Saturday, July 4, 2015

Remains of Revolutionary War Schooner Presented to Navy


150629-N-TH437-048 HARRISBURG, Pa. (Jun. 29, 2015) Blair Atcheson, left, George Schwartz and Heather Brown, marine archaeologists with Naval History and Heritage Command, decide how best to move timber wreckage from the Revolutionary War-era schooner Royal Savage. The city of Harrisburg, Pa., will formally donate the wreckage to Naval History and Heritage Command on July 1. Royal Savage, a two-masted schooner, served in the American Lake Champlain Squadron under Benedict Arnold during the American Revolution before running aground and being burned by the British in October 1776. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric Lockwood/Released)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (NNS) -- The city of Harrisburg formally presented the remains of Continental Navy schooner Royal Savage to the U.S. Navy during a press briefing at City Hall July 1.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse presided over the event in which Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) Director Sam Cox accepted the artifacts on behalf of the Navy.

"This ship, and its artifacts are now going to be preserved and cherished for the public for generations to come as they should be," said Mayor Papenfuse. The Mayor added, "for the last 20 years, the artifacts have stayed in storage, out of public viewing, and we are pleased today to bring them to the light of day and to make sure they are being given the proper care."

Cox thanked the Mayor and the people of Harrisburg, letting all know the artifacts are in good hands. "The United States Navy takes very seriously our obligation to protect and preserve the heritage of the Navy and our Nation," said Cox. "The first thing we will do is go through a process of preserving and protecting them for the long term. As we go through that process we will open the process up to scholars; archeologists and historians have much to learn from this."

Art Cohn, of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, was also on hand for the historic return of the Royal Savage. He shared the ship's story, its role on Lake Champlain, and the importance of studying her remains.

"I am here to celebrate and extend gratitude to the city of Harrisburg and to the Naval History and Heritage Command or their extraordinary cooperation in preserving a hugely important piece of American History," said Cohn.

Royal Savage, a two-masted schooner, originally served in the Royal Navy and was damaged and sunk by American forces under Richard Montgomery during the siege of St. Johns, Quebec, in the fall of 1775.

After American forces took the fort there Nov. 2, the ship was raised and repaired. With the small schooner Liberty and the sloop Enterprise (ex-HMS George III), Royal Savage formed the nucleus of the American Lake Champlain squadron. That squadron, under Benedict Arnold, denied the British the use of the lake during the fall of 1776 and thus contributed to British General John Burgoyne's defeat at Saratoga.

In June of 1776, the American force, pushed from Canada, fell back to Crown Point, Skenesborough, and Fort Ticonderoga. There Arnold pressed his force to complete a shipbuilding program before the British completed their squadron. In late August, 10 of his ships were finished and he moved north with Royal Savage as his flagship.

He scouted the lakeshore well into September. On the Sept. 23 he moved his fleet into an anchorage at Valcour Island, separated from the western shore by a half-mile channel, to await the remainder of his squadron, and the British.

With the arrival of the galley Congress, Arnold shifted his headquarters to that boat, and continued to wait. On Oct. 11 the north wind carried the British past the island. American ships, including Royal Savage, appeared, fired on the enemy, and beat back into the southern entrance to the channel, where the remainder of Arnold's force was positioned to meet the enemy. Arnold's plan was to beat the British if possible, but, at all cost, to delay them.

Coming in from the south, the British force was handicapped by the wind. Arnold's planning and the British acceptance of the bait had given the Americans a chance to carry out their mission. Royal Savage, however, ran aground on returning to the American line. Undefendable, she was abandoned. Despite attempts to reboard her, she was taken by the British and burned.

The ship remained in the lake until it was raised in 1934 by marine salvor and amateur archaeologist Lorenzo Hagglund. According to Cohn, the remains of the ship and associated artifacts remained in the possession of Hagglund's family until being purchased by the city of Harrisburg in 1995.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Design Competition Launched for National World War I Memorial

Two weeks remain in an open competition to submit designs for the latest monument to be constructed in Washington, D.C.—the World War I Memorial.

WWI memorial

Credit: U.S. World War One Memorial Centennial Commission

The nation’s capital features memorials to Americans who fought and died in three of the 20th century’s great wars—World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War—yet it lacks a national monument to those who served in the Great War itself, World War I.

A campaign is under way, however, to rectify the glaring omission. The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission, a temporary federal agency chartered by Congress in 2013, has launched an open competition to choose a design for a new national World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C.

“We live under the long shadow of the First World War in so many ways,” said the commission’s chairman, retired Colonel Robert Dalessandro, at a May press conference announcing the launch of the competition. “It was a war that saw the fall of empires. It was a war that redefined the maps of Europe and the world, particularly in the Middle East, and today we live under the social and economic and geopolitical terms that were set by the Fourteen Points and the armistice at Versailles.”

A statue of General John Pershing stands in Pershing Park, the location of the proposed new WWI memorial. (Credit: John Kelly/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

A statue of General John Pershing stands in Pershing Park, the location of the proposed new WWI memorial. (Credit: John Kelly/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“The United States lost more American servicemen in World War I than in Vietnam and Korea combined,” noted the commission’s vice chair, Edwin Fountain, who added that most of the war’s 116,000 fatalities were concentrated in just six months of fighting. “The combat fatality rate in World War I was at least 50 percent greater than that of World War II. It was a savage, bloody war that American forces made a major commitment to, and that fact is just not understood in America today.” Fountain said those who served in World War I “deserve to be honored with the same respect and devotion that we accord to the veterans of later wars.”

The mission of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission is to mark the 100th anniversary of the American entrance into the war in 1917, and last year Congress tasked it with establishing a new memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue, one block from the White House and within eyeshot of the Capitol. The memorial will be built inside Pershing Park, dedicated in 1981 to honor General John J. Pershing, who commanded the American Expeditionary Force in Europe during World War I. The park includes a bronze statue of Pershing, related inscriptions in two stone walls and maps from the Western Front. “The redesign of Pershing Park will provide an opportunity to commemorate the sacrifices made by Americans in World War I and the chance to rejuvenate a run-down little park,” said Dr. Libby O’Connell, chief historian for HISTORY and A+E Networks and a member of the commission. “The design competition will lead to the renewal of a pre-existing public space and to the increased awareness of a war that shaped our world today.”

While a World War I memorial does stand on the National Mall between the World War II and Korean War memorials, the 47-foot-tall circular structure that resembles a Greek temple and doubles as a bandstand specifically honors the 26,000 residents of the District of Columbia who served in the Great War. The names of the 499 Washingtonians who died in the war are inscribed on the memorial.

The District of Columbia War Memorial, which commemorates Washingtonians who fought and died in World War I. (Credit: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The District of Columbia War Memorial, which commemorates Washingtonians who fought and died in World War I. (Credit: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The new memorial will honor the more than 2 million Americans who served in the Great War nearly a century ago, and the design competition is open to both amateurs and professionals as well as international entries, a recognition of the war’s global reach. The deadline for the contest is July 21. Along with basic sketches or drawings, competitors are required to submit a narrative, a graphic description of the concept and a $100 entry fee. A diverse jury with members who include urban and landscape designers, a college professor, an architecture critic and a retired army general will review the submissions.

On August 4, the commission will announce the selections of between three and five designs to move onto the second phase. These finalists will receive $25,000 prizes and be required to work with a professional designer or licensed architect who can assist with properly executing the design and navigating regulatory channels. The designs from the selected finalists will be exhibited to the public in December, and the winner of the National World War I Memorial Design Competition will be announced on January 20, 1916. The commission hopes to dedicate the memorial on November 11, 1918, the centennial of the armistice that ended World War I.

Fountain conceded the commission is “pursuing a very ambitious schedule” for completing the project in less than three years. The estimated cost of the memorial is between $20 million and $25 million. Since the federal government is prohibited from providing funding for the project, the commission will be totally reliant upon private contributions from corporations, foundations and individual donors. (Those interested in making a donation can do so by visiting the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission’s web site.)

“We are under no illusions that fundraising for a World War I memorial will be less of a lift than fundraising for a World War II or a Vietnam memorial,” Fountain said, “and the centennial period gives us the best opportunity to do that fundraising.”

Details about the design competition, including the competition manual, can be found at the commission’s web site.

Naturalization Ceremony Held Aboard USS Midway

Story Number: NNS150701-19Release Date: 7/1/2015 6:55:00 PM

A A A Email this story to a friend Print this story

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gerald Dudley Reynolds

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (NNS) -- Cheers and applause rang from the flight deck of the USS Midway museum as 50 Sailors and Marines became U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony, July 1.

Captain Joseph Eldred, commanding officer of Region Legal Service Office Southwest, was a guest speaker at the ceremony.

"These men and women have taken a huge step and can now take great pride and responsibility of what America stands for," said Eldred. "These Sailors and Marines will remember this day for the rest of their lives."

Many of the service members have waited years to become U.S. citizens. Some, like Boatswain's Mate Seaman Apprentice Elvis Matos, assigned to USS San Diego (LPD 22), have waited 20 years for this day.

"It was a real honor to receive citizenship aboard this historic ship," said Matos. "It is a roller coaster of emotions and I couldn't have become a citizen without the Navy's help."

All of the non-citizen service members who apply for citizenship must be able to demonstrate good moral character, have no criminal record, speak English, demonstrate knowledge of the U.S. government and history, and take the oath of allegiance to the U.S. Constitution before they are eligible.

"I am very happy and proud of what I have accomplished in becoming a U.S. citizen," said Ships Servicemen Seaman Alexander Apanyin assigned to USS Somerset (LPD 25). "I have achieved one dream of mine and now I can work on fulfilling my other dreams and goals."

For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, visit


1. The Polish Resistance Agent who got himself sent to Auschwitz — on purpose

Nazi concentration camps were one of the most hideous and disturbing tragedies to arise out of the second world war, but few countries were aware of their existence before the Allied liberation in 1945. Fewer still had any idea what atrocities were taking place within their gates — which is exactly why Witold Pilecki, a Polish resistance agent, decided to see the inside for himself. How’d he do it? By getting himself arrested and sent to the worst death camp of them all: Auschwitz.

He gathered intelligence inside Auschwitz and sent it to the underground Polish army for two years, enduring brutal conditions and near-starvation to detail Nazi execution and interrogation methods. When the Allies continued to put off any aid (some even accused him of exaggerating his reports, according to NPR) he broke out of the camp and escaped. Pilecki continued to gather intelligence throughout the war, and didn’t let up afterwards either, though now it was against a different government — the Soviet regime in Poland.

Sadly, Pilecki was later captured by the communists, arrested for espionage in 1948, and issued not one, but three death sentences. The communists also wiped his name from the public record after his execution, and no accounts of Pilecki’s bravery were known until after the fall of the Berlin wall.

2. The Middle Eastern soldiers of France’s Free Army

On the whole, France gets a pretty bad rap when it comes to military valor. Some of the jokes actually ring true — when France fell to the Nazi regime during World War II, Gen. Charles De Gaulle struggled to gather soldiers who were ready and willing to drive out the Fuhrer’s army … not exactly the kind of bravery you write home about. Which is exactly why a frustrated De Gaulle set his sights outside of France to raise an army, recruiting instead from French colonies in Africa. Arabic, African and Tahitian volunteers rallied to the French cause, and the French Free Army was born.

Amazingly, this rag-tag militia, many of whom had never stepped on French soil before, kicked ass in the war against Hitler, wining several battles. So why haven’t you heard of them? Sadly, the Allies weren’t too thrilled with these guys, and when The Free French Army geared up to liberate Paris, the Allies actually refused to fight with them — unwilling to go into battle with dark-skinned foreigners.

Read more:

06/30/2015 - 10:07 Interview: Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Ravanchi - Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists




Ariane Tabatabai is a visiting assistant professor in the Security Studies Program at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, and an associate in the Belfer Center's International...




I had an opportunity to sit down with Iran's deputy foreign minister and one of Iran’s chief negotiators, Majid Ravanchi, in the Coburg Hotel in Vienna, Austria, where the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany) and Iran are working around the clock to strike a nuclear deal that would curb Tehran's nuclear activities and provide assurance of their peaceful nature, while granting Iran relief from international economic sanctions. I asked Ravanchi about the state of play in the negotiations and the stumbling blocks on the path toward a final deal. The deputy foreign minister also shed some light on domestic aspects of the Iranian nuclear negotiations.

Tabatabai: There are some rumors floating around the lobby of the Marriott Hotel across the street (where journalists and analysts congregate) about whether or not the P5+1 have added some elements to the discussions since Lausanne. What's your take on this? Is everyone still negotiating within the framework of Lausanne?

Ravanchi: What we reached there was a sort of understanding, not agreement, some sort of solution to the problems. This has been the point of departure. We have been working under the umbrella of this general understanding. But I have to say, we didn't have time to go into detail about all subjects in Lausanne. So, with our partners, we have been working to see if we can resolve issues important to both sides. If you talk in general terms, you can agree upon things more or less quickly. When you enter details, it takes more time. Some times, you have to insist. Therefore, it is not an easy job to get to the bottom of everything quickly. But we are following the logic of Lausanne.

Tabatabai: What about the remaining issues then? Are they more political or technical you'd say?

Ravanchi: I'd say both: There have been problems associated with issues on both fronts. I don't want to go into detail here because of how sensitive this stage is, but on both general topics, nuclear and sanctions, there are still technical problems that need to be solved. And to be frank, there are also political decisions that need to be made.

One other point I should emphasize here is that in Lausanne we went into a lot of detail on the nuclear side. We also discussed sanctions, but compared to what we achieved on the nuclear issue, we didn't get as far. So, this is now of paramount importance. And as I said, if we are going further into detail on the nuclear issue, we need to also do the same on the sanctions issue.

Tabatabai: Speaking of the political side of things, how do you see the role of Majles [the Iranian consultative assembly, or parliament] in the process?

Ravanchi: You know, a few days ago, the Majles adopted a bill ratified later by the Council of Guardians. We don't need their approval, but the agreement has to be submitted to the Majles by the Foreign Ministry and every six months, the Foreign Ministry had to present an updated report to the parliament. There are other provisions in [the] deal. For instance, we have to work within the framework set up by the Majles. The Majles is very active on this. The ratification of the Additional Protocol [to the International Atomic Energy Agency Safeguards Agreement] has to go through parliament, and we believe that even besides the ratification of the AP, even the provisional implementation should have the blessing of the parliament. As the government, we have to listen to the Majles, and they give us the framework to operate within.

Tabatabai: So, how do you assess Iran's ability to implement the deal?

Ravanchi: If there is a deal, it should be a good deal. This is something we all want, not just Iran. This needs to fall within the framework set for us by both the Supreme Leader and Majles. In that case, the implementation will go smoothly.

Tabatabai: The Supreme Leader's recent comments about visits to military sites have raised a number of questions on this in the United States. Can you get into a bit more detail on monitoring under the Additional Protocol and also the issue of managed access versus inspection in military facilities?

Ravanchi: First of all we have to see what Iran's international obligations are under. We have a Safeguards Agreement with the [International Atomic Energy] Agency based on which we've been operating for many years. There haven't been any issues with that instrument. There is also the Additional Protocol. We implemented it for more than two years between 2003 and 2005. The agency had a free hand to go over different places in Iran at their choosing, and there were not any problems at all with the places the agency wanted to see or the places it wanted to talk to. So, as far as our record in the implementation of the [Additional Protocol] goes, in those years where we voluntarily implemented the AP, there was not a single problem. The inspectors did their job in Iran. But also, Iran has given access to its military facilities under the Chemical Weapons Convention. So, we don't have an issue with honoring our obligations in accordance with our international legal obligations.

Now we are entering a new phase. If we are going to reach a final deal, this deal is going to include the AP. We have included in the text voluntary implementation of the AP. This will be until a later stage, where it should be ratified by the Iranian parliament. This means it will become part of Iran's national laws. So, if we reach an agreement, Iran will abide by the AP, which also entails managed access.

So if you're referring to recent developments and questions about whether or not Iran will provide managed access, you can't just discuss them in a vacuum. You have to see where and in what context these issues were raised. If you remember, when a sort of understanding was reached in Lausanne, this idea of Iran providing access to its military sites at all time, in any location, any site was raised. This has created some kind of anxiety in Iran on the actual purpose of all this. So, is this about the deal, or is it about seeing what's going on in the Iranian military? We will not allow anybody to enter the military complexes, because the AP isn't about letting inspectors visit and have a free hand in wherever they want to go, whatever they want to do, and talking about whoever they want to talk to. The AP is about providing access to certain areas where there is proof that there have been some alleged wrongdoings, the documents of which should be given to the members.

I don't think there will be any problem in the future on the implementation of the AP. You know, this is about exceptional cases, not just any case. Of course, this makes people nervous. I can't imagine the United States for instance allowing this. It's not just Iran being sensitive; no country will just open up its [military] facilities. And Iran is not an exception. We've tried to make the agency's job easier, given daily access to inspectors.

Sampling Slices of The Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information

Pie eating contest, Cimarron, Kansas. Photo by Russell Lee, 1939.

Anyone who has ever dipped into the amazing Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information photograph collection has probably experienced the same sensations that a pie eating contestant must face: mouth-watering temptation combined with a sinking sense that one will soon be overwhelmed.

There are many ways to explore the 175,000 black-and-white photographs in the collection. You can search for words in the titles. You can look at groups of pictures made for the same photo assignment. You can also browse the FSA/OWI’s original subject index. Each type of access allows one to slice the photographic pie a little differently. So, with outdoor eating on my mind, let’s examine the slices a bit more closely.

The Keyword Slice: Titles are Key

Staff at the Resettlement Administration and its successor agency, the Farm Security Administration, captioned the photographs that they printed. The staff recorded information about what the photograph shows, and sometimes they also included words conveying the context in which the photo was taken. This captioning pattern continued when the unit shifted to the Office of War Information. The captions became the titles for the photographs in online descriptions.

When I search the collection for the word “picnic,” for instance, the results show an array of images relating to outdoor eating events and venues: men preparing a “fried supper,” plates laden with food, families stretched out on blankets, parishioners praying at a Sunday school event.

Cooking a fried supper as a benefit picnic supper ...Bardstown (vicinity), Ky. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, 1940.

Cooking a fried supper as a benefit picnic supper …Bardstown (vicinity), Ky. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, 1940.

Sunday school picnic ... Saint Mary's County, Maryland. Photo by Marjory Collins, 1942.

Sunday school picnic … Saint Mary’s County, Maryland. Photo by Marjory Collins, 1942.

Picnic on the Fourth of July, Vale, Oregon. Photo by Russell Lee, 1941.

Picnic on the Fourth of July, Vale, Oregon. Photo by Russell Lee, 1941.

Prayer, or grace, at Sunday school picnic in abandoned mining town of Jere, West Virginia. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, 1938.

Prayer, or grace, at Sunday school picnic in abandoned mining town of Jere, West Virginia. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, 1938.

RA/FSA/OWI staff members did not always caption similar content consistently, but the words in the captions can be an important hook to discover more pictures of interest.

The Story Slice: LOTs Can Lead to Lots More Photos–and Insights

Sunday school picnic, Penderlea Homesteads, North Carolina. Photo by Ben Shahn, 1937.

Sunday school picnic, Penderlea Homesteads, North Carolina. Photo by Ben Shahn, 1937.

One of the photos that turns up in the “picnic” search results shows a young man surveying the offerings at a Sunday school picnic with very evident anticipation.

I know, however, that FSA/OWI photographers seldom took just one isolated photograph. They were working on assignments to cover a place or a set of conditions or developments in an area. To see all the coverage relating to that picnic at Penderlea Homesteads in North Carolina, I should look at the whole group of related photographs. I should look at the “LOT.” What’s that?

When OWI staff member Paul Vanderbilt transferred to the Library of Congress along with the photo collection in the mid-1940s, he foresaw that people would be interested in the stories that can unfold when one views all the pictures made for one photo assignment. Looking at the entire group of images helps uncover the story the pictures were meant to tell, but also provides clues to the story behind the story–a sense of the photographers’ working methods and assumptions. Vanderbilt arranged to gather and microfilm the photos in groups, usually related by the photographer, date and subject matter. Each group received a one-up “LOT” number.

Catalog card describing LOT 1483. The group descriptions have been converted to online records and can be searched in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (searching the Groups of Images category focuses the search on LOT records).

Catalog card describing LOT 1483. The group descriptions have been converted to online records and can be searched in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (searching the Groups of Images category focuses the search on LOT records).

Looking at the description of one of the photographs of the picnic, I see that it is part of LOT 1483. Searching for that LOT numberwill let me see other photographic prints in that group, as well as the description of the group as a whole.

The group description indicates that the photos represent the work of three photographers (Arthur Rothstein, Carl Mydans, and Ben Shahn) who captured various angles of a Resettlement Administration project, “America’s first farm-city.” Not only does this information place that communal picnic in a larger context, but it can lead to intriguing questions about the purpose for the photo assignment and the directions it took.

The Subject Slice: The Subject Index Brings Pictures Together by What They Show

While LOTs help you see photographs connected to each other by photographer, place, and time, the virtue of the FSA/OWI subject index is that it allows you to see how the same subject was handled by different FSA/OWI photographers in different places and circumstances.

Paul Vanderbilt developed the subject index in the 1940s as a follow-on activity to the LOT microfilming project. Once the photographic prints were reproduced on microfilm in the LOT arrangement, staff took the same prints and reorganized them into a browsing file based on a subject “decimal classification” scheme. That’s how researchers view the prints in the Prints and Photographs Reading Room to this day.

FSA-OWI Reading Room file drawer containing photographic prints classed in category .9026 "Church Suppers and Picnics

FSA-OWI Reading Room file drawer containing photographic prints classed in category .9026 “Church Suppers and Picnics” and related categories.

Section of the FSA/OWI Subject Index that includes the classification numbers for Social Activities, including Church Suppers and Picnics.

Section of the FSA/OWI Subject Index that includes the classification numbers for Social Activities, including Church Suppers and Picnics.

In forming the browsing file, staff assigned each photographic print to a subject classification number category, enabling viewers to see the pictures near visually related categories. For instance, church suppers and picnics (.9026), are preceded by photographs of other “organized gatherings,” including conventions (.9022 ) and the category is followed by photographs of competitions and contests (.9029).

The categories are generally very concrete, focusing on what the photo shows. The categories do not have listings for more conceptual subjects such as “Holidays,” which could be expressed through a variety of actions and objects, for instance.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

New monument now marking final resting place of First World War soldier from Peterborough

PETERBOROUGH -- The war grave monument, marking the final resting place of First World War soldier Lieutenant Arthur Ross Ackerman, has been replaced.

An official Commonwealth war marker now sits on a small plot of land inside Little Lake Cemetery. It was erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to replace a weathered stone that was destroyed by vandals last December. Suspects toppled and desecrated 16 monuments in total, including that of Lieut. Ackerman's who was one of only six fallen First World War soldiers to be repatriated back to his home community.


Following the vandalism, Peterborough city councillor Henry Clarke took up the reins to have the marker replaced by contacting the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Lieut. Ackerman's new monument was installed in the cemetery almost two weeks ago.

On Monday night (June 29), Lieut. Ackerman's second cousin, Hugh Waddell, of Peterborough, went to the cemetery to see the new marker. He says it's wonderful knowing people like Coun. Clarke cared so much to have the stone replaced.

"I'm so grateful for Henry," says Mr. Waddell.

He was shocked last December when he heard that his relative's gravestone had been destroyed. He knows of the sacrifices his second cousin made during the war and couldn't believe vandals targeted the marker.

During the early morning hours of Dec. 13, suspects destroyed three markers, and toppled 13 others inside the cemetery. It appears the markers were targeted as most have significant historic connection to the Peterborough region. Other monuments damaged were erected in honour of Dr. Barnardo's children.

"Anytime there are things desecrated by people it's the most heinous thing especially to people who did what he (Lieut. Ackerman) did," says Mr. Waddell. "We all would have liked to catch these people in the act…it's disgraceful that these things occur."

Mr. Waddell's father was Lieut. Ackerman's cousin. Mr. Waddell says his father spoke very little of Lieut. Ackerman's service in the First World War and that of his brother's in the Second World War.

"My father was disturbed by it. He saw the damage it did to his cousin and the changes it evoked in his brother," says Mr. Waddell.

He adds Lieut. Ackerman served in the trenches, using sub-par equipment which eventually led to his death. He was wounded after his gun misfired on Sept. 23, 1916. He died less than a month later on Oct. 10.

"They were there with virtual pop-guns. None of the equipment worked right and that's what killed him," says Mr. Waddell.

For his "gallant" actions holding the front line during trench warfare, Lieut. Ackerman was awarded the Military Cross, Canada's third highest award.

"Anyone who was in the trenches…would have to be incredibly brave. He was among those Canadian troops who were ferocious and tough as nails," says Mr. Waddell.

Because of Lieut. Ackerman's sacrifice, Coun. Clarke knew the importance of replacing his monument as soon as possible although he doesn't want to take any credit for having the stone replaced.

"I don't care if anyone knows I had anything to do with it. I wanted it looked after," says Coun. Clarke. "I'm just very satisfied and grateful."

He adds the Commonwealth War Graves Commission should be applauded for its quick response to the matter. In a story that was published in May, Dominique Boulais, technical services manager with the Commission's Canadian agency, told that once he heard about the vandalism, he knew something had to be done.

Although Lieut. Ackerman's monument has been replaced, it doesn't rectify what actually happened last December, says Coun. Clark, adding the suspects are still out there.

"I hope when they read this they are ashamed," says Coun. Clarke. "Desecrating a grave is horrible, but doing it to a solider who died for your freedom is doubly horrible."

Mary McGee, CEO of the Little Lake Cemetery Company, says all but one of the monuments damaged last December have now been repaired or replaced. There is still one broken stone that has to be dealt with, she adds.

However, Ms McGee is pleased Lieut.. Ackerman's marker has been replaced, adding it's the only First World War memorial in the cemetery.

Navy Sailor Dies Aboard USS Essex

Navy Sailor Dies Aboard USS Essex

Story Number: NNS150630-05Release Date: 6/30/2015 10:03:00 AM
A A A Email this story to a friend Print this story

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- A U.S. Navy Sailor assigned to USS Essex (LHD 2) died 10:04 p.m. (GMT), Monday, June 29, from non-combat related causes, while the ship was conducting routine operations in the 5th Fleet area of operations.

The Sailor reported chest pains shortly before collapsing. Medical personnel on board attempted to revive the Sailor but were unsuccessful. The cause of death is unknown at this time pending an investigation.

Essex is the flagship for the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/5th Fleet, visit

Saudi Arabia is preparing itself in case Iran develops nuclear weapons

As the June 30 deadline approaches for the P5+1 - a group of nations including the US, Russia and China - and Iran to complete a nuclear agreement, all signs seem to be pointing to the fact that Britain alongside the US and France seem to be caving in on some of their long-standing central demands. Foremost among these is that Iran must be transparent about the “possible military dimensions” (PMDs) of its nuclear program.

This means that the ultimate agreement could leave open the potential for Iran to weaponize its nuclear program and acquire and then possibly deploy a nuclear weapon. Such a scenario represents a state of extreme danger to multiple nations, but few more so than Saudi Arabia, which has long been Iran’s primary opponent in the Middle East power balance.

Saudi Arabia has for past several years been laying the groundwork for a civil nuclear program with no PMDs. However, there is a strong possibility that the Kingdom might begin to engage in contingency planning for a defensive nuclear program with PMDs. This planning represents an emerging Saudi nuclear defence doctrine. As the US and the UK continue to strategically withdraw from the Middle East after decades of financial and human loss that has led to few tangible gains and in fact brought turmoil to numerous countries in the region, the Saudis are alone in determining how to best defend themselves. Possessing a thoroughly planned and fully conceptualized nuclear defence doctrine is thus a matter of necessity in the face of changing geopolitical realities.

This emerging doctrine is based on two fundamental pillars. First, in order to produce a nuclear program with PMDs, a fully operative domestic civil nuclear program must be in place, and the Kingdom has in fact been working on the foundations of such a program for years. When the late King Abdullah decided to pursue a comprehensive national civil nuclear program, he established the King Abdullah Atomic Energy City (KACARE) that centralized all nuclear related research in Saudi Arabia. At KACARE, Saudi nuclear scientists have already carried out the strategic planning on a nuclear program, and plans are in place to spend around $80 billion over the next twenty years to build about sixteen nuclear power reactors.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef with Barack Obama (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The second fundamental pillar of the doctrine is that the addition of PMDs to the Saudi nuclear program would be carried out for purely defensive reasons. For years, the Kingdom has been the primary leader in pushing for a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Free Zone in the Middle East. It has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, and the Chemical Weapons Convention. However, the Saudis have to face the reality that all the numerous attempts to keep the Middle East free of WMDs have failed. Israel’s nuclear weapons program being the prime example of this failed policy. Therefore, if they must develop a defensive weaponized nuclear program in order to protect themselves and their allies, they will do so.

None should doubt that the Saudi scientific community possesses the know-how and technical infrastructure to realize this nuclear defense doctrine. Saudi nuclear physicists have received PhDs from Harvard, MIT, Oxford and other top American and British universities and have been conducting advanced nuclear physics research for years. Further, through the Kingdom’s $2 billion a year foreign scholarship program (there are currently about 15,000 students in the UK alone), numerous future Saudi nuclear physicists are being trained.

The plans for an indigenous program capable of using established methods of producing plutonium and highly enriched uranium (HEU) are already in place, and several Saudi nuclear scientists have earned their PhD's researching new forms of civil nuclear technology. In short, foundational work is well underway at KACARE to realize the three essentials to producing HEU: a nuclear fuel fabrication supply chain, the manufacture of centrifuges and related technologies, and the storage of fuel and centrifuges in various stages of usability.

Saudi security forces on parade (Photo: Getty Images)

Finally, there are those who feel that the nuclear agreement being considered between Iran and the P5+1 adequately prevents Iran from quickly weaponizing its nuclear program. This is pure speculation based on difficult calculations regarding several issues: the number and type of installed, operable centrifuges Iran is allowed to maintain, its inventory of enriched uranium, the level of inspection access, and enhanced intelligence and compliance enforcement. Iran’s current timeframe for acquiring enough HEU to make a nuclear bomb is around 2 to 3 months, but the US and France (with Britain of course) are attempting to push that to one year, which they feel is enough time to detect an Iranian so-called “mad dash” to weaponization.

Given that the proposed agreement allows Iran to maintain 5,060 centrifuges dedicated to enriching uranium, and that the nation has a long history of fettering inspections, intelligence and enforcement attempts, it seems highly unlikely that the P5+1 will be able to garner a deal that will prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon relatively quickly.

In order for Saudi Arabia to implement its nuclear defense doctrine, it needs the capability to produce HEU, the skills to add PMDs to that nuclear program, and the advanced deliverable systems onto which nuclear warheads can be placed. It now possesses all three of these elements. With Iran now on the precipice of being allowed to develop nuclear weapons, an emerging nuclear defense doctrine is seen by the Saudi leadership as absolutely necessary to carry out their most important mission: the defense of the realm. Any nation facing a similar predicament would undoubtedly pursue the same path.

Saudi Arabia is preparing itself in case Iran develops nuclear weapons

Nawaf Obaid is a visiting fellow and associate instructor at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He is also a senior fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies and a distinguished fellow at the National Council on U.S. Arab Relations.

Naval Search Engine

Total Pageviews

Find-A-Grave Link

Search 62.2 million cemetery records at by entering a surname and clicking search: