Saturday, July 11, 2015

Digging Up the Past: Salvaging CSS Georgia


Digging Up the Past: Salvaging CSS Georgia: "Savannah, Georgia - Sailors from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2 and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 6, along with Naval History and Heritage Command and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, are diving the Savannah River to salvage the Civil War ironclad CSS Georgia.


Literally plunging into history, the team is in the water recovering Civil War-era ordnance and projectiles, rendering the site safe for the next stages of the mission.

"We have already recovered upwards of 100 pieces of unexploded ordnance and discarded military munitions from the river bottom," said Chief Warrant Officer Jason Potts, on-scene diving and salvage commander. "Once this portion is wrapped up, we can move on to cannon recovery and large artifact removal."

The salvage of the ship from the river is necessitated by the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, or SHEP. In order to deepen the river from 42 to 47 feet for larger ships, the ironclad needed to be removed.

If the ship were not removed it would be demolished by the expansion because the wreck sits right on the shoulder of the channel used by commercial ships entering the port.

Planning took efforts from several sources, starting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

"The project has huge national benefits," said Russell Wicke of the Army Corps of Engineers Corporate Communications Office. "An economic study shows the transportation cost savings could be upwards of $174 million a year."

With the project in early planning stages, USACE reached out to the Navy for assistance.

"The Army Corps of Engineers sent a request asking for help to the U.S. Navy," said Rick Thiel, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV) project manager. "That is how we got involved and coordinated all of the units out here."

The Savannah River is an 18-mile stretch of water that connects the Port of Savannah to the Atlantic Ocean. The dive site location controls when and how the team goes about the recovery process.

"The environment in the Savannah River is unique," said Potts. "With the strong current, civilian and commercial boat traffic, and the Georgia weather in July, we have had challenges, but with careful planning, we came prepared to meet those challenges."

MDSU-2 and EODMU-6 conducted training throughout May and June to prepare for the CSS Georgia salvage operation. During this time, the units had to build cohesion between the two different groups. The team also trained to familiarize themselves with the equipment they are using, and the murky conditions of the river.

"The first couple of days we worked out the kinks, and now we are all really settling into a nice groove," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Justin Wallace, assigned to MDSU-2. "Everybody really knows their job, and we are working together flawlessly."

The team is utilizing high-tech sonar, underwater imaging equipment and a variety of modern-day dive equipment, but the historical importance of the mission isn't lost in a slew of technology.

"I'm just really proud of my Sailors, and we are all very proud to work on this piece of history," said Potts.

Navy divers are in the water every day, throughout the world, performing a diverse array of mission sets. With 2015 serving as The Year of the Military Diver, the CSS Georgia is a perfect illustration of their capabilities as they dive into history.

U.S. Navy EOD is the world's premier combat force for countering explosive hazards and conducting expeditionary diving and salvage.

"



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Review: “Testament of Youth” the kind of World War I period drama they just don’t make anymore



Review: “Testament of Youth” the kind of World War I period drama they just don’t make anymore

July 10, 2015
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By STEVE MURRAY

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It’s not a spoiler to point out that World War I was, up till that time, the most catastrophic killer of young men in recorded history. The pain and loss of those four muddy, bloody years are visible in the face of Vera (Alicia Vikander) during the first moment of Testament of Youth. She’s a stricken figure in London on Armistice Day, 1918. On the street among flag-waving revelers, she’s as much a ghost as all the boys buried across the Channel in foreign soil.
Based on Vera Brittain’s antiwar memoir of the same name, Testament flashes back to four years earlier. Vera is younger and unhaunted then. An autodidact living in upper-middle class comfort in rural Buxton, she longs to go to Oxford, like her kid brother Edward (Taron Egerton). In this pre-suffragette era, her father (Dominic West) prefers she practice her piano playing and other husband-luring skills. Her mother (Emily Watson) keeps out of it, as women of the day were taught to do.
But Edward stands up for her, convincing their dad that Vera should have a chance at university. Unfortunately, she does the same for him, persuading their father to let her brother go when Edward determines to enlist when war erupts.
All the boys want to serve their country, including Edward’s friends Victor (Colin Morgan) and Roland (Game of Throne’s Kit Harington), who quickly becomes more than just Vera’s friend. As with the American Civil War, the European conflict is seen by these young men as something that will surely be over before the year’s end — a grand boys’ adventure, and a rugged holiday away from their studies.
But history has other plans. Edward, Roland and Victor get swept into combat. And Vera likewise suspends her university life, volunteering as a nurse on the home front, then in France.
Probably the movie’s richest scene happens during one of Roland’s wartime leaves. Strolling the seaside alone with Vera, he’s moody, at a loss — but when Edward and Victor turn up, he launches into a hearty show of soldierly camaraderie. Vera, who has seen as much blood and horror at her patients’ bedsides, refuses to be excluded from their boys’ club. She forces Roland to look into her eyes and acknowledge the psychic damage the war has wrought.
The movie could use more scenes like that. Testament is the sort of sweeping period drama people used to complain that nobody makes any more. It’s true, the genre is an endangered species.
In many ways, the movie is deliberately very old-fashioned. It hits the expected plot points and borders on cliché. For example, Vera and Roland flirt among sunlit ivory linens fluttering on clotheslines. Rain falls like teardrops upon the endless newspaper columns listing the dead. Some moments feel almost like self-parody.
But the tale’s perspective through Vera’s eyes gives it a freshness and added complexity, and the translucent Vikander (Ex Machina, A Royal Affair) is persuasive from start to finish.
It helps that director James Kent inserts vivid and allusive image fragments — Vera’s shimmery memories of Roland walking through a forest ahead of her, or his arm, or his neck. These are glimpses of happiness that you can sense might be snatched away without warning.
- See more at: http://www.artsatl.com/2015/07/review-testament-of-youth/#sthash.dvkLu4WT.dpuf

Royal Navy's latest submarine to set sail this summer -

HMS Artful, the third of the Royal Navy’s new Astute Class attack submarines will set sail for sea trials this summer


The Defence Secretary confirmed the news as he visited the home of the UK’s submarine manufacturing industry in Cumbria today.
Artful, which will provide the Royal Navy with its most technologically advanced submarine, is currently preparing to leave the construction yard in Barrow-in-Furness for sea trials, before joining the Royal Navy fleet around the end of this year. The seven Astute Class submarines support the jobs of 3,700 workers and 400 supply companies across the UK supply chain.
Mr Fallon was also able to see progress on an eight-year infrastructure upgrade programme at the yard, costing in excess of £300M, which will prepare the site for investment in a new fleet of four Successor Ballistic Missile submarines and the renewal of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.
The Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
The Astute submarine programme is a key part of our £163 billion plan to ensure that our armed forces have the equipment they need.
Artful will now join Ambush and Astute, helping to keep Britain safe. The next four boats are already under construction, securing thousands of jobs and showing our commitment to increase defence spending each year for the rest of the decade.

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Director Submarines at the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, Rear Admiral Mike Wareham, said:
The Astute Class are amongst the most advanced submarines operating in the world today and provide the Royal Navy with the capability it needs to defend UK interests at home and overseas.
We have learned many lessons from the build of the first two Astute Class submarines and Artful will soon be ready to leave Barrow and to commence operations as the newest Submarine in the Royal Navy.
The 7,400-tonne Artful submarine will shortly leave the BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, conduct sea trials, before sailing to its new home at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde in Scotland.


Artful’s 97m length is greater than the length of 10 London buses
Artful’s 97m length is greater than the length of 10 London buses

Lessons learned from the construction of HMS Astute and HMS Ambush will allow Artful to progress to Contractor’s Sea Trials in a significantly advanced material state than her predecessors.
The Astute Class submarines are the most advanced and powerful submarines Britain has ever sent to sea. Featuring the latest nuclear-powered technology, they can circumnavigate the world submerged, manufacturing the crew’s oxygen from seawater as they go.

They also have the ability to operate covertly and remain undetected in almost all circumstances despite being 50 per cent bigger than the Royal Navy’s current Trafalgar Class submarines.

Key facts:

  • Artful’s 97m length is greater than the length of 10 London buses.
  • When fully stored she will displace 7,400 tonnes of sea water, equivalent to 65 blue whales.
  • She will be able to circumnavigate the world without surfacing and her dived endurance is limited only by the amount of food that can be stored and the endurance of the crew.
  • Artful is able to manufacture its own oxygen and fresh water from the ocean.
  • The Astute class is the first class of Royal Navy submarine not to be fitted with optical periscopes – instead they employ high specification video technology. The images are delivered into the submarine control room via fibre-optic cables.
  • Armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, Artful will be able to strike at targets up to 1,200m from the coast with pinpoint accuracy.
  • Around 110 km of cabling and pipe work is installed on board Artful – enough to stretch from Bristol to Oxford.
  • The Sonar 2076 sonar suite fitted on board Artful has the processing power of 2,000 laptop computers. It has the world’s largest number of hydrophones, providing the Royal Navy with the “biggest ears” of any sonar system in service today.
  • The kitchen is called the galley. On a 10-week patrol the 100-strong crew of Artful will get through, on average, 18,000 sausages and 4,200 Weetabix for breakfast.

French tall ship arrives in Newport to welcoming crowd

Photo: Reenactors portraying French sailors from the 18th century march down the pier following the arrival of French navy tall ship Hermione, July 8, at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island.NEWPORT, R.I. (July 8, 2015) Reenactors portraying French sailors from the 18th century march down the pier following the arrival of French navy tall ship Hermione, July 8, at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island. Rear Adm. P. Gardner Howe III, president, U.S. Naval War College, Navy Band Northeast and a color guard from USS Constitution in Boston, Mass., were on hand to welcome the French navy’s arrival. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist James E. Foehl/Released)


More images available at https://flic.kr/s/aHskffZnrQ


By Daniel L. Kuester, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
July 9, 2015

NEWPORT, R.I. – The French tall ship Hermione arrived in Newport Wednesday for a two-day visit and was greeted by several dignitaries including Rear Adm. P. Gardner Howe III, president of U.S. Naval War College (NWC), during an event at Fort Adams State Park.

The current Hermione is a replica of her namesake ship that brought French Gen. Lafayette to America in 1780 to announce that France was supporting the American independence movement.

The welcome ceremony was held pier side and hosted by Roger Begin, honorary consul of France in Rhode Island, and also included remarks by Teresa Paiva-Weed, Rhode Island state senator; Fabien Fiechi, consul general of France in Boston; Jeanne-Marie Napolitano, mayor of Newport; and Yann Cariou, captain of the Hermione. The Navy Band Northeast performed patriotic songs.

In his remarks, Howe highlighted the remarkable effort to create the ship.

“This is unique in naval history. Never before has such a painstakingly-accurate replication been accomplished,” said Howe.

The ship was built as a near-exact reproduction of the original using period tools and techniques.

The vessel made the trip from France to the United States this summer is sailing up North America’s Eastern Seaboard making several port calls until it returns home later this month.

The replica Hermione is a 216-foot Concorde class frigate with three masts and is 185 feet tall. The ship displaces 1,166 tons and carries a crew of 242.

Howe went on to mention the long partnership between the two countries.

“It is important to recognize that the United States Navy has sailed with our sea-going partners from Marine Nationale [French Navy] for centuries, and Americans are proud to claim France as one of our oldest allies,” Howe added.

Rhode Island has a long history of naval excellence from the exploits of natives Oliver Hazard Perry during the War of 1812, and John Chafee serving as secretary of the Navy from 1969 to 1972.

In honor of the guests, Napolitano gave her greeting entirely in French, which drew smiles and applause from the French and American audience.

The Hermione arrived in Yorktown, Va., on June 5. It has since sailed to Mt. Vernon and Alexandria, Va.; Annapolis and Baltimore, Md.; Philadelphia, Pa.; and New York and Greenport, N.Y. After departing Newport, the ship will sail to Boston, Mass; Castine, Maine; and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada before returning to France.

RABAUL, Papua New Guinea - USNS Mercy ( T-AH 19)





RABAUL, Papua New Guinea (July 6, 2015) The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) sits at anchorage in Simpson Harbor off the coast of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. Mercy is in Papua New Guinea for its second mission port of Pacific Partnership 2015. Pacific Partnership is in its tenth iteration and is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Christopher E. Tucker/Released)

JUL 9 Out of Control Smoke Pot Forges Medal of Honor, Extinguishes Ensign’s Life - NHHC

It was the night of July 9, 1943 and Operation Husky, the land and air operation to invade the island of Sicily had begun.

The weather was already causing havoc with airborne landings and tossing ships, laden with Army personnel.

What the allied forces lacked in weather cooperation they made up for in the one element they had working for them: the element of surprise. The Germans had fallen for the fake Operation Mincemeat, the details of they had obtained from a body dressed like a British naval officer the allies allowed to wash ashore in Spain with a briefcase filled with operational “plans” for an attack in Greece and Sardinia. The Germans diverted troops and equipment from Sicily giving the perfect opportunity for Operation Husky’s success.

But nothing ruins the element of surprise more than an explosion. As USS LST-375inched closer to its amphibious landing at Licata, Sicily, 72 years ago today, something happened that put the mission into jeopardy.

He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for valor and courage above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Officer-in-Charge of USS LST-375 during the amphibious assault on the island of Sicily on 9-10 July 1943. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for valor and courage above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Officer-in-Charge of USS LST-375 during the amphibious assault on the island of Sicily on 9-10 July 1943. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

And that’s where John Joseph Parle’s bravery comes into this picture.

A native of Omaha, Neb., Parle was among the thousands of land-locked Midwesterners who joined the sea service following the attack at Pearl Harbor. He enlisted Jan. 11, 1942 at age 21 as an apprentice seaman, and was a 1942 ROTC graduate at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. He began Midshipman training at Notre Dame University that fall and on Jan. 28, 1943, he was commissioned as an ensign.

After training with Amphibious Force at Norfolk, Va., the 22-year-old ensign was assigned as the officer in charge of small boats attached to LSTs, or Landing Ship, Tank, with the Northwest African Amphibious Force.

On July 9, 1943, his LSTs were prepared to bring members of the 7th Army’s 3rdDivision, under the command of Lt. Gen. George Patton, to the port city of Licata off the southern coast of Sicily, while other 7th Army divisions landed at Gela and Agriento.

As the boats slipped toward their destinations, they towed smaller boats filled with explosives, ammunition, fuses and smoke pots. Smoke pots were devices used by the Chemical Warfare Service to create smoke screens, to provide visual aids for landing forces, or signify to friendly forces where not to shoot.

A smoke pot that accidentally was ignited may have been similar to the pictured HC MI as described in Ships Chemical Smoke Munitions ordnance pamphlet No. 1042 printed Sept. 25, 1943.

A smoke pot that accidentally was ignited may have been similar to the pictured HC MI as described in Ships Chemical Smoke Munitions ordnance pamphlet No. 1042 printed Sept. 25, 1943.

One of those smoke pots on Ensign Parle’s boat was accidentally ignited. Realizing the heat from the pot could set off one of the boats filled with explosives, causing a blast that would surely alert the Germans of their approach to Licata, Ensign Parle acted without hesitation. He entered the craft, already filled with smoke and fire, to snuff out burning fuses, and tried to extinguish the smoke pot. After several attempts failed, he seized the pot with his bare hands, ran topside and threw it over the side.

But his courageous action took its toll on the 23-year-old. After inhaling smoke and poisonous fumes that turned into pneumonia, he later died at a hospital in Tunisia.

For his heroic and courageous actions that not only saved other servicemen, but also ensured the security of the mission, Ensign Parle was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart and the Medal of Honor for “valor and courage above and beyond the call of duty.” During the nearly the four years of WWII, the Navy only awarded 57 Medals of Honor, 15 of those for actions on a single date: Dec. 7, 1941.

Parle was buried at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Omaha.

(DE-708) Coming alonside USS Intrepid (CVA-11) for a refueling exercise off Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 29 January 1960. Photographer: PH3 R.W. Osburn Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

(DE-708) Coming alonside USS Intrepid (CVA-11) for a refueling exercise off Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 29 January 1960. Photographer: PH3 R.W. Osburn Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

A year later, his family ensured their son’s remembrance. On July 29, 1944, USS Parle (DE 708) was commissioned, sponsored by Parle’s mother, Mary Parle. The ceremony was a family affair. Serving as an altar boy for the ceremony was Parle’s younger brother, Richard, while his uncle, Father Tom Parle, gave the ship’s blessing.

USS Parle participated in operations in the Pacific Campaign through the end of World War II. In 1970, the last destroyer escort in the U.S. Navy was used as gunnery practice and sunk off northeastern Florida that October.

As for USS LST-375, the ship survived the invasion of Sicily, and went on to participate in both the September 1943 Salerno landings and the invasion of Normandy in June 1944. After earning three battle stars for World War II service, the LST was decommissioned in 1946, sold and scrapped in 1948.



 

Friday, July 10, 2015

French tall ship arrives in Newport to welcoming crowd - DVIDS

French tall ship arrives in Newport to welcoming crowd

150708-N-PX557-041 NEWPORT, R.I. (July 8, 2015) Re-enactors portraying French sailors from the 18th century march down the pier following the arrival of French navy tall ship Hermione, July 8, at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island. Rear Adm. P. Gardner Howe III, president, U.S. Naval War College, Navy Band Northeast and a color guard from USS Constitution in Boston, were on hand to welcome the French navy’s arrival. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist James E. Foehl/Released)



DVIDS - News - French tall ship arrives in Newport to welcoming crowd: "NEWPORT, R.I. – The French tall ship Hermione arrived in Newport Wednesday for a two-day visit and was greeted by several dignitaries including Rear Adm. P. Gardner Howe III, president of U.S. Naval War College (NWC), during an event at Fort Adams State Park.

The current Hermione is a replica of its namesake ship that brought French Gen. Lafayette to America in 1780 to announce that France was supporting the American independence movement.

The welcome ceremony was held pier side and hosted by Roger Begin, honorary consul of France in Rhode Island, and also included remarks by Teresa Paiva-Weed, Rhode Island state senator; Fabien Fiechi, consul general of France in Boston; Jeanne-Marie Napolitano, mayor of Newport; and Yann Cariou, captain of the Hermione. The Navy Band Northeast performed patriotic songs.

In his remarks, Howe highlighted the remarkable effort to create the ship.

“This is unique in naval history. Never before has such a painstakingly-accurate replication been accomplished,” said Howe.

The ship was built as a near-exact reproduction of the original using period tools and techniques.

The vessel made the trip from France to the United States this summer is sailing up North America’s Eastern Seaboard making several port calls until it returns home later this month.

The replica Hermione is a 216-foot Concorde class frigate with three masts and is 185 feet tall. The ship displaces 1,166 tons and carries a crew of 242.

Howe went on to mention the long partnership between the two countries.

“It is important to recognize that the United States Navy has sailed with our sea-going partners from Marine Nationale [French Navy] for centuries, and Americans are proud to claim France as one of our oldest allies,” Howe added.

Rhode Island has a long history of naval excellence from the exploits of natives Oliver Hazard Perry during the War of 1812, and John Chafee serving as secretary of the Navy from 1969 to 1972.

In honor of the guests, Napolitano gave her greeting entirely in French, which drew smiles and applause from the French and American audience.

The Hermione arrived in Yorktown, Virginia, on June 5. It has since sailed to Mount Vernon and Alexandria, Virginia; Annapolis and Baltimore, Maryland; Philadelphia; and New York and Greenport, New York. After departing Newport, the ship will sail to Boston; Castine, Maine; and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada, before returning to France.

More images available at https://flic.kr/s/aHskffZnrQ

"



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