FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day August 23rd through 27th 2017

Friends of FOD

OK I got busy and haven’t published in more than a few days.  What can I say?  Maybe I’m suffering from Solar Eclipse Overload Syndrome.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the many folks who have lost their homes and personal possessions as a result of Hurricane Harvey.

 

US Navy 7th  Fleet Relieved

Following a collision between the Seventh Fleet destroyer USS John S. McCain with the merchant ship Alnic MC in the the Strait of Malacca in the South China Sea, which left 10 navy sailors missing and five sailors injured on August 21, 2017, off the coast of Singapore it was confirmed the commander of the United States Seventh Fleet has been relieved of command.  Vice Admiral Joseph P. Aucoin (below right) was relieved of his command on 23 August 2017 due to “loss of confidence in his ability to command.”  He was just weeks away from retirement.  The Wall Street Journal first reported the planned move Tuesday.  RADM  Phillip G. Sawyer has now assumed command of Seventh Fleet.  While I was a bit glib in earlier editions of FOD regarding the need for a band, etc. it is unfortunate to see the careers of fine officers ended in such a manner.  That being said, the Navy reposes special trust and responsibility for the safety and well-being of the ship and those who sail within her and thus commanding officers are held to the highest standards of accountability.  The U.S. Navy announced on 24 August 2017 that it would be suspending search-and-rescue efforts to focus on recovery efforts of the missing sailors.  Divers have recovered the bodies of all 10 sailors missing.   The Navy previously identified eight crew members who were missing as Charles Nathan Findley, Abraham Lopez, Kevin Sayer Bushell, Jacob Daniel Drake, Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., Corey George Ingram, John Henry Hoagland III and Logan Stephen Palmer.  The bodies of Kenneth Aaron Smith and Dustin Louis Doyon were previously recovered.  There has been at least a rumor out there McCain may have suffered a steering causality or a loss of steering control shortly before the accident, but that doesn’t add much to the discussion at this point.  My experience aboard aircraft carriers was that after-steering (the manual backup steering control room) and all other steering backup systems were always fully manned during a transit of the Strait of Malacca.

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 21st through 24th 2017

ISIS Potential Dirty Bomb Story Published by The Washington Post

When the city Mosul, Iraq fell to ISIS back in 2014, they laid claim to a huge stockpile of weapons including small arms, bombs, rockets and some additional heavy weapons such as artillery pieces and even tanks.  Banks were overrun and millions of dollars in hard currency were lost.  Mosel’s college was also overrun during that same time frame.  The college supported two radiotherapy machines used to kill cancer cells.  And contained within the heavy shielding of the radiotherapy machines is cobalt-60, a metallic substance with high levels of radiation and which is highly lethal.  One of the goals of Isis leaders in the field has been to develop a dirty bomb or Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD).  An RDD is a radiological weapon that combines radioactive material with conventional explosives. The purpose of the weapon is to contaminate the area around the dispersal agent/conventional explosion with radioactive material, serving primarily as an area denial device against civilians. It is however not to be confused with a nuclear explosion, such as a fission bomb, which by releasing nuclear energy produces blast effects far in excess of what is achievable by the use of conventional explosives.  Dirty bombs are admittedly difficult to construct as the radioactive material must be sufficiently radioactive so as create radiological damage.  It must also be transportable with enough shielding to protect those transporting the device but not so heavy as to make it unmaneuverable.  And then of course the radioactive material must be dispersible over a large area so as to contaminate the area around the explosion.  If you had highly radioactive material and the ability to disperse it you could create an incident comparable to the Chernobyl disaster .  In any event you would create a psychological event, mass panic and terror requiring considerable time and expense to clean up rendering areas of a city perhaps unusable.  Western intelligence agencies were aware of the cobalt-60’s presence and watched to see if the militants would attempt to use it.  The obligatory studies were conducted and our troops and Iraqi military commanders were appraised of the potential threat.  When the Mosel campus was retaken (above right) by Iraqi forces, the radiotherapy were found to be intact.  Good news, except the fact The Washington Post has now published a story on the entire incident.  Whether the Islamic State has a subscription to The Washington Post is unknown, but they have provided the enemy with knowledge of a source of radioactive materials available in hundreds of cities around the world, some of which ISIS has control over.  Additionally there is the potential for US troops or our allies to be directly harmed by this information.  The Washington Post’s tagline is “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” but they should remember another line from an earlier conflict, “Loose lips sink ships.”

 

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 16 through 20 2017 An Overlap Edition

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer Resigns

Sean Spicer, one of the best-known faces of the Trump administration has submitted his resignation as Press Secretary.  His departure came shortly before President Donald Trump named Anthony Scaramucci, a transition official in the Trump campaign and longtime Wall Street financier, as named White House communications directorSarah Huckabee Sanders, has been promoted to press secretary. Scaramucci (left) is not a communications or media professional, but rather a Wall Street businessman.  The real question is will Saturday Night Live be able to put together a Spicy skit with Melissa McCarthy.

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day April 21 through 23, 2017

4 Yawkey Way Begins Hosting Baseball

After a two day rain delay, a new baseball stadium opens.  The date was 1912.   4 Yawkey Way is famous as the address of Fenway Park, the Red Sox’s home stadium, and is closely identified with the park and the team. It is the oldest ballpark in MLB.  Because of its age and constrained space its renovations and expansions have resulted in a quirky features including The Triangle, The Green Monster, Pesky’s Pole, and of course the Lone Red Seat. The Lone Red Seat in the right field bleachers (Section 42, Row 37, Seat 21) signifies the longest home run ever hit at Fenway. The home run, hit by Ted Williams on June 9, 1946, was officially measured at 502 feet.  Of course there has to be a Yankee controversy involved here in that Babe Ruth hit one in the pre-1934 bleacher configuration which landed five rows from the top in right field. This would have placed it at an estimated 545 feet (166 m) from home plate.  There is a move afoot to make Fenway a Boston Landmark which will regulate further changes to the park.  The first game was played April 20, 1912, with mayor John F. Fitzgerald throwing out the first pitch and Boston defeating the New York Highlanders (renamed the Yankees the next year), 7-6 in 11 innings. Newspaper coverage of the opening was overshadowed by continuing coverage of the Titanic sinking a few days earlier, and was covered by FOD a few days ago as well.  Since the Red Sox’ 1967 “Impossible Dream” season, attendance has been outstanding.  On Wednesday, June 17, 2009, the park celebrated its 500th consecutive Red Sox sellout. The sellout streak ended on April 11, 2013; in all the Red Sox sold out 794 regular season games and an additional 26 postseason games during this streak.  Neil Diamond‘s “Sweet Caroline” has been played at Fenway Park since at least 1997, and in the middle of the eighth inning at every game since 2002.   If you’re a baseball fan, it needs to be on you short list of baseball venues to visit.

 

Weeghman Park Opens For Baseball

Four years after Fenway Park opens, the Cubs open their new stadium called Weeghman Park on April 20, 1916 and coincidentally beat their opponent the Cincinnati Reds by the same 7-6 score and in 11 innings.  In late 1915, Weeghman’s Federal League folded. The resourceful Weeghman formed a syndicate including the chewing gum manufacturer William Wrigley Jr. to buy the Chicago Cubs from Charles P. Taft for about $500,000.  Weeghman immediately moved the Cubs from the dilapidated West Side Grounds to his two-year-old Weeghmam Park.  In 1918, Wrigley acquired the controlling interest in the club.  In November 1926, he renamed the park “Wrigley Field” located on the city’s North Side.  The ballpark is famous for its outfield walls which are covered by ivy.  The distances from home plate to various points in the outfield have remained essentially unchanged since the bleachers were remodeled during the 1937 season. They were originally marked by wooden numbers cut from plywood, painted white, and placed in gaps where the ivy was not allowed to grow. Since the early 1980s, the numbers have been painted directly on the bricks, in yellow. Although the power-alley dimensions are relatively cozy, the foul lines are currently the deepest in the major leagues. The flat rooftops of the apartment buildings across Waveland and Sheffield, which pre-date the ballpark, were often populated with a reasonable number of fans having cookouts while enjoying the game for free. The Cubs tolerated it quietly until the 1990s, when some owners of those apartments began building little bleacher sections, and charging people to watch the games.  This led to meetings and to a peaceful settlement among the various parties. The building owners agreed to share a portion of their proceeds with the Cubs.   Some of the rooftops became legendary in their own right. The Lakeview Baseball Club, which sits across Sheffield Avenue (right-field) from the stadium displayed a sign that read, “Eamus Catuli!” (roughly Latin for “Let’s Go Cubs!”—catuli translating to “whelps“, the nearest Latin equivalent), flanked by a counter indicating the Cubs’ long legacy of futility. The counter was labeled “AC”, for “Anno Catulorum”, or “In the Year of the Cubs”. The first two digits indicated the number of years since the Cubs’ last division championship as of the end of the previous season (2016), the next two digits indicated the number of years since the Cubs won the National League Pennant (2016), and the last three digits indicated the number of years since their last World Series win (2016).  This is another destination to put on your list.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day April 21 through 23, 2017”