Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Monday, January 24, 2022

The Real Top Gun - Professionals Teaching Professionals

Hey, lots of those guys look familiar . . .and one especially so.

Piracy, Sea Robbery, and Threats to Shipping in 2021

As always, the International Chamber of Commerce's Commercial Crime Service International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) does a great job of carrying out its mission:

PRC acts as a single point of contact for shipmasters anywhere in the world whose vessels have been attacked or robbed by pirates. All information received is immediately relayed to the local law enforcement agencies requesting assistance. Information is also immediately broadcast to all vessels in the Ocean region, providing vital intelligence and increasing awareness.

We share information with the IMO, governmental, inter-governmental and law enforcement agencies including industry bodies to understand the nature of piracy and reduce its effects on crew, vessel and cargo.

Not the least of these functions is its Live Piracy Map service including an annual look at where such event took place, the images that follow are screen captures of the 2021 map:

All oceans:

Africa and Gulf of Guinea

North Arabian Sea/Indian Ocean

Southeast Asia/Singapore Strait


2020 World

Not like the heyday of the piracy off Somalia, but it's a steady problem for shipping.

From 2011 - off Somalia

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Saturday Is Old Radio Day - Orson Welles in The Shadow "The Hospital Murders" (1938)

On Midrats 23 January 2022 - Episode 614: Big Navy vs. Reconnaissance & Strike-Capable Drones

Please join us at 5pm EST, 23 January 2022 for Midrats Episode 614: Big Navy vs. Reconnaissance & Strike-Capable Drones

We live in an era where in the blink of an eye we've gone from flip-phones to smartphones with the capabilities of both supercomputers a generation ago and entire movie studios in your back pocket. In that same time frame, what happened to the promised integration and operational utilization of aircraft carrier based drones - or Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or whatever we are calling them this week?

This Sunday we are going to dive deep in to the topic and problem with our guests Trevor Phillips-Levine, Noah Spataro, and Andrew Tenbusch.

We will use as the starting point for our conversation their recent article in War on the Rocks, "Winged Luddites: Aviators are the Biggest Threat to Carrier Aviation."

If you miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to you use Apple Podcasts here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Oh, that lower photo? Why that's the Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter (DASH). A drone that was first operated by the fleet in 1963 and used for a myriad of purposes until it left the U.S. fleet in 1970. See here. Just in case it might be discussed during the show.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

On Midrats 16 January 2022 - Episode 613: The Afghanistan Papers, with Craig Whitlock

Please join us at 5pm EST on 16 January 2022 for Midrats Episode 613: The Afghanistan Papers, with Craig Whitlock

Five presidents from both political parties oversaw the two decade debacle in Afghanistan that ended in the national humiliation at the end of August 2021 at the airport in Kabul where we retreated under fire following a negotiated surrender - leaving up to a thousand Americans behind and untold thousands of Afghan nationals who fought with us to their fate as the Taliban returned to the power we took from them in 2001.

People in the executive branch, Department of Defense, Department of State, Congress, media, and the well credentialed chatterati said they were "shocked," "surprised," and otherwise unprepared for what unfolded. Should they have been, or was this the inevitable outcome warned of in official government lessons learned and historical interviews dating from the beginning of the conflict?

Our guest for the full hour this Sunday will be Craig Whitlock, and we will be using his book “The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War” (Simon & Schuster, 2021) as a starting point for our conversation.

Craig has been a staff writer for The Washington Post since 1998. He is assigned to the Investigative Desk, where he specializes in national security.

At The Post, he's covered the Pentagon beat for the National Desk from 2010 until 2016. Before that, he was a foreign correspondent and served as the Berlin bureau chief for six years. While overseas, his primary assignment was investigative reporting into terrorism networks and counterterrorism policy in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. He has reported from more than 60 countries.

If you miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to you use Apple Podcasts here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Saturday Is Old Radio Day - Sam Spade Detective "Sam and Psyche" (1946)

On Midrats 9 January 2022 - Episode 612: Jackson's Navy, with Claude Berube

Please join us at 5 pm EST on 9 January 2022 for Midrats Episode 612: Jackson's Navy, with Claude Berube:

We're going to kick off Midrats' 13th year with someone who has been with us from the start, best friend to the show Dr. Claude Berube!

If you care about American history in general, and US Navy history in particular, you won't want to miss a minute of this Sunday's show.

Claude will be with us for the full hour to discuss his latest and 4th non-fiction book, On Wide Seas: The US Navy in the Jacksonian Era, just released by University of Alabama Press.

Claude earned his PhD in Military History from the King's College, London and holds two master's from Northeastern and the Naval War College. In his 30-year career, he has worked as a defense contractor for Naval Sea Systems Command and the Office of Naval Research, as a staffer on Capitol Hill for two U.S. Senators and a member of Congress, and teaching at the U.S. Naval Academy in the Political Science and History Departments. A Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, he has served at the Office of Naval Intelligence, CNO's Deep Red, at Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, Joint Analysis Center Molesworth England, and deployed on USS Bunker Hill to the Middle East.

In addition to his four non-fiction books, he is the author of more than 60 articles, and this third novel in the Connor Stark series will be published this fall.

If you miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to you use Apple Podcasts here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Ship Naming

Lincoln M. Cushing who wrote a piece on World War II Kaiser ships named for labor leaders from which I quoted extensively here, pointed me to an effort to have a Navy ship named after Joe Rosenthal.

If you can't recall who exactly Mr. Rosenthal was, let me point you to his most memorable work:

You can support this effort here at part of the site of the "Fellowship of the Lens" which has as its purpose "To promote the understanding and awareness of the role of the First Amendment in American society." If you are so inclined, pay them a visit and perhaps support their efforts.

U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 1 - 29 December 2021

U.S. Navy Office of Naval I... by lawofsea

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Saturday Is Old Radio Day - Jack Benny TV Show "New Years Day" (1956)

New Year's Prayer and a Hope for a Happy New Year!

After the fireworks and the champagne, we are left to ponder what 2022 may bring. For some of us, this calls for a simple prayer:

A prayer for the New Year:

Most gracious and merciful God, you have reconciled us to yourself through Jesus Christ your son, and called us to new life in him. Grant that we, who begin this new year in his Name, may complete it to his honor and glory; who lives and reigns, now and for ever. Amen.

For those of you who do not share in this belief, may this year be as good as your best hopes!

In either case, there is always this sound advice: