Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How Pirates Evade Warships

Somali pirates are having little trouble evading the warships of the world.Their piracy is at an all-time high;it already exceeds the level for all 2008.Just how are they managing to persist in the face of the world's navies?One Dutch naval officer pointed out that piracy could be a problem as long as Somalia remains unstable.The pirates are aided by the vast areas involved.No amount of warships can cover that much ocean.Then there is western countries' concern for due process.They just can't blow the civilian pirates out of the water.Often,when pirates see the warships coming,they dump their weapons overboard.As well,the warships are afraid of harming the pirates' hostages,the Dutch officer indicated.Within the shipping community,there are mixed views of arming merchant vessels.Some ships are now carrying armed guards;others remain opposed to this,as does the U.N.For all these reasons,military presence alone will not resolve the piracy issue.
Among U.S. vessels on anti-piracy patrol have been the USS Gettysburg(CG64)and the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell.Both ships arrested suspected pirates.

Happy Thanksgiving

A special greeting to our military men and women,many of whom cannot be home for the holiday.Thank you for serving,and we are thankful for every one of you,our defenders.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Shipbuilder Upgraded

A Credit Suisse analyst has upgraded General Dynamics from neutral to outperform.The analyst,Robert Spingarn,raised its price target from 70.00 to 74.00.Mr.Spingarn feels the market has yet to factor in the stability of GD's defense programs in 2011-12,coupled with potential strong recovery growth in aerospace in that time frame.Besides building submarines and utility ships for the Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force and Military Sealift Command,as well as littoral combat ships,GD produces the Gulfstream line of business jets,which are widely used by governments and corporations.The company is headquartered in Falls Church,Virginia.It was founded in 1952.

Kinglet Guest

A ruby-crowned kinglet,one of the smallest of birds,stopped to feed on the property.Headed to points south,it found some insects for sustenance on its migratory journey.Flitting about from branch to branch,it felt the mild afternoon was a benefit in itself,easing the drain on the bird's resources.A cold day would have added to the struggle of the migrant's getting safely to its winter home,using up precious energy for warmth.It could be wintering nearby,or as far south as Guatemala,having come from as far north as Ontario.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Secretary Clinton Attends Commissioning

Hillary Rodham Clinton,the 67th Secretary of State,was the keynote speaker on Saturday at the commissioning of the USS New York(LPD21)in New York City.She described the ceremony as being exciting and meaningful.We salute your service to our nation,she told the crew.There are many New Yorkers on board.Our thoughts and prayers will be with you.
The first New York fought on Lake Champlain in the Revolutionary War,Secretary Clinton recalled.Then the battleship New York won three battle stars in World War II,seeing action at Iwo Jima.Once again the USS New York is serving our country.She includes 7.5 tons of steel from Ground Zero,a rivet from the battleship New York and sand from Iwo Jima in her keel.None of us will ever forget the image of twisted girders and shattered beams at Ground Zero.Today the steel serves as memorials across America.The New York's motto is "Strength forged through sacrifice:never forget."
Sometimes we truly are stronger in the broken parts,Hillary Clinton reflected.The crew will join the fight against terrorism and violent extremism that threatens the freedom of peoples across the world.The strongest steel of New York has always been in the spines of its people.We wish you godspeed and we wish you blessings on this ship and on the nation it serves.God bless you all,Secretary Clinton concluded,wearing a black overcoat and white scarf,speaking in a strong and solemn tone.
The USS New York,an amphibious transport dock ship,will be homeported in Norfolk,Virginia.Northrop Grumman was the prime contractor.A native New Yorker,Commander Curt Jones,is her first commanding officer.

Veterans Day

We take pride in you who have served in the armed forces.Thank you for making our great land possible.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Midair Collision Claims Nine

Seven U.S. Coast Guardsmen and two U.S. Marines died near San Clemente Island,which is near San Diego,California,when a Coast Guard C-130 search plane collided with a Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter.San Clemente is a training range for maritime forces,and the military air traffic can be heavy at times.The Coast Guard plane was searching for 50-year old David Jines of San Catalina Island,who went missing in a 12-foot motorized skiff,and the Marines were flying in a training formation.
The collision occurred at 1910 hours Pacific.A flotilla of Navy ships and Coast Guard Cutters,as well as helicopters,mounted a search and rescue mission for the nine servicemen.A debris field was located in the water 50 miles from San Diego.
The Coast Guard has been struggling to maintain or purchase enough ships and aircraft,so the loss of even one is very significant to the service,besides any loss of personnel.It is the smallest of the armed forces,but is tasked with perhaps the broadest range of missions,from homeland security to Iraq War deployments.

Little Cutting

This morning I intended to cut some trees back rather heavily.That isn't what happened.When I took an objective look,they didn't need that.They were pretty well-balanced.A heavy pruning would have made them look worse.I hardly cut them back at all.When I was finished,there was only a small pile of branches.