Monday, May 30, 2016

Australian Warship Visits HCM City

The Royal Australian Navy warship HMAS Anzac

May 30, 2016 - The Royal Australian Navy warship HMAS Anzac, commanded by Commander Belinda Wood, visited Ho Chi Minh City on May 30th.
The ship and its 183 crewmembers were welcomed by representatives from the municipal People’s Committee, the Military Region 7 Command, and the Navy Command, along with those from the Australian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City.
As scheduled, the warship's crewmembers will lay wreaths at the Statue of President Ho Chi Minh, pay courtesy visits to leaders of the municipal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Navy Command and Military Region 7.

Commander Belinda Wood RAN (left) welcomed at the Sai Gon Port.

They will meet their counterparts from the Vietnamese People’s Navy to share professional knowledge of communications and joint exercise at sea.
The guests will also participate in friendly sports events and tour some popular places in the city.

Translated by Chung Anh

Nine Important Facts About America's Overseas Military Cemeteries

Nearly 4,000 Americans that lost their lives in World War II are buried in Cambridge American Cemetery.

May 27, 2016 - The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), an agency of the U.S. federal government, manages America's overseas cemeteries from World War I and World War II. This Memorial Day learn more about this agency that protects the memory of our fallen overseas.
ABMC manages 25 cemeteries and 27 monuments, memorials and markers.
Sites are located in 16 foreign countries, the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the British Dependency of Gibraltar. Three of the memorials are located within the United States.
More than 218,000 individuals that died in World War I or World War II are buried or memorialized within ABMC cemeteries and memorials around the globe.
After World War I and World War II families were given a choice in regards to burial location: Bring their loved one home for burial, or have them buried in a permanent overseas cemetery managed by the U.S. government.
From World War I, approximately 30 percent of families chose overseas burial. Slightly fewer families chose overseas burial following World War II.
Burials within all ABMC cemeteries are arranged without regard to rank, race or creed.
Well-known Americans such as Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., poet Sgt. Joyce Kilmer, big band leader Maj. Alton Glen Miller, and family members of U.S. presidents such as 1st Lt. Quentin Roosevelt and Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., are buried or memorialized within ABMC sites.
Flanders Field American Cemetery is the smallest ABMC site with 411 honored, and Manila American Cemetery is the largest with 53,486 honored.
Most ABMC sites are open every day of the year, except Christmas Day and New Year's Day, and entrance is free.

Three Navy Officers Charged in Expanding Bribery and Fraud Scheme

May 27, 2016 - Three current and former Navy officers were charged in documents unsealed today for their roles in a massive bribery and fraud scheme involving a Navy contractor.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy of the Southern District of California, Acting Director Dermot O’Reilly of the Department of Defense’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Director Andrew Traver of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Director Anita Bales of Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) made the announcement.
Retired Navy Captain Michael Brooks, 57, of Fairfax Station, Virginia; Commander Bobby Pitts, 47, of Chesapeake, Virginia; and Lieutenant Commander Gentry Debord, 47, who is based in Singapore, were charged on May 25, 2016, in the Southern District of California.  Brooks and Debord were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and Pitts was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and two counts of obstruction of justice.  All of the charges relate to the defendants’ interactions with Leonard Francis, the former CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a defense contracting firm based in Singapore.  Brooks and Pitts made their initial appearances today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia; Debord appeared in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.  Brooks was allowed to post a $50,000 bond; Pitts was granted a $5,000 bond, ordered to be subject to electronic monitoring and to appear in the Southern District of California on June 10; and Debord was granted a $40,000 bond secured by real property.  Debord is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Bartick of the Southern District of California on June 9, 2016.
According to the indictment, from June 2006 to July 2008, Brooks served as the U.S. Naval Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines.  The indictment alleges that in exchange for travel and entertainment expenses, hotel rooms and the services of prostitutes, Brooks used his office to benefit GDMA and Francis, including securing the quarterly diplomatic clearances for GDMA vessels, which allowed GDMA vessels to transit into and out of the Philippines under the diplomatic clearance of the U.S. Embassy; limited the amount of custom fees and taxes that GDMA was required to pay in the Philippines; and enabled GDMA to avoid inspection of any quantity or type of cargo that it transported.  The indictment also alleges that Brooks provided Francis with sensitive Navy information, including billing information belonging to a GDMA competitor and Navy ship schedules.  
According to the indictment, from August 2009 to May 2011, Pitts was the Officer in Charge of the Navy’s Fleet Industrial Supply Command (FISC), which was charged with meeting the logistical needs of the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet.  The indictment alleges that in exchange for entertainment, meals and the services of a prostitute, Pitts used his position with FISC to interfere with NCIS investigations into GDMA.  Pitts allegedly provided Francis with a hard copy of an NCIS report detailing an investigation into GDMA for contract fraud marked “for official use only.”  According to the indictment, the report detailed NCIS’ investigative steps and witnesses that NCIS had interviewed.  The indictment further alleges that in November 2010, Pitts forwarded to a GDMA employee an internal Navy email discussing details of FISC’s efforts to oversee GDMA’s contracts with the U.S. Navy.
According to the criminal complaint, from November 2007 to August 2013, Debord served in several logistical and supply positions in the Western Pacific.  In exchange for cash, hotel stays and the services of prostitutes, Debord allegedly provided Francis with inside Navy information and documents, including information about competitors’ bids and information about an investigation into GDMA billing practices.  In an attempt to conceal the true nature of his relationship with Francis, Debord allegedly referred to prostitutes as “cheesecake” or “bodyguards.”  The complaint also alleges that Debord schemed with Francis to defraud the Navy through the submission and approval of inflated invoices.
Including those charged yesterday, 13 individuals have been charged in connection with this scheme; of those, nine have pleaded guilty, including U.S. Navy Captain (Select) Michael Misiewicz, U.S. Navy Capt. Daniel Dusek, Lieutenant Commander Todd Malaki, NCIS Special Agent John Beliveau, Commander Jose Luis Sanchez and U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Dan Layug.  Former Department of Defense Senior Executive Paul Simpkins awaits trial.  On Jan. 21, 2016, Layug was sentenced to 27 months in prison and a $15,000 fine; on Jan. 29, 2016, Malaki was sentenced to 40 months in prison and to pay $15,000 in restitution to the Navy and a $15,000 fine; on March 18, 2016, Alex Wisidagama, a former GDMA employee, was sentenced to 63 months and to pay $34.8 million in restitution to the Navy; on March 25, 2016, Dusek was sentenced to 46 months in prison and to pay $30,000 in restitution to the Navy and a $70,000 fine; and on April 29, 2016, Misiewicz was sentenced to 78 months in prison and to pay a fine of $100,000 and to forfeit $95,000 in proceeds for the scheme.
The NCIS, DCIS and DCAA are conducting the ongoing investigation.  Assistant Chief Brian R. Young of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark W. Pletcher of the Southern District of California are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations.  The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Those with information relating to fraud, corruption or waste in government contracting should contact the NCIS anonymous tip line at or the DOD Hotline at, or call (800) 424-9098.

MAN 28/33D STC Engine Adds Thai Reference

The Royal Thai Navy will build a new offshore patrol vessel (OPV) that will be powered by 2 × MAN 16V28/33D STC engines. The 90-m newbuilding will be constructed at Mahidol Adulyadej naval dockyard in Sattahip. The vessel is an improved River-class design.
Locally called OPV No. 2, the order follows that of OPV No. 1, the ‘HTMS Krabi’ that was ordered in 2009, a similar vessel that featured 2 × 16V28/33D engines.
Olivier Condemine, Senior Sales Manager – Naval & Governmental – MAN Diesel & Turbo said: “Sequential turbocharging improves the already proven performance and fuel-efficiency of the 28/33D engine, especially at intermediate and low-load operations – known as silent running – which is very important for this kind of vessel.”

28/33D STC range
The range offers 12-, 16-, and 20-cylinder configurations covering power requirements from 5,000 up to 10,000 kW per unit.
The 28/33D STC engine is the most powerful engine in its class and proven in service. It features:
a high power-to-weight ratio
best-in-class SFOC
low maintenance costs due to long service intervals and on-board maintenance
a robust design for high availability
continuous low-load operation capability
high torque for fast acceleration
compliance with IMO Tier II and EPA Tier 2 (Tier III with SCR).

Vice Admiral Girish Luthra Takes Over Western Naval Command

May 30, 2016 - Vice Admiral Girish Luthra took over the reins of Western Naval Command (WNC) as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) on 31 May 16 from Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba at a ceremonial parade held at INS Shikra. Later in the day, officers of the Western Naval Command accorded Vice Admiral Lanba a warm send off, with the traditional ‘Pulling Out’ ceremony. Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba will take over as the Chief of Naval Staff tomorrow.
Addressing the personnel on parade, Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba complimented the personnel of the command who, notwithstanding the constrains of the service, have worked with synergy and teamwork in ensuring that ships, submarines and aircraft are maintained in a high state of combat readiness at all times. In keeping with the fragile maritime environment of the region, he said that, there is a need to be ever vigilant in all quarters and all fronts. He said that he had no doubt that fire power from units of fleet, flotillas and squadrons can be delivered appropriately should the need arise.
Pointing towards the International Fleet Review held recently at Visakhapatnam, Vice Admiral Lanba said that presence of 50 countries in the review clearly indicates the growing stature of the country in the region. He added that many countries have expressed the desire to cooperate and exercise with Indian Navy which is indicative of professionalism, training and sound culture displayed by the service. He also urged the need to continue working together to bring change and work smartly. He also apprised the personnel on the steps taken by WNC in addressing the long standing issue of shortage of married accommodation. 

Christian Communities Facing Extinction

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson talks with U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), who convened the congressional hearing, May 26. “The ISIS Genocide Declaration: What Next?” was the title of the hearing that included testimony from the Supreme Knight.

May 26, 2016 - For the third time in the past several months, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson testified before Congress, this time before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
At the hearing, he described a dire situation for Christians in Iraq and Syria that the United States could take steps to improve. “Many of the region’s indigenous communities now face extinction. These communities may disappear in less than a decade. But their fate is not inevitable,” Anderson warned lawmakers. The United States can avert this crisis, he said, by acting according to six principles:

1. Increase humanitarian aid and provide oversight to ensure it gets to those targeted for genocide.
2. Support the long-term survival of indigenous religious and ethnic communities by supporting their right to remain in their country.
3. Punish the perpetrators of genocide and crimes against humanity.
4. Assist the victims of genocide to attain refugee status.
5. Prepare now for foreseeable human rights challenges as ISIS-controlled territory is liberated by ensuring that Christians and other minorities have equal rights to decide their future.
6. Promote the establishment of internationally agreed upon standards of human rights and religious freedom as conditions for humanitarian and military assistance.

Supreme Knight Anderson also reported that Christian leaders in Iraq and Syria say they receive no money from the U.S. government or the United Nations to respond to the crisis of internally displaced persons, or IDPs, and urban refugees.
“If assistance from outside Church-affiliated agencies ends in Erbil [Iraq], Christians there will face a catastrophic humanitarian tragedy within 30 days,” said Supreme Knight Anderson. He explained that, while these private charities have responded to the humanitarian need, the assistance of governments and international organizations is necessary.
“The ISIS Genocide Declaration: What Next?” was the title of this latest congressional hearing that included testimony from Sarhang Hamasaeed of the U.S. Institute of Peace; Johnny Oram, executive director of the Chaldean Assyrian Business Alliance; and David Crane of Syracuse University College of Law.
Supreme Knight Anderson appeared before the same subcommittee in December to raise awareness of the persecution of Christians in Iraq and Syria, and to call for the Department of State to label the atrocities committed against these Christians a genocide. The U.S. Department of State, along with the U.S. House of Representatives, made such a declaration in mid-March.
He was then invited in April to testify in Congress before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission to suggest a path forward for the victims of genocide.
Through its website,, the Knights of Columbus has raised over $10.5 million for humanitarian relief and awareness to benefit Christian refugees in Iraq and Syria.
In March, the Knights submitted a nearly 300-page report (available here) to the State Department detailing the brutality that Christians and other minorities have experienced at the hands of ISIS. The report was credited by officials as having been influential in the State Department’s declaration of genocide.

Atomic survivors visit Stirling

Operation HURRICANE just moments after a nuclear device was detonated in HMS Plym. (photo: Unknown)

May 27, 2016 - The Australian Ex Services Atomic Survivors Association visited HMAS Stirling recently, as the group was in Western Australia preparing to travel to the site of the atomic tests at the Monte Bello Islands in the 1950s.
Operations HURRICANE and MOSAIC involved British and Australian forces conducting atomic tests on the islands, 130 kilometres off the Western Australian coast. 
Secretary of the Association Jim Marlow spoke about the plans the Association had made to erect a plaque on the site of the atomic tests
“On 14 and 15 June, seventeen of us will travel to Dampier and then onto the Monte Bello Islands and officially unveil the plaque," he said.
“Interspersed with this activity will be some fishing, a function with the Pilbara Regiment in Karratha and hopefully an official reception with the City of Karratha.”
The Stirling Ship's Welfare Fund represented by Leading Seaman Andrew McKail presented the Association with a contribution to the project.
The Royal Australian Navy's contribution to the operations was significant. HMAS Karangi  and HMAS Warrego (II) conducted surveys of the island. A combined Royal Navy and Royal Australian fleet, designated Task Force 4, was assembled to conduct the testing. The Australian government announced the intention to test a British nuclear device in Australia in February 1952.
The Australian component of Task Force 4 comprised a variety of ships including the aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney (III), with 805 and 817 Squadrons embarked. HMA Ships Tobruk (I), Hawkesbury, Macquarie, Murchison, Shoalhaven and Mildura carried out patrol work while the smaller vessels Karangi, Koala, Limicola,Reserve, Wareen, MRL 252 and MWL 251 performed useful work laying moorings, marking channels and providing valuable logistic and personnel support.
Hawkesbury (I), in a position some 28 miles to the south-east of ground zero, became the closest Royal Australian Navy unit to the detonation, where she conducted security and safety patrols before and after the test. HMAS Culgoa acted as the weather ship for the first British nuclear test, Operation HURRICANE.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the completion of Operation MOSAIC and members of the Association and their partners were taken on a tour of the facilities at Stirling which concluded with a visit to the museum and an opportunity to meet and speak with Commanding Officer Stirling, Captain Brian Delamont.