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Flt 93 Blogburst: How come the design meeting minutes have been “lost?”

September 24th, 2011 by xformed

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Alec Rawls, who has been working with Tom Burnett Sr. to stop the Crescent of Embrace memorial to Flight 93, explains the circumstances (related by Mr. Burnett in 2008, but not published until now).

Mr. Burnett had been telling his fellow design competition jurors that the crescent is a well known Islamic symbol. In addition to the giant central crescent (now called a broken circle) Tom also objected to the minaret-like Tower of Voices. “I made a point at that meeting,” says Mr. Burnett, “to tell people that we have an Islamist design here that can’t go forward, please, stay with me.”

One of the left-wing design professionals on the jury, Tom Sokolowski (then director of Pittsburg’s Andy Warhol Museum) thought that objecting to the crescent shape, just because it happens to be used by Muslims, was anti-Muslim bigotry. In a rude attempt to shut down criticism, Sokolowski actually called Mr. Burnett “asinine” for objecting to the huge Islamic-shaped Crescent. (Sokolowski would later repeat this performance to the press, calling a local preacher “asinine,” “small minded,” “bigoted,” “repellant,” and “disgusting” for protesting the Crescent design.)

It was in this atmosphere, charged with universal awareness amongst the jurors that the giant crescent was indeed a well-known Islamic symbol shape, but also charged with uncertainty as to whether people would be allowed to mention this fact, that another family member, Sandra Felt, started to explain what she liked about the Crescent design. She liked the “embracing” nature of it, says Mr. Burnett. She liked the way it “reached out…”

At which point another family member “lost it” (Mr. Burnett’s description), screaming in agony: “I don’t want to reach out to those people! THEY MURDERED MY DAUGHTER!”

The Park Service claims it “lost” the minutes

This extreme level of conflict on the jury over perceived Islamic symbolism should have come out years ago. The jury included a designated, non-voting, minutes taker. This was not supposed to be a private deliberation. These were volunteer citizens, doing the people’s business, and the jury minutes were supposed to be made available to the public.

The Memorial Project and the Park Service claim that the minutes were “lost.” No doubt, but that doesn’t mean the loss was accidental, and defenders of the Crescent design had good reason to make the minutes go away. Any faithful record would have been explosive, revealing these fierce objections from multiple Flight 93 family members to the blatant Islamic symbolism in the Crescent design.

The ballot wasn’t supposed to be secret either, but the Park Service refuses to account for what they claim was a 9 to 6 tally in favor of the Crescent design. What does 9 to 6 even mean on what was a ranked vote amongst three designs? Did every ballot that did not rank the Crescent last get counted as a vote in favor?

The whole thing is fishy, and there is one most obvious reason why the defenders of the Crescent might want to keep the vote details hidden. The seven family members on the jury were outnumbered by eight academics and design professionals. Thus all six of the votes against the Crescent could have come from the kin, with only Sandra Felt voting for it. This is more than just possible. It is likely.

Another mother of the murdered said only that she agreed with Mr. Burnett, and he thought that the other two men amongst the family members (Gerald Bingham and Ed Root) were on his side as well, though both have since spoken out against his ongoing effort to rescind the chosen design. Bingham and Root are angry at the anguish that the families are still being put through over the memorial design, but could such men have voted for the Crescent in the first place, in the face of that mother’s anguished cry?

A vicious left-wing ideologue like Sokolowski, yes, but it seems almost inconceivable that family members could vote for a design that other family members saw as a tribute to the terrorists, or at the very least, as reaching out to Islam. Since Bingham and Root are willing to speak out, can they please tell us whether they voted for the Crescent? If they didn’t, then the vote amongst the family members was at least 5 to 2 against.

In support of Powerline’s John Hinderaker

The immediate impetus for making these revelations public now is to support John Hinderaker’s 10th anniversary 9/11 post:

You may remember that there was considerable controversy when the design for the Flight 93 memorial was unveiled. It was called “Crescent of Embrace.” The crescent is, of course, the central symbol of Islam, and the design apparently was intended to symbolize some sort of rapprochement with that religion. The winning design was chosen by a jury, and some members of the jury, including Thomas Burnett, whose son was one of the heroes who brought down the airplane, vigorously opposed it. As I understand it, no one on the jury questioned the Muslim reference inherent in the crescent, but a majority believed that it would somehow be “healing” for the memorial to be, in part at least, a sort of tribute to Islam.

That was John’s response to Tom Sr.’s revelations, and his statement is fully supportable, but for people to know why, the supporting information has to be available to everyone. Now it is.

Given the conflict between Mr. Burnett and Tom Sokolowski, there could not have been any doubt in any juror’s mind that the Crescent was an Islamic symbol shape. Indeed, the jury made a specific request, not honored by the Park Service or by architect Paul Murdoch, that:

The crescent should be referred to as ‘the circle or arc,’ or other words that are not tied to specific religious iconography.

The only question was whether the use of this Islamic symbol shape should be seen as bad, and for a majority to favor the crescent design, a majority just have decided that it wasn’t bad, even in the face of family members who found it horrific.

Maybe these left-wing design professionals actually wanted to torture the families, but the generous interpretation is the one John gives: that they saw the Crescent design as symbolizing “some sort of rapprochement” with Islam. Certainly that seems to have been Sandra Felt’s idea, and at least one family member not on the jury thought it obvious that this must have been the intent of everyone who voted for the Crescent design. Mark Bingham’s mother, Alice Hoglan, just wished that the outreach to Islam had been made explicit:

The Flight 93 Memorial selection committee has admitted to misgivings about the word ‘crescent.’ I almost wish that instead they could claim they deliberately chose the crescent design as a gesture of peace and unity with the Islamic world. If they were to make that claim, I would not object. I would welcome such a compassionate gesture.

Unfortunately, regardless of the intentions of the jurors, architect Paul Murdoch did not have a compassionate gesture in mind.

A terrorist memorial mosque

Mr. Hinderaker’s anniversary post does not investigate whether the giant crescent actually does point to Mecca (allowing it to serve as an Islamic mihrab), or whether the Tower of Voices really is a year-round-accurate Islamic prayer-time sundial. Perfectly understandable, as these claims take some work to check and John had only just learned that the memorial controversy is still aboil, after thinking that it had been resolved in 2005.

But he does provide links to the evidence, and notes that some of it is accessible just by looking. Like why in the world does the Tower of Voices have an Islamic-shaped crescent on top?

UpTowerMid-toneContrast 40,size60%
The minaret-like Tower of Voices is formed in the shape of a crescent and is cut at an angle at the top so that its crescent arms reach up to the sky, as seen on mosque minarets across most of the Islamic world.

Literally dangling down below these symbolic Islamic heavens are the symbolic lives of the 40 heroes. This symbolic damnation is repeated over and over in Murdoch’s design. The memorial is not just any mosque, it is an al Qaeda victory mosque.

So much for trying to reach out to Islam without bothering to vet what part of Islam is being reached out to. Nothing could be worse for the decent people of the Islamic world than to hand a great victory to the very worst in the Islamic world. That is the problem with doing this Muslim-outreach thing on the sly.

Knowing the American people would never go along with intentional Islamic outreach, the Memorial Project had to cover up what actually went on in the jury room, and once they got into cover-up mode, they just kept covering up revelation after revelation about what is actually contained in Murdoch’s design.

Sokolowski’s own vile cover-up: attributing the Crescent choice to the families, after vilifying family members who opposed the Crescent design

Here is how the Post-Gazette reported on local preacher Ron McRae, who believed that architect Paul Murdoch had intended the Crescent as a tribute to Islam:

It’s a memorial to the terrorists,” McRae said. “It’s not a memorial to the innocent Americans who died there.”

But Tom Sokolowski, the director of the Andy Warhol Museum, and one of the Stage II jury members, said that claim is “asinine.”

“If the families of the 40 people who were killed felt this was an appropriate symbol to honor their loved ones, then I think he is delusional,” he said. “To take this small-minded, bigoted view is disgusting and repellent.”

Sokolowski knew that family members on the jury had taken that exact same “disgusting and repellent” view because he had said as much to their faces, and now here he was pretending that it was McRae, not himself, who was vilifying the families. Absolute moral trash of the highest order, even if he is just a feckless little worm. By intent, he is as evil as Murdoch.

Gordon Felt’s defense of the Crescent design is also belied by what transpired on the jury:

Gordon Felt, whose brother, Edward, died in the crash, called the focus on the crescent an “unfortunate distraction,” from the fourth anniversary memorial service tomorrow at the crash site.

Still, he continued, “It would be silly of us to have some sort of symbolism [in the memorial] that would be offensive to people.”

This from the man whose own sister in law had spoken in favor of the “reaching out” symbolism of the Crescent, symbolism that was seen by other family members as intending to reach out to Islam, inspiring the most dreadful offense. All this is FACT, and Gordon Felt waves off any thought of it as “silly.”

Did Gerald Bingham lie in his letter to the Memorial Project?

Mr. Bingham’s letter to the Memorial Project (p. 21 here) was timed to counter Mr. Burnett’s appearance at the 2008 Project meeting. It in-effect calls Mr. Burnett a liar, denying that Tom Sr. had ever raised any protest about Islamic symbolism when they served on the jury together:

Attention: Joanne Hanley
RE: Mr. Tom Burnett’s disapproval of the Memorial scheduled to be built honoring those on United Flight 93

Please read the following letter into the minutes of the Flight 93 board meeting scheduled for August 2, 2008.

I served on the Jury to select the final design for the Flight 93 Memorial along with Mr. Burnett. As I recall, Tom liked the design with a line of rocks along a 2 ½ mile walking trail. He indicated in his discussion with me that when it came to final vote that this would be the design of his choice. After the vote was taken and his design was not chosen he was very upset. Not once during these discussions did he mention that the design chosen by a majority vote of the committee had anything to do with a “symbol to the terrorist” as he is now saying.

The final design was chosen because its’ layout fit the landscape where the plane crashed and kept with the surrounding area.

I believe that Mr. Burnett has forgotten that this memorial is for 40 individual people who were on a flight taken over by terrorists and that all 40 of those people became heroes that day. All he is accomplishing at this point is causing other families aggravation and needless controversy.

We need to forge ahead with the plans as voted upon and join together as one just like our loved-ones did on United Flight 93, September 11, 2001.

Respectfully,
Gerald Bingham
Father of Mark Bingham

Mr. Bingham’s denial that Tom Sr. said anything about Islamic symbolism is contradicted by numerous data points, starting with the fact that Mr. Burnett spoke out to the press immediately after Crescent design was unveiled in 2005:

Tom Burnett Sr., whose son died in the crash, said he made an impassioned speech to his fellow jurors about what he felt the crescent represented.

“I explained this goes back centuries as an old-time Islamic symbol,” Burnett said. “I told them we’d be a laughing stock if we did this.”

But his fellow jurors — and it turns out, many of the other family members — disagree with his interpretation.

“I got blown off.”

But not entirely. The jurors, in their final report, suggested the name of Murdoch’s design be changed from crescent to something with less religious significance, like an arc or circle.

This is corroborated by Helene Fried, who helped to manage the design competition:

Fried said the connection was raised by some history buffs on the jury during three days of deliberations last month.

Compare “old time Islamic symbol,” with “history buffs.” And if the Jury’s statement that the Crescent name is “tied to specific religious iconography” was not in response to Mr. Burnett’s protests, where did it come from? Is Bingham saying that others on the jury were more vehement than Mr. Burnett in pointing out and objecting to this tie?

Then there is Mr. Burnett’s account of Tom Sokolowski calling him “asinine” for objecting to the Islamic symbolism of the crescent. This is corroborated by the fact that Sokolowski used the exact same language to condemn Pastor Ron McRae. Altogether, the evidence is overwhelming that it is Gerald Bingham who is lying when he accuses Mr. Burnett of lying.

For the sake of the families

Bingham makes his motivation clear. He opposes Mr. Burnett because:

All he is accomplishing at this point is causing other families aggravation and needless controversy.

But notice what Bingham doesn’t say. He is willing to discuss how Mr. Burnett voted, but he keeps his own vote secret. (Gerald Bingham has been divorced from Mark Bingham’s mother Alice Hoglan since the 1970’s, so her stated approval of Muslim-outreach in the Flight 93 Memorial should not be linked to him.)

If Bingham voted for the Crescent, his secrecy about his vote would make no sense. Everyone from Sokolowski on up appeals to the will of the families. Bingham himself does this. These appeals obviously turn on whether the nine votes for the Crescent design came from family members or from the cadre of left-wing design professionals who outnumbered the families 8 to 7.

For Bingham’s objective of ending the controversy, the most weighty thing he could say is that he voted for it, but he doesn’t. And how could he have voted for the Crescent? This is a man who is so keen to avoid pain for the families that he is even willing to tell slanderous lies about the one family member he blames for dragging out the controversy. Surely such a man would never have voted in the first place for a design that was already causing the most extreme anguish to multiple family members.

Ed Root is also loud in his condemnations but mum about his vote

Jury member Ed Root also attacks Mr. Burnett and Mr. Rawls for continuing to oppose the Crescent design (p. 22 here):

Those who oppose this Memorial, for whatever misplaced reasons, have voiced their belief on numerous occasions. That is a striking example of the democracy we hold dear. When those unfounded beliefs turn to a zealotry that attempts to overthrow the very democratic process that selected the winning design it does a terrible disservice to those who worked long and diligently during the design process and, to me, it mocks those very 40 that we long to honor. Our nation is one of laws and due process. To let a few destroy what many have built is not democracy, but tyranny.

Yet Root too keeps his vote secret. It could just be embarrassment, not wanting to admit that he voted for such an obvious perversion, crammed to the gills with Islamic-shaped crescents. Or it could be that he was better than that, and despite the magnificence of Murdoch’s Crescent, was unwilling to vote for as design that other family members found so appallingly offensive.

Mr. Burnett says he liked Mr. Root, and it is easy to see why. They both believe the passengers and crew were fighting, not just to stop the terrorist attack, but to get back to their families:

“The people of Flight 93 wanted to live,” Root said while visiting “Father Al” and the chapel in July. “There’s no doubt in my mind, they didn’t want to die.”

That distinguishes the passengers and crew from the hijackers, in Root’s eyes.

“[The passengers and flight attendants] wanted to try to get control of the plane and, if possible, to survive,” he said. “But they knew from all of the phone calls that if they didn’t do something, it would be far worse. So it really is this comparison of philosophies of a free society versus a terrorist society. One is, their cause is death; the other is, their cause is life. And that’s what makes this worthy of a national memorial. That’s what makes this worth being remembered.

Maybe he can join with Mr. Burnett in demanding an explanation for Memorial Superintendent Keith Newlin’s claim that it was the passengers and crew who crashed the airplane: “They are the one’s who brought the plane down,” says Newlin. This is his way of avoiding the implication that the circle-breaking crescent-creating theme of the memorial can only be depicting the actions of the terrorists. “[The terrorists] TRIED to break the peace,” says Newlin, “but they failed.” Surely Root would disagree.

But Root is wrong about who is refusing to respect democratic principles. Their 15 person jury does not take precedence over the will of the nation, clearly expressed in the national uproar over the original Crescent of Embrace design. The Memorial Project promised to remove the offensive features—the Islamic symbol shapes—but they never did. They just disguised them.

“The difference is at best a subtle one”

Thanks to Powerline for exposing this as well:

Crescent and Bowl side by side
Crescent of Embrace, left. Circle of Embrace, right.

They call it a broken circle now, but the unbroken part of the circle, what symbolically remains standing in the wake of 9/11, is just the original Crescent of Embrace. All they did was recolor the graphics, then add an extra arc of trees, placed to the rear of a person facing into the giant crescent, that explicitly represents a broken off part of the circle. As a result, Murdoch’s circle-breaking crescent-creating theme is now even more explicit, and so are its obvious terrorist-memorializing implications.

Will other front-line conservative blogs and publications take notice?

John Hinderaker is a top lawyer, a lifelong expert at evaluating evidence. When he announces that there is serious substance to the Flight 93 controversy, serious people ought to listen.

Everybody understands the difficulty. With multiple Flight 93 family members crying their anguish against anyone who prolongs the controversy, people need to actually look at the facts before taking a position. So take a look! MANY of the facts are perfectly straightforward and utterly damning. Not everyone can be as brave as Pamela Geller, but no one should let the whiff of danger stop them from examining this most important issue.

We’re talking no less than the re-hijacking of Flight 93 by an actual al Qaeda sympathizing architect. Think 9/11 folks. The whiff of danger should be an attractant, a chance to tackle a hijacker. Those lied-to and in some cases lying family members need to have their fat pulled out of the fire. Ride to the sound of the guns.

Category: Geo-Political, History, INternational Relations, Leadership | Comments Off on Flt 93 Blogburst: How come the design meeting minutes have been “lost?”

9/11 – Ten Years Later – My Reflections

September 11th, 2011 by xformed

That day I was retired from the Navy, way in the rear, without any gear of helpfulness to those on the front lines. So, where I was, suffice it to say, I remember, but it wasn’t off significance to the big picture.

That day/event shattered a major belief structure I had held since the summer of 1988: Major, large scale wars have no place in the post Cold War World…think about it: The issues are no longer taking over crop land, but the economic might of the “competing” nations. To go for the scortced earth, have an artillery division take 3 feet of dirt off a sqaure mile does nothing to preserve the economic resources you’re coveting.

After 9 months at War College, reading much more history, to add to the many tomes already ingested, I was thinking we’d be more in the “staring each other down” mode in the future. Prepared to fight, but not doing it in a big way. Bad outcomes on both sides, but then, I didn’t give guerilla forces much of a place in my thinking.

Then came September 11th, and the face of war in the modern era (meaning when I’m living), took a radical turn: A religiously based, ideologially driven, small group of people, not aligned with any one nation, and certainly not organized to meet the definition of the armed force of a soverign nation, without the direct or monetary support from and established nation-state, arrived on the scene, outdoing even the Japanese Naval Forces of 12/7/41, and then stood up to take a bow. Thus Al-Queda became part of the lexicon.

The “Laws of War” were not written to primarly handle this type of conflict. They were designed to “manage” the conflict between nation states, with easily identified military forces, loyal to one flag or another. Guerillas were but a side show. Certainly not without impact, but still a side show, until 9/11/01 arrived.

There went my construct on how conflict would happen in the now definitely post-BiPolar Supwer Power era.

Other things changed. How those combatants, illegal as they were, were to be handled. We got Guantanamo Bay, a place I had frequented as a training base during my time in uniform, converted into a holding facility for those we captured on the battle field. Why? By all I can rekon is we didn’t want to “go there” and handle the illegal combatants (those who were armed and attacking US troops, yet without an identified national uniform or affiliation), and summarily execute them where they were captured. It’s allowed, but, by being compassionate (I’m all in on this one), we then ended up with a situation on our hands as how to ensure justice was done. You know the history of that discussion, which still isn’t completed (despite a pledge to handle this from the current Commander-in-Chief).

We now, as an entire society, began looking over our shoulders, and eyeing suspicious acts of any one around us. Top it off with pre-suspecting every single air passenger as a real possibility of being a hijacker not wanting cash, like D.B. Cooper. On top of the untold billions invested in equipment to clearly show we trusted no one citizen of our nation, the tremendous loss of productivity we have suffered, which I suspect will never be calculated, but it is clearly a cost we have incurred by having to arrive earlier, sit longer, just to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Along the way, we developed an extreme phobia of telling someone else something that might hurt their feelings, such as “If you’re willing to consider killing us for your ideology, we’re willing to try to kill you first to prevent it.”

The phobia then extended to ensure we didn’t inflame those who, by their deeds, had already shown they were upset by us.

And, along the way, it has become acceptable to determine something that happened in the name of Christianity in the 2nd millenia AD, was a workable rationale to give a pass to those who began mass killings in the name of Allah, like the modern world, was still in the Middle East doing something other than run of the mill economic trade and business.

On top of that, while trying to shut out Chritianity as the root cause of the attacker’s anger, therefore justified (in some circles), we have been told to even think someone who subscribes to a faith that clearly has scriptures detailing the destruction of the “infidels,” is Islamophobic and is a crime of hate.

Excuse me, but slaughtering just anyone in their way, Christians, Hindus, Buddists, atheists and Muslims alike is a hate crime to me, but I’m being “intolerant” of saying killing for killings sake is a hateful thing.

Enough of that, so onto a set of rhetorical issues befuddle me:

I’m really missing the point of those who say we “over reacted” or, as on man put it a about a month ago, “we went to war for no reason.” Getting on board with those, like President Clinton, and the early version of President Obama (and I disagree with this, but it helps address the people who think war was not the answer): I’d like to ask them how they have reacted when they are told that a serial murderer is on the loose in their area. I know, as we see this all the time, from both sides of the aisle politically, they demand the law enforcement not rest until the person responsible is found and brought to justice. They want dragnets and sweeps and police to protect them from the threat of being next, and have no problem “judging” the murderer without a trial. So my question would be: What if 2996 people were murdered and that person announced that they had done it and they would do it again, and again, until they had their way with all of you? I think I know the reaction, but the craziness here is they somehow think the 2996 lives lost on 9/11 was no call to action to find those who did it and remove the capability for it to happen anymore, particularly in of the continued statements of future attacks, let alone having seen the actual carnage all over the world, in Europe, India, the Middle East, Malasia, and more places. What kind of a society would we be, saying we are a nation of laws, who turned our backs on that tragedy of 9/11 and said “we can’t respond, we had it coming to us.”?

Anyhow, much has changed. Politicians are fearful of making waves, because we can’t hurt feelings. Small organizations get people to belive they have a big voice, then proceed to peddle disinformation, and we are told they are the experts and do not question tham (side note: We somehow hate corporate lobbyists doing the same thing, but once again, when it’s from an outside force, we must now bow and scape in their general direction, so they don’t do it again…but wait: They tell us they will and then we still cower).

On top of that, it has become fashionable to ask the person on the street their opinion, on complex matters, and honor their answers. We’re not getting any smarter, as seen by standardized tesing, and revisionist history, yet somehow we have to hear from those who lack even a modicum of understanding, as if they are all expert scholars on the subject.

And my last item before stopping rambling: I heard it this morning. On the about to be dedicated “Peace Pole,” the message of “peace on earth” was done in four languages, and particularly in English, as “we need to hera it the most.” I may have missed it, but Arabic native speakers attacked us on 9/11, and have done so for many more years, thankfully overseas, and “we” need to hear it most inplies very strongly we were the cause. And, by the way, the other three languages didn’t include Arabic. At the services, the same leader read a letter from a very close friend who has very recently served in Afghanistan about his year’s tour. The Army Captain was obviously in Civial Affairs, as he was in charge of getting wells put in for the people. In his letter he mentioned, how during his tour, he was amazed at the massive out pouring of help from people all over the US, mostly strnagers to him, to all him to deliver school supplies and so much more to the chldren of Afghanistan. The majority of the letter reiterated how he couldn’t fully comprehend this help sent to a far away US population to people they didn’t even know, just because it was a gift….and “we” who speak English need to hear about “peace on earth” more.

When was the last time the Taliban send school supplies to the mid-West after the tornados, or the mid-Atlantic and North Eastern States in the awake of the hurricane?

So, yes, things have changed. And some people have still not bothered to fully understand we didn’t attack because we “over reacted,” we did it beacuse 2996 people are no longer there to continue conducting “peace on Earth” operations, as they were doing that morning, ten years ago.

Category: 2996 Tribute, Geo-Political, History, INternational Relations, Leadership, Military, Military History, Political, Stream of Consciousness | 1 Comment »

Piracy’s Impact on International commerce, Law and Diplomacy Panel

October 20th, 2010 by xformed

Lesson learned: Sit near a power plug, and once logged into the conference Wi-Fi, don’t drop the connection, lest the others load it to capacity, and you have to scribble notes the rest of the day.

LCDR Claude Berube, USNR, USNA Professor in the Political Science Department was the moderator.

Robert Gauivin, executive director, Piracy Policy, USCG HQ began the comments:

It is the US’ responsibility to fight piracy. Also noted, it is the requirment of the US merchant vessels to have a defensive plan in place – a Vessel security Plan. They need to have a security detail, which can or may not be armed, and may or may not be contracted.

Outside the lifelines of the US flagged vessels, then units like Task Force 151 and other nations provide assistance. His work involves inter-agency coordination/cooperation: State, DoD, DOT, USCG, etc.

Ships install a Ship Security Alert System (SSAS), which, when activated brings the US Federal resources to bear in the situation.

His group works with shipping company security officers. and also works issues with where captured pirates would be prosecuted (more in later commentary).

CAPT Mark Tempest, USNR (Ret) and maritime lawyer: It’s all about sovereign rights. Privateers operate in the name of a body of people who are recognized in International Law as being able to grant the authority for these people to raid commerce, specifically in history, to fund this designating body, be they local rulers, or a nation state.

Pirates, on the other hand, are functionally “sea robbers” and there has been a long history of “low grade sea robbery” for a very long time. coupling this with the lunch speaker’s comments, that has applicability to yhe current conditions in the area off Somalia.

mark went on to discuss the model of “Prize courts,” where captured vessels were assessed for value. The side note is the “judge” also got a percentage, so this method became less used as pirates figured they could sell the goods and the vessel and get the money for themselves, with out the middle man fees of the court. More margin (follow the money). “It’s all about the money in Somalia. Money is power in Somalia.”

Prosecuting “pirates:” Just where do you do this? With a variety of laws and human rights concerns in the many nation states involved in the law enforcement look at this situation you have to consider the nationality of:

  • Vessels Flag of registry
  • Master
  • Crew
  • Cargo’s owner(s)
  • Insurer
  • Union (if involved)

That’s a long list of choices, and then how to make them fit each circumstance for the best response in the prosecution.

More later on this panel….gotta head to the gate for the flight.

Category: Economics, History, INternational Relations, Leadership, Maritime Matters, Military History, Political | Comments Off on Piracy’s Impact on International commerce, Law and Diplomacy Panel

“Blackbeard to Barbary Pirates, Making Their Mark on History” Panel

October 20th, 2010 by xformed

Table of contents for Piracy USNI Conference

  1. “Blackbeard to Barbary Pirates, Making Their Mark on History” Panel

RADM Callo, USN (Ret) leading the panel. Author of “John Paul Jones, America’s First Sea Warrior,”

Wants us to leave thinking not “I didn’t know that,” but “I hadn’t thought of it.”

Consider the technology of piracy. That which supports it, that which suppresses it.

Thought: “Piracy is a business. It has a business model. If you are to suppress it, you need to treat it like a business.”

We have the best operators, but if the political aspect of counter piracy isn’t handled well, we can’t stop it. Political will a huge factor involved.

Professor Dr Lundsford, @ USNA, Author: “Piracy and Privateering in the Golden Age Netherlands.” Notes the Brits didn’t just go after pirates with raw Naval Power, but by looking at altering the economics and the social morays, too. Good idea to look at the societies that use piracy for clues as to how to deal with it. Factors in long term piracy:

  • Available population of recruits.
  • Base of operations
  • Sophisticated organization
  • Financing
  • Cultural bonds for solidarity
  • Access to goods to be raided

Frederick Lanier, Attorney, author: “The End of Barbary Terror: America’s 1815 War against the Pirates of North Africa.” The Barbary Pirates are the most noted in US historical memory. It only affected us 30 years, but had haunted Europe for centuries. It took taking two of our ships and hundreds of our people to get us to act, and that was the spawning of our Navy. We did begin with paying off the Pirates, from George Washington, to the tune of 12% of the Federal Budget, and the lack of power, we were at their mercy.

The Barbary Pirates were driven by money, but did have some elements of Jihad.

They were not localized geographically, but ranged outside the Med, as far as Ireland and maybe Iceland, using amphibious assaults.

They had been around for centuries. John Adams said don’t take them on, unless we were willing to deal with it for centuries. Think about that for a moment…

Sponsored by the current regimes of the day, for their financial gain. The goal was ransom money. An organized ransom market. Options: Pay or use force. You could pay in advance! Protection payments, which we did for almost 20 years with Algeria.

Conveys, blockade their ports, arm your merchants, bombard their bases, or…regime change.

“Intelligence” between sailors useful.

Brits payed Pirates to keep their Naval costs down, as then the pirates raided the ships from other countries. Incentiving?

LCDR Ben “BJ” Armstrong, USN. Active duty HSC-2 pilot. Masters in Military History and a real operator.

Personnel: Need to be trained in “Irregular Warfare.” Boarding and landing operations need to be practiced.

Aggressive junior officers are a necessity, Like Decauter. Stephen Decauter was the one who came forward with the idea to burn the PHILADELPHIA. The right vessels need to be available to engage in the fight. “Littoral Warfare” needed effective ships.

You also need partnerships, for logistics and other support.

Use history, but there is no exact parallel.

Now to questions.

Dr Lunsford: When it’s a “way of life,” it’s very difficult to eradicate, eg: The “bucaneers.”

RADM Callo: Sophistication: The Ability to adjust. They are doing that now.

How does the 1820s pirate experience fit today? CNA rep. LCDR Armstrong:
Biddle, Poter and Wearington.

Biddle: Bring ships and run convoys.

Porter: go “inshore.” ROE: Spain wouldn’t grant permission to go ashore.

Be careful as how you draw historic parallels.

Dr Lunsford: Don’t see the parallels with Latin America break away period. Get ride of the recruits and base of operations, you solved the problem. Make sure you look for operational and political (i’d add economic) lessons for application of parallels.

Danish Navy Officer: Can small navies make an impact: LCDR A: “Yes, absolutely.” The US Navy was the “small Navy” when it took on the pirates in the 1800’s. Frank Lanier: Us wanted to act unilaterally, but James Madison instructed to allow Dutch Navy to act as allies. The Dutch Navy bombarded Algiers the next year. Dr Lunsford: The US Navy can’t be everywhere. TF 151 is an example to address the problems. RADM Calo: “quantity has a quality of it’s own.”

ADM McKnight chimes in (he commanded TF 151): Danish Navy ship ABSOLOM was excellent on TF 151. Well prepared.

LCDR Armstrong: Cooperation can be extended beyond navies. NGOs and commercial interests and other government.

Frank Lanier: State supported terrorism? The Barbary pirates made money for the political structure that supported them. They made money off of “Christian Dogs” but it wasn’t about expanding the Caliphate.

Any “fingers of the Russians, Chinese or other Arab states funding these activities (in Somalia)?” No one has heard of it, but LCDR A indicated Russians and Chinese are part of the anti-piracy work.

Former Adm of MSC: “Struck by the number of ‘stakeholders’ who came to join in the current discussions.” Maritime unions, Lloyds of London, commercial companies, etc.

Frank Lanier: Much more interrelated today, it was simpler back then.

(Off to find a power outlet……)

RADM Callo: every US Citizen is a “stakeholder” in this issue…..

Category: Geo-Political, History, INternational Relations, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History | Comments Off on “Blackbeard to Barbary Pirates, Making Their Mark on History” Panel

Who Wins Wars, Who Loses Them

October 19th, 2010 by xformed

An accidental find, worthy of today’s situation in Iraq and Afghanistan:

Wars and battles are not lost by private soldiers. They win them, but they don’t lose them. They are lost by commanders, staffs and troops leaders, and they are often lost before they start.

– LtCol (BG) Sam Griffith, USMC
CO 1st Raider Battalion

It goes to the responsibility of the leadership, at every level to set the stage for a win or a loss in conflict. The Marine or soldier or sailor cannot change that outcome much at all.

Will will soon see the effect of this in 2011, as the war, that has gone on too long for some, is hastily retired from, with some rationale of we need the money elsewhere.

It will be penny wise and pound foolish, if the enemy that has been beaten back is allowed to thrive in our absence, to enable us to see if we really can absorb another major terrorist attack.

Update: another yellowed 3″x5″ card holds this bit of history to put things in perspective once again:

Come with me into Macedon, most portent, grave and reverend senators and taste the rigors of a soldier’s bed, the blood and anguish of a soldier’s wars. Come with me into Macedon, fat comfortable strategists at home, and you will see how humble men have died to save the freedoms – and the baths – of Rome!

– General Lucius Aemilius Paulis addressing the Roman Senate after being critisized by same for certain aspects of his victorious campaign against Perseus in the Third macedonian War, 2nd Century BC

Rings true today. Just change a few names and places and it’s a good fit.

Category: Geo-Political, INternational Relations, Leadership, Military, Political, Supporting the Troops | Comments Off on Who Wins Wars, Who Loses Them

18 Years Ago: USS SARATOGA (CV-60) fires on TCG MAUVENET (DM-57)

October 2nd, 2010 by xformed

On Oct 2nd, 1992, the day of the USS SARATOGA (CV60)/TCG MAUVENET (DM57) incident, I had been at my job for 2 1/2 years.  I was assigned as the Combat Systems Assessment (CSA) Officer for Commander, Naval Surface Forces, Atlantic (CNSL), but we were in the process of reorganizing into the Afloat Training Group (ATG) command, as the Combat Systems Training Group (CSTG).  My specific duties included the management of the process by which surface ships (this being a US Navy distinction, where aircraft carriers, and submarine tenders were not considered “surface ships” organizationally, as they “belonged” to the aviation or submarine Type Commanders respectively).  I had played a significant role in redefining the inspection process, making it less of a material and safety look, and more of an operational/functional look, which put not just the crew’s capabilities in the spot light, but also how the chain of command handled internal training in combat systems/operations.  My interaction with the events of that day did not being until Feb of 93.  Background:

As the Department Head for the CSA shop, I most regularly was aboard two ships a week, in the Atlantic Fleet area (from Newport, RI, to Mayport, FL), but we were based out of Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Little Creek, VA.  My team, comprised of my own departmental personnel, and augmented by subject matters experts from the warfare training departments, was nominally about 12 – 15 enlisted, and one other officer as my assistant.

The CSA Inspection had been formally modified the prior August to have use first inspect the watchbills of the ship, followed by validating the proper qualifications in selected watchstander’s service records.  We provided the same look at the ship’s combat Systems Training Team (CSTT), ensuring they had been properly training and qualified to train their shipmates.  We also looked at key administrative programs and operational documents.  I normally would check the ship’s use of the Personnel Qualification Systems (PQS), and LT Wycoff would inspect the use of the Explosives Handling Program/Qualification Certification Program (EHPQCP), which was put in place as the result of the fires aboard the USS FORESTAL (CV-59) and USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) off of Vietnam many years before.  PQS had grown out of the Vietnam era as well, beginning in the Engineering world to standardize training and qualification methods aboard ship.  As the impetus to create both of those programs were founded as a result of major fires aboard carriers, and many deadly engineering casualties, we treated them as foundational programs, necessary to safe and effective combat operations.  My other team members reviewed many other programs and all of us would walk the major combat systems equipment and operational spaces, checking for safety issues.

Once completed, we would then (usually after lunch) begin the practical portion of the inspection, with the ship’s CSTT briefing the exercises they had planned for the watch teams.  In addition to basic assignments of the CSTT members, they were required to specifically list what actions by the watchstanders would be simulated, and how they would be simulated.  In addition, what safety considerations/procedures would be put in place during the exercise to make sure accidents didn’t occur, and everyone was fully aware of what would happen live, and what would be approved to “have been carried out.”  While our goal was to ensure the ship’s operated well as individual units (my team’s charter), we took our mission seriously in regards to safety.  Thankfully, across three years of inspecting, it was a rare occasion where my team or I had to stop things for safety reasons.  Our advantage was the years and depth of experience that went aboard each inspection with me, or another senior officer.  We had seen things, been trained in things, and brought that view to all we did.  While we did not represent the captain’s CSTT, we were there to pass along how it was done, so the ship’s company would be able to operate as my team did.

Beyond safety, the myriad of other procedures used were apart of our daily emphasis:  Combat Systems Doctrine, operational watchstanding and communications, Battle Orders, and Rules of Engagement (ROE), and the technical capabilities of the weapons and sensors used in combat operations.

Now, to catch up to my involvement.  In early February 1993, CAPT Phil Balisle stepping into my office and told me I had been assigned to visit every Atlantic Fleet ship that had NATO Sea Sparrow installed, and to validate the crew’s understanding of the safe and effective operation of the equipment in a tactical scenario.  Assigned to me were LCDR Don Diehl, presently attached to USS GEORGE WASHINGTON as the CDC Officer.  FCCS(SW) Goss from Naval Guided Missile School, and FCC(SW) Dann of my office, CSTGLANT.  FCCS Goss and FCC Dann were 1157 NSSMS technicians, which included the operator qualifications for using NSSMS.

I was put in touch with my counterpart from the Pacific Fleet, and within a few days, we had standardized the re-certification process.  I pushed for and got, the conduct of a simulated engagement, run by the ship’s CSTT, to allow use to gauge the future capabilities of crews to properly maintain training and readiness.

Other included checks would be the qualifications of the watchstanders and the CSTT members, safety checks on the equipment, review of the EHPQCP records for completeness, and oral exams of the watchstanaders.

This was done, by my team, on all ships in the Atlantic Fleet, this time to include aircraft carriers.  we ended up inspecting and certifying all of the units, with only one, the USS SEATTLE (AOE3), needing a reinspection, based on the records of qualifications not being properly documented.  That earned the team a second visit to Naval Weapons Station Earle, NJ.

While not every inspection was perfect, the results of single ship redo was good.  The highlight, I recall was the USS MOOSBRUGGER (DD-980) under then CDR Mike Moe, who had been a shipmate of mine years before, but his team was well trained and exceptionally competent in their operations and qualifications.

During the conduct of the oral examinations, LCDR Diehl, who had been flown to Naples to provide subject matter expert testimony to the Court of Inquiry, heard the entire testimony.  He indicated, as is shown in the formal JAGMAN of the incident, that a lack of understanding of a the terminology “arm and tune” seemed to be the point where communication broke down, and then to belief this was to be an actual firing worked it’s way into the series of orders and actions.  He also indicated, not covered in the report, that the FOC and ROC operators had been rousted out of their racks, in a non-routine schedule, about 2345, and told to get up and man their equipment right now.  The confusion of such a significant request, at an odd hour seemed to Don to not have helped any in the assessments each sailor was making that night, leading to the mis-communications.

COMNAVAIRLANT had not adopted a formal establishment of the CSTT concept, which had been a Surface type commander requirement (by formal instruction) for several years.  Some carriers had them, to some degree or another, and a few did not formally use the concept.

Following all of this, COMNAVAIRLANT (and I’m sure COMNAVAIRPAC) added a formal instruction for the establishment and organization of CSTTs on their units.  When this accident occurred, my first thoughts in 92 were “I wondered how the CSTT let that happen?”  The implementation of the CSTTs, then on surface ships and later on the aviation ships, was a safety measure to help prevent such occurrences.  The simulation of actually firing the weapons, given the time of day (0002 L) would have been briefed, and the crew would have been required to verbally describe how they would have placed the system in a firing state to several of the CSTT members (one in the NSSMS Equipment room, and at least one in CDC withe the TAS Operator and SWC and TAO).

While none of this provides consolation to those who lost family members, I spent the next four months, traveling all the way to Hurgada, Egypt in one case, to validate the Fleet’s understanding of this important issue of safely training and operating.  Deployed ships were not spared from a visit from an inspection team, and only the USS O’BANNON (DD-987), then in overhaul, did not get visited by my team.  If I recall, there was an action item for a visit from the CSTG when the ship became operational again.

The use of many training methods, well entrenched in the Surface Ship Community, and with mostly in the Aviation Navy, had been able to keep such accidents from happening all along, and certainly have helped in preventing them since.  As with our own internal experience with the fatal fires aboard USS FORESTAL (CV-59), lives were lost, but it gave rise to a long standing qualification process of weapons handling, to reduce our chances of such occurrences again.

Category: History, INternational Relations, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy | 4 Comments »

A WWII English Love Story

June 6th, 2010 by xformed

In rememberance of D-Day today, a story about three men:  An American pilot, an Englishman, and the pilot’s son.

I first met Doug Kirkland in Oct/Nov 1976, while attending Communications Officer School in Newport, RI.  We never really talked, he being a LT, seasoned aviator and me merely an Ensign with no permanent ship assignments in my record.  In Oct, 1989, as I emceed the Change of Command, a face in the guest seats kept attracting my attention.  It was Doug.  At the reception, we both realized we knew each other, but it took about 30 minutes of the “were you ever stationed at…” conversation to finally get us to the point were we figured we had been in Newport for school at the same time, and other than that, our paths had not crossed professionally or otherwise since then.  Fast forward to 2009, when I began going to the every other Saturday breakfasts with a group of local vets…there was Doug again, and one morning, he told me this story and has been kind enough to share it, particularly with the hope the story will maybe connect a few more people who are involved in this story.

Here’s my request:  Pass this story along, please.

A Model of a US Navy PB4Y-l Bureau # 231

English Love Story – Why FAW-7 Loves the people In tbe Devon countryside

This was written by Captain Douglas I. Kirkland ( Delta Air Lines) of Reddington Beach, FL about his father.

My father, Lieutenant Commander Lawrence A. Kirkland, Jr. ( deceased 1990) was a Navy pilot in World War II.  Dad graduated Naval Pilot Training in class 2B41J at the Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida early 1941.  During the early part of the war he flew PBY aircraft first in the Pacific Asiatic and later in North Africa. When VPB-U4 was commissioned, Dad was assigned as Plane Commander and according to bis squadronmates, he was one of the “war weary”, well seasoned veterans at the squadrons beginning in August of 1943.

VPB-114 deployed to Dunkeswell Abbey Airfield Near Exeter in Devon, England and this history is well documented at the museum.

To cope with the rigors and stress of the 41 missions Dad dew from Dunkeswell in PB4Y-1 aircraft, be would take a shotgun and hunt on farmland in the Honiton to Broadhembury area just south of Dunkeswell Airfield.   He would then take his fresh kill to The inn at Broadhembury (which still has a great thatched roof’ pub), and have it cooked, dine with his favorite libation in hand, and finally relax a bit.

The Frost Family farm near Broadhembury was a favorite hunting place of Dads, and the descendant of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Frost still lives on the farm today  (John and Jean ( Frost) Barker) Incidentally, both Jean and John Barker remembered my father when I visited them in December of 1998. The Barker’s mentioned that lots of the men stationed at Dunkeswell hunted their farmland and one man in particular liked to hunt rabbits with a Thompson submachine gun (guess the ammunition and the rabbits were plentiful then)!

According to Dad, one day white relaxing at the Inn at Broadhembury, be met a man named Theo Church from Ex-Axminister, a carpenter by trade. Thea Church was making aircraft parts on jigs in his shop for the war effort.  In conversation, Dad discovered that Theo Church had never been in an airplane, even though he was making aircraft parts! Dad invited Theo to go on a training flight from Dunkeswell, and he provided Theo with a flight suit and the necessary instructions for the flight.  All went off with out a hitch, and several months after the flight, Theo Church came to Dad and presented this hand made, wooden model of a P84Y-1 ship 8ureau #231.

Dad asked Theo to keep the model for the duration of the war, and then ship it to me, because of the the “uncertainties” in his schedule and his longevity. Dad later gave the model to me and after he died, I found a scrapbook from WW II with pictures of the actual plane # 231 in a revetment at Broadhembury.  The box, the stamps, the model, everything you see is just as be received it from Theo Church after the war. This model and its history have always symbolized for me, the spirit of cooperation and combined efforts of our countries in defeating our enemies. Truly, the men and women who served our Countries in WW II deserve our eternal gratitude.

For the most part, they were ordinary citizens who performed extraordinarily. When the war ended, they returned to their families and civilian life and built the better World we now enjoy.

I welcome any additions or input from this word of mouth story about my father.

CDR Douglas I. Kirkland, USNR-R (Ret)
16500 Gulf Blvd. Unit 455
North Redington Beach, FL 33708
850-960-8866 cell
727-320-0012 home
douglas.kirkland@1972.usna.com

Captain Meyer Minchen of Houston, Tx., offers the following information about # 231. Jack McGarry ( Plane Captain) and Jim Baird AMM in Crew 11 were prefiighting the plane for a patrol, and were not in the picture at left.   However they did help in identifying the crew members of #231 in VB-114. Left to right: John Paul Woods, Harold Coffin, Cliff Halls, Larry Kirkland, More Slouch, Don Burns, Oren W. Clark (PCP), Meyer Minchen, Ed E. .Elmwood.

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Category: Air Force, Army, History, INternational Relations, Leadership, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy | 1 Comment »

Navy Memorial’s Navy TV Airs 120 Rarely Seen, Archival Navy Films

May 10th, 2010 by xformed

Received via email from the Navy Memorial, announcing the showing of recovered WWII Navy 16mm films on Navy TV!

It’s history not seen in a long time.

For Immediate Release

Navy Memorial’s Navy TV Airs 120 Rarely Seen, Archival Navy Films

Internet Television Network Partners With Periscope Film

To Showcase Vast Film Collection

WASHINGTON, D.C. [May 10, 2010] – With Washington’s GI Film Festival launching this week, the U.S. Navy Memorial is announcing their screening of 120 rarely seen archival Naval films on the U.S. Navy Memorial’s Internet television network Navy TV. Obtained through a partnership with Periscope Film LLC, the films were salvaged by the founders of Periscope Film, who also share a passion for military history.  Within the next twelve months, visitors of Navy TV will be able to view the collection in its entirety at www.navytv.org.

While making a documentary, Periscope Film founders Doug Weiner and Nick Spark obtained several original 16mm films from World War II, which they intended to use as stock footage for their film.  Realizing the historical value of this footage, they began producing VHS and DVD collections of the films. “They proved so popular that we just kept expanding our library, acquiring rare military and aviation footage from World War I to Vietnam,” says Spark.

Discovering excerpts of the films on YouTube, the Navy Memorial contacted Periscope Film to request permission to screen the footage on Navy TV.

“When I saw the vast quantity and extensive variety of the collection, I knew this collection would appeal to our Navy TV audience,” said Rear Admiral Edward K. Walker, Jr., SC, USN (Ret.), President and CEO of the Navy Memorial. “Periscope Film’s willingness to allow us to air the entire collection on our network is a testament to our shared commitment of educating the public about the sacrifices our sea service men and women have made throughout the history of our nation.”

Some examples of the rich collection include:

  • “U.S. Navy Blasts Marshall Islands” – 1942 newsreel that shows the first offensive action of the Pacific Campaign of WWII;
  • “The Fathoms Deep” – 1952 film containing early footage of French naval officer Jacques Cousteau demonstrating his revolutionary underwater breathing apparatus known as SCUBA; and
  • “Seapower” – 1968 film featuring Hollywood actor Glenn Ford as star and narrator that shows the fleet at the height of the Cold War.

Viewers can watch any of the films free of charge and on demand at www.navytv.org and can sign up on the website to receive alerts about new films from Periscope Film on Navy TV. The films aired on Navy TV are available for purchase at www.PeriscopeFilm.com.

Internet Television Network Partners With Periscope Film

To Showcase Vast Film Collection

WASHINGTON, D.C. [May 10, 2010] – With Washington’s GI Film Festival launching this week, the U.S. Navy Memorial is announcing their screening of 120 rarely seen archival Naval films on the U.S. Navy Memorial’s Internet television network Navy TV. Obtained through a partnership with Periscope Film LLC, the films were salvaged by the founders of Periscope Film, who also share a passion for military history.  Within the next twelve months, visitors of Navy TV will be able to view the collection in its entirety at www.navytv.org.

While making a documentary, Periscope Film founders Doug Weiner and Nick Spark obtained several original 16mm films from World War II, which they intended to use as stock footage for their film.  Realizing the historical value of this footage, they began producing VHS and DVD collections of the films. “They proved so popular that we just kept expanding our library, acquiring rare military and aviation footage from World War I to Vietnam,” says Spark.

Discovering excerpts of the films on YouTube, the Navy Memorial contacted Periscope Film to request permission to screen the footage on Navy TV.

“When I saw the vast quantity and extensive variety of the collection, I knew this collection would appeal to our Navy TV audience,” said Rear Admiral Edward K. Walker, Jr., SC, USN (Ret.), President and CEO of the Navy Memorial. “Periscope Film’s willingness to allow us to air the entire collection on our network is a testament to our shared commitment of educating the public about the sacrifices our sea service men and women have made throughout the history of our nation.”

Some examples of the rich collection include:

  • “U.S. Navy Blasts Marshall Islands” – 1942 newsreel that shows the first offensive action of the Pacific Campaign of WWII;
  • “The Fathoms Deep” – 1952 film containing early footage of French naval officer Jacques Cousteau demonstrating his revolutionary underwater breathing apparatus known as SCUBA; and
  • “Seapower” – 1968 film featuring Hollywood actor Glenn Ford as star and narrator that shows the fleet at the height of the Cold War.

Viewers can watch any of the films free of charge and on demand at www.navytv.org and can sign up on the website to receive alerts about new films from Periscope Film on Navy TV. The films aired on Navy TV are available for purchase at www.PeriscopeFilm.com.

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Today in History: Linebacker II Begins

December 18th, 2009 by xformed

When the enemy thinks they can stall peace talks, how do you respond?  With a diplomatic tools that “communicates” beyond the Paris meeting room.

On this day in 1972, Linebacker II, the largest air campaign since WWII began, with Air force and Navy planes filling the skies over North Vietnam.

For 11 days, the fury of America was unleashed over their capital and sea ports. On this day, 189 bombers (B-52D/Gs) and 39 support aircraft from the 7th Air force, and Navy and Marine Corps assets (EB-66/EA-6B/KC-135s/F-4/A-6/A-7/F-111/F-105), as well as SAR (Search and Rescue) aircraft took to the skies for a night attack. This mission targeted airfields and warehouses.

3 B-52s were shot down, and three more heavily damaged. One F-111 was also shot down, as the North Vietnamese put and estimated 220 SAMs in the air.

This afternoon, I attended an MOAA lunch and one of the men there reminded the MC to mention the history of today. It turns out that gentlemen had spent time in a B-17 over Schweinfurt, B-29s over Korea and B-52s over Vietnam. I suspect he was in the cockpit for this operation, but I did not have the opportunity to speak with him, as the room was full of living history.

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