Good Company

Good Company
Good Company

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Saturday Is Old Radio Day; Adventures by Morse "The Girl on Shipwreck Island"

Captain Bart Friday was a globe-trotting San Francisco-based private
Carlton Morse, the creator of this series
investigator, portrayed during the series by Elliott Lewis, David Ellis and Russell Thorson. Friday's sidekick from Texas, Skip Turner, was played mostly by Jack Edwards and occasionally by Barton Yarborough.

The tales covered such areas as espionage, kidnapping and murder, along with secret Nazi bases, snake worshipers and voodoo
While traveling from French Indo-China to Australia, the engine on Bart and Skip's plane conks out, forcing them to land on a small island in the South China Sea. Initially, they believe themselves to be alone, but it isn't long before they witness the murder of a British sailor, one of a small number of castaways who recently survived a deadly hurricane at sea. The murder has been committed by a Spanish pirate, complete with bandana, who seems mighty proud of his skill with a gun. In addition to the mayhem on this supposedly deserted island they experience the strange allure of a cockney serving girl named Gracie, who seems to be the object of much jealousy and intrigue.

Three parts

On Midrats 31 March 2019 - Episode 482: Who Will Run the Navy of the 2020s?

Please join us at 5pm EDT for Midrats Episode 482: Who Will Run the Navy of the 2020s?
The generation that will lead Sailors forward over what is shaping up
to be the most challenging environment at sea for the USN since the 1980s is just now rolling in to their first shore duty or out of it.

What culture and experiences marked their formative junior officer years? How will they change the fluid culture of our navy? Will their habits in writing, discussing, and experimenting differ than previous generations of officers, or just blend in with long running trends?

Do their view of priorities differ from the mid-level and senior level leadership.

Our guest for the full hour to address these topics and whatever else pops out of the rabbit hole will be Jimmy Drennan.

When he's not masquerading as The Salty Millennial, Jimmy Drennan is a Surface Warfare Officer assigned to U.S. Central Command, and is President of the Center for International Maritime Security.
Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at Spreaker.

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Did you know it's National Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day? I didn't either

National Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Day
Let Us Tell the Story of a Generation....

For all who served whether in country, at sea or in the air, thanks! Your country called and you answered.

Friday Films: "Communism (1952)" and "A Time for Choosing (1964)"

An old Coronet film of the type shown by substitute teachers back in the day, when the regular teacher had gone off for the day - this one on a topic of great interest in those days - the threat of communism.

Like a zombie, just when you'd think the Marxist fantasy is dead, it seems to keep rising from the grave.

In 1964,Senator Barry Goldwater was the Republican candidate for president, running against Lyndon Johnson who had been sworn in as president following the assassination of President Kennedy. These were tumultuous times. Ronald Reagan, then just an actor, gave "The Speech" in support of Goldwater - and launched Reagan's own political career, with his ultimate election as president in 1980.
Ronald Reagan will be remembered for leading the United States during a time of tremendous international transition - the demise of the Soviet Union, the Berlin Wall coming down, and the end of the Cold War. Mary Landrieu

Thursday, March 28, 2019

78 Ships - U.S. Merchant Marine - the What? The Who?

As of 15 March 2019, the inventory of U.S. flagged merchant ships of "over 1000 gross tons that carry cargo from port to port" was 180 ships.

As noted in the above video, only 78 of these 180 ply international trade. This down from nearly 200 in 1990, as seen in the chart below:

A partial explanation for the decrease in such international shipping is the increase in capacity of tankers and container ships. Another explanation is the higher cost of operating under U.S. law as opposed to operating under a foreign "flag of convenience."

Of the 180, 73 are tankers, many of which are not deemed "militarily useful."

Nine of the 180 ships have gross tonnage of under 2000 tons. Most of the latter are not considered as being "militarily useful." Gross tonnage (GT)\is a function of the volume of all of a ship's enclosed spaces (from keel to funnel) measured to the outside of the hull framing."

Here's the MARAD list of U.S. flagged privately owned ships most of which operate from U.S. port to U.S. port, subject to the Jones Act:

As part of trying to maintain a U.S. flag merchant fleet, MARAD operates the Maritime Security Program Fleet:
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 requires that the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, to establish a fleet of active, commercially viable, militarily useful, privately-owned vessels to meet national defense and other security requirements. All Maritime Security Program operating agreements are currently filled by 60 ships. In the event that an operating agreement should become available, the Maritime Administration would publish a notice in the Federal Register requesting applicants. A copy of the Maritime Security Program application is listed below. Participating operators are required to make their ships and commercial transportation resources available upon request by the Secretary of Defense during times of war or national emergency.
Click on image to enlarge

You might note that MSP ships also appear on the MARAD list.

In addition to merchant shipping, the Military Sealift Command maintains an inventory of ships:

Some of these ships also appear in that MARAD merchant list. I note this to ensure the same ships are not counted twice or three times as assets available if needed.

Concerns? Suppose we need more ships to carry things needed for national security? We are short merchant mariners, as noted by the GAO here:
Stakeholders GAO spoke to identified two primary challenges in sustaining the
internationally trading U.S.-flag fleet for national defense needs.
• First, even with the annual MSP stipend, maintaining the financial viability of
U.S.-flag vessels is a challenge. This challenge largely results from the
higher costs of operating a U.S.-flag vessel. According to U.S. Maritime
Administration (MARAD) officials, the additional cost of operating a U.S. flag
vessel compared to a foreign-flag vessel has increased—from about $4.8
million annually in 2009 and 2010 to about $6.2 to $6.5 million currently—
making it harder for such vessels to remain financially viable. In addition,
government cargo volumes have fallen in recent years. In response to this
challenge, Congress increased the MSP stipend from $3.5 million per vessel
for fiscal year 2016 to $4.99 million per vessel for fiscal year 2017. MARAD
officials said this increase has temporarily stabilized the financial situation of
MSP vessel operators. However, MARAD officials stated trends in operating
costs and government cargo suggest this will remain an ongoing challenge.
• Second, a potential shortage of U.S.-citizen mariners available to crew the
government-owned reserve fleet during a crisis is a challenge. DOD counts
on mariners working on U.S.-flag vessels to crew this fleet when activated. A
MARAD working group recently estimated a shortage of over 1,800 mariners
in the case of a drawn-out military effort, although it also recommended data
improvements to increase the accuracy of the count of available mariners.

What difference does it make? Mahan's view is that the purpose of a navy is that "Navies exist for the protection of commerce" - and what happens when the ships carrying your commerce are not of your own nation? You end up providing open lines of commerce for "free riders" who garner the benefit of free trade routes without incurring the costs of maintaining them. Under the U.S.'s post-WWII leadership, commerce among nations ballooned - China's resurgence has been, in large part, due to its embrace of international trade and its use of the trade routes protected by the United States Navy and its allies.
The first and most obvious light in which the sea presents itself from the political and social point of view is that of a great highway; or better, perhaps, of a wide common, over which men may pass in all directions, but on which some well-worn paths show that controlling reasons have led them to choose certain lines of travel rather than others. These lines of travel are called trade routes; and the reasons which have determined them are to be sought in the history of the world.

Notwithstanding all the familiar and unfamiliar dangers of the sea, both travel and traffic by water have always been easier and cheaper than by land. The commercial greatness of Holland was due not only to her shipping at sea, but also to the numerous tranquil water-ways which gave such cheap and easy access to her own interior and to that of Germany. This advantage of carriage by water over that by land was yet more marked in a period when roads were few and very bad, wars frequent and society unsettled, as was the case two hundred years ago. Sea traffic then went in peril of robbers, but was nevertheless safer and quicker than that by land. A Dutch writer of that time, estimating the chances of his country in a war with England, notices among other things that the water-ways of England failed to penetrate the country sufficiently; therefore, the roads being bad, goods from one part of the kingdom to the other must go by sea, and be exposed to capture by the way. As regards purely internal trade, this danger has generally disappeared at the present day. In most civilized countries, now, the destruction or disappearance of the coasting trade would only be an inconvenience, although water transit is still the cheaper. Nevertheless, as late as the wars of the French Republic and the First Empire, those who are familiar with the history of the period, and the light naval literature that has grown up around it, know how constant is the mention of convoys stealing from point to point along the French coast, although the sea swarmed with English cruisers and there were good inland roads.

Under modern conditions, however, home trade is but a part of the business of a country bordering on the sea. Foreign necessaries or luxuries must be brought to its ports, either in its own or in foreign ships, which will return, bearing in exchange the products of the country, whether they be the fruits of the earth or the works of men's hands; and it is the wish of every nation that this shipping business should be done by its own vessels. The ships that thus sail to and fro must have secure ports to which to return, and must, as far as possible, be followed by the protection of their country throughout the voyage.

This protection in time of war must be extended by armed shipping. The necessity of a navy, in the restricted sense of the word, springs, therefore, from the existence of a peaceful shipping, and disappears with it, except in the case of a nation which has aggressive tendencies, and keeps up a navy merely as a branch of the military establishment. As the United States has at present no aggressive purposes, and as its merchant service has disappeared, the dwindling of the armed fleet and general lack of interest in it are strictly logical consequences. When for any reason sea trade is again found to pay, a large enough shipping interest will reappear to compel the revival of the war fleet. It is possible that when a canal route through the Central-American Isthmus is seen to be a near certainty, the aggressive impulse may be strong enough to lead to the same result. This is doubtful, however, because a peaceful, gain-loving nation is not far-sighted, and far-sightedness is needed for adequate military preparation, especially in these days.
We allowed our international merchant fleets to decline because it allowed for the lower cost import and export of goods on foreign hulls. It depended on the good faith participation of the entire sea-going world in maintaining good faith trade. Now, what happens if a great power develops a naval force that is not designed to allow for the continuation of these great trade routes but seeks to protect its own agenda in nearby waters - as in the South China Sea. What if that state, which engages in spirited trade with both the U.S. and the rest of the world decides to shut off the use of its state-owned "merchant ship" from that trade and attempts to create "no sail" zones for the merchant and/or naval vessels of other states. What if this power is used to coerce other states not to intervene in protection of allied states in its "sphere of influence?"

We need both a larger navy and an larger, well-manned merchant marine as a preventive measure against such blackmail efforts.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Friday Film: "What's Under the Ocean?"

Must be from the early 1960's and seemingly intended for children of some sort.

More recent video with some recent science about water under the water:

Saturday, March 09, 2019

On Midrats 10 March 2019 - Episode 479: John Jackson: One Nation Under Drones, with John Jackson

Please join us at 5pm (EDT) on 10 March 2019 for Midrats Episode 479 - One Nation Under Drones, with John Jackson
How are unmanned systems and the increasing use of robots from the kitchen to the battlefield impacting how our personal, professional, and national lives are being run?

What are the obvious and not so obvious places they are already a dominate presence today, and where are trends leading us?

Our guest for the full hour to discuss the issues he raises in his book, One Nation Under Drones will be John E. Jackson, CAPT, USN (Ret.).

Professor Jackson has served at the Naval War College for more than 20 years, teaching
in the areas of national security decision-making, logistics, and unmanned and robotic
systems. He holds the E.A. Sperry Chair of Unmanned and Robotic Systems and lectures frequently. His latest book “One Nation, Under Drones" was published by the U.S. Naval Institute in December 2018. He is the program manager for the Chief of Naval Operation's professional reading program. Additionally, he serves on the President's Action Group and as chairman of the 9-11 Memorial Committee. A retired Navy Captain, he served in supply and logistics assignments both afloat and ashore retiring in 1998 after 27 years of active service.
Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at Spreaker.

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Friday Films: Drone Anti--Submarine Helicopter (DASH) and the WWII TDR-1 Drone Torpedo Bomber

Before the U.S. Navy stopped this program, it provided small ships like destroyers with a stand-off ASW weapon. 160 ships underwent a modernization
program to allow them to carry DASH.

As you can see, DASH was not a big aircraft, and its counter-rotating rotors eliminated the need for a vertical tale rotor to stop it from spinning like a top . . .

More about DASH from its manufacturer, Gyrodyne from which the above photo was liberated with a hat tip. The DASH history is of particular interest.

As noted a couple of years ago here, such aircraft are not a new idea, though the electronics have improved considerably.

Background of the TDR Drone.

Monday, March 04, 2019

Islands in the Streams of Geology

And the oceans shall rise and the waters shall drown the earth and so forth.

Ain't the first time, either, as anyone who ever lived in the ancient ocean bottoms of the American mid-West can see around them. Or as portrayed here:

Weren't any humans around, either, just the earth shifting plates about on a geologic time scale.

We're going to need a bigger Navy if it happens again.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

On Midrats 3 March 2019 - Episode 478: "Five Ocean Navy Strategy" with Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) & Dr. Jerry Hendrix

Please listen at 5pm (EDT) on 3 March 2019 to Midrats Episode 478: "Five Ocean Navy Strategy" with Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) & Dr. Jerry Hendrix
During the 2016 election, then candidate Donald Trump ran on building a 350 ship Navy.
That number soon moved up to 355.
Two years after his inauguration, the path to get there is hard to see.
There is a movement of navalists who are not just looking for the path to 355, but looking to the challenge of China at the end of the next decade, want our Navy to move north of 400 ships.

To that end, in February a resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Jim Banks (R-IN) titled,“Five Ocean Navy Strategy.”

Congressman Banks will join us Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern along with Dr. Jerry Hendrix, CAPT, USN, (Ret) to discuss the Resolution and the need behind it.

Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at Spreaker.

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Friday, March 01, 2019

Friday Film: "Advance Base" - A Seabee Homage

A word of warning for those who find images of enemy dead upsetting, this film was made during WWII and depicts some of the effects of the hard fought war to capture island bases for American forces - and also how those bases were built by the U.S. Navy's Construction Battalions. Narrated by Quentin Reynolds, author and war correspondent.

In any event, the film, due to its graphic nature was - um- "withheld" from public distribution for some years.