Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ain't No Sunshine

A former Navy man. That's why.

Bill Withers - and he is still going strong.

I almost made this a Diversity Thursday post - but didn't. Why? Because he deserves much better than that.

A little perspective.

Strong man - strong voice.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fullbore Friday

I know it isn't until Monday, but ..... The Glorious First of June!

Any excuse for a Tallships FbF.
This battle is known more by the name than the place, as it was fought over 400 miles from Ushant, near Brest. [Some sources give the distance as 700 miles, which may be where the pursuit began.] There have been four battles by this name, with the last in 1944.

A British fleet under Admiral Lord Howe was escorting merchantmen to North America at about the same time as a French fleet under Rear Admiral Louis Villaret de Joyeuse was escorting 130 merchantmen loaded with grain from America to France. Admiral Howe had dropped off his charges when on May 28, 1794 the two fleets sighted each other. Because of fog, only light fighting took place between the British (24 ships) and the French (26 ships). During this time, the French managed to successfully feint and draw the British away from the merchantmen, which made it home intact.

Nonetheless, the battle cost the French 6 captured and one sunk, against no loss for the English. Eleven English and 12 French ships were dismasted. Ushant III is also famous for a savage duel between HMS Brunswick and the French Venger, which lasted four hours – a very long time for these actions. These were typically fought at point-blank range; each broadside that connected caused terrible havoc, particularly on the open decks. Captain Harvey Brunswick commanded HMS Brunswick. Wounded three times in a battle that saw 44 of his crew killed and 14 wounded, he did not survive the battle.

Overall casualties were 1500 French killed, 2000 wounded and 3000 POWs; 287 English killed and 811 wounded.

The British were too exhausted to pursue. The French claim Ushant III as their victory because the grain fleet made harbor safely.
I like this little hmmmmm as well.
.... this battle took place at the height of the Revolutionary Terror in France, with over 380 people a month executed. The French Government had a policy of executing failed commanders. Admiral Villaret-Joyeuse escaped the guillotine undoubtedly because the grain fleet came in safe. feels that many French captains continued fighting after their situation became hopeless because of the “zero-tolerance-for-failure” policy.
Also head on over to this site for the full fleet line up.

Not a complete Navy story though, as The Queen’s (Second) Royal Regiment of Foot was involved and so was a wee sailor.
The third battle of Ushant, where British Admiral Lord Howe fell upon the French fleet of Admiral Villaret-Joyeuse after several days of fierce fighting and won a tactical victory, though he did not intercept a food convoy from the new world.

Aboard the HMS Tremendous, one pregnant passenger gave birth to a boy. People thought this happy event was tremendous, so the kid got the nickname "Tremendous" and a Naval General Service medal in recognition of his presence at the action (with a rating of "baby").
... and you thought ours was the first fighting navy to push them out at war? Silly goose.

On a serious note - a tactical victory for the British; but a mission success for the French. The grain got there - call it a draw.

Hat tip ADB.

OK David, that is a good one

I have been a bit sniffy towards David "good temperament" Brooks since he went with class over ideology in NOV08 - but as with most of the Christopher Buckley types, he is starting to come around now that the cold water keeps being thrown in his face. Here is a nice tid-bit.
These events have heralded a new era of partnership between the White House and private companies, one that calls to mind the wonderful partnership Germany formed with France and the Low Countries at the start of World War II. The press conferences and events marking this new spirit of cooperation have been the emotional highlights of the administration so far.
Snerk. With the way we teach history, I know many missed it - but I enjoyed it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why "Diversity" is evil

OK, this deserves a second Diversity Thursday post. Reason being that it perfectly illustrates the racism and retrograde attitude at its core and the destructive illogic that it breeds.
Born and raised in Mozambique and now a naturalized U.S. citizen, Serodio, 45, has filed a lawsuit against a New Jersey medical school, claiming he was harassed and ultimately suspended for identifying himself during a class cultural exercise as a "white African-American."

"I wouldn't wish this to my worst enemy," he said. "I'm not exaggerating. This has destroyed my life, my career."

The lawsuit, which asks for Serodio's reinstatement at the school and monetary damages, named the Newark-based University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and several doctors and university employees as defendants.

Filed Monday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, the lawsuit traces a series of events that Serodio maintains led to his 2007 suspension, starting with a March 2006 cultural exercise in a clinical skills course taught by Dr. Kathy Ann Duncan, where each student was asked to define themselves for a discussion on culture and medicine.

After Serodio labeled himself as a white African-American, another student said she was offended by his comments and that, because of his white skin, was not an African-American.

According to the lawsuit, Serodio was summoned to Duncan's office where he was instructed "never to define himself as an African-American & because it was offensive to others and to people of color for him to do so."

"It's crazy," Serodio's attorney Gregg Zeff told "Because that's what he is."

Serodio, who lives in Newark, said he never meant to offend anyone and calling himself African-American doesn't detract from another person's heritage.

Neither the American Civil Liberties Union nor the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People responded to messages seeking comment on the meaning of African-American.

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines African-American as "an American of African and especially of black African descent."

"There are people of all races who are African," Serodio said, adding that he's never had a problem identifying himself as an African-American until that day in Duncan's class.

Zeff pointed out that Serodio only labeled himself after his instructors asked him to do so and was then penalized for it.
So, an Egyptian isn't from Africa? Serodio has more claim to the tile of "African American" than President Obama.

Now, if you want to call it something else, then you need to get a DNA test and define a genetic percentage cut-off point. Then again, if you did that, then you are no different than the KKK and the people who invented Jim Crow laws. The logic comes from the same place.

At least we have honest self-identity from Serodio. Hey, we have Flag Officers in the Navy claiming "Hispanic" when neither their genetics nor their name is any more "Hispanic" than mine. We have "African Americans" that are 75%+ Caucasian. Etc ... etc ... etc ... we could go into the fraud of self-identity for hundreds of words.

Diversity and all the other aspects of that sordid industry is nothing but a self-perpetuating, racist, fraud that does nothing but destroy and plant seeds of division.

Sestak vs. Specter

Like the crazy man on the corner --- I am laughing.

Oh, and for all your folks out there who have been a Flag Aide - Flag Secretary - Executive Assistant for insanely sadistic genius Flag Officers and know the hieroglyphics .... here is some reading for you.

If you are the type who was fired in the first month and had to turn in your loop early, you can go here to read a translation.

Hat tip one of the PhibianSpyCadre.

The DFAC your only distraction?

Alarm. Shower. Gym. DFAC. StaffWeenieStan. Coffee break. StaffWeenieStan. DFAC. Extended head break. StaffWeenieStan. DFAC. StaffWeenieStan. Cigar club. Sleep.

Rinse --- repeat.

It can, however, bring about the rare moments of genius, in this case by Jay Howell of The Queens Royal Lancers.

Hat tip Argghhh!!!!.

Laffer curve in action‏

Just because you are elected doesn't mean you know squat. Here's your sign.
Maryland couldn't balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. Politicians in Annapolis created a millionaire tax bracket, raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25%. And because cities such as Baltimore and Bethesda also impose income taxes, the state-local tax rate can go as high as 9.45%. Governor Martin O'Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were "willing and able to pay their fair share." The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would "grin and bear it."

One year later, nobody's grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller's office concedes is a "substantial decline." On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid <>$100 million less in taxes than they did last year -- even at higher rates.

If you don't want to learn - but want to get angry WHILE you learn, then you need to read Rod Dreher's depressing but realistic bit and then see if you want to start handing out Matthew Crawford's new book to all the young men you see not in uniform.

Diversity Thursday

Where is our Admiral Morgan Freeman, USN?
Mike Wallace: But how are we going to get rid of racism?

Morgan Freeman: Stop talking about it.

He is exactly, 100% correct. That is about all we should hear from the Diversity Bullies right before they are shut down and their BA/NMP is distributed to a warfighting billet somewhere ... anywhere.

USNA is full of sluts ...

Ha! Got 'cha ...

Now work with me - I'm serious. I'm a slut too, so is Skippy, so is LBG ....
My students at the U.S. Naval Academy, for example, mostly male and conservative, scream bloody murder if, as I sometimes do, I ask them to read Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary as part of our introductory course. (Tenured full professors teach freshmen here at Navy.) They come to class the first day — they've read up through Emma's disenchantment with her boring husband, Charles — incensed.

"Sir," they say flatly, "she's a slut." (The women tend to be harder on Emma than the men are.) Subsequent class periods get even uglier. Many of the men admit that they're fearful of marrying and then having their stay-at-home wives cheat on them. For that reason, they say, "you've got to get her pregnant before you deploy." Emma is their worst nightmare. Emma should have been faithful to Charles! He loved her! He was a good provider! What more does she want?

Initially the students have trouble seeing any resemblance between themselves and Emma: In their view, they're free individuals and have chosen to come here to college. The dogma of their upbringing in most cases holds that individuals can make something of themselves if they are motivated enough. They can't imagine being stuck in Emma's position.

You're being too literal, I say. Most of you aren't female, and in any case, you aren't constrained by lack of education, social class, or the expectations of a provincial world. Then I remind them of the constraints that do bind them, as occupants of the lowest rung of a rigidly hierarchical system where the sometimes arbitrary fiats of officers or even upperclassmen rule their lives. If anybody can understand poor, confined Emma, it should be them. Hmm, they say.

Besides, I ask — I'm moving in on them now — Emma has dreams. Don't you remember the dreams that brought you to Annapolis?

Now they are silent. They do remember those dreams: inflated, Hollywood-fueled dreams of heroism on the battlefield, of overcoming Evil Enemies of America, and of swinging swords in their strong right arms, dreams of duty, honor, country. Where are those dreams now? I ask. They're, after all, the military-male version of Emma's dreams of perfect fulfillment in marriage. Perhaps they were never viable? Is it better to let them die completely than to try and keep them alive, as Emma does?

Annapolis, they tell me, is the place dreams come to die in the daily grind of shining shoes and passing inspections. And the verdict of society is as strong here as on poor Emma: There's only one way to do things here at Annapolis — those who think differently have to give in.

The way to stay sane, I suggest, is to have achievable dreams, not unrealistic ones. By the time we move on to other works, they still think Emma is "a slut" (which, arguably, she is) but at least — they admit grudgingly — they understand her a bit better.
BZ Professor Fleming .... now get them to read some more history!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

SCI-FI book bleg

This has been bugging me for the last month and I am making no progress. I hope that some of you have a better mind than I do - and being that some of my regular readers seem to be bigger geeks than I am .... I can think of no better place to cry - HELP ME REMEMBER THE TITLE OF THIS BOOK!!!

I had to have read this in the late '70s or early '80s in paperback. It was and alternate future type of SCI-FI that unfortunately I don't remember too many details of, but remember that is made me look at China different at an earlier age. What brought it back to mind recently was what was going on with GM - that will be the last bullet. Here we go with the few details that I remember:
  • At some time in the future, the USA is under occupation by the People's Republic of China. Why, I don't remember - but they weren't invited.....
  • The main character is a young man of standard American stock.
  • Another of the main characters is a Chinese female who is either an PLA officer or mid-to-high level civilian bureaucrat who is part of the occupation force.
  • I think it takes place in Louisiana - I am not sure though.
  • The Chinese female, in line with their continued restrictions on birth, has a birth control device inserted under her skin - on her backside I think. This is standard in the novel - but I remember it because it seemed ahead of its time but plausible, and I was of the age that anything that hinted at s3x stuck in my mind.
  • I think the two are lovers, and somehow the birth control device didn't work or was taken out by the female - I think - again, no shock that stuck in my mind at such a young age.
  • The GM tie in is that the American cars they drove in the book were generally seen as cr@ppy, poorly made excuses for transportation - and forced that way by the occupation and the requirement to use substandard products as all the good stuff was going back to China. The one our hero drives had plastic windows that didn't properly roll down, if at all, and I believe were scratched up or becoming opaque.
That is all I remember from the book. I know this is a long shot ---- but I've got nowhere else to go.

A 72hr pass over any three day weekend for the first person that can identify the book ... please!
UPDATE: Thanks to Paul and Byron, I think we have a winner, Frederik Pohl's Black Star Rising
from 1985 ... I read it later than I thought. Nice and thanks.

I pity the Pirates!

You know I couldn't help myself. You-know-who demands it......

Hat tip JWF.

How a church dies

Coming from a long like of Presbyterian and Baptist ministers - this took me aback. John Calvin would unquestionably have a thing or two to say, and I know Mark Driscoll does.

If you ever find yourself blessed to visit Scotland (speaking of which, I need to get back), one thing you will notice from Edinburgh to the Highlands is the empty and converted Churches. Beautiful, historical, Churches build decades and centuries ago with great sacrifice by a poor, proud, but very Christian people. Almost like many places in New England.

As with those in many areas who don't understand what the giants whose shoulders they stand upon did - the Scots have in a large measure thrown away their Christian legacy in the ignorance and benign neglect that comes with complacency.

A lot of it has to do with a loss of perspective. A loss of fundamentals. A leadership that is more concerned with their pet projects, pride, and addressing their own problems than what is in line with what is actually taught in the New Testament.

Loss of focus and narcissism; yea, they got that.
The Kirk's annual meeting voted by 326 to 267 to support the Rev Scott Rennie, whose controversial appointment has threatened to split the church.

The 37-year-old divorced father-of-one plans is now free to take up his new post at Queen's Cross Church in Aberdeen, where he plans to share the manse with his boyfriend.

In summary: a manse is a house that is owned by the church for the minister to live in - and all that comes with being a minister's house. Yep, ponder that. The vote in the Church of Scotland (AKA Presbyterian and Calvinist) was close ( 326 to 267 ). As usual, there was a lot of the usual bully-boying and taking advantage of the squishy middle that doesn't want to be called judgmental.

Pruned, it will grow again - but not with that bunch at the lead. I would offer to Scott that there are other denominations that he may want to focus his efforts on - to pursue his calling without destruction .... but no. That won't get you attention you crave. That won't validate your sin. In that line, perhaps starting with 'ole Phib - a little more praying for someone as opposed to ranting may be in order - but, silence is approval for me, and for Scott it might help to ponder that, as in many things, it isn't about you.

An important note here - we all have sin - I have to work and pray on mine every day. That isn't the issue.

I don't think that having as your minister a homosexual divorced father living out and proud in a church paid for house with his same-sex partner is quite the way to go, and isn't in line with what most see as being part of the Calvinist and Presbyterian tradition. Scott, what it dies is draw the attention and effort to you and not your calling - which hopefully isn't what you want.

I know this may seem like a strange post from someone who wants to change "Don't ask - Don't tell" to "Don't care." The difference is one is a secular concern - the other religious.

The church in Scotland specifically, the United Kingdom in general - and in Europe at a grand scale have plenty of problems with their Christian heritage .... bringing homosexual couples to the very front of their congregations will not solve any of the problems .... and will actually distract from addressing them. Shame.

Well, they could just follow the English model and turn them all into Mosques instead. All in good time, strong horse and all that - when your cathedrals are converted into conference centers - in the military we call that "Indications and Warnings."

Captain Renault goes to Annapolis

This shame is what many of us have been talking about for a long time.

I think that those who have had too much
Annapolis Koolaid should now do what they have told me to do for the last half-decade or so; shut up.
As revealed in about 3,000 pages of Navy and Naval Academy documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act covering the five-year period, female accusers - and sometimes their witnesses - generally received immunity for conduct violations uncovered during investigations of the alleged sexual abuse.

But male midshipmen accused of sexual abuse, even when the evidence against them was weak, were likely to be dismissed for the same type of offense for which a female mid received immunity, the documents show.

Forgiven offenses typically included underage drinking, drinking in the dorm, binge or "extreme" drinking, possessing a fake ID, having consensual sex in the dorm or being absent from duty without authorization.

As a result, some male midshipmen were driven from the academy for being intoxicated and foolish, while female mids who broke many of the same rules were allowed to continue with their careers.

These were mostly "he-said, she-said" cases. But in 21 of the 37 cases, or 57 percent, the male was dismissed from the military, often with the case being handled administratively and never going to a court-martial, according to documents.

When cases were slated for a trial, the male mids were always separated from the military, often before trial.

Some academy graduates have expressed outrage over the double standard of justice.

"The best defense for a woman is to claim she is a victim; it happens all the time," said defense attorney Charles W. Gittins, a military law expert from Virginia and a 1979 graduate of the Naval Academy.

Gittins said granting widespread immunity began when Rempt was superintendent, from August 2003 to June 2007.

"I am certain that the immunity was a Rempt thing," Gittins said. "There is no precedent for such a blanket grant of immunity in the Judge Advocate General Manual, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or the Manual for Courts-martial. What Rempt did was create blanket immunity in order to 'purchase' the testimony of the female."

I know most of you saw this at Lex's last week while I was off the grid - but because of the background here on this issue - I wanted to bring it up.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Admiral Stavridis - your turnover is complete

Now this is the Cliff's Notes version of a turnover as Commander Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.

Outgoing COM SHAPE, General Craddock - take it away!
A top NATO leader says the alliance's politicians are effectively absent without leave in the battle against Afghan insurgents.

General John Craddock, the outgoing Supreme Allied Commander, was referring to the fact that countries such as Canada, the United States, Britain, and the Netherlands are doing most of the fighting in Afghanistan's most dangerous regions.

"I'm probably being harsh here, but I also believe that much of this is due to the fact that political leadership in NATO is AWOL," the U. S. Army general told the Atlantic Council of the United States.
Yes, I can hear you, yes Great Caesar - give us more!
More fundamentally, the Alliance has not kept its promises. It has not come close to funding the objectives it set for itself in 2006, upon taking control of the mission, and it is clear that the domestic political interests of NATO member states have been paramount over Alliance goals — even though said goals were achieved through painstaking consensus building. Craddock understands that political leaders in democracies have to consider public opinion. At the same time, however, he said "It's the job of leaders to persuade the citizenry" on important foreign policy goals and that "often, this has not been the case."
Sigh - truth always comes too late. Part of that truth is many nations in the Alliance only contribute enough to get their flag on a pole outside HQ ISAF in Kabul so they can claim to be part of it.

Many don't, in numbers or through caveats, do enough to really contribute so, in the case it fails, they can simple blame the USA. All the benefits of being in a coalition - with none of the responsibility.

Now, go use the head and then get a fresh cup of coffee. This is a great primer.

Watch Video:

Next Monday I'll post some of my personal thoughts on what I see as changing in Afghanistan WRT the Alliance's relationship to the USA. Things are changing - and I don't think anyone with an Atlantist bent to their ideas will like it. The political of you will enjoy the Schadenfreude nature of it.

Mrs. Salamander is not happy ..

Because I watched this watched this twice.

Call it Moonbatistan or sump'n

From The Economist. Forget a new Constitution, I like this instead.
THE problem with those lefties on California’s coast is that they “love fish, hate farmers,” says Virgil Rogers in his Okie twang, so common in California’s Central Valley. Actually that’s just where the problems start, and he begins to list them. So different are the folks by the sea and in the interior, he says, that the only way forward is to split the state in two.

Thirteen coastal counties, from Los Angeles to Marin, just north of San Francisco, should become the 51st state, to be named whatever they please; the remaining 45 counties would remain simply “California”. Based on the reaction he gets at farm fairs, he reckons his recently founded organisation will easily collect enough signatures—the number required is currently around 700,000—to force the split onto the ballot by 2012. Winning, of course, would be an entirely different matter.
Yea, Moonbatistan. Marin to LA County - it fits.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Map the Fallen

Where does technology meet honoring the fallen during what I still call the Long War.

I highly recommend that you go over to Map The Fallen - download the latest versions of GoogleEarth and The Map referenced in the upper-right hand corner.

The detail and context is incredible. The upper right is a screen shot honoring Specialist Norman Lewis Cain III or Oregon Ill who died on 15 MAR 2009 in Kot in Afghanistan (of note - this family also lost his Grandfather Norman Lewis Cain Sr in NOV of last year.)

I want to show you two screen shots - first of North America ---- and then Europe. Note the sacrifice of the UK, The Netherlands, and Denmark. The other's speak for themselves.

Explore, and honor.

Hat tip LGF.

Winona Memorial

A best of perhaps; going back to 2005 and one of my favorite Memorial Day Posts.

With Veterans Day, it is a good time to focus again on something I ran into this summer; something everyone has, I hope; a local personal memorial to those who died in service to their country. In this case it is a small little memorial in Norfolk, VA in an neighborhood called Winona Park.

As a byproduct of my original posting, the family of one of the men on the memorial, Sadron Lampert Jr., has been kind enough to send along some more details on Sadron Lampert Jr. that adds depth to the name. I'll quote from some of their emails below, taking out the names. A reminder that these were real people, with real families, real futures, real desires, real hopes. Everyone that leaves early, sacrifices a lifetime.

Nothing dramatic here, but next time you hear or see a name, remember each one has some kind of connection - some history - some grieving family. War is an expensive undertaking - and money isn't the currency.

Dear CDR Salamander:

I happened to Google Sadron Lampert and found your article on the WWII memorial in Winona. My name is XXXX. I live in Norfolk, and my father, XXXX, is Sadron's brother. I would like to add to and clarify some of your information regarding the five young men from Winona who gave their lives serving their country.

The only person among the five that my father did not know was Robert W. Jones. Three of the families literally lived next door to each other: the Lamperts, Settles, and Woods. In fact, my grandmother, XXXX Lampert, was next door consoling Mrs. Settle on the death of her son, not knowing that her own beloved Sadron had already been killed.

By the way, my grandparents had already lost a little girl, Doris, when Sadron died, and my father, who was five years younger than Sadron, had gone into the Army before Sadron and was in New Mexico training to go overseas when he heard of his dear brother's death. My father--my hero--went on to fly more than his share of missions over Japan, flying out of Tinian. The siblings had another brother, Ralph, who died at age 56 of a massive heart attack.

To clarify Sadron IV's e-mail, Sadron III was two when his father was killed. Sadron III, of course, is my first cousin.

Sadron, Jr. entered Yale at age 16. He graduated at age 20. He was on a special football team--the 150 lb. varsity team--because of his slender stature.

Sadron, Jr., .... met his wife, Edith, (while she) was working at Farmer's, Inc., my grandfather's company, as a secretary when Sadron, Jr. met her. She was from South Norfolk. ...... After Sadron and Edith married, they moved to New York, where Sadron was the manager of marine and war risk insurance at Johnson and Higgins on Wall Street.

Sadron and Edith were married at Rosemont Christian Church in South Norfolk. The church was on Bainbridge Blvd., the same street where Edith's family lived. Her maiden name was Edith Herbert. Again, Sadron and Edith were a lovely couple. My mother and father can still picture them attending their church, First Methodist, Edith dressed to the nines and Sadron perfectly outfitted in a gorgeous white summer suit.

Sadron, Jr. was actually drafted in early 1944. He was drafted as part of Roosevelt's Limited Service Act because of his nearsightedness. Instead of the Army using his vast intelligence and putting Sadron where he could have made a weighty difference, the Army sent him straight to North Africa and then to Italy. .... He died on September 14, 1944, three days before my father's 21st birthday, because he and a boy from Wisconsin caught a mortar in their foxhole at Futa Pass, Italy, which killed both of them instantly.

Although Sadron Lampert was at Futa Pass at Highway 65 in Northern Italy on September 14, 1944, several WWII websites list incorrect information. For example, one lists him as "Lambert" and another lists his date of death as Sept. 29, 1944. Both are incorrect. Sadron Lampert died on Sept. 14, 1944.

I know that the fighting between Sept. 2 and Sept. 25, 1944, along highway 65 through Futa Pass--known as the Gothic Line--was intense. Between Sept. 10 and Oct. 26, four U.S. divisions suffered over 15,000 casualties. Some sites even suggest that the Futa Pass activity in September 1944 was a diversionary sacrifice to draw enemy fire away from other strategic points.

Sadron was dashing and extremely intelligent; everyone admired him. My mother also grew up in Winona and remembers seeing Sadron and Edith together and thinking what a perfectly beautiful couple they were. They had the aura of movie stars. My grandparents continued to live on Morris Crescent until their deaths. My grandfather, Sadron, Sr., died in 1983. I was lucky enough to know him well into my adulthood. My mother's parents lived on Huntington Crescent until their deaths (with my grandmother living almost to age 97). My uncle and my brother and his family still live in Winona, so my attachment to the neighborhood is quite strong.

Charles H. Ware went by Hal. He and my dad were the same age and were on the high school football team together. My dad believes that he was in the Army Air Corps.

Carl Wood was drafted rather late in life. He was 6 or 8 years older than Sadron. He was the first husband of another long-time Winona resident, Winnie (Mrs. William) Scullion, who died several years ago. Her sons (by her second husband) are still in the area.

Robert Settle was an Annapolis grad. He took Naval Flight Training and was killed in a crash stateside.
Just last year, the Lafayette/Winona Civic League held a special Memorial Day service and dedicated the memorial site with new lights. My mother has photographs of the original dedication service, held in the early 1950s, complete with shots of Sadron, Sr.; his wife, Elizabeth; and their grandson, Sadron III.

To the family of S.L. Jr., thanks again for the email and putting the person behind the name.

Every name has a story like S.L. Jr. Every memorial is huge, even if smallish and in a small park; like the one that should be remembered on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th Month. Armistice Day.
UPDATE: Ninme has a nice tribute to Colonel Bolling from WWI.

Editorial note: the Stavridis post that was up this AM will be back tomorrow.

USS AMERICA (LHA-6) - you saw it here first ..

Keel earlier this month.

Hat tip A Spy.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Funnies

Best cartoon a Chief ever gave me (that I can publish here) - funny what you can find at the bottom of a box that has made three PCS untouched.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Fullbore Friday

When you walk around a static display aircraft - make sure and look at the plaque or note about its background. You never know what you will find out.
At the ceremony, Pensacola NAS personnel also dedicated a Vietnam-era attack aircraft to Navy Lt. Peter Russell, who was killed during a mission over North Vietnam.

Russell was part of a special "Black Pony" attack team, tasked with providing close air support for troops on the ground.

On May 25, 1969, Russell dove his OV-10 to attack a group of enemy soldiers firing on a Navy Riverine Patrol Boat in the Mekong Delta. A single bullet shattered through the canopy and killed Russell in the pilot seat.

Russell's back-seater, Navy pilot Jeff Johnson, took control of the airplane and pulled it out of the dive, moments before it crashed into the river.

The plane survived the war, and is on display at Pensacola NAS.

"I'll never forget Pete," said retired Navy Capt. Marty Schuman, who knew Russell well and was his commander when he was killed. "I was fortunate enough to have two wonderful sisters, but I never had a brother. But if I did, I wished he would be one just like Pete."

That is LT Russell with another aircraft he flew, A-1H Skyraider, that you smart guys will know will be a subject for another FbF.....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Diversity Thursday

An oldie but a goodie - from the AUG 2005 (Oops, my bust. Correction; 1995) USNI Proceedings.

Reflections on a Naval Career

Larry Di Rita

On board thc USS Boorda (CVN-80). The ship is off the coast of Brazil, conducting rain forest preservation research as flag-ship for Commodore N. Singh Nifighandi, Bangladeshi Navy, Commander. U.N. Environmental Task Force 161.

Captain Will Keith drew on his cigar and let the smoke drift from his mouth. He knew he shouldn't be smoking; his cabin was on the same ventilation system as the crew nursery and the filters wouldn't catch everything. But he had a reason not to care. There was a surprise in the message traffic today: his relief's orders. Keith could start counting down the days until he retired. Funny, he thought, command wasn't supposed to be like this.

When he'd left Annapolis in 1980, carrier command seemed about as likely as spaceship command. His only aspiration was those wings of gold. Only one thing could top the feeling of pinning on those wings: Tomcat. And the hard work paid off; in two short years, Keith was doing touch-and-gos from the deck of the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) in the Free World's baddest plane.

“Captain! Sir, are you down there? The muffled voice of the officer of the deck wafted down the voice tube above Keith's head. As he cleared his thoughts, he was struck with the irony of this quaint form of communication," which Lord Nelson himself had used," on board a nuclear aircraft carrier. He took comfort in the tradition as he yelled back up the tube. "Bridge, Captain. What's up?"

"Sir, the Commander of the Peacekeeping Detachment is finished with training on the flight deck. She's releasing it to you for flight operations."

"Great. Have the Executive Officer meet me in my cabin." Damn peacekeepers, thought Keith. Always fouling the deck with mock hostage situations and crowd-control training. Getting hard to remember this is a warship. It was important, though. Once back home, the ship would be sending peace-keepers to the Commander of the U.S. Internal Security Force in Miami. Keith was determined to send well-trained troops, even if it was a mission he didn't like: U.S. military forces deployed against U.S. citizens. Still, after the second Haiti occupation in '96, when General Colin Powell was named U.S. Governor General, it seemed less bizarre. Things sure had changed since Desert Storm, though....

"This thing is going down!" Lieutenant Commander Keith whispered to his wingman as the squadron listened to the mission brief. The air in the ready room was electric. It was going to be war after all. Years of training had come to this. Looking around, Keith saw the same mix of resolve, anticipation, and fear in the faces of every one of his shipmates. What could they expect he wondered.

He'd seen the so-called experts on television in the weeks since Desert Shield had begun. They were predicting thousands of American dead. They talked about chemical warfare, cruise missiles, mines, and the fourth-largest army in the world. To hell with all of them, thought Keith. All the "experts" knew were charts and tables and statistics. They knew nothing about the only things that mattered: the faces of his fellow fliers and the sound of Tomcat engines winding up on the flight deck. The ship continued her full-speed rendezvous with war through the cool Persian Gulf evening....

Knock! Knock! Knock! The pounding on his cabin door brought trim back to the rain forest. "Who is it?” he demanded.

"XO sir. The OOD said you waned to see me."

"Come in. XO." Keith looked up. I want to conduct some flight operations. We've been out here a week without any flying. I might even suit up myself."

“What do you mean, sir? After all, we send a couple of V-22s to the beach every day to drop off and pick up the Environmental Control Team."

“Very funny, XO. We haven't done a cat shot since we’ve been here. We've got the last Tomcat squadron in the Navy on board, and I'm determined to ride it hard."

"Just one problem, Skipper. I've scheduled our Diversity Stand-Down for this afternoon."

“You remember, sir. The Chief of Maritime Services ordered it to remind all hands about the strength the Navy draws from their diversity. All because of that business on the Schroeder.” Keith winced. After eight years, he still hadn't gotten used to the redesignation of the Chief of Naval Operations as the Chief of Maritime Services. It happened back in '97, when the United States occupied Venezuela to restore democracy after a military coup. The U.N. Secretary General had convinced the President that "Chief of Naval Operations" sounded too "war-like," since the U.S. intervention in Venezuela, Nigeria, Haiti, and Somalia had been conducted for peaceful purposes.

He recalled the incident on board the Schroeder, the new Aegis battleship. After being denied an advancement, a seaman of Indo-Ugric heritage sued his Master Chief. The charge was "insensitivity to diversity," a grievance some of the old-timers were having a hard time adjusting to after spending so many years learning that individuality had nothing to do with military readiness. The sailor claimed that the Master Chief was insensitive to his Indo-Ugric traditions, which required him to spend each Wednesday and Friday afternoon in quiet reflection "away from his normal place of work." The Master Chief thought that sounded like an excuse to goof off twice a week, with the rest of the division carrying his load. But the court ruled that the Chief had shown "reckless disregard for the importance of diversity in defending the national interests of the United States." The Navy-wide Diversity Stand-Down was the result.

"Anyway," the XO continued, "we won't be able to conduct flight operations today. “Skipper, you still with me?” But Keith was in another time and place, thousands of miles away. When everything had begun to change.

He’d been in Las Vegas that week; he'd even been on the third floor that night. And he had lied about the whole thing under oath. He wasn't proud of his behavior; never had been. But it was every man for himself right from the start. The flags were the first ones: trudging up to Capitol Hill to admit that the Navy had serious problems and that things would have to change; agreeing to just about anything to avoid losing their jobs; and denying that they knew what went on in Las Vegas. In thc end, everyone got off. But everything changed. Sensitivity training, diversity stand-downs, women on combat ships, women in combat aircraft, and after the second Gulf War, women in body bags.

And then there was the Arthur affair. Admiral Arthur, the commander of Desert Storm naval forces, had his career short-circuited in '94 when a j.g. who had washed out of flight school complained to a senator about a "climate of sexual harassment" at Pensacola. As Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Arthur had reviewed her record. He reprimanded her instructors for inappropriate comments, but stood by their decision to deny the woman wings on the basis of poor performance. Wrong answer. He had been nominated to be Commander-in-Chief Pacific, but that was not to be.

The whole thing had a perverse logic. That this wartime leader should be lost because of "insensitivity" reflected a turning point for the Navy that had started somewhere between the deserts of the Middle East and the deserts of Nevada. Anyway, the lesson was clear to mid-grade officers like Keith: If flag officers could watch Arthur go down with nary a whimper, what could a lieutenant commander with kids and a mortgage hope to achieve by speaking out?

"Skipper, did you hear me?” intoned the XO. "I saw your relief s orders. Do you know her?"

"Met her once," said Keith. "Year behind me at Annapolis. CH 46 pilot; had the during the Jamaican Drug War."

Keith had missed Jamaica in '01. He was pulling a U.N. tour in Sudan. U.N. assignment was critical for anyone with flag aspirations; back then Keith still saw stars. He worked for an Indonesian two-star as Chief of Police for the U.N. government in Sudan. Keith never had given much thought to disarming private citizens, distributing food, and patrolling the streets. But he had to admit that it did prepare U.S. forces for the kinds of missions they were doing in Miami, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Keith always had sensed a vague connection between Tailhook and these strange new missions. The Navy brass already had been concerned about the budget cuts at the end of the Cold War and were willing to sign up to just about anything to keep the money coming. And after Tailhook and Arthur and all that, they weren't in a very good position to choose the good missions and reject the bad. After a while, patrolling the streets of U.S. cities didn't seem much different from catching drug runners at sea and occupying Third World countries.

"Captain to the bridge!" blasted the speaker. Thoughts of an imminent collision raced through his mind as Keith bolted out of his cabin. The OOD must need him up there bad if he didn't have time to call himself. When he arrived, he saw Commodore N. Singh Nifighandi sitting in the commanding officer's chair. These U.N. types always ignore military tradition, he thought." Even the sanctity of my bridge chair. "Yes sir,"
he saluted.

"Good morning, Captain," began the Commodore in his curious British accent. "I just saw your Marine detachment holding close order drill on the hangar deck. We are on a peaceful U.N. mission here. Please have them stop."

"But, "sir," began Keith, his jaw tightening. "Those men must stay sharp. That's what they're trained to."

"Thank you, Captain," clipped the Commodore. "That is all."

"Aye-aye, sir." Keith realized it was more despair than anger that he felt. As he turned to leave the bridge, the bos'n handed him the phone.

"XO for you, sir."

"Yeah XO, what is it?"

"We just got an order modification on your relief. She'll be here three months late. Turns out she's expecting; taking mandatory family leave. You know the regs. Skipper, you there?”

He wasn't. He was back at Annapolis, tossing his cap in the air. He was pulling Gs at 30,000 feet, locked on to a bogey with weapons free. He was feet dry over Kuwait and itching to splash an Iraqi fighter. Something had changed, and it wasn't him. Maybe it was better, probably not. He didn't know for sure, but he knew it wasn't fun anymore. And it had stopped mattering.

Mr. Di Rita, a former naval officer who served in Desert Storm, is Issues Director for Senator Graham's presidential campaign.

Hat tip Jim.

CDR Doran ... off the Christmas Card list ...

Ungh. No history merit badge for you.
Take, for example, refueling at sea. A regular warship matches speed with an oiler by syncing up the revolutions per minute of the ships’ propellers. The problem? Freedom doesn’t have propellers.
This is a revolution, not an evolution, for the Navy,” said Cmdr. Mike Doran, captain of Freedom’s Gold Crew, which rotated onto the ship in March. “The normal way the Navy does things today doesn’t work for my ship.”
Just ungh. I blame the way we write FITREPS. Words mean everything, therefor words mean nothing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Seeing VADM Tom Connolly in a dream ...

Do you ever sometimes drop to your knees and wish for someone - anyone is a position of significant power - to say something in public that you can highlight and show to your JOs as the truth as we all see - and that person can speak it with style, enthusiasm and a clarity that all can see?

Passion is a great thing. Not ranting, raving, foam speckled passion; that is a blogger's job. No, someone with style and a brave kind of passion. Not a functionaire - but a leader of Sailors kind of passion.

Someone to sound off like VADM Connolly did to those who wanted to cram the F-111 down the USN throat -
foundational leadership - that is willing to lay it on the line where and when it counts. I wish there was someone that copied the video of this, I can't find it - but here is the story.
It was the time in which Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and the Whiz Kids he had brought to the Pentagon from the Ford Motor Company were pressing to save money by building a common plane, with slight variations, for both the Air Force and the Navy.

In theory it was a brilliant idea, but to the Navy, the execution was weighted dangerously in favor of Air Force needs. Indeed, to a man, Navy aviators and naval aviation specialists argued that the plane, the F-111, was unstable and too heavy for its thrust to take off from carriers.

In the political climate of the Johnson Administration, however, the Navy's concerns were swept aside, and like the loyal officers they were, the Navy's admirals kept their objections quiet in public.

Then came the day Vice Admiral Connolly joined a team headed by the Secretary of the Navy at a Senate hearing conducted by John C. Stennis, the chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee.

Gerald E. Miller, a retired admiral who was present as an aide to Admiral Connolly, recalled that Mr. was sympathetic to the Navy's position. But with Secretary Paul R. Ignatius of the Navy fielding every question, no matter how technical, and following the Pentagon line to the letter, Mr. Stennis despaired of getting the explicit criticism he needed.

Finally, in desperation, he singled out Admiral Connolly, noted his renowned expertise in naval aeronautics, and asked him pointedly to give his personal, not his official, opinion. Admiral Miller remembers vividly that Admiral Connolly swallowed hard, then declared, "There isn't enough thrust in Christendom to fix this plane."

With his answer, Admiral Miller noted, the Navy version of the F-111 died aborning and Admiral Connolly's dream of promotion to full admiral died along with it.
Remember the link to the CNO's testimony from last week? Well - here is what I mean.
When will the Navy decide whether to base a nuclear aircraft carrier in Mayport, Fla., asked Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla.

Those decisions will be made as part of the Quadrennial Defense Review,” answered Adm. Gary Roughead, the Navy’s chief of naval operations.

Where is the Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan, required to be sent to Congress every year, wondered Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va.

Those are questions that have to be answered in the QDR, which will have an effect on what the plan will be,” Roughead replied.

How many new Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles will the Marine Corps need, asked Rep. John Kline, R-Minn.

The number of amphibious ships in the QDR in part will determine the future of the EFV,” said Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway.
Roughead, speaking to reporters Thursday in one of his first public appearances since the budget was sent to Congress on May 7, was asked if the QDR would contain force-structure numbers.

The QDR will address some of the areas we have to resolve,” Roughead said. “The QDR will inform [the 2011 budget request], and then with ’11 we can get back on track.”

So will the QDR effort produce force-structure numbers?

“The force structure numbers,” Roughead said, “needs to be a plan that I can certify to the Congress is affordable. I think the QDR will give a clear indication of the magnitude of the force. And then once we take the amphibious piece, the Nuclear Posture Review will obviously get into sea-based strategic deterrent that will define the capabilities and capacities and how that goes into the total shipbuilding plan. And I have an obligation to make that fiscally executable.
QDR - I guess that answers all; sigh. Oh, and what has 'ole Phibian been telling 'ya about 313?
“I don’t think I can give the plan per the terms of what I have to submit here without having a view of the budget as well. QDR is going to define certain things we need to know. That will go into the overall shipbuilding plan. That has to be tempered by what I can certify as affordable.”

During the House Armed Services Committee hearing, Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo., expressed his concerns about several Navy programs, including keeping down costs on the Littoral Combat Ship, watching technical issues with development of the new electro-magnetic launch system for the next class of aircraft carriers, and monitoring how the service would deal with a looming shortage of strike fighters. Skelton also highlighted concerns over the transfer of 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam and other islands in the Marianas, and over Navy readiness and the material condition of its ships.

Ranking member Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y., noted the Navy’s reluctance during the May 7 budget rollout to recertify the “floor,” or minimum number of ships, of 313 for its fleet.

“It would appear that the situation has changed,” McHugh said.

He recalled that Navy budget chief Rear Adm. John Blake, in response to a reporter’s question, said that “one of the significant pieces in the QDR is force structure.”

Blake did not reaffirm the number, although at Thursday’s hearing Roughead declared “the floor is 313.”
There - is that clear enough for you?

But... if you want a good holl'ah'n match about what ails our Navy, we are going to have to wait.

It takes two to tango.

Someone, anyone, should be all over the CNO like a pit bull on a pork chop to get some answers. Not because the CNO is at fault - but because he is on point and there are too many answers out there that are not being answered. Congress isn't being told much mostly because they don't have to.

Congress has the money - and they ain't acting like it.

The CNO and his briefing team should look like
Admiral Ackbar .... or sump'n after the questions start flying, not this guy.

.... but .... but ...... Congress has to show up.

Never mind CNO. We're good - your Mayport answer was perfect; I owe you a bottle of single-malt. I do like the Jedi QDR mind trick. I need to use that on Mrs. Salamander sometime. "The QDR will outline when I paint the house ...."

When monkeys fly out of my SVTT

Ummm ... General Conway ... please call your office.
A persistent capability gap in U.S. naval surface fire support (NSFS) could well be filled by the new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), according to Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway.

Conway said his Navy counterpart, Adm. Gary Roughead, has agreed to expand the concept of using the LCS as a firing platform for what Conway called a “box of rockets.”

The services are still examining storage and elevator capacity aboard LCS, and Conway said “we don’t have [the] box we need.”

NSFS is the ship-to-shore artillery element of the fires triad used to suppress and break apart enemy forces under an amphibious assault. Marine and the Navy leaders looked to reinvigorate the Corps’ classic, forcible beach-entry role after years of in-land counter-insurgency fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. But as adversary defenses become more sophisticated, and reach farther from shore, the challenge for U.S. forces remains to outfit ships with systems offering enough firepower and range.

The truncation of the DDG-1000 and cancellation last year of Raytheon’s Extended Range Guided Munition (ERGM) put a dent in the Corps’ requirement for NSFS (Aerospace DAILY, Dec. 19, 2006). In the near-term, Conway said, the Marine Corps has not found a volume of firepower that can successfully fill the NSFS gap. Using the LCS “may fix the problem for the long-term,” he added.
Let's do a little back of the cocktail napkin planning here - shall we?

Let's give the LCS crowd 100% success in having the right LCS (or let's say 4) there at the right time with the right mission module there with the right opponent and the right sea state, OK? We have NetFires onboard. Each box has 15 missiles that have the hitting power of about a 155mm artillery round.

As I understand it, each SUW LCS Mission Module will give you four boxes. That is 60 rounds of 155mm equivalent (yes, yes, precision fires bla-bla-bla, we know). Four LCS together and you have 240 155mm equivalent ......

Wait, am I getting ahead of myself? Let's read that again,
The services are still examining storage and elevator capacity aboard LCS, and Conway said “we don’t have [the] box we need.”
A NSFS "box of rockets?"

This should work out like this if we needed it anytime soon from the sound of it,

You want a "box of rockets?" At about the 1:15 point, these guys had box of rockets. Mmmmmm, from concept to development, how long did the LCT(R) take?

This concept ain't done. Put it back in the oven.
UPDATE: Thanks to Scott B., we have an update ... snerk .... no shocker, but as of 04 MAR - as per Raytheon the punch just got smaller by 25%.
The LCS Mission Module can fire as many as 45 NLOS-LS PAM missiles from three container launch units. With a range greater than 25 miles, the PAM missile gives the LCS an increased surface warfare weapon capability.

"These tests prove the plug-and-play missile seeker ability to detect and track targets while filling the warfighter's capability gap for precision engagement of moving and stationary targets in open and complex terrain," said Scott Speet, executive vice president of NetFires LLC and Raytheon's NLOS-LS program director.

Set the watch: It is that time again. I am mostly dropping off the grid for the next six days or so. Through the weekend and all. I have some good stuff tee'd up through the 26th, so keep coming back. As Spock and I are on an away team, I need the right team on the bridge. C-14 you have the con, Byron Chief Engineer, LBG nav, MTH weapons, AM, Mr. Walthrop and GoH man the anti-troll quick response team, Maggie Comms. Kristin plays that nice Yeoman with the clipboard and the mini-skirt circa the second season who keeps Bones (Skippy) out of trouble.

Once again, I have some good stuff lined up - but if there is something breaking, I won't be able to get to it here ... where ever "here" is.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Riverine Bronze Star ...

As ya'll know - I like to lay a wee bit of a claim for Riverine coming back (it is amazing who read this blog when it was just a wee thing) ... so this caught my eye.
Lt. Commander Garnar Sutton, grandson of Mrs. Elizabeth Sutton of Newnan and the late Rev. R.W. Sutton, has been awarded the Bronze Star medal by the U.S. Marine Corps for his service in Iraq.

Sutton participated in two tours in Iraq's Al Anbar province. He served as the information operations officer with 2D Marine Division, and as the future operations planner for the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force in Fallujah.

"I am proud to have received the Bronze Star. It's a very emotional award for me, because it carries a lot of memories," said Sutton. "It is something I will hold dear because of friends and people I lost. There are people who received lesser awards but paid a much bigger price than I did."

According to Sutton's award citation, the integration of RIVRON ONE led to the successful deployment of a Naval Riverine unit in support of Marine operations for the first time in more than three decades.

"The Riverine Squadron got the Navy involved by patrolling the Ditha Dam and the Euphrates River," said Sutton. "We could repel terrorists in that area just by a show of force."

BZ LCDR Sutton.

Not quite FbF stuff - but a great leader story nonetheless.

Oh, so it is a chin strap ...

... and this is when you use it.

Yes, same thing I thought - "What movie is this and where can I get it!"

Here is the trailer for the movie Admiral KOLCHAK.

Admiral KOLCHAK is a someone of almost and almost fictional life. Wikipedia give a good summary here.

If you want to DVD, you can get yours - with English subtitles .... if you must.

One little note on leadership and the good Admiral;
Kolchak, being of the opinion that the person responsible for planning operations should take part in their execution, was always to be found on board those ships which carried out the operations and sometimes took direct command of the destroyer flotillas.
Old school - good school.

Sen. Webb (D-VA): Neocon

Take a powder Skippy. LMAO.

NB: the first clip is normal, but click the pic on the second to see the rest. Embed doesn't work.

Webb was wrong about the surge ... he was wrong about GTMO ... but now he is right, about GTMO. LMAO. Senator Webb, welcome aboard!

Hat tip Allah.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Pacific; the miniseries

From the team that brought you Band of Brothers - the other side of the WWII saga in 10 parts. You know, the one without weekend passes to Paris.

The Pacific.

Time to get your HBO.

THE PACIFIC is based on the books "With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa," by Eugene Sledge, which was hailed by historian Paul Fussell as "one of the finest memoirs to emerge from any war," and "Helmet for My Pillow," by Robert Leckie (recipient of the Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Annual Award), as well as original interviews conducted by the filmmakers. Continuing the World War II oral history work begun by his father Stephen E. Ambrose (author of the book "Band of Brothers"), Hugh Ambrose serves as a consultant on the miniseries.


We are a nation, in a fashion, at war. We are a navy in a period of shrinking resources. We are a navy that still is not sure of itself, its place in this war, and are not sure how to get "there" to its mission after next - wherever "there" is.

There is nothing wrong with an organization deciding what it will and will not do given its mandate, resources, and will. All organizations must decide, through its leadership, what is of critical importance or not. You make those lines known through the priorities you set out. You resource your time, effort, funding, and intellectual capital towards those priorities and hope that expenditure of these finite resources will bring results towards your mission and responsibilities.

As a Mercantile Republic that relies on secure efficient commerce, there has been a clear growing threat over the last half decade to the free flow of goods at market prices - one that is not new, is well defined, and has proven methods of mitigation. On the High Seas through a well defined SLOC, piracy threatens unarmed merchant ships of US flag and others who carry the commerce and raw materials that in turn keep our society and way of life going.

Agree or disagree; our Navy can decide one way or another to enhance security of this nation's lifeblood as one of its priorities. As covered by Galrahn earlier, the CNO tossed out this nugget during hearings held last week.
Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., chairman of the Seapower subcommittee, asked the CNO about Somali pirates, wondering whether a military security team could be placed on all American-flag vessels. Taylor urged that if a ship “has got an American cargo on it, it’s our stuff. We should put a team of trigger-pullers on there.”

Roughead noted that just hours before the hearing, a contractor security team aboard a ship in the Gulf of Aden had repulsed a pirate attack.

“I believe that that scheme is something that should be pursued as opposed to putting sailors and Marines aboard ships,” the CNO said.
OK, "it" is a scheme - and Sailors and Marines shouldn't defend American lives and property under a direct threat in international waters. We don't want to do it - we'll let civilian security companies (AKA in some places as mercenaries, which is fine) do it in some time line, method, and degree beyond our control - and when you talk to people in industry, the legality is such that they put themselves in significant legal risk by doing so.

But, I guess the US Navy does not see protecting life, limb and property of US goods and personnel in international waters as an important task in its list of priorities. After all, according to VADM Winnefeld's testimony on 05 MAY, there are between three to six US flagged ships transiting the piracy area a week. We only have a navy with ~330,000 Sailors ... we can't cover that, I presume.

Well, the CNO is the CNO, and with our civilian leadership he sets priorities. Good, honest people can argue that one way or another - and that is fine.

Obviously, defending unarmed merchant ships inside slider throwing range with Sailors and Marines isn't a Navy priority; accept that - it is a valid opinion and at this stage - stated policy. Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full. 51% of me is in alignment with him on this anyway. Maybe 50.1% - but I see the argument.

What then is a priority for a navy at war?
While visiting the Annapolis High School Navy Junior ROTC program yesterday, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead said his top long-term priority is increasing diversity in the officer corps.
The man largely in charge of the Navy's Annapolis seed corn is VADM Fowler. What is his priority in growing the leaders of Sailors and Marines for a period of persistent conflict with and existential threat to our nation?
"Diversity is my number one goal," Fowler said...
There you go.

I know - manning all those security teams for 3 to 6 ships a week cost billets. I know. So do many things. We have decided to fully man and support our branch of the Diversity Industry. Those billets are funded and that is fine. It is a priority. It also has an opportunity cost - we understand that. We have shifted billets to support our priorities - and that is fine - after all, your funded billets should reflect your priorities and those the taxpayer through their elected representatives expects the Navy to do; in theory.

Here we are; and to be a little more direct and less smarty-pants. We cannot tell Congress or the American taxpayer what size fleet we want and how we can get it - just look at the report from last weeks testimony linked to above and others. We cannot explain why we build ships that seem not to be able to do what they are designed to do - from DDG-1000 to LCS. We cannot define consistently their roles and missions. Our latest Maritime Strategy is 1/3 good stuff, and 2/3 shake-rattle-and-roll.

As a result, we are to a large measure a navy adrift; unfocused and unsure of its purpose in a time of war. Why? Look at what our nation expects its navy to do. Look at what the leaders of our navy state is the top priority.

Quod erat demonstrandum.