Friday, April 24, 2015

Fullbore Friday

So, how was your command tour? Think you accomplished a lot?

Benchmarks? Yes, we have benchmarks.
Made a commander on November 1, he was the commanding officer of USS Laffey during the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. The ship was struck by an 8-inch shell, which did not explode. 
Laffey broke up an attack by German E-boats on June 12 and bombarded Cherbourg on June 25. Becton was awarded a second Silver Star for his actions in June. 
Transferred back to the Pacific Theater, he received his third Silver Star for his handling of Laffey in support of the landing of the 77th Division at Ormoc Bay, Leyte, the Philippines, on December 7, 1944. 
His fourth was for entering the "restricted waters of Lingayen Gulf during the initial bombardment and assault at Luzon" in January 1945. In February, Laffey escorted aircraft carriers in airstrikes against Tokyo.

On April 16, 1945, Laffey came under attack from 22 or 30 Japanese kamikaze and bomber aircraft while on radar picket duty off Okinawa. 
In a battle lasting 79 minutes, the ship was struck by five, six or eight kamikazes and two bombs, but Becton refused to abandon his ship. For his "unremitting tenacity of purpose, courageous leadership and heroic devotion to duty under fire", he was awarded the Navy Cross. 
The ship had to be towed to Seattle.
Rear Admiral Frederick Becton, USN - mensch.

Will someone please tell me why we do not have a DDG-51 named after this man? 

OK, if not the man - then can we at least have another LAFFEY, the book Becton wrote a loving tribute to in The Ship That Would Not Die?

You would think, after the above, that she would have never steamed under her own power again. Well, you'd be wrong. She was decommissioned in '47, but was brought back for the Korean War.

The lady could not stay out of trouble;
Although frequently subjected to hostile fire in Wonsan Harbor while embarked in his flagship, the U.S.S. LAFFEY, Captain Whiteside conducted a series of daring counterbattery duels with the enemy and was greatly instrumental in the success achieved by his ship.
She continued to serve until 1975.

Next time you see her when driving around Charleston, give her a nod.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Diversity Thursday

Heather Wilhelm over at RCP took a look at all the special snowflakes, professionally offended, garden variety moonbat feminists, and standard SJW that seem to infest our college campuses and has seen - what is right there if you choose to look - the results of a the long march through the institutions by the narcissistic, self-loathing left.

What has happened to once great centers of Western intellectual development - the fruit of the right's surrender of vast sections of the popular culture - festers in mocking tribute to a worn out political genre; squandering the work of generations. 

Heather has just had enough;
If you’ve ever been to a junior high slumber party, you might recognize the following scenario: In the midst of high jinks and general good times, suddenly one girl will drift off to a corner. Her feelings, somehow, have been hurt. Slowly, a few sympathizers, clear suckers for drama, make their way into her corner. They rub her back, ask why she’s crying, and, even if the answer is absurd, spend the rest of the evening casting baleful looks at the rest of the girls, who are oblivious, living large, sucking down Mountain Dew, and gleefully watching movies their parents would never allow them to watch. (In my case, this was almost always “Dirty Dancing.”)

Cowardice might not be fun, but for some, self-pity — cowardice's common companion — certainly is. This is especially true if someone else is egging you on. Sadly, huge swaths of today’s college campuses, supposedly pinnacles of higher learning, have morphed into a giant preteen slumber party with an alarming population of sulking corner girls.

“Civilization,” “The Lessons of History” declares as it closes, “is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew; if the transmission should be interrupted for one century, civilization would die, and we should be savages again.” With the goal of saving civilization, college students, here’s a tip: Lighten up. Watch the movie. Don’t get “offended” every five minutes. And don’t waste your evening rubbing some silly girl’s back.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Program management needs its own measure of time

What is one of the more simple ship designs you can think of? Important, warfighting ship - but simple to design and build?

I think a LCU should be on anyone's short list.

Via Megan Eckstein at USNINews;
The Navy is doing preliminary design work on its Landing Craft Utility (LCU) replacement now to begin construction within about three years, in time to support one-for-one replacement on the surface connectors in 2022.

The LCUs were first built in 1959, and the 32 craft still in service average more than 43 years old – well over the 25 years of service life they were built for, Capt. Chris Mercer, amphibious warfare program manager at Naval Sea Systems Command, said at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space 2015 Exposition last week.
OK kiddies, let's get out the whiteboard.

It is 2015. 2022 is seven years from now.

I think "years" does not really tell the best story about how long it takes to get even the most simple ship to displace water after the "go" is given.

Perhaps we need a new measurement - one that provides context. We need one defined in American terms, natch, and I have an idea.

I've used it before; the time from the attack on Pearl Harbor to the signing ceremony on the Mighty Mo.

That is 07DEC41 to 02SEP45. 3-years, 8-months, 26 days. Including the end date, that is 1,366 days. We shall now make that a measure of time. It will be called a WorldWar.

So - back to ...
The LCUs serve as the “workhorse” of the surface connector fleet – they go slower but could originally carry 125 tons of cargo, two tanks, 10 light armored vehicles or more than 400 troops. Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCACs), on the other hand, can exceed 40 knots but only haul 60 tons.

Mercer, who will carry out the Surface Connector X Replacement (SC(X)R) acquisition program based on Walsh’s requirements, said an analysis of alternatives was conducted last year, with the Navy and Marine Corps deciding on “a modified repeat of the LCU – rugged, reliable, designed for ease of maintenance and repair, fuel-efficient, with a high payload, able to do independent operations and really no impact to the infrastructure of the [Assault Craft Units].”

The Navy is currently in the preliminary design review, Mercer said, with Walsh adding the SC(X)Rs – also called LCU 1700s – would come off the production line in time for one-for-one replacements starting in 2022. Production of the LCAC replacements, the Ship-to-Shore Connectors (SSCs), is two years ahead and is also a modified repeat.

“We are replacing them both in-kind while leveraging today’s technology to make these new craft more efficient, easier to operate and maintain,” Walsh said.
For the sake of argument, let's make the start date 21APR15, end date 31DEC22. That is 2,812 days.

We know work is already going ... but we are going to be nice and use 21APR15 as the start date.

That tells us that it is going to take us - in spite of all our technology, communications, automation, etc ... 2.05-WorldWars to have a LCU ready to displace water.

Are we happy with this? Are we satisfied? Is this successful? What does this say about the system we have created to serve the fleet and her nation?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Crossdressing a few hundred million dollars of social justice

How does one address this wonderful example of the power of satire - and the power of pushing back against absurdist policies that the powerful force in to those under their thumb?

Well, our good friend Chap gave me an idea I am more than happy to steal.

More than half of some 770,000 soldiers are pessimistic about their future in the military and nearly as many are unhappy in their jobs, despite a six-year, $287 million campaign to make troops more optimistic and resilient, findings obtained by USA TODAY show.

Twelve months of data through early 2015 show that 403,564 soldiers, or 52%, scored badly in the area of optimism, agreeing with statements such as "I rarely count on good things happening to me." Forty-eight percent have little satisfaction in or commitment to their jobs.
the internal data obtained by USA TODAY shows most soldiers today trending in the wrong direction. Two-thirds were borderline or worse for an area called "catastrophic thinking," where poor scores mean the soldier has trouble adapting to change or dwells on the worst possible things happening.
-- About 300,000 soldiers or nearly 40% didn't trust their immediate supervisor
In the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event, cadets were required to wear high heels and march to “raise awareness of sexual assault against women.”
Is there a connection? There sure is. You make the larger connection for yourself ... but I want to dive in to the specifics of this pebble in the shoe.

There are so many ways to address it from here, it is difficult to know where to go.
- Regardless of what the ROTC leadership says, this was not voluntary any more than my wife saying, "I don't think I can even think about cooking dinner after a day like today," is a neutral statement about the odds of a full dinner for the family from the capable kitchen of Mrs. Salamander. Chinese takeout it is.
- There is something very wrong at the ROTC unit at ASU. Just look at their own pics; the fetish for the sloppy ACU everywhere (just look at their website) and the golf shirt by staff puts forth a less than professional image in general. The non-uniform wearing of the ACU during the off shoot of "Slut Walks" needs no further commentary from here.
- This does nothing to address the very real issue of s3xual assault, this is just rolling in the hot-house cause-of-the-moment faux-outrage pushed by agenda driven radicals in the only place they can get away with it; government college campuses and places where opposing viewpoints, and often facts, can be suppressed by intellectual fascist cadres.

The way the broader world knows about this is a reminder how the traditional media continues to fail. 

Bravo Zulu to the folks over at AWTFM - they did some top level work bringing fresh air and light to something that can't stand either ... and gave a voice to those whose voices are choked by toxic command climates. They don't mind being called names by bringing out uncomfortable absurdities of the reactionary college leftists and what looks like their Army supporters.

One of the sure ways that the SJW Cultural Marxists know they have been caught out in the open ... they try to cover their tracks. In the 24-hrs after their standard threats and bluff - the guilty parties have resorted to opaque statements and deleting their digital footprints.

Finally, let me quote Chap about a sinister 2nd order effect of forcing Cadets in to what is a humiliating communalist degradation - "voluntary" or not. Reminds the historically literate of;
... the signs on the Chinese they had to parade around during the height of the Cultural Revolution.
You have to, as always, look to the Direction and Guidance coming from leadership.

At ASU, Major MAJ Michelle Bravo, USA. What happened in your command? The folks at AWTFM have a solid track record on things like this - was this really you?
"I saw a comment posted by someone who made a false statement regarding Arizona State University Army ROTC. I am the Professor of Military Science for that program. We are having a "Walk a mile in her shoe" event tomorrow in support of the Chief of Staff of the Army guidance to support efforts to stand against sexual violence. This event is not mandatory and we are not wearing our uniforms. There is no retribution for someone choosing not to participate.

I would like to know the name of the individual that posted that information. They truly are misinformed and are clearly not representing our program or the Army in the way that a future officer should."
Not mandatory? When my commander defines something as a "mission" - I don't give it a pass. As a NROTC guy, I was focused on doing what was needed to get my commission and to stay out of trouble. The Commander has a priority? Well, it is my priority. Maj. Bravo knows this dynamic. If she does not, she is not in the right job.  

Uniform requirements? They seem rather clear.

Back to the actions of the guilty.

If it is such a great event ... who do you have to go to googlecache to find it now? All over the place ... googlecache is the only place to find it.

I was willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt until everything started getting deleted.

I know that I am in the minority opinion that there is a horribly slack attitude towards looking sloppy in uniform in public - but that problem comes from the top. Just spend time in the DC Metro looking at all the combat uniforms, wrinkled, faded with only a shoddy civilian backpack over the shoulders hiding that slop from the public.

Here is another data point.

One would think that a 1-2 day a week ROTC uniform requirement could at least put on a professional veneer ... but again, I know I am the minority. Sloppy cross-dressing? Well ... the pics speak for themselves.

Major General Combs ... this is going on all over your command. I guess you're cool with it then?

A nation at war. At war with a brutal enemy who will be trying to get at our throats for decades to come. One of the only things we have going for us in the enemy's eyes is the fear they have of our military. 

In a world where face - especially for men - is critical ... and this is what we are doing to ourselves in front of everyone? And for what besides our own self-preening?

The senior Army officer, General Dempsey and General Odierno ... you're OK with this? Really?

UPDATE: Drudge is linking to a Doug Ernst WashTimes article on it ... so ... yea; lots of air and light;
“Attendance is mandatory and if we miss it we get a negative counseling and a ‘does not support the battalion sharp/EO mission’ on our CDT OER for getting the branch we want. So I just spent $16 on a pair of high heels that I have to spray paint red later on only to throw them in the trash after about 300 of us embarrass the U.S. Army tomorrow,”

UPDATE II - Electric Boogaloo: 

A spokesman for U.S. Army Cadet Command, Lt. Col. Paul Haverstick, said ROTC units across the country were directed to participate in Sexual Assault Awareness Month events on their campuses “to help stamp out sexual assault on the campuses where they have a presence.” But Maj. Gen. Peggy C. Combs, the cadets’ commanding general, did not direct how the units would do so, and had other events as options, Haverstick said.

“After receiving some comments about uniforms, we are currently reviewing how local universities implemented their participation in these events designed to raise awareness on the issue of sexual assault,” Haverstick said in an e-mail.

About 15 of the 120 cadets at Temple University wore uniforms for the event, said Army Lt. Col. Gregory Nardi, the professor of military science there. It was an optional event, and most of those involved wore their uniforms, he said. Temple cadets will adhere to any guidance that senior commanders have for the event in the future, he added.

UPDATE: The Navy has beaten Army ... again. 

Here be dragons.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Moral and Intellectual Heft Gives Us a Nudge

In the little corners of my humble little library ... or in one of the various stacks hither-n-yon about the room, you can find some of the books by those who helped shape the mind of the teenage Sal.

Perhaps it was the annoying habit of old-line Southern families that have a draw to what seem at the time as romantic lost causes, or just the example of intellectual bravery in the face of tyranny - maybe both - but as a budding young man I was drawn to what were in the Cold War, Titans in resistance the tide of history - with time seen as a false tide, but fierce it was at the time.

Vaclav Havel, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Natan Sharansky are three of the top-shelf authors of the time.

To this day, I still do not understand how the people of the Left were such apologists for the evils of Communism (and some still are) with such powerful witnesses out there - but such are the mysteries of men.

These men, still living and dead - deserve a hearing when they speak.

At the end of last week, Natan Sharansky had a bit in the NYT that I recommend for your Monday ponderings, When did America forget that it’s America?;
Why the dramatic shift? One could suggest a simple answer: Today there is something the United States wants badly from Iran, leaving Washington and its allies with little bargaining power to demand additional concessions. Yet in fact Iran has at least as many reasons to hope for a deal. For Tehran, the lifting of sanctions could spell the difference between bankruptcy and becoming a regional economic superpower, and in slowing down its arms race it could avoid a military attack.

I am afraid that the real reason for the U.S. stance is not its assessment, however incorrect, of the two sides’ respective interests but rather a tragic loss of moral self-confidence. While negotiating with the Soviet Union, U.S. administrations of all stripes felt certain of the moral superiority of their political system over the Soviet one. They felt they were speaking in the name of their people and the free world as a whole, while the leaders of the Soviet regime could speak for no one but themselves and the declining number of true believers still loyal to their ideology.

But in today’s postmodern world, when asserting the superiority of liberal democracy over other regimes seems like the quaint relic of a colonialist past, even the United States appears to have lost the courage of its convictions.

We have yet to see the full consequences of this moral diffidence, but one thing is clear: The loss of America’s self-assured global leadership threatens not only the United States and Israel but also the people of Iran and a growing number of others living under Tehran’s increasingly emboldened rule. Although the hour is growing late, there is still time to change course — before the effects grow more catastrophic still.
Elections have consequences.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

21st Century Ellis - Edited by B.A. Friedman - on Midrats

The next book from USNI's 21st Century Foundations series is 21st Century Ellis, edited by Capt. B.A. Friedman, USMC.

This book covers the work of Lt. Col. "Pete" Ellis, USMC who in 1921 predicted the coming war with Japan.

Included in this collection are some o f his articles on counterinsurgency and conventional war based on his experiences in WWI and the Philippines.

Capt. Friedman will be with us for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern to discuss this and more.

Capt. B.A. Friedman is a field artillery officer in the United States Marine Corps currently stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC. He is pursuing a master's degree in national security and strategic studies through the Naval War College.

Join us live if you can with the usual suspects in the chat room and offer up your questions for our guest, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Listen to internet radio with Midrats on Blog Talk Radio

UPDATE: Forgot to mention, if you didn't follow the link above, you can find all in the 21st Century Foundations series here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fullbore Friday

So, you think you have a challenging life at your young age? You think you are a bit put upon? You think you are being asked too much of?

You think your sacrifice too much, eh? Well ... take a moment.

I don't think my friend Jim would mind if I overquote;
He was born in Hungary in 1929, and at age 15 was sent to Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. His first day there an SS captain told the assembled, "None of you will get out of here alive." Ted turned to the man next to him and said, "Nice fellow." Ted survived the next 14 brutal months of captivity, but most of his family perished. His father died in Buchenwald. His ten-year-old sister Elonja was sent to the gas chambers at Auschwitz, and his mother Rosa, who was slated for forced labor, chose instead to face death with her daughter. Mauthausen was liberated by the U.S. 11th Armored Division on May 5, 1945. With nothing left for him in Hungary Ted emigrated to the United States. He promised himself that he would show his appreciation to the country that gave him his freedom, and saved his life.

Ted joined the Army in February 1950, and five months later landed in Korea with the 3rd battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, one of the first American units sent to help repel North Korean invasion forces. Ted was soon involved in the fighting withdrawal to the Pusan perimeter. In one engagement near Chirye, Ted's company was redeploying from one hill to another, and he volunteered to stay behind to keep the enemy guessing until the movement was completed. As Corporal Leonard Hamm relates, "the North Koreans, thinking the hill was still occupied by a whole company, made an all out offensive with all their available troops. PFC Tibor Rubin had stocked each foxhole with grenades, and during the attack the following morning made his way running from foxhole to foxhole, lobbing, one after the other, grenades down upon the enemy, he became almost hysterical in his actions but he held the hill."

For this and other actions, Ted's immediate superiors recommended him for the Medal of Honor. However, before the paperwork could be processed these officers were killed, and a sergeant who might have sent the papers up refused to do so because Ted was Jewish. "Not on my watch," he said. After the Inchon invasion, the 8th Cavalry Regiment moved north towards the Chinese border, and was at the forward edge of the U.N. offensive when the Chinese Red Army entered the conflict. Ted's battalion was destroyed at the Battle of Unsan in early November 1950, while fighting a delaying action against Chinese forces swarming south from the Yalu. Hundreds of Americans were captured, among them Ted, who had manned a machine gun to hold off the enemy as the rest of the unit attempted to withdraw.

Ted found himself in the Pukchin POW camp, also known as "Death Valley," and later at Pyoktong, along with hundreds of Americans, Turks, and others. The camps were at first run by the North Koreans, then by the Chinese, whom Ted said treated them slightly better. Nevertheless, life was nightmarish for the prisoners. They were cold and hungry, and disease was rampant. "Healthy men became like babies, helpless," Ted said. "Everything was stink, death, it was terrible, terrible." Thirty to forty a day were dying. "It was hardest on the Americans who were not used to this," Ted said. "But I had a heck of a basic training from the Germans."

Ted used all the experience he had gained as a Holocaust survivor in helping keep himself and other prisoners alive. "I did it because I was an American," Ted told me, "and because it was a mitzvah. Regardless of color or nationality, they were my brothers." Food was vital for survival, so he began to steal rations from the enemy, who had little enough themselves. Fellow POW Sergeant Carl McClendon stated, "every day, when it got dark, and we went to sleep, Rubin was on his way, crawling on his stomach, jumping over fences, breaking in supply houses, while the guns were looking down on him. He tied the bottom of his fatigue pants and filled up anything he could get ahold of. He crawled back and distributed the food that he had stolen and risked his life."

Ted also did what he could to treat the sick and injured. But many were beyond saving, and diseases such as dysentery could strike anyone. "No one knew when they would die," Ted noted, "It was all random." When prisoners passed away, Ted would bury them, and recite the Kaddish. "I buried my friends, my comrades, American soldiers," Ted said, "and asked the Good Lord to let them rest in peace."

When the Chinese learned that Ted was originally from Hungary they offered to let him return to his home country, which at the time was a Soviet satellite. They promised him a job, good clothes, all the food he could want. But Ted refused to be a pawn for Chinese propaganda and turned them down. "I stood by my oath," he said. Ted stayed in the camp until the end of the war when he was released. The Army credits him with saving over 40 lives during his two and a half years of imprisonment.

When Ted returned to the United States, he finally received his U.S. citizenship. "I was the happiest man in the world," he said. He left the Army and worked at his brother Emery's store. Ted married, and he and his wife Yvonne had two children. By this time there was no talk of medals; the country was moving on, and anyway many men in Ted's original unit thought he was dead. He created a wonder at a 1980 Korean War veterans' reunion simply by showing up.

Ted's case was brought to the Army's attention in 1985, but he was ineligible to receive the award until statutory language was amended in 1996. His is one of many cases being reviewed under section 552 of the 2002 National Defense Authorization Act, which requires the military to "review the records of certain Jewish American and Hispanic American war veterans to determine if any of these veterans should be awarded the Medal of Honor." Most such awards will unfortunately be posthumous. But on September 23, President Bush will give Corporal Ted Rubin long overdue recognition for his many acts of valor in the Korean conflict. Ted will receive, in his own words, "the highest honor of the best country in the world." How does he feel about it? "It still hasn't sunk in," he said. "I'm just a country boy. It's a dream come true."
Much more required reading over at BadAssOfTheWeek.

Attention to citation: