Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Navy Assets

As of November 2009,the U.S. Navy had a battle force of 285 ships and more than 3700 aircraft.According to Admiral Gary Roughead,Chief of Naval Operations,it needs a minimum of 313 ships to meet national security requirements.There were 328,466 active duty personnel and 6,432 mobilized Reserves.The Department of the Navy had 194,562 civilian workers.Raymond E. Mabus,Secretary of the Navy,represents the Commander in Chief,President Barack H. Obama,at the Department.

Bulbs Already

The first spring catalogs are arriving.The spring bulbs are sending up leaves already,too.The leaves could sustain frost damage,but the bulbs have calculated that it is worth the risk to send the leaves up and start making food.Bitter cold and perhaps snow are projected to return to the Mid-Atlantic region this weekend,so the leaves will be tested for sure.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Task Force Builds Steam

Joint Task Force Haiti is building up a full head of steam to assist the Haitian people.It consists of 10,000 U.S. troops and 16 ships.The USS Carl Vinson(CVN70) is flagship of the effort.Four U.S. Coast Guard cutters are involved.One of them,USCGC Oak,is leading the port recovery project.Commander Mark Glander says they hope to have the port reopened within 2-3 days,providing a badly needed access point for aid.Piers and cranes were severely damaged by the earthquake.
JTF Haiti is led by Lieutenant General Ken Keen,U.S. Army.He said we need as many troops on the ground as we can get.There are over 7.5 million Haitians.About 2,000 U.S. Marines and 3,000 other personnel,including the 82nd Airborne,will be serving on land.The other 5,000 will be stationed on ships.General Keen is working closely with the U.N. troops who have been in country since before the earthquake.He meets with the U.N. commander daily.The U.N. troops will provide security while the U.S. forces concentrate on logistics and distribution.
The USS Carl Vinson,a Nimitz class nuclear aircraft carrier which has been active in the Afghan war,is using its helicopters to fly relief supplies into Haiti and bring the injured back to the carrier for treatment.The carrier can purify thousands of gallons of water a day.A Navy hospital ship with 250 beds,the USNS Comfort,is arriving soon from Baltimore.

January Thaw

The Mid-Atlantic region has been experiencing a January thaw for several days now.Most of the snow has melted.Towards the end of the week,however,the first of many prospective winter events may occur.The robins will again be under stress,but they have had a good chance to fatten up during the thaw.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Oldest Naval Aviator Dies

Captain Pliny G. Holt,U.S. Navy Retired,MBE,who was believed to have been the oldest naval aviator at age 99,died on 4 January in Potomac,Maryland.A native of Stockton,California,Captain Holt earned his wings from Pensacola Naval Air Station with his brother Frank-the first brothers to do so-in December 1936.Trained as an engineer and mechanic at Stanford University and the Boeing School of Aeronautics,he developed instrumentation for naval aircraft such as gyroscope autopilots,as well as crucial night bombing navigation systems for the Royal Air Force,for which he was awarded membership in the Order of the British Empire by King George VI.Near the end of World War II,Captain Holt flew combat missions in the Pacific theater.Over the course of his career,he flew in over 100 aircraft types.
After the war,Captain Holt continued his engineering activities,heading the Navy's Guided Missile Division,Advanced Project Section,designing and building the first airborne inertial navigation system.His mechanical genius was attested to by the fact that he was awarded several dozen patents for his discoveries.Retiring in 1968,Captain Holt was awarded the Legion of Merit for over three decades of major achievements for his service and his nation.He coninued his aviation work as a consultant to IBM on avionics and aviation systems.
An accomplished golfer,Captain Holt played rounds with the likes of Admiral Ernest J. King,Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Gerald R. Ford,among other notables.His other hobbies included model railroading and ship model building,at both of which he distinguished himself.Captain Holt was preceded in death by his wife,Elyse Law Holt.He leaves behind his nieces and nephews to admire his voluminous legacy.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

AFRICOM Augments Anti-Pirate Efforts

The U.S. Africa Command has added three U.S. Navy P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft and 112 sailors,deploying them to the Seychelles islands.They are from the VP-26 Tridents in Maine.Captain John Moore,commodore of Combined Task Force 67 in Signorella,Italy said that the aircraft are uniquely suited to counter-piracy missions,given their ability to cover a wide area for long periods of time.They can stay on patrol for up to eight hours.AFRICOM says the Orions will be unarmed.
Captain Moore said the mission had gone well so far.It started last month.Its goal is to provide intelligence,surveillance and reconnaissance for the Horn of Africa.The mission will last for several months at least,AFRICOM stated.

Powder Snow

Arctic air has brought powder snow showers to the Mid-Atlantic region the past few nights.In a mountainous area,school opened late today because of hazardous roads caused by this light,slippery snow.It is highly favored by skiers,however.It has a unique,feathery beauty.Powder snow is relatively uncommon in the lower elevations of the Mid-Atlantic.Heavy,wet snow is the rule in most of the region.