Friday, August 28, 2015

Fullbore Friday

Time for the best of the Hairy Navy ... again.

More Vietnam War Navy! This time, USS Higbee (DD-806).

She is a great ship with a great history, but let's focus on one of her battles. In Vietnam she did a lot of what you see in the upper right corner, she pounded the hell out of the Communists. One day, they decided for some payback during the '72 Spring Offensive when we supported the South Vietnamese in their defeat of the Communist North Vietnamese invasion.
DA NANG, Vietnam (AP) - "MIG coming! MIG coming!" yelled the lookout and seconds later the after deck of the destroyer Higbee was aflame. The North Vietnamese jet dropped a 250 pound bomb onto the deck of the destroyer, wounding four seamen and destroying a gun mount that housed two 5 inch guns.
The U.S. Command said at least three enemy jets attacked an American task force in the Tonkin Gulf off the coast of North Vietnam late Wednesday afternoon. The command said one of the planes was shot down, two enemy torpedo boats were believed sunk and shrapnel from shore battery fire caused minor damage on the cruiser Oklahoma City, the flagship of the 7th Fleet.
Capt. Ronald Zuilkoski, skipper of the Higbee, said the MIG attacked his ship at least twice before the bomb hit the deck. "In the first two passes, bombs fell left and right of the ship," he said, "but on the third try one hit the deck and exploded under the mount. She flew so low over the deck that you could see everything."
Luckily the gun mount was empty, the 12 man gun crew having been ordered out while a round stuck in one of the barrels (hang fire) was being hosed down to keep it from exploding. But three men in the ammunition storage compartment under the mount were wounded. Other men pulled them out as the ammunition began to explode. The exploding ammunition ripped open a large section in the Higbee's left side. Flames and clouds of black smoke from leaking oil engulfed the deck as the crew fought the fire.
Another warning sounded: "Missile! Missile homing in!" "We heard the missile warning, but we had to stay with the fire or we would have lost the ship," said Hull Tender 2nd Class John J O'Brien, 40 of Camden, NJ "It was fantastic - everyone worked together. They did what they were trained to do even though too much happened at one time - flames were every where."
John T. Allardyce, 26, another Hull Tender 2nd Class, from Allentown, Pa., was up forward." I felt the bomb hit," he said. "It shook the boat forward and then I heard the call for help from O'Brien's section in the rear." Allardyce said the bomb explosion damaged the water (fire main) system, "but we managed some how to get the thing under control." "The guys really worked together," said Allardyce. "You'd call for one man to come and help and two would show up."
The Higbee entered DA Nang harbor early today. It's after deck looked like a junkyard floating in a pool of dirty oil. It tied up alongside the repair ship Hector and near the destroyer USS Buchanan DDG 14 which the U.S. Command said was damaged by shore fire Monday.
To see a map of the Battle Area click here.


A MIG 17 came out of the mountains, went "feet wet" and passed directly over the USS Sterett It then made a turn up the track of the strike force that included the USS Oklahoma City and Lloyd Thomas DD 764 and dropped two 250 pound iron bombs on the next ship in line the USS Higbee DD 806. Moments before this, the USS Higbee experienced a hot round in her after gun mount. This hang-fire condition forced evacuation of the mount as a precautionary measure. One of the MIG's bombs dropped on the vacated after mount and the other one dropped into the water along side her fantail. Just as the MIG pulled up from her bomb run and banked to starboard toward the safety of the mountains, The USS Sterett achieved a missile "lock-on" and fired two Terrier missiles, one of which downed the MIG. Higbee's steering gear had been damaged by the attack. She encountered no fatalities and damage control teams had the fires quickly under control. USS Sterett stood by, as Higbee fought her fires, completed her turn and proceeded out of the area, still with her rudder inoperative. USS Sterett continued to stand by Higbee. On her own power Higbee headed for DaNang, South Viet Nam, since DaNang was the closest friendly port.

For the more information about the USS Sterett actions on this April day visit the Sterett Home Page at

John Boyd, a Bureaucrat, and a Roundhead Walk in to a Bar ...

What could those three possibly talk about?

Head on over to USNIBlog and find out.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Diversity Thursday

For those who haven't had someone graduate from college in the last couple of decades, you've missed the increasing politization of everything. It was bad enough in the 80s - and the reports I get from the eldest Wee Salamander, it is even worse now.

When I read Brian Grasso's bit about what he had thrown in his face at Duke this summer, I thought about a few of the pods being shipped to Annapolis over the last year.

Fun. Harmless fun. Good people just trying to be helpful.
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2015 [redacted]
From: [redacted]@USNA.EDU
Subject: Are You Leaning In?
To: [redacted]@LISTS.USNA.EDU

USNA Officers,

Last spring I sent an email to the Brigade inviting the Midshipmen to participate in a Lean In circle starting this upcoming semester. 165 Midshipmen have signed up, and I anticipate the list growing as the brigade returns.

This past Academic year, we piloted 8 Lean In circles, 4 all-female circles and 4 co-ed circles, to include 80 midshipmen. By all accounts, the circles have been a resounding success.

Please consider moderating a Lean In circle this year. Circles meet a minimum of once every marking period and consist of 8-10 Midshipmen. You will not be required to be at every meeting as the Midshipmen are eager to participate in the moderating process. Meetings can be held at a mutually agreeable time for your circle (over the lunch hour with an excusal, between sports period and study hour, etc.). We will hold an information session and training the week before classes start (date TBD) and circles will commence NLT early September.

I promise this will be a rich experience for you as you motivate midshipmen to start talking about how gender plays a role in the way we lead our young sailors and marines and in the way we live our own lives.

If you are interested, please fill out the google form below, and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call/email me.[redacted]

Thank you for your consideration.


CDR Deborah [redacted]
Sampson [redacted]
[redacted] Department [redacted]
U.S. Naval Academy
(410) [redacted]
OK folks, you know how this goes. Now for the rest of the story.

What is a "Lean In Circle?" Well, you can trace it back to neo-femist icon Sheryl Sandberg's book, Dianetics, errr ... Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

Poke around their website for a bit, that is where you can also look at who they partner with;
We offer a growing library of free online lectures on topics including leadership and communication. Produced in partnership with the Clayman Institute for Gender Studies at Stanford University
Ahhh, yes. Indoctronation. Feminist politcal theory. Wonderful. Very Maoist Self-Criticism with Hugish. Just what the world's greatest warfighting navy needs.

Please follow the link to the Clayman Institute. We don't have time for a full Fisking here, so let's just look at their fellowships;
All fellowship and prize recipients will contribute to the Clayman Institutes thematic focus, "Beyond the Stalled Revolution: Reinvigorating Gender Equality in the Twenty-first Century."

Beyond the Stalled Revolution: Description

Twenty years ago, Arlie Hochschild described the gender revolution as stalled, ...
Oh, it gets better. That is just a random taste, but makes the point. All "Lean In" is, well, is repackaged feminist indoctronization packaged as a self-help platform with Education Kits for Moderators and everything.

At least as an organization, they are inclusive - they even have areas for the Beta-Males to hang out.

Another way of looking at "Lean In" et al, is what some of the better critiques have outlined it to be - just another brand of feminism. What is also is - with all the self-help books, checklists, worksheets, and assorted organizational paperwork - is a feminist version of that creature of the 90s, T.Q.L. - Total Quality Leadership.

As Christina Hoff Somers puts over at The Atlantic;
But this otherwise likeable and inspirational self-help book has a serious flaw: It is mired in 1970s-style feminism. Nation magazine columnist Katha Pollitt compares Sandberg to "someone who's just taken Women's Studies 101 and wants to share it with her friends." What Pollitt intends as a compliment goes to the heart of what is wrong with Lean In.
Yes, a trendy new personality based fad - one that combines shop-worn 1970s feminism with 1990s Demingism - with networking sprinkles for that extra visual jazz.

One of the better critiques of Sandbergism is by Rosa Brooks over at WaPo. It made me laugh because Brooks make it sound like the Sandberg was a SWO;
Because, of course, I was miserable. I never saw my friends, because I was too busy building my network. I was too tired to do any creative, outside-the-box thinking. I was boxed in. I wondered if foreign-policy punditry was just too much for me. I wondered if I should move to Santa Fe and open a small gallery specializing in handicrafts made from recycled tires. I wondered if my husband and kids would want to go with me.

But then — after my I-hate-Sheryl epiphany — I came to a bold new conclusion.

Ladies, if we want to rule the world — or even just gain an equitable share of leadership positions — we need to stop leaning in. It’s killing us.
I leaned in some more. I ate protein bars and made important telephone calls during my morning commute. I stopped reading novels so I could write more articles and memos and make more handicrafts to contribute to the school auction. I put in extra hours at work. When I came home, I did radio interviews over Skype from my living room while supervising the children’s math homework.

And I realized that I hated Sheryl Sandberg.
It’s hard enough managing one 24/7 job. No one can survive two of them. And as long as women are the ones doing more of the housework and childcare, women will be disproportionately hurt when both workplace expectations and parenting expectations require ubiquity. They’ll continue to do what too many talented women already do: Just as they’re on the verge of achieving workplace leadership positions, they’ll start dropping out.
If we truly want gender equality, we need to challenge the assumption that more is always better, and the assumption that men don’t suffer as much as women when they’re exhausted and have no time for family or fun. And we need to challenge those assumptions wherever we find them, both in the workplace and in the family. Whether it’s one more meeting, one more memo, one more conference, one more play date, one more soccer game or one more flute lesson for the kids, sometimes we need to say, “Enough!”
Kate Losse's is good too;
Lean In posits that some women can be players, and its instructions will be valuable to those who perform the endless work and self-monitoring that Sandberg advises. I was one of those women, and after several years of nonstop work, unused vacation time, and shrewd self-positioning, I made it from the back of the rocket ship all the way to the front, where I sat next to Sandberg and Zuckerberg at the privileged center of Facebook’s operations. I was invited to Sandberg’s “Women of Silicon Valley” dinners, where high-powered women ate hors d’oeuvres and networked. These women were “in,” and Lean In suggests that if you work hard enough, you can be too. 
I decided to leave Facebook because I saw ahead of me, by Zuckerberg’s and Sandberg’s own hands, an unending race of pure ambition, where no amount of money or power is enough and work is forever. While I am not unambitious, this wasn’t my ambition. But Sandberg is betting that for some women, as for herself, the pursuit of corporate power is desirable, and that many women will ramp up their labor ever further in hopes that one day they, too, will be “in.” And whether or not those women make it, the companies they work for will profit by their unceasing labor. 
Will the the workplace be fairer as a result of some women being “in”? For all of its sincere encouragement of individual women, Sandberg’s book does not indicate that her leadership has created deep changes at Facebook, or how deep changes might occur at the companies that she hopes women will run. Since, like any boss, she focuses on pushing women to work harder, it’s hard to see why she would use her position to effect systemic change. 
And so, in the end, Lean In may be a book not about a social movement, but about Sandberg’s own movement from Harvard to Google to Facebook, and now into her self-appointed role as leader of Lean In. The book advocates “lean in” circles for women in corporate environments. The circles are now being advocated by the book’s corporate partners like American Express, Amazon, and Bain, with her book as their guide. As memoir, it is instructive regarding Sandberg’s successful career trajectory, and provides some helpful advice for young women in how to follow her. But as a manual for navigating the workplace, it teaches women more about how to serve their companies than it teaches companies about how to be fairer places for women to work.
If a bunch of female MIDN want to gather in little circles to ... well, yammer on about recycled feminist theory flavored with workaholicism, knock yourselves out. If some male MIDN who understands social game theory want to play around on the co-ed groups in order to find some place with a critical mass of females - then why not. That was a very successful ploy by a Reagan-voting TKE I knew in school who joined College Democrats, so maybe it will work here. Just know what you are supporting.

For everyone else, as you read about the political indoctrinization of a captive audiance at universities, don't think that it doesn't happen at Annapolis. And just as college professors use their influence over their charges to push their agenda, don't underestimate the power of a Commander offering, "Please consider ... " to a Lieutenant to support a political movement.

Oh, one last note - simply because I cannot help myself;
Vonetta Young, meanwhile, thinks about her marriage differently since reading Lean In. Young, 29, is an investment associate in New York City who works in private equity. Her husband is an attorney.

"I had this assumption that his career is going to be more important than mine," she says. "Reading the book helped me see that obviously you have to make certain compromises in marriage, but the onus of that doesn't always have to fall to the woman."

Young has talked about her shift in mindset with her husband, who is supportive and plans to read the book himself.
So ... Vonetta ... you're 29 eh? (Usual Kristen warning)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Wages of Populism

When you reach a critical mass of a voting population that falls in love with populism, no nation can prosper.

Combined with the cult of personality, which by nature is based on emotion and feelings, with populism you get poor economic policy, and a civic culture driven by division and corrosive political philosophy.

Populism is a path that leads one of few ways:economic ruin, revolution, or the disappearance of that nation as it falls apart in to its factions, or is absorbed by a stronger nation who picks up the leftovers.

One of the first signs of a culture in collapse is when it mortgages its future, debases its currency to nothing, as eventually loses the ability to even defend itself - the third order effect of the populist's consuming previous generations capital for short term power.

Via UKDefenceJournal and IHS Janes, behold the wages of decades of populism; behold Argentina - and the results of decades of Peronism, dictatorship, and populism;
In August 2015, the Argentine air force retired its Mirage fighters, with only a handful of them even flyable.

Things don’t look any better for the other services, the depleted Argentine Navy rarely puts to sea, has almost no spare parts and for the most part, doesn’t actually have any ammunition. 2012 saw the training ship ARA Libertad seized in Ghana on the orders of a hedge fund seeking reparations from the Argentinian government. Shortly afterward, the corvette ARA Espora was stranded in South Africa for seventy-three days after the German company hired to repair a mechanical fault refused to carry out the work as a result of the Argentine government’s unpaid bills. 2013 saw the sinking of the decommissioned destroyer ARA Santísima Trinidad in port as a consequence of poor maintenance.
Even the submarine crews, despite benefitting from a recent upgrade, need at least 190 days of immersion practice and in 2014 only spent 19 hours submerged. A similar situation is faced by the four destroyers: Almirante Brown, Heroina, La Argentina and Sarandí, with engine problems and they need spares, plus they don’t have any weaponry.

The Argentine Army has deployed on operations without some of even the most basic equipment and rarely has the resources for training.
Good thing its neighbors desire nothing of or from that nation. Chile and Brazil could take it in a walk;
The Argentine Air Force is drastically cutting staff working hours and decommissioning its last fighter aircraft amid continuing budget issues.

A recently published daily agenda indicates that the service’s working hours have been significantly reduced, from 0800 to 1300; rationing of food, energy consumption, and office supplies has been directed headquarters staff and property residents; and only the minimum personnel required to staff headquarters, directorates, and commands are working.

These orders, issued on 11 August, take effect 18 August. A next step will cut Monday and Tuesday as working days. Moreover, air force officials said any aircraft taken out of service will not undergo maintenance for now.
Sad. Argentina should be a rich and prosperous country. Vast natural resources, a good population, and friendly geography. What is it lacking? Good governance.

If you want your nation defended - economic policy matters. Politics matters. The people elected in to power matter.

Monday, August 24, 2015

In that moment ...

One of the best observations I heard over the weekend was this; one nagging question in every man's mind is a simple one - when the moment comes, how will you react?

What is your real nature? Will you act like you hope you will? Will you act like your self-doubt whispers in your ear you will? Or, will do you what you should do?

Men will do many things in life to find the answer to that question - to prove something not so much to others, but to themselves.

Three Americans; Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, Specialist Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, Briton Chris Norman, and the Franco-American academic Mark Moogalian will no longer have to search for that answer.

They have it.

Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone sat down with us yesterday for the first time, describing events from his point of view. Check out his incredible story below:United States Air Force U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa U.S. European Command (EUCOM) Lajes Field, Azores AFN Europe
Posted by Ramstein Air Base, Germany on Monday, August 24, 2015

The Jew: Eternal

Jews are at best 0.2% of the world population. Yes, 2/10th of 1%. ~14 million world wide. If you put them in one nation, it would be somewhere between Belgium and The Netherlands.

Read your Old Testament; Sumerians, Assyrians, Hittites, Amorites, Phoenicians, Philistines, Moabites, and Edomites - they are all gone. Some such as Egyptians and Persians are still here, but their religion and culture are gone with time.

The Jewish people remain. Also from recorded history we know that they have never been able to find peace, and their security has never been firm. Suppressed, Dhimmi'd, purged, pogrom'd, and liquidated - or at best, vilified, hated, loathed - and envied.

The Jewish people already had a set culture, written tradition, and an organized civil society when my ancestors were barely out of the stone age.

Yet the Jews remain. Over and over, tyrants destroyed their temples, scattered their people, and conducted wholesale murder.  Yet they remain. 

What also remains is that base hatred of Jews that I have never understood. I recognize and can hear the excuses, but I will never understand it. There is no logic - there is only the most base emotion. 

Perhaps envy has a bit to do with it. If you are religious of certain persuasions, you know they are God's chosen people - for reasons and purposes best known to God. If you are not, then all you have is a people who survive when others do not. They prosper under oppression when others fail enjoying liberty. They make deserts bloom when others existed in dusty squalor. Perhaps it is that, perhaps that is only part of it.

Jew hatred; I find anti-Antisemitism a bit too antiseptic. It waxes and wanes through time. Especially in Europe after a few decades rest, it is back.

It is fueled in no small measure by Europe's import of masses of Muslims - giving fuel to an already present vibe in the host population.

Like SJW in the USA, those who hate Jews will find any excuse, any veneer, any area of culture to bring their hate out if they can. Even, music. Even Reggae.
After failing in an attempt to have Jewish-American singer Matisyahu banned from a Spanish music festival, the BDS bigots had yet another trick to unveil as the star ascended to the stage on Saturday night.
Far from boycotting the reggae artist’s gig, the “hate Israel” crowd showed up en masse. And they came bearing flags, immense Palestinian flags, which they waved with gusto from every corner of the 20,000-strong crowd.

As Matisyahu took the mike and looked out to the audience, he was presented with an unmistakably hostile message. It was clear that those who sought to have him banished stood before him in protest. Then the catcalls started, with some chanting, “out, out.” It might easily have been unnerving, disorienting.
Some media are calling this "anti-Israel" protests. No, they are not protesting Israel. Matisyahu, AKA Matthew Paul Miller, is an American. An American Jew from New York. They are protesting the presence of a Jew.

Same as the "anti-Israel" riots in France last year. Did they attack the Israeli embassy? No, they attacked Synagogues. That is not anti-Israel - that is Jew hatred. We should call it what it is. Enough of fuzzy words. We should call it what it is.

What does one do in the face of such constant hate - simply because of your small, persecuted religion's refusal to die? What does a civilized person do? How does one stand their ground without degrading yourself to the level of the primitives attacking you?

How does one respond to such confident, smug, and in your face hate?
Not to be cowed however, it was the spirited Matisyahu who had the last laugh.
But then he began to sing about Jerusalem.
Here's the vid.

The lyrics:
Jerusalem, if I forget you,
fire not gonna come from me tongue.
Jerusalem, if I forget you,
let my right hand forget what it's supposed to do.

In the ancient days, we will return with no delay
Picking up the bounty and the spoils on our way
We've been traveling from state to state
And them don't understand what they say
3, 000 years with no place to be
And they want me to give up my milk and honey
Don't you see, it's not about the land or the sea
Not the country but the dwelling of his majesty

Rebuild the temple and the crown of glory
Years gone by, about sixty
Burn in the oven in this century
And the gas tried to choke, but it couldn't choke me
I will not lie down, I will not fall asleep
They come overseas, yes they're trying to be free
Erase the demons out of our memory
Change your name and your identity
Afraid of the truth and our dark history
Why is everybody always chasing we
Cut off the roots of your family tree
Don't you know that's not the way to be

Rebuild the temple and the crown of glory
Years gone by, about sixty
Burn in the oven in this century
And the gas tried to choke, but it couldn't choke me
I will not lie down, I will not fall asleep
They come overseas, yes they're trying to be free
Erase the demons out of our memory
Change your name and your identity
Afraid of the truth and our dark history
Why is everybody always chasing we
Cut off the roots of your family tree
Don't you know that's not the way to be

Caught up in these ways, and the worlds gone craze
Don't you know it's just a phase
Case of the Simon says
If I forget the truth then my words won't penetrate
Babylon burning in the place, can't see through the haze
Chop down all of them dirty ways,
That's the price that you pay for selling lies to the youth
No way, not ok, oh no way, not ok, hey
Aint no one gonna break my stride
Aint no one gonna pull me down
Oh no, I got to keep on moving
Stay alive

Rebuild the temple and the crown of glory
Years gone by, about sixty
Burn in the oven in this century
And the gas tried to choke, but it couldn't choke me
I will not lie down, I will not fall asleep
They come overseas, yes they're trying to be free
Erase the demons out of our memory
Change your name and your identity
Afraid of the truth and our dark history
Why is everybody always chasing we
Cut off the roots of your family tree
Don't you know that's not the way to be
Well played sir.

Very menschish.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fullbore Friday

One man can make a difference; a calm professional with perspective and a firm grasp of the larger story around him.

Regardless of which side of the Cold War you were on - everyone on this planet should know the name Vasili Arkhipov, Vice Admiral, Soviet Navy.
Above them, the U.S. navy were 'hunting by exhaustion' - trying to force the Soviet sub to come to the surface to recharge its batteries.
They had no idea that on board the submarines were weapons capable of destroying the entire American fleet.

Gary Slaughter, a signalman on board the USS Cony battleship, said: 'We knew they were probably having trouble breathing. It was hot as hell in there, they were miserable.

'Frankly I don't think we felt any sympathy for them at all. They were the enemy.'
The Americans decided to ratchet up the pressure, and dropped warning grenades into the sea. Inside the sub, the Soviet submariners thought they were under attack. 
Valentin Savitsky, the captain of B59, was convinced the nuclear war had already started.

Savitsky hadn't counted on Arkhipov. As commander of the fleet, Arkhipov had the last veto. And although his men were against him, he insisted that they must not fire - and instead surrender. 

It was a humiliating move - but one that saved the world. The Soviet submariners were forced to return to their native Russia, where they were given the opposite of a hero's welcome. 
Historian Thomas Blanton told the Sun: 'What heroism, what duty, they fulfilled to go halfway across the world and come back, and survive.

Four decades passed before the story of what really happened on the B59 sub was discovered. It was after Arkipov had died in 1998 from radiation poisoning. 

But to his widow Olga, he was always a hero
She said: 'He knew that it was madness to fire the nuclear torpedo. In Cuba, in honour of the 40th anniversary of the crisis, people gathered. 
‘They said that the person who prevented a nuclear war was the Russian submariner Vasili Arkhipov. I was proud and I am proud of my husband always.’
Why did he die of radiation poisoining?

Most of you know about the Soviet's first SSBN, the Hotel K-19? Well;
In July 1961, Arkhipov was appointed deputy commander or executive officer of the new Hotel-class ballistic missile submarine K-19. During its nuclear accident, he backed Captain Nikolai Vladimirovich Zateyev during the potential mutiny. While assisting with engineering work to deal with the overheating reactor, he was exposed to a harmful level of radiation. This incident is depicted in the American film K-19: The Widowmaker.

Take some time to give a nod to a professional.

PBS gave him justice in an hour long documentary. Here is the preview:

Watch the full video here.