FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day August 12th through 15th 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

The most important thing a man can know is that, as he approaches his own door, someone on the other side is listening for the sound of his footsteps.   – Clark Gable

 

FOD Trivia Question

Who said, “My wife and I were happy for 20 years.  And then we met.”

 

Previous FOD Trivia Answer

Only one state of the United States has never had a foreign flag fly over it.  Which state is this that was never claimed by a foreign country? Answer:  Idaho

 

International Lefthanders Day

International Left Handers Day is observed annually on August 13 to celebrate the uniqueness and differences of the left handers. The day was first observed in the year 1976 by Dean R. Campbell, founder of the Lefthanders International, Inc.  International Left Handers Day was created to celebrate certain people’s sinistrality and raise awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed in a predominantly right-handed world.

It celebrates their uniqueness and differences, who are from seven to ten percent of the world’s population.  The day also spread awareness on issues faced by left-handers e.g. the importance of the special needs for left-handed kids, and also the likelihood for left-handers to develop schizophrenia.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day August 12th through 15th 2018”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 25th through 27th 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

Walk groundly, talk profoundly, drink roundly and sleep soundly. – William Hazlitt.

 

FOD Trivia Question

A new FOD feature!  FOD readers – answer the question.  The answer or at least the one I have will be published in the next edition.

Which Polish Astronomer, in 1543, located the sun as the center of our solar system?

 

There’s a lot going on today – I don’t want to have to have you add me to your weekend reading list – let’s get to it:

 

Remains of US Troops Killed In Korea Returned

The longest journeys must begin with the first steps.  While it’s not a giant step, it is a first step to advancing relations with North Korea, with the goal being the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.  The remains of multiple of U.S. troops killed in the Korean War more than six decades ago are headed back to America now after North Korean officials turned them over to military officials, White House officials announced Thursday night.  The move comes on the 65th anniversary of the armistice that ended hostilities in the conflict and about six weeks after President Donald Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong UnIn a statement, White House officials praised their North Korean counterparts for honoring a promise from that meeting to return the remains. “We are encouraged by North Korea’s actions and the momentum for positive change.”  (Fireball note:  Thank you President Trump making this a priority when dealing with North Korea.)  Military officials said the remains were loaded onto an Air Force C-17 at an air base in Wonsan, North Korea, and taken to Osan Air Base in South Korea. Service members from United Nations Command Korea and technical experts from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency were on hand for the event.  United Nations Command officials confirmed that 55 cases of remains were turned over by the North Koreans. A formal repatriation ceremony will be held on Aug. 1, with plans to return the remains to Hawaii after that for further analysis.  “The United States owes a profound debt of gratitude to those American service members who gave their lives in service to their country and we are working diligently to bring them home,” the White House statement said.  “It is a solemn obligation of the United States Government to ensure that the remains are handled with dignity and properly accounted for so their families receive them in an honorable manner.”  More than 35,000 Americans died on the Korean Peninsula during that war. Of those, 7,700 are still listed as missing in action, with 5,300 believed to be on North Korean soil.  U.S. and North Korean officials had previously worked together on the recovery of those casualties in the past, forging a repatriation agreement that lasted from 1990 to 2005. During that span, 229 fallen troops were identified and returned home.

 

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 25th through 27th 2018”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 18th through 24th 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

I never make the same mistake twice. I make it three four times, you know, just to be sure!

 

USAF Offers New Cockpit Only Career Track

There is a new program out there for USAF officers that would allow them to stay in the cockpit longer and thereby relieve some pressure on the ranks of pilots leaving the Air Force for other career paths.  Air Force Times is reporting eligible mobility pilots  can apply for Air Mobility Command’s new Aviator Technical Track that cuts out non-flying-related duties and lets you stay in the cockpit longer.  “This fulfills a promise to our airmen that we listened to them and wanted to implement their ideas,” Gen. Carlton Everhart, head of AMC, told Air Force Times.  In April 2017, Everhart reached out to airmen via email and social media to solicit ideas on how the Air Force can better retain talent as it deals with pilot shortages. The Air Force is down about 2,000 pilots, with about 1,600 mobility pilots eligible to separate in the next four years.  The four-star received more than 700 responses from airmen, and one of the top suggestions was a flying-only career track.  Everhart said he’s seeking a small cadre of active-duty mobility pilots who are majors or major-selects with 11 to 13 years of commissioned service. Selectees will still be required to maintain all Air Force standards, including health and fitness and readiness requirements, but professional development education and advanced academic degrees will be optional.  “We hope to retain pilots by reducing developmental requirements for officers not interested in command,” Everhart said. “Those things we have traditionally said were the stepping stones to move you into a leadership track to broaden your expertise … are now optional.”  There won’t be any required duties not related to flying, but those in the program still need to go through training, standardization and tactics. Since they’re flying-related billets, selected airmen can still continue to fly as they complete those duties.  Airmen can also decide to leave the program if they’d rather switch back to a leadership role or a leadership track, he said. Then there will still be enough time to catch back up with peers.  “We’re going to try to give the options back to the aviator,” Everhart said.  Pilots chosen for the Aviator Technical Track can remain in one assignment for up to five years if they so choose, which Everhart hopes increases predictability and a better work-life balance.  “We’re trying to guarantee them one specific location for five years,” he said. “We are listening to concerns about quality of life.”  There will also be opportunities for pilots in the program to explore avenues outside of AMC, Everhart said.  “You may not just stay in Air Mobility Command,” he said. “You may go to another [major command].”  The pilots chosen for the initial round can also help shape the future of the program, Everhart said.  After about a year of the program being in place, Everhart said he wants to get feedback from those pilots and see what needs to be tweaked.  “I think [the program] offers more flexibility instead of potentially constricting them into certain avenues,” he said.  Everhart said there’s a possibility of eventually expanding the program to other career fields, such as maintenance, air traffic control and cyber.  “Setting the foundation and seeing what we did right and what we did wrong will allow others to improve upon it,” he said. “This is just the start.”

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 18th through 24th 2018”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day June 22nd through 26th 2018

Fireball Saying of the Day

If you know something will go wrong and you do everything to stop it from happening, then something else will go wrong.

 

SECDEF to Visit China

It’s expected we’ll see US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis on the road to Asia this week.   According to the South China Morning Post, he’ll visit China next week as tensions rise between the two countries over Taiwan and the South China Sea. Mattis said on Wednesday that he would visit Beijing and then Seoul next week, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.  Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan confirmed that Mattis was “travelling to the region next week”, adding that details of the trip would be released on Friday.  Military ties between the United States and China have worsened in the last month, with Washington disinviting Beijing from the multinational RIMPAC military exercise in Hawaii in a response to China’s military build-up in the South China Sea. The Pentagon is also reportedly considering sending warships through the Taiwan Strait and increasing arms sales to Taiwan after Chinese military aircraft, including the H-6K strategic bomber, conducted exercises around the self-ruled island. The tensions between the two countries came to the surface that at the Shangri-La Dialogue security forum in Singapore early this month, when Mattis criticized Beijing for its activities in the disputed waters, including its vast territorial claims and deployment of weapons systems that he said were designed for “intimidation and coercion.”   On the sidelines of the forum, Senior Colonel Zhou Bo, director of the Central Military Commission’s Centre for Security Cooperation, said Mattis’ remarks were ridiculous and the US, not China, was militarizing the South China Sea.  Zhou said China’s land reclamation in the waters was not prohibited by any international law and the US was the main factor contributing to instability in the region.  Mattis also pledged the US’ continued commitment to Taiwan, saying Washington would supply Taiwan with “the defense articles and services necessary to maintain sufficient self-defense.”  Beijing regards the self-ruled island as a wayward province, to be brought under its rule by force if necessary.  “We oppose all unilateral efforts to alter the status quo, and will continue to insist any resolution of differences accord with the will of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait,” Mattis said.  But Mattis also said “the US will continue to pursue a constructive, results-oriented relationship with China, cooperation whenever possible will be the name of the game.”

 

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day June 22nd through 26th 2018”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day April 22nd through 27th 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on – Winston Churchill

 

Sea Hunter Transferred to US Navy

The Sea Hunter is an autonomous unmanned surface vehicle (USV) launched in 2016 as part of the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program.  It was christened 7 April 2016 in Portland, Oregon. It was built by Vigor Industrial.  (Vigor also builds all the ferries for the Washington State Ferry System).  The vessel continues the line of experimental “Sea” ships, including the Sea ShadowSea Fighter, and Sea SliceThe Sea Hunter is classified as a Class III USV and designated the Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MDUSV).  It is an unmanned self-piloting craft with twin screws, powered by two diesel engines with a top speed of 27 knots.  Its weight is 135 tons, including 40 tons of fuel, adequate for a 70-day cruise. Cruising range is “transoceanic,” 10,000 nautical miles at 12 knots fully fueled with 14,000 gallons of diesel, enough to “go from San Diego to Guam and back to Pearl Harbor on a tank of gas.”   Sea Hunter has a full load displacement of 145 tons and is intended to be operational through Sea State 5, waves up to 6.5 ft high and winds up to 21 knots and survivable through Sea State 7, seas up to 20 ft high. The trimaran hull provides increased stability without requiring a weighted keel, giving it a higher capacity for linear trajectories and better operations in shallow waters, though the greater width decreases maneuverability.   It is expected to undergo two years of testing before being placed in service with the U.S. Navy. If tests are successful, future such craft may be armed and used for anti-submarine and counter-mine duties, operating at a small fraction of the cost of operating a destroyer, $15,000-$20,000 per day compared to $700,000 per day; it could operate with Littoral Combat Ships, becoming an extension of the LCS ASW module.  Deputy US Defense Secretary Robert Work said that if weapons are added to the ship, a human would always remotely make the decision to use lethal force.  Following successful initial development, it was reported on 1 February 2018 that DARPA had handed development of Sea Hunter to the Office of Naval Research.  On 22 June 2016, Sea Hunter completed initial performance trials, meeting or surpassing all performance objectives for speed, maneuverability, stability, seakeeping, acceleration/deceleration, fuel consumption, and mechanical systems reliability in the open-ocean. Upcoming trials will include testing of sensors, the vessel’s autonomy suite, compliance with maritime collision regulations, and proof-of-concept demonstrations for a variety of U.S. Navy missions.  The Sea Hunter MDUSV was adopted by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in summer 2017 for operational testing and evaluation for mine-countermeasure, EO/IR, and submarine detection capabilities. Plans for FY 2018 include adding intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and offensive anti-submarine payloads.

 

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day April 22nd through 27th 2018”