US Navy Ships Delivering Food and Water to Irma Victims
Positioned off the coast of Florida, helicopters from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) are now delivering food and water to Florida as part of the Hurricane Irma relief effort. As part of the ongoing recovery in the wake of Hurricane Irma, Navy and Coast Guard USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) and USS New York (LPD 21) are expected to join the relief effort Tuesday. As part of the ongoing recovery in the wake of Hurricane Irma, Navy and Coast Guard helicopters and ships are continuing to evacuate people and shuttle food, water, and supplies to the U.S. Virgin Islands and south Florida. Near Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Military Sealift Command’s dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12) started providing supplies to the USS Wasp (LHD-1), USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) and USS Oak Hill (LSD-51), along with 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and Federal Emergency Management Agency staff, which started providing humanitarian aid and medical airlifts Friday. William McLean pumped 620,000 gallons of diesel fuel, 40,000 gallons of jet fuel, and delivered 40 pallets of supplies to Navy units, according to the Navy. USNS Wright (T-AVB 3), aviation logistics support ship, is expected to leave Philadelphia Tuesday to support relief efforts in near the Virgin Islands. Wright is assigned to the Military Sealift Command Prepositioning Program and carries aviation maintenance equipment to support U.S. Marine Corps fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
Friends of FOD – How did you observe the solar eclipse? All the best photos are on the internet, but I enjoyed seeing the solar eclipse in Boise, ID, thanks to Friends of FOD Roger and Glorie. Thanks to both of you! And I also got to do some fishing on the Boise River. Notice I said fishing and not catching. But a good time was had by all. Good stories appreciated.
Another Collision At Sea
USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) an Arleigh Burke-classdestroyer (below left) suffered “significant damage” to the hull after it was involved in a collision at sea with the Liberian-flaggedAlnic MC (below right) off the coast of Malaysia east of the Strait of Malacca. Ten sailors were missing and five were injured following the collision, which happened at 5:24 a.m. Singapore time (5:24 p.m. ET Sunday), according to the Navy’s latest update issued around nine-and-a-half hours later. And the search continues as of August 21st. After the collision the ship, which sustained damage to her port side aft, was able to return to port under her own power. According to United States Navy press release, the breach “resulted in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms. Initial casualty reports indicate ten sailors missing and five sailors injured. Admiral John M. Richardson, the Chief of Naval Operations (below left) has ordered an “operational pause” or safety stand down for a day to “include,
but not be limited to, looking at operational tempo, trends in personnel, materiel, maintenance and equipment.”
The Strait of Malacca is one of the most heavily transited bodies of water in the world, with more than 80,000 vessels moving through it annually, roughly one third of all oceanic transits. US Naval vessels usually have their best bridge team on duty for the transit. I noted in the 11 through 15 August edition of FOD that a military band is standard for that all important change of command. I would venture to say the yet unannounced, change of command for the McCain and perhaps even Commander of Destroyer Squadron 15 will not need a band. As you’ll recall, the destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) was involved in the June 17 with the Philippine-flagged merchant ship ACX Crystal, a container ship, off the coast of Japan resulted in the death of seven sailors. Fitzgerald’s commanding officer, executive officer and command master chief have been relieved of their duties aboard Fitzgerald. I’m thinking the commanding officer of Destroyer Squadron 15, CAPT Jeffrey A. Bennett II might be looking for another job.
Hey, I’m getting tired of talking to myself here. I need your comments to make this worthwhile to me and to others. I’m sure you Friends of FOD have some opinions. Let’s hear/see something from you. And if you have suggestions or personal contributions surrounding an event or a interesting tidbit from around the dates of a particular edition. I’d really like to hear from you active duty Friends of FOD.
Trump Verses Transgender Service Members
The big news across the military today is President Trump’s tweet from July 26th saying transgender individuals would not be allowed to serve in any capacity in the US military. This announcement came as a shock to Pentagon leaders who had no idea such a policy change was coming. In fact Secretary of DefenseJames Mattis (left) is on personal leave this week and newly confirmed Deputy SECDEF Patrick M. Shanahan (below right) is holding down the fort. Previously, the policy allowing the enlistment of transgender recruits into the military was put on hold pending a six-month review of all military policies. That review did not cover transgender individuals already serving openly. There are many unknowns here and more questions than answers. Does a tweet make policy, or does it need to be codified before a change in policy can be enacted? What happened to the requirement to be published in the Federal Register? What guidance should be provided to unit-level commanders regarding men and women under their command? And more importantly, what does a change in policy mean to thousands of men and women who have identified themselves in the months since the Obama administration’s policy allowed and welcomed them to serve openly? I think it’s a bit too late for such a radical change of policy. That horse has left the barn! The military, rightly or wrongly has been THE organization where social changes have been codified ahead of societal norms in the civilian population. I was going to mention this in FOD anyway, but Executive Order 9981 was an executive order issued on July 26, 1948, by PresidentHarry S. Truman. It abolished racial discrimination in the United States Armed Forces and eventually led to the end of segregation in the services long before segregation was dealt with by the civilian sector. In January 2013, Secretary of DefenseLeon Panetta issued an order to end the policy of “no women in units that are tasked with direct combat”, though it still has yet to be determined if and when women may join certain direct combat roles, but changes are occurring. Women are now in leadership roles across all commands, demonstrating there are no glass ceilings if you have good leadership and management abilities. And women in the military are paid equally for their service, something women are fighting for today in the nearly all civilian sector jobs. Just to conclude, President Trump tweeted on Wednesday that transgender service members could be forcibly separated because the Defense Department cannot, “… be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” Military Times pointed out, the Defense Department spends 10 times as much money on Viagra and other erectile dysfunction medications than it spends on healthcare services for transgender troops. So the expense for transgender troops will never fly in Congress. And Military Times also reported Top defense lawmakers on Capitol Hill quickly blasted President Donald Trump’s transgender military ban Wednesday, calling the policy change short-sighted and potentially dangerous. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., called the surprise news “yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter.” He said Trump’s statements on the issue were unclear and confusing. “Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving,” he said. “There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military, regardless of their gender identity.” Expect to see legal actions filed soon. Your comments appreciated.
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.
On Saturday there were 7 grand slams hit in Major League Baseball. That has never happened in the history of the game. Albert Pujols joined the 600-home run club on Saturday night, and he did it in a way that’s never been done before: via a spectacular, 363-foot grand slam. The Angels’ 37-year-old slugger delivered his record-setting blast in the fourth inning of Saturday’s game against the Twins, skying a pitch from Ervin Santana into the left field bleachers. No one begrudged him the long moment he took to admire the ball as it drifted back over the wall. It was a moment he — along with an estimated 40,236 Angels fans — deserved to savor.
Global Allies Call For Continued FON Ops in South China Sea
Defense News reports, speakers at an Asian security summit have called for a continuation of U.S. Navy freedom of navigation (FON) patrols in the South China Sea, with the dispute still on participants’ minds even as other regional security challenges have made the news in recent weeks. In their respective speeches, the defense ministers of Australia and Japan have supported U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ assertion that the U.S. military will continue to operate in spaces allowed by international law in their respective speeches at the annual Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore. Organized by the International Institute of Strategic Studies or IISS (Asia), the event brings together government and non-governmental defense and security professionals from Asia and around the world to discuss regional events, and is the biggest such summit in the region. In his speech at the first plenary session on Saturday, Mattis said the U.S. military , “We will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows and demonstrate resolve through operational presence in the South China Sea and beyond,” adding that “our operations throughout the region are an expression of our willingness to defend both our interests and the freedoms enshrined in international law.”