Back from Patrol

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: Adventure Ahead! "The Biscuit Eater" (1944)

Honoring National Dog Day, here's a tale of a boy and his dog from the series Adventure Ahead!, which seems to have specialized in tales meant to inspire the youth of the day:

More on the series here:
Adventure Ahead! was a brilliant Summer feature for 1944. Comprised of fourteen stirring adventure novels and stories from among America's greatest fiction writers, its somewhat more masculine orientation may have kept some of the young females of the era listening to Frank Sinatra that summer instead of Adventure Ahead!.
That having been said, each of these literary choices did have a uniting theme--defending Freedom, domestically and abroad. To be fair to NBC's programmers, there were several jingoistic, over the top, almost fascist 'public service programs' geared toward every facet of the domestic population at one time or another during the World War II years and the Cold War Years that followed....

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Film: "Saga of USS Franklin"

Aircraft carrier pummeled but . . .

UPDATE: Yes, it's a rerun here, but it's a great story.

UPDATE2: Here's fresh meat (from 1943), an Army/Chuck Jones/Mel Blanc cartoon about spies. This was before people just hacked into unsecure servers . . .

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Iran's Fingers in the Many Middle East Puppets

Interesting insight into Iran's proxies in the various Middle East messes from Amir Toumaj at The Long War Journal's IRGC commander discusses Afghan militia, ‘Shia liberation army,’ and Syria:
Discussing Iran’s military commitments, Falaki noted that Iran’s proxies are fighting on three major fronts: Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

“One front of this army is in Syria, the other in Iraq, and another in Yemen,” he stated.

The first two are well known, though the claim about Yemen reflects the IRGC’s ultimate goal more than facts on the ground. The Houthis are known to be militarily and politically supported by the IRGC, though the Guard may not exercise full control over the Houthis. The IRGC’s objective is to use the Houthis as a foothold in the Arabian Peninsula, on Saudi Arabia’s southern border. The suspicion of the Houthis being a full Iranian proxy is precisely the reason the Saudis and allies have launched a war in Yemen.

The Houthis, however, are not IRGC proxies like the Fatemiyoun and Iraqi militias. Houthi leaders have publicly complained about IRGC claims of full support. A senior Houthi official in March lashed out at a senior IRGC commander who claimed that the Guard would support the Houthis anyway it could, criticizing Tehran for “exploiting” the Yemeni file.

The Houthis exercise some measure of independence, and do not presently appear to be inclined to serve as the IRGC’s proxy in a perpetual fight against Saudi Arabia, as noted by Yemen scholars.

What is clear is the IRGC’s strategy to exploit the war in Yemen, primarily to be a thorn in Saudi Arabia’s side. They want to perpetuate the perception that Houthis are full Iranian proxies to elicit harsher Saudi reactions. The IRGC hopes that the continuation of conflict will leave the Houthis no choice but to fight and fully embrace the IRGC in order to survive.
Recommended reading, just like Long War Journal always is.

Good thing we have paid so much money to Iran to advance their peaceful intentions.

Sometime it seems we forget how relatively small an area we are dealing with in the Middle East. Here's a nice U.S. government map I liberated from here that might help put things in some perspective:

A Musical Interlude

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

North Korea Threatens Preemptive Suicide If It Doesn't Get Its Way

Well, it's not so much what the headlines say (as in "DPRK warns of preemptive strikes as U.S.-South Korea war games kick off" or "Pyongyang threatens pre-emptive nuclear strike on US-South Korea military drill",) but more what the effect of such strikes would be on the brutal dictatorship of the current Kim-in-Power (KIP).

As the International Business Times reports here:
North Korea has yet again threatened to mount a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the US-South Korea joint military exercise, which is set to kick off on 22 August. Tens of thousands of South Korean and American troops are already in the Korean peninsula to take part in the two-week-long annual drill.

Pyongyang views the military exercise termed Ulchi Freedom Guardian as a rehearsal for an actual attack on the North. It said that a nuclear war may "break out any moment" given the volatility in the Korean peninsula.

"They should properly know that from this moment the first-strike combined units of the KPA keep themselves fully ready to mount a preemptive retaliatory strike at all enemy attack groups involved in Ulchi Freedom Guardian," Pyongyang's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KNCA) said in its latest dispatch.

It added that Washington and Seoul "should bear in mind that if they show the slightest sign of aggression on (DPRK's) inviolable land, seas and air ..., it would turn the stronghold of provocation into a heap of ashes through Korean-style preemptive nuclear strike".
Perhaps Kim is looking for more aid to feed his ever hungry population and is, once again, resorting to nuclear blackmail. Whatever his reasons, he undoubtedly knows any act on his part will spell the doom of both his country and, more to the point, of him and all his minions.

Gotta love KIP in the cockpit trying to pretend like he has any idea of what he's looking at. Sort of an analogy . . .

U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report 19 July - 17 August 2016

Saturday, August 20, 2016

On Midrats 21 August Episode 346: "The Farsi Island Incident – Is the Navy a Learning Institution?"

Please join us at 5pm (EDT) for Midrats Episode 346: The Farsi Island Incident – Is the Navy a Learning Institution?
The thankfully bloodless embarrassment that was the Farsi Island Incident is still making news after the January 12, 2016 seizure of 10 U.S. sailors by Iranian forces. Especially for our Surface Warfare community, there are a lot of hard, cold lessons here not just about the incident itself, leadership and professionalism – and institutional lessons about how conditions are set and organizations are sub-optimized to a degree that an incident - in hindsight – was just a matter of “when” vice “if.”

Using his recent article at CIMSEC on the topic, our guest for the full hour to discuss the background leading up to the Farsi Island incident, its aftermath, and the lessons we should be taking from it will be Alan Cummings, LT USN.

Alan is a 2007 graduate of Jacksonville University. He served previously as a surface warfare officer aboard a destroyer, embedded with a USMC infantry battalion, and as a Riverine Detachment OIC. The views expressed in the article and on Midrats are his own and in no way reflect the official position of the U.S. Navy.
Join us live if you can by clicking here. You can also pick the show up later at that link, or by visiting our iTunes page or our Stitcher page.

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: "Standby for Crime"

A radio newscaster as a hero who gets tips from a lieutenant in the police
department . . .

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sea Piracy of Various Forms and the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report 12 July - 10 August 2016

Classic piracy as reported by the Maritime Herald Product tanker Ad Matsu attacked by pirates in South China Sea
The asphalt and bitumen product tanker Ad Matsu was attacked by pirates in South China Sea on 15 nautical miles north off Tanjung Berakit, Indonesia. The vessel was en route from Singapore to Hai Phong, Vietnam, but near the island Pulau Bintan was reached by fast boat from the starboard. Six armed men succeeded to board
Box is general area of attack
the vessel and took control of the tanker. The crew was locked in the mess room, while pirates robbed the vessel and stole all the cash and valuables of the seamen. After robbery the pirates abandoned the vessel and fled away to Malaysia. There were no injured seamen from the product tanker Ad Matsu during the piracy attack. The crew reported about the accident and vessel returned in operations.

The Indonesian Navy found and arrested one of the pirates in large scale anti-piracy operation. The young man was arrested and will be investigated and judged for piracy according to the Indonesian laws.

Fishing "piracy" off Somalia seems to be back as reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in As piracy is contained, Somali fishermen again compete with illegal vessels in their waters:
When the horn of Africa's infamous pirate gangs first emerged two decades ago, they were Somali fishermen arming themselves to fight off illegal fishing boats from other parts of the world.

International patrol vessels now guard Somalia's coastline making the waters relatively safe. The pirates are gone but that's created the opportunity for illegal fishing activity by Asian and European interests. Once again these high seas trawlers are competing with the locals and there are fears tensions could again escalate.
Not so sure the "pirate gangs" were all that innocent in the old days . . . on the other hand some Somali warlords were licensing fishing boats to operate in Somali waters to the detriment of Somali fishermen. See The Two Piracies in Somalia: Why the World Ignores the Other? by Mohamed Abshir Waldo:
In arrangements with Somali warlords, new companies were formed abroad for bogus fishing licensing purposes. Jointly owned mafia Somali-European companies set up in Europe and Arabia worked closely with Somali warlords who issued them fake fishing “licenses” to any foreign fishing pirate willing to plunder the Somali marine resources. UK and Italy based African and Middle East Trading Co. (AFMET), PALMERA and UAE based SAMICO companies were some of the corrupt vehicles issuing such counterfeit licenses as well as fronting for the warlords who shared the loot.

Among technical advisors to the Mafia companies – AFMET, PALMIRA & SAMICO - were supposedly reputable firms like MacAllister Elliot & Partners of the UK. Warlords Gen. Mohamed Farah Aidiid, Gen. Mohamed Hersi Morgan, Osman Atto and Ex-President Ali Mahdi Mohamed officially and in writing gave authority to AFMET to issue fishing “licenses”, which local fishermen and marine experts call it simply a “deal between thieves”. According to Africa Analysis of November 13, 1998, AFMET alone “licensed” 43 seiners (mostly Spanish, at $30,000 per 4-month season. Spanish Pesca Nova was “licensed” by AFMET while French Cobracaf group got theirs from SAMICO at a much discounted rate of $15,000 per season per vessel.