Saturday, January 11, 2014

IDF Remembers Ariel Sharon, 1928-2014

IDF Remembers Ariel Sharon, 1928-2014

Today, Israel’s former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon passed away at the age of 85. He was a courageous defender whose leadership changed the course of our history. As a Major General in the Six Day War, he famously overpowered Egyptian forces in the Sinai, commanding an historic battle that saved Israel from defeat. He pushed back our enemies again in 1973, secured our borders as Defense Minister, and shepherded Israel through its darkest days of terror as Prime Minister. His vision and sacrifice will remain eternal in our thoughts. May his memory be blessed. Read more of this post

Commentary: The Five Worst Fighter Aircraft of All Time | The National Interest

Commentary: The Five Worst Fighter Aircraft of All Time | The National Interest

Thursday, January 09, 2014

USS Taylor Deploys

USS Taylor Deploys


MAYPORT, Fla. (Jan. 8, 2014) The guided-missile frigate USS Taylor (FFG 50) departs Naval Station Mayport for a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. This is Taylor's final deployment as the ship is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2015. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Marcus L. Stanley/Released)


From USS Taylor Public Affairs
MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Guided-missile frigate USS Taylor (FFG 50), departed Naval Station Mayport Jan. 8 on a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet Areas of Responsibility (AOR).

This will be Cmdr. Dennis Volpe's, Taylor's commanding officer, final deployment as the ship is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2015.

The ship will participate in theater security cooperation, maritime security and counter-piracy operations in support of 5th Fleet, 6th Fleet and NATO requirements. Taylor last deployed in February 2012, to support NATO's Operation Ocean Shield Counter-Piracy near the Horn of Africa.

"The 'Proud Defender' team is ready and excited to support its forward deployed operational requirements and theater security cooperation opportunities," said. Volpe. "We're looking forward to operating with other naval forces throughout the 5th and 6th Fleet AOR's."

Commissioned Dec. 1, 1984, Taylor was named after Cmdr. Jesse Junior Taylor who was a veteran of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his heroic actions during a rescue attempt of a downed pilot near the North Vietnamese port of Haiphong in November 1965.

More information about the Taylor can be found on the ship's webpage at www.public.navy.mil/surflant/ffg50.

For more news from Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/surflant/.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

News Release: U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star stands down from Antarctic rescue

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star stands down from Antarctic rescue



Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star responds to a call from Australian Maritime Safety Authority to assist the Russian-Flagged Akademik Shokalskiy and Chinese-Flagged Xue Long that were ice-bound in the Antarctica. The Icebreaker Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star experienced 50-knot winds, 20-foot seas and 40-degree rolls, Jan. 5, 2014. (Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star)“We are extremely pleased to learn that both the Xue Long and the Akakemik Shokalskiy freed themselves from the ice. This case underscores the dynamic and harsh operating environment and the necessity for Polar Class Icebreakers in the Antarctic. I am indebted to the tremendous collaboration with RCC Australia, our international partners and the National Science Foundation throughout this operation,” said Vice Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, Coast Guard Pacific Area commander. “And I am especially proud of the crew of the Polar Star who have toiled these past several years in restoring this great cutter to Semper Paratus – Always Ready status, as she alters course for McMurdo and Operation Deep Freeze.”
Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star responds to a call from Australian Maritime Safety Authority to assist the Russian-Flagged Akademik Shokalskiy and Chinese-Flagged Xue Long that were ice-bound in the Antarctica. The Icebreaker Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star experienced 50-knot winds, 20-foot seas and 40-degree rolls, Jan. 5, 2014. (Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star)

ALAMEDA, Calif. - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star was released by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority from search and rescue duties Jan. 7, following confirmation the Russian-Flagged Akademik Shokalskiy and Chinese-Flagged Xue Long are free from the Antarctic ice due to a favorable change in wind conditions.

The Coast Guard Pacific Area command center received confirmation from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority at 2 p.m. Pacific Standard Time that both ships broke through the heavy ice, rendering assistance from the Polar Star no longer necessary.

“We are extremely pleased to learn that both the Xue Long and the Akademik Shokalskiy freed themselves from the ice. This case underscores the dynamic and harsh operating environment and the necessity for Polar Class Icebreakers in the Antarctic. I am indebted to the tremendous collaboration with RCC Australia, other countries that assisted and the National Scientific Foundation throughout this operation,” said Vice Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, Coast Guard Pacific Area commander.” And I am especially proud of the crew of the Polar Star who have toiled these past several years in restoring this great cutter to Semper Paratus – Always Ready status, as she alters course for McMurdo and Operation Deep Freeze.”

“I am exceptionally proud of my crew in their ability to respond to this mission,” said Capt. George Pellissier, commanding officer of the Polar Star. “I, too, am extremely pleased that both the Akademik Shokalskiy and the Xue Long have been able to work their way free of the ice. We’re now looking forward to continuing on our primary mission of resupplying McMurdo Station.”

The Polar Star received the original request from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority  on Jan. 3 to assist the Russian-Flagged Akademik Shokalskiy and Chinese-Flagged Xue Long, reportedly ice-bound in the Antarctic.  The Russian and Chinese governments also requested assistance from the United States. After resupplying in Sydney, the cutter was en route to the stranded vessels Jan. 4.

The Polar Star left its homeport of Seattle in December 2013 on one of its primary missions  Operation Deep Freeze. The ship’s mission is to break a channel through the sea ice of McMurdo Sound to allow the resupply and refueling of the U.S. Antarctic Program’s McMurdo and Amundsen-Scott South Pole stations.

The National Science Foundation manages all the scientific research and logistics of the U. S. Antarctic Program on the Antarctic continent and in the Southern Ocean. McMurdo Station is the logistics hub for the U.S. Antarctic Program research.

This is the first time since 2006 that the Polar Star has made this journey. It has recently completed a three-year, $90 million overhaul, which will allow it to continue these important missions into the foreseeable future.  For more than 50 years, Coast Guard icebreaker crews have deployed to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze. 

The Polar Star is the U.S. Coast Guard’s only active heavy polar icebreaker. The ship is 399 feet in length and its maximum speed is 18 knots. The cutter is able to continuously break six feet of ice at three knots, and break 21 feet of ice backing and ramming.  The Polar Star is specifically designed for open-water ice breaking with a reinforced hull and special ice-breaking bow.

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- See more at: http://www.uscgnews.com/go/doc/4007/2063981/U-S-Coast-Guard-Cutter-Polar-Star-stands-down-from-Antarctic-rescue#sthash.Fht2OeUN.dpuf

The U.S. Navy's New Submarine Hunter Is a Model for Success

The U.S. Navy's New Submarine Hunter Is a Model for Success

USS John Paul Jones to Replace USS Lake Erie in Hawaii; USS Preble also moving to Aloha State

USS John Paul Jones to Replace USS Lake Erie in Hawaii; USS Preble also moving to Aloha State

Official U.S. Navy file photo.
From Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy announced Jan. 7, that USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) will swap homeports with USS Lake Erie (CG 70) this summer. USS Preble (DDG 88) will also leave San Diego for Hawaii this summer to replace the decommissioned frigate, USS Reuben James (FFG 57).

Moving the two guided-missile destroyers to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam will provide updated, advanced Aegis capabilities to Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific (CNSGMP). It will also allow Lake Erie, a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, to proceed to San Diego for a scheduled, extended docking ship repair availability (EDSRA).

Lake Erie is expected to replace John Paul Jones as a rotational Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) deployer out of San Diego once the EDSRA is complete. John Paul Jones and Preble are Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers that can operate independently and perform key roles in support of a carrier strike group, expeditionary strike group or surface action group. John Paul Jones is currently the most technologically advanced ship within the BMD program and will be used in that capacity to support the Navy and Missile Defense Agency testing program. Recently, the ship was updated with the latest Aegis BMD capability to engage ballistic missiles with the SM-3 missile.

DDGs are capable of sustained combat operations supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control and deterrence. These combatants operate in a network centric warfare environment and execute multi-mission tasking to include air, surface, undersea, space and cyber warfare. DDGs coordinate with units of a task group to conduct naval operations and execute the Maritime Strategy under a naval component commander.

USS Reuben James, the last remaining guided-missile frigate homeported in Hawaii, was decommissioned July 18, 2013 after nearly 30 years of distinguished naval service.

Maintaining the most technologically advanced ships support the United States and its commitment to the security, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

For more news from Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit www.public.navy.mil/surfor, www.navy.mil/local/cnsp/ or follow the Surface Force at www.facebook.com/SurfaceWarriors; and on Twitter @surfacewarriors.

Monday, January 06, 2014

*CORRECTION* Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock involved in collision with motor vessel in Lake Michigan

*CORRECTION* Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock involved in collision with motor vessel in Lake Michigan


The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, a 225-foot sea-going buoy tender homeported in Port Huron, Mich., continues breaking ice as it transits to St. Ignace, Mich., to undergo a full damage assessment after the Hollyhock was involved in a collision with the 990-foot motor vessel Mesabi Miner in northern Lake Michigan, Jan. 5, 2014. Both the Hollyhock and the Mesabi Miner were damaged in the collision but were able to continue underway. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)  Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/image/1147010/uscgc-hollyhock-involved-collision-with-990-foot-motor-vessel#.UsrBYyhwY20#ixzz2pd6kyj61A crewmember aboard Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, a 225-foot sea-going buoy tender homeported in Port Huron, Mich., surveys the damaged stern of the cutter after it was involved in a collision with the 990-foot motor vessel Mesabi Miner in northern Lake Michigan, Jan. 5, 2014. Both the Hollyhock and the Mesabi Miner were damaged in the collision but were able to continue underway. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)  Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/image/1147011/uscgc-hollyhock-involved-collision-with-990-foot-motor-vessel#.UsrB2yhwY20#ixzz2pd7KaJko
The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, a 225-foot sea-going buoy tender homeported in Port Huron, Mich., continues breaking ice as it transits to St. Ignace, Mich., to undergo a full damage assessment after the Hollyhock was involved in a collision with the 990-foot motor vessel Mesabi Miner in northern Lake Michigan, Jan. 5, 2014.
Both the Hollyhock and the Mesabi Miner were damaged in the collision but were able to continue underway.
U.S. Coast Guard photo
A crewmember aboard Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, a 225-foot sea-going buoy tender homeported in Port Huron, Mich., surveys the damaged stern of the cutter after it was involved in a collision with the 990-foot motor vessel Mesabi Miner in northern Lake Michigan, Jan. 5, 2014
. Both the Hollyhock and the Mesabi Miner were damaged in the collision but were able to continue underway.
U.S. Coast Guard photo
The motor vessel Mesabi Miner, a 990-foot laker, suffered a puncture in its bow about 4 feet above the waterline during a collision with the Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, a 225-foot sea-going buoy tender homeported in Port Huron, Mich., in northern Lake Michigan, Jan. 5, 2014. Both the Hollyhock and the Mesabi Miner were damaged in the collision but were able to continue underway. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)  Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/image/1147228/uscgc-hollyhock-involved-collision-with-motor-vessel#.UsrCoShwY20#ixzz2pd87qdL2The motor vessel Mesabi Miner, a 990-foot laker, suffered a puncture in its bow about 4 feet above the waterline during a collision with the Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, a 225-foot sea-going buoy tender homeported in Port Huron, Mich., in northern Lake Michigan, Jan. 5, 2014. Both the Hollyhock and the Mesabi Miner were damaged in the collision but were able to continue underway. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)  Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/image/1147230/uscgc-hollyhock-involved-collision-with-motor-vessel#.UsrDWChwY20#ixzz2pd8tNhMo
The motor vessel Mesabi Miner, a 990-foot laker, suffered a puncture in its bow about 4 feet above the waterline during a collision with the Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, a 225-foot sea-going buoy tender homeported in Port Huron, Mich., in northern Lake Michigan, Jan. 5, 2014.
Both the Hollyhock and the Mesabi Miner were damaged in the collision but were able to continue underway.
U.S. Coast Guard photo
The motor vessel Mesabi Miner, a 990-foot laker, suffered a puncture in its bow about 4 feet above the waterline during a collision with the Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, a 225-foot sea-going buoy tender homeported in Port Huron, Mich., in northern Lake Michigan, Jan. 5, 2014.
Both the Hollyhock and the Mesabi Miner were damaged in the collision but were able to continue underway.
U.S. Coast Guard photo
The Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, a 225-foot sea-going buoy tender homeported in Port Huron, Mich., suffered significant damage to the stern and fantail during a collision with the 990-foot motor vessel Mesabi Miner in northern Lake Michigan, Jan. 5, 2014. Both the Hollyhock and the Mesabi Miner were damaged in the collision but were able to continue underway. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)  Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/image/1147229/uscgc-hollyhock-involved-collision-with-motor-vessel#.UsrD0yhwY20#ixzz2pd9Prd42
The Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, a 225-foot sea-going buoy tender homeported in Port Huron, Mich., suffered significant damage to the stern and fantail during a collision with the 990-foot motor vessel Mesabi Miner in northern Lake Michigan, Jan. 5, 2014.
Both the Hollyhock and the Mesabi Miner were damaged in the collision but were able to continue underway.
U.S. Coast Guard photo

*Editor's note* The Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock arrived in St. Ignace, Mich., Sunday night. It was originally reported that the Hollyhock was en route to St. Ignace. 

CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock was involved in a collision with a 990-foot motor vessel in northern Lake Michigan Sunday morning.

The Hollyhock is a 225-foot sea-going buoy tender homeported in Port Huron, Mich., and was conducting an ice escort at the time of the collision.

At about 10:45 a.m., the Hollyhock was breaking ice in front of the motor vessel Mesabi Miner during when the collision occurred. The cutter's crew reported significant damage to the stern and fantail, as well as two punctures in the hull about 20 feet above the waterline. The crew of the Mesabi Miner, en route to Gary, Ind., reported a 12-inch crack in the bow about 4 feet above the waterline and said the bow is pushed in about 8 to 12 inches.

No pollution or injuries have been reported concerning the incident and neither vessel has reported any flooding.

The Hollyhock arrived and moored up in St. Ignace, Mich., at about 8:30 p.m., Sunday. It is currently undergoing a complete damage assessment. The Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay, a 140-foot ice-breaking tug, homeported in St. Ignace, escorted the Hollyhock as a precaution.

The Mesabi Miner will unload its cargo in Gary, Ind., and then the damage and planned repairs will be assessed.
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 See more at: http://www.uscgnews.com/go/doc/4007/2062526/-CORRECTION-Coast-Guard-Cutter-Hollyhock-involved-in-collision-with-motor-vessel-in-Lake-Michigan#sthash.tgrClFTf.dpuf

U.S. Navy Photo of the Day

GULF OF OMAN (Jan. 2, 2014) The guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), top, is underway alongside the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R 91). Bulkeley, part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, is conducting operations with ships assigned to French Task Force 473 to enhance levels of cooperation and interoperability, enhance mutual maritime capabilities and promote long-term regional stability in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by French Chief Petty Officer Francois Marcel/Released)

US, French Navies Work Together to Ensure Security, Stability

US, French Navies Work Together to Ensure Security, Stability


The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) sails alongside the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, flagship for Task Force 473.
GULF OF OMAN (Jan. 3, 2014) The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) sails alongside the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, flagship for Task Force 473. Harry S. Truman, flagship for the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, is conducting operations with Task Force 473 to enhance levels of cooperation and interoperability, enhance mutual maritime capabilities and promote long-term regional stability in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Taylor M. DiMartino/Released)

From USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs
GULF OF OMAN (NNS) -- Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HST CSG) began combined operations with the French navy's Task Force 473 in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) Dec. 29.

HST CSG, comprised of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), guided-missile cruisers USS Gettysburg (CG 64) and USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Carney (DDG 64), USS Hopper (DDG 70) and USS Mason (DDG 87) is operating with the French navy's Task Force 473 to enhance cooperation and interoperability in the region.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for our ships, Sailors and Marines to work together and gain a better understanding of each other," said Rear Adm. Kevin Sweeney, commander, HST CSG. "Our operations with Task Force 473 will increase both of our maritime capabilities while helping promote long-term stability in the region."

The French ships include aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R 91), destroyers FS Forbin (D 620) and FS Jean de Vienne (D 643) and replenishment oiler FS Meuse (A 607).

"This mission is a big challenge," said Rear Adm. Eric Chaperon, commander, Task Force 473. "France and the USA have been partners for a longtime, but with this new and rare opportunity to integrate two CSGs, our cooperation is becoming ever closer. All of our sailors are really proud to have a role to play in building the operational interoperability of our two nations."

In addition to conducting combined maritime security operations, ships from the two navies have participated in a variety of training and operations together including visit, board, search and seizure training, live-fire gunnery exercises, small boat operations, deck-landing qualifications, underway replenishments, combat search and rescue training and air defense exercises. U.S. and French personnel have also traveled to visit counterparts on the other ships, sharing techniques and experiences.

"Not only is this a great opportunity to conduct operations with a close and trusted ally, this is a great time to learn from each other," said Sweeney. "There are a lot of similarities in the way we operate across the different platforms, but there are also some differences. Understanding those differences will make both of us better, stronger, and enable us to operate with each other, and with other navies, more effectively. Our presence goes a long way in reassuring our regional partners and allies."

The commanding officers of both aircraft carriers also recognize the opportunity the two navies have to learn from each other.

"This mission is a decisive opportunity to share knowledge and build upon our friendship in order to be able to successfully handle future contingencies together," said Capt. Pierre Vandier, commanding officer, FS Charles de Gaulle. It is also an opportunity to check our interoperability that allows a lot of common procedures and aircraft exchanges."

Capt. Bob Roth, commanding officer, Harry S. Truman, fully appreciates the opportunity to work closely with a longtime partner.

"It's a rare and very fulfilling experience to sail alongside and operate closely with another aircraft carrier, especially a CVN from a navy with whom we have so many lasting personnel exchange programs," he said. "I think we're going to further develop our already deep trust and mutual operational understanding."

For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.