Saturday, January 30, 2010

Embarrassing to be a Captain ...

... because every time you return to your ship ....

... and no - that isn't a photoshop.
UPDATE: A shot of the bow here.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Episode 5 - The QDR Battlespace

Mark your Sunday calendars, it is time for Midrats with special guest Mackenzie Eaglen, Research Fellow for National Security at The Heritage Foundation.

We'll be back with our usual panel this week, with co-hosts EagleOne of EagleSpeak, and Galrahn of InformationDissemination.

At 5pm EST/1700R/2200Z join us for a review of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) we haven't seen yet (though we do have a draft). Sure, it is due out the 01 FEB - but why wait - what is the fun with that? The first half hour will be with our panel, and the second half of the show with Mackenzie Eaglen.

We'll focus on what should be the bold-faced-items that will come up in the QDR. You only get this chance every four years - don't miss your chance. To top it off, we'll try something different and take callers the entire hour - so no need to wait to get a word in edgewise - our call-in number will be (347) 308-8397.
UPDATE: If you missed it live, you missed a great show. Don't miss the opportunity to download or listen to the archive at the showpage, or as a podcast on iTunes.

To get it on iTunes, you can search for the podcast on iTunes, or simply click the "iTunes" button on the upper-right hand corner of the blog.

Fullbore Friday

Sometimes you have to bring up a ship that did just solid, warship duty. For example, I give you the USS MANCHESTER (CL-83).

That is all for FbF today - but I leave you with something to ponder.

As we discuss what is or is not littoral warfare - check out
this picture. All the stealth in the world won't help you here --- and a lack of damage control will kill Sailors wholesale. That is why the selling of LCS is almost a crime.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A drug free Annapolis? No, but we have D1 football!

UPDATE & BUMP: see bottom of post for latest developments.

This is sad.

Let's set the scene. You have a very good urinalysis program - one of the best in the Navy. You have to, you are in charge one of the most high-profile commands in the Navy; all eyes are on you. You can't afford to have drug problems or run any of your programs short of perfect.

After the last round of tests, you have a junior Sailor who pops positive for marijuana ... very strong pop. All the paperwork and proceedures are perfect, and you have been in the Navy long enough to know MILPERSMAN 1910-146 like you know your own Social Security Number.

Then you see the name; oh, him. Another administrative burden.

This isn't the first time this guy has been in trouble either; not drugs per se, but his counseling jacket is thick and highlighted, in a fashion - no one is really defending this guy either.

As things progress further and excuses are tried - inconsistencies come up even there. The pattern repeats; problem Sailor, air-tight urinalysis, pop positive for the evil weed, and finally no one can keep their story straight.

Cut and dried case, right? Time for a Big Chicken Dinner (OK, talk BCD, but OTH will do), right?

Don't be silly - this is exactly the kind of Sailor this Navy needs ... as a matter of fact - this man is officer material! You're the man in Command, you know quality and leadership potential when you see it; you're keeping him!

No, this isn't a parallel universe, this is the United States Naval Academy.

One report is a rumor. Three reports a trend. When I get above a half-dozen reports and phone calls - well, that is a story. It is especially a story when all of my primary sources are not bitter, angry, anti-Annapolis types. No; to an individual these are people who deeply love the Navy and USNA. They are sad, frustrated, and feel that their institution is once again selling its soul for superficial reasons. For reasons that make no sense to them, honor and integrity is being sold for a silly game. Yes, my friends - this also has to do with football.

In the
Potempkin Color Guard fiasco, we saw a loved institution twist itself into knots to satisfy a corrosive, self-loathing, and debunked racialist theory known as Diversity. I am afraid that we now have an institution that has sacrificed itself for something even more misguided - a game. A sport.

Though I know the name of the individual in question - I am not going to mention it here or some of the details as they aren't the important part of the story,
right now.

This story is much larger than one man - the United States Naval Academy deserves better than this - sure successful football brings in money, but you cannot buy back your honor through football. It is Honor, Courage, and Commitment - not Fudge, Courage, and Bowl Games.

Executive Summary: A USNA football player popped positive for marijuana post season - but the act of smoking pot took place "in season." Though there are inconsistencies in the stories that explained "why" he smoked pot - there was never a question that he did - in the end the story is that he was handed a cigar that was stuffed with marijuana, he smoked it with vigor, and had no idea there was marijuana in it. Ahem. An official statement was given to that effect by another party. The Sup bought the story decided to let him stay.

Let's be blunt here (pun intended). I didn't fall of a turnip truck and neither did any of you. First of all, everyone and their mother knows that a cigar stuffed with marijuana is very popular and is known as a blunt. No one "accidently" smokes a blunt. You smell it, you taste it - and you sure do feel it. Pot now days is not 1970s skunkweed. No. Not even close. If someone tells you he did not know it was pot the minute it was lit - not to mention after taking may long, deep breaths and holding (which you don't with cigars there natch) that is needed to pop positive - then that someone is probably lying to you.

Then again, we know that - don't we?

I remember what it was like in the '80s - I remember the posters, "
Not on my watch; Not on my ship; Not in my Navy". I have seen many a Sailor shown the door with a Big Chicken Dinner. I have seen successful and unsuccessful excuses for popping positive - one rather pornographic. In the end though, "no tolerance" had sticking power and I never saw a case of special consideration for any individual who popped positive - officer or enlisted.

Would this have happened if we didn't have an important member of the football team? I doubt it, but who knows. It would be interesting though to see the results of positive urinalysis cases over the last, say, five years to see what exceptions have been made.

I think the smart money is that we have another case of throwing away hard earned integrity to play football at a level a Service Academy has no reason playing.

Losing the bubble. Lost lock. Adrift - you call it what you want; but this just plain smells wrong (pun intended again).

A Commanding Officer, rightly, has a wide latitude in making decisions. Only he knows the reasons that he makes them. That doesn't mean we have to agree with him or his justification.

This whole thing is sad. The United States Naval Academy deserves better than this. Again, what example does this set for the future leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps?

That question deserves an answer.
UPDATE: Hey, look at the kids now days with all their facebooktwitterybloggy thingies going on!

Just reinforces what I tell people any time I get a chance - it isn't the young who are the problem.
UPDATE II - Electric Boogaloo: Philip Ewing @ NavyTimes has picked up the story. (Update to original here)
UPDATE III - Perfect Storm: Daniel de Vise at the Washington Post has picked up the story as well.
UPDATE IV - Set Condition Zebra: Things have become very interesting over the last 24-hrs and I encourage everyone to follow comment as there is some very good primary sources out there. First of all, I want everyone to get a peek at how business is sometimes done inside the lifelines at Annapolis.
--Forwarded Message Attachment--
Subject: Please Read
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2010 [REDACTED]



Very Respectfully,


--Forwarded Message Attachment--
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2010 [REDACTED]


Do not join the facebook group "Zero Tolerance=Zero Exceptions" or any other similar group.

This is coming down from the highest echelon. There will be severe consequences for disobedience.

Very interesting habits we are teaching the future officers in the military of a Representitive Republic.

You can find a link to the facebook page in question in a previous update. Just a little detail here; the page was started by a civilian and, in a fashion, supports a Navy policy - i.e. zero tolerance for drug abuse. The owner of the page has now made it private - so the conversation - some support zero tolerance, some do not; some support the USNA Admin, some do not - goes on, except now it has gone underground. Way to make it worse fellas.

I ran the above by a JAG friend - and from that exchange of emails comes some sound advice and some caution.
... the Academy may be right on this. While no particular officers are named, there's some pretty harsh criticism of the university administration which could be construed as an open condemnation of a senior officer, which is a violation of the UCMJ.

I'd advise the MIDs to tread carefully here.
This isn't black and white, and is a very gray area. Like I have advised in a few emails - stick to informal and if needed formal grevience proceedures. Keep your nose clean and your eye on the goal - graduate. If you have some venom that gets you near a gray area, feed it to civilian friends & family, or vent to some dorky blogger.
For the MIDN, all anyone will care about in the end is that you have a degree and a commission - all else is vanity. Make sure you can look yourself in the mirror every AM with your honor intact, and keep clear of UCMJ and/or regulations problems. If you find yourself in a gray area - there are JAGs there that will help you find out where the lines are before you cross them. If you need a POC there for a good one, email me. The overwhelming majority, as close to total as you can get to an imperfect human institution, of the uniformed and civilian staff at Annapolis is on your side and wants you to succeed so the Navy and the nation it serves can succeed. Remember that.

Part of the problem is that there are some logic disconnects coming at the MIDN. There of course is the obvious one of what is being said vs. is being done, and different "classes" of MIDN being treated differently - but there are messaging problems. For example, this came out in DEC09 - I like it;
Subj: Naval Academy News Media Policy

The following information is provided to clarify the Naval Academy’s policy regarding interaction with news media.
Like the Navy and Marine Corps, the Naval Academy does not forbid anyone from speaking with news media. The Naval Academy’s public affairs office requests to be notified when midshipmen, faculty or staff are contacted by news media in order to provide assistance and advice. This assistance and advice is particularly important for individuals who do not routinely interact with media, do not wish to respond to media, or may lack perspective on issues of potential media interest.
In most situations, individuals are free to address news media - either initiating or returning contact with reporters - and can do so without approval from their chain of command. However, there are specific situations, such as an ongoing official investigation or judicial proceeding and issues involving classified information, where Navy and Marine Corps policy specifically addresses limits of public comment. It is imperative during such situations to obtain the assistance of the public affairs office when contacted by reporters.

Naval Academy personnel who interact with media should also realize that their public comments can sometimes be construed - either intentionally or unintentionally - to represent the Navy or Naval Academy. It is important when interacting with media in an unofficial capacity to ensure that all opinions expressed are understood to be personal and do not necessarily represent the views of the Navy or the Academy.

Midshipmen, faculty or staff are free to interact with news media, but are strongly encouraged to contact the public affairs office prior to doing
so. Additionally, Naval Academy personnel who do not wish to engage with media can refer all media requests to the public affairs office. As always, any questions concerning this policy or any news media related issues should be referred to the public affairs office at X2292 or
What is Facebook? Social media? New Media? Personal journal? Personal correspondence? Yes to all the above. That is why this is a gray area. If you canx facebook, can you do the same for subscriptions and online registration for NYT, WaPo, and multiple forums and, ahem, blogs out there? Do you restrict who they can and cannot email to? What about being a member of the NRA, NOW, or the Sierra Club? What about USNI? Do we punish them for being members of organizations that have authors who question policy? Sure we draw lines, at hate groups for instance, but be careful that your line is thick, bright, and straight. Crooked and selectively sketchy only breeds cynicism.

I think the folks at USNA are making this much worse trying to control the story ... again.
UPDATE V - Electric Glide: The local paper is on the hunt too.
UPDATE VI - Fiasco Edition: Thomas E. Ricks smells it as well.
UPDATE VII - Flash Gear: Front page of the Washington Post News Section.
UPDATE VIII - Defilade fire: URR has a higher brain function piece over at USNIBlog.
UPDATE IX - Load canister: The AP picked up Daniel de Vise's WaPo bit.

Diversity Thursday

Something came up last month that tied in to an unrelated item. Call this a potpourri DivThu.

Again, 97% of the trolls that spaz-n-flail in comments, and about the same percentage of the hate-email I receive, come as a result of the fact that I choose to speak out here against discrimination.

As their logic goes, if you oppose discrimination in all forms based on race, creed, color, or national origin - then of you must be a racist. Because you refuse to see race in everything, you are a racist.


Anyway, Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

Much of that comes from the toxic environment the Diversity Industry has created - and environment that does not allow anything but strict adherance to diktat. The AGOTUS thinks we are
cowards in discussing race. He is closer than he thinks, and in a fashion I agree with him. The reason is that the Diversity Cult does nothing but smear and attack without any checks and balances. As a result, we have gone from promoting equality and equal opportunity (good) to promoting discrimination and equal outcomes (bad) - and good people who have families to support keep their heads down and push through hoping that it won't affect them.

From the
TelegraphUK, talking about the politics of it well - I think this is an accurate observation.
So what happened to treating people not "by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character"? Ironically, Martin Luther King Day will be marked across the country tomorrow but this dream of King's is not being fulfilled.

American politicians have got themselves into a real bind. They have to fret constantly about race but cannot talk honestly about it.
It isn't just politicians. It is everywhere. Even in the Navy - even with the Chaplains.

We focus on race so that it trumps all - even if it has nothing to do with anything.
The deputy chief of chaplains is being denied a second star and assignment as chief of chaplains and will instead retire after the Navy’s inspector general found that he “reprised against” his former executive assistant during a captain’s selection board.
In March 2007, that officer — who is black, but a gender was not provided — made an equal opportunity and hostile work environment complaint against Baker.

Rear Adm. Frank Thorp, chief of information, would not describe the complaint in any detail, and said he did not know the two chaplains’ religion.

Thorp said the unnamed officer, Baker and several others in the office met because of the complaint, after which Baker signed a memo stating he’d be fair during any selection board hearings regarding the accusing officer.
As we all know - to survive an accusation like that can only result because the claim was bogus and unsubstantiated to the point the complaint was deemed baseless. Otherwise - the second part of the story would never take place.
Because of his comment at the selection board 11 months later, “The Naval Inspector General concluded that during board deliberations, Rear Admiral Baker had violated the Military Whistleblower Act,” Thorp said.

CDR B was not one of the eight O 5 chaplains selected for promotion.

Thorp said the officer was later informed by someone present at the selection board that Baker had made a comment regarding leadership ability.

A summary of the Navy IG report states, “One unrestricted line board member stated that she recalled being ‘taken aback’ by a comment that RDML Baker made “concerning leadership in connection with the record of an African American officer” who worked for him.
OK .... and what does his race have anything to do with the comments in question? Well, from all reports I have heard, nothing. Perhaps he did something wrong, but race had nothing to do with it - except to those who use race in everything.

So, why does his race even get mentioned - twice? Simple - it can be - and when it is; everyone goes silent.
According to the CNO’s memo, CDR B was subsequently selected for promotion to captain by the fiscal 2010 selection board.
Mission accomplished. As always, if I am wrong - email me the details.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kill DADT?

You know my position - it is in alignment with the CINC's statement at the SOTU address.

Let's make it "Don't care" and move forward.

NATO fail

Hate to say I told you so - but I told you so.
After President Obama announced his revised Afghan strategy in December, including the deployment of 30,000 more U.S. troops, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said allies had pledged about 7,000 "fresh forces." He also raised expectations that further commitments would be announced soon.
Wait for it.
NATO has not provided a precise breakdown of where its promised 7,000 new troops will come from. But it appears that only about 4,000 of those forces were not previously announced or deployed.

For instance, U.S. State Department officials have acknowledged that NATO is counting 1,500 troops sent to Afghanistan last year to provide security for the August presidential election; they will remain in the country, instead of returning home as originally planned.

Similarly, U.S. and NATO officials have touted the forthcoming deployment of 900 soldiers from Georgia, which is not a member of NATO, even though the government in Tbilisi had committed to the mission well before Obama announced his revised Afghan strategy.

NATO is also excluding the planned withdrawal of some forces from Afghanistan this year, including the entire Dutch contingent of about 2,000 soldiers, scheduled to leave in December.
I won't even go into a description of the caveat problem this time either.

Uncle Sam is taking back the keys - and has been for the last 24 months - but NATO still wants to play "I have a flag outside the HQ" then so be it.

Remember, besides a handful of nations, most are only doing enough to have a flag outside ISAF HQ - but not enough so that if all falls apart, they can simply blame the USA.

We can win this too if we have the patience and will .... but have no illusions, 85% of the military effort from nations outside AFG will be Uncle Sam doing the dying. Accept it, and we should continue to decouple from Europe.

A few Joint/Combined logistics centers, training areas, staff jobs ... but that is it. Everyone else, home. Europe has become a military spoiled child. I have tired of being their nanny.

Haiti RECCE report

From some friends of the blog.
JMAC Ports, Cargo and Fuel Facilities Assessment
18 January 2010

Assessment: Port-au-Prince does no longer have the capacity to take in cargo ships as the public port / APN wharf collapsed, although beach off-loading can remain an option. Saint-Marc and Gonaives ports are in good shape and operational and could be used as alternate facilities. The only two points of entry for fuel in the country suffered important damages, in particular the TEVESA / Varreux terminal in Cité Soleil that is currently unusable. Thor terminal in Carrefour, although affected, could reportedly still operate. Although a quick-fix could be possible through temporary hoses in order to supply the country with fuel, JMAC could not receive any information in that sense to date.

JMAC/U2/U7 Observations following recce flight led by Uruguayan aviation on
Gonaives private port is clear and operational, with lifting capacity and an estimated 7 to 8m depth. Public port remains unsuitable for offloads.

Saint-Marc port seems undamaged but has no lifting capacity; with an estimated depth of 5m, it can take in medium-sized ships.

Carrefour / Thor-Le Volant oil terminal
The pier and pipes are damaged at several locations as piling collapsed on several points. As a result, a leak of heavy oil slick (already sunk) stretches over a few square kilometers moving west.

The tanks need an on-foot check but appear to be intact from the air. Warehouses seem in good shape and stable. The power plant is still probably operational. According to DINASA representatives, Thor can still be functioning and the company is awaiting a shipment. However, recce flights showed that both the pier and pipes were damaged and leaking, with a few square kilometers slick of heavy oil moving west. It remains unclear to date if the shipment announced by DINASA would be delivered through the pipes. Tanks appear to be in good condition. They are located at a short distance from the shore –an advantage if temporary hoses are to be installed.

APN / Public port
The new wharf completely disappeared under the water with the two mobile cranes. A third crane that was stored between the two main dock facilities is still standing but probably needs repair. Storage facilities are tilted and unsafe as the whole wharf area sloped to the sea. It was flooded and covered with mud coming out of significant cracks in the ground.

A part (around 100m) of the old pier collapsed after Ford Island. Buildings on Ford Island (customs and port administration) were located suffered severe damages and can no longer be used. Cars and containers in the sea as well as the probably insufficient depth by the shore make it extremely hazardous to try to come alongside what is left of the pier.

Crane is jacked off and wharf sustained major cracks. A large portion of the main pier collapsed and is under the water. Pipes appear broken.

That's the "what."

Here is the "so what." The Navy-Marine Corps team has a unique opportunity to look again at what they need to move large amounts of man and material ashore in a semi-permissive environment. Semi-permissive runs the whole gambit from humanitarian assistance, consequence management, all the way to warfighting.

If you think you can do it all with the U/H/C/SH-60 family of rotary wing, LPD-17, MV-22, and LCAC then you are not thinking right.

Lots of good lessons here - if we want to listen to them. Lots of ideas on how to leverage MSC and USNR - if we want to own them.

"What's next?" The QDR. That bolt is already shot - got to spin from here. BTW, if you want to play - tune in to
Midrats next Sunday - that is the topic.
Finally, doing what Sailor and Marines are best at - getting the job done. a shot that begs the question; is this in your ROC/POE?

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Jan. 25, 2010) Service members working with U.S. Marine Corps 8th Engineer Support Battalion use a bulldozer to remove submerged container boxes. Military engineers are conducting salvage and repair operations in the main seaport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti during Operation Unified Response. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chris Lussier/Released)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Licking sandy lube

We have left the Tiffany Navy poster child alone for much of the last year - so let's get an update from our buddy at DefenseNews, Christopher Cavas,
A fresh set of problems with the long-troubled LPD 17 San Antonio-class amphibious ships has sidelined two of the vessels, led the U.S. Navy and its largest shipbuilder into a passionate game of finger-pointing, and raised questions about Northrop Grumman's ability to deliver quality work and the Navy's ability to carry out proper shipyard oversight.

The larger issues are coming from two core problems discovered aboard the LPD 17s, five of which are in service with four still to come.

Of more immediate importance is a problem that, left untreated, could wreck the four large diesel engines that drive the ships. The problem is not new but, having once thought a solution was at hand, the Navy and Northrop are once again trying to figure out why a fix hasn't been found.

Another issue, affecting all the ships in the class and other ships built at Northrop's Gulf Coast shipyards, could - unless it's fixed - shorten the service lives of all the ships. But how and why that problem arose could drive closer to the competence of Northrop and the Navy's inspectors to properly inspect weld work.

Engineers are trying to figure out how debris - "contaminants" in engineer-speak - is getting into lube oil in the large diesel engines that drive the ships. The contaminants cause excessive wear on bearings that support a crankshaft at the bottom of each engine. If the problem isn't treated, the crankshaft will be thrown out of line and the engine could suffer serious damage or even be wrecked.

The problem isn't new, the Navy said, and showed up about a year ago in the third and fourth ships of the class.

"We thought we had it licked," Jay Stefany, the Navy's program manager for the LPD 17 program, told reporters Jan. 21. "And that's where we were until right before Christmas."
Oh goodness.

Let's get geeky.
That's when the newest ship in the class, the USS New York (LPD 21), reported a bent crankshaft in one of the four diesel engines that drive the ship. Engineers found that the shaft was thrown out of alignment by scratches being made in the inner ring of the nine bearings that support the shaft - scratches that caused enough of a difference in the thickness of the bearings to make the shaft wobble.

The scratches are caused by particles too small to see - much of them between 20 and 40 microns wide, or about .00118 of an inch, according to Stefany.
The good new here is that CFFC is taking this seriously.
Early in December, Adm. John Harvey, commander of Fleet Forces Command, ordered Rear Adm. Michelle Howard, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group Two, to begin a Manual of the Judge Advocate General investigation, or JAGMAN, of the problem. The effort reportedly is being led by NAVSEA's Rear Adm. Tom Eccles, the Navy's chief engineer. The investigation is focused primarily on the San Antonio and not the New York, which has yet to transfer to fleet operational control.
Make sure and listen to Midrats on Sunday for a BIW funny - but this just adds to the joy of the folks from BIW.

Byron, step to the microphone,
"We found a higher-than-expected failure rate on quality of the thickness of the welds," Stefany said. The issue was not that, properly hangared, the welds would soon fail in service. Rather, Stefany said, the welds are "critical for shock survivability and for service life. You need [the thicker weld] dimensions to guarantee that." As a result, he said, a ship designed for a service life of 40 years might only make it to 30.

"It's not as catastrophic [as the lube oil problem] but we're working it," Stefany said. "It's not as in-your-face as the engines are - basically it's just putting more welding material on."
Note to our friends in Millington. I will help you find the BA/NMP for LCDR/CDR/CAPT types for you to recode and increase your number of inspectors. I will even help you find additional funding for graduate school engineering education - just give me the top cover and the mandate.

If you don't want to contract me to do it - drop me a line and I will find a EDO CAPT that will do it gratis.

Give NAVSEA and SUPSHIPS more qualified personnel with the right mandate and they will help fix this. All you need to do is set the right priority.

Clean lube oil is about as fundamental an issue as you can get. All the "
Best Places to Work" awards in the world don't mean squat if you can't even get grit out of your lube and measure your welds right.
UPDATE: I got a heads-up by One Who Would Know to clarify something in the article,
.... Chris Cavas, got Jay wrong on the "bent crankshaft". It is out of round, not "bent".
Not the same, but important. Have an engineer tell you the difference - your eyes may glaze over - but he will be giddy as schoolgirl telling you about it. You'll make him happy. Kind of like asking Byron about welds ....

There is a larger backstory on what is being done to fix the lube issue. Good people doing hard work....they just need the resources to do it right.
UPDATE: More goodies being slipped under the door on welds.
DDGs have a similar challenge, and it happened because the entire QA cadre dropped the ball. Uncertified and barely certified personnel performed weld inspections on P1 and P2 piping. A good QA will catch the problems and fix them as you build the ship. It didn't happen that way in this case.
Bad welds accumulated over time until the ships were nearly completed, then everyone went "Oops!" The challenge is that the problem was of unknown magnitude because it involved piping that was lagged and obstructed from view in many cases. LPD-17 class had significantly more welds, so more problem welds which meant they got most of the attention.
A Technical Review Team inspection plan was set in motion last year and the push to find a work around has been going on for a few months. Weld repairs are being made. ASTM weld criteria is being accepted where it makes sense and MIL SPEC criteria will be required where needed (it involves a short equation using the lengths of the two weld legs). There is a detailed Risk Analysis out for review at the moment.

Monday, January 25, 2010

SDK - well; I like it.

Well, from me I say "Good."
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead has approved the main design of the service dress khaki uniform, a World War II-style uniform that began development in 2006.

The uniform — which will be optional and can be worn in place of the summer white uniform or the service khakis — sports a contemporary design that includes an unbelted waist and peaked lapels. The shirt will have a black tie and come in short- and long-sleeve versions.

Greyhawk; kind of like this?

Our bud over at MudvilleGazette has his puzzler puzzl'n over the CINC's professional "challenges."

Via JWF - I found something that just might trump his entry. You can forgive a Chicago politician from a Community Organizer background for not being too comfortable around military types.

But, this?
The president announced his proposal at Graham Road Elementary School, a low-income, high-achieving school where 80 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Five years ago, the school adopted a turnaround strategy of student assessments, teacher evaluations, and other steps to improve test scores. The result was that in 2008, all sixth-graders met Virginia’s reading standards and 96 percent met the state’s math requirements, according to the White House.

“We’re going to raise the bar for all our students,’’ Obama said at the school. “And we’ll reward success and replicate it across the country.’’

Dude - that's a 6th grad classroom. Horrible visuals. Not impressed - to use a teleprompter in that room you have to look at the bottom of the ceiling at the far end when you speak. Did the "C" team set this up?

You are the leader of the free world. Cowboy up.

UPDATE: Looks like Jon Stewart agrees with me.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Obama Speaks to a Sixth-Grade Classroom
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Midrats - Episode 4: The Suede Shoe Navy POSTEX

In case you missed it, you owe it to yourself to listen to Episode 4 of Midrats.

The first half-hour EagleOne and I discuss with some of the maritime specific lessons with out experience so far in Haiti, and then the second half with our Yeoman in the Stan (AKA Battle Yeoman/YNSN/YN2) live from Bagram, Afghanistan and CDR Charles Malone, USN, former Commanding Officer of Navy Provisional Detainee Battalion FIVE, Camp Bucca, Iraq.

All I ask of you is to be patient as your now momentarily humble host dorked up the first minute and it is total dead time.

I'll leave it there warts and all just so you can laugh .... but burn through the first minute of silence - the rest is well worth it.

For those of you who worry about the future of our Navy - I especially encourage you to listen to our discussion with YN2 in the second half of the show; you'll feel better.

Personal lessons of Haiti

From PopularMechanics concerning the evolving nightmare in Haiti,
Surely things would be different if a major disaster struck in the United States. Right?

Not necessarily. Of course, every disaster is different—the problems caused by earthquakes differ from those caused by floods, hurricanes or volcanoes. But while the greater wealth and infrastructure in America is a nice thing, it doesn't mean that disaster relief will necessarily arrive quickly. American cities have better airports and more roads, but those can be damaged too. This was certainly the case with New Orleans and large stretches of the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, where roads and railroads were flooded, blocked by fallen trees or rendered impassable by collapsed bridges. Military forces are equipped to cross rivers, repair bridges, and move massive quantities of supplies under difficult conditions, but it takes time to get military engineers together and on the way. Plus, the more people you send in to help, the more of the supplies you're delivering that have to go to support them, as opposed to the people they're supposed to be helping.

After Hurricane Katrina, flood waters, debris and downed bridges were the main logistical impediments. An earthquake could cause even worse infrastructure damage that would hamper relief. If, say, the New Madrid fault in Missouri were to let go with a series of magnitude 8.0 earthquakes, we could see much of the Midwest devastated, with enormous damage to railroads, highways and bridges. (The last such quake, actually a series of three earthquakes, caused damage as far away as Washington, D.C,. and Charleston, S.C., and caused the Mississippi River to actually flow backwards as the newly formed Reelfoot Lake filled. But there weren't many buildings and bridges in the midwest in 1811.) Responding to such damage would strain the resources of the nation, and many communities might go weeks before seeing significant relief. A major California earthquake, an Atlantic Coast tsunami or another major hurricane might also create this kind of widespread devastation.

Which brings us back to a theme Popular Mechanics has been driving home for years: self-reliance. If you're at the scene of a major disaster, it may be a long time before outside help arrives. But one person is sure to be there: you. And nobody cares more about helping you and your family in time of disaster than, well, you. So it makes sense for you to be prepared to take care of yourself—and look out for your neighbors—for some time afterward. That means having adequate stocks of food, water and basic tools on hand. (Experts say that Haitians should have had at least two weeks of food on hand, but of course many Haitians can't afford to keep such reserves. Americans, generally speaking, can.)
I would also add that if you live in a major metropolitian area - having a country retreat would be good as well - if you can't afford that, ask your Mormon neighbors for some good references on what keeps for long periods of tiem.

And yes, I am looking at a 100 acre spread a couple of hours from here in the middle of nowhere as we speak.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cowbell until it bleeds

No, Howie, they cannot make enough of these. This might be the best one yet.

Sunday Funnies

Larger version here.
Don't forget, today at 5pm EST/1700R/2200Z, Midrats Episode 4: The Suede Boot Navy.

For the first half hour, our panel; Eagle1 of
EagleSpeak, Galrahn of InformationDissemination and myself will discuss the response to the humanitarian assistance effort in Haiti and the events of the week.
For the second half of the show, we will discuss with our guests the thousands of Sailors deployed right now in from GTMO to AFG in PRT, Security, Seabee, staff support, and IAs. Who are they, what do they do, and what do they contribute to the Long War?

Our guests will include a regular commenter in the Navy Blogosphere our "Yeoman in the 'Stan" AKA "Battle Yeoman" calling in from Bagram, Afghanistan; and CDR Charlie Malone, former Commanding Officer of Navy Provisional Detainee Battalion FIVE, Camp Bucca, Iraq.
Listen to Midrats on Blog Talk Radio

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Florida voters, help us please ...

Will someone please send Congressman Grayson (D-FL8) home to Orlando to play with the other fairy tale creatures? You know Grayson; all death and whores and all.

When Chris Matthews, of all people, can do this; it is time.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

His opponent in the '10 elections will be (probably) Republican Armando Gutierrez.

FL-8 is a district historically in play - look at the
results; last time Grayson barely won against a Republican who deserved to lose.

Welcome home Marines, well done

I, and most everyone else, call this victory - and did so a year ago. The rest is up to the Iraqis. It would not have happened without you.
The last of Camp Lejeune’s Marines in Iraq are on their way home, base officials said.

The command element of II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) are expected to return to Camp Lejeune Monday, according to a press release from II MEF.

The return of II MEF is the first major wave of American forces to leave Iraq as the U.S. begins to withdraw, a process that is scheduled to be complete by the end of next year, according to the release.

Their return also ends the Marine Corps’ seven-year participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

After Monday, the only Marine forces in Iraq will be a small logistics element that will complete the turnover to Iraqi security forces and a brigade from the U.S. Army.

Adds you won't see in the USA: Part IX

I miss Europe ... a lot. And even though the pilot looks like me, it isn't - though in a just world it would be.

Oh, and if someone can see your screen - NSFW. This isn't pr0n - it is cheeky.

I also find it funny how some will get all up in arms about this stuff. This comes from Denmark BTW, one of the most pro-woman nations in the world; so this isn't misogyny ... though it is Skippy approved, I am sure.

Link: Fleg Master Tlpizza

Hat tip ThreeDonia.

Friday, January 22, 2010

NZ SAS knows camo ....

Yes, as the Navy that has eight approved camo uniforms (BDU, DCU, NWU I, II & III, MARPAT Tan & Green, ACU) for its Sailors - I track this stuff - because all eight could and should be replaced by one.

Once again, Multi-Cam shows up where it excels - on the front - as approved by serious minded people.

From the New Zealand SAS in action.

Oh, and no Maggie - I don't know his phone number.

Hat tip Ronin @ Jawa.

Midrats Episode 4: The Suede Boot Navy

No excuse, this Sunday 5pm EST/1700R/2200Z.

For the first half hour, join me with our panel; Eagle1 of EagleSpeak and Galrahn of InformationDissemination as we discuss the response to the humanitarian assistance effort in Haiti and the events of the week.

For the second half of the show, we will discuss with our guests the thousands of Sailors deployed right now in from GTMO to AFG in PRT, Security, Seabee, staff support, and IAs. Who are they, what do they do, and what do they contribute to the Long War?

Our guests will include a regular commenter in the Navy Blogosphere our "Yeoman in the 'Stan" AKA "Battle Yeoman" calling in from Bagram, Afghanistan; and CDR Charlie Malone, former Commanding Officer of Navy Provisional Detainee Battalion FIVE, Camp Bucca, Iraq.

As always, we start taking calls at the bottom of the hour, so call in at Call-in Number: (347) 308-8397 or feed us questions during the show via chat at the showpage.

Fullbore Friday

Back in 2007, I did a Battle of Midway FbF that featured one of my favorite aircraft, the Brewster Buffalo. In the post, I focused on then 2LT William "Bill" Brooks, USMCR.

In the mid-60's Mr. Brooks helped found
Bellevue University, among other things. This week, I was notified by the President of Bellevue University that Mr. Brooks passed away. In his honor, I would like to repost that FbF from 2007.

You could spend a lifetime on Battle of Midway posts - that is what I like about it.

This time, I want to focus on the men of Marine Fighting Squadron 221. Men who knew they were being asked to do a suicide mission, but did it - and did it well. They were, as Marines sometimes find themselves, on the butt end of the procurement curve. As the cream of the Imperial Japanese Navy was heading their way, they were asked to go into battle with an aircraft just not ready for varsity football; the Brewster Buffalo (F2A-3). Their squadron went into battle with 21 F2A-3 and 7 F4F-3 (Grumman Wildcat) planes. Read the after-action report by the now commanding officer, CAPT Armistead, USMC, the most senior surviving officer by the time the sun set 06 JUN 42. First hand accounts, and damning comments on the aircraft they took into battle. In para 6 of his opening letter, Capt. Armistead stated something we can all understand.
6. The F2A-3 is sadly out-classed in all respects by Japanese 00 fighters. Although all pilots of this squadron were aware of this fact, they drove their attack home with daring and skill
Right on target. Brave men will go into battle regardless of what they have to work with. The guilt does not lie with the warrior or the manufacturer (the Buffalo was OK when it was built, but to old design wise to be of use in '42 - though the Finns made good use of it against the Russians. What strikes me in some of these first hand comments, is that there were made inside 48 hours from the battle these men we in. Notice the tone and professionalism - and with little exception - no invective. Four Divisions of F2A-3 from VMF-221 took off that AM. 20 pilots overall. By the end of the day; - 12 KIA or MIA. - 3 WIA. - 5 survived (one due to the fact his aircraft had mechanical problems. That works out to a casualty rate of 75%. By the end of 06 JUN, when these reports were written, only 3 F2A-3 were still airworthy.
The Zero fighter in level flight is faster than the F2A-3. It is much more maneuverable than the F2A-3. It can outclimg the F2A-3. It has more firepower than the F2A-3.
The F2A-3 is not a combat aeroplane. It is inferior to the airplanes we were fighting in every respect. The F2A-3 has about the same speed as a Aichi 99 Dive Bomber. The Japanese Zero fighter can fly circles around the F2A-3. ...

It is my belief that any commander that orders pilots out in combat in the F2A-3 should consider that pilot lost before leaving the ground.
As for the F2A-3, it should be in Miami as a training plane, rather than be used as a first line fighter.
The photo above is of one of the survivors, then 2LT Brooks, USMCR. Here is his story.
USMC 2dLT William "Bill" Brooks in F2A-3 Bureau No. 01523 (MF-16) was one of the few survivors of the June 4, 1942 morning interception of the incoming Japanese attack on Midway Atoll by VMF 221.
"At about 0600, the alarm sounded and we took off. My division climbed rapidly, and I was having a hard time keeping up. I discovered afterwards that although my wheels indicator and hydraulic pressure indicator both registered "wheels up", they were in reality about 1/3 of the way down."
Following LT. Sandoval down the right side of the incoming Japanese formation, Brooks looked back to
see a Japanese aircraft falling from his or Sandoval's fire. Losing contact with his division, he started to
climb for a second attack when the Zeros attacked. Diving (slowly with partially extended landing gear)
for the water, he circled the island while anti-aircraft fire drove off his pursuers.
" My tabs, instruments, and cockpit were shot up to quite an extent, at this time, and I was intending
to come in for a landing. I saw two planes dogfighting over in the East, and decided to go help my
friend if at all possible. My plane was working very poorly, and my climb was slow. As I neared the
fight, both planes turned on me. It was then that I realized I had been tricked into a sham battle put
on by two Japs, and I failed to recognize this because of the sun in my eyes. I turned and made a
fast retreat for the island, collecting a goodly number of bullets on the way. After one of these planes had been shaken, I managed to get a good burst into another as we passed head-on when I turned into him."
This is the moment captured by the painting
"I don't believe he could have gotten back to his carrier, because he immediately turned north and down. I again decided to land, but as I circled the island I saw two Japs on a Brewster. Three of my guns were jammed but I cut across the island, firing as I went with my one gun. I could not get there in time to help the American flyer, and as soon as the Brewster had gone into the water I came in for a landing at approximately 0715. My plane was damaged somewhat, having 72 bullet and cannon holes in it, and I had a very slight flesh wound on my left leg.
It is my express desire that LT. Sandoval, deceased, be logged up with the bomber which one of us got in our first run."
- From the after-action battle report of Bill Brooks - June 4, 1942 -
Hat tip reader Sal.

Brooks, William Vincent
Dec 19, 1918 - Jan 19, 2010

Born in Falls City, NE, son of Mary Elizabeth (Sailors) Brooks and Emmett Brooks. He was preceded in death by his son, two granddaughters, a sister and a brother. He is survived by his wife, three daughters and their spouses, the wife of his deceased son, seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

FUNERAL SERVICE Saturday, Jan. 23, 10am at Bellevue Memorial Chapel, Bellevue. He will be interred at Bellevue Cemetery. VISITATION will be Friday, Jan 22, 6-8pm at the Chapel. Donations to the Salvation Army, Bellevue University Foundation or favorite charity are requested in lieu of flowers.

22nd & Hancock, Bellevue 291-5000

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Diversity Thursday II: Electric Boogaloo

See what the cancer from the Diversity Industry and the Navy's Diversity Bulllies has done to the mind of our Navy and its officers?

The money quote:
I guess in the San Antonio area that is predominately Hispanic, that is one of our major components that we recruit for. But, me as being and African-American Naval Officer, I am able recruit for African-American as well.
One team; one fight, eh? So, you are NOT able to recruit non-Hispanic Caucasians? Asians? Mixed-race? In your scan?

How do you tell who is one and who is not? I look more Hispanic than half the "Hispanics" (including blonde hair and blue eyed ones) that I went through NROTC with. Oh, it is what they marked down? Just like immediate members of my family who are Hispanic? Sure. That is fair?

Don't blame the LT - he is just following orders. Orders not much different than those that defined Jim Crow - but orders until the Supreme Court calls a halt to it.

Shipmate - I wish you a short trip back to sea duty, you'll need it.

That is the sectarian cancer of Diversity. It makes bigots of us all, and has the government train its leaders in approved discrimination based on a racialist outlook.

That. Cannot. Be. Defended.

Here are the
demographics of the greater San Antonio area;
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,711,703 people, 601,265 households, and 432,131 families residing within the MSA. The racial makeup of the MSA was 71.40% White, 6.24% African American, 0.77% Native American, 1.40% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 16.64% from other races, and 3.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 50.43% of the population.
Yep, he has no interest 43.33% of San Antonio ... actually the numbers are fuzzier than that. Let's see - to get 50.43% Hispanic - at least 2/3 of the Whites are "Hispanic-White." Probably half the Blacks are "Hispanic-Black" and probably half the "Other" are "Hispanic-Other."

Asians in San Antonio are almost a rounding error, and no-one turns down a Siberian-American, I mean, American-Indian, I mean, Native American (like my kids) - whatever.

So, who does my LT have no interest in - who does he actively avoid providing opportunities to? Simple --- Whites and Asians - between 40-45% of the Greater San Antonio population. Isn't that lovely? Isn't that something that we should all be proud of?

But wait, a U.S. Naval Officer is a federal position, right? Isn't his paycheck financed by the taxes of all citizens? Shouldn't the CNO have a press conference with our LT, put his hand on his shoulders and say,
"I have never been prouder of our recruiters, especially this one - as ordered, he actively denied opportunities to those who look like over 72% of the American taxpayers who pay our salary! "
Yep, it is that ugly.

Here is a radical concept; who don't we treat all Americans like .... well ... Americans? Silly thing like content of character and such.