Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Battle of the Nibblers

The nibblers are attacking those plants we workrd so hard to install.Rabbits and slugs are on the march to breakfast.The only option is to apply repellants or netting.One must act hurriedly,or the investment of time and money will be lost to these hungry guests.Repellants must be reapplied every so often,when they've been diluted by the elements.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Navy Flying Ace Dies

Captain Ralph John Rosen,U.S. Navy Retired,died on 11 May in McClean,Virginia.He was 90 years of age.A native of Chicago,Captain Rosen attended the University of Chicago until Pearl Harbor was attacked,then enlisted in the Naval Aviation Cadet Program,beginning his flying career in 1943 from aircraft carriers in the Pacific theater of World War II.A member of Squadron VF-8,he flew Hellcat fighters off the USS Bunker Hill(CV-17).The veteran of many combat missions downed six Japanese aircraft,earning the "ace" designation in consequence.For his superior record,Captain Rosen was awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses;nine Air Medals;and a Purple Heart.
Following the war,Captain Rosen commanded three fighter squadrons and served as a naval attache in Spain and Turkey.He was also Air Operations Officer on the USS Saratoga(CV-60).Retiring in 1973,he entered politics and was elected to the New Hampshire state legislature,where he served eight terms until 2006.
Captain Rosen is remembered by his wife of sixty-six years Joan,three children,six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.He will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

EFV Prototype Rolled Out

A prototype of the U.S. Marine Corps' Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle was rolled out on 4 May at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico,Virginia.General Dynamics is building the amphibious vehicles.The Marines need 573 of them,including the standard personnel carriers,as well as 67 command and control vehicles to support battalion and regimental commanders.A colonel explained that the vehicles create a lot of uncertainty for an enemy force.They create places an enemy can't defend against,so the Marines don't have to relive an Iwo Jima,a Tarawa or a Normandy.
The vehicle is fast,leaving quite a dust trail in its wake.It is armed with a substantial turret gun,giving it the look of a tank.An enlisted man said it was the most fun he's ever had with an armored vehicle.The EFV makes a seamless transition from the water to the beach,and is totally at home either afloat or on shore.It really is a remarkable achievement for the contractor.It can carry 17 Marines-a rifle company- and three crew.Initial operating capability is expected in 2015.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pulling Goldenrod

The oldest garden had a lot of Canada goldenrod coming up,so I got down to pulling it up.It's a native plant,but it tends to take over.Aster isn't quite so aggressive.Goldenrod forms big patches of plants.It doesn't know when to stop.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Advisor Sees Afghan Progress

Erin M. Simpson,a member of an international counterinsurgency advisory and assistance team who teaches at the Marine Corps University in Quantico,Virginia,says it is too early to tell if President Obama's surge policy has worked in Afghanistan.Less than half the troops have arrived,she points out.Most of those who have are U.S. Marines in Helmand Province.After tough combat in Marjah,there are initial,fragile signs of progress.Marjah has shifted from being totally under Taliban control to an ever-increasing Afghan government presence.There are now 20 Afghan government officials working in Marjah on getting basic services to the people.
The Marines have also moved into the hold and build phase in other Helmand towns,such as Nawa and Garmsir.Many government and tribal leaders have returned to these places as the Marines pacify them.There is a change in momentum now in Helmand,and the challenge is to keep it going.The Afghan government must help farmers plant winter wheat instead of opium,which is used as a funding source by the Taliban militants.
The Taliban can't win militarily,Mr.Simpson maintains.It can only win by displacing the Kabul government.This early stage of the surge is about governance.That must be the focus,in Mr.Simpson's view.
Three U.S. Marines died in Helmand Province from Friday through Monday,10 May.The investigation into the casualties is still underway.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Guadalcanal Veteran Dies

Captain Benjamin R. Eggeman,Jr.,U.S. Navy Retired,a veteran of major Pacific theater operations of World War II,died 7 April.Born in 1918 in Grand Haven,Michigan,Captain Eggeman graduated from Yale in 1941,receiving his commission from Yale naval ROTC.He served in the Pacific as an amphibious landing officer,participating in the battles of Guadalcanal,Iwo Jima,Leyte Gulf,Saipan,Bougainville and Luzon.He went on to serve in the Atlantic Fleet aboard cruisers and destroyers,as well as command the USS Putnam(DD-757),USS Denebola(AD-12) and Destroyer Squadron Two.
Captain Eggeman also served in several capacities in the Plans and Policy field,rising to a position on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.A graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces,he additionally earned a Masters in Business from George Washngton University.He was awarded several decorations,including the Legion of Merit,a Bronze Star with V,a Navy Unit Citation,a Phillipines Presidential Unit Citattion,Phillipines Liberation Medal and World War II Victory Medal.
After retiring,Captain Eggeman served in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and on land use panels in Fairfax County,Virginia.Survived by his wife Jeanne,three sons and six grandsons,he will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery.