Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Feds Won’t Buy This $19 Million Stealth Boat—or Let It Be Sold Abroad

The Feds Won't Buy This $19 Million Stealth Boat—or Let It Be Sold Abroad

Juliet Marine Systems' "Ghost". Credit: Juliet Marine SystemsBy Caroline Winter (Bloomberg) — Self-made millionaire Gregory Sancoff has spent a decade and $19 million building a highly unusual stealth boat. Called Ghost, it's designed to be faster, more stable, and more fuel-efficient than anything currently in the U.S. Navy's fleet, he says. "It's such a smooth ride, you can sit there and drink […]

The post The Feds Won't Buy This $19 Million Stealth Boat—or Let It Be Sold Abroad appeared first on gCaptain.


Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

August 1916 - WWI

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


Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

Navy to Commission Littoral Combat Ship Detroit

Navy to Commission Littoral Combat Ship Detroit
// U.S. Navy News Top Stories

The Navy will commission its newest Freedom—variant littoral combat ship, Detroit (LCS 7), during an11 a.m. EDT ceremony Saturday, Oct. 22 on Detroit's waterfront.

Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

Navy Casualty in Iraq - Chief Petty Officer Jason C. Finan

File photo of Chief Petty Officer Jason C. Finan courtesy of his family. 34-year-old Finan.
161021-N-N0101-083 WASHINGTON (Oct. 21, 2016) File photo of Chief Petty Officer Jason C. Finan courtesy of his family. 34-year-old Finan, who was assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 3 based in Coronado, Calif., died Oct. 20, after sustaining injuries while deployed to Iraq. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
October 21, 2016

Navy Casualty in Iraq

Story Number: NNS161021-19Release Date: 10/21/2016 2:17:00 PM
A  A  A   Email this story to a friend   Print this story
From Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- A Sailor assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 3 based in Coronado, California, died Oct. 20 after sustaining injuries while deployed to Iraq.

"The entire Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) family offers our deepest condolences and sympathies to the family and loved ones of the Sailor we lost," said Rear Adm. Brian Brakke, commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command/NECC Pacific.

Chief Petty Officer Jason C. Finan, 34, of Anaheim, California, was serving in an advisory capacity to the Iraqi coalition force supporting Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq.

For more information, contact Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Public Affairs at (757) 462-4316 x252(757) 374-0995 or

BOSTON (Oct. 20, 2016)

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jorge Ortiz, assigned to USS Constitution, hammers a copper nail into the new copper sheets which line the hull of the ship. USS Constitution is undergoing a multiyear restoration in Dry Dock 1, the second oldest dry dock in the United States, in the Charlestown Navy Yard. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class William Collins III (Released) 161020-N-VG727-013

Friday, October 21, 2016

Britain Watches as Russian Warships Sail Past Coast for Mediterranean

Britain Watches as Russian Warships Sail Past Coast for Mediterranean

A photo taken from a Norwegian surveillance aircraft shows a group of Russian navy ships in international waters off the coast of Northern Norway on October 17, 2016. 333 Squadron, Norwegian Royal Airforce/NTB Scanpix/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NORWAY OUT.(Bloomberg) — U.K. warships are monitoring a Russian aircraft-carrier group sailing past Britain's eastern coast to the Mediterranean Sea to supplement President Vladimir Putin's forces in the region, as international condemnation mounts of Russia's military campaign in Syria. The deployment signals Putin's determination to assert Russian interests as U.S. and European leaders accuse him of […]

The post Britain Watches as Russian Warships Sail Past Coast for Mediterranean appeared first on gCaptain.


Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

Remembering, Honoring First Americans to Fight, Die in World War I By Jim Garamone

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2016 — Norman Prince’s tomb is steps away from that of President Woodrow Wilson in the National Cathedral here. 

Norman Prince was a founder of the Lafayette Escadrille, a group of American pilots who were part of the French air force during World War I. Library of Congress photo
Norman Prince was a founder of the Lafayette Escadrille, a group of American pilots who were part of the French air force during World War I. Library of Congress photo

In 1916, when Wilson was running for re-election as president under the slogan “He Kept Us Out of War,” Norman Prince was wearing the uniform of France and flying for the Lafayette Escadrille.

It was the second year of what was then known as the Great War, and Prince, a Harvard-trained lawyer, journeyed to France to offer his services against the Germans. It was the year of the Somme, the year of Verdun. Millions of soldiers on both sides were dying on the fields of France. 

Prince became one of them Oct. 15, 1916.

100 Years Later

On Oct. 14, 2016, the National Cathedral and the United States World War I Commemoration Commission hosted a memorial service for French Air Force Lt. Norman Prince. His crypt is near the altar of the huge edifice and is fronted by a marble statue of him. 

The tomb and statue marking Norman Prince’s final resting place at the National Cathedral in Washington, Oct. 14, 2016. Courtesy photo
The tomb and statue marking Norman Prince’s final resting place at the National Cathedral in Washington, Oct. 14, 2016. Courtesy photo

The Prince family came out in force to remember their relative. Also attending were French and American airmen -- joined together by the sacrifice of the young man and others like him. Prince never wore an American uniform, but he could be called one of the fathers of the United States Air Force. He was one of those who suggested the French air force field a squadron of Americans who came to the country to fight. 

Dangerous Profession

And fight he did. Prince participated in 122 aerial engagements, shooting down five enemy aircraft, said Navy Chaplain (Rear Adm.) Margaret Grun Kibben, who delivered the homily at the service. He came from a privileged background, “but flying was in his blood,” she said.

Even without combat, flying was a dangerous profession. It had been just 13 years since the Wright Brothers flew the first aircraft at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and airmen at the beginning of the Great War had to make up tactics and strategies as they went along. The aircraft themselves were wooden frames covered by fabric, Kibben said. The ground war had become a stalemate, with trenches scarring the ground from Switzerland to the North Sea, there was no going through the lines or going around them. 

Family and representatives of the U.S. and French militaries attend the commemoration marking the 100th anniversary of the death of Norman Prince, a founding member of the Lafayette Escadrille and one of the first Americans killed in WWI, at the National Cathedral in Washington, Oct. 14, 2016. Courtesy photo
Family and representatives of the U.S. and French militaries attend the commemoration marking the 100th anniversary of the death of Norman Prince, a founding member of the Lafayette Escadrille and one of the first Americans killed in WWI, at the National Cathedral in Washington, Oct. 14, 2016. Courtesy photo

But going over the lines could be a way to victory. 

The aviators were viewed as knights of the air, but there was little glory in the work -- just another domain of hell. The planes were flimsy and susceptible to fire. No French pilot had a parachute; if the engine quit, the pilot just rode it in to the ground. The air war was just as deadly as the ground war. 

The Crash

Prince was one of the first Americans to volunteer, and he flew a Nieuport 11 during his time over the front. The squadron was officially designated the 124th, but once formed under French officers, it became the Lafayette Escadrille. Some 38 Americans flew in the squadron, and 11 of them died.

Prince was returning from a combat mission Oct. 13, 1916, when he attempted to land at a small field near the front lines. His undercarriage snagged a wire, catapulting him out of the aircraft.

Medics rushed him to a hospital, and the initial reports were good. He had just broken some bones. But one of those bones was his skull, and the aviator lapsed into a coma and died two days later.

In April 1917, Wilson could no longer keep America out of war, and on April 2, he asked Congress for a declaration of war on the German empire. They did so on April 6.

Members of the Lafayette Escadrille hold a mission briefing in France, June 26, 1916. From left, Kiffin Yates Rockwell (1892-1916); Capt. Georges Thenault, commander of the Lafayette Escadrille; Norman Prince (1887-1916); Lt. Alfred de Laage de Meux; Sgt. Elliot Cowdin; Sgt. Weston Birch "Bert" Hall; James Rogers McConnell (1887-1917); and Victor Chapman. Library of Congress photo
Members of the Lafayette Escadrille hold a mission briefing in France, June 26, 1916. From left, Kiffin Yates Rockwell (1892-1916); Capt. Georges Thenault, commander of the Lafayette Escadrille; Norman Prince (1887-1916); Lt. Alfred de Laage de Meux; Sgt. Elliot Cowdin; Sgt. Weston Birch "Bert" Hall; James Rogers McConnell (1887-1917); and Victor Chapman. Library of Congress photo

Norman Prince was one of the first Americans killed in the Great War. A total of 116,710 of his fellow countrymen paid the ultimate price before the armistice on Nov. 11, 1918.

After the war, the Prince family brought Norman’s body back and built a tomb for it in the cathedral. When the statue and tomb was dedicated Dec. 6, 1937, General of the Armies John J. Pershing -- the commander of the American Expeditionary Force in the war -- attended.

When America joined the war, the surviving members of the Lafayette Escadrille transferred, with most going to the U.S. Army and one to the Navy. The French 124th squadron became the U.S. Army’s 103rd Pursuit Squadron, which is today the 94th Fighter Squadron, based at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. It is part of the 1st Fighter Wing, whose commander represented all airmen -- past and present -- at the memorial service.

The successors of those airmen who flew fabric-covered Nieuport 11s fly F-22 Raptors today.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Virtual Video Visit with Prints and Photographs October 20, 2016 by Kristi Finefield

A visit to the Library of Congress is, I hope, on the bucket list of many Americans, either to tour the galleries and ornately decorated spaces of the Thomas Jefferson Building or to do research in any of our multiple reading rooms and research centers. However, if you can’t come to us, we will come to you – virtually! More than a thousand videos and webcasts on hundreds of topics are available for you to view through the Library of Congress website or YouTube channel, providing online access to worlds of new information.
The staff of the Prints and Photographs Division, myself included, participate in many of these video ventures, as either onscreen participants or as organizers who invite artists and experts to appear on camera to speak about their work. Through these videos, we invite viewers to learn about our collections, to gain new insight into the ways photographs and other works of art on paper can be studied and to hopefully inspire and educate in equal measure.
As an example, I recently spoke briefly about my experiences as a reference librarian and the value of research with visual materials in the Prints and Photographs Division, as seen below. My fellow blogger and Head of Reference in the Prints and Photographs Division, Barbara O. Natanson, shares a few of her favorite items in the collection and speaks about methods of exploring the meaning of an image in the second video below.
Teacher Resource: Conversation with a Reference Librarian in the Prints & Photographs Division
Kristi Finefield, Reference Librarian in the Prints and Photographs Division, shares highlights from her interactions with patrons and the collections. Video duration: 3 minutes.

Sailing Yacht A — One of the Biggest & Definitely the Ugliest

Sailing Yacht A — One of the Biggest & Definitely the Ugliest
// Old Salt Blog - a virtual port of call for all those who love the sea

sya2bRussian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko's new sail-assisted motor-yacht, named simply, Sailing Yacht A, is undergoing sea trials. The $450 million yacht has a number of superlatives attached to it. At 12,700 tonnes, it is the largest sailing yacht in the world by gross tonnage. At 469 feet, she is the longest sailing yacht in existence. Its 300 foot tall carbon fiber masts are the largest composite freestanding structures in the world. And while not a superlative exactly, the yacht — a slab sided, eight decked, angular monstrosity — does qualify as the ugliest sailing vessel in the world.

Royal Clipper

While Sailing Yacht A may be the largest sailing yacht by gross tonnage, she is not the largest sailing ship in service by sail area. Her 40,330 sq ft three masted schooner rig is nothing to scoff at. Indeed, it is 8,000 sq ft larger than the rig on the tea clipper Cutty Sark.  Nevertheless, Sailing Yacht A does not compare to the 56,000 sq ft of sail set by the five masted square rigged cruise ship Royal Clipper operated by Star Clippers.  Even the century old windjammer Peking, bound for restoration in Hamburg in the Spring, had more sail area at 44,132 sq ft.  In addition to having more sail area, Royal Clipper and Peking are both beautiful ships, something that cannot be said of A.

Now that Melnichenko has his new toy, he has put his previous yacht, a 390 foot motor-yacht also named A, on the market for around $300 million.

The post Sailing Yacht A — One of the Biggest & Definitely the Ugliest appeared first on Old Salt Blog.


Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

U.S. Says Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado ‘Ready to Go’ in Singapore

U.S. Says Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado 'Ready to Go' in Singapore

161006-N-MW990-109 PACIFIC OCEAN (October 06, 2016) Littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) patrols the Pacific Ocean during flight operations in the 7th Fleet area of operation. Currently on a rotational deployment in support of the Asia-Pacific Rebalance, Coronado is a fast and agile warship tailor-made to patrol the region's littorals and work hull-to-hull with partner navies, providing 7th Fleet with the flexible capabilities it needs now and in the future. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer Second Class Michaela Garrison/ReleasedBy Wes Goodman (Bloomberg) — The latest U.S. Littoral Combat Ship to arrive in Southeast Asia is combat ready, according to a senior Navy officer, after a series of mechanical snafus cast doubt on the ability of the vessels to operate effectively in shallow coastal waters. The USS Coronado is "ready to go do its job," […]

The post U.S. Says Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado 'Ready to Go' in Singapore appeared first on gCaptain.


Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

Nico Rosberg heads Lewis Hamilton in Malaysia practice after bizarre Renault fire

Nico Rosberg heads Lewis Hamilton in Malaysia practice after bizarre Renault fire
// BBC News - Home

Nico Rosberg heads Lewis Hamilton by nearly half a second in first practice at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

13 October 1916 – Neutral Ally

13 October 1916 – Neutral Ally
// The Great War Blog

Barely a decade has passed since Prince Carl of Denmark became Haakon VII, Norway's very first monarch as an independent nation (see above), so the Great War has been the first real test of the country's principles for international relations. Saying that "we wish to be left alone in order to get on with building a new nation," in 1906 Prime Minister Jørgen Løvland told the new parliament (Storting) that his foreign policy would be grounded in absolute neutrality towards the affairs of mainland Europe. To be sure, Norway remains formally neutral in 1916, but the meaning of that word is changing.

Unlike the Swedes, who used to rule Norway and still lean towards Germany in their neutrality, Haakon's government has always looked to Great Britain on the other side of the North Sea as their guarantor of security and largest trading partner. This relationship is particularly important for national food security. Half the Norwegian male population consists of farmers and fishermen, yet the country is little more than a 1,200-mile long mountain range carved by the ice ages into one of the world's best coastlines for maritime industry, leaving few fertile farmlands. Thus Norway had developed an enormous fishing trade and a vast merchant fleet by 1900, and from the beginning of Norwegian independence, foreign policy has always been synonymous with trade policy — while Britain has always been the senior power to a nation of just 2.5 million.

Norway was among the most active states in various international consultations before the war, stressing peaceful resolution as their goal for every conflict. Since 1914, however, the world Norway helped to build in the prewar Hague conventions has completely broken down, and the combatants have imposed new, competing rulesets. Unlike most other neutrals, Norway is still able to trade with Germany through their own territorial waters, but they need safe passage around the British Isles to reach the rest of the world. Relations with London are strained by their efforts to impose a complete blockade on food, copper, and other raw materials from reaching Germany; Berlin's first u-boats crossed the Arctic Circle in August, striking in September at the steamers full of weapons and ammunition bound for the Russian Army. More than a million tons of Norwegian shipping has already been sunk, drowning hundreds of sailors at an increasing rate.

The 'Neutrality Guard,' a home defense force thousands-strong, guards the shores while the Navy patrols the nation's inlets and coastal waters looking for u-boats. Today, the government in Christiana (Oslo) announces that hostile submarines will not be tolerated in Norwegian waters. A sop to British demands for more concrete action, the announcement does not specifically mention Germany, but is clearly aimed at the German Navy. It is another example of why historian Olav Riste calls his country Britain's "neutral ally" in the Great War. London is simply making  Norway's neutrality work to their ends.


Left, the North Sea is now a military zone blockaded in the English Channel and between Scotland and Norway. Right: a modern map of Norwegian fisheries overlaps the Arctic Ocean, where German u-boats have begun operating in 1916

German expansionists have long-term designs on Norway; they hope to bring an Atlantic gateway into their sphere of influence. But real British influence is growing all the time across the North Sea.

The Austrian ultimatum found the young country exporting vital war materials to Germany along with a large portion of their fishing catch. British commercial agents have bought up as much of this surplus as they can, and their overbidding has the effect of driving up prices in Norway. Price controls encourage black markets; some fishermen find their most profitable clientele right on the sea, selling directly to German merchant crews plying the waters east of Denmark. Norway was an early adopter of wartime centralization, imposing government controls on food supplies and prices; now Britain wants Christiana to reduce the share of their catch allotted for export to Germany.

It is just one of many diplomatic requests that are becoming more insistent in the last quarter of 1916.

Indeed, the entire allied blockade is being operated from the Foreign Office, which is bringing every means to bear: blacklisting Norwegian companies that do business with German ones. Culminating in January, Norway makes a series of concessions on their fishing catch, on exports of pyrites, and more. And in the last sixty days, there has been a new focus on propaganda and information warfare with the arrival of Rowland Kenney, an agent of the Neutral Press Committee serving as the British embassy press attaché.

Arriving in August, Kenney surveyed the situation 'on the ground' before returning to London and penning a confidential report for the Department of Information, a subsidiary of the Foreign Office that has absorbed the former War Propaganda Bureau. With his recommendations enthusiastically accepted, Kenney returns at year's end, almost in the same moment that London's efforts to bully Norway into cutting off Germany are reaching a climax. Publicly, Britain accepts less than it wants; privately, Kenny is using a Reuters press credential to reshape the news environment to Britain's advantage. (The head of Reuters is currently earning a knighthood at the Foreign Office himself.)

Kenney doesn't engage in 'black propaganda.' Rather, he acts as a translator and two-way conduit for as much factual information and reporting as possible, providing resources to newsroom editors on both sides of the water, and publishing thousands of anodyne pro-British articles to shape the newswires. this is in sharp contrast to German propaganda, which is heavy-handed and culturally arrogant. Rowland Kenney's crowning achievement is the disestablishment of the Norsk Telegrambureau, Norway's official news agency, replacing it in 1918 with a new NTB that is aligned with Reuters instead of the German Wolff Telegraph Bureau. Also during that final, terrible year of hunger and bloodshed, Norway finally agrees to lay mines in their territorial waters to complete the Northern Barrage. By then, the steady drumbeat of news, opinion, and torpedo explosions has put the Norwegian people and state in a much more pliable, pro-British mood.

Left: Norwegian Foreign Minister Nils Claus Ihlen, who speaks no English. Right: British envoy Sir Mansfeldt de Cardonnel Findlay, who don't speak a word of Norwegian. Forced to communicate in French, their relationship is not comfortable 

Left: Norwegian Foreign Minister Nils Claus Ihlen, who speaks no English. Right: British envoy Sir Mansfeldt de Cardonnel Findlay, who doesn't speak a word of Norwegian. Forced to communicate in French, their relationship is not easy


Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

Verdun: the Left Bank reviewed by the Editor

Verdun: the Left Bank reviewed by the Editor
// Roads to the Great War

Verdun: the Left Bank by Christina Holstein Pen & Sword, 2016 Memorial at Malancourt on the Approach to Cote 304 Almost all histories of the 1916 Battle of Verdun emphasize the fighting on the right (or east) bank of the River Meuse. It was the locale of the struggle's opening and end game and also some of the best remembered names: the Forts Douaumont and Vaux and

Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

Lieutenant Raymond Asquith: The Asquiths Go to War and One Gives His All

Lieutenant Raymond Asquith: The Asquiths Go to War and One Gives His All
// Roads to the Great War

By James Patton Lt. Raymond Asquith Raymond Asquith was born in Hampstead on 6 6 November 1878, the firstborn child and eldest son of Herbert Henry (familiarly known as "H.H.") Asquith and his wife, the former Helen Melland (1855–1891). H.H., son of a Yorkshire tradesman and orphaned at seven, won a scholarship at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was president of the Oxford Union. In

Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

You can be in DC, but don’t try to be of DC

You can be in DC, but don't try to be of DC
// USNI Blog


One of the primary responsibilities of leaders is to be an example to junior personnel. The expected ideal is to "lead by example." That "example" is understood to be a positive one, but often it is not. On occasion a leader becomes a negative example – "that guy" who everyone is told not to be.

This week we saw one of the last parts of Act-III from the tragedy of General James E. "Hoss" Cartwright, USMC (Ret.).

Josh Rogin over at WaPo outlines the story and its context well, and we'll get to that later on in the post, but here is the take-away everyone in uniform must know – you are not part of the cool-kids club in DC. Only a very few ever have crossed that barrier, and you are not one of them.

There is a problem with spending too many years in the Imperial City rubbing elbows and watching the Byzantine stew of politics, press, sex, fame, money, and power that swirls around you. If you are lucky, you have enough of a sense of history and self-awareness to know your place, or you have a wife or the ever-rare circle of friends you will listen to who will keep you grounded. Even then, it may not be enough. Even the greatest are human too.

Some can spend the balance of the decades of their life in DC and remain unsullied by its nature, uncompromised, unmoved by the warped ethics and moral compromise one sees every day. Others can be seduced by it inside a single PCS cycle.

It is not a hard sell to think that you have to play by the rules those in suits and pants-suits do to make things happen. You can feel forced to bend, but just as many want to bend. They can smell what is there, and they want to be part of it.

High rank, personal staffs, and a parade of sycophantiUlysses_and_the_Sirens_by_H.J._Draperc obsequiousness can build on top of the existing human desire for power, influence, and position. A person in uniform can see which civilian tactics, techniques, and procedures are used to best effect, and that the civilians get away with it.

Why not you too?

Here is why; you are not them. You wear the uniform. It isn't that you are held to a different standard, you are, but not for the self-serving reason you think. It isn't your "higher sense of honor" or any of that. No, it is much baser.

You are not in their club. You do not know their secret handshake. You are not in their circle of influence, cabal, or family though marriage, affairs, or shared history. Even if you went to the same schools, you are outside that circle. Even if they make you feel you are – you are only being patronized for their own interest; you aren't.

To many there, you are just "The Other." You are just another government employee who, even as a General Officer and Flag Officer, are seen somewhere between a GS-15 and a Deputy Undersecretary.

You can play some of their games, but even then you will not be allowed to play by their rules. To them, you aren't just expendable, you are a potential sacrifice to appease whatever is the angry god of the moment's demands.


The Imperial City is a fascinating place, but only if you know it for what it is. Its standards are not for you. Its concept of accountability do not apply to you. It isn't because you are better, it is because you are The Other.

Go back to the fundamentals you learned as a JO and grab a map/chart. The Pentagon isn't even in DC, it is in northern Virginia. Keep that in mind.

The Obama administration Justice Department has investigated three senior officials for mishandling classified information over the past two years but only one faces a felony conviction, possible jail time and a humiliation that will ruin his career: former Joint Chiefs of Staff vice chairman General James E. Cartwright. The FBI's handling of the case stands in stark contrast to its treatment of Hillary Clinton and retired General David Petraeus — and it reeks of political considerations.

Monday marked a stunning fall from grace for Cartwright, the man once known as "Obama's favorite general," who pleaded guilty to the felony charge of lying to the FBI during its investigation into the leaking of classified information about covert operations against Iran to two journalists. His lawyer Greg Craig said in a statement that Cartwright spoke with David Sanger of the New York Times and Dan Klaidman of Newsweek as a confirming source for stories they had already reported, in an effort to prevent the publication of harmful national security secrets.

The defense attorney's job is to paint the best picture for his client. Re-read the above last paragraph for clarity.

Under his plea deal, Cartwright could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Last year, Petraeus cut a deal with the Justice Department after admitting he had lied to the FBI and passed hundreds of highly classified documents to his biographer and mistress Paula Broadwell. He pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor of mishandling classified information and was sentenced to two years probation and a $100,000 fine.

Clinton was not charged at all for what FBI Director James B. Comey called "extremely careless" handling of "very sensitive, highly classified information." Comey said that although there was "evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information," the FBI's judgment was that no reasonable prosecutor would have filed charges against Clinton or her associates.

Is this fair? Is it right?

That doesn't matter. It is.

"The FBI will continue to take all necessary and appropriate steps to thoroughly investigate individuals, no matter their position (emphasis added), who undermine the integrity of our justice system by lying to federal investigators," said Assistant Director in Charge Paul Abbate.

That statement reveals that the FBI is trying address public criticism that it gives senior officials like Petraeus and Clinton special and favorable consideration, Aftergood said.

"They seem to be trying to make a policy point," he said. "The Justice Department would say they are not influenced at all by policy or political considerations. In the real world, of course they are influenced."

One of the best things Cartwright could do is, after a cooling off period, write a book about this whole affair. Not a book to push blame on others. Not a book to try to spin the story in his favor. No. He is a Marine Aviator. He needs to look at this as a mishap report. Focus on what he did wrong. Clear, unblinking honesty of how he found himself walking up the steps to a courthouse. It might help those how follow. Might.

Cartwright, by contrast, was short on high-profile Washington friends. He had long ago run afoul of his two Pentagon bosses, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, who never forgave him for going around the chain of command to join with Vice President Joe Biden to present Obama with an alternate plan for the Afghanistan troop surge in 2009.

Cartwright's greatest mistake was not talking to reporters or lying about it; he failed to play the Washington game skillfully enough to avoid becoming a scapegoat for a system in which senior officials skirt the rules and then fall back on their political power to save them.

Bingo. It wasn't his game to play. He didn't even understand the rules.

I just hope this doesn't eat in to his soul, as it would take a lot for it not to eat in to mine;

Will the other Stuxnet leakers be held accountable? No one has suggested that Cartwright was the primary source of the Stuxnet disclosures. According to emails obtained by the conservative action group Freedom Watch, Sanger had meetings on Iran with several other high-profile administration officials, including National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns and even Clinton herself. There's no evidence of any other Stuxnet leak investigations of high-level officials.

Not being in the club has its consequences.

In his best-case scenario, Cartwright could avoid prison time but will be saddled with a felony conviction that will bar him from most money-making opportunities. In the worst-case scenario, he could be getting released from prison around the same time Clinton finishes her first term.

In his statement taking responsibility for lying to the FBI, Cartwright asserted his motivations were patriotic. "My only goal in talking to the reporters was to protect American interests and lives; I love my country and continue to this day to do everything I can to defend it."

All glory is fleeting.


Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

Russian Warships Said to be Bound for Syria

Russian Warships Said to be Bound for Syria
// Maritime News - Maritime & Shipbuilding News

The Norwegian military has released pictures taken by surveillance aircraft of a fleet of Russian warships sailing in international waters off the coast of Norway and reported to be heading to Syria. Photos of the vessels, which include the…

Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

German Navy to receive five additional K130 corvettes

German Navy to receive five additional K130 corvettes
// NOSI - Naval Open Source Intelligence™

Janes – Germany will buy an additional five K130 type corvettes in 2017 to offset delays to the MKS 180 Multi-Role Combat Ships (MRCSs) program.


Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

CAAF grants oral argument to the Military Commissions Defense Organization as amicus in support of neither party in Dalmazzi

CAAF grants oral argument to the Military Commissions Defense Organization as amicus in support of neither party in Dalmazzi
// CAAFlog

In the Air Force case of United States v. Dalmazzi, No. 16-0651/AF (CAAFlog case page), 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. CAAF has already granted review of eight trailer cases, and more grants are sure to follow.

Oral argument in Dalmazzi is scheduled for Wednesday, December 7, 2016. The appellant's brief is available here.

When CAAF granted review it specifically invited the Army, Coast Guard, and Navy-Marine Corps appellate defense and Government divisions to file amicus curiae briefs in the case. CAAF hasn't (yet) posted any amicus briefs on its website, however a reader forwarded this amicus brief from the Military Commissions Defense Organization offered in support of neither party. The brief concludes:

The USCMCR is an Article I court of record whose judges are principal officers. The only question here is what effect should be given to the appointment of five military officers to be USCMCR judges pursuant to §950f(b)(3). If these appointments are construed to have validly elevated the individuals to the position of USCMCR Judge, then they automatically resigned their military commissions by operation of law and ceased to be eligible to perform military duties. Alternatively, if the appointments are construed as ab initio void, then they continued in their same rank and grade and remained eligible to perform their assigned military duties.

Br. at 20-21.

Yesterday, in this order, CAAF accepted the brief and granted the Military Commissions Defense Organization 10 minutes of oral argument.


Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Window into the Soviet Union, 1951/Introduction to CREST

Window into the Soviet Union, 1951/Introduction to CREST

Today’s post is written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

Recently, I located the following 1951 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report analyzing Soviet nylon stockings:


Technical Examination of Soviet Nylon Stocking, June 29, 1951, p.1.


Technical Examination of Soviet Nylon Stocking, June 29, 1951, p.2.

When I first saw this, I was amused that the CIA would spend time on what appears to be a ludicrous subject. On reflection, however, this report is not so laughable. One must consider the context in which it originated. In 1951, the world economy was still recovering from the devastation of World War II, the Marshall Plan for recovery in Western Europe was still relatively new, and knowledge of the Soviet economy and production methods was very limited. Analysis of all aspects of Soviet production and industry, including nylon stockings, would add to the knowledge base about engineering and production aspects of the economy of the USSR in the same way that the more obvious studying of the quality of the steel and workmanship of a captured tank would.

This document comes from the CREST System. CREST (CIA Records Search Tool) is the way the CIA is making materials declassified under Executive Order 13526 available to the public. In a massive undertaking, the CIA digitized all of its non-exempt records and performed a declassification review on the resulting images. Because the agency created redacted images it was able to declassify much more information than if it had undertaken the more usual pass-fail review on documents. CREST is the resulting electronic search and retrieval system containing the images of the declassified and redacted documents. Since the records have been OCRed, the system allows researchers to locate documents of interest and to print copies of documents in which they are interested. The system is searchable by name, title, date, and text content.

CREST includes a wide variety of records on nearly every topic related to the Cold War and the early history of the CIA. This includes significant collections of finished intelligence from the Directorate of Intelligence; Directorate of Operations information reports from the late 1940s and 1950s; Directorate of Science and Technology research and development files; Director, Central Intelligence Agency policy files and memos; and Directorate of Support logistics and other records. CREST also contains declassified imagery reports from the former National Photographic Interpretation Center, the STAR GATE remote viewing program files, and several specialized collections of translations from foreign media.

CREST is available for use only at Archives II (Room 3000), Monday-Friday, 9AM-4PM. It is important to note that the CREST system has not been accessioned into the National Archives. Rather, the National Archives at College Park serves as the host for the system in order to provide researchers with easy access.

An online CREST Finding Aid to research availability of CIA documents declassified and loaded onto CREST through 2013 is now available. Researchers can search by the title and date, or date span, of documents.

Naval Search Engine

Total Pageviews

Find-A-Grave Link

Search 62.2 million cemetery records at by entering a surname and clicking search: