Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Battle of Java Sea

65 years ago. At the bottom of the post you will find a video companion to my Battle of Sunda Straight post a couple of years ago.
The Battle of the Java Sea was a major naval battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II. Allied navies suffered a series of disastrous defeats at the hand of the Imperial Japanese Navy, in actions over several days in February-March 1942.
he ABDA force consisted of two heavy cruisers (HMS Exeter, USS Houston) and three light cruisers (HNLMS De RuyterHNLMS Java, HMAS Perth), and nine destroyers (HMS Electra, HMS Encounter, HMS Jupiter, HNLMS Kortenaer, HNLMS Witte de With, USS Alden, USS John D. Edwards, USS John D. Ford, USS Pope and USS Paul Jones. (Doorman's flagship),

The Japanese convoy was escorted by two heavy (Nachi, Haguro) and two light cruisers (Naka, Jintsu) and fourteen destroyers (Yudachi, Samidare, Murasame, Harusame, Minegumo, Asagumo, Yukikaze, Tokitsukaze, Amatsukaze, Hatsukaze, Yamakaze, Kawakaze, Sazanami, and Ushio) under the command of Rear Admiral Shoji Nishimura. The Japanese heavy cruisers were much more powerful, armed with ten 8-inch (203 mm) guns each and superb torpedoes. The ExeterHouston was armed only with six of these guns. While the carried nine 8-inchers, only six remained operable as her aft turret had been knocked out in an earlier air attack.


The main ABDA naval force had been almost totally destroyed: 10 ships and approximately 2,173 sailors had been lost.

One thing I would like to see made into a movie by Clint Eastwood is the last 24 hours of the USS Houston and HMAS Perth.
HMAS Perth and USS Houston in Tandjong Priok

These ships were there as a result of Admiral Doorman's final order in the Battle of the Java Sea. They arrived in the morning of February 28th, and immediately tried to obtain oil and ammunition. The could get the first, although not without effort, but ammunition, that they so badly needed, was not available. At this time, the PerthHouston only 50 rounds. If they got into a fight, it was sure they wouldn't last long. They were battleready that night and left the harbor at about 1900 hours, and Captain Waller, the highest in rank, decided to sail directly to Sunda Strait, without making a curve around the invasion forces as Admiral Helfrich had ordered. This was the shortest way, but also the most dangerous. The Japanese had landed in the Bantam Bay on the north coast of Java, at Merak in Sunda Strait and at Eretan Ewan, east of Tandjong Priok. The two allied cruisers had to deal with the escorting squadron, which was devided into three groups: One was of the invasion force for Merak and consisted of the light cruiser Yura and four destroyers, the second was the invasion force at Bantam Bay and consisted of 1 cruiser and 11 destroyers and finally, the support group in the Java Sea, with the light carrier Ryujo, the heavy cruisers Mogami, Mikuma, Kumano and Suzuya. Mikuma and Mogami were cruising very close to the landingsite in Bantam Bay. There was also an invasion force at Eretan Ewan, but that one took no part in the final destruction of the Allied ships. The Perth and Houston, as said, sailed at top speed directly to Sunda Strait and encountered at about 22.30 the Japanese destroyer Fubuki, which guarded the Eastern approaches. She fired her 9 Long Lance torpedo's at about 3000 yards and retreated. The cruisers now saw the invasion force in the Bantam Bay and fired on the several dozen transports there. At that time, there were two destroyers in the bay and those immediately tried to make smoke screens to protect the transports. Nevertheless, the Allied cruisers scored hits on the transports, but no ship was sunk. At this time, stronger Japanese forces were closing in on the small squadron, but the only result was hits on Japanese warships and none on the Allied. This was soon to change. Japanese destroyers fired about 28 torpedoes, of which luckily none was a hit. The Perth and Houston replied which rapid gunfire and in the case of Perth, also torpedoes and managed to score several hits on the destroyers, but were themselves also slightly damaged by gunfire. But the heavy cruisers MogamiMikuma arrived at the battleground. Their 8 inch grenades surrounded the Perth and Houston and they also fired torpedoes. At about 23.20, the allied cruisers were out of ammo and now could only hope to reach safer waters by high speed. Japanese torpedoes were flying all over the battleground, and scored one hit on Perth, later followed by another two. This resulted in heavy loss of life, especially in engineering. Waller ordered to abandon ship, but the Perth received her fourth hit, which was too much for her. She sank and took half the crew with her. By this time, also the Houston had received several hits, including vital hits. A whole gun salvo hit the aft engine room where the high pressured steam killed almost everyone. The central fire control system was down along with one of the forward 8 inch-turrets. At about 00.20, the last operational turret was hit and Captain Rooks ordered to flood the forward magazines. Without the heavy batteries, she now fought a useless battle. But she still had her 5-inch guns and her machineguns and continued the fight. At about 00.30 three torpedoes hit the Houston on her starboard side. The water entered the ship from all sides and Rooks ordered to abandon ship. Captain Rooks died when he was hit by a part of a machinegun foundation. He died in the arms of his officers. Commander Roberts noticed that the Houston still had a lot of speed and decided to wait with abandoning the ship. The guns were still firing at this time, but the ship was lying dead in the water and the Japanese destroyers took the decks under fire with their machineguns. The Houston sank and took two thirds of it's crew with her. Only about 368 of a crew of over a 1000 were taken prisoner.
Gives me shivers to this day - thought I have read the account any number of times.

Besides going over the details again (you can do that some more at the links above), I would like this chance to personalize it. You need to see the very personal, one man's son's story from the HMS Exeter(you remember her). Click here to see it. Nicely done.

Keeping an eye on the Long Game: Part XVIII

This addition: Varyag rising.

I always thought it was funny those who actually believed that the $20 million 85% complete Soviet Aircraft Carrier the Chinese bought in the '90s was going to be a casino. Phuleze.

The Chinese are taking the slow steady approach to getting a CV. Very Chinese. Very smart. Will be interesting to watch. Below is the latest from China Defense Blog (click for high-res) - but for some nice ones like the second, go to VaragWorld.

As for her condition - she is looking serious - that is for sure. I would like to get Byron to dig around some. You know the combo of Soviet construction and Ukrainian neglect left some nasty surprises.

The CNO is embarrassed

By our shipbuilding.
Chief of Naval Operations Michael Mullen said Tuesday he is "embarrassed" by hefty cost overruns on the Littoral Combat Ship, but said he expects to get the program back on track as early as next month.
Boss, all of us are. Early next month is next week.
There is "plenty of blame to go around" between the defense industry and Navy officials who failed to adequately oversee the program, Mullen told the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee during a hearing on the Navy and Marine Corps fiscal 2008 budget request.
That is true, but that is not excuse for non-action on our part. We need more Sestak moments.
The Navy stopped work on the third LCS ship Jan. 12, after learning that the price tag on the first ship would total roughly $410 million -- well above the $220 million the Navy expects to pay for future ships. The price of the third ship was expected to be much less than the first LCS, but still fall well over $300 million.
That is without a mission module BTW.

Here is the shocker: you may never hear this again: I agree 100% with Rep. Murtha (D-PA).
"All of us are embarrassed by the costs of this LCS," House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha, D-Pa., said. "We can't have this happen. As the taxpayers' representative, [I say] you have to get this under control."

Murtha, a strong supporter of the defense industry, used the LCS cost increases as a launching pad to question the Navy on its inability to get many of its major shipbuilding costs under control.

Murtha and other shipbuilding enthusiasts would like the Navy to buy 12 ships in fiscal 2008 -- five more than are in the current budget request. But the Pennsylvania Democrat said he cannot do so until costs come down.

It would be "hard to recommend five more ships when we have this overrun," Murtha said.
Credit where credit is due.

The Seabees of Ramadi

A little over 7 minutes by David Axe in JAN on CSPAN. Worth the view.

It may not be sexy war-pr0n - but these guys are worth their weight in gold; and after the SEALs have done more for the war per person than about anyone in the Navy.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

2006 Milbloggies..... 'lil 'ole me?!?

Our favorite resident of Idaho and a 100# head-type 1120, Bubblehead, reminded me of the Milbloggies going on.

Check out all the categories and you will find all your favorites. They just got through the nomination process, and thanks to those who voted - CDR Salamander made the final cut with Neptunus Lex, SMASH, and Doc in the Box who I know and a new guy, Sean Dustman.

Wow, great company. I know a lot of you read most of those in the Navy group - so head on over and vote for one of us (you have to log in to the site).

Of course, I would recommend following Bubblehead's lead, but any of these folks deserve your vote --- well, Sean if you like dogs.


OK all you Navy know-it-alls......WHATZIS? Heck, I don't know - neither does anyone else right now - maybe a tramp steamer of some kind? I can't tell you everything, but I will tell you that it is about 150' by 35'; plus or minus a standard deviation - and it is located in WESTPAC some-ah-where's. Click image for HI-RES.

Winning the Long War

In the Philippines.
Thousands of miles from the bazaars of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, U.S. military forces are quietly helping defeat terrorists in the jungles of the southern Philippines, a forgotten front in the global war on terrorism.

Working behind the scenes with a rejuvenated Philippine military, U.S. special forces have helped kill, capture or rout hundreds of Abu Sayyaf guerrillas who have links to the Islamic terror groups Jemaah Islamiyah and al-Qaeda, Philippine and U.S. military commanders say.
A great story hiding under the Iraq and Afghanistan dust. Shame.
"The U.S. has done much better than the critics expected," says Philippines specialist Kit Collier, visiting fellow at Australian National University. "Five years ago, when U.S. troops were first sent to Basilan, many predicted 'a new Afghanistan.' Instead, the security environment there has been transformed."

Mark, Howard, and me

Talking Points at The Week summarizes the conventional wisdom on Ruddy.
When the word gets out that the man who stood tall in the rubble of the twin towers is also a thrice-married supporter of gay rights, gun control, and legal abortion, die-hard Republicans may find themselves less keen to make “America’s mayor” its president. His opponents’ negative TV ads will practically script themselves, said Michael Tomasky in The American Prospect Online. After Giuliani left his second wife, Donna Hanover, for his current wife, he briefly shared an apartment with a gay couple, Mark and Howard.
I think it misunderstimates the parts of the Rep. party that they simply do not understand. Let me explain; I am an Evangelical (albeit a dancing, drinking, cigar smoking, Libertarian leaning, exceptionally weak to my vices one), pro-gun guy. Gays don't bother me, so I don't bother them. Rudy's conflicted views on abortion are well known and shared by many. As a matter of fact - Rudy is a well known quantity. People know where he differs from them and I think are willing to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Given the odds of a Clinton, Edwards, or Obama on the Dem ticket - I think Rudy will look like a winner even the SBC would endorse.

Though I still like Romney - I could vote for Rudy without blinking an eye. Perfect, no. A wartime leader who at least I know where he stands 90% of the time? Yes.

Lets be realistic here as well. A President only has real control over National Security, spending priorities through the executive branch and the veto pen, and Judicial appointments in general. On those major areas, Rudy is right. The social issues will be fought in the States and the Legislative Branch on balance.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Ayaan Hirsi Ali with Bill Maher

As I have said before, she is the best of the West.

VADM Sims: proto-MilBlogger

Awhile back, Sid pointed the way towards a great quote from VADM Sims:
"After I had finished my tour as Naval Attache in Paris, 1897 to 1900, they would not let me come home. Anyway they sent me to the Kentucky on the way out [to the Asia Station]. I had never seen one of our battleships before. They were built while I was abroad. I was acquainted with the foreign ones. When I saw that battleship I was absolutely astounded. It is almost incredible that white men who have reached the present stage of civilization could have built a ship like that."
Yep, he would be blogg'n.

MIDN Lamar Owens - on FaceBook

Closing in on 800 members - a FaceBook group "Free Lamar Owens." Judge a man by his friends - he has a lot of MIDN and young ENS and 2LT on his side - and unlike me they have put their real names to it. If you want to join the group, you have to join FaceBook - don't cost nut'n. Here is a screen shot (and no, I didn't put Willis' brother's picture there). Oh, and latest on the saga here.

Hat tip reader Gail.

Define: Deployment, Dwell, Homeport TEMPO

From a couple of emails I have received, it looks like the FlagSESemail making the rounds all over creation and back is fair game. Good stuff to chew on.
Subject: FlagSESWeb Mail - Deployability and Employability

Admirals and Senior Executives,

In the last few months, we have been reviewing the deployability and employability of our naval forces with the fleet. The thrust was to examine the ways in which we might increase our operational availability
- the percentage of time our forces are available for operational tasks and missions - while still preserving our overall readiness and the quality of service for our Sailors and their families. This has been important work designed to strike the right balance between our need to provide rotational forward forces, our obligation to prepare both independent and major forces in a variety of surge scenarios, and our time at home.

As a result of the review, we are changing some deployment policies and revising some definitions and deployment metrics in the new Personnel Tempo of Operations instruction. While we increased the time available for employment in support of the nation's Combatant Commanders, I want our Sailors to understand that we have carefully considered the potential for personnel impacts. We are deliberately taking action to ensure leadership has the right kind of visibility and oversight into these new deployment metrics. We have preserved our traditional 50% time-in-homeport standard for our Sailors, taken steps to account better for our deployed time, while providing the most predictability we can in our deployment and operating schedules.

I want you to inform your leadership teams and Sailors of these actions when you engage them. I want them to recognize our responsibility to the nation. We must always be prepared to respond as the security environment dictates. That is why the nation has a Navy, and why we are establishing these new metrics.

I have attached a slide that maps our new terms and metrics to the old. You will want to be familiar with the following terms and definitions:

- Deployment. A deployment is time spent generating forward presence to Combatant Commanders (COCOMs) regardless of deployment length. The previous 56 day deployment minimum has been eliminated. Any forward deployed time now counts.

- Dwell. Dwell is the ratio of the number of days a unit spends between deployments and the length of the last deployment in an operational cycle. Dwell is a joint term that formally replaces the Navy's term Turn-Around Ratio.

- HOMEPORT TEMPO. HOMEPORT TEMPO is the percentage of time a unit is in homeport within an operational cycle. This metric is calculated by dividing the unit's days at home by the number of days in that cycle, which is usually about 27-32 months in length.

We will manage our deployments so that our Sailors and their families are not routinely subjected to excessive operational tempo. As such:

- I have reaffirmed our long standing goal of spending no more than 50% percent of the time away from a Sailor's homeport/home station across the operational cycle. Units will be scheduled in a manner that provides 50% HOMEPORT TEMPO. My approval will be required if HOMEPORT TEMPO drops below 50%.

- We will maintain Dwell ratios at greater than or equal to 1.0. While this is a significant change, the fleet has been operating under this policy in a de facto sense during the War on Terror. This change aligns Navy limits with those of the other services under our current wartime DoD policy.

- Maximum planned deployment length will be 7 months - only when necessary - for commands with a single deployment within an Employment cycle. If multiple deployments are required within an Employment cycle, the maximum planned length limit will be 6 months. In either case, we will not routinely schedule deployments longer than 6 months. Operational necessity may require an extension of these deployment lengths, but with rare exception and only with CNO approval.

Concurrently, I have also approved deploying an additional two surface combatants with each CSG (increasing the number of surface combatants assigned to a CSG from three to five). I will be releasing a NAVADMIN reflecting both this decision and our new PERSTEMPO terms and metrics shortly.

As we communicate these new terms and definitions to our Navy, I will need your help in aligning the message. In a time of war, this new approach to employability and deployability will do much for our ability to defend the nation, deter our adversaries, positively engage our partners and friends, and balance these priorities with time at home. Family readiness is a vital part of Fleet Readiness. We must make it clear we value the contributions and sacrifices of our Sailors and their families.

Warm regards, Mike
If you want "Mike's" email, go to NKO - I cut out that bit.

Overall, I think the changes are fair - though the Staff work on the email needs some help and is sloppy.
I can't help myself - but the CNO's Staff work just isn't up to the VADM Cutler Dawson standard. Way too much passive voice. Too many words.

There is one thing there that has become the norm - that Ensign Salamander would have found shocking.
Concurrently, I have also approved deploying an additional two surface combatants with each CSG (increasing the number of surface combatants assigned to a CSG from three to five).
A Carrier deploying with as few "escorts" as they do. That is the sign of the benign seas we now travel in and/or the threadbare fleet we now have.

BULLNAV asked a good question in an email on this subject - where are the extra Ships coming from? Methinks they are taking them from other things. Small Fleet means smaller global footprint. Can't be at two place at once, and if you are a LCS, can't do more than one mission at a time.

A world without America

Hat tip Iain Murray.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Fullbore Friday

Another visit to the Battle of Narvik. The German Destroyer Erich Giese. How is this for a short but storied record?
04.09.1939: Together with Theodor Riedel and the mine layers Cobra and Roland , the Erich Giese lays the anti submarine mine field "f" MARTHA-HANS in the North Sea. 666 Mines are laid during this operation, 100 from Erich Giese .
05-06.09.1939: Together with Theodor Riedel and the mine layers Cobra and Roland , the Erich Giese lays the mine field "a" MARTHA-IDA in the North Sea. 666 Mines are laid during this operation, 100 from Erich Giese .
06-07.12.1939: Mine laying operation with Bernd von Arnim and Hans Lody against Cromer. During the operation, the German destroyers attack the British destroyers Juno and Jersey , damaging the Jersey with a torpedo fired from Erich Giese .
07.04.1940: Operation Weserübung: Erich Giese joins the destroyers Georg Thiele , Wolfgang Zenker , Anton Schmitt , Bernd von Arnim , Erich Koellner , Diether von Roeder , Hans Lüdemann , Hermann Künne and Wilhlem Heidkamp in the Narvik Attack Group.
13.04.1940: Operation Weserübung: The destroyer is sunk by the British destroyers Cossack and Foxhound west of Narvik.
One of their officers who survived - and fought on - with an incredible record of his own.

Gerhard Schaar; began his naval career in October 1937. He served on the destroyer Erich Giese, which was sunk during the occupation of Norway in April 1940. After some months on shore in Narvik, he served as training officer in the Marineschule Mürwik (Naval Academy) before transferring in February 1942 to the U-boat force.

After two patrols on U-704, in April 1943 he took command of the Type VIIC boat U-957, which was attached to the 11th Flotilla and was in action in the Arctic Sea. Schaar won his Knights Cross for leading the landing operation on the Soviet island Sterligova, where a radio station was destroyed in September 1944. In April 1945 Schaar commissioned the Type XXI U-boat U-2551, which was scuttled one month later.

US Vets - dangerous at any age

Don't mess with the grumpy old men who hold a VFW card.

A tour bus of U.S. senior citizens defended themselves against a group of alleged muggers, sending two of them fleeing and killing a third in the Atlantic coast city of Limon, police said on Thursday.

One of the tourists, a retired member of the U.S. military aged about 70, put assailant Warner Segura in a head lock and broke his clavicle after the 20-year-old and two other men armed with a knife and gun held up their tour bus Wednesday,

Thursday, February 22, 2007

SECNAV on shipbuilding - he gets an B-

He actually, behind closed doors, I bet he gets an A+ when you consider he said the following in public.
"Aside from the divergence in time horizons between the Navy and industry, there is another area that seems to divide us as well. I just do not see the sense of urgency in industry reflective of the fact that we are a nation at war. The behavior of industry reflects, by and large, the general attitude of the public, where people have resumed a routine of normalcy in their lives in the wake of 9/11.

The images of that fateful day - with planes crashing into the World Trade Center and people jumping to their deaths to escape the flames - are becoming a less-pressing memory. But we are at war, and our terrorist enemies have not given up.

Given those conditions, an attitude of "business as usual" is not consistent with the needs of the nation. By contrast, during World War II, there was a remarkable sense of solidarity, a feeling that the whole country was in this together. Consider the astounding feat accomplished by industry during World War II, when it produced over 2,000 Liberty ships between '41 and '45 - and another 2,000 Victory ships on top of those.

Industrialists such as Henry J. Kaiser, who had never before built ships, were eager to use mass-production methods in shipyards, and they stepped forward to meet the challenge. And they became national heroes for their leadership. It was the partnership between industry and the military that won that war - and both partners took enormous pride in their achievement.

Today, however, there is a difference between the atmosphere one often finds in corporate America and the atmosphere one finds in the military...."
I am not that thrilled with this series of comments, though it is a passing grade.
"In the past, the Navy has had shipbuilding production plans that included 34 Spruance class destroyers, 30 Aegis Cruisers, 62 Arleigh Burke class destroyers, and 54 Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates - very large production runs over relatively short periods of time. Needless to say, those production rates are just not feasible with ships like DD (X), CG (X), CVN21, and Virginia class submarines. We need a new shipbuilding model that can cost-effectively provide significant increases in capability at low rates of production."

"We are at an inflection point in shipbuilding and in the defense industry writ large. It is, indeed, a critical time for our Nation, our Navy, and for our defense industry. We must be able to produce highly capable systems in relatively small numbers. We have all the right pieces, and we have completed the initial steps. We need to continue on a successful track."
It sounds like he has at least 51% bought into the "smaller best is better than many very good" theory of military hardware. The Germans made that gamble in WWII and paid a huge price for it.

This is where Byron may want to givehis perspective - sounds like consolidation and "fire a bunch of old people, yet train some new ones to work the next group of units" (I can hear Byron right now, "What new peeople; over the last decade....")

SECNAV kind of loses some credibility with this comment though,
"Competition is ordinarily pursued by cutting costs at the margin - all very good, but not adequate. While beneficial, competition to save a few percent on a product does not generate the capability, quality, or savings we desire.

What is really needed is a competition of ideas. When great minds focus on meeting requirements differently, truly innovative ideas can emerge.

The Navy's new Littoral Combat Ship is a good example of a ship that appears to be winning the competition of ideas. It is a capable, low-cost ship - with missions that include Mine Countermeasures, Anti-Submarine Warfare, and Surface Warfare. It is fast, flexible, and agile, and it meets our emerging green and brown water requirements today. And with modularity and Open Architecture, LCS can be rapidly adapted to meet the requirements of the future."
"Appears" on PowerPoint that is. "Low cost?" $400-500 million for a hull with no mission systems? Yes it is fast. No it is not flexible (can only do one of those missions at a time; if the yet to be built and tested mission modules work. Perhaps it is agile; in the right sea state. Yes, rapidly adapted if Congress gives you more monez to throw into that hole in the water you built.

OK, it is fast.

With all my issues, why do I give SECNAV a B-? Because I know he is smart, is digging where others have turned their head, and he has fired one RADM over this.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) - an "ex-Marine?"

Mac Owens over at The Corner makes an interesting point.
As you know, John Murtha has "said he would attach language to a war funding bill that would prohibit the redeployment of units that have been at home for less than a year, stop the extension of tours beyond 12 months and prohibit units from shipping out if they do not train with all of their equipment. His aim, he made clear, is not to improve readiness but to 'stop the surge.' So why not straightforwardly strip the money out of the appropriations bill, an action Congress is clearly empowered to take, rather than try to micromanage the Army in a way that may be unconstitutional? Because, Mr. Murtha said, it will deflect accusations that he is trying to do what he is trying to do. 'What we are saying will be very hard to find fault with,' he said." We Marines maintain that except for Lee Harvey Oswald, there is no such thing as an "ex-Marine." I believe that John Murtha has just joined that small club.

More people learn what LCS means....

This sounds very familiar...
Small but highly trained crews may succumb to “excessive fatigue and failure” in combat or a battle damage contingency on the Navy’s much-anticipated Littoral Combat Ship, according to a comprehensive evaluation of the nation’s current and future weapons programs.
“Initial conclusions indicate manning levels do not portend success in a stressing mine warfare scenario,” the report reads.

LCS has a total mission and ship’s crew of 75 sailors.
“Forget damage control — what if five of the crew come down with food poisoning?” he says.

Likewise, evaluators note that LCS is being built to the survivability standard of an auxiliary ship, rather than a combatant ship.
Little Crappy Ship. The MilBlogger gift that keeps on giving. More people need tobe fired.

Hat tip reader Sid.

Protocols of the Elders of the ABA

Looks like The Silky Pony has been reading too much Jimmy Carter.
Perhaps the greatest short-term threat to world peace, Edwards remarked, was the possibility that Israel would bomb Iran's nuclear facilities. As a chill descended on the gathering, the Edwards event was brought to a polite close.
Of course, Israel is the greatest threat to World Peace.

How many times can a candidate "jump the shark?"

Speaking of Edwards; I can't get enough of this.

Hat tip THS.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

CIWS to C-RAM: Part II - Electric Boogaloo

This time in moving video!

In operational use in Balad.

And daytime test video.

I love that girl. One of the smart moves of this war. I won't quibble about people wanting it for over a decade. Here is
Part 1.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX)- in his own words

From his 16 FEB floor speech.

Iranian Silkworm ASCM

Some video out there is calling this a SS-N-22 Sunburn. That ain't no Sunburn - but I will call it a Silkworm or one of its friends - at a quick glance. Primitive, but still a challenge. Don't get caught sleeping in the Strait of Hormuz.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Wobble Caucus - Senate Edition

Saved by four votes. It dies. Ok, let me get this straight: we are at war, you voted without question the man who supports and will lead the plan, your vote means nothing per se - yet it will embolden your war enemies - demoralize your own troops in the field - and excite your political foes and be used against your President. Some would call it mindless narcissistic CYA voting. Someone out there would.

which Republicans should be forced to watch Lawnmower Man?
This is serious - there are people who want defeat.
... Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, squeezed in a morning appearance in New Hampshire, where she told one audience, "We have to end this war and we can't do it without Republican votes."

Head on over to Lex's place where he hits on a topic we have discussed here a few times - and he adds to it. Because I am lazy, I will cut and paste my comment there.
I think what we are seeing is a variation of what we saw in 72-75. The Left goes back to its playbook on a regular basis.

One thing that has been buiding over the last year in strength (though has been in the mind of the Left since we took Camp Rhino in late 01) - I really didn't think they would get a chance though I knew they wanted to do it - is that they want a defeat. They want a defeat they can use as a club to pound their domestic rivals and to prove one of the foundations of their political soul; America is a bad if not evil nation, should be shamed and never be allowed to feel that it is anything but the source off all that is bad on the planet.

They cannot let us let us win - and they will do anything and sacrifice anything to make sure that America and its military are shamed and cowed.

They did it in the earlz`70s when even though they cut off funds from S. Vietnam so they could not fight the conventional attack from the North like they did in '72.

America's loss in shame in Vietnam was the crowning joy of their youth, and like any plastic surgeon or Dr. that sells the oval blue pill will tell you - the Boomer Left wants nothing more than to relive their youth.

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Ataturk: neocon

Well, perhaps not - but I'll let the man speak for himself.
"Mankind is a single body and each nation a part of that body. We must never say 'What does it matter to me if some part of the world is ailing?' If there is such an illness, we must concern ourselves with it as though we were having that illness."

Friday, February 16, 2007

Col. Ken Allard, US Army (Ret.) - Mench

But sometimes the only way to show where you really stand is to vote with your feet. And so with great reluctance and best wishes to my former colleagues, with this column I am severing my 10-year relationship with NBC News.
Read the whole thing for the reasons why. Nuff said.

The Wobble Caucus

Like Sher Ali Khan’s Afghan Army troops form Kandahar prior to the Battle of Maiwand; these guys need to be brought back across the river and disarmed.
From the moderate suburbs of Delaware to the rural, conservative valleys of eastern Tennessee, House Republican opponents of President Bush's latest Iraq war plan cut across the GOP's ideological and regional spectrum.

Numbering a dozen or more, these House Republicans have emerged as some of the most prominent opponents of the plan to increase troop presence in Iraq. They admit to being a ragtag band, with no scheduled meetings and little political cohesion.

The Wobble Caucus as identified in the article are:
Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-MN), Rep. Ric Keller (R- FL), Rep. Phil English (R-PA), Rep.
James T. Walsh (R-NY), Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC), Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), and Rep.Michael N. Castle (R-DE).
I count 7 - where are the other half dozen? Help me out readers; name 'em and shame 'em in the comments (links as well please).

On a positive note, I have strange new respect for Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) who said,
Reps. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), who won by less than 7,000 votes, and Heather A. Wilson (R-N.M.), who won by less than 2,000 votes, both announced Wednesday that they would oppose the Democratic resolution, condemning it as nothing more than "symbolic."

"The majority is clear on what it is against, but does not say what it is for, leaving us with what exists right now, the status quo," Shays said on the floor. "The resolution sends the wrong message to the president, to our troops and to our enemies. It will not get my vote."
Good on ‘ya.

Fullbore Friday

As usual, John over at Argghhh!!! always has some great Gun Pr0n. This entry from last week had me digging around my travel files for something that just breaks my heart.

Fullbore Friday is about a lot of things, in my mind at least; but mostly it is about examples from history about ordinary Sailors doing extraordinary things – and extraordinary Sailors changing history. Examples that every professional should examine for what they can tell us today.

History is so critical to the future. It isn’t a formula or a crystal ball – but it does show us patterns and gives up a sense of the rhythm and well-worn paths that always show up in the ventures of men.

When we neglect history, especially the artifacts – irreplaceable artifacts – of our past – it breaks my heart. Not only for the stories they carry with them, but the testimony they give to the reasons of their birth and the efforts of the people who built and used them. Standing in their presence gives us a greater understanding of their place and context – well beyond simple 2D pictures or words.

As anyone who has had the displeasure of traveling or going on TAD with me – I am the Adult-ADD poster child. If you give me a day, I will travel 4 hours one way to go to a town for 1 hour to see something and travel 4 hours back. I will leave the beaten path to hike up a mountain to find a plaque commemorating some obscure event I read about as a kid. I will walk into that basement bar because it looks interesting. I don’t care what others think – I am not going to spend a night playing Hearts and drinking Miller Light when there is a train station only a 30 minute walk away and we don’t have to report until 1000 the next AM.

Anyway, on the NE coast of France I found the only Krupp K5 left in Europe,Leopold's brother, at Batterie Todt in France. That is where I wound up one beautiful day.

Here she is.

Read his background here in English or German, or here in French. He needs some love real bad – or soon he will be lost to weather and time.

Oh, and while I was there I saw this example on why German AAA was hard to move around quickly – and something I KNOW John wishes he could have.

Often, rail-guns and the Western Wall are forgotten - they shouldn't be. A lot of people died either building, fighting, destroying or being on the receiving end of them.

As an extra bonus in honor of John I ask the question (item found at the same location as above):

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I dare you... tag my ship. Please, please try to paste an IRG Symbol on my ship.
A commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guards said Wednesday that a commando unit has engraved the military organization's emblem into the side panel of an American warship stationed in the Persian Gulf.

Nur Ali Shushkari, the head of the Revolutionary Guards ground forces, told Iranian pro-government news agencies that the symbol was etched onto the ship by the crew of a submarine that had managed to reach the U.S. vessel without detection by radar.
Engraving is even better. More noise and time. Yes, my BM1 would love the capture if it.

The Canadians are good at "zapping" - they use spray paint. But the best zapping story is from DESERT STORM. If memory serves me right it was an F-18 that landed on an all A-7 carrier (the one with the squadron with the cool paint job). There were 4 or so carriers right next to each other in the Red Sea - not hard to do I guess. Anyway, they promptly covered his plane with zappers and then sent him home with his tailhook between his legs.

Lex, or someone, help me out. I can't find the article or picture of it - though we in the Navy have a history of doing it.
Oh, for the record - I think Nur has been hitting the hash pipe again.

First they came for GTMO

Defunding the war? Democrats? Never!
Two key Democrats in Congress disclosed Wednesday that they are digging through Defense Department funding mechanisms to find a method to choke off funding for the Guantanamo Bay detention facilities.

"We're looking at a schedule - a reasonable schedule - to close it down in stages," Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said in a broadcast on National Public Radio. "We can limit the funds for it and that would shut it down."
Unreal. I actually know people who serve/d at GTMO. Those guys are doing the best job taking care of terrorists in the history of the world.

Maybe they should be released in Pennsylvania.....

War criminals: unite!

Yes, over and over again you need to be reminded what is being taught at major universities in the US - and be glad that our young students are standing up to these critically clueless people that put themselves on stage as all-knowing experts on everything.
During a heated debate in a class I teach on social justice, several US Marines who had done tours in Iraq told me that they had "sacrificed" by “serving” in Iraq so that I could enjoy the freedom to teach in the USA. Parroting their master’s slogan about “fighting over there so we don’t have to fight over here,” these students proudly proclaimed that they terrorized and killed defenseless Iraqis. They intimated that their Arab victims are nothing more to them than collateral damage, incidental to their receipt of some money and an education.
The American military and mercenary soldiers who “sacrificed” their lives did not do so for the teacher’s freedom to teach the truth about the so-called war on terror, or any of US history for that matter. They sacrificed their lives, limbs and sanity for money, some education and the thrills of the violence for which they are socially bred. Sacrificing for the “bling and booty” in Iraq or Afghanistan, Philippines, Grenada, Central America, Mexico, Somalia, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, or any of the other numerous wars and invasions spanning US history as an entity and beginning with their foundational practice of killing the Indians and stealing their land.
Yet another soldier-student said that there would always be wars and someone had to do it. The ”it” is killing, rape, and plunder for profit. ... Their bottom line was getting the money and their thrills by joining and belonging to the biggest terrorist organization in the world, the USA. ... Their plan is to secure the oil, the diamonds, the gold, the water, the guns, the drugs, and the bling for their masters, who they hope will cut them in on the swag. They say that someone has to be on top and they want to be on the side of the strong, not the weak. Robbing Hoods, not Robin Hoods.
I'm glad that I am not getting a grade from Professor June Scorza Terpstra .
And now, here they sit in my course on social justice, terrorist war criminals, wanting high paying “criminal justice” jobs in a university Justice Studies program. They want approval, appreciation and honors for terrorism, torture, and murder. They want a university degree so they can get an even higher salary terrorizing more people around the world with security companies such as Blackwater or Halliburton. They want that appropriately named “sheepskin” so they can join the CIA, FBI, and other police and track down and terrorize US residents here.

These military and mercenary terrorist-students are trained in terrorist training camps all under the USA, funded by American taxpayers. In fact, people under the USA are “sacrificing” their health care and their children’s educations while donating their tax dollars to these terrorist training camps.

These terrorist camps train money hungry working class stiffs to murder, steal and plunder for the power hungry US corporate war lords.

There is a saying that “if you do the crime, you do the time”. My response is that “If you do the war crimes, you will do time in hell, whether the hell of war trauma and shock, of diseases such as those caused by depleted uranium, the old-fashioned traditional hell, fire and brimstone assigned to malefactors…or the hell of sitting in a social justice class and discovering what the hell you are in hell for, or are about to be.
Hat tip LGF.

The Italy I know

Ah, yes Italy.....and Italians.
The shrugged shoulder is real, a daily reminder that part of Italy's charm rests on the fact that it does not much care for rules. Italians can be downright poetic about it, this inclination to dodge taxes, to cut lines, to erect entire neighborhoods without permits, or simply to run red lights, while smoking or talking on the phone, or both.

"We undervalue the law of cause and effect," said Lisa Tumino, who runs a bed and breakfast here near the Vatican. "We overvalue the law of the universe."
Beppe Grillo, the Italian political satirist, keeps a running list on his Web site of members of the Italian Parliament or Italian members of the European Parliament, 25 in all, who have been convicted of crimes, mostly for corruption.

Just last week, an Italian newspaper reported the existence of a new little town outside Naples, of 50 houses and 435 apartments, for which not a single building permit had been issued. About 31,000 illegal structures reportedly went up in 2005 alone.
Faced with greedy and hostile authority over many chaotic centuries, it is argued, Italians fell back into what is often called "familism," the idea that only the family can be trusted. Everything outside the realm of family and clan can be ignored — or tricked into submission.

"We are a people of saints, heroes, improvisers and artful fixers; above all we are cunning," a 1986 study on Italian values concluded, finding the nation's mind set little changed over time. "Our cunningness consists of believing that others will take advantage of us if we do not first take advantage of them."
BTW, if you are ever offered a set or orders to Naples, take it. You won't regret it if you have the right attitude. Oh, and try for a NATO job.

Diversity industry convention

The Commissariat is getting all the Thought Police together. Your tax dollars at work.

R 092153Z FEB 07
UNCLAS //N05354//
- MILITARY PERSONNEL CONTACT: MR. (REDACTED) AT (901) 555-5555/ DSN 555 OR FCC (REDACTED) AT (901) 555-5555/DSN 555.
- CIVILIAN EEO PERSONNEL CONTACT: MS. (REDACTED) AT (202) 555-5555/ DSN 555 OR MS. (REDACTED) AT (202) 555-5555/DSN 555.

VaBch in late MAR? The very height of Spring Break Season. Why not downtown Norfolk? Hampton? Detroit or Chicago in JAN? Heck, even DC. Why not San Diego in FEB? Perhaps the Seattle area in JAN? Jacksonville in early AUG.

Whatever; you can't object to anything these Diversity Bullies do. College Spring Break in VaBch: go get your freak on, Shipmate - and hide your head in shame.

I'm sorry, but, I'll call it. This conference at this location at the height of College Spring Break is fraud, waste and abuse. $150-$200 per night - gov'munt rates.

Hat tip reader BullNav.

India rising

We should be natural allies. We should, and I think we are heading that way. Small steps.
A question hovers over the United States' blooming friendship with India: How good a friend will India be should it emerge as a great power?

Will it be a Britain — a loyal ally, a partner against terrorism, a fellow evangelist for free markets and democracy? Or will it be France — sharing Washington's bedrock values but ever willing to pursue its own interests at the expense of American ones?

Or will it be China — a competitive threat to the U.S. economy, using its influence to thwart American diplomatic pressure on nations like Sudan and Iran?

This week, government officials and military-hardware makers from the United States will be looking for clues to India's strategic intentions as they attempt to break new ground. At an air show outside the technology hub of Bangalore, they are seeking to sell American-made warplanes to India, which has never before bought them.

The world's two largest democracies were on frosty terms during the Cold War, and India relied for most of its military firepower on Soviet imports. But with times changing, particularly after the 9/11 attacks highlighted common security interests, the leaders of the two nations declared in July 2005 that they were warming their ties into a strategic partnership. At the heart of the new bond is a civilian nuclear deal, recently enacted as law in Washington, that lifts constraints on India's purchases of nuclear fuel for its civilian reactors and frees American companies to sell sensitive technologies to India.
Some very interesting exchange opportunities perhaps for the next generation of military professionals.
The Pentagon has authorized the largest-ever deployment of display aircraft to the subcontinent. India is expected to open a tender this year for 126 new fighter jets to modernize its fleet, and the Americans are hoping that their new friendship with Delhi will give the F/A-18F Super Hornet, built by Boeing, and the F-16, built by Lockheed Martin, an edge over the Russian MIG warplanes that have long dominated the Indian Air Force fleet.

To counter Russia's historical advantage, Boeing has offered to produce the F/A-18F jointly with an Indian company. Lockheed scored public-relations points by recruiting Ratan Tata, a billionaire Indian industrialist and amateur pilot, to fly in an F-16 at the air show.

The Americans are also peddling Chinook choppers, C-130 Hercules transport planes and the P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft, and the American companies sending representatives to Bangalore this week include Boeing, Lockheed, General Electric and Pratt & Whitney. They will join hundreds of companies from 28 countries, according to the Indo-Asian news service.

American defense companies regard India as a $30 billion opportunity over five years, one leader of the American delegation, William Cohen, a former U.S. defense secretary, told reporters in New Delhi on Monday.
Good news.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Rethinking Rudy

When Ted Olsen speaks; I listen.
Rudy's views on many, many issues are going to be very compatible with people in the conservative political community and the political legal community. Nobody's going to be able to find a candidate with whom they agree with 100 percent on every issue. Overall, Rudy's strength of character, his capacity for leadership in a time when a strong executive is important, his energy level, his ability to provide the kind of leadership that Ronald Reagan did -- I think that is going to be very persuasive with conservatives.
I have huge issues with Rudy on guns mostly, and other social issues in general. That being said, I also know that the greatest impact a President has is in National Security, Judges, budget, the size and scope of government, and international leadership.

Trying to be an adult, I know that my horse right now, Mitt Romney, may not be the choice of most. That being said, who is my #2? McCain? No, personal liberty, free speech, and besides that every time I see him he looks like a tired war horse that you love and respect - but just has too many injuries and years to lead the next charge. The rest of the R's? No chance. I'm going to keep my mind open.

As for the Dems: as hard as it is to say - the only serious candidate from the point of view of actually being able to run the world's greatest power is Sen. Clinton (D-NY). You can guess how that makes me feel. You can guess what that says about the Dems.

Missing Sen. Thompson (R-TN)

Was sad when he left the Senate. His clarity of thought is why.
"When you put too much power in the hands of unelected, unaccountable people who have every incentive to focus massive resources onto one particular person — who gets the plaudits in the media for doing so — it's a bad thing. And many, many times an injustice can occur," said Thompson in an exclusive interview with ABC News.
Wish we had him still in the Senate. Why couldn't he be Attny General?
UPDATE: And this quote from him today simply rulz!
In Congress, they are debating a meaningless resolution.
Down the street, they are trying a guy for lying about a leak.
A House subcommittee had to cancel a hearing on global warming because of snow.
Just another day in Washington.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Bang for the buck?

Don't get me wrong - I love the F-15E Strike Eagle. It has a great use. Is it best at doing CAS? High altitude precision, sure. Two seats beats one - but down and dirty CAS?
The F-15 Strike Eagle recently swapped out with the A-10 Thunderbolt II to assume responsibility of the close-air-support mission here.
Isn't the A-10 the better choice? Is this a silly move, a political move, or have we just used them up to the point they don't have a combat unit that can fit the bill at this place and time? If not, what is the plan to replace the airframe. Don't say F-35A or AH-64. One is way too expensive, the both cannot take the hits from groundfire like an A-10. It has been arguably the most valuable aircraft of the last 25 years.

Let's review costs - shall we?

F-15E Strike Eagle: Cost per unit: ($43 million FY98$); number produced: 203

A-10 Warthog: Cost per unit:($9.8-13 million FY98$); number produced: 715 (273 A-10 and 172 OA-10 left)

We won't even go into the ability of the A-10 to take a hit and keep going - something only the SU-25 even comes close to doing.

What worries me is starting in the next couple of months, you will see a lot, a lot, come out of Afghanistan as both sides seem to have made the decision to run at each other's throat. This will be a knife fight. It would be nice to have the F-15E in reserve, but I would think the guys on the ground would rather have a brace of A-10s.

German anti-Americanism

At first glance - when do you think this was made? You have 2 seconds.

Look closer, and then read No Pasaran and Davids Mediendritik for the details.

Do you get a passing grade?

Via ILYS; a quiz of sorts.

I got a 83%. A B-. I'll take it. I gave my self double credit for General Loan.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Navy Hymn

Done very well by Peter Dawson. Background here; otherwise just enjoy.

Thanks Derb.

Iran's smoking Steyr Mannlicher

The big conversation bit the last couple of weeks has been "does Iran supply Iraqi terrorists with weapons?" Besides diversion into "hey, look at the home-made crap..." there are serious issues about this. The IED arguments are compelling, but the LATimes and others (yes, that is the VOA) still say things like this,
...evidence of Iranian involvement in Iraq's troubles is limited. U.S. troops have found mortars and antitank mines with Iranian markings dated 2006, said U.S. Army Col. David W. Sutherland, who oversees the province. But there has been little sign of more advanced weaponry crossing the border, and no Iranian agents have been found.
Well, I think this should put everything to rest.
Austrian sniper rifles that were exported to Iran have been discovered in the hands of Iraqi terrorists, The Daily Telegraph has learned.
The guns were part of a shipment of 800 rifles that the Austrian company, Steyr-Mannlicher, exported legally to Iran last year.
Within 45 days of the first HS50 Steyr Mannlicher rifles arriving in Iran, an American officer in an armoured vehicle was shot dead by an Iraqi insurgent using the weapon.

Over the last six months American forces have found small caches of the £10,000 rifles but in the last 24 hours a raid in Baghdad brought the total to more than 100, US defence sources reported.
One big-a55 .50 cal sniper rifle goes missing? Sure, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. 100? No. Guilty. Game, set, match.
UPDATE: CAPT Ed is on it as well.