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 autonomousunmanned 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 Shadow, Sea Fighter, and Sea Slice. The 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.
I would like to apologize to anyone whom I haven’t offended yet. Please be patient, I will get to you shortly.
Air Strike on Syria – Comment
First let me say I applaud President Trump’s decision to launch what appeared to be a successful surgical strike on Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure and capabilities. In aligning our efforts with those of Britain and France we establish a unified position against the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian supporters. The Pentagon boasted Saturday that its coordinated show of military force obliterated key chemical weapons facilities in Syria and set back the country’s chemical weapons capabilities “for years.” I have severe doubts in that regard. Russia has already publically stated it will replace weapons lost during this US led strike with more viable weapons. See my thoughts on Operation El Dorado below. But military and Middle East experts say the predawn onslaught — touted by the Defense Department as “precise, overwhelming and effective” — appears to have been little more than an empty gesture and likely did not do much to alter Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military calculus. Gen. Douglas Lute, the former U.S. ambassador to NATO, said that Assad’s threshold for pain is very high because “he’s in a fight for his life” to maintain control of his country, which has been mired in a seven-year civil war. He doesn’t fear a mid-term election. The airstrikes, which targeted three facilities involved in research or storage of chemical weapons in western Syria, won’t disable him from taking further action — whether chemical or conventional, Lute said. “I think he’s feeling reasonably good right now,” Lute said of Assad. “Some of his facilities were struck, but it doesn’t really challenge his hold on the country.” President Donald Trump on Friday ordered the military to strike targets in Syria in conjunction with France and the United Kingdom after a suspected chemical weapons attack reportedly killed dozens of Syrians. According to the Pentagon, those targets included a scientific research center in the capital of Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility near the city of Homs, and a chemical weapons equipment and military outpost also near Homs. Syria and all the issues surrounding the conflict in the area is a complicated issue. We have allowed it to become much more complicated because US administrations, past and present have been unwilling or unable to take a leading role. Into that vacuum have stepped Russia and Iran. If we want regime change, then we need to be strong in our efforts to effect that change. That means stronger sanctions, a possible no-fly zone, a possible shipping blockade and border embargos. It would be most inappropriate to call it “mission accomplished.” Oh, it’s too late for that!
Be careful when you follow the masses. Sometimes the M is silent.
Russians Supplying Arms To The Taliban
In the 1980’s insurgent groups known collectively as the mujahideen, as well as smaller Maoist groups, fought a guerrilla war against the Soviet Army and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan government, mostly in the rural countryside. The mujahideen groups were backed primarily by the United States and Pakistan, making it a Cold Warproxy war using the infrared-homing surface-to-air “Stinger” missile. Between 562,000 and 2,000,000 civilians were killed and millions of Afghans fled the country as refugees, mostly to Pakistanand Iran. By mid-1987 the Soviet Union, now under reformist leader Mikhail Gorbachev, announced it would start withdrawing its forces after meetings with the Afghan government. The final troop withdrawal started on May 15, 1988, and ended on February 15, 1989, leaving the government forces alone in its battle against the insurgents, which continued until 1992 when the former Soviet-backed government collapsed. These actions certainly weakened and led to the fall of the Soviet Union. The US failed to assist the new Afghanistan government with schools or hospitals or a rebuilding effort that could have assisted Afghanistan to become a more modern nation. Move to the present day. In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Gen John Nicholson said he’d seen “destabilizing activity by the Russians.” He said Russian weapons were smuggled across the Tajik border to the Taliban, but could not say in what quantity. Russia has denied such US allegations in the past, citing a lack of evidence. Does anyone see an irony here?
Always remember you are unique, just like everyone else.
Buy Your Epic Pass
I don’t endorse many products on FOD, but this one is too good to pass up! If you’re a skier or a rider than you owe it to yourself to look into the Epic Pass. For $99 it gives Active/Retired/Dependent service members unlimited, unrestricted access to Vail, Beaver Creek, Whistler Blackcomb, Breckenridge, Park City, Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Stowe, Wilmot, Afton Alps, and Mt. Brighton for the 2018-19 season, as well as Perisher in Australia for the 2019 ski season. And they’re looking to add more resorts for next year as well. There is also a good deal for Veterans and their Dependents at $499 for the same benefits. You also get discounts on food on and off the mountain, lodging and ski rentals as well. There are also free lift access during the summer at most resorts for hiking or biking adventures. Also included are six ski with a friend/buddy tickets which give some pretty good deals for friends as well.
Congress Races to Pass $1.3T Defense-Friendly Omnibus Bill And Avoid Shutdown
Defense News is reporting the sweeping $1.3 trillion spending bill that congressional leaders unveiled Wednesday includes $654.6 billion for the Pentagon. But it’s unclear whether Congress can pass the proposal without shutting down the government. Lawmakers touted the bill as providing the biggest year-over-year increase in defense funding in 15 years. Pentagon appropriations include $589.5 billion in the base budget and $65.2 billion in the overseas contingency operations (OCO) budget — an increase of $61.1 billion over the 2017 enacted level, when combined with other previously enacted funding. The bill surpasses President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 request for the Pentagon by $15.5 billion. Leadership and the heads of the appropriations committees struck a deal on a spending bill to fund the Pentagon and 11 other departments through the end of the fiscal year. The hard-won deal also involved funding to address the opioid crisis and strengthen’s the country’s gun background check system, but it does not include a fix for expiring protections for young immigrants. Hardline House GOP conservatives, however, have signaled they will vote against the bill because negotiations have been too friendly to Democrats. Their non-support forces the GOP to rely on Democrats for the votes to pass it. The agreement increases a cap on spending in the last two months of the fiscal year from 20 percent to 25 percent. It also changes the reprogramming threshold from $15 million to $20 million, and modifies the guidelines for realignments between readiness budget line items from requiring prior approval to written notification. “These flexibility changes will allow for smarter execution of the $230 billion in base and OCO funding provided for the operation and maintenance accounts by avoiding the ‘use it or lose it’ dilemma and allowing more timely execution of readiness line items that have been affected by fact-of-life changes or emergent requirements,” a bill summary reads. The defense bill includes $705.8 million for Israeli cooperative programs. A separate State and Foreign Operations bill includes $9 billion in base and OCO funding for international security assistance, with $3.1 billion for Israel, $1.3 billion for Egypt and $1.5 billion for Jordan. For Navy shipbuilding programs, there is $23.8 billion to procure 14 Navy ships, including funding for one carrier replacement, two DDG-51 guided missile destroyers, two Virginia-class submarines, three littoral combat ships; one expeditionary sea base; one expeditionary fast transport; one amphibious ship replacement; one fleet oiler; one towing, salvage, and rescue ship, and one oceanographic survey ship. For aviation, there is $10.2 billion for 90 F-35 aircraft; $1.8 billion for 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft; $1.6 billion for 30 new build and 50 remanufactured Apache helicopters; $1.1 billion for 56 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters; $225 million for 20 MQ-1 Gray Eagle unmanned aerial vehicles; $1.7 billion for 10 P-8A Poseidon aircraft; $1.3 billion for 14 V-22 aircraft; $2.9 billion for 18 KC-46 tanker aircraft; $2.4 billion for 25 C/HC/KC/MC-130J aircraft, and $103 million for A-10 wing replacements. For space, there is $1.4 billion for three evolved expendable launch vehicles and $675 million for two wideband gap-filler satellites. Air Force space programs net $800 million, with $100 million above the budget request for space launch vehicle and engine development activities. There’s also $9.5 billion for the Missile Defense Agency, bringing the FY18 total for MDA to more than $11.3 billion when combined with the previously passed supplemental, according to the summary.
There is food value in beer, but no beer value in food!
I should have mentioned some other events from February 20:
Friendship 7 and John Glen Orbit the Earth
20 February 1962, 14:47:39 UTC: At 9:47:39 a.m., Eastern Standard Time, NASA’s Mercury-Atlas 6 lifted off from Launch Complex 14 at Cape Canaveral, The Mercury spacecraft, named Friendship 7, was carried to orbit by an Atlas LV-3B launch vehicle the first time that launch vehicle was used . Aboard the spacecraft was Lieutenant Colonel John Glenn, United States Marine Corps, an experienced fighter pilot and test pilot. After several delays in the countdown over several days for various systems pre-launch malfunctions and system component replacements, the launch button was depressed and then capsule communicator Scott Carpenter uttered the famous phrase “Godspeed, John Glenn.” Glenn received word that the Atlas had boosted the MA-6 into a trajectory that would stay up for at least seven orbits. Meanwhile, computers at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland indicated that the MA-6 orbital parameters appeared good enough for almost 100 orbits. As Friendship 7 crossed Cape Canaveral at the start of its second orbit, flight systems controller Don Arabian noticed that “Segment 51”, a sensor providing data on the spacecraft landing system, was giving a strange reading. According to the reading, the heat shield and landing bag were no longer locked in position.
If this were the case, the heat shield was only being held against the spacecraft by the straps of the retro package. Mercury Control was still undecided on the course of action to take. Some controllers thought the retrorocket pack should be jettisoned after retrofire, while other controllers thought the retro pack should be retained, as added assurance that the heat shield would stay in place. Flight Director Chris Kraft and Mission Director Walter C. Williams decided to keep the retro pack in place during reentry. Walter Schirra, the California communicator at Point Arguello, relayed the instructions to Glenn: the retro pack should be retained until the spacecraft was over the Texas tracking station. After the mission was over, the “Segment 51” warning light problem was later determined to be a faulty sensor switch, meaning that the heat shield and landing bag were in fact secure during reentry. Throughout the flight Friendship 7 used greater than expected the attitude controlling rockets actuations and hence used greater than expected fuel. The spacecraft splashed down in the North Atlantic at coordinates near 21°20′N 68°40′W, 40 miles (64 km) short of the planned landing zone. Retrofire calculations had not taken into account spacecraft weight loss due to use of onboard consumables. USS Noa, a destroyer code-named “Steelhead”, had spotted the spacecraft when it was descending on its parachute. The destroyer was about 6 miles (9.7 km) away when it radioed Glenn that it would reach him shortly. Noa came alongside Friendship 7 seventeen minutes later. The Mercury Friendship 7 capsule is on display in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall, just inside the Mall-side doors at the SmithsonianNational Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Neil Armstrong Sets Five More Records
19–20 February 1979: Professor Neil Armstrong of the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering, member of the Board of Directors of Gates Learjet Corporation, former United States Navy fighter pilot, NACA/NASA research test pilot, Gemini and Apollo astronaut, and The First Man To Set Foot On The Moon, set five Fédération Aéronautique Internationale(FAI) and National Aeronautics Association class records for time to climb to an altitude and altitude while flying the prototype Learjet 28, serial number 28-001. Armstrong, with Learjet program test pilot Peter Reynolds as co-pilot, and with NAA observer Don Berliner aboard, flew the Learjet 28 to 15,000 meters (49,212.598 feet) in 12 minutes, 27 seconds at Kittyhawk, North Carolina on 19 February. On the same day, during a flight from Wichita, Kansas, to Elizabeth City, New Jersey, Armstrong flew the Learjet to 15,584.6 meters (51,130.577 feet), setting records for altitude and for sustained altitude in horizontal flight. The following day, 20 February 1979, flying from Elizabeth City to Florence, Kentucky, Armstrong again set altitude and sustained altitude in horizontal flight, in a different class, by taking the Learjet to 15,585 meters (51,131.89 feet). I was very fortunate to sit next to Neil Armstrong at a luncheon for the Society of Experimental Test Pilots a few years before he passed.
BGEN Jimmy Stewart Flies His Last Combat Mission
20 February 1966: Brigadier General James M. Stewart, United States Air Force Reserve, flew the last combat mission of his military career, a 12 hour, 50 minute “Arc Light” bombing mission over Vietnam, aboard Boeing B-52 Stratofortress of the 736th Bombardment Squadron, 454th Bombardment Wing. His bomber was a B-52F-65-BW, serial number 57-149, call sign GREEN TWO. It was the number two aircraft in a 30-airplane bomber stream. Stewart enlisted as a private in the United States Army 22 March 1941, just three weeks after winning the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in “The Philadelphia Story.” Concerned that his celebrity status would keep him in “safe” assignments, Jimmy Stewart had repeatedly requested a combat assignment. His request was finally approved and he was assigned as operations officer of the 703rd Bombardment Squadron, 445th Bombardment Group, a B-24 Liberator unit soon to be sent to the war in Europe.
Three weeks later, he was promoted to commanding officer of the 703rd. The 445th Bombardment Group arrived in England and after initial operational training, was stationed at RAF Tibenham, Norfolk, England. The unit flew its first combat mission on 13 December 1943, with Captain Stewart leading the high squadron of the group formation in an attack against enemy submarine pens at Kiel, Germany. On his second mission, Jimmy Stewart led the entire 445th Group. He flew missions with the 445th, 453rd, 389th Bomb Groups, and with units of the 20th Combat Bomb Wing. After being promoted to the rank of Colonel on 29 March 1945, he was given command of the 2nd Bombardment Wing. He had risen from Private to Colonel in four years. He received a second Distinguished Flying Cross and was presented the Croix de Guerre avec Palme by France. Following World War II, Jimmy Stewart remained in the U.S. Air Corps as a Reserve Officer, and with the United States Air Force after it became a separate service in 1947. He commanded Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Marietta, Georgia. In 1953, his rank of colonel was made permanent, and in 1959, Jimmy Stewart was promoted to Brigadier General. During his active duty periods, Colonel Stewart remained current as a pilot of Convair B-36 Peacemaker, Boeing B-47 Stratojet and B-52 Stratofortress intercontinental bombers of the Strategic Air Command.
Latest Word on Transgender Troops – No News – Yet
Military Times is reporting Defense Secretary Jim Mattis missed a Wednesday deadline to provide President Donald Trump guidance on transgender service members, which the Pentagon said reflected the complexity of the issue. “The secretary is taking his time to consider the information he’s been given,” Pentagon Press Secretary Dana White told reporters Thursday. Based on direction from the White House, Mattis had a Feb. 21 deadline to provide Trump his recommendations on whether allowing transgender service members to serve negatively impacted readiness, and whether those already in the military should be allowed to continue to serve. Mattis has received and considered internal recommendations from a DoD study and panel looking at the issue, White said. However he is not obligated to follow their advice and is evaluating the issue “through the lens of lethality,” White said. Outside the Pentagon, the courts have already weighed in on key aspects of the policy. “Things are at a very confusing moment right now,” said Shannon Minter, who is representing transgender personnel in two of the four federal lawsuits challenging Trump’s ban. “The Secretary of Defense, after consulting with the Secretary of Homeland Security, may advise me at any time, in writing, that a change to this policy is warranted,” Trump said in the August 2017 memo. The Pentagon is likely to provide guidance to the White House by the end of the week, White said. The guidance is not expected to be made public, several defense officials told Military Times. The White House is not obligated to accept Mattis’ recommendations, and the August memo said that barring any decisions to the contrary, on March 23, 2018, the White House intends to reinstate a ban on transgender service members and allow no additional funds to be spent on sex-reassignment surgeries. It was not clear if on that date the White House would also make Mattis’ February recommendations public. In addition, parts of Trump’s August directive have already been overturned in the courts, further muddying what exactly the transgender policy will be. In the August memo, Trump also directed that no new transgender recruits be allowed to enlist in the military, upending earlier direction from Mattis that set a six-month delay that expired Jan. 1. Multiple federal courts have also ruled against that limitation, and transgender personnel were allowed to join the military as of Jan. 1, 2018. In a statement issued in late December as the Jan. 1 ban expired, the Justice Department pointed to the anticipated guidance, supported by a study Mattis directed last August, as reason not to further pursue that angle of the ban. The courts are still weighing in on the wider issue of whether any restrictions on transgender service are constitutional. In the two federal cases that Minter is involved with, administration attorneys have pointed to the anticipated policy from Mattis as a reason for delay. The cases are also in a heated discovery phase where attorneys for the transgender plaintiffs are trying to determine on what basis Trump made his July decision, and in consultation with whom.
Navy Looking At Radical New Career Paths
The traditional days of a 20- to 30-year Navy career may be numbered, as service officials are looking into ways to challenge the traditional stovepipe “up-or-out” career paths. And now Congress wants to help. According to Navy Times, With the need to increase manpower and the new blended retirement system potentially leading to retention challenges down the line, Navy officials want services and lawmakers to take a long look at how a military career is defined — and executed by sailors. That means in the years to come, the old 20-year career model could end up looking more like putting in 20 over a span of 40 years, or even 30 over 50. After an office discussion with Chief of Naval Personnel VADM Robert P. Burke, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) is asking all the service personnel chiefs how Congress could help the services make these alternative career paths a reality. “We talked about new ways of thinking about an individual’s lifecycle in service,” she said during a Feb. 14 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel. Warren also floated the idea of “potentially making it easier for someone who has to leave military service for either personal or professional reasons to be able to return to uniform later in life.” The Navy has been working on this idea all the way back to at least 2005, when it began investigating how to quickly bring a reserve sailor back to active duty in less than 72 hours. And the service succeeded — at least on the enlisted side. In 2009, The Navy began their RC to AC Program that has been regularly bringing qualified reservists back to active duty ever since. It takes much longer on the officer side, however, due to current laws governing officer personnel policies for all the services. “We can fairly quickly bring folks back in that were on the reserve side, bring them back into the active component,” Burke told lawmakers at the hearing. “We’re filling…hundreds of gaps to sea with reservists that we brought back into the active component.” But Warren would like to see it go a step further and make it easier for those who are now on the street to get back into the fleet, and has asked the services to share with lawmakers what additional changes in the law are needed to make the system more flexible. Burke outlined to the subcommittee a possible future Navy gameplan under such a scenario. “We’re thinking in terms of a longer career, making our people pyramid narrower at the base, so we bring in fewer people, giving them opportunities to move around,” Burke said. “But as importantly, with this commitment to family readiness, which is important to sailor readiness and fleet readiness, we have to let people step off the treadmill occasionally or they’re not going to hang out for a 40-year career.” But getting to a point where someone can serve off and on over a lifetime will require changes in the law, individual service policies and culture. For example, right now, the military has a mandatory retirement age of 62. With people staying fit longer than ever before, Congress should consider changing the law to allow a person’s fitness level — not an arbitrary age cutoff — to determine length of service, a familiar source expressed to Navy Times. Current Department of Defense and Navy medical standards and policies would have to be changed as well. If a sailor leaves the service today, for instance, and doesn’t affiliate directly with the reserve, that sailor may face greater challenges when trying to get back in under the current rules, the source said. Those rules require a person who is completely separated from all military obligations to meet the same initial entry physical and medical standards as someone entering the service for the first time, standards significantly more strict than those faced by service members already in the system. A sailor with a medical condition that would still allow for re-enlistment, for example, may be denied re-entry into the service if trying to come back as a civilian. “So we’ve got to have an alternative to out,” Burke said. “So that option could be into the reserves…or the other alternative would be…a horizontal career track where they can keep flying…go into her research job, whatever it may be. We need alternatives to out and right now there are none.”
Follow What China Does Not What They Say
Eleven Chinese warships sailed into the East Indian Ocean this month, a Chinese news portal said, amid a constitutional crisis in the tiny tropical island chain of the Maldives now under a state of emergency. Japan Times is reporting a fleet of destroyers and at least one frigate, a 30,000-ton amphibious transport dock and three support tankers entered the Indian Ocean, news portal Sina.com.cn said, without linking the deployment to the crisis in the Maldives or giving a reason. “If you look at warships and other equipment, the gap between the Indian and Chinese navy is not large,” Sina.com.cn said Sunday. It did not say when the fleet was deployed or for how long. Rivalry between old foes India and China for influence in the Maldives became evident after President Abdulla Yameen signed up to Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative to build trade and transport links across Asia and beyond. India, which has had long-standing political and security ties to the islands about 400 km (250 miles) away, has sought to push back against China’s expanding presence in the overwhelmingly Muslim country of 400,000 people. Maldivian opposition leaders have urged New Delhi to intervene in the crisis. China’s Ministry of Defense did not respond to requests for comment. Friday, the People’s Liberation Army posted photos and a story on rescue training exercises taking place in the East Indian Ocean on its official Twitter-like Weibo account. China earlier this month advised Chinese citizens to avoid visiting the Maldives, famous its luxury hotels, scuba-diving resorts and limpid tropical seas, until political tensions subside. China has been striking deals with countries in Asia and Africa in line with its Belt and Road initiative to improve imports of key commodities, upgrade infrastructure and trade routes in the region and boost its diplomatic clout. Yameen imposed the emergency Feb. 5 for 15 days to annul a Supreme Court ruling that quashed convictions against nine opposition leaders and ordered his government to free those held in prison. He sought parliamentary approval to extend the emergency for 30 days Monday. China has drawn criticism in the West for its perceived military buildup of the neighboring South China Sea, where it has built and expanded islands and reefs. China claims most of the sea where neighbors Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.
New Requirement For Baseball’s Baseballs
Spring baseball is underway with the Grapefruit and Citrus League play getting started! Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated reports that Major League Baseball will mandate that teams store baseballs in “an air-conditioned and enclosed room[s]” this season. He adds that the league will install climate sensors in each room to measure temperature and humidity during the 2018 season, with such data being used to determine if humidors — like the ones being used in Colorado and Arizona — are necessary for 2019.
On 21 February 1945 and during the Battle of Iwo Jima, (mentioned in the previous issue of FOD), two Japanese kamikazes hit the USS Bismarck Sea (CVE-95). The Bismarck Sea is Casablanca classescort carrier, She was launched on 17 April 1944 by Kaiser Co., Inc., Vancouver, Washington. The first kamikaze aircraft strikes the starboard side under the first 40 mm gun (aft), crashing through the hangar deck and striking the ship’s magazines. The fire was nearly under control when the second plane struck the aft elevator shaft, exploding on impact and destroying the fire fighting salt water distribution system, thus preventing any further damage control. Shortly after, the order was given to abandon ship. The USS Bismarck Sea sank with the loss of 318 men, and was the last US Navy aircraft carrier to be lost during World War II. Three destroyers and three destroyer escorts rescued survivors over the next 12 hours, between them saving a total of 605 officers and men from her crew of 923. Survivors were then transferred to Dickens and Highlands. Additionally five kamikaze aircraft strike the USS Saratoga (CV-3). Saratoga participated in the Battle of Iwo Jima as a dedicated night fighter carrier. Saratoga was assigned to provide fighter cover while the remaining carriers launched the strikes on Japan, but in the process, her fighters raided two Japanese airfields. The force fueled on 18 and 19 February, and the ship provided CAP over Iwo Jima on 19–20 February. The following day, Saratoga was detached with an escort of three destroyers to join the amphibious forces and carry out night patrols over Iwo Jima and nearby Chichi Jima. Taking advantage of low cloud cover and Saratoga‘s weak escort, six Japanese planes scored five bomb hits on the carrier in three minutes; three of the aircraft also struck the carrier. Saratoga‘s flight deck forward was wrecked, her starboard side was holed twice and large fires were started in her hangar deck; she lost 123 of her crew dead or missing as well as 192 wounded. Thirty-six of her aircraft were destroyed. Another attack two hours later further damaged her flight deck. Slightly over an hour later, the fires were under control, and Saratoga was able to recover six fighters; she arrived at Bremerton on 16 March for permanent repairs.
Miracle On Ice
In one of the most dramatic upsets in Olympic history, the underdog U.S. hockey team, made up of college players, defeats the four-time defending gold-medal winning Soviet team at the men’s ice hockeytournament at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York on February 22, 1980. The Soviet squad, previously regarded as the finest in the world, fell to the youthful American team 4-3 before a frenzied crowd of 10,000 spectators. Two days later, the Americans defeated Finland 4-2 to clinch the hockey gold. The victory became one of the most iconic moments of the Games and in U.S. sports. Equally well-known was the television call of the final seconds of the game by Al Michaels for ABC, in which he famously declared in the final seconds, “Do you believe in miracles?! Yes!” In 1999, Sports Illustrated named the “Miracle on Ice” the top sports moment of the 20th century. As part of its centennial celebration in 2008, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) named the “Miracle on Ice” as the best international ice hockey story of the past 100 years. I remember completing two back to back ACM flights and had the opportunity to watch the third and final period. It was a great, great moment in sports.
Battle of Verdun Begins
At 7:12 a.m. on the morning of February 21, 1916, a shot from a German Krupp 38-centimeter long-barreled gun—one of over 1,200 such weapons set to bombard French forces along a 20-kilometer front stretching across the Meuse River—strikes a cathedral in Verdun, France, beginning the Battle of Verdun, which would stretch on for 10 months and become the longest battles of the First World War on the Western Front between the German and French armies. The Battle of Verdun lasted for 303 days and became the longest and one of the most costly battles in human history. An estimate in 2000 found a total of 714,231 casualties, 377,231 French and 337,000 German, for an average of 70,000 casualties a month; other recent estimates increase the number of casualties to 976,000, during the battle, with 1,250,000 suffered at Verdun during the war.
Theodore Roosevelt Welcomes Home Great White Fleet
In this photo, President Theodore Roosevelt (on the 12-inch (30 cm) gun turret at right) addresses officers and crewmen on Connecticut, in Hampton Roads, Virginia, upon her return from the Fleet’s cruise around the world, 22 February 1909. The Great White Fleet was the popular nickname for the United States Navy battle fleet that completed a journey around the globe from December 16, 1907, to February 22, 1909, by order of United States PresidentTheodore Roosevelt. It consisted of 16 battleships divided into two squadrons, along with various escorts. Roosevelt sought to demonstrate growing American martial power and blue-water navy capability. Hoping to enforce treaties and protect overseas holdings, the United States Congress appropriated funds to build American sea power. Beginning with just 90 small ships, over one-third of them wooden, the navy quickly grew to include new modern steel fighting vessels. The hulls of these ships were painted a stark white, giving the armada the nickname “Great White Fleet.” The purpose of the fleet deployment was multifaceted. Ostensibly, it served as a showpiece of American goodwill, as the fleet visited numerous countries and harbors. In this, the voyage was not unprecedented. Naval courtesy calls, many times in conjunction with the birthdays of various monarchs and other foreign celebrations, had become common in the 19th century. Roosevelt’s stated intent was to give the navy practice in navigation, communication, coal consumption and fleet maneuvering; navy professionals maintained, however, that such matters could be served better in home waters. In light of what had happened to the Russian Baltic Fleet, they were concerned about sending their own fleet on a long deployment, especially since part of the intent was to impress a modern, battle-tested navy that had not known defeat. The fleet was untested in making such a voyage, and Tsushima had proven that extended deployments had no place in practical strategy.
On February 23, 1954, children at Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, receive the first injections of the new polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk. Polio vaccines are vaccines used to prevent poliomyelitis (polio). There are two types: one that uses inactivated poliovirus and is given by injection (IPV), and one that uses weakened poliovirus and is given by mouth (OPV). The World Health Organization recommends all children be vaccinated against polio. The two vaccines have eliminated polio from most of the world, and reduced the number of cases each year from an estimated 350,000 in 1988 to 74 in 2015. The inactivated polio vaccines are very safe. Mild redness or pain may occur at the site of injection. Oral polio vaccines result in vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis in about three per million doses. This compares with one in two hundred who are paralysed following a polio infection. Both are generally safe to give during pregnancy and in those who have HIV/AIDS but are otherwise well. The first polio vaccine was the inactivated polio vaccine. It was developed by Jonas Salk and came into use in 1955. The oral polio vaccine was developed by Albert Sabin and came into commercial use in 1961. They are on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system. The wholesale cost in the developing world is about 0.25 USD per dose for the oral form as of 2014. In the United States it costs between 25 and 50 USD for the inactivated form.
The Great One
Jesus saves! He passes to Gretzky and Gretzky scores. On 24 February 1984, Wayne Gretzky scores his 77th goal in one season, a record thought to have been unbeatable. He played twenty seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for four teams from 1979 to 1999. Nicknamed “The Great One,” he has been called “the greatest hockey player ever,” by many sportswriters, players, and the league itself. He is the leading scorer in NHL history, with more goals and assists than any other player. He garnered more assists than any other player scored total points, and is the only NHL player to total over 200 points in one season – a feat he accomplished four times. In addition, he tallied over 100 points in 16 professional seasons, 14 of them consecutive. At the time of his retirement in 1999, he held 61 NHL records: 40 regular-season records, 15 playoff records, and six All-Star records. He still holds 60 NHL records.
United 811 Remembered
On February 24, 1989, United Airlines Flight 811 a Boeing 747-122 was on a regularly scheduled airline flight from San Francisco to Sydney, with intermediate stops at Los Angeles, Honolulu, and Auckland. 16 minutes after takeoff, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) south of Honolulu, the 747 was climbing through an altitude of 22,000 feet (6,705 meters) at 300 knots (345 miles per hour/556 kilometers per hour) when, at 02:09:09 HST, the cargo door on the lower right side of the fuselage, just forward of the wing, failed, blowing outward. Explosive decompression blew a huge hole in the fuselage. Ten passenger seats were carried away along with nine passengers. A flight attendant was nearly lost, but was dragged back inside by passengers and crew. serving the flight experienced a cargo door failure in flight shortly after leaving Honolulu. The resulting explosive decompression blew out several rows of seats, resulting in the deaths of nine passengers. Debris damaged the two engines on the right wing, causing them to lose power. Flames were visible. Both engines had to be shut down. Flight 811 declared an emergency, began descending and dumping fuel to reduce the airliner’s weight for an emergency landing. The 747 turned back toward Honolulu. The wing had also been damaged, such that the flaps could not be fully extended and this necessitated a much higher than normal approach speed. The 747 touched down at approximately 200 knots (230 miles per hour/370 kilometers per hour). After coming to a stop, Flight 811 was completely evacuated within 45 seconds. Every flight attendant suffered some injury. The cause of the cargo door failure was determined to be a faulty design, combine with a short in the 747’s electrical system. Based on developments after it issued its original report, NTSB issued a superseding accident report on March 18, 1992. In its superseding report, the NTSB determined that the probable cause of the accident was the sudden opening of the cargo door, which was attributed to improper wiring and deficiencies in the door’s design. It appeared in this case that a short circuit caused an uncommanded rotation of the latch cams, which forced the weak locking sectors to distort and allow the rotation, thus enabling the pressure differential and aerodynamic forces to blow the door off the fuselage, ripping away the hinge fixing structure, the cabin floor and side fuselage skin, causing the explosive decompression. The door (photo above right) was recovered by a U.S. Navy manned deep sea submersible Sea Cliff from a depth of 14,100 feet (4,298 meters).