Newsletter 9-19-23

News & Updates


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The Colonel’s Corner
~Comment by the Colonel~
A crazy symphony echoed through the sprawling shipyard on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi — banging, hissing, beeping, horns, bells and whistles — as over 7,000 workers hustled to fill orders fueled by the largest shipbuilding budget in the Navy’s history.
The surge in spending, $32 billion for this year alone, has allowed the Huntington Ingalls shipyard to hire thousands of additional people to assemble guided missile destroyers and amphibious transport ships. “More ships are always better,” said the president of the shipyard, pointing to the efficiencies that come with a steady flow of contracts and the jobs they create.
But the focus from Washington on producing a stream of new warships is also creating a fleet that some inside the Pentagon think is too wedded to out-dated military strategies and that the Navy might not be able to afford to keep running in future decades.
At a US Navy outpost in Bahrain, a much smaller team was testing out a very different approach to the service’s 21st-century warfighting needs.
Bobbing in a small bay off the Persian Gulf was a collection of tiny unmanned-vessels, prototypes for the kind of cheaper, easier-to-build and more mobile force that some officers and analysts said was already helping to contain Iran and could be essential to fighting a war in the Pacific.
Operating on a budget that is less than the cost of fuel for one of the Navy’s big ships, Navy personnel and contractors had pieced together drone boats, unmanned submersible vessels and aerial vehicles capable of monitoring and intercepting threats over hundreds of miles of the Persian Gulf–like today’s Iranian fast boats that hijack oil tankers.
Now they are pleading for more money to help build on what they have learned.
“It’s an unbelievable capability — we have already tested it for something like 35,000 hours,” said Michael Brown, who was the director of the Defense Innovation Unit, which helped set up the unmanned drone tests in Bahrain. “So why are we not fielding that as fast as possible?”
The contrast between the approaches in Pascagoula and Bahrain helps to illustrate one of the biggest challenges facing the Navy.
At no moment since WWII has the service faced a more urgent demand to embrace new technologies and weapons systems, given the rising threat from a now formidable Chinese military.
The Navy’s top brass talks frequently about the need to innovate to address the threat presented by China. The Defense Department’s own war games show that the Navy’s big-ship platforms are increasingly vulnerable to attack.
But the Navy, analysts and current and former officials say, remains lashed to political and economic forces that have produced jobs-driven procurement policies that yield powerful but cumbersome warships that may not be ideally suited for the mission it is facing.
It’s time for some new leadership in the Pentagon.
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The Smiling Ranger – This book is a series of short, mostly funny, stories of my time in uniform (it’s for sale at I was thinking about… my time in Vietnam. I had little experience with a .45 caliber automatic pistol before arriving in country as a second lieutenant, but I quickly found one and carried it along with my rifle. The pistol was WWII vintage and badly worn. It jammed so often I really didn’t consider it reliable. When I’d loan it to a trooper who was going into a tunnel, I warned him that often it was good for only one shot.
After my first Vietnam tour I was assigned to Fort Campbell, KY, where I assumed command of an airborne rifle company. My assigned weapon was, yes, a .45 pistol. It might have been the same one I’d left in Vietnam. It rattled when I fired it, the parts were so worn. Then the division was ordered to deploy to Vietnam, so we all had to qualify with our weapons. For the life of me, I just couldn’t hit all those bulls-eyes with my old rattley weapon. When qualifying with a rifle, the shooter shot at a silhouette, but with the pistol it was a bulls-eye target. After about a hundred tries I finally barely qualified. I deployed with my company to Vietnam—wearing that old pistol. That’s why I own only revolvers today. (I have since been converted and own a Glock and a Sig Sauer today, along with my revolvers.)
If you don’t already have one, order your copy of ‘The Smiling Ranger’ today or one for a friend.
*We should all be proud Americans; despite our current challenges and differences, we live in the best and freest nation in the world. Let’s end all the name calling and appreciate each other and our nation, even if we don’t all agree on everything. Good Americans come in many flavors.
Military History
In the last half of Sept, Benedict Arnold agreed to sell West Point to the British (it didn’t work), the Lewis & Clark expedition returned to St. Louis, and fighting in WWII ended.
On Sep 16, 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Selective Service and Training Act, which required all male citizens between the ages of 26 and 35 to register for the military draft, beginning on Oct 16. The act had been passed by Congress 10 days earlier.
On 16 Sep 1945, during WWII, the Japanese Emperor issues an Imperial Rescript (decree) at 4 pm (local time) ordering all Japanese forces to cease fire. The Cabinet resigned. General Prince Higashikumi became the prime minister and formed a new government. He ordered the Imperial Army to obey the Emperor’s call and lay down their arms.
On 16 Sep 1945, Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright, (captured by the Japanese on the island of Corregidor, in the Philippines), was freed by Russian forces from a POW camp in Manchuria, China. When President Franklin Roosevelt transferred Gen. Douglas MacArthur from his command in the Philippines to Australia in March 1942, Gen. Wainwright was given command of all Philippine forces. His first major strategic decision was to move his troops to the fortified garrison at Corregidor. Wainwright and his 13,000 troops held out for a month despite heavy artillery fire. Finally, already exhausted, they surrendered on May 6. Wainwright was taken prisoner, spending the next three and a half years as a POW. The years of captivity took its toll on him. The man who had been nicknamed “Skinny” was now emaciated. His hair had turned white, and his skin was cracked and fragile. He was also depressed, believing he would be blamed for the loss of the Philippines. When Wainwright arrived in Japan, to attend the surrender ceremony, Gen. MacArthur was stunned at his appearance. Wainwright was given a hero’s welcome upon returning to America, promoted to full general, and awarded the Medal of Honor.
On 18 Sep 1945, Gen. Douglas MacArthur moved his command headquarters to Tokyo, as he prepared for his new role as architect of a democratic and capitalist postwar Japan. MacArthur was given the task of overseeing the regeneration of a Japan shorn of its imperial past. As humiliating as it would be for the defeated Japanese, the supreme allied commander in the South Pacific would lay the groundwork for Japan’s rebirth as an economic global superpower. On September 2, 1945, MacArthur signed the instrument of surrender on behalf of the victorious Allies, aboard the USS Missouri, docked in Tokyo Bay. But the man who oversaw Japan’s defeat was about to put it on the road to its own kind of victory.
On 18 Sep 1947, the National Security Act went into effect. It created a Cabinet secretary of defense and unified the Army, Navy and newly formed Air Force into a National Military Establishment. The act established the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
On 19 Sep 1959, in one of the more surreal moments in the history of the Cold War, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev exploded with anger when he learned that, for security reasons, he could not visit Disneyland. The incident marked the climax of Khrushchev’s day in Los Angeles, one that was marked by both frivolity and tension.
On 20 Sep 1797, the US frigate Constitution (Old Ironsides) was launched in Boston.
On 20 Sep 1806, after nearly 2 ½ years spent exploring the western wilderness, the Corps of Discovery arrived at the frontier village of La Charette, in what is now Missouri, the first white settlement they had seen since leaving eastern civilization in 1804. Entirely out of provisions and trade goods and subsisting on wild plums, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and their men were understandably eager to reach home. Upon arriving at La Charette, the men fired a three-round salute to alert the inhabitants of their approach and were answered by three rounds from the trading boats moored at the riverbank. The people of La Charette rushed to the banks of the Missouri to greet the returning heroes. “Every person,” Clark wrote with his characteristic inventive spelling, “both French and americans Seem to express great pleasure at our return, and acknowledge themselves astonished in Seeing us return. They informed us that we were Supposed to have been lost long Since.” The mission had been a spectacular success. With the aid of friendly Native American tribes, the explorers had charted the upper reaches of the Missouri, proved there was no easy water passage across the Continental Divide, reached the shores of the Pacific Ocean, and made the first major step to opening of the trans-Mississippi West to the American settlement. After spending the evening celebrating with the people of La Charette, the next day the expedition continued rapidly down the river and after two more days reached St. Louis, the city where their long journey had begun.
On Sep 21, 1780, during the American Revolution, American General Benedict Arnold met with British Major John Andre to discuss handing over West Point to the British, in return for the promise of a large sum of money and a high position in the British army. The plot was foiled and Arnold, a former American hero, became synonymous with the word “traitor.”
On Sep 24, 1941, the Japanese consul in Hawaii was instructed to divide Pearl Harbor into five zones and calculate the number of battleships in each zone–and report the findings back to Japan. Relations between the US and Japan had been deteriorating quickly since Japan’s occupation of Indo-China and the implicit menacing of the Philippines, an American protectorate. American retaliation included the seizing of all Japanese assets in the States and the closing of the Panama Canal to Japanese shipping. In September 1941, Roosevelt issued a statement that threatened war between the US and Japan should the Japanese encroach any farther on territory in Southeast Asia or the South Pacific.
On 27 Sept 1940, the Axis powers was formed as Germany, Italy, and Japan became allies with the signing of the Tripartite Pact in Berlin. The Pact provided for mutual assistance should any of the signatories suffer attack by any nation not already involved in the war. This formalizing of the alliance was aimed directly at “neutral” America–designed to force us to think twice before venturing in on the side of the Allies.
On 28 Sept 1918, during WWI, in an incident that would go down in the lore of WWI history—although the details of the event are still unclear—Private Henry Tandey, a British soldier serving near the French village of Marcoing, reportedly encountered a wounded German soldier and declined to shoot him, sparing the life of 29-year-old Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler.
On 29 Sept 1965, during the Vietnam War, Hanoi published the text of a letter it had written to the Red Cross claiming that since there is no formal state of war, US pilots shot down over the North will not receive the rights of prisoners of war and would be treated as war criminals.
This weekend Dr. Peter Cullough will discuss the upcoming, foolish, covid crisis.
Former Marine Jamie Moore will discuss his career, including being a sniper.
Quinton Roberts will discuss last weekend’s Service Academy Football games.
Marines Gil and Skip will discuss Border and Books.
On the weekend of Sept 23-24 General Paul Vallely will discuss the likely impact on our military of the upcoming proclaimed covid crisis.
Kasie Pickart from Hope Network will discuss suicides.
Quinton Roberts will discuss last weekend’s Service Academy Football games.
General Chris Petty will present the Battle of the Month.
~ Humor/Puns ~
Mark Twain quotes:
“Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
“‘Classic’–a book which people praise and don’t read.”
“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.”
“The funniest things are forbidden.”
“There are no people who are quite so vulgar as the over-refined.”
“When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.”
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

The Frontlines of Freedom Newsletter is published twice monthly;
the dates of publication each month depend on the events and history of that month.

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