SpaceX Crew2 Astronauts
NASA and its international partners have assigned crew members for Crew-2, which will be the second operational SpaceX Crew Dragon flight to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
NASA astronauts Shn Kimbrough and Megan McArthur will serve as spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively, for the mission. JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet will join as mission specialists.
Crew-2 is targeted to launch in spring 2021, following the successful completion of both NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight mission, which is expected to return to Earth Aug. 2, and the launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission, which is targeted for late September. The Crew-2 astronauts will remain aboard the space station for approximately six months as expedition crew members, along with three crewmates who will launch via a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. The increase of the full space station crew to seven members – over the previous six – will allow NASA to effectively double the amount of science that can be conducted in space.
This will be Kimbrough’s third trip to space and his second long-duration stay at the space station. He was selected as an astronaut in 2004. He first launched aboard space shuttle Endeavour for a visit to the station on the STS-126 mission in 2008, then aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft for Expedition 49/50 in 2016. He has spent a total of 189 days in space and performed six spacewalks. Kimbrough also is a retired Army colonel and earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from West Point and a master’s degree in operations research from the Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
West Point and Diversity
Another year, another graduating class, another record level of Diversity. West Point now celebrates an even larger number of Black Female graduates. This year, it’s 38. We look forward to 2021’s achievements.
As we previously educed, this ‘achievement’ comes at significant though unacknowledged cost to separated cadets, taxpayers, soldiers, and warfighting capability.
If past trends held true, achieving the new record of 38 Black Female graduates, with historical Black female yields of 64%, would have required 59-60 matriculating cadets. We see from the class profile that 47 Black Female cadets matriculated, with a yield of 80%, which is only somewhat less than other groups.
This is much better than the historicals which indicated so waste and abuse it was practically criminal, so much so that we wonder what changed. We don’t know for sure, but we can present analysis on how the Black Females are admitted relative to other minority groups. In keeping with the theme of female opportunity, let’s see how USMA treats Asian Females.
My Response: Diversity is good, but that’s not why we have a military or a Military Academy. The only reason to have a military is to kill people and break things—combat readiness—when we’re really good at this no one wants to attack us. West Point and the other Service Academies, and the military in general, have made Political Correctness the number one goal—and the cost of combat readiness.
Charlie Chaplin lived 88 years. He left us 4 statements:
(1) Nothing is forever in this world, not even our problems.
(2) I love walking in the rain because no one can see my tears.
(3) The most lost day in life is the day we don’t laugh.
(4) Six best doctors in the world…:
1. The sun,
Stick to them at all stages of your life and enjoy a healthy life…
If you see the moon, you will see the beauty of God…
If you see the sun, you will see the power of God…
If you see a mirror, you will see God’s best creation. So believe it.
We are all tourists, God is our travel agent who has already identified our routes, bookings and destinations… trust him and enjoy life.
Life is just a journey! Therefore, live today! Tomorrow may not be.
The Israel-UAE Deal by Ret Admiral James Starvidis
Last week, Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced a deal: The Arab state would formally recognize Israel in exchange for Israel halting annexation of Palestinian territory in the West Bank. This followed a public invitation by the UAE ambassador to Washington, Yusef al-Otaiba, a highly respected diplomat and a good friend of mine.
The ambassador laid out the deal in clear, respectful language. The Trump administration helped coordinate the details, building on work that presidential adviser Jared Kushner has been facilitating as part of the larger (and thus far unsuccessful) push for an overall peace deal. Reflecting earlier work by the Bush and Obama administrations to bring the Arab and Israeli sides together, it is an important bipartisan step toward Israeli-Arab rapprochement that may in time bear significant fruit.
Throughout my tenure as supreme allied commander of NATO, I came to know Israel well. I became particularly close to the head of the Israeli Defense Forces, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, and his deputy commander, then-Major General Benny Gantz.
Both remain important figures in Israeli politics. Indeed, the first phone call between the UAE and Israel, on Sunday, was conducted by Ashkenazi and his counterpart in the UAE. Gen. Gantz, who went on to command the IDF, is now alternate prime minister in a shaky coalition with Benjamin Netanyahu. Benny (as even junior officers called him when he wore stars on his shoulder) is also the minister of defense.
The influence of these two pragmatic former military leaders is obvious in the new arrangement with the UAE. Gantz has emerged as a centrist voice for cooperation with the Arabs, negotiation with the Palestinians, alignment with the US and NATO, and above all the creation of real deterrence against Iran. Both Gabi and Benny understand Iran’s lethal threat to Israel – a key impetus for this move to come closer to the Arab Gulf states.
Indeed, for the past decade, both generals have been quiet advocates of cooperation with Arab countries, including not only traditional partners Jordan and Egypt but also the UAE, Oman and, most importantly, Saudi Arabia.
My comment: This deal is outstanding. I believe we’ll start seeing a number of other Middle Eastern nations follow UAE’s lead.
UAE and F-35s
A US-brokered deal that saw Israel and the United Arab Emirates began to open diplomatic ties may end up with Abu Dhabi purchasing advanced American weaponry, potentially upending both a longstanding Israeli military edge regionally and the balance of power with Iran.
Despite public objections by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Trump told reporters that the Emiratis had expressed interest in buying “quite a few” F-35 stealth fighter jets and such a deal was “under review.”
Bricks as Batteries
Chemists at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a method for converting red bricks, the ubiquitous building material, into “smart bricks” that can be charged and store energy like a battery.
Scientists published their proof-of-concept paper this week in the journal Nature Communications.
“Our method works with regular brick or recycled bricks, and we can make our own bricks as well,” co-author Julio D’Arcy said in a news release.
“As a matter of fact, the work that we have published in Nature Communications stems from bricks that we bought at Home Depot right here in Brentwood, Missouri; each brick was 65 cents,” said D’Arcy, an assistant professor of chemistry at Washington.
Designers and engineers have previously recognized the brick’s ability to absorb and store the sun’s energy, but the latest study marks the first time researchers have developed a strategy for converting a red brick into a supercapacitor.
“In this work, we have developed a coating of the conducting polymer PEDOT, which is comprised of nanofibers that penetrate the inner porous network of a brick; a polymer coating remains trapped in a brick and serves as an ion sponge that stores and conducts electricity,” D’Arcy said.
A former CIA officer has been charged with selling top-secret information to China over the span of a decade, the justice department said.
Alexander Yuk Chung Ma, a 67-year-old Hawaii resident, was arrested on Aug. 14 and charged with conspiracy to transfer classified information, including “Top Secret” level information, to China, an offense that could lead to life in prison, prosecutors said.
Ma began working for the CIA in 1982 and later became an FBI linguist.
Prosecutors said Ma worked with a relative who was also a former CIA officer, an 85-year-old Los Angeles man, but he was not charged because he suffers from a “debilitating cognitive disease.”
The charges are the latest in a string of prosecutions targeting Chinese espionage activities in the US.
Ma, a naturalized US citizen born in Hong Kong, was stationed overseas, where he had a “Top Secret” clearance, prosecutors said. He left the agency in 1989, and then lived and worked in Shanghai before moving to Hawaii in 2000.
Prosecutors said Ma turned allegiances by 2001, when he met several times with at least five officers of China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS), the country’s top intelligence agency, in a Hong Kong hotel room. During these meetings, Ma “disclosed a substantial amount of highly classified national defense information,” including the identities of CIA officers and assets, methods of covert communication, information about the CIA’s internal structure, and details about the agency’s spycraft.
The FBI procured video footage of one of the meetings in March 2001, which showed MSS agents paying Ma $50,000, which he counted while relaying the classified information, the court document said. It is unclear how the FBI obtained the footage.
Therapy for Veterans
John Zanella, an Army veteran, provides equine therapy at no cost to veterans at Victory Therapeutic Horsemanship in Tyrone, Pa.
Pulling Out of Iraq
President Trump reaffirmed his plan to withdraw all US troops from Iraq as quickly as possible as he met with the prime minister of Iraq to discuss ways to rein in pro-Iran militias in the country and counter residual threats from Islamic State sleeper cells.
“We look forward to the day when we don’t have to be there,” Trump said during an Oval Office meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
“We were there and now we’re getting out. We’ll be leaving shortly, and the relationship is very good. We’re making very big oil deals. Our oil companies are making massive deals. … We’re going to be leaving and hopefully we’re going to be leaving a country that can defend itself.”
Asked about a timetable for a full withdrawal, the president turned to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who replied: “As soon as we can complete the mission. The president has made very clear he wants to get our forces down to the lowest level as quickly as we possibly can. That’s the mission he’s given us and we’re working with the Iraqis to achieve that.”
There are more than 5,000 American troops in Iraq now. Last month, the top US general for the Middle East said he believed the U.S. will keep a smaller but enduring presence in the country. Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of US Central Command, said he believes the Iraqis welcome the US and coalition troops, especially in the ongoing fight to keep IS fighters from taking hold of the country again.
My comment: Iraq has been an endless war. If we’re going to stay there (or anywhere) our troops need to know what mission accomplishment looks like so they can achieve it. It is time to leave.
AF General Fired
An Air Force general in charge of a Pentagon office that oversees some of the military’s top secret programs was fired last year because of the toxic work environment she created for airmen and her staff, according to a new report.
Citing a 2020 Inspector General report obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Air Force Times reported that Maj. Gen. Dawn Dunlop was removed from her post as director of the Special Access Programs Control Office, or SAPCO, after she repeatedly disrespected subordinates and once inappropriately grabbed a subordinate’s hand without consent in an effort to scold her.
In several instances, Dunlop spoke to and treated subordinates in a demeaning manner, implying they were stupid after failing to meet her objectives, Air Force Times reported.
Witnesses who spoke to the IG described Dunlop — the first woman to become a fighter test pilot, to fly the F-22 Raptor stealth jet and to command a test wing — as “borderline abusive” and “dictatorial.” Some said they were even afraid to come to work.
“That’s the environment we were in; nothing was ever right,” one unidentified witness said in the report.
Other witnesses testified that Dunlop was on a mission to fix a “broken” SAPCO organization.
Her leadership style was perceived as combative, as illustrated by several incidents in the IG report.
My comment: I don’t think I’d like to work for this general, but complaints because someone touched your hand and got upset and yelled? And afraid to come to work? Something is really wrong here.
F-15 Ejection Parachute
A US Air Force civilian talks about the process of inspecting a F-15 ejection parachute for rips, tears or other problems.
Navy-funded researchers have discovered that a locust’s sensitive “horns” can distinguish between the scents of TNT and other explosives — a development that one day could herald the deployment of bomb-sniffing, electronically augmented bug swarms.
The research by a team from Washington University in St. Louis, published this month in the science journal “Biosensors and Biolectronics: X,” is the first proof of concept for a system that aims to tap into the antennae and brainpower of garden-variety bugs to create an advanced bomb-detection sensor.
The work is funded by two Office of Naval Research grants totaling more than $1.1 million, and biomedical engineering professor Barani Raman believes it has the potential to produce a biorobotic sniffer that would be leaps ahead of entirely man-made “electronic noses.”
Combat Training Deaths
A Republican lawmaker called on the House Armed Services Committee to hold a public hearing on the “disturbing rise in deadly training accidents” to pursue military training reforms and prevent further tragic accidents.
“The death of my constituent, Army Specialist Nicolas Panipinto, last year and a recent training accident at Camp Pendleton that left nine service members dead are tragic examples showing the obvious need for reforms to military training,” Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., wrote in an Aug. 17 letter to the committee’s leadership. “That is why I am calling for the House Armed Services Committee to immediately hold a public hearing looking into the disturbing frequency of U.S. military training accidents around the world and to examine potential reforms to help save lives.”
In early June, Buchanan sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, demanding reforms after learning of “disturbing revelations” surrounding Panipinto’s death.
Panipinto, of Bradenton, Florida, died in late 2019 in a Bradley fighting vehicle accident at Camp Humphreys, South Korea.
The “right-hand side tread of Panipinto’s M2A3 came off” and caused the massive vehicle to roll over, according to the letter Buchanan sent to Esper. Buchanan said that Panipinto lacked the proper training to drive the armored fighting vehicle on a Nov. 6 road test.
On July 30, eight Marines and one Navy sailor died when their Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV) sank near San Clemente Island in Southern California after it began taking on water on its way back to the amphibious transport dock Somerset.
The Marine Corps has suspended all waterborne operations of AAVs until an investigation determines what caused the vehicle to sink.
My comment: Training for combat is dangerous; training accidents and losses are a part of having troops trained and ready for combat. That said, we do want to be sure we do all we can to keep our people safe.
The Chaplains Corner
Scott McChrystal is a retired Army Colonel, Chaplain. Here are some of his insights that I think you’ll find appropriate.
“You, Elections, and America’s Future”
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! (Psalm 33:12)
On November 3rd of this year, important national, state and local elections will likely chart the direction of our nation for years to come. Why? Simply because the respective platforms of the Democratic and Republican parties display stark contrasts.
In a series of three articles, I’d like to address these questions:
· Article 1: As a United States citizen, should I vote?
· Article 2: Can I really find out the truth concerning the issues that our politicians are speaking about?
· Article 3: Does the Bible contain principles that can help me know how to vote on some of the hotly debated issues?
It is historical fact that our Founding Fathers sought God’s wisdom as they established our great country—the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and many other writings surrounding the early years of our country strongly validate their dependence on Divine Leadership. The result was the founding of a democratic republic that provides freedom and opportunities unparalleled in world history.
The essence of the government our forefathers established is the precept that the United States is a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” As such, every citizen has the right to vote. Even with the division prevalent in America today, we are still living in the greatest country on earth. Your vote is essential toward maintaining our liberty and strength as a nation.
Unfortunately, many Americans cite reasons not to vote. I mention two:
· I don’t like either of the candidates. Please don’t fall for this excuse. If you don’t like either candidate, hold your nose and vote for the candidate you believe will be better for America—at the local, state, or national level. Failure to vote means that you forfeit your voice in determining America’s future. Think about it. If the elections don’t go the way you hope, you don’t have any grounds to complain because you didn’t vote.
· I’m a Christian—or a person of some other faith— and I’ve been told that politics and religion don’t mix. I’ll leave the voting to others. This is simply not true. You and I are fortunate enough to live in a free nation where our political system is founded on the belief that every citizen can have a voice through casting a vote at the ballot box. Multiplied thousands of Americans throughout our history have fought and died to protect our freedoms, to include the right to vote—others have suffered wounds. Some people are trying to silence God’s influence in America, especially in the way our government is run. Don’t let that happen. Please don’t remain silent. Your vote is your voice.
Please note carefully: I’m not telling you how to vote. I’m simply encouraging that you, as a citizen of this great country, get out and vote.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for allowing us to live as citizens of this great country, the United States of America. We are not a perfect country—we certainly have our flaws. But Lord, our nation has its heritage in you. Even our currency still says, “In God We Trust.” In your sovereign power and mercy, please help us continue to trust your wisdom and guidance as we approach these upcoming elections.
In Your precious and Holy Name. Amen.
Civil War History
Here are some questions on the Civil War; we’ll post the answers in the next newsletter.
Last issue’s questions:
1.What was significant about the Battle of Milliken’s Bend, LA, on June 7, 1863?
Ans: Millen’s Bend proved to skeptics that black soldiers could indeed perform courageously in battle before the bravery demonstrated by the 54th Massachusetts Infantry (Colored) when they charged Ft. Wagner, SC, near Charleston on 18 July 1863. The latter was chronicled in the motion picture “Glory.” As for Milliken’s Bend, Confederates attacked the Union supply base there, but by that time General Grant had move the base from the west side to the east side of the Mississippi River. The black troops fought off the Confederate attackers despite being outnumbered and receiving little training.
2.What was the duration of the “March to the Sea.?”
Ans: Twenty-six days, from 15 November to 10 December 1864.
Here are the new questions:
1.Where was the famous CSS Alabama constructed?
2.During the War, times were tough for all walks of life, particularly in the South. Many had to do with what they had. What were the following items used for other than their primary purpose? persimmons seeds, thorns, charcoal
GI Joe and Lillie, by the Oakridge Boys
Listen to the very end—it will touch you as it did me.
Frontlines of Freedom Gear
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Two quotes to consider.
Word to the Nation: Guard zealously your right to serve in the Armed Forces, for without them, there will be no other rights to guard.
John F. Kennedy
Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.
Colonel David Hackworth
Programming: You’ll want to tune into the show (live or by podcast).
29 Aug-4 Sep: US Coast Guard Vice Admiral Linda Fagan will discuss our Coast Guard. Then Navy vet (Special Ops) and MD Jeff Wilson will share his latest book. Frontlines of Freedom’s Football Co-host Quinton Roberts will discuss the upcoming Service Academy football season. Then we’ll review the movie of the month.
5-11 Sept: Steve Kirby will begin a series of discussions of the danger to America of radical Islam– and the hostility of Islamists to our Constitution. Then Col Mark Belinski will discuss an issue that majorly impacts retired military people: Concurrent Receipt. And retired Marine general and Congressman jack Bergman will discuss his Star PAC.
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I JUST discovered my age group! I am a Seenager (Senior teenager).
I have everything that I wanted as a teenager, only 50-60 years later.
I don’t have to go to school or work.
I get an allowance every month.
I have my own pad.
I don’t have a curfew..
I have a driver’s license and my own car.
I have ID that gets me into bars and the wine store.
The people I hang around with are not scared of anything; they have been blessed to live this long; why be scared?
And I don’t have acne..
Life is Good! Also, you will feel much more intelligent after reading this, if you are a Seenager.
Brains of older people are slow because they know so much.
People do not decline mentally with age; it just takes them longer to recall facts because they have more information in their brains.
Scientists believe this also makes you hard of hearing as all the information in the brain puts pressure on your inner ear.
Also, older people often go to another room to get something and when they get there, they stand there wondering what they came for. It is NOT a memory problem; it is nature’s way of making older people walk more and do more exercise.
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