Friday, April 29, 2016

Fullbore Friday

Earlier this week, I had one of my evergreen arguments over the use of, "kids" to describe those who serve.

I'm sorry, 18, 19, and even 25 year old men and women are just that, men and women. We all put our lives in their hands every day, I find the paternalistic "kid" a bit insulting and can cause some to expect less of them. 

Perhaps it is just me being pedantic, it probably is.

"Kids" is better than "boy" and "girl," I suspect - but maybe it isn't just me, maybe it is just "us." We don't expect much from our young men and women as a society compared to what was expected just a few generations ago.

Adult college graduates, especially the young men, still living at home. They have the car, clothes and the external trappings of an adult, but they live as small children. Waiting for the roast-duck of life to fly in their mouth, making excuses for their own timidity and poor decisions.

Don't even get me started with the men and women in their early-20s, smart and well educated, who can't even deal with different opinions or little words that seem to send them in to a spiral.

Do they behave as such because we let them, or do we encourage them to never rise to adulthood? Either way, it is mostly the fault of poor leadership from their elders.

Back to boys and girls - but in this case let's look at the term "boy" as it was used just 100 years ago. A first class boy, or as it were, a Boy First Class;
At the outbreak of war, Jack's father Eli, an ex-soldier, re-enlisted as a Private in the 57th Coy. Royal Defence Corps. It was The Royal Navy that appealed to Jack and at the age of 15 he took references from his Headmaster and his employer along to a local recruitment office and enlisted.

He was sent to Keyham Naval Barracks in Plymouth for his basic training where he earned sixpence a week as a "Boy Second Class". He passed out as Boy First Class J. T. Cornwell J/42563 and when he left Keyham, (referred to in naval terms as H.M.S. Vivid) he was posted to H.M.S. Lancaster which was moored at Chatham. Jack was later ordered to join the fleet at Rosyth in Scotland and on the 2nd of May 1916 he joined the newly commissioned H.M.S. Chester.

The Battle of Jutland began on the 31st of May 1916, the first shots being fired at 14.28. H.M.S. Chester was stationed ahead of the fleet in The North Sea. Lookouts reported distant gunfire and her Captain ordered "Action Stations" before setting off at full speed to investigate. Close ahead they encountered four German cruisers. Jack took orders via headphones from his Officer on the bridge. He was fully responsible for setting the gun's sights and his speed and precision would determine whether they were to hit or miss their target. The German cruisers opened fire and Jack's gun was one of the first to be hit before it could be brought into action and he suffered a serious wound to his chest. H.M.S. Chester simply could not match the firepower of the four enemy cruisers. 

A report from the Commanding Officer of H.M.S. Chester: "Boy (1st Class) John Travers Cornwell of the "Chester", was mortally wounded early in the action. He nevertheless remained standing alone at a most exposed post, quietly awaiting orders till the end of the action, with the gun's crew dead and wounded all round him".

H.M.S. Chester sustained severe punishment, being hit seventeen times. She was ordered back to the port of Immingham on the Humber.

Jack was taken to hospital in Grimsby and attended by Dr. C. S. Stephenson, but he could not be saved and died of his wounds on June 2nd, 1916. His body was brought back to East Ham in a naval coffin and his family buried him in a private ceremony at Manor Park Cemetery, in a communal grave numbered 323.

When the story of Jack's heroism and somewhat humble burial was publicised, it was decided, due to strong public opinion that Jack should have a burial fit for a hero.

On the 29th of July 1916, Jack Cornwell's body was exhumed and carried by gun carriage from East Ham Town Hall to Manor Park Cemetery where he was reburied with full naval honours.

In the procession, along with members of the family were: Mr. R. Banks Martin the Mayor of East Ham, Sir John Bethell M.P.,The Bishop of Barking, boys from Walton Road School, local cadets and scouts and boy sailors from H.M.S. Chester. The Admiralty was represented by Dr. Macnamara M.P.

On the 15th of September 1916, the official citation appeared in The London Gazette stating that John Travers Cornwell had been posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross by King George V.
What about his mother?
On the 25th of October 1916 Jack's father Eli died whilst on active service. The following month, on the 16th of November 1916, Jack's mother received her son's V.C. from The King at Buckingham Palace.

By 1919, Jack's mother Lily, was living in reduced circumstances and working in a sailors' hostel to supplement a very small pension awarded for her son. She was found dead at her home in Commercial Road, Stepney, on the 31st of October 1919 aged 48 and never saw the memorial erected on her son's grave. She shares a grave with Jack and Eli at Manor Park Cemetery, although her name is recorded as Alice.

The memorial stone was unveiled on the 31st of December 1920, by Dr. Macnamara M.P. with members of the family present and A.H. Wiseman, the Mayor of East Ham. The Boy Scouts and Sea Scouts provided a guard of honour.
Finally, a little note for you next time you are in London. It's right across from Captain Bligh's house;
The gun that Jack manned from H.M.S. . Chester, was taken to the Imperial War Museum in March 1936 and is still on display today, along with Jack's medals which were deposited in the museum by Jack's stepsister Alice Payne on the 28th of November 1968.
Now I am mad at myself. When I was at the IWM, I walked right past his gun. When you get a chance, take up my slack and visit a bit of what a "boy" can do.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Diversity Thursday

With the ongoing fight for money and manpower each year, smart leaders should have one order that comes out of their office before any other one when looking for manpower savings; "Let me see the manning document."

For a very long time, our BA/NMP collected like so many beggar-weeds non-value added billets to meet this person or that person's pet project; something they can point to and say, "See, we did something."

What were once collateral duties are now full-time billets, taking money and personnel both civilian and uniformed away from actually performing duties that contribute to manning, equipping, and training Sailors and Marines to perform their mission. With finite budgets and only 24-hrs a day, this has an opportunity cost.

These non-value added positions need to find ways to justify their existence, they sure have plenty of time on their hands. If they don't have problems to solve, they will create them.

If you give socio-politically motivated people agenda driven jobs, and they think their agenda and desire to prove that they are as important as anyone else is primary - their extra time and need for self-affirmation will take your command in strange directions.

Fold in to that the Diversity Bullies standard operating proceedures; they will make you love them. They will make you prove a negative, but mostly - under threat of smearing you as not "caring" - they will force you and your command to sacrifice time and money to validate their existence. Weak leaders will jump through the hoops. Virtue seeking and attention desiring people will flock to it. Warfighters will do what they must, avoid and hide from what they can.

What was once a "go along to get along" or a "what harm, it sounds nice" or a "whatever; if I agree will they leave me alone" - is now an above-the-fold priority. 

These political-agenda driven parasites will start to take over the larger organization, sucking up scarce resources. Never satisfied, they demanded more and more attention.

Did you notice this month that annoying change in the "NAVY" where the "V" was turned in to a weak denim color ribbon everywhere including even PAO pictures on twitter? Just look at the screen-cap in this post from Right after the CNO's Design, what does our Navy think the word needs to know about? Why, it must signal virtue. Goodness knows a Navy and Marine Corps at war does not have any virtue related to warfighting in need of letting the world know about.

That is the macro view, what is the local view? How does this needy warping of priorities work its way down to even the smallest UIC?
Sexual Assault Awareness Prevention Month

NSA Panama City Events- April 2016

March 31, 2016 SAAPM Kick-off in the Galley !

April 8, 2016 Reality Game Show for Active Duty at NDSTC Auditorium, beginning at 1300.

April 12, 2016 Coffee and donuts with the SARC, out front of the Fleet and Family Support Center, beginning at 0730!

April 19, 2016 Dedication of “Ophelia”. Ophelia is a Hibiscus tree that has been planted to show support to all Navy Sexual Assault Survivors. The Chaplain will be doing a blessing and all attendees will participate in hanging teal ribbons on her.

April 20, 2016 Sexual Assault Awareness Run/ Walk starts at 0700 in front of the Fitness Center! Wear your teal to show support of the SAPR program!

April 20, 2016 is NSA Panama City’s Denim Day! Show your support of Sexual Assault Survivors- Send pictures of you and your coworkers in DENIM to Catherine. [redacted] Denim Day came about as a result of a rape that occurred in Italy thirteen years ago. An 18 year old young lady hired a driving instructor to take driving lessons. The instructor drove her to an isolated area in the country, and then attacked her. He wrestled with her until he got one of her legs out of her jeans, raped her, then forced her to drive back to town. The rapist was arrested and convicted for the crime. However, he later appealed the conviction, the case made it all the way to Italy's Supreme Court. The conviction was overturned by a male judge. The judge concluded that because the victim had on tight jeans, she must have helped the perpetrator take her pants off and therefore it was not rape, it was consensual sex. Women across the country were enraged and within hours women were wearing denim jeans everywhere including professional work environments in support of the rape victim.

April 22, 2016 Run 1.5 miles in their shoes! Males come dressed as women, heels and all! Females come dressed as men, don’t forget your moustache! Show your support of all Sexual Assault Survivors!! Prizes will be awarded for best dressed and a variety of other crazy categories!

Any questions, please contact Catherine [redacted], SARC, at 850-235-[redacted]!!!

See you there!
The worst habits of the college Social Justice Warrior mindset are soaking in to our Navy, and you are paying for it with time, money, and BA/NMP. 

Now that the sane among you are in a funk, let me cheer you up.

As we have covered over the years here, there is only one effective way to fight this - you have to starve the beast. With fresh air and light, they lose support - but besides intellectual starvation, they also need financial starvation.

Steps are being made in that direction. Behold what is being done in the great State of Tennessee;
Tuesday, Tennessee’s General Assembly passed a bill that would defund the University of Tennessee’s Office For Diversity and Inclusion. The bill has been passed to the state Senate.

Legislators would divert funds currently allocated to the Office of Diversity, “to minority scholarships for engineering students. It would also bar the university from using state funds to support the annual Sex Week programming or gender-neutral pronouns,” reports The Tennessean.
That is how you do it.

Think globally; act locally.

Hat tip Ed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

IG's, Rhinos, and Monkeys

Have you read the latest from retired Admiral McRaven about a politicized IG process?

One way or the other, stop by USNIBlog where I'm thinking it over

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Moment to Think of the 13XX Harry Navy at its Finest

VF-111 in the early 1970s with the F-4B/N. Fresh, sexy paint job. Pr0n stash. Fluffy hair. Canary yellow flight suits. White flight boots. Red ascot.

Behold, and just ponder Friday at the O-club, the secret bar on the CORAL SEA, and any liberty admin. YOLO before there was YOLO.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Blueberries - almost ripe for the picking

Glory, glory, glory. Someone arrange a triumph for CNO Richardson;
After six years in the fleet and some controversy, the blue-and-gray cammies could be headed for Davy Jones' seabag.

The digital blue Navy Working Uniforms were a fleet mainstay until 2013 after they were found to be unsafe to wear while fighting a fire. One plan is ditching these blue Navy working uniforms in favor of their green cousin. The service could potentially save millions by switching to the woodland cammies already worn by Seabees and master-at-arms. The green-and-tans are also not flame-resistant but would be the standard for ashore wear; flame-resistant coveralls and flight suits are mainstays for at-sea wear.
They say six years, but here at CDRS, we've been against this horrible idea of a uniform for over a decade. Yep, even back in 2005.

Let's go back to the article from a few days ago. What is driving this move?
He’s heard sailor's complaints that the heaviness of the fabric makes it hot from shoulders to boots. Sailors have told him it's “very uncomfortable,” he said.

Sure, the blue NWUs have been popular with those who like the battle dress-styling. But its camouflage is an open joke. Sailors have called it their “blueberries” and gagged that their foremost value is concealing paint spills. Even the Navy secretary has mocked it, saying three years ago that “the great camouflage it gives is if you fall overboard.”
Indulge me a bit. What did I say in early 2006, a decade ago?
Look at that heat-sink (higher res here). Everyone who has been deployed on the deck (not in the air looking down) to Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and/or Iraq during the summertime in the last 5 years raise your hands. The summer, heck spring and fall, direct sun of SW Asia should not be a shock to anyone. Throw in the deck of a CVN and think about how dark that uniform is. I am not going to even talk about the "blue theme." That BDU is going to give Sailors heat stroke and will do zip, zero, nada to anyone trying to hide in a desert environment.

I hope our Corpsmen get to wear Marine BDU. If you are Haji bringing your AK up on a group of Americans, if you even bother to aim, where are you naturally going to point....right! At the dark target against the light background. This is so wrong in so many ways. I like that they kept the hat and all, but just take the Marine or Army pattern, save some money, and get to the business of the Navy. I am sorry. I don't care about your desire to hide you paint stains (this won't do it BTW). This is the wrong answer. As we say in D.C. - I non-concur, sir.
Why are we only now sending out trial balloons on getting rid of this albatross around our neck? Again, it is as simple as it is maddening. 

From the start, I was not alone is seeing the problems with this uniform. Almost all knew this was a bad idea. This was supported and pushed because it was so desired by personalities. Even after those personalities were gone, inertia from timid leadership kept it going forward. We had to wait until this mistake thoroughly soaked in to the Fleet until we admitted it was a bad idea.


There were a lot of bad decisions in our Navy a decade ago that we are still paying the price for, and will be for decades. Blueberries is a small one, but a significant one. It is probably too far to address the SA uniform our E-6 and below are wearing, but I'll take any victory I can.

Make it so.

His predecessor is too ear-deep in the food trough to say why he did not take action - but that is the past. CNO Richardson, BZ and please follow through. It makes sense and our Sailors will love you for it.

Oh, and whoever approved this paint job, can we fire them or at least make them fly plastic dog-poo out of Hong Kong?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Spring Free For All - on Midrats

It's a Midrats free for all! Open phones and open topic for the full hour with EagleOne and myself today from 5-6pm Eastern.

Join us live if you can with the usual suspects in the chat room and offer up your questions for our guest, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

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

Friday, April 22, 2016

Fullbore Friday

Another moment to remember the Korean War.

Major Chew-Een Lee, USMC (Ret.) and his role as a 1Lt in the breakout from Chosin.


His Navy Cross citation:
For extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of a Machine-Gun Platoon of Company B, First Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea, on 2 and 3 November 1950. Immediately taking countermeasures when a numerically superior enemy force fiercely attacked his platoon and overran its left flank during the defense of strategic terrain commanding approaches to the main supply route south of Sudong, first Lieutenant Lee boldly exposed himself to intense hostile automatic weapons, grenade and sniper small-arms fire to carry out a personal reconnaissance, well in advance of his own lines, in order to redeploy the machine-gun posts within the defensive perimeter. Momentarily forced back by extremely heavy opposition, he quickly reorganized his unit and, instructing his men to cover his approach, bravely moved up an enemy held slope in a deliberate attempt to draw fire and thereby disclose hostile troop positions. Despite serious wounds sustained as he pushed forward, First Lieutenant Lee charged directly into the face of the enemy fire and, by his dauntless fighting spirit and resourcefulness, served to inspire other members of his platoon to heroic efforts in pressing a determined counterattack and driving the hostile forces from the sector. His outstanding courage, brilliant leadership and unswerving devotion to duty were contributing factors in the success achieved by his company and reflect the highest credit upon First Lieutenant Lee and the United States Naval Service.
First posted in June 2010.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Diversity Thursday

I am not sure what is more damning about this latest diversity induced out of body experience. 

I don't know what looks worse:
1. The intellectual rigor of USAF leadership.
2. The complete lack of honesty in USAF leadership.
3. The complete subjugation of all things to a racist mentality that only sees skin color.
4. The inability of seeing that #1-3 are resulting in your best not even bothering.

The rest just writes itself.

Brig. Gen. Christopher M. Short, commander of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, said in an email last month that of 15 pilot applicants for three openings, 14 are white.

He asked fighter wing commanders to stir up more candidates who “don’t necessarily look like each of you.” He bemoaned the fact that, not only is there a lack of diversity, but the number of applicants to make the world-famous team has taken a puzzling drop in the past two years.

“I am asking for your help in finding the right pilots for next year’s Thunderbirds team,” is how Gen. Short begins his email.
Right isn't "best." No, to him "right" is someone that will check a block so he can get the Diversity Bullies off his back and he has a chance to virtue signal his way in to another star.

Yes, I said that.
“While we have several qualified candidates that many of you submitted, I am lacking the depth in talent we’ve seen in previous years and I am lacking in diversity of gender, ethnicity and [aircraft type] background,” Gen. Short wrote.
Read that again, and read it as if you were one of those applicants or their peers.
“As you look out at your wings, I’d also ask you to look at those pilots that may have the ability to reach our audiences that don’t necessarily look like each of you,” he said.
We should owe Short a bit of thanks. There are still a few holdouts who insist that the DOD diversity initiatives are not about things as superficial as race and ethnicity, that no one is just trying to get the PPT metrics slide right. Well, there is is; red in tooth and claw.

He is willing to endanger the lives of the entire team and that of those who come to watch in order to meet an artificial quota. This isn't changing currency pictures; this is precision flying.
“I don’t expect a huge push of diverse applicants, primarily because our pool isn’t very diverse,” he wrote. “But I need talent on the team as well, and some of the 15 applicants just don’t have the depth of record of our typical competitive applicant. I am hoping you have one or two you can engage and discuss the impact they could have on our Air Force by becoming a Thunderbird pilot.”

He said he does not know why the number of applicants is shrinking.

“If you have insights on why we are not getting the number of traditional applicants, I’d love to hear,” he said. “The challenge cuts across many [aircraft types] on the team, so I think it is a reflection of a slightly tired force — but there may be other factors I’m missing. I would really appreciate your help.”
Wow. Read that again. He is insulting the talent that is offered his way as a way to ham-handedly cover the openly discriminatory policy direction he is going.

And he wonders why few people would want to be on his team? The best want to be with the best. When your life relies on the person to the left and right of you being as good as you are, you need to have confidence that they are. If you think that person to the left or right only got where they are in order to meet some guy in a swivel-chair PPT metric, well, screw that. Who would want to take that risk?

Sometimes you have to personalize things, and this is clearly an unforced error. Well, more than that - an act of commission. This only helps Short. 

As a result of this action, any non-"white male" on the team will not be looked at as an equal. There will always be a doubt of, "Did they get there because they are the best, but because they met some diversity quota." 

Victimized by discrimination, clear as day. 

Is that fair? Well, I don't think that is the right question. The right question is, "Is that fact?"

It doesn't have to be this way if you have a simple meritocracy. Of course, Short could also think that his fellow officers are racists and bigots and that is why he isn't getting the right color jelly beans in his jar. Is that it? If so, where is the IG?

BG Short, I would offer that you need to take a fresh look at what you are pushing and why - and look at the second and third order effects.

Via JQP, here is the full text;
Subject: Thunderbird Applicants
Importance: High

Wing Commanders,

I am writing to request your assistance. For some, you are familiar with the request, for others it may be the first time, so please bear with me. I am asking for your help in finding the right pilots for next year’s Thunderbird team. Maj Gen Silveria, USAFWC/CC will also write your NAF/CCs asking similar.

The announcement is out and the suspense has passed for the applications for next year’s team, but we have only received 15 applications for the three demonstration pilot positions (#3,#6, and #8 narrator/advance pilot). While we have several qualified candidates that many of you submitted, I am lacking the depth in talent we’ve seen in previous years and I am lacking in diversity of gender, ethnicity and MDS background. Currently 14 white males have applied and zero applicants from the F-15C or F-22. I understand the Raptors are finally in the fight so many are taking their first chance at combat (ok couldn’t resist) and choosing not to apply.

If you handled this like I did as a FW/CC, I waited for interest and then flew with those who wanted to apply, and then wrote my letter of recommendation. What I didn’t do was actively look through my wing for those pilots that might do a great job representing our AF and benefit from the experience, and then have the conversation about becoming a Thunderbird. With over 200 days a year of TDY and a focus on retaining, recruiting and representing our AF, this has to be a volunteer, but I have found, and learned from others, that the reluctant volunteer often makes the best Thunderbird officer. I’d offer that those chosen for the team, do very well in school and promotion competition–often they come in with the record that supports that–but we have taken very good care of those with excellent records.

As you look out at your wings, I’d also ask you to look at those pilots that may have the ability to reach our audiences that don’t necessarily look like each of you. I have told the story in several audiences, including the ACC commander’s Conference, but it bears repeating: Two years ago, Thunderbird #3, Caroline “Blaze” Jensen had the longest lines post show for autographs. Additionally, I had several AF officers who wrote that their daughters, who had shown no interest in the AF, were now considering after seeing/talking to Blaze–one said she now wanted to be a Thunderbird. Being a female pilot allowed her to make connections none of the other pilots were able to do. While she brought a different gender demographic–she was also a reservist–she earned her position on the team and like each of team members, did an amazing job representing our AF. Currently our #8 is a reservist and he has done an outstanding job as well.

The stories go both ways. The Thunderbird First Sergeant last year was an African American female and would often “stand the line” after shows and talk to airshow attendees. One young African-American girl engaged the shirt and marveled at how she was a member of the team. The shirt asked if she would like to fly airplanes one day, the young girl immediately responded, “I can’t do that, I’m black.” This is 2016 America. The power of seeing someone that looks like you, doing something you want to grow up and do, cannot be overestimated.

Finally, I don’t expect a huge push of diverse applicants, primarily because our pool isn’t very diverse. But I need talent on the team as well, and some of the 15 applicants just don’t have the depth of record of our typical competitive applicant. I am hoping you have one or two you can engage and discuss the impact they could on our Air force by becoming a Thunderbird pilot.

The applicants will be selected on past performance, records, interviews and ability to become part of a team and humbly represent our AF–thus the pool of applicants ideally would represent our CAF.

In order to facilitate this last minute push, I will take a name and a letter of recommendation from the nominating WG/CC by next Wednesday. I’ll need full packages by 26 Feb, but we control the process and am willing to work with you to get the packages submitted in order to find the right applicants for the team.

This is the second time I’ve had to get out for additional applicants. Last year several of the last minute applicants became finalists, so I am hoping that with your help we can increase the size and depth of the pool. Additionally, this may be less a “you” issue and more of a “me” issue. If you have insights on why we are not getting the number of traditional applicants, I’d love to hear. The challenge cuts across many MDS on the team, so I think it is a reflection of a slightly tired force–but there may be other factors I’m missing. I would really appreciate your help, and if you can send this to your TFI partners, I would appreciate it as well (Bluto and Roscoe, request your assist). A similar email will go to those I know, but my contact list is not complete.

Appreciate your time and efforts supporting this mission,


Christopher M. Short
Brig Gen, USAF
57 WG, Nellis AFB

Hat tip P.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

OK MTH and AW1, I Have My Circular Slide Rule. You Ready?

I'm sorry - I know a lot of people hate Anti-Submarine Warfare ... but I loved the stuff. I especially liked it as a wee pup when you were just a day away from playing with a Soviet.

Targets are tougher, technology advances ... but I'm a quick learner and its only been a bit more than decade and the fundamentals have not changed. 


Great mission - even if you can't smoke anymore while doing it.

I'm pondering the return to the North over at USNIBlog. 

Come on by ...

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Yes, you heard that right; 4-hrs a month

To be frank, I am too tired to go on a 2,000 word screed, and I don't think I need to.

We have a SECNAV. He has things that concern him. With the Navy, it is "green" fuel. With his Marines, well.

Priorities. The conversation, time, and focus of leadership will follow his priorities. As such, this is what people are reading about as a top challenge to our Marine Corps.
Women would still be allowed to do the flexed-arm hang under a new proposal, but would be given little incentive to do so. Points for the flexed-arm hang would max out at 50, while one pullup would be worth 51 points.

Max pullups would vary by age, as is the case with all PFT events. The following would be required to obtain a maximum score:

Ages 17 to 20: 7 pullups
Ages 21 to 25: 8 pullups
Ages 26 to 30: 10 pullups
Ages 31 to 35: 10 pullups
Ages 36 to 40: 8 pullups
Ages 41 to 45: 7 pullups
Ages 46 to 50: 6 pullups
Ages 51+: 4 pullups

The plan would officially reverse a requirement announced by then-Commandant Gen. James Amos in late 2012 that women would soon be required to do at least three pullups to pass the PFT. Eight would needed for a max score, while men have to belt out 20. This was to end the era of the flexed-arm hang.

The plan never made it off the ground, though. Data collected in 2013 found that 55 percent of female recruits couldn’t meet the minimum requirement. A study of 318 female Marines found that the women could complete 1.63 pullups on average. Roughly 20 percent of those Marines could only hit three pullups if they used their lower bodies in a "kipping" motion.

At that point, the Marine Corps allowed women to choose between pullups and the flexed-arm hang as officials developed a new plan. The transition was further extended when leadership decided to hold off on any decision until the three-year Women in Service Review wrapped up in 2015. In November, Neller directed top leaders to conduct a full review of the service’s fitness and body composition standards, which led to this latest proposal.
Studies will continue to be done until the desired results are attained.

Meanwhile, outside the beltway, there are other priorities.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Essential Jutland

There is so much here that is 100% relevant to war at sea today.
A full account of the Battle of Jutland narrated by Admiral Jellicoe’s grandson as part of the Jutland Centenary Commemorations. The 24 minute animation gives the viewer an overview of the major “chapters” of the battle – the opening battle cruiser action, the Grand Fleet deployment, the Turn Away and the Night Destroyer actions. Additionally the 1917 submarine campaign is explained as a consequence of Scheer’s decision not to risk another Fleet-to-Fleet encounter. Graphics, animation, animated maps and contemporary photography illustrate key points.
Take the time to watch it all.

Hat tip Herb.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Fullbore Friday

It has been a long war.

If you are an American and you have never heard of Neerja Bhanot and her fellow crewmembers of Pan Am Flight 73, that is to our collective great shame.
It was just before 06:00 and Pan Am Flight 73, on a stopover in Karachi from Mumbai, was scheduled to continue on to Frankfurt, en route to New York. There were 14 flight attendants on board, 12 of whom were preparing for take-off.

Outside, four gunmen had sped on to the tarmac in a van disguised as airport security. The men entered the Boeing 747, firing shots into the air.
Meanwhile, inside the plane, 29-year-old American passenger Rajesh Kumar was pulled out of his seat and made to kneel in front of one of the open doors, with a gun to his head. When no pilot materialised within the hour, Mr Kumar was shot and kicked out of the plane.

"This changed everything. It showed they were ruthless killers," says Sunshine.

Looking for Americans

Around four hours into the siege, the hijackers began trying to identify the Americans on board. The Abu Nidal Organisation (ANO), which they were members of, was opposed to US and Israeli policy in the Middle East.
Sunshine, Madhvi Bahuguna and another flight attendant began collecting passports, quietly avoiding collecting any that were American.

They then went through the bags of passports they had collected, secretly sifting out any remaining American ones and tucking them under their seats or concealing them in their clothing.

Mike Thexton, a passenger on the plane, describes the act in his book What Happened to The Hippy Man? as "extremely brave, selfless and clever".

"I may be biased but I feel that day proved that the flight attendants on board were some of the best in the industry."

Having failed to find an American, the militants settled for someone British. Mike was made to sit on the floor, and like the other passengers, keep his hands above his head. Aside from one sharp kick, he says, he was not physically mistreated and eventually escaped with others in the later chaos.
Although the hijackers had closed the doors and lowered the shutters earlier, the air conditioning and lights had been on. As evening set in, the on-board power supply started to dwindle, the lights got dimmer and the cool air stopped circulating.
Moments until darkness
Meherjee, the mechanic, told Safarini that the emergency power would last 15 minutes or so before the aircraft would be plunged into darkness. Sherene says she knew then that time was running out.
When the lights did go out, all the flight attendants and passengers were in the middle section of the cabin, several seated on the ground in the aisles and near the doors. The gunmen positioned themselves on either side of the aisles.

"They had lost patience. They let out a war cry," says Sunshine, "and began firing into the crowd. There were huge streaks of light breaking the darkness. And screams."
Sherene saw that mechanic Meherjee had been killed.

In the chaos and darkness, at least three doors had been opened, though it is not clear by whom. The door nearest the wing had been opened in manual, which meant that the emergency slide did not deploy. It was a short jump to reach the wing of the plane. Many went for it. Nupoor and Madhvi slipped off the edge of the wing, fracturing bones as they hit the tarmac around 20 feet (6 metres) below.

Sunshine and Dilip were also on the wing, but in the darkness couldn't gauge the distance of the drop. They saw another door had been deployed in automatic, which meant that the emergency slide was inflated.

They climbed back in through the door they had come through, and along with Sherene and another colleague, assisted and redirected passengers to the inflated slide.

Massey had already exited down the slide just moments earlier, taking three unaccompanied children with him.

Then, when all the passengers were off the wing, the crew did something remarkable. Not hearing any more gunfire, but not knowing where the gunmen were, they went back into the dark plane to look for survivors.

Neerja shot

That's when Sunshine saw Neerja.

Neerja had been shot in her hip and was bleeding heavily, but was conscious. Sunshine called Dilip over to help, and the two carried Neerja to the emergency slide. They pushed her down first, then jumped out themselves.
She died later of her wounds.

I'm not all that impressed with the BBC coverage, so I would offer that you take a moment to read here and here.

There is a movie out about her now in India. Will it make it to the USA? Don't know. What I do know is that Pakistan has been, well, Pakistan about all this.
- The Pakistani authorities released the leader of the hijackers, Zaid Hassan Abd Latif Safarini, in September 2001, but he was quickly recaptured by the US.
- Safarini is 12 years into his 160-year sentence in a US prison. The other hijackers were released from their Pakistani jail in 2008, against the wishes of India and the US

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Diversity Thursday

They will push and push the envelope until they are stopped. Sadly, it looks like SECDEF Carter is at best slow rolling, at worst is about to associate his name with active discrimination based on race, creed, color or national origin - to his great shame and the detriment of our military.

Why do we have DivThu? This is why we have DivThu;
The proposal, sent to Defense Secretary Ash Carter for approval, would require the Army, Navy and Marine Corps to consider minority candidates for key jobs such as aide-de-camp and military assistant to senior leaders.
What if I am half "minority?" What about 1/4? It looks like 1/64th is good enough, how about that? What if I am a mix of four, or eight minority groups? Which do I pick? Why? To serve whom?
Adopting a similar approach in the military “gives great prospect for alleviating persistent gaps in our senior leadership corps,” according to the proposal developed by Brad Carson, who stepped down recently as the Pentagon's top civilian official for personnel issues. Each of the services and special operations forces have struggled for years to diversify its top brass with little effect. For example, USA Today reported last year that of the Air Force's 280 generals, just 18 of them belonged to minority groups. Overall, the active duty force of more than 1 million troops is about 69% white, 17% black and 4% Asian, according to Pentagon figures.
Brad Carson. You are breaking my heart.

As anyone with any exposure to undergrad statistics will tell you, the problem, especially with black officer numbers, are way upstream from when the Navy gets a shot at them. Look at high school graduation rates. Look at standardized testing scores. Then look at college graduation rates and performance. Look at juvenile criminal statistics. It is all right there.

As a percentage of the population you are already at a significant disadvantage. The problem is there but to a lessor extent with some, but not all, Hispanic sub-groups. There is no problem with most Asian ethnic groups - just the opposite as in most respects they outperform all "white" groups but a few such as Jews. All this is well known. When it all plays out, more qualified groups will succeed in a competitive environment based on meritocracy. The only way to bend the numbers is to actively discriminate in favor of those non-critical factors, such as race. It is all artificial. You de-emphasize those factors that lead to success, emphasize those which do not. In the end, the whole organization suffers.

Take all those entering objective criteria upstream from the military's intake, and off the bat you are not going to be inline with national racial and ethnic statistics in your officer corps. Add to that free people making personal choices, and especially black officers (which is what most of this is about), and the winnowing continues.
The services generally choose their senior leaders from front-line combat units such as infantry. Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for example, is an infantry officer. Minority officers, however, are underrepresented in those units for a variety of reasons, including personal choice.
This too is all well known - and correct.

Finally, let us speak as adults here; we need to stop with this early 1970 racial theory cancerous squid ink. This is insulting to say in theory, and is not what we see day after day in the fleet.
Carter believes that emphasizing diversity is essential for the military to attract and retain the troops it needs for the future, said another Defense official also familiar with the proposal but not authorized to speak publicly about it.

“Our ability to attract and develop a highly talented diverse cadre of officers to lead our military is essential to mission success now and in the future,” the proposal states.
This is a deep, dark smear on the integrity on every officer and enlisted man and woman in our military. It sounds sweet and is at the top-5 of all the talking points - but I want you to read it critically. Diagram that sentence. Go deep in to its meaning.

SECDEF Carter is smarter and better than this. Whoever is advising him needs to go with Carson and take their parking spaces with them.
The Navy, while saluting the goal of greater diversity, worries that implementing policy carries the “significant risk of litigation,” according to a memo. The Navy memo calls for analyzing data on the problem and developing “narrowly tailored efforts” to avoid lawsuits.

The plan before Carter would direct each of the services to establish goals for race, ethnicity and gender among the officers it commissions to “reflect the diverse population in the United States eligible to serve in our military. Undertaking the additional effort to identify and recruit a diverse candidate pool will help us build a stronger force and expose more Americans to the opportunity to serve in our military.”
Here you go uniformed leadership. After decades of accepting the smear on you and your people, will you at last stand up and defend them? Or, will you accept that you and your people are racist, bigoted leaders who are just one step away from pulling the hood out of the closet?
The proposal calls on the services to report to Carter by May 1 on how they will incorporate the policy into their diversity initiatives.
Is your integrity on issues such as equality a hill worth dying on, or at least making a stand? Do you want to be known as the "quota guy?"

We just don't care what your DNA is. A leader is a leader. A performer is a performer. A Shipmate is a Shipmate. If you want to promote division, strife, and sectarianism - then follow the direction SECDEF Carter's advisors are leading him and us. Promote quotas. Give special treatment for self-identified race and ethnicity. Divide and establish pockets of preference. You will create division where none existed.

How evil is that? Do these people not spend any time with young men and women? 

People are not polluted with this kind of hate and division - it is fed to them. Shame on everyone in uniform who has "diversity" or "inclusion" in their job title. It promotes neither and are actually counter-indicators. 

Shame on any GS or SES who justifies their paycheck on promoting division and strife. 

Shame on any leader who is so morally weak and intellectually stunted to simply fall in to line to promote something that in their heart and head they know is not true - something that by supporting they signal that they think their Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen are acting in a racist, bigoted, sexist and otherwise discriminatory manner. 

Shame on all of them. That is not the cadre of Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen serving our nation, why do they think it is?

As always, who does this hurt the most? Our Shipmates who just happened to have a government approved racial/ethnic stamp on their records. Those who would rise to the top anywhere due to their talent and hard work but, because of some discredited and cancerous racial theory born in the Nixon administration, everyone will always wonder, "I wonder how many special breaks they got rising to the top."

That is the thing that should upset everyone who really cares about equality and promoting good order and discipline. SeaDaddyism is one thing, open racial and ethnic preferences give you the Austro-Hungarian and Yugoslavian military.

How did that work out?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Strategic Snoozing Group?

What was really going on behind the CANX of the Strategic Studies Group?

I'm pondering over at USNIBlog, pay us a visit.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I am reassessing my previous statements on the German sense of humor

This is so sublime and funny - especially for those who have lived with Germans for years - I don't even know where to start.
A time traveler in military uniform wakes up on a sunny Berlin afternoon in 2011, looking up at a blue sky without enemy aircraft overhead. He hears no shelling, explosions or sirens. That the city still stands despite his orders that it be destroyed, right down to the screws and door handles, is something that puzzles him. “On the other hand, I am here too,” he thinks, “and I cannot understand that either.”

You know his name. You know his face. You know his hair and mustache,

Rumor has it Netflix has the USA rights. I can't wait.

Oh; and of course ...

Monday, April 11, 2016

Funny, Tom Farrell Doesn't Seem Like a Chinese Name

Special trust and confidence.

Hopefully the events over the weekend gave everyone a chance to fully understand the meaning of these worlds that we hear so often we forget their meaning.
New details have emerged on the active-duty United States Naval officer who is accused of espionage and facing multiple charges for allegedly passing secrets to China.

Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin worked as a flight officer on ... the EP-3E Reconnaissance.
Heavily redacted charge documents accuse Lin with five counts of espionage and attempted espionage, three counts of making false official statements and five counts of communicating defense information "to a person not entitled to receive said information."

Lin is also charged with engaging in prostitution and adultery while on active duty, which is also a violation of military law.

Originally from Taiwan, Lin didn't become a U.S. citizen until 2008. The United States Naval Institute reports Lin has been in custody since last summer. A recommendation may be made to move the case to trial.

If found guilty of one of the most serious espionage charges, Lin could face the death penalty.
More, including the charging documents, at USNINews.
noun1. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.2. confident expectation of something; hope.3. confidence in the certainty of future payment for property or goods received; credit:to sell merchandise on trust.4. a person on whom or thing on which one relies: God is my trust.5. the condition of one to whom something has been entrusted.6. the obligation or responsibility imposed on a person in whomconfidence or authority is placed: a position of trust.7. charge, custody, or care: to leave valuables in someone's trust. 
confidence[kon-fi-duh ns]
noun1. full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing:We have every confidence in their ability to succeed.2. belief in oneself and one's powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance: His lack of confidence defeated him.3. certitude; assurance: He described the situation with such confidence that the audience believed him completely.4. a secret that is confided or imparted trustfully: The friends exchanged many confidences over the years.5. (especially in European politics) the wish to retain an incumbent government in office, as shown by a vote in a particular issue: a vote of confidence.6. presumption; impudence: Her disdainful look crushed the confidence of the brash young man.Archaic. something that gives confidence; ground of trust.
You do not have to know the background of what VQ(P) or VPU do, there is enough in open source to draw an outline for the novice. You just need to be a student of history to know that signals intelligence are the keys to the castle and is a war-winning asset. Throw in sources and methods, you don’t just have the keys, you have the architectural drawings as well.

We will learn much more about this sad affair as this moves forward, along with the details of this disgraced officer’s background and how he was recruited and used by his handlers.

Use this as an opportunity to rededicate yourself to give a little more patience to our security requirements. As frustrating as they can be. As slow and plodding they may seem. As much of an inconvenience they may be. They are there to in some way protect our nation’s most critical secrets from what is an unending wave of acts of commission and omission that give those who wish our nation harm information that in time of war could cost hundreds of thousands of deaths, and national defeat.

They often do not get the whole puzzle, but they get a piece here, a piece there, and they try to put it all together. Sometimes, a traitorous person gives them most of the edge-pieces or a central mass already put together. Other times they exploit things like classified information on unsecured email to gather a bunch of individual bits at one time, some connected, some not - but they help them flesh it all out.

We need to have a cold, hard heart in situations such as this Lin affair. There can be no mercy. There can be no excuses. An example must be made. May it be so here.

A final note of congratulations to our Chinese competitors - well done. However you did this, you did it well. I offer a professional nod of respect. Hopefully, we have done better on your end. Hopefully we will stop your next recruitment of a traitor.

Hope is a horrible plan, but it is what I have for now.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

The Anglosphere and Free Enterprise

In case you have missed it an need a pick-me-up this weekend; enjoy the view. As South-Africa, Canada, and the USA all have a little claim on Elon Musk, we should share the love.

BZ to all involved.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Fullbore Friday

A great American;
Born October 27, 1913 near Lodge Grass, Montana, Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow is the last living person with a direct oral history from a participant of the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876.

His grandfather, White Man Runs Him was a scout with General Custer and died in 1925 when Medicine Crow was 11 years old.

Dr. Medicine Crow’s grandparents lived before the United States Government sent Indians to a reservation in 1884. His father was a boyhood friend of Chief Plenty Coups and had advised Plenty Coups to go to the nation’s capital to present the Indians cases for preserving their ancestral land.
Prior to WWII, Medicine Crow – who was the first of his tribe to graduate from college – was studying for an advanced degree in anthropology before volunteering for the Army and being sent to Europe.

It was on the European battlefields Medicine Crow completed all of the four tasks needed to become a Crow War Chief. As a scout he led several successful war parties deep behind enemy lines; he stole German horses; he disarmed an enemy; and he touched an enemy (counted coup) without killing him. | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Diversity Thursday

Sorry about the orientation, but this is how I got it from the Salamander Underground, and I kind of like it that you have to put your head in an unnatural position to read this diktat.

This is another DivThu that really just writes itself - with a little "I told you so years ago" vibe that I love so much.

This PP presentation was given by Kathleen Ponder at the Navy's Strategic Thinking Workshop for Flags/SES. As one would expect none of those in the audiance raised an eyebrow and in fact, many joined in for the nonsensical discussion including "Microaggression."

Why would someone push back, when they would simply be slandered by the Commissar running the self-criticism class.

My favorite bits, you may have others,
Implicit Bias – a bias in judgment and/or behavior that results from subtle cognitive processes that often operate at a level below conscious awareness and without intentional control - beliefs or simple associations that a person automatically makes between an object and its evaluation.
Yes friends, you may act as if you are 100% equal opportunity, but at your core you act in a racist, sexist, and homophobic manner (or some combo or another). We can't prove that you are, but you are because we say so. You cannot prove that you are not, so, again, you have to accept that you are.

As such,
Our task as leaders:
• Understand where our personal implicit biases come from;
• Develop strategies for challenging our own implicit biases;
• Assist others who report to us to challenge their implicit biases.
Ok. Accept that you are biased. Make affirmative actions to make up for these biases that no one can show actually exists. Like a multi-level-marketing scheme, "assist" those whose careers we hold in our hands to do the same.

Warfighters being told they are bigots who don't know how to lead by someone with an undergrad degree in speech pathology with a doctorate in Curriculum and Counseling.

In the name of all that is holy.

Man, I wish I had the audio of the microaggression discussion. The Salamander Underground simply must work harder.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

White or grey?

Which is the hull color that is best addressing the issues as China pushed in to the sea?

I am discussing over at USNIBlog. Stop by and give it a read.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

When you answer is, "pour more concrete" - you've lost me

The last week seemed to be a, “I’m going to complain about why we can’t seem to build anything right anymore” to Sal week.

I’ve had the pleasure of exchanging notes to something that has been a stable since the start of this blog last decade; the unending and seemingly avoidable dysfunction that is our procurement system – one where we have not been able to produce a well designed warship since the end of the Cold War era DDG-51, and haven’t had an aircraft program blow up in our face since we adopted the 2nd place finisher in the 1970 light fighter program. (and no, the P-8 does not count – it is a converted airliner and our version does not have a MAD. The FA-18E/F does not count as “new aircraft” either).

Why? The problem is both personality based and the system we have designed to control the personality problem. Both are made worse by something else; narcissism.

The timid, the weak, and the insecure enable the narcissist. Combine narcissism in one strong will person with a gaggle of handpicked obsequious lickspittles in tow, toss in a contempt for history and the hard learned lessons of previous generations, leaven with a embittered resentment for the very real talent of those who came before – and you get that modernist and post-modernist mindset. In the Navy, those people are transformationalist, and their mantra is Transformation!TM

Can you find any other reason that explains the failure of the A-12, LCS, DDG-1000, ACS, and the long slow birth of V-22 and F-35 – or the Tiffany show pony that still is LPD-17?

It is there that I find a tie-back to another passion of mine that I don’t cover as much as I used to on this blog – architecture and the nightmare that has been modernism and post-modernism.

In a blindingly honest takedown of Zaha Hadid and her "Tomorrowland meets Logan's Run" style, Harry Mont shows how it is done;
In my 16 years as a journalist, she was the rudest interviewee I’ve ever met. She kept me waiting for an hour at her Clerkenwell office, before rearranging the interview for another day. And then she rearranged it twice more. Not that she did any of the rearranging – her extremely polite assistant did all that sort of thing.

When I finally got to see her, she never apologised for summoning me to her office and then putting me off. She was like a spoilt, medieval queen: grumpy, humourless, entitled, used to her orders being obeyed instantly, careless of the disruption those orders created.

Narcissistic, too. Her flat was empty, except for objects she’d designed herself: a curved sofa, a swooping table and a futuristic tea set. There was little sign of pleasurable human occupation: no books, no CDs. A lone iPad on a table displayed revolving pictures of her own works. The walls, floor and ceiling were monochrome white, with black metal-framed windows. A rectangular cavity housed a fireplace, filled with identical beige pebbles.
her first real building, a small fire station in Germany, never really worked for its intended purpose: ‘Its shrieking concrete angles and disruptive interiors photographed very well and were dutifully recorded in the magazines, but were not much liked by the firemen. It was decommissioned and is now an exhibition centre.’

Yes, some of her buildings made for dramatic, swirling sights on the outside. But the inside of buildings is just as – if not more – important.
Her Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton was praised for its bold, zig-zag shape, with a running track piercing its heart. I thought it was certainly original enough when I went round it, with the usual Hadid trademarks: curves, skewed angles and asymmetrical shapes. Inside, though, the classrooms, gym and dining area were a dreary mass of concrete, steel and glass planes, with a few zig zag motifs and primary colours slapped on. I’d have much preferred to be taught in one of the elegant Victorian terraced houses flanking the academy – with their brick, plaster and stone, full of history and detail. The Evelyn Grace Academy wasn’t much different from the 1970s Grange Hill School of Education Architecture – which also did nothing to please the poor children inside.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. In our interview, Hadid professed to admiring Alison and Peter Smithson’s Robin Hood Gardens tower block in Poplar, built in 1972. Robin Hood Gardens is the perfect example of a concrete and glass horror, loathed by the public at large, but adored by modern architects.
‘Most artists, or people who think of themselves as such, have to get the public to watch or listen before they can sod it,’ wrote Amis, ‘Architects are different. They have the unique power of sodding the consumer at a distance, not just if he lives or works in the building concerned, or just when he passes it a couple of times a day, but also when he happens to catch sight of it miles away on the skyline.’

Architects are also, Amis added, deeply subject to the principle of how it will go down at the club – ‘i.e. in the circle of his colleagues, his friends in the profession, certain critics and a more or less specialised and expert section of the public. The effect of this is to drive him towards the technically stimulating, the obscure and the ‘sophisticated’ and away from the older goals and values of whatever can be called pleasing, straightforward, entertaining, popular.’

Zaha Hadid went down extremely well at the club; not so well with the people who have to live and work in – and pay for – her buildings.
Sometimes it is OK to speak ill of the dead - especially when they are subject to a bunch of virtue-signaling praise by those who are as obsequious as she was narcissistic.

Art and architecture is critically important to the culture at large and deserves to be openly and aggressively debated.

And yes, this applies to more than architecture.

We'll have more maritime directly-related discussion tomorrow.

Monday, April 04, 2016

USS SIROCCO (PC-6) - Bravo Zulu

In the finest traditions of the naval service ... like from the beginning of the republic.

BZ to the crew of the USS Sirocco (PC-6).
The U.S. Navy says it has seized a weapons shipment in the Arabian Sea from Iran likely heading to war-torn Yemen.

The Navy said in a statement Monday that the USS Sirocco on March 28 intercepted and seized the shipment of weapons hidden aboard a small dhow, a type of ship commonly used in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.

The Navy said the shipment included 1,500 Kalashnikov assault rifles, 200 rocket-propelled grenade launchers and 21 .50-caliber machine guns. It said those aboard the dhow were released after sailors confiscated the arms.
I'm old enough to remember when we wanted to get rid of all these PC to the USCG ... is it too soon to discuss a proper ... and I mean proper ... follow on to this bit of kit?

Yes, too soon. Let's just show the wee crew's good work to start the week off right.