Saturday, July 23, 2016
LONDON, July 21 (Reuters) – A British nuclear Astute-class submarine was involved in a “glancing collision” with a merchant vessel off the coast of the peninsula of Gibraltar on Wednesday, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said. “The submarine suffered some external damage but there is absolutely no damage to her nuclear plant and no member of […]
The post Royal Navy Nuclear Sub Damaged in Collision with Commercial Vesselappeared first on gCaptain.
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Patuxent River, Maryland - Archaeologists from Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) surveyed several sites on the Patuxent River in Maryland over the past 1 1/2 weeks in search of ships from Commodore Joshua Barney's scuttled flotilla, concluding field work.
During the War of 1812, Barney organized a plan to defend Chesapeake Bay from British raids along its banks. After assembling about 16 vessels comprised of armed barges and gunboats, he met the Royal Navy on the Patuxent. The flotilla was successful in diverting the British for several weeks, but ultimately Barney was ordered by Secretary of the Navy William Jones to scuttle the ships to prevent them from falling into the hands of the British.
Fast forward 202 years. The area has flooded several times, the river channel may have migrated, the banks have eroded, and two centuries of sediment have built up on the river bottom. The historic flotilla rests in a complex riverine system of wide marshes to narrow multi-channel river inlets. Analysis of existing maps and charts indicates the strong likelihood of continued change. Much like the Navy and society itself, the river of today is not the river of yesterday. Up to now, only one ship is believed to have been found -- the sloop Scorpion.
UAB hopes to change that with continued field work, but given the conditions, they understand they can't be sure of what they'll find.
"Archaeological research is a laborious multi-phase process," said George Schwarz, an underwater archaeologist with NHHC's UAB. "Archival research exploring the history of the site, past investigations, environmental information, and logistical planning ultimately led to the field research phase."
The search for the rest of the scuttled flotilla is a continuation of research conducted by NHHC and partners, including the state of Maryland, initiated in 2009 with Scorpion.
With support this year from Maryland's Patuxent River Park and Naval Historical Foundation, this third field season saw UAB investigating targets detected during the previous two summers' remote-sensing work in attempts to find the remainder of the flotilla.
In 2014 and 2015, UAB used marine magnetometer, side-scan sonar, sub-bottom profiler, and sediment cores to examine areas of interest. Using a hydro-probe, which simply provides a steady flow of water through a pipe to loosen sediment layers, they probed around magnetic anomalies in a gridded pattern this summer.
"[With the hydro-probe], depending on the density of the material the probe runs against, we are often able to tell whether there may be buried wood or metal at the location," said Schwarz. "When we systematically collect data points and plot them on a grid, we can start to determine if a pattern emerges of what is buried below the surface; if we're lucky, we might get the outline of a hull."
However, it will take the UAB some time to thoroughly analyze and interpret the data they collected. If the data indicated the presence of manmade materials, they'll need to determine if they have found something insignificant, like old industry materials, or if they have found parts of a ship. That determination will influence whether it is appropriate and necessary to further excavate the site.
For more on the toughness of the Chesapeake flotilla's Sailors, read how, after abandoning their ships, they defended Washington, D.C. as the British closed in on the capitol http://usnhistory.navylive.dodlive.mil/peoplematter-as-others-ran-sailors-and-marines-make-a-stand-at-bladensburg/ . They also saw further action as Baltimore's Fort McHenry was bombarded by the British http://usnhistory.navylive.dodlive.mil/through-rockets-red-glare-flotilla-sailors-stand-strong/ .
The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products which reflect the Navy's unique and enduring contributions through our nation's history, and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, nine museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.
The group, which included Schanberg’s local interpreter and guide Dith Pran, eventually took refuge in the French embassy compound. After a period of about two weeks, during which Schanberg and Dith were accosted by Khmer Rouge and rumors of his execution circulated, Schanberg and the other foreigners were evacuated to Thailand.
The U.S. embassy in Thailand reported the arrival of the group at the border crossing in a sequence of telegrams. The initial report came in the following message:
Friday, July 22, 2016
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).
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Riot squad sent to subdue Takae protesters similar in scale to that sent to eradicate yakuza gangsters By Ryota Nakamura
A leading government official explained the forceful resumption of construction, saying, “There is no problem with resuming construction. This just happens to be the timing at which we will progress.” He explained construction became possible after entering into July, after the end of the nesting period of the noguchigera woodpecker, a species designated by the Japanese government for special protection. However, he also revealed that the resumption of construction was delayed out of consideration for the Minister of State for Okinawa Affairs, Aiko Shimajiri, who was facing an uphill battle after anti-base sentiment swelled among Okinawans due to numerous incidents and accidents involving the U.S. military, including the rape and murder of a woman by a U.S. military contractor.
Chiba Prefectural Police riot squad vehicles pass by the gate to the training area while citizens protest the helipad construction (July 17, Takae Ward, Higashi Village, in front of the N1 zone gate to the U.S. miltary’s Northern Training Area)
In March of this year, after the national and prefectural governments agreed to a settlement in the Henoko relocation proxy execution lawsuit, the national government suspended construction at Henoko and put on a conciliatory face with an eye toward the Upper House election. In Takae, from March until June, it looked like the helipad construction had come to a standstill for the nesting period of the birds inhabiting the area.
However, behind the scenes, preparation was being carried out for the construction. Anticipating protests by citizens opposed to the construction, the government prepared to gather approximately five hundred riot squad personnel from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and other police departments around the country to send to the construction scene.Meanwhile, on June 23, the day after campaigning started for the Upper House election, the Ministry of Defense notified approximately sixty employees of their own ministry and local defense bureaus that they were to be stationed in Takae and Henoko as “security personnel” in response to protests at the two sites. The employees were also part of an “Okinawa/regional safety patrol unit” established to prevent recurring crimes after the murder incident by a U.S. military contractor, and were additionally assigned as security personnel.
The government plans to send a total of 560 security personnel to the sites of the protests. Regarding the fact that these preparations were made behind closed doors while the Upper House election was going on, a Ministry of Defense official revealed, “We weren’t facing an uphill battle—more like a typhoon. There was no question as to who would win [the Upper House election].”
Meanwhile, some people associated with the police and defense express a different view. One source involved in security grimaced as he referenced measures taken in 2014 to eradicate Kudo-kai, a registered dangerous yakuza group, in which 530 additional riot squad personnel were sent to the front lines. “These security efforts are the same scale as were used to eradicate the Kudo-kai. It is not normal to view gangsters with heavy weapons and ordinary citizens in the same light,” he said, expressing doubt toward the fact that the national government is taking the same confrontational stance toward ordinary citizens as it did toward dangerous gangsters.
After Shimajiri lost the Upper House election, politicians opposed to the Henoko base construction and backed by the “All-Okinawa” faction working with Governor Takeshi Onaga came to fill all six seats representing Okinawan electoral districts in both houses of the national Diet. Nonetheless, the government is barreling forward aggressively; as early as July 22, it plans to resume construction on land at Henoko and on the Takae helipads, and simultaneously plans to move forward with a new lawsuit against the Okinawan governor.
A member of All-Okinawa Kaigi (All-Okinawa Coalition) observes that the national government got a head start on Governor Onaga, who plans to call for a reduction of the base burden on Okinawa at a nation-wide meeting of governors on July 28 and 29. “They probably want to make a show of proclaiming that the governor is incapable of preventing the construction,” he said, expressing strong distrust and vigilance toward the national government.
(English translation by T&CT
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Ms Neil is one of a handful of descendants that have made the trek to the outskirts of the French village where in 1916 the Australian 5th Division suffered 5533 casualties in just 24 hours, marking not just the nation’s first major engagement on the Western Front but the bloodiest day in its military history.
But for Ms Neil the commemorative service at Pheasant Wood cemetery outside Fromelles will be more like a funeral since her relative’s remains were only confirmed through DNA two months ago allowing him to finally have a proper burial with full military honours.
The former bread carter turned soldier was one of 250 Australian and British World War One soldiers recovered from a mass burial site at Pheasant Wood in France in 2009 and reburied in the Fromelles Military Cemetery in 2010 but was only identified through DNA matching this May.
“It will be his first funeral, it’s taken a while. I was so surprised when I was contacted because so many had been identified and Justin’s name had never come up so I’d pretty much given up hope that he would be.”
Ms Neil was first contacted in 2008 and asked to research her family tree and identify relatives from whom DNA could be matched. Thousands of descendants of those killed had been contacted after the discovery of the unidentified “lost” mass grave on the farmland.
Private Breguet’s siblings had all died young or never had children so the best DNA was distant but was Ms Neil’s father’s cousin who provided a sample last September.
“It’s been a long journey ... the whole family is really happy,” she said of the identification.
“What’s particularly special for me was my father was an avid family tree researcher and he passed away in 2006 and I know how much this would have meant to him. He knew Justin’s story, he had visited Justin’s older brother which was his great uncle and talked war stories, the older brother had survived World War One.
“I know dad would absolutely want me here.”
Veterans Affairs Minister Dan Tehan will lead proceedings today including reinterring other unknown soldiers.
“Even one hundred years after the fighting took place we will bury our unknown
soldiers with respect and honour because it is the right thing to do,” Mr Tehan said.
“The Australians at Fromelles, Pozières and across the Western Front were volunteers fighting for our values and freedom — their bravery has become legendary, especially in this corner of Europe.”
He said the fallen at Fromelles began the ANZAC spirit that set the standard for the armed forces today.
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - An unmanned SpaceX rocket blasted off from Florida early on Monday to send a cargo ship to the International Space Station, then turned around and landed itself back at the launch site.
The 23-story-tall Falcon 9 rocket, built and flown by Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 12:45 a.m. EDT (0445 GMT).
Perched on top of the rocket was a Dragon capsule filled with nearly 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg) of food, supplies and equipment, including a miniature DNA sequencer, the first to fly in space.
Also aboard the capsule was a metal docking ring of diameter 7.8 feet (2.4 m), that will be attached to the station, letting commercial spaceships under development by SpaceX and Boeing Co. ferry astronauts to the station, a $100-billion laboratory that flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.
The manned craft are scheduled to begin test flights next year.
Since NASA retired its fleet of space shuttles five years ago, the United States has depended on Russia to ferry astronauts to and from the station, at a cost of more than $70 million per person.
As the Dragon cargo ship began its two-day journey to the station, the main section of the Falcon 9 booster rocket separated and flew itself back to the ground, touching down a few miles south of its seaside launch pad, accompanied by a pair of sonic booms.
"Good launch, good landing, Dragon is on its way," said NASA mission commentator George Diller.
Owned and operated by Musk, the technology entrepreneur who founded Tesla Motors Inc, SpaceX is developing rockets that can be refurbished and re-used, potentially slashing launch costs.
With Monday’s touchdown, SpaceX has successfully landed Falcon rockets on the ground twice and on an ocean platform during three of its last four attempts.
SpaceX intends to launch one of its recovered rockets as early as this autumn, said Hans Koenigsmann, the firm's vice president for mission assurance.
(Reporting by Irene Klotz, Editing by Chris Michaud and Clarence Fernandez)
Spanning four generations, his family has pledged more than 100 years of service in the Army -- all the way back to his great-grandfather, who commanded a field artillery unit that traversed battlefields with horses.
"I'm proud of our family's service," Fix said.
The family's Army history began in 1915, when Joseph E. Fix Jr. enlisted in the New Jersey National Guard. He served as a medic. He eventually commissioned as an officer and was assigned to an artillery unit.
Fix Jr. commanded A Battery, 112th Field Artillery at Fort Bragg from 1940 to 1941.
Unlike today's howitzers that are towed behind motorized vehicles, those soldiers moved their cannons by horse. It was the Army's last horse-drawn unit.
"I can only imagine the amount of time and effort," said Capt. Joe Fix, who now also commands an artillery unit at Fort Bragg. "Their maintenance is completely different."
The next Joseph Fix at Fort Bragg was Fix's grandfather, Maj. Gen. Joseph E. Fix III, who retired after 33 years of service. He commanded an airborne company in the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team.
He left Fort Bragg for other assignments in 1951, but returned in 1954 when he served as a test parachute officer. Fix III jumped 218 times, said the youngest Fix.
"Every time when I'm on my way to the drop zone, I often think about him," Joe Fix said. "I always think of him as a great role model. He was a great officer and an even better father (to my father)."
The third generation of the Fix family -- Fix's parents Robert and Debra -- did not serve at Fort Bragg, but Fix said they were proud airborne soldiers with the 101st Division. They each served two tours at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, he said.
During their second tour, Robert was the commander of the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry, and Debra Fix was the G1 of the division. The family moved to the Pentagon for their next assignment.
Debra Fix was among those wounded in the Pentagon during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. She later served in Iraq with a team from Human Resources Command.
And finally, the Fix family's fourth generation of service, which lies with Capt. Joe Fix and his brother Bobby Fix, who served 10 years before joining the Reserves.
Spouses of Joe Fix and Bobby Fix have also served in the Army. In 2012, all four shared a deployment to Afghanistan as part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
All of these experiences make escaping conversations about work difficult.
Family dinners are typically filled with whatever happened in training that week and end as the family uses the military decision-making process to plan the next family night.
"The military lingo comes out in conversation and you can't help it," Joe Fix said, chuckling. "I think we're different in that way."
The Fix family has bonded over their experiences commanding soldiers. Sometimes they bounce ideas off one another.
"It's stressful," Joe Fix said about being a commander. "It's mentally, emotionally and physically stressful, but it's one of the most rewarding jobs you'll have in the Army."
As part of the Army life, Joe Fix grew up crisscrossing the country because his parents were assigned to different installations.
Their last assignment before they retired as colonels was at the Pentagon. Joe Fix said he remembers their house was next to the Manassas National Battlefield Park.
Despite the rich tradition of service in his family, Joe Fix said, he never felt pressure to follow that path.
His parents and brother attended West Point, but Joe Fix wanted a college experience, so he chose Elon University. He participated in the university's ROTC program -- and decided the Army life was for him after all.
"After the first two years of ROTC, I could have quit. I really enjoyed it and stayed with it," Joe Fix said. "It was just what I know."
Joe Fix met his wife, Capt. Kimmy Fix, during their time at Elon. She was injured in a car crash during her deployment in Afghanistan and is in the process of medically retiring from the Army.
As Joe Fix prepared to be commissioned, he'd hoped for an infantry position. His father and grandfather were both infantry officers, he said.
Joe Fix, however, was destined for artillery, just like his great-grandfather more than 100 years ago.
"I got artillery and was kind of bummed about it," Joe Fix said. "My dad said I'd like it and he was right. I've loved it every day."