a sailors' hostel to supplement a very small pension awarded for her son. She was found dead at her home in Commercial Road, Stepney, on the 31st of October 1919 aged 48 and never saw the memorial erected on her son's grave. She shares a grave with Jack and Eli at Manor Park Cemetery, although her name is recorded as Alice.

The memorial stone was unveiled on the 31st of December 1920, by Dr. Macnamara M.P. with members of the family present and A.H. Wiseman, the Mayor of East Ham. The Boy Scouts and Sea Scouts provided a guard of honour.
Finally, a little note for you next time you are in London. It's right across from Captain Bligh's house;
The gun that Jack manned from H.M.S. . Chester, was taken to the Imperial War Museum in March 1936 and is still on display today, along with Jack's medals which were deposited in the museum by Jack's stepsister Alice Payne on the 28th of November 1968.
Now I am mad at myself. When I was at the IWM, I walked right past his gun. When you get a chance, take up my slack and visit a bit of what a "boy" can do.

Fullbore.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Diversity Thursday

With the ongoing fight for money and manpower each year, smart leaders should have one order that comes out of their office before any other one when looking for manpower savings; "Let me see the manning document."

For a very long time, our BA/NMP collected like so many beggar-weeds non-value added billets to meet this person or that person's pet project; something they can point to and say, "See, we did something."

What were once collateral duties are now full-time billets, taking money and personnel both civilian and uniformed away from actually performing duties that contribute to manning, equipping, and training Sailors and Marines to perform their mission. With finite budgets and only 24-hrs a day, this has an opportunity cost.

These non-value added positions need to find ways to justify their existence, they sure have plenty of time on their hands. If they don't have problems to solve, they will create them.

If you give socio-politically motivated people agenda driven jobs, and they think their agenda and desire to prove that they are as important as anyone else is primary - their extra time and need for self-affirmation will take your command in strange directions.

Fold in to that the Diversity Bullies standard operating proceedures; they will make you love them. They will make you prove a negative, but mostly - under threat of smearing you as not "caring" - they will force you and your command to sacrifice time and money to validate their existence. Weak leaders will jump through the hoops. Virtue seeking and attention desiring people will flock to it. Warfighters will do what they must, avoid and hide from what they can.

What was once a "go along to get along" or a "what harm, it sounds nice" or a "whatever; if I agree will they leave me alone" - is now an above-the-fold priority. 

These political-agenda driven parasites will start to take over the larger organization, sucking up scarce resources. Never satisfied, they demanded more and more attention.

Did you notice this month that annoying change in the "NAVY" where the "V" was turned in to a weak denim color ribbon everywhere including even PAO pictures on twitter? Just look at the screen-cap in this post from navy.mil. Right after the CNO's Design, what does our Navy think the word needs to know about? Why, it must signal virtue. Goodness knows a Navy and Marine Corps at war does not have any virtue related to warfighting in need of letting the world know about.

That is the macro view, what is the local view? How does this needy warping of priorities work its way down to even the smallest UIC?
Sexual Assault Awareness Prevention Month

NSA Panama City Events- April 2016

March 31, 2016 SAAPM Kick-off in the Galley !

April 8, 2016 Reality Game Show for Active Duty at NDSTC Auditorium, beginning at 1300.

April 12, 2016 Coffee and donuts with the SARC, out front of the Fleet and Family Support Center, beginning at 0730!

April 19, 2016 Dedication of “Ophelia”. Ophelia is a Hibiscus tree that has been planted to show support to all Navy Sexual Assault Survivors. The Chaplain will be doing a blessing and all attendees will participate in hanging teal ribbons on her.

April 20, 2016 Sexual Assault Awareness Run/ Walk starts at 0700 in front of the Fitness Center! Wear your teal to show support of the SAPR program!

April 20, 2016 is NSA Panama City’s Denim Day! Show your support of Sexual Assault Survivors- Send pictures of you and your coworkers in DENIM to Catherine. [redacted]@navy.mil. Denim Day came about as a result of a rape that occurred in Italy thirteen years ago. An 18 year old young lady hired a driving instructor to take driving lessons. The instructor drove her to an isolated area in the country, and then attacked her. He wrestled with her until he got one of her legs out of her jeans, raped her, then forced her to drive back to town. The rapist was arrested and convicted for the crime. However, he later appealed the conviction, the case made it all the way to Italy's Supreme Court. The conviction was overturned by a male judge. The judge concluded that because the victim had on tight jeans, she must have helped the perpetrator take her pants off and therefore it was not rape, it was consensual sex. Women across the country were enraged and within hours women were wearing denim jeans everywhere including professional work environments in support of the rape victim.

April 22, 2016 Run 1.5 miles in their shoes! Males come dressed as women, heels and all! Females come dressed as men, don’t forget your moustache! Show your support of all Sexual Assault Survivors!! Prizes will be awarded for best dressed and a variety of other crazy categories!

Any questions, please contact Catherine [redacted], SARC, at 850-235-[redacted]!!!

See you there!
The worst habits of the college Social Justice Warrior mindset are soaking in to our Navy, and you are paying for it with time, money, and BA/NMP. 

Now that the sane among you are in a funk, let me cheer you up.

As we have covered over the years here, there is only one effective way to fight this - you have to starve the beast. With fresh air and light, they lose support - but besides intellectual starvation, they also need financial starvation.

Steps are being made in that direction. Behold what is being done in the great State of Tennessee;
Tuesday, Tennessee’s General Assembly passed a bill that would defund the University of Tennessee’s Office For Diversity and Inclusion. The bill has been passed to the state Senate.

Legislators would divert funds currently allocated to the Office of Diversity, “to minority scholarships for engineering students. It would also bar the university from using state funds to support the annual Sex Week programming or gender-neutral pronouns,” reports The Tennessean.
That is how you do it.

Think globally; act locally.


Hat tip Ed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

IG's, Rhinos, and Monkeys

Have you read the latest from retired Admiral McRaven about a politicized IG process?

One way or the other, stop by USNIBlog where I'm thinking it over

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Moment to Think of the 13XX Harry Navy at its Finest

VF-111 in the early 1970s with the F-4B/N. Fresh, sexy paint job. Pr0n stash. Fluffy hair. Canary yellow flight suits. White flight boots. Red ascot.

Behold, and just ponder Friday at the O-club, the secret bar on the CORAL SEA, and any liberty admin. YOLO before there was YOLO.

Respect.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Blueberries - almost ripe for the picking

Glory, glory, glory. Someone arrange a triumph for CNO Richardson;
After six years in the fleet and some controversy, the blue-and-gray cammies could be headed for Davy Jones' seabag.

The digital blue Navy Working Uniforms were a fleet mainstay until 2013 after they were found to be unsafe to wear while fighting a fire. One plan is ditching these blue Navy working uniforms in favor of their green cousin. The service could potentially save millions by switching to the woodland cammies already worn by Seabees and master-at-arms. The green-and-tans are also not flame-resistant but would be the standard for ashore wear; flame-resistant coveralls and flight suits are mainstays for at-sea wear.
They say six years, but here at CDRS, we've been against this horrible idea of a uniform for over a decade. Yep, even back in 2005.

Let's go back to the article from a few days ago. What is driving this move?
He’s heard sailor's complaints that the heaviness of the fabric makes it hot from shoulders to boots. Sailors have told him it's “very uncomfortable,” he said.

Sure, the blue NWUs have been popular with those who like the battle dress-styling. But its camouflage is an open joke. Sailors have called it their “blueberries” and gagged that their foremost value is concealing paint spills. Even the Navy secretary has mocked it, saying three years ago that “the great camouflage it gives is if you fall overboard.”
Indulge me a bit. What did I say in early 2006, a decade ago?
Look at that heat-sink (higher res here). Everyone who has been deployed on the deck (not in the air looking down) to Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and/or Iraq during the summertime in the last 5 years raise your hands. The summer, heck spring and fall, direct sun of SW Asia should not be a shock to anyone. Throw in the deck of a CVN and think about how dark that uniform is. I am not going to even talk about the "blue theme." That BDU is going to give Sailors heat stroke and will do zip, zero, nada to anyone trying to hide in a desert environment.

I hope our Corpsmen get to wear Marine BDU. If you are Haji bringing your AK up on a group of Americans, if you even bother to aim, where are you naturally going to point....right! At the dark target against the light background. This is so wrong in so many ways. I like that they kept the hat and all, but just take the Marine or Army pattern, save some money, and get to the business of the Navy. I am sorry. I don't care about your desire to hide you paint stains (this won't do it BTW). This is the wrong answer. As we say in D.C. - I non-concur, sir.
Why are we only now sending out trial balloons on getting rid of this albatross around our neck? Again, it is as simple as it is maddening. 

From the start, I was not alone is seeing the problems with this uniform. Almost all knew this was a bad idea. This was supported and pushed because it was so desired by personalities. Even after those personalities were gone, inertia from timid leadership kept it going forward. We had to wait until this mistake thoroughly soaked in to the Fleet until we admitted it was a bad idea.

Sad.

There were a lot of bad decisions in our Navy a decade ago that we are still paying the price for, and will be for decades. Blueberries is a small one, but a significant one. It is probably too far to address the SA uniform our E-6 and below are wearing, but I'll take any victory I can.

Make it so.

His predecessor is too ear-deep in the food trough to say why he did not take action - but that is the past. CNO Richardson, BZ and please follow through. It makes sense and our Sailors will love you for it.

Oh, and whoever approved this paint job, can we fire them or at least make them fly plastic dog-poo out of Hong Kong?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Spring Free For All - on Midrats


It's a Midrats free for all! Open phones and open topic for the full hour with EagleOne and myself today from 5-6pm Eastern.

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.