Monday, June 28, 2010

The Forgotten Service in the Forgotten War

The U. S. Coast Guard's Role in the Korean Conflict by Scott T. Price


On June 25, 1950 six North Korean infantry divisions, supported by large armor and artillery forces, brutally attacked and invaded its neighbor, South Korea. The onslaught caught the South, as well as much of the world, completely by surprise. As the Soviet-equipped divisions advanced towards the capital, Seoul, Coast Guard officers stationed on the peninsula received word that they would have to evacuate. The officers were based at the former Imperial Japanese naval base at Chinae, South Korea, where they had been training the nucleus of what would become the South Korean navy. This little known operation was a typical example of the Coast Guard's role during the coming conflict; based in obscurity but nevertheless important to the United Nations' efforts to halt and then reverse the Communist onslaught.
The United States Navy determined what the Coast Guard's missions for any post-World War II conflicts were to be. In 1947 the Chief of Naval Operations suggested that in future conflicts the Coast Guard should limit its contribution to those peacetime tasks in which it specialized. His suggestion stated that the Coast Guard's "war time functions and duties assigned should be those which are an extension of normal peacetime tasks." Additionally, "Coast Guard personnel, ships, aircraft and facilities should be utilized as organized Coast Guard units rather than by indiscriminately integrating them into the naval establishment." These duties included port security, maritime inspection and safety, search and rescue, and patrolling ocean stations. These, therefore, were the Coast Guard's primary missions during the Korean War.
In 1946 the U. S. Army, which commanded the military forces in South Korea, asked for a contingent of active-duty Coast Guard officers to organize, supervise, and train a small Korean coast guard. The Coast Guard quickly complied. Captain George McCabe, a Coast Guard hero of World War II and the first to command the contingent, arrived in South Korea on 23 August 1946. In fact he actually commanded the nascent Korean Coast Guard until the Korean government appointed Lieutenant Commander Sohn Won Yil as its first native commanding officer. From then on, McCabe and Sohn commanded the service jointly.

                                The naval base at Chinae, South Korea

Their task proved to be extremely complicated. First, they had to establish an enlisted training facility and begin recruiting operations. Then they needed to establish an officer candidate program to train officers to command the service.

                                   U.S. advisors visit a class at the Korean Naval Academy.

They also agreed to develop an academy, complete with a four-year degree program much like the service academies in the United States. Due to a pressing need for personnel, however, the degree program was cut to two years. Despite the language difficulties, a lack of equipment, and a high initial desertion rate, McCabe and his staff successfully nurtured the beginnings of a new coast guard for the Korean nation.
They acquired former Japanese navy warships to serve as training vessels and refurbished equipment left behind by the Japanese occupation forces. They repaired the buildings and built barracks for the trainees. In general the Coast Guard did what it has always done, successfully fulfilled an assigned task with little or no support and practically no resources. The whole structure of the training effort, however, was soon to undergo a significant change.

                                         The Coast Guard's advisory team

                   Sohn Won Yil, head of the Korean Navy, and Commander William Achurch, USCGR

In May 1948 Commander William C. Achurch arrived in Korea and became the "Head Advisor to Commander, Service Forces, Korean Coast Guard" and commanding officer of the U. S. Coast Guard Detachment at Chinhae.

CDR Achurch discusses the value of training aids with a Korean naval officer and another U. S. advisor

When the South Korean government decided that it would change its coast guard to a navy in 1948, the active duty U. S. Coast Guard officers returned home. As one officer put it, "The U. S. Coast Guard didn't feel obligated to train a foreign navy and the U. S. Coast Guard Detachment was withdrawn." The U. S. Army then hired a number of retired or reserve Coast Guard officers and men to assist the new Korean Navy, including Commander Achurch.
Training continued unabated for the next few years. The training teams continued to struggle with a number of difficulties including cultural differences, language, and as always, funding. The base gained some notoriety when Achurch hosted a conference between the Nationalist Chinese leader, Chiang Kai-shek and the president of South Korea, Syngman Rhee for a three-day meeting in August of 1949. Later, President Rhee became a frequent visitor to the base as his interest in his new navy grew.
Chiang Kai-shek and the president of South Korea, Syngman Rhee, meet for a three-day meeting at Chinae in August of 1949. Chiang Kai-shek had recently fled mainland China for Taiwan after Communist Chinese forces defeated his army.

On the 19th of August, 1949 a World War II Coast Guard veteran, Commander Clarence M. Speight, retired from the service for a physical disability, took over Achurch's duties as "Advisor Chief, Korean Navy." Achurch remained as the commanding officer of the Coast Guard contingent. Both men wore their uniforms proudly and carried on the operation as a Coast Guard-commanded team.
Commander Speight found himself in Taiwan preparing a new vessel for the Korean Navy when the North Koreans attacked. His wife and two children in Seoul fled to Inchon. Speight arranged for their transport on board a freighter bound for Tokyo and he then returned to Seoul. Six hundred fifty other refugees swarmed on board the freighter designed to carry only twelve passengers. Mrs. Speight and her two children stayed on the main deck for the three-day trip despite the cold weather and rain. Speight barely managed to leave Seoul and watched as the large bridge over the Han River was blown up. After crossing the river on a small boat, he eventually made it to Pusan where he met up with Commander Achurch. Both were ordered back to the United States in July. So ended the Coast Guard's role in creating a navy for South Korea.
Ocean / Weather Stations

                         A map showing the Coast Guard Ocean Stations in the Northwestern Pacific.

The ocean station program, established before World War II, proved to be a vital war-time Coast Guard task and was perhaps the most direct contribution made by the Coast Guard to the United Nations' effort. Cutters assigned to the stations carried teams of meteorologists from the U. S. Weather Bureau. These men carried out weather observations, assisted by specialists in the Coast Guard crew. The cutters also served as aids to navigation by providing checkpoints for military and commercial maritime and air traffic and communication "relay" stations for aircraft on transoceanic flights. They provided needed medical services to merchant ship crews as well as any others in need and served as search and rescue platforms. Some aircraft actually ditched near the cutters and were quickly rescued, such as the famous rescue of the Bermuda Sky Queen by the crew of the Bibb in 1947.
Coast Guard cutters were stationed at two ocean stations in the Pacific prior to the outbreak of the Korean conflict. In concert with the Navy, the service decided to add three additional stations in the North Pacific. The new stations provided complete weather data and greater search and rescue coverage for the growing trans-Pacific merchant and military traffic brought on by the Korean conflict. Indeed, 95 percent of the war material bound for Korea went by ship but nearly half of the personnel went by air, making the ocean station vessels a vital link in the United Nations' logistic effort.

                                                       USCGC Bering Strait

Furthermore, the Coast Guard established a chain of air search and rescue detachments on islands throughout the Pacific to supplement the search and rescue capabilities of the Ocean Station cutters. Cutters were also assigned to these search and rescue stations to augment their search and rescue capabilities.
With the addition of the new stations, the Coast Guard needed to find vessels to augment the already extended cutter fleet. Fortunately a ready source existed within the mothball fleets of the Navy. The Navy turned over a number of destroyer escorts, which the Coast Guard commissioned as cutters. The old war-horses had served as convoy escorts in World War II, 33 of which had been manned by Coast Guard crews during the war. These vessels were refitted with a shelter on the stern for weather balloon storage and armed with depth charges and a variety of anti-aircraft weapons. The first two to join the Coast Guard fleet were the Koiner and the Falgout. Once commissioned, the new cutters underwent shakedown training under the supervision of the Navy and then sailed to their new homeports.

                                       USCGC Durant (WDE-489)

Ocean station duty could be monotonous at one moment and terrifying the next, as the vessels rode out storms that made the saltiest sailors green. One crewman noted: "After twenty-one days of being slammed around by rough cold sea swells 20 to 50 feet high, and wild winds hitting gale force at times, within an ocean grid the size of a postage stamp, you can stand any kind of duty."
The Koiner's operations provide a good example of the duty. After she arrived in Seattle, where she joined the cutters Bering Strait, Klamath, Winona, and the Wachusett, a hodge podge fleet of ex-Navy seaplane tenders and 255-foot Coast Guard cutters, she was first sent to Ocean Station Nan in the North Pacific. There she steamed in endless circles around the ocean station for three weeks before being relieved by the cutter Lowe.
While on the ocean station the crew quickly fell into a routine. They assisted the five weather observers from the San Francisco office of the U. S. Weather Bureau who accompanied each patrol. Radar and radio were manned around the clock. Twice daily the crew launched 6-foot diameter helium filled balloons that measured air temperature, pressure, and humidity to an altitude of 10 miles. They launched another smaller balloon to measure wind speed and direction.

The crew also checked the temperature of the water every four hours down to a depth of 450 feet with a bathythermograph instrument. These cutters also served as a floating aid to navigation. They contacted passing aircraft and ships by radio and provided radar and navigation fixes. Such contact with anyone from the outside world, even if only for a brief moment, at least broke up the monotony for the crew. Then there were the daily drills such as fire, collision, and boat drills. For recreation they had movies, pistol matches, skeet shooting, volleyball games, and fishing. Though this was often enough to keep from going stir crazy, the crew invariably counted the days until their next liberty.

After returning to Seattle the crew of the destroyer escort received welcome liberty. Then she set sail for Ocean Station Victor, midway between Japan and the Aleutian Islands, via the Midway Islands. While at Midway she stood search and rescue standby duty, then set sail for Victor for another three-week tour of duty. When relieved there, she sailed on to Yokosuka, Japan for a twelve-day layover, which included liberty for all hands. Afterward she steamed once again out to the North Pacific to Ocean Station Sugar. Another three weeks later her relief arrived and the Koiner returned to Seattle. And so it went, month by month, year by year.
These cutters assisted a number of merchant ships and aircraft that were transiting the North Pacific during the war. The Forster assisted the largest number of vessels while on patrol. Her crew searched for and found the MV Katori Maru drifting and burning on 16-17 August 1952. Thereafter they assisted five more merchant and fishing vessels. The Pacific ocean station cutters in all assisted over 20 merchant and Navy vessels, including one transoceanic airliner during the war.
During 1950 Station Nan was the busiest of all the ocean stations, reporting that the cutters gave 357 radar fixes per patrol. Each patrol averaged over 700 hours on station. The cutters steamed an average of 4,000 miles per patrol. These numbers increased considerably after the patrols were lengthened and expanded after the start of the Korean conflict. Twenty-four cutters served on the stations that fell within the perimeters of the Korean conflict and thus, they and their crews earned the Korean Service Medal. Unsung but always ready, the cutters insured the timely and safe arrival of United Nations' troops and supplies throughout the Korean conflict.

                              A Coast Guard PBM-5G buzzes the USCGC Vance


The Coast Guard established a number of Pacific air search and rescue detachments throughout the Pacific in support of the Korean operation. The Coast Guard commissioned air detachments on Wake and Midway islands and increased the strengths of the existing detachments at Guam, Hawaii, and the Philippine Islands. They were on call, 24 hours a day, to respond to any calls for assistance.
One of the most dangerous search and rescue cases undertaken by the Coast Guard took place off the coast of mainland China in early 1953. Communist Chinese forces shot down a Navy P2V Neptune in the Formosa Strait while the aircraft was on a covert patrol along the Chinese coast. The crew ditched their burning plane and escaped into a life raft to await rescue. The Coast Guard search and rescue station at Sangley Point responded to the call for assistance by immediately scrambling one of its two Martin PBM-5G Mariner seaplanes. In command was Lieutenant "Big John" Vukic, one of the most experienced seaplane pilots in the Coast Guard. Vukic and his crew of seven took off and flew their large aircraft towards Communist China and imminent danger. They were followed by the other PBM shortly thereafter, piloted by then-Lieutenant Mitchell A. Perry.
After arriving on scene Vukic noticed that the seas were running 15-feet. Even though the survivors managed to climb into a raft he thought they must have been suffering from hypothermia. He decided to attempt an open water landing, always a dangerous affair but something he had done many times successfully. With darkness setting in he landed near the survivors. His crewman managed to pull these men on board while other crewman prepared a jet-assisted packs for each side of the aircraft. These devices, known as JATO [Jet Assisted Take-Off] packs, permitted aircraft to lift off in an extremely short take-off run. While the Coast Guard crew rescued all eleven in the raft, two other Navy crew, in a separate raft, were swept ashore and captured by the communist Chinese. Not knowing their fate, Vukic taxied his big PBM near the crash site searching for them.

                                                         Lieutenant "Big John" Vukic, USCG

After fifteen minutes, with the seas rising he gave up the search and attempted to take off. The JATO rockets fired as the PBM lifted into the air. Vukic remembered: "There was a 15-foot sea and a 25-mile wind." He feared that the heavy seas would swamp his seaplane if he waited for the seas to abate or a surface ship to come to their aid. Weighing each of the consequences, he decided to fly. Vukic noted that: "Everything was rolling very well and I thought it was in the bag. And so I fired my JATO bottles to help my plane get airborne." Suddenly the plane lurched to the left. He saw the left wing float rise above the sea but the port engine seemed to be losing power. He quickly decided to ditch and made for the crest of a wave with the plane's hull. "My seat suddenly broke and that was the last thing I knew." The PBM slammed back into the sea and broke up. Once again the Navy survivors were back in the water, at least, the seven that survived this crash. Vukic managed to escape as well and inflated a raft. He pulled two surviving Navy crew in with him. He said "We were so cold we didn't care who got us, just so they had a fire to keep us warm." Two others of his Coast Guard crew, Aviation Machinists Mate Joseph Miller and Aviation Mechanic Robert Hewitt, also managed to escape before the PBM sank. These men were eventually rescued by the Navy destroyer U.S.S. Halsey Powell later that night. But the other five Coast Guard and four Navy crewmen perished. Apparently some of these nine men escaped the sinking PBM but were captured by Communist Chinese forces and executed as spies. All five of these Coast Guardsmen, who had died in the line of duty, were awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal posthumously.
Anticommunist sentiment in the country, already at a fever pitch after the communist victory in China the year before, was only aggravated by the North Korean attack. As a result, the government reacted against domestic communist activity. President Harry Truman signed Presidential Executive Order 10173, thereby implementing the Magnuson Act, which authorized the Coast Guard to conduct duties it had carried out during both World Wars to insure the security of U. S. ports "from subversive or clandestine attacks." The Coast Guard established port security units to take charge of and secure the major ports of the United States. Their function was to prevent sabotage and insure the timely loading and sailing of merchant ships, especially those sailing to Japan and Korea to deliver ammunition needed by the United Nation forces.
The most controversial power extended to the Coast Guard was the authority to check the backgrounds of merchant sailors, longshoremen, warehouse employees and harbor pilots, in order to determine their loyalty, or lack thereof, to the United States. The immediate problem with implementing these duties was the lack of personnel. There was no organized reserve program of any great scale as the World War II program had been emasculated with the demobilization of the United State's military at the end of the war. Indeed, in June 1949 there were only 252 enlisted reserve personnel, and a few women SPARs [the nickname of the Coast Guard's Women's Reserve] working at headquarters. The President, through a supplemental appropriation, approved the immediate increase in financing necessary to implement an organized reserve. The budget for the following year did show a substantial funding increase that permitted the Coast Guard to expand and develop an adequate reserve to meet the service's new demands.

USCGC Tahoma on "guard" station at the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay in 1952. Painted bright yellow with the word "Guard" in black, the Tahoma identified all incoming vessels. Approaching vessels identified themselves by radio, giving name, nationality, home port, last port of call, destination, and estimated time of arrival at the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay.

Fears of a Eastern-bloc freighter sailing into a port, armed with a nuclear bomb, gave the service a unique Cold War task. Since the Soviet Union and its communist allies had no long-range bomber force and ballistic missiles were ten years in the future, delivery of a bomb by a vessel sailing into an unsuspecting port and then being detonated was the most likely form of nuclear attack on the United States. From August 1951 every vessel entering into a U. S. anchorage had to notify Customs of its intended destination and cargo 24 hours before it was to arrive. The names of these vessels were passed to the appropriate Captain of the Port and Coast Guard patrol boats identified and checked each, boarding and examining those that appeared suspicious.
The boats patrolling harbor entrances in the major ports were occupied 24 hours a day and in New York, for example, there were two stations on continuous duty. For the next two years off the coast of New York, near the Ambrose lightship station, the Coast Guard inspected over 1,500 ships. Each of the two patrols inspected an average of 40 vessels per month with each inspection lasting four hours. Armed with Geiger counters, they searched for atomic weapons, general explosives, and bacteriological weapons. Fortunately, the patrols never encountered anything worth reporting.
Another Coast Guard security duty that had a direct impact on the combat in Korea was that of the men who supervised the loading of high explosives on board merchantman. Special explosive loading detachment teams conducted the incredibly dangerous job of supervising the loading of ammunition. It was sometimes conducted under the most primitive conditions. On the coast of Oregon, for example, ammunition was transported from the Umatilla Ordnance Depot to a loading site on the Columbia River about 10 miles downstream from the Depot.

In Oregon, ammunition was transported from the Umatilla Ordnance Depot to a loading site on the Columbia River about 10 miles downstream from the Depot. Here a barge is loaded with bombs at that site for transport to the Beaver Ammunition Storage Point.

A privately owned tow and barge company held the contract for transporting government goods down the river. Coast Guard officers and men supervised the loading of the ammunition onto barges that each held 500 tons. Typically one powered vessel would push two barges at a time down the 200 miles to the Beaver Ammunition Storage Point, accompanied by an armed Coast Guardsman. The ammunition was then loaded onto cargo vessels for transportation to Korea.

The LORAN [LOng Range Aid to Navigation] station at Pusan is one of the truly unsung Coast Guard stories of the war. Established to assist the growing air and sea traffic brought on by the Korean conflict, the station's crew has the distinction of being the only Coast Guard personnel serving under a Coast Guard command on the peninsula during the fighting. It was code named ELMO-4.

The prospective commanding officer of the station, Lieutenant John D. McCann, USCG, reconnoitered the area around the city of Pusan, which gave the LORAN station its official Coast Guard designation, and picked a hill some twenty miles from the city. His crew consisted of twelve men who served on a one-year tour. On June 6 1952 the U. S. Air Force generously agreed to support the station logistically, relieving the 14th Coast Guard District of such responsibilities. The support included providing for the security of the station.
Despite attacks by local vandals and some guerrilla units, as well as a typhoon in August of 1952, construction progressed with the assistance of units of the U. S. Army and logistically supported by the U. S. Air Force. By the time ELMO-4 was ready to begin operation the station boasted modern plumbing, electric clothes washing machines, and a hot water heater. McCann noted "We are probably living on one of the most comfortable bases in Korea. But don't forget that we built it ourselves. Last August all we had were tents."
The only Coast Guard outfit stationed in Korea began transmitting its signal on 5 January 1953. In concert with the other eight Coast Guard-manned LORAN stations in the Far East, including stations O'Shima Island in Tokyo Bay, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, these lonely Coast Guard outposts provided around-the-clock navigation assistance to United Nations' maritime and air forces. Every UN vessel and aircraft utilized the new technology that permitted navigation under any weather conditions during the day or night, provided courtesy of the United States Coast Guard.

                                Coast Guard LORAN Station Pusan, South Korea, 1952

With the signing of the cease-fire on 26 July 1953, the Coast Guard, as it had after World War II, demobilized quickly. The Coast Guard abandoned the ocean stations added for wartime purposes and decommissioned the destroyer escorts. All of the overseas air detachments and search and rescue stations were decommissioned as well and the service returned to its normal peacetime operations.
Coast Guard operations during the Korean War supported the United Nations' efforts to throw back the Communist invaders. Coast Guard Merchant Marine Inspection and Port Security forces insured the safe and timely loading and departure of munitions and supplies bound for the troops in Korea. The Coast Guard also supported the transport of combat troops to Korea. Manning the lonely ocean stations in the middle of the Pacific, day in and day out, cutters on these stations provided navigation support and stood by for rescue, if need be, to transports, freighters, and aircraft bound for the far Pacific. Coast Guard air detachments stood by as well, ready to assist any in need. Finally, the Coast Guard LORAN chain provided the most direct support of any Coast Guard operation to the combat and logistic efforts against the Communist invasion of South Korea. As it had during the air offensive against Japan during World War II, Coast Guard LORAN stations provided around the clock precise navigation assistance to all U.N. vessels and aircraft throughout the far Pacific.
The Korean War left a number of legacies for the Coast Guard. Port security became a preeminent mission of the service in large part due to fears generated by the Cold War. Force levels had increased to well over what they were before North Korea invaded its neighbor. Indeed, the service almost doubled in size from its 1947 low of just over 18,000 men and women until June, 1952 when 35,082 officers and enlisted men served on active duty, including 1,600 reservists. Women also continued to serve in the Coast Guard, albeit in far fewer numbers than served during World War II. In November 1952, 215 SPAR officers and 108 enlisted SPAR's served in the reserve and 15 officers and 19 enlisted served on active duty. The final and, perhaps, most important legacy was that the future leaders of the service would look for a more active role for the Coast Guard in any conflict. Worried that its vital duties during the Korean War still left the Coast Guard in obscurity, future commandants would offer Coast Guard forces for use in combat. This is exactly what happened some ten years later during the Communist onslaught in Vietnam.

The Coast Guard and the Korean War

View of a Korean coast guard vessel from the deck of the CGC Boutwell during a joint training drill. (Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Jonathan R. Cilley)

Sixty years ago today, on June 25, 1950, six North Korean infantry divisions, supported by large armor and artillery forces, invaded neighboring South Korea in the opening action of what would come to be known as the Korean War. The Coast Guard’s role in this conflict marked a significant moment in the history of the service. First, the Coast Guard had played a critical role in the training of the fledgling South Korean navy in the years leading up to the invasion. Additionally, the campaign marked the first time the Coast Guard implemented the post-World War II doctrine of extending its normal peacetime tasks in support of military operations during a time of war.

CDR Achurch discusses the value of training aids with a Korean naval officer and another U. S. advisor. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Pre-Invasion: Building the Korean Coast Guard
In 1946, a contingent of Coast Guard officers, led by Captain George McCabe, arrived in South Korea to organize, supervise, and train a Korean coast guard. (Note: At the time the Korean War broke out, what we now refer to as South Korea was still recognized by the United Nations as Korea.)
Our Coast Guardsman would work so closely with their Korean counterparts that McCabe jointly commanded the service alongside Korean Lieutenant Commander Sohn Won Yil for the better part of two years. During that time, the Korea Coast Guard established an enlisted training facility, officer candidate program, and a service academy modeled after the United States Coast Guard Academy and other military service academies. They used former Japanese navy warships to serve as training vessels. (Note: The Japanese Navy was dismantled following World War II and their ships were awarded as war prizes.)
In 1948, the Korean government decided it would change its coast guard to a navy. At that time, the active duty U.S. Coast Guard officers returned home. They were replaced by retired and reserve Coast Guard officers under the command of Commander William Achurch (USCGR) who would assist the Korean Navy until North Korean forces invaded and began the war.
South Korea would eventually reinstate its coast guard in 1953 and the partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard would resume and continues to this day.
War breaks out: The Coast Guard assumes a new wartime posture
The outbreak of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula would be the first time the U.S. Coast Guard assumed what is now its operations normal wartime role.

Following World War II, the Coast Guard's wartime missions included port security in war zones.

In times of war, elements of the Coast Guard can (and have been) transferred to the U.S. Navy by the President or Congress. Up to and including World War II, that often meant integrating individual Coast Guard personnel, ships, aircraft and facilities directly into the Navy. While history proves that our wartime Coast Guardsmen more than answered the call during these conflicts, this use of Coast Guard forces often did not take advantage of the specific expertise of the service.
Following World War II, a new course was set that would call for the Coast Guard to extend its normal peacetime roles to support military operations during times of war. Specifically, the Coast Guard was called upon to take a leading role in port security, maritime inspection and safety, search and rescue, and patrolling ocean stations in war zones.
The Coast Guard would assume these primary missions during the Korean War and in subsequent conflicts in Vietnam and the Middle East.
Click here to read more about the U.S. Coast Guard in the Korean War.

Russian naval task force returning to homeport in Vladivostok

Udaloy-class guided-missile destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov

VLADIVOSTOK, June 25 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Pacific Fleet's task force, led by the Udaloy-class guided-missile destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov, is arriving at its home base in the Russian Far Eastern city of Vladivostok on Friday, the fleet said.
The naval task force accomplished its anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden on June 5. Russia is expected to resume the mission near Somalia in early July.
"The sailors perfectly fulfilled the Russian Navy command's task to protect peaceful vessel caravans from attacks by pirates in the Gulf of Aden," Pacific Fleet spokesman Capt. 1st Rank Roman Martov said.

Navy commandos from the Marshal Shaposhnikov freed the Russian Moscow University tanker during a 22-minute operation on May 6. Ten attackers were detained and one was killed. None of the crew members was injured.

The Marshal Shaposhnikov will be replaced by the Admiral Levchenko, currently en route to the Mediterranean and expected to arrive in the region in early July.

The task force comprising the Marshal Shaposhnikov, the MB-37 salvage tug and the Pechenga tanker arrived in the Gulf of Aden on March 29 and escorted 11 convoys totaling over 100 commercial vessels from different countries.

The Russian Navy has maintained a presence off the Horn of Africa with warships operating on a rotation basis. Russia joined international anti-piracy efforts off the Somali coast in October 2008.

The task force was the fourth group of warships from the Russian Pacific Fleet engaged in the anti-piracy mission off Somalia, with the previous three task forces led by the Admiral Vinogradov, Admiral Panteleyev and the Admiral Tributs destroyers. The Northern and Baltic fleets have also contributed to the mission.

Canadians Celebrate Canada Day With Members Of Their Forces

Canadian Navy graphic

Monday, June 28, 2010 - On Canada Day, members of the Navy, Army and Air Force will be at Canada Place, Vancouver to connect with Canadians by answering questions about the work and mission of the Canadian Forces (CF). This year’s Canada Day is doubly significant as 2010 is the centennial year for both the Canadian Navy and Vancouver’s Seaforth Highlanders of Canada infantry regiment.
The Canadian Forces Zone will occupy the Canada Place ballrooms. The display includes a 105mm Howitzer, a G-Wagon Light Utility Vehicle as well as an Army ambulance and small arms display. Visitors can sit in a replica cockpit of a CF-18 fighter jet. A demonstration by a naval boarding party and the Fleet Diving Unit, which features the explosives disposal robot, reflects what your navy does at sea and in Afghanistan. People can fire replica weapons used by the CF in a realistic and safe Small Arms Simulator.
The Naden Band of Maritime Forces Pacific will play “O Canada” and Rear-Admiral Tyrone Pile, Commander Maritime Forces Pacific, will be in attendance when new Canadians are sworn-in at a citizenship ceremony at 9:30 a.m. at the Mountain View Stage. At 11 a.m., the 15th (BC) Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery will fire the traditional Canada Day 21-gun salute at Hallelujah Point in Stanley Park.
Alongside Canada Place, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Vancouver will be “dressed overall” from sunrise to sunset with signal flags from bow to stern with the national flag at the masthead. The ship will not be open for public tours. Nineteen new members of the CF will be sworn-in on board Vancouver at 1 p.m. with music from the Naden Band. A CH-124 Sea King helicopter will fly past at 1:30 p.m. followed by a Search and Rescue demonstration in Vancouver Harbour by personnel from 442 Squadron flying a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter. At 7 p.m., the Naden Band will lead other contingents from the CF in the Canada Day Parade along Georgia St.
In Victoria, HMCS Nanaimo will be at Ship Point located in the Inner Harbour, it will be open for public tours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The 5th (BC) Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery will fire its Salute at Fort Rodd Hill at noon.
In Hawaii, HMC Ships Algonquin and Calgary will be celebrating Canada Day in Pearl Harbour while they take part in Exercise RIMPAC 2010. The ships’ company will host the other participating nations at a Canada Day reception.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

VA Adds USCG, USN Vessels to Agent Orange Exposure List

VA Adds USCG, USN Vessels to Agent Orange Exposure List

The Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) strongly encourages all U.S. Navy and Coast Guard (USCG) Vietnam veterans to review an expanded list of vessels exposed to Agent Orange that was recently released by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA). The VA is continuously updating its list of offshore “blue water” vessels that conducted operations on the inland “brown water” rivers and delta areas of Vietnam, and the most recent additions include all USCG vessels with hull designations of WPB (patrol boat) and WHEC (high-endurance cutter) that served in Vietnam. If a veteran's service aboard one of these ships can be confirmed through his military records during the time frames specified, exposure to herbicide agents can be presumed without further proof, thus expediting claims for VA benefits.
“Thousands of Navy and Coast Guard veterans who served aboard ships during the Vietnam conflict experience health problems related to herbicide exposure, but their illnesses and disabilities are not automatically considered service-connected in the eyes of the VA,” explains Chris Slawinski, FRA’s national veterans’ service officer. “The VA restricts this type of presumptive service connection to vets who had ‘boots on the ground’ or can prove their ship operated on inland waterways. Each addition to the VA’s list of exposed vessels will make it easier for these veterans to prove exposure and will hopefully facilitate more timely determination of benefits.”
The first iteration of the list was released earlier this year. The most recent additions are categorized by those that operated primarily or exclusively on the inland waterways of Vietnam or those that operated temporarily on the inland waterways or were moored at the shore. The comprehensive list is posted below.
If you or someone you know served aboard any of these vessels during the times indicated, a VA claim for exposure to an herbicide agent should be filed as soon as possible. To start a claim, contact your nearest VA Regional Office (click here for a list of offices) or contact Chris Slawinski at or 1-800-FRA-1924 (ext. 115).
FRA strongly supports pending legislation (H.R. 254 and S. 1939) that would grant presumptive status to all blue water Vietnamveterans exposed to herbicides, not just those who served inland. All veterans are encouraged to visit the FRA Action Center and ask their elected officials to support these measures.

Vessels that Operated in Vietnam 
  • All U.S. Coast Guard Cutters with hull designation WPB [patrol boat] and WHEC [high endurance cutters]
  • USS Antelope (PG-86)
  • USS Asheville (PG-84) [patrol gunboat]
  • USS Askari (ARL-30)
  • USS Basilone (DD-824) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, May 24-25, 1966]
  • USS Belle Grove (LSD-2) [landing ship dock] 
  • USS Benewah (APB-35) [self-propelled barracks ship]
  • USS Bexar (APA-237) Floating Base Platform (YRBM-20)
  • USS Black (DD-666) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, July 13-19, 1966]
  • USS Bolster (ARS-38) [salvage ship] crew operated on land to extract USS Clark County (LST-601) from beach after grounding at Duc Pho from November 18 to December 1, 1967
  • USS Boxer (LPH-4) [amphibious assault ship] docked to pier at Cam Rahn Bay on September 9, 1965
  • USS Brule (AKL-28) Winnemucca (YTB-785) [harbor tug]
  • USS Buck (DD-761) operated on Mekong River Delta and Saigon River during October 1966
  • USS Canberra (CAG-2) [guided missile cruiser] operated on Saigon River from March 31 through April 1, 1966, on Cua Viet River during December 15, 1966, and on Mekong Delta Ham Luong River, January 15, 1967
  • USS Canon (PG-90)
  • USS Card (ACV-11) [escort carrier] mined, sunk, and salvaged in Saigon River Harbor during May 1964
  • USS Carter Hall (LSD-3) [landing ship dock] operated on Cua Viet River and at Dong Ha during December 1967
  • USS Cleveland (LPD-7) operated on Cua Viet River and at Dong Ha, as well as Hue River, from November 1967 through 1968 and Saigon River during September 1969
  • USS Colleton (APB-36)
  • USS Comstock (LSD-19)
  • USS Conway (DD-507) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, early August 1966]
  • USS Crockett (PG-88)
  • USS Dubuque (LPD-8) docked at Da Nang on March 15, 1970
  • USS Duluth (LPD-6) [amphibious transport dock] docked to pier at Da Nangduring March and October 1971
  • USS Dyess (DD-880) operated on Saigon River and Rung Sat Special Zone from June 19-July 1, 1966
  • USS Elkhorn (AOG-7)
  • USS Epperson (DD-719) docked to Da Nang Pier on October 4, 1970
  • USS Fiske (DD-842) [Destroyer] [Operated on Mekong River, June 16-21, 1966]
  • USS Genesee (AOG-8) Barracks Barge (APL-26) [sleeping quarters]
  • USS Hamner (DD-718) [Destroyer] [Operated on Song Lon Tao and Long Song Tao Rivers, August 15-September 1, 1966]
  • USS Henrico (APA-45) [amphibious attack transport] operated on Hue River during March 1965 and conducted numerous troop landing through March 1967
  • USS Indra (ARL-37)
  • USS Ingersoll (DD-652) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, October 24-25, 1965]
  • USS John W. Thomason (DD-760) operated on Nga Be River during 1969
  • USS Joseph Strauss (DDG-16) [guided missile destroyer] operated on Mekong River Delta and Ganh Rai Bay, November 7 and December 7, 1968
  • USS Kishwaukee (AOG-9) Barracks Barge (APL-30)
  • USS Krishna (ARL-38)
  • USS Mahan (DLG-11) [Guided Missile Frigate] [Operated on Saigon River October 24-28, 1964]
  • USS Mansfield (DD-728) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River August 8-19, 1967 and December 21-24, 1968]
  • USS Marathon (PG-89)
  • USS Mark (AKL-12) [light cargo ship]
  • USS Maury (AGS-16) [mapping survey ship] conducted surveys of Mekong Delta and other coastal areas and rivers beginning November 1965 through 1969
  • USS Mercer (APB-39)
  • USS Gallop (PG-85)
  • USS Montrose (APA-212) [attack transport] Floating Base Platform (YRBM-17) [repair, berthing, and messing barge]
  • USS Montrose (APA-212) operated on Song Hue River during December 1965, operated on Long Tau River during March 1967, and operated on Cua Viet River and at Dong Ha during May 1967
  • USS Newell (DER-322) [radar destroyer escort] docked at port of Nha Trang during December 22-24, 1965
  • USS Niagara Falls (AFS-3) [Combat Stores Ship] [Unloaded supplies on Saigon River and Cam Rahn Bay, April 22-25, 1968]
  • USS Noxubee (AOG-56)
  • USS Nueces (APB-40)
  • USS Okanogan (APA-210) Floating Base Platform (YRBM-18)
  • USS Okanogan (APA-220) [Attack Transport] [Operated on Saigon River July 22-23, 29-30, 1968 and August 5-6, 1968]
  • USS Orleck (DD-886) operated on Mekong River Delta during July 1969
  • USS Patapsco (AOG-1) [gasoline tanker]
  • USS Perkins (DD-877) operated on Saigon River during June 1969
  • USS Picking (DD-685) operated on Saigon River during November 16, 1965
  • USS Preston (DD-795) operated on Mekong River Delta, Ganh Rai Bay, and Saigon River during September 28 -29 and December 27 -29, 1965
  • USS Providence (CLG-6) [Cruiser, Light, Guided Missile] [Operated on Saigon River 3 days during January 1964]
  • USS Ready (PG-87)
  • USS Richard E. Kraus (DD-849) [Destroyer] [Operated on coastal inlet north of Da Nang, June 2-5, 1966, protecting Marines holding a bridge]
  • USS Satyr (ARL-23) [repair ship]
  • USS Southerland (DD-743) operated on Song Nga Bay and Saigon River during July 1966
  • USS Sphinx (ARL-24)
  • USS Sproston (DD-577) [destroyer] operated on Mekong Delta and Ganh Rai Bay during January 1966
  • USS Talladega (APA-208) operated on Saigon River during October 1967
  • USS Tombigbee (AOG-11)
  • USS Tortuga (LSD-26)
  • USS Tutuila (ARG-4) [repair ship]
  • USS Waddell (DDG-24) operated on Cua Viet River during March 1967
  • USS Warrington (DD-843) operated on Mekong River Delta Rung Sat Special Zone, North of Vung Gahn Rai Bay during March 1967


Saturday, June 26, 2010

USS Philadelphia 'Finishes Strong' Following 33-Year Service

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven Myers, Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Philadelphia (SSN 690) was decommissioned June 25 during a ceremony at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn.
The decommissioning ceremony marked Philadelphia's 33rd anniversary.
Philadelphia was commissioned and officially put into service June 25, 1977.
The ceremony's guest speaker, Rear Admiral Douglas J. McAneny, commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, was the seventh commanding officer of Philadelphia.
McAneny said he was honored to speak at the ceremony and to have the opportunity to have one last look at his old boat and eat one more meal in the wardroom.
"We gather today not only to recognize the important role played by the leaders, the crew members and the families," said McAneny. "But to say goodbye to our boat – USS Philadelphia."
In addition, McAneny asked those that have served aboard Philadelphia to remember the sacrifices they endured and the freedom they fought to defend.
"The soul of USS Philadelphia lives on forever in her crews," said McAneny.
Philadelphia has deployed to all regions of the globe in support of various operations vital to national security, including Desert Storm in 1991.
Cmdr. Dave Soldow, Philadelphia's final commanding officer, felt this ceremony marked a unique occasion.
"On one hand, it is truly heartwarming to see the enthusiastic support of the community for their Navy and the men who have volunteered to serve this great nation of ours," said Soldow. "On the other hand, it is indeed sad to take out of commission a warship that has so boldly and so proudly served the American people for all these years."
Soldow also said that the warship is much more than technology and steel.
"These men who stand before you today, and those seated throughout the audience who came before them represent some of the greatest American's to ever serve this nation of ours," said Soldow.
The contract to build Philadelphia was awarded to Electric Boat Division at the General Dynamics Corporation in Groton Jan. 8, 1971. Philadelphia's keel was laid Aug. 12, 1972, and was launched Oct. 19, 1974.
Philadelphia completed her final deployment in February 2010, conducting operations in the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Iranian aid flotilla cancelled, won't sail to Gaza

Iranian ship heading for Gaza from Bandar-Abbas.

Latest update 23:37 24.06.10 By Haaretz Service
Organizers cite 'Israeli threats' as the reason for canceling the flotilla; separate Iranian ship heads to Gaza via Caspian Sea.
Army Radio reported that a separate Iranian ship, carrying 60 Iranian activists, was being prepared to sail to Gaza via the Caspian Sea. This after the Lebanese media reported several days ago that Egypt has denied Israel's request to prevent Iranian ships from passing through the Suez Canal toward Egypt.
Meanwhile Thursday, the U.S. State Department issued a statement calling the aid flotillas to Gaza irresponsible.
"Mechanisms exist for the transfer of humanitarian assistance to Gaza by member states and groups that want to do so," the U.S. State Department said regarding Lebanese plans to ship aid to Gaza. "Direct delivery by sea is neither appropriate nor responsible, and certainly not effective, under the circumstances."
The Lebanese and Iranian efforts come after a tragic incident aboard a Turkish aid ship, part of an 8-ship Turkish flotilla, which was headed for Gaza on May 31. Israeli navy commandos, intent on preventing the ship from reaching Gaza's shore, boarded the ship, and were met by a violent mob wielding sticks and knives. The clash that ensued resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish activists.

Photo Release: Coast Guard Cutter Alert makes rare visit to Kodiak

Photo Release: Coast Guard Cutter Alert makes rare visit to Kodiak

Alaska-based cutter deploys to Gulf of Mexico

Alaska-based cutter deploys to Gulf of Mexico

Mission to Africa – Getting ship shape « The Coast Guard Compass

Mission to Africa – Getting ship shape « The Coast Guard Compass

Remembering the 'forgotten' war

NZDF personnel aboard the Tutira - photo courtesy of NZ Army museum .

Korean War veterans will gather at the National War Memorial in Wellington at 11.00am on Friday 25 June to remember those New Zealand military personnel who lost their lives during the Korean War.

The ceremony, held on the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, will be conducted by the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) Principal Defence Chaplain Don Parker.
Commodore Bruce Pepperell, representing the Chief of Defence Force, will lay a wreath on behalf of the men and women of the Defence Force.
Korean Veterans Association National Secretary Doug Callander and North Island Vice President Des Vinten will lay a wreath on behalf of the Korean Veterans Association.
Mr Vinten said, “The Korean War has often been referred to as 'the forgotten war' but for those who served there it is far from forgotten. On Friday I will be thinking of the guys I served with and those who lost their lives as well as the Korean civilians who suffered during the war.
“When I went back to South Korea in 2009 I was pleased to see the incredible progress the country has made in 60 years. South Korea is a celebration of success against insurmountable odds.”
When the Korean War broke out in June 1950, New Zealand was one of the first of 16 nations to respond to the United Nations Security Council’s call for combat assistance.
In all, about 4,700 men served as part of Kayforce, offering artillery, transport and support elements under United Nations command. A further 1,300 Royal New Zealand Navy personnel took part in tours of duty during the Korean War. A total of 33 New Zealanders died on active service; 79 were wounded, and one was taken prisoner before the armistice came into effect. In addition another 12 New Zealand personnel lost their lives before the withdrawal of our forces.
After lengthy negotiations an armistice agreement signed on 27 July 1953 finally brought the fighting to an end. However, Kayforce was not fully withdrawn from Korea until July 1957.
The 60th anniversary will be marked with a number of events over the next few months including a visit to Korea by a group of New Zealand university students who are descendants of Korean veterans.
On June 25 1950, 90,000 North Korean troops crossed the 38th Parallel, invading their southern neighbour, the Republic of Korea. Just days later the Royal New Zealand Navy frigates - HMNZS TUTIRA and PUKAKI left for Korean waters, a two-ship commitment that the RNZN would sustain for the whole war.
In December 1950 Kayforce, a 1056-man force which was based around 16 Field Regiment, Royal New Zealand Artillery; and included a signals troop, a transport platoon, a light aid detachment, and a small reinforcement training unit, embarked from Wellington for Pusan.
Kayforce joined the 27th British Commonwealth Infantry Brigade on 21 January 1951, and was in action for the first time four days later in bitterly cold conditions. Thereafter it took part in the operations which led the UN Forces back to and over the 38th Parallel, recapturing Seoul in the process.
On 24 April 1951 16 Field Regiment, RNZA fought at the Battle of Kap’yong in support of the Australians, a furious four day battle that stopped the Chinese advance. Both units were awarded a South Korean Presidential Citation for their efforts.
After lengthy negotiations an armistice agreement, signed on 27 July 1953, finally brought the fighting to an end. However, Kayforce was not fully withdrawn from Korea until July 1957.
A total of 4,700 New Zealand soldiers served in Kayforce and 1,300 in the RNZN deployment. Of these 33 were killed in action, 79 wounded and one soldier was taken prisoner.
The armistice agreement created a fixed military line with a four kilometre buffer around it known as the demilitarized zone (DMZ). Both sides pledged not to engage in hostile behaviour within the zone or enter areas under control of the other.
Three New Zealand Defence Force officers are involved in monitoring compliance of the Armistice Agreement between North and South Korea, while a fourth works as the contingent’s senior national officer and the New Zealand Defence Attaché in Seoul.
New Zealand is one of 16 countries committed to the upholding of the Korean War Armistice agreement directly contributing to the mission within the DMZ. While the DMZ remains benign for the vast majority of the time, it has seen a number of violations such as weapons discharges and hostile incidents.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Russian Federation Navy Missile Cruiser Varyag transits through San Francisco Bay

Russian Federation Navy Missile Cruiser Varyag transits through San Francisco Bay while Coast Guard boat crews provide a security zone around the vessel, Sunday, June 20, 2010. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Pamela J. Manns

Aspen Transits Panama Canal

Crewmembers on the bow of the Coast Guard Cutter Aspen stand watch as their boat transits through the Panama Canal at Miraflores Locks, June 16, 2010. The Cutter Aspen is a 225-foot buoy tender homeported in San Francisco is en route to the Gulf of Mexico to assist in the clean-up of the oil spill created by the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon. U.S. Coast Guard photo by USCGC Aspen.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Russian missile cruiser arrives in San Francisco on friendly visit

VLADIVOSTOK, June 21 (RIA Novosti) - A task force from the Russian Pacific Fleet led by the missile cruiser Varyag arrived on a friendly visit to the United States, a Pacific Fleet spokesman said.
The naval group, which also includes the Fotiy Krylov salvage tug and the Boris Butoma tanker left the Far Eastern port of Vladivostok for a month-long voyage on June 4.
"An official welcoming ceremony began at 0:00 Moscow time [20:00 GMT]," Capt. 1st Rank Roman Martov said.
Russia announced in 2007 that it was building up its naval presence across the world. Foreign port calls by Russian warships have become more frequent.
"The visit is to... further develop friendly relations between the fleets of Russia and the United States," a spokesman for the Pacific fleet said.
During the visit to San Francisco the Russian sailors will get acquainted with the city and its history, while San Francisco residents will be able to visit the ship, meet with the crew and listen to the music performed by the Pacific Fleet's orchestra.
The Varyag is a Slava class missile cruiser, designed as a surface strike ship with some anti-air and ASW capability. The sixteen SS-N-12 Sandbox nuclear-capable supersonic anti-ship missiles are mounted in four pairs on either side of the superstructure, giving the ship a distinctive appearance.
NATO experts had dubbed Russian combat ships of this class "the killer of aircraft carriers," as they can launch 1,000 kg of high-explosives or a tactical nuclear warhead out to a range of 300 nautical miles.
In April 2009 the Varyag led a group of 21 foreign naval vessels participating in a parade to mark the 60th anniversary of China's Navy off the coast of the eastern city of Qingdao.
In November last year the flagship of the Pacific Fleet visited Singapore.

SeaWaves Magazine Reviews: Norwegian frigate Otto Sverdrup left Severomorsk

SeaWaves Magazine Reviews: Norwegian frigate Otto Sverdrup left Severomorsk: "Norwegian frigate Otto Sverdrup left Severomorsk

16.06.2010 Text: Photo: Otto Sverdrup.

Norwegian frigate KNM Otto Sverdrup left Russian base Severomorsk Tuesday morning, reported Northern Fleet (NF) Information Support Group to Central Navy Portal.
The frigate visited Russia within framework of the Russian-Norwegian exercise Pomor 2010.
Vice Admiral Nikolai Maksimov, NF Commander and Gen Lt. Bernt Bruvold, chief of Norway's Main Operational Command held an official meeting on June 12 in Severomorsk. The exercise was acknowledged successful, and both parties spoke in favor of further cooperation in this area.
While staying in Severomorsk, frigate KNM Otto Sverdrup was opened for public access."

HMAS Newcastle shows the flag at Canadian International Fleet Review - Royal Australian Navy

On Wednesday 9 June, HMAS Newcastle arrived in Esquimalt (Vancouver Island), Canada, to represent the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) at the Canadian Naval Forces’ Centennial Celebrations and International Fleet Review. The port visit, which lasted for 5 days, was marked by a number of spectacular events, including welcome receptions, sports tabloids, a fireworks display and rock concert, and culminated in an International Fleet Review at Royal Roads on Saturday 12 June.
Thousands of onlookers lined the shore line of Esquimalt Lagoon to view the spectacle comprising ships from Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, France and the United States. The day was picture-perfect providing locals and visitors alike with rare views of the snow-capped Olympic Mountains to the south and Victoria and the distant Mt Baker to the north east.
Against this magnificent backdrop, the US Navy’s 333m long aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan paraded at anchor with 19 other ships eagerly awaiting the Fleet Review ship, HMCS Algonquin and her VIP passengers, including Her Excellency Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada, Canadian Chief of Defence Staff and Canadian Chief of Navy. Newcastle’s man and cheer ship did Navy proud and gave the New Zealanders something to cry about (sadly, not so in the Rugby the following day).
More excitement followed with the Canadian Forces’ Skyhawks’ parachute demonstration; a Sea King helicopter fly past; and the deafening finale of the Canadian Forces’ Snowbirds.
On completion of the event, Commander Justin Jones, CO Newcastle, was personally approached by COMMARFORPAC’s Special Adviser and IFR Organiser, CAPT Harrison, who remarked at how sharp Newcastle looked on the day. Members of Newcastle’s ship’s company also remarked on how much they enjoyed their visit to British Columbia – some even making it to the mainland to visit Vancouver and Seattle. Many members have expressed an interest in returning to this picturesque part of the world on holiday in the near future.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Aspen deploys to Deepwater Horizon oil spill

SAN FRANCISCO Thursday, June 03, 2010, 11:08:41 PM – The Coast Guard Cutter Aspen steams past the San Francisco skyline, June 3, 2010, deploying to the Gulf of Mexico to provide clean up and operational support for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. With a crew of 34 and seven officers, the Aspen is one of the most technologically advanced cutters in the Coast Guard fleet, capable of providing on-the-water skimming operations. The Aspen is a versatile ship that can be used for pollution response, command and control, logistics, or other roles in addition to her primary missions of maintaining aids to navigation, search and rescue, and law enforcement. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Erik Swanson

K-222 submarine scrapped in Severodvinsk

Jun 4, 2010 14:45 Moscow Time Voice of Russia
The shipping yard in Russia's northern port of Severodvinsk has scrapped K-222 submarine, which was known as the fastest submarine in the history of the national underwater fleet.

K-222 was built in 1960 and became the first Soviet submarine made of titanium alloy. In 1970 the submarine set a speed record at about 83 km/hour which has not been beaten yet.
For its unique features and expensiveness it was nicknamed Gold Fish. The submarine equipped with cruise missile it was in service till 1989.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Royal Navy navigator steers USS Winston S Churchill into Portsmouth

London June 4, 2010 - The United States Navy's most capable warship, named in honour of Great Britain's wartime Prime Minister, was navigated into Portsmouth by the Royal Navy's Lieutenant Brian Drewett yesterday, Thursday 3 June 2010.
The highly regarded USS Winston S Churchill, an Arleigh Burke Class destroyer, is visiting the South of England until 8 June 2010, coinciding with the 66th anniversary weekend of D-Day.
She sailed on 21 May 2010 from the world's largest navy base in Norfolk, Virginia, steaming ahead of her Carrier Strike Group en route to the Gulf for an operational deployment.
Today, the Right Honourable Lady Mary Soames, daughter of Sir Winston Churchill and the United Kingdom's honorary ship's sponsor, is visiting the ship for lunch and attending an evening reception for local dignitaries.
The USS Winston S Churchill is the only US Navy ship to have a Royal Navy officer assigned permanently to the ship's company in honour of the ship's namesake.
As part of the unique personnel exchange programme, Lt Brian Drewett is currently serving as the ship's navigator for a two-year tour of duty.
Since the ship commissioned, five of the Royal Navy's top young navigators have had the privilege of taking the ship around the world.
Lt Drewett is responsible to the ship's Commanding Officer, Commander Juan Orozco, for the navigational safety of the vessel, for planning and preparing charts and routes, for anticipating weather patterns and for additional navigational training of watchkeepers on the bridge.
Commander Orozco said:
"The ship is excited and proud to be visiting the UK; we've worked really hard over the last few months and we are all looking forward to a safe arrival at the home of the Royal Navy and an interesting visit to Portsmouth.
"Personally, I am honoured that Lady Soames can spend time with us and enjoy hospitality on board this ship, which stays true to the spirit of her esteemed father.
"I know the ship's company can't wait to get out and about over the weekend to some of the unique and historic places in England; this will be a real treat before our real work starts in earnest maintaining maritime security in the Gulf region."
While crossing the Atlantic the ship's training teams have sharpened the ship's company into a cohesive fighting team ready for any eventuality they might face during the deployment. The ship returns home in about six months.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Russian Cruiser to Visit San Francisco

Vladivostok June 3, 2010 (RIA Novosti) - A task force from the Russian Pacific Fleet led by the missile cruiser Varyag will set sail on June 4 on a friendly visit to the United States, the fleet's spokesman said on Thursday.
The naval group, which also includes the Fotiy Krylov salvage tug and the Boris Butoma tanker, will make a port call in San Francisco during a month-long voyage.
"During a visit to San Francisco the Russian sailors will get acquainted with the city and its history...while San Francisco residents will be able to visit the ship, meet with the crew and listen to the music performed by the Pacific Fleet's orchestra," the official said.
The Varyag is a Slava class missile cruiser, designed as a surface strike ship with some anti-air and ASW capability. The sixteen SS-N-12 Sandbox nuclear-capable supersonic anti-ship missiles are mounted in four pairs on either side of the superstructure, giving the ship a distinctive appearance.
NATO experts had dubbed Russian combat ships of this class "the killer of aircraft carriers," as it can launch 1,000 kg of high-explosives or a tactical nuclear warhead out to a range of 300 nautical miles.
In April 2009 the Varyag led a group of 21 foreign naval vessels participating in a parade to mark the 60th anniversary of China's Navy off the coast of the eastern city of Qingdao.
In November last year the flagship of the Pacific Fleet visited Singapore.