Blaze of gunfire

Blaze of gunfire

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: "Guadacanal Diary" (1944)

75 yeara ago, in August 1942, U.S. Marines landed on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Out of this assault, which involved Navy, Army and Marines came a hard fought victory which lasted into February 1943.

As set out here:
Perhaps the entire period between 7 August 1942, when the first Marines landed in the Solomons 1, and the final evacuation of Guadalcanal by the Japanese should be labeled "The Battle of Guadalcanal." Hardly a day went by during that 6 months which did not see action on land, in the air, or on the sea.

Out of this battle came Richard Tregaskis' Guadalcanal Diary which became a movie and then this radio version.



An excellent look at the naval aspects of the action at Guadalcanal is James Hornfischer's Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal.

We interviewed Mr. Hornfischer on Midrats back in 2011:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Legal Niceties: "Navy to Commission Middle East-based Expeditionary Sea Base Lewis B. Puller as a Warship "

USNI News reports Navy to Commission Middle East-based Expeditionary Sea Base Lewis B. Puller as a Warship. I've highlighted the key phrase below:
U.S. Navy photo by MC1 David Kolmel
Converting ESB-3 to a commissioned warship (USS) will allow U.S. Central Command and 5th Fleet the flexibility needed to meet challenges in the region,” Navy spokesman Lt. Seth Clarke told USNI News. “Potential missions, such as mine-countermeasure operations and special operations forces staging, must be conducted by a warship under the law of armed conflict. In order to provide combatant commanders the maximum amount of flexibility, the Navy decided to commission ESB-3 as a U.S. warship once she arrived in [Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command]/U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.”

Clarke said the ship’s capabilities development document back in 2012 noted that the ship could temporarily commission as a warship if needed for emergent operational requirements. But, he added, “instead of being a temporary change, USNS Lewis B. Puller will be commissioned permanently as a listed warship (USS). Because of the nature of the evolving threats in the region, permanent conversion to USS reduces any ambiguity of ESB-3’s status and eliminates the administrative distraction that a temporary conversion creates while streamlining the command and control process. In 2016, the Navy began the necessary steps to commission the ship as a warship. All echelons, including the Fleet, [Military Sealift Command], the Type Commander, the Combatant Commander, and [chief of naval operations], agreed that permanently commissioning ESB as a warship was the best way forward.”

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"Penalties for NGO operations to rescue irregular immigrants at sea" An Answer from the EU Parliment and Why Some NGOs May Be a Problem

During last Sunday's Midrats Episode 397: Migrants, NGOs & the Mediterranean with Claude Berube, Chris Rawley, one topic of discussion was what law governs non-governmental organizations (NGOs) out there in the Mediterranean who are either "rescuing" various forms of migrants and delivering to an EU country or "seeking to prevent" said migrants from reaching EU shores.

As suggested during the discussion, the answer appears to lie with the country whose flag the "rescuer" or "preventer" ship is sailing under. It seems this question was raised in some form to an EU Parliment Commission, which rendered this advice in March 2017. Here's the question from January 2017:
Between January and December 2016, a total of 173 000 irregular immigrants reached Italy by sea, more than in the whole of 2015. The EU sea rescue operation, Triton, is considered to be acting as a powerful magnet for those attempting to migrate illegally from Libya to Italy. Irregular immigrants who have come by the central Mediterranean route are for the most part economic migrants, who are not entitled to international protection. This latter category of migrants includes Nigerians, Ivorians, Senegalese, Malians, Guineans, and Gambians.

In October last year 40% of all operations in the central Mediterranean to rescue irregular immigrants at sea were carried out by NGOs. Frontex experts say that NGO sea rescue operations take place quite close to the Libyan coast, thus tempting immigrants to set out on the perilous crossing. NGO personnel have also guided immigrants’ boats by means of light signals. Frontex has, in addition, put forward serious accusations to the effect that NGO personnel make it impossible to gather evidence about people smugglers and that they encourage immigrants to refuse to cooperate with Italian and EU authorities. In one case irregular immigrants were even brought directly from North Africa to Italy by a vessel owned by an NGO.

According to a recent report by the Austrian military intelligence service, the EU will face a wave of 15 million economic migrants from Africa within the next few years if irregular immigration to Europe is not brought under control. In order to stop irregular immigration, sea rescue operations by NGOs, given that they are fuelling migration, should be made punishable by law. Denying licences to NGOs which take part in operations to rescue irregular migrants at sea might be one way to penalise such organisations.

Will the Commission, in cooperation with Member States, take steps to ensure that penalties are imposed for NGO sea rescue operations to pick up irregular immigrants?
And here's the answer:
The Commission would like to refer the Honourable Member to its reply to the major interpellation on the cooperation between human traffickers and NGOs engaged in search and rescue in the Mediterranean that was debated during the plenary session on 16 March 2017.

The duty to render assistance to persons or vessels in distress at sea is an obligation under international law(1). International law is binding on States, who are obliged to subject shipmasters of private, commercial or military vessels to the corresponding duty to render assistance. The shipmasters of vessels of non-governmental organisations (NGO) are therefore bound to respect the same obligations of international law as shipmasters of State vessels.

European Border and Coast Guard's Risk Analysis 2017 does not constitute evidence of NGOs having cooperated or colluded with criminal smuggling networks to intentionally facilitate unauthorised entry to the EU. This shall however be seen as a reminder that close coordination between all participants in the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) operations in the Mediterranean is key to the effective implementation of the existing rules and to ensure the safety of all concerned, migrants and crews alike.

The Commission has not received any official information from the competent national authorities about investigations or prosecution of NGOs involved in search and rescue activities for having cooperated with criminal smuggling networks. It is for the national authorities to assess whether the conduct of any NGO or other legal or natural person that rescue people in a concrete case can be sanctioned under EU or national law as a criminal activity.


(1) This principle is enshrined in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) (Art. 98) as well as the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR). In addition, the applicable legal framework includes additional treaties related to maritime traffic, salvage and International Maritime Organisation (IMO) resolutions.
As set out here, the European Commission "is the executive of the European Union and promotes its general interest."

The European Border and Coast Guard's Risk Analysis 2017 can be found here:
A staggering 96% of newly-arrived migrants interviewed in the Central Mediterranean region stated that they had used the services of smuggling networks to illegally enter the EU. This suggests that irregular migration via Libya is entirely dependent on the services of the smuggling networks. Therefore, any activity that would disrupt or deter these groups could significantly curb the flow of irregular
migrants into the EU.
***
In 2016, the Central Mediterranean saw the highest number of migrant arrivals ever recorded from sub-Sahara, West Africa and the Horn of Africa (181 459 migrants, increase of 18% compared with 2015). This trend, which is consistent with previous year-on-year increases, shows that the Central Mediterranean has become the main route for African migrants to the EU and it is very likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.Specifically, 89% of migrants arrived from Libya, making Italy the main entrypoint to the EU. As a result, most of the EU, civilian and NGO vessels in the region focused their Search and Rescue(SAR) activities on migrant boats departing from Libya.

Important changes were observed on this migratory route in 2016. During 2015, and the first months of 2016, smuggling groups instructed migrants to make satellite phone calls to the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome to initiate targeted rescues on the high seas. SAR operations were mainly undertaken by Italian law-enforcement, EUNAVFOR Med or Frontex vessels with NGO vessels involved in less than 5% of the incidents. As shown in Figure 5, more than half of all rescue operations were initiated in this manner. From June until October 2016, however, the pattern was reversed. Satellite phone calls to MRCC Rome decreased sharply to 10% and NGO rescue operations rose significantly to more than 40% of all incidents.

Since June 2016, a significant number of boats were intercepted or rescued by NGO vessels without any prior distress call and without official information as to the rescue location. NGO presence and activities close to, and occasionally within, the 12-mile Libyan territorial waters nearly doubled compared with the previous year, totalling 15 NGO assets (14 maritime and 1 aerial). In parallel, the overall number of incidents increased dramatically.

The statistical data show that the criminal networks behind illegal bordercrossings along the Central Mediterranean route continued to exploit criminal business opportunities by handling a great demand for smuggling services and thus posed formidable challenges for EU border control. Libyan-based smugglers,in particular, heavily relied on the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), and associated SAR as well as humanitarian assistance efforts, turning it into a distinct tactical advantage. This is not a new strategy, but the scope of the problem is alarming.

In this context, it transpired that both border surveillance and SAR missions close to, or within, the 12-mile territorial waters of Libya have unintended consequences. Namely, they influence smugglers’ planning and act as a pull factor that compounds the difficulties inherent in border control and saving lives at sea. Dangerous crossings on unseaworthy and overloaded vessels were
organised with the main purpose of being detected by EUNAVFOR Med/Frontex and NGO vessels.

Apparently, all parties involved in SAR operations in the Central Mediterranean unintentionally help criminals achieve their objectives at minimum cost, strengthen their business model by increasing the chances of success. Migrants and refugees – encouraged by the stories of those who had successfully made it in the past – attempt the dangerous crossing since they are aware of and rely on humanitarian assistance to reach the EU.
So it may not be a matter of "collusion" but it sure seems like the "do-gooders" may be a bigger part of the problem than you might have thought. And, given that perhaps only a few of the "flag states" of their ships are being impacted by the wave of migrants, it seems "State control" might be a little weak. A list of these NGO ships and their flags was in the Berube and Rawly CIMSEC post THE MED MIGRANT CRISIS AND DEFEND EUROPE.

UPDATE: The EU debates of 16 March 2017 can be found here:
David Coburn, author. – Mr President, I think this is a good innovation – more like Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons, the Mother of Parliaments, so perhaps the centre of the European democracy is following the Mother of Parliaments.

Cooperation between human traffickers and NGOs engaged in search and rescue in the Mediterranean.

On 15 December 2016, the Financial Times, which I am sure you all know, published several excerpts from leaked Frontex reports that suggest a high level of cooperation between smugglers and NGOs:

- ‘…criminal networks were smuggling migrants directly on an NGO vessel’;

- ‘…clear indications before departure on the precise direction to be followed in order to reach the NGO boats’

- ‘…people rescued by NGO vessels were often “not willing to cooperate with debriefing experts at all, with some claiming that they were warned not to cooperate with Italian law enforcement or Frontex”.’

This period has also witnessed a surge in NGO activity in the region and a sharp drop in rescues in response to distress signals. Frontex suggested the latter is due to ‘NGOs cooperating closer to Libyan territorial waters’ or even the lights used by rescue boats, which the agency said acted ‘as a beam for the migrants’.

Does the Commission believe that such actions constitute cooperation with the smugglers, and if not, could it define what would?

Does it believe that such actions constitute collusion, and if not would it define what would?

Does the EU provide any financial assistance to NGOs engaged in search and rescue in the Mediterranean?

Is Frontex hiding anything we should all know about, since we are paying them? I think this place should know more.



Julian King, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, I would like to thank you for the opportunity afforded by those questions to clarify one or two issues.

First, as has been reiterated in the EU action plan against migrant smuggling, the duty to render assistance to persons or vessels in distress at sea is an obligation under international law. This is a binding obligation on states, who are obliged to ask ship masters of private, commercial or military vessels to render assistance. The ship masters vessels of nongovernmental organisations are bound by the same duties as ship masters of state vessels.

Second, it does not help to make, if I may say so, general assumptions on the role of all civil society organisations. These organisations are mostly active in support of governments and international organisations. At the same time, rules must be respected, and close coordination between all involved in search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean is obviously key to ensuring the safety of all concerned, migrants and crews alike.

Coordination of the rescue efforts is ensured primarily by the state responsible for the region where an incident is taking place. Any assisting vessel, be it private owned or state controlled, must therefore follow the instructions of the responsible Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre. So to take this example, in the case of search and rescue in the central Mediterranean region, coordination must take place with the Italian authorities.

Third, when it comes to criminalisation of migrant smuggling, we need to be clear about the existing legal framework. According to existing EU legislation, facilitation of unauthorised entry is the act of intentionally assisting a person who is not a national of a Member State to enter or transit across the territory of a Member State in breach of that Member State’s immigration laws. National authorities are the competent body to judge this. They are also competent to assess whether the conduct of any NGO, or indeed other legal or natural person, rescuing people in a specific case could amount to a form of collusion or cooperation with migrant smuggling networks.

So far the Commission has not received any official information from any Member States about investigations or prosecutions of NGOs involved in search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean for having participated in migrant smuggling.

Finally I would like to emphasise that the Commission does not provide any financial assistance to NGOs engaged in search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean. EU funding through the International Security Fund can support search and rescue operations at sea which arise during maritime border surveillance operations. These are the exclusive responsibility of public authorities, hence search and rescue operations carried out by third parties, such as NGOs, are not eligible under the Internal Security Fund for EU funding.

Monday, August 14, 2017

From Foreign Affairs: Ely Ratner and "How to Stop China in the South China Sea"

Probably buried behind the paywall, but a good look in Foreign Affairs at the mess in the South China Sea in How to Stop China in the South China Sea by Ely Ratner:
Time is running out to stop China’s advance. With current U.S. policy faltering, the Trump administration needs to take a firmer line. It should supplement diplomacy with deterrence by warning China that if the aggression continues, the United States will abandon its neutrality and help countries in the region defend their claims. Washington should make clear that it can live with an uneasy stalemate in Asia—but not with Chinese hegemony.
***
Then, in early 2014, China’s efforts to assert authority over the South China Sea went from a trot to a gallop. Chinese ships began massive dredging projects to reclaim land around seven reefs that China already controlled in the Spratly Islands, an archipelago in the sea’s southern half. In an 18-month period, China reclaimed nearly 3,000 acres of land. (By contrast, over the preceding several decades, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam had reclaimed a combined total of less than 150 acres.) Despite assurances by Chinese President Xi Jinping in September 2015 that China had “no intention to militarize” the South China Sea, it has been rapidly transforming its artificial islands into advanced military bases, replete with airfields, runways, ports, and antiaircraft and antimissile systems. In short order, China has laid the foundation for control of the South China Sea.
***
President Barack Obama said in a joint press conference with Xi, “The United States welcomes the rise of a China that is peaceful, stable, prosperous, and a responsible player in global affairs.” Yet Washington never made clear what it would do if Beijing failed to live up to that standard—as it often has in recent years. The United States’ desire to avoid conflict meant that nearly every time China acted assertively or defied international law in the South China Sea, Washington instinctively took steps to reduce tensions, thereby allowing China to make incremental gains.
***
U.S. policymakers should recognize that China’s behavior in the sea is based on its perception of how the United States will respond. The lack of U.S. resistance has led Beijing to conclude that the United States will not compromise its relationship with China over the South China Sea. As a result, the biggest threat to the United States today in Asia is Chinese hegemony, not great-power war. U.S. regional leadership is much more likely to go out with a whimper than with a bang.
***
Consider Beijing’s reaction to the landmark decision handed down in July 2016 by an international tribunal constituted under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which ruled that most of China’s claims in the South China Sea were illegal under international law. The United States and other countries called on China to abide by the decision but took no steps to enforce it. So China simply shrugged it off and continued to militarize the islands and police the waters around them. Although the United States has continued to make significant shows of force in the region through military exercises and patrols, it has never made clear to China what these are meant to signal. U.S. officials have often considered them “demonstrations of resolve.” But they never explained what, exactly, the United States was resolved to do. With that question unanswered, the Chinese leadership has had little reason to reverse course.
***
In order to alter China’s incentives, the United States should issue a clear warning: that if China continues to construct artificial islands or stations powerful military assets, such as long-range missiles or combat aircraft, on those it has already built, the United States will fundamentally change its policy toward the South China Sea. Shedding its position of neutrality, Washington would stop calling for restraint and instead increase its efforts to help the region’s countries defend themselves against Chinese coercion.
***
And in the event that China failed to back down from its revisionist path, the United States could live with a more militarized South China Sea, as long as the balance of power did not tilt excessively in China’s favor. This is why China would find a U.S. threat to ratchet up military support for other countries with claims in the sea credible. Ensuring that countries in the region can contribute to deterring Chinese aggression would provide more stability than relying solely on Chinese goodwill or the U.S. military to keep the peace.
***
Clarity of purpose is essential in dealing with the South China Sea. The alternative is for the very patient Chinese to present the region with its hememony as a fait accompli.

Weakness never works well in international relations. See, e.g. Munich Agreement

See also Progress in the South China Sea? by Lynn Kuok which is outside the paywall.

U. S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report 10 July - 9 August 2017 and HORN OF AFRICA/GULF OF GUINEA/ SOUTHEAST ASIA: Piracy Analysis and Warning Weekly (PAWW) Report for 3 - 9 August 2017




Saturday, August 12, 2017

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: United Nations Radio "The Korea Story" (1953)

Might be timely.

Two special radio shows from United Nations Radio

First is narrated by Dick Powell:




Second, "The Quiet War" narrated by Helen Hayes:



Korean War history from USMA West Point Deprtment of History here. More here

More at The Korean War Project.

Art work depicting Inchon landing by Herbert C. Hahn (1951) from U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command "Remembering the Forgotten War: Korea, 1950-1953".

On Midrats 13 August 2017 - Episode 397: "Migrants, NGOs & the Mediterranean" with Claude Berube, Chris Rawley

Please join us at 5pm EDT on 13 August 2017 for Midrats Episode 397: "Migrants, NGOs & the Mediterranean" with Claude Berube, Chris Rawley
What role are Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) playing in the ongoing crisis in the Mediterranean Sea as wave after of wave of people try to make the passage to Europe?

Are they doing good? Are they filling a gap of lawlessness caused by government inaction, or increasing the problem?

What are the motivations and goals of governments, international organizations, traditional NGOs, and new players on the scene?

To discuss these question and related issues they raised in their two part series at War On the Rocks and CIMSEC will be returning guests Claude Berube and Chris Rawley.

Join us live if you can or pick the show up later by clicking here. Or you can also pick the show up later by visiting either our iTunes page or our Stitcher page.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Maritime Trade Routes Are Vital, But "90% of World's Goods" Are Not Transported By Sea

You can find this or something like it nearly everywhere shipping by sea is mentioned
Maritime transport is essential to the world’s economy as over 90% of the world’s trade is carried by sea and it is, by far, the most cost-effective way to move en masse goods and raw materials around the world.
Attempting to track down the source of that 90% figure is elsusive, as is trying to determine what that 90% covers. Is it in terms of "value" or "tonnage" or "volume" or some other quantity?

Now, as you might gather if you've visited here before, I am as pro-seaborne commerce as anyone, but . . .

Let's look at some common sense facts beginning with trade among neighboring states that share a border. Factoid from World Ocean Review:
With respect to the value of the goods, about 23 per cent of world trade is between countries with a common border. This percentage has remained fairly constant over recent decades. Between continents, however, it differs a great deal depending on their level of development. In Europe and North America the proportion is the highest at 25 to 35 per cent. This trade is predominantly transacted by road and rail. Cargo between countries without a common border is carried mainly by sea, although increasing quantities of manufactured goods are being forwarded by air. Growth rates for air freight are more than double those for shipping in recent years. Which mode of transport handles how much cargo depends on the (relative) transportation costs and the value-to-weight ratio of the goods – the higher the value per unit of weight, the less significant the cost of transportation. Punctuality and reliability are considered more important for valuable commodities.
Makes sense. For example, trade betwee the U.S. and Canada or Mexico does involve a lot of road and rail transport and includes pipelines, too. The EU and other countries have a lot of cross border trade. On the other hand, 90% might be a good number for countries like Great Britain or Australia, because they are islands without directly bordering states.

That 23% "common border" trade  would seem to cut the amount of "world trade"carried by ships down to 77%, wouldn't it? Well, no. Even between countries with a common border, there may be ocean shipping of some products - like between the U.S. and Mexico. See below.

Internal pipelines, river, rail and trucking also account for move of goods internally in the U.S. Some of which may distribute imported goods, but I seriously doubt that this statement from the Atlantic is accurate:
Almost 90 percent of everything we buy arrives via ship, writes Rose George in her actually mind-blowing new book Ninety Percent of Everything, published tomorrow, which covers her months-long adventure with the shipping industry — the biggest business that you know nothing about.
In addition to the fact that some of what is bought in the U.S.  is produced internally in the U.S. or in our adjoining North American countries, there is this information The Bureau of Transportation Statistics:
Marine Transportation System transports the products that American businesses and 
The residents use everyday. By value, vessels carry 53 and 38 percent of U.S. imports and exports, respectively (as shown in Figure 1)— the largest share of any mode.


Figure 1—U.S. Imports and Exports Vessel Value by Mode of Transportation, 2011

Percentages based upon millions of U.S. dollars
Figure 1:

So, by value, 53% of imports (2012 numbers) arive by ship and 47% by other means.

The stuff that arrives by ship would have to be pretty vital if it is to account for "90% of what we buy."

A couple of more figures:



And one more showing NAFTA cross border trade increases from April 2016 to April 2017:


So,what's it mean? To paraphrase a famous deposition quote, "It depends on what your definition of "world's trade" is."

Now, it might mean "international trade" defined here as:
The two main data items used in the concept of international trade are imports and exports.

Imports of goods measures the value of goods that enter the domestic territory of a country irrespective of their final destination.

Exports of goods similarly measures the value of goods which leave the domestic territory of a country, irrespective of whether they have been processed in the domestic territory or not.

Imports (and exports) of services reflect the value of services provided to residents of other countries (or received by residents of the domestic territory).
or perhaps this:
International trade is any legal exchange of goods and services between countries. When a business in one country exports goods or services to consumers in another country, it is called international trade. International trade also takes place when consumers in one country import goods and services from a foreign producer.
The first definition uses the word "value of goods."

Then there is this from the World Shipping Council:
The exchange of capital, goods and services across international borders is known as international trade and in many countries it represents a significant share of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP.) Liner ships transport approximately 60 percent of the value of seaborne trade or more than US $4 trillion worth of goods annually.
"Liner ships" are container ships, Roll-On/Roll-Off, car and truck carriers and break bulk ships. It does not include tankers. But tanker of all types are significant as noted here:
The single most significant type of cargo worldwide is crude oil, which alone accounts for roughly a quarter of all goods transported by sea.
In addition to crude oil you can assume that refined petroleum products and other liquids as well as natural gas in various forms (LNG, LPG) also account for a big chunk of shipping.

Add 60% for liner shipping and 25% for crude oil and you get 85% of the "value" of sea trade - or do you? What is the measure used in "a quarter of all goods transported by sea" when referring to crude oil? Volume? Value? Tonnage? Are we comparing apples to oranges?

So, after all that, what do we know?

Pretty sure that any one of the 90% figures referred to above is inaccurate - the number probably is somewhere around 70% at most.

Your calculations may vary, but in my view it is not necessary to hype the value of sea shipping but it is a good idea to keep a doubtful eye on those who repeat a high number without supporting data.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: Sci-Fi Radio "Dark Benediction" by Walter M. Miller

Don't know anything about this series except it featured "plays" written by some of the giants of science fiction. Here's pre-zombie zombie show by Walter M. Miller, author of A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959) one of the great science fiction books of all time.

Here's Dark Benediction:



More about Sci-Fi Radio here:
Sci-Fi Radio was a relatively modern effort. It was produced out of
Commerce, Texas, and broadcast on National Public Radio during 1989-90. The producers drew their inspiration from some of the best stories from some of the best science fiction authors of the 20th century, including Ray Bradbury, Roger Zelazny, Henry Kuttner, and Poul Anderson. There is an impressive array of sound, and while the acting was occasionally amateurish, at least the stories were—for the most part—ones which no one else had thought to produce before.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Demographics of the Mediterranean Migration

Well, if you thought the "migrants/refugees" were the wretched refuse of war-torn states and consisted mostly of pitiful family groups, the UNHCR has some statistics for you:


Looking at these charts, Bangladesh, Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire), Guinea and Nigeria lead the pack in numbers, totalling a little over 40189 from Jan 2017. That's 42% of the total on on the chart.

War-torn Syria - 6.5% or a little over 6000 people.

If you include Eritrea as another war affected state, the two "war states" together count for under 10% of the totals reported.

And the demographics? 20% women and children, 80% males. Actually, women make up a little less than 12% of 113,628.

Here's another chart this one from IOM- UN's Internation Organization for Migration:


Confused? As the UNHCR recognizes, there is a vast difference between "migrants" and "refugees":
Refugees are persons fleeing armed conflict or persecution. There were 21.3 million of them worldwide at the end of 2015. Their situation is often so perilous and intolerable that they cross national borders to seek safety in nearby countries, and thus become internationally recognized as "refugees" with access to assistance from States, UNHCR, and other organizations. They are so recognized precisely because it is too dangerous for them to return home, and they need sanctuary elsewhere. These are people for whom denial of asylum has potentially deadly consequences.
Refugees are defined and protected in international law. The 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol as well as other legal texts, such as the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention, remain the cornerstone of modern refugee protection. The legal principles they enshrine have permeated into countless other international, regional, and national laws and practices. The 1951 Convention defines who is a refugee and outlines the basic rights which States should afford to refugees. One of the most fundamental principles laid down in international law is that refugees should not be expelled or returned to situations where their life and freedom would be under threat.
The protection of refugees has many aspects. These include safety from being returned to the dangers they have fled; access to asylum procedures that are fair and efficient; and measures to ensure that their basic human rights are respected to allow them to live in dignity and safety while helping them to find a longer-term solution. States bear the primary responsibility for this protection. UNHCR therefore works closely with governments, advising and supporting them as needed to implement their responsibilities.
Migrants choose to move not because of a direct threat of persecution or death, but mainly to improve their lives by finding work, or in some cases for education, family reunion, or other reasons. Unlike refugees who cannot safely return home, migrants face no such impediment to return. If they choose to return home, they will continue to receive the protection of their government.
For individual governments, this distinction is important. Countries deal with migrants under their own immigration laws and processes. Countries deal with refugees through norms of refugee protection and asylum that are defined in both national legislation and international law. Countries have specific responsibilities towards anyone seeking asylum on their territories or at their borders. UNHCR helps countries deal with their asylum and refugee protection responsibilities. Politics has a way of intervening in such debates. Conflating refugees and migrants can have serious consequences for the lives and safety of refugees. Blurring the two terms takes attention away from the specific legal protections refugees require. It can undermine public support for refugees and the institution of asylum at a time when more refugees need such protection than ever before. We need to treat all human beings with respect and dignity. We need to ensure that the human rights of migrants are respected. At the same time, we also need to provide an appropriate legal response for refugees, because of their particular predicament.
So, back to Europe and the large numbers of people arriving in recent years by boats in Greece, Italy and elsewhere. Which are they? Refugees or migrants?
In fact, they happen to be both. The majority of people arriving in Italy and Greece especially have been from countries mired in war or which otherwise are considered to be ‘refugee-producing’ and for whom international protection is needed. However, a smaller proportion is from elsewhere, and for many of these individuals, the term ‘migrant’ would be correct.
So, at UNHCR we say ‘refugees and migrants’ when referring to movements of people by sea or in other circumstances where we think both groups may be present – boat movements in Southeast Asia are another example. We say ‘refugees’ when we mean people fleeing war or persecution across an international border. And we say ‘migrants’ when we mean people moving for reasons not included in the legal definition of a refugee. We hope that others will give thought to doing the same. Choices about words do matter.

Got it?

Update: Good info from the BBC:
More than a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015, sparking a crisis as countries struggled to cope with the influx, and creating division in the EU over how best to deal with resettling people.
The vast majority arrived by sea but some migrants have made their way over land, principally via Turkey and Albania.
Nice chart for 2015:


For comparison, here's U.S. immigration data:




Source info:
The term "immigrants" (also known as the foreign born) refers to people residing in the United States who were not U.S. citizens at birth. This population includes naturalized citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), certain legal nonimmigrants (e.g., persons on student or work visas), those admitted under refugee or asylee status, and persons illegally residing in the United States.

Source:
Migration Policy Institute (MPI) tabulation of data from U.S. Census Bureau, 2010-2015 American Community Surveys (ACS), and 1970, 1990, and 2000 Decennial Census. All other data are from Campbell J. Gibson and Emily Lennon, "Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-Born Population of the United States: 1850 to 1990" (Working Paper no. 29., U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, 1999).

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Mass Migrations: How to know who's being impacted by a the surge in "refugees"

Ripped from the headlines - UN urges Europe to help Italy with refugee 'tragedy'
The UN refugee agency is putting pressure on Europe to help Italy defuse the "unfolding tragedy" of tens of thousands of migrants and refugees flooding its shores.

The move comes as interior ministers of France, Germany and Italy prepare to meet in Paris on Sunday to discuss a "coordinated approach" to help Rome.

Italy needs more international support to cope with a growing number of people who have braved a perilous Mediterranean crossing to reach Europe this year, Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees, said on Saturday in a statement.

"What is happening in front of our eyes in Italy is an unfolding tragedy.

"In the course of last weekend, 12,600 migrants and refugees arrived on its shores, and an estimated 2,030 have lost their lives in the Mediterranean since the beginning of the year."

Italy, he said, was "playing its part" in taking in those rescued and offering protection to those in need.

"These efforts must be continued and strengthened. But this cannot be an Italian problem alone."

Last week, Italy threatened to close its doors to people arriving on boats that were not flying Italian flags.
But the EU says "no" to opening more European ports to migrants:
EU interior ministers have refused to support an Italian proposal to open up European ports to ships carrying migrants.

But governments did agree to help the Libyan coastguards do more and step up deportations of failed asylum-seekers.

“Returns in this case are being backed up by a common visa policy. That means that those countries, which don’t comply with returns will have to face visa restrictions, by single EU countries, said Marco Minitti, Italian interior minister.

Italy plans to draw up a code of conduct for NGOs as some EU officials believe sea rescue services are a pull factor for would-be migrants.

“We abide by Humanitarian principles, by the principle of Humanitarian action, by Medical Ethics, by International Refugee Law and by International Maritime Law, because we operate at sea. So, we are quite clear about the frame in which we operate, and we doubt that a Code of Conduct will complement that,” said AurĂ©lie Ponthieu of Doctors Without Borders.

Italy had sought help, even at one point, threatening to close their ports to foreign humanitarian ships

Escaping wars and poverty, more than 360,000 refugees and migrants arrived on European shores across the Mediterranean last year. More than 85,000 have reached Italy so far this year.
So, Italy mulls sending navy into Libyan waters to stop migrants:
Italy is considering a plan to send its navy into Libyan waters to stop migrants and send them back. Approval for the mission could go before parliament as early as next week.

taly's center-left government will brief lawmakers about a plan to deploy Italian navy vessels along Libya's shores to stop traffickers sending migrants to Italy, Premier Paolo Gentiloni said Thursday.
A Libyan request to send Italian navy ships to patrol its waters was "a possible turning point" in the migration crisis, said Gentiloni, who convened military chiefs and ministers on Thursday to discuss immigration, security, and Libya.
Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Serraj, who leads the UN-backed unity government in Tripoli, made the request for Italian naval help while in Rome on Wednesday. His visit came after Serraj and the rival government of General Khalifa Hifter met in France and agreed on a ceasefire and possible national elections in the unstable North African country.
Nearly 600,000 boat migrants have arrived in Italy since 2014 after making the dangerous cross-Mediterranean journey in boats.
Which generates a response from another Libyan group Libya's eastern commander vows to destroy Italian warships if sailed to Libyan water:
The Libyan eastern commander of Dignity Operation forces, Khalifa Haftar, has ordered to bombard any warships sailing into the Libyan waters, in a U-turn that could see escalations between eastern Libya and the UN-proposed government's bodies in western Libya get tense.
The call of Haftar came just hours after the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR), which backs Haftar's Dignity Operation forces, announced in a statement the rejection of any agreements made by the Head of the UN-proposed government's Presidential Council, Fayez Al-Sirraj, and any requests he made to Italy.
"We reject Al-Sirraj request to Italy which can vividly violate the sovereignty of Libya under the pretext of fighting illegal immigration." The spokesman of the HoR Abdullah Belheeq said.
He also said that agreements with other countries come from legislative bodies like the HoR, not by executive ones like the UN-proposed government, which has not been given the confidence vote by the HoR yet, he added.
The HoR statement warned that Italy - by its deal with Al-Sirraj - is trying to export the crisis of illegal immigration to Libya by returning scores of migrants to Libya, making a new security, social and economic dilemma for the country.
The HoR also urged the UN to help thwart the current violation of Libya's sovereignty as it is a member of the UN just like Italy, which means that the latter should commit to the international laws and conventions by respecting Libya's sovereignty.
Meanwhile, Wednesday afternoon, the Italian parliament voted for sending a naval mission to Libya's waters to help stem the current migrants flow right from the inside, knowing that Amnesty International called the step earlier this week a shameful attempt by the Italian authorities to circumvent their duty to rescue refugees and migrants at sea and to offer protection to those who need it.
For those who follow such things, Amnesty International is an NGO which offers up the EU as a resettlement area for migrants and refugees because . . . Central Mediterranean: Death toll soars as EU turns its back on refugees and migrants:
The soaring death toll in the central Mediterranean and the horrific abuses faced by thousands of refugees and migrants in Libyan detention centres are clearly linked to failing EU policies, said Amnesty International in a report published today.

A perfect storm: The failure of European policies in the Central Mediterranean finds that by ceding the lion’s share of responsibility for search and rescue to NGOs and by increasing cooperation with the Libyan coastguard, European governments are failing to prevent drownings and turning a blind eye to abuse, including torture and rape.
***
“Rather than acting to save lives and offer protection, European Ministers meeting today are shamelessly prioritizing reckless deals with Libya in a desperate bid to prevent refugees and migrants from reaching Italy,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

“European states have progressively turned their backs on a search and rescue strategy that was reducing mortality at sea in favour of one that has seen thousands drown and left desperate men, women and children trapped in Libya, exposed to horrific abuses.”

Measures implemented by EU leaders to strengthen search and rescue capacity in the central Mediterranean in April 2015 dramatically decreased deaths at sea. But this priority, which saw several countries provide more rescue boats closer to Libyan territorial waters, was short-lived. Instead, EU governments have shifted their focus to disrupting smugglers and preventing departures of boats from Libya: a failing strategy that has led to ever more dangerous crossings and a threefold increase in the death-rate from 0.89% in the second half of 2015 to 2.7% in 2017.

Changes to smugglers’ practices and an increasing use of unseaworthy boats with a complete lack of safety equipment on board have made the sea crossing even more unsafe. But despite a spike in deaths - more than 2,000 since January – the EU is failing to deploy an adequately resourced and dedicated humanitarian operation near Libyan territorial waters. Instead it is focusing on strengthening the abilities of the Libyan coastguard to better prevent departures and perform interceptions.
So, what prompted this mass movement again? The EU or the miserable states these people are fleeing? What's AI saying about that? Not much, as the AI piece from which I just quoted quotes a man from Bangladesh and one from Gambia.

Here we get to the nut of the issue. Given that EU governments are paid for by the taxes of their citizenry and those taxes are being used to sustain tens of thousands of migrants many of whom are not "refugees" at all, at what point can a government tell migrants "No vacancy?"

An excellent post by Claude Berube and Chris Rawley at War on the Rocks, DUELING NGOS ON THE SEAS: ‘WHAT SHIPS ARE FOR’ covers what happens when nation states don't react as non-state actors may wish and the Non-state actors start taking matters into their own hands and perhaps into confrontation with other non-state actors with a different view of matters:
Today’s ideological battles are not simply confined to land or cyberspace. Nor is conflict at sea reserved for state-sponsored navies. The high seas are increasingly a battlespace for non-government organizations (NGOs). Although organizations such as Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have been conducting maritime operations in support of their environmental missions for four decades, in recent years other maritime NGOs have emerged for a variety of causes.

The recent wave of migration from Africa and the Middle East into Europe – often by boat – has encouraged both state and non-state navies to begin rescue and interdiction operations in the Mediterranean. The thousands of people fleeing growing instability in North Africa and the Near East have set the stage for competing political positions.

Search-and-rescue organizations seeking to help migrants have found themselves in conflict not with the government, but with a competing NGO, Defend Europe. The dispute highlights that future maritime battles may not be restricted to governments or to militant groups on the seas, especially as government resources shrink and NGOs see increasing political incentives to enter this space.
This could get interesting.

It seems some NGOs are "more equal than others" and are getting local law enforement to reject other NGOs. As in Far-Right Anti-Migrant Ship Told It’s Not Welcome In Crete:
The Djibouti-flagged C-Star is part of an operation by the far-right Generation Identity movement called Defend Europe, aimed at stopping nongovernmental organizations and national coast guards from rescuing refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean.
Defend Europe set out its mission:
Every week, every day, every hour – ships packed with illegal Immigrants are flooding into European waters. An invasion is taking place. This massive immigration is changing the face of our continent. We are losing our safety and our way of life and there is a danger we Europeans will become a minority in our own European homelands.

We want to start an identitarian search-and-rescue (SAR) mission in July on the Libyan coast. Our goal is to document the doings of the NGOs, expose their collaboration with the human smugglers, and intervene if they do something illegal.

We will reach out to the Libyan Coast Guard and offer them our help as a recon ship. Our goal is to step in where our politicians are failing and to do what is necessary to stop the deadly illegal migration into Europe.

If we get an SOS signal, we will of course save the people in distress — and hand them over to the Libyan Coast Guard to make sure that they are brought to the closest harbour, according to international law. We will not enter territorial waters without their permission!

Defend Europe will make the Mediterrenean Sea more safe. An additional ship is able to answer SOS calls and our “No Way” policy for illegal immigration will discourage human traffickers and NGOs to lure people into the sea.

The closing of the Mediterranean route is the only way to Defend Europe and save lives.
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

August Battles to Remember

August 27, 1776 Battle of Long Island (Battle of Brooklyn/Brooklyn Heights)
The Battle of Long Island is also known as the Battle of Brooklyn and the Battle of
Brooklyn Heights. It was fought on August 27, 1776 and was the first major battle of the American Revolutionary War to take place after the United States declared its independence on July 4, 1776. It was a victory for the British Army and the beginning of a successful campaign that gave them control of the strategically important city of New York. In terms of troop deployment and fighting, it was the largest battle of the entire war.
After defeating the British in the Siege of Boston on March 17, 1776, commander-in-chief General George Washington brought the Continental Army to defend the port city of New York, then limited to the southern end of Manhattan Island. Washington understood that the city's harbor would provide an excellent base for the British Navy during the campaign, so he established defenses there and waited for the British to attack. In July, the British under the command of General William Howe landed a few miles across the harbor from Manhattan on the sparsely-populated Staten Island, where they were slowly reinforced by ships in Lower New York Bay during the next month and a half, bringing their total force to 32,000 troops. Washington knew the difficulty in holding the city with the British fleet in control of the entrance to the harbor at the Narrows, and he moved the bulk of his forces to Manhattan, believing that it would be the first target.
On August 22, the British landed on the shores of Gravesend Bay in southwest Kings County, across the Narrows from Staten Island and more than a dozen miles south from the established East River crossings to Manhattan. After five days of waiting, the British attacked American defenses on the Guan Heights. Unknown to the Americans, however, Howe had brought his main army around their rear and attacked their flank soon after. The Americans panicked, resulting in twenty percent losses through casualties and captures, although a stand by 400 Maryland troops prevented a larger portion of the army from being lost. The remainder of the army retreated to the main defenses on Brooklyn Heights. The British dug in for a siege but, on the night of August 29–30, Washington evacuated the entire army to Manhattan without the loss of supplies or a single life. Washington and the Continental Army were driven out of New York entirely after several more defeats and forced to retreat through New Jersey and into Pennsylvania.
More here.

August 16, 1780 Battle of Camden, SC, another defeat for the American, but one that could be said to lead to the later victory at King's Mountain:
source
The Battle of Camden was a major victory for the British in the Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War (American War of Independence). On August 16, 1780, British forces under Lieutenant General Charles, Lord Cornwallis routed the American forces of Major General Horatio Gates about 10 km (five miles) north of Camden, South Carolina, strengthening the British hold on the Carolinas following the capture of Charleston.
The rout was a humiliating defeat for Gates, the American general best known for commanding the Americans at the British defeat of Saratoga, whose army had possessed a large numerical superiority over the British force. Following the battle, he never held a field command again. His political connections, however, helped him avoid inquiries and courts martial into the debacle.
***
Gates formed up first on the field. He had about 4,000 troops, of which only 1,500 were Continental regulars. On his right flank he placed Mordecai Gist's 2nd Maryland and the Delaware Regiment (Johann de Kalb was with the Regulars). On his left flank, he placed 2,500 untried North Carolina militia under Maj. Gen. Richard Caswell. Gates stayed with the reserve force, the 1st Maryland Regiment under William Smallwood. Gates placed seven guns along the line. Behind the militia, he placed companies of cavalry and light infantry. With this formation, though a typical British practice of the time, Gates was placing the untested militia, his weakest forces, against the most experienced British regiments, while his best troops would face only the weaker elements of the British forces.
Cornwallis had roughly 2,100 men, of which about 600 were Loyalist militia and Volunteers of Ireland. The other 1,500 were British regulars. Cornwallis also had the infamous and highly experienced Tarleton's Legion, some 250 cavalry and 200 infantry who were formidable in a pursuit situation. Cornwallis formed his army in two brigades. Lord Rawdon was in command of the left, facing the Continental Infantry with the Irish Volunteers, Banastre Tarleton's infantry and the Loyalist troops. On the right was Lt. Col James Webster, facing the inexperienced militia with the 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers and the 33rd Regiment of Foot. In reserve, Cornwallis had two battalions of the 71st Regiment of Foot and Tarleton's cavalry force. He also placed four guns in the British centre.[4]
While the militia was being routed, and before Gates' flight, he ordered his right flank under de Kalb to attack the opposing British militia forces. Rawdon's troops advanced in two charges, but a heavy fire repulsed his regiments. The Continental troops then launched a counterattack which came close to breaking Rawdon's line, which began to falter. Cornwallis rode to his left flank and steadied Rawdon's men. Instead of pursuing the fleeing militia, Webster wheeled around and launched a bayonet charge into the left flank of the Continental regiments in the center.
The North Carolina militia that had been stationed next to the Delaware regiment held its ground, the only militia unit to do so. The Continental regiments fought a stiff fight for some time, but only 800 Continentals were by this time facing over 2,000 British troops. Cornwallis, rather than fight a sustained fight with a heavy loss, ordered Tarleton's cavalry to charge the rear of the Continental line. The cavalry charge broke up the formation of the Continental troops, who finally broke and fled.
De Kalb, attempting to rally his men was shot eleven times by musket fire. After just one hour of combat, the American troops had been utterly defeated, suffering over 2,000 casualties. Tarleton's cavalry pursued and harried the retreating Continental troops for some 20 miles (32 km) before drawing rein. By that evening, Gates, mounted on a swift horse, had taken refuge 60 miles (97 km) away in Charlotte, North Carolina.[3]
Augues 28-30, 1862 Second Manassas (Second Bull Run):
After the early summer collapse of the Union Peninsula Campaign offensive to capture Richmond, Robert E. Lee sought to move his army north and threaten Washington DC before Union forces could regroup. His trusted and highly capable "wing" commanders, Maj. Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson and Lieut. Gen. James Longstreet, brought Lee's army within 35 miles of the Union capital by the end of August. Jackson, who had burned the Federal supply depot at Manassas Junction on August 27th, waited for the arriving Union army just west of the old Bull Run battlefield. Longstreet, trailing Jackson, fought his way eastward through Thoroughfare Gap the next day. In order to draw Maj. Gen. John Pope’s new Union Army of Virginia into battle, Jackson ordered an attack on a Federal column that was passing across his front on the Warrenton Turnpike late on the 28th. The fighting there at Brawner Farm lasted several hours and resulted in a stalemate. Pope became convinced he had trapped Jackson and concentrated the bulk of his army against him. On the 29th, Pope launched a series of assaults against Jackson’s position along an unfinished railroad grade. The attacks were repulsed with heavy casualties on both sides. At noon, Longstreet arrived on the field and took position on Jackson’s right flank. The afternoon of the 30th, Pope renewed his attacks, seemingly unaware that Longstreet was on the field. When massed Confederate artillery devastated a Union assault by Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter’s Fifth Corps, Longstreet’s wing of 28,000 men counterattacked in the largest, simultaneous mass assault of the war. The Union left flank was crushed and the army driven back to Bull Run. Only an effective Union rearguard action prevented a replay of the First Manassas disaster.
August 2 -23, 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay:
In late summer 1864, a Union combined force initiated operations to close Mobile Bay to
blockade running vessels from the Gulf of Mexico port city of Mobile, Alabama. On August 3rd, 1,500 Union infantry and cavalrymen under Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger landed on Dauphin Island and laid siege to Fort Gaines west of the ship channel. On August 5th, Admiral David G. Farragut’s Union fleet of eighteen ships, including four ironclad monitors, entered Mobile Bay in a double column and received a devastating fire from both Fort Gaines and Fort Morgan, east of the channel. Farragut's fleet successfully navigated the narrow, torpedo-filled passage, losing only the ironclad USS Tecumseh. After successfully passing both forts, Farragut engaged the small Confederate naval force inside the harbor under Adm. Franklin Buchanan, including the ironclad ram CSS Tennessee, and forced it to surrender. Without naval support, the garrisons of both forts were vulnerable and could not be resupplied. Farragut and Granger next turned their attention to Fort Gaines, forcing it to surrender on August 8th. Fort Morgan, the larger of the two forts, held out longer, finally surrendering on August 23rd. The loss of the Confederate fleet and forts essentially shut down the port, although the city of Mobile would not surrender until three days after Lee's surrender at Appomattox.
Closing Mobile Bay was an important part of placing a sea stranglehold on the Confederacy which was completed later by the capture of New Orleans and taking control of the Mississippi River.

The excellent Cival War maps are from the Civil War Trust, a highly recommended site.

August 4 to September 18, 1950 Battle of the Pusan Perimeter, ROK:
The Battle of Pusan Perimeter took place in the fall of 1950 and was one of the first major conflicts of the Korean War.

The North Korean army was invading South Korea and attacking the forces sent by the United Nations. These troops were composed of those sent by not only the United States and Great Britain but also South Korea, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Eventually, though, the 140,000 United Nations troops were facing defeat at the hands of 98,000 North Koreans. They won the battle during their final stand.

During the battle, the North Koreans managed to drive back the United Nations forces to the Pusan Perimeter. The Pusan Perimeter is a 140-mile stretch of land on the Korean Peninsula that is also home to Pusan, a port.

The North Koreans attacked troops stationed there for six entire weeks, while also
source
striking in other locations. Regardless, the United Nations troops stood firm and managed to outlast the multiple attacks. It was very helpful the United Nations had access to the port of Pusan, which enabled them to ship in extra manpower, equipment and more.


Eventually, after waiting them out, the North Koreans retreated.

The Battle of Pusan Perimeter was the furthest South the North Koreans would make it during the war.
U.S. Army history Establishing the Pusan Perimeter

Good News: "USS Gerald R. Ford Completes First Arrested Landing and Launch"

U.S. Navy's new aircraft carrier makes progress, as reported by the Navy PAO's in USS Gerald R. Ford Completes First Arrested Landing and Launch
Less than one week after Pres. Donald J. Trump commissioned the U.S. Navy's newest aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) launched and recovered its first fixed-wing aircraft July 28, 2017, off the coast of Virginia. The first arrested landing, or "trap", occurred at 3:10 PM (EST) and the first catapult launch happened at 4:37 PM (EST). Lt. Cmdr. Jamie Struck of Tallmedge, Ohio piloted the F/A-18F Superhornet from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 based at Patuxent River, Maryland. The Superhornet caught the number two arresting wire of Ford's advanced arresting gear (AAG) system and was launched from catapult one using the electromagnetic launch system (EMALS). "Today, USS Gerald R. Ford made history with the successful landing and launching of aircraft from VX-23 using the AAG and EMALS," said Adm. Phil Davidson, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces. "Great work by the Ford team and all the engineers who have worked hard to get the ship ready for this milestone." "AAG and EMALS have been successfully tested ashore at Lakehurst, New Jersey, but this is the first shipboard recovery and launch of a fleet fixed wing aircraft," said Capt. Rick McCormack, Ford's commanding officer. "My team has worked closely with industry, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), and the flight test community to make this historic event in Naval aviation happen. I am very proud of my crew."








Saturday, July 29, 2017

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: Bob and Ray

A couple of short shows from Bob and Ray stars of radio, etc

Wally Ballou with Professor Groggins:


"Welcome Aboard the Orlop" part of the saga of "Mary Backstayge, Noble Wife"


Any similarity with Midrats is accidental.