America

Monday, April 30, 2007

Maritime Monday 57 at Fred Fry International

Fred is feeling "large" in Maritime Monday 57.

All the Maritime News that interesting to read. Even if you don't like to read Maritime News.

Which would be small of you.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday Ship History: Fleet Tugs- the ATFs


Maybe you read the book The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger. And maybe you remember that there was a Coast Guard cutter named Tamaroa out at sea trying to rescue the crew of a sail boat in big, big trouble. And maybe you've seen the photo of Tamaroa sending its rescue boat out in heavy seas (it's to the left), and maybe you just saw the standard Coastie paint scheme and didn't pay much attention to the ship itself.

Well, you should have. That stout little ship took men into harm's way for 50+ years and probably paid back whatever it cost to build her several times over. She even gained some fame as the Coast Guard "submarine."

Before that, before she was the USCGC Tamaroa (WMEC-166), she was a Navy ship - USS Zuni (ATF-95), a Fleet Tug. An ocean-going armed ship with powerful engines and specialized gear to save and salvage other ships- ships bigger and more sleek, perhaps, but expensive and hard to replace. And so Zuni and her kin, some 70 in her class alone, became valuable because they could save the "big boys." In his work Beans, Bullets an Black Oil, mentions that learning to use these tugs properly was painfully slow:
Here at Midway we lost the Yorktown. We had not yet learned thoroughly the use and value of fleet tugs and salvage action.
But the learning came, and ships were saved. One ship doing the saving was Zuni:
On December 20, 1944, repairs completed, Zuni towed a disabled merchant ship and troop transport to Ulithi Lagoon.

On December 29, 1944, Zuni began 29 days of operation in support of Task Group 30.8, Third Fleet, off Luzin Island, the Philipines.

She supported US attacks on Luzon, January 6-7; Formosa on January 3-4, 9, 15 and 21; the China coast on January 12 and 16; and Nansei Shoto on January 22. Zuni. It was during this time period that she towed the light cruiser USS Houston to safety after it got hit by two torpedoes off Taiwan. Soon thereafter, the Zuni towed the torpedoed cruiser USS Reno--they lashed the two vessels together to keep the Reno from capsizing.
Probably a career for some ships, but Zuni kept going. In support of the assault on Iwo Jima, Zuni seems to have been used to propel an LST with badly needed ammo onto the beach where the ammunition could be offloaded. See here.

Her efforts at Iwo cost her:
On March 23, 1945, while assisting LST 27, Zuni's wire towline snapped and struck and killed MoMM2c James M Byres, USNR of New York, NY, and F1c Frederick F. Pavlovics, of Elizabeth, NJ. These two men are the only fatalities in the ship's long and illustrious career.

With the snapped towline fouling the propellor and the anchor line disabled, Zuni broached on Iwo Jima's "Yellow" beach. The broaching broke her keel and punched a number of holes into her sides.
She was towed off the beach and home for repairs. But what a record!
Her wartime achievements were remarkable. In just two years time, Zuni earned four battle stars; participated in four invasions; saved two cruisers, two transports and numerous small craft and other vessels. Admiral "Bull" Halsey awarded the Legion of Merit to her skipper, Lt. Ray E. Chance. In an interesting aside, from the time of her commissioning the Zuni was underway 80% of the time.
Fixed, she was decommissioned by the Navy in 1946, and commissioned as a Coast Guard Cutter.

There was no change in work ethic with the change of color scheme. Her Coast Guard history from 1946 to 1994 is as brilliant as her Navy career:
Throughout her Coast Guard career the Tamaroa assisted many vessels in distress. She was first on the scene at the sinking of the Andrea Doria. Among some of the more notable rescues include: the fishing vessels Deepwater, Foam and the yacht Petrel in the 60's; in the 80's she rescued the crew of Soviet freighter SS Konsomolets Kirgizil, the crew of the fishing vessel Jimmy Squarefoot, and rescued a portion of the crew of the 254-foot container ship, the SS Lloyd Bermuda after it went down when its cargo shifted in heavy seas.

Of course, the most publicized rescues the Tamaroa was in 1991 during the "No-Name" or "Halloween Storm" that was subsequently immortalized in Sebatian Junger's best-seller The Perfect Storm. The Tamaroa assisted in the rescue of the three crewmembers of the sailboat Satori, 75 miles off Nantucket island. During the operation seas built to forty feet in height and the winds were topping 80 mph.

No sooner had the crew relaxed when the Tamaroa was battling the heavy seas again, this time in search of the crew of a downed Air National Guard Helicopter that had been forced to ditch when it ran out of fuel on a rescue mission of its own. Tamaroa was able to rescue four of the five Air National Guardsmen, an act which earned the cutter the Coast Guard Foundation Award.
And, of course, the Coast Guard "submarine" thing:
The Tamaroa had a unique reputation within the Coast Guard. She was known as the Coast Guard's only submarine due to an incident in the 60's when a crewmember opened a drydock's seacocks while the Tamaroa was getting refitted. At the time, she had several large gaping holes in her side to access mechanical repairs , she consequently sank.
Today efforts are underway to preserve this ship, as set out here.

Of course, Zuni/Tamaroa was but one of the fleet tugs which helped to win WWII. Others salvaged ships and rescued ships and men after battles at sea. Some were involved in Korean War operations, and some served during Vietnam. One ship, USS Cree had the dubious distinction of being bombed by a U.S. Navy plane off the coast of Southern California:
On the morning of 18 January 1978, tug Cree (ATF-84) released ex-YO-129 as a target for “live” bombing practice by naval aircraft, while steaming off the coast of southern California. Cree then proceeded north to clear the target area, taking her assigned station, but mistakenly became a target when a “Navy jet aircraft” made an attack run on her at 1206, unleashing three 500 lb bombs on the ship and her crew. One bomb struck the mast and exploded in the air close aboard to starboard, showering the tug with fragments. The second bomb fell along the port side, sliced beneath the ship and exploded underwater off the starboard side, “engulfing” Cree in a wall of water. The third slammed into the ship on the port bow, passing through seven bulkheads in the forward part of the ship, before becoming wedged into the passageway between the chief petty officer’s quarters and sick bay, though failing to detonate. The damage to the ship was severe, including holing of the mast, destruction of two life rafts, severing of the emergency power cable and fragment damage above the 01 Level. Below decks, the ship’s gyro was destroyed by the bomb forward, which also damaged the diving locker and bulkheads. The underwater explosion, however, caused the most serious damage, blasting several holes in bulkheads and splitting seams. Motor room B-2 became “a tangled mass of warped frames,” with equipment “wrenched from mountings and broken lines.” Flooding in excess of 2,000 gallons per minute was reported.
Cree survived.

For more on these ships and the men who served in them, the website of the National Association of Fleet Tug Sailors here is a great place to start. For example, there's a great picture of USS Abnaki (ATF-96), towing captured German U-boat 505 ("borrowed" and put on the right). And
USS Menominee ATF 73 photo taken while fighting fire caused by Japanese "Kaiten" suicide sub that had rammed into and exploded in the USS Mississinewa AO 59 at Ulithi Atoll November 1944 (Submitted Sid Harris via Ed Loebs)(and "borrowed")
And....and...

A salute to their crews and the work they did.

In today's Navy, Military Sealift Command operates four ATFs.

UPDATE: More on the towing of U-505 here.

Update2 (4/30/07):
Great picture of post battle towing:
USS Canberra (CA-70)

Under tow toward Ulithi Atoll after she was torpedoed while operating off Okinawa. USS Houston (CL-81), also torpedoed and under tow, is in the right background.
Canberra was hit amidships on 13 October 1944. Houston was torpedoed twice, amidships on 14 October and aft on 16 October.
The tugs may be USS Munsee (ATF-107), which towed Canberra, and USS Pawnee (ATF-74).

Aussies win World Cricket Championship

Cricket news: Australia are world champions

Tamil Tiger Air Corps Strikes Again


As reported here:
Tamil Tiger planes struck fuel depots around Sri Lanka’s capital early today, briefly plunging Colombo into darkness and sending cricket fans watching the World Cup final running for cover.

As explosions were heard and the night sky lit up with anti-aircraft fire, fans scrambled to leave parks and hotels where giant screens showing Sri Lanka playing Australia in the final in Barbados were switched off.

Flights at the island’s only international airport were disrupted as the air defence systems kicked in, officials said, adding that one Indian jet was turned back while several departing flights were delayed. ***
The defence ministry confirmed that the two facilities - one state-owned and the other run by the multi-national Shell - were hit by four Tiger bombs, but only two exploded at the Shell depot.


The ministry said the bombs damaged fire fighting equipment and the water supply system at the Shell facility, but the damage was “minor."
Top photo caption:
Anti-aircraft fire lights up the night sky as Tamil Tigers attack an oil depots in Sri Lanka

32 Years Ago today





Operation Frequent Wind began on April 29, 1975. Frequent Wind was the planned withdrawal of a 100 or so remaining Americans from Vietnam as the NVA was capturing the South. It bcame more than that:
The planners anticipated they would be moving about 100 people out of Saigon, but when it was over, they had relocated 1,373 Americans and 5,595 foreign refugees.

There came a point during the night when the order was given to only take American citizens because the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong were getting close to the DOA compound and American Embassy.

"I can't imagine what it must have been like to have to look at those people, knowing that if they were caught they'd probably be killed," Buckel said. "As good a feeling as it must've been helping the ones they could, there also had to be a little bit of guilt there too."


More here.

And from Midway Sailor are pictures of part of the evacuation, including the pushing of a helicopter off the deck so a light plane could land.

And the famous photo of refugees lined up to try to get on "the last helo" - explained here:
Thirty years ago I was fortunate enough to take a photograph that has become perhaps the most recognizable image of the fall of Saigon - you know it, the one that is always described as showing an American helicopter evacuating people from the roof of the United States Embassy. Well, like so many things about the Vietnam War, it's not exactly what it seems. In fact, the photo is not of the embassy at all; the helicopter was actually on the roof of an apartment building in downtown Saigon where senior Central Intelligence Agency employees were housed.
More on what happened after here.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Operation Tiger April 28, 1944


Reported here:
When the convoy was maneuvering in Lyme Bay in the early hours of April 28, they were attacked by nine German E-boats out of Cherbourg that had evaded the Allied patrols. No warning of the presence of enemy boats had been received until LST-507 was torpedoed at 0204. The ship burst into flames, and survivors abandoned ship. Several minutes later LST-531 was torpedoed and sank in six minutes. LST-289, which opened fire at E-boats, was also torpedoed but was able to reach port. The other LSTs plus two British destroyers fired at the E-boats, which used smoke and high speed to escape. This brief action resulted in 198 Navy dead and missing and 441 Army dead and missing according to the naval action reports. Later Army reports gave 551 as the total number of dead and missing soldiers.
As noted here:
It was the costliest training exercise in all of World War II. As the bodies washed ashore in days ahead, the official count rose to 749.
But, as also noted,
The brave men who died that day contributed to the success in France six weeks later. Indeed their sacrifice was a Prelude to Victory.

Russians grab a couple of "transgressor" vessels


Russian security forces nabbed a couple of flag of convenience ships that wandered into Russian waters, as set out here:
Two foreign transgressor vessels have been detained in Russia’s territorial waters near the Sakhalin Island during a special border operation under the codename Typhoon-2007, ITAR-TASS reports. The Bonsei Maru schooner flying the Belize flag intruded Russian territorial waters in the La Perouse Strait separating Sakhalin from the Japanese Hokkaido Island on Tuesday. The schooner was detained and is being convoyed to Nevelsk port for an investigation, the public relations group of the Sakhalin coast guard department of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) reported.
On April 19, Russian border guards stopped the Miyazaki Maru motor ship in the Tatar Strait (north of the Sea of Japan) for an inspection. The vessel was sailing under the Cambodia flag. The inspectors found on board over 16 tonnes of live crab and the captain failed to produce any documents authorising its catch. Miyazaki Maru’s homeport is Pnomh Penh. The vessel’s owner is the Hong Kong-based Greter Line Shipping Limited company. The ship’s crew consists of 13 Russian citizens. The Miyazaki Maru was also convoyed to Nevelsk port for a probe. Border guars are currently using massive forces for

control over seafood catches in the Tatar Strait. Three patrol gunboats are patrolling the area and an Antonov-72 plane of the aviation detachment of Russia’s FSB is conducting aerial monitoring of the strait’s water area.
More on FSB here. Some background on the dispute between Russia and Japan over territorial waters here.

Chinese fishing boat taken by pirates off Spratly Islands


Reported here
A Chinese fishing boat and its 18 crew disappeared in the South China Sea shortly after its captain reported pirates had boarded his vessel, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

The captain of "Qionghai 08099" phoned his family on Thursday morning saying his boat was being robbed by armed pirates after experiencing mechanical problems near the Spratly Islands, a Hainan provincial official was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

Local marine officials from China's southernmost province of Hainan dispatched a coast guard ship and mobilized other fishing vessels to aid in the search.

Captain Xu Demin first called his wife saying a group of unidentified men were robbing his boat. Twenty minutes later Xu phoned a cousin, saying that the robbers had left with his catch of fish, but that another unidentified vessel was approaching.

The family has had no further contact with Xu since the second call, according to the report.

The Spratly Islands are a string of tiny islands in an area that is claimed all or in part by by China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines.
As always, clicking on the map will make it bigger.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Turkey's Army Exercises a Vote: For Secularism


The Turkish Army has sometimes stepped in to preserve the vision of Ataturk. It might happen again, this time involving the "secularist" position he established. As the BBC notes Turkey's Army 'concerned' by Turkey vote:
Turkey's army has warned against questioning the country's secular system after a disputed first-round presidential vote in parliament.

In a statement, it said it will not shy away from displaying its position.

Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul - the ruling Islamist-rooted AK party (AK) candidate, marginally failed to gain enough support for his bid.

The secular opposition has said it will challenge the election in court because not enough deputies were present.
More here:
In an unusually strong statement, the Turkish Armed Forces say it is the defender of the republic's secular system. “It should not be forgotten that the Turkish armed forces are a side in this debate and are a staunch defender of secularism. "When necessary, it will display its attitudes and actions very clearly. No one should doubt that,” the statement says.
The Turkish Army has intervened in governmental matter before, in 1960, 1971, and 1980. Unlike many such interventions in some other countries, the military has been consistent in restoring democracy after each such event.

Update: Aussie yacht mystery-weather not cause?


Well, now, we've got some interesting news, as set out in Weather out of yacht mystery:
THE strongest winds had passed the area where three WA men who disappeared off the north Queensland coast were sailing when they made their final radio call.

Bureau of Meteorology records for the region show that while wind speed was 20 knots at 9am on Sunday, April 15, and the next day, the winds peaked at 46 knots at about 5pm, nearly two hours before the final recorded call at 6.45pm.

Further records show that winds were consistently around this mark from about 1pm on that day, although there is no record of any rain or other events to indicate a storm. The strong winds also meant there was a high degree of visibility in the waters.
***
Queensland Volunteer Marine Rescue yesterday defended itself against allegations it was slow in informing police the men had radioed their position at 6.45pm on the day they left Airlie Beach, hours after police initially thought they had gone into the water.

The Australian revealed this week the VMR told police about the radio contact only on Monday, causing anguish to the families of the missing men who are continuing their own search of waters between Airlie Beach and Townsville.
Previous posts here, here, and here.

Saudis bust prospective oil facility attackers


Reported here:
Saudi Arabia has arrested more than 170 suspected al Qaeda-linked militants, some of whom were training as pilots to carry out suicide attacks on oil facilities in the kingdom, the Interior Ministry said on Friday.

The ministry, in a statement read on state television, also said police seized weapons and more than 20 million riyals ($5.33 million) in cash, from what Al Arabiya television said were seven armed militant cells.

"Some had begun training on the use of weapons, and some were sent to other countries to study aviation in preparation to use them to carry out terrorist operations inside the kingdom," the statement said.

"One of their main targets was to carry out suicide attacks against public figures and oil installations and to target military bases inside and outside (the country)," it added.

Stanford study: Ethanol can be bad for your health



Ethanol vehicles pose significant risk to health, new study finds:
Ethanol is widely touted as an eco-friendly, clean-burning fuel. But if every vehicle in the United States ran on fuel made primarily from ethanol instead of pure gasoline, the number of respiratory-related deaths and hospitalizations likely would increase, according to a new study by Stanford University atmospheric scientist Mark Z. Jacobson. His findings are published in the April 18 online edition of the journal Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T).
***
"Ethanol is being promoted as a clean and renewable fuel that will reduce global warming and air pollution," said Jacobson, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. "But our results show that a high blend of ethanol poses an equal or greater risk to public health than gasoline, which already causes significant health damage."
***
"There are alternatives, such as battery-electric, plug-in-hybrid and hydrogen-fuel cell vehicles, whose energy can be derived from wind or solar power," he added. "These vehicles produce virtually no toxic emissions or greenhouse gases and cause very little disruption to the land—unlike ethanol made from corn or switchgrass, which will require millions of acres of farmland to mass-produce. It would seem prudent, therefore, to address climate, health and energy with technologies that have known benefits."
Of course, he does not discuss the environmental impact of producing batteries, fuel cells, etc, including disposal costs...

See also here.

University of Michigan site discussing "net energy balance" of ethanol here.
The most contested property of Ethanol is its Net Energy Balance, the energy ethanol provides minus the energy used to make ethanol.[1] We will calculate our estimate of the net energy balance through this research. It is important to note that the NEB of Ethanol or any other fuel that is burned cannot be positive (Patzek 2006). The Second Law Of Thermodynamics implies that any energy conversion, solid to liquid to gas for ethanol, results in a negative net energy balance.[2] The same applies for gasoline (liquid to gas). The question becomes whether the external benefits of ethanol relative to gasoline, less pollution and domestic production, justify the negative pre-externality NEB.

Many complicated choices influence the calculation of Ethanol’s NEB. For example, the benefits of less pollution and an increase in US domestic production make ethanol more rational than gasoline – but how much do these count for energy credits when calculating ethanol’s NEB?
Now, take the assumption of the "benefits of less pollution" out of the equation or modify by new knowledge and how's the NEB do?

Earlier reports of "surprise" pollution from ethanol plants here:
Factories that convert corn into the gasoline additive ethanol are releasing carbon monoxide, methanol and some carcinogens at levels "many times greater" than they promised, the government says.
***
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) being released by the ethanol plants include formaldehyde and acetic acid, both carcinogens. Methanol, although not known to cause cancer, also is classified as a hazardous pollutant.

The fumes are produced when fermented corn mash is dried for sale as a supplement for livestock feed. Devices known as thermal oxidizers can be attached to the plants to burn off the dangerous gases.

Recent tests have found VOC emissions ranging from 120 tons a year, for some of the smallest plants, up to 1,000 tons annually, agency officials said. It isn't known whether the chemicals are hazardous to nearby residents, they said.

When the plants were built, many reported VOC emissions well below 100 tons a year, allowing them to bypass a lengthy and stringent EPA permitting process. Plants with emissions above 100 tons annually are classified as "major sources" of pollution under the Clean Air Act and are more heavily regulated.

States started measuring VOC emissions at ethanol plants about a year ago following complaints of foul odors. One small facility in St. Paul, Minn., had to install $1 million in pollution control equipment to reduce the emissions.

"To the extent that this new test procedure is identifying new VOC emissions, the industry has certainly agreed to address those," said Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association, the recipient of EPA's letter.
A report over concerns of "lowering pollution standards" for ehtanol plants here:
A Clovis resident fears a new law lowering air pollution standards for ethanol plants sets a bad precedent.

Clovis resident Frank Dottle, an organizer of a local group that opposes construction of a plant just west of Clovis that would produce 108 million gallons of ethanol a year, felt the new standards would allow the company to make more money by producing more of the fuel additive at the plant, and that would create more pollution.

“It just leaves the door wide open to increase production any time they want to now,” Dottle said. “I think there will be a pretty good fight to change (EPA guidelines) to where it’s not like that.”

The Environmental Protection Agency modified the definition of “chemical process plants” earlier this month. According to the EPA’s Web site, the change for ethanol plants was made because creating ethanol for human consumption and as a fuel source are generally similar processes.

The new standards would allow 250 tons per year to be emitted in pollutant categories, up from 100 tons annually.

ConAgra Trade Group Spokesperson Melissa Baron said at this point, the EPA’s changes won’t affect the Clovis Ethanol plant, which would process corn into a fuel additive. The plant would be located about three-tenths of a mile from Clovis city limits off U.S. 60/84.

Double shot


From here:
A Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) is launched from the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70), during a joint Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Navy ballistic missile flight test. Approximately three minutes later, the SM-3 intercepted a unitary (non-separating) ballistic missile threat target, launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. Within moments of this launch, the USS Lake Erie also launched a Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) against a hostile air target in order to defend herself. The test was the eighth intercept, in 10 program flight tests. The test was designed to show the capability of the ship and its crew to conduct ballistic missile defense and at the same time defend herself. This test also marks the 27th successful hit-to-kill intercept in tests since 2001. U.S. Navy photo (RELEASED)

Happy Birthday!


To shipping containers!

Some history here.

New tool for tracking shipping in the Arabian Gulf

Reported here:
A NEW information centre able to track ships in the Gulf and prevent unlawful activities such as illegal dumping will open before the end of June, it was revealed yesterday.

The Oman-based centre will have offices in every GCC state to share information and enable authorities in each country to know details about the ships that dock at their ports.

General Organisation of Seaports (GOS) maritime affairs director Essa Yateem said that inspectors at each port would send information, such as the amount of oil and cargo carried by ships and whether or not there is a need for repairs, to the central information centre.

"The centre will then pass this on to other ports, enabling the vessels to be tracked port by port," he said.

"If, for example, a ship was found to be in need of certain repairs at one port and for some reason these repairs were not available, it wouldn't be able to bypass the next port because they will already know about it.

"This could prevent serious incidents."

Mr Yateem said that the illegal dumping of oil and wastes into the Gulf waters would also be minimised.

US arrests top Tamil Tiger agent

Reported as US arrests top LTTE agent:
The United States has arrested Karunakaran Kandasamy alias Karuna, a Tamil of Sri Lankan origin, on the charge of being the kingpin of a major racket to provide financial and material support to the LTTE, a banned organisation in the States.

A US embassy release said on Thursday that Kandasamy, arrested in Queens New York, was drawing on "America's financial resources and technical advances to further the war of terror in Sri Lanka and elsewhere."

"We refuse to allow this to continue," the US Attorney, Roslyn R Mauskopf, told the District Court in Brooklyn on Wednesday.

The LTTE was treating the US as a major source for money, arms and military technology, the embassy release said.

Somalia woes: It's the fault of the U.S.?


Or so it says here.

Funny how the UN never gets blamed for anything.

UPDATE: More America bashing here:
"Genuine multilateral concern to support the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Somalia has been hijacked by unilateral actions of other international actors -- especially Ethiopia and the United States -- following their own foreign policy agendas," the report from the Chatham House foreign affairs think-tank said.

The installation of a new Somali government in early 2007 with Ethiopian backing and US support to counter a rise in Islamism, plus the arrival of African Union peacekeepers, was "highly provocative", it said.
Perhaps Chatham House should put some people on the ground to help make it all better.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Somalia: Insurgents Defeated?


I have not been posting on Somalia recently because, quite frankly, the reporting on the situation there has been awful. Now, however, appears this headline Somalia says it has defeated insurgents.
Somalia's prime minister claimed victory Thursday over Islamic insurgents in Mogadishu, where nine days of battles using tanks and artillery left hundreds dead.

Western diplomats were skeptical of the claim. The diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of damaging relations with Somalia's interim government, said the insurgents had suffered many casualties and were running low on ammunition, but were not yet defeated.
***
The insurgents are linked to the Council of Islamic Courts, which was driven from power in December by Somali and Ethiopian soldiers, accompanied by U.S. special forces. The U.S. has accused the courts of having ties to al-Qaida.

The militants reject any secular government, and have sworn to fight until Somalia becomes an Islamic emirate.
I hope it's true, and also hope that the West is smart enough to provide immediate aid to Somalia as part of a plan to revive Somalia.

On U.S. Missile Defense



A piece from The Heritage Foundation titled The Next Steps for Missile Defense:
Congress and the American people need to under­stand that while the United States has made progress in putting missile defense systems in the field in recent years, in most respects the U.S. remains vul­nerable to this threat. This is no time for the U.S. to slow the pace of developing and deploying effective defenses against ballistic missiles. Indeed, the Bush Administration and Congress need to accelerate the effort by focusing on developing and deploying the systems that offer the greatest capability.
Democrats are not as strong in support of missile defense as they might be...
Further, the change in party control in Congress has put a number of missile defense skeptics in lead­ership positions. For example, Senator Carl Levin (D– MI), the new chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has stated that he considers it a mistake to buy missile defense interceptors before they have proven themselves in operational tests.[4] This seem­ingly anodyne statement actually reveals his inten­tion to stop many missile defense activities, because the interceptors and other elements of the defense must be purchased and fielded in order to be tested.
Progress has been made:
As of July 2006, 11 Aegis destroyers had been upgraded to track ballistic missiles in flight.[13] While an incorrect system setting blocked a test of the Standard Missile-3 on December 7, 2006, prior to that test, the Standard Missile-3 performed suc­cessful intercepts in seven out of eight attempts.[14] At this time, three cruisers and three destroyers are capable of engaging short-range and medium-range ballistic missiles in the midcourse stage of flight with the Standard Missile-3.[15] Finally, the Navy successfully tested the existing Standard Missile-2 Block IV against a short-range target missile in May 2006.[16] During the test, this system destroyed the incoming missile in the terminal phase of flight.
Among areas of described vulnerability:
In the near term, lesser missile powers, maybe including terrorist groups, could attack U.S. terri­tory by launching a short-range Scud missile from a container ship off the coast. Congress should express its concern about this threat and direct the Navy to take steps to counter it.
See also here and here.

Sea Lane Security: "Safe?"


Former Commander in Chief of U.S. Pacific Command Admiral Blair and his co-author, Professor Kenneth Lieberthal, say sea lanes are safer than youmight think in this work found as Smooth Sailing:The World's Shipping Lanes Are Safe :
But in reality the risks to maritime flows of oil are far smaller than is commonly assumed. First, tankers are much less vulnerable than conventional wisdom holds. Second, limited regional conflicts would be unlikely to seriously upset traffic, and terrorist attacks against shipping would have even less of an economic effect. Third, only a naval power of the United States' strength could seriously disrupt oil shipments, but the United States is more likely to protect shipping on the high seas than to do anything to endanger it. Fourth, if any country attempted to interfere with international shipping, a coalition would inevitably form to keep traffic flowing with manageable damage to oil deliveries and the global economy. finally, although all-out wars between major powers can seriously disrupt maritime shipping, the chances of such a conflict happening in the foreseeable future are remote.
The quoted selection is from a preview sectton of the entire article which must be purchased from Foreign Affairs as a pdf.

More on this later, though my initial reaction is that the point is well taken, though it seems to me that there are possible temporary disruptions at certain choke points that can cause "minor" disturbances in the flow of oil. Note the Admiral Blair and the Professor use the terms "seriously upset traffic" and "seriously disrupt."

Update: About sea lanes here. Added graphic which is an IMO product showing seaborne oil routes in 1994.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

ANZAC Day

Allies and friends. John has it covered here.

Remember the fallen.

How to help others, one step at a time


Assisting the local population in one area sometimes means taking on a lot of different missions, as is set out in this report on the first Army National Guard Well Drilling Unit:
We are fixing a well that was put in the district two years ago,” said Brown. “It was put in by the 747th Army Reserve Well Drilling unit out of Montana as a hand-pump well.”

Brown said not long after the 747th put in the well, they had to go back to the well site and change it to a solar-powered well.

“We heard through the villagers that the well was broken and they could not get water from it, so we went out to the site.”

Due to climate and the area, Brown said the well stopped working and people passing through the site tried to fix it themselves and ended up damaging it beyond use.
Because the well was broken, people were drawing water from a local oasis. An oasis is a stream of water that comes up from the ground. The people dig through the ground surface and the water seeps up through the dirt. The oasis is the only source of water for travelers and their animals with the well being damaged.

He went on to explain the process involved to fix the well. The team surveyed the site in order to determine what type of equipment they would need, how many people the project required and to test the water in the area.

“When we tested the water at the oasis, there were multiple types of E. coli and the location is where a recent outbreak of cholera was traced back to,” said Brown. “It becomes about saving peoples lives more than doing a job.”

According to Sgt. Maj. William Lee, the Mud Hog’s project manager, the oasis runs through an ancient camel trail that spans from one side of Ethiopia to another, with Djibouti being in the middle.

“The problem with the oasis is that it is open to the environment, there is nothing to protect the water from bacteria,” said Brown. “The animals use the bathroom in the water and their feces sit there and create all sorts of bacteria. Travelers bathe and drink from the water because they have no other choice. They then continue on their journey, spreading disease that they contract from the oasis.” Lee said because of this reason, fixing this particular well in the area was a top priority in order to protect the people and keep from spreading disease.
***
With the well complete and the water clean, people will go to the well for water instead of the oasis. The team also created a trough that runs down away from the pump on the well so that any excess water will run down and fill a trough for animals to drink out of. Although Brown and his team of well drillers successfully bettered the lives of thousands of villagers, the work does not stop here.

“We are always out and about throughout the area and we plan on checking up on the wells one way or another,” said Brown.
Hearts and minds.

BZ, Mud Hogs! (though I wonder if the locals will appreciate that name...)

From the lyrics of Cool Water"
All day I face the barren waste without the taste of water,
Cool water.
Old Dan and I with throats burned dry and souls that cry for water,
Cool water.

The night are cool and I'm a fool each stars a pool of water,
Cool water.
But with the dawn I'll wake and yawn and carry on to water,
Cool water.

ICC CCS Weekly Piracy Report (to 24 Apr 07)


Latest ICC Commercial Crime Services Piracy Report found here. Highlights:
2.04.2007: 0750 UTC: Posn 20:38.7N - 059:17.0E, 20 nm NE of Masirah Island, Oman.
Three pirates, wearing face masks, in a white coloured speedboat approached a LPG tanker underway. They attempted to board from the stbd quarter using grappling hooks attached to ropes. While the pirates were attempting to board there were three other speed boats at a distance of 1 nm following the ship. Ship raised the alarm; crew mustered and took evasive action. Pirates aborted their attempt and moved away.
***
6.04.2007: 1630 LT: Posn: 07:58.36S - 116:33.01E, Bennette Bay, Indonesia.
Robbers armed with guns in 10 speed boats fired shots and attempted to board a general cargo ship at anchor. Ship owners contacted the Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) and asked for assistance. PRC contacted the Indonesian SAR and Navy HQ who acknowledged and informed the PRC that they have relayed the message to the local authorities to render necessary assistance. Meanwhile, master took evasive action by heaving anchor and proceeding to sea. Later the master informed PRC that three police personnel had boarded the ship. No one was injured.
Arrow on map points to Masirah Island, off Oman.

Latest ONI Worldwide Threat to Shipping Report (to 24 Apr 07)


Latest ONI Worldwide Threat to Shipping Report (to 24 Apr 07) found here. Highlights:
1. GULF OF ADEN: There has been no let up in Gulf of Aden smuggling deaths, per
10 Apr reporting. Mariners are advised to be aware of the potential need to render assistance
to stranded migrants, or the need to ward off unscrupulous smugglers while transiting the Gulf
of Aden, particularly between Bosaso, Somalia (11:17.04N 049:10.56E) and Bir Ali, Yemen
(14:01.30N 048:20.30E).
***
3. INDIA: The Indian Navy has decided to install radars at seven places covering
around 500 km along Tamil Nadu coast to monitor activities at sea in the aftermath
of increased attacks on Indian fishermen, per 4 Apr reporting. Officials said the seven
radars will be fixed at the coastal areas of Rameswaram, Thondi, Jagathapattanam,
Mallipattnam, Kodiyakkari, Thopputhurai and Nagapattinam. The marine surveillance
radars would be attached to the commanding facility at the Rameswaram detachment
and would cover 500 km from Nagapattinam to Tuticorin, officials said. The instruments
also will be interlinked electronically bringing the entire Rameswaram coast under radar
network (LM: India Defence)
***
.
6. GULF OF ADEN: Product tanker reported attempted boarding 11 Apr while underway
in position 15:14N-052:25.8E. The tanker reported that two speedboats doing a speed of 18
knots were chasing the vessel with the intent to board. The tanker reported the speedboats
moved away after a Coalition helicopter arrived on scene. The ship and all crewmembers are
safe (IMB).
.
7. GULF OF ADEN: RO/RO vessel reported suspicious approach 12 Apr at 0600 UTC
in position 15:13N-052:57E. The suspicious speedboat was doing approximately 20 knots
and was steering in various directions. At one point it proceeded on an apparent collision
course with the RO/RO vessel for five minutes. Later it proceeded in a southerly direction
and disappeared out of sight. The speedboat did not come close enough for a positive
identification but the following description was provided: approximately six meters long,
light colored, two or three men on board. No other vessels were in the area at the time of the
encounter. ONI Comment: this incident occurred approximately 35 NM ESE from the
attempted boarding incident reported the day before (UKMTO).

Lockheed Martin First Quarter: Not affected much by Littoral Combat Ship cancellation


Reported as Earnings Preview: Lockheed Martin Corp:
In January, the Navy placed a 90-day stop-work order on one LCS, after costs far exceeded its initial $270 million price tag. After weeks of negotiations, the Navy canceled the company's second multimillion-dollar ship earlier this month.

A March 30 report by the Government Accountability Office also detailed cost and weight issues on a newly redesigned presidential helicopter raising further concerns on Lockheed's management of military programs.

Company officials appeared unfazed by the string of negative headlines, and touted the numerous multimillion-dollar, multiyear defense contracts secured this quarter.
***
CIBC World Markets Corp. research analyst Myles Walton expects the defense contractor to report a good quarter, and said results could beat estimates by 10 cents per share. Walton estimates Lockheed will report net income of $1.36 for the quarter.

"We don't expect financial impact from the LCS cancellation, though it is one of the first public performance blemishes on the company in some time," Watson said in a client note.
In other news, Lockheed objects to fixed-priced deals:
A Lockheed Martin executive on Tuesday bristled at the Navy's growing interest in fixed-price contracts for new military programs, saying the money-saving strategy could backfire by reducing the quality of the work performed.
***
Lockheed has repeatedly blamed cost overruns on LCS on revised Navy requirements and delays in getting material from subcontractors.

IMB Report on Piracy: Attacks trending down

Reported at ICC Commercial Crime Services:
More reporting and greater awareness leading to increased government reaction is proving a successful strategy in the battle against piracy, says IMB.

Worldwide piracy attacks fell for the third year in a row according to the latest annual report from the ICC International Maritime Bureau.

In 2006, there were 239 attacks on ships, compared to 276 in 2005 and 329 in 2004 says the annual report, which is based on statistics compiled by the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) in Kuala Lumpur.
As I have previously noted, the PRC reports include any reported boarding of a ship including climbing up the anchor chain and grabbing small items.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

One way to kill LNG sites in your backyard

Reported here:
Local and state governments would get full veto power over proposed
liquefied natural gas import terminals under legislation Maryland Democrats
Benjamin Cardin and Barbara Mikulski recently introduced in the US Senate.

The bill, S. 1174, would gut a part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005
that solidified the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's final permit
authority over LNG projects. Under the Cardin/Mikulski bill, FERC could not
act before getting consent from the state agencies charged with assessing
environmental and land-use issues.

The senators said their bill would give states the same veto authority
for onshore LNG proposals that they now enjoy for projects proposed off their
shores under the Deepwater Port Act.

Cardin and Mikulski both are coming under public pressure to stop the AES
Sparrows Point LNG project proposed just outside the city of Baltimore. The
Maryland Legislature and Governor Martin O'Malley also have expressed
opposition to the Sparrows Point project.

"As a highly hazardous and combustible fuel source, LNG poses serious
safety concerns to local communities from potential accidents, as well as
terrorism risks," Cardin said in a statement. "I am determined that state and
local governments have a say in determining the location of future LNG
facilities."

The bill is the first big challenge to FERC's pre-eminent LNG authority,
revisiting one of the more controversial EPAct provisions and offering a
rancorous debate on the extent of federal versus state power. By most
accounts, coastal states that are considering LNG applications, particularly
California, aggressively have sought to use the power they now have to slow or
stop the projects' progress.

An Odd update on the missing Aussie yacht crew


Okay, this missing yacht crew thing just gets stranger, as set out in this piece titled Missing ghost ship skipper 'somewhere dark':
RELATIVES of the skipper of a mystery yacht found off the coast of north Queensland believe they have a spiritual link with the missing man, that he may have been kidnapped and is still alive.

Hope Himing, niece of Derek Batten, 56, said today there were many unusual circumstances surrounding the yacht, which was found off the coast of Townsville last Wednesday.

Ms Himing said she and her mother had both felt spiritual contact from Derek, whom they believed was still alive but fighting for his life.

"My mum and I are both Spiritualists. My mum's had a really strong feeling from Des that he's somewhere dark and he can't see and I don't feel that he's dead either," Ms Himing said.

"I don't think he's got a lot left in him but I actually don't think he's dead, and so everything we can do to get (people) out there looking again is a huge thing."
Arrow on map points to general vicinity of yacht when found.

Don't kidnappers generally contact the families and demand something - like, oh, say, ransom? Wouldn't they take valuables, just like pirates would?

Previous post (with an update) on this mystery here.

UPDATE: Updates here, here

Remembering the Bonefish Rescue

Curt at Chaotic Synaptic Activity recalls a little naval history at A Date with Destiny - Part VI (which also has links to Parts I-V), when USS Bonefish had a fire and help was provided by a variety of components of the Navy team:
The LT Robert “Bob” Threlkeld was the Engineer Officer on CARR. CDR Johnson told him to get in the whaleboat, go over and find the CO of the BONEFISH, CDR Wilson, and bring him back aboard. Bob did. He told me he climbed aboard the sub and walked among the crew until he found the CO. He noted the smoke coming from the hatches was the worst thing he had ever smelled.
Three men died, but, as noted in the piece, without a courageous decision by the sub's CO, it could have been much worse.

Read the whole thing.

Alternate fuels make new refineries unlikely


A Chevron VP says Ethanol means no new refineries:
A top Chevron Corp. executive said Tuesday the push to displace as much as a fifth of the country's gasoline with ethanol will make it less likely the industry will build new domestic refineries.
***
The push for greater use of ethanol, now made from corn but presumed to be produced from switchgrass and other cellulosic sources in the future, has been framed largely in the context of a need for greater energy independence from imports.

But so has the need for more domestic refineries.

Some Republican lawmakers have cited the shortage of U.S. refining capacity as one reason for high gasoline prices, and the recent run-up in gasoline costs has been partly linked to unexpected refinery shutdowns.

No new U.S. refinery has been built since the 1970s. And while larger refineries have been expanded, U.S. demand for gasoline consistently requires some imports.

When asked if the company might invest in a new U.S. refinery, Robertson had a quick answer:

"Why would I invest in a refinery when you're trying to make 20 percent of the gasoline supply ethanol?"

Robertson said Chevron supports expanded use of ethanol and is "not in any way threatened" by the corn-based fuel. "But it has implications for investments in the United States in refining," he acknowledged, because less gasoline will be needed.
Meanwhile, over at Money's website, there's this: Behind high gas prices: The refinery crunch:
It's the same story every year.

Each spring, just before the summer driving season, gasoline prices skyrocket. And every year, these four words appear in news reports nationwide as a big reason for the runup: "lack of refining capacity."

Then experts call for more refineries, politicians pledge to make the dirty behemoths easier to build, but guess what? Nothing really happens. Next year, repeat story.

So why hasn't a new refinery been built in the U.S. since 1976?

"There have been calls every year this decade for new refining capacity, yet no new projects initiated," said Geoff Sundstrom, a spokesman for AAA, the motorist organization. "Refining capacity has not kept pace with demand for gasoline."
And, it looks like that trend will continue.
"Consumer demand just continues to grow, and we can't grow as fast at the refining level," said Charlie Drevna, executive vice president at the national Petrochemical and Refiners Association, which includes companies like Valero (Charts), ExxonMobil (Charts), Chevron (Charts), and ConocoPhillips (Charts). "But there are plenty of economic reasons why that hasn't happened."

First off, experts note, gasoline, like any commodity, is subject to big price swings. After all, in the late 1990s it was selling for less than $1 a gallon, hardly an encouraging number if you're a refinery exec looking at making a decades-long, multi-billion dollar investment.

While retail gasoline prices are currently near record highs at just below $3 a gallon, where they might be five years from now is a matter of debate.

Some experts say new investment, in both alternative energy and conventional sources, will boost supply and could cut prices in half. If a global recession hit, the drop could be even more dramatic.

Others say rampant demand, especially in the developing world, will keep prices from going anywhere but up. For an oil executive trying to decide on a refinery investment, picking who's right is a tough call.

Secondly, stringent environmental laws and effective community organizing have made it very difficult to build a new refinery in the U.S.

"Everyone is quick to say "look at these refiners, they're driving up the price,'" said Phil Flynn Flynn, senior market analyst at Alaron Trading in Chicago. "But if I wanted to build a refinery tomorrow, I couldn't do it."

And then there's the public's newfound concern over global warming and its supposed commitment to do something about it. President Bush himself has called for a 20 percent reduction in gasoline use over the next 10 years.

"What refining executive in their right fiscal mind would say, gee, we need to add refining capacity right now," said Drevna at the refiners' association.
A primer on refining here.

UPDATE: Platts reports on a phone conference between some energy bloggers and the head of th API during which ethanol was discussed:
The call occured just after the release of the study by Stanford University atmospheric scientist Mark Jacobson projecting significant increases in some atmospheric pollutants should ethanol use continue to increase.

Cavaney is concerned that for the industry, the increased use of ethanol is going to wind up in another round of lawsuits just like those the industry faces because of the use of MTBE. Cavaney said that during the move to reformulated gasoline, when it was clear that Mtbe was going to be an all but mandated additive, the industry said to the federal government, "If youre going to embrace something this big, you need to take a look at it."

API's fear is that such a review won't happen in the rush to use more ethanol, and if air quality decreases as a result, the lawsuits against the companies that have blended ethanol will be targets of a new round of litigation. "So I think maybe what this Mark Jacobson study may well do is help serve as a bit of catalyst to make sure that we do take a good look at this so we fully understand what the results are going to be, regardless of whether hes correct or not," Cavaney said.

Cavaney's skepticism toward ethanol -- not cellulosic, but corn-based -- comes through clearly. "The energy content is only about 25 percent less than it would be if you used regular gasoline," Cavaney said. "In the many years Ive been in this industry, I have never had a consumer, an elected official, tell me that I want to pay more for my fuel and I want to get less miles per gallon, and thats exactly what you get when you buy E85."
The entire transcript is available here.

Full disclosure: I will, someday (God willing and the creek don't rise), receive a couple of retirement checks from energy companies, including Chevron.

Tamil Tiger Air Corps Strikes for Second Time

The Sri Lankan group Tamil Tiger's small air unit has struck again, as reported here by the BBC:
The rebels said they used two aircraft and insisted Palaly base was hit. The air force said there was one plane and it had stopped it reaching its target.
***
The rebels said they used two aircraft and insisted Palaly base was hit. The air force said there was one plane and it had stopped it reaching its target.
***
Experts say the Tigers could have as many as five light aircraft, smuggled into the country in pieces to be assembled in jungle bases.

Claims and counterclaims of success are typical of this struggle in which thousands have died and both sides have well-honed media systems.

Report of initial attack in March here. Photos are from first attack "celebration."





Monday, April 23, 2007

2007 MilBlog Conference: Registration closes 4/27

You have until 4/27/07 to register for the 2007 MilBlog Conference.

Man, there are some impressive folks signed up - see here.

I wonder where my old autograph book has gone?

Pirate dangers lurking in Malacca Strait


A warning not to get too smug due to the decline in piracy in Malacca Strait:
Mukundan said a new problem posing a risk to seafarers was the rise in incidents of hostage-taking and kidnapping.

"It is a worrying trend, especially in Somalia and Nigeria," he said, referring to incidents in the first three months of 2007. He declined to elaborate.

The IMB will release its first quarter piracy report on Tuesday.

Mukundan said last year 263 crew were taken hostage or kidnapped worldwide, adding that three people had not been recovered, "believed to be killed."

Maritime Security: Increasing port security in ...Mexico


If we're going to protect ourselves from security breaches through ports, we are going to have to help our neighbor to the south, as is set out here:
Mexico, one of the United States' biggest trading partners, is attracting special attention not only because many goods produced in Mexico are moved through the country's ports but also because some Mexican ports process Asian goods bound for the United States.

Lázaro Cárdenas, on Mexico's west coast with a direct rail line to the Texas border, is receiving more Asian cargo from shippers seeking an alternative to the busy U.S. ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
***
Four Mexican ports – Altamira, Veracruz, Manzanillo and Lázaro Cárdenas – will receive radiation-detection equipment under the plan announced last week. According to Mexican media reports, the value of the equipment, maintenance and training amounts to between $30 million and $50 million. A U.S. government representative would not comment on the amount.

Plans are under way to develop a megaport at Punta Colonet, 150 miles south of San Diego. The port is expected to be the size of the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports combined.

Millions of cargo containers from throughout Asia are expected to be off-loaded at this new port each year, transferred to rail cars and shipped across the U.S.-Mexican border, probably at Yuma, Ariz.
***
Security expert Flynn said the biggest opportunities come at the factory or when the load is being carried miles cross-country to a port. The possibility of tampering also exists whenever the container is shifted to another mode of transport, such as when cargo boxes are transferred from ships to trucks or rail cars at intermodal facilities.

“Goods at rest are goods in peril,” Flynn said. “Anytime the system is slowed down, it's an opportunity to put hands in the cookie jar.”

Maritime Monday 56 at Fred Fry International

Once again, Fred's doing the "heavy lifting" on maritime matters at Fred Fry International: Maritime Monday 56.

Please go visit.

Speaking of Greenland

In my post here, part of the discussion was devoted to the SIRIUS dog sledge patrols of that island.

Reader Richard Evans, a retired Navy guy, works in Greenland, at Thule AIr Base (about which more here) conveniently located "695 miles North of the Arctic Circle, and 947 miles south of the North Pole on the Northwest side of the island of Greenland. The base is approximately 550 miles east of the North Magnetic Pole." Richard sent me a link to some of his photos of the area which is http://community.webshots.com/user/polarbearbait.

Polarbearbait? Hmmm.

Here's a shot from the "Summertime" folder showing part of the base:

7_16_ Tower

And shot of a dog team:

06105 (42)

Thanks, Richard! Go visit his photos!

By the way, here's how the Thule AB site lets you know what you get with Thule:
We experience twenty-four hours of sunlight from early April until late August. Total darkness usually starts around the third week of November and can last until the first brief sunrise, in February. Our winter storm season runs from 15 September through 15 May; however, we have experienced severe storms during every month of the year. During the brief summer months, the storms are normally high winds with little or no precipitation. During the winter months, storms are at best very challenging and must be taken seriously. We do provide parkas and other storm gear for our visitors, and everyone should bring a warm hat.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday Ship History: "Beans, Bullets, and Black Oil"


Beans, Bullets and Black Oil: The Story of Fleet Logistics Afloat in the Pacific During World War II, found here, is a remarkable work. As RADM Worrall Reed Carter says in his preface:
This is not a study in logistics. It is more a story of logistics. It is a story about the logistic services supplied to U.S. naval forces in the operating areas in the Pacific, 1941-45. It is largely an account of services rendered by means of floating facilities. It does not go into the magnificent production and supply by the industrial plants, shipyards, and naval bases of continental United States and hawaii which made possible the floating bases of distribution and maintenance. This is a story of the support of the fleet into the far reaches of the Pacific in its campaign against the Japanese. It is the story of the distribution to the fleet of the sinews of war, at times, at places, and in quantities unsuspected by the enemy until it was too late for him to do much to oppose it. This book has little or nothing to say about the building, equipping, and fitting out of new vessels, or the manufacture and shipping of the thousands of tons of thousands of different items by continental sources, without which colossal accomplishment there could have been no drive across the Pacific. This account does not attempt to furnish complete statistical figures; such statistics are matters for the technical bureaus of the Navy. This is, rather, an attempt to spin a yarn of the logistics afloat in the Pacific Fleet, in order that those interested in naval history may realize that naval warfare is not all blazing combat.
And a quite a tale it is. As Adm Raymond Spruance writes in his Introduction:
A sound logistic plan is the foundation upon which a war operation should be based. If the necessary minimum of logistic support cannot be given to the combatant forces involved, the operation may fail, or at best be only partially successful.

In a war, one operation normally follows another in a theater and each one is dependent upon what has preceded it and what is anticipated. The logistic planning has to fit into and accompany the operational planning. the two must be closely coordinated, and the planners for each must look as far into the future as they can in order to anticipate and prepare for what lies ahead.

A history of the sum total of American logistics during World War II would be forced to cover a tremendous field. The present volume deals only with naval logistics in the Pacific. As such, its scope is limited to a not-too--great portion of our entire national logistic effort. However, the area involved--the Pacific Ocean--is the one where our maximum naval effort was expended. Distances in that ocean were very great, and the resources available to us form friendly countries in the Western Pacific were comparatively minor, in both variety and quantity. Nearly everything our forces required had to come form or through the United States, with the exception of the large amounts of petroleum products originating in the Caribbean area and moving west through the Panama Canal.

The study of our naval logistic effort in the Pacific, as outlined in the present volume, brings out our dependence on both shore bases and mobile floating bases such as are exemplified by Service Squadron Ten. Each had its advantages, and neither alone could have done the job.
***
The growth of Service Squadron Ten, its movement across the Pacific to successive bases at Eniwetok, then Ulithi and then Leyte, and its continuous and most efficient service to the fleet at these and numerous other bases where it stationed ships and representatives as our operations demanded, are achievements of which all Americans can be justly proud, but about which most of them have little or no knowledge.
RADM Carter was tasked to provide some of that knowledge. And his tale begins:
From 7 December1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, until they admitted defeat in August 1945, our fleet continuously grew. During those stirring and difficult times, the accounts of ship actions, air strikes, and amphibious operations make up the thrilling combat history of the Pacific theater. Linked inseparably with combat is naval logistic support, the support which makes available to the fleet such essentials as ammunition, fuel, food, repair services--in short, all the necessities, at the proper time and place and in adequate amounts. This support, from advanced bases and from floating mobile service squadrons and groups, maintained the fleet and enabled it to take offensive action farther from home supply points than was ever before thought possible, and this is the story which will be told here.
That things were changed forever by the efforts of a few during that war is best understood by Fleet sailors when they read about the changes WWII made in as routine an operation as refueling at sea:
Fueling under way at sea was then looked upon somewhat as an emergency stunt which might have to be resorted to in wartime, and therefore probably required occasional practice. Few ever thought it would become so routine a matter that it would be accomplished with ease in all kinds of weather except gales.
And how the Service Force grew!
In 1940 the Base Force Train included a total of 51 craft of all types, among them 1 floating drydock of destroyer capacity. By 1945 the total was 315 vessels, every one of them needed. The 14 oilers which were all the Navy owned in 1940 had leaped to 62, in addition to merchant tankers which brought huge cargoes of oil, aviation gasoline, and Diesel fuel to bases where the Navy tankers took them on board for distribution to the fleet. No less than 21 repair ships of various sizes had supplanted the 2 the Navy had 5 years before. The battleships had 3 floating drydocks, the cruisers 2, and the destroyers 9, while small craft had 16. Hospital ships had risen from 1 to 6, and in addition there were 3 transport evacuation vessels, while the ammunition ships numbered 14, plus 28 cargo carriers and 8 LST's (Landing Ship, Tanks).
That was not the only growth,

by the end of July 1945, a few weeks before hostilities ended, it had no less than 2,930 ships, including those of Service Force Seventh Fleet...
***
There were 305 planes in the Utility Wing. The total of personnel was 30,369 officers and 425,945 enlisted men, or approximately one-sixth of the entire naval service at the peak of the war.
Every ship required a trained crew to man the engine rooms, the guns, chart the courses, load the "beans, bullets and black oil" and then deliver them to the rest of the fleet. And every base required sailors to function.

Were there heroes among them? Start with the man at the top:
At the time of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor, Rear Admiral W.L. Calhoun commanded the Base Force (NB E1-during the war the Base Force became the Service Force), the there and had his flag in the U.S.S. Argonne. Overnight his duties increased enormously. Thousands of survivors of the attack had nothing but the clothes they wore, which in many cases consisted of underwear only. These naval personnel had to be clothed, fed, quartered, re-recorded, and put on new payrolls with the utmost expedition in order to make them available for assignment anywhere. There were hundreds of requests for repairs, ammunition, and supplies of all kinds.

Calhoun expanded his staff to three times its original size, and despite the excitement, confusion, diversity of opinion, uncertainty, and shortages of everything, he brilliantly mustered order from what could easily have been chaos. Calhoun, soon promoted to vice admiral, continued as Commander of the Service Force until 1945, and the remarkable cooperation, hustle, and assistance rendered by his command are unforgettable. This was especially true in the advanced areas. Any duty to which the term "service" could be applied was instantly undertaken on demand; this contributed enormously to the fleet efficiency, and, in consequence, to the progress of the campaign. No single command contributed so much in winning the war with Japan as did the Service Force of the Pacific Fleet. It served all commands, none of which could have survived alone. Neither could all of them combined have won without the help of the Service Force. It is deserving of much higher public praise than it ever received, and, most of all, its activities should be a matter of deepest concern and study by all who aspire to high fleet commands.
How tough were things at the beginning? The operations against the Japanese in the Java Sea provide an example:
Four days previous--3 February--the Japanese had bombed us out of Soerabaja, and on the 10th practically the entire Asiatic Fleet, with
Train, had gathered at Tjilatjap, Java. But there was not security anywhere. A week later, on 17 February, the Trinity had to go all the way to Abadan, Iran, for oil. The Japanese had shut off or captured every East Indian source except a very small supply from the interior of Java, so this dangerous voyage of more than 5,000 miles was necessary. The oiler Pecos was also scheduled to refill in the Persian Gulf, but was sunk--with the Langley survivors on board--by the enemy on 1 March, just after getting started for Colombo, Ceylon.
And the Dolittle Raiders whose 65th anniversary we just celebrated:
Then came the very dramatic raid on Tokyo, the comparative value of which may never fully decided. It kept carriers, tankers, other ships, and planes away from the South Pacific where they might well have been used to turn the balance from defensive to offensive weeks earlier. However, the heartening effect upon the nation may have been worth it. On 2 April, Task Force Eighteen, composed of the carrier Hornet (Captain Marc Mitscher), the heavy cruiser Vincennes, Destroyer Division Twenty-two, and the tanker Cimarron (Captain H.J. Redfield), sailed from San Francisco. On 8 April, Cimarron fueled destroyers Gwin and Grayson. The next day which was set for fueling was too rough. On the 10th the Vincennes was fueled and on the 11th the remaining destroyers took some from the Hornet. On 12 April the Hornet supplied 400,000 gallons of fuel oil in latitude 38°30'N., longitude 175°00' W. On the next day Task Force Eighteen and Task Force Sixteen (Halsey) joined. The latter was composed of the Enterprise; cruisers Northampton, Nashville, and Salt Lake City; Destroyer Division Six; and the tanker Sabine. Three days later, 17 April (14 April was lost crossing the 180° Meridian), the Sabine fueled the Enterprise group, and the Cimarron did the same for the Hornet group, with some destroyers getting their fuel from the heavy ships. This was at latitude 35°'30' N., longitude 157°00' E., approximately. There the destroyers and tankers left the striking force and turned back on an easterly course. After dispatching the B-25's on their Tokyo mission the next day the whole force retired at high speed to the eastward and on 21 April were met and again fueled by the Cimarron and Sabine in latitude 35°45' N., longitude 176°00' E., approximately. Then all proceeded to Pearl, where it was hurry up all logistics and get off to the South Pacific where the Japs looked very threatening...
These are but early highlights. This work needs to be read and appreciated.