Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Somali Piracy Update:South Korean SEALs Retake Freighter

In a remarkable predawn raid last Friday,South Korean navy commandos wrested control of the freighter Samho Jewelry back from Somali pirates,killing eight of them and arresting five.All 21 hostages on the freighter,which had been transporting chemicals from the United Arab Emirates to Sri Lanka,were freed in the five-hour operation that involved a destroyer and helicopter providing covering fire as the commandos used ladders to board the merchant ship.
The ship's captain was shot in the stomach by a pirate.Seok Bae-gyun,58,was flown off the freighter by a U.S. helicopter to a friendly nation for medical care.He was expected to make a full recovery.
So far this year,Somali pirates have seized four vessels.They currently hold a total of 31 ships with 716 hostages on board.An international flotilla,including U.S. Navy warships,continues to conduct anti-piracy patrols near Somalia,with sporadic successes such as the South Korean raid to show for its efforts.Four days before the raid,a U.S. Navy boarding party had disrupted a suspected Somali pirate operation in the Gulf of Aden.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Navy Halts Suspected Pirates

Last Monday,a boarding party from the destroyer USS Laboon(DDG 58)stopped a skiff sailing in the Gulf of Aden,off the coast of Somalia,which was likely perpetrating acts of piracy.The Laboon had been tailing the skiff for hours before the boarding party was dispatched.It seized fuel and equipment that Somali pirates use in their commandeering of merchant vessels.
The sailors reportedly witnessed the skiff's crew dumping weapons and ladders into the Gulf as the Laboon approached them.No arrests were made,NATO alliance sources said.The Laboon has been assigned to a NATO task force for anti-piracy and other missions since August 2010.It is armed with missiles and a Mk45 5-inch/54 caliber gun,as well as Mk32 torpedo tubes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More U.S. Marines Sent To Afghanistan

Another battalion of U.S. Marines are headed for Afghanistan.The 1400 combat troops are being deployed to solidify the NATO alliance position before the scheduled beginning of withdrawal this summer.This number of troops is within the limits already approved for the Obama surge,so no further authorization is required.
Even more combat troops may be sent to replace support personnel.The Afghan War is in a winter lull now in certain mountainous areas.Elsewhere,roadside bombs continue to take a heavy toll on allied forces.
The additional Marines will help stem the expected flow of Taliban militants across the border with Pakistan in the spring.The scheduled start of withdrawal of U.S. troops in July could consist of mainly a symbolic political gesture,if sufficient progress is not made on the ground by that time.
The Afghan War has wearied the American people with its constant stream of casualties over many years,although they are actually relatively low in number in comparison to those from other wars the nation has fought.A total of 2281 coalition forces have died in the war as of 12 January,and 9971 have been wounded.Vice-President Joe Biden just promised that U.S. troops would remain beyond the 2014 target date of full withdrawal,if the Afghans want them to.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hotel Magnate And Navy Vet

J.Willard Marriott,Jr. is Chairman and CEO of Marriott International,a prominent hotel and food service business.A native of Washington,D.C.,Mr.Marriott attended St.Albans School there and is a graduate of the University of Utah,where he received a banking and finance degree in 1954.
While in school,Mr.Marriott worked in his father's Hot Shoppes restaurant business.From 1954-1956,he served in the U.S. Navy as a supply service officer(LTJG) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Randolph(CV-15).
After his naval service,Mr.Marriott joined the family business full time,assuming leadership of its fledgling hotel operations.Following his father's death in 1972,he became head of the firm,which has grown to more than 175 hotels and resorts,three cruise ships and more than 1500 restaurants worldwide.
Mr.Marriott and his wife Donna have four children.
Marriott International(MAR)