Laughing is one of the best exercises; it’s like running inside your mind. You can do it almost anywhere and it’s even better with a friend.
Fireball Opinion: Better the Rule Of Law Than The Rule of Deals
President Trump is the first president in recent memory that has not emerged from the ranks of professional politicians, but rather a professional businessman. I applaud President Trump’s efforts to “make America great again.” I never thought we were not great! Lots can be said regarding the current discussions regarding tariffs against China. I do believe it’s appropriate to listen to experts or at least economists regarding the benefits of tariffs. I have not heard from a single economist who favors or even endorses tariffs as an appropriate tool to use against China. While no one argues the need to curtail China’s theft of intellectual property, it is important to look at each opportunity American’s companies have entered into and evaluate whether that individual company knowingly or unknowingly entered into an agreement that made their intellectual property vulnerable to being compromised by a totalitarian regime intent on stealing every manufacturing advancement and/or technology advancement for their own benefit. It has always been the case and has accelerated since the US allowed and supported admitting China to the World Trade Organization. There is ample evidence to support multiple violations of nearly every rule. Yet the US and other nations has been the beneficiary of cheaply produced goods that has continued to support the US and other nation’s economies for decades. I would encourage the President to use the rule of law to counter China’s activities rather than attempting to make another deal. The Rule of Deals never goes smoothly and is not consistent with our nation’s values. And while I’m at it, I think in particularly inappropriate for the President to attack a public corporation like Amazon for what appears to be a veiled personally vindictive attack on the Jeff Bezos, who in addition to being the founder and CEO of Amazon also owns the Washington Post. President Donald Trump lit into Amazon.com Inc. for the second time in three days with a pair of Twitter messages last week that said the online retailer “must pay real costs (and taxes) now!” The president on Saturday claimed, citing reports he didn’t specify, that the U.S. Postal Service “will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon” and added that the “Post Office scam must stop.” Amazon has said the postal service, which has financial problems stretching back for years, makes money on its deliveries. Amazon shed $53 billion in market value on Wednesday after Axios reported that the president is “obsessed” with regulating the e-commerce giant, whose founder and chief executive officer, Jeff Bezos. Those losses were pared on Thursday, the final day of a shortened trading week, even as Trump tweeted that Amazon was using the postal service as its “Delivery Boy.” The Postal Service is losing money, but its package delivery service is profitable, unlike its letter delivery. The Postal Service is required by law to cover its costs for delivering competitive products, such as packages for Amazon. The Postal Regulatory Commission, which oversees the service, set the appropriate share of the costs of package delivery at 5.5% a little more than a decade ago. Since then, the service’s delivery of packages has grown substantially, and the United Parcel Service argued in a submission to the commission in 2015 that a realistic appropriate share of costs for those deliveries should be about 24.6%. A Citigroup analysis last year found that that difference would amount to about $1.46 per parcel, which might serve as the basis for Trump’s $1.50 figure. An op-ed penned in July by Josh Sandbulte in the Wall Street Journal cited that analysis in arguing the Postal Service’s estimate of costs for delivering packages should be revised. In response, US Postal Service executive Joseph Corbett wrote that the op-ed provided an “inaccurate and unfair account,” and that the Postal Regulatory Commission has determined each year that the service is covering its costs for package deliveries. Sandbulte is co-president of Greenhaven Associates, a money management firm that owns FedEx common stock. Corbett asserted the Postal Service’s financial insolvency is the result of its inability to overcome “systemic financial imbalances caused by legal and other constraints,” such as a price cap on revenue-producing products that doesn’t take changes in delivery volumes and costs into account. The Postal Service’s biggest money problem is that it has billions in retirement obligations to its workers that it can’t afford. Amazon pays the US Post Office to deliver packages to customers’ doors, including on Sundays, and because Amazon ships so many packages though the post office, it’s charged at a lower rate than most customers. But Amazon does not receive a special rate; it pays the rate that the post office charges other bulk shippers. Neither Amazon nor the post office has disclosed the details of its agreement, but the Postal Service says the deal is mutually beneficial. On Thursday, Trump tweeted another accusation about Amazon not paying “taxes to state & local governments” and “putting many thousands of retailers out of business.” Amazon collects sales tax in every state that charges one and remits it to the states, which is nearly every state. Amazon also pays local property taxes on its distribution centers as well as on the Whole Foods stores it purchased last year. Amazon maintains it helps small businesses in a tough retail climate, helping vendors reach a mass audience. This isn’t the first time Trump has accused The Washington Post of being a lobbying arm of Amazon. While both companies are owned by Jeff Bezos, Amazon does not have a stake in The Washington Post.
I’m hearing the periodic message sent you subscribers out there is not reaching you in a timely manner. You might check your junk mail and see if it’s there or another folder. Sometimes recurring messages get sent there. I’m getting my best FOD IT guy working on it to see if I can make some changes from this end. Thanks. And I know I’m a bit late getting this edition out. I’ve been writing, just not publishing.
FOD Saying of the Day
Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. Albert Einstein
Xi Secures Power In Perpetuity
The path was cleared on Sunday for China’s Xi Jinping to rule the country indefinitely as its rubber-stamp parliament passed a constitutional amendment removing presidential term limits. The amendment was passed almost – but not quite – unanimously, with two “no” votes and three abstentions, against 2,957 in favor. I don’t think those “no voters” are around anymore. Party members’ loyalty belied a wave of criticism of the move among internet users, a wave which censors have taken care to extinguish. The amendment was revealed by the Communist Party just last month. Delegates to the National People’s Congress, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, applauded after each vote in what comes as China’s first constitutional amendment in 14 years. Had members rejected it, it would have been the first time a party diktat had ever failed to pass. Xi, 64, has consolidated power since 2012, when he was appointed party general secretary, the country’s top office. The position has no term limits, but his two predecessors both gave it up after two terms as part of the “orderly process” established by Deng. The presidency is a largely ceremonial office, but the now-abolished constitutional limits meant Xi would have had to give it up in 2023. Before Sunday’s vote, US President Donald Trump had joked that Xi was “now president for life.” As the holder of the top offices of party, state and military, Xi is also referred to as China’s “paramount” leader; and, in 2016, he was officially designated “core” leader by the party. His accumulation of titles has also earned him the nickname “Chairman of Everything.” Under Xi’s leadership, China has experienced tighter restrictions on civil society, including detentions of activists and lawyers, and ever-stricter internet controls. Simultaneously, he has purged many officials, and sidelined potential rivals, by means of a relentless ‘crackdown on corruption’ that seems yet to have run its course. “I think that during the past five years, he has been carrying out a soft coup, including making the Politburo a mere figurehead,” Chinese political commentator Wu Qiang told AFP, referring to the 25-member Communist Party body one notch under the ruling council. “He wants to prevent power from falling into the hands of technocrats like Jiang (Zemin) and Hu (Jintao),” Wu added, referring to Xi’s two predecessors. So what does it all mean for the Chinese people? Dissenting is becoming even more risky. The room for debate becomes narrower. The risk of a policy mistake becomes higher. Correcting a flawed policy will take longer.
D.B. Cooper in popular culture still holds a great deal of interest as a case that has not been solved nor explained. On the afternoon of Thanksgivingeve, November 24, 1971, a man carrying a black attaché case approached the flight counter of Northwest Orient Airlines at Portland International Airport. He identified himself as “Dan Cooper” and purchased a one-way ticket on Flight 305, a 30-minute trip to Seattle. Flight 305, approximately one-third full, departed on schedule at 2:50 pm, PST. Shortly after takeoff, Cooper handed a note to Florence Schaffner, the flight attendant situated nearest to him in a jump seat attached to the aft stair door. Schaffner, assuming the note contained a lonely businessman’s phone number, dropped it unopened into her purse. Cooper leaned toward her and whispered, “Miss, you’d better look at that note. I have a bomb. The note was printed in neat, all-capital letters with a felt-tip pen. Its exact wording is unknown, because Cooper later reclaimed it, but Schaffner recalled that it indicated he had a bomb in his briefcase, and directed her to sit beside him. Schaffner did as requested, then quietly asked to see the bomb. Cooper cracked open his briefcase long enough for her to glimpse eight red cylinders (“four on top of four”) attached to wires coated with red insulation, and a large cylindrical battery. After closing the briefcase, he dictated his demands: $200,000 in “negotiable American currency,” four parachutes (two primary and two reserve); and a fuel truck standing by in Seattle to refuel the aircraft upon arrival. Schaffner conveyed Cooper’s instructions to the pilots in the cockpit: when she returned, he was wearing dark sunglasses.
The pilot, William Scott, contacted Seattle-Tacoma Airportair traffic control, which in turn informed local and federal authorities. The 36 other passengers were told that their arrival in Seattle would be delayed because of a “minor mechanical difficulty”. Northwest Orient’s president, Donald Nyrop, authorized payment of the ransom and ordered all employees to cooperate fully with the hijacker. The aircraft circled Puget Sound for approximately two hours to allow Seattle police and the FBI time to assemble Cooper’s parachutes and ransom money, and to mobilize emergency personnel. Just think how the hijacking plan of action has changed over the years. Schaffner recalled that Cooper appeared familiar with the local terrain; at one point he remarked, “Looks like Tacoma down there,” as the aircraft flew above it. He also correctly mentioned that McChord Air Force Base was only a 20-minute drive (at that time) from Seattle-Tacoma Airport. Schaffner described him as calm, polite, and well-spoken, not at all consistent with the stereotypes (enraged, hardened criminals or “take-me-to-Cuba” political dissidents) popularly associated with air piracy at the time. Tina Mucklow, another flight attendant, agreed. “He wasn’t nervous,” she told investigators. “He seemed rather nice. He was never cruel or nasty. He was thoughtful and calm all the time.” He ordered a second bourbon and water, paid his drink tab (and attempted to give Schaffner the change), and offered to request meals for the flight crew during the stop in Seattle. FBI agents assembled the ransom money from several Seattle-area banks—10,000 unmarked 20-dollar bills, most with serial numbers beginning with the letter “L” indicating issuance by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and most from the 1963A or 1969 series —and made a microfilm photograph of each of them. Cooper rejected the military-issue parachutes offered by McChord AFB personnel, demanding instead civilian parachutes with manually operated ripcords. Seattle police obtained them from a local skydiving school. At 5:24 pm Cooper was informed that his demands had been met, and at 5:39 pm the aircraft landed at Seattle-Tacoma Airport. Cooper instructed Scott to taxi the jet to an isolated, brightly lit section of the tarmac and close each window shad in the cabin to deter police snipers. Northwest Orient’s Seattle operations manager, Al Lee, approached the aircraft in street clothes (to avoid the possibility that Cooper might mistake his airline uniform for that of a police officer) and delivered the cash-filled knapsack and parachutes to Mucklow via the aft stairs. Once the delivery was completed, Cooper permitted all passengers, Schaffner, and senior flight attendant Alice Hancock to leave the plane. During refueling Cooper outlined his flight plan to the cockpit crew: a southeast course toward Mexico City at the minimum airspeed possible without stalling the aircraft—approximately 100 knots at a maximum 10,000 foot altitude. He further specified that the landing gear remain deployed in the takeoff/landing position, the wing flaps be lowered 15 degrees, and the cabin remain unpressurized. Copilot William Rataczak informed Cooper that the aircraft’s range was limited to approximately 1,000 miles under the specified flight configuration, which meant that a second refueling would be necessary before entering Mexico. Cooper and the crew discussed options and agreed on Reno, Nevada, as the refueling stop. Finally, Cooper directed that the plane take off with the rear exit door open and its staircase extended. Northwest’s home office objected, on grounds that it was unsafe to take off with the aft staircase deployed. Cooper countered that it was indeed safe, but he would not argue the point; he would lower it himself once they were airborne. After takeoff, Cooper told Mucklow to join the rest of the crew in the cockpit and remain there with the door closed. As she complied, Mucklow observed Cooper tying something around his waist. At approximately 8:00 pm, a warning light flashed in the cockpit, indicating that the aft airstair apparatus had been activated. The crew’s offer of assistance via the aircraft’s intercom system was curtly refused. The crew soon noticed a subjective change of air pressure, indicating that the aft door was open. At approximately 8:13 pm, the aircraft’s tail section sustained a sudden upward movement, significant enough to require trimming to bring the plane back to level flight. At approximately 10:15 pm, Scott and Rataczak landed the 727, with the aft airstair still deployed, at Reno Airport. FBI agents, state troopers, sheriff’s deputies, and Reno police surrounded the jet, as it had not yet been determined with certainty that Cooper was no longer aboard; but an armed search quickly confirmed that he was gone. Initial extrapolations placed Cooper’s landing zone within an area on the southernmost outreach of Mount St. Helens, a few miles southeast of Ariel, Washington, near Lake Merwin, an artificial lake formed by a dam on the Lewis River. Search efforts focused on Clark and Cowlitz Counties, encompassing the terrain immediately south and north, respectively, of the Lewis River in southwest Washington. FBI agents and Sheriff’s deputies from those counties searched large areas of the mountainous wilderness on foot and by helicopter. Door-to-door searches of local farmhouses were also carried out. Other search parties ran patrol boats along Lake Merwin and Yale Lake, the reservoir immediately to its east. No trace of Cooper, nor any of the equipment presumed to have left the aircraft with him, was ever found. The FBI also coordinated an aerial search, using fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters from the Oregon Army National Guard, along the entire flight path (known as Victor 23 in standard aviation terminology but “Vector 23” in most Cooper literature. From Seattle to Reno. While numerous broken treetops and several pieces of plastic and other objects resembling parachute canopies were sighted and investigated, nothing relevant to the hijacking was found. Shortly after the spring thaw in early 1972, teams of FBI agents aided by some 200 Army soldiers from Fort Lewis, along with Air Force personnel, National Guardsmen, and civilian volunteers, conducted another thorough ground search of Clark and Cowlitz Counties for 18 days in March, and then an additional 18 days in April. Electronic Explorations Company, a marine salvage firm, used a submarine to search the 200-foot depths of Lake Merwin. Two local women stumbled upon a skeleton in an abandoned structure in Clark County; it was later identified as the remains of a female teenager who had been abducted and murdered several weeks before. Ultimately, the search operation—arguably the most extensive, and intensive, in U.S. history—uncovered no significant material evidence related to the hijacking. In 1978, a placard printed with instructions for lowering the aft stairs of a 727 was found by a deer hunter near a logging road about 13 miles east of Castle Rock, Washington, well north of Lake Merwin, but within Flight 305’s basic flight path. In February 1980, eight-year-old Brian Ingram, vacationing with his family on the Columbia River at a beach front known as Tina (or Tena) Bar, about 9 miles downstream from Vancouver, Washington and 20 miles southwest of Ariel, uncovered three packets of the ransom cash as he raked the sandy riverbank to build a campfire. The bills were significantly disintegrated, but still bundled in rubber bands. FBI technicians confirmed that the money was indeed a portion of the ransom—two packets of 100 twenty-dollar bills each, and a third packet of 90, all arranged in the same order as when given to Cooper. In 1986, after protracted negotiations, the recovered bills were divided equally between Ingram and Northwest Orient’s insurer; the FBI retained 14 examples as evidence. Ingram sold fifteen of his bills at auction in 2008 for about $37,000. To date, none of the 9,710 remaining bills have turned up anywhere in the world. Their serial numbers remain available online for public search. Speculation as to how Cooper could have survived, if he survived, motive, etc. continue to frustrate investigators. The Cooper hijacking marked the beginning of the end for unfettered and unscrutinized airline travel. Despite the initiation of the federal sky marshal program the previous year, 31 hijackings were committed in U.S. airspace in 1972; 19 of them were for the specific purpose of extorting money and most of the rest were attempts to reach Cuba. In 15 of the extortion cases the hijackers also demanded parachutes. In early 1973 the FAA began requiring airlines to search all passengers and their bags. Amid multiple lawsuits charging that such searches violated Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure, federal courts ruled that they were acceptable when applied universally, and when limited to searches for weapons and explosives. In contrast to the 31 hijackings in 1972, only two were attempted in 1973. In the wake of multiple “copycat” hijackings in 1972, the FAA required that all Boeing 727 aircraft be fitted with a device, later dubbed the “Cooper vane,” that prevents lowering of the aft airstair during flight. Also the electrical components were rewired to include their deactivation once the WOW (weight on wheels) switch opens after take-off. Also mandated as a direct result of the hijacking was the installation of peepholes in all cockpit doors, making it possible for the cockpit crew to observe events in the passenger cabin with the cockpit door closed.
As mentioned in the previous edition of FOD, the Battle of Tarawa during World War II was fought on 20–23 November 1943. Just a bit north of the site of that battle, The Battle of Cape St. George was fought on 25 November 1943, between Cape St. George, New Ireland, and Buka Island (now part of the North Solomons Province in Papua New Guinea). It was the last engagement of surface ships in the Solomon Islands campaign. During the engagement, a force of five US Navy destroyers led by CaptainArleigh Burke interdicted a similar sized Japanese force that was withdrawing from Buka towards Rabaul, having landed reinforcements on the island. In the ensuing fight, three Japanese destroyers were sunk and one was damaged, with no losses amongst the US force. Americans had landed troops on Bougainville on 1 November 1943, landing troops from the 3rd Marine Division around Torokina. This posed a threat to the Japanese base on Buka Island to the north, and 920 Japanese Army troops were embarked on the destroyers Amagiri, Yūgiri and Uzuki under the command of Captain Katsumori Yamashiro and were sent to reinforce the garrison, escorted by the destroyers Ōnami and Makinami under the command of CaptainKiyoto Kagawa. The United States Navy learned of the convoy, (likely through a combination of good reconnaissance operations combined with decoding of Japanese messages). Once spotted by reconnaissance aircraft, observations were sent CaptainArleigh Burke‘s Destroyer Squadron 23 composed of Destroyer Division 45 (Charles Ausburne, (below left), Claxton, and Dyson) under Burke’s direct command and Destroyer Division 46 (Converse and Spence) under the command of CommanderBernard Austin to intercept it. Meanwhile, nine PT boats under Commander Henry Farrow moved into the Buka Passage to engage the Japanese if Burke’s force was unable to make contact. The Japanese battle plan divided their force into two columns, with the three transport destroyers trailing the two escort destroyers. The American battle plan also divided their force into two columns using tactics devised by Burke and first employed successfully by Commander Frederick Moosbrugger at the Battle of Vella Gulf the previous August. One column would make a torpedo attack while the other took up a supporting position ready to open gunfire as soon as the first column’s torpedo attack struck home. The Japanese destroyers landed the 920 troops and supplies and embarked 700 Navy aviation personnel being withdrawn as Allied bombing had rendered the airfield at Buka non operational. The Japanese force was returning to Rabaul when Farrow’s PT boats spotted four of the Japanese ships on their radar just after midnight; however, the PT boats mistook the Japanese vessels for friendly forces and hove to further ashore. Two of the Japanese ships subsequently attacked the PT boats, firing on them and attempting to ram PT-318. They were unsuccessful in scoring any hits, though, while one of the PT boats, PT-64, fired a torpedo which missed its target. Afterwards, the Japanese destroyers steamed west towards Cape St. George. Around 01:41, Kagawa’s two screening destroyers were picked up by radar by Burke’s destroyers, which had moved into position between Cape St. George and Buka with Dyson making contact first. Poor visibility prevented the Japanese from spotting the American ships in turn. Burke elected to use his own division for the torpedo attack. Superior radar allowed the American ships to approach within 5,500 yards and launch their torpedoes at about 01:55 before the Japanese sighted them. Onami was hit by several torpedoes and sank immediately with all hands, including Kagawa. Makinami was hit by one torpedo and disabled. Burke’s force gained radar contact with the rest of the Japanese force at 13,000 yards soon after launching their torpedoes and turned to pursue; Yamashiro’s three transport destroyers fled north under pursuit by Burke’s division while Converse and Spence from Austin’s division finished off the disabled Makinami with torpedoes and gunfire. Burke’s three destroyers steadily gained on the three heavily laden Japanese destroyers, opening fire upon them with their guns around 02:22, scoring several hits. Uzuki was hit by one dud shell and escaped without significant damage. Amagiri escaped untouched. Around 02:25, the Japanese ships split up and fled in different directions. Burke chose to pursue Yugiri with his entire force and sank her at about 03:28 after a fierce engagement. By 03:45, the Burke and Austin’s divisions linked up, continuing to push north to pursue the withdrawing Japanese ships. Burke subsequently called off the attempt at 04:04, low on fuel and ammunition, and needing to withdraw before daylight, when Japanese aircraft would likely begin operations to search for them. In the event, the only aircraft the US ships spotted once daylight came were friendly AirSolsP-38 Lightnings. The battle was represented a significant victory for the Americans and was later described as an “almost perfect action” and Burke was awarded a Navy Cross. It was the final surface engagement of the Solomon Islands campaign. Although the Japanese were able to land their troops, and withdraw their supporting personnel, they lost three destroyers sunk and one damaged, without inflicting any losses on the American force. Amongst the Japanese crews, a total of 647 were killed. A total of 278 survivors were rescued from Yugiri by the submarine I-177.
CNO Admiral Stark Warns COMPACFLT Admiral Kimmel of Potential Japanese Attack
In August 1939, Admiral Harold R. Stark became Chief of Naval Operations. In that position, he oversaw the expansion of the Navy during 1940 and 1941, and its involvement in the Neutrality Patrols against Germansubmarines in the Atlantic during the latter part of 1941. It was at this time that he authored the Plan Dog memo, which laid the basis for America’s Europe first policy and which I covered in an earlier edition of FOD. He also orchestrated the Navy’s change to adopting unrestricted submarine warfare in case of war with Japan; Stark expressly ordered it at 17:52 Washington time on 7 December 1941, not quite four hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It appears the decision was taken without the knowledge or prior consent of the Government. It violated the London Naval Treaty, to which the U.S. was signatory. His most controversial service involved the growing menace of Japanese forces in the period before America was bombed into the war by the attack on Pearl Harbor. The controversy centers on whether he and his Director of War Plans, Admiral Richmond K. Turner provided sufficient information to Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, Commander of the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, about Japanese moves in the fall of 1941 to enable Kimmel to anticipate an attack and to take steps to counter it. That warning came in the form of a vague message to Admiral Kimmel on November 25, 1941. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Edwin T. Layton was Kimmel’s chief intelligence officer (later also Adm. Chester W. Nimitz‘s intelligence officer) at the time of the attack. In his book, And I Was There: Pearl Harbor and Midway—Breaking the Secrets (1985), Layton maintained that Stark offered meaningless advice throughout this period, withheld vital information at the insistence of his Director of War Plans, Admiral Turner, showed timidity in dealing with the Japanese, and utterly failed to provide anything of use to Kimmel. John Costello (Layton’s co-author), in Days of Infamy (Pocket, 1994), points out that MacArthur had complete access to both PURPLE and JN-25, plus over eight hours warning, and was still caught by surprise. Moreover, as SCAP official historian Gordon Prange and his colleagues note in December 7, 1941 (McGraw-Hill, 1988), defense of the fleet was General Short‘s responsibility, not Kimmel’s. Turner’s insistence on having intelligence go through War Plans led Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) to a wrong belief that ONI was only to collect intelligence; Turner did not correct this view, nor aid Stark in understanding the problem. Among others, Morison and Layton agree that Turner was most responsible for the debacle, as does Ned Beach in Scapegoats (Annapolis, 1995). In addition, there was considerable confusion over where Japan might strike, whether against the USA, the Soviet Union, or British colonies in Asia. I’ve read a couple of the accounts above. Hindsight is always 20 -20. One conclusion is evident however; senior leadership did not know how to adapt the new technology of code-breaking into practical planning. Certainly part of the fault lies with extremely tight compartmentalization the code-breaking program was handled, in that so few individuals were allowed to know of capability. However I believe the failure to properly evaluate Japanese plans lies in how intelligence assets and political figures failed to link the myriad facets of the political and military climate in Japan. That’s tough to do with certainty. Contributing to the problem is the fact that the code-breaking was a new and developing science, in its infancy without the highest degrees of reliability or predictability.
26 November 2003: Concorde 216, G-BOAF, made the final flight of the Concorde fleet when it flew from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Bristol Filton Airport (FZO) with 100 British Airways employees on board. The aircraft was under the command of Captain Les Brodie, with Chief Pilot Captain Mike Bannister and Captain Paul Douglas, with Senior Flight Engineers Warren Hazleby and Trevor Norcott. The duration of the flight was just over 1 hour, 30 minutes, and included both supersonic and low-altitude segments. Concorde 216 was the last of twenty Concordes to be built. It was originally registered G-BFKX and made its first flight at Bristol Filton Airport, 20 April 1979. The new airliner was delivered to British Airways 9 June 1980 and was re-registered G-BOAF. “Alpha-Foxtrot” had flown a total of 18,257 hours by the time it completed its final flight. It had made 6,045 takeoffs and landings, and had gone supersonic 5,639 times. G-BOAF was placed in storage at Filton. It is intended as the centerpiece of Bristol Aerospace Centre, scheduled to open in 2017.
LCDR “Butch” O’Hare Killed in Action
26 November 1943: At sunset, Lieutenant CommanderEdward “Butch” O’Hare,, United States Navy, Commander Air Group 6, took of from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) as part of an experimental three-plane night fighter team. The U.S. Navy task force was operating in the waters northeast of Tarawa, supporting Operation Galvanic (again discussed in the previous edition of FOD). Two Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat fighters of Fighting Squadron TWO (VF-2), piloted by O’Hara and Ensign Warren Andrew Skon, flew formation with a radar-equipped Grumman TBF-1 Avenger torpedo bomber, call sign “Tare 97,” flown by Lieutenant Commander John C. (“Phil”) Phillips, commander, Torpedo Squadron 6 (VT-6). Butch O’Hara was flying his personal airplane, Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat, Bu. No. 66168. The Hellcat was marked with “00” in white on both sides of its fuselage, the traditional identification of an air group commander’s (“CAG”) airplane. The Avenger’s radar operator would guide the two fighters to intercept the groups of Japanese Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” torpedo bombers that had been making nightly attacks against the ships of Task Force 50.2. The night fighter team engaged several enemy bombers, with the TBF’s pilot, Phillips, credited with shooting down two G4Ms with his Avenger’s two forward-firing .50-caliber machine guns. O’Hare and Skon both fired on other enemy bombers with their Hellcats’ six machine guns. At about 7:30 p.m., the TBF was flying at about 1,200 feet (365 meters), staying below the cloud bases, while the two F6Fs rejoined the formation. The TBF’s gunner, Al Kernan, saw both Hellcats approaching to join on the the Avenger’s right wing. When O’Hara was about 400 feet away, the gunner saw a third airplane appear above and behind the two fighters. A Japanese G4M opened fire on O’Hara’s fighter with its 7.7 mm (.303-caliber) nose-mounted machine gun. Kernan returned fire with the TBF’s turret-mounted .50-caliber machine gun. The G4M quickly disappeared into the darkness. Butch O’Hara’s F6F was seen to turn out of the formation, passing to the left underneath Skon’s fighter. Skon called O’Hara by radio but there was no response. The CAG’s Hellcat went into a dive then disappeared in the darkness. Skon tried to follow O’Hara, but had to pull out at about 300 feet (90 meters) to avoid crashing into the ocean. Neither O’Hara or his airplane were ever seen again. He is believed to have gone into the water at 7:34 p.m., 26 miles north-northwest of the carrier Enterprise. O’Hare graduated from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland and appointed an Ensign on June 3, 1937, he served two years on board the battleship USS New Mexico (BB-40). In 1939, he started flight training at NAS Pensacola in Florida, learning the basics on Naval Aircraft Factory N3N-1 “Yellow Peril” and Stearman NS-1 biplane trainers, and later on the advanced SNJ trainer. O’Hare’s most famous flight occurred during the Pacific War on February 20, 1942. LT O’Hare and his wingman were the only U.S. Navy fighters available in the air when a second wave of Japanese bombers were enroute to attack his aircraft carrier Lexington. Butch O’Hare was on board the aircraft carrierUSS Lexington, (below right) which had been assigned the task of penetrating enemy-held waters north of New Ireland. While still 450 miles from the harbor at Rabaul, at 10:15, the Lexington picked up an unknown aircraft on radar 35 miles from the ship. A six-plane combat patrol was launched, two fighters being directed to investigate the contact. These two planes, under command of Lieutenant Commander John Thach shot down a four-engined Kawanishi H6K4 Type 97 (“Mavis“) flying boat about 43 miles out at 11:12. At 16:49, the Lexington’s radar picked up a second formation of Bettys from 1st Chutai of 4th Kōkūtai only 12 miles out, on the disengaged side of the task force, completely unopposed. The carrier had only two Wildcats left to confront the intruders: Butch and his wingman “Duff” Dufilho. As the Lexington’s only protection, they raced eastward and arrived 1,500 feet above eight attacking Bettys nine miles out at 17:00. Dufilho’s guns were jammed and wouldn’t fire, leaving only O’Hare to protect the carrier. The enemy formation was a V of Vs flying very close together and using their rear-facing guns for mutual protection. O’Hare’s Wildcat, armed with four 50-caliber guns, with 450 rounds per gun, had enough ammunition for about 34 seconds of firing. In fact, O’Hare destroyed only three Bettys: Nitō Hikō Heisō Tokiharu Baba’s from 3rd Shotai, Ittō Hikō Heisō Susumu Uchiyama’s (flying at left wing of the leading V, 1st Shotai) and the leader of the formation, Shōsa Takuzo Ito’s. This last (flying on the head of leading V) Betty’s left engine was hit at the time it dropped its ordnance. Its pilot Hikō Heisōchō Chuzo Watanab tried to hit Lexington with his damaged plane. He missed and flew into the water near Lexington at 1712. Another two Bettys were damaged by O’Hare’s attacks. Ittō Hikō HeisōKodji Maeda (2nd Shotai, left wing of V) safely landed at Vunakanau airdrome and Ittō Hikō Heisō Bin Mori was later shot down by LT Noel Gayler (“White F-1”, VF-3) when trying to escape 40 miles from Lexington. With his ammunition expended, O’Hare returned to his carrier, and was fired on accidentally but with no effect by a .50-caliber machine gun from the Lexington. O’Hare’s fighter had, in fact, been hit by only one bullet during his flight, the single bullet hole in F-15’s port wing disabling the airspeed indicator. According to Thach, Butch then approached the gun platform to calmly say to the embarrassed anti-aircraft gunner who had fired at him, “Son, if you don’t stop shooting at me when I’ve got my wheels down, I’m going to have to report you to the gunnery officer.” By shooting down five bombers O’Hare became a flying ace, was selected for promotion to lieutenant commander, and became the first naval aviator to receive the Medal of Honor. With President Franklin D. Roosevelt looking on, O’Hare’s wife Rita placed the Medal around his neck. After receiving the Medal of Honor, then-Lieutenant O’Hare was described as “modest, inarticulate, humorous, terribly nice and more than a little embarrassed by the whole thing.” O’Hare received further decorations later in 1943 for actions in battles near Marcus Island in August and subsequent missions near Wake Island in October. As a tribute to Butch O’Hare, on September 19, 1949, the Chicago-area Orchard Depot Airport was renamed O’Hare International Airport. A training F4F Wildcat similar to the one flown by Butch O’Hare was restored after recovery from Lake Michigan. It is currently on display in Terminal 2 of the O’Hare International Airport. I always make a point of visiting this display when I’m at O’Hare running from plane to plane.
Kidō Butai Combined Japanese Armada Leaves Japan For Operation AI
Not so coincidentally and referencing Admiral Stark’s warning to Admiral Kimmel discussed above on November 26, 1941, a Japanese task force (the Striking Force) of six aircraft carriers—Akagi, Kaga, Sōryū, Hiryū, Shōkaku, and Zuikaku—departed Hittokapu Bay on Kasatka (now Iterup) Island in the Kurile Islands, under the greatest of secrecy, enroute to a position northwest of Hawaii, intending to launch its 408 aircraft to attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941: 360 for the two attack waves and 48 on defensive combat air patrol (CAP), including nine fighters from the first wave. The commander-in-chief of the First Air Fleet, the IJN′s main aircraft carrier force, is Admiral Chūichi Nagumo largely due to his seniority. Many contemporaries and historians have doubted his suitability for this command, given his lack of familiarity with naval aviation. The first wave was to be the primary attack, while the second wave was to attack carriers as its first objective and cruisers as its second, with battleships as the third target. The first wave carried most of the weapons to attack capital ships, mainly specially adapted Type 91aerial torpedoes which were designed with an anti-roll mechanism and a rudder extension that let them operate in shallow water. The aircrews were ordered to select the highest value targets (battleships and aircraft carriers) or, if these were not present, any other high value ships (cruisers and destroyers). First wave dive bombers were to attack ground targets. Fighters were ordered to strafe and destroy as many parked aircraft as possible to ensure they did not get into the air to intercept the bombers, especially in the first wave. When the fighters’ fuel got low they were to refuel at the aircraft carriers and return to combat. Fighters were to serve CAP duties where needed, especially over U.S. airfields.
Now I know all of you have been hitting the stores, looking for those Black Friday bargains and checking on line to see if you can find the very best of everything. I found a couple of items you’re going to need to include on your list to Santa.
First this is the way to impress all your fishing buddies:
PowerVision PowerRay underwater drone
This underwater drone can submerge up to 98 feet (30 meters) and records 4K video streamed to your phone, which you use to navigate. Not impressed? OK, with its add-on Fishfinder sonar it can detect fish up to 131 feet (40 meters) away and lures them with a blue light. Still not wowed? PowerVision will be offering VR goggles that allow you to robot around by tilting your head.
Want it Wednesday, Nov. 29? Order within 8 hrs 21 mins and choose Two-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
FUN AND SAFETY GO HAND IN HAND. You must know that feeling when, woken up by nature’s call you’re lying there in bed, planning out your bathroom trip. Whether you’re stressed about turning on the blinding lights, bumping into stuff (FYI, there are yearly over 30.000 toilet related injuries in the US alone) or worried about waking up your better half, RainBowl is the BEST SOLUTION.
FLAWLESS SENSORS set off the motion activated nightlight only during nighttime, when you and your family need it most and in order to SAVE ENERGY RainBowl will stay on for just 2 minutes after last detected movement. THE STURDY ADJUSTABLE ARM allows a hassle-free installation on ANY TOILET BOWL. Forming a firm grip around the toilet rim, it makes sure the lighting accessory STAYS SNUG, without dropping whenever you raise or lower the toilet seat. So easy.
THE MULTI COLOR CAROUSEL will entertain your child while POTTY TRAINING. Simply by pressing a single button your toddler can choose to freeze his / her favorite rainbow shade and, if he / she gets bored, press again to switch back to the SMOOTH COLOR TRANSITIONING mode. The LED lamp at the end of the rod is encased in FULL ABS PLASTIC preventing water damage from casual splashes. However, please be gentle.
DON’T KEEP ALL THE AWESOMENESS TO YOURSELF! Hands down, have you ever seen a more versatile and unusual GIFT IDEA? Random mugs and other boring presents are ancient history! Whether it’s your mom & dad’s anniversary, a co-worker’s retirement or you’re attending a Secret Santa exchange party, this novelty item brings a smile to everybody’s face and unlike other gag gifts, this smart device will also prove USEFUL. How’s that for a stocking stuffer?
BUY WITH CONFIDENCE. Last but not least, we’d like to assure you that our product is of TOP-NOTCH QUALITY and SUPERIOR DURABILITY. To support our claims we offer LIFETIME WARRANTY to our customers. If anything goes wrong with the device, we GUARANTEE its replacement. Simply write us and we’ll take care of the rest! Or get in touch anyway, we won’t bite.
From the land of strange tattoos here are a couple that need captions
Sorry, I got a bit long-winded here. And a bit late. A lot going on over the period of time.
OBIGS Issue Getting A Lot of Attention
Navy Times is reporting, Navy pilots have reported 461 physiological episodes in F/A-18 fighter jets and T-45 trainer aircraft since May of 2010 — an average of more than one every six days, Navy officials say. Yet the source of the problem remains unclear despite years of study and the recent completion of a 30-day review led by Adm. Scott Swift, Commander of the Pacific Fleet (photo below left – a attack pilot). He took over from Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr. in a ceremony on May 27, 2015. On Thursday, Adm. Bill Moran, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, briefed reporters about additional safety measures coming as a result of the review that are designed to curb this bedeviling trend. The Navy intends to immediately add a water separator in the T-45’s Onboard Oxygen Generation System, or OBOGS, a component common in high-performance jets but not found in the training aircraft. “Without a water separator in that system,”
Moran said, “we believe that there’s a potential for water moisture to get in there and not provide effective, dry air.” A new mask configuration — there have been 300 new masks recently delivered to training centers — will continue to be implemented in the training aircraft as well. T-45 instructors are already using the redesigned masks, and the plan is to have flight-starved students begin using them soon. “They’re out in the training command today,” Moran said. “Instructors are doing warm-up flights and using that mask before we put students in the airplane to make sure that they understanding procedures.” Recent efforts to address the problem have included installing redesigned OBOGS in 84 percent of in-service F/A-18s. The Navy fitted hyperbaric chambers aboard the carriers Bush, Vinson and Reagan for immediate treatment of aircrew. And some pilots have been provided watches that measure cabin altitude thresholds.
New Commanding Officer for USS Fitzgerald to be Named Soon
Seven American sailors are now accounted for after a Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship southwest of Yokosuka, Japan, early Saturday local time, the Navy has said. At approximately 0230 hrs local time on 17 June 2017, USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) was in a collision with your big old fat mama ACX Crystal, a container ship of 29,060 gross tons, roughly four times larger than Fitzgerald. The collision occurred about 50 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. The collision damaged the starboard side of the ship and caused flooding in a machinery space and two crew berthing spaces. Seven American sailors were missing after the collision and several others were injured. Those seven US sailors have now been found in one of the flooded berthing compartments. Two sailors were evacuated by helicopter along with the ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson. He was transferred to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka and is reportedly in stable condition. A second MEDEVAC is in progress. The executive officer assumed command as the destroyer returned to port with the assistance of tugs and the Japan Coast Guard. Naval tradition requires the commanding officer to be relieved in such circumstances. There is never, or hardly ever, a reason to accept a commanding officer of a war ship to have allowed his vessel to be involved in a collision at sea. Proof the Law of Gross Tonnage Wins in a collision at sea.