Saturday, October 15, 2016

WATCH: Viking Star Traverses Cape Cod Canal – 4K Drone Footage



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WATCH: Viking Star Traverses Cape Cod Canal – 4K Drone Footage
// gCaptain.com

screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-10-21-47-amThe 750-foot cruise ship Viking Star traversed the Cape Cod Canal on Wednesday night becoming one of the largest ships ever to make the transit. Unfortunately the cruise ship hit a minor snag when it actually scrapped the bottom of a railroad bridge with its tower. Earlier this week the Viking Star docked at Cruiseport […]

The post WATCH: Viking Star Traverses Cape Cod Canal – 4K Drone Footage appeared first on gCaptain.


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WATCH: 24 Most Insanely Satisfying Ship Launches!



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WATCH: 24 Most Insanely Satisfying Ship Launches!
// gCaptain.com

Greenland-1500x630We usually don't get into these lists but this video was just uploaded and we have to admit: it's actually insanely satisfying. So check it out. Here's 12 minutes of (insanely satisfying) ship launches:

The post WATCH: 24 Most Insanely Satisfying Ship Launches! appeared first on gCaptain.


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Germany to Spend 1.5 Billion Euros on More Navy Ships



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Germany to Spend 1.5 Billion Euros on More Navy Ships
// gCaptain.com

The Braunschweig-class corvette, Magdeburg.BERLIN, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Germany has agreed to spend 1.5 billion euros to buy five more corvettes for the navy, the navy said on Friday, and Die Welt newspaper quoted lawmakers as citing the need for greater security in the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean. Die Welt said lawmakers planned to introduce the funding […]

The post Germany to Spend 1.5 Billion Euros on More Navy Ships appeared first on gCaptain.


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A rare glimpse into a military legal ethics inquiry



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A rare glimpse into a military legal ethics inquiry
// CAAFlog

The professional responsibility systems for military lawyers – administered separately by each Judge Advocate General – are notoriously opaque. However, this news report related to the ongoing case of Marine Major Mark Thompson (CAAFlog news page), provides a rare glimpse into one inquiry:

The Washington Post revealed that [Navy judge advocate and appellate military judge Commander] Rugh had given false information to a board of officers deciding whether a Marine he'd prosecuted for sexual misconduct should be expelled from the service.

Now his future — and potentially dozens of criminal appeals he's overseen — is being threatened by the fallout from the flawed investigation into Marine Maj. Mark Thompson, a former instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy convicted of having sex with two female midshipmen.

Last week, Rugh testified at an ethics hearing before a senior officer probing whether he lied under oath in 2014 about two witnesses, his attorney said. Thompson is accused of lying to the same board and faces a second court-martial because of The Post's revelations about his case.

The claim that CDR Rugh lied arises from the Board of Inquiry convened to determine whether Major Thompson should have been separated from the Marine Corps after he was convicted of indecent conduct and fraternization with junior officers and sentenced to confinement for two months and a fine of $60,000. In a surprise move the Board decided not only to retain Major Thompson on active duty, but also determined that he did not commit any misconduct (despite the fact that the court-martial conviction is treated as conclusive proof of misconduct).

CDR Rugh was the lead prosecutor at Major Thompson's court-martial, and he testified to the Board (via telephone) about the facts of the case. In particular, CDR Rugh told the Board that his prosecution team talked to family members of one of the junior officers and corroborated the allegation that the officer was at Thompson's home on a particular night. This was news to Thompson's defense counsel, and they later raised it as an issue of non-disclosure in an effort to reverse Thompson's convictions.

In the exposé that kindled the current prosecution of Major Thompson, Washington Post reporter Jonathan Cox spoke to some of the family members that may have been contacted by the prosecution team. They told him that they were never contacted by the prosecution. That revelation led to the claim that CDR Rugh gave false information to the Board.

The Navy's professional responsibility system is detailed in JAG Instruction 5803.1E (available here). Complaints involving professional misconduct follow a five-step process: (1) Initial screening to determine if the complaint, on its face, establishes probable cause to believe that the rules were violated; (2) Initial review by the Rules Counsel to determine if the complaint is of a minor or technical nature that may be addressed summarily; (3) An ethics investigation if the complaint is not dismissed or resolved summarily; (4) Review of the result of the ethics investigation by the Rules Counsel, and; (5) Final action by the Judge Advocate General.

The news report suggests (update: and this version clearly states) that the complaint against CDR Rugh has reached the ethics investigation stage. However, it provides the following additional details:

Rugh's attorney, retired Rear Adm. Christian L. Reismeier, wouldn't comment on what his client said at the ethics hearing. But he denied that Rugh, 44, had intentionally misled the board. In an email, Reismeier called the alleged misstatement an "honest mistake" based on information that Rugh believed to be true at the time.


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Reaching Out with Prints and Photographs October 14, 2016 by Julie Stoner

Reaching Out with Prints and Photographs

We always enjoy opportunities to share samples of our holdings and resources at public events and had two chances to do so in the last couple of weeks.

October is designated as American Archives Month, which provides a chance for cultural institutions to reach out to local communities and share the valuable resources available in their collections, explaining how the materials are preserved  and made accessible.  On October 5, 2016, a Washington, D.C. area Archives Fair was held at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Archivists and librarians from a variety of institutions across the region came to share information about their collections with the public and to answer questions.

Prints and Photographs Division staff at Archives Fair table. Photo by Katherine Blood, October 5, 2016.

Prints and Photographs Division staff at Archives Fair table. Photo by Katherine Blood, October 5, 2016.

Armed with pamphlets for our current World War I Artist exhibit and with reproductions of Civil War stereographs, I enjoyed explaining more about the Library and the collections found in our division.

The second event took place this last Monday, Columbus Day, October 10, 2016. Twice each year the Main Reading Room is opened to the general public, who can marvel at the architecture in this historic research room and learn about the Library’s resources that are available year-round. While any researchers who obtain a reader identification card can use the room for research on regular days, on these special days, many reading rooms gather there to display their offerings.  With the grand surroundings of that room, we were able to share information about Prints and Photographs Division collections and activities with interested children and adults alike.

Prints and Photographs Division display at Columbus Day open house. Photograph by Julie Stoner, October 10, 2016.

Prints and Photographs Division display at Columbus Day open house. Photograph by Julie Stoner, October 10, 2016.

We had facsimile stereographs people could try for 3-D viewing, as well as slide shows showing a selection of images in all formats.  We also enjoyed introducing younger visitors to the card catalog through pictures and a glimpse of the real thing!

Staff discussing P&P collections to visitors. Photo by Katherine Blood, October 10, 2016.

Staff discussing P&P collections to open house visitors. Photo by Katherine Blood, October 10, 2016.

Staff discussing P&P collections to visitors. Photo by Julie Stoner, October 10, 2016.

Staff discussing P&P collections to open house visitors. Photo by Julie Stoner, October 10, 2016.

Archives Month is a great opportunity to explore the collections in archives, libraries, and cultural institutions around the country. Have you had a great experience at an archive near you?

For greater knowledge on more subjects use your library more often. Poster sponsored by Federal Art Project, between 1936 and 1941. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3f05183

For greater knowledge on more subjects use your library more often. Poster sponsored by Federal Art Project, between 1936 and 1941. hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3f05183

Learn More:

 

 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

U.S. Military Strikes Radar Sites in Yemen Involved in Recent Missile Launches Threatening USS Mason

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=97143

Identity theft target turns the tables | Consumer Information

Identity theft target turns the tables

I admit it; when my email inbox is full, my eyes may drift past some messages. But my co-worker's story has motivated me to pay better attention. She noticed an odd email her husband got and looked into it. It turned out that someone had stolen his personal information and used it to buy things. Now her husband is using IdentityTheft.gov to fix problems, and she's reminding people to watch their inboxes.

The story started with an email from a company the family knew. It said 'We received your order.' That seemed ok; they had recently placed an order. A second email said 'Your new mobile phone is on its way' and listed a delivery address that wasn't theirs. 'That's wrong!' my co-worker thought, and she called the company.

The company confirmed that someone using her husband's account had ordered a mobile phone, and was having it sent to a nearby hotel. She told the company it was a scam, closed the account and filed an identity theft report. She also contacted local law enforcement. When the scammer — complete with fake ID — came to pick up the package, local law enforcement arrested him.

There are many ways to discover that someone is using your information. You might get bills that aren't yours, see strange withdrawals from your bank account or get an unexpected notice from the IRS. If you see a warning sign, act quickly. IdentityTheft.govwill guide you through the steps that help you limit the damage.


Ten things most Veterans don’t know about VA home loans [feedly]



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Ten things most Veterans don't know about VA home loans
// VAntage Point

More than 21 million Veterans and Servicemembers live in the U.S. today, but only about 6 percent of them bought a home using a VA home loan in the past five years. That percentage could be much higher.

Eligible Veterans often bypass the program as a viable option for a number of reasons.

First, they may not know all the advantages. Second, they may think getting a VA loan is an arduous process to be avoided. Last, some lenders don't take the time to teach Veterans about the program, or don't know much about it themselves. The VA home loan is a program non-military home buyers wish they had access to.

My advice: take a few minutes to learn these 10 facts about the program, and you'll all but forget about any other home buying or refinance option.

1. No down payment, no mortgage insurance

These are perhaps the biggest advantages to a VA loan. You don't need a down payment. None whatsoever. Most mortgage programs, such as FHA and conventional loans, require at least 3.5 percent to five percent down.That's up to $12,500 on a $250,000 home purchase.

With a VA loan, you can buy immediately, rather than years of saving for a down payment. With a VA loan, you also avoid steep mortgage insurance fees. At 5 percent down, private mortgage insurance (PMI) costs $150 per month on a $250,000 home, according to PMI provider MGIC.

With a VA loan, this buyer could afford a home worth $30,000 more with the same monthly payment, simply be eliminating PMI. Using a VA loan saves you money upfront, and tremendously increases your buying power.

2. Use your benefit again and again

Your VA home loan benefit is not one-and-done. You can use it as many times as you want. Here's how.

Assume you purchased a home with a VA loan. But now, you've outgrown the home and need something bigger. When you sell the home and pay off the VA loan completely, you can re-use your benefit to buy another home. Your entitlement is restored in full.

But that's not the only way to re-use your benefit.

Eligible Veterans and Servicepersons can receive a one-time restoration when they pay off the VA loan, but keep the home. This scenario comes into play if you purchased the home long ago, and have paid off the loan. It also applies if you have refinanced the VA mortgage with a non-VA loan.

In these cases, you can keep the home, and enjoy the benefits of VA home buying one more time.

3. Your benefit never expires

Once you have earned eligibility for the VA home loan, it never goes away. Those who served 20, 30, even 50 years ago often wonder whether they can still buy a home today if they never used their benefit. If eligibility can be established, the answer is yes.

Eligibility is based on the length of time served, and the period in which you served. For instance, a U.S. Army Veteran with at least 90 days in service during the Vietnam era is likely eligible.

To check eligibility, first obtain your DD Form 214. With that document, a VA-approved lender can request your VA Certificate of Eligibility for you, or you can request it directly from VA's eBenefits website. You may be eligible to buy a home using a VA home loan, even if you served long ago.

4. Surviving spouses may be eligible

More than 3,000 surviving spouses purchased a home with their fallen partner's VA benefit in 2015. Un-remarried husbands and wives of Servicepersons who were killed in action can buy a home with zero downpayment and no mortgage insurance. Plus, the VA funding fee is waived.

There's no way to repay the spouse of a fallen hero, but this benefit surely helps them move forward after tragedy.

5. VA Loan Rates Are Lower

According to loan software company Ellie Mae, VA loan rates are typically about 0.25% lower than those of conventional loans. The VA backs the mortgages, making them a lower risk for lenders. Those savings are passed on to Veterans.

Additionally, VA loans come with some of the lowest foreclosure rates of any loan type, further reducing risk for lenders. No surprise here, but Veterans and Servicepersons take homeownership seriously. These factors add up to lower rates and affordable payments for those who choose a VA loan.

6. VA loans are available from local lenders

The VA home loan is unlike most other VA benefits. This benefit is available from private companies, not the government itself. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not take applications, approve the loans, or issue funds. Private banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies do that.

The VA provides insurance to lenders. It's officially called the VA guaranty. The VA assures the lender that it will be repaid if the Veteran can no longer make payments. In turn, lenders issue loans at superior terms. In short, a VA loan gives you the best of both worlds. You enjoy your benefit, but have the convenience and speed of working with your chosen lender.

7. Buy, refinance or tap into home equity

The VA home loan benefit is not just for buying homes. Sure, it provides unmatched home buying advantages, but you can also use it to refinance your existing mortgage, whether it's a VA loan or not.

Homeowners with a VA loan can use the Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan, or IRRRL, to easily drop their rate and payment without an appraisal, or even paystubs, W2s or bank statements. The VA streamline refinance, as it is commonly known, gives VA loan holders a faster, cheaper way to access lower refinance rates when rates fall.

Even homeowners without a VA loan can use a VA refinance. The VA cash-out loan is available to eligible Veterans who don't have a VA loan currently. As its name suggests, a VA cash-out refinance can be used to turn your home's equity into cash. You simply take out a bigger loan than what you currently owe. The difference is issued to you at closing.

The VA cash-out loan amount can be up to 100 percent of your home's value in many cases. Use the proceeds for any purpose – home improvements, college tuition, or even a new car.Many homeowners today are dropping their rate and taking cash out simultaneously, accomplishing two goals at once.

But you don't have to take out cash to use this VA loan option. You can also use it to pay off a non-VA loan. Eligible homeowners who pay mortgage insurance or are dealing with other undesirable loan characteristics should look into refinancing with a VA loan. It can eliminate PMI, get you into a stable fixed-rate loan, pay off a second mortgage, or simply reduce your rate to make homeownership more affordable.

8. Lenient guidelines for lower credit scores, bankruptcy, foreclosure

Unlike many loan programs, a lower credit score, bankruptcy or foreclosure does not disqualify you from a VA home loan.

Shop around at various lenders, because each will have its own stance on past credit issues. However, VA guidelines do not state a minimum credit score to qualify. This gives lenders leniency to approve loans with lower scores. In addition, VA considers your credit re-established when you have established two years of clean credit following a foreclosure or bankruptcy.

Many homeowners across the U.S., military and civilian, experience bankruptcies and foreclosures due to a loss of income, medical emergency or unforeseen event. Fortunately, these financial setbacks don't permanently bar VA-eligible home buyers from ever owning again.

The exception, though, is a foreclosure involving a VA home loan. In this case, you may need to pay back the amount owed on the foreclosed VA loan to regain eligibility. But for most home buyers with past credit issues, a VA home loan could be their ticket to homeownership.

9. Funding fee waivers

VA typically charges a funding fee to defray the cost of the program and make home buying sustainable for future Veterans. The fee is between 0.50 percent and 3.3 percent of the loan amount, depending on service history and the loan type.

However, not everyone pays the VA funding fee. Disabled Veterans who are receiving compensation for a service-connected disability are exempt. Likewise, Veterans who are eligible for disability compensation, but are receiving retirement or active duty pay instead, are also exempt from the fee.

10. Buy a condo with a VA loan

You can buy many types of properties with a VA loan, including a single-family (free-standing) home, a home of up to four units, and even manufactured homes. But condominiums are commonly overlooked by VA home buyers.

Condominiums are ideal starter homes. Their price point is often lower than that of single-family homes. And, condos are often the only affordable option in many cities.

The VA maintains a list of approved condominium communities. Veterans can search by city, state, or even condominium name on VA's condo search tool. It's not a short list. For example, there are more than 2,400 approved condo communities in Washington State, about 1,000 in Texas, and a staggering 9,000 in California.

As a Veteran or Servicemember, consider the array of home types when shopping for a home.

11. There are more than 10 reasons to use a VA home loan

The preceding 10 facts are just a few, and there are actually many more reasons to use your VA loan benefit. You've certainly earned it.

The freedom afforded to this country by members of all branches of the military, past and present, is not easily repaid. But consider this program a small "thank you" for your service and dedication.


Image of Tim Lucas The Mortgage ReportsTim Lucas is a former mortgage professional of 12 years, and currently editor of The Mortgage Reports, an online resource for today's home buyer and homeowner.

The post Ten things most Veterans don't know about VA home loans appeared first on VAntage Point.


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File:USS Bennington PG-4.jpg - Wikipedia

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Bennington_PG-4.jpg


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New CIA Access Rule Bears Watching, and More: FRINFORMSUM 10/6/2016 [feedly]



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New CIA Access Rule Bears Watching, and More: FRINFORMSUM 10/6/2016
// UNREDACTED

The CIA has changed its rules for access to classified historical CIA records three times since 2011. Two changes, from September 2011 and August 2016, concern 32 CFR Part 1909's rules governing access by Historical Researchers and Certain Former Government Personnel – researches like Evan Thomas, author of The Very Best Men. The differences include […]
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LCS USS Montgomery Woes Continue — Hull Crack, a Tug and a Hurricane



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LCS USS Montgomery Woes Continue — Hull Crack, a Tug and a Hurricane
// Old Salt Blog - a virtual port of call for all those who love the sea

montgomery2When Hurricane Matthew approached, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Montgomery and several other Navy ships were ordered out of port in Mayport, FL. Unfortunately, in the process of leaving port, the USS Montgomery took a hard knock from a tug, which cracked the hull and bent five hull stringers. The crew was able to control the flooding. This, however, was not the first of the LCS's troubles.

At the end of September we posted, "Recently, the USS Montgomery, an Independence Class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), established a new record. The ship broke down, suffering two unrelated engine failures only three days after being commissioned." The USS Montgomery was able to limp into Mayport, Florida for repairs.

There are serious questions as to the survivability of the LCS. Last year, Bloomberg quoted Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon's director of operational testing, who continued to be dissatisfied with the survivability of the LCS despite recent upgrades. "Notwithstanding reductions to its susceptibility" compared with the design of the first 32 ships, "the minor modifications to the LCS will not yield a ship that is significantly more survivable…"

The post LCS USS Montgomery Woes Continue — Hull Crack, a Tug and a Hurricane appeared first on Old Salt Blog.


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New Online: Today in History, Hispanic Heritage & Folklife Collections



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New Online: Today in History, Hispanic Heritage & Folklife Collections
// Library of Congress Blog

(The following is a guest post by William Kellum, manager in the Library's Web Services Division.) 

Website Updates

Each Today in History story is accompanied by illustrative items from the Library's collection.

Each Today in History story is accompanied by illustrative items from the Library's collection.

Today in History is an online presentation of historic events illustrated by items from the Library's digital collections. First established in 1997, the site was migrated this month from the American Memory site to a new home on loc.gov. The revised site features larger images, responsive design and, most importantly, hundreds of updates, corrections and enhancements. The site's content is written by reference experts from across many of the Library's divisions and is a great resource for teachers, history enthusiasts and more. Each illustrated story ends with suggestions for further inquiry and investigation within the Library's rich online resources.

September brought another release of Congress.gov, featuring several enhancements and improvements – read all about them on the Law Library's excellent blog post.

Heritage Months

National Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15 to October 15. The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have influenced and enriched our nation and society. The Hispanic Heritage website has been redesigned and upgraded, featuring new content for 2016, a new adaptive visual design, new and improved video player and more.

Folklife Collections

The Montana Folklife Survey Collection was established in the summer of 1979 by the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, in cooperation with the Montana Arts Council. The survey was a field research project to document traditional folklife in Montana and joins the Chicago Ethnic Arts collection, which was released earlier this year. The collection features sound recordings, photographs and manuscripts that document interviews with Montanans in various occupations including ranching, sheep herding, blacksmithing, stone cutting, saddle making and mining. The sound recordings also feature various folk and traditional music occasions, including fiddle and mandolin music in Forsyth; fiddle and accordion music performed in Broadus; the Montana Old-Time Fiddlers Association in Polson; Irish music, songs and dance music on concertina and accordion in Butte; a Serbian wedding and reception in Butte; hymn singing of the Turner Colony of Hutterites; the annual Crow Fair in Crow Agency; storytelling on the Milk River Wagon Train; and other documentation of rodeos, trade crafts, vernacular architecture, quilting and reminiscences and stories about life in Montana in 1979. A finding aid to the entire collection is also available online.

The Montana Folklife Collection includes field recordings like this 1979 recording of Evening Dances from the Native American Crow Fair.

Online Exhibits

Finally, in conjunction with new items on display in the Library's Jefferson Building, the online "Mapping a Growing Nation: From Independence to Statehood" exhibit features early American maps, which will eventually include maps from all 50 states. A highlight is Abel Buell's New and Correct Map of the United States of North America, the first map of the newly independent U.S. compiled, printed and published in America by an American.


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World War 1: Irving Greenwald’s WWI Diary



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World War 1: Irving Greenwald's WWI Diary
// Library of Congress Blog

(The following is a guest post by VHP Reference Specialist Megan Harris, reprinted from the Folklife Today blog.)

GreenwaldOne look at Irving Greenwald's diary is all it takes to bring to mind the old adage "good things come in small packages." This World War I diary, written by Pfc. Irving Greenwald, was donated to the Veterans History Project (VHP) in December 2015 by his family.

The diary itself is small – pocket-sized, only slightly larger than a pack of cigarettes. When Greenwald's grandson brought it by the VHP offices last December and opened it up to show us the contents, I gasped: the diary is written in the tiniest, most-minute handwriting I have ever seen. It starts off small, and then gets even smaller and then smaller still. It is unfathomable how Greenwald was able to write such teeny print – particularly in light of the fact that much of the diary was written while he was serving in combat in France, and then after he was injured and recuperating in the hospital.

Some portions of the diary can be read by the naked eye, but much of it is so small and blurred with age as to render it illegible. Luckily, the diary was transcribed by Greenwald's daughter and sister in the late 1930s. Reading through the diary transcript, I got goosebumps all over again. Greenwald wrote in a staccato, rat-a-tat manner, focusing on specific elements of his daily routine. At first glance, his prose seems mostly fact-based, without a lot of extraneous emotional content. Reading further, I realized that not only are his entries jam-packed with rich historical details, but they also contain deeply poignant passages that convey the enormity of his experiences in a few concise sentences. Here's an early entry that caught my eye; in it, Greenwald describes receiving a pass that will allow him time away from training at Camp Upton so that he may visit his wife:Greenwald diary

December 23, 1917: Up at 6:45. Roll call. Breakfast, orange, pettijohn's, hash, coffee. Made bed. Tidied bunk. Then began great preparations for journey home. Shined shoes, dressed, packed grip, shaved with infinite care. 9:30 and get my pass. I walked on air.

Greenwald's diary also connects to one of the most famous American units of World War I, as he was part of the "Lost Battalion," a group known for the losses they incurred during battle in the Argonne Forest in October 1918. Part of the 77th Division, the nine companies that were part of the Lost Battalion were cut off from the rest of the Allied forces and spent a week in a ravine surrounded by the Germans. Of the more than 500 soldiers in the group, only 194 survived; the rest were killed, missing in action or were taken prisoner. Following their rescue, the Lost Battalion immediately became notable for the circumstances of the battle, and the story has become part of WWI lore. For example, carrier pigeons were used by stranded members of the unit to communicate with headquarters; one of these carrier pigeons, Cher Ami, was eventually preserved and is on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

You can watch more about Greenwald's diary in this video.


WWI Video Transcript

Do you have original WWI material that you would like to see preserved at the Library of Congress? Please consider donating it to the Veterans History Project!

World War I Centennial, 2017-2018: With the most comprehensive collection of multi-format World War I holdings in the nation, the Library of Congress is a unique resource for primary source materials, education plans, public programs and on-site visitor experiences about The Great War including exhibits, symposia and book talks.


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Russia Tests Towing Million-Ton Iceberg [PHOTOS]



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Russia Tests Towing Million-Ton Iceberg [PHOTOS]
// gCaptain.com

rosneft-2A Russian icebreaker has succesfully towed an iceberg weighing approximately 1 million tons, according to the oil company Rosneft. The tow was part of a test to see whether or not a icebreaker could influence the trajectory of a large iceberg in order to protect offshore installations in the Arctic.  The test was carried out […]

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U.S. Navy Destroyer Targeted Again in Missile Attack Off Yemen



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U.S. Navy Destroyer Targeted Again in Missile Attack Off Yemen
// gCaptain.com

U.S. Navy file photo shows the USS Mason.By Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali WASHINGTON, Oct 12 (Reuters) – A U.S. Navy destroyer was targeted on Wednesday in a failed missile attack from territory in Yemen controlled by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, the second such incident in four days, the U.S. military said. The USS Mason fired defensive salvos in response to at least […]

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DoD’s Hurricane Matthew Rescue, Recovery Efforts In Tweets



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DoD's Hurricane Matthew Rescue, Recovery Efforts In Tweets
// DoD Live

Hurricane Matthew has done a lot of damage in the U.S. and the Caribbean. See some of the best tweets on how our troops helped in this time of need.
Read More

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USS Mason Responds to Missile Threat Off Yemen's Coast



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USS Mason Responds to Missile Threat Off Yemen's Coast
// American Forces Press Service News Feed

For the second time in four days, the guided missile destroyer USS Mason responded to an incoming missile threat while conducting routine operations in international waters off the Red Sea coast of Yemen.


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Those Old Michelin Battlefield Guides, #2 The St. Mihiel Salient



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Those Old Michelin Battlefield Guides, #2 The St. Mihiel Salient
// Roads to the Great War

When I first started Roads to the Great War, I recommended the original Michelin Battlefield Guides as a great source of  battlefield images.  Immediately after the war, these guides – produced by the Michelin Tire Company – were state-of-the-art helpers for tourists. Today, however, they would just get you lost. The roads, visual landmarks, and signage today are quite different from those
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The Defenestration of the Ratings



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The Defenestration of the Ratings
// USNI Blog

14523006_612870865559081_753367960923572387_nNow that everyone has absorbed the impact of the announcement last week ditching the Navy ratings system, let's talk about the what and why.

Let us talk as adults. It is the mutually respectful thing to do.

Brush aside the spin, the squid ink, the general excuse making and post-decision 2nd and 3rd order effect justification on why this change was made, for what purpose, and what manner. Things such as giving a job description that will help a Sailor or Marine have a better civilian resume. Really, just stop. No one is buying it, and trust me, as someone who made the transition a bit more than half a decade ago, it won't make a difference in that area.

With some time behind us post-announcement, there is more to discuss. We are lucky in that Mark D. Faram of Navy Times has a thorough, balanced and much needed expose from "behind the scenes of the Navy's most unpopular policy."

The simple answer is this; fed by some of the less intellectual threads from the 3rd Wave Feminist theory that seems to inform much of his ideas on "gender," the SECNAV wanted to grind in his stamp on a pet agenda item before he leaves office.

How it was to be done? That was the question. There was no question of "if."

This action began and ended with the SECNAV and full credit positive or negative belongs firmly there.

Now, let's get in to some of Faram's details.

Good ideas are usually given a nice warm up. This, however, was known from the start that it would be toxic upon delivery. As a result, the delivery was for most as a bolt out of the blue;

Beyond a small working group, convened this past summer and led by then-Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens, next-to no one in the Navy saw this change coming, sources with knowledge of the decision-making process say. And it's been received with near universal contempt by sailors past and present.

In the course of military service, we have all done things we did not agree with, but duty is what duty is. If it is a lawful order, you do it. If it is a nasty bit of work, you try to come up with the least horrible way of doing it while still getting the OK from the boss. This is why I believe that those who oppose the new policy should hold no ill feeling towards those in uniform who were in the group that produced this for approval by the SECNAV. Likewise, those supporting it should not give them credit either. We've all been there, they did the best they could – but the initiating directive came from SECNAV, and if it weren't for him, it would not have happened.

"I felt it was not optional," Stevens said, "but my duty to lead this effort, knowing all along that there would be controversy attached to it." The former MCPON, as the position is known throughout the service, says he believes the move is necessary and that now Navy leaders "must follow through."

The post announcement spin has been a solid effort to define some positive 2nd and 3rd order effects, which there may be, but that is all they are – 2nd and 3rd order effects. Not designed, just byproducts.

Mabus declined to speak with Navy Times. He and other top Navy officials, including Richardson and Burke, have said that the change, while a nod to gender neutrality, will facilitate sailors' professional development and career advancement by freeing them to cross train and attain broader skills spanning multiple specialties. That should make them more marketable when they leave the military, too, they've noted.

Mabus did speak today, and we'll end the post with that, but let's stick to this part of the story for now.

It would be hard to find a more divisive way of making such an announcement that impacts every Sailor.

Much of the frustration tied to Mabus' decision stems from its timing. Most average sailors and deckplate leaders alike don't understand why the announcement was made while so much of the plan remains undeveloped.

Well, many did. There were hints and background warnings over the summer.

Mabus, sources said, was determined to put ratings reform in motion — and on the record — before he leaves office.

The power of the office. Once you have been in a while, you begin to enjoy it and find ways to use it. When you see that power soon leaving with much work left undone, well, time to get moving.

Let's go back to the sausage factory. Direction and guidance was both clear and vague. Interesting how MCPON tried to hobble something workable together.

…while Mabus was focused on removing the word "man" from the Navy's job titles, he never specifically asked for a plan to eliminate rating titles entirely.

The MCPON assembled a working group composed of "about 12" individuals,…

"Course of action number one was simple: Remove man from titles," Stevens said. "What we found was that you could in most cases, remove the word 'man' and replace it with the word specialist or technician…

The second proposal built upon the first and sought to determine whether the job titles in fact aligned with the work being done. An example here is yeoman; it's a historic title, but it was decided that "administrative specialist" was a better fit for the work being performed, …

But none of the changes seemed right, he added. Taken in total, they did not amount to the profound change he felt the Navy needs. That's when Stevens suggested something groundbreaking.

"What if we just eliminated rating titles altogether and simply referred to ourselves by our rate? That's the traditional Navy word for rank. You could feel the air leave the room," he said.

There you go.

In case you are wondering, the article didn't outline well what COA-3 was, but it does not really matter.

"If you want to do just what you asked us to do, here are the rating title changes that need to happen to remove 'man' from those titles. He said 'it's done and it's easy and we can do it tomorrow,'" Stevens said, recalling the conversation with Mabus.

Stevens then outlined the idea of removing all rating titles, telling the secretary that he felt this was the the best proposal for the service. But he followed up with a warning.

"Make no mistake about it," Stevens recalled telling Mabus, "this course of action will be the most labor-intensive, probably the most expensive, certainly the most controversial as well as difficult to accept socially throughout the Navy. But it certainly advances us the furthest."

Mabus "sat there a little bit, pondered it, asked a few questions and then decided, in the best interest of the Navy's future, this was the path he wanted to take," Stevens said.

And that is how a very personal part of our Navy for over two centuries ended.

The pushback was as expected, I assume.

There was "absolutely no signal, no hint that a move of that magnitude was being planned, discussed or soon-to-be forthcoming," said the command master chief, who also spoke to Navy Times on condition of anonymity. "Our sailors don't understand it. They don't understand why the ratings that they chose to enter have been selected for elimination, and they don't see the need for it."

Actually, there was, but few wanted to believe it. No question now.

"We don't understand why this could not have been a two-to-three year, very gradual process that examined all of the effects from advancement to recruiting, and how it will affect the administration of our Navy on many different levels. It doesn't appear," the CMC said, "that any thought was given to that."

Come on Master Chief, you have to understand why. The focus is all on the calendar, a calendar getting short for the SECNAV.

I know there are many who refuse to accept that this all comes from the SECNAV's desire. Thanks to Hope Hodge Seck's article today on his speech at the National Press Club, SECNAV Mabus underlined his priority and should remove all doubt,

"Ratings names change all the time," Mabus said. "Corpsmen, our medics, that rating came in after World War II. Corpsmen were first called Loblolly Boys, which, I'm not sure where that came from. I thought it was important to be gender-neutral."

In case you aren't fully up to speed, looks like we are losing Corpsman for Medic.

I know. I know.


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Parabon® Seeks Volunteers for DNA Kinship Study to Help Identify Fallen Soldiers from Past Conflicts



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Parabon® Seeks Volunteers for DNA Kinship Study to Help Identify Fallen Soldiers from Past Conflicts
// GenealogyBlog

I got the following note from Laura Burgess, with Parabon® NanoLabs:

snapshot_dna

I work with Parabon NanoLabs. They have created a DNA Phenotyping service called Snapshot. By using the smallest amount of DNA they produce lifelike images of what the person looked like. Right now, law enforcement is using their service to solve cold cases from across the country. The Department of Defense has also contracted with them to use this service to help in the identification of some 83,000 remains of our fallen soldiers from past conflicts. In fact one was just in the news from Pearl Harbor today. What they need though is the help of more Americans to provide their DNA so they can link families to many of these unclaimed remains. Any family that volunteers will get a free ancestry analysis, but we just need up to 500 people (about 50 families) to participate by February in order to meet the DoD's guidelines.

The following News Release is from Parabon® NanoLabs
Extended families recruited to advance identification methods using DNA from distant relatives

Reston, Va. (6 October 2016) — Parabon® NanoLabs (Parabon) announced today a call for participants in a research study, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), in which DNA samples from distant relatives will be analyzed to develop innovative kinship and ancestry algorithms and associated laboratory methods to extend familial matching beyond current capabilities. Traditional DNA methods only allow remains to be identified if DNA from closely related family members is available. Many unidentified Service members, however, do not have living family members who are closely related. This study aims to increase the genetic distance over which kinship can be accurately inferred. The enhancements made possible by this research will assist in the identification of the toughest missing personnel cases by "matching" DNA from distant relatives to that of deceased Service members, including those from long past conflicts, such as World War II.

"This cause is personal to us at Parabon. Like many families in America, some of us at the company have loved ones who went missing in action. This study will help us make technological advances that will one day reunite fathers, sons, brothers and uncles with their families. We need volunteers from extended families to make this research possible," said Paula Armentrout, vice president of Parabon NanoLabs.

Parabon seeks to enroll 50-100 extended families (5 to 10 volunteers per family) to participate in the study. Participating families do not need to have a direct relation to an M.I.A. soldier in order to qualify. Volunteers for the study will simply supply a sample of DNA from a mouth swab and answer questions about their family tree. In return for participation, each volunteer will receive a custom DNA ancestry report and a small stipend. There is no cost to participate. Those interested in participating in the study can sign up to be considered at:
https://snapshot.parabon-nanolabs.com/kinship-signup.

"Our ideal study participants are all related by blood and come from an extended family network that includes a wide variety of distant relatives, such as second cousins, great-uncles, and grandchildren," said Ellen Greytak, PhD, Principal Investigator of the study. "We will study the similarity of their DNA and use the knowledge gained to improve our kinship inference methods."

The Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Emerging Capability & Prototyping is funding this research to help support the Department's Personnel Accounting mission.

About Parabon® NanoLabs, Inc.:
Parabon® NanoLabs is a vertically integrated DNA technology company that develops next-generation forensic and therapeutic products, which leverage the enormous power of DNA.  Staffed by a uniquely qualified team of scientists and technologists, with expertise ranging from bioinformatics and chemistry to computer science and pharmacology, Parabon is bringing to market revolutionary new products and services made possible by recent advances in DNA sequencing, analysis and manufacturing technologies.


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Expeditionary Strike Group 2 Assesses Hurricane Matthew Damage in Haiti



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Expeditionary Strike Group 2 Assesses Hurricane Matthew Damage in Haiti
// U.S. Navy News Top Stories

Rear Adm. Roy I. Kitchener, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2, flew over Haiti Oct. 9, to asses damage caused by Hurricane Matthew.
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USS Mason Fired 3 Missiles to Defend From Yemen Cruise Missiles Attack



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USS Mason Fired 3 Missiles to Defend From Yemen Cruise Missiles Attack
// NOSI - Naval Open Source Intelligence™

USNI News – The crew of a guided-missile destroyer fired three missiles to defend themselves and another ship after being attacked on Sunday in the Red Sea by two presumed cruise missiles fired by Iran-backed Houthi-forces.


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Three more trailer cases involving CMCR judges [feedly]



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Three more trailer cases involving CMCR judges
// CAAFlog

In the Air Force case of United States v. Dalmazzi, No. 16-0651/AF (grant discussed here), CAAF is considering whether a judge of the United States Court of Military Commission Review (appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate) may also serve as an appellate military judge on a court of criminal appeals.

The case ended last term with three trailers: United States v. Brown, No. 16-0714/AR (grant discussed here), United States v. Echols, No. 16-0720/AR, and United States v. Bustamonte, No. 16-0693/AR (grants discussed here).

Now it has three more:

No. 16-0732/AR. U.S. v. Kameron M. Coleman. CCA 20140709. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issues:

I. WHETHER ACCEPTANCE OF APPOINTMENT AS A CMCR JUDGE TERMINATED THE MILITARY COMMISSION OF JUDGE HERRING.

II. WHETHER, AS AN APPOINTED JUDGE OF THE CMCR, JUDGE HERRING DOES NOT MEET THE UCMJ DEFINITION OF AN APPELLATE MILITARY JUDGE.

III. WHETHER THE ASSIGNMENT OF INFERIOR OFFICERS AND PRINCIPAL OFFICERS TO A SINGLE JUDICIAL TRIBUNAL ITSELF VIOLATES THE APPOINTMENTS CLAUSE.

No briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

 

No. 16-0555/AR. U.S. v. Jason M. Commisso. CCA 20140205. On consideration of Appellant's motion to enlarge the grant and vacate the decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said motion is hereby granted as it pertains to enlarging the grant but denied as it pertains to vacating the decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals.

I noted CAAF's grant of review in Commisso here.

No. 16-0635/AR. U.S. v. Laith G. Cox. CCA 20130923. On consideration of Appellant's petition for reconsideration of this Court's Order issued September 7, 2016, it is ordered that said petition for reconsideration is hereby granted, and the petition for grant of review is hereby granted on the following issues:

I. WHETHER ACCEPTANCE OF APPOINTMENT AS A CMCR JUDGE TERMINATED THE MILITARY COMMISSIONS OF JUDGE HERRING AND JUDGE BURTON.

II. WHETHER, AS APPOINTED JUDGES OF THE CMCR, JUDGE HERRING AND JUDGE BURTON MEET THE UCMJ DEFINITION OF APPELLATE MILITARY JUDGE.

III. WHETHER THE ASSIGNMENT OF INFERIOR OFFICERS AND PRINCIPAL OFFICERS TO A SINGLE JUDICIAL TRIBUNAL ITSELF VIOLATES THE APPOINTMENTS CLAUSE.

No briefs will be filed under Rule 25.


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Library of Congress Ceremonial Office Opened to Public | News Releases - Library of Congress

http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2016/16-181.html?loclr=ealn


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Kings Bay Learns Lessons in Wake of Hurricane Matthew

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=97125

Great War History Comes To Life In Edinburgh | Forces TV

http://forces.tv/36933790

Family attend service after remains of Hammersmith First World War hero identified nearly a century after he died in battle - Get West London

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/family-attend-service-after-remains-11971448

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Thanks USS Mesa Verde



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U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Thanks USS Mesa Verde
// U.S. Navy News Headline Stories

The Honorable Peter F. Mulrean, U.S. ambassador to Haiti, visited the amphibious dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) Oct. 9 as the ship began its humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in response to Hurricane Matthew.
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NAS Jacksonville Family Gets Help From NAS Pensacola Family during Hurricane Matthew Evacuation



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NAS Jacksonville Family Gets Help From NAS Pensacola Family during Hurricane Matthew Evacuation
// U.S. Navy News Headline Stories

Hurricane Matthew churned up the eastern seaboard of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, impacting several Navy installations, including Naval Air Station Jacksonville.
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San Fran Capsize — 30 People in a 34′ Sail Boat



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San Fran Capsize — 30 People in a 34′ Sail Boat
// Old Salt Blog - a virtual port of call for all those who love the sea

sanfranrescueOn Saturday, a 34′ recreational sailboat with 30 people aboard capsized in San Francisco Bay near Pier 45. All aboard were rescued but eight were injured, with at least one, a child, in critical condition. It could have been much, much worse.

The capsize took place following a Navy Blue Angels airshow as part of San Francisco Fleet Week. Fortunately, there were many spectator boats in the area and crews on nearby boats threw PFDs, life rings and cushions to the people in the water, who reportedly were not wearing life jackets. A crew member from one nearby boat dove into the cold bay water and swam over to the capsized sailboat to rescue a father and son who were trapped below deck. A five year old is reported to be in critical condition after being pulled from the water unconscious. CPR was administered by the one of the spectator boat crew members and continued by the fire department. Five adults and three children were transported to local hospitals.

The authorities have said that an investigation is on-going. That being said, in the case of 30 people aboard a 34 foot long recreational sailboat, it would be a considerable surprise if overloading did not contribute to the casualty.

The passengers of the capsized sailboat were also incredibly lucky. Were it not for the quick response by other boats in the area, as well as the Coast Guard and local police and fire departments, the outcome could have been much worse. Bob Postel of the San Francisco fire department said, "This could have been really, really catastrophic," he said. "For this to have the outcome that it did, is really a lot of good fortune and good luck."

This is the second capsize of a recreational boat in San Francisco Bay within about a month. In September, 15 Sea Scouts and an adult leader ended up in the water after their catamaran capsized. No one was injured. All of the scouts were wearing life jackets.

Thanks to Irwin Bryan for contributing to this post.

The post San Fran Capsize — 30 People in a 34′ Sail Boat appeared first on Old Salt Blog.


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U.S. Navy Destroyer Targeted in Missile Attack Off Yemen [feedly]



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U.S. Navy Destroyer Targeted in Missile Attack Off Yemen
// gCaptain.com

U.S. Navy file photo shows the USS Mason.By Phil Stewart WASHINGTON, Oct 9 (Reuters) – A U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer was targeted on Sunday in a failed missile attack from territory in Yemen controlled by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, a U.S. military spokesman told Reuters, saying neither of the two missiles hit the ship. The attempted strike on the USS Mason, which […]

The post U.S. Navy Destroyer Targeted in Missile Attack Off Yemen appeared first on gCaptain.


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August 1916



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August 1916
// Centennial Countdown to the Great War

It's August 1916.  The second anniversary of the outbreak of the World War coincides with the beginning of the American presidential campaign.  Charles Evans Hughes, the Republican nominee, spends the month of August touring the western United States.  He is well-received in most states but encounters bitter intraparty infighting in California, where his attempt to avoid taking sides backfires.  Former President Roosevelt, meanwhile, overcomes his disappointment at being denied the nomination and comes out strongly for Hughes.  In the war, both sides suffer heavy losses on the Somme, an Italian battleship is destroyed by a mysterious explosion, and the Italian Army mounts another attack on the Isonzo.  Over a year after declaring war on Austria-Hungary, Italy declares war on Germany.  On the Eastern Front, the Brusilov Offensive makes gains in Galicia, and Romania enters the war on the side of the Allies.  Pro-Allied Greeks in Salonika proclaim a provisional government.  The Kaiser replaces his top army commander.  Great Britain tightens its blockade of Germany and hangs Sir Roger Casement for treason.  The United States agrees to buy the Danish West Indies (soon to be renamed the U.S. Virgin Islands) from Denmark.  President Wilson, frustrated in his attempt to mediate a railroad labor dispute, asks Congress to resolve it by legislation.


*****

 Charles Evans Hughes on His Western Tour

Attempting to get a head start on the 1916 presidential campaign, Republican nominee Charles Evans Hughes spent the month of August on a speaking tour of the Western United States.  He left New York shortly after his formal acceptance of the nomination at Carnegie Hall on July 31, but not before sending a telegram to Senator George Sutherland (Rep., Utah), a Senate sponsor of the proposed woman suffrage amendment to the Constitution, declaring his support for the measure.  Hughes sent the telegram on August 1 in response to a letter from Senator Sutherland asking that he clarify his position, since the Republican platform was silent on the issue.  That evening he elaborated on his position in an address to women's groups at the Hotel Astor.  This places him in opposition to (or at least ahead of) President Wilson, who recently announced his support for the enactment of woman suffrage by the states but repeated his opposition to a constitutional amendment.

Hughes began his western tour in Detroit.  After addressing a friendly crowd of some 10,000 working men, he attended a baseball game, where he shook hands with the players and chatted with Tigers center fielder Ty Cobb.  As his train continued to the west coast, Hughes delivered several speeches a day, addressing enthusiastic crowds at Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Fargo, Helena, Spokane, Tacoma, Seattle, and numerous stops in between, some scheduled and some not.  Continuing down the coast to California, he confronted the major challenge of his trip.  The feud between the Old Guard and Progressive branches of the Republican Party, resolved with varying degrees of lingering hostility in most states, is still white-hot in California.  As Hughes entered the state, the Republican primary campaign for the U.S. Senate was in its final days.  Governor Hiram Johnson, Roosevelt's running mate on the Progressive ticket in 1912 and the Progressive Party's choice for the Senate this year, was also seeking the Republican nomination.  He was strongly opposed by the regular Republicans, led by California's Republican National Committeeman William H. Crocker and Republican State Chairman Francis V. Keesling, who supported Johnson's opponent Willis Booth.  Hughes's visit, far from healing the party's rift, made things worse.  The representatives of the Old Guard insisted on taking the leading role in all the events at which Hughes appeared and the Progressives refused to attend under those circumstances.  Hughes tried to assume a stance of neutrality, but his unwillingness either to exclude the Republican Party leaders from his rallies or to compel the Progressives to attend them allowed the impression to build that he favored the Old Guard establishment.  The impression was heightened on August 19 when he was the guest of honor at a luncheon at the Commercial Club in San Francisco.  Waiters in the city were on strike, and the union refused to make an exception for the luncheon, so it was served by strike breakers.  The next day Hughes visited a hotel in Long Beach without knowing Johnson was present in the same building, leading Johnson and his followers to think he was being deliberately snubbed.  Hughes left California on August 29, the day of the Republican primary.  When the votes were counted, Johnson was an easy winner, leaving him in firm control of both the Republican and Progressive Parties in the state.  In the general election he will face the Democratic nominee, Mayor George S. Patton of San Marino, whose son is an Army officer serving in Mexico with General Pershing.

It seems that Hughes would have been well advised to wait until after the primary to campaign in California.  Governor Johnson still nominally supports Hughes, who like Johnson has both parties' nominations.  His support is at best lukewarm, however, and the rift in the state party is wider than ever, with Hughes on the wrong side of it despite his progressive credentials.  Hughes's visit to California, in short, may have done his presidential campaign more harm than good.


Roosevelt Speaking to Visitors at Sagamore Hill

Former President Roosevelt's presence at Hughes's notification ceremony on the last day of July was also his first appearance at a Republican Party event since he left the Party four years ago, and his presence arguably attracted more attention than the speech itself.  On August 31, as Hughes was on his way back from California, Roosevelt began his campaign for Hughes with a speech at City Hall Auditorium in Lewiston, Maine.  Scoffing at the Democrats' claim that President Wilson "kept us out of war," Roosevelt said that this was true only if one believed, as Wilson apparently does, that "deeds are nothing, and words everything."  He pointed out that more Americans had died in the undeclared war in Mexico than in the declared Spanish-American War, and that although more Americans were lost in the attack on Veracruz than in the capture of Manila, Wilson abandoned Veracruz while President McKinley did not abandon Manila.  The only difference between the undeclared war in Mexico and the declared war against Spain, Roosevelt argued, was that the former was "entered into pointlessly and abandoned ignobly."  After Pancho Villa's attack on Columbus, New Mexico, the president sent American troops into Mexico with the mission of capturing Villa "dead or alive," but that mission too has been abandoned.  Wilson, Roosevelt charged, is pursuing a Mexican policy "between feeble peace and feeble war."  Turning to the European war and Germany's invasion of Belgium, Roosevelt said that Wilson's policy of neutrality "in fact as well as in name, in thought as well as in action," has been compared to that of Pontius Pilate, but that this was "unjust to Pontius Pilate, who at least gently urged moderation on the wrongdoers."

A frequently heard theme in this campaign is criticism of "hyphenated Americans," meaning those Americans who are inclined to place their loyalty to their country of origin ahead of loyalty to the United States.  No candidate for public office wants to defend those kinds of "hyphenates," but neither does either party want to offend the substantial voting blocs of German- and Irish-Americans.  In Lewiston, Roosevelt avoided using the term "hyphenated," but denounced "professional German-Americans who in our politics act as servants or allies of Germany," adding that "I would condemn just as quickly English-Americans or French-Americans or Irish-Americans who acted in such manner."  "During the last two years," he said, "we have seen an evil revival in this country of non-American and anti-American division along politico-racial lines."  He blamed President Wilson who, he said, "has lacked the courage and the vision to lead this nation in the path of high duty."  Wilson's record, he said, has combined "grace in elocution with futility in action."  Against Wilson's record of "words unbacked by deeds or betrayed by deeds," Roosevelt pointed to Hughes's "rugged and uncompromising straightforwardness of character and action in every office he has held."


The Leonardo da Vinci in Taranto

The war in Europe continues without respite.  In the Allied offensive on the Somme, the British Fourth Army on August 8 attacked the village of Guillemont, on the right flank of the British sector.  The Germans counterattacked on August 18 from their positions in Leuze Wood.  Both attacks were turned back with heavy losses.  In the early morning hours of August 3, in the harbor of Taranto in the Adriatic, a magazine explosion sank the Italian battleship Leonardo da Vinci.  Austrian sabotage is suspected.  The next day Italy mounted its sixth offensive of the war on the Isonzo Front.  Two weeks later the Italian Army had advanced three to four miles along a fifteen-mile front and entered the town of Gorizia, but at the cost of some 50,000 casualties.  On August 27, Italy declared war on Germany.  On the Eastern Front, the Russian offensive commanded by General Brusilov resulted in the capture of Stanislau in Eastern Galicia on August 7.  Encouraged by the Russian success, Romania joined the war on the side of the Allies, declaring war on Austria-Hungary on August 27 and invading Hungary the next day.  By August 30 the Romanian Army had seized five Carpathian passes and occupied Kronstadt and Hermannstadt, two major cities in Transylvania.  The German Army got a new commander on August 28 when the Kaiser appointed Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg to the position of Chief of the General Staff, replacing General Erich von Falkenhayn.  In Greece, King Constantine remains determined to adhere to a neutrality favoring the Central Powers, while Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos wants Greece to join the Allies.  On August 30 Greek troops at Salonika loyal to Venizelos declared the formation of a provisional government and called on the Greek people to drive the Bulgarians out of Greece.  On August 18 the British government moved to tighten its blockade of Germany.  To solve the problem of shipments to neutral Sweden being reexported to Germany, all exports to Sweden will now be prohibited other than by special license.


 Sir Roger Casement On His Way to the Gallows

Great Britain is still feeling the aftershocks of the Easter Rising in Dublin.  The ringleaders were tried by court martial and executed by firing squad in Dublin shortly after the rebellion was put down.  (See the April and May 1916 installments of this blog.)  Sir Roger Casement, who was arrested on the eve of the uprising on the coast of Ireland after being put ashore by a German submarine with a cache of weapons and explosives, was taken to London where he was tried and convicted of treason in June.  Judicial appeals and diplomatic appeals for clemency were denied, and Casement, stripped of his knighthood, was hanged on August 3 in Pentonville Prison.  The brutal response to the Easter Rising has added one more source of friction to Britain's relations with the United States.


Signing of the Treaty

In New York on August 4, Secretary of State Lansing and Constantin Brun, the Danish minister to the United States, signed a treaty providing for the purchase by the United States of the Danish West Indies (St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John), a group of islands lying between the Atlantic and Caribbean east of Porto Rico.  The agreed price is $25,000,000.  The treaty also provides for protection of Danish business interests on the islands and for the United States' recognition of Denmark's exclusive interests in Greenland.  The islands occupy a strategically important position, and the harbor on St. Thomas is admirably suited for naval and military operations.  Perhaps of more importance, the acquisition of the islands by the United States will foreclose the possibility of their control by another European power.  The treaty will now be submitted to the United States Senate and the Danish Parliament for ratification.  Ratification by the United States is considered certain.  Ratification by Denmark, while probable, is somewhat less certain, due to possible opposition by Germany or other European nations with strategic interests in the West Indies.



President Wilson Addressing Congress


After trying unsuccessfully to mediate a labor dispute between the railroads and the railway unions, President Wilson addressed a joint session of Congress on August 29, asking for legislation giving the unions essentially everything they have wanted and been willing to go on strike for: a standard eight-hour day for railroad workers with mandatory overtime pay for additional hours worked.  The Adamson Act is opposed by most Republicans and some Democrats, who object to what they regard as an abject surrender to special interests and the threat of force.  It is the most radical legislation affecting labor relations that has ever been proposed in the United States, and coming in the midst of a hard-fought presidential campaign it will inevitably be a major political issue.  President Wilson and his supporters no doubt calculate that there are more votes to be gained by supporting labor's demands than by opposing them.



August 1916 – Selected Sources and Recommended Reading

Contemporary Periodicals:
American Review of Reviews, September and October 1916
New York Times, August 1916

Books and Articles:
A. Scott Berg, Wilson
Howard Blum, Dark Invasion, 1915: Germany's Secret War and the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America
Britain at War Magazine, The Third Year of the Great War: 1916
Winston S. Churchill, The World Crisis 1911-1918
John Milton Cooper, Jr., Woodrow Wilson: A Biography
John Milton Cooper, Jr., The Warrior and the Priest: Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt
Patrick Devlin, Too Proud to Fight: Woodrow Wilson's Neutrality
John Dos Passos, Mr. Wilson's War
David Fromkin, A Peace to End All Peace: Creating the Modern Middle East, 1914-1922
Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life
Martin Gilbert, The First World War: A Complete History
Martin Gilbert, A History of the Twentieth Century, Volume One: 1900-1933
Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill Volume III: The Challenge of War, 1914-1916
Richard F. Hamilton and Holger H. Herwig, Decisions for War, 1914-1917
August Heckscher, Woodrow Wilson: A Biography
Godfrey Hodgson, Woodrow Wilson's Right Hand: The Life of Colonel Edward M. House
Paul Jankowski, Verdun: The Longest Battle of the Great War
Keith Jeffrey, 1916: A Global History
Roy Jenkins, Churchill: A Biography
John Keegan, The First World War
David M. Kennedy, Over Here: The First World War and American Society
Ian Kershaw, To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949
Nicholas A. Lambert, Planning Armageddon: British Economic Warfare and the First World War
Arthur S. Link, Wilson: Confusions and Crises, 1915-1916 
Arthur S. Link, Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era, 1910-1917
G.J. Meyer, A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918
Merlo J. Pusey, Charles Evans Hughes
Jonathan Schneer, The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 
J. Lee Thompson, Never Call Retreat: Theodore Roosevelt and the Great War
Adam Tooze, The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931
Barbara W. Tuchman, The Zimmermann Telegram   
Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History
The West Point Atlas of War: World War I

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