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Monday, June 29, 2020

Lessons for Today: Dr. King's "Letter from the Birmingham Jail"

The context of the Civil Rights Movement of the middle of the 20th Century may not be well understood by people who did not live through it. Below is a short video that shows some of the television coverage of the Movement, coverage which for the first time put these issues into the homes of every American. The genius of the non-violent approach to seeking to eliminate segregation was that it cut to the chase and showed the raw violence and hatred that the protestors faced. It also showed the political climate that fostered and support the violent reaction to the protests. This media exposure made a huge difference in gaining the support that allowed the passage of and enforcement of civil rights legislation. That President Kennedy was assassinated a few short months later helped  push the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through Congress. It should be noted that Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, as was Senator Robert Kennedy, then running for the Presidency.




Written in April 1963, Dr. King's letter is one of the most important documents in American history. Written in response to an "open letter" eight clergymen published in Alabama newspapers, who urged a "go slow" approach to integration efforts. The text of the clergymen's letter follows:
ALABAMA CLERGYMEN'S LETTER TO DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
[THE FOLLOWING IS A VERBATIM COPY OF THE PUBLIC STATEMENT DIRECTED
TO MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. BY EIGHT ALABAMA CLERGYMEN, WHICH
OCCASIONED HIS REPLY.]
April 12, 1963
We the undersigned clergymen are among those who in January, issued "An Appeal for Law and Order and Common Sense," in dealing with racial problems in Alabama. We expressed understanding that honest convictions in racial matters could properly be pursued in the courts but urged that decisions of those courts should in the meantime be peacefully obeyed.
Since that time there had been some evidence of increased forbearance and a willingness to face facts. Responsible citizens have undertaken to work on various problems which caused racial friction and unrest. In Birmingham, recent public events have given indication that we all have opportunity for a new constructive and realistic approach to racial problems.
However, we are now confronted by a series of demonstrations by some of our Negro citizens directed and led in part by outsiders. We recognize the natural impatience of people who feel that their hopes are slow in being realized. But we are convinced that these demonstrations are unwise and untimely.
We agree rather with certain local Negro leadership which has called for honest and open negotiation of racial issues in our area. And we believe this kind of facing of issues can best be accomplished by citizens of our own metropolitan area white and Negro, meeting with their knowledge and experience of the local situation. All of us need to face that responsibility and find proper channels for its accomplishment.
Just as we formerly pointed out that "hatred and violence have no sanction in our religious and political tradition." We also point out that such actions as incite to hatred and violence, however technically peaceful those actions may be, have not contributed to the resolution of our local problems. We do not believe that these days of new hope are days when extreme measures are justified in Birmingham.
We commend the community as a whole and the local news media and law enforcement officials in particular, on the calm manner in which these demonstrations have been handled. We urge the public to continue to show restraint should the demonstrations continue, and the law enforcement officials to remain calm and continue to protect our city from violence.
We further strongly urge our own Negro community to withdraw support from these demonstrations, and to unite locally in working peacefully for a better Birmingham. When rights are consistently denied, a cause should be pressed in the courts and in negotiations among local leaders, and not in the streets. We appeal to both our white and Negro citizenry to observe the principles of law and order and common sense.
Signed by:
C. C. J. CARPENTER, D.D., LL.D. Bishop of Alabama
JOSEPH A. DURICK, D.D. Auxiliary Bishop. Diocese of Mobile-Birmingham
Rabbi HILTON J. GRAFMAN, Temple Emmanu-El, Birmingham, Alabama
Bishop PAUL HARDIN, Bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the
Methodist Church.
Bishop HOLAN B. HARMON, Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the
Methodist Church
GEORGE M. MURRAY, Bishop Coadjutor, Episcopal Diocese of Alabama
EDWARD V. RAMSAGE, Moderator, Synod of the Alabama Presbyterian Church in the
United States
EARL STALLINGS, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama.
"Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King, Jr.]"
16 April 1963
My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against "outsiders coming in." I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here.

But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation.

Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of Birmingham's economic community. In the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by the merchants--for example, to remove the stores' humiliating racial signs. On the basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others remained. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: "Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?" "Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?" We decided to schedule our direct action program for the Easter season, realizing that except for Christmas, this is the main shopping period of the year. Knowing that a strong economic-withdrawal program would be the by product of direct action, we felt that this would be the best time to bring pressure to bear on the merchants for the needed change.

Then it occurred to us that Birmingham's mayoral election was coming up in March, and we speedily decided to postpone action until after election day. When we discovered that the Commissioner of Public Safety, Eugene "Bull" Connor, had piled up enough votes to be in the run off, we decided again to postpone action until the day after the run off so that the demonstrations could not be used to cloud the issues. Like many others, we waited to see Mr. Connor defeated, and to this end we endured postponement after postponement. Having aided in this community need, we felt that our direct action program could be delayed no longer.

You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

One of the basic points in your statement is that the action that I and my associates have taken in Birmingham is untimely. Some have asked: "Why didn't you give the new city administration time to act?" The only answer that I can give to this query is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one, before it will act. We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Albert Boutwell as mayor will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is a much more gentle person than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to maintenance of the status quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I it" relationship for an "I thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.

Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal. Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state's segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.

I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws.

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn't this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn't this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock? Isn't this like condemning Jesus because his unique God consciousness and never ceasing devotion to God's will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber. I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: "All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

You speak of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency, made up in part of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self respect and a sense of "somebodiness" that they have adjusted to segregation; and in part of a few middle-class Negroes who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best known being Elijah Muhammad's Muslim movement. Nourished by the Negro's frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible "devil."

I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the "do nothingism" of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the South would, I am convinced, be flowing with blood. And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as "rabble rousers" and "outside agitators" those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies--a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: "Get rid of your discontent." Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist. But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . . ." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime--the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too few in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some -such as Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, James McBride Dabbs, Ann Braden and Sarah Patton Boyle--have written about our struggle in eloquent and prophetic terms. Others have marched with us down nameless streets of the South. They have languished in filthy, roach infested jails, suffering the abuse and brutality of policemen who view them as "dirty nigger-lovers." Unlike so many of their moderate brothers and sisters, they have recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for powerful "action" antidotes to combat the disease of segregation. Let me take note of my other major disappointment. I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. I am not unmindful of the fact that each of you has taken some significant stands on this issue. I commend you, Reverend Stallings, for your Christian stand on this past Sunday, in welcoming Negroes to your worship service on a nonsegregated basis. I commend the Catholic leaders of this state for integrating Spring Hill College several years ago.

But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.

When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.

In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed.

I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers declare: "Follow this decree because integration is morally right and because the Negro is your brother." In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: "Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern." And I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other worldly religion which makes a strange, un-Biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.

I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the South's beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: "What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?"

Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.

Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom. They have left their secure congregations and walked the streets of Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone down the highways of the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone to jail with us. Some have been dismissed from their churches, have lost the support of their bishops and fellow ministers. But they have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. Their witness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment. I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America's destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here. For more than two centuries our forebears labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful humiliation -and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands. Before closing I feel impelled to mention one other point in your statement that has troubled me profoundly. You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping "order" and "preventing violence." I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its dogs sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I doubt that you would so quickly commend the policemen if you were to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes here in the city jail; if you were to watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls; if you were to see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys; if you were to observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together. I cannot join you in your praise of the Birmingham police department.

It is true that the police have exercised a degree of discipline in handling the demonstrators. In this sense they have conducted themselves rather "nonviolently" in public. But for what purpose? To preserve the evil system of segregation. Over the past few years I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. Perhaps Mr. Connor and his policemen have been rather nonviolent in public, as was Chief Pritchett in Albany, Georgia, but they have used the moral means of nonviolence to maintain the immoral end of racial injustice. As T. S. Eliot has said: "The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason."

I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy two year old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: "My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest." They will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience' sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Never before have I written so long a letter. I'm afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?

If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.

I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil-rights leader but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood, Martin Luther King, Jr.
Published in:
King, Martin Luther Jr.There is much food for thought in Dr. King's letter. I am particularly struck by the phrase, "I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends." Timely words.

Update: I should probably note for certain people who may take offense at some of the words in Dr. King's letter that those are his words, and he used them to make his point as dramatically and as forcefully as he could. For me to have edited out any of his words would, in my opinion, have been a great insult to his memory and to the brilliance of this letter.


U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) for 28 May - 24 June 2020 and HORN OF AFRICA/GULF OF GUINEA/SOUTHEAST ASIA Weekly Piracy Update for 18 - 24 June 2020



Saturday, June 27, 2020

On Midrats 28 June 2020 - Episode 547: China in the Post-COVID-19 World with Dr. Oriana Skylar Mastro

Please join us at 5pm EDT on 28 June 2020 for Midrats Episode 547: China in the Post-COVID-19 World with Dr. Oriana Skylar Mastro
From the alpine lakes on the Indo-Tibetan frontier to the sweltering tropics of the South China Sea, China is on the offensive in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Aggressive and persistent in her pursuit of expanding her control and influence in her near-abroad and globally, she is challenging the distracted and slothish West to keep up with her.

What are the latest moves on the global chess board?

Our guest for the full hour covering the full range of China related challenges will be Dr. Oriana Skylar Mastro.

Oriana is an assistant professor of security studies at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. In August, she will join the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University as a Center Fellow where she will continue her research on Chinese military and security policy, Asia-Pacific security issues, war termination, and coercive diplomacy. She is also a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and an inaugural Wilson Center China Fellow. Additionally she serves in the United States Air Force Reserve as a Senior China Analyst at the Pentagon. She holds a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University.
If you use Apple Podcasts, and miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going here. Or on Spreaker. The show also is reportedly on Spotify.

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: "The Meaning of Freedom" Father Knows Best (1951)






Friday, June 26, 2020

Admiral Zumwalt and His Z-Grams: History that Should Not be Forgotten

When Admiral Elmo Zumwalt was CNO, he took the opportunity to shake up some things. One of his tools were his famous "Z-grams" which addressed some serious matters that he felt were interfering with the Navy being - well - modern. The Naval History and Heritage Command has provided this List of Z-grams.

To Navy personnel that have served since Admiral Zumwalt, the conditions in the Fleet that existed before his CNO tenure can be gathered from the changes he sought to bring about. It should be noted that resistance to these changes was strong in some areas, especially in the "But we've always done it this way" traditionalists who felt discipline was going to be eroded. But for the deckplate sailors, his steps greatly improved life.

A couple of the Z-grams need to be highlighted:

Z-Gram #57; 10 November 1970

Elimination of Demeaning or Abrasive Regulations

FROM: CNO {Z-57}
TO: NAVOP
UNCLAS //NO1100//
102157Z NOV 70

DEMEANING OR ABRASIVE REGULATIONS, ELIMINATION OF

1. THOSE DEMEANING OR ABRASIVE REGULATIONS GENERALLY REFERRED TO IN THE FLEET AS "MICKEY MOUSE" OR "CHICKEN" REGS HAVE, IN MY JUDGMENT DONE ALMOST AS MUCH TO CAUSE DISSATISFACTION AMONG OUR PERSONNEL AS HAVE EXTENDED FAMILY SEPARATION AND LOW PAY SCALES. FOR THIS REASON, SHORTLY AFTER TAKING COMMAND I REQUESTED A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF CURRENT NAVAL POLICIES AND REGULATIONS. I DESIRE TO ELIMINATE MANY OF THE MOST ABRASIVE POLICIES, STANDARDIZE OTHERS WHICH ARE INCONSISTENTLY ENFORCED, AND PROVIDE SOME GENERAL GUIDANCE WHICH REFLECTS MY CONVICTION THAT IF WE ARE TO PLACE THE IMPORTANCE AND RESPONSIBILITY OF "THE PERSON" IN PROPER PERSPECTIVE IN THE MORE EFFICIENT NAVY WE ARE SEEKING, THE WORTH AND PERSONAL DIGNITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MUST BE FORCEFULLY REAFFIRMED. THE POLICY CHANGES BELOW ARE EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY AND WILL BE AMPLIFIED BY MORE DETAILED IMPLEMENTING DIRECTIVES TO BE ISSUED SEPARATELY.

A. IT APPEARS THAT MY PREDECESSOR'S GUIDANCE IN MAY ON THE SUBJECT OF HAIRCUTS, BEARDS AND SIDEBURNS IS INSUFFICIENTLY UNDERSTOOD AND, FOR THIS REASON, I WANT TO RESTATE WHAT I BELIEVED TO BE EXPLICIT: IN THE CASE OF HAIRCUTS, SIDEBURNS, AND CONTEMPORARY CLOTHING STYLES, MY VIEW IS THAT WE MUST LEARN TO ADAPT TO CHANGING FASHIONS. I WILL NOT COUNTENANCE THE RIGHTS OR PRIVILEGES OF ANY OFFICERS OR ENLISTED MEN BEING ABROGATED IN ANY WAY BECAUSE THEY CHOOSE TO GROW SIDEBURNS OR NEATLY TRIMMED BEARDS OR MOUSTACHES OR BECAUSE PREFERENCES IN NEAT CLOTHING STYLES ARE AT VARIANCE WITH THE TASTE OF THEIR SENIORS NOR WILL I COUNTENANCE ANY PERSONNEL BEING IN ANY WAY PENALIZED DURING THE TIME THEY ARE GROWING BEARDS, MOUSTACHES, OR SIDEBURNS

B. I VIEW THE PROHIBITION AGAINST THE WEARING OF CLEAN, NEAT WORKING UNIFORMS OR DUNGAREES TO AND FROM WORK AS UNWARRANTED AND I NOW DIRECT THAT IT BE SUSPENDED FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF ALL CONCERNED.

C. TO STANDARDIZE CURRENT PRACTICES, WORKING UNIFORMS, DUNGAREES, AND FLIGHT SUITS ARE AUTHORIZED IN ALL NAVAL COMMISSARIES. EXCHANGES, SNACK BARS, DISPENSARIES, DISBURSING OFFICES, AND OTHER SERVICE TYPE FACILITIES, AND NO ONE WILL BE DENIED ENTRANCE FOR BEING IN THE "IMPROPER" UNIFORM, ASSUMING THOSE WORN ARE CLEAN, NEAT, AND IN GOOD CONDITION. BASE COMMANDERS WILL REVIEW SIMILAR RESTRICTIONS APPLICABLE TO DEPENDENTS AND ADOPT REGULATIONS CONSISTENT WITH CURRENT FASHIONS.

D. THE REQUIREMENT FOR OFFICERS AND MEN TO SHIFT INTO THE UNIFORM OF THE DAY FOR THE EVENING MEAL WILL BE DISCONTINUED, EXCEPT FOR CEREMONIAL OR OTHER SPECIAL OCCASIONS OR BY DECISION OF THE GROUP OF PERSONNEL INVOLVED.

E. AT LEAST ONE ROOM OF EVERY NAVAL OFFICER, CPO, AND ENLISTED CLUB SHALL PERMIT THE WEARING OF INFORMAL AND CASUAL CLOTHES {SPORT SHIRT} AND NAS CLUBS SHALL SIMILARLY PERMIT FLIGHT SUITS IN AT LEAST ONE ROOM OF EACH CLUB.

F. WHERE OPTIONAL UNIFORMS ARE SPECIFIED BY THE AREA COMMANDER, THIS WILL MEAN OPTIONAL TO THE INDIVIDUAL AND NOT TO THE LOCAL COMMANDS, EXCEPT FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS, SUCH AS INSPECTIONS, WHERE UNIFORMITY IS REQUIRED.

G. WHEN VISITING FLEET UNITS, I NOT ONLY DO NOT WISH TO SEE FRESH, PAINT APPLIED STRICTLY BECAUSE OF MY VISIT BUT CONSIDER THAT RUSTED SURFACES HASTILY PAINTED OVER ARE A REFLECTION OF POOR COMMAND DISCRETION. THIS TYPE OF PREPARATION FOR ANY SENIOR OFFICER VISIT SHALL BE PROHIBITED.

H. THE REQUIREMENTS TO CERTIFY THE POSSESSION OF SUFFICIENT FUNDS OR TO ACKNOWLEDGE GEOGRAPHICAL LIMITATIONS FOR LEAVE {EXCEPT FROM VIETNAM WHERE SPECIAL REGULATIONS APPLY} OR LIBERTY PURPOSES, TO PRODUCE PERSONAL PROPERTY PASSES, OR TO SHOW CERTIFIED PERMISSION TO BE AWAY FROM DUTY STATION {WALKING CHITS} PRESUPPOSES A GENERALIZED IRRESPONSIBILITY WHICH I DO NOT ACCEPT, AND THESE REQUIREMENTS WILL BE ELIMINATED.

I. IN VIEW OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS FOR OPERATING MOTORCYCLES, SAFETY REGULATIONS MUST BE STRICTLY ENFORCED; HOWEVER, MOTORCYCLES SHOULD BE PERMITTED ENTRY AND ACCESS TO ALL NAVAL FACILITIES UNDER THE SAME CONDITIONS AS FOR AUTOMOBILES, AND CONVENIENT MOTORCYCLE PARKING AREAS WILL BE PROVIDED. FURTHERMORE, SO LONG AS THE HEAD GEAR MEETS SAFETY STANDARDS, NO MOTORCYCLE OPERATOR SHOULD IN ANY WAY BE PENALIZED OR DENIED ENTRY BECAUSE OF THE COLOR OF HIS HEAD GEAR.

J. OVERNIGHT LIBERTY WILL NOT BE TREATED AS A PRIVILEGE FOR WHICH A SPECIAL REQUEST CHIT MUST BE SUBMITTED, BUT RATHER AS THE NORMAL FORM OF LIBERTY FOR OUR RESPONSIBLE SAILORS. EXCEPTIONS TO THIS POLICY WOULD BE MADE ONLY FOR EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES SUCH AS GOVERNMENT IMPOSED CURFEW OR EXTREMELY UNSATISFACTORY ENVIRONMENT, AND THEN ONLY UPON DETERMINATION OF THE SENIOR OFFICER PRESENT.

K. THE REQUIREMENT FOR LINE HANDLERS, REFUELING PARTIES, TOPSIDE WATCH STANDERS IN INCLEMENT WEATHER, BOAT CREWS IN HEAVY WEATHER, AND OTHERS WHO ARE ENGAGED IN WORK WHICH WOULD UNDULY SOIL OR DAMAGE SUCH UNIFORMS, TO PERFORM THE JOBS IN WHITES OR BLUES IS UNREASONABLE AND IS TO BE DISCONTINUED, EXCEPT FOR MOST UNUSUAL CEREMONIAL OCCASIONS.

L. THE OCCASIONAL PRACTICE OF REFUSING TO FORWARD A REQUEST FROM AN INDIVIDUAL TO HIGHER AUTHORITY WILL BE DISCONTINUED. IF PERSONNEL IN THE CHAIN HAVE GOOD REASON FOR NOT RECOMMENDING APPROVAL OF A REQUEST, THEY SHOULD, OF COURSE, SO STATE, BUT THEY MUST FORWARD IT EXPEDITIOUSLY ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.

M. I. AM NOT SUGGESTING THAT A MORE LENIENT ATTITUDE TOWARD IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR BE ADOPTED, BUT I DO BELIEVE THAT WE CANNOT PERMIT GENERAL POLICIES TO BE DICTATED BY THE NEED, WHICH I SUPPORT, TO CONSTRAIN THOSE FEW INDIVIDUALS WHO DO NOT RESPOND TO THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE EXPRESSED IN MORE FLEXIBLE AND LESS RESTRICTIVE REGULATIONS.

E. R. ZUMWALT, JR., ADMIRAL, U.S NAVY,
CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS.
Z-Gram #57; 10 November 1970
CNO {Z-66}
To: NAVOP
UNCLAS //N00000//
172054Z DEC 70

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY IN THE NAVY

A. MY 270004Z AUG 70 {NAVOP Z-14}
B. MY 141346Z SEP 70 {NAVOP Z-24}

1. THE PURPOSE OF THIS NAVOP IS TO EXPRESS MY WHOLEHEARTED SUPPORT OF THE POLICIES ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITY STRONGLY REAFFIRMED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY IN ALNAV 51, TO EXPRESS MY GENERAL GUIDANCE FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THESE POLICIES, AND TO DIRECT IMPLEMENTATION OF A FEW OF THE ACTIONS WE CAN TAKE IMMEDIATELY.

2. LAST MONTH, SECRETARY CHAFEE AND I, ALONG WITH OTHER SENIOR OFFICIALS OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT, MET ON ONE OCCASION WITH REPRESENTATIVE BLACK NAVY OFFICERS AND THEIR WIVES AND LATER WITH A REPRESENTATIVE GROUP OF BLACK ENLISTED MEN AND THEIR WIVES. PRIOR TO THESE MEETINGS, I WAS CONVINCED THAT, COMPARED WITH THE CIVILIAN COMMUNITY, WE HAD RELATIVELY FEW RACIAL PROBLEMS IN THE NAVY. HOWEVER, AFTER EXPLORING THE MATTER IN SOME DEPTH WITH THESE TWO GROUPS, I HAVE DISCOVERED THAT I WAS WRONG--WE DO HAVE PROBLEMS, AND IT IS MY INTENTION AND THAT OF SECRETARY CHAFEE TO TAKE PROMPT STEPS TOWARD THEIR SOLUTION.

3. WHAT STRUCK ME MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE WAS THE DEPTH OF FEELING OF OUR BLACK PERSONNEL THAT THERE IS SIGNIFICANT DISCRIMINATION IN THE NAVY. PRIOR TO THESE MEETINGS, I SINCERELY BELIEVED THAT I WAS PHILOSOPHICALLY PREPARED TO UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEMS OF OUR BLACK NAVYMEN AND THEIR FAMILIES, AND UNTIL WE DISCUSSED THEM AT LENGTH, I DID NOT REALIZE THE EXTENT AND DEEP SIGNIFICANCE OF MANY OF THESE MATTERS.

4. THERE ARE TWO KEYS TO THE PROBLEM. FIRST, WE MUST OPEN UP NEW AVENUES OF COMMUNICATION WITH NOT ONLY OUR BLACK PERSONNEL, BUT ALSO WITH ALL MINORITY GROUPS IN THE NAVY SO THAT WE MAY LEARN WHAT AND WHERE THE AREAS OF FRICTION ARE. SECOND, ALL OF US IN THE NAVY MUST DEVELOP A FAR GREATER SENSITIVITY TO THE PROBLEMS OF ALL OUR MINORITY GROUPS SO THAT WE MAY MORE EFFECTIVELY GO ABOUT SOLVING THEM. OUR MEETINGS HERE IN WASHINGTON WERE A BEGINNING, BUT NO MORE THAN THAT. MUCH REMAINS TO BE DONE.

5. FOR EXAMPLE, I AM PARTICULARLY DISTRESSED BY THE NUMEROUS EXAMPLES OF DISCRIMINATION BLACK NAVY FAMILIES STILL EXPERIENCE IN ATTEMPTING TO LOCATE HOUSING FOR THEIR FAMILIES. THIS SITUATION AND OTHERS LIKE IT ARE INDICATIVE IN SOME CASES OF LESS THAN FULL TEAMWORK BEING BROUGHT TO BEAR BY THE WHOLE NAVY TEAM ON BEHALF OF SOME OF OUR MEMBERS AND FAILURE TO USE EXISTING AUTHORITY AND DIRECTIVES TO ENFORCE THEIR RIGHTS {SECNAV INST 5350.12}. IN SOME PLACES HOUSING PERSONNEL ARE TACITLY CONTRIBUTING TO DISCRIMINATION IN HOUSING.

6. SECRETARY CHAFEE AND I HAVE ASKED OUR STAFFS TO BEGIN WORK WITH OTHER MEMBERS OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT TO MAKE AN IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION OF THIS PROBLEM AND PRESENT TO US WITHIN 6O DAYS PROPOSALS WHICH WILL HELP ALLEVIATE THE MOST ACUTE HOUSING PROBLEMS. MEANWHILE, THERE ARE MANY THINGS THAT CAN BE ACTED UPON IMMEDIATELY. THEREFORE, BY 15 JANUARY 1971 I EXPECT ACTION TO BE TAKEN AS FOLLOWS:

A. EVERY BASE, STATION AND AIRCRAFT SQUADRON COMMANDER AND SHIP COMMANDING OFFICER SHALL APPOINT AN AWARE MINORITY GROUP OFFICER OR SENIOR PETTY OFFICER AS HIS SPECIAL ASSISTANT FOR MINORITY AFFAIRS. THIS OFFICER OR PETTY OFFICER SHOULD HAVE DIRECT ACCESS TO THE COMMANDER/COMMANDING OFFICER AND WILL. BE CONSULTED ON ALL MATTERS INVOLVING MINORITY PERSONNEL. EXCEPTING THOSE COMMANDS ALREADY HAVING MINORITY- AFFAIRS OFFICER BILLETS, THE INITIAL ASSIGNMENT WILL BE ON A CONCURRENT DUTY BASIS. {I CAREFULLY WEIGHED THIS ITEM WITH MY DESIRE, AS EXPRESSED IN REF A, TO REDUCE COLLATERAL DUTY ASSIGNMENTS. HOWEVER, AFTER DISCUSSING THIS WITH SEVERAL BLACK OFFICERS I BECAME CONVINCED THAT THEY WOULD IN FACT, CHERISH THIS AS A COLLATERAL DUTY.}

B. ALL SHORE BASED COMMANDERS SHALL ENSURE THAT A MINORITY GROUP WIFE IS INCLUDED IN THE NAVY WIVES OMBUDSMAN CONCEPT SET FORTH IN REF B.

C. THE PROGRAMS ALREADY BEGUN BY COMNAVSUPSYSCOM TO ENSURE THAT THE SPECIAL NEEDS OF MINORITY GROUPS ARE RECOGNIZED AND PROVIDED FOR SHALL BE EXPEDITED, NAMELY:

{1} SUITABLE COSMETICS AND OTHER PRODUCTS FOR BLACK PERSONNEL AND THEIR DEPENDENTS WILL BE STOCKED IN NAVY EXCHANGES.
{2} SHIP'S STORES WILL STOCK BLACK GROOMING AIDS.
{3} EVERY BASE AND STATION, WILL EMPLOY, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, AT LEAST ONE QUALIFIED BLACK BARBER/BEAUTICIAN IN MAJOR BARBER AND BEAUTY SHOPS, AND WILL WORK TOWARD THE GOAL OF HAVING SUFFICIENT BARBERS/BEAUTICIANS QUALIFIED IN HAIR CARE FOR BLACK PERSONNEL TO PROVIDE SERVICE FOR ALL BLACK PATRONS.
{4} ALL MAJOR COMMISSARIES SHALL STOCK FOODS AND PRODUCE Frequently REQUESTED BY MINORITY GROUPS. AS A MINIMUM, SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS SHOULD BE SOLICITED FROM MINORITY PERSONNEL AND THEIR FAMILIES AND ACTED UPON BY LOCAL COMMISSARY MANAGERS.

D. SPECIAL SERVICES OFFICERS WHICH DEAL IN DISCOUNT TICKETS FOR VARIOUS ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMS. WILL ALSO OBTAIN DISCOUNT TICKETS TO EVENTS OF SPECIAL INTEREST TO MINORITY GROUPS WHENEVER SUCH TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE.

E. A REPRESENTATIVE SELECTION OF BOOKS, MAGAZINES AND RECORDS BY AND ABOUT BLACK AMERICANS WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE IN NAVY LIBRARIES, WARDROOMS, CLUBS AND OTHER READING AREAS.

ANY OF THE ABOVE WHICH CAN'T BE ACCOMPLISHED WITHIN THE TIME SPECIFIED ABOVE WILL BE REPORTED VIA CHAIN OF COMMAND TOGETHER WITH A SUMMARY OF CIRCUMSTANCES PREVENTING TIMELY IMPLEMENTATION.

7. IN ORDER THAT I MAY REACH A MORE COMPLETE UNDERSTANDING OF THE PROBLEMS EXPERIENCED BY OUR MINORITY PERSONNEL, IN ADDITION TO SECNAV/OPNAV/BUPERS TEAM VISITS I AM DIRECTING MY SPECIAL ASSISTANT FOR MINORITY AFFAIRS, LCDR NORMAN, TO VISIT MAJOR NAVAL ACTIVITIES WITHIN CONUS TO MEET WITH INDIVIDUAL COMMANDING OFFICERS AND WITH MINORITY MILITARY PERSONNEL AND THEIR DEPENDENTS. BY LEARNING IN DEPTH WHAT OUR PROBLEMS ARE, I BELIEVE WE WILL BE IN A BETTER POSITION TO WORK TOWARD GUARANTEEING EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND TREATMENT FOR ALL OF OUR NAVY PEOPLE.

8. THIS IS THE FIRST OF MY REPORTS TO YOU ON MINORITY AFFAIRS. SECRETARY CHAFEE AND I WILL BE LOOKING INTO ALL AREAS OF MINORITY AFFAIRS AND WILL BE ISSUING FURTHER REPORTS AS OUR PROBLEMS BECOME MORE CLEAR AND THEIR SOLUTIONS BECOME MORE APPARENT. IT IS EVIDENT THAT WE NEED TO MAXIMIZE OUR EFFORTS TO IMPROVE THE LOT OF OUR MINORITY NAVYMEN. I AM CONVINCED THAT THERE IS NO PLACE IN OUR NAVY FOR INSENSITIVITY. WE ARE DETERMINED THAT WE SHALL DO BETTER. MEANWHILE, WE ARE COUNTING ON YOUR SUPPORT TO HELP SEEK OUT AND ELIMINATE THOSE DEMEANING AREAS OF DISCRIMINATION THAT PLAGUE OUR MINORITY SHIPMATES. OURS MUST BE A NAVY FAMILY THAT RECOGNIZES NO ARTIFICIAL BARRIERS OF RACE, COLOR OR RELIGION. THERE IS NO BLACK NAVY, NO WHITE NAVY--JUST ONE NAVY-- THE UNITED STATES NAVY.

E. R. ZUMWALT, JR., ADMIRAL, U. S. NAVY,
CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS.

blockquote>
Z-gram #116; dated 7 August 1972

Equal Rights and Opportunities for Women

CNO {Z-116}
TO: NAVOP
UNCLAS //N05350//
071115Z AUG 72

EQUAL RIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN IN THE NAVY

1. THERE HAS BEEN MUCH DISCUSSION AND DEBATE WITH RESPECT TO EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR WOMEN IN OUR COUNTRY OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS. MY POSITION WITH RESPECT TO WOMEN IN THE NAVY IS THAT THEY HAVE HISTORICALLY PLAYED A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF OUR NAVAL MISSION. HOWEVER, I BELIEVE WE CAN DO FAR MORE THAN WE HAVE IN THE PAST IN ACCORDING WOMEN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY TO CONTRIBUTE THEIR EXTENSIVE TALENTS AND TO ACHIEVE FULL PROFESSIONAL STATUS. MOREOVER, THE IMMINENCE OF AN ALL VOLUNTEER FORCE HAS HEIGHTENED THE IMPORTANCE OF WOMEN AS A VITAL PERSONNEL RESOURCE. I FORESEE THAT IN THE NEAR FUTURE WE MAY VERY WELL HAVE AUTHORITY TO UTILIZE OFFICER AND ENLISTED WOMEN ON BOARD SHIPS. IN VIEW OF THIS POSSIBILITY WE MUST BE IN A POSITION TO UTILIZE WOMEN'S TALENTS TO HELP US ACHIEVE THE SIZE NAVY WE NEED UNDER AN ALL VOLUNTEER FORCE ENVIRONMENT AND STILL MAINTAIN THE SEA SHORE ROTATION GOALS FOR ALL NAVAL PERSONNEL TOWARDS WHICH WE HAVE BEEN WORKING. TO THIS END THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY AND I HAVE ESTABLISHED A TASK FORCE TO LOOK AT ALL LAWS, REGULATIONS AND POLICIES THAT MUST BE CHANGED IN ORDER TO ELIMINATE ANY DISADVANTAGES TO WOMEN RESULTING FROM EITHER LEGAL OR ATTITUDINAL RESTRICTIONS.

2. AS ANOTHER STEP TOWARD ENSURING THAT WOMEN IN THE NAVY WILL HAVE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY TO CONTRIBUTE THEIR TALENTS AND BACKGROUND TO ACCOMPLISHMENT OF OUR MISSIONS, WE ARE TAKING THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS:

A. IN ADDITION TO THE ENLISTED RATINGS THAT HAVE RECENTLY BEEN OPENED, AUTHORIZE LIMITED ENTRY OF ENLISTED WOMEN INTO ALL RATINGS.

B. THE ULTIMATE GOAL, ASSIGNMENT OF WOMEN TO SHIPS AT SEA, WILL BE TIMED TO COINCIDE WITH FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF PENDING LEGISLATION. AS AN IMMEDIATE STEP, A LIMITED NUMBER OF OFFICER AND ENLISTED WOMEN ARE BEING ASSIGNED to THE SHIP'S COMPANY OF USS SANCTUARY AS A PILOT PROGRAM. THIS PROGRAM WILL PROVIDE VALUABLE PLANNING INFORMATION REGARDING THE PROSPECTIVE INCREASED UTILIZATION OF WOMEN AT SEA.

C. PENDING FORMAL CHANGES TO NAVY REGULATIONS SUSPEND RESTRICTIONS REGARDING WOMEN SUCCEEDING TO COMMAND ASHORE AND ASSIGN THEM ACCORDINGLY.

D. ACCEPT APPLICATIONS FROM WOMEN OFFICERS FOR THE CHAPLAIN AND CIVIL ENGINEER CORPS, THEREBY OPENING ALL STAFF CORPS TO WOMEN.

E. EXPAND ASSIGNMENT OF TECHNICALLY QUALIFIED UNRESTRICTED LINE WOMEN TO RESTRICTED LINE BILLETS AND, AT THE TIME OF LEGISLATIVE AUTHORIZATION, PERMIT THEM TO REQUEST DESIGNATOR CHANGES

F. OFFER VARIOUS PATHS OF PROGRESSION TO FLAG RANK WITHIN THE TECHNICAL, MANAGERIAL SPECTRUM IN ESSENTIALLY THE SAME MANNER AS WE ARE CONTEMPLATING FOR MALE OFFICERS.

G. ASSIGN THE DETAILING OF UNRESTRICTED WOMEN OFFICERS TO THEIR COGNIZANT GRADE DETAILERS.

H. INCREASE OPPORTUNITY FOR WOMEN'S PROFESSIONAL GROWTH BY:

{1} ELIMINATING THE PATTERN OF ASSIGNING WOMEN EXCLUSIVELY TO CERTAIN BILLETS, AND
{2} ASSIGNING QUALIFIED WOMEN TO THE FULL SPECTRUM OF CHALLENGING BILLETS, INCLUDING THOSE OF BRIEFERS, AIDES, DETAILERS, PLACEMENT/RATING CONTROL OFFICERS, ATTACHES, SERVICE COLLEGE FACULTY MEMBERS, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANTS, SPECIAL ASSISTANTS TO CNO, MAAGS/MISSIONS, SENIOR ENLISTED ADVISORS, PEP, ETC.

I. EQUALIZE SELECTION CRITERIA FOR NAVAL TRAINING BY:

{1} OPENING MIDSHIPMEN PROGRAMS TO WOMEN AT ALL NROTC CAMPUSES EFFECTIVE IN FY-74, AND
{2} CONSIDERING WOMEN FOR SELECTION TO JOINT COLLEGES {NATIONAL WAR COLLEGE/INDUSTRIAL COLLEGE OF THE ARMED FORCES}.

3. FINALLY, I ENJOIN ALL COMMANDING OFFICERS AND OTHER IN POSITIONS OF AUTHORITY TO ACTIVELY REFLECT THE SPIRIT AND INTENT OF THIS MESSAGE IN THEIR OWN COMMAND REGULATIONS, POLICIES AND ACTIONS. SPECIFICALLY, I EXPECT EACH COMMANDING OFFICER TO:

A. INITIATE SIMILAR EQUALIZATION ACTIONS IN MATTERS WITHIN THEIR PURVIEW TO ENSURE THAT WOMEN ARE ACCORDED FULL TRUST AND RESPONSIBILITY TO FUNCTION IN THEIR ASSIGNED POSITION OR SPECIALTY.

B. BE GUIDED BY STANDARDS OF DUTY, PERFORMANCE AND DISCIPLINE WHICH ARE TRULY EQUITABLE FOR BOTH WOMEN AND MEN.

4. IN SUMMARY, WE ALL MUST ACTIVELY WORK TOGETHER IN ORDER THAT WE MAY MORE EQUITABLY INCLUDE WOMEN IN OUR ONE-NAVY CONCEPT.

E. R. ZUMWALT, JR., ADMIRAL, U. S. NAVY,
CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS.

One of my favorites, which went along with his "anti-Mickey Mouse regs" view:
Z-Gram #67; 22 December 1970

Naval Command Inspection Program

R 221714Z DEC 70
FM CNO (Z-67)

TO NAVOP

UNCLAS //N00000//
NAVAL COMMAND INSPECTION PROGRAM

A. OPNAVINST 5040.7E OF 31 JUL 1969

1. INSPECTIONS OF OUR COMBAT UNITS NEED TO BE REORIENTED TO MORE PRACTICALLY SERVE THE NEEDS OF COMMAND AND YET BECOME SIGNIFICANTLY LESS BURDENSOME TO THOSE WHO PARTICIPATE IN THE INSPECTION PROCESS. IN THE PAST, UNITS HAVE USED INORDINATE AMOUNTS OF MANPOWER AND HAVE OFTEN UTILIZED VALUABLE TRAINING TIME IN PREPARING FOR MANY INSPECTIONS THAT OFTEN PRODUCE RELATIVELY MEANINGLESS OR IRRELEVANT RESULTS. THE INSPECTION ITSELF IS NOT THE REAL TEST, BUT RATHER A TOOL TO IDENTIFY THE SPECIFIC FACTORS OF COMMAND PERFORMANCE. THE EVIDENCE OF LEADERSHIP, TEAM SPIRIT, “CAN DO” ATTITUDE AND A CONTINUING DEMONSTRATION OF SUSTAINED MISSION READINESS IS THE REAL TEST.

2. I AM ACCORDINGLY MODIFYING INSPECTION PROCEDURES FOR SUBORDINATE FLEET STAFFS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT SQUADRONS TO GIVE A LARGER ROLE IN THIS FIELD TO IMMEDIATE UNIT COMMANDERS (IUC) I.E., THOSE IMMEDIATELY SENIOR IN THE CHAIN OF COMMAND TO THE UNIT BEING INSPECTED, MAKING CHANGES WHICH WILL YIELD A MORE RESPONSIVE AND PRODUCTIVE INSPECTION PROGRAM WHILE REDUCING THE WORKLOAD IMPACT ON OUR PEOPLE.

3. AMONG THE CHANGES INCLUDED IN THE MODIFIED INSPECTION PROGRAM WILL BE:

A. THE CHIEF INSPECTOR WILL BE THE IUC

B. PERSONNEL FROM SISTER UNITS (SHIPS/AIRCRAFT SQUADRONS) WILL NOT BE USED AS ASSISTANT INSPECTORS.

C. THE IUC WILL ATTEMPT TO COMBINE INSPECTIONS AND TO CONDUCT THEM ON AN UNSCHEDULED BASIS IN CONNECTION WITH HIS ORDINARY EMBARKATIONS/VISITS TO THE INSPECTED UNIT. INSPECTION FREQUENCY WILL BE DETERMINED ON THE BASIS OF MANAGEMENT NEEDS AND NOT IN DIRECT RELATION TO ANNUAL COMPETITION.

D. INSPECTION RESULTS WILL BE EXPRESSED IN TERMS OF SAT/UNSAT.

E. MANDATORY USE OF CHECK-OFF LISTS IS ELIMINATED.

4. EXCLUDED FROM THIS NEW POLICY ARE THOSE INSPECTIONS LISTED IN PARA 8 OF REF (A) AND THOSE NUCLEAR POWER INSPECTIONS GOVERNED BY OPNAVINST 3540.3 B OF 31 MAR 70.

5. FURTHER DETAILS OF THIS PROGRAM HAVE BEEN PROMULGATED TO OFFICERS IN COMMAND AND WILL BE FORMALIZED IN AN OPNAV INSTRUCTION. E. R. ZUMWALT, JR., ADMIRAL, U.S. NAVY, CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS.
BT

Friday Film: "Improving Shipboard Living Conditions (1953)"


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Gulf of Guinea Kidnapping and Ransom Racket; 5 South Koreans , 1 Ghanaian Taken Off Fishing Vessel

Panofi Frontier vessel (Yonhap)

Five South Korean sailors abducted in waters off Benin
reports The Korea Herald
Five South Korean sailors and a Ghanaian have been kidnapped by unidentified armed groups in waters off Benin in West Africa, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
 
Unknown gunmen, believed to be pirates, attacked the fishing vessel at about 3:40 p.m. Wednesday, Benin time, in waters 111 kilometers south of the country’s Contonou Port.
 
A total of 30 crew members were onboard the Ghanaian-flagged Panofi Frontier ship, but the kidnappers took off with only six people. The remaining 24 sailors, who are all Ghanaian, are returning to Ghana on the vessel.
 
As of press time, the identity and whereabouts of the kidnappers have not been identified. It was not immediately known whether the abductees remained unharmed.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Debating Aircraft Carriers is the Wrong Debate

My good friend CDR Salamander weighs in on the aircraft carrier debate on his home blog With Carriers: Go Smaller to get Bigger? which visits the ongoing discussions of Jerry Hendrix and Bryan McGrath about the future of the Navy force, especially aircraft carriers

Both of these gentlemen are stout in their views and their views are well worth discussing. You may find Jerry Hendrix's latest salvo in National Review The Aircraft Carrier We Need and Bryan McGrath's counter-fire on Twitter here. Big deck, small deck, proper air wing configuration, number of hulls, etc. CDR S tends to side with numbers, his view is that too big, too expensive means too much to risk and too easy to lose too much capacity with one lucky torpedo, missile, or accident.

It's a good debate and it's fun to ponder such things. However, I think it's the wrong debate.

I agree with Sal that we have perfected a myopic view of fleet equipment which holds that economies of scale dominate. "Bigger is better because on a per ship basis, it's cheaper to have one great big asset instead of smaller, 'less efficient' sized ships." You see this when you go to the grocery store - the large economy size bottle provides lower cost per ounce and may be the better buy.

The debate assumes that the aircraft carrier remains the premier weapon platform of our Navy. For almost 80 years that has been the aviator's mantra. They justify this view by noting that for almost 80 years the first question in a crisis has been, "Where are our carriers?"

What if that assumption is incorrect? What if, as submariners and others have been saying, the carrier is no longer the "king of the sea?"

What if our potential adversaries have taken a look at our reliance on carriers and designed their own counter forces to stop us from using our carriers and we might wish to? Oh, wait - they have done just that. Part of the carrier debate is that our current carrier aircraft lack the range to penetrate the "anti-access/area denial (A2AD)" areas covered by "ship killer" ballistic missiles and other land-based weapons that are specially designed to keep our carriers at bay and actively kill them. Naval literature, both in fiction and in professional journals is full of discussion of this

I have argued before for making the effort to "spread lethality" by using many smaller ships all armed to the teeth, and for the creative use of things like missile barges Let's Have "Missile Barges" (and More) Now.
 
We must stop tying ourselves to large, easily targetable units and move to a force that is dispersed, hard to detect, including semi-submersible missile barges or fully submersible missile toting large autonomous vessels, or something else that mad scientists can create . . . 


I support some form of the carrier Navy, but I simply don't think it's wise to suggest that creating a number of smaller carriers while hoping to increase the range of their main weapon system - the aircraft they carry - does much more than kick the problem down the road. If ship killer missiles can range to 2000 miles, why not to 3000? 4000? 5000? What kind of range will future carrier aircraft need to avoid the threat?

The effort to suggest that this "fix" or that other "fix" for carriers and their air wings will restore things to the point they were 20 years ago seems as wrong headed as the South Sea Island "cargo cults" that grew up after WWII. The thinking seems to be that if exactly the right words are spoken and the rituals observed, the magic will happen and the carrier will be "king" again. 

It's time to be more innovative than that. If we are going to redesign the fleet to meet the modern threats, we need to be bold.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Father's Day Lessons in Life

My dad loved Kipling and Stevenson, and other books from his own childhood.

He would read to us at night - Kim, Treasure Island, some simplified versions of Robinson Crusoe and Swiss Family Robinson. Along with the Winnie the Pooh books and the other Milne books of light verse, we enjoyed his fatherly attention, as he was often gone for weeks at time on Air Force TDY. Only later did we learn the "why" of those tours to Thule and other places - he was out there helping to keep the country safe. At the time, though, when he was home he made the most of it.

We'd go family camping or drive up to Denver or Seattle or Salt Lake to visit family, with visits to San Francisco to visit one of his cousins thrown in. It was good to be one of his kids.

 Dad holding me shortly after my birth
Without television,we would listen to radio shows - Dragnet being a favorite, along with Jack Benny.

At some point, my mother told us that her father loved the poems and stories of Robert W. Service - "The Cremation of Sam Mcgee" being one that he could recite quite dramatically. And that he loved to sing "Abdul Abulbul Amir." Her memories of her father were thus incorporated into our lives. Of course, both my dad's father and hers were men very much influenced by the Victorian era.

One piece of poetry that both my dad and her dad agreed on was Kipling's "If"
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

From these choices of literature, from his quiet manner of going "out to do the job," and those casual remarks that were the real lessons in life - he shaped his kids.

Happy Father's Day! And thanks, Dad.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: Old Gold Comedy Theater "Having a Wonderful Crime" (1945)

Harold LLoyd was a great silent film comedian who hosts this comedy show featuring shortened scripts of of popular comedy movies of the day.



One of Mr. Lloyd's famed movies is "Safety Last" from 1923, featuring the rightly famous "clock scene," which I've added for your pleasure:

Friday, June 19, 2020

Friday Film: "Corvettes" of the Royal Navy in the Battle of the Atlantic



If you haven't read the book The Cruel Sea or seen the movie based upon the book, I encourage you to do so.

Trailer for the movie:


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Oman Sets Up Way for Arabian Gulf Oil Exporters to Avoid Strait of Hormuz

Oman Steps Up Plan for Middle East’s Biggest Oil-Tank Farm Bloomberg reports:
Oman’s ambitious goal of building the biggest oil-storage facility in the Middle East is finally progressing, more than seven years after the Gulf sultanate announced the plan.
Oman Tank Terminal Co. has almost finished constructing eight tanks to store crude for a new refinery near the town of Duqm on the Arabian Sea. It’s now pushing ahead with others that could be used by oil companies and traders, according to two people with knowledge of the project. That would eventually increase Duqm’s capacity to at least 25 million barrels, according to OTTCO’s website.
The Ras Markaz Crude Oil Park could provide an alternative for energy traders and exporters eager to avoid the Strait of Hormuz, a choke-point at the mouth of the Persian Gulf that’s seen numerous flareups in recent years, including Iranian seizures of tankers. The Omani facility lies roughly 600 miles (966 kilometers) from the waterway. The United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah, the region’s largest hub with 14 million barrels of commercial crude-storage capacity, is less than 100 miles from Hormuz.
“Crude storage that anybody can use outside the Strait of Hormuz, that can go either east or west, is probably a good thing,” said Alan Gelder, vice president for refining, chemicals and oil markets at consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. Iraq and Kuwait, a co-investor in the refinery, might see Duqm as an attractive place to park their crude outside the Gulf, he said.
Of course, Iran's fallback is to use its proxy Houit rebels in Yemen to clog up the Bab al Mandeb chokepoint and the lower end of the Red Sea to screw up shipping through the Suez Canal. OTTC info here:
Ras Markaz Crude Oil Park The first phase of the Ras Markaz Crude Oil Park will be operational in 2021, and will feature storage tanks of different sizes. The total capacity of Phase 01 will be up to 25 million barrels of crude oil of which Duqm Refinery will build and utilize approximately 6 million barrels. The tank storage terminal will feature offshore loading and unloading facilities to cater to Suezmax and VLCC tankers via Single Point Moorings. The terminal will be connected via a 70km pipeline to the Duqm Refinery and a potential of connecting to Oman's Main Oil Pipeline at Nahada 440km away.

Monday, June 15, 2020

SurgeMain: Every now and then there's a chance to discover one's ignorance (or perhaps it's more frequently then every now and then)

A few days ago I put up a post on "Navy Calling Up 1,600 Reservists to Fill in For Shipyard Workers Out for COVID-19" and expressed my surprise. During the Midrats show on 14 June 2020, I again expressed some surprise, but was able to do a quick search for the Navy's "SurgeMain Program."

Turns out that this program of having a number of Naval Reservists available for work in Naval shipyards has been around for some time and I should not have been surprised by anything more than the size of the recall. Here's a little background about the program and how it helps the Navy and the reservists in the SurgeMain:

Here's a sample of what a member of the SurgeMain reserve component might look at - in this case for a Machinery Repairmen rate (click on it to enlarge):



And one for Electrician Mates:

You might note that in both those cases "60%" of the Selected Reserve billets for those rates were in the SurgeMain program as of 2009. Selected Reserve billets are the pay billets.

More information in this flier:


I am embarrassed by my previous lack of knowledge of this program - especially since it's been around for 14 or 15 years.