Thursday, July 20, 2017

Diversity Thursday

Some good news in the diversity battles.

One of the most excused and patronized organizations in the USA that centers its existence on racist assumptions is having a bit of trouble as more and more people realize what they are about. So much, it appears, they had to change their name.
La Raza has decided to rebrand. The liberal political group announced last week that it would change its name from one suggestive of adversarial Chicano politics to something with broader appeal: UnidosUS.
Here's why;
The name La Raza—“the race” in Spanish—flies in the face of this reality. It is off-putting to many “Hispanics,” an artificial Census category comprising many razas. The organization’s CEO, Janet Murguia, admitted as much in a video announcing the name change: “We must make sure that our name and our organization evolves along with and remains relevant to our ever changing Hispanic community.”
The shift appears to stem from a recognition of long-ignored social and financial transformations in the U.S. 
Since its inception in 1968, made possible in part by a grant from the Ford Foundation, La Raza has been far more dependent on boardrooms and government than grass-roots support. But with government largess drying up, the liberal political-advocacy group may find itself needing greater support from the rank and file. This won’t be easy.
The nation’s “Hispanics” are undergoing a radical shift that most politicians are missing: A white majority is likely to persist in America. “Many children growing up today in mixed families are integrating into a still largely white mainstream society,” sociologist Richard Alba noted in American Prospect last year. These children are “likely to think of themselves as part of that mainstream, rather than as minorities excluded from it.”
As I've always said; the diversity industry is a racket. It is an amalgam of rent-seekers, grievance mongers, racists, and otherwise unemployable people who have no desire to bring people together, but to keep them apart in little manageable tribes to use for block political and financial gain.

Along the way, people are moving in our direction towards a more equal and color blind society. People who first see race are simply that, racists. They have no place in a modern society.

You can change your name, but you remain what you always were, "UnidosUS" - a group acting like the most base racists who use tribalism, fear, and division to enrich yourselves. Nixon's made up ethnicity, "Hispanic" exists no other place but in the minds of the American left. About as useful and deserving of special treatment as "Scandinavian." Actually less so. Danes, Swedes and Norwegians have more in common than Cubans, Mexicans, & Uruguayans. 

More work needs to be done, but each day that organizations such as this have to change to try to survive, the better. They should be kept at the margins to stew in their own sectarian juices - shunned by well meaning, modern, forward looking Americans.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

In Syria, Looks Like We're Very Close to my SEP 2015 PLAN SALAMADER, Rev 1

If you are not too familiar with the almost 2-yr old PLAN SALAMANDER for Syria, JUN 2016's REV 1 is here, and the SEP 2015 original here.

This predates the Trump Era by over a year, so you can stow any lame attempt to play Boot on Carlson's show - that won't wash.

Here is the unvarnished truth that has been evident for a year prior to my coming up with PLAN SALAMANDER; the only way to successfully eliminate the Islamic State is to at a minimum coordinate with the Russian, and preferably plan with them. Also, unless you have a realistic plan for someone to take Assad's place without slaughtering the balance of non-Sunni Syrian Arabs & Kurds, than go sit in the corner and play with the other children on Earth 2.

In a solid interview by The Tampa Bay Times with CENTCOM Commander General Votel, USA - the truth is right there for anyone to see it.
What are your thoughts on working with the Russians?

The word we use is not cooperation, but it is deconfliction and that is principally what we are doing. I have characterized this interchange as being very professional military to military interchange and I think trust certainly has to be earned over time here. But I will tell you the deconfliction line that we have had in place and has become more robust over time, meaning that not only do our air components talk to each other but (Army Lt. Gen. Stephen) Townsend (in charge of the ground war against Islamic State) now has the ability to talk to his counterpart.
That is a mature approach.

Read the whole interview, and keep this in mind as the investment of Raqqa moves forward;
The battle for Raqqa is now on. How long will that take?

We are not going to make any time estimates on this. You just watched what took place in (Mosul), a city of 1.6 million, 1.7 million people. It took nine months. Raqqa is probably 300,000 to 400,000 people, but it's in an area that again has had a long time to prepare and the forces we are operating in Syria are different than the forces we are operating with in Iraq. We're not talking about the Iraqi army that has ministries to lead it. Now we are talking about a much more indigenous force made up largely of Syrian Arabs and Kurds — and Kurds are part of that indigenous force. They don't have all the trappings of a big army, so I think it is important for people to understand the context of what we are doing here. A large city, an indigenous force, a well-prepared enemy. And by the way, an enemy now that has suffered a significant defeat, so they are running out of space there. We would expect they are going to fight harder, and more aggressively than they are and a large part of that is going to be exploited again. So I think it is going to be a challenging fight and it will take months.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The 350 Ship Navy: Don’t Hold Your Breath

Editor's Note: The below is a guest post by Bryan McGrath. 

It was originally posted elsewhere last week, but the editor of that site feared retribution from their sponsors and pulled it down shortly after it was posted.

I offered to post it here, and Bryan accepted the offer.

President Trump has made a large increase in the size of the Navy the centerpiece of his promise to rebuild American military strength, telling audiences on the campaign trail that he would grow the Navy from its current size of 276 deployable battle force ships to 350, to include growing the carrier fleet from 11 to 12 hulls. 

Scheduled to speak at the July 22nd commissioning ceremony for the USS GERALD R FORD (CVN 78) (a ship he had considerable criticism for earlier this year), it is conceivable that he will renew his call for this expanded fleet. This is music to the ears of naval advocates who believe American Seapower occupies a unique place among the components of American military power in its capacity to advance the nation’s prosperity and security. 

The enthusiasm for Trump’s naval buildup was somewhat dampened with the release of his FY18 budget, which did not grow the Navy appreciably over the levels described in his predecessor’s final budget. There was no shortage of criticism of the President for this seeming reversal of a campaign promise, but as I wrote elsewhere, there was wisdom in using the FY17 budget amendment and the FY18 budget submission to shore up anemic readiness and weapons procurement accounts before beginning what would be an expensive, decades long project to grow the Navy by 25%. Secretary of Defense Mattis’ statement of priorities upon assuming office made this emphasis clear.

I am no longer sanguine about the prospects for a 350 ship Navy, and I base my view on the uninspiring testimony yesterday of Richard Spencer, appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee as the Trump Administration Secretary of the Navy nominee. Spencer was presented with the opportunity to voice full-throated advocacy for the fleet called for by the Commander-in-Chief and buttressed by a recent Navy Force Structure Assessment calling for 355 ships. Instead, he waffled, sounding very much like those in the Obama Administration who argued against a larger fleet, telling the SASC “What I will tell you is that, whether it’s a 355-ship or not, what we also want to get our head around is, can we have a capacity number, but have a capability that’s even greater than that, so have the capability of a 355 that might be a 300-ship Navy.”  

This debate between naval capacity (numbers) and capability (i.e. weapons, sensors, and networking) is evergreen, and every responsible administration must wrestle with it. Resources are not unbounded, and the right mix between numbers and capability is the ultimate aim of Navy budgeteers. But for a Secretary of the Navy nominee—given the gift of Presidential imprimatur upon a vast naval buildup—to make his public debut by questioning the wisdom of such a buildup, something is amiss. That something is, I fear, the Secretary of Defense.

Tucked into Mattis’ statement of priorities linked-to above, is a section in which he points to an ongoing strategic review (the 2018 National Defense Strategy) that will provide a new force sizing methodology to be used to shape the growing force. Presumably, the National Defense Strategy will be used to impact the FY19 defense budget process later this year, to include broad guidance on where additional resources are to be prioritized. Putting it another way, if there were going to be a significant naval buildup, it would be reflected in the strategic narrative advanced by the Secretary of Defense and then codified in the FY19 budget submission.

That Secretary of the Navy nominee Richard Spencer did not get behind the President’s goal appears to indicate lukewarm support for it within the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), especially if it means re-allocating resources from other parts of the Department. Given the ongoing budget stalemate on the Hill, this would appear to be the only way the Navy would get a significant budget increase. And since Spencer is known to be close to Secretary Mattis (but not particularly close to the Trump inner circle) it is not difficult to envision Mattis providing Spencer with clear direction not to enthusiastically ratify the President’s naval buildup, in order to retain sufficient freedom of maneuver while the strategic review is underway. 

A military buildup the size of what Trump called for on the campaign trail would be very expensive. I calculate the annual cost to build, man, maintain, and operate a fleet the size the President desires to exceed $40B a year in FY17 dollars. Trump also wishes an increase in the size of the Army and a stepped up program of fighter procurement for the Air Force. These increases would dramatically raise the defense budget, something the President simply does not possess the political capital to accomplish. Contributing to this lack of political capital is the administration’s seeming inability to frame policy and then harness the Congressional majority to achieve it. Mattis sees this, and I suspect he realizes that there will be no significant buildup, although there will be a modest boost to the DoD topline. 

This bleak outlook for increased defense spending leaves Mattis in very much the same position as his predecessor Ash Carter was, in which expensive programs designed to increase capacity (including shipbuilding) were sacrificed to fund what were considered higher priority needs such as offensive weapons, networking capabilities, cyber capability, and electronic warfare upgrades. This is a reasonable position to take in a severely restricted budget environment, but Trump campaigned on ending that environment to rebuild the military. Success in achieving this goal was always a long-shot, but with the President’s ongoing weakness, it is virtually unachievable. I suspect the Secretary of Defense is aware of this.

Given the theory I have advanced, what can navalists hope for?  

First, it is clear that the operating forces can expect better operations and maintenance funding, enabling ships and aircraft to gain the proficiency they need through at sea and on-range training even as their accumulated maintenance backlogs are worked through. 

Second, I expect there to be significantly higher investment in increasing the capability of the platforms we already have by fielding more and more capable weapons and sensors, and then backfitting them into the current fleet. 

Third, I expect the Navy’s shipbuilding program to increase fleet size at a gradual pace, with much of the growth planned for 10-30 years from now, when future administrations will have to figure out how to pay for it. 

The prospect of a dramatic naval building program was fun while it lasted, but the reality of our modern political milieu has intervened. Unless the Congress steps up and takes control of the naval building effort—in spite of what the Secretary of Defense may desire—we are in for at least four more years of muddling through. 

Bryan McGrath is the Managing Director of The FerryBridge Group LLC, and the Assistant Director of the Hudson Institute Center for American Seapower. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Building the right carrier; heavy, medium, or light with Tal Manvel - on Midrats

As the USS FORD (CVN 78) delivered to the US Navy, the Royal Navy’s new HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH underway, and many nations either building or wanting built carriers of a variety of sized, the second decade of the 21st Century is an exciting time for those who are interested in carrier design.

With the Senate recently dedicating $30 to the study of a light carrier design, the discussion has begun again about what is the right size carrier for the requirements of our navy.

We have the perfect guest Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern to discuss, returning guest J. Talbot Manvel, Captain, USN (Ret).

Tal teaches at the US Naval Academy. While on active duty he served as an engineering officer specializing in aircraft carriers. He served on three, assisted in building two, and ended his career developing the new FORD class of aircraft carriers. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1972, earned a masters in mechanical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1979, a masters in liberal arts from St John’s College in 2008.

Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Fullbore Friday

The USCG's Medal of Honor recipient from WWII's Guadalcanal campaign and then Lt. Col. Chesty Puller, USMC - a natural FbF.

Head on over to the USCG's website for Dr. Robert M. Browning Jr.'s full story, but here's and extended quote describing an exemplary example of combat leadership, SM1 Douglas A. Munro, USCG.
...word arrived that the Marines were in trouble and were being driven back toward the beach. Their immediate plight had not been known. The bombing raid had driven Monssen out of range to visually communicate with shore. Furthermore, the three companies of Marines had failed to take a radio and were unable to convey their predicament. Using under-shirts they spelled out the word "HELP" on a ridge not far from the beach. Second Lieutenant Dale Leslie in a Douglas SBD spotted the message and passed it by radio to another Marine unit. At 4 P.M. Lt. Colonel Puller, realizing that his men were isolated, embarked on Monssen to direct personally the covering fire for the marines who were desperately trying to reach the beach.

The landing craft had meanwhile been readied at Lunga Point Base. Again, virtually the same boats that had put the Marines on the beach were assembled to extract them. Douglas Munro, who had taken charge of the original landing, volunteered to lead the boats back to the beach. None of these boats were heavily armed or well protected. For instance, Munro's Higgin's boat had a plywood hull, it was slow, vulnerable to small arms fire, and was armed only with two air-cooled .30 caliber Lewis machine guns.

As Munro led the boats ashore the Japanese fired on the small craft from Point Cruz, the ridges abandoned by the Marines, and from positions east of the beach. This intense fire from three strong interlocking positions disrupted the landing and caused a number of casualties among the virtually defenseless crews in the boats. Despite the intense fire Munro led the boats ashore. Reaching the shore in waves, Munro led them to the beach two or three at a time to pick up the Marines. Munro and Petty Officer Raymond Evans provided covering fire from an exposed position on the beach.

As the Marines reembarked, the Japanese pressed toward the beach making the withdrawal more dangerous with each second. The Monssen and Leslie's Douglas "Dauntless" dive bomber provided additional cover for the withdrawing Marines. The Marines arrived on the beach to embark on the landing craft while the Japanese kept up a murderous fire from the ridges about 500 yards from the beach. Munro, seeing the dangerous situation, maneuvered his boat between the enemy and those withdrawing to protect the remnants of the battalion. Successfully providing cover, all the Marines including twenty-five wounded managed to escape.

With all the Marines safely in the small craft, Munro and Evans steered their LCP off shore. As they passed towards Point Cruz they noticed an LCT full of Marines grounded on the beach. Munro steered his craft and directed another tank lighter to pull it off. Twenty minutes later, the craft was free and heading to sea. Before they could get far from shore, the Japanese set up a machine gun and began firing at the boats. Evans saw the fire and shouted a warning to Munro. The roar of the boat's engine, however, prevented Munro from hearing and a single bullet hit him in the base of the skull. Petty Officer Munro died before reaching the operating base, but due to his extraordinary heroism, outstanding leadership and gallantry, Munro posthumously received the Medal of Honor.
All of 23 years old.

"For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action above and beyond the call of duty as Officer-in-Charge of a group of Higgins boats, engaged in the evacuation of a Battalion of Marines trapped by enemy Japanese forces at Point Cruz, Guadalcanal, on September 27, 1942. After making preliminary plans for the evacuation of nearly 500 beleaguered Marines, Munro, under constant risk of his life, daringly led five of his small craft toward the shore. As he closed the beach, he signaled the others to land, and then in order to draw the enemy's fire and protect the heavily loaded boats, he valiantly placed his craft with its two small guns as a shield between the beachhead and the Japanese. When the perilous task of evacuation was nearly completed, Munro was killed by enemy fire, but his crew, two of whom were wounded, carried on until the last boat had loaded and cleared the beach. By his outstanding leadership, expert planning, and dauntless devotion to duty, he and his courageous comrades undoubtedly saved the lives of many who otherwise would have perished. He gallantly gave up his life in defense of his country."
Hat tip Ken.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Return of at Sea Reloads: The Big Importance of Small Things

On the list of "unsexy but important" are many items from icebreakers, to command ships, to hospital ships, that every POM cycle get left on the cutting room floor by the gaggle of cats chasing laser pointers we have in charge of building our fleet.

On occasion, someone on the inside manages to do the right thing. 

Today we have one of those things. In case you missed it, let's pull it above the ambient noise a bit;
The U.S. Navy is looking to restore its ability to reload its ships’ vertical launch systems at sea, which could be a dramatic logistical game changer in the planning and execution of high-intensity contingencies against peer competitors.
After discussing the means by which the Navy seeks to ensure its forward-deployed naval forces remain survivable and up-to-date with the latest tactical and technological innovation, Admiral Richardson said in reference to vertical launch system (VLS) underway replenishment, “we’re bringing that back.”

Since its operational debut in 1986 aboard the sixth Ticonderoga-class cruiser, USS Bunker Hill, the Mark 41 vertical launch system and its successor the Mark 57 have become the main battery of the preponderance of the Navy’s surface fleet, while the Mark 45 has become the principal means of deploying cruise missiles aboard submarines. Vertical launch systems are among the most adaptable weapon mounts that the Navy fields, allowing a ship to carry a variety of defensive and offensive missiles in the same shipboard infrastructure, and to fire them in rapid succession.

However, unlike other Navy striking arms like the carrier air wing, vertical launch systems cannot, at present, be practicably resupplied and reloaded while at sea. Once a VLS-equipped ship or submarine expends its missiles, it must withdraw to an equipped friendly port to replenish. This represents a significant operational liability, especially in high-intensity combat scenarios against peer adversaries.
Not just peer adversaries. As an old TLAM guy who managed to empty every operational TLAM out of one DDG and left a few DD & CG with only a handful of D1 & D2 warhead TLAM left - the inability to reload puts you in a pickle.

With our "peace dividend" carrier strike groups, you cannot afford to order a DDG or CG to steam a few days to some friendly port (if you have one) and then come back. Nope.

This is great news - and shows that now and then the right ideas can meet up with the right opportunity.

Now, let's talk about those armed icebreakers ....

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

FFG(X) Just Might Work

It came out Monday, and we're discussing it over at USNIBlog.

The RFI is out. Come on by and give it a read.

Demographics, Migration, and the Coming Crisis

Tomorrow we're going to beat up on LCS some more with the FFG RFI because we can't beat up on the Little Crappy Ship every day, regardless of how much fun it is.

No, today we're going to return to a more serious topic - one that has no easy fix and will not get better with time in our lifetime.

This is a story slowly unfolding that will not have a happy ending. We are only in the second chapter, and everyone is already tired ... but you cannot put the book down and there are many chapters to go.

The waves of humans crashing on to mostly Western Europe's shores are not going anywhere. These masses of military aged, unaccompanied men with nowhere else to go are not just going to blend in to their new found land. No.

Let's start all official is a surprisingly clear eyed report from UNHCR;
...refugees and migrants in Libya are predominantly young men (80%), aged 22 on average and travelling alone (72%). Women tend to transit towards Europe over a short period of time and many of them, particularly those from West and Central Africa, are victims of trafficking. The number of unaccompanied and separated children travelling alone is rising, and now represents some 14% of all arrivals in Europe via the Central Mediterranean route. These children come mainly from Eritrea, The Gambia and Nigeria.

Refugees and migrants in Libya tend to have a low level of education, with 49% having little or no formal education and only 16% having received vocational training or higher education.
These are not refugees from Syria. Those are people who don't have the skills to do any job in a modern economy.
They come from diverse backgrounds but can be grouped into four different categories:

Nationals of neighbouring countries (Niger, Chad, Sudan, Egypt and Tunisia). Most of them report travelling to Libya for economic reasons, and many engage in seasonal, circular or repetitive migrations.

Nationals of West and Central Africa countries : mainly from Nigeria, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Senegal, Ghana, Mali and Cameroon. They report having left largely for economic reasons. Some are victims of trafficking, in particular Nigerian and Cameroonian women, and some might be in need of international protection.

Nationals of Eastern Africa countries: from Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan. They reported making the journey for a range of reasons, including political persecution, conflict and poverty in their countries of origin.

Individuals from other regions: Syrians, Palestinians, Iraqis, Moroccans, Bangladeshis and others. Some flee conflict and violence while others are looking for livelihood opportunities.
Look at the graph at the top. The supply is not going to slow, and with each passing year, these uneducated, untrained, unskilled people will continue to bulge from nations that do not have the educational or economic ability to gainfully prepare them for a modern economy, much less employ them.

European nations are fully developed. As with all developed nations, they cannot employ their own unskilled workers in their modern economies - what on earth will they do with more unskilled people? People who have no desire or ability to assimilate?

In an already crowded continent, a stabilized or even shrinking population would be very manageable, as technology will help maintain a standard of living. Those nations will not survive these masses of "the other" in the numbers they are coming in and still be the civilizations they once were. They will simply debase themselves in line with the unassimilable nations the masses are coming from. We are already seeing it from London to Malmo to the suburbs of Paris. If the numbers were smaller and the people more inclined to assimilate, it wouldn't be a problem.

Are nations required to commit suicide? No. Already we are seeing a growing percentage of the voting population firmly say "no." As the hard lessons of mass immigration of the last few years are hitting Western Europe, those people are starting to shut their borders - and the Eastern Europeans want nothing of it. If their mainstream political parties do not do anything, the people will turn to others. By the time they do that, all the easier solutions will no longer be an option.

How bad will it be? How tough will these nations have to be if they want their societies to survive?
Half the world’s nations have fertility rates below the replacement level of just over two children per woman. Countries across Europe and the Far East are teetering on a demographic cliff, with rates below 1.5. On recent trends, Germany and Italy could see their populations halve within the next 60 years.

The world has hit peak child, says Hans Rosling at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. Peak person cannot be far behind.

For now, the world’s population continues to rise. From today’s 7.4 billion people, we might reach 9 billion or so, mostly because of high fertility in Africa. The UN predicts a continuing upward trend, with population reaching around 11.2 billion in 2100. But this seems unlikely. After hitting the demographic doldrums, no country yet has seen its fertility recover. Many demographers expect a global crash to be under way by 2076.
Even Elon Musk is worried - but he's not fully up to speed on the global challenge. 49 years to 2076 is both a short and a long time. A lot can happen. I won't be around to see it, but my kids will.

If, as I believe they will, nations move to protect themselves, then those nations with high birthrates and low economic potential will have no outlet for their demographic stress.

I see a lot of blood in line with what we see today in Syria & Yemen. Poor, desperate people slaughtering each other over what ever excuse there may be to remove their "other." The more modern nations involved from the edges and patrolling the seas to keep the problem contained until nature takes its course.

Advanced nations will have to make the choice; bring it in, or wall it out. A few may keep with "bring it in." The other nations will see what happens there, and will elect "wall it out." It is already happening.

People may have been taken aback from the French President's remarks that had the usual suspects heading for the fainting couch earlier this week - but he seems to know that his nation will be one of the first to be bathed in blood if they don't get this fixed. France knows Africa well, and no serious person who has studied the demographics and economics of Africa would disagree with the broader substance of his remarks.

 Some would argue it may be too late for France, but I think there is still time.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Why Do We Keep Building LCS?

In some ways, the argument about LCS is over. They are coming to the fleet and we'll have to do the best as we can with them. As we search for as many ways as possible to grow the fleet, an existing platform that is already in production will almost always keep going until a replacement gets enough political support. 

For LCS, it isn't the ships utility or efficiency that is keeping it going, it is politics and votes mostly - but for those not completely cynical, there is a another reason too. This is a reason I support and can accept as long as we are moving to a new platform in the medium to long term. The reason? The industrial base.

Travis Tritton at The Examiner has a nice summary;
Armed Services Republicans and analysts say, despite the ship's shortcomings, there is at least one good reason to keep buying them: The Navy's shipbuilding industrial base.

"The industrial base issue is a very real issue and if we aren't buying enough ships to keep the industrial base alive then it makes it exponentially more difficult at any point in the future to expand," said Chris Harmer, a senior naval analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. The monohull Freedom class is built at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Wisconsin. The aluminum trimaran Independence class is built at Austal's yard in Mobile, Ala.
There was a move to truncate the buy, or at least slow its roll, but it was short lived.

As our friend Bryan reminds everyone, politics always gets a 51% vote;
The Navy has decided two is the right number, but only after some of its own mixed signals. Acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley testified to a Senate committee in May that one LCS would be enough to keep the shipyards operating and healthy.

"My theory is they figured Congress would stick at least another one in at some point. Why spend that half a billion dollars in the budget when you know they are going to put it in later?" said Bryan McGrath, deputy director for the Center for American Seapower at the Hudson Institute. "Instead, they took half a billion dollars and spread it around to higher priorities."

But the White House intervened on the same day Stackley testified and the service clarified that it would instead request two LCS hulls. It sent an official budget amendment to Congress in late June.

McGrath says the sudden shift likely came down to President Trump's promise to vastly increase the size of the Navy during and after the campaign. Alabama is a deep red state that went big for Trump, and Wisconsin flipped Republican to seal his victory.

"When it went over [to Congress] as one ship, I think the Alabama and Wisconsin delegations and lobbyists went nuts and reminded the political side of the White House what the president's promises were and got a very short-noticed order to go over to the Department of Defense to fund that second LCS," McGrath said.
Of course, you know where 'ole Sal stands. Chris and Bryan are correct - but the Front Porch is still waiting for all the free beer people owe us.
Taxpayer watchdog groups such as the Project on Government Oversight also see the ship as a boondoggle and a "big waste" of taxpayer money that is best avoided.

"When congressmen are making the industrial base argument for the LCS, they're basically telling us that the ship does not fit any real combat function," said Dan Grazier, a Jack Shanahan fellow at POGO. "They're basically giving up the ghost that the LCS isn't worth anything except as a practice venue for the shipbuilders."
Hat tip Bryan.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

How do we get to 355 ships, on Midrats with Will Beasley.

Everyone seems to have a plan to get to 355 ships as the new President desires. Most plans include new construction, digging in the mothball fleet, extending service life of existing ships, and even some of the exotic options such as license building foreign designs. Most plans include a mix of some or all of them.

The political and strategic foundations need to be put in place to support it - and a new SECNAV in place to push it - but that has not stopped the ideas from flowing.

To review the options being discussed, we have a returning guest for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern, William M. Beasley, Jr.

Will is an associate attorney with Phelps Dunbar, LLP in Mississippi. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Mississippi with a BA and MA in history where his research focused on naval history. Mr. Beasley earned his JD from the University of Mississippi School of Law, where he served on the editorial board of the Mississippi Law Journal. Prior to joining Phelps Dunbar, Mr. Beasley worked as a research consultant on legal and international security issues with the Potomac Institute in Arlington, Virginia. His work on naval history and maritime security has appeared in Proceedings, at The Strategy Bridge, and USNI Blog. Mr. Beasley's views do not reflect those of Phelps Dunbar or its clients and should not be construed as legal advice. Follow him on Twitter @MSNavalist.

Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

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Friday, July 07, 2017

Fullbore Friday

First posted this eight years ago ... but there is so much to learn from this little know (at least to Americans) battle, I wanted to post it again.

Any excuse for a Tallships FbF.
This battle is known more by the name than the place, as it was fought over 400 miles from Ushant, near Brest. [Some sources give the distance as 700 miles, which may be where the pursuit began.] There have been four battles by this name, with the last in 1944.

A British fleet under Admiral Lord Howe was escorting merchantmen to North America at about the same time as a French fleet under Rear Admiral Louis Villaret de Joyeuse was escorting 130 merchantmen loaded with grain from America to France. Admiral Howe had dropped off his charges when on May 28, 1794 the two fleets sighted each other. Because of fog, only light fighting took place between the British (24 ships) and the French (26 ships). During this time, the French managed to successfully feint and draw the British away from the merchantmen, which made it home intact.

Nonetheless, the battle cost the French 6 captured and one sunk, against no loss for the English. Eleven English and 12 French ships were dismasted. Ushant III is also famous for a savage duel between HMS Brunswick and the French Venger, which lasted four hours – a very long time for these actions. These were typically fought at point-blank range; each broadside that connected caused terrible havoc, particularly on the open decks. Captain Harvey Brunswick commanded HMS Brunswick. Wounded three times in a battle that saw 44 of his crew killed and 14 wounded, he did not survive the battle.

Overall casualties were 1500 French killed, 2000 wounded and 3000 POWs; 287 English killed and 811 wounded.

The British were too exhausted to pursue. The French claim Ushant III as their victory because the grain fleet made harbor safely.
I like this little hmmmmm as well.
.... this battle took place at the height of the Revolutionary Terror in France, with over 380 people a month executed. The French Government had a policy of executing failed commanders. Admiral Villaret-Joyeuse escaped the guillotine undoubtedly because the grain fleet came in safe. feels that many French captains continued fighting after their situation became hopeless because of the “zero-tolerance-for-failure” policy.
Also head on over to this site for the full fleet line up.

Not a complete Navy story though, as The Queen’s (Second) Royal Regiment of Foot was involved and so was a wee sailor.
The third battle of Ushant, where British Admiral Lord Howe fell upon the French fleet of Admiral Villaret-Joyeuse after several days of fierce fighting and won a tactical victory, though he did not intercept a food convoy from the new world.

Aboard the HMS Tremendous, one pregnant passenger gave birth to a boy. People thought this happy event was tremendous, so the kid got the nickname "Tremendous" and a Naval General Service medal in recognition of his presence at the action (with a rating of "baby").
... and you thought ours was the first fighting navy to push them out at war? Silly goose.

On a serious note - a tactical victory for the British; but a mission success for the French. The grain got there - call it a draw.

Hat tip ADB.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Keep This Ship From Public View

Every now and then, this needs to be brought up; the even numbered INDEPENDENCE Class LCS should never make a port visit or participate side by side with any other navy.

I mean, just look at her.

Now, really look at her.

Up close; click the pic and zoom in. 

Now, look at the pictures of PLAN warships that participate in multi-national exercises and make port visits. Especially in cultures that value "face" - this ship is an underway INFO OPS/PSYOPS/PAO own-goal of epic proportions. It isn't the ship's company fault either - they can only do with what Mother Navy gives them. This tramp steamer look is by design - and will only get worse with age.

A final operational note as well; everyone can stow the, "She is ASUW capable, she is carrying Harpoon ASM now ... " BS. Zoom in there as well. I see one.

Just one. I'll bet good money she can only launch in a casualty mode as well.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

When You Can't Wait for the NSFS Fairy Dust

Working with the Italians and other NATO allies, we can get more out of our existing 5" guns - and if we bring back the OHP, our 76-mm too.

I'm discussing over at USNIBlog.

Come by to visit.

Why CNN vs. Reddit Shitposter Matters

To whom much is granted, much is expected.

Rightfully, for a free republic based on liberty, the Founders put the press and free speech right up front. It is the result of the hard fought intellectual battles to base our nation on the best lessons learned from prior republics. As anyone with a passing knowledge of The Federalist Papers and the gloriously rough and tumble press and pamphleteers of the first decades of our republic knows, it came about largely by people working under pseudonyms or straight up anonymous.

A lover of freedom accepts these untidy, messy, and occasionally nasty bits of the marketplace of ideas as a feature, not a bug. They are the fine grit that gives you the creative friction you need for a free society to function.

Respect for and defense of such players in the information ecosystem from both those giving and receiving a broad spectrum of criticism is a baseline requirement to be seen as a productive member of a free and functioning system of intellectual liberty.

There is always in the background an authoritarian tendency with people in powerful positions. Indeed, our Bill of Rights and Constitution are largely constructed to institutionalize barriers and speedbumps to power and abuse of power by those who have it.

It isn’t just the people who have political power who become addicted to it and develop a junkie’s paranoia and insecurity about access to it; you see the same in industry and civil institutions. Power and money always bring out the worst in people. It finds a person’s weakness and amplifies it; pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, sloth – human history is little more than a story of the 2nd and 3rd order effects of power leveraging human weakness.

CNN is a global behemoth wielding power in the Informational domain greater than most nation states. It also has tremendous impact in the Diplomatic and Economic domains. With such power comes much responsibility – especially for an institution that only has its power due to the efforts of anonymous writers and pamphleteers over two and a half centuries.

As such, the following story is beyond disturbing.
After posting his apology, "HanA**holeSolo" called CNN's KFile and confirmed his identity. In the interview, "HanA**holeSolo" sounded nervous about his identity being revealed and asked to not be named out of fear for his personal safety and for the public embarrassment it would bring to him and his family.

CNN is not publishing "HanA**holeSolo's" name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.

CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.
As of this AM until about 10am, CNN still had this as their top story. In the face of the backlash it appears they are trying to let it pass and have let it fall off the front page – though still available. Like some tin-pot dictator taking pride in burning a village full of serfs, they are proud of their abuse of power.

In a civil society, punching down in such a way is just not done by anyone claiming the high ground.

In the media ecosystem, CNN is a top predator. A Reddit poster is somewhere right above a commenter or a blog like mine. Between CNN and a Reddit poster are, in ascending order; twitter users, contributors to group-blogs, individual bloggers, writers for online magazines, podcasters-internet radio, online video producers, internet media outlets, local media, talk radio, national cable news, network news, international news outlets.

Look how far CNN is punching down. Some schmuck posting on Reddit threatened with his job & safety for just making a silly gif focused on WWE. It threatens no one, insults no mature person, and otherwise would just be one of a million shitposted gifs if POTUS didn’t find it funny.

This is the network that couldn’t figure out how Donna Brazile fed Hillary questions, but they can dig up this on a Reddit Shitlord?

Why? Simple. CNN is acting like an insecure, petty tyrant. It isn’t just the vile Kaczynski that is the issue, corporate CNN let this run above the fold for a full day. It would be one thing if Kaczynski & CNN realized they stepped over the line and corrected (no one is perfect, even your humble blogg’r has retracted and apologized), but this is different.

When I stopped watching the news I grew up with, CBS, after Dan Rather went after Bush41, I shifted to NBC until they became unreliable, and by the mid-90s, ABC. They lost me when I found CNN to be more balanced. That had been true until the last decade where, with few exceptions, it has now become a pathetic shell of itself, feeding off the professional capital that a younger Ted Turner built.

Until there is a major change at what was once the premier news outlet, they should be looked at as little more than a less unhinged InfoWars.

Why does this matter to some bottom feeding milblogg’r such that it takes up space here? If you don’t know the answer yourself, I don’t think I can help you at this point.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


Button Gwinnett

Lyman Hall

George Walton

North Carolina

William Hooper

Joseph Hewes

John Penn

South Carolina

Edward Rutledge

Thomas Heyward, Jr.

Thomas Lynch, Jr.

Arthur Middleton


John Hancock


Samuel Chase

William Paca

Thomas Stone

Charles Carroll of Carrollton


George Wythe

Richard Henry Lee

Thomas Jefferson

Benjamin Harrison

Thomas Nelson, Jr.

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Carter Braxton


Robert Morris

Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Franklin

John Morton

George Clymer

James Smith

George Taylor

James Wilson

George Ross


Caesar Rodney

George Read

Thomas McKean

New York

William Floyd

Philip Livingston

Francis Lewis

Lewis Morris

New Jersey

Richard Stockton

John Witherspoon

Francis Hopkinson

John Hart

Abraham Clark

New Hampshire

Josiah Bartlett

William Whipple


Samuel Adams

John Adams

Robert Treat Paine

Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island

Stephen Hopkins

William Ellery


Roger Sherman

Samuel Huntington

William Williams

Oliver Wolcott

New Hampshire

Matthew Thornton

Monday, July 03, 2017

Longstreet at Gettysburg & After the War

As we remember the Battle of Gettysburg, over at TheStrategyBridge, Kyle Gaffney wrote a moving bit, capturing in place in time a man who in my adulthood, grew to be a great man in my eyes, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, CSA.
There is much Longstreet does not know and will never know. He does not know that after this moment there will be no more miracles to conjure up, the war in the west would become a futile exercise, or just how successful Grant would be after the Siege of Vicksburg. After this moment, he cannot know The Cause would be broken after the freedom both Union and Confederates shared was redefined by President Lincoln over the bones of those who died here. Longstreet does not know that, even as the battlefield comes back into view, the jackals who will one day hang responsibility for The Cause’s demise around his neck for accepting the South’s defeat and honoring his old oath prowled his own lines.

Pickett begs again to go.

Obstinacy turns to resignation. In this moment, what Longstreet does not know is unimportant. What he knows for sure is that he had done his duty as the senior Lieutenant General in the Army of Northern Virginia. No one present could say they were not warned. Now he is numb. Without an outlet, his emotions implode inward and he just stares out across the killing fields. Few of the blades of grass he sees will be spared a watering of blood and shot. Better angels cry out to Longstreet from somewhere beyond, but it is too late. Unable to support the weight of his assignment, Longstreet bows his head. Pickett’s wet eyes plead for the order to advance, oblivious to his commander’s torment.

Longstreet can only nod once.
It has saddened, but not surprised me, that this weekend in 2017 we find the worst among us have decided to throw away the hard work of reconciliation born by our ancestors, and have gone about like some perversely lame version of the American Taliban pulling down monuments and other such acts in some post-modernist hissy-fit of the virtue signaling narcissists of ignorance they represent.

As for me, Longstreet is a great man not only for his service to the South in the war, but for what he did after the war.
On April 2, 1865, Union forces broke the Confederate line at Petersburg. When A. P. Hill was killed, Longstreet took command of his Third Corps. On April 9, 1865, however, Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox. Longstreet and Lee parted ways on April 12, 1865. Longstreet moved to New Orleans, and the two men never saw each other again.

In 1867, the New Orleans Times asked several leading citizens to comment on the newly passed Reconstruction Acts. Unwisely, Longstreet suggested that Southerners support the Republicans. He was praised in the North, but vilified in the South. In June 1868, he received his pardon – by act of Congress – with help from General Grant. He supported Grant for president, and when elected, Grant nominated Longstreet to be the Surveyor of Customs for the Port of New Orleans. For this last betrayal of the South he was labeled a “scalawag.”

Many of Longstreet’s actions after the war were controversial: his letters to the New Orleans Times, his support of the Republican Party, his acceptance of political appointments, and the fact that he commanded African-Americans (part of the New Orleans Metropolitan Police Force). Worst of all, he had dared to criticize Robert E. Lee’s leadership. Very quickly he became the target of “Lost Cause” attacks by Jubal Early, William Pendleton, Rev. J William Jones, and others. Longstreet spent the rest of his life attempting to restore his reputation. In 1889 he was dealt another huge blow. His home, Parkhill, burned to the ground in April. Then his wife, Louise, died in December.

Despite the many attacks by former officers in the Confederate Army, many men fondly remembered their days fighting under Longstreet. In 1890 the Washington Artillery—famous for their performance at Fredericksburg—insisted that Longstreet participate at the unveiling of Lee’s statue in Richmond and in 1892 at the 3rd annual United Confederate Veterans meeting former soldiers flocked to him. He spoke at the dedication of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in 1895 and attended the 1902 centennial celebration at West Point.
We all should reflect on what those who actually faced each other across the battlefield did to try to come together as one - the best men and women of their time. The least we can do is to try to emulate and honor those who worked for peace after the bloodbath they and their loved ones lived through.

It is easy to rage & preen in the future from a protected, blissfully ignorant peace paid by others. It is something else to make peace while the wounds are still fresh. 

I know which is easier to respect.
Longstreet published his 800-page memoirs, From Manassas to Appomattox, in December 1895. In September 1897 he married 34-year-old Helen Dortch; although his family was not pleased with the marriage, Helen defended Longstreet’s name until she died in 1962. James Longstreet died on January 2, 1904, just days short of his 83rd birthday. He was buried at Alta Vista Cemetery in Gainesville, GA.
On my way out West to hunt this winter, I think I'll take a 20-min detour to Gainesville, GA to pay my respects.

Even more important, I will practice what I preach about primary sources and get a copy of his book.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Fullbore Friday

This July 4th weekend, we need a FbF with a flag on it, so let's reach back to 2008 for an encore. Funny thing is, look how well the LCS attack holds up 9-yrs later.


After a few weeks of interesting diversions and side-trips; I have decided to get back to Vince Lombardi FbF.

Late last month there was an interesting gathering in Iowa that highlights a few things dear to my heart. First, there were so many Sailor in so many "less sexy" ships that made such a huge difference in WWII. Secondly, in an age of much slower communication and where engineering was done by hand, not CAD, where leaders led and let their subordinates demonstrate their capability, leaders could not and did not micromanage patronize about small things - we did achieved great things with lighting speed when it came to building ships to meet a specific need. Thirdly, we named and classified our ships by logic, not buzzwords.

By now, all should fully understand that those who designed the Littoral Combat Ship "LCS" were brilliant ignoramuses and their fellow travelers who named it either did not know or care that the US Navy already has a series of ships known as LCS, as in "Landing Craft Support" (AKA "Mighty Midgets" or "Mighty Mites") and arrogantly decided to make a non-Amphib start with "L" just so they could get the late 90s early 00s buzzword in their new budget line - and name their new toy LCS "LCS-1" - what an insult to our Navy and its Sailors.

However, this isn't about my LCS hobby-horse; let us honor to such men as John Hart, left, of Le Mars, Iowa, and Edwin "Ned" Wright of Manahawkin, N.J who you see on the right, as representatives of the men who served on the LCS from WWII to Vietnam.

Let's educate; what were the LCS?
Displacement: 250 long tons (254 t)
Length:------158 ft 6 in (48.3 m)
Beam:--------23 ft 3 in (7.1 m)
Draft:-------5 ft 10 in (1.8 m) (aft, loaded)
Propulsion:--eight Gray Marine diesel engines, twin screws
Speed:-------16.5 knots (30.5 km/h)
Range:-------5500 miles
Complement:--3–6 officers, 55–68 men
Armament:----single 3"50, twin 40 mm or single 40 mm bow gun; 2 twin 40 mm deck guns (one forward, one aft); 4 20 mm cannons; 4 .50 cal (12.7 mm) machine guns; ten MK7 rocket launchers.
Armor:-------10-lb. STS splinter shields
What did the WWII LCS bring to the fight?
The Battle of Tarawa showed a gap in Navy resources for close in support of landing troops. The time interval between the end of shelling from the large ships and the arrival of the landing craft on the beach allowed the defenders to regroup. The Landing Craft Support was designed to fill this void.

The first Landing Craft Support ships arrived in the Pacific Theater in time for the landings at Iwo Jima.

After providing close in support during the landings at Okinawa, many Landing Craft Support ships were placed on the radar picket stations as anti-aircraft platforms. When not on a picket stations, the ship would create smoke to hide the fleet at anchor and perform "skunk patrol" screening for suicide boats.

In the Borneo Campaign, Landing Craft Support was used in landings in Tarakan and Balikpapan.
(in Okinawa) Kamikaze planes sank two LCS(L)(3)s while they were on radar picket duty to provide anti-aircraft support for destroyers trying to stop enemy planes from reaching the main fleet. On April 12, 1945, while at Radar Picket Station 1 north of Okinawa, LCS(L)(3) 33 shot down one kamikaze plane, dodged a second one that took off the ship’s radio antenna, but sank after being struck by a third one. On April 22 at Radar Picket Station 14 northwest of Okinawa, LCS(L)(3) 15 sank within three minutes after one kamikaze plane in a group of 37 planes crashed into the ship with a bomb carried by the plane exploding soon after. The attack killed 15 men and wounded 11 men. In addition to the two LCS(L)(3)s sunk, 11 others were damaged in kamikaze attacks during the Battle of Okinawa.

Japanese shinyo explosive motorboats sank more LCS(L)(3)s than the two sank by kamikaze planes. About 30 shinyo motorboats attacked LCS(L)(3)s in Mariveles Harbor in the Philippines on February 16, 1945, but the book provides no details on this attack. The explosive motorboats sank LCS(L)(3)s 7, 26, and 49 and severely damaged LCS(L)(3) 27.

Although destroyers provided the primary firepower at radar picket stations around Okinawa, LCS(L)(3) guns also shot down many incoming kamikaze planes. For example, at Radar Picket Station 1 on April 16, 1945, LCS(L)(3) 51 shot down six attacking planes and helped fight fires on the destroyer Laffey (DD 724) after that ship had been hit by several kamikaze planes. LCS(L)(3) 51 received a Presidential Unit Citation for her actions.

During the Battle of Okinawa, several LCS(L)(3)s rescued survivors after kamikaze attacks that sank or heavily damaged other ships. For example, on June 10, 1945, after the destroyer William D. Porter (DD 579) was hit by a kamikaze plane and started to sink, LCS(L)(3)s tried to tow the ship to port but failed. The destroyer, which sank about three hours after the kamikaze plane crash, lost no men due to the superb rescue work of the LCS(L)(3)s. The photo at the bottom of this page shows LCS(L)(3) 122 crowded at her bow with survivors from William D. Porter shortly before she sank. Even though William D. Porter lost no men, LCS(L)(3) 122 was hit the following day by a kamikaze plane and lost 11 men with the number of wounded totaling 29.
The gentlemen above were from LCS-92, and here is a short history of the ship by one of its Commanding Officers, Lt. Joseph J. Cardamone.
It was on the swift-flowing Willamette River at Portland, Oregon that the USS LCS 92 was commissioned on January 8th, 1945. Like the ship itself, the ceremony was simple, compact and diminutive. A superficial but extensive inspection convinced the Captain, the five junior officers and the 65 men who made up the crew that the ship’s builders, Commercial Iron Works, had turned out a good, trim fighting ship.

Ten furious days of outfitting, checking and requisitioning followed. On January 16th the LCS 92 was deemed “in all respects ready for sea”. All lines were cast off and she slipped slowly down the Willamette, through the famed Columbia River and out into the Pacific Ocean.

San Diego, California was the destination, and it was reached on the 23rd of January after a voyage that was full of surprises, some pleasant and some otherwise. Then came a six-week shakedown and training period, a period in which flaws were eliminated from both men and ship.

On March 3rd, 1945, the shakedown program was abruptly ended, and the LCS 92 left the United States Continental limits for Pearl Harbor, arriving there March 12th. A new training schedule was begun at Pearl Harbor. It was called “advanced training” and lasted for a full month.

From Pearl Harbor on the 13th of April the ship sailed to Eniwetok. The anchor was dropped in this Marshall Island stronghold on the 24th of April, 1945.

Some minor repairs, a full supply of provisions, fuel and water and the “92” was ready for another trip. Four days later, April 28th, the ship departed from Eniwetok. The next stop was made at Saipan in the Marianas Group on the 3rd of May. There was just a two-day stopover here and the LCS 92 was again underway, this time for Okinawa, performing convoy duty enroute.

After a safe, uneventful voyage Okinawa was reached May 10th, 1945. The “92” really came in contact with the war for the first time. As the anchor was dropped, the screaming of shells from battleships, cruisers and destroyers could be heard overhead. It was one of the many bombardments the Japs were subjected to. Between the date of arrival and the date of departure from Okinawa, July 22nd, the ship was at General Quarters scores of times. Often “bogeys” were reported nearby several times in a single day. The “Kamikaze Kids” were on a rampage. Most of them were downed but the small percentage that did get through produced severe naval casualties.

On the 25th of May the ship left Okinawa for its first Picket Line duty at Station number 9. Now began ten endless days of patrolling deep in enemy waters. It was on this Radar Picket station on the 29th of May that an unusually intense attack occurred. Hardly had the General Quarters buzzer ceased sounding than a “Zeke” was seen diving across the fantail. The gunners were “on target” immediately and a moment later the plane disintegrated.

Back in Okinawa a few days later the ship was assigned to anti-suicide boat duty and given several smoke screen assignments. Then the LCS 92 returned to picket duty, this time on notorious Radar Picket station 16A, “Mainstreet” for the Kamikazes. At this station there were even more alerts, more enemy planes overhead and more sleepless nights.

Upon returning from this duty the “92” was stationed at Ie Shima, furnishing smoke screens at night and anti-aircraft protection by day. The routine was occasionally broken by orders to check a certain area for floating mines or to conduct a search for “splashed” allied flyiers. One day a flyer, who had bailed out of his wrecked Black Widow after a mission over Kyushu, was picked up.

Finally it was time to leave Okinawa and on the 22nd of July the anchor was housed and the ship got underway for the Philippine Islands, for rehabilitation and availability. Five days later the ship was anchored in San Pedro Bay near Leyte Gulf. Here a number of minor repairs were made, the ship was painted and the crew given some well-earned recreation. This routine continued until V-J day plus one, September 3rd, when the ship once more got underway. The destination was Tokyo, Japan as a part of the Third Fleet Occupational Forces. Here, in Tokyo Bay, the ship remained until 1 October, 1945.

The LCS 92 left Tokyo Bay in February 1946 and sailed to the United States via Guam, Eniwetok and Pearl Harbor, arriving in San Francisco on 1 April 1946, a beautiful, sunny morning. The Golden Gate bridge was a sight to behold. The ship was then placed in the Reserve Fleet at Astoria, Oregon in the summer of 1946. In 1951, the 92 was stricken from the Naval Register and scrapped.
And yes, I ask you to note that our grandfathers Commanded as a LT what today's Navy calls a CDR Command. Just saying...though that isn't fair in that at ~3,000 ton full-load displacement, a modern LCS is 500 tons heaver than the ~2,500 full-load displacement of a WWII era Fletcher Class Destroyer - another topic I will avoid for now.

Finally, we are lucky - the last operational one is returning from Thailand.
From Pattaya Mail (Vol. XV No. 37 Friday September 14- September 20, 2007) "HTMS Nakha set off on her final voyage home on September 2, heading for the Mare Island Naval Shipyard at Vallejo City in the United States where she will become part of a museum of historic ships".
Not bad for a ship designed and built in months.

More photos worth your time here and like the color one of Iwo Jima below here. There is also an excellent book on the ships, if you are inclined, available at the link.

At about the 2:30 point below, you can see the WWII LCS at ~25yr mark in Vietnam.

UPDATE: Great LCS write by by Eagle1 last NOV.