Thursday, May 31, 2018

Three Days of the FREMM

Regulars here know I've been on Team-FREMM for years and have been as happy as a bee to see it on our Top-5 list for FFG-(X) replacement.

Our friend David Larter at DefenseNews give you a great overview of the contender. Read the whole thing, but here are the juicy bits;
The Fincantieri-built warship is a contender for the U.S. Navy’s next-generation frigate, the FFG(X), and the Alpino is on this side of the Atlantic giving the service a look at what the hull can do.

The Alpino is one of 10 FREMM destined to make up a significant portion of the Italian Navy’s surface fleet – four ASW versions like Alpino and six general purpose FREMM that replaces the variable-depth sonar array with a rigid-hull inflatable boat.

Defense News spent three days on board Alpino. Here is everything you need to know about FREMM.

Crucial Details

Length: 167 meters (547 feet, just 20 feet shorter than a Ticonderoga-class cruiser)

Width: 16 meters (52 feet)

Displacement: 6,500 tons

Top speed: 27 knots

Range: 6,000 nautical miles. During normal operations – not zipping around at 25 knots – you can get about two percent fuel consumption per day.

Propulsion: A combined diesel and gas system system of four diesel generators providing power to two electric motors that turn the twin shafts for up to 15 knots. Above 15 knots there is a single LM2500 gas turbine forward of the combining gear. You need two generators to run the screws or just the LM2500. All the main components can be switched out without cutting a hole in the ship.

The ship also has an Auxiliary Propulsion Unit that can spin 360-degress, has a top speed of seven kts, and can be used to do some nifty maneuvers. Getting underway from Norfolk, the Alpino pulled away from the pier without tugs, which is a breeze with the APU.

Power capacity: Four 2,1-megawatt diesel generators

Crew size: 167, but it can hold accommodate up to 200.


Missions: Primary mission is anti-submarine warfare. Capable of point-defense anti-air warfare, electronic warfare, anti-surface warfare and special operation insertion.

Design: The ship is largely enclosed with plenty of angles to reduce the radar cross-section.

Armaments: Two Oto-Breda 76mm Guns; 16-cell vertical launch; two three-tube torpedo launchers positioned both port and starboard; two Oto-Breda 25mm machine guns; two NH-90 helicopters.

Sensors: Primary sensors are the THALES variable-depth sonar, known as the CAPTAS-4, a towed array sonar and a hull-mounted sonar. The VDS deploys from a pneumatically controlled door and ramp system that in the general purpose FREMM is used for a 13-meter RHIB for special operations forces.

The ship is also equipped with an air search radar, surface search radar, an electronic warfare system, and commercial radars. The helo is strapped with FLIR, a surface-search radar, a dipping sonar, and Link 11.

Payloads: MU90 Torpedoes; Aster surface-to-air missiles; Teseo surface-to-surface missile; Milas anti-ship missile and anti-submarine missile, and Marte missile on the helo.
Of note, you can also upgun, converting the forward 76mm to a 5" mount.

The following are below the fold, but one could argue the most important things the ship brings;
The damage control system is highly sophisticated.

The ship is equipped with an incredible camera system that exists almost everywhere except the living spaces and spaces like central control that are constantly manned. If fire or flooding is detected in any space, a live video feed will automatically pull up on the screen of the damage control system monitors.

Fire boundaries on the main deck can be set automatically from central control with the flip of a switch, which releases the magnetized door stops, and the damage control officer can see when anyone breaks fire boundaries (he will let you know).

The primary fire system is highly pressurized water sprinkler system that sprays atomized demineralized water that decouples the fire from its fuel source. About a gallon of water is sufficient to handle most spaces, including main-space fires and the demineralized water protects electronics.
As bridge watchkeeping is in the news;
The bridge is state-of-the-art but in a way that makes your job easier, not in the way that saves people by lumping too many functions in one watchstander.
The visuals on the bridge are fantastic, with 180-degrees plus visible without stepping outside on the bridge wings.
Living conditions? Of course;
The crew lives in staterooms, the largest of which are two six-person staterooms for (of course) the Marines and air detachment. Most are four-person staterooms. One-person staterooms are for the embarked admiral, the captain, the executive officer, and the department heads. The rest of the officers are in two and four-person staterooms. The beds are the same throughout the ship. In the two-person staterooms the racks the fold out from the wall, with the bottom rack folding out into a couch. In the four-person staterooms the racks are fixed. Each stateroom has an identical private bathroom, officer and enlisted.
Nothing is perfect - but it is workable;
There are a couple of things on this version of the FREMM that would make the U.S. Navy uncomfortable in terms of design.

FREMM has only a single LM2500 and the redundancy-obsessed NAVSEA would likely want two. The AEGIS version of the FREMM being pitched by Finacantieri has two independent propulsion systems, one for each shaft, instead of two motors and one LM2500.
Here is the best thing about the FREMM; it is underway. The kinks are worked out. It does not have the original sins of either LCS class. It's not a mini-Burke. 

A side issue, but a real one, is that we are asking our allies to adopt the F-35. We should return the favor and let them know that, yes, we are mature enough to buy someone else's design if it is this good.

Time to cut steel.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Drone Economy of Scale

If you think some are being overly alarmist about the fusion of AI, drones, and cheap manufacturing - then you might be wrong.

More over at USNIBlog.

Come give it a read.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Dog Soup and Dragons: Is Venezuela the next place for Maritime Piracy

Guest post by Claude Berube

All roads lead to Rome, but most commerce is conducted via sea lanes. As a recent report shows, those sea lanes remain under threat to varying degrees by non-state actors. The annual Oceans Beyond Piracy report by One Earth Future was released last week with its assessments of global and regional pirate attacks for 2017. Piracy off the Horn of Africa have largely abated compared to the level a decade ago. Attacks in Southeast Asia and the Gulf of Guinea continue to pose challenges. But pay attention to the numbers in Latin America and the Caribbean, specifically the Venezuelan coast. According to the report, incidents in Latin America and the Caribbean rose from 27 in 2016 to 71 in 2017 with a large concentration along the Venezuelan coast. Most of the ships – primarily yachts and tankers – were at anchor.

We’ve seen this play out before. Threats at sea along coastlines reflect instability ashore, or the inability of a territorial government to effectively patrol and intercept human smugglers, narco-traffickers, or pirates. Venezuela continues its descent from failed policies. From The Economist:
[Venezuela’s] economic policies have made life intolerable for most of the country’s 34m citizens. Food is in short supply, and nearly 90% of Venezuelans say they do not have enough money to eat properly. The contraction of the economy is the biggest in the history of Latin America. Prices are doubling nearly every month. At least a million people have left the country in the past four years.
The country’s inflation rate is intensifying the problem:
“Venezuela's inflation rate, already by far the world's highest, spiked from 4,966 percent to nearly 18,000 percent in just March and April — a trend that, if it continues, could push the country's annual rate to more than 100,000 percent by year's end, economists say.”
The health of a coastal nation’s fishing industry can sometimes be an indicator of maritime insecurity and the rise of piracy. In the case of Somalia, for example, large foreign fishing trawlers were able to conduct operations in territorial waters absent a government able to enforce fishing rights. Somali fishermen failed to garner sufficient catch to support themselves and some turned on each other. Others joined networks to take and ransom fishing vessels then larger prey just as tankers and freighters. Venezuela’s trajectory is different. Former president Hugo Chavez established a state-owned fishing enterprise to lower prices for Venezuelans. Long time private fishermen could not compete with the result that,
fish processing plants work at half capacity on good days. Machinery rusts in the salty breeze and there’s no way to replace broken parts.
Some Venezuelan fishermen – like their Somali counterparts more than a decade ago – have resorted to narco-trafficking and piracy. It is unknown if this trend is reversible in the near-term given the extent of the breakdown:
“In Venezuela, pirates are terrorizing the coastal state of Sucre, once home to the world's fourth-largest tuna fleet and a thriving fishing industry. That trade has collapsed, along with virtually every industry across Venezuela. Gangs of out-of-work fishermen prey upon those who still venture out into the open sea, stealing their catch and motors, tying them up, throwing them overboard, and sometimes shooting them. The robberies have taken place daily this year, and dozens of fishermen have died. People can't make a living fishing anymore, so they're using their boats for the options that remain: smuggling gas, running drugs and piracy," said Jose Antonio Garcia, leader of the state's largest union. The catch is down to less than a third of the 120,000 tons of tuna Venezuela produced in 2004. In June, Sucre was the epicenter of food riots that swept through the country. Punta de Araya families got through the summer by eating "dog soup," a broth made from seawater and the small fish that are usually thrown back.”
The Horn of Africa was a target-rich environment for Somali pirates. With the thousands of annual transits by the slower-moving fishing vessels and then tankers and freighters, particularly in the Gulf of Aden, pirates didn’t have to look far for a ship to attack, capture, and ransom. When recommended shipping lanes shifted eastward in the Indian Ocean, Somali pirates adapted and used motherships out hundreds of nautical miles, much to the surprise of some experts who told me “they would never do that.” Similarly, the southern Caribbean offers its own target-rich environment to potential Venezuelan pirates. In addition to larger ships, power and sailing yachts are common in the region in a way they weren’t in the Indian Ocean or Horn of Africa (cases like the ill-fated sailing yacht Quest which was surrounded by an aircraft carrier, a cruiser, and two destroyers.

In this highly-trafficked area, tourist destinations such as Aruba, Trinidad & Tobago, and Grenada are within two hundred kilometers of the Venezuelan coastline. At what point, however, would southern Caribbean piracy merit attention? There are several tiers.

Tier 1: the problem is likely seen as a Venezuelan problem requiring a Venezuelan solution. While facing critical challenges, the country does still have a functioning government.

Tier 2: should Venezuela collapse and piracy increases in nominal territorial waters against fishing vessels, the international community is likewise unlikely to respond as it largely failed to do in the early 2000s off Somalia. Yachts would likely be diverted from the region.

Tier 3: if Venezuelan piracy networks develop and adapt to taking larger ships, it may merit an international response if it has learned the lesson from Somalia. More likely, however, it may defer to the shipping industry. In the earliest phases of large ships being taken and held for ransom, shipping companies found they could pay the ransom and have the ship and crew released in weeks. Once ships and crews were held for months and pirates demanded millions for ransoms, insurance rates rose necessitating a response first by industry in best management practices including on-board armed guards. Only later did the international community respond en masse.

There are at least three factors, however, that are different in this case. First, armed riders usually only appear with the larger shipping companies; fishing vessels – the first to fall victim to pirates – can’t afford that luxury. They have to resort to defending themselves, abandoning their trade, or joining in on the melee and fight for whatever they can take. Second, the southern Caribbean is in America’s backyard facilitating navy and coast guard platforms and assets easier than was done initially with Somalia.

Third, according to the Oceans Beyond Piracy report, the most affected seafarers are from India, the Philippines, and China. China already invests in the Caribbean and the PLA/N has built up significant overseas capabilities with its twenty-nine flotillas it has deployed since January 2009. At what point would China seize an opportunity like the threat of its seafarers to intercede and assert itself in a region?

Is this alarmist? It’s best to remember that the threat to American sailors off North Africa led to the first squadrons deployed to the Mediterranean under Commodores Dale, Morris, and Preble. Why would we expect any another country and its rising navy to be any different?

In the word of CDR Salamander: ponder.

Claude Berube is the co-editor of “Maritime Private Security: Market Responses to Piracy, Terrorism and Waterborne Security Risks in the 21st Century” (Routledge, 2012) and the novels The Aden Effect and Syren’s Song. He teaches at the Naval Academy and has been writing about modern piracy and private security for more than a decade. A Navy Reserve officer, he served off the Horn of Africa in 2005. The views expressed are his and not those of the Navy.
Twitter @cgberube

Monday, May 28, 2018

In Memory of Neighbors Unknown

Every few years I repost this little bit from 2005. It is time again. I'll add the commentary I put with it in 2013.

In a culture where more often than not, all your neighbors are really just transients - they move in an out every few years, chasing whatever they are chasing.  Their families are scattered hither and yon; few really related to anyone.

I've wondered for awhile what impact the reality of the rolling, self-imposed Internally Displaced Persons has had on our nation - perhaps causing us to miss something. Is it a net-gain, or a net-loss? 

Well, perhaps I am projecting; I have always thought I was missing something.

Sure, post-military I returned to my hometown, the place I was born - and that is nice. Sure, my mother still lives in the home she built when I was five years old. I now have a smattering of relatives and people I grew up with who are still here - so I am starting to feel like I have what I have always wanted; a real sense of community.

Mrs. Salamander is a very rare creature in our boom-town; a third generation native, with another three to four generations going even further back an hour down the road.

Even though this was where I was born, it never really felt like "home" - as community was a different concept for me based on my cultural reference.

My mother was the first of her generation to move from our small town in Mississippi since our family helped found the county and the city in the first decade of the 1800s - she still calls it "home" in spite of the fact she left it six decades ago. 

We would go "home" a lot when I was growing up, I always got a kick out of everyone more or less knowing each other; heck - related to each other. Names had meaning, relationships had meaning - and perhaps a post for a different day; race had a huge meaning in a way in my sheltered color-free upbringing I had no concept of.

A few years ago when we traveled back to Mississippi to lay my father's remains to rest in the cemetery that has my relatives'  remains are going back two centuries, my oldest niece walked in to the local drug store that also has a barber shop and a coffee house in it. She had with her her youngest son and my sister. They just wanted to have a cup of coffee. The server brought it to them and then, not recognizing them, asked how they were and what brought them to town. Well, withing 5-minutes, there were 3-4 people around the table telling stories about my mom in High School, and as talking about that small boy's Great-Great-Grandfather shared some physical characteristics with not just him, but his mom and great-aunt; and how they remembered my sister when she visited during the summers.

In that small Mississippi town, history isn't abstract, it walks with you. Events of a century ago were still there, still waiting for you around every corner, it you look for it and have the right person with you to tell you about it. What your family did or did not do decades or a century ago still matter; still have an impact on the present.

I miss that, and think that we as a nation have lost a bit of something by not having that. At least in the faster parts of the nation, that is missing.

Winding down a decade of war and thinking about the above this weekend (I'm working on a post in an answer to Pawel about why the Civil War is much more than he thinks, especially on a personal level) - I though about community in the context of Memorial Day in a post I did the first year I was blogging.

I lived in Norfolk back in 2005, and I jogged by a hunk of granite all the time. It took me a couple of years until I decided to just stop and read.  I'm going to post in full that bit from 2005 and the follow-on and ask you to ponder your neighborhood; the few blocks to the left and right of where you live. How many of your neighbors have been lost in this war? As many as this small Norfolk neighborhood? Regardless of the number, would anyone have a connection strong enough to lead them to make a memorial for those lost?

Maybe yes, maybe no ... but a good thing to ask yourself today. I am.

Neighborhood Memorials; May 2005:

I have gone past by this monument countless times. As of late, it started to bother me more and more. What is it?

Being that this is an older neighborhood, and the eagle is hard to miss, I realized that this had to be a monument of some kind.

We have all been to the grand monuments. The large monuments. The understated monuments. The sublime monuments. The controversial monuments. The insulting monuments.

What could be more personal than a neighborhood monument that simply states, "These were our neighbors that fought and died for us."

How common are these little neighborhood monuments? I did a quick search for these names on the Internet. Inside a day I found out that in 1935, Robert L. Settle was an Eagle Scout, but that was about it.

I found out more about Sadron C. Lampert Jr. through has close relatives in the area that I managed to find. In a quick email exchange I found out some detail that, when you think about it, every name on every monument has. When you look at these men, struck down in the prime of life, you have to think about the lost potential. For you economists out there, the opportunity costs for a society of those lost in conflict is huge. Earn it we should. With his permission, the grandson of Sadron C. Lampert sent a quick background.

While I obviously never had the honor of meeting him, his father (Sadron Sr.) was alive until I was about nine. Sadron Jr. was killed when my father was just one or two.

He skipped two grades in high school and went to Yale, where he played football and graduated PhiBetaKappa. He went to work for a firm in New York, where he met my grandmother (boss's daughter, if I'm not mistaken).

Sadron Jr. was drafted into the Army in late 1943. He served as a communications officer in Europe. He, like all the Sadrons, had pretty poor eyesight and was constantly breaking his glasses. This may have contributed to the circumstances of his passing. He died in September, 1944 near Empoli, Italy. He was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart.
By going to the outstanding National Archival Research Catalog, I found out that Robert W. Jones was a 2nd LT in either the Army or Army Air Corps when he was KIA. Charles H. Ware and Carl T. Wood; in the digital age they are hidden.

The irony is, the Winona Garden Club no longer exists, but as you can tell, someone in the neighborhood is keeping the monument up. Somewhere, on microfiche I'm sure, is the story. The questions are still there though; did they know each other before they left overseas? Did their families know each other? Did the families stay after their death? Did they serve together?

I've been to the WWII monument in D.C. and this little neighborhood monument had much more of an affect on me. Perhaps it is the personal nature of it, or the depth that Sadron Lampert, Jr.'s grandson provided. Next time I see something like this hidden in a corner, I'm going to walk over and see. After all, that is what they were put there for. The former members of the Winona Garden Club succeeded. Decades later, people are still giving tribute to their neighbors.

Winona Memorial II: November 2005:

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

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

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

Dear CDR Salamander:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Every name has a story like S.L. Jr. Every memorial is huge, even if smallish and in a small park; like the one that should be remembered on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th Month. Armistice Day.

UPDATE: Ninme has a nice tribute to Colonel Bolling from WWI.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Fullbore Friday

It can take awhile sometimes, but at last Master Chief Slabinski is recognized appropriately.
During the early morning on March 4, 2002, then-Senior Chief Slabinski led a SEAL reconnaissance team to the top of the 10,000-foot, snow-covered Takur Ghar mountain in Afghanistan. The team’s insertion helicopter was attacked by an enemy rocket-propelled grenade attack, causing Petty Officer Neil Roberts to fall out of the aircraft and onto the enemy-infested mountaintop, and the helicopter to crash-land in the valley below, according to the Navy.

“Fully aware of the risks, a numerically superior and well-entrenched enemy force, and approaching daylight, without hesitation Senior Chief Slabinski made the selfless and heroic decision to lead the remainder of his element on an immediate and daring rescue back to the mountaintop,” according to a Navy statement.

Slabinski’s team was able to successfully reach the top of Takur Ghar, where the Navy states that Slabinski, “without regard for his own life, charged directly toward the enemy strongpoint. He and a teammate fearlessly assaulted and cleared one enemy bunker at close range. The enemy then unleashed a murderous hail of machine gun fire from a second hardened position 20 meters away. Senior Chief Slabinski exposed himself to enemy fire on three sides, then moved forward to silence the second position. With bullets piercing his clothing, he repeatedly charged into deadly fire to personally engage the enemy bunker with direct rifle fire, hand grenades and a grenade launcher on the surrounding enemy positions.”

With mounting casualties and diminished ammunition, Slabinski led his team away from enemy fire to a more defensible position. He was able to direct close air support on the enemy positions, request reinforcements and direct medical care of his wounded teammates, according to the Navy.

For 14 hours, Slabinski led his team across tough terrain, called in fires on enemy positions on surrounding ridges and continued to engage the enemy. At one point, Slabinski even carried a seriously wounded teammate through waist-deep snow to reach a more defensible position until the team could be extracted.

Slabinski, who retired from the Navy in June 2014 after more than 25 years of service, will be only the 12th living service member awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery displayed in Afghanistan, according to a Navy statement. Slabinski’s Medal of Honor is an upgrade of the Navy Cross he previously was awarded for his actions. He is set to receive the medal during a White House ceremony scheduled for May 24.

To ensure service members were appropriately recognized for valor, former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter directed all service branches to review all Service Cross and Silver Star recommendations for actions since September 11, 2001.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Diversity Thursday

Always keep in your mind that the Navy's branch of the Diversity Industry, indeed almost all of the Diversity Industry, is stuck in the early 1970s in both their ideology and worldview. The only "new" idea in their fetid wheelhouse is the late-1980s concept of Intersectionality that only took them a quarter century to bring to the front.

Here's the 21st Century - get off the treadmill.

Columbia undergrad Coleman Hughes has an exceptional fact-filled article you should take time to read. It is a modern, forward looking perspective of what should be part of our national conversation. It is hard, as we have outlined here over the years, as too many people are invested personally, psychologically, and financially in keeping division and strife at the front.

Read it all.

Staying on the Racism Treadmill means denying progress and stoking ethnic tensions. It means, as Thomas Sowell once warned, moving towards a society in which “a new born baby enters the world supplied with prepackaged grievances against other babies born the same day.”[15] Worse still, it means shutting down the one conversation that stands the greatest chance of improving outcomes for blacks: the conversation about culture.

By contrast, getting off the Treadmill means recognizing that group outcomes will differ even in the absence of systemic bias; it means treating people as individuals rather than as members of a collective; it means restoring the naive conception of equal treatment over the skin-color morality of the far Left; and it means rejecting calls to burn this or that system to the ground in order to combat forms of racial oppression that grow ever more abstract by the day. At bottom, it means acknowledging the fact that racism has declined precipitously, and perhaps even being grateful that it has.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Syrian Civil War: the Difference a Year Makes

Last week, the Assad government finally took control of their capital with the removal of the ISIS pocket around the Palestinian camp.

Amazing what can happen in a year. From Syria Civil War Map, two graphics that tell the story better and 5,000 words.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Sure boss, I can generate a letter ...

What does it look like when the military is told to "make it happen" for political ends, knows it isn't possible, but with a squinted eye and a bit of creative painting makes it look like they're following orders?

^^^ That is my optimistic view of the satire-proof letter from NAVSEA.

This is ... ambitious.

First thing I thought of was what we did to the SPRUANCE class when they were in their early 20s.

Second thing is ... how are we going to do this with the present operational tempo and expect funding for the next decade or so?

We can't, something will have to change.

Some of these ships are already not in the best shape - especially the cruisers. 

Something will have to change.

Is this realistic, or simply aspirational signaling to meet a tasker now, knowing that a few PCS cycles down the road other people will have to deal with it?

^^^ That is my pessimistic view of the letter.

Para 2 is the emergency hatch that pretty much negates the rest. See my opening to this post; that is where I'm putting my bet.

I don't know about you, but I feel slimy just reading this - but sometimes you have to do slimy things.

It is not an impressive document by any stretch of the imagination for anyone involved in it.

Not one of our Navy's best moments.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Fighting the Great War at Sea with Norman Friedman, on Midrats

As we approach the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War, it is good to reflect back on the impact of WWI on the growth of our modern navy, and the echoes it has to the present day.

For the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern to discuss this and related issues will be Dr. Norman Friedman. As a starting point of our discussion will be some of the perspective brought out in his 2014 book from Naval Institute Press, Fighting the Great War at Sea: Strategy, Tactics and Technology.

As described in the review at Amazon;
“While the overriding image of the First World War is of the bloody stalemate on the Western Front, the overall shape of the war arose out of its maritime character. It was essentially a struggle about access to worldwide resources, most clearly seen in Germany's desperate attempts to counter the American industrial threat, which ultimately drew the United States into the war.”
Dr. Friedman has had a long career in weapon and system analysis for the U.S. Navy, DOD, and industry. He has authored numerous histories of naval weapons and platforms with a concentration on the connection between policy, strategy, and technology. With over 40 published books, he also has lectured extensively and served as an adviser at the highest levels of government and think tanks.

His Fighting the Great War at Sea won the Lyman prize awarded by the North American Society of Oceanic Historians. He recently published a history of fleet air defense, Fighters Over The Fleet, and is about to publish a history of the British battle fleet during the Victorian era.

He received a Ph.D. in solid-state theoretical physics from Columbia University.

Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

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

Friday, May 18, 2018

Fullbore Friday

Every day, in places almost no one knows about and fewer could place on a map, American servicemembers are partnered with allies and host nations trying to keep the spread of Islamic fundamentalism at bay.

A bit over six months ago, an event took place that broke above the background noise. It was a mission that, as things happen now and then, even with all our advantages, the enemy had a vote and won.

BZ to DOD and AFRICOM for putting out this official, unclassified briefing on the circumstances leading up to and during the ambush of US and Nigerien military personnel near the village of Tongo Tongo in October 2017.

The Long War will see more of this.

A lot has already been written about this mission and some are trying to use it to make this point and that. Not here. 

Almost everyone who served has been in tactical situations where if things when one way or another, in hindsight others in safe places could pick apart why you did or did not do this or that.

This had me thinking of a few things I was involved in.

Take a moment and ponder. You don't have to be a ground forces guy to learn from this.

Hat tip TheWarZone.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Are we watching the free previews in Ukraine

There is a steady drip of articles from the Army about what we are learning from the conflict in Ukraine?

Where is our Navy and Marine Corps?

I'm pondering over at USNIBlog.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Prepper Math

Don't worry, this isn't about to turn in to one of "those blogs" ... but this is too good to pass up as it folds together math, statistics, and an interesting take on a natsec issue that gets too little attention.

I'll let the author, BJ Campbell, set it up for you. For those who recall my still VERY valid "drums on the Rhine" post from a few years ago, you'll see why I like this.
I’m not a writer by trade. I’m a stormwater hydrologist, and in my opinion, a pretty good one. Hydrology is the science of tracking water as it moves through the water cycle, from ocean evaporation through cloud formation, precipitation, groundwater infiltration, runoff, evapotranspiration, riverine hydraulics, and the time series behavior of reservoirs. It is a deep and fascinating field, but one of its most relevant applications to our lives is delineating floodplain boundaries.

To determine a floodplain boundary, we first identify a “storm event” that concerns us. We use historical rainfall data and some statistical magic to calculate the worst storm event a place is likely to experience in a 100-year time span, probabilistically speaking, and we call that the “100-year storm.” There’s a push in the field to quit calling it that, because it confuses the muggles, so now we often say something like “the storm which has a 1% chance of happening in any given year.” Then we take that rainfall data, judiciously apply more math, and turn it into a flow rate in a river. Then we do hydraulics (more math) to determine how deep the river will have to be to carry that much water, and we draw a line on a map.

You should have seen this line, if you’ve ever bought a house near a floodplain. If you bought a house near a floodplain and were not shown this line, contact me professionally to ensure you didn’t make a terrible mistake.

We don’t buy houses in the floodplain if we can help it, because we are risk averse, even though the chance of it flooding in any given year is only 1%. Why? We will live in the house longer than one year. Over the 30-year life of a mortgage, the chance of the house flooding at least once vastly exceeds 1%, because every year is another roll of the dice. It’s not cumulative, though. The mathematics for back-calculating the odds is called a Bernoulli Process. Here’s what it looks like:
If you have trouble with the math, read the whole article and then come back, he covers it in words as well.

This is where it gets interesting.
Now let’s talk about a bigger, nastier disaster than a flood.
...we ... have good sources of data on when the group of people on the piece of dirt we currently call the USA attempt to overthrow the ruling government. It’s happened twice since colonization. The first one, the American Revolution, succeeded. The second one, the Civil War, failed. But they are both qualifying events. Now we can do math.
Have your attention?
Stepping through this, the average year for colony establishment is 1678, which is 340 years ago. Two qualifying events in 340 years is a 0.5882% annual chance of nationwide violent revolution against the ruling government. Do the same math as we did above with the floodplains, in precisely the same way, and we see a 37% chance that any American of average life expectancy will experience at least one nationwide violent revolution.

This is a bigger chance than your floodplain-bound home flooding during your mortgage.
But wait ... there's more;
Or we could look at a broader historical brush. Since the fall of Constantinople in 1453, there have been 465 sovereign nations which no longer exist, and that doesn’t even count colonies, secessionist states, or annexed countries. Even if we presume that half of these nation-state transitions were peaceful, which is probably a vast over-estimation, that’s still an average of one violent state transition every 2.43 years.

If we look at raw dialectic alone, we reach dismal conclusions. “Do you think the United States will exist forever and until the end of time?” Clearly any reasonable answer must be “no.” So at that point, we’re not talking “if,” but “when.” If you don’t believe my presumed probability, cook up your own, based on whatever givens and data pool you’d like, and plug it in. The equations are right up there. Steelman my argument in whatever way you like, and the answer will still probably scare you.
Thing is, in very recent memory we have an example of a relatively modern nation imploding.
In 2010, 8.5 million tourists visited Syria, accounting for 14% of their entire GDP. Eight years later, they have almost half a million dead citizens, and ten million more displaced into Europe. They didn’t see this coming, because if they did, they would have fled sooner. Nobody notices the signs of impending doom unless they’re looking carefully.
At least we don't have any warning signs, eh?
Pretend you’re someone with your eyes on the horizon. What would you be looking for, exactly? Increasing partisanship. Civil disorder. Coup rhetoric. A widening wealth gap. A further entrenching oligarchy. Dysfunctional governance. The rise of violent extremist ideologies such as Nazism and Communism. Violent street protests. People marching with masks and dressing like the Italian Blackshirts. Attempts at large scale political assassination. Any one of those might not necessarily be the canary in the coal mine, but all of them in aggregate might be alarming to someone with their eyes on the horizon. Someone with disproportionate faith in the state is naturally inclined to disregard these sorts of events as a cognitive bias, while someone with little faith in the state might take these signs to mean they should buy a few more boxes of ammunition.
I don't know about you, but I already have my bolt-hole ... I mean "hunting property" ... a couple of hours from the nearest big city and 30-min from the nearest interstate.

Sleep well!

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Simple, Right Thing is Often the Most Difficult Thing

It's a simple fundamental.

Everything a military does - every branch - is for one thing; to create conditions for a young person to stand on a street corner and state; this is ours. It is not yours.

So many billions of dollars are spent for the sexy and sparkly support equipment for others to enable that man there, and yet over and over again we nickle and dime the kit he is issued.

The fact we do this with his primary weapon is a crime.

As I may have mentioned here before, the real "1st appearance" of "CDR Salamander" was circa 1982 when in a high school ethics class (yes, I went to such a high school). I wrote my term paper about the horrible decisions that brought the M-16/5.56mm in to service roughly the year I was born.

Even though much has been done in the last half-century to correct some of the problems - its inadequacies are well known and still show up on the battlefield, unnecessarily resulting in the death of those who carry it.

The green-eyeshade argument has only become more callous with age and is another datapoint showing that - regardless of what their self-esteem workshops may tell them - those resisting change are blinkered and close-minded in understanding their jobs compared to those who came before.

Let's look at how other generations responded to better technology and calibers to give their soldiers. With the exception of the 30-06, each change in caliber corresponded with a new weapon.

1866 - 50-70 Sharps; 7-yrs
1873 - 45-70 Govt; 19-yrs
1892 - 30-40 Krag; 14-yrs
1906 - 30-06 Springfield; 48-yrs
1954 - 7.62x51mm NATO; 8-yrs (NB: still a "NATO caliber" and in use, but largely replaced by 5.56mm in front-line use).
1962 - 5.56×45mm NATO; 56-yrs and counting.

Don't listen to me on this, there are plenty of smarter people on my side;
Retired Army Maj. Gen. Bob Scales was a keynote speaker at the annual National Defense Industry Association Armament Systems forum here, and he didn’t waste any time launching into a takedown of key components that equip the close combat infantryman.

Scales recounted how he’d spoken at the conference three years ago, pushing industry and government procurement officials to create an intermediate caliber rifle with a piston action, polymer ammunition casing, a suppressor and digital fire controls.

“Now, in 2018, does any of that sound familiar?” he asked.
The rifle he described in his opening remarks is handled under the Next Generation Squad Weapon project, headed by the Army.

But there, too, are problems, he noted.

The NGSW program was aimed at making a rifle or carbine to replace the flawed M16/M4 system, which Scales has railed against since his own experience with early versions of the M16 in Vietnam.
You would think we would start there, but ...
But an incredulous Scales told the audience that developers on the NGSW are now prioritizing the light machine gun in a program called the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle to replace the Squad Automatic Weapon, with the rifle or carbine to come later.

“It’s the Next Generation rifle or carbine, damn it,” Scales said.
For those who have studied the history, government entities had been a problem and not a solution in getting modern weapons in the hands of those on the frontline for a long time. More often than not, it is an outside force that brings the infantryman what they need;
The change in focus means that under current schedules, the rifle/carbine won’t be ready until 2024.

That is not acceptable, Scales said. To either him or his boss.

“Let me tell you something, folks. It’s not working,” Scales said. “Make the rifle by 2020. My God, folks, it’s a nine-pound piece of steel. The cost isn’t as much as a lug nut on a B-1 bomber.”
He's right. This is already late;
Snipers with Special Operations Command will see a barrel swap on their 7.62 mm rifles as early as next year to a commercially available 6.5 mm caliber.

“The SecDef said before he leaves office in 2020, if [President Donald] Trump is not re-elected, he’s going out to a range somewhere to shoot that rifle,” Scales said. “If you don’t get something in the field by then, you’ve failed.”

He pointed to lives lost due to small arms and other infantry equipment holes from Vietnam to Afghanistan to last year’s deaths of special operations soldiers in Niger.

“If you’d listened to me three years ago, those soldiers in Niger would have had this rifle in their hands,” Scales said. “So, take that to bed tonight.”
Read it all. I'd gladly exchange a F-35C or two for all this to take place on an accelerated timeline.

A century ago, we almost went .270 (6.8mm), but the green-eyeshade of their day killed it. Maybe this century we'll get it right.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Fullbore Friday

Your nation is in captivity, yet you fight - and you fight well.

I give you the Polish Grom-Class destroyer, ORP Błyskawica.
On 1 September, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Consequently, following the the Polish-British Common Defense Pact, two days later Britain declared war on Germany. Before the war started it was realised that the Polish navy, in its infancy, was vastly outnumbered and no match for the Kriegsmarine. So on 30 August 1939, Operation Peking took place; the destroyers Grom, Błyskawica and Burza (Translated: 'Storm') were escorted out of the vulnerable Baltic to Britain to save them from destruction. Soon after, on 7 September, 1939 the Błyskawica attacked a U-Boat, the first recorded combat between an Allied and German ship in the war.

During the war the two Grom-class vessels fought with distinction, with the Błyskawica, under the command of Captain Wojciech Francki. The ship took part in Dunkirk, operations off Norway and would even later escort the Queen Mary to Britain carrying American troops through the dangerous Atlantic, the hunting-ground of U-Boats. The Błyskawica was one of the few ships capable of keeping up with the record-breaking Blue Riband winning liner.

Blysykawica was armed with four twin 120mm guns as her main offensive armament, triple torpedo tubes, four side depth charge throwers, two stern depth charge tracks and two mines, in addition to her impressive anti-aircraft battery consisting of one twin 40mm Bofors gun, 3 twin 37mm guns and two single 37mm anti-aircraft guns, ten anti-aircraft weapons in total.
During the war, she logged 146,000 nautical miles (270,000 km) and escorted eighty-three convoys. In combat she damaged three U-boats and shot down at least four aircraft before the war's conclusion in May 1945.
Neat thing too - she is still afloat as a museum ship.

First posted JUN12.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

FITZGERALD's OOD Pleads Guilty

Like I wrote over at USNIBlog today - this story has the potential to be more damaging to the Navy's reputation than Fat Leonard.

Fat Leonard at the end of the day is about personal failure - this reads more and more of institutional failure.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

GLOCs, SLOCs .... ILOCs?

Taking or securing your status as a land power requires robust and well defended Ground Lines of Communication (GLOC). Only a strong and effective navy can secure the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) that enable food, fuel, and economic trade to flow unimpeded.

At war, if you want to undermine a land power, you threaten its GLOC. If you want to strangle a maritime nation, disrupt its SLOC.

In an age like so other where simple data, the rapid and reliable exchange of 1s and 0s, are so important for trade, communication, social, and warfighting prowess of advanced nations - what is the status of our Information Lines of Communications (ILOC)?

We all know the Tiffany China Doll fragility of our satellites, but what about the real backbone of the Information Age?

Over at BusinessInsider, a little something to ponder; in peace they are good to spy on ... in war - in a modern age where data bandwidth is as valuable for many economies as oil, coal, and iron were in other ages - are they are target?

Cables are nothing new, but the degree of reliance on them is - as is the ability of technology to find them. We know we fiddle with them at peace, but you don't have to be all that imagitive to see what a target they will be at war.

With everyone thinking about autonomous systems and AI, finding and disrupting cables would seem to be one of the easier things to do in this advance in technology. Even for non-state actors looking to go after the "E" in D.I.M.E., this is attractive.

With each year it will be easier to find and attack these ILOC.

How do you wargame this? Ponder as you watch the below.

Monday, May 07, 2018

The Overhead & Support for the Syria Strike

It is one thing to hear about how may missiles may have been used in the recent attacks on Syria, but it is another thing to appreciate what it took to get those rounds on target.

Pictures are perfect for this.

Great post by the folks at CIGeography. A nice, clear graphic. 

We should just accept the assumption that these numbers and representations are not perfect, but darn close enough.

Let's look at the air side first, as it is the most educational.

In a fairly uncontested environment, 11 strike aircraft require 37 escort and 21 support aircraft. I would take those numbers as being on the low-side.

Now the seas side of the house;

Yes, the French helped out, but from the sea, it was mostly a USN operation. No one comes close to our capability, numbers wise, in this area. I hope this builds French confidence and we will see them more in the future.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

STEM and the Education of a Navy Leader - on Midrats

The majority of our officers come from two sources, NROTC and the United States Naval Academy. The Navy has a policy a bias towards STEM majors (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to the point where 65 percent of USNA Midshipmen major in STEM.

Is this in the best interest of educating future officers of our modern Navy and Marine Corps so they can effectively lead Sailors and Marines at war and peace?

To discuss this and related issues for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern will be USNA Midshipman First Class Kirk Wolff. We will use his recent Proceedings Today article, Rethinking the Naval Academy Curriculum as a starting off point.

Kirk is originally from Morristown, Tennessee. He majored in Political Science at USNA and will serve as a surface warfare officer upon commissioning on May 25, 2018.

Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

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

Friday, May 04, 2018

Fullbore Friday

"With audacity one can undertake anything, but not do everything."----- Napoleon Bonaparte
At the beginning of a conflict you need to keep the aggressor off balance. You need to learn, grow, refine, and develop your tactics. Things won't be perfect or even good - but they must be done. Almost always, things do not work as you plan.

Most know of Doolittle's raid on Tokyo - close to perfect if only a few hundred pounds of fuel off. Many don't know about Carlson's Raid on Makin Island though.

From the
Marine Corps Gazette's JUL01 edition,
On 8 August 1942, 222 officers and men embarked on the USS Argonaut and USS Nautilus for Makin. The trip was uneventful and also uncomfortable as evidenced by the numerous cases of heat rash and heat prostration that developed during the voyage. The raiders were to disembark at 0300 on 17 August 1942, assemble alongside the submarines until the two companies were organized, and then move onto Butaritari. Withdrawal from the island was scheduled to take place no later than 2100 that same day. If the raiders had not returned by that time, Task Force Commander John Haines would decide whether to wait or return to Pearl Harbor without them. (See Figure 2.) If the raid was successful, Little Makin, a less important part of the atoll, would be raided the following morning.

Unfortunately, almost every one of Carlson's plans went awry from the beginning. On the night of 16 August, the raiders encountered rain squalls, heavy swells, and an onshore wind. The rubber boats from the Argonaut were loaded and launched. Immediately the heavy sea drowned the outboard motors out. Carlson was then advised that the tide was moving the submarines toward the reef and they would have to start backing away. This meant that the two company commanders would not be able to assemble alongside the submarines and would probably lose control of their men. When no alternatives seemed possible, Carlson issued the order to disembark from the Nautilus with instructions for both companies to follow his boat to the beach.

Although the outboard motors were inoperable, the raiders paddled with all their strength to land at 0530 as planned. Fifteen of the 18 boats reached opposite Government Wharf where they were quickly hidden by sand and palm fronds. Lt Oscar Peatross and his 11 men failed to get the change of plans and landed their boat at the original beach about I mile south of the main body. The two other boats landed just north of the main body. The mix-up in the landing required reorganization on shore, but before it was completed, one man accidentally fired his weapon. The element of surprise was now lost.

One company moved across the island to control the coastal road and to seize the Government House and Government Wharf. The other company stayed in reserve and protected the left rear. Alerted by the gunshot, CWO Kamemitsu informed his headquarters and started his small force up the coastal road by truck and bicycle toward the Government House. A firefight developed near the native hospital. The tenacious enemy defense included four machineguns, a flamethrower, two grenade launchers, infantry armed with automatic weapons, and supported by well-- concealed snipers.

About this time in the rising light, the raiders spotted a 3,500-ton troop transport and a small patrol boat entering the lagoon. Carlson radioed the submarines and requested that they surface to fire their 6-inch guns. Although communications eventually broke down, the Nautilus, shooting blindly at the ships with only a compass bearing furnished by Carlson, fired 65 &inch shells into the lagoon. Through a combination of excellent gunnery and amazing luck, both vessels were sunk.

Carlson renewed the attack, but the Japanese snipers proved to be a formidable problem. From 0730 to 1130 the action consisted of a series of small-unit movements. just before noon two Japanese reconnaissance planes circled over the fighting area for 15 minutes, dropped 2 bombs, and then departed. Soon thereafter, a small force of Japanese made a banzai attack down the center of the island. The raiders quickly repulsed the attack, killing most of the Japanese.

At 0120, 12 planes appeared-2 Kawanishi flying boats (about the size of a U.S. PBY-4), 4 fighters, and 6 reconnaissance bombers. They bombed and strafed the island for over an hour without inflicting any real damage on the raiders. One Kawanishi flying boat and one reconnaissance seaplane landed in the lagoon; the Kawanishi brought about 35 to 40 reinforcements. However, both aircraft were shot down during takeoff. Meanwhile, Lt Peatross proceeded to carry

out his initial orders to rendezvous with a platoon from Company A at the church. They found the church empty. Then Peatross and his men moved toward the main body of the raiders, but they were soon brought under intense machinegun and rifle fire. In the process of knocking out the machinegun and killing several Japanese, three men were killed and most of the others wounded. Peatross decided to pull back to the ocean side of the island. He also sent a runner to Carlson to notify him of their circumstances. When no linkup with the main body took place after several hours, Peatross returned to the Nautilus with his men.

Carlson's raiders held a poor position in the thick brush. Their fields of fire were limited, and they were subjected to heavy sniper fire, so Carlson ordered his men to pull back a few hundred yards. As the Japanese infantry followed, more Japanese planes arrived at 1630 and bombed the area just evacuated, wounding some of the enemy advance. Time, however, was running out. Though the raid had inflicted heavy damage and casualties on the Japanese, the mission had not been fully accomplished. Carlson's orders were to return to the submarines by 1930. With too little time to complete the mission, he ordered a retreat.

The withdrawal from combat was orderly. Carlson and Roosevelt said goodbye to the natives who had helped them, and arranged to have the dead raiders buried. By 1915 all the boats were lined up on the beach with those on either flank entering the water first. The first was Carlson's. The effort to return to the submarines was an unmitigated disaster. Unfortunately, the rapid succession of the breakers, combined with their great force, proved too formidable for even the highly trained raiders. After nearly an hour of struggling, in which almost all the weapons and equipment were lost, about two-thirds of the raiders gave up, and were washed ashore. With a few salvaged weapons, the men posted a security perimeter. One of the guards spotted an eight-man Japanese patrol and fired, killing three of them. The rest apparently ran away. With the possibility of Japanese reinforcements arriving in the morning, the raiders' prospects seemed dreary.

The feeling of helplessness at this point marked the low ebb of the raid. At midnight Carlson called a meeting of his officers and some of his men. What should they do? Try the surf again? Hide on the north end of the atoll? Surrender? When one raider thought surrender was in order, Carlson suggested, "Look-you take anyone you want and go out and find someone to surrender to-and then you have the right to come back here and tell the men, and the men will have an opportunity to express their views." The raider went out, but came back with the news that he could not find any Japanese. Carlson then asked, "Is there anyone else who thinks we ought to surrender?" No one mentioned it further, and the idea was abandoned.

After daylight, a group of men fought a terrible battle with the surf and made it to the submarines. A little later another group was organized and also succeeded in reaching the submarines. Approximately 70 raiders remained on the beach. During the remainder of the day, however, they completed the rest of their mission with the exception of capturing prisoners. Carlson found his dead and confirmed once again with the native chief that they would be buried.

With his wounded men, Carlson decided not to try the ocean side again, but opted to get out through the lagoon side. The Japanese had no coastal guns covering the lagoon.

When darkness came, Carlson, after much difficulty in identifying himself, made contact with the submarines. He arranged for them to pick him and his men off Flink Point at the west end of the lagoon. His men reported that everyone seen that day was loaded in the remaining rubber boats and an outrigger canoe. The trip took 3 very difficult hours. Forty hours had elapsed since the raiders first left the submarines.

The wardroom on the Nautilus was cleared so that four Marines could be operated on. In addition, the officers turned over the staterooms to the wounded. Under the most austere and difficult conditions, the Navy doctors performed magnificently.

In the chaos of the 2-day operation, 9 men were somehow left behind. Remarkably, they eluded capture for nearly a month after the Japanese returned in force-a relief expedition of more than 1,000 men landed on Makin the day after Carlson and his men departed. Eventually caught, the nine raiders were taken to the 6th Base Force Headquarters on Kwajalein. Early in October Vice Admiral Hirokai Abe was informed that any transfer of the prisoners to Japan would be impractical. Consequently, Abe had the raiders formally executed on 16 October 1942. After the war, the admiral was tried for his war crimes in a court in Guam; he was found guilty and hanged.
For details on what conditions in Kwajalein was like - I highly recommend what I am listening to right now, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.

First posted JUL2011.