FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day January 19th through 22 2018

FOD Staff Vote To Reopen But Only Temporarily

As many of you realize the entire FOD staff was forced to close down last Friday when staff members could not agree upon how to extend the existing budget (which was already a continuing resolution) with provisions that would established protection for FOD Dreamers.  FOD Dreamers are those individuals who have influenced members of the FOD staff to address the provisions of DACA and at the same time not make it appear they have caused a FOD shutdown.  This disagreement has tied two differing facets of how to manage the entire structure of FOD.  This has occurred at a time when productivity is on the rise nationwide and despite the fact FOD was shut down; the DJIA along with the other major indices actually increased.  Who saw that coming?  The need to provide for a stable budget (already months late) and simultaneously extend DACA are crucial to the debate at hand.  DACA (Dashingly Aged Carrier Aviators) provisions currently in place are due to expire in March and could affect FOD Dreamers.   As you will recall DACA was established to provide support for those carrier aviators who were curtailed from flying off aircraft carriers against their will by foolish and ill-conceived age restrictions.  Many depend upon the provisions of a stable budget and DACA to pay their bar bills.  Despite the fact many Dreamers, as they are called, have demonstrated leadership skills and accomplishments in other facets of their lives they strongly desire to be brought into the greater population of pub seat occupier’s nationwide.  It seemed like the appropriate time to link this and the continuing budget issues together.  However after three days of FOD being closed (which I might add found the entire FOD staff skiing in Idaho) a crucial vote was taken today that passes yet another continuing resolution for the budget and at the same time guarantees the issues of DACA will be first upon the agenda.  So while the FOD staff has other crucial issues that need to be addressed, i.e. what color to paint the ’31 Chevy, China’s continuing aggression in the South China Sea, where to watch the Super Bowl, and how likely are the North Koreans to hack our Bit Coin accounts, the FOD staff has agreed to take up DACA.  I don’t see any other parallels to these events in the world today.  Who knew this could happen?  In a related manner it was revealed Armed Forces Network, which was shuttered on Saturday after the announcement that FOD (and some other institutions) were closed down, but was partially restored for Sunday’s NFL games.  This despite the fact we can’t depend upon NFL players to respect the flag that defends their right to make a completely outrageous amount of money.  In a statement, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said department officials “determined the operational necessity of television and radio broadcasts constitutes them as essential activities.” As a result, two of AFN’s eight channels will remain broadcasting for now.  She did not comment of the two sides’ positions in the FOD staff disputes.


China Says The US is Forcing China To Accelerate South China Sea Development

Reuters is reporting China’s top newspaper, decrying Washington as a trouble-maker, said on Monday U.S. moves in the South China Sea like last week’s freedom of navigation operation will only cause China to strengthen its deployments in the disputed waterway.

China’s foreign ministry said the USS Hopper (DDG-70), came within 12 nautical miles of Huangyan island, which is better known as the Scarborough Shoal and is subject to a rival claim by the Philippines, a historic ally of the United States.  It was the latest U.S. naval operation challenging extensive Chinese claims in the South China Sea and came even as President Donald Trump’s administration seeks Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.  The ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said in a commentary that, with the situation generally improving in the South China Sea, it was clear that the United States was the one militarizing the region. The widely read Global Times tabloid, published by the People’s Daily, said in an editorial on Monday China’s control of the South China Sea is only growing and it is well placed to react to U.S. “provocations”.  “As China’s military size and quality improve, so does its control of the South China Sea,” it said. “China is able to send more naval vessels as a response and can take steps like militarizing islands.”  The Scarborough Shoal is located within the Philippines’ 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone but an international tribunal in 2016 ruled that it is a traditional fishing ground that no one country has sole rights to exploit.  The U.S. military says it carries out “freedom of navigation” operations throughout the world, including in areas claimed by allies, and that they are separate from political considerations.  The Pentagon has not commented directly on the latest patrol but said such operations are routine.  And what does the Philippines have to say on the issue?  They are playing both sides here – depending upon US Navy targeting capabilities to eliminate their opposition labeled as “perhaps ISIS players” using P-3, P-8 and other naval asset assistance and simultaneously welcoming investment loans from China, even going to far as to say they would not get involved in Beijing’s protest of US FON (Freedom of Navigation) operations near the very islands they claim.  Scarborough is a tiny, uninhabited reef that China seized from the Philippines in 2012. Known in Chinese as Huangyan Island, it lies about 200 kilometers (120 miles) west of the main Philippine island of Luzon, and about 370 miles southeast of China.  USS Hopper (DDG-70) is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer of the United States Navy, named for the pioneering computer scientist Rear Admiral “Amazing” Grace Hopper.  One of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, she was a pioneer of computer programming who invented one of the first compiler related tools. She popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, an early high-level programming language still in use today.


National Defense Strategy Released

Military Times is reporting the Pentagon’s new National Defense Strategy lays out a world where great-power competition, rather than counterterrorism, will drive the department’s decision-making and force structure.  “Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security,” the 11-page unclassified summary of the strategy reads. Instead, “the central challenge to U.S. prosperity and security is the reemergence of long-term strategic competition,” primarily from China and Russia.  The National Defense Strategy, released Friday, is the second of three interlocking documents that will drive America’s strategic posture. In December, President Donald Trump unveiled his National Security Strategy, which drives the administration’s overall national security posture.  The NDS focuses on the Pentagon’s goals within the NSS and is driven by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. That will be followed later this year by the National Military Strategy, written by Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which explains how the Pentagon will operationalize the NDS.  At Johns Hopkins University on Friday, Mattis said the document represents a “clear-eyed appraisal” of America’s spot in the world.”  “This required tough choices — and we made them based upon a fundamental precept: namely, that America can afford survival,” the secretary said in prepared remarks.  Speaking ahead of the document’s release, Elbridge Colby, deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development, said the document was thematically driven by the idea that the “central challenge facing the department of defense and the joint force [is] the erosion of U.S. military advantage vis a vis China and Russia.”  But while great-power competitors are very much front of mind, Colby added that “this is not a strategy of confrontation, but it is a strategy that recognizes the reality of competition and the importance of ‘good fences make good neighbors.’ ”



National Thesaurus Day

Thesaurus Day celebrates/honors/proclaims/observes/lauds/birthdayreveres the birthday/natal day/name day of the author of Roget’s Thesaurus, Peter Roget, who was born/entered the world/first breathed on January 18, 1779. Roget was a British physiciannatural theologian and lexicographer. His first thesaurus was released to the public on 29 April 1852.  The original edition had 15,000 words, and each new edition has been larger.


Tokyo Rose Pardoned

On January 19, 1977, President Gerald Ford pardoned Tokyo Rose.  Tokyo Rose‘s broadcasts were aimed at American troops.  Several Japanese women broadcast Axis propaganda over the radio to Allied troops during World War II.  One Japanese-American woman named  Iva Toguri D’Aquino, an American-born Japanese disc jockey eventually became synonymous the name Tokyo Rose. Toguri called herself “Orphan Ann“, but she quickly became identified with the name “Tokyo Rose“, a name that was coined by Allied soldiers and that predated her broadcasts.  She broadcast sentimental American music and phony announcements regarding U.S. troop losses in a vain attempt to destroy the morale of Allied soldiers.  An American citizen born in Los Angeles, Toguri graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1940, with a degree in zoology and was in Japan at the time the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. She had hoped to become a doctor, but when an elderly aunt living in Japan became ill, Toguri’s family sent Toguri to take care of her. The U.S. State Department issued her a Certificate of Identification; she did not have a passport.  She left the United States in July 1941 carrying an identification card, but no passport. When rumblings of war between Japan and the U.S. reached a crescendo later that year, she tried to return to the U.S. but was denied because she did not have proof of citizenship.  Upon her capture in 1945, Toguri insisted that she was forced into her traitorous role by the Japanese government and swore that she had never broadcast false military reports, limiting her shows to light musical fare while smuggling food and medicine to the Allied POWs. Nevertheless, Toguri was labeled a traitor for airing songs like My Resistance is Low. After a year’s imprisonment in Japan, Toguri was released and returned to the United States, only to be promptly re-arrested for treason. The judge, who later admitted having anti-Japanese prejudice, sentenced her to 10 years in prison and fined her $10,000. She was released early in 1956 for good behavior, but was immediately given an order deporting her back to Japan. Over the next 20 years, Toguri fought for a pardon from three presidential administrations with the help of family members, attorneys and the POWs she had helped at Radio Tokyo.  President Gerald Ford granted a full and unconditional pardon to Iva Toguri D’Aquino in 1977 on January 19, his last full day in office. The pardon restored her U.S. citizenship, which had been abrogated as a result of her conviction.



Iran Hostage Crisis Ends

The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic standoff between Iran and the United States. Fifty-two American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981 after a group of Iranian students belonging to the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line, who supported the Iranian Revolution, took over the U.S. Embassy in TehranIt stands as the longest hostage crisis in recorded history.  The crisis was described by the Western media as an “entanglement” of “vengeance and mutual incomprehension.”  President Jimmy Carter called the hostages “victims of terrorism and anarchy” and said: “The United States will not yield to blackmail.”  In Iran, it was widely seen as a blow against the United States and its influence in Iran, including its perceived attempts to undermine the Iranian Revolution and its longstanding support of the recently overthrown Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who had led an autocratic regime.  After his overthrow in 1979, the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was purportedly admitted to the United States for cancer treatment. Iran demanded that he be returned to stand trial for crimes he was accused of committing during his reign. Specifically, Pahlavi was accused of committing crimes against Iranian citizens with the help of his secret police, the SAVAK. Iranians saw the decision to grant him asylum as American complicity in those atrocities. The Americans saw the hostage-taking as an egregious violation of the principles of international law, which granted diplomats immunity from arrest and made diplomatic compounds inviolable.  The crisis reached a climax after diplomatic negotiations failed to win release for the hostages. United States President Jimmy Carter ordered the United States military to attempt a rescue operation using warships—including the USS Nimitz and USS Coral Sea—that were patrolling the waters near Iran. On April 24, 1980, the attempt, known as Operation Eagle Claw, failed, resulting in the accidental deaths of eight American servicemen and one Iranian civilian, as well as the destruction of two helicopters. Six American diplomats who had evaded capture were eventually rescued by a joint CIA-Canadian effort on January 27, 1980.  Shah Pahlavi left the United States in December 1979 and was ultimately granted asylum in Egypt, where he died from complications of cancer on July 27, 1980. In September 1980, the Iraqi military invaded Iran, beginning the Iran–Iraq War. These events led the Iranian government to enter negotiations with the U.S., with Algeria acting as a mediator. The hostages were formally released into United States custody the day after the signing of the Algiers Accords, just minutes after the new American president, Ronald Reagan, was sworn into office.  The crisis is considered a pivotal episode in the history of Iran–United States relations.  Political analysts cite it as a major factor in the downfall of Jimmy Carter’s presidency and his landslide loss in the 1980 presidential election.  In Iran, the crisis strengthened the prestige of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the political power of theocrats who opposed any normalization of relations with the West.  The crisis also led to the United States’ economic sanctions against Iran, further weakening ties between the two countries.  On the day the hostages were seized, six American diplomats evaded capture and remained in hiding at the home of the Canadian diplomat John Sheardown, under the protection of the Canadian ambassador, Ken Taylor. In late 1979, the government of Prime Minister Joe Clark secretly issued an Order in Council, allowing Canadian passports to be issued to some American citizens so that they could escape. In cooperation with the CIA, which used the cover story of a film project, two CIA agents and the six American diplomats boarded a Swissair flight to ZurichSwitzerland, on January 28, 1980. Their rescue from Iran, known as the Canadian caper, was fictionalized in the 2012 film ArgoWith the completion of negotiations, the hostages were released on January 20, 1981, That day, at the moment President Reagan completed his 20‑minute inaugural address after being sworn in, the 52 American hostages were released to U.S. personnel.  There are theories and conspiracy theories regarding why Iran postponed the release until that moment.  (See also: October Surprise conspiracy theory) They were flown from Iran to Algeria as a symbolic gesture of appreciation for the Algerian government’s help in resolving the crisis. The flight continued to Rhein-Main Air Base in West Germany and on to an Air Force hospital in Wiesbaden, where former President Carter, acting as emissary, received them. After medical check-ups and debriefings, the hostages made a second flight to a refueling stop in Shannon, Ireland, where they were greeted by a large crowd. The ex-hostages were then flown to Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York. From Newburgh, they traveled by bus to the United States Military Academy at West Point and stayed at the Thayer Hotel for three days, receiving a heroes’ welcome all along the route. Ten days after their release, they were given a ticker tape parade through the Canyon of Heroes in New York City.


Other Presidents Inaugurated On January 20:

1961 John F. Kennedy inaugurated

1945 FDR inaugurated to fourth term

1937 Franklin Delano Roosevelt is sworn in as president

1981 Ronald Reagan becomes president

2009 Barack Obama is inaugurated

2017 Donald Trump is inaugurated



ASM-135 First Launch

The ASM-135 ASAT is an air-launched anti-satellite multistage missile that was developed by Ling-Temco-Vought‘s LTV Aerospace division. The ASM-135 was carried exclusively by the United States Air Force(USAF)’s F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft. The ASM-135 was designed to be launched from an F-15A in a supersonic zoom climb. The F-15’s mission computer and heads-up display were modified to provide steering directions for the pilot.  A modified Boeing AGM-69 SRAM missile with a Lockheed Propulsion Company LPC-415 solid propellant two pulse rocket engine was used as the first stage of the ASM-135 ASAT.  The LTV Aerospace Altair 3 was used as the second stage of the ASM-135.  The Altair 3 used the Thiokol FW-4S solid propellant rocket engine. The Altair 3 stage was also used as the fourth stage for the Scout rocket and had been previously used in both the Bold Orion and HiHo anti-satellite weapons efforts.  The Altair was equipped with hydrazine fueled thrusters that could be used to point the missile towards the target satellite.  LTV Aerospace also provided the third stage for the ASM-135 ASAT. This stage was called Miniature Homing Vehicle (MHV) interceptor. Prior to being deployed the second stage was used to spin the MHV up to approximately 30 revolutions per second and point the MHV towards the target.  21 January 1985: Major Ralph B. Filburn, U.S. Air Force, flying a McDonnell Douglas F-15A-17-MC Eagle, serial number 76-0086, successfully launched the first ASM-135 anti-satellite missile to a point in space.  There were five test launches of the ASM-135, including one in which an orbiting satellite was intercepted and destroyed. The missile was not placed in production, however, and the program was cancelled.  76-0086 was retired 18 May 1995 to The Boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona.


Inaugural Boeing 747 Passenger Flight

22 January 1970: Captain Robert M. Weeks and crew flew the Pan American World Airways Boeing 747-121, N736PA, Clipper Young America, New York to London on a 6 hour, 43 minute inaugural passenger-carrying flight of the new wide-body jet. Aboard were a crew of 20 and 335 passengers.  The 747-100 series was the first version of the Boeing 747 to be built. It was operated by a flight crew of three and was designed to carry 366 to 452 passengers.  N736PA had initially been named Clipper Victor, but the name was changed to Clipper Young America for the inaugural New York to London flight when the 747 scheduled to make that flight—Clipper Young America—suffered mechanical problems. The 747 was hijacked on 2 August 1970 and flown to Cuba. After that incident, N736PA was renamed lipper Victor — its original name. It was destroyed in a collision with another Boeing 747 at Tenerife, Canary Islands, 27 March, 1977.



Some Other Events From January 22:

1998 Ted Kaczynski pleads guilty to bombings

1973 Supreme Court legalizes abortion

1981 Final portrait of John and Yoko is on the cover of Rolling Stone

1941 Brits and Australians take Tobruk

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