Saturday, May 14, 2016

TAPS-Crowds line streets to honor US Navy SEAL killed in Iraq


CORONADO, Calif. (AP) — Thousands of people — including motorcycle-riding combat veterans, schoolchildren waving flags and mothers with strollers — lined the streets of this military town Friday as the funeral procession of a Navy SEAL killed in Iraq passed by on its way to a national cemetery.

The crowd stood in somber silence and some wiped away tears as the casket of Charles Keating IV was carried out of a Catholic church and driven through seven blocks lined with mourners. The body was transported across the bay to San Diego, where Keating will be buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

The SEALs had invited people to line the streets to honor Keating, just as residents here did in 2011 for two SEALs killed in Afghanistan.

Wearing a baseball cap with "Navy" emblazoned across it, Denise Gallagher, 56, cried as she saw the flag-draped coffin carried by sailors getting loaded into the hearse.

"Being a mother of two boys in the service, my heart goes out with full condolences to the family," she said. "He was such a hero, and I think the welcome that everybody's given him here in this town is just amazing. We're just here to support and honor our hero."

Family and friends attended a two-hour mass at the church in Coronado, where Keating's SEAL Team 1 is based. Then they poured out of the church and looked across to the sea of people gathered in a park, many waving flags quietly.

People began gathering on the streets hours before the procession came by.

Keating died in a gunbattle with Islamic State fighters May 3, making him the third service member killed in Iraq since U.S. forces returned there in 2014. He was buried as a chief petty officer, a rank he received posthumously.

The 31-year-old Keating, who grew up in Phoenix, "was a dedicated and professional SEAL, a true warrior," his Coronado-based SEAL Team 1 said in a statement.

"The legacy he leaves behind, for his fellow SEALs and for those who knew him, is unmistakable," the group said. "He died bravely, doing what he loved, and what he believed in."

The picturesque cemetery overlooking the bay to one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other is officially full, but exceptions are made for those killed in action.

Coronado Police and California Highway Patrol officers lead the funeral for Navy SEAL Charles Humphrey Keating IV, killed in action on May 3, during an Islamic State attack near the city of Irbil in Iraq, as it travels down Sixth Street in Coronado, Calif., Friday, May 13, 2016. (Howard Lipin/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)Coronado Police and California Highway Patrol officers lead the funeral for Navy SEAL Charles Humphrey Keating IV, killed in action on May 3, during an Islamic State attack near the city of Irbil in Iraq, as it travels…At a memorial ceremony attended by more than a thousand people in Coronado on Thursday, Keating was posthumously awarded a Silver Star, the nation's third-highest combat medal, for his heroic actions during a March battle against Islamic State fighters in Iraq, said Lt. Beth Teach, a spokeswoman for the SEALs.

He also received a Purple Heart and Combat Action Ribbon for what he did the day he was killed. He was part of a quick-reaction force that moved in May 3 to rescue U.S. military advisers caught in a gunbattle with more than 100 Islamic State militants.

"He gave his life to protect his brothers," Keating's younger brother, Billy, also an enlisted SEAL, told mourners at Coronado's Tidelands Park.

Shortly before his deployment, Charles Keating and Brooke Clark decided to quietly wed, and the couple was looking forward to holding a traditional wedding ceremony with family and friends in November, Teach said.

Charles Keating: S. Navy file photo shows Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Charles Keating IV, 31, of San Diego. The Navy SEALs are inviting people to line the streets in the military town of Coronado, to honor fallen SEAL Keating, as his remains are transported across the Coronado Bridge to San Diego to be buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, in Calif. The special warfare operator was killed May 3, 2016, in a gunbattle with Islamic State fighters in Iraq and is the third service member to die in the country since U.S. forces returned there in 2014. (U.S. Navy Photo via AP, File)© Provided by Associated Press S. Navy file photo shows Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Charles Keating IV, 31, of San Diego. The Navy SEALs are inviting people to line the streets in the military town of…Keating was a former cross-country runner who served multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and was known in Arizona as a grandson of a financier involved in the 1980s savings and loan scandal.

For the procession carrying Keating's remains, thousands of students from the Coronado Unified School District stood and waved flags along nearly seven blocks leading to the Navy base, said Maria Johnson, executive assistant of the superintendent.

"A lot of parents here have military ties, so this is very important for us to support the military," she said. "We've got a lot of parents on deployment. It's dear to our hearts."


Remains of Navy Seal killed by ISIS returns - WLTZ 38 | Columbus Georgia Regional News & Community

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Pioneering US WWI pilots remembered in France

A US Air Force B-52 bomber flies over the restored Lafayette Escadrille Memorial in Marnes-la-Coquette (US Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua DeMotts)
France and the US paid tribute to America's first airmen of the Great War at a rededication ceremony for the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial near Paris on April 20th 2016. Patrick Gregory reports for Centenary News.

The fighter and bomber aircraft on display in the skies above were from a more modern era, but the men they remembered flew their missions over the battlefields of Europe a century ago.

French and United States airforces joined together for the flyby, F-22s and Mirage jets to the fore, as once airmen had flown in the same squadron. They were there to pay homage to the men of the Lafayette Escadrille, formed in late April 1916, as a joint initiative to get American pilots into the air under the auspices of the then French Air Service.

On the ground to commemorate the day at Marnes-la-Coquette outside Paris were U.S. and French military and civic leaders, paying their respects to the volunteer pilots who flew under French command a year before the U.S. entered into WWI.

They were grouped around the monument erected to the men in 1928, a memorial celebrating not only the 38 original pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille, but all those – over 200 in number - who flew with the French Air Force as part of the larger Lafayette Flying Corps. Many are interred at the memorial’s crypt.

French veterans bearing the colours at the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial (US Air Force Photo, by Tech. Sgt. Joshua DeMotts)

In attendance at the ceremony were the American ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, and the French Minister of State for Veterans and Remembrance, Jean-Marc Todeschini. The latter was keen to praise the airmen by placing them in what he saw as their proper historical context:

"Remembrance of the Escadrille’s deeds is not known well enough by our fellow citizens. It was however a decisive step in the United States decision to enter the war - a decision whose centenary we will celebrate next year - and in the strengthening of the bonds existing between our two countries. The century-old bond uniting American and French pilots takes its roots in the Great War torments. It had been prepared by the voluntary enlistment of many American pilots willing to defend the values of freedom. These pilots chose to defend a country in which they hadn’t been born, but with which they shared democratic values."

His remarks were echoed by the US Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James who said she thought the pilots ‘laid the foundation for an American Air Force that will forever stand with France.’

The event was attended by relatives and representatives of those who had flown with the escadrille, among them Eugene Richardson and Theodore Lumpkin, there to remember the so-called ‘Tuskegee Airmen’, African-American pilots like Eugene Bullard, the ‘Black Swallow of Death’, who flew with the Lafayette and ultimately earned France's Legion of Honour; and Lt. Col. Nick Rutgers, great-grandson of one of the original squadron, Capt. James Norman Hall, and who himself is a modern-day fighter pilot, flying with the Oregon Air National Guard.

Sources: US World War I Centennial Commission; American Battle Monuments Commission; French Government

Images: US Air Force photos by Tech. Sgt. Joshua DeMotts

Reporting by: Patrick Gregory, Centenary News. MORE


On the Digital Frontier in Bosnia By Jon Hoppe

Working in an archive, one can sometimes make unexpected discoveries in the materials that have accumulated over the course of years. Hidden by the sheer volume of materials, or locked away in a forgotten drawer, we have heard over the years of spectacular discoveries like original compositions by Mozart, or important letters about Abraham Lincoln.

And oftentimes these "discoveries" are hidden in plain sight, much like Edgar Allen Poe’s Purloined Letter. Sitting on a shelf in the Naval Institute’s Library is a remarkable set of digital images on CDs from the Bosnian War, produced by the Department of Defense’s Joint Combat Camera Center (DoDJCC) in 1998. What makes them so special is not only are they still viewable and usable after nearly twenty years of sitting passively on a shelf, but many are also born-digital images — that is, images created by a digital camera, and not scanned from film or a photographic print.

Airman First Class Michelle Leonard, 1st Combat Camera Squadron, Charleston, South Carolina, deployed to Sarajevo, photographs the war-torn city with an early digital camera.

Airman First Class Michelle Leonard, USAF, deployed to Sarajevo, photographs the war-torn city with a digital camera during Operation Joint Guard in 1997. The picture itself is a digital image from a DodJCC 1998 CD.

The digital camera pictured above was first introduced in 1994; built essentially in a film camera’s body it took pictures up to a resolution of 1.5 megapixels — and it cost over $30,000. By comparison, one can purchase a camera today with a resolution of 24 megapixels for a little over $500. But these clunky digital cameras captured many of the images of the NATO Intervention Bosnia and other events of the 1990s and form much of the visual record of that war.

A U.S. Navy A-6E Intruder from the Blue Blasters of Attack Squadron Three Four (VA-34), performs an in-flight refueling with a French Navy Super Etendard fighter bombers, while operating in the western Mediterranean Sea, June 19, 1996. The Intruder was flying from the deck of the U. S. Navy’s nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73), while the Super Etendard was operating from the French aircraft carrier Clememceau. The two carriers were conducting a passing exercise, with included their respective air wings. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Brent Phillips. From a 1997 JCCS CD.

A U.S. Navy A-6E Intruder from the "Blue Blasters" of VA-34 performs an in-flight refueling with a French Navy Super Etendard fighter bombers, while operating in the western Mediterranean Sea, June 19, 1996. The Intruder was flying from the deck of USS George Washington (CVN-73), while the Super Etendard was operating from the French aircraft carrier Clememceau. The two carriers were conducting a passing exercise, with included their respective air wings. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Brent Phillips. From a 1997 DodJCC CD.

1994 is not all that long ago, relatively speaking, bit for digital data, it is practically an age removed. Academics and information professionals have been actively working to preserve the materials created and used in the digital realm since the early 1990s. The same year that the DoDJCCC released the CDs with these images of the Bosnian War, Professor Margaret Hedstrom called digital preservation a "time bomb" for digital libraries [.pdf]. As she eloquently noted, digital materials like those on a CD are prone to catastrophic failure.

960223-A-3331-A-002 Soldier from Delta Company, 215th Infantry division detached to 4-67 Armor Division out Schweinfurt, Germany, inspects a Bosnian Soldier moving back into the town of ODZAK, Bosnia-Hezergovina. Photo by: SGT Alejandro, 55th Signal Company Combat Camera

This image of a U.S. Army soldier inspecting a Bosnian man shows signs of deterioration — note the blue lines running across in parts.

Paper photographs do decay, but they can last for decades without any attention. But a CD? If it starts to deteriorate, you can usually kiss the data goodbye.

This image of USS America together with the Russian Sovremennyy-class destroyer Admiral Ushakov from one of the CDs illustrates what can happen as a digital image file degrades over time.

This corrupted image of USS America together with the Russian Sovremennyy-class destroyer Admiral Ushakov from one of the DodJCC CDs illustrates what can happen as a digital image file degrades over time — so-called "bit rot."

But even more than that, one has to worry about format obsolescence. The old software and hardware used to access the data may no longer exist, or it may be incompatible with modern computer operating systems. Even on these relatively simple CDs, the methods originally used to view the images could not be used with modern programs. Fortunately, some far-sighted individuals embeddedinformation with many of the images so that much descriptive information about the scene (such as a description and a date) can still be read and understood. By contrast, a photograph made by an obsolete process — say, a Daguerreotype — can still be viewed even though the process has largely been supplanted.

960223-N-3717S-001/JPEG Navy Journalist 2nd Class Tom Gelsanliter video taps a Russian KA-25 Helix helicopter, as it lands on the deck of U.S. Navy's Ticonderoga Class Cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56) February 23, 1996. The helix is stationed on the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov (CV 063). Admiral Kuznetsov recently conducted official naval training exercises with the San Jacinto while both ships operated in the central Mediterranean, 23 and 24 February 1996. USS San Jacinto is part of the battle group assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Todd Summerlin (Released)

A Russian KA-27 "Helix" helicopter lands on the deck of USS San Jacinto (CG-56) in 1996. This "Helix" was stationed on the Russian aircraft carrier AdmiralKuznetsov.

"But why does this matter?" one might ask. As the 1990s recede further into the past, these born-digital images — these records of note — will become part of history, with all of the baggage that may entail. And as "primitive" as these digital images may seem to our modern sensibilities of what a digital image should look like,they are products of a transitional era when photography was shifting to the digital realm. Today one would be hard-pressed to find image sources of current activities that aren’t digital.

On the 20th of March, 1996 these two children of Ilizda, Bosnia are are sharing some of the food that the German Goverment was handing out for humanitarian relief during Operation Joint Endeavor.

Two children of Ilizda, Bosnia are sharing some of the food that the German Government was handing out for humanitarian relief during Operation Joint Endeavor in March 1996.

The men and women who worked hard to digitally document the Intervention in Bosnia have earned the right to see to it that the fruits of their efforts should not be forgotten.

An image where the accompanying data did not come through. From context this may be aboard USS George Washington (CVN-73).

An image where the accompanying data did not come through. From the paper in the foreground we know this is on board USS George Washington (CVN-73).

* * *

Incidentally, the author did investigate who else — if indeed there was anyone — who may have copies or offer access to any of these images from the hundreds featured on theses sets of late-1990s CDs online. He found exactly one other source for the first image: the National Archives.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Navy Gold Star Program Remembers 10 Navy Live / by U.S. Navy

Navy Gold Star Program Remembers

By Stephanie Hunter
Special contributor to Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

For many, the month of May is synonymous with the unofficial start of summer, barbecues, beautiful weather and a long holiday weekend. The Memorial Day holiday was created as a day of remembrance to honor the men and women who have paid the ultimate price to ensure our freedom. Originally known as Decoration Day, it was dedicated to remembering those who died during the Civil War; this tradition continued until World War I when it evolved to honor all those who gave their lives in service to our country. Memorial Day was officially recognized as a federal holiday in 1971.

Today, while our primary efforts are to remember those fallen service members, we should also take time to acknowledge the sacrifices of those who they leave behind – our Gold Star families.. The Navy recognizes that no one has given more for our nation than the families of the fallen, and the Navy Gold Star Program is there for them as the Navy’s official long-term survivor assistance program. Its primary focus and mission is to provide an unprecedented level of service and commitment to our Navy Gold Star families.

Navy Gold Star awareness pin

Navy Gold Star awareness pin

Survivors eligible for this program are the widow, parents and next of kin of the fallen service member. The term “widow” includes widower. The term “parents” includes mother, father, stepmother, stepfather, mother through adoption, father through adoption, and foster parents who stood in loco parentis. The term “next of kin” includes children (including natural, step-children and children through adoption), brothers, sisters, half-brothers, and half-sisters. If a spouse remarries, he or she is still eligible for services and support.

Each survivor is assigned an Installation Navy Gold Star Coordinator who serves as the long-term support advocate and is responsible for service delivery. The coordinators provide – either directly or through appropriate professional resources – support groups, life skills education, assistance in managing applicable life-long benefits, transition milestones and referrals to counseling resources. Survivors can be connected to our Navy family for as long as they desire.

The Navy Gold Star Program has dedicated the entire month of May to recognizing our Gold Star families. Throughout out the month, we’re sharing what it means to be a Gold Star Family and our honoring Gold Star families by hosting events that pay tribute to their fallen loved ones and provide surviving family members with opportunities to connect with one another.

For information about events in your area, please visit or, or call 1-888-509-8759.

Editor’s note: Stephanie Hunter is a program analyst for the Navy Gold Star Program under Navy Installations Command.

In Double ECDIS Failure what good is a Sextant?


Seaman Robert Hill takes celestial readings using a sextant on the signal bridge of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln

By Jaquelyn Burton (Coeval, Inc.) ECDIS is becoming ubiquitous – and that is a good thing. However, as we move towards more and more vessels relying wholly on ECDIS and heavily on its integration with GPS, some new problems are of growing concern. At a time of an ever-increasing amount of automation, the U.S. Navy is going back to teaching celestial navigation after an extended period of its absence – also a good thing. But as was brought up in a discussion with former colleges – what good is a sextant if you have a double ECDIS failure?

Right now to be considered fully ECDIS compliant (see Solas Chapter V Regulation 19) the vessel needs to have at least one redundant ECDIS system (two independent ECDIS computers, databases, and screens.) If they meet this requirement, then are they not required to carry paper charts. They are only required to have valid and corrected ENC’s for their planned voyage.

In all, this is not a problem. I have sailed on many fully ECDIS compliant vessels, all of them for the same company. Almost all of the time everything goes well; install the cells that were requested, load the corrections, and continue with passage planning. However not all nations will provide their paper chart Temporary & Preliminary Notices to Mariners (T&P NM) corrections within their ENCs, therefore the responsibility of finding them lies with the mariner. I wrote about such issues in
Slipping Through The Safety Net.

There are times when a single failure happens, and the systems need to be rebooted, generally while installing updates or other system maintenance. It is rare that a failure is long lasting, or that it would render the ECDIS system affected to be out of service for an extended period.

But, things do not always progress as planned. It is possible to experience a double failure, when both the primary and secondary ECDIS’s fail simultaneously. Equipment never fails on a beautiful day in the open ocean with near perfect visibility – everything fails in narrow channels, in inclement weather, or under pilotage. For that, Murphy’s Law is reliable.

If the ECDIS fails in the open ocean, it is not the worst case scenario – the vessel is clear of hazards and there is time to strategize, to make plotting sheets, and to verify your position. In open ocean there would normally be a chance to contact your company’s DPA and have them contact your chart provider to send PDF’s of the paper chart. These can then be taped together for use to sail for the nearest port for ECDIS repairs. And perhaps the delivery of paper charts to get through the voyage before repairs can be made. If the failure occurs in shallow waters and it is not safe to proceed then sometimes it is best to wait at anchor for charts to come. This all depends on your company’s emergency plan for ECDIS Failure.

But, if you lose satellite communication, and have no paper charts – the double failure could be a disaster. Being able to determine your position by GPS or even celestial is great, your position is known. If you don’t have a list of your planned waypoints that have already been checked for hazards and under-keel-clearance, then the position becomes less helpful.

It is still possible to make a plotting sheet and to track your positions, to layout DR positions, but if you don’t know where the hazards are relative to the ship’s position, then you might as well be back at the start of modern navigation.

In 1530, the cosmographer Reiner Gemma Frisius proposed a method based on the difference between the time at the port of departure, retained aboard ships by mechanical clocks, and the local time measured with astronomical instruments. Each hour of difference equaled fifteen degrees of longitude, and each degree of longitude was equivalent to a continuously varying distance from the Pole to the Equator.”

Once the problem of Longitude was solved – at least approximately, then the age of plotting hazards and the construction of useful navigational charts began. Sure some vessels made it to their destination, but many were lost in the effort to explore, to survey, plot and drop depth soundings, making up the base for later surveys and the charts we use now.

There were more backups for GPS and the satellite navigation systems, but they are not in use anymore. The use of systems such as LORAN-C and DECCA (along with cancelation of plans to upgrade transmitting stations to eLoran) were taught and tested on even after the U.S. Navy abandoned the instruction of Celestial Navigation, and as transmitting stations were being shut down. Now in the event of failure or blockage of GPS type systems, ships will be sent back to the 19th century sailing solely on DR and celestial positions and then putting that data into their 21st century ECDIS systems.

Some skills such as constructing plotting sheets on blank paper are only being mentioned in passing, but they should occasionally be done in practice. Maintaining skills that would be needed in an emergency to accomplish the task of navigating safely. The same applies to the ability to navigate by the use of a sextant, and to know the names of at least a few of the stars – they are skills that were frequently used fifty years ago but unfortunately, are falling out of frequent practice. Not only do these skills need to be maintained, but they should be actively practiced, and the necessary equipment for them such as the chronometer should be kept corrected and in a working condition.

While we are always moving forward with the use of automation and new technologies – we always must keep prior methods, skills, and contingencies in mind. Problems happen, things break down, equipment fails. Even now the prospect of computer viruses and threats of hackers could create problems with ECDIS and Integrated Bridge Systems. The sea is not a safe place, and while you cannot plan for all possible problems – many what if scenarios should be outlined ahead of time, and preparations made to deal with those problems should they occur.

Be safe – find out more about us at training for the #modernmariner.

The Art of War: Library of Congress Exhibition Features World War I Artists May 12, 2016 by Jeff Bridgers

The following is a guest post by Katherine Blood, Curator of Fine Prints, who co-curated the exhibition with Sara Duke, Curator of Popular and Applied Graphic Arts:

When exhorted by Charles Dana Gibson to “draw ‘til it hurts!” hundreds of his fellow artists contributed over 1,400 designs, including some 700 posters, to promote the country’s war effort to the American public–from recruitment and troop support, to bond drives and home front service. As head of the U.S. government Division of Pictorial Publicity, Gibson mobilized artists behind the war effort in an unprecedented manner. The Library’s new exhibition World War I: American Artists View the Great War includes stellar examples by participating artists as well as works created by independent or commercial creators.

We chose James Montgomery Flagg’s indelible Uncle Sam as the exhibit’s signature image. Made famous during World War I, it has continued to be a visual and cultural reference point ever since.

First Call—I Need You in the Navy this Minute! Our Country Will Always Be Proudest of Those Who Answered the First Call. Color lithographic poster by James Montgomery Flagg, 1917.

First Call—I Need You in the Navy this Minute! Our Country Will Always Be Proudest of Those Who Answered the First Call. Color lithographic poster by James Montgomery Flagg, 1917. //

Gibson himself, the leader of the artist “battalion,” is represented by this drawing which features a chilling personification of war as an emaciated femme fatale–a far cry from his wholesome Gibson Girl prototype.

“And the Fool, He Called Her His Lady Fair,” published in Life, May 3, 1917. Ink over graphite underdrawing by Charles Dana Gibson, 1917.

“And the Fool, He Called Her His Lady Fair,” published in Life, May 3, 1917. Ink over graphite underdrawing by Charles Dana Gibson, 1917. //

Edward Penfield’s vibrant drawing, on the left, of doughboys, American Expeditionary Forces infantrymen, with a machine gun was published as a Collier’s magazine cover. The Camp Library Is Yours–Read to Win the War by Charles Buckles Falls, on the right, reflects the efforts of the American Library Association (ALA) to furnish troops with a reported 10 million books and magazines at camp libraries at home and abroad. The Library of Congress is a fitting venue to showcase this classic poster as ALA’s Library War Service Committee was directed by then Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam.

The Doughboys Make Good, published as cover of Collier’s magazine, August 10, 1918. Watercolor by Edward Penfield, 1918.

The Doughboys Make Good, published as cover of Collier’s magazine, August 10, 1918. Watercolor by Edward Penfield, 1918. //

The Camp Library Is Yours—Read to Win the War. Color lithographic poster by Charles Buckles Falls, 1917.

The Camp Library Is Yours—Read to Win the War. Color lithographic poster by Charles Buckles Falls, 1917. //

As the United States approaches the hundred-year anniversary of its entry into the war, my co-curator Sara Duke and I had the chance to comb through thousands of original images to choose the strongest work to represent the American experience of World War I. With a conscious emphasis on artist-eye-views, we were struck by the power of these artworks to visually communicate complex content in immediate, visceral ways. War correspondent artist Samuel Woolf’s eye-witness images of soldiers include a drawing, below left, of an anguished doughboy carrying a wounded comrade is a moving example.

In addition to posters, prints, and drawings, our deep holdings of World War I photographs offered further riches. Sara notes: “Although I am not a photography curator, I discovered many images that stand on their own as fine art but were produced and intended to document the war.” Among our favorites is Lewis Hine’s Red Cross postwar portrait of an African American veteran, below right, which takes an artful approach to documentation.

Soldier Carrying Wounded. Charcoal drawing by Samuel Woolf, April 21, 1918.

Soldier Carrying a Wounded Soldier. Charcoal drawing by Samuel Woolf, April 21, 1918. //

Wood Carving. Gelatin silver photograph by Lewis W. Hine for the American Red Cross, circa June 1920.

Wood Carving. Gelatin silver photograph by Lewis W. Hine for the American Red Cross, circa June 1920. //

Caption card for photograph Wood Carving by Lewis W. Hine for the American Red Cross, circa June 1920.

Caption card for photograph Wood Carving by Lewis W. Hine for the American Red Cross, circa June 1920. //

This special exhibition is online and will be on display from May 7, 2016 to May 6, 2017 in the Graphic Arts Galleries of the Library of Congress Jefferson Building. Drawn from over 76,000 pictures relating to World War I in the Library’s Prints & Photographs Division collections, a compelling selection of 52 original posters, cartoons, fine art prints, drawings, and photographs are being shown in two different presentations with the second on view starting October 31, 2016. An additional 63 scanned photographs, many from fragile glass negatives, will be available in a gallery slide show and online.

Learn More

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Rare World War One German gun saved in Campbeltown


Minenwerfer gun, Cambeltown

A rare German gun from World War One has been saved after an enthusiast revealed its importance.

The minenwerfer gun was given to Campbeltown in Argyll and Bute as a spoil of war after the conflict ended in 1918.

It has been displayed in the town over the years but nobody was aware of its rarity or origin.

The gun has now been restored and placed outside the town's heritage centre.

The minenwerfer gun is a type of trench-mortar which was developed for the German army in the years before World War One as a short-range weapon with a heavy punch.

They could be used to destroy strongpoints, machine-gun posts or barbed-wire entanglements.

Most minenwerfers were built in Düsseldorf but the markings on this one suggest it was built in 1917 in Chemnitz, Saxony.

'Melted down'

It is believed there are just two minenwarfers in the UK - the other is in the possession of the Imperial War Museum. Only a handful of these guns are still in existence.

Many German guns and other spoils of war were given to towns across Britain after the end of World War One but some were later melted down.

This gun had been on display at various locations around Campbeltown over the years, including the harbour.

Campbeltown Heritage Centre only became aware of its rarity and true story after an enthusiast told them about it. Locally, it had been widely presumed to be a naval gun from Turkey of little special interest.

The gun was officially unveiled at a ceremony attended by one of the town's best known figures, Patrick Stewart, a retired lawyer who is also the Lord Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute.

His great uncle, John Balfour 'Jack' Jones, was a lance corporal in the Cameron Highlanders who died in the Battle of Loos in 1915.

The injuries sustained by Lance Corporal Jones and his comrades suggest they may have died as a result of a shell fired by a minenwarfer.

HMS Victory 'collapsing under own weight'

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SEAL Killed In Iraq To Be Buried At Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery


Charlie Keating IV is pictured in this undated photo.


Charlie Keating IV is pictured in this undated photo.

A U.S. Navy SEAL killed in Iraq will be buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.

SEALs spokeswoman Lt. Beth Teach says the body of Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Charles Keating IV will be laid to rest Friday after a private funeral in Coronado, California, with his family.

Teach says a public procession to honor Keating will also take place Friday in Coronado, where Keating's SEAL Team 1 is based.

On Thursday, Naval Special Warfare will hold a private memorial service at Tidelands Park in Coronado for family, friends, and members of SEAL Team 1.

Keating was shot and killed May 3 during a gunbattle involving Islamic State fighters. He's the third U.S. service member to be killed in Iraq since U.S. forces returned there in 2014.

China Scrambles Fighter Jets as U.S. Navy Tests Freedom of Navigation Near Chinese-Claimed Reef

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The guided missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) transits the Philippine Sea, March 30, 2016. U.S. Navy Photo

By Michael Martina, Greg Torode and Ben Blanchard BEIJING/HONG KONG, May 10 (Reuters) – China scrambled fighter jets on Tuesday as a U.S. navy ship sailed close to a disputed reef in the South China Sea, a patrol China denounced as an illegal threat to peace which only went to show its defence installations in […]

The post China Scrambles Fighter Jets as U.S. Navy Tests Freedom of Navigation Near Chinese-Claimed Reef appeared first on gCaptain.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Endeavour won’t tell us anything new about Cook’s voyage, but that’s not the point By Julien Domercq


The Endeavour passed the high chalk cliffs of Beachy Head at sunrise on 12 July 1771, on its return from Captain James Cook’s first voyage of exploration to the Pacific. The account of the voyage’s many discoveries of lands, fauna and peoples took Britain and the rest of Europe by storm, turning Cook and the naturalist Joseph Banks into overnight celebrities. The ship that had successfully taken them around the world for three years, meanwhile, was rapidly forgotten. The Endeavour had served at once as a mode of transport, a home, a floating laboratory and a quasi-prison during perilous weeks at sea, and it is not surprising that the surviving members of Cook’s crew were quick to make their way off her deck upon their return to Britain. Within a week she was taken away to Woolwich Dockyard where she was refitted as a marine transport. She spent the next three years sailing to and from the Falkland Islands before being decommissioned and sold by the Royal Navy in 1775. Then she vanished from the historical record for two hundred years, her ultimate fate unknown except for speculation and hearsay.

It wasn’t until 1999 that the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP), investigating the identity of 13 ships sunk in Newport Harbour in 1778, discovered that one of the ships, the Lord Sandwich, was in fact Cook’s Endeavour. It transpired that she had been renamed before being recommissioned into the Royal Navy in 1776 to serve as a transport ship in the American War of Independence. After transporting German mercenaries across the Atlantic and taking part in the capture of New York, the Endeavour was converted into a floating prison to hold American rebels. She was finally scuttled in shallow waters on 4 August 1778, along with other surplus vessels, to block the entrance of Newport Harbour to prevent its capture by the French fleet.

Captain James Cook

Captain James Cook (1775-76), Nathaniel Dance-Holland. National Maritime Museum

The team of marine archaeologists at RIMAP are now convinced that the Endeavour’s wreck forms part of a cluster of five ships that were sunk together. Four of these ships have already been located (and remote sensing data suggest that the fifth also survives somewhere in the murky waters of Newport Harbour) so in fact it is quite possible that she has already been found. Further excavations and the study of some of the ships’ artefacts should allow us to determine which ship is the Endeavour. It is particularly ironic that the first British ship to touch the coast of Australia, thus forming one of the foundations of Britain’s 19th-century empire, was sunk off the coast of Rhode Island, the first American state to disavow its loyalty to King George III.

The Endeavour was launched in 1764 (as the Earl of Pembroke) in Whitby, the North Yorkshire port from where James Cook first served as a merchant navy apprentice, and which today houses the excellent Captain Cook Memorial Museum. At 30 metres long, the Endeavour was a modest but sturdy ship with a square stern and a deep hold, made for carrying coal. She was purchased by the Royal Navy in 1768 and refitted for a voyage of exploration to observe the transit of Venus from Tahiti and to seek for Terra Australis, a hypothetical southern continent. Helmed by Cook, the expedition left Plymouth in August 1768 carrying 94 men, including sailors and marines but also a large group of civilians comprising botanists, astronomers and artists. The Endeavourheaded south, around Cape Horn and into the uncharted Pacific.

In April 1779, nine months after her departure from Britain, the Endeavour reached Matavai Bay on the island of Tahiti. There, the crew spent three bountiful months, on an island that in the European imagination embodied the idea of the South Seas as an earthly paradise, free from the ills of civilisation. The Endeavour then sailed west across the Pacific and, with the help of Tupaia, a Tahitian navigator who had joined the crew, reached the coast of New Zealand in October. They were only the second European party ever to reach New Zealand (after the Dutch Abel Tasman in 1642) and spent half a year mapping out the entirety of its coastline.

The Kongouro from New Holland (Kangaroo) (1772), George Stubbs.

The Kongouro from New Holland (Kangaroo) (1772), George Stubbs. © National Maritime Museum, London

Cook then continued west, and recorded sighting the coast of Australia at 6am on Thursday 19 April 1770. A little more than a week later, the Endeavour anchored in Botany Bay. The bay was earmarked as a potential site for a British colonial settlement, and 18 years later the settlement of Sydney was established a few kilometres further north. But the news almost never reached Britain. On its way up the Australian coast, the Endeavour ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef and nearly sank. Seven weeks of repairs on a beach allowed for much botanical exploration and largely friendly encounters with Aboriginal Australians – encounters which, among many other fruitful exchanges, allowed ‘kangaroo’ to enter the English language. The Endeavour then sailed north through the Torres Strait, stopped in the East Indies, rounded the Cape of Good Hope and headed home along the west coast of Africa.

The voyage had precise scientific and political aims, but it was also unique for being the first time that a large party of scientists and artists were taken on board, with the sole aim to record and analyse the many plants, animals and peoples they would encounter. Cook’s voyage not only amassed a vast number of natural and ethnographic ‘specimens’, but thousands of pages filled with accounts of Polynesian customs. Some of these records were so thorough, that their authors might well be considered the very first ethnographers of the Pacific. The most remarkable of these proto-ethnographers was the young Joseph Banks. When questioned by alarmed members of his family about why, unlike his peers who complemented their education by touring the ancient ruins of Europe and the Mediterranean, he wished to sail into the uncharted Pacific with little hope of ever coming back, Banks reputedly replied that ‘every blockhead does that. My Grand Tour shall be one around the world.’ Banks never returned to the Pacific, but the example he set with his companions influenced many subsequent voyages and revolutionised the practice of science.

I have spent the last few days daydreaming about what traces of this extraordinary voyage we may find in the wreck of the Endeavour. Unfortunately, as the ship changed hands so many times after its return from the Pacific, the likely answer is not many. We could, however, still hope to see signs of the extensive repairs the Endeavour underwent after striking the Great Barrier Reef, testament to the grit and resilience of its crew.

The excavation of the Endeavour will probably prove far less exciting than that of the wrecks of la Boussole and l’Astrolabe, Jean-François de La Pérouse’s two ships, which were formally identified in 2005 off Vanikoro in the Solomon Islands, still filled with the remains of equipment from an extravagant expedition that was Louis XVI’s response to the Cook voyages. But the lumps of wood from the Endeavour’s hull still carry more significance. The sheer amount of coverage this discovery has received is testament to the enormous importance this unassuming, unremarkable little ship has taken on in the collective imagination. For some the Endeavour is a positive symbol of the foundation of Australia, for others, the first step towards the ruthless annihilation of the Australian continent’s Aboriginal peoples. While celebrating the Endeavour’s discovery, and through it Cook’s extraordinary achievements, we should also take a moment to reflect on the huge and lasting impact this small ship had on hundreds of thousands of lives in the South Seas.

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