Thoughts on the News
"Terrorist War" 2004
V-22A Osprey completed a 10-day exercise aboard USS Wasp (LHD 1) off the Mid-Atlantic with more than 100 flight engineers, contractors, government employees and Marine Corps pilots collecting data and aviation information about the military’s future transport aircraft.
A problem had been downdraft was lifting other Osprey's on the deck. Evidently no problems with the aircraft. Good news for the services.
Compensation . U.S. Marines have paid about $1.9 million in the past month in compensation to roughly 2,660 Iraqis in Najaf who lost property or loved ones in fighting there. Fighting in August between U.S. and Iraqi forces and militia loyal to rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr left many Iraqis dead before a peace deal was reached. "Condolence payments are being paid to express sympathy to those injured or who lost a family member during the fighting. Collateral damage repair payments are intended for Iraqis who experienced damage to their home, business or other property."
This is one reason why war is expensive. In Vietnam we paid
French plantation owners for every rubber tree destroyed in fighting. This is one reason
for the resurgence of Japan after WW2, all payments by Japan were banned by MacArthur.
Navy is coming up with a new work uniform. Instead of navy blue jeans and light blue chambray shirt, baseball cap, and black leather shoes that we have worn at least since WW2, it will look like the army camouflage utility except in navy blue, deck gray, haze gray and black. These are the colors aboard a ship (except no white) so that grease, paint spots, etc. will not show and new materials in the work clothes will last 18 months instead of six and combine the work uniforms of the sea, land and air units. Interesting is a test of no-polish suede shoes vs. shinable ones and an 8-pointed fatigue cap instead of the round baseball caps.
Will the bloused trousers and high boots, a'la paratroopers, be difficult to keep all day while working and will high boots require extra time to put on and off and reblouse during the day? Will the loose shirt catch on ship's protrusions and a higher cap blow away? One gets the idea that the designers are concerned with compatible "look" with other services. We could hope the tests are treated realistically : approximately 60 participants, both male and female, officer and enlisted, spread over 20 sites around the world are considered as the test. Is this a total of 60 people (3 per site) or 1,200 total ; only the latter would approach a realistic sample.
Oct 13. An exercise with the Indian Air Force had the Indians win, reportedly, 9 out of 10 engagements. After action analysis says both sides picked up the other at the same time, but the Indians engaged and fired first and scored kills. The US excuse is that the US fighters were without their accustomed AWAC support ; these would have found the bogies first and directed the US planes into attack position.
Our training is for combat in which we have overwhelming control, where it is safe for AWAC and tankers to accompany the shooters. Training has de-emphasized individual sharpness ; perhaps our pilots were filing environmental impact statements. We know our people will adapt, but the theme permeating this website is that war is a come-as-you-are thing. When 9 of 10 on the first team do not return to tell us what went wrong, it makes it tough on the next team going in. Oh, you say the next war will be fought with unmanned aircraft. Controlled, no doubt, from an AWAC being refueled somewhere safe ; where is that on a battlefield? With losses of 90% per mission, it doesn't take any longer to run out of aircraft than it does to exhaust manpower. Does anyone remember our losses at Midway ? 42% - after 6-months of active combat.
July 16. New Red Attack Sub launched, to fire underwater-launched DF-31 missile, Read the Washington Post article. If not there, then here.
Now we know why the USN was flying reconnaissance missions in the
South China Sea and why the Reds took out our Orion.
July 7 . Abrams tanks and other hardware of the Army's 2nd Infantry Division is moving from Korea to Iraq. About 3,600 troops will follow.
Does this mean we don't plan a ground war in the North?
If that small and obnoxious country does anything overt, it can be taken out with
precision. If it can be fast enough to avoid revenge is a question?
June 2 . Simultaneous deployment of seven aircraft carrier strike groups (CSGs) this summer will demonstrate the ability of the Navy to provide credible combat power across the globe by operating in five theaters with other U.S., allied and coalition military forces.
Actually the Navy rushed returning ships to readiness for the next battle with terrorism. Shame to let that readiness not be used, and seen; hence, exercises.
May 31. Active Reserve Integration (ARI) will fully integrate the Naval Reserve Force.
The need for large Reserve infrastructure will decrease significantly, as manpower functions will switch training and readiness to active commands.
Further cost cutting. A reservist costs about 20% of a full timer; the Navy would rather have another man on station then 5 in the hinterlands. One third of troops in Iraq are Guard or Reserve, humm.
Another technique of getting manpower off the books is the conversion of fleet auxiliary ships to civilian manning. I have a collection of war stories of union workers who refused to work in combat, but have refrained from making a web page to avoid disparaging the thousands who did their duty. Never-the-less ... ?
May 1 . The Kitty Hawk (CV-63) celibates her 43rd birthday; our oldest warship in active service is forward deployed in Japan. Enterprise (CVN-65) the nation's first nuclear powered carrier was also commissioned in 1961 and is still in service.
If we fought at Pearl Harbor with 43 year old ships, they would have commissioned in 1898. We often hear how at the beginning of WW2 we had to fight with WW1 equipment. For example, the "old" WWI 4-stack destroyers were built in 1918-20 or about 22 years old in 1941. Today we have the following numbers of 22 year old or older ships in active service : 4 CVN, 2CV, 8 DD, 2 FF, 11 SSN.
March . Navy is retiring older ships and aircraft at an accelerated rate to cut operations and maintenance costs. The retirement list includes the older Los Angeles class attack submarines and all of the F-14 Tomcat fighters, S-3 Viking anti-submarine aircraft and Spruance-class destroyers.
Those retirements and a slow shipbuilding rate have shrunk the Navy's combat fleet to 295 ships, the smallest number since before World War I
February 24 .
The navy wants to build the first of up to 56 littoral ships next year.
Lawmakers ordered the Navy to provide a detailed report on its mission by March 1.
One or two designs for the ship are to be chosen by May, likely to be a catamaran
There are many questions : Will the Navy need a new fleet of support ships to carry the modules and move them on and off the littoral ships? How will the core crews be integrated with the specialists that come aboard with each module? Does the Navy really need a ship that is able to operate at a sustained speed of 50 knots, substantially faster than anything else in the fleet?
Any new ship design has issues and this totally
new design has even more. However, some questions are really dumb -- need high speed?!
February 12 .
The Navy's Center for Surface Operations (CSO) announced a formal agreement between the Navy and U.S. Coast Guard to translate Navy training and fleet experience into U.S. Coast Guard ratings and licenses for the Merchant Marine as Ordinary Seaman and Able Seaman and Navigational Watch certification. Additionally, the CSO is seeking certifications toward a Third Mate Merchant Marine Officer’s license.
For some time the Navy College Center has recorded education for Navy members that may receive college credit from civilian schools for certain Navy training and work experiences. These include service schools that are at least 45 contact hours and job experience. For example, an ET3 going for ET2 can receive nine college credits.
January 15. Mess Management Specialists (MS) will now be known as Culinary Specialists (CS). In my day these were Commissarymen (CS), and before that, mess cooks. Even then, the food was good and plenty of it.
Hazardous duty incentive pay will be paid boardings and searching teams that make three live boardings per month whether in the Persian Gulf, counter-drug operations in the Caribbean, or homeland defense patrols off the U.S. coast.
January 5 . About 7,000 U.S. soldiers stationed in the Persian Gulf area who were planning to retire or otherwise leave the service in the next few months received what the Army calls a "stop loss" order to keep soldiers in uniform. -- even those who have met their contractual service obligation or are scheduled to retire -- during a rotation of tens of thousands of troops that begins this month and is scheduled to finish in May.
The order mirrors one already in place for the units that are scheduled to deploy to replace the units there now. The Army is offering $10,000 bonuses to re-enlist for three years or more.
1776 . The precedence is not unknown. In fact, Geo Washington used force to stop enlistees from going home whose term of service was up. But instead of
money, then in short supply, he offered the gallows.
Flashback : Comments were made March 23, 2003, on speed of advance. Another example has updated that paragraph. Read "advance".
11Sep01 Unthinkable Thoughts, best summarized as:
Passengers, office workers, heroes coming to their rescue - - all . . . gone.
I want revenge!
Yet we must recognize that killing a terrorist will make his little
brother into a terrorist.
Kill 'em all ; let Allah sort'em out.
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