PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — Family and friends who lost loved ones when the USS Thresher sank 50 years ago joined in tossing wreaths into the water Saturday in an emotional service in remembrance of the 129 Navy crew members and civilian technicians who lost their lives in the deadliest submarine disaster in U.S. history.
Hundreds gathered for the memorial service at Portsmouth High School that concluded with a small group tossing three wreaths into the Piscataqua River. During the service, a bell tolled 129 times.
The event, along with the dedication of a flagpole Sunday in Kittery, Maine, aim to call attention to the tragedy 220 miles off Cape Cod, which became the impetus for submarine safety improvements.
Vice Adm. Michael Connor, commander of the Navy’s submarine forces, acknowledged Saturday that the safety upgrades came at a steep cost to Thresher families.
“I’ve talked a lot about the good that comes from the Thresher and the Thresher’s loss, but that’s probably not a consolation to the families who’ve lost a father or a son,” Connor told a packed high school auditorium.
The USS Thresher, built at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and based in Connecticut, was out for a routine deep-diving test when it ran into trouble on April 10, 1963.
The Navy believes the failure of a brazed weld allowed sea water to spray onto electrical panel, causing an emergency shutdown of the sub’s nuclear reactor. The ballast system also failed, preventing the sub from surfacing.
You’re going to hear about this, if you haven’t already, so why not get the facts first?
Here’s a picture that’s picking up steam around the Internet today. A picture of five aircraft carriers in port in Norfolk, Virginia. The chances are pretty good it’s going to show up in your Facebook feed soon.
From the inmates of Wingnutistan.
What is wrong with this picture?
The picture is of the five nuclear carriers.
Just like Battleship Row, Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.
This picture was taken the other day in Norfolk. The Obama Administration ordered 5 nuclear carriers into harbor for “routine” (?) inspections. Heads of the Navy were flabbergasted by the directive.
NORFOLK, VA. (February 8, 2013). The first time since WWII that five (*) aircraft carriers were docked together.
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), USS Enterprise (CVN 65), USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) are all in port at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., the world’s largest naval station.
Sources stated that this breached a long standing military protocol in the Navy meant to avoid massive enemy strike on major US forces. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Ryan J. Courtade/Released)
What’s the real story? Welcome to the sequester.
First, the picture was actually taken in mid-December, not this month. Second, none was ordered into port for “routine maintenance.”
The USS Enterprise was retired from the Navy in January. It’s being dismantled.
The USS Eisenhower deployed on Thursday and is on its way to the Middle East to relieve the USS Stennis, which will return to its home port on the West Coast. The Eisenhower was in port for two months to get its flight deck resurfaced.
The USS Harry Truman was to depart on a mission to the Central Command in early February, but Navy officials asked the secretary of defense to cancel that mission, which presumably was to the Persian Gulf where the U.S. has had two aircraft carriers. Now it will have one — the Eisenhower.
The USS Bush was not ordered into port for “routine inspections.” It had been undergoing tests of its ability to have aircraft, which it does not presently have. Its cruise was canceled because of the sequester.
The USS Lincoln also was not ordered into port for routine maintenance. It was in port for a two-year refueling mission, which the Navy has now canceled because of the sequester cuts.
The Truman’s situation is particularly interesting. WTVR TV in Richmond described what happens to people when a deployment is canceled.
The commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command denies allegations made in an Esquire feature article that the SEAL team member who claims he first shot Osama bin Laden was left in the dark about what benefits were available to him after he left the service.
“This former SEAL made a deliberate and informed decision to leave the Navy several years short of retirement status,” Rear Adm. Sean Pybus, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, wrote in a statement. “Months ahead of his separation, he was counseled on status and benefits, and provided with options to continue his career until retirement eligible. Claims to the contrary in these matters are false.”
Pybus said he is “very disappointed with the few people who use their SEAL cachet for self-serving purposes, particularly through falsehoods and certainly when the safety and security of themselves and their active-duty teammates and families are put at risk.”
However, he said the Navy will help the former SEAL “address health or transition issues, as we would for other former members.”
“Naval Special Warfare has bright and motivated people engaged in difficult, but satisfying work. They are very familiar with their compensation and options,” he wrote.
The most treacherous storm in a decade paralyzed much of the country on Tuesday, climaxing with the shutdown of Israel’s main highway in both directions for nine hours due to flooding.
Power outages were reported, the entrance to Tel Aviv was all but blocked and residents of some city neighborhoods braced for possible evacuation.
On Tuesday, the Ayalon Highway - the main traffic artery in Tel Aviv - reopened only at about 4 P.M. after closing before the morning rush hour. It was the first time in 20 years that the Ayalon has been closed for such a long time..
Two people are being reported as having drowned due to floods in the West Bank. Last night also saw the Israeli Navy called in to evacuate residents in the cities of Hedera and Beit Hefer due to severe flooding.
In the past few hours, heavy snow has been falling in the city of Jerusalem, after previously falling in the northern regions of the country.
The storm by now is considered to be the most intense since the one that hit in the winter of 1992-1993. Such events are something of a rare thing in a region that is generally characterized by dry weather and “weak” rain periods.
Naturally, what also made headlines was how some folks got around the problems. In the city of Netanya, a few residents got around the problem of flooded streets by using kayaks to paddle around the streets, and in Tel Aviv, with most the Ayalon Highway closed, a trio of (potentially insane) Israelis crossed a part of it on water ski tubes..
Read more at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
Original article and resignation letter: Why I Don’t Want to Be a West Point Graduate
I do not wish to be in any way associated with an institution which willfully disregards the Constitution of the United States of America by enforcing policies which run counter to the same. Examples of these policies include mandatory prayer, the maintenance of the 3rd Regiment Shield, awarding extra passes to Plebes who take part in religious retreats and chapel choirs, as well as informal policies such as the open disrespect of non-religious new cadets and incentivizing participation in religious activities through the chain of command.
President Obama and Mitt Romney clashed repeatedly over foreign policy here Monday night, with the president arguing assertively that Romney has lacked the consistency or clarity of vision to lead the country while the Republican nominee charged that Obama has been weak and ineffective in the face of growing turmoil in the world.
The two candidates differed most sharply over the president’s handling of the uprisings in the Middle East, his efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and his treatment of Israel. But often they seemed to find common ground on some of the policies the administration is pursuing.
With the debates over, the two candidates and their campaigns now begin a two-week sprint to Election Day. The campaigns will be focused on a relative handful of states with two objectives: winning over the few remaining undecided voters with a last barrage of television ads and intensifying efforts to get their identified supporters to the polls — either during early voting periods or on Nov. 6.
The focus of the last of their three debates was supposed to be foreign policy, but both Romney and Obama used their time to talk about the issues most important to voters: jobs, the economy and the budget. They talked about the auto bailout, school class sizes and Romney’s tax plan. At several points, CBS’s Bob Schieffer, who served as moderator, tried to bring them back to foreign affairs and national security, but sometimes to no avail.
Few high school sweethearts make it past the hat toss at graduation. But Taylor Morris and Danielle Kelly have made it through so much more.
The Iowa natives stayed together and, in 2007, Morris enlisted as an explosive ordnance disposal technician in the Navy. After years of training, Morris was assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 12 and the couple moved to Virginia Beach, Va.
While Morris, a second class, was deployed to Afghanistan, the couple talked about their future plans. They considered where they would live when he got back and left the Navy, and adventures they would have, like skydiving and a trip to Africa.
But then Morris stepped on an improvised explosive device, losing both legs above the knee, his left arm and right hand. But that tragic incident has done nothing to stifle the couple’s relationship.
The U.S. military has been looking for ways to smarten up its dumb projectiles for years—look no further than this GPS guided mortar round recently fielded by the army—hoping to increase lethality while reducing collateral damage. The Navy is no exception to this trend, and the seaborne branch is looking for precision beyond its current arsenal. The Office of Naval Research wants a guided munition for its experimental electromagnetic rail gun that can alter the course of a 5,600 mile per hour projectile in flight.
Electromagnetic rail guns use powerful magnets lined up in series along the length of a cannon to accelerate projectiles to thousands of miles per hour in an extremely short span, giving them ranges in the hundreds of miles. Next to the Navy’s current capabilities—officers claim the newest surface gun systems, which aren’t even online yet, will be able to reach targets up to 72 miles away—that’s a vast improvement. But thus far, the Navy’s rail gun program has cost $240 million over seven years, and the technology is still very much restricted to the lab.
Recycling…the Russians and Chinese are doing it….with supersonic, long range bombers. And all to just defend their coastal areas…..not to worry, move along, nothing to see here…
There was a point, a decade or so ago (OK, maybe two decades back), when I thought some of my bete noirs, like medium- and intermediate range ballistic missiles and long-range cruise missile-armed supersonic bombers were going to go skulking off into that not-so-gentle night. Alas, it appears not so:
A move by Russia to sell its production line of Tu-22M3 long-range bombers to China for US$1.5 billion to China was confirmed by the US-based US-China Economic and Security Review Commission two years ago and the bomber’s name will be changed to the Hong-10, reports the state-run China News Service … The Hong-10, whose components will all be produced in China with the exception of the engine, is expected to fly in the second half of next year, and the country will produce 36 aircraft in the first batch to be delivered to the air force. One of world’s fastest long-range bombers which can also carry atomic weapons, the plane can cover the South China Sea, East China Sea and even the western Pacific. Sources here and here.
As Will notes, our Navy has become weak in the skills necessary to plan and defend against a delivery platform that can launch a supersonic cruise missile from 200+ miles at your ships. It takes practice, practice, and practice to get it right. We haven’t been, because all we’ve been doing for over a decade is launching airstrikes and chasing pirates with RPG-7s.
He was flying as a contractor pilot of aggressor aircraft on Monday, when a tragic accident occured.
He was an incredible writer. His blog is still up. Take a look yourself.