Saturday, July 25, 2015

SAN DIEGO (July 23, 2015)


SAN DIEGO (July 23, 2015) Sailors aboard the Oliver Hazard-Perry class guided-missile frigate USS Gary (FFG 51) man the rails during the ship's decommissioning ceremony at Naval Base San Diego. Named after Medal of Honor recipient Cmdr. Donald Gary and commissioned in 1984, the ship was the last remaining West Coast-based frigate in service. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Trevor Welsh/Released)


Friday, July 24, 2015

Subsea tech helps solve riddle of lost World War II ship

ABERDEEN, United Kingdom -- An Aberdeen-headquartered firm has donated specialist subsea equipment to help solve one of the most tragic mysteries of the Second World War.


Torn off bow from the HMAS Sydney wreckage. Image: Ashtead Technology.

has been supporting attempts to discover exactly what caused the loss of 645 crewmen when the HMAS Sydney sunk on Nov. 19, 1941.

In addition, the independent provider of subsea equipment rental, sales and services to the offshore industry, has provided 3-D survey equipment to study the wreck and inform conservation of what is a mass grave site.

The vessel had gone missing following a battle with the German cruiser Kormoran, which also sank. Since then, it was never known why the Australian ship went down so quickly when it was pitted against a relatively small opponent.

The final resting place of the HMAS Sydney was only discovered in 2008 off the West Australian coast at a depth of 2,000 m.

Ashtead became involved after being approached by DOF Subsea on behalf of the Western Australia Museum, which has been working with Curtin University.

The specialist technical equipment supplied by Ashtead allowed researchers to carry out subsea surveys with navigation at depth, studying water speeds, sampling water conditions and providing depth and distance information.

The technology provided included an iXsea ROVINS System, Valeport BFM 803 Current Meter, Valeport MIDAS CTD, Valeport MIDAS BathyPack 3000m, Tritech PA500 Bathy Altimeter, Teledyne Blueview P900-130, and a PMAC CPacq single cell system.

With more than 70 years of mystery into precisely what happened, the survey work was able to show the ship had a 15-cm shell hole through the compass platform at the bridge. The damage would have disabled the control systems and meant the HMAS Sydney would subsequently struggle to defend itself.

Investigators are now assessing how the vessel has corroded and ways that it can be conserved.

“The mystery of what happened to the HMAS Sydney has been a puzzle that led to many different theories over the years. I am glad we could help the families and descendants of those who died on that day to learn just what happened,” Wendy Lee, regional manager of Ashtead Technology’s Singapore office, said. “The technology we supplied played a key role in surveying the wreck, establishing the state it is in and what the sea conditions are around it.”

The survey work on the HMAS Sydney was all done from the outside of the vessel to protect the integrity of the grave site.

"L'Hermione," The French Spy Ship in Penobscot Bay

(Photo by C. Parrish)
(Photo by C. Parrish)
The replica of L’Hermione flies a small ancient royal French flag (above) with a field of fleur-de-lis against a blue background at her bow, with the large plain white flag of French Royal Navy at her stern as she heads past Islesboro under sail (left) accompanied by over 100 boats on the way to Castine Harbor. (Photo by C. Parrish)
The replica of L’Hermione flies a small ancient royal French flag (above) with a field of fleur-de-lis against a blue background at her bow, with the large plain white flag of French Royal Navy at her stern as she heads past Islesboro under sail (left) accompanied by over 100 boats on the way to Castine Harbor. (Photo by C. Parrish)
+ view more photos
Blacksmith Aurelien Velot, right, who has his own company in Rochefort, was one of 15 blacksmiths who worked on construction of the replica ship over 17 years. He has been involved for eight years, making metal rings, chainplates, and spikes in between making fences, gates, and furniture for his regular clientele. The smithy, above, is on the quay at the port of Rochefort. "We used modern techniques for insurance reasons," said Velot, noting that some people thought it was a historical shortcut. "We didn't hide it, we showed it and talked about it. This isn't the 18th century and it's easier and faster and less expensive. And money was an issue." And what's next after a four-month vacation onL'Hermione's commemorative voyage? "I have to get back and make a living," said Velot. (Photo of Velot by C. Parrish. Photo of the smithy courtesy of the Castine Historical Society)
To evoke the spirit of ‘Why not?’—
Building a replica of L'Hermione started as a dream in 1992 and started in earnest in 1997. She was completed in 2014 at a cost of $30 million, most of which was funded privately through donations and ticket sales to the construction site at the drydock in Rochefort, France, where the original frigate was built. Much of the construction was done traditionally, with 18th-century skills having to be relearned along the way. But safety and cost led to the use of modern construction, too, including modern systems.

"She's a 21st-century ship inside an 18th-century one," said Philippe Malherbe, the chief engineer of L'Hermione, referring to the generator that runs onboard electricity and systems and two 300 kW Kohler diesels that run pivoting propellers used for maneuverability at close quarters. "We navigate the vessel technically, with all modern equipment, but she's a fantastic sailboat and we manipulate her naturally under sail."

In the 235 years since the 22-year-old Marquis de Lafayette arrived in Boston aboard L'Hermione, Americans have sometimes forgotten that French military support tipped the balance in our war against the British. As General Lafayette set out by land towards New Jersey to deliver the message to Washington, along with the added tidings that King Louis XVI had agreed to supply three other newly designed Concorde Class war frigates that would soon follow L'Hermione across the Atlantic, the 34-gun flagship with her crew of 302 set out on a reconnaissance mission of Penobscot Bay with Commander Louis-Rene de Latouche at the helm.

On Sunday, May 14, 1780, Latouche wrote in the ship's log that L'Hermione was under way:

Having made an offer to the council of the State of Massachusetts Bay to sally forth with my frigate to drive away, take or fight the British privateers or frigates which might get into the Bay (and) to harass their commerce . . .

Latouche intended to disrupt supply routes headed up to a British garrison that was being built at the current location of Castine on the east side of Penobscot Bay. The site was one of the most favorable ports in the Bay. The headland provided views down the Bay, the strong tidal and river currents assisted ships in and out of the harbor if they followed the tides, and a protected deepwater harbor was located next to sloping easy access to the small village that had been established as a trading post a hundred years earlier by the French Baron Castin. British troops had taken it the year before, 1779, and had begun to build Fort George on the high ground. With its location near the mouth of the Penobscot River and its favorable geography and harbor, it was a strategic coup for the British.

By the time L'Hermione reached Monhegan at the mouth of the Bay, Latouche mentioned the changeable winds and currents and the inaccuracy of his charts, an observation he would make several times in his ship's log. Fortunately, he had an American pilot aboard who apparently knew the Bay. He sent the man ashore at Monhegan to gather intelligence. The American came back with the news that an English frigate with 22 cannon accompanied by two transport ships, one carrying 18 guns, had passed carrying supplies to the garrison at Fort George 12 days earlier.

Latouche steered for Owls Head, where he anchored in "20 fathoms of black mud" and once again sent the pilot ashore. Between the intelligence he gathered there and from another stop in what was then a small American revolutionary military camp at Glen Cove in Rockport, the commander solidified his plans.

The Glen Cove camp was headed by the revolutionary General Peleg Wadsworth, a veteran of a humiliating attempt to take Fort George from the British the previous year in the failed American Penobscot Expedition, which had been plagued with squabbling between American commanders about how to proceed and insubordination by Paul Revere, leaving the British time to rally sea support. The 1,200 American troops had been routed and fled up the Penobscot River with the British at their heels, scuttled their 19 vessels, then headed overland south, a rag-tag lot in a military defeat that had left the Commonwealth of Massachusetts near bankruptcy.

In the Rockland area, Latouche obtained a plan of Fort George that showed the garrison held 18 cannon and 600 men and that two British warships were in the port at Castine, accompanied by a "boat" and a schooner, for a total of an additional 44 cannon. The size of the cannon and weight of the cannon balls determined their power and reach, so the commander knew what he faced.

Latouche was undeterred. With this information in hand, Latouche writes that he is determined to sail up the Bay, apparently on the other side of Islesboro, anchor and send in longboats and cutters to "capture the boat and schooner." The French frigate was fast and nimble, with the ability to outmaneuver the British frigates, and Latouche knew the ship better than any mariner. He had commanded her during the French sea trials before setting out across the Atlantic with Lafayette.

The following day, on Tuesday, May 16, 1780, Latouche raised the British colors to fool those at the garrison. It apparently worked - though it is a mystery why the British would mistake the classy French frigate, which has been described as a Formula One race car of its era, for one of their own. Fort George responded by raising the British flag. Perhaps a swirling fog provided enough cover to make L'Hermione's lines indistinct.

Latouche anchored some distance away and quietly sent in boats on a spy mission, while setting his onboard mapmaker to work to draw an accurate plan of the fort and the approach.

Latouche placed his cannons, crew, and land arms at ready, he writes. When the reconnaissance revealed additional boats and cannon at the port, Latouche apparently decided that even L'Hermione was outgunned.

At six a.m. on Wednesday, May 17, 1780, L'Hermione prepared to depart.

I set sail after hoisting the French colors and pennant, which I emphasized with a cannon shot, Latouche wrote.

L'Hermione and another French frigate were victorious against the British in a battle at Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, on behalf of the American military, though they had motives to take Halifax for the French flag. That didn't happen. L'Hermione sailed south to engage in battle as part of the French fleet at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781 - a battle that signalled the defeat of the British and turned the war towards American victory. Latouche went on to further military successes and ended his career as an admiral in the French Navy.

One Man Fosters International Diplomacy in CastineIn 2013, David Adams of Castine was aware that the long-awaited launching of the reproduction of the 18th- century French frigate L'Hermione, which was being built in Rochefort, France, was finally drawing near. L'Hermione played a crucial role in American revolutionary history and Adams knew the new ship was destined to sail on an unofficial diplomatic mission to visit American ports of historical significance.

He also knew the role the French frigate had played in his small town on the east side of Penobscot Bay and was determined that the new L'Hermione, which would stop in Yorktown, New York, and Boston, would also come to Castine, Maine, where the original L'Hermione had spied on the British in 1780 for the American cause.

Adams went to a New York reception at the French Consulate on 5th Avenue carrying a copy of a map.

His goal was to meet prominent French politician Ségolène Royal, who currently serves as the minister of ecology and energy and was the president of the French region where the reproduction of L'Hermione was being built. He wanted to show her the copy of the hand-drawn map of the British garrison at Castine that was made by a crew member of L'Hermione in 1780 under orders of the ship's commander during a spy mission in Penobscot Bay and to provide her with documents that showed the historical connection between the ship and the town.

Adams' success as the envoy of Castine came quickly. Within less than two weeks, Castine was the only Maine port put on the itinerary of the commemorative voyage - an event that was voluntarily managed by seasonal Castine resident Katie Bergen, the executive director of CARS, a Los Angles culture and arts company that designs large festivals and cultural events in southern California.

French was as common as English in the cheering crowds on the Castine waterfront last week, as the reproduction of the French frigate docked on Tuesday, July 14 - with visitors coming from France, Florida, Michigan, and many from Quebec, as well as from all over Maine, for the return of L'Hermione.

TAPS-Thomas Bynum



Thomas Bynum

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : July 23, 2015


Picture Folder Bynum Obit

My loving husband of 49 years, Thomas Brady Bynum, is now with his Heavenly Father. He passed away July 4, 2015, at Trinity Mother Frances hospital in Tyler.
Visitation begins at 11 a.m. followed by a memorial service for Tom at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 25, at Eubank Cedar Creek Funeral Home in Mabank.
He will be honored with a Navy Veterans ceremony, Mason’s service, and a eulogy and hymn by his nephew, Jesse Bynum.
Tom served in the U.S. Navy from 1960 to 1964. He was involved in the early stages of the Vietnam war on the USS Bennington.
We were married in East Troy, Wis., Feb. 12, 1966, and lived in East Troy and Delavan, Wis., for 21 years. He was active in the Delavan Chapter of the Jaycees and served as president.
Tom worked at the General Motors (GM) plant in Janesville, Wis., for 10 years then transferred to the Fort Wayne, Ind., GM assembly plant, working for an additional 20 years.
After 30 years at General Motors, he retired to Mabank, in 2007.
He became a member of the Mason’s Roddy Lodge, Mabank in 2010 and served as Master of the lodge in 2013, He was also a member of the Mason lodge in Eustace. He was a member of the American Legion in Wisconsin, Indiana and Texas.
Tom was born Sept. 4 1943, in Okemah, Okla.
He is survived by his wife, Ruth Gillihan Bynum, sisters Lois Bynum Abourzk, Rita Evans, Derry (James), Carol Evans, Haggard (Larry).
He was proceeded in death by his father, Jess Bynum, mother Nellie Holt Bynum Evans, stepfather, Olen C. Evans, brothers Virgil, Levie, John and Ray Bynum, John Calvin (Jake) and David Evans, sisters Ruth Bynum, Greenlee Louwana Bynum Foster, Sharon Evans, Bernard and Patricia Evans Anderson.
There are many nieces, nephews and extended family and friends who mourn his passing.

US Nuclear Weapons Base In Italy Eyed By Alleged Terrorists

Italian security forces practice protection of US nuclear weapons at Ghedi Air Base in 2014.

By Hans M. Kristensen

Two suspected terrorists arrested by the Italian police allegedly were planning an attack against the nuclear weapons base at Ghedi.

The base stores 20 US B61 nuclear bombs earmarked for delivery by Italian PA-200 Tornado fighter-bombers in war. Nuclear security and strike exercises were conducted at the base in 2014. During peacetime the bombs are under the custody of the US Air Force 704th Munitions Support Squadron (MUNSS), a 130-personnel strong units at Ghedi Air Base.

The Italian police said at a press conference today that the two men in their conversations “were referring to several targets, particularly the Ghedi military base” near Brescia in northern Italy.

Ghedi Air Base is one of several national air bases in Europe that a US Air Force investigation in 2008 concluded did not meet US security standards for nuclear weapons storage. Since then, the Pentagon and NATO have spent tens of millions of dollars and are planning to spend more to improve security at the nuclear weapons bases in Europe.

There are currently approximately 180 US B61 bombs deployed in Europe at six bases in five NATO countries: Belgium (Kleine Brogel AB), Germany (Buchel AB), Italy (Aviano AB and Ghedi AB), the Netherlands (Volkel AB), and Turkey (Incirlik AB).

Over the next decade, the B61s in Europe will be modernized and, when delivered by the new F-35A fighter-bomber, turned into a guided nuclear bomb (B61-12) with greater accuracy than the B61s currently deployed in Europe. Aircraft integration of the B61-12 has already started.

Read also:

Italy’s Nuclear Anniversary: Fake Reassurance For a King’s Ransom

B61 LEP: Increasing NATO Nuclear Capability and Precision Low-Yield Strikes

This publication was made possible by a grant from the New Land Foundation and Ploughshares Fund. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

'Good morning, American pilots' -- Russian bomber pilots' July 4 message - San Diego- CNN


Story highlights

  • Two Russian bombers were intercepted flying roughly 40 miles off California on July 4
  • They referenced the holiday in the message they gave to U.S. pilots, a NORAD spokesman says

Washington (CNN)"Good morning, American pilots. We are here to greet you on your Fourth of July Independence Day."

That was the message delivered by two Russian bombers flying within tens of miles of the California coast earlier this month to the U.S. fighter jets that intercepted them, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

The midair encounter between Russian Tu-95 "Bear" bombers and American F-15s came on the same day that Russian President Vladimir Putin sent congratulations to U.S. President Barack Obama for July 4.

The Russian pilots used an emergency aircraft communication channel to send the message, a NORAD spokesman told CNN on Wednesday.

He declined to describe the move as a threat but said the incident was "potentially destabilizing," because the Russian approach was unannounced and the bombers in question are nuclear capable.

Bombers didn't enter U.S. airspace

    Two other Russian Tu-95 bombers were also intercepted by American fighters on July 4, off the southern coast of Alaska, according to the U.S. military.

    In neither case did the Russian planes enter U.S. airspace, which extends 12 nautical miles from American coastlines, officials said. The U.S. fighters tracked them until they turned around.

    The bombers off California flew roughly 40 miles from the state's Central Coast, the NORAD spokesman said.

    That encounter was more unusual, as Russian planes don't often venture that far south, a U.S. military official told CNN a few days after the incident. Russia conducted a similar flight off the West Coast on July 4 in 2012.

    While the intercepts were routine from a military point of view, the U.S. official said, the Pentagon views them as Putin "sending a message" to the United States on Independence Day.

    Putin's official message

    In his official message to Obama, Putin expressed confidence that Moscow and Washington could "find solutions" to international issues.

    He said that despite differences between the two countries, "Russian-American relations remain the most important factor of international stability and security," according to a Kremlin statement.

    Earlier this year, the Pentagon considered, and then rejected, the idea of stopping routine intercepts of Russian military aircraft flying off the coast of Alaska, because the U.S. intercept flights appeared to have limited deterrent or intelligence value, U.S. defense officials told CNN.


    Second World War heroine Violette Szabo's medal collection fetches £260,000

    A George Cross awarded to a Second World War heroine who was tortured and murdered by the Nazis has fetched a record price at auction.
    The bravery medal along with four others belonging to Violette Szabo, who worked for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in occupied France, sold for £260,000 within a minute of going on sale in central London.
    They were bought on behalf of Lord Ashcroft and will go on display at the Imperial War Museum.
    Auctioneers Dix Noonan Web said the sale price for the collection - which reached £312,000 including commission - meant a record price had been paid for a George Cross, surpassing the previous highest total of £93,000.
    Ms Szabo, an Anglo-French undercover agent who was executed at a concentration camp aged just 23 in 1945, was one of four women to be awarded the George Cross, the UK's second highest military honour.
    Her daughter Tania, 73, who decided to sell the medals after a fire gutted her home in Wales, said: "I'm very happy with the result.
    "They're going into a safe place where people will be able to view them - many thousands of people - so a good result."
    Michael Naxton, curator of the Ashcroft collection, said: "It's probably one of the most iconic bravery medals of the 20th century.
    "It's very rare for a George Cross to be awarded to someone in enemy territory on active duty.
    "The previous highest price was significantly lower and I'm not in the least surprised this one has created a new record."
    Tania, who watched the auction at London's Washington Mayfair Hotel, admitted it had been a "difficult decision" to sell the medals after years of supporting the legacy of her "gallant mother".
    She said: "I have no children and therefore the ongoing custodianship of Violette's medals needs to be addressed.
    "Moreover, I have my own future security to consider.
    "Therefore, after examining the options, I decided to place her awards in auction.
    "I do so with regret but it is a decision derived from much careful thought and I have every confidence that the successful purchaser will cherish and take great care of them."
    Actress Virginia McKenna, who played Violette Szabo in the 1958 film Carve Her Name With Pride, was also at the sale.
    She said: "It's a lot of money but what has been sold is worth a great deal.
    "It's not just a physical medal but the reason that medal was awarded.
    "It deserves to be seen by people in memory of this extraordinary woman."
    Mrs Szabo was born in Paris in 1921 but her family moved to Stockwell, London.
    She married a French Foreign Legionnaire, Etienne Szabo, who was killed at El Alamein in North Africa before their daughter Tania was born.
    His death encouraged Violette to join the SOE which carried out espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe during the war.
    Two days after the D-Day landings, Violette was captured by the SS after running into a road block near Limoges in France.
    She endured months of torture and was shot dead at Ravensbruck concentration camp in January or February 1945.
    In December 1946, she was posthumously awarded the George Cross - second only to the Victoria Cross in the honours system. Tania, then aged four, collected it at a private investiture by King George VI at Buckingham Palace.
    As well as the George Cross, the lot sold to Lord Ashcroft contained a French Croix de Guerre and three other campaign medals, plus a parachute bag, documents and photographs, some previously unseen.

    This Day in Naval History - July 21

    This Day in Naval History - July 21

    Story Number: NNS020715-19Release Date: 7/15/2002 2:36:00 PM

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    From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

    1905 - USS Bennington (Gunboat #4) is wrecked by a boiler explosion at San Diego, Calif. One officer and 65 enlisted men die in the explosion, along with numerous crew injuries.

    1918 - During World War I, German submarine (U 156) surfaces and fires on U.S. tugboat, Perth Amboy, and four barges, three miles off Nauset Beach, Cape Cod, Mass.

    1943 - PBY aircraft (VP 94) sinks German submarine (U 662) off the mouth of Amazon River, Brazil.

    1944 - Following landing on Guams Asan-Adelup Beachhead, Pfc. Luther Skaggs, Jr., takes command of his squad, leading his men to a position to provide fire support for the Marine assault. Severely wounded that night when Japanese forces counter-attack, he fights on for many hours, until enemy opposition was suppressed. For his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" on this occasion, Skaggs was awarded the Medal of Honor.

    1944 - Task Force 53, (commanded by Rear Adm. Richard L. Connolly) lands the Third Marine Division and the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, along with the U.S. Army 77th Infantry Division on Guam. The island is declared secure on Aug. 9 though bands of enemy Japanese are long encountered after VJ Day.

    1946 - In the first U.S. test of adaptability of jet aircraft to shipboard operations, an XFD 1 Phantom piloted by Lt. Cmdr. James Davidson makes landings and takeoffs without catapults from USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB 42).

    Impressment - Press-Gang

    Impressment, colloquially, "the press" or the "press gang", refers to the act of taking men into a navy by force and with or without notice. Navies of several nations used forced recruitment by various means. The large size of the British Royal Navy in the Age of Sail meant impressment was most commonly associated with Britain. It was used by the Royal Navy in wartime, beginning in 1664 and during the 18th and early 19th centuries as a means of crewing warships, although legal sanction for the practice goes back to the time of Edward I of England. The Royal Navy impressed many merchant sailors, as well as some sailors from other nations. People liable to impressment were "eligible men of seafaring habits between the ages of 18 and 55 years". Non-seamen were impressed as well, though rarely.
    Impressment was strongly criticized by those who believed it to be contrary to the British constitution; at the time, unlike many of its continental rivals, British subjects were not subject to conscription for any other military service, aside from a brief experiment with army impressment in 1778 to 1780. Though the public opposed conscription in general, impressment was repeatedly upheld by the courts, as it was deemed vital to the strength of the navy and, by extension, to the survival of the realm.
    Impressment was essentially a Royal Navy practice, reflecting the size of the British fleet and its substantial manpower demands. While other European navies applied forced recruitment in time of war this was generally as an extension of the practice of formal conscription applied to most European armies from the Napoleonic Wars on. The U.S. Continental Navy did however apply a form of impressment during the American War of Independence.
    The impressment of seamen from American ships caused serious tensions between Britain and the United States in the years leading up to the War of 1812. After the defeat of Napoleon in 1814, Britain ended the practice and has never resumed it.

    Royal Navy Pressing-Gang Warrant 1776



    British army: 125 military personnel killed while in training since, MoD reveals

    The Ministry of Defence has released figures showing that 125 members of the UK armed forces have been killed in training or on exercise since 2000.

    According to the statistics, a response to a Freedom of Information request released by the ministry, an average of eight military personnel have died while on training across the army, navy and the RAF each year over the past 15 years.

    The army is by far the most dangerous of the services with regards to deaths during training. The numbers show that deaths within the army while on exercise account for 86 out of the 125 total.

    Twenty-two members of the Royal Navy, including Royal Marines, were killed in training or on exercise over the period and 17 members of the RAF.

    An MOD spokesman told IBTimes UK in reference to the figures that: "It will always be necessary to train and test our military personnel to the highest possible level so that they can meet the challenges to national security that we face both in the UK and overseas.

    "Achieving this end does involve individuals having to push themselves and take some risks. However, as an organisation, we must ensure that this is balanced with the need to ensure these risks are effectively mitigated."

    Brecon Beacons
    From left: Lance Corporal Craig Roberts, Corporal James Dunsby and Lance Corporal Edward Maher died on an SAS training march

    The MoD has faced sharp criticism over the deaths of some personnel during training. The coroner presiding over an inquest into the deaths of three SAS recruits on a selection march in 2013 has said the reservists had died as a result of a "failure to properly organize and manage" a 16-mile selection march in the Brecon Beacons on one of the hottest days of the year.

    Lance Corporals Edward Maher and Craig Roberts died of heatstroke while on the military exercise. Coporal James Dunsby died two weeks later in hospital from multiple organ failure. Coroner Louise Hunt said neglect and delays in providing medical treatment contributed to the deaths of three British army reservists.

    The army has since apologised for the deaths.

    The figures include deaths caused by accident, assault or by natural causes. The MOD also included those deaths for which the cause is yet unknown.

    The MOD is still making investigations into the death of Lieutenant Gareth Jenkins who died in May while on a selection march with the Royal Marines. The 25-year-old was described as incredibly fit and was two thirds of his way through training for the Commandos when he collapsed on the 30-mile march.

    Despite recent revelations, the figures show that the frequency of deaths during military training or on exercise has fallen. Between 2009-14 there were seven deaths each year. Between 2000-08 a there were an average of 10 deaths each year. The reduction in Armed Forces deaths on training or exercise is welcome, and illustrates the improvements to health and safety over the years," the MOD said of the decrease


    Obama orders flags to half-staff 5 days after Chattanooga attack

    President Obama finally ordered the U.S. flag to be lowered to half-staff Tuesday, five days after four Marines and a sailor were gunned down at two military facilities in Tennessee. Obama announced his decision during a speech to the National Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in Pittsburgh, following days of intense national criticism of White House silence.

    "As a grateful nation, we must stand up for them and honor them forever," Obama said in tribute to the fallen service members, yet did not comment on any reason for delaying the proclamation.

    Obama immediately issued proclamations to lower the flag following similar attacks on the Washington Navy Yard in 2013 and Fort Hood in 2009, as well as after several other recent mass shootings, but the lack of response to the Chattanooga attack left many service members and veterans baffled.

    "I was appalled," Marine veteran and former recruiter Richard Linck told Marine Corps Times after he noticed the flag flying high over Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, was not at half-staff following the attacks.

    "Why? In over 20 years here, I've seen flags at half-staff for celebrities, so why couldn't we do it for these four Marines and the sailor who were murdered? It's disrespectful," Linck said.

    A Facebook page titled "Half-Mast Challenge; Teach Obama Respect," was launched on Monday. Followers posted photos of their own flags flying at half-staff. Others took to Twitter to encourage the president to order flags to be flown at half-mast.

    PEARL HARBOR (July 21, 2015) - Half-Mast


    PEARL HARBOR (July 21, 2015) The American flag is flown at half-mast at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, July 21, 2015. The flag will remain at half-mast through July 25 to honor each service member killed by a gunman in Chattanooga, Tenn. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Meranda Keller/Released)


    Wednesday, July 22, 2015

    WORLD EUROPE Man Charged Over U.S. Military Attack Plan A 24-year-old man has been charged over an alleged plan to attack U.S. military personnel

    Junead Ahmed Khan and his uncle, Shazib Ahmed Khan, are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday to face terrorism-related charges. ENLARGE

    Junead Ahmed Khan and his uncle, Shazib Ahmed Khan, are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday to face terrorism-related charges. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

    LONDON—British authorities have charged a 24-year-old man over an alleged plan to attack U.S. military personnel in the U.K., the latest in a growing number of plots uncovered in Europe targeting members of the military and police.

    The alleged plot, which the U.S. Air Force said prompted authorities to cancel planned Independence Day celebrations earlier this month at one of the nation’s main overseas fighter bases, comes as British Prime Minister David Cameron is seeking to step up the government’s efforts to combat the spread of extremist ideology, calling it “the struggle of our generation.”

    Junead Ahmed Khan from Luton, a town north of London, faces a terrorism-related charge for allegedly planning a terrorist attack on U.S. military personnel in the U.K., the Crown Prosecution Service said Tuesday.

    The prosecution service said he and his uncle, Shazib Ahmed Khan,22 years old, also face a terrorist-related charge in relation to plans to travel to Syria to join the militant group Islamic State. The two men were arrested last week by armed police officers.

    During an initial court appearance Tuesday at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in central London, the two men spoke only briefly to confirm their names. Both were denied bail and remanded in custody.

    The prosecutor told the court that Junead Ahmed Khan had planned to use a car to run over a military serviceman and attack them with a knife.

    Fears that U.S. service personnel and civilians could be targeted in a possible terrorist plot prompted local U.S.A.F. base commanders to cancel Fourth of July events scheduled to take place at RAF Feltwell, a former British bomber field near Cambridge now used to house U.S.A.F. staff members stationed at RAF Lakenheath, the largest U.S. Air Force facility in Britain and home to the only base of F-15 combat jets in Europe.

    That incident was linked to the arrests of Messrs. Khan and Khan last week, according to a spokeswoman for the U.S.A.F.’s 48th Fighter Wing. “The U.S. is aware of the case and is working with the U.K. authorities,” said the spokeswoman.

    Concern has mounted among European officials at the growing number of plots against military or police personnel, including in the U.K. Last week, French police arrested three people on suspicion of planning to attack a French naval base on the Mediterranean, near the Spanish border. The Paris prosecutor’s office, which is leading the investigation, has said the three were planning to kill soldiers, decapitate the top official and then flee to Syria.

    The alleged plot bears similarities to the 2013 murder of British soldier Lee Rigby outside a barracks in south London, when two men drove into him at speed and tried to decapitate him with a meat cleaver.

    The charges in the U.K. on Tuesday come a day after Mr. Cameron acknowledged the government needed a more coordinated effort to drive extremism out of Britain. He announced a string of measures intended to help combat extremism, including enabling parents to cancel their child’s passport to prevent travel.

    “We need to put out of action the key extremist influencers who are careful to operate just inside the law, but who clearly detest British society and everything we stand for,” he said in a speech Monday. The prime minister plans to lay out his updated counter-extremism strategy in more detail this autumn.

    More than 700 people have traveled from Britain to Syria or Iraq since the conflict started, roughly half of whom are believed to have returned. About one terrorist suspect is currently being arrested in the U.K. a day, and about a third of these arrests are related to serious terrorist activity, said Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley during a parliamentary committee appearance Tuesday.

    Mr. Rowley added that the concern was about the risk of those who return with a view to plotting terrorist activity as well as those who remain in Syria with the intention of provoking an attack in the U.K.

    Mr. Cameron has also been preparing British lawmakers for a vote on expanding the U.K.’s military involvement against Islamic State, to extend its participation in airstrikes to Syria. Currently, the U.K. is part of U.S.-led airstrikes in neighboring Iraq, but not over Syria after Mr. Cameron lost a vote seeking parliamentary approval to do so in 2013.

    Mr. Cameron, who has long said he believed there was a case for airstrikes in Syria, in recent days has said the government needs to do more in the fight against Islamic State in Syria.

    Write to Alexis Flynn at

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