Good Company

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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Father's Day

When I was in 4th grade we moved. We moved a bunch that year and I ended up attending 4 very different schools.

Somewhere along the way, the multiplication tables eluded me - to the extent I flunked math in my final school of that year.

My dad was an engineer and Air Force navigator and quite adept at things mathematical. He was not happy with my math status - not one bit. So over the summer he took on the challenge of tutoring me on those "times tables."


While I resisted, his quiet patience soon had me reciting the tables to his satisfaction. More than that, I got to know him in a different way. Over the years, I have come to look back on that summer as a very important part of my life. The discipline of sticking to things that seemed hard at the time, the idea that all things were possible with effort, the knowledge that he cared about me - those things I learned from my father that summer all of which carried me forward in life.

In fact, that math work helped me with learning to appreciate statistics and earning a National Science Foundation grant when I was an undergraduate. Math skills helped when I was a ship's navigator. Helped me when I got a Masters in Management. Later on, statistics helped by analyze risks in the corporate legal work I did. It also helps me appreciate the widespread misuse of statistics for exploitive purposes. Some of these things my dad knew about, and I hope that he knew how much that summer of re-direction meant in my life.


Dad during the Korean War  

For you, Dad, on this Father's Day - thanks again.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Friday, June 14, 2024

Friday Film: D-Day +11 "The Creation of the Artificial Harbors"

A British idea, delivered to Omaha Beach under the guidance of Seabees. This harbor was later destroyed by a storm, but the British Mulberry harbor at Gold Beach in Arromanche, France, carried the load until real ports could be opened.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Memorial Day Films: "Trial by Fire" (1973) and "I Relieve Your, Sir" (1975)

Two films involving accidents resulting the deaths of sailors and incredible displays of courage. A reminder that every day at sea is full of danger demanding well trained people and constant vigilence. This weekend is a time to remember all who have died in service to their country.

Saturday, May 04, 2024

Saturday Is Old Radio Day - Box 13 "Actor's Alibi" (1948)

Next Generation Force Protection Boats



New wave of patrol and security craft as reported at WorkBoat:

The days of creating patrol boats by outfitting general-use motorboats and fishing trawlers with machine guns and obsolete naval weapons are long gone. That was World War II.

Jump ahead 80 years, and patrol boats have evolved into platforms that have the latest navigation, communications, and propulsion systems while being designed and built with highly efficient hulls that move easily and rapidly through the water and can carry out multiple missions in locations across the globe.

Three cases in point: MetalCraft Marine is building 65 patrol boats that will mostly operate in foreign waters; a high-speed 35-footer from Moose Boats that’s outfitted with fire-fighting systems; and Inventech Marine Solutions’ 40' patrol boat for a sheriff’s department in Florida, which hits 72 mph.

Friday, May 03, 2024

Friday Films - Fighting Kamikaze Attacks "The Fleet that Came to Stay (1945)" "Death Awaits - Kamikaze in Color" (2001)

If you think people are expendable and the people involved think dying is an honor, then you get suicide planes, suicide vest wearers, and the like.

Monday, April 29, 2024

U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 27 March to 24 April 2024

Referenced MARAD advisory here

U.S.-flagged commercial vessels operating in these areas are advised to remain as far as possible from Yemen’s coastline without compromising navigational safety. Crewmembers should be especially vigilant when at anchor, operating in restricted maneuvering conditions, loitering, or proceeding at slow speeds.

U.S.-flagged commercial vessels should coordinate voyage planning with U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS) and consider their recommendations and guidance whenever possible. NAVCENT NCAGS stands a 24-hour watch and has the latest information on the current maritime security threats and the operational environment in this region.

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

Friday, April 12, 2024

Friday Films -" All About Naval Boilers"

Back before gas turbines and currently in some older large deck amphibs - long ago we all got trained on the operations of the steam plant.

Monday, April 01, 2024

When Does China's "Water Cannon" Weapon Use Become an Act of Armed Conflict?

China's bullying of the Philippines may trigger a defense agreement with the U.S. as set out in China’s Attacks on Philippine Resupply Missions Test 70-Year-Old Defense Pact

Six days after China Coast Guard cutters blasted out the windows of a Philippine resupply ship with a water cannon, Manila is weighing whether a 70-year-old mutual defense pact could compel the U.S. military to defend Filipino forces in the South China Sea as a result.

***

The attack, the ninth and most aggressive since Chinese cutters restarted a campaign blocking the monthly resupply runs to the World War II-era Sierra Madre, is prompting politicians, analysts and lawyers across the Pacific to weigh the U.S. obligation to come to Manila’s aid under a 1951 mutual defense pact.

Both the U.S. State and Defense departments issued statements this week pledging commitment to the treaty.

“The United States reaffirms that Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty extends to armed attacks on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft – including those of its Coast Guard – anywhere in the South China Sea,” reads the statement from Foggy Bottom.

While the worst-case scenario under the defense treaty could lead to open war with China, the agreement has options for the U.S. to support Manila diplomatically short of armed conflict. However, the 1951 treaty’s application in the 21st century raises questions about whether the Chinese use of water cannons constitutes an armed attack or if the resupply missions are categorized as civilian or military, opening up several legal interpretations.

Read the whole article.

The question of whether such use of water cannons by China constitutes an "armed" attack sufficient to trigger the defense pact has been frequently raised on our Midrats podcast. China's assertion of entitlement to vast areas of the South China Sea and its aggressive efforts to enforce those claims despite a lack of legal justification are an interesting test case in how close to a line it can walk before triggering similar counter activities or more. However, it is vital that the U.S. support, in every way possible, our allies and treaty partners in the region.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: "The Monitor and the Merrimac" from You Are There (1948)




The battle that forever changed naval warfare.

An account of the Battle of Hampton Roads begins here:

At ten minutes before ten, on the morning of the 30th of January, 1862, an iron floating battery, designed for the Government of the United States by John Ericsson, and named, at his suggestion, the Monitor, was launched at Green Point, Long Island, and at three p.m., on the 25th of February, formally taken possession of by the Navy Department, and put in commission at the Navy Yard, New York.

On Thursday, the 6th of March, this novel float, concerning whose fate many gloomy predictions had been hazarded, left the Lower Bay in tow of the steamer Seth Low, and, with a fair wind and smooth sea, steered for Hampton Roads. . . .

Update -Had some early coding issues which now seem to be fixed.

Sunday, February 04, 2024

Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea Has Not Gone Away

It's been too long since I last reported on the work of the ICC-IMB Piracy Reporting Centre which produces the "Live Piracy Map" and maintains a database of attacks which culminates in their Annual Piracy Report. Here's a summary for 2023:


So far in 2024:


2024 West Africa and Indian Ocean:


2024 Southeast Asia:



For reference 2023 and 2022:



The patterns are nearly the same as those that preceded the explosion of piracy off Somalia. The reasons remain the same - pirates/sea robbers attack where the ships are.

The Piracy Reporting Centre is to be commended in their effort to keep the issues involving attacks on shipping and merchant mariners in the public eye.