Friday, July 30, 2010

Korea Update

The naval exercises off the South Korean Coast have been concluded after four days of gunnery and anti-submarine warfare practice,along with airpower displays.North Korea's shrill rhetoric had been toned down by the end of the exercises.U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates flew to Seoul to meet with his South Korean colleague in recent days.They agreed to conduct an additional series of meetings and exercises over the next few months to reinforce their message of determination to counter any further aggression by Pyongyang,a Pentagon source said.Mr.Gates also visited the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas and U.S. troops at Camp Casey nearby.
Pynogyang has denied sinking the South Korean warship Cheonan in March,which led to the show of force by the U.S. and its ally Seoul.The Korean War raged from 1950-53,and remains in an uneasy truce that has been punctuated by various deadly crises.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Naval Exercises:Allies Send Stern Message

Since Sunday,naval exercises have been occurring off the South Korean coast,conducted by the U.S. and its South Korean ally.The war games are a clear warning to North Korea that further aggression will not be tolerated.On 26 March,a North Korean submarine attacked and sank the South Korean warship Cheonan with a torpedo,killing 46 South Korean sailors.It was the worst incident since the Korean War was paused in 1953.The war was never formally ended.A group of U.S. sailors bowed their heads in silence as they visited the wreckage of the Cheonan at a naval headquarters south of Seoul.
In response to the deadly attack,the U.S. dispatched the USS George Washington(CVN 73),a nuclear aircraft carrier,from its home port in Yokosuka,Japan,along with its Carrier Strike Group,which is a flotilla of smaller warships plus a nuclear submarine.Included in the CSG were three Arleigh Burke class destroyers.South Korea sent its Landing Platform Helicopter ship Dokdo.The U.S. Air Force contributed F-22 Raptor stealth fighters,their first participation in such an exercise.In total,200 aircraft,20 warships and 8,000 troops took part in the show of force.North Korea bitterly criticized the display,but so far has taken no concrete action against it.
The war games took place mainly off the east coast of South Korea.Plans to exercise in the Yellow Sea as well,off the west coast and closer to China,were protested by Beijing,and have possibly been scaled back in consequence.It is unclear how long the activity will last,or how many exercises will be staged in which locations.
Occasional outbreaks of hostility have occurred since 1953 along the Demilitarized Zone which separates the two Koreas.Some American troops have been killed in them.There have also been clashes at sea between the two Koreas.The eccentric Communist Pyongyang regime has alternately lashed out at democratic Seoul and sought better relations with it.Pyongyang is believed to possess nuclear weapons,but has so far failed to develop an effective delivery system.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War,in which more than 33,000 U.S. troops were killed as,together with other UN forces,they pushed the North Korean invaders back north of the DMZ.Many other Americans remain missing in action.North Korea is a highly militarized state,devoting almost all its resources to combat preparations.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Rack Buck

Along the Pennsylvania-Maryland border one morning,the rack buck bedded down in brush was disturbed by a hiker.He somehow fled through a hedgerow and into a hay field.The hiker followed,not being aware there was a buck in the area.He had just seen the bushes move when the buck got up.Out of the corner of their eyes,the buck and the hiker glimpsed each other in the hay field.The buck decided to dash east,right past the hiker,showing his antlers in velvet,the soft skin he would rub off in autumn,when the antlers had matured.
The hiker was satisfied with a walk well-rewarded.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Admiral Papp Assumes Command

The Coast Guard has a new Commandant.He is Admiral Robert J. Papp,Jr.Admiral Papp succeeds Admiral Thad W. Allen,who continues to lead the BP oil spill effort in retirement.Admiral Papp graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1975,going on to earn a master of arts degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College,as well as a master of science in management from Salve Regina University.The admiral had served as Atlantic Area Commander,Commander of Defense Force East and Chief of Staff Coast Guard.
Admiral Papp is committed to all the Coast Guard's many missions,from search and rescue to drug interdiction and the newer counter-terrorism and anti-piracy missions off Somalia.He is additionally concerned about the need to consider a new ice breaker for the Arctic patrol function,which could cost upwards of a billion dollars to build.The only active icebreaker is the Polar Sea,which will be retired in a few years.There is an effort underway to refurbish the mothballed Polar Star for another seven to eight years of service.With activity in the Arctic picking up in recent years,the icebreaker issue is becoming more critical than ever before.
Now belonging to the Department of Homeland Security,the Coast Guard has 42,000 active duty personnel,in addition to 7,000 civilian workers.It has assisted with maritime security in the Iraq War.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Growler Aircraft Join Fleet

Slowly but surely,the EA-18G Growler is blending into the Navy's carrier fleet.According to the Growler industry team,the aircraft delivers full spectrum electronic attack capability in any battle environment.It is equipped with the most advanced jamming and radar,which enable it to penetrate complex layers of air defense and communication systems and suppress threats over land and water.The EA-18G is available now to meet any electronic attack requirement and help protect the joint warfighter anywhere.
The Growler is gradually replacing the EA-6B Prowler,a snub-nosed Northrop Grumman jet,for carrier operations.The new aircraft is based on the F/A-18F Super Hornet airframe,and provides better connectivity to the full range of strategic and tactical assets,plus organic and accurate targeting of hostile emitters for supression with HARM missiles and other onboard weapon systems.The Growler is able to detect,identify,locate and supress enemy threats with its tactical jamming system pods,communication countermeasures set receiver and multimission advanced tactical terminal.
The Navy is procuring 88 Growlers for 10 carrier squadrons.The Growler industry team consists of Boeing,Raytheon,General Electric and Northrop Grumman.
Boeing(BA),Raytheon(RTN),General Electric(GE),Northrop Grumman(NOC)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Relief On The Way

Upper level winds turned northerly as far south as the Pennsylvania-Maryland border this morning,promising relief from the strong heat wave that has afflicted the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions for several days now.The winds were detected by observing that cirrus clouds were being driven south,presaging the departure of the southern high pressure responsible for the heat wave.Temperatures will start to ease up by Thursday,and return to normal or near-normal by the weekend.Scattered thunderstorms may occur as the cooler air gains momentum and clashes with the hot conditions.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Corporals:Where Leadership Begins

The leadership in the U.S. Marine Corps formally begins at the rank of corporal.Accordingly,35 Marines participating in a training exercise in South Korea graduated from the Corporals Course on 3 July.The course began on 21 May and was conducted on board the USS Tortuga(LSD-46) and at Camp Mujuk,ROK.It mainly consisted of Marine Corps history and traditions,tactics,professional leadership and physical fitness.Its mission was to provide the students with the skills and knowledge to be a successful leader.
The corporals had to squeeze their course in between Navy drills.That was a learning experience in itself aboard the crowded ship,requiring the utmost in adaptability.Despite the interruption with "man overboard" drills,they learned how important their rank really is,the responsibilities a non-commissioned officer carries for helping junior Marines.
The USS Tortuga is a dock landing ship.Besides a Navy crew of 22 officers and 391 enlisted,she carries four landing craft air cushion and two CH53E helicopters or equivalent,as well as up to 503 Marines,and was built by Northrup Grumman.
Northrup Grumman(NOC)