Posts tagged ‘Navy’

FRIDAY FOTO (October 31, 2014)

Autumn at Sea.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Abe McNatt

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Abe McNatt

It’s Halloween, but instead of some scary ghosts or skeletons we thought we’d show you a beautiful pumpkin-colored sky at sea.

This Navy photo shows the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN77) as it transits the Gulf Aden. The Bush Carrier Strike Group is heading back to Naval Station Norfolk after supporting maritime security operations and carrier-based airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against the ultra radical Islamist extremist group known alternately as the Islamic State, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The Pentagon Calls it Operation Inherent Resolve.

October 31, 2014 at 12:03 am Leave a comment

ARCTIC NATION: Russia Moving on Arctic Bases; Swedes Hunt Russian Sub; U.S. Focusing on Climate Change

Russian Bases.

The Arctic Circle and surrounding territory.

The Arctic Circle and surrounding territory.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shogiu says Russia will complete the deployment of military units Russian territory along the Arctic circle by the end of 2014, according to RIA-Novosti.

“We have been very active in the Arctic region lately, and this year we will have a large number of units deployed along the Arctic Circle, from Murmansk to Chukotka,” Shoigu announced at a meeting Tuesday (October 21) with top military brass in Moscow.

Over the past few years, Russia has been pressing ahead with efforts aimed at the development of its Arctic territories, including hydrocarbon production and development of the Northern Sea Route, which is growing importance as Arctic sea ice recedes as an alternative to traditional routes from Europe to Asia.

Attention has been focused on the Arctic by several nations including the United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark since the region is believed to have large reserves of oil and gas.

On October 20, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a NATO presence in the Arctic isn’t necessary, because, he said, there are no problems in the region requiring the alliance’s participation.

Norway, the NATO member closest to Russia in the Arctic, announced two years ago that it wants more soldiers in the north. “Our ambition is a clear NATO footprint in the north,” said State Secretary Roger Ingebrigtsen of Norway’s Defense Ministry, according to the Barents Observer via Alaska Dispatch News

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Russian Sub?

Meanwhile, Swedish naval forces have been scouring their territorial waters since last week for what they think may be a Russian submarine.

Since October 17, surface vessels and helicopters 200 service personnel were mobilized along with helicopters, minesweepers and an anti-submarine corvette fitted with stealth-type anti-radar masking, according to The Guardian.

The operation began late on Friday following what Sweden’s armed forces said was a reliable tipoff about something in the Stockholm archipelago, which has 30,000 islands and rocky outcrops around which a submarine could lurk. The officer leading the operation declined to give more details, saying only that there had been no armed contact, according to the British newspaper.

Although officially neutral and not a NATO member, Sweden is no stranger to Russian provocations. Besides the possible submarine, Russian planes have violated Swedish and Finnish airspace in recent months. Against the backdrop of Russian military intervention in Ukraine, Sweden, like other countries, is growing increasingly nervous about what Moscow might do next, according to The Economist.

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Papp-Arctic Council

Admiral Robert Papp Jr., the special U.S. representative to the Arctic, says climate change will be a main priority for the U.S. when it takes over chairmanship of the Arctic Council next year.

During one of his first speeches as the nation’s first Arctic envoy, Papp said the U.S. will be “more active and more forward leaning” when it comes to addressing the impact of climate change in the region, according to The Hill.

“It is imperative to address the effects of climate change before it’s too late,” Papp said during a September 30 event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

If it weren’t for the “warming of the Arctic,” said Papp, the former commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard,  no one would be up there exploring, shipping cargo or drilling for oil and gas, which is why the council will need to set more “actionable items and goals.” The U.S. is slated to take over chairmanship of the Arctic Council from Canada next year.

Defense Dept. photo

Defense Dept. photo

 

ARCTIC NATION is an occasional 4GWAR posting on the Arctic. The U.S. “National Strategy for the Arctic Region” describes the United States as “an Arctic Nation with broad and fundamental interests in the Arctic Region, where we seek to meet our national security needs, protect the environment, responsibly manage resources, account for indigenous communities, support scientific research, and strengthen international cooperation on a wide range of issues.”

 

 

 

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October 23, 2014 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (October 17, 2014)

Hitting the Beach.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Private First Class Matthew Casbarro

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Private First Class Matthew Casbarro

This photo is so sharp, you can almost hear the splashing water as U.S. and Filipino Marines (in camouflage helmets) wade toward the beach during a simulated raid for Amphibious Landing Exercise at PHIBLEX15  in Palawan, Philippines on  October 2. (Make sure to click on the photo to see a larger image).

PHIBLEX is an annual, bilateral training exercise conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy to strengthen interoperability across a range of skills including disaster relief and amphibious warfare operations. U.S. Army officials this past week  in Washington at the Association of the United States Army conference  stressed the importance of such multi-national training exercises to solidify both militaries’ readiness for amphibious operations in times of crisis.

 

October 17, 2014 at 1:04 am Leave a comment

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (October 12-October 18, 1814)

War in the North. 

October 15

Skirmishing at Chippawa

Map-Chippawa-NHS

U.S. Major General George Izard catches up with the British force that had besieged the Americans in Fort Erie over the summer. Even though he outnumbers them nearly three-to-one, Izard finds Lieutenant General Gordon Drummond’s troops dug in along Chippawa Creek — the site of a bloody encounter in July. To the frustration of Major General Jacob Brown, the commander at Fort Erie, Izard has waited too long to pursue Drummond after he broke off the siege allowing his troops to rest and build a defensive position.

Izard exchanges artillery fire with the British and Canadians and plans to attack a British outpost at Cook’s Mill.

October 16

Age of Steam

Shipbuilders in New York City are readying the world’s first steam-powered warship, designed by Robert Fulton, for launching in late October. The 150-foot-long, 2,455-ton  steam frigate, or floating fort, is created to protect New York harbor more efficiently than any land fort because it can move to block enemy warships whichever the direction they attack from. Officially, th massive ship does not have a name yet. Fulton calls it “Demologos,” and Navy records describe it as a U.S. Steam Battery.

The U.S. Steam Battery, later dubbed "Fulton he First." (Naval Historical Center)

The U.S. Steam Battery, later dubbed “Fulton he First.”
(Naval Historical Center)

October 18

New England Storm

Lawmakers and businessmen in the New England states are furious with the Madison administration’s inept prosecution of the war: with the end of the Napoleonic wars in Europe, the Royal Navy has effectively blockaded the entire eastern sea coast, Maine — still a part of Massachusetts — was invaded and occupied by British sailors and Marines July, the White and Capitol were burned by British troops in August, the British are advancing farther in Maine and a naval assault on Boston is expected at any moment.

The blockade has cost thousands of sailors, fishermen, warehousemen, importers and exporters in maritime-dependent New England their jobs. The federal government is nearly broke.

Massachusetts Governor Caleb Strong, of the anti-war Federalist Party, calls a special session of the legislature  on October 5, 1814. A report by a legislative committee calls for resistance to any British invasion, criticizes the Democratic-Republican Party leadership that brought the nation close to disaster, and calls for  a convention of New England states to deal with both their common grievances and common defense. The committee report passes the state senate on October 12 (22 to 12 vote) and the house on October 16 by 260 to 20. Letters go out to the other sates on the 18th.

A letter of invitation was sent to the other New England governors to send delegates to a convention in Hartford, Connecticut. The stated purpose of the convention is to propose constitutional amendments to protect New England’s interests and make arrangements with Washington for the region’s defense. Some of the fiery opponents to the war have mentioned secession as a way to get out from the war and blockade.

October 12, 2014 at 10:33 pm Leave a comment

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (October 5-October 11, 1814) [UPDATE]

Maritime Setbacks.

USS Wasp in 1814 (via Wikipedia)

USS Wasp in 1814
(via Wikipedia)

 

October 9 [Restores dropped material and fixes typos]

The American sloop-of-war, USS Wasp, is lost at sea. Under Master Commandant Johnston Blakeley, the 22-gun vessel, sank, burned or captured 15 British ships — including three warships — during two raiding cruises in the summer of 1814.

After capturing the British brig Atalanta on September 21, Blakeley sends the prize back to the United States manned by some of his 173-man crew. The Wasp is last seen by a neutral merchant vessel in the mid Atlantic around October 9.

HMS St. Lawrence (Paining by C.H.J. Snider)

HMS St. Lawrence
(Paining by C.H.J. Snider)

 

October 10

The British launch the HMS St. Lawrence, a three-deck gunship from Kingston Navy Dockyard in what is now Ontario. Bigger than HMS Victory, Admiral Nelson’s flagship at Trafalgar, the St. Lawrence is the biggest wooden ship built for fresh water sailing and upends the naval balance of power on Lake Ontario. The big ship will see no action, however, as the war has largely moved south to the Gulf of Mexico.

October 11

The American relief force sent to break the siege of Fort Erie finally arrives on the scene, but the British have already departed. General George Izzard, commander of the U.S. Northern Army, has marched over from Sackets Harbor, New York with more than 4,000 men. Back in August, then-Secretary of War John Armstrong orders Izzard — who was based at Plattsburgh awaiting a British attack on Lake Champlain — to take 4,000 men and march to Sacket’s Harbor, which Armstrong fears is vulnerable to a British amphibious assault. The move leaves Plattsburgh with less than 2,000 troops to defend the vital Lake Champlain Valley. In September he is ordered to relieve Major General Brown and his troops at Fort Erie.

Combined with the Fort Erie defenders, Izard decides he has overwhelming numerical superiority to the retreating British. After two days’ delay, he heads north on the Canadian side of the Niagara River to intercept the retreating British commanded by Lieutenant General Gordon Drummond.

Northern Frontier 1812-1814 (Map: U.S. Army Center of Military History)

Northern Frontier 1812-1814
(Map: U.S. Army Center of Military History)

Be sure to click on the map to enlarge the image. Lake Champlain and Plattsburgh are on the far right. You can follow the St. Lawrence River Southwest (to the left) past Sacket’s Harbor and Kingston on Lake Ontario. Then continue West to Fort Erie and the Niagara River (towards the middle of the map). Put in Bay is where the Battle of Lake Erie was fought in 1813, followed by the Battle of Thames (Moraviantown) a few weeks later.

October 6, 2014 at 1:35 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (October 3, 2014)

Blowing Off Steam.

 U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Card

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Card

How big is the hangar deck of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier? Big enough to store and work on the jets and other aircraft — and still have plenty of room for a half court basketball game.

This photo was taken on the carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). The basketball team practicing their passing game is called the Avengers. Make sure you click on the photo to enlarge the image.

The Navy says the George H.W. Bush is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. But if you click on this link, you will see how busy the flight deck and crew is — supporting air strikes against the murderous extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State — in Syria and the Levant (ISIL)  or Iraq and Syria (ISIS) depending on whom you’re talking to. No wonder these sailors are letting off a little steam.

And it’s important to remember that even below deck, not everyone is off duty at the same time.

Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Catherine Byron performs maintenance on a jet engine aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Stephens)

Aviation Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Catherine Byron performs maintenance on a jet engine aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Stephens)

 

October 3, 2014 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (September 21-September 27, 1814)

Seven Odd Facts About the War of 1812.

Kentucky Mounted Riflemen, led by Colonel Richard M. Johnson, charge the British line at Moraviantown (Courtesy Kentucky National Guard)

Kentucky Mounted Riflemen, led by Colonel Richard M. Johnson, charge the British line at Moraviantown
(Courtesy Kentucky National Guard)

After the American victories at Plattsburgh and Lake Champlain and the unsuccessful siege of Fort Erie and attack on Baltimore by the British, things are mercifully quiet just about everywhere on the North American continent this week in 1814. So your 4GWAR editor would like to share seven little known oddities about the War of 1812.

Major General Jacob Brown

Major General Jacob Brown

1. Friendly Persuasion. U.S. Major General Jacob Brown was one of the few successful military leaders on the American side.  In 1813 his troops repulsed a British attack on Sacket’s Harbor, New York, a major U.S. supply base on Lake Ontario. He led the last invasion of Canada in 1814, capturing Fort Erie. He defeated British-Canadian-First Nations forces at Chippawa Creek and fought them to a standstill at Lundy’s Lane. He also oversaw the successful defense of Fort Erie during a 48-day siege. Ironically, Jacob Brown was born and raised a Quaker, a Christian sect famous for their opposition to war and violence.

2.   The Admiral’s Grudge. Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, commander of the Royal Navy’s North America Station, was commander-in-chief of the sailors and soldiers that burned Washington, attacked Baltimore and raided up and down the Chesapeake Bay. He had a distinguished record but he did not like America or Americans. He once likened them to a whining spaniel who needed a “good drubbing” every now and then. It’s never been determined why the admiral bore America a grudge. Many believe, however, that it stemmed from the death of his brother, Charles, a British Army officer, at the Siege of Yorktown, Virginia, who was struck and killed by an American canon ball during the last big battle in the War for Independence.

3. War? What War? Given the bloodshed on the high seas, Great Lakes and all along the U.S.-Canadian border, its surprising to learn that for much of the war, farmers in northern New York and some of the New England states sold food, livestock and grain to the British in Canada. Some of this was smuggling, but a lot of the cross-border trade was licensed by one side or the other. Equally surprising, some American merchant ships had license to ship food to the Duke of Wellington’s army in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars and that didn’t stop once Congress declared war on Great Britain. In 1814, Vice Admiral Cochrane put a stop to licensed trade between Nova Scotia and the New England states.

Zachary Taylor organizes defense of Fort Harrison in this contemporary woodcut.

Zachary Taylor organizes defense of Fort Harrison in this contemporary woodcut.

4. Presidential Training Ground. Several prominent young men rose to greater prominence during and after the war and others rose from obscurity to the highest office in the land. They included Secretary of War and Secretary of State James Monroe, who became the fifth president in 1817. John Quincy Adams, the son of the second president and one of the U.S. negotiators in Ghent, Belgium who hammered out a treaty ending the war, became the sixth president in 1825. Andrew Jackson, a Tennesee militia officer who rose to major general of regulars and defeated the Creek Indians at Horseshoe Bend and the British at New Orleans, was elected the 7th president in 1828. William Henry Harrison, a major  general who retook Detroit and defeated the British and Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames, was elected the 9th president in 1841. Until Ronald Reagan, he was the oldest man elected president.  And the last hero of the war elected president was Zachary Taylor, an Army major who spent most of the war fighting Indians in the West, including holding Fort Harrison in the Indiana Territory with a paltry force against hundreds of Native American warriors. After victories in the Black Hawk, Seminole and Mexican wars, Taylor was elected the 12th president in 1849.

5. Everywhere a Battleground. For a little remembered conflict, the War of 1812 certainly cut a swath of bloodshed and property damage in many of the 18 states in the union at the time. In addition to Louisiana, Maryland, New York, Ohio and Vermont, where significant battles were fought, the British raided or threatened ports and seacoast towns in South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Tennessee sent many militiamen and volunteers to fight, especially in the frontier battles of the South and Old Northwest.  Several battles were fought against the British, Canadians or their Indian allies in territories that later became the states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.  Additionally, U.S. Navy ships battled the Royal Navy or raided maritime commerce off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of South America, in and around Jamaica and other British possessions in the Caribbean and in the English Channel.

The recently unveiled Bladensburg Battle monument featuring (left to right) A U.S. Marine, Commodore Joshua Barney and Charles Bell, a freed slave and one of Barney's flotilla men. (DC War of 1812 blog)

The recently unveiled Bladensburg Battle monument featuring (left to right) A U.S. Marine, Commodore Joshua Barney and Charles Bell, a freed slave and one of Barney’s flotilla men.
(DC War of 1812 blog)

6. Commodore Barney — Joshua Barney, one of the few heroes at the Battle of Bladensburg had also been a naval hero in the American Revolution, rising through the ranks and even escaping from a British prison when he was captured. But he was technically not a naval officer during his heroic service in the War of 1812. Frustrated by the lack of advancement in the early American Navy, Barney resigned and accepted a commission in the French Navy. This posed a problem when America and France fought an undeclared naval war (1798-1800).  Barney left French service and returned to America but some in the Navy no longer trusted his loyalty. When war with Britain broke out, Barney came up with the idea of protecting the Chesapeake Bay from British raids with a fleet of shallow draft gunboats. He and his flotilla drove the British crazy in early 1814. Barney didn’t quite fit into the Navy’s promotion schedule due to his years of absence and slipping him in would have ruffled a lot of feathers, so President Madison and Navy Secretary William Jones made him a commodore in command of the U.S. Flotilla Service.

7. Black Men in Arms — Many of the flotilla men who served with Barney on the Chesapeake, the Patuxent River and the Battle of Bladensburg were free black men. They stood and fought when most of the white militia men fled at Bladensburg. In fact, one — Charles Bell — stuck with Barney after he was wounded and ordered his men to retreat. After Washington was burned, the flotilla men marched to Baltimore and manned several gun emplacements that guarded the city and the approaches to Fort McHenry. Free black men also joined the American forces defending New Orleans. Vice Admiral Cochrane issued a proclamation while his fleet held sway in the Chesapeake Bay urging American slaves to flee their masters and join the British, either as soldiers or paid workers. Hundreds of blacks fled Virginia and Maryland plantations for freedom. About 600 of the men were trained as soldiers in the Corps of Colonial Marines. They surprised the British with their courage at Bladensburg and other battles. Most returned to Canada with the British when they left the Chesapeake. Not odd, but remarkable.

September 29, 2014 at 12:36 am Leave a comment

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